Monday, March 28, 2011

P.S. to the New Bedford Story

I was so gratified at your response to my blog about New Bedford and my Uncle Harry Bloomingdale, and tickled pink that you all loved the house as much as I did.

There is a link to the story that was written about his Department Store and his many achievements and am including that below for those of you who like history, especially when there is a string connecting it to someone you know.  Elyssa of "Fancy Pantalons" and the one you can than for all this great research
sent help in her comment as follows:. 

fancy pantalons said...
Hi all, Try this link: and scroll down to the "Harry Bloomingdale" section. Fascinating stuff!


A Gift From Out of the Past

There have been a myriad of wonderful surprises and delights that have come to me from this blog and  it seems they just keep coming.

I recently had an email from a wonderful woman named Elyssa of the blog "Fancy Pantalons", a follower who had some kind things to say about my blogging, and she happened to mention New Bedford, Mass.  I got all excited because one of my Uncles whom I have blogged about, my Uncle Harry, lived for many years in New Bedford and I had wonderful memories of the grand old Victorian house there.  I mentioned the address to Elyssa and told her about him and, wonder of wonders, the next day she sent me a photo of the house (she had driven by and found that it was still there) and an article she had located telling all about my Uncle and his achievements.

 I haven't been able to upload the article but I have managed to get the photo pulled up and, behold, here it is.  I can't quite say "in all it's glory" because the house is a bit faded, but still gorgeous, I think.
(Oh, what I could do with it if I were only 20 years younger.)

 I sent the photo to two of my young cousins and they were both tickled to see it again too. They had both been there with their parents when they were young and had fond memories.


Comment from cousin
Rob Kapnek

I remember many trips there, visiting
Harry, Essie and Flora, throughout
my childhood.
The house was like a living museum
to me, replete with antiques, pianos, brass
beds, silver and objects, all
of which seemed hundreds of years
old, at the time.
Essie was permanently hunched in
two, from carrying Harry up and down
the stairs, on her back.
When she was nearly 100, she was still
climbing the apple tree in the back yard to make us a pie, when we visited.

I think he was the founder of the Kiwanis Club and was always visited and lauded for his philanthropy. 
Flora was their adopted daughter and lived at home with Essie to care for Harry, wheelchair bound for more
than 60 years. 
Dad and Lew loved them and they all were really devoted to each other.

Comment from cousin Bruce Morton

Thanks for sending this. As I recall, my Dad took the family up to Cape Cod for a vacation when I was a senior in college and my brother Ken was a freshman, and we stopped in New Bedford en route to see my 2 cousins at the house in New Bedford. They were both female, around 88 and 93 years old as I recall. When we arrived, one of them was up on a tall ladder replacing a light bulb, and the other one was doing house repairs. I was stunned at their vibrancy for their age.  We got a tour of the house, which was full of original woodworking art.

Great, fascinating..............

I am incredibly grateful to Elyssa for her research and zeal in bringing back these wonderful memories.
The wonders of blogging will never cease to amaze and thrill me.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Aftermath and the Epiphany

The blissful state of being warm and the delightful prospect of being able to get clean have  induced me to wax poetic......

               There are interesting side effects to not having any heat or hot water
               And the main one is probably that you don't get to bathe as often as you orter.
               But if anyone dares to hint that I am odoriferous or, shall we say, smelly
               I will, promptly and  forthwith, kick them in the belly.

Just want to report that I now have not only heat but blessed hot water and I am not only still calm but hellishly grateful.

And, strangely enough, rather than being filled with blind rage at the MF Plumber who, for whatever evil or stupid  reason, misdiagnosed my heating system as being deadly with carbon monoxide gas, I am content and pleased with having made plans to deal with my 22 year old unit before it crashed on me at a less opportune moment.  This is not Pollyanna speaking is, I  believe, the newly enlightened Lo.  I have been working for years toward being able to cope with disasters without exploding with emotions all over the near environs  and ending up a spent but still vengeful victim.

