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LJ was off to the dentist today, which for him into trip to Santa Rosa, while I remained here at the house. The AC people were back today (amen) and informed me that when they're back tomorrow hopefully the central AC will be up and working, which in this heat will be a blessing. It will be a bit longer for the furnace, which in turn will slow down our work in the living room, but we can live with that for now. The wall heater that we currently have needs to get removed, and will be utilized when we remodeled the garage into a studio space for me. We're not taking it out until the central heat it for him, and since it's sitting where the china hutch is supposed to go, y'all can do the math.

By mid morning I was out in the back 40, continuing my assault on the invasive thorny bushes. There are certain things that continue to amaze me; A) that I'm gardening/landscaping B) that I actually went out today and a pair of short shorts, and a tank, & C) that I was actually comfortable doing so. Having been obese since my mid-20s, the Second Amendment right to bare arms was never something I choose to exercise. Amazing what losing 70 pounds, and working at the gym will do for you. Incidentally, when I started in the back 40 it was already 85° and in the hour and a half that I was out there it got up to an even 100°, by which time I have had quite enough, thank you. I did manage to remove all but one of the thorny bushes, including on most of the smaller ones a good chunk of taproot. I also noticed that two of the three stout wouldn't trellises out there needed some reinforcements, so I went ahead and attack them with an impact drill and some four-inch deck screws.

After that the heat was intense enough that I just laid low for the remainder of the afternoon. I did reach my quota of unpacking and putting away at least one box from the garage & I did get together seven more items to list on eBay, including getting them photographed. I packaged up the last pair of boots that sold on eBay to mail out in the morning. To my pleasure, all seven items that I listed initially, six pair of boots & one pair of shoes, have sold in the last two weeks, not for as much as I would've liked, but certainly pocketing $125 was the better option financially then bringing them to the Goodwill. I have another seven items that will go up for auction on Sunday, again six pair of cowboy boots & a pair of shoes. Divesting myself of things that are no longer items that are useful, but instead have a come clutter, is a damn good thing, but as I have said previously, not easy for me to do. In listing things for sale, I have to look at them with a detailed eye, to adequately describe them and hopefully get a better price for them. However that's often when Tim Tatian comes in to hold onto them. Today the item that almost got held onto was a pair of boots that fits me well and were quite comfortable – & are also bright red. If I lived in cowboy boots every day and we're getting more dressed up, they would periodically get worn, but it's been at least three or four years since this pair was on my feet, so honestly I don't need them. I'm hoping some cowboy will take them out for her to step on a Saturday night. They're in superb condition, so I'm hoping they'll get me at least 50 bucks, but we shall see. Can't count those chickens before they hatch.

The truth is that getting these things out of here actually feels pretty good. Decluttering is a good thing. Winnowing is a good thing. Some extra cash in my pocket, is a good thing.

LJ is sleeping peacefully right now, whiIe I have wandered out to the porch to post and to enjoy the cool of the evening. It's dark out here in the country and pretty much all I think you're a few lights in the kitchen behind me and some house lights in the distance across the lake. The night is alive however, with the sounds and of crickets & other fauna. Finally, I get to enjoy the feel of this cool porch swing & a gentle breeze across my bare skin.
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I knew Lake country gets hot in the summer, but it's early in the season for it to be this hot so early in the morning. It's now a balmy 98°, but thankfully there's a breeze on my porch. Again the central AC people are here, working on getting our system in, up, & running. Given that it has been as high as 105° here recently & predictions are for 108° later this week, I'm grateful for their work.

I've been up since shortly before seven. Last night's dishes are done, the food plants have been watered, my daily quota of getting at least one box unpacked and either put away or discarded has been met, & I made a light & cold breakfast for LJ and I. In this heat, he didn't balk when I put an iced latte down in front of him. I had the bowl of cherries and raspberries with yogurt I'd portioned out, but didn't eat yesterday morning, while I put out for him a bowl of cold cereal with blueberries, and his standard portion of coffee cake. He had gotten several more pieces of redwood siding on to the back of the house before breakfast, and decided after eating, in this heat to head back to bed.

Since I haven't been doing as much landscaping as is needed recently, due to the heat as well as work within the house itself & the heat here was not too cbad yet I went out into the back 40 with the Weedwhacker and landscaping tools. We have a rather vigorous and somewhat invasive fuzzy bush which has sprung up with a vengeance. I planted a peach tree several months back in the new year which was free of all of the plans except some grass. This unidentified bush, which turns out to have some other unwanted thorns as well was now crowding the peach tree. Well I've pulled out about a quarter of these bushes clearing out an area of about 60 ft.² I need to do some reading about how to get rid of the roots organically. I'm unwilling to use and herbicide why ground up. An hour in this heat was about all I could take. However, I'm realizing why my weight-loss is ongoing. It's now 70 pounds since retiring.

Before coming up onto the porch to chill (so to speak), I decided to get the Roomba started vacuuming. So far I think I'm pleased with the unit, though it's not doing everything I had hoped it would do. The floors are decidedly cleaner, but we have a canine that in spring and early summer sheds a Chihuahua daily. The vacuum is good and getting up dirt and some stray hair, but somehow it manages to wad up balls of hair that it leaves behind scattered about the rugs. These in turn are much easier to pick up than individual here spread out over everywhere. My suspicion is long-term once I program the machine to run daily on its own, it'll get ahead of the amount the dog sheds every day and be more efficient in cleaning. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.) Watching the dog eye the vacuum is interesting. He's rather wary of it. He'll look around the corner when he hears it running and when he sees it that the far side of the room and make a dash for the door. This is the same creature that I've had to pull off of the deer that he was determined to make lunch with the poor creature have a misfortune of having a run-in with him in the yard. Frankly I find his reaction to the vacuum almost comical.

