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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Pastels, Possums, and Other Perils

Pond with Waterlilies -- Rugby, Tennessee. Work in progress ... perhaps perpetually so ...




Saturday afternoon: We came home from having lunch out on Market Square today to find that the left front leg of my pastel easel (in the living room) had collapsed. The whole easel was on it's side, the drawer spilled, the painting on end ... worst of all, a box full of my best pastels had been on the open drawer. The box was upside down, with those gorgeous huge super-soft hand made pastels crushed and scattered in a pile on the floor. I gathered up what pieces I could, then divided the dust into two piles, one of warm-ish tones and one of cool-ish tones, and put them into jars. I guess I'll use the as my neutrals for a while! Fortunately the floor is hardwood, and I'd recently bought a couple of yards of canvas to spread under the easel to catch the dust ... which meant that only a three or four square feet of the actual floor got "dusted." But, boy, did that dust ever get down deep into the spaces between the wood on the floor! And the bright blue is really bright! I just don't have the heart tonight to finish this piece. Maybe tomorrow.



Saturday night: I get the bright idea that maybe we had a small earthquake, which caused the easel to slip. Checked the earthquake center's web site -- 2 little quakes this week, but none today. Maybe something else? D and I talk about checking under the house tomorrow.



Sunday afternoon: I was just getting ready to work on this piece some, when D comes in from outside saying he needs me to see something under the house. I crawl under with him (glad I'm not afraid of spiders and other DRY type bugs and creatures) to see that a portion of our duct work has fallen. Bad memories of possums from the past ... oh dear. And sure enough, it looked as though some sweet little wild animal had been doing a little something or another in that short piece of duct work. (Grrrr! That section looks like it was pieced together with leftovers and then wrapped with insulation and tape. THAT's a topic for another post, I suppose...) Anyway, the rest of it looked as clean as it could be for as far as we could see, so we put the duct work back together, taped everything up nice and tight, hung it a little more securely, and checked the rest of the crawl space. No problem. D said he'd heard that moth balls under the house really work to discourage possums and raccoons and other wildlife, and I agreed that it might not be a bad idea. He goes off on a moth ball search, while I clean up and start cooking a chicken.


Later Sunday afternoon: D is back from the store, working away. I'm just getting ready to start on this painting AGAIN, but first I go into the kitchen to check on the chicken in the oven, which should be about done. What a funny smell. Come to think about it, what a funny smell all over the downstairs of the house. It smells kind of like ... well ...


D walks in and says, "What's that smell? You cooking something?"


"Chicken," I answer. I know I have a puzzled look.


"No, something else. Smells like something my grandmother used to make."


Of course we figure it out. Moth balls. They are under our house and now our downstairs (but strangely, mostly the kitchen) smells like moth balls. The possums will leave. The raccoons will leave. Undoubtedly any mice, rats, chipmunks, shrews, skunks, moles, snakes, and, oh yeah, moths, will leave. That smell better go away soon, or I'll be leaving, too!


And for tonight, I don't feel at all like painting anymore.



22 comments:

Lin said...

OH LINDA!!! WHAT A TIME!!! Are you sure you don't live across the street from me? You story sounds like somethat that would happen here!! MERCY!!! And yet, you produced one mighty glorious painting! It's so GORGEOUS! That lake is peaceful and rich ... The foliage ... it's grand, cara... simply grand!

Jana Bouc said...

Oh my gosh! What a story. I feel so bad for you about losing all those wonderful pastels and the mess you had to clean up. The painting looks fabulous though. I hope you'll have the heart to get back to it. Sorry to hear about the pesky critters messing up your heating ducts and the horrible smell of moth balls (which are toxic, by the way, especially if you can smell them so strongly...I did a google search out of curiosity and found a lot of info about their dangers).

Africantapestry said...

I'm sorry for your pastels...but your painting is wonderful. And I enjoyed this story..although it is nightmare for you, it is entertaining to read!
Ronell

Bonny said...

Great story! But I am glad you are getting the problem sorted out. (I hope!) That's really too bad about your pastels, though. They are expensive and now you have second rate materials.
Love the painting! I can't wait to see the finished piece.

