The Busyness of Life: Wires, Cables and Primary Elections

I know, I know. That is such a labored title for this post. I haven’t blogged for a while and I didn’t want to leave anything out. It’s not that I think you’re sitting around waiting to hear what I have to say. It’s more that when you write a blog, it gives you the opportunity to express some of the jumble that occupies your brain.

Let’s start with the wires, the electrical transmission wires that travel along the fence line of our property and carry several thousands volts of electricity. I glanced out of the kitchen window to see a firefighter approaching our front door. I asked him if everything was okay and he said “yes, as long as you stay out of your back yard.”

Oh no!

My garden!

my garden

My garden, not far from the pine tree

He said that a neighbor reported sparks coming from the power line and that a crew from PG&E (Pacific, Gas & Electric), would arrive shortly.


By the end of the night it seemed to have all blown over and no one said another word. We assumed it was a false alarm.

The following morning, three PG&E trucks were on the scene, along with two large tree-trimming trucks with crew and a couple of supervisors assessing the problem. It turns out that the neighbor’s pine tree, a tree large enough to span four properties, had a broken limb resting on the line. The crew disconnected power to our home and surrounding neighbors while crews went up into the tree and removed the offending branches.

I brought Slinky indoors for the day, worried that she would either get under foot or have something fall on her. They were able to restore the power by late afternoon, and all was well. No fire as a result of the falling branch, and a nicely trimmed tree in the process.  I’m always a bit unsettled to see workers climbing so high into trees, followed by the awful noise of chain saws and stump grinders. It was a relief when they were finally done.

This past Tuesday, we offered our garage as a local polling place. This is something we’ve been doing for a decade. It’s a nice way to take part in our civic duties in addition to voting.

Our garage the night before the election

Our garage the night before the election

If you follow the primary process in the US, you’ll know it’s been a contentious year. I’m happy to have cast my ballot *in our garage* and delighted too that my son could vote for the first time. He turned 18 last June. With all that foot traffic, I made sure Slinky was outside all day, safely enclosed in her favorite outdoor spot.

slinky in her greenhouse

Slinky’s shelter from the rain

The poll workers, all volunteers, are a wonderful group of people. I served coffee and tea along with bagels and cookies throughout the day, and enjoyed the festive environment of seeing neighbors and friends approach our home to vote. The poll workers arrive at 6 am and stay past 9. It’s a long day for them. I appreciate their commitment to the process. I also wonder to myself why everyone doesn’t exercise their right to vote in this country.

roses from Barb

A stunning surprise. These flowers arrived after election day from my friend, Barb. The card said “thank you for your public service. I would vote for you and day.” The sweetest! These flowers and her thoughtfulness  made my day.

Friday, while I was out running errands, a friend called to tell me that Comcast (our internet and cable company) had a representative walking around our garden. I headed home to a note on the door with a vague description of the problem and a request to call their toll-free number. Time spent on phone calls and trouble shooting led nowhere. The customer service rep kept reading from a script, and was ultimately unable to tell me what was wrong.  We went to bed that night without internet, and woke to another Comcast worker wandering around the garden. It’s been one of those weeks.

This morning’s technician told me that squirrels had chewed the lines, weakening the connections so they shut them all down. He had to string new cable through our yard as well as the house behind us. Once they replaced the cable, our internet was up and running. As the technician headed for the door, he told me that I had the “perfect garden for squirrels.”  If he only knew.

My 2016 swing cover remains intact, while the squirrels moved to higher ground.

garden swing cover 2016-004

The Garden Swing: 2015 Edition

I told the tech that the squirrels were doing their part for the economy, keeping Comcast workers employed.

In between the comings and goings of firefighters, PG&E crews, cable technicians and voters, it’s been a hectic start to June.  I’ve been gardening early to avoid the oppressive heat, working on a couple of big projects during the day, and still managed to squeeze in our monthly book club. We celebrated our oldest son’s 19th birthday and both boys finished school for the summer.

I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so tired, but I think I know. I’m missing my introvert time, the hours spent in quiet solitude, reading, writing, gardening or just sitting and petting one of the cats.

It’s been lovely visiting other blogs today and nice to catch up on everyone’s news.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Perhaps like me you’re a bit of both.



