Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Wenches get new wheels

If you read our post, Riding the bus, then you'll be happy to hear that we have an update to report. Drum roll please!

Brand spanking new...


Hot off the delivery truck...


Barely hit the showroom floor before we snatched it up...


Good safety reviews...


Smooth ride...


Sturdy frame...


Yet lightweight enough to keep fuel consumption low...


Can be parked in a sub-compact space...


And it gets even better...


0% down AND 0% APR for the life of the loan...


But we were able to pay cash down...


There's more...


Custom chrome...


And loaded with ALL the extras--solid genuine rubber tires, comfort grip handle, jumbo weight capacity...


wheels w comments

Presenting the Easy Wheels Jumbo Elite Shopping Cart. Isn't she sweet?



Hey - I'd like to add a few comments too.

Yes, the new wheels are very helpful. I no longer suffer back strain carrying a backpack full of a month's worth of canned food for 3 critters or a gallon of milk and assorted weekly groceries.

However, during the recent Snowpocalypse, we discovered these new wheels lack the following:

  • traction control
  • brakes (anti-locking or otherwise)
  • power steering
  • a strong engine (unless the wench is well fueled, I mean fed)

Sigh... Maybe I'll get another car someday...

-- Wing Nut

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Snowpocalypse

WARNING!!! The following contains graphic pictures of plant carnage. If you are a gardener, especially in the Seattle area, this may cause nightmares, insomnia or other sleeping disorders.

The snowmen have all had meltdowns, and we've finally dug out from the 9+ inches of snow and ice Mother Nature dumped on us during the last 2 weeks. We actually had a white Christmas here in Seattle--according to local news sources, only the 6th we've had since the 1890s.

Today we took a stroll around the garden to see how things had fared after all that snow and several weeks of temps in the teens and 20s. It was not pretty. Not pretty at all.  If you click on the name of the plant you can see how it looked during our November Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post.





Rainbow chard



Variegated geranium









Pineapple sage



Rieger begonia 'Karen'



Cuban oregano

We're hoping the hardier perennials in the shade garden fared better. I guess we'll find out in spring.


--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Season's Greetings from the Wenches

From Wing Nut


Feliz Lattedad!

This IS Seattle after all...



From Curmudgeon


Bah           Hum           Bug!

This IS Curmudgeon after all..


--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sunday afternoon walk


Last Sunday we had a dusting of snow.


Today we have quite a bit more than a dusting. It's been snowing since yesterday. And it's not showing any signs of slowing down. On Thursday we got a couple of inches of snow and it promptly turned into a 2 inch layer of ice. Now we've added about 6 more inches on top of that. In addition, our temps are still in the 20s so it's not melting. Yikes, this is not supposed to happen in Seattle!


On our walk this afternoon we saw kids and adults using anything plastic and smooth as a sled. We also saw quite a few snowmen.


The ship canal looked eerie.


We saw one boat on the canal.


Bright berries.


Diva Dog, always on the lookout for squirrels.


Our strange Thanksgiving visitor is sporting a cape of white.   

--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut

What's wrong with this picture?




--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Pennsylvania Dutch Christmas

The Wenches can't make it back east for the holidays this year, but we received a very special card reminding us of home.

Dasher Dumkopf

--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Luna's Tale

She was my first cat. We found each other at the Dane County Humane Society in Madison, WI. I was a starving grad student with barely enough money for groceries, let alone to feed a critter or pay for vet bills. But as I walked by her cage at the shelter, she reached out her paw and tapped my shoulder. Of course, that was that.

Well, not quite. Figures I'd get picked by the cat with legal issues. They wouldn't let me adopt her for almost two months. Her owner wanted her back. But the owner was doing time, and the kitten, along with a rather unique collection of exotic critters, had been taken from her apartment by Animal Control. I visited the shelter several times a week and called almost daily. In the end, the adoption supervisor figured a bird in the hand was better than a jailbird. Luna came to live with me in my teeny tiny one-room efficiency. And I lived in constant fear that a hardened criminal would any day show up at my door with a posse of her felon friends to reclaim the cat.

Luna used up several of her 9 lives within the first month of living with me. The first week she fell into the toilet. Several weeks after the toilet incident she fell out of the window. Luckily, it was only half a story down, there were bushes that broke her fall, and she had managed to pop out the screen window and ride it down like a magic carpet. She never again showed any interest in wanting to get closer to nature than a screened-in porch would allow.


The window that claimed one of Luna's 9 lives.

