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Things the house needs (10/02/2011)
By Frances Edstrom

There’s an advantage to living your whole life in your home town. And that is that when your old classmates who were too cool to stay in Winona come home to visit family, they will often look you up. Of course I don’t live in my home town, but I’ve adopted John’s, and also his Winona Senior High classmates, as my own.

My own home town has become a much different place from the one I grew up in. The population has tripled. My old grade school and high school are closed. And the people who bought my parents’ house, which was a nice place on large lot, lopped off the main story den and built another house right next to the old one, making two really ugly houses. Not only that, but Framingham, Mass., has been in the news a lot recently for rather unseemly things. First President Obama’s uncle got into trouble for drunk driving and being here illegally. Then today I read that “A 26-year-old Massachusetts man has been arrested and accused of plotting to destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol with large remote-controlled aircraft filled with explosives.

“Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland was arrested Wednesday in Framingham when undercover federal agents delivered materials he’d requested for his alleged plan, including grenades, six machine guns and what Ferdaus believed was C-4 explosive.”

The guy’s house in Ashland is a few blocks from where my brother-in-law lives. I hope they don’t know each other.

But adopting Winona as a home town has been a good move. Last weekend, two of John’s old classmates came to town — Don Burleigh and Mark Weisman. They did the tourist thing, including the Winona County History Center, where they saw the old fire engine that Mark donated to the History Center in memory of his father, Herman, who had given it to the fire department, which kept it until just recently.

On Sunday, we invited a bunch of people out for brunch. John loves to cook brunch. Mark Weisman had already left for home in Oakland, CA. But Don and his other friend Mark came out to see our “new house.”

We had the coffee pot going, the toaster plugged in, and at the last minute decided that there were so many scrambled eggs we should use the big electric fry pan, which I plugged in and turned on. Suddenly, the coffee maker wasn’t making coffee, the toaster wasn’t toasting, and the fry pan wasn’t frying. We had blown a fuse. This is the second time, so you’d think we would know better. It’s the same fuse that the refrigerator is on, too.

It took a couple guys to figure out where the fuse was, but we didn’t have the right replacement fuse. Oh well. The coffee pot was moved into the dining room. The toaster got propped up on a kitchen stool and plugged into a different circuit, and we decided that the stove would have to work for the eggs.

Brunch turned out great. After all the company left, I got out my “List of Things the House Needs,” and added “replace fuses with circuit breakers.” That should make some electrician happy.

In the meantime, I guess we’ll just have to go out to eat! 


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