35 thoughts on “The Busyness of Life: Wires, Cables and Primary Elections

  1. We are heading into our own elections, and every other face on TV is a politician spouting promises, lies and blatant falsehoods. We don’t take quite as long to choose our leaders as you do, but it still seems interminable. I’m happy to avoid the whole issue, vote for whoever seems the least crooked on the day, and then bury my head in the sand once more.
    To answer your last question: I’m solitude-loving extrovert!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m the opposite of Kate–a friend calls me “an introvert with good social skills”! I do like people, a few at a time, but then I need to withdraw and recharge my batteries. Your recent life sounds hectic but I love the idea that your garage is a polling place!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad to have you back blogging again. It’s no small wonder you haven’t blogged lately with all that’s gone on; I don’t think you could have possibly fit one more thing into your busy June! I’m going to side with Kate and call myself a solitude loving extrovert too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have not read that book, but I’m going to add it to my Goodreads list. You’re the second person to mention it. My sons are polar opposites: one prefers solitude most of the time and the other is socially active all the time. Traveling with the two of them was a challenge when they were young, but now they’re at an age when it’s easy enough for each of them to do their own thing.


  4. Myohmyohmy you are a busy bee and one who keeps a good eye on her pet cat too: what a royal outdoor shelter Slinky has!! And I absolute love your cupboards doors in the garage (hmm, you might say now: ” Is that what you took from this post??” ) Introvert/extravert…I am kindred spirit to Kerry, an introvert with social skills ;o) xo Johanna


    • Johanna, I’m enjoying that designation of “an introvert with social skills”. It’s a good one. I imagine a lot of artists fall into this category, too.

      As for Slinky, I keep a watchful eye on her. We have special cat netting along the backyard fence so that the cats can’t get out to the street. Now that its warm, she likes to sit outside on the back patio in her little green house shelter. It’s meant to shelter plants, but it is working double duty for her.

      I’m so glad you commented on the cupboards. It’s always interesting to me what we see (and take away from) other’s posts. I added those elliptical decals about ten years ago to bring some interest to the white cabinets. They’re a lot of fun.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. People tramping through your garden without your knowledge could set your teeth on edge. You have some good neighbors to notify you. Looks like the squirrels are working on more expensive materials than your glider. Good for them. Love your garage. Ours was always so packed with tools and stuff there was barely room for my car. Everyone has very strong views on this years election. It seems to get worse each time. I keep my mouth shut in that department but your flowers are lovely. Slinky is one lucky cat to have you for a mom. You are one busy lady and I don’t think you could fit in one more thing. I think I need a nap after reading this. As for your question, I think Kate had the answer. I love to see and visit with people but the stress of interaction requires that I take a lot of down time. I don’t have good social skills like Kerry. Tend to social awkwardness but need it none the less. Even in my own home, I have to close myself in my room to recharge from family interaction. I heard about the book “Quiet” from my daughter who is very much the same as is my son. Weird bunch we are. 🙂 I’m the most outgoing of the lot. I hope the rest of this month is kinder to you.


    • Marlene, we have a tight-knit neighborhood here and it is very nice. We all look out for each other. Those squirrels have moved up in the world haven’t they? 😉 I should feel terribly guilty…but I don’t. We’ve encroached so much on their world. They’re doing the best they can in busy neighborhoods. How I wish though that all those utilities were buried. This neighborhood came up in the early sixties so we live with above ground wires and cables. They’re an ugly nuisance but what can be done?

      It was disconcerting seeing a man walk through my garden Saturday morning. He said he rang the doorbell “five times” but no one in the house heard him. I’m glad he’s come and gone. I used to have wind chimes hanging on the gate, but they broke and I never replaced them. Perhaps I can find a loud bell.

      My dad was more of a mix of extrovert and introvert, but not my mom. She preferred minimal social contact and rarely had friends. That said, she was warm and friendly to everyone. She just preferred solitary activities and never enjoyed any kind of fuss.

      Thanks for visiting, Marlene. Hugs and thanks for all your kindnesses.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m completely fed up with politics, Here in the UK it’s all about the referendum on whether to remain in or leave the EU – both sides seem to be represented by deeply unpleasant people making things up. In the end I’ve chosen to vote for what I perceive to be the “least worst”. In fact, I have already voted because I have a postal ballot… now I just want it all to be over with.
    As for the introvert/extrovert question… I was a painfully shy child and I had to work hard to overcome this; it’s possible that, as an adult, I have over-compensated!! It’s all a case of balance, though, isn’t it? We all need some alone time…I find this particularly after periods with lots of contact with other people, when I just want to shut myself away with my crochet.