The fact is, that I could easily have cancelled my order for the new system once I discovered  that this old one was NOT leaking deadly gas fumes into my living quarters and could have spent days  and much precious energy venting my rage on unscrupulous people and shady business practices, but, upon thoughtful rumination, I realized that I could not expect this 22 year old wonder to continue functioning indefinitely without's days were certainly numbered.  I had already endured the discomfort of  being without.  I had already transferred the funds into my checking account.  I was already mentally prepared for the thing to be done, so why put it off for some less convenient time when the price will no doubt be even more exorbitant .  Just do it and forget about heating and cooling problems forever. .........and that is what I am doing. And it feels good.

Now, excuse me everybody while I go in and take a long hot shower.  Ahhhhhhhh! Ummmmmmm!

P.S   I want to make it perfectly clear that I am NOT getting my new heating system from the MF Plumber creep who triggered this whole epic, but from the same folks who installed my current system 22 years ago.


Just a quick update for those darlings out there who have been worrying about me being without heat and without hot water.    Got the heat back!

Naturally, it is a long story and I am not ready to tell it  yet, but, suffice it to say,......(what a stupid, meaningless, tortured  phrase that is.....I apologize for using it) I was saying, what I have done is gotten a carbon monoxide monitor and turned the heating system back on.  I did this yesterday around midafternoon.  The heat is blissful and the monitor has stayed strangely silent.  Hmmmmm.

Now, I am beginning to wonder if that MF Plumber who told me about the crack in my heater and the carbon monoxide was just pulling a big con on me.........I am taking a while to think about that.....I am still fairly calm but I am afraid that if I relax for just a moment I will have to rush out and murder that MF Plumber......

Meanwhile I am both calm and WARM.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Someone Told Me Job's Last Plague was Boils....

For anyone who has not read my last blog, this one will not have the proper effect, so do go back and catch up on my latest adventure.

Hi there all you warm, dry people with running hot water...........this is day 5 or 6 (I am not sure) of Lois' Sore Trials........

Just to bring you all up to date, on Sunday we had a positive deluge for at least 12 - 15 hours and the roof of the sun room (added separately from the regular roof) just couldn't take the punishment so we can add Leaking Roof and 2inches of water in the sun room to my list of afflictions which  still include no heat and no hot water and incipient bills of  $6K to $8K.  I  am grateful that I inherited my Dad's supply of towels some years ago (and being the packrat that I am kept them all for an emergency)  so that I had enough to sop up the water without having to use my own bath towels.

I have grown accustomed to sleeping and living in several layers of sweats augmented by a fleece Hoodie and occasionally a blanket or afghan draped tastefully around my shoulders.....  And, would you believe, just when you need them, those damned cats refused to huddle in bed with me to keep me warm, choosing instead to stay in the living room where I have a little electric heater going which manages to bring the temp up about 3 degrees.

I want you to know that I have NOT been idle. I am constantly on thephone making arrangements and mopping puddles..   My handyman finished laying a new floor in the water heater compartment and I have had the installers out yet again but have only progressed to the point of having them leave me new water heater.... in carton..... sitting on the bricks outside the water heater house where it ultimately will live. There are so many adjustments that need to be made to accommodate the new unit that the guy advised me to save the installation and improvement fees and have my handyman do the work.  He is, as we speak, at the DIY store getting supplies.

Meanwhile, the heating company cannot schedule to install my new heating unit until we get a day of no rain.  Right now that looks like it might not be till Saturday.....this is Tuesday.  And can you believe it.....I still remain calm.  I think I have finally got the knack of coping gracefully.....or I am so exhausted and used up that I can't feel anything anymore and cannot remember the words to the appropriate ditty,  "shit, piss, fuck".

