The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
October 2000

Accidentally On Purpose, October 16

A Colorful Life, October 24

2000: | Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec |

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Accidentally On Purpose
Monday, October 16

Fall is falling all around and it's been lovely: mild and colorful. Though it was sad to lose the flowers (except for the chrysanthemums), I was happy we got some frost because my allergies were having 24-hour rave parties.

Denny and I ended up cleaning out the garage accidentally a couple weekends ago. A friend had given him some tatty but sturdy old shelves and he had hoped to use them in the basement (juvenile hardback collection). Before we tackled the job of cleaning and painting them, we tried getting them down the basement steps. No go, not without sawing them in half.

What could we do? The relief at not having to clean them up and paint them was great, and although we need shelves upstairs (we ALWAYS need shelves, no matter how many we have), it suddenly occurred to me that we could use these in the garage. Who cares what they look like out there? And the garage needed some organizational assistance.

It's a large, two-car garage. Each autumn we clean out the one half so we can get the car in for snowstorms, but much had accumulated over the years, and we hadn't 'redded it out', as Mog says, since we moved in.

It took a day and a half. The dust was appalling. But the results! Wow! We seem to have about 73 ice scrapers, about 2000 assorted nursery pots, 4 or 5 tire irons, and 20-30 single gardening gloves in addition to the gardening tools, an old kiddy plastic pool and a slide that came with the house, two huge rolls of fencing, ditto, a gate, the lawn mower, the scissors jack I thought was long gone, regular tools (so that's where the pliers kept going), old coffee cans, BBQ things, and strange pieces of scrap wood and scrap iron. (Yes, Karen, I checked, and no, the chase lights weren't out there, either. We may never know.) Oh yeah, and several pounds of Styrofoam peanuts and hunks. Then there was the cardboard.

We recycled what we could, gave stuff away, tossed stuff out (it will take at least another two garbage days to take care of all of it) and shelved and hung the rest. The place is now huge. I've had smaller apartments. There's now room for me to put in some bins to take care of my potting soil and the like. The big thing is that we can get to the stuff we need to get to, and we don't ever have to buy ice scrapers again.

OK, so we were blowing cobwebs and dust out our noses for a couple of days and it took two showers to get the crud out of my hair, but wow, we did it, and only had to go to the hardware store AFTER we were done!

I think we'll build the shelves for the basement in situ.

Lady Poetesses From Hell had their first paying gig down in Rochester. (Well, we got room and board.) We were invited to perform for the League of Minnesota Poets at their annual gathering. This was Laurie's doing, since she's a member. We heard some fine poetry Friday evening while they announced contest winners (some of those older ladies are dynamite!). We performed the next morning.

It was the first time we had performed in front of non-science fiction types and we were curious to see how it would go. We dressed up, as we always do. I brought a few props: tea pot, tablecloth, Denny's electric skull candelabra. I think a few of the attendees were somewhat taken aback by us (little did they know we had toned things down a bit) but mostly people seemed to have a darned good time.

Lauren's "Salmonchanted Evening" fish hat and Rebecca's beautiful mask/hat which she had gotten at Worldcon were much admired. And of course, we gave a superb performance. Rez graciously read a new poem by Grace Lordstoke which she had channeled via email after several years of silence. It was a great occasion.

Hope you all are doing well and taking good care of yourselves. Happy leaf raking!


A Colorful Life
Tuesday, October 24

The painting of the garage door is almost done. I have a few more coats here and there. We are talking about just the door, mind you, not the other three sides. My fingernails are turquoise, but not because of any fashion statement. Turquoise paint really stains like hecky-darn.

The color scheme here is purple on the clapboards, fuchsia accents, and turquoise trim. It's very bright. It's, in fact, darned startling. It has taken weeks to do because I decided those three sets of ten panels front panels were really boring and wouldn't it be fun to paint some patchwork designs on them? Tra la la.

Yeah. Real fun. So far I've used two rolls of blue masking tape.

A couple of people walked by while I was working on it today, and I could hear a gasp (my back being to them), then a wobbly: "Oh, isn't that.....pretty?" as they walked away as fast as they could. Ha, wait till it snows and there's all that contrasting white. It'll incandesce.

We are talking mostly simple four patch designs, here, lots of them, plus one peace symbol and that weird little guy who appears with only his fingers and the top of his head and nose showing. I thought of writing "Kilroy Was Here" on another panel but feared this would encourage graffiti.

As you can imagine, there will NOT be patchwork panels on the other three sides of the garage. Well, maybe on the nailed-up doggie door in the people door that leads into the garden. Just one. A very simple one.

In spite of the lavish use of tarps (OK, old shower curtains) the concrete in front of the garage has become more and more colorful. This is not a bad thing, since the slab is more like a layer of cake that broke up coming out of the pan. Weeds love to nestle in the rich, nourishing soil caught in the little rills and tiny canyons. The drips of paint will not be noticed with next year's wild flowers, I'm sure.

The garage actually needs some serious carpentry work. I am hoping that the thick layers of paint will help keep the rotting wood together and so dazzle the infamous garage inspector that he or she will not notice that the bottom is rotting out, until we can afford, or, for that matter, even FIND, a carpenter to fix it. It's beyond our pathetic talents.

We think Angel, who put in the new front steps, might be able to do it this winter, if we look pathetic and beg. It would not just be a good thing, it would be a merciful thing. We can't afford a new garage.

So you see, breathtakingly colorful is good. It's cheerful; keeps people moving. The garage inspector might laugh so hard that he or she gets the hiccups and goes away to find a glass of water or a paper bag and forgets to ticket us.

One can always hope.

Yours in the afterglow of turquoise,


Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
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Copyright 2000 by Terry A. Garey.