Two months after I brought her home I had  to have emergency surgery. My parents arrived from the East Coast to take care of me, and by extension the cat. My parents are a lot of wonderful things, but they are not pet people. My dad stayed in my apartment that first night, while my mom stayed with me at the hospital. The next day dad informed mom that the cat was not right in the head. I had been in surgery when they arrived and hadn't been able to warn them about Luna. The kitten had spent the night doing her aerobic exercise routine. First came the whizzing around the apartment with much bouncing off walls, furniture, and humans. For her next trick Luna would  climb up into the cupboard where I kept my pots and pans and knock the whole stack down onto the floor. After scaring herself silly, she would then whiz around the walls for a few more laps, until her poofed out tail returned to normal size. Her final trick was the nightly shredding of the roll of toilet paper. After all that exercise, she would be starving. She would set to work eating her way through the plastic bag that contained the loaf of bread--or whatever baked goods were available. My dad refused to return to the apartment with the cat after that first night and booked a motel room instead. Luna eventually outgrew her habit of shredding toilet paper rolls. As for her other habits, well, anyway. And she maintained a life-long fondness for bread products--her favorites were croissants and brioche.

DE1 12-91

This is the kitten my dad thought was mentally deranged.

Cantankerous, crotchety, foul-tempered, and a miserable old bag are just some of the endearments my friends have used when referring to Luna. After one round of cat sitting, they all came up with very creative and highly implausible excuses for why they couldn't cat sit again.  I guess I can't blame them. Luna attempted to bite every single cat sitter that came into her life--and succeeded on more than one occasion.  I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I had no idea, until about a year ago during a visit to a vet dermatologist, that torties have a reputation for their quirky, some would say downright difficult, personalities. I will confess, on more than one occasion the thought that an exorcism might be in order did cross my mind. Of course, I never admitted this to my dad.

Over the years Luna adopted to major life changes, such as moving or the addition of a new critter or human to the household, with less than good grace and much ill-temper. Kitty sedatives only made things worse. When Wing Nut moved in I was living in NE, and Luna was 12. Wing Nut brought with her her own 6 month old kitten, White Socks. White Socks was a holy terror--very reminiscent of Luna in her first year. But Luna would not be outdone. There was much racing, chasing, leaping, launching, and catapulting over furniture. I feared my geriatric cat would break a hip. Thankfully, a reasonable peace was eventually reached.


Luna, shortly after Wing Nut and White Socks moved in. This is her "I'm not coming out till you get rid of them" phase.



Luna, Snuggle Bug, and White Socks adjusting to life in NE.

Wing Nut always treated Luna with love, respect, and a healthy dose of fear, and Luna always gave Wing Nut ample warning, even multiple warnings, if she was not happy and was considering treating her like one of the many dispensable cat sitter. On rare occasions, Luna even deemed to let Wing Nut see her sweet and cuddly side. Yes, she did have a sweet and cuddly side. Luna would flip on her back and snuggle in the crook of my arm at bedtime. She would reach up a paw, claws completely retracted, and pat my cheek or nose. Luna also had a nurturing side--which lasted for about a week when Snuggle bug first came to live with us back when Luna was about a year old.

Luna bathing Cimarev

The black ball of fuzz is 5 wk old Snuggle Bug. And Luna is bathing her.  


Luna pouncingrev

A week later. Poor Snuggle Bug. Luna's nurturing phase is about to come to an end and kitty boot camp is about to begin.

The final chapter in Luna's life began with a 4 day cross country drive in the back seat of our Saturn, along with the other 2 cats, as we made our way from NE to WA. Both Wing Nut and I came mighty close to losing a limb trying to get Luna into her carrier on the fourth and final morning of our journey.  The steady diet of salmon, shrimp, and mackerel which we were able to feed her once we arrived in Seattle earned us Luna's lukewarm forgiveness for having had to resort to a broom to get her out from under that motel bed.

And then we brought home the dog.  Ill-temper does not begin to describe Luna's reaction to Diva Dog. The only time the dog was tolerable was when she was sleeping, and therefore looked like she was dead. Her dislike of the dog did not stop her from eating the dog's kibble, drinking the dog's water, playing with the dog's toys, and sleeping in the dog's bed. And woe to the dog if she dared complain about any of this.


Luna takes over the dog's bed.


eating x4take 2

I said it couldn't be done, but Wing Nut proved me wrong. All 4 eating at the same time and in the same room. Technically, Diva Dog only has her 2 front paws in the kitchen, while the rest of her is in the next room.

Luna was not a talkative cat but would chirp when she was playing. She would sit for hours on the table or desk while I worked, never interrupting or demanding attention as most cats do, just keeping me company. No matter how late into the night I worked, she would stay with me. She had the silkiest fur and mesmerizing green/gold eyes. She was not a shy cat. She was alert and inquisitive and mischievous. Luna was spunky and feisty and irascible and down right pissy at times. We were made for each other.


This is Luna, so not impressed by the fact that an experienced photographer with fancy camera equipment was trying to take her picture. Photo by L. Janas.

PS: Thank you so very much to all of you who left us comments on the earlier post, Luna. Your kind words and thoughts were most comforting.



Sunday, December 14, 2008

Out of the closet


And into the snow!!!



