Monday, May 16, 2011


The Box stands at the ready.
On Friday, Susanne, her sister, and her sister's partner left for Ocean City, New Jersey, where they went to enjoy a week at the shore. Also in the entourage was Susanne's friend Debbie. They rented some fancy-schmantzy condo near the water, and knowing these four, there will be plenty of dining out, jewelry shopping, and free-form gabbing.

As they were making plans to leave, I got a call about coming to "greet" in a model home in Derry Twp., but with a Hummelstown address. Southpoint Meadows is a lovely place to be, and the work is not hard. I greeted one couple and their daughter on Saturday, and that was it for the weekend. I greeted for seven hours on Saturday and five on Sunday.

So what does a greeter do when there are few people to greet? I can't speak for others, but I have a little routine I follow.

First, I go through the whole house and turn on all of the lamps. Usually, half of them are left on at night. I check for any burned-out bulbs and replace them. I straighten the pictures on the wall, which always seem to need it. I run the swiffer on the wooden floors where I can see dusty footprints, which is rare. But the couple who visited checked out the basement and left their mark on the hardwood floors. Sometimes I sweep the front stoop or porch. Oh, I also check any live plants around the house and snip off any dead leaves!

Lavish refreshments.
This time I was directed to make four cookies and four cups of coffee. All of the models have those blocks of chocolate chip cookies that are scored for easy baking. (If I am strong-willed, there will be four cookies left for the manager when she arrives the next morning. If not, she will find a nice clean but empty plate. I never drink the coffee, though!)

Anyway, I fired up the Kitchen Aid oven, and while it was preheating, I cleaned out the inside of the microwave and the plate inside. Fortunately, I came to check on the cookies after 10 minutes or so, because I had set the timer for 11 hours and 11 minutes! Ovens are like cars. Every one is different, and all the controls are similar but in different places. You can see the kitchen on the Web site link above.

Nice surroundings for reading.
Well, you can't straighten pictures for 12 hours, so I rotated the down time among Facebook and email, reading "The Home for the Friendless," and watching the big screen TV over the fireplace. As the day wore on and the rains came and went, I pulled up a chair by the fireplace and basked in its glow.

It's funny how I came to read "The Home for the Friendless." I am an administrator for the Facebook page of the Historical Society of Dauphin County. I came across a message from a woman who was asking if we had an institution called "Home for the Friendless" here in Harrisburg. I wrote that we did, that it was founded soon after the Civil War for military widows, and that it was now called "Homeland Center," a care facility for older folks. I sent her a photo of it that I had taken when visiting my friend's mom, Mrs. V., and recommended that she read Homeland's Web site to see a historic photo of the building and read its entire history.

Well, she wrote back and talked about having lived in a home for the friendless as a child while her parents tried to save their marriage. We had some correspondence, and finally she sent me a copy of the book, and I am finding it quite interesting and enjoyable. The author is named Betty Auchard, and I recommend her book.

Meat loaf and home fries!
By 6:00 p.m. I was pretty hungry, so on the way home I stopped at the Colonial Park Diner, where I had soup, meatloaf, home fries, and carrots. I have to say, it was pretty darned good -- and cheap! Don't you just love being a senior citizen?

On Sunday, I went to church to sing with the choir, then returned to Southpoint Meadows for the afternoon but greeted no visitors. It must still be slow in the housing industry, although several houses are under construction in the Southpoint Meadows neighborhood. They range in price from $320,000 to $421,000. The model will be even costlier since it has all the bells and whistles!

Once again the day was marred by gray skies and rain. The rain didn't seem to bother two boys who walked right past me, perhaps heading to the Turkey Hill down the road.

One of the new homes on the block.
After closing for the night, I drove down the street to see what's been built since last summer. They've also completed the streets and curbs in a big oval and cul-de-sac layout, giving the residents a nice place to walk and ride bikes.

Here are some additional photos from my gig at Southpoint Meadows.

 The view from the family room 
into the foyer and living room.

 This model is not available at Southpoint Meadows,
but I think it is a dandy design.

 This new house is across the street from the model.

 How's this for a small backyard?

 Construction equipment lurks outside the solarium windows.

 I am really enjoying this book -- what great stories
of growing up in the 30s and 40s.

 This sign, in need of decent punctuation, 
greeted me at the Colonial Park Diner.

The desserts looked good, but a review I read later 
on TripAdvisor said otherwise!

 A series of photos from the living room window.

 The clouds between the rains were beautiful.

 Here's another model I like --
it reminds me of New England.

A last look at the model home on the way out.

This beautiful old farmhouse is on the 
Middletown-Hummelstown Road,
near Southpoint Meadows.

Oh, when I got home Sunday night,  I watched a DVD called "Taking Lives" that was filmed in the province of Qu├ębec. Angelina Jolie plays an FBI agent and is being asked by Ethan Hawke about where she is from. I stopped the DVD and took pictures of her response and later pictures of where she moved back to toward the end of the film:

You can't get to Carlisle on 22 or 322!

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