All  this and I still haven't told you about yesterdays bonus adventure in which one of the hummers, in a frenzy to get breakfast,  flew into the house and jetted around the atrium until, as usual, it fainted.  Because of all the hoods over my ears I didn 't hear it and only found out when two cats refused their breakfast in lieu of climbing the spiral staircase in the atrium and peering fixedly  at the little windowsill 8 feet up off the floor.  When I finally located the little creature on the sill I didn't give him much of a chance.....  still I rushed to the garage, schlepped in the 6 foot ladder, clambered up it (in spite of my previous resolutions not to ever do that again) (well, I DID scream for Florence, my caregiver, but she was outside feeding the  birds and didn't hear me and time was of the essence.)  Happily I was able to reach the critter and cupped his limp body gently in my hand while I rushed to grab a full feeder and plunged his beak into it.  It seemed to take forever  before I saw any signs of life but then I saw signs of swallowing and little by little the body firmed up and after about 3 or 4 minutes the wings flapped and off he went to the nearest hanging feeder to finish his breakfast.  Whew.
  I was so thrilled it took several minutes for me to begin shaking. (I had postponed it during the emergency).

 I did get Florence to take a picture while I was feeding the little critter and, while it is not art it will prove my story and give you an idea of what the scene looked like plus what this incredible hulk looks like currently.  I shall now attempt to retrieve it.  Eureka!

So......and how was YOUR day?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Japan, Libya and Then The Disaster on Califa St.

So, there I was,  thinking I had finally achieved that blissful state where one accepts whatever happens and calmly copes with it when I realized I do not completely have the hang of it.  Dang.

It's like this, folks. On Thursday,  after managing for days to avoid as much as possible the news of the world,  I went into the water heater shed to get a garden tool out and discovered  that my water heater was leaking,  big time, and probably had  been for a while because the plywood floor under it had stopped looking like wood and more closely resembled a layer of stringy, overcooked whole wheat spaghetti.  I called the plumber who came and shut off the hot water, drained the tank, removed it and pronounced the heater (and the floor) dead, totally dead.  Then, because I had to make arrangements of  various kinds I had him put down heavy plastic sheeting on the floor and restore the water heater so I would have hot water till the new unit came, along with various bowls and catch basins arranged tastefully to keep more water from dripping on the moribund floor.   I am handling this rather well in spite of the fact that I have to pay the plumber for his work  and will have to pay extra for tearing out the floor and replacing it before getting a new heater.  Not to mention the cost of the new thing....oy.....

While  I was madly tapping keys on the computer to find a replacement, the serviceman from my Heater/Air Conditioning unit arrived to do spring service and, upon clambering up onto the roof where the heater sits, promptly clambered down again and approached me with gloom dripping from every pore.    It appears that the enclosure that surrounds the heating unit under the metal cover has a large crack in it which has been enabling the carbon monoxide gas, produced by the burners to mix merrily with the heated air which it has been blowing valiantly into my rooms  below for who-knows-how-long.......  A very dangerous condition which could have killed me at any moment  (not to mention the cats).  To replace the housing would only cost about $2000.  Oy!  But the unit is 22 years old.....really should be replaced ...........a brand new energy-efficient unit can be had for only $6000 to $8000.  Maybe two "oys".and a "vey".

This news is not only horrifying  but also  very enlightening.   I stop Googling water heaters and Google "carbon monoxide poisoning" I get a list of symptoms which relate exactly to one of my mystery maladies that lays me low frequently.  No wonder I get light-headed, dizzy, nauseous, unable to balance with headaches and shaky legs to boot.........oy, oy, and Eureka! Perhaps just turning off the heat will cure that sickness.   But,  it will be cold.  Sigh.  However, I  am handling this pretty well.

I promptly (and calmly) put the heat switch on the thermostat to OFF,  don heavy sweats and a hooded fleece jacket and begin searching the internet for Heaters and A/C units.  Meanwhile,a day passes and  the plumber arrives to install the new water heater (I ordered it while I still had the strength)  and promptly shuts off the hot water and removes the dripping tank and announces he cannot install the new unit until the floor is repaired.  "But, but", I stammer,  the customer service agent who took my order told me you would have plywood on the truck to fix the floor.  I can see by his face and his rapid shaking of the head from left to right that I have been so gullible as to believe a lie.   This time I just send him on his way after paying again the huge fee for taking out the water heater (groan) and contact my handyman.  Now, of course, I have no hot water for the forseeable future as well as no heat..

