Chivalry? What Chivalry?

We had a rather ferocious thunderstorm overnight, with very heavy rain, damaging winds, hail, a tremendous light show and lots of booms and crashes overhead. Luckily not booms and crashes on the house, just in the sky. Which is not to say that our big trees in the back didn’t get another rather severe pruning, the second of the summer, but the wind blew the bigger branches away from the house.

The garden took a bit of a beating, but that’s not a huge tragedy at this time of year. I suspect that the tomatoes suffered, judging from the size of the tree branches I plucked off them and the distinctive tomato plant aroma wafting up at me. But a proper inspection can wait for later. The only other garden occupants at this point are beets and carrots, so no concerns there. My main interest was in rescuing the apples that had been blown off the tree. I’ve waited ten long years for a decent crop off that tree and I’m not going to lose it now, thank you. Last year was the first time it actually produced properly for me, but the lack of heat didn’t allow them to ripen sufficiently, not even for cooking purposes. This year they’re less in number, but have reached maturity, so at last I have my long-awaited treasure. A bit bruised now, but that’s a minor detail. They’re mainly a cooking apple anyway, so no big deal about the bruising. They’re going to find their way into the freezer later today for future apple pies and crumbles. I actually don’t mind them as an eating apple, since I have a preference for tart fruit. But the ones I brought in to sample a few days ago didn’t exactly impress those with sweeter preferences, judging from the puckered faces. Wimps!

We had a bit of seepage in the basement, so I had some mopping to do down there this morning. Nothing was damaged, though, as it was only a bit and it came in where we don’t have anything stored. There are advantages to owning an old house with uneven floors… and a basement that isn’t suitable for actual living space. The water just pooled along the wall and didn’t spread very far. Our bedroom was a bit more of a problem and I still can’t quite believe what I saw there in the middle of the night. I didn’t think it was possible for our windows to leak, but the wind and rain were just that powerful that the water found its way in through tiny ventilation holes right at the base of the outer frame of the bedroom window. Go figure! We had a flood between the two panes, which then ran down the wall and across the floor, with a nice puddle forming under the bed where we had a lot of stuff stored. Nothing that could be damaged by getting wet, but what a mess. How long has it been since I cleaned under there?! Gah, how embarrassing!! There’s a bit of water damage to the floor, but nothing that can’t be fixed with sanding and varnish. Now there’s another basis for my argument against covering our 1913 vintage hardwood floors upstairs with carpet, Richard!! Up ’til now it was just preference in taste, but now it’s practical. Drying a wood floor and repairing a bit of surface damage beats dealing with soggy wall to wall carpet, thanks.

But floor surface disagreements aside, I did feel rather sorry for my poor husband last night. He went back to work this weekend, which means getting up at 5:00. Pardon me while I weep at the very thought of that daily routine. Stephanie and I were down here as we’re night owls anyway and there was no point in going to bed with a storm raging outside. I also wanted to keep an eye on the basement, just in case, as I could see the water building up on the street and back lane, which meant overloaded sewer system. Suddenly Richard came thundering down the stairs at 2:30 a.m., shouting for towels as the bedroom was flooded. Get out, you’re dreaming, man!! But of course he wasn’t, so he had to relinquish his slumber for as long as it took me to clean things up. Then there was the small matter of trying to get back to sleep. The rain had eased and I had umpteen towels in strategic positions, just in case, but I’m sure that sleep eluded him for the rest of the night. I wouldn’t know for sure, though, as I eventually conked out down here and didn’t even hear him get up. So much for my plan of clearing the downed branches out of his way before he had to leave for work. Oops.

Which leads me to the chivalry bit mentioned in the title. I did indeed go out and pick up the branches … eventually. I’m not exactly a feeble specimen, but some of them were pretty big and heavy, and needed to be broken up before I could cram them into the dumpsters in the area. So, there I am, dragging, heaving, and trying to break these brutes in the lane beside our house this morning. All by myself, since Richard is at work, remember? The male neighbours were out in droves, inspecting the storm’s handiwork. But do you think that one of them would offer to give me a hand? I mean, sure, they were our tree branches, but they were cluttering up a public lane and the sooner they were out of the way, the better. The neighbours were all happy to stand and chat for a bit, yammering on about the storm and giving bits of advice … as neighbours do. But nary an offer of real help, as in, picking up a twig or offering to lend me a bloody saw… or a clean one, which would have been my actual preference. Or better yet, doing the sawing for me, as any decent neighbour with more muscle than I should do, thanks. It’s not like we’ve never offered them a hand, ingrates. We do have a hand saw somewhere in the garage, but I couldn’t find it. Which is probably just as well, given my lack of dexterity with such things.

I’m not the type to ask for help and odds are that I’ll gracefully refuse it if I know that I can manage myself. But there are times when I miss the various neighbours we had when we moved here. They were all gallant knights of “the old school” and if they saw me outside doing any kind of hard labour, they’d be over here in a flash. Sometimes they were a little too helpful, but better that than the unhelpful louts we have around here now.

Oh well, acts of kindness work both ways, don’t they? In days of old, some of my salvaged apples would have found their way into fresh pies, delivered to those who volunteered their time and muscle. But since I didn’t get any help, I don’t have any baking to do. Their loss!

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3 thoughts on “Chivalry? What Chivalry?

  1. Hello Ellynor – it was so nice to get an email from you and thank you for letting me know where you disappeared to. I am thrilled you did not disappear for good.Do unto others – so treat them the way they treat you – do nothing, don't ever offer them help again. Stoopid ingrates!

  2. I can relate so well, Eleanor. I visited Eldest Daughter the other day. In her yard was a plum tree laden with plums, that I intended to pick, but suddenly lost all motivation to do so. “I won't pick those today,” I said. That's when she and Hub decided to prune that plum tree. So I was forced to pick plums because I cannot stand to see waste. Now I have two pails of plums that seriously need to be made into jam very soon.You with your apples, me with my plums, but somehow it seems to me that you see all this in a more positive light than I do.

  3. Wow… a bit of a storm! I do have to agree with you on the wood flooring… so much easier to deal with any damage. Seems that storms and water damage are a big issue in many places. As for the loss the male neighbors missed out on, silly silly fools. How could they stand about and chat whilst you laborously tended to the fallen branches? Well… really, their loss.

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