Beneath the blue suburban skies.

I don’t want to oversell this storm that hit us, but I don’t want to undersell it, either. Our neighborhood was littered with enough fallen trees to build a couple of log cabins. Mostly silver maple, we noticed – a fast-growing tree people plant because they don’t want to wait too long for shade. Years later, another homeowner curses them forever when it comes in through the bay window.

Anyway, the chippers came through this morning to dispose of the piles in front of every other house. (We didn’t have any huge limbs down, but Alan took advantage of the chipping service to take some deadwood out of a dogwood and flowering something-or-other.) I’m hoping the extraordinary noise of recent days – generators and chain saws and chippers – is over for now. Our power returned almost 48 hours exactly after it went out.

We didn’t have any major damage, but we lost everything in the freezer and most of what was in the fridge. And about the only blessing besides not having a tree fall through a bedroom is, the cold front that caused all this brought along some delightfully cool summer weather. Perfect for a bike ride, some outdoor exercise, grocery shopping to restock the fridge, all that.

I’m having that weird time-collapse thing. Sometimes I go back through the archives and reflect on how events used to last a while, how things that happened on Monday could sometimes still be remembered on Thursday. Now it just blurs from one disaster to the next. What happened Saturday? Oh right – Cadet Bone Spurs gave the commencement address at West Point. We’ll all have our favorite moments from that, but maybe mine was when he shouted out his birthday the following day, paused for the applause he expected and heard…crickets. I’ve never seen another West Point commencement; it’s entirely possible that the soldiers are not expected to respond to cheap applause lines during the speech, but to clap at the end only, politely. But it was a nice moment.

Trump looked drugged to the gills. In his weekday newsletter, Roy Edroso’s been writing these brief Oval Office scenes and playlets, and having fun with the president and his “formula,” tweaked by his doctors and chief of staff to keep him engaged, voluble and under control. And there’s that guy on Twitter, the former contestant on “The Apprentice,” who’s been claiming for years that Trump snorts Adderall and other drugs for the same reason. But on days like Saturday you could really see it. He leaned on the podium like an old man on a four-footed cane, slurred simple words, mispronounced “Ulysses” and “MacArthur” and then there was the ramp incident.

The day after, hundreds of MAGA-heads joined in that stupid boat parade through Lake St. Clair to the RenCen. There was a land component, too. A friend lives close to the route, and hearing the honking, thought it must be a graduation parade, common this year with the lack of formal ceremonies. So she went outside to wave, and was appalled to see the TRUMP 2020 flags flying past her house. So she stood there, raised both middle fingers and made sure a few of them saw her doing so. The suburban vote.

Another friend said his buddy was on his boat when the flotilla went by. Why, he asked, do all those geezers blare “YMCA,” which they of all people are old enough to recall is a gay sex anthem? The answer, of course, is that they’ve ruined that, too.

They’ve ruined everything.

One reason I didn’t blog last night is, we were invited to Italian-style family dinner with friends, and what would you do? It was marinated pork chops and pasta puttanesca – worth breaking quarantine for. We talked about whether the Trumps have ever, EVER hosted a White House cultural event, the way the Obamas (and for that matter, even the Bushes) did. Which made me think of the wonderful East Room concerts, which made me think of this, which made me cry.

What a Monday. On to Tuesday, then.

Posted at 6:21 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

51 responses to “Beneath the blue suburban skies.”

  1. Deborah said on June 15, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    Wow, I can’t imagine losing everything in your freezer and refrigerator these days. I cant go to the grocery store and spend less than $100, more like $200+. I have never spent so much on groceries in my life. I’m always astounded every time I go.

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  2. beb said on June 15, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    G;ad to hear you’ve got your power back. We had to drive into the Pointes where my wife’s doctor was re-located during the quarantine. We see a bunch of wind damage at the curbs. It must have been a sudden downburst over the Pointes because I don’t remember it being anything excessive. If all you lost as the contents of your fridge you got off lucky.

    The most interesting explanation for Trumps behavior at West Point (oops, almost wrote Weste Pointe) is that Trump had a stroke last fall which have left the right side of his body weak. The tells was needing to use both hands instead of just his right to drink that glass, and the way he stiffly walked down the ramp. He was favoring his right leg and overall seemed stiff. That he’s still campaigning under those conditions says he wants to die with his boots on.

