Path to the Outhouse

On the weekend, Harriet and Ariel cut the grass at Granny and Grandpa’s house. It is a big job! They cut a path to the outhouse, just for me! Harriet has a magnificent heavy-duty, self-propelling lawn mower, which makes the job viable, just. I could not manage the job with the bottom-of-the-line, wobbly little push mower that we own. With the dead Elm gone, the garden cleared of weeds and brambles, and the grass cut, the place looks wonderful. Next on our list for Granny and Grandpa’s house is to repair the support beam for the store porch. The wood was sound, but the winter was severe, and the snow coming off the roof snapped the support beam. We do not have a vehicle that will transport the needed timber, but Attila thinks he can make do with a log from one of our camp’s downed trees, and some short lumber that will fit into our car. This fall Attila will do some pruning on the ornamental bushes around the place, just to spruce it up a bit. This is not a good time of year for pruning.

Granny and Grandpa’s house needs a new roof, which is beyond our time and resources; we do not own the building. Without a new roof working on the interior of the house is futile.

At the camp our plans are to continue felling trees, and to burn the brush created in clearing the lot. Short and sweet to write, long and sweaty to accomplish!

In the meantime, we continue to keep our country house ready for prospective buyers. I do not really like keeping it “showroom” clean. Rushing to get everything shipshape before leaving for work in the morning is a pain! Attila is a little behind with the lawn mowing, but at least we are here most evenings, so there will be an opportunity to get it done quickly if we get a call from the realtor. Our yard has very little grass, and is mostly native natural ground cover, which we keep mowed. Actually, the new reality of insect repellent clothing might give me an opportunity to do a little bit of light yard work myself! I find the push lawn mower is too difficult for me to manage, so Attila will have to do that job.

We will not be doing any major renovations at the little house in the city this summer. One issue is that all of our money, and then some, was spent on the driveway at the camp, the other is that there are a lot of little jobs to complete at the little house in the city, which will not cost a lot of money. We need to stain the front steps that Attila constructed last autumn, and finish the trim in the bathroom and kitchen. Renovation at the little house in the city does not seem as urgent now, since the kitchen and bathroom renovations are completed. We are very comfortable there!

These are the daylilies we planted early in the spring, on one side of the front step, at the little house in the city.
These are the hostas we planted early in teh spring, on the other side of the front step, at the little house in teh city.

We are looking forward to our next trip to the little house in the city, to see how our garden has managed without us! There has been adequate rain, so we are hoping that it is thriving. If it is, so will have been the lawn! So our next visit will again entail cutting the lawn and tending the yard. The spring is the busiest season for tending the yard, as the grass does not grow as quickly in the summer, and very little in the autumn.

Terra and Lares have done a great deal of landscaping around their house, since we last visited. They purchased a riding lawn mower, so the that Terra could do the job easily. I am looking forward to seeing the results of all their hard work. Last I spoke with them, they were still waiting for back-ordered materials to finish the siding on the front of the house. I hope their materials arrived!

Luna posted a photo of Tink at her dance recital. We have not seen them since Christmas, at Terra’s house. I trust that no news is good news; best to be pragmatic.

The weather is beautiful again today. Mist is sleeping peacefully on the sofa, as the birds just outside our window serenade her. Mist is deaf. The birds do not know this.

I have no particular plans for the day. Of course there are the usual tasks, bed making, dish washing, cooking, sweeping, and such.

Tomorrow is another work day, my last scheduled work. It entails two hours of driving (at my own expense) and seven hours of work. The price of fuel is now so high that working at these locations has become untenable. Attila is urging me to hang up the towel, as the job is very stressful, entails a great deal of responsibility, is intrusive in our personal life, is increasingly complicated, and the returns are ever decreasing. There is little to no hope of advancement, or regular hours, contrary to what I was led to believe at hiring. The point at which the costs of transportation become greater than the pay cheque are fast approaching. It is a little unnerving, the thought of having no employment whatsoever, and no pension to speak of. But really, I am nearly in that position with this on-call job, so bowing out would merely remove the stress. The money I manage to make after travel expenses is infinitesimal. I think it is time to follow Attila’s advice.

The retirement years will not be golden for me, in a financial sense. Most younger people today will find themselves in the same predicament, in due course. It wasn’t that I didn’t save for my old age, I did, carefully and meticulously; it was that I had to spend my retirement savings to support my children, as a single parent with no safety net. There was nothing left when the job was done.

