There’s been a lot of silence around here lately. I’ve been putting stuff up in the sidebar, but the main feed here has been quiet due to a hectic schedule and the winter blahs. I’ll recap the highlights:
The storm that kicked the crap out of New England blew through here with a vengeance, but did no lasting damage to the Lockardugan compound. I thought for sure that I’d wake to find the greenhouse impaled by a large branch from the sugar maple in the backyard, but it’s still standing. The blue house across the street did not fare so well, though—a century-old tree of unknown species gave up at the root ball and fell over into the empty side yard. A neighbor further down the street lost a pine tree which fell directly into his front porch, and as of yesterday afternoon the chippers made short work of it. Between some ill-advised elective pruning and this week’s storm, that side of the street is looking much thinner this year.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing follow-the-bouncing-ball with the city over our water situation. We’ve been having problems with our water for years now: it goes from almost clear to disgustingly rusty in weekly cycles, with no real rhyme or reason, and it’s ruined much of our whitest laundry. I spent time on the phone with DPW, who claim they came out and cleared the hydrants, and the city labs (who are supposedly tasked with testing the water), who gave me multiple numbers to call in a futile search for someone who could help. I gave up on the city, and yesterday morning we had a pair of plumbers in to install a commercial filter just inside the basement wall. Our plumbers are true Baltimoreans, in that they have the honest accent I can only mimic, and they always appear in a cloud of cigarette smoke, but they are knowledgeable, quick, and the nicest contractors I think I’ve ever dealt with. While they were here I had them quote on moving one of the radiators back into the dining room, and when we get a little money in the door I’ll have them come back and do it in preparation for next winter.
Jen and I have been searching for floor coverings ever since we got in this house, and as anyone who has looked at rugs can relate, it’s an expensive proposition. For a premade rug to mostly fit one of our bedrooms (most rugs come 6′ x 9′ or 8′ x 10′, and our bedrooms are all 12′ x 12′) we’d be paying over a grand for something that kind of looked good. Our good friends R&K hipped us to buying carpet remnants and having the edges bound, and it felt like the scene in The Miracle Worker where Helen Keller finally gets it. We drove out to Security to one of the local carpet dealers’ warehouses and shlepped through forests of carpet rolls, holding this paint chip up against that color and marveling at some of the deep-discount patterns that reminded us of decades past. We settled on one color and pattern for our bedroom, but didn’t have luck with the other rooms despite the selection.
For the rock-bottom price of $300, I scored an Aluminum G4 PowerBook from Craigslist last night for Jen to use as a travel laptop. It’s 15″ and been used pretty well (the power cord is a little flaky due to a drop, which may prompt the purchase of a replacement power board off eBay) but the screen is bright, everything works, and it came with a nice Brenthaven laptop backpack, which usually retails for over $100. I’d say we made out very well.
Finally, I’m frantically trying to fit in as much illustration as I can before May 3rd, which is the submission deadline for page layouts in the book I’ll be advertising in. I have two images that I’ve settled on, but I need at least two more to feel comfortable, and I don’t have them yet. For now, I’m working late in the evening trying to balance paying work and illustration so that I can hit all the deadlines…cross your fingers for me.