Tag Archives: Disappointment

Where’s the coffee? Where’s the pie?

In 1990, back when I still read newspapers. Back before kids, I read an article about a new television series in the April 30 Washington Post. I trusted Tom Shales, the journalist who wrote the article because he’d never led me wrong when it came to entertainment. Maybe it was because he was born in Elgin, maybe we just had/have the same tastes in television.

I probably would have watched it anyway because it was the brainchild of mastermind David Lynch — a director whose works Dean and I liked. We’d seen a presentation of some of his very early works at a local (now long-gone) art theater, and we saw pretty much anything he’d done that far (except Dune).

Dean and I loved the first season of Twin Peaks. Our next door neighbors also loved it and we’d often watch episodes together, drinking damn fine, and hot, coffee and eating pie. We even had a Twin Peaks dress up party for the final episode. My friend Totty came as the Log Lady. I don’t remember who I dressed up as. Too bad that was before smartphones with cameras because we would have definitely taken photos.

Back then, I don’t think I knew anyone else who liked Twin Peaks. Certainly no one at school. There was no Internet on which to discuss each episode with strangers. (at least not in our house). We just liked it, talked about it among ourselves and when we did run into someone who’d seen the series we’d talk with them about it.

We bought the DVD set when it came out and Clare got into the show, so much that she took it to school, then Olympia (not far from the filming location) and shared it with friends.

On one trip to Olympia, we visited North Bend, Washington where parts of Twin Peaks was filmed and ate pie and drank coffee at the Double R and posed for photos in front of the Great Northern Hotel and it’s nearby iconic waterfall.

Needless to say, we (or rather I) followed with interest the rumors about the revival Twin Peaks series. Totty heard about the series and suggested we get together to watch the first episode. We were not able to watch it the night it aired, so we planned on watching two episodes the week after. Totty brought an apple pie she’d baked and I made some coffee. We settled down to watch the revival of what had been our favorite television series 25 years ago — and possibly still was our favorite.

Well… the owls are not what they seem. If someone had been secretly filming us our expressions would have gone from happy expectation to confusion to bewilderment to disappointment to sadness. As the credits rolled for the second episode, Totty remarked that it sure was not what she was expecting and said, “Where was the coffee? Where was the pie?”

Damn right — where were the coffee and pie? Where was the charm?

Dean and I watched episode 3 a couple nights ago and, after some strangely Eraserheadesque scenes, it got better. I am not giving up on the series, I am just going to go into the rest of the episodes with much less expectation.

Why I love Damart but won’t order it again

UPDATE: Closing the comments for this post because it seems to be getting a lot of traffic and my hosts are getting antsy.

Note to anyone here because of an Internet search for Damart or Thermolactyl (which seems to be a lot of you):

Hi there random Internet Person! Between the time I wrote this post and now, Damart USA has been shipping products much more quickly and I have indeed ordered Damart items several times since writing this. In fact I’m about to order some things for my daughter — so disregard the negativity below and order away. It is really good stuff; just don’t toss it in the dryer.

Are you familiar with Damart? If you live where it gets cold in the winter, you should know about Damart. Damart makes the best thermal underwear I’ve ever used (and I’ve used a lot of thermal underwear).

I first heard about Damart from my husband. I was buying a pair of cotton thermals at REI and my husband said he’d heard about a brand of thermal underwear from England that the Minnesota Vikings wore. That it was a petroleum based material that had remarkable insulation qualities. We, somehow, obtained a catalog and I ordered a set to see if it was as promised.

It was better. I now could keep warm anywhere. I no longer had to decline winter walks and spending time in Wisconsin during the winter was no longer something I could not do. I was finally warm. Life was good.

For years this was the only thermal underwear I’d wear. I had several sets and was careful to not put them in the dryer after a couple of mistakes. See — Thermolactyl — the name Damart has given to its wonder-material shrinks in the dryer. A lot. So much that a woman’s top will fit a toddler if put in the dryer. I did this a couple times, but quickly learned to wash my Damart items separately so I would not mistakenly toss one in the dryer.

If taken care of, Damart thermal underwear lasts a long time but does wear out after a while. Luckily I had the catalog (then website) from which to order. At first they’d even send free gifts with each order — an incentive to order more!

Shortly after September 2001, Damart announced they would no longer ship to the United States. I was devastated. I’d just introduced my mother-in-law to the brand and she wanted more sets of thermals — but I couldn’t buy them anymore. They suggested another company, Wickers, but their product was no match for Damart.

