To be shelved

A few new books.

Depending on the hour, two to five painters are in the process of transforming the forever home’s exterior. Although beyond the scope of the original proposal, the interior of the three-season room will be updated, too. The drought continues, despite my predictions, but the temperatures have been more reasonable, at least. While I will certainly be glad when the project is completed, right now, I’m stretched out on the couch with a pile of books, a cup of coffee, and an attitude of gratitude.

No ice, please

Orchids and I don’t usually enjoy long-lasting relationships; that is, they generally spend more time with me than a bouquet of flowers.

But not much more.

Before I left last summer, I gave my daughters a beautiful orchid from IKEA. When they came home for the holidays, my older daughter admired my new orchid (a just-in-case-I-forgot-someone-at-work holiday gift). I asked how long the IKEA orchid lasted. Wait, what do you mean it’s still alive? So, yeah, apparently, their orchid had not only grown but sprouted new leaves, new roots, and eventually, buds.

What’s your secret, kid?

“I just water it like the rest of plants, Mom.”

Wait, what? That’s it?

When I visited in February, I saw this mighty orchid for myself. My daughters have arranged most of their many plants on benches in the sun-filled windows of the Boston-area apartment they share. They’re thriving — my daughters and those plants. Even the orchid.

Hmmm. Just water it, eh? I can no longer remember if I was my aunt or my sister (maybe both?) who told me that orchids get ice-cubed not watered, but does it matter? Why did it never occur to me to research the matter myself? For years, I plied my orchids with ice cubes.

And they died.

Well, my current orchid has never met an ice cube; I just water it like the rest of the plants. When a new leaf emerged, I took a chance and repotted it with some orchid mix from Home Depot. Another leaf. Two roots. Two new stems. A number of buds.

And now… flowers.

Don’t ice your orchids, folks.

Our first visitor since February


Recent acquisitions.

Seemingly overnight, the kitchen faucet grew stiff, refusing to swing from one sink to the other. After watching a few DIY videos, I decided to call my plumber. As it turns out, the problem was a bit more involved than new o-rings and lubricant, so we ended up with a new faucet.

“Want something different?” he asked before heading out to pick up the replacement.

What I thought: No. No, I do not. I want it to be precisely the same as it was just before it ceased swinging effortlessly from one sink to the other. Make my faucet work or put in its twin. And be quick, darn it; there’s a pandemic going on out there!

What I said: No, thank you. Hey, and how long will that take?

We wore masks. All of the windows were open. I’ve cleaned and cleaned again. I am fervently hoping that’s enough. But, well, I worry.

On the bright side, the shiny new faucet swings from one sink to the other.

And I received some new books.