Enough navel gazing for now. Got work to do.
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Mercifully, as I write the AC people are working on the ducting under the house. It's been brutal here for the last half week. It made it to 105 here both yesterday and the day before. Last night I slipped upstairs to take the proverbial cold shower, generally not something I enjoy, but last night an absolute godsend.

LJ had beaucoup errands to run in Sonoma County yesterday, so I was here by myself. The day was productive. The curtain for the bathroom window got sewn and hung. The bathroom door of that painted and rehung. The toilet paper holder that hung. The casement around the pantry closet got its fourth and final coat of varnish. This morning, that door got rehung. The Roomba robot vacuum got unboxed and put into service. It is diligently working its way around the living room as I write. More items got put away and others into the car for Goodwill.




(I see a black door and I want it painted white!)

Need to pick up a couple of items that sold on eBay this weekend and get them into the mail. No rest for the wicked.
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It's blazingly hot here today. We're in the midst of a heat wave and it's now 102°. It is at least a dry heat; were we dealing with a humid heat, it would be more than stifling. I had wanted to get out and get some landscaping done, at the very least get the weeds knocked down, but the morning got away from me and it got just too damn hot to do that now. Maybe early evening will be bearable to do so.

I was listening to the moth radio hour last night as I drove home from Santa Rosa. Given that today is Father's Day, the stories they featured were all father related. The bulk revolved around new fatherhood, but the final installment was by a young man who as a graduate student abroad, lost his father suddenly. It focused on what he learned about his father during the morning period after his death. I nearly had to pull off the road.

I was physically present in the room with my father breathed his last, along with my mother, my sisters, and an an aunt & uncle. My father was dying of leukemia, then only a few years older than I am now. It was the culmination of a 13 year battle. Up until a few months prior, I had been in denial that my father would succumb to the disease. It had been a chronic leukemia & he'd had health crisis after health crisis for over a decade in and after surviving each of them, he'd gotten back up and went back to work. I'd been called home too many times, that he had had a "terminal" event and I would be needed to help with funeral arrangements, only to have him sitting up and reading the newspaper in his hospital bed upon my arrival. There are chronic leukemias where the patient survives 30 odd years with the illness. Most of my father's aunts and uncles made it well past 80. My grandfather didn't retire until 90. I honestly expected my father would do the same. However, 2 1/2 months prior to his death, the leukemia became acute.

At the end of June in 1995, Pop called and said, "my absolute neutrophil count is under 100." It was his way of telling me, "This is it." My response? "I will be there this weekend." It was Thursday afternoon. I caught the redeye the following night. I was able to arrange for cross coverage; 2 rent-a-docs, actually a married couple just out of their residency came in and worked my office for the duration. Nearly 3 months later. my father died on September 26. I returned home the beginning of October.

This time together left us time to talk and to simply be with one another. When Pop died, we had each said what we needed to say; we had no unfinished business with each other. A few days before he passed, I said to him not to try and hold on for us, that if it was his time to go, we would miss the hell out of him, but we would be OK. I said it, because it was something I thought he needed to hear. He was suffering. I was lying through my teeth. My inner child, the little boy within me, was not ready to say goodbye to daddy. He still isn't. 22 years later he is still hurting, & he is still grieving.

There was much I learned in the process of losing my father. Four days before his death, his calcium levels became dangerously high, not a rare side effect of his malignancy. The residents working at the hospital (an Ivy League medical school no less), responded by opening Pop's IV line wide, pumping him full of fluid, and chasing it with a diuretic. I was sitting at his bedside reading, when I noticed Pop hop out of bed for the third time in half an hour to take a leak. Now as he was not a diabetic, that made me look for the why & seeing that his IV line was wide open, I went to the nursing station to find out why. There the resident, not realizing he was talking to a fellow physician, informed me that if he didn't do something about my father's hypercalcemia he was going to die. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees. I responded, "I'm sorry, but is treating his hypercalcemia going to cure his underlying leukemia, which is killing him at the moment? He is still continent and neither needs nor wants a catheter. What you are currently doing to him is not going to lengthen his life significantly and its decreasing the quality of what time he has left. Please, Stop it now."

The day prior to his death I bathed him. He was too weak to be able to do that for himself. I was my honor. I knew the end was close, and I knew that at the funeral home that there would be a ceremonial mikvah, to cleans his body one final time. I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had allowed him to feel clean while he was still able to feel it. I heard him say it. That I could do that for him still gives me some solace.

As a physician, I thought I understood death. With my father's passing, I realized I understood nothing. In my youth I struggled to be my own person, to individuate from my parents & see our differences. It was in losing him that I finally came to see how much of my father remains within me. I have his gregariousness, his sense of humor, and even the timber of his voice (though thank God I don't need a basket to carry a tune as he did). I have his flat feet and his lousy eyesight, as well as his insanely low cholesterol (likely the reason most of my his parents' generation made it into their 90s). I came to recognize just how generous he was with me emotionally, how much he was in my corner. I recognize that I had, no, have his unconditional love and that's what sustains me in enduring his loss.

