Monday, June 30, 2014

I have some ideas

Swedish cow
Tomorrow we are going to Lake Placid for a brief sojourn with Cate’s brother and his wife. We will be there for 4 July so will miss the knees up in the apartments next door. Last year this went to 4:00 AM.

We did not get out of bed to look but it sounded like they finished the night by throwing each other through the front windows of the apartment block.

I am sure they will have fireworks and patriotic songs at Lake Placid so we will be able to enter into the spirit of things.

The back deck has been finished. We had hoped that we had made it cat proof but – and it took her some time – Monika has found that she can jump down from the gate onto the steps – and then into the garden.

We cannot sit out there and relax if we constantly have to watch the cats. Further thought is required as to how I can make escape impossible. I have a number of ideas including pigeon spikes and an electric fence.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The curse worked

Birds in Ellos must stand on one leg
We had our first fully fledged tornado in central Indiana yesterday.

Cate rang me from work to say they were all in the basement waiting for Armageddon and that I should immediately retire to the basement with the cats.

Monika knew something was wrong as she was prowling restlessly around the house. But she is of such a nervous disposition that she could hear a mouse squeak in Peoria.

Shortly after this I got the emergency alarm on my mobile phone and this told me to take shelter. But I listened to the radio and the news was that the tornado was at Speedway and was moving north-east – which is away from our house.

And yes Speedway the suburb is where the speedway is located.

The deck men took no chances and scuttled off – telling me that they would be back the next day if there was any house or deck remaining.

The tornado passed us by – but we got some nice rain. 

Tornados here are not as dangerous as guns. There are more people killed by guns in Indiana in the average week than there are by tornados in the entire year.

My curse worked and Italy was knocked out of the World Cup.

The added bonus was that one of the Italian players was bitten by a Uruguayan player – and the Italian coach resigned.  I put this down to the chicken gizzards.

I do feel a bit guilty about this – and that I brought such misery to so many Italians – so next time I may let them get to the quarter finals.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I should warn the neighbors

We had our first storm of the season yesterday afternoon and this was accompanied by a power outage. I was able – for the first time – to use my emergency lanterns - which I bought from Amazon some time ago just for this purpose.

We have a gas stove and oven so I was still able to cook dinner by the light of the lanterns.

I did not need to activate my storm radio – which is battery powered and which you can also wind up – and has a jigger you can use to power up a mobile phone.

I used my lawn edger for the first time yesterday. This is almost as scary as the jigsaw and chomps up anything in its path. I only did a small part of the lawn as I was disconcerted by the chunks of grass, earth and concrete flying about.

I will get better at this just as I will with the jigsaw.

Deckman says the deck will be finished this week. I have ordered 10 gallons of deck stain in readiness for our next major job.

However – painting the fence taught me a lesson and reminded me how difficult and tedious beyond redemption painting really is.

So I have also ordered a paint sprayer. This will be my first experience with one of these contraptions.

I imagine that by the end of the process the deck, most of the back garden – and the birds and the squirrels – will all be colored dark oak. I should warn the neighbors to keep their dogs inside. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

It was like a wild animal

I have done the first cat door – see photo.

The jigsaw was like a wild animal and I damn near lost control of it completely. It was a scary ride and I thought at one stage I was going to cut the door in half.

The hole does not match the template provided with the door – in fact it is not even close – but I got the door to fit and have a tub of wood filler to patch the bits and pieces of holes that were not needed.

I will also have to touch up the paint on the door – but overall the outcome was much better than I had expected.

You will notice that Sissi is asleep on her rug on top of the (empty) Sabathi wine box. This is in Cate’s study and is one of her favourite spots. She is studiously ignoring the cat door to the upstairs balcony.

In all fairness who came blame her. It is stupendously hot outside and she has occasionally popped outside – only to return very quickly.

We are making progress with Monika. She cannot get out through the cat door – but can get back in. 

This is a massive advance on her pathetic efforts in Vienna where the closest she could get to using the cat door to the balcony was to sniff it.

In retaliation for our new cat door installation Monika has started pissing in our bathroom again. I wish she could find another more imaginative way to extract retribution for out slights – both real and imagined.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The moment of truth

It’s a bloody miracle but all the air con now works.

At the final stage of the job by Dave and Alan -  Sissi escaped through the side door and scuttled under the rear deck which is under construction.

We have to use the side door because of course the back deck has as yet no stairs.

Dave and Alan crawled under the deck to capture Sissi. There was no additional charge for this heroic effort. She is absolutely possessed with getting outside – but gets frightened as soon as she is out there.

Every few days JoAnn rocks along with her assistants to install more plants in our back garden. It is starting to look almost like a garden should. A photo will be provided soonish.