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  3. Deborah said on June 15, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    This is unfortunate, apparently white suffragists used white supremacy to get the vote

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  4. alex said on June 15, 2020 at 8:47 pm

    So at least Roberts and Gorsuch recognize that disingenuous arguments in favor of invidious discrimination simply don’t fly anymore. Alito’s having a cow. Hope it rips his ass to shreds.

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  5. Julie Robinson said on June 15, 2020 at 9:02 pm

    Last time we had a long power outage ice became almost impossible to find. We were driving around and around, snagging a small bag here or there for $7(!) and we finally said, forget it, it’s just food. Nothing fancier than chicken or hamburger anyway.

    Silver maples are junk trees, planted because they’re cheap and grow fast. The equivalent in central Florida is the laurel oak. Doesn’t that name sound lovely? But they grow so fast they are hollow inside, and it doesn’t take much of a storm to take them down. We had one on our property but it’s gone now. The insurance companies come around to inspect your place, and if there’s anything they don’t like, they tell you. You better get it fixed or they won’t insure you anymore. (And most likely no other company will either.) I don’t think the Fort Wayne insurance people ever came to look at our house.

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  6. alex said on June 15, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Just saw the Trump Bible photo op referred to as the “Tinyman Square Massacre.” Gotta remember that one.

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  7. Sherri said on June 15, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    A couple of years ago, some local people went nuts because the city was going to cut down some cottonwood trees in a local park. Cottonwoods are another of those fast-growing junk trees, and when they reach a certain age, they tend to start dropping large branches randomly. This creates a hazard in a park used by people, but that didn’t mean that people weren’t upset by the idea of chopping down trees. It was ridiculous the amount of time the city had to spend listening to people who knew nothing about trees. (Someone suggested that if the city did cut the trees down, they should give the wood away to be used as firewood by poor people.)

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  8. LAMary said on June 15, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    Same here for eucalyptus trees. Big limbs come crashing down with no warning. I had a big loquat tree that fell over on New Year’s Day, which was weird. No sign of any problem with the tree. I was the only person up early in the morning and suddenly I heard a whooshing noise and the room got a lot brighter. It turned out there was some white fungus all over the roots weakening them.

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  9. LAMary said on June 15, 2020 at 10:25 pm

    Someone shared this with me on FB and I thought it was worth passing along: From David Axelrod, senior advisor to President Obama: “As Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote recently, “Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere.”

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  10. Sherri said on June 15, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    I never looked at eucalyptus trees the same way again after watching the Oakland Hills Fire back in 1991. Eucalyptus trees just exploded in that wildfire.

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  11. Deborah said on June 15, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Cottonwood trees are about the only kind that grow in Abiquiu. They’re thick around the Chama river near us. They turn golden in the fall and are quite the tourist attraction.

    In the condo yard in Santa Fe we have a couple of awful trees, we call weed trees. They send shoots up everywhere and when you try to pull them out your hands smell awful. I have no idea what kind of tree they are but on the other hand they’re green in the spring/summer and in this desert climate that goes a long way. They’re nasty but necessary.

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  12. LAMary said on June 16, 2020 at 12:09 am

    Eucalyptus wood is very oily, so yes, in a fire they are torches.

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  13. Dexter Friend said on June 16, 2020 at 2:13 am

    We had to rush to the Covid19 clinic in Defiance when my wife, who began feeling ill Sunday, checked out at 102.3F and had lost her appetite and just felt awful. We thought we had plenty of time but bad communication meant we got there at closing time and she was turned away…I asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital ER but she felt better already so we came back home…she was then able to drink water and eat a small meal. Back to Defiance in the morning for the clinic. Mask is at hand.

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  14. beb said on June 16, 2020 at 2:48 am

    Dexter, good luck. I hope it’s just the flu.

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 16, 2020 at 7:45 am

    Healing mercies to you and your wife, Dexter. COVID or not, sounds scary.

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  16. Suzanne said on June 16, 2020 at 8:44 am

    Dexter, healing thoughts your way. Hopefully, what came on quickly will leave quickly.
    Jeff(tmmo) blessings to you in your new ventures. It’s really an ugly time to try to shepherd a flock and I wish you well in whatever you will do in the future.

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  17. 4dbirds said on June 16, 2020 at 9:00 am

    Hope your wife feels better soon Dexter. Nancy, glad your house escaped storm damage although losing your freezer and fridge contents is no small thing.