Handyman Michael arrives and I send him off to gather plywood.  He returns and advises me that the plywood that I used to pay $8 to $10 per sheet now costs $32 but we must bite the bullet.  I remain calm while he proceeds to tear out the shredded floor and only part of the drywall at the lower edges of the water heater closet.  We end up rigging a small electric heater with fan onto the floor beams of the heater shed to try to dry out the beams before repairing the floor.  Night comes and I sleep in my sweat suit.

It is now Sunday.  I wake up to the sound of pouring rain clanging on my skylights.  I don yet another fleece hoodie over my sweats and the first hoodie , feed the cats and try to convince them that they would not really like it outside amidst the sheets of rain and the puddles.  They refuse to believe me and shriek and complain mightily for hours threatening to report me to the ASPCA.  I remain calm and adamant. 

The hummingbird feeders are mostly empty and those birds don't know or care about the small deluge.  Their frantic dive bombing maneuvers indicate that they need nectar!  I decide to jerry-rig a waterproof costume out of good old black garbage bags and I am just getting ready to make a hole for my face so I shouldn't suffocate, perish forbid, when I find myself thinking a naughty thought.  If I just forget about making the hole and simply take the drawstring from the 2nd layer hoodie I can don the garbage bag, tie the hoodie string around my neck tightly and .........hmmmm......I guess I must face the sad fact that I have not really quite achieved the blessed state of nirvana after all.    Failed, failed again!

Oy, oy, oy, oy vey!
At this moment I caught sight of some huge shapeless creature in the mirror. ......... a huge, hulking,  fleece clad, garbage bag covered monster.  My heart sank.  What dreaded thing had invaded my house while I was busy  waterproofing myself?  Tenks Gott it was only Me.  I had to laugh till I wet my bloomers and thusly will live to fight another day.  That was a close one.  Saved once again by a sense of humor and the thought of what a fine blog this might turn into..........

Now, don't bother me.   I am working on remaining calm.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Ode to Blogging Pal

Oh, shit!

I feared that one day I would discover a a negative element element about blogging.  It has happened.  One of my favorite  followers and most beloved bloggers has left the building.

If you weren't a friend of Geraldgee you don't know what you missed.. He was a sweet, wonderful artist, photographer,cartoonist and  all around renaissance man.   He was of my era, we bonded and  I miss him mightily already.

Fly high and free, Gerald.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

What Does Your Pet Call You?

I am in a very strange mood this lovely Sunday.  Just bubbling along a bit in the Curmudgeon Corner here.....musing about trivia which has begun to be less trivial to me.  The grain of sand that has found its way into my shoe has slowly turned into an almighty boulder with prickly spikes and can no longer be stoically ignored. 

I refer to the fact that I am becoming increasingly irritated by reading blogs written by bloggers'  pets in which the pet calls us "their Person" or "their Human".  Perhaps it is because  I am coming across more and more bloggers who are, frivolously or magnanimously, turnng over to their pets the keys to their blogs.   I dunno.

Now do not, for one little minute, misunderstand what I am saying here.......I love blogs written by (and about) animals ( I refer you to the brilliant Liza Bean Bitey of the Minneapolis Biteys who owns the blogger known as "Pearl,Why you Little..."  and if you happen to have a pet flea who takes it into his mind to write your blog for you one day, I will be tickled pink to hear what the world is like from the flea's point of view.  Of course, your pet flea might choose to call you his Host rather than his Person or Human and I will object to that terminology as well.  Just nothing feels or sounds right, dammit!

I am going quietly bonkers here trying to come up with an acceptable term to describe those of us who are, let's face it, owned by our pets.

Owner?.....don't make me laugh...totally inacucurate and upside down. 
Master/Mistress ?  ........ha....ditto, in spades. 
Cat Lady/ Dog Man? lip curls....
Provider?.......oy....this gets worse and worse.
Slave?.........closer but still no.
Concierge?   Caregiver?  Angel?
Paramour?........wrong, wrong, wrong.


