Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday, Insomnia is a problem

$46.72,  I know we went grocery shopping this weekend, so why were we almost out of milk, had no tortillas, peanut butter, cottage cheese ,whip cream, string cheese,lunch meat.  Where was I when we were shopping?  Good grief.  Made a salad, took out a meat loaf, opened a can of green beans.  Today I know we will have a salad, and I think I will pull out a fish from the freezer.  I would prefer chicken but hub's says I cook too much chicken.

     Because I was slothful the last two days I forced myself to sew last night when I got home from the studio, so I am only $25.00 short of my quota and I will catch up today.  I had another night of hardly any sleep.  So I have that strange feeling behind my eyes like I am not in my own body.  I don't like it at all.

     Had a really good laugh with my Sissie yesterday.  Her business is suffering from the bad weather back east. But I can make her laugh.  I need to get busy and get a ticket to her place.  Her surgery is just over a month away.  We will have so much fun together.  I can hardly wait.  Don't have to pay for the plane ticket, but am really low on funds right now and with the taxes I might be flat broke when I get there.  We don't need much just each other and we can be stupid with no money.  I hope we can convince my younger sister to come out for the weekend, then things will get really wild.

     Sis was making fun of me yesterday.  She reads the blog everyday and says I am annoying.  Then I tell her she is just like me so I don't want to hear about it. Sisters are wonderful until they become a know it all.

     Need to start some laundry today and clean up the shop a little.   I also need to mail a package to daughter, which I will do on the way down to the studio this afternoon.  I wonder how many more days I can go without cleaning the family room, when I walk across the carpet my pants get covered with dog hair.  Is that a sign?

     Morning times were hectic in the three room flat that the children called home.  They were on the sixth floor of a tenement walk up in New York City. Nels had taken the top floor because it gave them immediate access to the roof. It was also much colder and hotter than the apartments below, but with nine bodies crammed into one sleeping chamber, they could stay warm at night.  The roof was a cooler place to sleep in the stifling summer.A fire escape was outside the kitchen window and allowed the children to climb up on the flat roof top, it was like having another room.  A large room where the nine of them could spread out a little and the younger ones could run and make noise.  There was one other apartment on the top floor which had four rooms.  At the end of the hall on every level of the building there was an indoor privy.  It was shared by both apartments.  It consisted of a very small closet with a flushing toilet. This was a luxury to the children who were used to the privies of the old country.  Their Swedish home had an indoor hand pump for water but an outdoor privy.

     Nels sat Audra in a chair and gave her a piece of bread, then both he and Millie raced to the toilet.  Millie had a head start, but Nels legs were longer and he beat her slamming the privy door right in front of her.  Millie stood and waited thinking she was lucky it was just her and Nels.  If the others had gotten up at the same time there would have been a real ruckus in the hall.  Lucky for the children the other flat was rented to an invalid German woman and her two unmarried children. They were quite and stern.  They went by the name of Stahl shortened from Stahlburg.  The mother never left the apartment.  She was cared for by her daughter and her son worked to support them.  They were patient with the young ones and rarely spoke.
Language was a barrier, although the children had been working on English since before they left Sweden, the Stahls seemed to have no desire to speak anything but German.

     Back at the flat Nels added coal to the stove and stirred the ashes under the coffee pot. Millie would soon take  be over and cook a mixture of thick salted oats. The oats had been soaking all night and what the children did not eat would be put in an pan to congeal in the ice box.  If you were hungry later in the day the oatmeal could be sliced and fried or eaten cold. Sometimes when there was extra money they would add raisins to the oatmeal, that would make the day special.

     Nels began to wake his younger brothers and sisters, they grumbled , poked, stretched and yawned.  The girls were the first to the privy today as it was an even day of the week.  Tomorrow on the odd days the boys would be first.  It was a system worked out by Nels to keep the noise and the scuffling down in the hallway.  The boys complained that they should always go first after all they could do the job together, which thoroughly disgusted Millie.  Wilhelm and Dil were sent down to the first floor with buckets to get fresh water.  Millie had poured one of the buckets into a large reservoir beside the oven to heat for washing and rest was used for coffee and cooking.  Oskar the oldest of the three would go and wait for the ice man

     Wilhelm and Dil raced down the stairs buckets clanging, making about as much noise as they possibly could once they reached the third floor and thought they were out of hearing range of Millie.  There were 10 apartments total in the building with a butcher shop on the street level.  The boys did not know that they were called the building alarm clock.  Seven days a week you could trust the Bjorklund boys to come banging down the stairs about 6 a.m.  Down a long dim hall lit only with a small gas light the two boys would run out to the back yard of the tenement.  There were two large water pumps and each would start to pump and see who could fill their bucket the fastest.  Then much more slowly and carefully the buckets would be carried back up the six flights of stairs.

     Oskar followed his two younger brothers down  to wait at the bottom by the front door for the ice man.  He carried with him a large burlap sack that would hold the ice.  The ice man delivered early every morning. He would carry the ice block all the way up to the top floor for a fee.  Oskar paid for two blocks of ice, which Barry the iceman's boy stacked on Oskar's sack.  Usually either Dill or Wilhelm would meet Oskar on the second or third floor to help him shift the ice up the stairs.  One block was deposited in the ice box on the opposite wall from the stove.  The other was left in the sack by the Stahl's door. Then two of the boys would carefully remove the drain tray from yesterdays melted ice by walking it down to the privy. 

     Breakfast was a quick meal as the five of the children prepared to go to school.  Millie was slicing bread to put into dinner pails along with small bottles of cold coffee. Sometimes there was an apple, but usually lunch consisted of bread spread with drippings or butter.  She hurried her brothers along telling them to wash up, comb their hair, tuck in  shirt tails, etc.  She was despised most mornings by her siblings, but four younger brothers was more than anyone should have to put up with on a daily basis. 

     Millie grabbed her school books and her youngest brother Peter's hand.  Peter was just seven and it was his first year of school, she would drop him off at the primary school two blocks away making sure he had his dinner pail and then continue on to the High School.  The other three boys went the opposite direction to the elementary school seven blocks down past the Catholic graveyard.

     Nels was left home with the littlest girls.  Violet who was five, Ruth who was four and of course the baby Audra a big grown up 2 two year old.  At least that is what Nels tried to convince her of, so he could get more done.  All three needed to be dressed and washed, their hair brushed and made ready for the day.  Nels had become very adept at plaiting and fixing his sisters hair.  Something for which his younger brothers gave him no end of grief. The girls had to go with him everywhere and Nels was busy.  Nels had a business and that business was growing.  Nels business was radios or anything that involved tinkering or what was to become electronics. It was his passion and he usually had many stops to make in the mornings.

      He tried to take the girls with him in good weather.  The sites and sounds of the street excited them and his last stop would always be the Church yard where his sisters would run and play for 1/2 an hour.  This was a method he employed to try and tire them out. If they napped in the afternoon he was able to get much more done and perhaps could make some deliveries when Millie returned home.


Well I had better get busy earning some money so I can pay the bills.  I don't think anyone else is going to do that for me.

Have a great and productive day!

Kim  .



  1. sisters are allowed to say you are annoying!!

  2. I know all about insomnia! I had two bad nights followed by a fairly decent night last night - it makes such a difference in my attitude and productivity!