    We live in a townhouse community. Everyone has a crappy little decoration tree planted out front except us. Ours died several years ago. We cut it down, had the stump removed and never replaced it. We never will. It brighten up of the inside our home so much. I didn’t notice how much that tree was denying us natural light. We also don’t have an algae problem on our siding anymore. I have a lovely bush in front of our big front window and I put lawn ornaments out, just a little bit too much, and am probably known as the crazy lawn ornament lady.

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  18. Heather said on June 16, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Dexter, sending good thoughts for your wife.

    We have a couple big maple trees in our parkway right in front of our building. One is right in front of my front balcony and it’s become a cherished presence. Unfortunately the city overpruned them for several years in a row and then said they were sick and would have to come down–well, of course they’re weak when you cut off 2/3rds of them! The one in front of my place is a fighter though, still here and looking robust. I put compost around the trunk in the hope that it helps.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on June 16, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Good luck Dexter and Mrs. Friend. Hope all turns out well.

    I’m just kind of giddy about the SCOTUS ruling. Saw the ever-scowling Franklin Graham venting about this meaning a “tectonic change” and I smiled and smiled and smiled. I’m sure Falwell Jr. is pissing blood, too, along with all the other right-wing religious grifters. Good. Maybe they’ll turn to the teachings of Jesus. Finally.

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  20. Jakash said on June 16, 2020 at 11:52 am

    There’s a wonderful Bloomsday discussion from 2010 featured via the Wayback Machine over on the side of the post. There, Prospero was riffing about language and offered this gem: “We speak American. If there’s some sort of argument for American exceptionalism, which there isn’t, since Americans stole a continent for God and produced Sex in the City II, it might be expansive vocabulary.”

    Imagine a time when the post and comments were almost all about literature and P. F. Chang’s, with just a couple forays into politics. When one wasn’t bracing for the next unprecedented shredding of a previously hard-and-fast norm. Hmmm… I wonder who was president in 2010?

    Heather, we had a similar situation at our previous building, though the pruning they got was not as dire as you describe. I really appreciated the maple trees. Their major downside, since they never crashed into our roof, was that nothing would really grow in the parkway underneath them, which was pretty much a barren, dirt expanse. I didn’t realize that Silver Maples or Cottonwoods were “junk trees.” I like them both, though, now that I think about it, I’ve seen my share of fallen Cottonwood branches and speed up when walking under one on a windy day. They certainly get pretty gnarly-looking…

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  21. Sherri said on June 16, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    Perhaps junk is too harsh a word. Cottonwoods have their place, which is providing shade and habitat along a river bed. However, as a landscape tree, cottonwoods are not a good choice, because they have weak wood and grow too quickly. Unfortunately, there were a lot of cottonwoods planted where I live, and when they shed their seeds in late spring, it looks like it’s snowing around here.

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  22. diane said on June 16, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    Yes, Conservatives seem to be frothing about SCOTUS. They bought and paid for those seats and aren’t getting their money’s worth!!

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  23. Deborah said on June 16, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Oh no Dexter, hoping everything is ok with your wife. Please let us know.

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  24. LAMary said on June 16, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Dexter, stay strong. Casa LAMary is sending you the best thoughts.

    I just watched about thirty seconds of Trump announcing his police reform executive order. He can’t read. Also, he looks at the teleprompter on the right side for fifteen seconds, then turns his whole body to look at the left side, then back again. His speech is flat. He read DEFUND as DEFEND and suggested he will not appease the people who want to defend the police. He’s a putz.

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  25. Jakash said on June 16, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    “it looks like it’s snowing around here” Since we don’t have any right by us, but there are a number within a few blocks, I think the “snow” in the air and on the ground is fun. I surely wouldn’t think that if they were littering the steps, I suppose, as I used to get annoyed by the Maple helicopter seeds all over the place.

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  26. LAMary said on June 16, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    In May and June we have these trees blooming and dropping lots of purple blossoms on the street.

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  27. Deborah said on June 16, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    OMG, LA Mary, gorgeous. Are those Jacaranda?

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  28. LAMary said on June 16, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Those are jacaranda. Some streets are lined with them, like in that photo. There is also the world’s largest wisteria near here. I’ve only done the drive by on that one once, but jacarandas are all over the place. Some people complain that they are “messy” because they drop petals. Philistines.

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  29. JodiP said on June 16, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Dexter, I wish your wife a speedy recovery!

    Jacarandas are so beautiful. I had no idea what they looked like!

