I Remember Stuff Like That

Wash Day – Sunday

wolverine waching tub and machine

At six years, Sunday proved the longest day of the week.  Once returned home from church, the hours passed so very slowly. Dad napping on the sun-room divan still wearing his Sunday suit pants and white shirt rolled up to his elbows. His tie draped onto the maple lounge chair nearby. The Sears and Roebuck catalog lay on the floor, inches from his fingers. Mom was somewhere in the house doing Mom things.

Oh how much more time was there to end the day. The school kids in my neighborhood vanished on Sundays. All dressed for church – not for running around the neighborhood. Perhaps they had company.

Sitting on the front porch alone, watching cars drive by what would I do? This day I decided to wash clothes.

Pulling out my tiny washing machine, I filled it with with water, begged for a little Tide detergent then gathered my doll’s clothing. There I sat, rhythmically cranking the miniature plungers up and down dislodging the make believe filth from my sedentary doll’s clothes.

wolverine washing machine toy

The glass faceted wash tub sported a mini-wringer used to squeeze water from the wet laundry. Once the laundry was suitably clean, I refilled the washer with fresh water and proceeded to rinse the soap from the fabric. One more wringing out and I was done. I scattered the wet clothes on the porch floor near the sudsy puddles and rinse water puddles.

Well, I made a mess of the porch. The sun would take care of that for me. Besides, I had something else I wanted to do.

But I was not sure what that was? Something fun to make this goshdarnlongSunday go away. The dog. Where was the dog. “Tiny!” I called leaving my naked doll sun-bathing, patiently waiting for someone to pick her up and perhaps dress her in her nice, clean clothes. I suppose Mom did her Mom thing on the front porch while I searched for Tiny. Don’t quite remember that part.

Never knew what happened to the little wringer washer. It disappeared somehow.

Anybody out there remember those long Sundays or perhaps that little Wolverine washing machine? I found a picture of it tonight. It is just as I remembered.

I hope my memories last longer than those goshdarnlongSundays of long ago.

Sleep well my friends.

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While unpacking and constructing another closet with more shelves, my manuscript beckons.

2015, behind the kitchen wall stood a large, yawning, washer/dryer closet abandoned by the previous owner. Inside were cut off pipes, plugged faucets, a ceiling vent and odd things hung on the wall—an old clock with tiny knick/knack shelves and a little drawer. A clock in a closet? My first thought: “What a waste of space!”

What to do with this big “hole”?



Move the back wall forward. Result: a functioning closet! And the small kitchen would be larger! First I had to investigate if the closet was a support wall. It was not! With care, I ripped out the walls conscious not to cut pipes or wiring.bigcloset2

Next, with guidance and assistance from Brother-in-law, the water was turned off  as was the power. We redirected the plumbing and wiring seen at the right as they were connected to the basement and the second story bathrooms. This alleviated  the clutter of four individual switch plates and a furnace thermostat on two wall surfaces.

bigcloset4After Brother-in-law left, I moved all switches to one multi switch plate at the kitchen entrance from the hallway whose lights were also part of that grouping. The furnace thermostat was relocated to the opposite wall near the cellar door.

At left, the ceiling is ripped out to install plumbing and wiring and to relocate the ceiling fan above to where the stove would sit.

The chimney back was now exposed.  Although it had great point work on three sides, the grouting was sloppily applied within the interior walls. Who would ever peek inside a wall? Well, I did. With chisel, maul and a step-ladder, I tapped the excess grout to a decent finish. Finding similar colored grout from an old project, I filled the voids. bigcloset5+Paul

I designed a special, fireproof kitchen wall. The aim was to allow our wood stove to sit seven inches away from the wall  instead of a foot and a half (or so) per regulations involving sheet rock and wood framing. And to keep the wall cool.
First a reflective foil was stapled to the wall, then metal studs were added onto which cement backer board was attached with a cut out gap for air space above and below allowing a convection of cool air to travel behind the wall as it warms from the reflective heat of the stove. Brother-in-law constructed the metal studs and helped install the heavy cement backer boards. I coated the entire wall with cement compound similar to stucco. Brother-in-law then constructed a sheet-metal panel which Hubby attached to the stove, suspending it a few inches away from behind the firebox. Works great!

2017, back to the closet, behind the kitchen, I had had visions of a closet on the right side for work clothes and boots. The left side would house the vacuum, trash cans and shelves for foodstuffs. However, that was two years ago.

Sometimes it pays to stop a project taking another look at it from a different vantage point. Like writing a MS (manuscript). The story is going well. Why wouldn’t the public love my story? Some scenes are so sad and heart wrenching, they never fail to make me cry at each edit. That is when I exclaim, “This is it! I must be done.”

Finding a beta-reader to give me an honest review was the next step. After a lot of searching, I found three! One was a relative with no interest in Young Adult. He was encouraging but he did not understand Deep Point of View. Nor did the other two. However, all three pointed to nearly the same parts of the book that need re-write and they provided pointers about character development. The encouraging part was I had great and believable dialogue. BUT in their opinion it was not truly a YA but a Middle Grade story. It was, in two reader’s opinion a great MG manuscript. But that is their opinion and we all agree that I must make the decision on my own.