Her assistants are two young black guys and it is a pleasure to watch them digging holes without missing a beat or raising a sweat. Oh youth!

The jigsaw arrived today. The moment of truth has arrived and within the next few days I will have to cut holes for the cat doors – which also arrived today.

I have found in the past the cutting holes is so – well – final.

You cannot undo a hole – although I have wished that I could many times in the past. So I am going to proceed very carefully and methodically and try to anticipate the disasters which can befall people with no carpentry skills whatsoever.

You know what they say – measure twice – cut once.

My previous experience has been that after the measuring part I should retire to the parlor with a good book and a glass of Jameson.

It does not help that the smell of goats once again fills my nostrils.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

We will have to start over again

Eric the builder is back. We finally got the go ahead for the deck construction. 

The Indianapolis Historical Preservation Commission decided that our new deck did not impact adversely on the fabric of the neighborhood and that Indiana society as a whole was not threatened.

Eric and his assistant are now busy sawing and nailing – in 92° heat – avoiding the birds dropping from the sky.

Dave the air con man is making another visit today. He says that today – yes really today – he will fix the air con so that it works upstairs.

I have heard all this before – although he assures me that the new dampers have arrived from Ouagadougou.  I have no idea what a damper is but I will be pleased to see them.

I am about to attempt to install cat doors in the door to the upstairs balcony and the door to the basement. The upstairs balcony so that the cats can get out to sit in the sun and admire the squirrels – the basement door so that we can keep the door closed but the cats can still get to their litter.

The doors concerned are 1 ½ inch think and solid. I have purchased a jigsaw. I am feeling very confident about this – given my previous experience in cat door building in Vienna.

The real problem will be teaching Monika how to use the cat door. She was a total and completely frustrating  failure in Vienna so we will have to start all over again.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Any team but Italy

Italian diving team
It is that time again.

Yes it’s the World Cup. The football festival that is awarded every four years to the country which pays the most money to FIFA.

I think the World Cup is about as important as the Olympics or Wimbledon. Who cares?

It determines who plays well over a period of days or weeks, gets a few breaks - gets lucky – cheats best - and at the end of the day is the Champion du Monde - based on a month of football in four years.

In the Olympics some strange things can happen. Less so in football. There are only – say - eight teams out for the 32 that could get to the final.

I am of course rooting for Australia and the USA.

But.......I don’t really care much who wins – as long as it is not Italy.

I hate the Italian Football Team – the Azzuri - (and so does Lenny)

I hate them because they cheat – a lot.

In the 2006 World Cup Australia nearly made it to the Quarter Finals and in the game against Italy held them to a draw. A draw would have got them through.

In the last minute of play an Italian player took a dive to get a penalty - which was awarded - and Italy won the game.

The Italian Cheating Diving Team then won the World Cup.

At that stage we were living in Leichardt in Sydney - which is Sydney’s ‘Little Italy’ and where the shops and restaurants and lots of people are Italian - and where you can walk down the streets and hear both old and young people talking in Italian.

We were watching the games on a big screen in the main street and the crowd went wild. WILD! for Italy!

It was shocking to realize that your neighbors would feck you over to win a game of football - but it is THAT important to them.

But now I understand that Italians will always be Italian football fans no matter how long ago they left their homeland. And they will always want their team to win - and it doesn’t matter how.

My research since then has shown that the Italians are probably the worst cheats in world football – this has been substantiated by academic studies - but that their fans expect them to cheat - because winning is the ONLY thing that counts.

The statistics from that World Cup show that they were awarded the most number of fouls (i.e. they dived more than anyone else).

Indeed – the former Premier of NSW – Morris Iemma – himself of Italian origins - said that after that particular game he bought a book about why Italians are born to cheat at football. Yes - there are books on this subject. In fact there may be a whole library.

As punishment for what the Italians did to Australia in 2006 I  put a curse on the Azzurri. (I and I am really sorry I  had to do this because I know some lovely Italians).

You may think this was a case of overkill because it had a dramatic effect on so many Italian footballs fans – but I was really unhappy about what they did to Australia.

The curse involved candles, duck feathers, a cork and rubber gloves and I won’t go into too many sordid details but it absolutely guaranteed that Italy would not make it past the Quarter Finals.

In fact it was so wildly successful that Italy did not make it past the first round – and in one never to forget match – was held to a 1-1 draw by New Zealand. I put it down to the chicken gizzards.

This is like the Miami Heat being held to a draw by Peoria.

But – I have a long memory – and have put another curse on Italy for this world cup.

I am sorry – but what you did – do – is unforgivable – I will go to my grave loving Italy and Italians – but hating the Azzuri.

I have substituted northern cardinal feathers for duck feathers – but am supremely confident that my curse will work.