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  30. Julie Robinson said on June 16, 2020 at 6:23 pm

    The jacaranda trees look magical, especially the way the limbs twist. Like an Impressionist painting. Thank you for sharing their beauty, Mary.

    Dexter, I pray your wife is okay and that no news is good news.

    This morning I read the next chapter in How to be an Antiracist, to prepare for our discussion group tomorrow. It was about assimilation, and how blacks like his parents bought into the idea that they had to be like white people to be a success.

    Then over lunch I looked at Facebook and saw that a relative had posted a video by Walter Williams of the Cato Institute, showing “great perspective on the Confederate flag”. If you suspect it was a yes massuh video you’d be right. So called her on it, asking what kind of perspective she meant, and explaining what heritage the flag really stands for. No response.

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  31. Deborah said on June 16, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Unrest in New Mexico

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  32. Dorothy said on June 16, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Sure hope we hear from Dexter overnight – Dexter we’re all pulling for your wife and hope she’s okay. I’ve been thinking of you and her ever since I read this post earlier today.

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  33. LAMary said on June 16, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    Jacarandas look especially beautiful when they line both sides of a street like in that photo. It’s almost like the air turns lavender around them. I have one sort of puny jacaranda in my yard but I have spectacular bougainvillea nearby so it’s all good. My lockdown bored sons have planted lots of herbs and vegetables in the rest of the yard and my deck has a lot of weed in pots. The arugula my sons planted is spreading like weeds, as it is prone to do, but that’s fine. I like arugula. I am not partaking of the weed. I am looking for a job and if I work for a healthcare company that does business with the federal government, like accepting Medicare, I will get drug tested before I can officially be hired.

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  34. Dexter Friend said on June 17, 2020 at 2:47 am

    It took three hours to get Carla Lee up and dressed and have her feel strong enough to get into the car…she couldn’t walk so she got into the rollator and we tried to get off the two step stoop, and the wheel turned sideways and bent sideways on the first step…an elderly man, driving by, stopped and helped me…man, what a near disaster. OK…got to clinic where they test for Covid19… nobody helps with wheelchairs there, and Carla Lee was like dead weight…no way I was going to try by myself to transfer her to a wheelchair, so we drove next door to the hospital E.R. They came out, gave her one of their masks to replace hers, and told me to come inside and wait in the waiting room, then the receptionist immediately kicked me back to the car to wait. Here’s the report: Covid19 negative, good. Infection in her knee, causing medical problems, several…after a while they thought she was going to have to be ambulance-transported to St. Vincent’s Hospital in Toledo for specialty care, but her last tests revealed she was rallying and the call was made to keep her there at Mercy Defiance Hospital. I had to go back home and pick up some things we had forgotten to bring, mainly a phone charger. At about 9:45PM, she left the E.R. for a hospital room. She was in that E.R. all day. What an ordeal. Now you might think I jumped for joy at the no-Covid19 diagnosis, but she’s so sick I took it all stoically. Yes, it’s great I don’t have to go into quarantine. I’ll be burning gas and rubber tread on that road to Defiance for a while anyway. I’m so tired I am heading straight to the bed.

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  35. beb said on June 17, 2020 at 4:14 am

    Thanks for the update, Dexter. I’m happy to hear it’s not Covid-19. I hope her treatment goes well and she can recover. And thanks too, to the kindness of strangers who helped you get your wife into the car. I hope you sleep well and have strangth for tomorrow.

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  36. Dave said on June 17, 2020 at 6:38 am

    Dexter, sending some positive thoughts, which is about as good as I can do.

    Walter Williams, the most conservative person I worked with, a man who should have been born in the eighteenth century so he could have seen what it was really like, loved Walter Williams. It used to drive me nuts just to work with him. I wonder how he’s equating his strict moral and ethics codes with this Orange Menace but I thankfully don’t know.

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  37. Deborah said on June 17, 2020 at 6:42 am

    Dexter, glad to hear it’s not Covid but so sorry your wife is so sick. What a day you had. Take it easy.

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  38. brian stouder said on June 17, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Dex – what all the others said!

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  39. LAMary said on June 17, 2020 at 10:01 am

    Dexter, find a place in the hospital to catch at least some footy. Not making light of your wife’s illness, just trying to cheer you up. We’re all thinking of you here at Casa LAMary.

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  40. ROGirl said on June 17, 2020 at 10:13 am

    And from my neck of the woods, too.

