Monday, January 14, 2013

My Weekend with James Taylor

Ha! I bet that title got your attention, huh? Well, I've been waiting to hear back from my last crit partner on The Earl's Engagement and I bet you know what I've been doing for the last week. Yeah, cleaning my house. When I write, the house kind of gets...you know...messy. This time it was, well, a little bit more than messy. I think this time, my dust bunnies were going to call the housecleaning ladies up the street. I don't really blame them. With all the Christmas goo-ga hanging around, pine needles, tinsel. Yeah, a little overwhelming. 

So, amidst all the madness, I found my big dog had secretly peed on the carpet in the front hall. Yeah, we don't use it at all, so it was a surprise when I went to the hall closet and my feet squished. eewwee. Please don't judge me. I know I'm not the best housekeeper, but the dog pee is not mine. She was soundly yelled at and put outside. She promised never to do it again. (Of course, my telling her she was going to live outside for the rest of her life was probably what made her promise.)

Anyway, I dug out my old James Taylor albums (yes vinyl) and threw them on the turntable. Yup, record player.  The carpet was old so I decided to rip it up. Eewwee. Nothing like soggy dog pee carpet. Once I got the carpet up, I had to take up the foam underneath.  Oh, by the way it's 40 years old, so it was falling apart.  And then under all that, there were the staples and the carpet nail runners. Fun stuff. And I didn't hurt myself. Not once. Yay me.

But, during all the hard work, it was me and James. Singing off key with the front door wide open. I think my across-the-street neighbor was laughing at me. I didn't care. Nothing like old Jimmy boy. Did you know he was from North Carolina? I didn't until about 10 years ago.

I'm not sure what the point of this post is, but I do know that when I was singing with James, it brought about a lot of old memories. And it got me thinking about old books I'd read, back when I used to listen to James at my childhood home on Hendricks Street. L-O-N-G time ago.

I read my first Harlequin romance THE HONEY IS BITTER by Violet Winspear (Still have it too, believe it or not). I read Rod McKuen (ALL of his poetry -- still have all those books too, and a few albums he made.)  National Velvet. Trixie Belden. Louisa May Allcott. Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys. I think I even started Thoreau back then but didn't finish it until 20 years later.

While sweeping and vaccumming up the remainder of the mess in the front hall, I made a promise to myself, that this summer I was going to read all the books I haven't read. The classics. Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Stein, Dickens, Vonnegut. Perhaps they'll help me to be a better writer. lol

Tell me --  Are there books you haven't read, but think you should? What are they? Have you ever ripped up carpet without having anything to put in its place? (Yeah, I probably should have planned that a little better.)

23 comments:

SA Larsenッ said...

No carpet but brick. Funny story: a few years back, my hubby decided to take a sledgehammer to our brick fireplace. Now, we were on the verge of renovating the family room; however...not on Christmas Eve!! We had mega family coming over in the morning. Yeah, he could have planned a bit better. lol)

Em-Musing said...

I've had bursts of cleaning energy like you, many times prompted by cat pee. The WORST! I wish I could let my house go when I write. My space has to be at least straightened up before I can concentrate. And today, I have a cleaning lady coming over. They're SO affordable here in Mexico. Hmm? Let's see how much more productive I'll be...or will I be watching her clean?

Maria Zannini said...

We tore out the carpeting in an old sea captain's house circa 1903. The wood floors underneath were too pretty to cover, so we ditched our original idea and refinished the floors instead.

Ref: James Taylor
That takes me back. Fire and Rain was the first record I ever bought.

Anne Gallagher said...

Sherrie -- Oh yeah, on Christmas Eve. Sounds like something I would do.

Em -- I need a cleaning lady. I just hate to waste time cleaning when I know it will just get dirty again.

Maria -- I wish I had hardwood, but it's just subfloor. I have no idea what to do with it. We never use the front door. But I do know there will be no more carpet.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Love James! Saw him in concert once too.

There are a lot of classics I'd like to read--Moby Dick, War and Peace, and Crime and Punishment are some I have but haven't read yet. That's a good goal to make.

Bossy Betty said...

I love listening to one artist straight through. We don't do that much any more with I-pods and short attention spans.

Yes, I have ripped up wet carpet. I found it pretty satisfying. I lived with the concrete for months.

Reading? I would like to read more Hemingway.

Bish Denham said...

In my mind I'm going to Carolina... When I need to do some serious cleaning I put on Frampton Live. And yup it's vinyl and a turn table for me too.

As for classics I think I should read? Hmmm, The Grapes of Wrath is on my nightstand waiting patiently.

Lydia Kang said...

Ah, James. His voice always calms me down, whenever i hear it on the radio!

