“Why is there a piece of bread in our yard?” Dave asked.

I stood and looked at the half eaten piece of dry white bread, sitting forlornly on the grass, and wondered why he would even have to ask. “Because we live in Saint Joe, dear.”

Later, inspecting the wall, I stooped and peered at something. Dave asked, “What is it?”

“It appears to be a pepperoni,” I said.

We find some strange things in and around the property. We saw a silk rose, still in its wrapping, tossed at the walnut tree. There’s the ubiquitous cigarette butts and papers and drink cans, of course. Food, occasionally. There was a cell phone once, tossed aside. We considered what to do with it, and came back out and it was gone. It’s bizarre what people throw away. Clothing. Food. Random detritus from people’s lives. No money yet, oddly.

The theory exists that people just don’t know any better and need to be educated. Maybe I should write a book. “Throw Things Away In A Trash Can” is my working title. Or maybe “I Am Not Your Trash Can.” I don’t think I’m writing this book, because I don’t think it’s a problem of people not knowing that it’s not generally okay to chuck your trash out the car window. That could just be me, though, and the rest of society thinks this is fine. Who knows?

We’ve heard that this summer is supposed to be a relatively cool one here, and this is something I’m pretty okay with. The north is in my blood, and I don’t always do all that well in hot temperatures. The thing is, I don’t always do all that well in cold temperatures, either. My personal temperature range of comfort is pretty narrow. It amazes me that people live on the equator, or up in Siberia. Talk about temperature extremes. I bet there are no mosquitoes in Siberia, though. Maybe some things are worth the sacrifice.

Hard to sacrifice rays of sunlight shining out of the clouds though.

Our Airbnb guests have moved on. They left the place in good shape, so I’m happy about that. They haven’t reviewed us yet though, and I’m a bit anxious because they found a spider inside. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of any sort of bug indoors. (Spiders aren’t bugs, Christina! I hear you say. This is true but “bugs and spiders” is verbose, whereas “bugs” is immediately recognized as all creepy crawlies, and I prefer brevity to accuracy, at least this time.) But this is Missouri. Bugs are pretty ubiquitous. One might almost say inevitable. It was probably a wolf spider, but they thought it was a brown recluse, which would definitely put a damper on my stay if it were me. So I’m kind of expecting a bad review. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but I’ve been expecting a bad review since the beginning, and I think it’s inevitable. I’m hoping I’m wrong, though. There’s a first time for everything, after all.



Today on The Wonderful World of the Rothwells: Weeding.

Now, don’t let people fool you with all their negativity. Weeding is tremendous fun. You get to stand around (or sit, if you don’t mind sitting on pavement) and pull plants out of the ground. It’s delightfully mindless. You get to think about things, like that time you said the dumb thing, or that time you did the dumb thing, and you get to think about it for a really long time because you get to pull weeds for a really long time! But, it requires just enough of your attention (so you don’t pull the plants you actually want) so you can’t actually do anything else other than ruminate upon your many failures. What a great time!

The raspberry patch and the rosemary patch look great now though. For a while. Until more weeds magically appear. I swear there are Weed Clowns whose sole purpose is to go around planting weeds in unsuspecting people’s gardens. What a weird job to have. …I wonder how much it pays.

This morning I was doing dishes when my phone beeped at me. “Whaaaaaaaaat?” I groaned. This is my normal response whenever my phone beeps at me. Sometimes it’s entirely justified, but sometimes my whining is mitigated by whatever my phone is beeping at me about. Today, it was an Airbnb request: a guy and his wife and their baby coming in tomorrow evening to visit family.

I stood there, thinking. The place is mostly fine. I have to make the other bed, no idea why the last people used the guest bed instead of the master bed but whatever. People are weird. Anyway. Make the guest bed just so there’s not a random unmade bed in the place. Vacuum the floor. Maybe some dusting…

“I have to go buy cookies,” I said aloud. I ditched the dishes, walked down to St Joe Cookie Co, hung out with Janaha for a few minutes, then brought my bounty back home.