To each of you reading this a happy Father's Day. And to you Pop, I love you. I wish I could hear you say it again.
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This was David's first experience using epoxy grout, and sadly he wasn't able to get everything grouted before the grout set up. There is a small section of the floor unfortunately right in front of the door which still needs grouting & we don't have enough of the gray grout left. Further, the finish plumbing (faucet and shower head) still remain to be put in. I still need to settle on a custom shower door, which unfortunately is going to be pricey, so likely we'll be living with a shower curtain ,hung from a tension rod for the next several months, while I search for a permanent alternative.

What remains to be done in the bathroom is a curtain for the window (which I am likely to make rather than buy), a toilet paper holder, door knobs for the door, hanging said door, and deciding on a bathmat. Otherwise, the bathroom is done (& the check is in the mail).





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Stressful day here.

I was out early to hit the hardware store. I got the wrong supply hose for the toilet when I went yesterday, and she nice David will be away all next week, and I want this bathroom to use, I ran. LJ needed stuff doe an electrical project and the first hardware store was out of them, so I hit the other one in Clearlake which had them and also put me right across the street from Grocery Outlet. I had both dish soap and laundry detergent on my shopping list, so I knocked Walmart off my stops-to-make list & went there instead. Got the detergent, picked up LJ's favorite yogurt, some fresh white peaches and coffee, but struck out with the soap dish, cafe curtains and toothbrush holder. They're on the list for mañana at Home Depot. I had to get home to meet the cable guy.

We're now getting internet services from Mediacom who are the only game in town the county for fast internet and cable tv (as opposed to satellite). After ordering service for cable tv over a week ago this was the first appointment available for cable installation.

I have two HD tv's big screens each, both having originally come outta office waiting room. I got the better one of the two up in the master bedroom last week. We only agreed on placement of the screen upstairs the night before, incidentally in the location I had originally envisioned. There hadn't been time to get the tv up on the wall.

Fading suddenly. I'll continue this in the morning.
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I have just settled onto the porch swing, as the sun is sinking low in the sky. I've got my back to The approaching sunset, otherwise I'd be unable to sit here right now. My husband is napping & David is cleaning up, having tackled one of the more challenging jobs left, the shower floor.

LJ finished the initial phase of the repairs he was doing on the front steps. I was up early and out of the house first getting a final coat of varnish on to the kitchen door, and then get in the plants watered before coming in and making breakfast for the three of us. I'm really enjoying David's presence here; his calm and good humor go a really long way to reducing stress levels here and I'm thrilled with both the quality of his work and the speed with which it's happening. Further, he's a delight to work with, when you're working alongside him. No question is too stupid on how to get something done. He's everything our last contractor wasn't.

So, I managed to finish the kitchen door and get it back on its hinges. I managed to reinstall the entry door knob and it's working better than it had been before. The deadlock is proving more challenging, as it's refusing to go back in in the same way it came out. I have some work to do on it, shaving down one of the metallic supports inside the door in order to get everything sit just right.

David suspects that the door dates to the early 50s, which would correspond to a remodel we think was done in 1950. I'm really pleased to save this door. Junking it would have felt absolutely wasteful. The colored glass now that the door is it's original wood color actually looks kind of attractive. All in all, it's been a satisfying experience.

Late this morning I turned my attention to the mirror which in a few minutes we're going to hang in the bathroom. We've done some recycling with things within the house. The pedestal sink which was lost in the old master bath is now in the new smaller bath upstairs. The door (along with its jam) between the master bath & bedroom is now the door to my closet, not far from its original location. This mirror was in the upstairs powder room. The vanity it hung over was hideous, and having taken such an intense dislike to the vanity, in my mind's eye I had painted the mirror with the same broad brush. Guilt by association.

We had moved the mirror downstairs for temporary use a couple weeks ago. I noticed thereafter it really didn't look that bad and was kind of a match for the granite countertop on the vanity there. I decided that the mirror warranted some work to save it, at least for now. Fortunately, I've done some picture framing in the past and so I knew what was required here.

The frame of the mirror was basically in sound condition though it's backing was gone. I took a damn cloth to the frame to clean it up, then some Windex to the individual mirror panels. After scraping the back edge a little bit, I coated its edge with a thin layer of wood glue, then cut a swath of construction paper we've been using to cover the floors, and draped it over the back of the mirror to adhere to the frame. Once dry, I took a sanding block and lightly sanded the edges, giving a perfectly sized and shaped backing for the frame. I took a water mister to dampened the back, left it in the sun to shrink the paper, giving a tight back sheathing. Since this is going into the bathroom, once dry, some Aqua Net hairspray, essentially aerosol lacquer, got sprayed over the backing to give it some better moisture resistance. I reattached the eye screws, added some heavy duty picture wire, and it was ready to rehang.

David finished laying the tile on the shower floor today & mañana, grout awaits . The painting is done, the 'throne' is in, though the water supply isn't hooked up (I got the wrong hose at the hardware store), the mirror is up, the outlets above the vanity are in & working and the window is finished. While we'll still be showering upstairs for the next week (David's doing a building project for the place he went to high school next week), we'll be using the bathroom for everything else. I need to make a window treatment happen (& I've got clear thoughts about what I want) while he's gone and figure out how we want to decorate the room. However, that there will be a working john down the hall in the middle of the night, rather than using the patio's toilet or going upstairs is a boon, as will brushing my teeth in the bathroom rather than the kitchen tickles me no end. (Gotta get your thrills where you can.)

