Nooks and Crannies

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I didn’t think we were expecting snow overnight, but we got some anyway. Now for the cold!

I didn’t really think we built any nooks or crannies into our new house, but it seems as though there’s at least one, because every evening we lose Marrakesh.

Aided by numerous fox sightings, we have managed to hold firm to our resolve that he not go out once twilight arrives. This does not make him happy, but we ignore his loud unhappiness, and eventually it goes away — or he becomes more quiet about it. But there’s always that possibility that he managed to sneak out, or went out before twilight and forgot to come back on time, and so when we can’t find him around 8 p.m., we start worrying.

The other night, even though I was 95, perhaps even 97, percent sure he was inside, that 3-5 percent sent me on a hide-and-seek mission through the house, flashlight in hand. I scoured closets. I peered under beds. I looked behind the dryer. I never found Marrakesh. So then I started turning on outside lights and peering out. An hour later, there he was, drinking from the fountain inside as if nothing was amiss. I suppose, in his world, nothing was.

Now, about a week into this, we know he’s inside, but we still haven’t located the hidey-hole. Last night I saw him go into the garage, which was closed to the outside, causing us to leave the door cracked open in case he was still out there.

The garage is not heated, other than by the compressor heat generated from Lynn’s commercial freezer (and a little forced air heater that will come on at 40), but the temperature has held pretty well at 60 (F) in there. We may be putting this to the test tonight and tomorrow, when the overnight lows, right on the heels of a weekend in the high 50s and snow all around, are predicted to plummet into the negative teens.

The recent weather has worked in our favor, because yesterday it brought Dusty in from the cold. He was going to do our final projects yesterday and today, but instead of starting with the microwave, which both Lynn and I have marked as Job One, he moved first to about the last item on the list, replacement of a countertop for the folding counter.

The projects I wanted tackled got vetoed without much discussion. I have found — okay, Kara found — a tow truck driver who will move our shed, assuming the HOA doesn’t keep coming up with diversionary requests that I’m cynically thinking are designed to keep us from putting a shed on our property and destroying the entire neighborhood, despite nearly every house out here violating at least one covenant (and no covenants against sheds).

But the tow truck driver looked at the shed and told me it needs skids, or he’s liable to wreck the floor while moving it. I wanted to put large casters on the corners, but Jim Barry said he thought the wheels would just sink the gravel driveways, both at its current location and here. So I asked Dusty if he could put skids on it (which I would take as a project over the countertop), but he was a flat-out no.

Then I asked about moving three-fourths of my library shelves to the Pumpkin Room and while that wasn’t the straight-up “no” the skids were, it was a “no” couched in financial terms: “We would have to spend all day Tuesday on that,” he said. As near as I can do the math, I figure that’s tantamount to another $1,000 spent on shelves I don’t particularly like — although they would function better in the guest room. But not $1,000 better.

So last night Lynn and I went to our other storage shed, the one we rent and would like to stop renting, and dragged home two bookcases that had been in the giveaway pile. There are times when it pays to procrastinate.

But now, as I am cluttering them up without giving Lynn her chance to clutter them up —

Here are recipes Lynn unearthed last night from a book that belonged to her mother: the noodle-apple-bacon dish, presumably served the day after you rolled your leftover cheese and rice together and deep-fried it, topping it off with syrup. For the complete recipes, you’ll want to get hold of Lynn.

— I am doing house math once again, and marveling at how much room space was saved in the old house by one bedroom cupboard. The bedroom, which served as my toy room, came with a closet, but also this wall cupboard, built behind the room wall so as not to intrude into the living space.

Tia had one of these in her room when we were growing up (different house, same floor plan), and it was big enough to hold her and her friend Kris when they were hiding from the rest of us. Plus it had a shelf. So without two girls squished inside, it was large enough to hold all the games I own but never play (Tia says she and Justin will play them with me once they move here), all my festive holiday party games and supplies (those do get used, every year at the Pat’s party), and lots of other things that are, now that I’ve started unpacking boxes in yet another frenzy to try to get a second car in the garage before Jack Frost takes a whack at the thermometer, taking up space that used to be reserved for books.

That cupboard in Palisades houses was not a nook or cranny a cat could access, but it turns out to be a useful space saver that I am thinking of fondly this morning as I fill shelves without regard for all of Lynn’s crafting materials.

If this house can completely hide a 20-pound cat (although he has hidden right in plain sight before, blending into my black chair or sprawling right where Lynn always manages to step on him), then perhaps it has more space than I think. But I would still like a shed that the HOA doesn’t seem thrilled about and that I can’t figure out how to move. And a wall cupboard.


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