Although I do not feel bitter about this, I will not say that I feel happy about it either! Still, this allows us the opportunity to know, without any doubt whatsoever, that any attention we receive from our children is based purely on their affection for us; completely free of the fetters of dollars, cents, and financial assistance.

“Always look on the bright side of life,” as Brian would say.

Good old Brian. I can’t imagine life without Brian.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 AM EDT Monday 23 June 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.6°C
Dewpoint: 9.8°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: SSE 13 km/h


“If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way.”
Jane Goodall

[I do not agree at all! I think that if you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you have a chance to find a way. But only a chance; it isn’t a guarantee, it isn’t a certainty, that you will find a way. There is no magic bullet, no sure-fire formula. If you are one of the fortunate ones that does find a way as a result of your wanting and doing, it doesn’t mean that your experience is a universal truth. You didn’t necessarily want, or work any harder than others, who met with less spectacular results. The experience of personal success cannot be extrapolated into a magic formula. It is not true that if it “worked for me”, it will “work for you.” Life is too random for that. Lots of people, possibly millions of people, want, work hard, take advantage of opportunities, never give up… and do not find a way. Not finding a way, after all of that effort, may be the norm, and the finding of the way the shining and desirable rare event, enjoyed by few, sought by many. I will say though, that it is my experience that there are some wonderful things to be discovered along the way when you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up… it is worth doing!]

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I agree with YOU, Maggie. Absolutely.


I also am in total agreement with your analysis of that quote. And your explanation is really what describes the difference between the conservative-right and the liberal-left political sides in this country. The right thinks that just because they lucked out and succeeded, then anyone who doesn’t to the same degree is a lazy slacker good-for-nothing bum. I’ve heard it so many times. It sickens me. The old “I worked hard for what I have and if you don’t have anything, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough.” Phooey! It’s more likely that the richest of the society wants it ALL and won’t pay well for the “little jobs” of the world – the jobs that must be done by someone or else the 1% would scream and moan. Darn… didn’t want to get political.

I love your plants and want to get some new hostas and some rose bushes for my rejuvenated little corner garden soon.


Kate, I am not surprised, big hearted gal that you are!


Bex, I call the people you describe as conservative-right, “zero-sum” people. They believe that to gain someone must lose, and a downward spiral of loss gains momentum under the system they propose. I think that is what we are seeing in the world economic situation.

The rest of us know that when people get together and work as team, the result is greater than the sum of the parts… there is net gain. The spiral is upward, the limit is infinity.

Hostas are wonderful, they need little tending and they remain fresh from spring to autumn!


DH and I are also approaching retirement age (I turn 57 tomorrow) and due to his paying child support on a child that isn’t his we’re barely squeaking by even with good income right now. Things will get better soon though, and I hope for us to pay off our debts and put a little money away before we actively seek retirement. But I can certainly see why retiring from your current career might be a good option for you at this time, what with the cost of fuel.

Maggie, have you ever considered blogging as a new career? You write so well, you have interesting things to talk about, we learn fascinating things from you. I could really see where you could get involved in a blog where you could make some income from what you write. Here’s an example of a blog where I could see you doing something similar (skip the first combination post from multiple authors).

Two years ago I, myself, started a new career with making graphic arts like digital scrapbook papers and clip art. Everything I do is online or in my own home. It’s taken time to start to make an income but now I’m adding to our finances a little, money we wouldn’t have had otherwise. I really think you could do a great job of something with the blogging. People would love to read what you’re writing and, through things like advertising, you could start to make money on it.


🙁 I’m sorry to hear about your misadventure with Google. Yes, they and several other online entities seem convinced of their own greatness and will shun people with little to no provocation and no chance for redress. I hope I haven’t unwittingly hurt you with my suggestion. I enjoy your blog and simply thought to offer a suggestion you might not have thought of yourself.


Irene Bean

I don’t agree with Goodall at all. So many of my journeys have ended up in cul-du-sacs. I shrug and move on. I’ve shed my tears of failure, but then shrugged and moved on.

(I just wrote and then deleted a long comment. I’m at a juncture in life that I find angry people too disturbing – I’ve rarely editorialized, so don’t want to start now. *smiles*)

What Google did to you is disgraceful. *sigh* So sorry about that.