Grandma’s Balls

Wabbitat ICON 2016-small Grandma’s Balls are versatile. They were designed primarily for the grandchildren to have safe and harmless indoor play. Made from 100% cotton yarn and polyester fiberfill stuffing, they are soft, lightweight, bouncy, and machine washable. They have been well received by children of all ages.

Now Grandma’s Balls serve a whole new purpose. Modified with the addition of a loop, Grandma’s Balls are now equipped to adorn the kitchen garbage can.

The kitchen garbage can  is the kind that has a handy foot pedal and like most garbage cans with like design, when the foot pedal is depressed the garbage can lid pops open. This created a problem, however. It seems that with use, the can inches back toward the wall and when the foot pedal is depressed the lid hits the wall. It has been a constant battle to protect the wall from damage.

Enter Grandma’s Balls. I added a loop to one of the crocheted balls and then clipped a magnet around the loop. The magnet then affixed itself to the metal lid. Now when the pedal is depressed, the lid pops open, the soft ball flies upward and backward and does a little dance, effectively protecting the wall.

It looks like a Rube Goldberg contraption. In other words, it looks silly. Sometimes I step on the pedal even when I have nothing to toss inside. It makes me giggle every time.



Wabbitat ICON 2016-smallQueens street fairs are planned events. Austin Street in Forest Hills (1/2 block from our home) hosts a street fair approximately twice per year – one in fall, one in spring. Traffic is suspended for several blocks while vendors and visitors crowd the streets.

There are lots of handcrafted items, specialty items, foods of all kinds, kiddie rides, and more. The smells of barbecue and popcorn and sausages and more waft through the air.

Sir Braver got a new wallet today, a beautiful all-leather wallet, one he actually needed, too. I almost bought a 4-piece bedding set – almost, but fought off the temptation of an impulse purchase. I will bemoan that later.

There is so much to see! Don’t forget to look under the tables, too.



Wabbitat ICON 2016-small Our drip turned into a stream. What next? How long do we have until water is out of control? Should we close the valve beneath the kitchen sink? Should we use that undersink valve as our control, opening and closing it as needed?

In the morning we had called the super to ask him for the name and phone number for a reliable plumber. “What for?” he asked. Then he said “Why do you want to pay a plumber?” He told us what to buy as a replacement fixture and said he would install it when the part arrives.

A new faucet is scheduled to be delivered Wednesday. Our hope at this point is that the faucet maintains a slow drip, and nothing more, until then.

Our hope was dashed when at 6 p.m. on a Friday evening the drip turned into a steady stream. It was obvious that the situation was not stable.

I called the super. Of course, I got voicemail; it is after hours. So I left him a message updating him on our situation knowing full well we would not hear from him until Monday. That undersink valve was going to have to be used until then.

At 8 p.m. the super rang our doorbell. With a screwdriver and pliers, he took apart the faucet, grumbled about the plastic innards, dug out who knows what and reseated the whole thing. Voilà! A fully functional faucet on a Friday night. AT NO COST!

I grumble about the many surprise fixes we are dealing with but have only high praises for our super Super.

Funky Things 2

Wabbitat ICON 2016-smallOur co-op was advertised in “triple mint condition” when we were looking at apartments. Compared to others we had seen, this apartment was in fact “triple mint,” whatever that means. The sellers were directly asked if there was anything funky we should know and they reassuringly stated no. Nevertheless, this is what we are dealing with:

  • Doorknobs – The linen closet and bathroom both had doorknobs that came off in our hand or simply dropped to the floor periodically. The entry door had a flimsy closet doorknob on the inside that wiggled and jiggled and threatened to drop. (We have replaced these and they are no longer an issue.)
  • Windows – Two windows would not keep their position. The upper kitchen window refused to stay up in the closed position, and the bottom bathroom window refused to stay up in the open position. Both windows have since been repaired.
  • Electricity – The seller was and is a licensed electrician. There is a fancy fade in/fade out light switch operating the living room overhead lighting and the bathroom has a wired-in nightlight. There is also undercabinet lighting in the kitchen (with the wires showing). In contrast, the fuse box was not upgraded to a breaker box (90% of the building has made this change, according to the super), there are two electrical outlets that we know do not work at all and a third that sparks.
  • Plumbing –
    • The toilet was unflushable immediately upon our moving in. The super replaced the flush lever for us and now I exercise arm muscles but get the job done. The flush is “normal” most of the time (I will estimate 6 out of 8 times)  and the remaining times flushes for an unusually long time. Sometimes it even honks at us upon completion.
    • The kitchen sink’s faucet threads are stripped such that the faucet position drifts and it has a constant drip that sometimes is an unstoppable running stream. The super realigned the faucets  with his trusty wrench when we first moved in and the drip/stream was gone for a few days. It is back.
  • Oven – One burner does not work at all, a second burner works sometimes, not always. The inside of the oven is so encrusted with baked on dirt that I am afraid to use it for fear it would cause a fire, or at least a smoke-fest. Scrubbing and scrubbing has gotten me nowhere.
  • Internet access – Time Warner set us up but could not get the cable to work with any remotely decent speed in the bedroom (where my computer is). I cannot stream a movie or even a 2-minute video. Sometimes I cannot even get my mail. My iPad is hair-pulling slow even when I sit in the living room next to the router. If this journal entry posts within a minute of hitting PUBLISH, it will be nothing short of amazing.