The kitchen door in situ:

Before



After



Bathroom Mirror



Shower (I can haz floor!)

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T'was a busy day today.

David (contractor extraordinaire) crashed here last night. I enjoy his company, plus saving on the drive time from Lakeport to our place means that much more time he has to get things done. I made chicken fajitas last night, and it's nice to actually hear someone praise my cooking. I also got b'fast prep done before I went to bed.

This morning I had b'fast for three ready in 15 minutes. I'd put steel cut oats up last night with cinnamon, raisins & vanilla, so all they needed was a fast reheating. The veggies for two personal frittatas was cut and ready. All I had to do was beat the eggs and into the microwave. LJ had toast with avocado and queso fresco which is fast, and the lattes were all set today brew. Then all three of us went into action.

David attached the bathroom. The painting is done, the toilet now in. The sink is affixed to the counter. The shower floor tile got laid out and is ready to be set in the morning, with grout in the afternoon. (Knock wood) The window is done. I need to get picture wire in the AM and the mirror will get cleaned up and hung. The back of it also needs to get closed up. Since I've done framing in the past, I know what to do. I'll be making that my AM project. David's going to be gone all next week so there's a lot to get buttoned up in the n ft 48 hours.

LJ continued to work on the rebuild of the front steps. He's not done yet and he's not fully satisfied with the job he's doing. I brought back con heart redwood 2x4s from the lumber yard yesterday. He's happy with the wood (& what man wouldn't be?), but I screwed up the screw order; right gauge, right head, wrong length. My bad.

I was in door world today. I started with the front door, flipping it over to finish the cleaning process, and managed to get two coats of varnish on that side of it during the course of the day. Then it was on to the pantry door, which got sanded, then painted multiple coats today, I finally put the hardware back on it. It's now ready to be rehung, once the casement is ready for it. The first coat of varnish went on that casement today. By midday, that entry door should be ready to go back up as well.

Fading here. I'll finish this post in the morning.
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No, this is not an homage to Gypsy Rose Lee. (And frankly, despite my sizable weight loss, I doubt there are many people out there who would be hollering, "take it off take it off.")

When we bought this place the kitchen door was nothing short of garish. Once upon a time it was probably a lovely door. However, somewhere along the way the nine panes of glass in the upper part of the door I suspect were replaced with multiple shades of colored glass. (Nine panes, four different colors.) The previous owner then compounded the insult, by painting the door black. Poorly. As in, he obviously hadn't bothered to mask off the panes of glass and there was black paint splashed along the edges of all of them. A razor blade and a little time could've corrected that. He hadn't bothered to do that either. To my eye, the door looked like something out of a carnival nightmare.

With everything else we had/have to do in the house, an ugly, but solid and functional door was not a high priority. They were many other more pressing things. Still, I had to look at that eyesore daily and I desperately wanted to do something about it. Now that warmer weather has arrived, late last week I took the door off the hinges, and started stripping it. Between sanding blocks, chemical stripper, & an orbital sander, The door was ready for its first coat of varnish early this afternoon.

What a difference! Against the natural wood tones of the door, the colored glass no longer looks garish, but warm and well, colorful. I was dreading the idea of having to take the wood supports the part to replace the glass, and so relieved with the difference. With luck by late Wednesday, the door will be reinstalled and one more chore will be finished.

Before:





In process:



Post first coat of varnish:

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David finished the last of the painting, as well as installation of the baseboard and thereafter we put the bedroom together. The bed is massive. No other word for it. It dominates the room, but that's not a bad thing. The bed should dominate the bedroom.

While I was off and the boar and scrounging around for my nightstand, as well as my bedside lamp, David attacked the swamp cooler and got it off the side of the building. I cannot tell you how thrilled I am! We have one window in the bedroom and there is a gorgeous view of the lake from it, and it was almost completely blocked by a gigantic, nonfunctional swamp cooler.

Not only do we get to sleep in our bedroom tonight, in our bed, we'll get to awaken to a gorgeous view. Somebody, quick pinch me. I need to be certain this isn't a dream.
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I'll get by with a little help from my friends, or so the lyric goes.

As we were packing up the old place to move out, I took a hard look at our old bed & decided new home, new beginnings, new bed. We've slept in a king size water bed the entirety of our marriage. I acquired one when I arrived in San Francisco, and it was the bed we kept when we moved in together. I guess it was 20 years ago that friends of ours bought a new bed frame & we in turn took their old one, replacing what we were then sleeping in. The old bed had been taken apart numerous times and put back together and it was looking sad, worn, & tired. When I drained the tubes inside the mattress, I found there had been some leakage. There were clear signs of mildew inside the mattress cover. Time to go shopping for a new bed.

With the remodel going on, and our bedroom being one of the rooms to be worked on, we had time to look around for both a bed and mattress. In late February while perusing Craigslist, l came across a bedframe that looked both really pretty, and formidable. It's a pecan wood sleigh bed, a woman was selling because she was now caring for an infant grandchild & her bedroom could not accommodate both the ginormous bed, as well as the infant's crib. She had already gotten rid of the mattress, taken apart the bed, the headboard in her living room, the rest in her garage. I arranged to look at it.

Her home with decorated very tastefully; the only thing she was getting rid of was the bed, not the remainder of her bedroom set which matched. More importantly she was willing to store the bed in the garage for as long as we needed her to, until such time as we could move it. For $400 I bought the bed, which had originally retailed at $4000. A month later, my friend Chris and I were finally able to move the bed, which came here to the property on his trailer. It went directly into the storage container. (Nota Bene: While the bed is still in pieces, most of it is now in the bedroom to be assembled, once David finishes the work on the baseboards today.)