Okay, so it's not a lot of snow.




It's just enough to romp around in...


and to cover the flowering rosemary.


Most winters here we wear rain gear, so the parkas and Sorel boots hardly ever come out of the closet. But this week, we're in for some very chilly temps in Seattle (daytime high 20F/-7C, evening low 11F/-12C). It's a good thing we kept all our heavy winter gear from our time in the Midwest!

--Curmudgeon & Wing Nut & Diva Dog

Friday, December 12, 2008

Riding the bus

The Wenches have been without wheels for about 5 weeks now. Wing Nut says it's only 5, but I think it's more like 8--feels that long anyway. Our 12 year old Saturn, Melissa, was totaled in a car accident. Nobody was injured, and for this we are most thankful. Melissa saw our family through some major life changes. She had 130,000 miles on her and she was leaking oil badly. She was definitely not long for this world. But, we still had hopes that she'd hang on for a little longer. Things are mighty tight financially for us right now.  Neither one of us knows if we'll have a job come next month. A new car is definitely not in any crystal ball we've gazed into. And finding a used car that meets our demanding criteria is proving to be quite a challenge.

Being without wheels has caused much stress, tension, unhappiness and frustration in our house. There has even been quite a bit of snarling, hissing and growling--and it hasn't been coming from the tortie! Not having wheels means a lot more walking and way more riding the bus. It's an inconvenience, a major pain in the patootie, and it really, really sucks!!!

You might think that it's the curmudgeon who has been doing the complaining. But in this case you would be mistaken. I'm legally blind so no driving for me. No, the wench doing the complaining in this case is Wing Nut. In her defense, she has been behind the wheel since she was sixteen. She grew up in the middle of nowhere PA where the extent of public transportation was the yellow school bus. I can understand how Wing Nut feels about this new car-less situation. For one year--and one year only--I lived in the  middle of nowhere Iowa, in a town that had absolutely no public transportation system. I recall doing quite a bit of cursing in the middle of that northern Iowa winter. It was a major life bummer to find myself without my usual means of getting around. So I do empathize with Wing Nut and recognize that finding herself without her wheels requires a huge attitude adjustment.


The things that bother Wing Nut about taking public transportation are things that I never really stopped to think about. The bus is never on schedule--usually it's late and occasionally it's early, but it's never ON TIME. You have to wait for the bus in the rain and wind and cold. When you get off the bus you are never where you want to go -- you have to walk from the stop to your destination and this can be anywhere from a short walk to a not so short walk. Climate control is not something that is highly valued on busses. Bus drivers and passengers run the gamut from friendly and polite to downright scary.  I guess if I did stop to think about it, I might conclude that riding the bus is not a very enjoyable experience. But I can't afford that luxury.

I have a very different view of public transportation. The bus allows me to be gainfully employed. It allows me to keep myself fed, clothed and healthy. It lets me get to the park or the library or the museum. I can even take Diva Dog with me on the bus here in Seattle even though she is not a guide dog. Heck, if I was a hard-drinking wench I could even stay out at the bars till closing time and still get home via the bus. My quality of life is highly dependent on the availability of public transportation. But it goes much deeper for me. My sense of self-worth depends on it too. As long as I have access to public transportation I do not feel that I am a burden to my family or friends or society. The bus is my ticket to freedom and independence.


Today I received a sign that Wing Nut is making huge strides in adjusting her attitude. This morning we had to run a  couple of quick errands. We'd forgotten to get wax paper yesterday when we were at the grocery store. And we needed cotter pins at the local hardware store. We hopped on the bus and got our errands done in no time flat. Wing Nut even seemed quite chipper to be taking the bus. Then, as we were walking home from the bus stop, Wing Nut nonchalantly said, "Hey look, my bus transfer is good until 3:30 p.m. I think I'll hop the bus after lunch and go to downtown Ballard." My brain overloaded. It just couldn't handle the cognitive dissonance. She looked and sounded like Wing Nut, but someone must have switched her out.  "Who ARE you? The Wing Nut I know, and love dearly, would NEVER voluntarily take the bus--for no good reason, just because she can, just because she wants to get the most out of her bus transfer. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY WING NUT?" Try as I might, I couldn't get the thoughts whirling inside my head to make their way out my mouth. I am rarely caught speechless, but this was one of those occasions.


After lunch Wing Nut did indeed take the bus and strolled around Ballard for a while. She seems no worse for all that bus riding.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008



"I know I'm gorgeous and all that, but blind me one more time with that flash and you'll be losing an eyeball, lady."


The last few days have been very sad ones. Luna suffered a seizure over the weekend. She lost her will to live along with her motor coordination. This morning, as we were preparing to take her to the vet, it was clear that she had no fight left in her--she couldn't be bothered to growl at the dog. I will tell you the story of her life soon--but I just can't today.