So we wait. We wait for the electrician. We wait for the plumber. We wait for the cable guy.

Clinton did not inhale, Trump never filed bankruptcy, and there is nothing funky at our place.

The Key to Privacy

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Welcome to our new home, dear friends. To make your visit more comfortable, understanding the facilities may require a bit of tutelage.


It is all about the key.


Doorknob with key inserted



Side view – same doorknob

The doorknob and locking mechanism is a throwback to an earlier time, preserved for aesthetics, I suppose. Ease of use is not its forte.

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The key is located on a hook inside the bathroom near the hinges of the door. It is high enough that small children hopefully will not reach it, making it a toy.

Insert the key well into the keyhole and turn the key to the 3 o’clock position. This may take a little jiggling, and a little practice. You will hear the bolt, small as it is, slip into place.

To exit, turn the doorknob to the right. Should you turn the knob to the left, nothing will happen and panic may set in. Turn it to the right.


If you elect not to use the key, be advised that Ernie  knows the door is unlocked and he will pay you a special visit. He will not just sneak a peek, but will open wide the door.


I would post these helpful hints in the bathroom, but that would be tacky. So I post them here instead.




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I walked a mile for a good screw.

Our bedroom has a full wall of custom-built closets (and desk). This storage wall is much appreciated, as my gentle readers can well imagine, I am sure. However, it did present some problems.

For one thing, the hardware was abysmal. The sellers had installed “antique” drawer and door pulls that were badly soiled, tarnished, and wobbly. The rusty screws were literally 3″ long and protruded a good 2″ into the drawers and closets. Since we know this storage system was built sometime within the last five years, it is difficult to understand why such hardware was chosen. Replacing the hardware proved to be a challenge, however.

I purchased new knobs on the Internet but the unit was custom built and does not conform to normal drawer/door thicknesses. I needed longer screws than were provided. No, not 3″ long, but slightly longer than the 1″ screws that were provided. I have been buying and trying replacement screws but without success. Did you know there are wood screws and metal screws, imperial screws and metric screws?

Yesterday we walked a mile to an Ace Hardware Store. We posed the problem to an employee there and finally decided to start anew with new hardware and appropriate screws.

We still need to hang pictures and add an area rug, but now the bedroom is well on its way to completion! Take a peek.


Old Meets New

Wabbitat ICON 2016-small In New York there are a lot of things that have not changed over the years. I lived in New York City from 1950 until 1977. After nearly 40 years away, far away, I have returned. A lot of things have not changed at all over those years.

Our “pre-war” apartment building was built in 1937. We still have toilets with flushometers, no tanks. Although I have not uncovered any steam pipes yet in our building, there are plenty of steam pipes still operational in our neighborhood. There is no central air here and window air conditioners rule in an unsightly way. In contrast, architectural craftsmanship cannot be matched by today’s stainless steel and glass structures.

The old stanchion pictured below holds an emergency call box. In an emergency, press the red button on the left to report a fire or the blue button on the right to summon police. This particular stanchion is located still today on our street corner at 73rd Road and Austin Street in Forest Hills.

911 Then and Now

At the corner of our building by the service entrance, a sign proudly is affixed indicating the presence of a fallout shelter in our basement. I do hope it is well stocked given the current political climate created by our candidates for president.

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And every so often we spot something new. The following is a LynkNYC internet pylon. From this pylon, and covering a distance of about 150 feet, anyone can use free Wi-Fi, call police, call 311 for New York City services, and even recharge their phone or other device via a USB port. This one stands on Queens Boulevard about 1/2 block from 73rd Road. New York City’s plan is to soon have 10,000 of these pylons stationed throughout the city.

Public WiFi 2