Time to finish the dishes. I perused my Spotify playlist, selected Ladyhawke, and blasted it while finishing the dishes. Three or four songs in, I started to think about what genre (and sub-genre) I’d classify Ladyhawke as. Not quite rock. Pop, I guess? Indie pop, maybe. Oh, how about synth-pop?

“I need to stop making up genres of music to make myself feel smart,” I said aloud, putting a bowl into the drying rack. The question wouldn’t go away though, so I looked her up on Wikipedia to see what genre she was classified as. I was surprised, but also not surprised, to see “synth-pop” listed under “genres”. I attribute this less to any genius on my part and more to the fact that you can just mash two words together these days and it’s almost certainly already a sub-genre of music.

The Airbnb is all set. I expect no problems. Except maybe that we don’t have baby stuff in the Airbnb, but we say that up front on our listing. Not that this is a guarantee against people being upset about missing amenities. “1/5 stars! Place was comfortable but no swimming pool!!!” Ma’am. You knew there wasn’t a swimming pool when you booked. Why are you like this. Sadly, this actually does happen. Just not to us. Yet.

We had Dennis over on Wednesday evening. I made Dave grill some skewers:

Not pictured: chicken, onions, skewers, fire

I used a new recipe for the marinade, and it was delicious. I then experimented on Dennis further and served some homemade creme brulee:

With sustainable, organic, fresh, locally sourced, patch-to-fork strawberries!

The recipe said I could broil the creme brulee to get that nice crust. It didn’t work out so well, but it was still tasty, so I called it good. Today I found an article about common creme brulee mistakes and #5 was: you can’t broil creme brulee to get the crust lmao you dunce. I considered taking umbrage at this, but decided not to after thinking about it and realizing the article writer was probably right and entirely justified in making fun of me for being a bit gullible. So I ordered a kitchen torch from Amazon and am harboring faint resentments. You got me, farmflavor.com, but it won’t happen again.

In botanical news: I have my first pepper flower!

He isn’t sad, this is how peppers grow.

It’s cute. It’s just there, being innocent and pretty, but it’s going to grow into a super hot death pepper. Wait, it’s just a jalapeno. The super hot death pepper will be when I grow habaneros. Even then there are hotter peppers. Just let me call things by dramatic names and stop judging me or trying to correct me. The more you try, the harder I’ll dig my heels in and soon I’ll be insisting that jalapenos are the hottest pepper and while this is patently false, it’ll be a matter of principle at that point, and no good will come of it. Just ask Dave.


Sunday after our weekly John sesh we went over to Mary’s place for dinner, where I met this lovely young lady:

Simba says “feed me pls.”

Anyone that has cats is automatically a bro. But aren’t you allergic to cats, Christina? I hear you ask. I am allergic to cats. I am also allergic to dogs and – trivia tidbit – deer. But some things are worth the itchy eyes and sneezing. Cats, primarily.

We had fun at Mary’s. It’s nice to have friends. I have come to understand that most of my friendships are me being adopted/rescued by an extrovert. It occurs to me that this could be a really good business idea. Introvert Rescues. Lonely or awkward introverts sign up and get adopted by an extrovert who facilitates them gaining a social life. I mean, isn’t that how introverts make all their friends? I think this could be a Fortune 500 company. Now if only I had an extrovert to help me with the business model, by which I mean “start this up for me”. For all of you saying “Dave,” Dave is an introvert too, but he’s very good at socializing which makes most people think he’s an extrovert.

Speaking of Dave, he’s playing chess online right now. He’s in the “extreme focus” phase of the game, which is usually followed by the “making snarky comments the other player can’t hear” phase. The wall work continues, as does the painting. WordPress has changed the font of the “write blog post” window and I’m finding it very distracting. It feels like you’re in a room and all the pictures on the wall are tilted. It’s not a major impediment to writing, but it’s uncomfortable. Why do websites insist on changing things? Sometimes changes are needed, to deal with bugs in the code if nothing else, but a lot of times it’s “fresh” and “trendy” and “relevant” and entirely cosmetic and completely unnecessary. Please make it stop. I don’t like change.