While the purchase of the bed frame solved the problem of what to put a mattress in, it certainly did not solve the problem of the mattress itself. LJ and I have been debating what to get & up until recently, had been leaning towards a memory foam mattress, though not terribly happy about the cost of one, likely to run about $1200, if not more. There are a number of different ones out there, many marketed by the manufacturer directly to the consumer. The upside? Most will deliver to you directly at no added cost, then give you 3 months to decide whether you want to keep the better not. The downside? The less expensive ones don't have any brick-and-mortar stores were you can go in and actually lie on them to see how they feel. Given all the money we are currently spending on the remodel, another $1200 is not exactly something we want to spend right now, if avoidable.

I had mentioned to a few friends that I was looking for a king size mattress and boxspring to see if they had any recommendations on brands. Last Friday a good friend down in Marin called to ask if I was still looking for a mattress. A friend of his had a king size mattress and box spring set he wanted to giveaway. The man's father and stepmother had slept on it for a couple of years before going into an assisted living facility, and since then, it had been sitting in a storage unit, which in turn he was planning to empty by yesterday. It was a firm Simmons beauty rest in good condition. All I had to do was drive down, either to his storage unit in Point Richmond, or he was willing to drop it at my friends place in central Marin, if that would be easier for me. I gratefully indicated the latter and then set about to find a way to go collect said mattress.

Unfortunately, there's no way to get a king size mattress, let alone the box springs into a Prius, even my Prius V. My friend with the trailer was unfortunately tied up and I was unsuccessful in finding anybody that could fix me up with a trailer hitch for the Prius on Saturday. Borrowing the trailer was out. I checked with the various rental places for either a pick up or a van, and while they were available and the rental was only $20 per day, every last location had a mileage fee that was absurd. The best that I could find on short notice, was $1.09 per mile. Given the cost of gas, and the distance, the rental would've cost me somewhere in the vicinity of $400. Fortunately, a local friend was kind enough to offer me the use of his pick up on Monday. My friends in Marin were OK with the mattress sitting in their garage for the weekend, and so Monday morning I went over to my friends place to get his pick up.

What I hadn't counted on, is that my local friend, because of a previous DUI has a breath detector installed in his vehicle, which allows him to drive for work. Using the pick up meant I had to learn how to use the breathalyzer in order to start the car. Moreover, anywhere from every 15 to 30 minutes the breathalyzer beeps at you, and you have to do another breath test. I thought, I can do this. This shouldn't be a problem. Well, learning to operate the breathalyzer was not so simple. It took roughly 8 attempts for me to get it right & actually get the thing to analyze my breath, which of course came back with a blood alcohol level of zero. In the state of California, you're not allowed to hold a cell phone while driving, but there is no such injunction about doing a breath test. Let me simply say it made the trip down and back, um, interesting.

The truck is also tall, with somewhat oversized tires, meaning you have to climb up into the truck. Before returning to the gym last fall, this would have been a challenge. That aspect at least did not prove difficult. I had absolutely no trouble getting in or out.

Once in Marin at my friends place there, I had to figure out how exactly to get the mattress and box springs in to the truck. This beast is equipped with iron racks for construction equipment and materials, & ultimately the boxsprings went into the bed of the truck, one on top of the other, the head of the box springs up on the utility box, the lower end in the truck bed, while the mattress was strapped to the roof rack much the way this truck carries drywall or plywood.

As I write, David is at work in the bedroom finishing up the baseboards. The boxsprings and mattress are on the floor in the center of the room, while the massive headboard is lying on top of the mattress. Early this afternoon, I will wind up putting the bed back together and getting the mattress and box springs into it. Tonight, for the first night of hopefully many, many more to come, my husband and I will cuddle up together in our bedroom, & awake in tomorrow morning to a glorious view of the lake.
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When I first described my kitchen desires to out former contractor they included a central kitchen island, an island I already had. I was open to it being updated, but the contractor was very firm in his belief there just wasn't room for it, unless the kitchen space was pushed significantly further into the living/dining room, something he knew I was unwilling to do. We had agreed to enlarge the room in two directions, but not as far as he thought was needed to accommodate the island.

I moved the island from the old house into a storage unit here on the property. He knew it was here. I insisted it would wind up in my studio space when we got there. I meant it. I'm attached to it as it was built for me, to my specifications by a friend, sadly now deceased, long before his time. Mikey was a woodworker who specialized in turning scrap hardwood into beautiful cutting boards. I'd asked him to build me a kitchen island on wheels with a butcher block top, essentially a giant cutting board on wheels. It had pull out shelves made to accommodate my Kitchenaid mixer, as well as cubbies for baking sheets, etc. Well, when Mikey realized I intended to use the butcher block as a butcher block, he built me a huge cutting board from exotic hardwoods as a gift. That cutting board covered almost half the island.

My cabinets here include a narrow undercounter cabinet for items like that huge cutting board and large baking sheets. While I've been thrilled with the kitchen in most ways, I find I do a lot of walking side to side. Dishes and the fridge are on one wall, the stove on another, the area I've been doing food prep on yet another. It's not an efficient setup. A central island to work from really will make the space much friendlier to work in.

