Hardworking Strangers and other stories

Before I get started on my post today, I'd like to congratulate you all: apparently you've been sharing "fastidious thoughts".

It's actually nice? Don't sound so surprised.
The spammers have been complimentary all around lately.

As astonishing as what? You can't leave me hanging like that!
And yeah, nobody knows more about my favorite movies than I do.

As an aside, they like their twists of fate in advance, which sounds terrifying:

Sweet relief!
It would've been bad if you'd discovered my site intentionally.
Anyway. The Today meme is hosted by Masha! Join in over at Piękno, or leave your own sensory notes in the combox...

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Today I am...

Feeling... a little shy and awkward. I am currently sharing house space with a Hardworking Stranger, who is sawing holes in ceilings and going in and out of the front door carrying ductwork. He's installing a furnace, and I am blogging, and we're both minding our own business very nicely. What's the etiquette for relating to shy construction workers? I got past the say-hi-politely-and-make-sure-their-work-space-is-clear bit. Do you offer them coffee? If you're sick and not drinking coffee, do you offer them herbal tea because that's what you're drinking? Can you put a loaf of bread in the bread machine while he's up on a ladder raining plaster into the kitchen, or is that bad manners?*

Oh, and I'm also sick. Getting a scratchy throat and cough when I have to sing for two Masses this weekend was such a bad idea. I have practically no singing voice right now.

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Seeing... Serenity. And it was awesome and I WILL write you about it, Masha, I PROMISE.

I'm not usually much on violence, but... atta girl!!
Love you, River!

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Smelling... plaster dust.

Tasting... mild, chamomile-based tea.

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Listening... to Enya, because my in-laws gave me her "very best of" CD, which is wonderful. Admittedly, I'm not listening to it with Hardworking Stranger around drilling and sawing, but just wait till he's gone.

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Grateful... that my sister-in-law fixed my violin while she was here. I figured I'd have to take it downtown and put some money into it if I ever took it up again, but she got the bridge back on and played it till it stayed in tune.

Of course, now that it works, I feel obligated to play it. Up till this week, I hadn't played in twenty years, and it's completely embarrassing to be squawking through "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" like a five-year-old. I've got just two things going for my snippets of practice time: a) I can read music, and b) I practice smarter than a five-year-old.**

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Reading… The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco. I might have to spend most of the weekend reading it if I want to be done by Monday night's book club meeting.

Studying… over Christmas? Not much. But I need to email that piano teacher, and I need to put some study into conducting polyphony, because I need to be able to conduct a di Lasso piece by the third of February.

Working on... books and music! I've made real progress on both stories this week. Telling myself that I have to put an hour into the fairy tale every workday or else has, oddly, been good for both books... it stops me from feeling like I should be devoting every spare minute to one or the other. That feeling is usually just paralyzing.

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Loving... the two little dresses I found thrifting the other day. The last few times I've worn my cocktail dress, it's been like, "Well... it fit when I bought it." So I hit the dress rack up at Value Village this week, and got... I won't say replacements, because Lou likes that dress even though it's baggy... but alternatives. I'm totally wearing them on the next two available occasions. And if those occasions don't come soon enough, the dresses might get worn for a date night spent sitting on the couch and watching a movie on Lou's computer.***

I'd post pictures, but yeah, Hardworking Stranger....

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Hoping... that my voice magically comes back by tomorrow. >:( Also, for many blessings on Hardworking Stranger, because he's really gotten a lot done, and I am super excited about having forced air instead of baseboard heat.

Oh, I almost forgot. Cat picture:

Yes, this is from before Christmas, but our tree is still up.
This year was so busy that I'd have felt gypped if we un-decorated
before Epiphany.
Yay for holding out till the Baptism of the Lord!
Happy weekend!

* I promise I could keep the plaster out of the bread.
** On the other hand, I sit next to our violinist in church, and... well. She's stupendous enough to be either inspiration or a hit to the ego. I'm going to go with inspiration...
*** I dress up for home date nights at the risk of my tights. Maia likes to attack ankles.


  1. Clear workspace = good. And an offer of coffee/tea is fantastic (although offering coffee to a specifically "shy" construction worker is better done if you are currently making coffee, tea is quicker and seems less of an imposition from the worker's perspective). Bread shouldn't be a problem.
    -The Neglected (and Sometimes-Shy-Construction-Worker) Husband

    1. Hahah, I forgot you were a construction worker! Good to know. I'll be more prepared for Monday. And hopefully well enough to drink coffee.

    2. BTW Good choice with delaying Enya...
      -The Neglected Husband

    3. Wait, do you seriously like Maire Brennan but not Enya--what??

    4. Ha! No, I meant it's not exactly "work-time" music. Of course, I don't know what furnace workers listen to... But hey, for future reference: masons= country; painters = classic rock; and carpenters = NPR or they bring their own music.

    5. HAHAHA. There's an art to this! Good information. ;)

      I'm hoping furnace workers like silence, because I'm working on planning a chant mass, plus I had to move the radio...

  2. It can be really awkward having a stranger working on stuff at your house! Seconding the Neglected H.; offer coffee if you're already making some. It's fine to offer food and beverages if you're not pushy, and running the bread machine (and generally going about your business if it doesn't interfere) is fine!

    Telling myself that I have to put an hour into the fairy tale every workday or else has, oddly, been good for both books... it stops me from feeling like I should be devoting every spare minute to one or the other. That feeling is usually just paralyzing.

    That seems like sound advice! Yay for progress!

    1. Thanks! I figured some of you would be more sane about how to relate to strangers than I am. I am almost always making coffee on Monday mornings, so I will have to offer him some!


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