It also occurs to me that I’ve been talking about the Larrys and the tomatoes (which are now collectively referred to as either the Giuseppes or the Giacomos, depending) but I haven’t shown you either lately. I am remiss but will remedy this with the following picture:

The Larrys are in timeout.

The Larrys have at last count ten tiny cucumber sproutlings. They also still have aphids but fewer aphids than before, as well as more tiny aphid corpses. I’m torn between cleansing the Larrys of the dead aphids as a courtesy, or leaving them there as an example and a warning. Both are valid. In the last day the Giacomos have started to sprout lil tiny flower buds as well. I haven’t counted them, because even counting the Larrys’ buds was too much math, but I’m impressed so far. I continue to be a little amazed at how big these plants are getting, considering how small they were when they were given to me. Maybe my curse of the black thumb has been lifted.

Our walnut tree has been making me sneeze, which is not as much fun as it sounds. Nevertheless, I am enjoying late spring/early summer. The weather is generally pretty great, everything in bloom is very nice, not freezing is always a plus, and it feels good to be alive. When I’m not sneezing, of course.

No Promises

I have replaced the stolen lights and they are still there, so the Drunken Light Thieves have moved on. At least so far. I did only replace them yesterday, so it may be too early to tell. I think if they steal them again I’m going to replace them again but take some more extreme measures along with replacing the lights. Fill the lights with fire ants, maybe. It turns out that I have three trillion ants around the property, so this may deal with two situations at once. Drunken light thieves get ant’d, and I get rid of some of these ants. Win win?

Speaking of ants! I am incensed! Offended! Personally aggrieved! So I go to check on the plants this morning. Benedict is working on one (1) raspberry. The strawbs look great. The Larrys are big and leafy. I installed tomato cages for the tomatoes, and even gave the Larrys parts of one to grow on.

“There you go, buddy,” I said, easing a Larry’s leaf out of the way of the wire. “Look at that, you have a baby cucumber going here. Hold up. What’s this?”

Aphids! Aphids desecrating my precious cucumber plant!

Fun fact: aphids are evil.

Okay, that wasn’t the fun fact I was going for.

Fun fact: Ants love aphids. Therefore, ants are evil too.

Okay Deep breath, Christina. Focus.

Fun fact: aphids attach themselves to a plant and eat the sap, then excrete a sweet substance called honeydew. Ants looooooove honeydew. Ants have taken to farming aphids for honeydew. They’ll herd them onto a plant and harvest the honeydew that the aphids make for them. It is extremely weird. I guess the aphids are mostly okay with this, though I did read today that ants will punish an aphid that tries to escape, so maybe it’s not all fun times in Aphidland after all. At any rate, aphids will destroy a plant, so I’m going to have to take measures. Measures beyond indignation and curses, at least. Because I will have my dry hopped pickles.

Pictured: a future dry hopped pickle.

We installed some bird netting on the strawbs yesterday, because nature is always trying to mess with you and I am not running a strawberry buffet for the birds:

Take that, birds. Tasty strawberries just out of reach. Nyeeh.

I also started a couple of bonsai seeds. This is clearly a hobby that’s going to take everything I have, because immediately upon starting them I was like where are the sprouts? Sprouts??? why?? haven’t they sprouted yet???? when?????? AAAAAAAAH

I am hoping that this will be something that helps me be more patient. I will accept any amount of more patience. Even 0.00001% would be a big step in the right direction.

Dave’s making a lot of progress on the wall. He says he’s about one third done with the putting-the-wall-back-together phase of the project. It’s starting look really good. It’s definitely straighter and more well-put-together than it was before. Dave’s meticulous attention to detail means that things take a while, but once they’re done they’re done really well. That wall isn’t going anywhere, for the next few hundred years at least.

Figure 1A : A man inspects his work on a historic retaining wall (2023, colorized)

He has also gotten started on his next painting! This will probably be done before the wall, but I make no promises.

Lil Jerks

Saturday I was sitting in my chair, a cup of coffee in one hand, staring blearily off into space, when Dave came back upstairs. “Something hurt Cuthbert,” he said.

