Monday, April 30, 2012

I hope I didn’t sound too gloomy yesterday, but somebody must have thought so, because we were suddenly overwhelmed with offers of help from Rachel and her family. She is keen to move me and my husband out altogether – to London, Loch Fyne, or Strathardle – and have one of them take over during the worst of the ceiling-fall.

When it comes to the point, I am reluctant to move. My husband must go somewhere for the sake of his lungs. Going somewhere, anywhere, with him involves a considerable element of hard work, and I don’t feel I’m up to that plus the inevitable return to the post-apocalyptic scene. Normally, we come home from London or Strathardle or anywhere, and go straight to bed for a nap.

Rachel even suggested on the phone yesterday that we could leave “men” to deal with the dining room pictures. (The ones in there are prints, and there are quite a few of them.) She has known my husband almost as long as I have, and, what’s more, is actually related to him. She should know that care of pictures is never delegated.

We got them all down yesterday and fairly securely stashed. I also got the knick-knacks off the mantelpiece.

The happy result of yesterday’s fuss is that Rachel’s younger son Joe (now back from Thailand) is coming up to lend a hand on Wednesday. His youth and strength and cheerfulness will be invaluable. We should be able to get the dining room completely empty while he is here. There are a number of tea chests and tin document boxes around the periphery – don’t ask – which will have to be crammed into the spare room along with Joe himself.

Today’s job is to try to get a date for the ceiling to come down. This week’s job is to forward the furniture-repair estimate – as yet I don’t have it – to Upstairs’ insurers, and begin to get an idea of how much of a fight we’re going to have to get compensation. They haven’t replied to my email about how their floorboards will have to be lifted to inspect the “deafening” layer. That seems ominous.


It was particularly welcome yesterday, a fairly grim day,  to find two commentators familiar with scenes familiar to me. Isn’t the internet wonderful? Mary G., my maternal grandparents lived in Dallas. We often visited. My Aunt Louise, my mother’s brother’s widow, is still vigorously alive in her 90’s, living in the house I remember, next door to my grandparents’ one. She is the one (mentioned here before, I think) who was waiting at the luncheon President Kennedy’s motorcade never reached. I hope she saved the menu. She and Uncle Nat had planned to go to Fort Worth for his rally in the evening.

So it’s good to know madelinetosh is there, too.

And, rosesmama, you obviously know the hardware store I mean, where I bought our Princess Diana matroyshka doll. Way over there on 9th, is it? The man said that they were painted back in the Old Country by his mother or granny or aunt, which fits with your recollection of the phenomenal selection. He didn’t grasp the iconology of our one, tried to tell me that Carling and Hewitt were Princes William and Harry. (See yesterday’s blog post, if this is unintelligible.) But Will Carling has a distinctive cleft chin, like Kirk Douglas. I made that identification right there on 23rd St, and told him so. Hewitt took a bit of subsequent thought, but not much.


  1. Gerri2:47 PM

    About the dolls, it would seem odd that a granny back in The Old Country would have known who needed to be in the set with Diana, all the way to Dodi. I do understand, however, that the situation called for a elderly female relative in the old country.

    About the ceiling, arrange for help on the return for the things that others are permitted to assist with. You have a willing family.

    About upstairs, They have a lot going to find their way through a new baby, a flood and the need for coordination. You both face overwhelming work!

  2. Maureen in Fargo4:20 PM

    Since you'll need to "go somewhere", wouldn't Strathardle be easiest? I mean, it is your other home and most familiar and at least you could work in your garden and get things accomplished while you were there. It certainly all seems overwhelming to me, I totally understand how you feel and I'm sending all the good wishes I can you way!!

  3. "Deafening" or damping is just a thick layer of cindery stuff that's poured inbetween the cross timbers, under the floorboards. If it gets wet it can sort of solidify and may need replaced. It's just loose stuff though and can be scooped out and poured in. Dusty, but not structural.

  4. PS. It's for soundproofing, to deafen or dampen sound waves.

  5. I can understand your reluctance to move with your husband. However, it will be more relaxing for you and him if you're not at Drummond Place while the workmen are there and someone else you trust there to supervise. Perhap James or one of the others can set you up with wireless at Strathardle so that you can still be connected with us? You have a very supportive family. Please let them help you out.

  6. Anonymous6:42 PM

    What a pleasant surprise, Jean, to learn that you have Texas connections! (I live in a suburb exactly halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth.) How wonderful that your aunt is still able to live in her own home in Dallas.

    I was a Sophomore in college, 30 miles from Dallas/Ft. Worth on that awful day in Nov. 1963. I came out of Government class to a great noise in the hallway, and learned the news then. Classes were suspended for days so that the students could remain glued to TV sets in dorms, apartments, and homes to keep up with the news. We in Texas were particularly horrified that it happened on Texas soil. My future husband was in college in Washington, D.C., and he took many photos of the funeral procession there. That was such a sad, sad time.

    On a brighter note, let me know if I can ever intervene for you on a Madelinetosh purchase. The walls of beautiful Madelinetosh yarn in the new store is truly a sight to behold!

    Mary G. in Texas

  7. =Tamar6:46 PM

    I think they're supposed to hang plastic curtains over the doors to control the dust. Either way, you'll want to put sheets (or disposable plastic drop cloths) over the furniture and anything with carvings (like picture frames) in any room nearby, especially any room the debris will be carried through.