Jo think

What do I do? Nix the YA challenge and stick with and develop the MG aspects of my MS? That notion rolls around in my head as I build additions to the house. Since I have started a second MS depicting the same characters, but two years later, perhaps it makes sense to make that the YA story I had hoped for. The protagonist in the first MS is on the cusp of young adulthood. Perhaps the reviewers are right on. Something to ponder.

This spring we finally sold our NH home! How wonderful that felt. No more long trips to maintain property a three-hour drive away. We finally moved into our present home, lock, stock and barrel! And believe me, we have more stock than available storage.

After the move and now standing at the closet with a new perspective, I nixed the original closet design.




Since I had already inserted one shelf and a dividing wall, I painted everything white and proceeded on with my second design. A complete closet for jackets, boots and deep storage shelves above. As you see, there is abundant shelf area making great use of the height and width of the closet.

Share and like. Tell me about your great projects and decision making during those projects.

It’s great to hear a few words from all of you.



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A Cake-Walk With No Shelf To Spare

I know you haven’t heard from me. I was a bit occupied. Sharpened the old hammer and nails and built a bunch of shelves.

We finally moved out of NH.

Our Maine home has huge closets, but shelving is very limited.

Why 24″ between closet shelves? At the left, you see big gaps between shelves.

Where there were three, now there are five!

At the left, I widened the single 10″ clothes closet shelf and added a second story.

At the right, this closet’s bottom shelf is now over 22 inches deep and the top shelf is 12.

No more tall stacks of clothes teetering, falling to the floor. Big improvement!

Next: finish a closet started two years ago. It had been a huge, empty closet meant for a washer and dryer. I moved the back wall inward, creating more space in the kitchen located behind the closet. This freed up space permitted the installation of a fireproof wall and a kitchen, wood-cook stove directly behind the new, smaller closet.

Next plan: enlarge the walk-in closet upstairs. Big bedroom and the closet doesn’t have enough… you got it… shelves and rods!

You do what you gotta do.
I’m off to create a building materials list. That Shelter Institute course my son and I took years ago taught us how to build with confidence. It paid off more than once. After building my Post and Beam home in the 90’s, this is a cake-walk.

Any projects in your neck of the woods?

Please leave a comment and share.

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A House Full of Boxes – Where Is That Key?

The world’s greatest packer here.

All boxes taped solid, each box marked—contents, how to handle and where to deposit.


I like order!

Contemplating the move from New Hampshire back to Maine, advice came in from all quarters:

  • Hire a mover.
  • Get a large box truck.
  • Sell it all.
  • Have an auction.
  • Hire my friend—and his truck—and his friends.
  • Pack books by theme and organize them—like a library.
  • I’ll be there, just call me.
  • Buy moving boxes and white wrapping paper. No newsprint!
  • I got a trailer you can use. It’s an open trailer, pack it all at once and move everything in a day—just be sure it doesn’t rain.
  • Move it all into the garage and move it out later.
  • Rent a storage unit.
  • Leave it all behind.
  • $9-10,000 is a good price for all you got to move. That should be the worse case scenario.


Hubby and I stopped talking and got busy.

  • What! You’re moving it yourself?
  • Hire someone to pack. You don’t have to do that.
  • You’re too old to do all that work.
  • Hire a mover!

No one asked what we wanted.

Our concern? Others packing would be a disadvantage—our not knowing where things were. That “good price” was too steep. We’d moved before—no one helped unless we begged at the last minute. Those buyer walk-through days had been met each time. We were successful this time too! The house was empty in ten days!

Day two, we packed an open trailer and a relative hauled it leaving it in our new yard. Arriving a few days later with a very heavy load in our box trailer and pickup, Hubby and I unpacked both trailers and truck. The next day, we were off again to NH.

What made it work for us was a special condition agreed to by the buyer—leasing the garage at closing. We moved out of the house ten days, in time for closing. Now we had thirty days to clear out the two-story, four bay garage. We made it in twenty-nine days! We now have thirty days to clear out the sawmill building. At the end of this month, we will be home free! Done! C’est tout finis! Finiti! Terminado! Back to painting and writing!

Okay! Calm down.

Why so long? Hubby and I were the crew. We spent days sorting, packing and going to the recycling center (I call it “the dump”) to dispose of unwanted stuff. We sold a few big items by hauling them to dealers for consignment. Each trip was three hours, sometimes more. Back pain was excruciating. It was difficult and exhausting.

Advice was replaced with “I told you so” comments! A few poked fun at how we just loved to move the hard way. Why not be happy for us? Why not congratulate us for what we accomplished—by ourselves?

We didn’t know how in the world we could carry the heavy furniture into the house and up a flight of stairs. We had struggled to move it to the trailer from the house. While dreading how to move our last heavy piece of furniture to the trailer, our young neighbor volunteered! He was fantastic. Later, he informed us of his bad back gotten while on duty in Afghanistan, but not to worry! He was glad to help. Bless his soul. At the other end, we hired two high school boys who gladly moved furniture upstairs and down with ease! Youth and strength go hand in hand. One hauled lobster traps with his dad, that explained his ability to pick up what we could not. Bless their souls! And very nice too.