This penetrated my hazy brain where nothing else had managed to that morning. “Huh?” I said, set my coffee down, and followed him outside. Cuthbert, smallest of our raspberry plants, stood bravely in the morning sunlight, several of his leaves laying forlornly on the ground next to him.

I knelt. “What happened, Bert?” I asked, inspecting the leaves and the little stump.

“Wait,” Dave said. “Someone took our lights.”

“Huh?” I said again, standing up. The retaining wall on the property line separating us from Jim and Gary used to have this gnarly wire fence, but upon my repeated insistence we took it down. The posts remained, and Dave had the frankly brilliant idea to put lil solar lights on the posts. The result was an elegant solution. However, this Saturday morning, three of them were gone.

“Who would take just three solar lights?” I wondered. “Of all the things to steal.” The thought occurred to me, slowly as did all things that morning: what else did they take?

I looked to my plants. Basil, the Larrys, and the tomatoes were fine. I looked at the strawbs and the peppers, who also looked fine. I headed to the back porch and gazed at the various tools and supplies there: all fine, nothing missing.

“Just the lights then, I guess,” Dave said.

I stood, staring at the retaining wall and the three empty posts. “Who just steals three lights?” I wondered again. “There are more, like right there. You can get them at Walmart for like a dollar. They only needed three?”

“I think whoever took the lights stepped on Cuthbert and tore his leaves off,” Dave posited.

I returned to Cuthbert. “I hope he stabbed their fingers,” I said, studying the thorny stems.

We continued to theorize about it, and the prevailing theory was that some drunk morons thought that the height of comedy would be to randomly take some solar lights. Did they step on Cuthbert in their escape? We had mostly decided that this had to be the case.

Yesterday we were getting around to head to River Bluff for our weekly John sesh. I took the trash out to the curb and on my way back in stopped to behold the raspberries. Cuthbert looked none the worse for wear. Benedict actually had a flower, something I was told wouldn’t happen for another year. Hector, though…

I came back inside. “Hector’s lost some leaves too,” I reported.

We were late now, though, so leaf inspections had to wait until after beer. On our walk back from River Bluff we decided to inspect Hector. He faced the fading sunlight and ignored his leaves on the ground. I glanced up to see if maybe the drunken morons had brought our lights back and caught a blur of motion out of the corner of my eye. Drunken moron? Way too small. A bird? A squirrel?

“Babe, look,” I said, pointing. “Baby rab.”

The face of a man who doesn’t care about the finer points of property ownership.

Dave turned and looked at the lazily fleeing rabbit, and the thought occurred to both of us at the same time: “It’s him!” I cried as Dave shouted “Hey you!”

The rabbit turned and looked at us and made a few perfunctory hops away, clearly unconcerned about our righteous outrage. My personal righteous outrage struggled with noticing how cute the little rabbit was. “He’s so little and fuzzy,” I noted.

Dave’s personal outrage had no such qualms. “Stay away from my raspberries!” he shouted. The rabbit hopped through Jim and Gary’s fence and sat there, just out of reach. His body language clearly stated What are you going to do about it? louder than words.

“You’re lucky I can’t reach you,” Dave grumbled. “Little jerk. Eating my raspberries.”

I started laughing. I couldn’t help it. “Babe, you’re beefing with a baby rab.”

Pictured: beef

Dave was uninterested in my analysis. “We planted those,” he informed the rabbit, “and they are not for you.”

The rabbit waggled an ear and otherwise ignored him.

We have journeyed thousands of miles, lived hundreds of days, tried dozens of beers, lived and slept and dreamed, only to be at war with these lil jerks again.

But they are cute.

The rabbit has left our strawberries alone so far:

Which is good because then I would have murder on my mind, bunny cuteness notwithstanding. Moreso than usual, at least.

Dave spent Sunday morning reorganizing the stones for the wall and cleaning up the job site:

If I hear “a clean job is a happy job” one more time…

Now that everything’s been organized he says he has fewer stones to lay than he’d previously thought. I am pleased with this. I am pleased in general when there’s less work to be done than one thought. A short job is a happy job.

