Mar. 22nd, 2019

pegkerr: (Both the sweet and the bitter)
I pondered for a long time what an appropriate memorial for Rob would be, and now it is starting to take shape.

Rob and I had talked about getting a Little Free Library in front of our house, and after he died, I determined that would be the best way to remember my book-loving husband.

I seriously pursued the idea of embedding a Bag-End themed Little Free Library into the hill in front of my home and talked with several landscaping companies. While I got some beautiful designs, the cost was just too far out of reach for me. But I was referred to Terry Faust of WeeWeatherVanes who had already constructed several Little Free Libraries, including a round one. Terry is making the library for me now, based on a planter pot that will be mounted on a pole, and I am so excited!

a round plastic planter epot finished with bronze finish

He managed to find a very Bag End-like decorative hinge at a recycling store. He had already cut the window in the door when he found the hinge, and the hinge fit perfectly!


A round unfinished wooden door with a window cut out and a decorative iron hinge

He has made several weather vanes, including a dragon one

A dragon-shaped weathervane

and one designed especially for me, showing a hobbit holding a sword and reading a book, which will be installed on the top (I can swap them out).

A weathervane shaped like a hobbit holding a sword in one hand and a book in the other

It will be stocked with science fiction and fantasy books, many from Rob's overflowing collection.
pegkerr: (Deal with it and keep walking)
As you may or may not know, it was a tough winter here in Minnesota (yay, it's Spring! Yay!) I dealt with the shoveling, even when the pile of snow outside my driveway reached over six feet in height. But a more serious problem was revealed when all that snow started to melt.

Delia, fortuitously, happened to be home because of a doctor's appointment. She called me at work to let me know that water was pouring into the basement. I managed to snag the last Shop-vac for rental at the local hardware store and although there is a ton of stored stuff in the basement, most of where the water reached was in plastic bins, and we moved everything else out of the way in time, so there was no damage. That was the good news.

At first, I thought it was backing up from the floor drain. I had the guy comes out who routers out the roots every year and a half--it had been just done last July--and he said the drain was clear. When the rain came back, we realized that it was pouring under the side service door and running down the wall into the basement.

I called the insurance company. I called a contractor. Problem is: the foundation wall on that side of the house is leaning, perhaps from underground water pressure. It's set the door frame ajar (I probably had heat pouring out of there all winter, too.) "It's probably been doing it gradually for five or six years," the contractor said, looking at me as if to say, Why haven't you dealt with it before now, lady?

Oh, yeah. Rob got cancer, what, six years ago? I've been distracted.

He gave me an estimate and a list of priorities: shore up the basement foundation wall; that's absolutely critical. $2,600.00. Next, radon testing and abatement (am currently testing now to see if it's an issue--if it is, that'll be $2,000.00). Then install gutters on the house (need to get an estimate from another contractor). Get another contractor to bust up the sidewalk that runs flush beside the house and relandscape away from the house. Get a carpenter to re-align the door and re-do the stairs to the basement. He also suggested installing drain tile ($3,600.00), a sump pump ($350.00) and encapsulation ($900.00).

Okay. Am dealing with it. Calling contractors, calling the state to find out about homeowner low- cost loans. My family will probably help.

The adjuster is coming out Monday to confirm, but I've been told to expect that my homeowner's insurance will cover none of it.

I had planned to go to England this summer. Not sure whether I'll be able to do it now.

I've been dealing with it rather well, all things considered. The one really bad moment was the day I was out in the pouring rain, trying (fruitlessly) to break up the ice on the sidewalk that was pooling water against the foundation, getting soaked in the water sluicing off the roof, and crying because Rob wasn't here to help me with this, and how could he do that to me?
pegkerr: (All we have to decide is what to do with)
I am seeing someone.

His name is Eric, and he was a classmate of mine at St. Olaf. We didn't know each other at school really at all--knew each other's name, maybe, as my graduating class was reasonably sized, but we never took a class together.

We reconnected at the 2012 St. Olaf 30-year reunion. We happened to get seated next to each other at the dinner, and he made some passing remark about Harry Potter. I lit up like a firefly and talked his ear off.

When I lost my job in 2016, I reached out to everyone I could think of to do informational interviewing, and I called him up to talk about his company. When our conversation was over, he said, "You know, I've been thinking about doing some career re-alignment myself. How about we check in with each other every couple of months, just to see how the job hunt is going?" So we did that. We found we had a lot in common, including some parenting issues.

When the 2017 reunion came around, he asked if I would be going. I said I wouldn't because I couldn't afford to--Rob was really sick, and funds were limited. He offered to pay for my ticket, and we drove to the reunion together.

He never met Rob, but he did come to the funeral.

We checked in occasionally during the summer of 2018 and went to a movie together. In November, I wanted to go to a one-man show of A Christmas Carol, and Fiona wasn't available, so I called Eric.

Things have taken off from there.

He reminds me of Rob in some ways: he has the same Myers Briggs type as Rob did, he's also an attorney, and he's a Ravenclaw like Rob was. But he reminds me of me, too. He has had some frustrations about being in the wrong job for too long. He went to the same college I did, he went to study abroad in England like I did (we went different semesters), he has spent time making his living as a writer, and we share a personal faith, which is something that was never important to Rob.

But of course, when it comes down to it, he is neither Rob nor me. He is himself. And I am enjoying getting to know him.

He has two sons, a little younger than Fiona and Delia.

We read books together. I have introduced him to Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, which he absolutely loved, and we're reading War for the Oaks together now. He brings me flowers.

We make each other happy, for now.

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