Linda G. said...

Love me some James Taylor. Glad you didn't hurt yourself with the carpet! :)

Hannah Kincade said...

I used to think I should read all the classics and then a few years ago, I realized it was a futile waste of time to force myself to read something just because it's a "classic." If it's intrigues me, I'll read it. Otherwise, classics be damned!! BE. DAMNED!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

So many books, so little time. I used to love read Thomas Hardy, but I haven't read any other classics lately.
Did you ever see the classic Twilight Zone episode when Burgess Meredith is hounded for reading too much, so he hides in a vault to read and the rest of the world is destroyed while he's down there? He emerges alone with all the time and books he could want. Then he steps on his glasses. :(

Sarah Ahiers said...

Dog pee is the number 1 reason why we only have carpet in one of our rooms

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Maybe you should thank your dog for prodding you to do a job you probably needed to do. Our cats inspire me to shampoo our carpets much more frequently than I'd ever do if left to my own devices. Heck, left to my own devices, the house could jolly well clean itself. (sigh... in my dreams)

As for books, I've (gasp) never read any of the Harry Potter books.

Carol Kilgore said...

There are many, many books I want to read. I need to learn to speedread. I still have my Trixie Belden books.

Believe me, if that carpet was 40 years old, it needed to go long before you ripped it up. No matter if you don't have replacement flooring. You did good :)

Anne Gallagher said...

Jennifer -- Your list is extremely lofty. I don't think I could get through Doestevsky. And I hate to start something and not finish it. Unless it's scary.

Betty -- I forgot how much I enjoyed listening to whole albums. Yeah, when we were kids, we lived with sheetrock and subfloor for years. Doesn't really bother me. Yet.

Bish -- I almost put Frampton on! But figured I would air guitar much more than pull staples.

Lydia -- I know. He should be turned into Prozac or Valium.

Linda -- Yeah, me too. I was waiting to stab myself with nails, or whack myself with the hammer.

Hannah -- ROTFLMAO! I hear you. BUT I think I can make it through a couple of Hems and a Vonnegut before I give up.

Tricia -- OMG! I DID see that episode! Crazy. I love that show. It's soooo thought provoking. How about the one when the woman wants to be turned into a pig face and the "operation" goes horribly wrong and she ends up beautiful and every one shuns her because she's different. Don't get me started, I could go on and on about Twilight Zone.

Sarah -- My whole house is carpeting, which I absolutely hate. One room at a time, and I guess starting with the smallest has just shown me that I need to hire professionals to come in and run hardwoods throughout. (Yeah, when I win the lottery.)

Susan -- The carpet was on the list to take up, but I was kind of hoping to wait until I had something to put down on top of it.
I've only read one Harry Potter.

Carol -- Thanks. I hated that carpet. You're right, it did have to go, but I was kind of hoping to have the hardwood to put down. Now it's going to drive me crazy until it's finished.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Um, is it bad that I don't know who James Taylor is?

And don't feel bad about the house keeping. I finished my first draft yesterday and finally got around to doing housework today. That lasted an hour before I got bored. lol

~Sia McKye~ said...

I scrubbed my kitchen down and the floor, does that count for something? lolol!I really, really, want to pull up my carpet in the dining room and put in new tile in the kitchen and dinning room. Pulling carpet is no fun.

I remember James Taylor but to be honest, I could only take so much of him when he was still sorta popular--there are a few of his songs I liked. I have a couple of oldies playlists I like to listen to.

I've read a lot of the classics. There isn't anything I really feel need to read. I do have some of my grandparent's books. I have lots of old books of poetry. I've always liked poetry from the 1800's.

These days I read what entertains me and offers fun worlds to visit.

Rula Sinara said...

Hey if you have to rip up carpet, might as well have great music to keep you company!

I'm so behind on my TBR list it's not funny.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

That's great you're going to get some classics in there! I've been neglecting those as of late.

Al said...

I would like to read anything other than research at the moment!

Elliot Grace said...

...my wife is spontaneous in that way, always finding something to re-paint, cut out, or tear down. Makes my evenings interesting ;)

Preparing to read King's Under the Dome, just bracing myself for the marathon.

El

Jayne said...

Like you, I'd like to read the classics. I haven't even read any Jane Austen. Or Dickens. So many gaps in my reading history - and yet, surely, I've forever had my nose in a book?! So yes, this year - the classics! Hope your crit goes well. :)

Deniz Bevan said...

Lots! I've got a whole list in the sidebar of my blog of books I have but haven't read yet. Crime and Punishment is one... Tess of the D'Urbervilles... Oh there are so many... I'll join you in the summertime reading!