Where there’s Fire there’s Smoke

NYC Haze

Everyone east of the Mississippi is all abuzz about the Canadian wildfires and the resultant smoke that is descending upon the US. Around the eastern half of the country, air quality is trending from bad to worse. Even here in the Lou we have experienced some air quality alerts, even though technically, we are west of the river. We even have one today. Photos of hazy New York skies and skylines now dot the internet. There is no disaster quite like a NYC disaster. I had just stopped planning our domestic travel while using Covid maps and now I must start using smoke trail maps. Both disasters frequently require the wearing of N95 masks. Much of this problem is due to the northern Jetstream being twisted into a pretzel and drawing smoke from northeast of us in Quebec, back southwest to the Lou. Forecasters have this current bout of bad air dissipating soon, but this is likely going to be a summer long event. It was dry up at the cabin when we were there earlier this summer, with high fire danger and red flag warnings. I imagine that it is drier still up in Canada.

In other smoke related news, our niece Ashlan’s apartment building caught fire this week. She and Allen live in a high-rise in Queens. They had to evacuate their building, with nothing but the clothes on their backs and their baby and cat. They were walking down the multiple flights of stairs with a stroller and a pet carrier in tow, as the firefighters were headed up using the elevator. Think the towering inferno or 9/11. Ashlan posted photos of flames leaping out of the upper floors of the building, once they got outside. Later that night, after the fire was put out, they got back into their apartment. No damage to the apartment, except for some nervous cat pee found around the place.

Window on the World

Registry Hall Windows Ellis Island

The new blue couch has arrived. Anne was able to lie on it last night and watch her favorite Sunday night PBS programs, but not before way too much IT support was provided. After repeated rebooting of the TV, Direct TV controller, ATT modem and the computer, I was able to get everything to play nicely together again. Another aftermath of Saturday night’s wild weather. I have an appointment scheduled with local movers to move Joanie’s couch to her new place on Friday. This will complete our couch project.

The saga of the squirrel damaged RAV4 continues. I spoke with the Toyota service tech on Friday, and he wanted to get my insurance company’s contact info, because he had found some additional wiring damage caused by the squirrel. He said that the wires to the right headlight had been chewed, which is distressing, because when we went to the theater last week at night, that headlight was definitely working. That could mean that the squirrel is still going after the car and is unfazed by any of my peppermint oil repellants. 

Starting tomorrow, I jump feet first into the deep end of the pool and begin interacting with sharks, also-known-as new window salesmen. Windows are a lucrative product to sell, high priced and easy to install. Currently, as part of the Inflation Reduction Act the US Government is offering a 30% tax credit to homeowners, if they replace older, less energy efficient windows with newer Energy Star certified windows. The government will cover up to $3200 every year until 2033. Every window in this house was installed in 1937, so they are all ripe for replacement. Perusing Andersen windows pricing, four windows could be affordable within a $3200 annual budget. I have four salesmen lined up.

Finally on my list of projects is our home’s main lateral waterline. If it is galvanized, then it is eligible for free replacement by the water company, but if it is copper than no luck. I already know that it is not lead, so no worries there. I am a big fan of free or discounted home improvement. 

3 Check Monty

3 Water Tower Monty

Another day, another insurance check has arrived. That makes three now. This is embarrassing. It is also getting difficult to keep straight which is the good check and which ones are already voided. It is like a game of three check Monty.

Anne and I went out last night, for dinner and a show. This play was a recent version of Agatha Christie’s classic story, Murder on the Orient Express. This is the final show of the regular season and the Rep pulled out all of the stocks for it. The production values were sky high. For example, the cast comprised fifteen actors, an unheard-of number for this stage. I’ve seen various movies and plays performed of this show before. So, there were no plot twists in it for me. Still, it is an enjoyable tale. It starts in Istanbul during the interwar years. A group of strangers board the fabled Orient Express, bound for Paris. A last-minute addition to the train’s manifest is the famous detective Hercule Poirot. On the first night out, things begin to go off the rails. The train gets stuck in the mountains of the Balkans, when a snowstorm halts any further progress. Don’t worry though, a body is soon discovered, a body with eight stab wounds in it. Like I said, don’t worry, because now we have a murder mystery to contend with and help all aboard to pass the time, while they await their rescue, with Monsieur Poirot there to keep everyone aboard on track.

The mainstage at the Lorretta-Hilton sports a turntable, which was put to deft use for this production. On it were place two halves of a railcar, first class naturally. Each half had its interior opened outwards, one half being sleeping berths and the other half being the dining car. Sometimes one of these halves were removed for exterior views and sometimes with the two outsides facing inward, they served as companionways. Scenes were changed simply by spinning the stage. It was really quite something to behold.