Damart Factory
The Damart Factory (Dave Berkeley) / CC BY-SA 2.0

In 2002 we visited England for a family vacation and I made my husband stop at the Damart factory so I could stock up on thermals in their factory store. How many other people make a long underwear factory a stop on a vacation? (The factory is 5 minutes drive from Cottingley where the young cousins saw fairies in the bottom of their garden, so we did at least two tourist stops in one day).

A few years ago Damart began shipping to the States again and I began ordering from them again. Last November I realized I’d pretty much run out of tops and turned to the website to order more. I ordered two items and was glad I’d have them for our trip to Illinois at Christmas. In mid-December, when I’d not received my order I wrote to the company and received an email saying they were sorry and the order was then processed. I still had not received my order in mid-January and wrote to the company again. This time they said there was no news about my order and if I wanted to they’d cancel the order. I said no, don’t cancel it.

My package finally arrived about a week ago. I immediately wore one of the tops. It was wonderful and warm and perfect. I remembered why I loved Damart so and forgave them for the slowness in getting me their product.

Yesterday I threw some clothes in the wash. Then tossed them in the dryer. This morning I had a bad feeling. Yep. I now have a very warm shirt that will fit a 4 year old.

So with the slowness of the order and the shrinking of the shirt, I think I’m finished with Damart. Sorry guys — I did love you so and you are only partly to blame. I do recommend you to others though — especially ones who are not in a hurry and who are more careful about their laundry.

Ms P. and the Rats of NIH(M)

I’m a birder. A lazy birder, but a birder nonetheless. It is part of who I am and has  been for more than half of my life.

One huge aspect of birding for me is feeding the birds. I have many bird feeders — two Droll Yankee tube-like feeders: one serves up tiny nyger seed that the finches love and one doles out larger seed such as sunflower, cracked corn or safflower. I also have decorative bird feeders — one looks like a birch log, but is ceramic. Another looks like a church, with a roof and clear plastic sides which hold in the seed — which I am surprised has not been chewed apart by squirrels yet. Then there are the suet cages and nyger seed socks.

I don’t have all of these feeders up at the same time. That would be unwise in Bethesda. I’d be the crazy bird lady. Recently I had one Droll Yankee feeder filled with sunflower seed and one nyger sock in back by the bird bath and one nyger sock outside the attic window.

One day I noticed that the nyger sock in the backyard had a huge hole in it. I wondered what animal had made this hole. I suspected it was a squirrel, but knowing that squirrels don’t particularly care for nyger seed, I was more than a little worried we had another rodent problem.

A few days later I looked out the window and saw the culprit. A large brown Norway rat. It was just after dinner and this rat was helping him or herself to the nyger seed. It was actually kind of cute — if you forget all the bad rat stories. But I was dismayed. I thought we were done with these things.

Years ago we had rats in the ductwork of our addition. Dean and I both noticed a funky smell coming from the heating vents in the sun room — it reminded me of the elephant house. When we discovered that it was a nest of rats, I was horrified and would never ever have admitted our discovery to anyone. I was embarrassed and ashamed and it lowered my self-esteem for a while. Dean, being the son of a dairy farmer, took care of it and we hoped we were done with rats.

The following January, however, we came home from our annual Christmas in the Midwest trip to find a rat had gotten into our house and was trapped in a mousetrap behind our stove. Dean took care of it, too. I was ready to hire an exterminator, but Dean felt that he knew what to do as well as any exterminator, so I believed him.

The next year was the year of cicadas in our area and when the cicadas died out the entire neighborhood had a rat problem. It seemed that the rats were displaced from NIH because of construction there. They didn’t care where they lived because they had a bounty of cicadas for several weeks, but after the cicadas were done with their (very cool) life cycle in our area, the rats had nothing to eat, so became a nuisance. I finally lost the embarrassment I was feeling about the rat problem we’d had — especially since other neighbors were admitting to having had rats in previous years as well.

Everyone dealt with the rats in their own ways, some hired exterminators while others, like Dean, took care of it themselves. The worst part of the rat problem for me, however, was having to give up feeding the birds. I had a slight meltdown when I realized I’d have to do this, but Dean said that maybe it would not be permanent. I held on to that hope.

We went a few years with no apparent rat problems — I even was able to feed the birds again until this year when I saw the rat eating the nyger seed.

So now I’ve had to store my bird feeders for good. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to feed birds in the backyard again — certainly not at this house. I think I can still feed them at the attic windows — but it’s not really the same. I’ll not be seeing any more Rose Breasted Grosbeaks feeding on sunflower seed outside the window in the back yard.  I can still provide water for the birds and I have started looking more at planting more bird friendly plants in the yard. But I feel as if a part of my personality has been lost for good.