Weather Permitting

I love Saint Joe. It has its flaws, don’t get me wrong. Everywhere has its flaws though, that’s inevitable.

So we went to 1st Barrel Brewing Company’s grand opening today. I’m thrilled that Saint Joe has another brewery – this makes three (four, if one counts D&G brewing their own beer now) and judging by the crowd at 1st Barrel, it could easily support a couple more. I love beer, I love the whole brewery scene, I love people doing things to help my adopted town.

I also love the unlikely mix of hipster and redneck that Saint Joe sports. This is the only town (that I’m aware of) where you can see some dude in coveralls and a trucker hat in line for a beer in front of a dainty girl with gauges and the trendiest haircut I’ve ever seen. And there’s a not-insignificant chance that they’re in line for the same beer. You can find hipsters and rednecks living in an uneasy harmony in a lot of places, but not in the same proportion as here, and not with both seeming like this is their natural environment. I suppose some might find it weird, but I find the juxtaposition delightful.

John and Mary joined us for a while:

It’s always nice to see John. This was only the second time I’ve spent time with Mary, but I really like her. I love clever women, and Mary strikes me as very clever.

Today was lawn day. Dave mowed while I watered everything and delivered encouragement and/or chastisement. I have some tomato cages on their way. (Dave: “Have the tomatoes misbehaved?” I need to order a Dave cage too, it seems.) The tomato cages will arrive just in time, as the tomatoes are starting to get belligerent.

Jim and Gary’s irises look great:

Also pictured: a bricky boi

Work on the wall continues, but between a rainy day yesterday and meetings today, Dave is going through wall withdrawals. He’s looking forward to getting back after it on Sunday. Weather permitting, of course.


Last night before we went to bed I asked Dave, “Is the basement door locked?”

Dave looked up at the ceiling, lost in thought. “Yes. Well, maybe. I think so? I don’t know.”

I nodded and opened the door leading to the stairwell that goes down to the basement. And up to the attic. Faintly I could hear Dave say “I don’t think I was even down there today!” but chose to check anyway.

I got halfway down the stairs to the basement when I heard a noise. “What was that?” I asked the stairwell, which did not reply.

I paused on the landing. I could see the basement door, and it looked locked. I heard the noise again. My mind immediately flashed back to The Possible Creeper Invasion of 2023, having taken place but a few days ago. Did the dude manage to hide in the attic all this time and is only coming out just now? Am I about to get axe murdered? Eh, door looks locked from here, good enough. I’m going back in and locking him in there. Nothing good in the attic anyway.

I turn and head back up the stairs and notice the noise for the third time, and this time my brain realizes what it is.

I squawk in a rather undignified manner, book it for the door, and shut it behind me before the bird can fly through and cause all sorts of havoc.

“What? What is it?”

“Flipping bird,” I manage.

“In the stairwell?”

“In the stairwell,” I reply, and regale him with the tale. “He’s going to have to wait till tomorrow to be rescued. I’m not doing it tonight.”

This morning I open the basement door so he can fly through. I tell the bird that the door is open and that his intelligence is going to be brought into question if he doesn’t avail himself of it. A couple hours later Dave says to me, “Your stupid bird is still in the basement.” So not only is it my bird, but it is in fact a stupid bird. There’s a whole world out there, why are you lurking in the dank dark basement? Honestly.

I went back up to the attic and inspected everything. I still have no idea how this bird (I believe it to be the same bird) is getting in. There are no visible points of entry, no giant gaping holes where he could fly in. Witchcraft? I’m going with witchcraft.

So yesterday we went on a supply run, which included a stop at Home Depot for… more plants!

Pictured: more plants which don’t have names. Yet.

Operation Entirely Homemade Salsa Stage 4? is a success. The lil jalapeno plants look deceptively innocent but they’re stronk ™ and will produce some hot tasty peppers. Which will be good in many things, not just salsa.

Sunday evening after River Bluff we took John’s painting over to his house and hanged it. Dave did most of the work of the hanging while the dozen or so people John invited watched. It was really nice to have Dave’s first art show. I was very proud of him. Seeing a dream start to become reality is deeply inspiring, and would be even if it weren’t my husband starting to live his dream. He’s started the process of his second commission, and is also starting to research having prints made of his art. It’s really cool to see this all coming together. It’s almost enough for me to continue working on my short story anthology. Unfortunately, I have a blog entry to finish right now. Maybe later.