My step daughter is very good at cleaning out barns and selling ‘stuff’ of interest to


Time for a break.

collectors. I snapped several photos to help promote the sale of the ‘stuff’ left behind.

One of the items we decided to sell was my old snow blower. They ignition key is packed in one of the boxes labeled KEYS. She needs that within a few days.

“Hmm. Hun, have you seen the box marked Keys?”

Hubby stares at the jungle of boxes.

No response.

Share and tell us about your moving experiences.



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I Won!

HappyMeerkatreviews  had a promotion for a book on her blog.

When I spotted it, I thought, “Nah. I won’t get it.”

My other self said. What’s the matter? You deserve it like anyone else who signs up for it. Give it a shot. So, I did—I also sent it a positive vibe.

I had, a few weeks before, finished reading Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention and have been trying to live by his doctrine.

It really works! Focusing on different situations in my life, I decided they needed another approach. His philosophy, change you mind and change your life, has a lot to offer.

I focused on what was possible based on the power of intention and voila, it works! We sold our home and are moving to another state and I won this wonderful book A Lucky Day by Carlos J. Server.

Perhaps you will say, “Yeah. Right! Coincidence. Nothing more.”

“Well then, who made it happen? The Universe is big and I am part of it all as you are. It takes the power of the Universe to help you along your way to the power of intention.”

I am happy. I will read a happy book about a lucky day!

Thanks Carlos and HappyMeerkat. 

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I Had To Put It Into Words

What is River Fork?

A coming of age YA story.

Why did I write it?

As a former teacher, I encouraged my high school students to write. One  particular assignment required an autobiography titled: “Fact, Fiction or Fix-it Autobio.”  Over the years my students, because of the title, felt comfortable enough to share stories I would never have been privy to.


comment to beta read

I empathized at how much some had suffered in their short life. In particular was the loss of a parent, sibling or  a friend.

My mother died in a fire — my sister and I witnessed the event. I was five, my sister was seven. Needless to say, we never forgot. It is indelibly etched in my memory. So much detail for such a young mind.

Being aware of my students’ stories, a story evolved in my head for two years. My brain cranked out scenarios. At first it was a morass of imagery. How would I best present my idea. Picture book? Children’s book? Family story book? I wasn’t a writer. I wrote poetry and still do and tuck it away in a briefcase. But writing a book?

Since I am an artist, I began with cute pictures and stories. Then the story grew. It didn’t need to be cute — loss is not cute. I needed honesty and a theme, a plot, etc… . What did I get myself into?

I had to put it into words. As I began the writing process, I adjusted the length and breadth of the story. Years later, I found time in my retirement to finish the MS.

These last four years were devoted to researching the writing craft, improve my writing skills and understanding the different publishing options. Needless to say, the times have surely changed the publishing process since I first put pen to paper.

The story:

  • Timeline: 1957
  • Theme: the loss of a parent.
  • Setting: fictitious town of River Fork, NH.
  • Characters: Three neighboring teens who live in  a farming community.
  • It is about coming of age, death, forgiveness, hope and faith, budding romance.
    • It contains a bit of paranormal (no magical potions, witches, vampires, violence, etc…)
Are you a beta reader?

The MS has been line critiqued and gone through several revisions

Presently, I need a critique from a few beta readers willing to give me an honest review. Comment if interested.

If you wish to work with me in this endeavor, your name will be mentioned in the credits and I will gift you a digital copy of my YA novel once it is published.


I’ve since begun a sequel—Roach’s story.

Please like, comment and share this post.


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I Think I Got It … Kinda.



Yes, I’m really here… 😉


Been writing for a while.

Blogs, that is.

I do have a manuscript for a YA novel that I am interested in publishng as well.

But this is about social media.

I find social media protocols strange. Some give an option, then it really is not what I think it will be.

Two days ago, I clicked on that ‘bell’ located at the top of my WP window. This time it worked! All the other times nothing happened. So I had given up.

Like I said, I clicked it the other day and there  was a list of people following me. My Twitter account had notified me I had these followers, but I couldn’t find them in the Twitter followers listing. Perplexing at the time.

Here they are in my WP account. Beautiful!

I experienced an epiphany. Things started to connect. So that is how it comes together. Now to make it work for me.

I did redirect my website to my WP account. It is http://www.jmorise.com . And, I am the one who solves a lot of issues for my hubby’s computer as well as mine. I taught computer science for 20+ years. Therefore, give me a break before judging me. I retired just as social media was coming of age. I was not interested at the time. I was busy painting and writing my MS and fulfilling a whole lot of obligations. Retirement finds me just as busy as when I was employed.

Does anyone else out there find social media difficult to digest?

I’m not talking about posting a picture and requesting likes. That is what I call a scrap-book or a family album.

Comments from like-minded participants as well as likes are my goal.

As I said, I think I got it… .

Leave a comment, a like and please share.


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