Flappin’ B…

Shortly after moving in, we settled into a nice routine. Being predictable was just Jeff.

We’d arrive home from work, he’d head upstairs to change. I’d fiddle around downstairs prepping dinner. I noticed that we’d forgotten to pull up the blinds a bit. We’d usually do that in the morning, so Talli could enjoy the view. I grabbed the twirl bar to open the slats, then firmly pulled the cord to raise ’em up.

It all happened so fast, I wasn’t even sure what was happening.  A bird flew out from behind the swaying fixture, and I ran to open the front door so it could find its way out.

It flew toward the door than changed its mind, zooming back so close to me that I backed-up against the center square. It circled and zoomed by me again, all the while I was calling for Jeff to come down and help. He was, however, involved in the “library and his daily constitution” as he was fond of calling it. I asked about that once, and it was just something his father had said, so he said it, too.

Anyway, the bird starts rapidly circling the center square I am now fully plastered to, hands over my head protecting my face like horrified figures on promotion posters for The Birds.  Jeff finally came down the stairs and said, “What?”

“Bird!” I advised as it headed directly for him.

He wiggled back out of its way, slapping his hands around frantically. “Damn bat!” he exclaimed.

“Bat? Bat! I thought it was a biiirrrrrd,” I cried out. Still plastered to the post and starting to cry, my voice rose to an ear piercing squeak. “Eek, aah,eek, aah, eek,” I squeaked as the newly identified creature resumed its furious lapping. Jeff started to giggle, which made me furious.

“Stop laughing and get it out of here,” I shouted.  But Jeff didn’t hear me, he was too busy waving his hands and laughing. I was not amused.

“Do something!” I yelled.

“What do you want me to do?!” he yelled back.

“I want you to get your (feline) (butt) down here and take care of this (freaking) problem like a (freaking) man!” I screamed.

Jeff was laughing so hard he lost his breath and sat down on the stairs.  Suddenly, the circling stopped.

“See,” he gasped, “it found its way out.”

He finished coming down the stairs, and was just a step away from me when the bat came around the corner and connected with a full force head butt.

“Ewww,” he exclaimed running for the back door and yanking it wide open.

The bat followed him, and was gone. I came around the other side of the pole/box, and Jeff and I met up in the kitchen.

“You scream like a girl,” I said, cracking a smile.

“You curse like a sailor,” he smiled back, resting his hip against the stove.

I leaned a little toward Jeff, going in for a hug when the black spiral burner a half-inch away from his right hand … fluttered.

I couldn’t speak so I pointed.

Jeff had a certain movement he did when he became flustered. It was sort of a shake, turn-around, flap his hands, thing followed by “Aahhh!

We both jumped away from the range. Jeff ran out the back door leaving me behind. This time the bat really did follow him out, so he turned around and ran back in, slamming the door behind him.

I was laughing so hard, I had to sit down,

I tried to say, started to say, “Serves you right for laughing at me.”

But all I got out was ‘serves’ and the ‘y’ sound, interrupted by Jeff ‘s jokingly over-dramatic scowling brow and a wagging finger.

“Don’t,” he said, reaching down to help me up from the floor.

I reached back and was soon wrapped up in bear hug, and a chuckle.

“You really didn’t know it was a bat?” he quizzed.

“It was flapping … and flying …” I shrugged, open handed.

He tilted his head a bit, and uttered this Jeff-ism:

“Just ‘cause it’s flappin’, doesn’t mean it’s a bird!”

He followed that with, “We should think about supper.” I nodded.

Jeff took the stainless steel salad bowl down from the cabinet. I went to the fridge, returning with an armful of taco salad ingredients.

Within a few minutes, we were settled into our seats. We did a little “pass this – past that” conversing, and were doing fine until our eyes met.

“I can’t believe you called me a…” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

“Don’t,” I interrupted, with an over-dramatic scowling brow and wagging finger.

And, we started laughing all over again.

Quote for the Week:

2016 03 29 justcuzitsflappin jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

In the Belfry: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/bats-in-the-belfry.html

The Bat Wants Out: https://www.getbatsout.com/bat-in-my-house/

Swearing Is Good: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hide-and-seek/201205/hell-yes-the-7-best-reasons-swearing



Nannee said she didn’t care for cats, but allowed Talli to mostly live in the basement. I say, mostly, only because a few times he wandered upstairs in the evening when he heard my voice, and surprisingly was not encouraged to return promptly from whence he came.

Nannee said he was a well-behaved cat, and we suspected he may have occasionally kept her day-company.

The basement was also where the only shower was. A creative contraption consisting of flex-tubing with one end screwed onto a utility sink, and the other attached to a shower head. When not is used, the hose hung over a round hula-hoop type apparatus sporting a curtain; all strategically placed over a floor drainage grate.