Stay Crazy, Saint Joe – Part II

This morning I headed back to St. Joe Cookie Company for some sweet treats for our guests this evening. I STILL have not gotten a picture of this place because Janaha and I talk the whole time, but I did get a picture of these glorious cookies:

Pictured: Chocolate Chip and Dreamy Vanilla

Janaha said they’re coming in at between 6 and 8 ounces per cookie. This is a whole lot of cookie. They’re almost cakes at this point. Delicious cakes.

I transplanted my billion tomatoes and Larry the Cucumbers. They mostly seem to like their new digs. I also planted some marigold seeds because tomatoes and cucumbers both like marigolds but bugs do not. Except bees, bees like marigolds. If the bees like them and other bugs don’t, they’re okay by me. Anyway, it’s been almost two days and they haven’t sprouted yet. The package says 5 to 8 days before sprouting. It never ceases to amaze me that I once thought I was this super patient saint of a person. It’s not even a reasonable time for them to sprout and I’m already like where are they??

We also mulched the raspberries:

Pictured: Cuthbert, Umberto, Beocca, Benedict, Hector.

Our botanical situation is definitely improving.

Saint Joe stayed a lil crazy this afternoon. We were outside doing yard work, our Airbnb guests having just arrived, when we heard a car crash a couple blocks away.

“Did you hear that?” Dave asked.

I said, still trimming around my irises, “Yeah. Sounded like a car crash.”

“I don’t like the look of that guy,” Dave said. A non sequitur? I briefly wondered if he could see the guy who crashed his car, then wondered if he didn’t like our guest, then finally decided he was talking about a rando. There are some sketchy lookin randos around here, after all. “What’s he doing on Damien’s porch?”

A rando on Damien’s porch? I began to realize that this was not just some rando. Dave clued me in, eyes fixed on our neighbor’s porch: some guy was hassling a street person in the parking lot of the church across from us. He caught sight of Dave eyeballing him, then booked it across the street and onto Damien’s porch. Damien’s car was parked, which meant that Damien was home, which meant that we didn’t have to go chase the guy away.

A few minutes later, a couple cop cars came down Jules. One stopped, seeing us, and asked if we’d seen a guy. Dave reported in the affirmative, the officer thanked him, and they drove away. Cool, the cops are on it, so I’m not going to worry about it anymore.

Dave and I hung around outside chatting and admiring our handiwork on the yard. Even with the giant excavated pile of dirt, it looks nice, and the newly mulched driveway strip looks great. Damien came out and we asked him about the creepy rando. He said that the guy offered him some money, presumably to let him hide in the basement, but he declined and the guy ran off. We shook our heads about the creeper, then went back to vibing on the front porch. After a while we decided to walk down to the end of the block and check out the remodel work on the house on the other corner.

“Wait,” Dave said, stopping halfway to the house on the other corner. “I just realized. The basement’s unlocked.”

Oh. That’s not good.

We hustled back to the house. I handed Dave the hammer I’d left at the bottom of the stairs, and we commenced securing the house. No one upstairs. We headed to the basement. I stood guard, armed with my phone and a pair of scissors, while Dave secured the basement. No one in the basement. He then went up to secure the attic. The attic is creepytown at the best of times, and suspected creeper invasion is not the best of times. Dave secured the attic, and we went back inside, secure in our home minus our Airbnb guest who we’re hoping ignored and/or napped through the whole thing.

Stay crazy, Saint Joe.


Dave has a neighborhood board meeting this evening. You know what that means!

…What does it mean? Someone please tell me.