    • I’ve been reading about the referendum on the UK possibly leaving the EU. Those things tend to be contentious and confounding, with each side sure that they are right. I’m glad you could vote by mail for the “least worse” and hope it is all over with soon.

      I was also painfully shy as a child, but people who know me now are surprised. I learned the art of the social fake: if you act confident and speak up, people won’t notice that you’re shy. It took many years to get to where I am today. I think I will always enjoy a certain amount of solitude.

      I”m so happy you left a comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Phew, what a week! By the way, I love Slinky’s waterproof lookout! I had to giggle at the thought of your dear squirrels nibbling internet cables… do they really do that?! Most of our cables are underground around here, so we rarely have an outage. I’d say I am a sociable introvert. I enjoy being in company, but often wish I had more time to just be alone in my garden!


    • Hi Cathy! Squirrels love to chew, and sadly they are not always discerning. Sometimes they manage to disrupt major power lines, killing themselves in the process. I wish I understood the appeal. How I envy you your underground wires. Newer developments are now built that way, but our neighborhood dates back to the sixties and that was how it was done then. Perhaps one day we’ll all rely on wind or solar and the wires will no longer be necessary.

      So you’re a sociable introvert. That’s a wonderful description. I wish you had more time in your garden. It’s never quite enough when you love it so much, eh?

      I hope your rain is subsiding and you find more hours to work among the greenery. Your garden is absolutely stunning.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Goodness Alys, what with electrical and cable wires, life seems to have been a bit sparky! I am definitely an introvert with good social skills, like Kerry. Or maybe not such good social skills. I actually have to keep them honed. Alas, gardening helps with the solitude.


    • Ha! Lisa, you’re so funny. Yes, lots of spark in my days for sure.

      So, you too are an introvert with social skills. That seems to be a popular designation. I found you to be outgoing and personable when we all met in DC, but like me, many of your pleasurable pastimes are those spent alone: reading, blogging, gardening to name a few.

      I wonder if as we age we revert back to our more comfortable way of life? Last year when I was recovering from surgery during the holidays, I found that I was much more relaxed not feeling pressured to attend parties. I spent more time writing cards and notes, which I enjoy, and only attended one party, surgical boot and all, with a group of dear friends.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Goodness me, Alys. I’m so glad the tree got sorted without mishap!

    It is very generous of you to offer your garage as a polling station. I too wonder why people don’t vote – I wonder if the referendum The Snail of Happiness mentioned will draw more people out….

    Anyway, I think I am extrovert with a need for some solitude 😊.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. What a very busy time of it you have had! I don’t think people are allowed to just wander around gardens here without first knocking on a door, showing their credentials, explaining the problem and gaining permission to wander.

    I wonder if many people who blog are introverts who find it a nice way to socialise in doses that suit them? I know this is so for me. I am mostly introvert, becoming more so as I grow older. Time on my own is very important, time to assess, contemplate, meditate, just be – all these take priority over socialising.

    I love how you offer your garage and look after the volunteers every year. You are a wonderful woman!! ❤


    • Pauline, I don’t know how I missed replying to your comment here. I hope you are doing well. The same holds true here, or should, so this was really odd. With PG&E they do what they need to do to keep everyone safe, and even then, we had a knock on the door. Hopefully it’s another decade before this sort of mishap.

      I suspect a number of bloggers are introverts, who, as you describe, get their social connections in smaller doses and when the mood or need requires. It’s interesting, too, that as we get older and our children leave or prepare to leave the nest, it allows us to reduce what I think of as all the superficial interactions: chatting up other parents at children’s birthday parties, all the school assemblies and events, that sort of thing. I don’t miss that at all. What I miss, though, is you. I wish the physical distance wasn’t so great.


  11. Hello to my favourite ex-pat. Sounds like Grande Central Station at your house lately. You should be A-ok for the rest of the summer now. What could be left to break down? It sounds like your cable company arrived before they were even called. That pretty awesome service isn’t it? Do you think its faster now? I have this image of a squirrel in a Comcast T-shirt, running on a wheel which makes internet service for you. Like a Fred Flintstone contraption. xox


    • Hello world traveler! I’m smiling at the idea of a squirrel in a red Comcast shirt. That would make a great emoji. Too bad I don’t have those skills. Apparently Comcast had a warning signal on there end. I just don’t understand why they showed up without advising us first nor why the customer service rep had so little to go on since Comcast initiated the call. It works now, so that’s a good thing. No faster, but just as fast, so it’s all good.

      Next up is the washing machine which is limping along, even worse today. I had laundry from our travels, C home and M’s backpacking trip, cat bedding, our bedding. Man, do I know how to have a good time. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • LOL, settle down there Cali-girl. No “good times” shall be incurred whilst doing laundries, haha your comment made me laugh. Well gahhhh……laundry! Phooey! Mind you, it’s what little exercise I get, running up and down our stairs to the laundry room which is on the lower level. So, silver lining thingy, glass half full, positive thinking…yadda yada…snickers.

        Just gobbled down an omelet and readying to walk to the National Gallery at Trafalgar Square to walk it off. I’ll be nice and plump by the time you arrive to visit….hahaha. Talley Ho we go. Luv you tons Alys Milner xoxo


        • We can be plump and happy together. I lose a few, I gain a few. Sigh. So, I let the washing machine decision drag on and it finally gave up, but not before spewing grease like soap scum all over the load. Gah. I went to the laundry mat yesterday with piles of laundry and endured the sauna like conditions so I could get it all done for the week. I bought a new set Friday but it won’t be delivered for a week. Fingers crossed.

          Taller Ho, my dear. Paris next. Oh my gosh I’m so excited to see you having a good time.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Hello sweet ((Alys)), popping back to say thank-you for cheering us on. Sorry to hear your week included le laundry mat. Gah! That’s a real pill. Hopefully you’re all sorted out on the appliances now. Speaking of Sauna’s… the Louvre today……900 degree’s !! Well, nearly. The French don’t seem concerned with BO…honestly, Jim was even melting. We tried to see as much as we could before it got the best of us. It was beautiful and breezy once outside though. So that was awesome. I’m homesick today, and just wanting to see you……almost xo ❤


            • Hi Sweetie. I’m sorry you were feeling homesick at the Louvre. It must be in the stale air there. I remember my day at the Louvre and feeling homesick as well. Isn’t that funny? I too was there in July…or maybe it was early August. I much prefer the art in D’Orsay myself. Impressionism, Art Deco furniture, the museum itself. Did you get a chance to visit? I think you would love it.

              Thanks for popping in. You’ll be asleep now. I’m sitting on the couch in the dark tapping this note to you. Mike is next door watching a soccer game with Howard and C jus went to bed. M is Skyping with friends. I just chatted with Julia on her blog about a Skype in July during my visit. I hope we can pull everyone together. Won’t that be wonderful?

              Miss you. It won’t be long now.

              Liked by 1 person

              • ah, la vie est belle! I love quiet nights at home.
                Funny about the Louvre thing for us both. The D’Orsay was on our list but missed I’m afraid. I think we’ve just been touristed ‘out’. So many churches, palaces, museums, sites and beautiful things all crammed in. We had four action packed days though. It took a long time to get round due to the crowds and traffic. Even though we walked a ton. Things look close because they’re so big, then you start walking 😀
                We’ll totally Skype while you’re hear. If everyone needs to pick a day, we can just work the schedule around them. We’ll be in the mountains or traveling between the 20,21,22. Data Svc isn’t super up there. What about the 23, 24 or 25th? It’d be awesome to talk to the girls from my house this time 😀 ❤ ❤ xo toodles


  12. Alys, we DO wait around for the news from you! ❤
    Well, at least we welcome all the news while going about our busy lives 🙂
    What a busy, busy June you have had. You must have been thinking "what next?"
    Even though I already knew that you hosted a polling place, I just have to say again how much I love that you do it. Your commitment to that, and to so many things, is wonderful and one of the things I love about you.
    Now … those squirrels! Glad the swing is intact!


    • Laurie, you made me laugh! Thank you.

      June continues with little slowing down, but we did enjoy a five day respite to Victoria. I actually took two naps while we were away, and went to bed at a decent time every night. We both enjoyed the extra time together, and it rained one day, a little bonus for yours truly.

      It’s exciting taking part in the political process, and it also makes me smile too when I think of people voting in my garage. It seems so incongruous. You inspire me with everything you do for your community. I don’t know anyone else who is so dedicated, committed and involved to improving lives. Sending you a virtual blue ribbon, a gold star, a world-class hug, a high-five and my love and friendship.


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