Who knows what the little bird who flew into an open basement window wanted to tell us. He was panicked by the experience and kept flying toward the light fixture thinking it was the daylight and his path to freedom. Meanwhile, Katie was demonstrating her remarkable high jump skills, leaping at least six feet into the air in her attempt to catch him, while humpty-dumpty Loki’s attempt at the same feat landed him back onto the floor with a thud after attaining a record-breaking height of precisely three inches.

The cats were peremptorily banned from the basement for the night, and the next morning the little bird had flown.

Other animals in the neighborhood have come to pay us a visit. My children’s father had a grandmother named Myrtle (“Mamaw” to the family) who was quite elderly when I knew her. She walked very slowly, bent over with osteoporosis, but never appeared anywhere without bringing a sweet potato pie, complete with two or three marshmallows atop, the whole effect of which was as if the Sta-Puft marshmallow man had drowned in orange quicksand with only the tips of his slightly melted fingers showing as he struggled to free himself.

So when Beowulf and Brian reported that a turtle had arrived in front of the house, given my memory of Mamaw and my irresistible urge to name everything, she was promptly christened Myrtle, the Turtle. I saw no evidence of sweet potato pie, however.


Myrtle was inordinately sociable for a turtle, so Brian did not get a photo of her totally inside her shell. If he had, I imagine it would have looked very much as if a helmeted WWII Marine had, like the Sta-Puft man, been sunk into the ground with only the top of his head showing. (I’m assuming there were Marines in WWII. I did not really pay attention to the drone who taught my college history class).  Eventually she had completed her inspection and headed back from whence she had come.


Work on the house progresses quite slowly and in a fashion not visible unless one were to notice the new wires that are creeping in to form outlets and light switches, and copper pipes slithering like rigid snakes to their new endpoints for the dishwasher, refrigerator and sink.

We did manage to put our former dining room rug down in front of the fireplace and to situate real furniture around it, if only for the weekend, and pretend that the house was not in chaos.  Spencer, our giant huggable young cat, who is inexplicably afraid of everything, deigned then to grace us with his presence, stretching out on the hearth after having toppled Beowulf’s fierce and furry teddy bear.  I suppose he was hoping that he was the tawny color of  a lion in the wild and would blend in with the stones.


Our drywall contractor, Keith is a consummate artist in his craft. He loves his work, and our walls reflect it. He had been working very carefully and conscientiously on the walls just outside the fireplace stones. He feathered many layers out, precisely outlining each stone like a sculptor. The work was so intense that the effort caused his dormant psoriatic arthritis to flare up, and he was unable to work for the next three days. This happens, he says, about twice a year and he is forced to take pills that finally give him relief after about 5 days. He was fearful that we would fire him because of this. Do people really fire excellent workers because they are temporarily disabled? We are jealously guarding our super wall guy; we’d never fire him for that. But this is the sword of Damocles hovering over every aging tradesman– the body begins to fail and the source of income is endangered.

Meanwhile we anticipate the arrival of George the piano tomorrow, the arrival of our final POD Friday, and the arrival of the kitchen tile within the next three days. Also, the structural engineer will be here on Monday to inspect and advise what repairs need to be made so that we do not have to worry about total collapse of the house once we put  the final Jenga block in place.

Until then we are enjoying glorious sunshine and temperatures in the 70’s with an occasional thunderstorm to alleviate boredom. No regrets here!