So we’ve gotten our dining room situation under control now:

No, Dave didn’t decide on mirrors instead of tile. He’s been talking about the table he was building as his “failed experiment” for some time, and I finally took the initiative of saying “We kind of need a dining table,” and he agreed with me. I spent a couple days on Marketplace before we found this one. The mirrors intrigued us. The style intrigued us. We didn’t expect to like it as much as we do. When we went to go look at it we were both impressed by it. The nice lady who was selling it let us make two trips with it, which was nice because trying to fit all that in the back of the truck was a daunting prospect. We managed to get the table up the stairs and through our weirdly narrow doorway with a minimum of fuss. Then we had to go buy a rug. And hang the Silver Surfer. Now we’re thinking of centerpieces. I was in favor of a bonsai but Dave says a piece of art is more his vibe. It’s probably just as well, I’ve killed enough plants already.

Just kidding, I’m still thinking of taking up bonsai. Bonsai-ing? Having a tiny tree in your house just sounds cool. And they look so pretty. And I’ve never killed a tree before. I might try bonsai just for the novelty. I’m mocking myself a bit here, but what is life if you don’t try new things? You never know what you’re good at or what you like if you never try new things. Our hobbies and interests help us to grow. Hopefully it’ll also help my new bonsai project to grow too. One can hope, at least.

The other surprise tulips have bloomed:

I stood around outside for five minutes waiting for the wind to die down, but then I remembered that I live in Missouri.

I love how vibrantly red they are. All of nature’s colors are beautiful.

Dave’s progress on the wall continues. There was little wall work done last week because reasons ™ but he’s back at it this week. Another large stone has been set, holes in other parts of the wall have been patched, and more dirt has been excavated. He’s also finished the frame for John’s painting and has started the process of visualizing his next work of art for my sister. I think she’s aware that if she doesn’t like it she will be mocked, or perhaps smote. I haven’t decided yet.


On Tuesday we went to Diane’s house for a meeting about the Museum Hill newsletter, which Dave and I will be doing most of the writing for. It was a good meeting – as we do, we sat around and talked a lot about non-meeting stuff. At the end of the meeting we stood up and said our goodbyes. I looked at Dave, standing tall, strong, and smiling in the sunlight, and was struck by his beauty. He doesn’t think he’s that handsome, not anymore, but I do, and occasionally I’m strongly reminded of this. I’ll always think of him just like this, I said to myself fondly, love swelling my heart.

Four hours later, sitting in the waiting room at the ER, this thought wasn’t so charming.

Dave’s fine. Thankfully the medical emergency was minor and easily dealt with, but medical emergencies are always a bit scary.

Fine and already back at work.

Yesterday we went outside and transplanted some of the strawberry plants. Since that part of the retaining wall is going to be dealt with by Chip, we figured that the strawbs would have to be moved anyway. We couldn’t really pick a spot to move them to, so we decided on one of the big pots I’d bought for my cucumbers. The rest of the strawbs need to be moved too, but it’s either a bunch of plants all growing together, or one big plant. I’m a little loathe to actually move them, but it’s gotta be done.

Happy strawbs.

Today I went downstairs to check the status of the Airbnb, since we have people coming tomorrow. Everything looked perfectly fine, until I got into the bathroom. I checked the tub and saw a blob of something at the far end.

“Gross,” I said, thinking it was a blob of hair. It’s natural, especially with women with long hair, to leave hair all over the place. I do it myself, as Dave will attest. I get it, but I don’t like it.

Then the blob moved.

Super gross,” I said to the house centipede. “All offense intended. You’re going to have to die.” I found the bug spray, gave him a hefty dose of death, then went out to the kitchen to grab a paper towel to escort him to his final resting place. When I returned however, I didn’t see the bug.

I may have said some bad words in the process of looking for him. It was a tense two minutes. Finally I found him, curled up dead on the shower mat, which has dark spots that hid him from casual view. House centipedes are normal and attracted to moisture. When it rains in Saint Joe, house centipedes occasionally show up. We had two or three last year and we were majorly squicked out by them, but they’re pretty much harmless except for the squick factor.

Sorry for squicking you out too. Have a pretty tree.

Tomorrow I’m planning to head over to the Wyeth Tootle Mansion to watch some old guys play chess and probably write a human interest piece on it. This will be my first foray into journalism. I never saw journalism in my literary future, but one never knows what the future will bring them.