I suggested to Jeff that with a little extra plumbing, we could easily have a shower installed in the upstairs bathroom for Nannee as a kind of thank you for her hospitality. Jeff said he’d suggested that before, and in typical fashion, she’d poo-pooed him saying, “Oh, Jeff. I don’t need that!”

I can’t say how long we stayed, but it wasn’t long because I only took four showers in the basement and maybe four baths in the tub. Weekends we showered at Jeff’s mom’s and put in applications for every apartment we could find. The timing was still off and there were no mid-winter vacancies, but we submitted wait list apps and submitted to waiting until whenever.

As if the kismet of the attic chicken wasn’t enough, that same day, the largest unavailable rental apartment we wait-listed, came available by default.

Not house beautiful, but a beautiful price in a beautiful neighborhood within walking distance to gorgeous downtown Tecumseh. The Historical Society was around the corner, as was the local vet and the local hospital.

Our first place together was a two bedroom townhouse with 1 bath up, a ½ bath down, and a strangely placed mechanical closet right in the middle of the floor plan. For future reference, since it’s going to be important, you need to know this. So …

Imagine a square layout – walk in the front door and the stairs are on the left going up to the bedrooms.

The ½ bath is under the stairs and the back door is straight ahead.

Walk past the center floor-to-ceiling block and on the backside, next to the back door is the kitchen galley.

Turn to face the front of the apartment, and you’ll be in the ‘dining area.”

4 steps further, you’ve stepped into the carpeted living room, picture window straight ahead and front door to the right of the window.

You’ve now gone full-circle, and are hopefully able to envision that awkward square within a square, mechanical closet at the center of the apartment.

Which, became an an almost immediate source of tribulation…

Quote for the Week:

2016 03 22 things dont always makes sense first or second jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Kilbuck: http://www.apartments.com/kilbuck-townhouses-tecumseh-mi/ftjc72t/

(right-hand photo, corner unit with the white car in front)

T and T: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/trials-and-tribulations

Like this…: http://homeguides.sfgate.com/hook-up-shower-bathtub-faucet-25602.html


Attic Us

Home from work, at dinner that evening, Nannee commented that we sure seemed to have a lot of fun together in the morning. She couldn’t possibly think what I thought she was thinking. I looked over at Jeff for confirmation, most likely wearing a very readable “say something” expression on my face. Nannee hardily laughed at Jeff’s retelling of our trials.

Night two of sleeping in waves began with Jeff’s ever optimistic, “It’ll be fine. You’ll get used to it.”

After the second night, on our 40 minute togetherness-commutes, forth and back from work, Jeff came up with another plan.

There was a good mattress in attic storage, and according to Jeff, both he and his brother had done sleeping stints up there. He said there was plenty of room, and a bit more privacy.

He failed to mention the exposed rafters with exposed nails with exposed ice crystal frosting, or the noisy, narrow wood staircase that would need to be carefully navigated for bathroom breaks between 10 PM and 6 AM, the door that groaned and moaned protesting louder the slower it opened and closed. The only light to speak of was the naked bulb controlled by the up and down the stairs wall switches. It was very dark, but then, again, it suited sleeping.

I spent my nights in sweatpants and turtlenecks and socks, wrapping myself up in multiple blankets with such a small breathing hole that Jeff asked me if I needed a straw so I could breathe fresh, clear air instead of my own exhaled CO2.  Jeff spent his nights barely covered by a sheet.

We’d been sleeping up there for the better part of a week, before Saturday came. Without the need to stumble around in the darkness, find our way downstairs, get dressed and get ready for work, we slept in a little. Which, was long enough to encourage a little limited dusty light to shine through.

For the first time, I had an enlightened view of the attic. Without moving too much, trying to avoid waking Jeff, I gazed around at the contents, mostly mysterious boxes vaguely labeled with yearly dates. 1977, 1979. It was all very interesting, but not interesting enough to keep me flipping on my belly, intent on going back to sleep.

That’s when I saw it staring back at me.

At first I was speechless, then I got so excited, I just could not contain myself a moment longer.

“Jeff!” I squeaked, growing progressively louder, “Jeff, Jeff… Jeff!”

He came awake with a start, looking around in confusion and slight panic.

“Jeff!” I exclaimed, “There’s a chicken in this attic!”

The look I got is still indescribable. I think for the first time, he might have been thinking, “Uh, oh. I’ve got a loon on my hands,” but all what he said was, “What!?”

“A chicken,” I repeated. “Right there! A Chicken!”

Jeff craned his neck, following my pointing finger.

“Where?” he asked. “I don’t’ see it.”

“Seriously!?” I exclaimed, “it’s right there next to that box, peeking out!

He squinted at me.“You’re either pullin’ my chain or your brain’s froze over.”

“No,” I said, “I mean it! Just turn over and look,” I encouraged. “There’s a chicken lamp, right there, with a lamp shade on it!”

“A chicken… laammpp,” he said slowly, half-rising up on an elbow. A few stretching neck turns and the rise of his eyebrows made it was clear he now saw what I saw.

