3.5 Time Outs: Seen On My Screen Porch

Thanks once again to our host Larry D. at Acts of the Apostasy, who has me so well trained I had this ready to go before even finding out if he means to continue.  Updated to report: Yes!  And check out the stylish Christmas theme:

Click to find out if Larry D. received his underground Lair from Santa this year.


This week we are Bunny-sitting.  Cinnamon and Jenny-Bunny look delicious, but they are not for eating.  We are working hard to avoid bunny-tragedy.  The dog sits at the glass door looking out on the screen porch and whimpers.  The cat sneaked in from outside when someone left the screen door open, and there was much bunny-scurrying in the cages.  But bunnies remain both safe and entertained, because also on my screen porch is . . .


Ping Pong!  I felt un-American, having no ping-pong table all these years.  I still don’t, but I talked the 5-year-old into buying a package of balls for her brother for Christmas.   (She bought her sisters scented hand lotion; I didn’t think He Who Is Doubtful About Bathing would want the lotion.)  I sprung for two paddles.  Christmas afternoon we set up my 2×5 folding table on the screen porch — true Table Tennis.  Perfect size for children, and for adults who want to sit while they play, plus it is more compact than a regular table.  And you don’t feel bad about eating on it.   The balls don’t bounce well on the plastic table, so SuperHusband loaned us a sheet of luan plywood to place over top, and that both improved the bounce and gave us the happy ping-ponging sound.

The family is divided between the bitter minority that thinks we must have a net, and the large, superior-reasoning majority who observe that we’d just have 10,000 net balls.  Screened porches are the ideal place for ping-pong, because the balls can’t get far.  Plus, covered.  No rain.  But still outside.  Children + Balls = Outside.

NEWSBRIEF: LIVE FROM BOY’S BEDROOM:  DOGS EAT PING PONG BALLS.  Don’t store them in the house.  That’s the other reason dog sits whimpering at glass door.   All those balls, bouncing back and forth, and that horrid glass between.  It is the week of Dog Torment.


Also seen from the living room is this view, which I included in the homeschool photo-fest this past fall not because it had to do with homeschooling, but because I was so excited about my invention.

Taken in warmer months. It is not this green in December.

Here’s what happened:

  1. Our dryer attempted death.
  2. My dryer-repair guy was going to be preoccupied with gainful employment for a while.
  3. No problem.  Neglected laundry tree out in the back yard.
  4. Wait. Rain.
  5. Plus mosquitoes.
  6. I’m not complaining just observing.
  7. Did I mention dryer-guy not home to fix dryer?

Meanwhile, we had a patio table out front on the, er, patio. (Actually the driveway, but we don’t drive on that part so we call it The Patio.  Pretend with us.)  I pulled the umbrella out and stuffed it in the shed, then dragged the table into the screen porch.  Placed the umbrella stand in position under the table.

I used tools we don’t want to talk about to dig the laundry tree out by its roots where it was determined to be permanently affixed in the yard.  [If I have one superpower, it is furniture-moving.  Laundry Tree you met your match.]  Put old socks from the cloth bin on the pokey edges of the laundry tree, and very very carefully, with would-have-been-horrified-and-cringing spouse safely away in a neighboring state, erected the laundry tree in the hole in the center of the table where the umbrella used to live.

It works great!  The mesh top of the patio-table is perfect for laying things flat to dry.  Only caveat is that since the laundry tree is not in the ground, it stands taller than normal.  I’m 5’7″ in a pair of sneakers and can reach fine, but it doesn’t work for shorter people.  So now I’m commissioning child-height under-eaves laundry lines for the small people, because they seriously need a feedback loop about how much laundry they are generating.  Plus, see “Decrepitude”, “Plague”, etc., I would get a much more reliable flow of smug superiority if my ability to hang laundry didn’t depend on standing* quite so much.

I think SuperHusband is willing to take the job, because now the dryer is getting serious about its death threats (it wails pitifully), and it pains the man to spend money on something you technically don’t need, plus costs more money to operate, when all that cash could be spent, on, say, camera lenses.  He thinks that if we are serious about hanging out laundry all the time, maybe he can nurse the dryer along a few more years with urgent-case-use only.


So.  Smug superiority.  Hanging out your laundry, if you are the grumpy, complaining type, can make you downright peevish towards so-called environmental groups that are advocating for this and that alternative fuel, but can’t be bothered to push a serious campaign to cut American energy usage in very simple ways.  Laundry lines being #1.  And #2 on the list is


Something I’ll rant about next week. Hope your 12 Days are fantabulous — is anyone else having a Chocolate Year of Christmas?  I’ve been getting the stuff from everybody.  Let me just say: Best gift ever.  Okay and single-malt scotch is right up there, but not everyone is the SuperHusband, and plus you don’t have to be so moderate on the chocolate.





*If you’ve been sitting on the edge of your chair wondering when on oh when I’ll post the next decrepitude-watch post, the short version is: All is way better than a year ago, not so good as two years ago.  Reliably walking maybe 2 miles?  And then I can fit in another hour or so of other house-yard-etc activity.  Depending on your perspective, that either seems like an extravagant plenty or a laughable pittance.  I agree.  Anyhow, it is enough to hang laundry, plague not withstanding.  I happen to love hanging laundry, so long as I can get the other people to leave me alone while I do it.  Silence.  It’s all about the silence.

5 thoughts on “3.5 Time Outs: Seen On My Screen Porch

  1. Wow – outside greenery. Deciduous greenery even, in December. We have browns and varying shades of gray – even the pine trees and arborvitae are colorless. Although today we’re (finally!) getting some snow.

    I take it you’re holding back on doing a Glenn Close impersonation in regards to the bunnies?

    1. Oh dear! No, the greenery is from way back in August or so when Bearing & Dorian held the photo event. There are green things now, but also many brown things. I added a caption to clarify.

      And yes. Restraint. And I exaggerate. The bunnies look delicious to some furry members of the family, but I think they are too small. Way too much work for the amount bunny-yumminess to be had. As food animals go, though, wow, cute.

  2. Happy new year Jennifer! That picture is just adorable. I’ve been away from the computer for a while, but today I logged on the CWG and I couldn’t open any post, There was some kind of “error”. I hope it will be fixed soon. By the way, I’ve started blogging again. Come back to visit me when you have time.

    1. Antonella,

      Great to see you! We just moved the CWG blog over to a new location, and there have been a few glitches. Hopefully to be ironed out soon. But the link in my sidebar is working. Try Catholicwritersguild.com/blog and that should also work.

      BTW I subscribe to your blog and enjoy it very much! I am behind on almost all my internet reading, but definitely looking forward to reading more from you.


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