Teri C said...

Goodness!!!! What a story!! Hope that black cloud over your house moves away!

This is a gorgeous landscape. Can't you use that pastel dust with water? Or did I misread that somewhere.

Laureline said...

Ha, you funny woman, you! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your perils because you made them so darn funny--it's all your fault if people everywhere are now cheering on your basement creatures and your mothballs!
And that pastel piece---vibrant and gorgeous!

Sioux said...

Wow, that East Tennessee earthquake got my attention! Wow. And we were just there a month ago.

We don't have many possums, but we have raccoons all over the place!!

Lindsay said...

What an adventure! So sad about your expensive pastels. Funny about the moth balls though.
You are skilled in ANY media!

Toni said...

oh my Linda,
Put the painting aside for a couple of days. Take a deep breath. Patch things up clean up and salvage what pastels you can.

In a couple of days go back and finish that beautiful painting.

As for the moth ball smell ... I'm afraid I don't know what to tell you. But be careful especially after what Jana wrote.

Diahn said...

Oh, my - what a story!! I hope the moth ball smell has subsided somewhat? I've got an extra room if you need it! :-)

AND - it's almost time for our monthly check-in...start thinking what you want to do!!

Kate said...

When disaster strikes it really doesn't joke around. At least you get a good story out of it.

mrana said...

Oh no! What a series of pitfalls ... but it DID come across funny the way you've told it, though I apologise deeply if that wasn't the intention. I admit to sniggering very slightly. But what a brilliant painting, it's absolutely gorgeous.

Linda said...

:-D It IS all very funny, really! (except for crushing those pastels -- and I'll find something good to do with that!) I've been under the house REMOVING the moth balls -- really, the smell is horrible! -- and hope that the house smells better over the next few days. If not I'm moving in with Diahn. Or Laura. Or whoever it was that laughed the hardest -- now THAT would serve you right!
;-D

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

I too enjoyed reading your story, but feel the pain of having critters, uninvited critters, making home under your house.

But....... your painting is gorgeous ... Wow, please post another picture when you complete it.

mARTa said...

ok, maybe I really do like living in stuccoed suburbia where the only critters I ever run into are insect size! I came to your blog, was mezmerized by the Monet-ish like painting and soon forgot about how beautiful it already looks and was laughing up a storm! I have no clue how moth balls smell!!! as for your pastels..oh dear...I keep my few in the original box and the rest in a flat box with rice in it (keeps them clean) so I know how awful it must have been to see them scattered and broken. Can't wait to see the finished painting!

pedalpower said...

Don't you just love the wild animals...as long as they stay in the wild! You poor thing...I'd feel sorry for you except I can't because you can create such gorgeous paintings! This one takes my breath away.

Joey said...

HEY HEY!
Yes I'm back, after a month or so hiatus. My daughter was here, and I was extremely busy.
That said, I'm baaaacckkk!
And of course, your new work is amazing. My wife and I are going to Door County in Wisconsin soon, where I'll see lots of stuff like what you've painted.

Robin Neudorfer said...

Linda - what stories... reminds me of a fall a few years ago, we turned the heater on and had such a rotten smell throughout the house. Finally had to replace the heater and they found such animal curled up and deceased for some time. Yuck.
I think your pastel is lovely, and so sorry that the sticks are in crumbs now.

Brenda Yarborough said...

What a fantastic painting! It IS Monetish. I'm so sorry about your wonderful pastels, though, you've certainly made the mishaps an interesting read.
Thanks for the laugh . . . years ago I worked in a CPA firm and we had a client who stored her suede and/or wool suits in a closet with moth balls. We could smell her before we saw her LOL!

zephyr said...

What a gorgeous Painting!
I would never guess that such a crazy adventure was connected to it.....?

biteyourowntail said...

AAAh hon! How awful for you, what a time of it. I hope by now things are looking up again, the smell has gone and you've been able to get back to your painting.

janey said...

Yep that's a funny story alright, except of course for your lovely pastels. And that drawing is lovely. Is a pastel a drawing or a painting? And you sound possum haunted.