He chuckled, laughed, and then full-out guffawed. “You never said it was a chicken … laaammppp.”

Quote for the Week:

2016 03 15 other peoples attics jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Google this: attic libraries

Storing Memories: http://www.hometipsforwomen.com/memories-stored-in-our-attics

There’s a Song for That: http://www.broadjam.com/artists/songs.php?artistID=99659&mediaID=638505



In the Middle


Being there, felt really good.

My first experience on a waterbed did not. Later, I learned that it had been there a while and perhaps no longer had the appropriate amount of liquid bulk.

The first night in was a trial of seasickness and roll. Getting on from both sides meant meeting in the middle. I mean, really meeting in the middle of the sagging mattress, as in no space between us in the valley of wake. Eventually, we settled into a mandatory, slightly uncomfortable cuddle. Took me a while to fall asleep, waiting for the movement to cease.

Morning turned out to be a challenge. I tried to get out of bed without waking Jeff because I kinda urgently had to go. After flopping around like a fish, I finally got my fingers on the edge and pulled.  I inched toward the bed side and Jeff slid after me. I almost had a knee over the frame when Jeff said, “What are doing?”

“I’m trying to get out of this crypt,” I answered, which made him laugh.

“Just swing your feet over,” he advised.

“I would if I could!” I replied.

“Look,” he said. “You do it like this…”  He ended up with his feet and calves propped over, but not his knees. I got sucked back into the crevice; his head landing on my belly.

“Mm, hmm,” I said. “Really?”

“I can’t get out because you’re too close,” he said.

“Where would you like me to go?” I asked.

“Ok,” he said, as he slid his limbs back onto the bed and slithered into another position.  “Let’s try this.”

We double hand gripped on opposite side and pulled, which caused waves, which caused us to smack back into each other and get retangled in the middle, which caused us to giggle, which made the waves wavier, which made Jeff belly-laugh and my situation a bit more urgent.

Jeff finally did make it out, and reached back in for me.

I made a knock-kneed beeline for the bathroom, thankful as I passed Nannee’s door that it was still closed, all was quiet behind it and that the bathroom was unoccupied.

Quote for the Week:

2016 03 08 being forced to meet in the middle   jakorte

Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

House-guesting: http://lifehacker.com/5612122/be-a-perfect-guest-in-the-21st-century

Waterbedding: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/08/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-sexy-icky-practical-waterbed/61426/

There’s a Song For That: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjoqBaW6OMk

Thanks, Maybe

1999 was the year we decided that we should live closer together, together.

We spent some Saturdays driving around in the red truck looking at apartments, agreeing that Jackson would be a good compromise for both of our jobs.

Earlier in the year, I had left one job, and started another, and although it was a nice job, it wasn’t challenging or floating my boat. Early December, I was given a passed-along tip about an administrative/ marketing job in Ann Arbor, and was lucky enough to be able to get an interview for early January.

The interview went well. I accepted the position, gave notice, told Jeff, and started packing. We still needed a place to live, but mid-January in a college town didn’t leave much open. The few we found in Ann Arbor were too expensive. The few we found in the close outskirts were not in the best neighborhoods.

So, I was stuck. Having jumped head-first into a plan that wasn’t plausible, I was starting a new job and had nowhere to live. I also had given notice at my East Lansing apartment, so, I was about to be a temporarily displaced person.

Of course, Jeff assured me that wasn’t going to happen. “Everything will work out,” he said for the first of many times, “You’ll see.”

I was invited to and considered staying at Jeff’s mom’s, but for a reason I don’t recall, that ended up not being feasible right away.

When Nannee heard about our troubles, she didn’t exactly call us dimwits, but pointed out she had a extra bedroom and space for us until we could find somewhere. Our “thanks, maybe’” turned into a “thanks, yes” pretty quickly.

In the midst of a Michigan winter, nothing magically popped up for us. We did put in an application at an apartment in Tecumseh that 1. wasn’t ready to rent, yet, and 2. already had an application in on it. Jeff had asked if we could fill out the application in case another unit came up, we’d already be on file.

So, I repacked all of the stuff I’d been packing and unpacking since I moved up from Tennessee. Jeff and his awesome friends trudged back and forth through the freezing cold and snow, loading my belongings into truck and cars that caravanned all the way to Nannee’s. Much of which, came to rest in the unused garage.

Jeff and I set up with the bare necessities in Nannee’s small front bedroom with small closets and a huge waterbed that had been there for a while. And it felt really good.

Quote for the Week:

2016 03 01 everything will work out didnt always believe jakorte

Enjoy this Week’s Discovery Links:

Together, logical: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/17/moving-in-together_n_5986098.html

Together, emotional: http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/is-it-time-to-move-in-together-10-ways-to-know/#.VtZW5vkrKM8

Together, happy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhhcHMkmyF8