Country Scribe : Eric Bergeson's Weblog

April 22, 2005

Cooling off

After several days of beautiful weather, things got cool. Kind of a relief. Sales slowed a bit. I went home and took a three hour nap.

Early this morning, I drove to Mahnomen to speak to their high school awards breakfast. They had a speaker cancel out a couple of days before the event, so I was called.

The awards program was held at St. Micheal's Catholic Church. I had to have a phone to call in the radio show--and assumed the church would have one, but it did not. The priest, Father Rick, had to take me to the rectory and I called from there.

Then back to the church basement where I admonished the drowsy students to make their beds. As my Uncle Rolly said, the surest sign of adulthood is when one makes his or her bed.

It went fine, although in the end I could have organized the speech better. I was drawing on old talks given to young students, and my memory turned out to be a little fuzzy. The stories I had selected to tell disappeared out of my head--I was grasping a bit, although I don't think anybody knew any better.

I was so tired out from the past few days--moving is exhausting--that I went right to bed after getting back from Mahnomen.

It is going to be busy at the nursery for the next six weeks. That is what we want. However, the prospect of dealing with the public for many, many hours per day is a bit daunting.

SWAMP CASTLE PROGRESS: The fireplace, pictured below, is near completion. I think it will be very unusual. Reviews thus far are mixed. I took gift shop manager Dot out to show her the progress, and she said the fireplace gave her the chills--in a good way.

I played the piano again today, this time with the lid down. The acoustics in the house right now are sort of like that of a concert hall--it really, really sounds resonant and loud. Too much so. Even with the lid down on the piano, it fills up the entire house. I hope the carpet tones things down a bit.

April 21, 2005


Dean works on the beam framework around the gas fireplace.

Thoughts on moving

The last thing to go is the stuff under the bathroom sink. I was going to say that you are really moved when you bring your toothbrush to the new place, but I will change that to--you are moved when the Sani-flush canister goes out the front door.

I filled a garage with boxes of stuff here at the apartment. The garage is only about 12 steps from the dumpster. Most of the stuff in the garage belongs in the dumpster. We'll see if any of it gets there over the summer, or if I will drag the whole shebang into the new house--where it will stay until I die.

Apartment life will be interesting. I had parked only a few minutes in front of the garage when old Orville came down from upstairs to say that I shouldn't park there, especially about noon when he goes uptown to Senior Meals. He's in garage number seven, and while he understands that it is tempting to park there, it makes it tough for him to get his car out.

Later in the day, Cassio parked the old Mercury way across from garage number seven--and immediately got a knock at the door from somebody who said he'd better move it because Orville's hit two cars there already--he apparently backs out fast and at some length. So Cassio moved. Then I came along to unload more stuff and somebody came out to make sure I moved--because they had parked their Ford Taurus there, about forty feet away from garage number seven, a Taurus they had just fixed up (I didn't know any Tauri were old enough to fix up) and by gum if Orville didn't total the thing on his way to Senior Meals.

Uff da. So, there's nothing simple about apartment life in Fertile even if there are five empty apartments in this building.

Then I talked to Agnes across the hall. Agnes is as upright and dignified a lady as you'll ever find, so I told her that we would try not to make too much noise for her, and she looked at me deadpan and said, "I am the one who causes trouble here!"

So, this should be an interesting two months.

MEANWHILE back at the Swamp Castle, Jeff and Dean finished the beam work in the kitchen and dining area and it looks beautiful. I decided we should use the left over beams from the house project to make a fireplace, so we spent a while designing that--I got carried away and left late for the Christian Women's Club meeting in McIntosh, arriving about two minutes before the meeting started.

THIS MORNING, we close on the house. It is relatively clean, but not deep cleaned. I discovered it is difficult to clean if you've already packed away the cleaning supplies. But selling a house to people who are eager to move in is a different proposition than moving out of an apartment. There is no deposit to get back, for one thing. And I don't think spots on the bathroom mirror are going to bust the deal.

April 20, 2005

Movin on

The past couple of days have been too full to make an entry into the weblog. I have been moving. The house is now empty. I am exhausted.

Cassio and I have moved into the apartment in Fertile. Things are still packed.

The moving coincided with a busy speaking schedule. Last night, I went to Ulen to speak to the Nursing Home volunteer banquet. This morning I spoke to the Christian Women's Club in McIntosh, and then went over to the new retirement/assisted living building to play for the residents. This evening, I spoke to the Pennington County Home Extension Spring Gathering.

So, I am shot. All of the speeches went as well as could be expected.

The house is progressing--all the beams are up. The piano movers came and dragged the grand into the new living room.

Whoa, was the sound spectacular in the new house. Of course, there is no carpet yet, so it echoed quite a lot.

Well, enough for tonight! I am fried. Bear with me please, you regulars!

April 18, 2005

Manic Monday

It was non-stop today. The phone rang off the hook with people eager to plant. I needed to get going on moving out of the house. I also had three different people come for landscape plans.

The most sobering problem to arise was my sewer. It stopped taking water last night during a shower. So, I talked to the plumber and then had Tim the septic man come out. Looks like the house needs a new drainfield put in.

The timing is bad, of course, discovering that three days before closing. However, I wouldn't have wanted to stick the new owners with a bad drain field and then have to live near them for the next few years. It was my problem. It has cause the washer to overflow a lot, so it would happen again.

So, that was a little setback.

Later in the day, I took a couple of the guys and went to town with two loads of stuff. Just stuff. Junk. The more I deal with it, the more stupid it seems. It went in the storage garage.

I look forward to getting settled in the apartment and having a stable place to live. This is the last night in my house after seven years, and I haven't an ounce of nostalgia.

Beam work

After a crazy, crazy day, I went out to my new house and saw the beams that Jeff and Dean put up today. What a sight for sore eyes! I am convinced of the psychological benefits of wood.

Beautiful Monday

What a perfect morning. Motivated by the presence of a hungry 19-year-old in the house, I got up to make eggs and pancakes. Cassio snarfed them down. His only question was why I bother with that coffee maker. He just heats up water, puts in the grounds and waits for it to settle. Then he adds a couple of tablespoons of sugar.

Last night, we had a discussion about movies. I told him that one of my favorites was "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," and Cassio pointed to the word "Flew" on the computer screen (I had done a search to show him the movie's characters) and said -- what does that mean?

I flapped my arms. He said, "what about..." and he mimicked vomiting. No, I said that is "threw up." He was sure that he had seen something about "flew" in connection with throwing up, and it took me a while to catch on: Flu. Flew. So, I explained the difference and threw in "flue" for good measure.

Cassio said the hardest word for him to pronounce is squirrel. Portuguese doesn't have a "qu" sound. I spelled the pronounciation out as "skawerrel." That did little good. I am reminded how difficult it is for me to pronounce the "u" in Norwegian or Swedish.

April 17, 2005

First Busy Saturday

Yesterday was the first Saturday of gardening seminars at the nursery this spring, and the first day of real business. I gave three seminars and the rest of the crew sold trees, made coffee, refilled the donuts, rang the till and watered in the greenhouse.

Brazilian exchange worker Cassio worked his first day. His English isn't at all bad, and I think it will get better quickly when he is dealing with people all day long. At his last place of work, a dairy farm in Wisconsin, Cassio pretty much worked alone milking cows and then lived with a group of other Brazilians. He could function by speaking Portugeuse. No such luck here at the nursery.

At least two people called Cassio "Picasso" throughout the day, so he'll have to get used to that. Dad observed that he already shows a decided preference for work which involves machinery, a tendency which appears in most young males.

This morning, I was intent up on sleeping in, but Cassio was up at 6:30 making himself eggs, washing the dishes and generally cleaning up. By 7:30 he knocked on my door to say that he was heading over to the nursery to work. That will be a shock to the people over at the nursery!

I am using the morning to pack boxes with my stuff. I hope to be moved to town by Tuesday or Wednesday. Confronting years of accumulated (and largely useless) stuff brings back old emotions and causes me to feel overwhelmed. The move has dominated my dreams--all night I am trying, trying, trying to get my stuff down to the car--usually out of some dorm room. I am always late. There is always something more. Always.

Speaking of dreams, last night I dreamt I was on a bus tour going past Leech Lake. An enormous iceberg broke off a glacier on the lake, and just as I said "how fortunate we were to see that rare event," a tsunami unleashed by the iceberg overwhelmed the bus and swept it off the road. We floated in the icy waters for quite a while before finding dry ground. Busy night.

Back to reality: Last night about 9:30 or so, I stepped outside and immediately was stunned by the biggest falling star I have ever seen. It was green--like a magnesium flare. It was so big it took my breath away--sort of like seeing a snake in the grass.

Oh, those Twins. They roll on. Six games in a row. Another minor-leaguer comes up and does the job: Steve Gassner pitched six innings and gave up only one run. The Twins should get rid of Kyle Lohse right now and put a minor leaguer like Gassner in the rotation.

The one mistake Terry Ryan, the Twins' General Manager, was alleged to make last winter was to sign infielder Juan Castro to a million-dollar contract. Castro was mediocre in spring training and made the team largely because they have to pay him anyway.

Well, Castro saved the game Friday night with a play which Ron Gardenhire figured was the most spectacular defensive play he had ever seen in his years of baseball--and he made a couple of more impossible plays which may have saved the game yesterday afternoon. The Twins defense has been really good so far--and that was where they were supposed to be slacking off.

I watched a replay of the game on Fox last night. I was so tired that it was entertaining even though I knew the outcome. In fact, I kind of enjoy watching a game on tape.

AFTER SIGNING THE PURCHASE agreement on the house, the new owners asked if they could start putting things in the detached garage, which is in fact an old farm building which is barely standing. I said sure. A little later they asked if they could repair the roof so that it wouldn't leak on their stuff, and I said sure.

That evening, they pulled into the yard with two pickups, a horse trailer, a camper, a van and two cars and started tearing off shingles. The radio blared and the beer flowed. The engine on one of the pickups lost oil pressure and had started knocking about a mile from here, so that sat there for a couple days. Aw hell, it has 160,000 on it anyway.

A day later, I came home to find my flower bed all weeded and fenced off with white wire fence. The shingling continues on the sagging roof.

There were so many cars in the yard--a new thing for this house--that friend Dale, who drove by, called me on his cell phone to ask "just what the hell is going on up there?"

I couldn't hear a thing inside the house, so it didn't matter to me.