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  41. Julie Robinson said on June 17, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Oh Dexter, what an ordeal. I vividly remember trying to help my sister up a couple of times and injuring myself. It seems like the people at the testing site actually did you a favor, since she needed to be at the hospital anyway. Here’s praying the antibiotics can work their miracles.

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  42. Suzanne said on June 17, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Hope your wife’s healing is quick, Dexter! How exhausting for both of you.

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  43. Deborah said on June 17, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Well, I guess we won’t be traveling to Arizona any time soon. We had been planning a trip at the end of June to the Tempe Ikea in a small RV, to avoid stays in Hotels and public bathrooms, but not anymore. We may try to go to the Ikea in Denver, it’s actually a little closer to Santa Fe, but we would take a route up the western slope rather than the more direct Interstate 25 route which has horrible traffic once you hit Colorado Springs. It probably won’t happen until well into July though. We’ve been trying to find a tall shelf system with doors for the kitchen but can’t find anything remotely like that online except for Ikea and they don’t offer the unit to be shipped. We ran into this a few years back when we were renovating the bathroom, looking for a small, inexpensive sink to replace the ugly, clunky vanity one. Ikea had the perfect sink, not available to be shipped and no Ikea in NM, so we drove to Tempe, 425 miles away. It was a beautiful drive, we stayed a couple of nights in a hotel with a great salt pool. It was fun. But the virus outbreak in Arizona is not looking inviting, at all.

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  44. Deborah said on June 17, 2020 at 2:29 pm

    Never mind, I see that Colorado is exploding with Covid cases too. Our Ikea trip will have to be postponed indefinitely.

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  45. Julie Robinson said on June 17, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    Don’t bother ordering your IKEA items Deborah, I’ve been reading horror stories about orders taking months and no response from IKEA when people make enquiries. We were going to buy new furniture for our lanai, and they had it on sale, but weren’t open. So we were going to order it online until I started looking into it. Now I think we’ll just wait. It may have to be clearanced out to make space for other stuff, or it’ll be on sale again next spring. What we have doesn’t look good anymore but it’s not broken.

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  46. LAMary said on June 17, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Deborah, maybe you could contact our mutual friend in Denver to pick it up and ship it to you? Harry’s a nice guy. I speak to him occasionally.

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  47. LAMary said on June 17, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    Julie and Deborah, have you looked at Wayfair? I know they were being boycotted because they provided bunkbeds for the children’s detention centers but they stopped doing that. They deliver pretty fast and their prices are good. I haven’t bought anything from them in a while but I know people who swear by them.

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  48. Dexter Friend said on June 17, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Your comments here have lifted my faith in humanity…thank every one of you. But…I just was informed that it’s bad…today’s test by the infectious disease team revealed sepsis in her knee, requiring emergency surgery tomorrow and she is calling people she trusts to immediately decide to go to Lima or Toledo for the operation. Yes, this is like serious on steroids. I was told to not go to Defiance today but to be at whichever hospital she chooses tomorrow. I’ll check in here in a day or so. LA Mary, I caught the nil-nil SHU,Aston Villa game before I got the call. Wow…life is great and harsh, as we all know. Cheers everyone.

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  49. Sherri said on June 17, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    Sending prayers your way, Dexter.

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  50. Julie Robinson said on June 17, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Dexter that’s seriously scary. I will be continuing to hold everyone in the light for a good outcome. Please take care of yourself while you are taking care of your wife.

    Mary I’ve researched and looked at a lot of outdoor furniture over the last couple of years. We’ll be living there for the rest of our lives or until we can’t care for ourselves, so I’m holding out for just what I want.

    The main appeal of the IKEA stuff is the zippers on the cushions. There are three animals living there who all take their siestas on the furniture and they make sure to share the love in the form of their fur. If I can’t wash the cushion covers, I don’t want the furniture. It’s really not a big deal to wait another few months or even a year.

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  51. Deborah said on June 17, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    LA Mary, nice thought but I couldn’t ask Harry to do that. Yes, we’ve checked Wayfair, all of them, there is nothing like what Ikea has which is perfect for our needs.

    The new plan is that my husband has to go back to the Midwest To deal with his uncle, in late July and I might go with him if we rent a small RV. There will be a bunch of Ikea choices to stop for items. There are 2 in the Chicago area alone.

    I’m sitting on one of the patios in our condo complex right next to our lavender plants which are getting very close to fully in bloom. The aroma is heavenly. LB has started weaving her lavender wands, I keep one on my nightstand for when I need calming to go back to sleep.

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