In my old kitchen, which was also large, the island was the heart of everything that went on there. Groceries we put down on it, to be put away; it was convenient to the pantry, as well as the fridge. It was a great workstation for food prep, and just a step from the stove, and could even be rolled closer to the stove, if I needed it. It even made putting the dishes away easier; they came right out of the dishwasher onto the island and once the dishwasher was empty, I could go around to the other side of the island where it was a breeze to put them away.

Well it's my kitchen, dammit! Screw what the contractor felt about it not belonging here

One of my projects today was to the move the island out of the storage unit and into the house. Once I got it to the patio, I replaced the wheels with new ones that shouldn't scratch the floor, that just happen to be half an inch taller. To my pleasant surprise, completely serendipitously, the new wheels now make the butcher block level with the granite countertops.

After being moved about the kitchen countertop for the past month, ever since it was unpacked, the Kitchenaid finally has a home again, back in the island where it lived for the past two decades. So does the huge cutting board. A place of honor in fact, dead center in the heart of the kitchen. The knife block will now live right next to it. No longer is there a hanging pot & pan rack above the island, but to be able to drink in the gorgeous views I see through my windows, I can live without it.

The island fits the space. It just fits. Just as I had envisioned it, when I first described to the contractor what I wanted. There's easily enough room fo me to circle it and have room to open any door, drawer or appliance fully. There is now a splash of wood in the center of a predominantly white kitchen. I'll change the door and drawer pulls to match the others in the room and live with this for a while, to see how it feels, but at this point it feels pretty damn good.

Slowly, this old farmhouse is not just getting a facelift; it's becoming our home. That's our home, not the he contractor's.
osodecanela: (Default)
I've got a lot to feel good about. The house is coming together. And many things and my wife are coming together for that matter. We have a new contractor not only who's doing the good work but who we are simpatico with. I'm sitting at the table on the porch finishing up a light breakfast of Greek yogurt over some fruit, accompanied by my morning coffee. I have just emerged from my closet, comfortable in my clothes, a pair of jeans marked 42, that I don't dare wear without a belt, & a favorite old Lands' End shirt that's not a 2X, but an 18. I have to run a brush through my hair come out and water the garden plants, throw a hat on my head, & I'm out the door off to Santa Rosa. I've got multiple errands to run including getting the car serviced at 11:30, and then there's Christopher's graduation party starting at three. There's much to get done.

David (our new contractor) brought me a high-end pole saw,so this weekend I can live the trees on our property that were too high up for me to reach with my own pruning hook. I started stripping the back door yesterday, the garish black paint is gone for most of one side of the door& I'm thrilled with how much better the door looks. David is promised to bring his orbital sander with him today to leave with me for the weekend so I can finish the door, throw a coat of varnish on it and rehang the thing. Getting that chore done is going to make the kitchen the feel much closer to being completely finished. To me, it was a complete eyesore prior; now the warmth of the wood underneath will shine through and be a welcome to all who enter this house. Tomorrow morning I have items that I wish to sell that I must photographs and get listings ready for eBay. Part of getting moved in and really nesting In this home is getting rid of things that I do not want or that are not be needed. It is a decluttering of my space and my life & it feels really good to be doing it.

On the list for this weekend will be starting to move into the bedroom and reaching unity with my husband about what kind of mattress we're going to put in the new bed. New bed here is a bit of a misnomer; It's new to us. I found an absolutely gorgeous, but huge sleigh bed early this year. It's pecan wood nicely carved designs in its side and will dominate the room, but that's not a bad thing for a bedroom now is it?

About the only sense of dread or for building I have now focuses on Washington. I wish I could put that out of my mind completely, but I can't. I am so completely appalled by trumps most recent grandstand yesterday pulling out of the Paris accord, but sadly I'm far from surprised.

Enough navelgazing for now. I need to get my ass in gear.
osodecanela: (Default)
The mood here in Lake Wobegon has much improved. Stress levels have gone down since the departure of our former contractor, G-d bless & keep him, far, far away.

David, started work yesterday morning, first assessing what remained undone and expressing strongly what he feels priorities should be, namely getting us into our bedroom and our home lives back to normal ASAP. Yes, he realizes how badly we want the bathroom done & after seeing home get to work, I have confidence he will have that done fairly soon too, but he has expressed to us how stressful living in a construction zone is and how hard it is to live without a sense of normalcy. Temporary sleeping quarters compounds that several fold and what's needed to have the bedroom ready for us to move into, he can knock out by Monday. Giving us usable personal space for us to make our own, is his first priority.

I love the way he thinks. He is also listening to us very carefully and treating us not just respectful, but lovingly. What a breath of fresh air, after months of walking on eggshells!

When he arrived yesterday morning, LJ and I moved were looking at the paint chips of the colors we'd picked for the bedroom. We had selected them a couple of nights before and wanted to see them in daylight. We talked about color with him and then looked thru the stuff left undone.

In the last 48 hours, everything has been moved out of the bedroom, I muddled and taped the large drywall patch over the new electric service to the house, patched a hole in the ceiling and muddled that and primed both patches, as well as the wall between the closet and the bedroom. David has primed the ceiling and painted it, painted the walls, though the accent wall will need one more coat (it's third). Tomorrow, he'll get the the hallway painted, the baseboards installed and painted, and the smoke detector hard wired in, before he moves on to the bathroom. That means this weekend we get the move the bedroom furnishings in. As soon as we get a mattress we get to move out of rth guest bedroom and into our master.