There simply has to be a decent word for our pets to refer to those of us who are simply fools for our animals.   I suppose, since English is their second language, there may be a word in catspeak or dogspeak which would be perfect......or maybe we just have to make one up like those awful letter combinations we are forced to copy in order to leave comments.....  All I know is that I am revolting against the existing order without having a working plan to offer in its most revolutions, I guess.  As a lover of words I seem to have failed miserably.

Does anyone out there have any ideas?  I welcome all suggestions and, as you can see from my wretched efforts, they do not have to be brilliant.

Incidentally, I asked my own children what they call me behnd my back and not one of them had the guts to answer.....

Help me out here folks.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Addendum to WTF

Hi, darlings......I just want to report that the rotten bastard who plagarized Edward Gorey has posted a sort of apology giving full credit to Gorey for the material he stole.  I feel much better now even though he has not been punished for his crime.  Perhaps all my rage and indignation and nasty letters paid off.

Thank you all for your support and for all the info you provided.  Gosh,  could one call this a victory for the good guys?

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Watch out, folks.....I think the top of my head may just blow off at any moment.  Something I just encountered in Blogsville has made me realllllllly angry.

I rarely look at "Blogs of Note" because I haven't got enough time to keep up with my own chosen 'blogs of note', but, for some reason I just clicked on it and took a look at the anointed few.  Whoops.   Holy Crap.  Who is responsible for this abomination?

I suspect it may be very bad form and maybe even blog-suicide to criticize, but I am baffled and incensed by one of the selections........something called Amazing Facts.  This particular post consists entirely of 26 exquisite drawings by the sainted artist, Edward fact a complete reproduction of his epic alphabet entitled "THE GASHLYCRUMB TINIES".  There are several things that are driving me to the point of detonating, the first being that the artist and author is NOT even give a line of credit.  I consider that to be a crime against genius and should be punishable by something much worse than death....(I don't know right now, but don't worry, I am working on it).

The second point that is agitating me to a dangerous point on the gauge is......since when is simple outright plagarism to be rewarded rather than condemned.  Aaarrggh.     Grrrrrr.  And other letter combinations of the same ilk.

What makes it all even worse, is that there is no identification as to who is responsible for the blog and therefore no way an indignant person such as myself can make her feelings known to the perpetrator.  Urk and Faugh!

..No, seriously, my can this happen?  And do any of you know of any way of  making this right?  How does one communicate one's annoyance with the purveyors of "Blogs of Note"?  And how does one identify a dastardly, no-good, dirty, stinkin' cowardly thief who not only gets away with his crimes but gets a medal for them.

All I can say on the positive side is.....if you  have to steal from someone, there is no one better to steal from than the blessed Edward Gorey.

Sob.  I have just discovered that Blogsville is NOT perfect after all and this really burns my fanny..

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Close Up - Mr. De Mille

The other nite I decided to try to get a photo of Bitsy and Winnie was next to me on the table so I practiced on her.  I think this the funniest picture because she looks like Devil Cat when she is really the sweetest kitty in the universe.

Then I started chasing the real Devil Cat around and got a few decent shots while standing on my head.

The sad part is that when I downloaded them I somehow screwed up and out of 21 pics only a handful are visible.
I am hoping that one of them is of Bitsy and that she looks recognizable if not adorable.

Not too bad but not the greatest.  I will have to try again.

This one might have been OK if the idiot taking the picture had not lost some of the ears outside the frame.....she looks almost saintly which is the biggest con job since theWolf seduced Red Riding Hood into thinking he was Granny.

Sorry about that.

Her fur coat does photograph rather well.

I will attempt to retrieve one more and then call it a day.

I think I have one more of Winnie.  Half asleep but looking rather 'bout dem whiskers?   When I first got her she had nothing but little bristly black stubs.  I believe that the length of the whiskers is supposed to correspond to the girth of the cat so they can judge which openings they can get through.    Hmmmm, Winnie, either I will have to open the doors a bit wider for you or else put you on a more num nums for a while, old girl.   Well, maybe we will start the diet tomorrow.........