Monday, October 17, 2011

Overnight in Pawtucket

As the work  of getting the house in Pawtucket draws to a close, I have wanted to spend more time there and see how things are working and also   what I notice still needs doing.
So this past Friday, 14 October, my husband  and I drove to Pawtucket with our overnight bags.  I was scheduled to meet the painter and  look at his work  again.  He has been working there  since June and   has  transformed the house inside and out.  I guess that I  was not surprised when I arrived to find him and his fiancee--who works with him--completing  one last task. He was just finishing installing a new lock and dead bolt on the front  door.  As always, his work  was perfect.  He is a  talented professional painter and  he also will do things like install new lights and overhead fans. So I feel blessed  that he has been able to devote much time and energy to this project.
At his urging, I went to purchase a new back door look like the one already in place which  had started to  show wear and tear and reluctance to turn.
I went to a treasure trove nearby--Tussier's on Central Avenue.  A hardware store like Tussier's is an original of Pawrtucket :  in a  barn-like structure   and filled with all that is needed to maintain the older homes that surround this area. Within minutes I emerged with a new  lock and bore it triumphantly back to the house.  Dennis the painter installed the  new lock in a few minutes.
My overnight in Pawtucket was off to a great start.  I stayed and  did  a load of wash in the washing machine in the basement--all of which has been totally repainted and  illuminated fully for the first time with  four new fuorescent light fixtures. Now I  no longer feel as if I can barely see down there and all spookiness has vanished with the new lighting. I washed and dried the sheets  for the new mattress that  I had  bought for the four poster bed in the bedroom.
Then I bade a fond farewell to Dennis and Joanne--but not before talking  out in detail the specifics for the actual move;  Dennis and  another  helper that he employs will  move our furniture and personal effects from our summer house in South Kingstown to  our winter quarters in Pawtucket.
After we left we  went to visit my Aunt Anna at the wonderful  Linn Health Center in East Providence.
 How I found and settled on that great  health and assisted living facility is a story for another posting.
After visiting Anna for a couple of hours, Yash (my husband) and I rewarded ourselves with a stop off for fish and chips at the inimitable Gregg's restaurant in East Providence.  In line with my low carb  routine I substituted   a salad for the French fries and winter squash for the coleslaw--with the wonderful, fresh fish.  All's well.
We returned in pouring rain to the house in Pawtucket and   tried  to watch the TV. My Aunt had an interesting quirk--she only watched Channel 10 and since she  could get that with an antenna, she did not have a cable  hook up. we found the  TV in a closet but could not locate the antenna. So we  looked for books to read instead. We  went to  our beds early because the next day was  going to be eventful--a trip to Phantom Farm in Cumberland in the morning and then  afternoon  at the Regal Cinema in Swansea  to watch a direct live from teh Met performance of Anna Bolena--an opera of Donizetti's that I  have never seen.
More on that later.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pawtucket garden

One of the  things that I am most looking forward to in my return to Pawtucket is that I will have the chance to make a new garden there. I have made  gardens in  the  last three houses that I have lived in and they have taken both my energy and  cash.  And it is wrenching to leave the  trees and plants,   gates and arbors and trellises  that I have assembled and tended  carefully. I delight in watching the  bulbs emerge that I plant each  Autumn. I did not  know  that I would be moving to  Pawtucket and yet in some way  it has been looming there  like  a big  boulder over my head that I did not look up to see.
Now I see a new garden as one of the big  positives of  returning there. The yard is not large, but it is   ample for my  purposes.  Right now the  tiny house is looking a bit overwhelmed by  evergreens that were planted over 40 years ago as foundation plantings and now seem to dwarf the house.  They have been trimmed but not fully contained and their trunks  are thick like  trees. So I  want to take  many of them out and replace them with  smaller and more colorful shrubs and  flowers.
My head is filled with thoughts of hydrangeas and  day lilies. Color schemes are  in my mind and I am poring  more than usually over the catalogue form Wayside Gardens--for ideas.

I  hope to  have the large shrubs removed in the  next ten days and  begin to plant some  small  bushes and maybe two  small flowering trees in the front  yard.  Then I will begin to place some bulbs--they are the hope for next Spring.  I am also  thinking about where and  how to place  bird feeders so that I can enjoy them from the  kitchen window.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Slouching Towards PAwtucket

Slouching towards Pawtucket
As a native daughter planning to return to her  home city of Pawtucket, I approach it with mixed feelings. When I   roamed these streets as  a child, I often dreamed of being  somewhere else.  I idealized the American West after reading  many Zane Grey novels. And since I adored  Roy Rogers, I hoped some day to meet a real cowboy. Possibly if I had not left Pawtucket, I would still harbor these longings. I might even feel unsatisfied and  unhappy. But I did leave and I spent 26 years away working at a   job in Cincinnati, Ohio. Cincinnati made me  miss Rhode Island, the ocean, and finally even Pawtucket.
However, now as I contemplate moving back to the city and to the very house that my mother and  aunt and sister  lived in since 1968, I feel anticipation rather than dread. I was not trapped there--I left-- and now I want to come back.  What are the things that I miss and hope for in this return?  The answers to those  questions  may come clear to me and you, dear reader, after I  make my  appearance.  Actually I have been back in Rhode Island since 2009.  But I  have been living in South County in what I  thought of as  my summer house and my eventual retirement cottage.
I tried staying there for two winters and I  began to feel some  isolation.. It is beautiful and it is quiet, but the drawback is that to get anywhere you must drive. And as the winter advances driving becomes  more  tricky and tiring. So I am preparing to go back to Pawtucket. I have spent some energy and money these past three months in  getting the house ready for the move.  I hired a painter and floor re-finisher. Now I am hoping  to be done  with the improvements and have the house ready to  move into by late October.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Pawtucket Cure

I am in the middle of moving back to Pawtucket. I was born in Pawtucket, but I have not lived there since I  left in 1966.  I lived in Providence from 1969 to 1984, and then I moved to Ohio where I lived until 2009. I have returned  to Rhode Island after a long time away. But I have always intended to return.  It is  my native place, and I miss it when I am away.
I  bought a summer  house in South County in 1999. and I have  spent my summers  here since then . In 2009 my life was  interrupted  by the sudden  fall and severe heart attack of my maternal aunt Anna.
She was living still in the house in Pawtucket that she and my mother and my sister had shared together  since 1968. Death decimated that happy arrangement when my mother died in 1997 and my sister soon followed her in 1998. That left my aunt alone, living in a tiny bungalow in Darlingon all by herself at the age of 79.  In fact, those years after 1998 were the first ones tin which Anna had lived alone. She had always lived with my mother--her older sister.  Although she was fearful of the change, she was determined to make it on her own and was fiercely independent. As her closest relative and my mother's only living child, I felt  responsible for her, called  almost daily, and visited from Ohio as often as my job and finances would allow.

2009 brought enormous changes-- when Anna was discovered on the floor of the house where she had fallen and suffered undetected for two days. When she was taken to Pawtucket Memorial Hospital, she was diagnosed with a severe heart attack that had destroyed most of her heart muscle. She  only had 15% of her muscle intact and pumping. I heard these details over the phone from a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. Within hours I had left Ohio and was  on my way to Pawtucket. That was  April Fool's Day 2009. Little did I know that I would  never return to my job and that--ready or not --I had retired from  my  position that I had held for 25 years.