Can I get an a-men!
osodecanela: (Default)
Today I:

Finished giving a walnut tree a much needed haircut.
Taped & mudded drywall in our bedroom.
Patched and mudded a hole in the bedroom ceiling.
Smudged the house and driveway.
Unpacked the herbs, spices & extracts and put them away. (Unpacked box quota met!)
Spoke with an old friend.
Made an appointment for the Prius' 10k service.
Did laundry.
Got the last of the outlet face plates installed in the kitchen.
Opened a bottle of wine with dinner.
Watered all the potted plants and the youngsters in the ground that still require watering.
Installed a corner shelf in the upstairs bathroom.
Confirmed with the new contractor he starts tomorrow.
osodecanela: (Default)
I've been on CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea for over 20 years. My apnea is not as bad as it was when I was heavier, but from the description of my college room mate, I'm likely one of those people who had it at normal weight. My husband has teased that my nightly use of the machine is evidence of belonging to the Borg collective.

Last night he joined the collective.

For the past several years he has been tired all the time, napping almost daily for several hours by late afternoon. Then recently, now that I'm home much more since retiring, I witnessed him obstructing. I insisted on a sleep study, which revealed moderate obstructive apnea. Yesterday, he drove back to Sonoma county & after seeing his dentist for a new crown and then driving out to check on our old place, he went to the CPAP class at Kaiser and got a trial machine. He'll use this for the next couple of weeks, then return it for them to analyze its data card, after which he'll be getting his own machine.

He's not happy about this, but if it will make him feel better rested, he's willing.

To my surprise, he opted for the full face mask. (I use nasal pillows, with a chin strap to keep my mouth closed.)

I think he slept better last night, for which I'm grateful. Me? Not so much.

He was clingy last night. On a gut level, I think the admission he has a problem, a diagnosis that needs chronic management, is frightening. We're still in the full bed in the guest bedroom upstairs. It's not a comfortable bed for me. With my weight loss since last fall, we now both 'fit' in the bed, but it certainly isn't roomy. If he has plastered himself to me, as he did last night, I can't move. I have no place to turn over. While he was in Santa Rosa yesterday, I spent 4 1/2 hours clearing brush and landscaping in advance of fire season here. With the previous bad fires that hit Lake County over the past several years, I'm taking the warning to create a defensible space around your house seriously. Dry grass and dead tree limbs are fuel for wild fires. I'm in better shape than i once was, and I'm happy I have the ability to do this work, but truthfully, I'm good and sore. That partnered with the lousy bed & a clingy husband did not add up to a good night for me last night.

I need a massage and a long hot soak. Sadly, I don't see either of those happening today. I'm going to have to settle for some coffee and a couple of Tylenol. Time to get up.
osodecanela: (Default)
I've been on CPAP for obstructive sleep apnea for over 20 years. My apnea is not as bad as it was when I was heavier, but from the description of my college room mate, I'm likely one of those people who had it at normal weight. My husband has teased that my nightly use of the machine is evidence of belonging to the Borg collective.

Last night he joined the collective.

For the past several years he has been tired all the time, napping almost daily for several hours by late afternoon. Then recently, now that I'm home much more since retiring, I witnessed him obstructing. I insisted on a sleep study, which revealed moderate obstructive apnea. Yesterday, he drove back to Sonoma county & after seeing his dentist for a new crown and then driving out to check on our old place, he went to the CPAP class at Kaiser and got a trial machine. He'll use this for the next couple of weeks, then return it for them to analyze its data card, after which he'll be getting his own machine.

He's not happy about this, but if it will make him feel better rested, he's willing.

To my surprise, he opted for the full face mask. (I use nasal pillows, with a chin strap to keep my mouth closed.)

I think he slept better last night, for which I'm grateful. Me? Not so much.

He was clingy last night. On a gut level, I think the admission he has a problem, a diagnosis that needs chronic management, is frightening. We're still in the full bed in the guest bedroom upstairs. It's not a comfortable bed for me. With my weight loss since last fall, we now both 'fit' in the bed, but it certainly isn't roomy. If he has plastered himself to me, as he did last night, I can't move. I have no place to turn over. While he was in Santa Rosa yesterday, I spent 4 1/2 hours clearing brush and landscaping in advance of fire season here. With the previous bad fires that hit Lake County over the past several years, I'm taking the warning to create a defensible space around your house seriously. Dry grass and dead tree limbs are fuel for wild fires. I'm in better shape than i once was, and I'm happy I have the ability to do this work, but truthfully, I'm good and sore. That partnered with the lousy bed & a clingy husband did not add up to a good night for me last night.

I need a massage and a long hot soak. Sadly, I don't see either of those happening today. Time to get up.
osodecanela: (Default)
In some ways I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner. I went into migraine aura this morning. All I can say is thank G-d for caffeine.

I had my first migraine at 17. I didn't know what the hell it was at the time. I was at a dorm party my freshman year- wine & cheese. First time I drank red wine. And the last. About 45 minutes after I got there my vision went wonky. Suddenly, my visual field narrow dramatically, & what vision remained it was horridly distorted by zigzagging lines and flashing lights. On top of that the lights in the room hurt like hell. I thought I was going blind. About 15 minutes after that, suddenly I felt like someone had stuck in ice pick through my right eye. I remembered hearing someone behind me if I started to heave into the john, "He didn't have that much to drink did he?" At that moment it felt like my brain was about to spill out through my eyes.

