Thursday, April 23, 2020

urgent household tasks

The last piece for Tolkien Studies, an essay of over 8,000 words, came in today, and it became my turn to go over it for editing. It took me 5 hours, and it would have been a lot faster, I said, if I hadn't been interrupted for urgent household tasks. So what were they?

First, the smoke detector in B's office began chirping. Battery needed to be changed. I had to get a stepstool to reach it, and then I discovered that we were out of 9-volt batteries, unless one unwrapped battery counted. It was sticky, which could just be something that had spilled on it, or it could be the battery had gotten old and was leaking. Only way to tell would be to wash it off and see if it comes back, but there's no time for that. So I'll have to go out and get new batteries. No time for that right now.

It was a break in B's work day, so time for our daily constitutional, an essential in these sheltering times, as it's the only thing to force us out. As usual, we walked to the lizard house (the one where lizards like to gather on the bricks) and back, half an hour. Soon it was time to feed the cats. This coincides with B's daily conference call at work, and either she feeds the cats beforehand or I do it, because otherwise they'll give her no peace during the call.

Unless I hastened, which is bad when you're editing, there remained no time to get back to the article before it was time to make dinner. So I made dinner. Ravioli: boiled. Spinach: sauteed with margarine and garlic. Pasta sauce: dry-roast some pine nuts on the stovetop. Cut their cooking with olive oil. Add some herb seasoning mix. All three dishes done at once. Serve, eat. Finish off the first of the last two pints of Three Twins Mint Confetti for dessert.

Then, out to buy batteries. Drive to nearby drug store. While seated in car, put on cloth mask (made by B's sister) and disposable rubber gloves. Enter store (nearly deserted: good), buy batteries in a flash, return to car, remove mask and gloves, drive home. Wash hands.

Great trouble trying to install battery in smoke detector, until I figure out it needs to go in the opposite way from what the embossed instructions say. Get it in. Test the alarm: it works. Reinstall it. Put stepstool away (underneath teddy bear on B's side of the bed). Wash hands again. Return to computer.

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