I landed at the college infirmary, where the emergency doctor on duty branded me a migraineur, & mercifully put me out with a shot of morphine.

When I came to a couple of hours later, I was still in pain, but not nearly to the degree I had been. My head still throbbed, though dulled, but amen, my vision has returned to normal. Seeing that I was now awake, The doctor walked back over. "Feeling better?"

"Is this what being hung over feels like? I only had one glass of wine."
"No, this is what it feels like to have to ride out a migraine."

It turns out that not only was I rather textbook in my presentation, but I had had the good fortune to have been taken care of by someone who was a migraineur himself. What I had suffered was a textbook visual aura in less than half an hour from my very first glass of red wine. It turns out that red wine is a rich source of the chemical tyramine, which a good handful of classic migraineurs are sensitive to. Aged cheese, herring and chocolate round out the other large dietary sources. A wine and cheese party is a recipe for a tyramine sensitive individual to experience true misery.

I left the infirmary with a prescription for Cafergot, as well as a small stash of Tylenol with Codeine to deal with the 'aftermath' headache that went on for the next couple of days. Cafergot was a combination medication of ergotamine & Caffeine, which if taken at the very first sign of a migraine aura can abort the headache. Over the years I found for me it usually worked like a charm. In the early 90s, a newer & safer class of migraine medication came out, a class called the triptans.

I have found over the years that meditation, stress reduction, and adequate sleep will usually keep me from suffering migraines. I've also found that if I'm caught with out my meds when a migraine starts, I may be able to break the aura and abort the headache if I hit caffeine pretty hard. We're talking like a quart of strong coffee. Amen, that worked for me this morning.

I think I'm going to take it easy on myself today. I'm not in the mood to go back into aura.
osodecanela: (Default)
The beginning of last week while I was rummaging through the garage looking for clothing, I had a moment of abject dejection. The amount of stuff I have to go through is verging on overwhelming. After a moment or three of hyperventilating, I made the resolution that I will open and empty a bare minimum of one box a day until they're all taken care of. Now, that's not a maximum; it's a minimum. On days when there is adequate time, I can do as many boxes as I have space and time for, but every day there is a minimum of at least one box.

Friday it was a dozen, yesterday morning before I left for Santa Rosa, five. So far today, I think it's seven or eight. How many I do in a given day isn't important. As long as it least one got done, I can cut myself some emotional slack, secure in the knowledge that eventually everything will be gone through, put away, or gotten rid of.

My former office manager invited us over for a barbecue at her place, intent on having the entire office staff over. My husband decided to take a pass, to stay home to get stuff done here. I felt the need for some R & R; further, other than seeing Oana last week when she came over, I had not seen any of my office self since early December, at my medical assistant's mother's funeral. Not only did I want to see them, I wanted them to see and hopefully take some pleasure in the changes that I'm making physically.

When I headed out to Santa Rosa, the back of my car was full. There were some items to drop off at Goodwill, and a bunch of clothing I no longer can use, to drop off to a friend who has a son, plus three foster sons, all of them sadly approaching 275~300 pounds and beyond. I also very much wanted to hit the gym and treat myself to a soak in the spa after running. I started lifting weights again recently & my arms are not happy with me. When it comes to lifting weights, I really have to push myself to do it. I don't enjoy doing it, unlike my cardio, which I really do enjoy, but building up some muscle in my chest and arms will be a good thing, as I 'deflate'. I really don't want to have nipples down around my beltline. Given the amount of weight I've already lost, I'm actually surprised by the dearth of hanging skin. Frankly, I expected stuff to sag everywhere, and as I get towards goal, likely there will be major SAG, but so far, not nearly as much as I would have expected. Granted, there's probably still another 80 pounds to get rid of, but honestly I seem to be getting flatter. I laughed, when on two separate occasions I've been told by others that I'm "flatter", but as I look at my lower belly for example, that's exactly what's happening.

For years I've used a laptop while sitting at a table or desk, & absolutely never on my lap. I don't really have a lap. Between the size of my lower belly, and the fact that my thighs are actually rather short, there is no appreciable lap for me to put the laptop on, at least, not yet. Such is the case for most people with Dunlop's disease (A.k.a. when the belly done lops over the belt!). Over the last several months my lower abdomen has noticeably contracted. There is still much more there than I am happy with, putting it mildly, but it is shrinking noticeably & at least for the time being along with it, my skin.

This morning I focused on boxes that were upstairs in the house. Within the next few weeks, we will likely be moving into our bedroom downstairs (once the drywall is repaired and the room painted) & the bathroom is completed. Since very little is being done to the upstairs, that hasn't already been done, the rooms upstairs can soon be set up for a combination of my husband's office space and guest bedrooms. It's time to get boxes that are upstairs opened and unpacked – basically out of the way, so that the rooms can be put to their proper use.

I've been spending a lot of my time outdoors focusing on the landscaping. I'm learning. Up till now, I have done very little gardening in my life. I grew up a city kid. A tree may grow in Brooklyn, but it sure as hell wasn't in my neighborhood. Over the last month I have taken out a fair number of bushes & other plants that were unruly and unwanted. One of them was an oleander that despite its size (about 20 feet tall) was looking both leggy & rather sickly. Further, it was right behind the garage, a space that we are planning to enclose and create workshop space for me and my artwork. That oleander was blocking any potential view of the lake and so I decided it needed to go. I managed to get that plant out, but still need to deal with its root ball, which I'm sure will be no small task. I've done major pruning on fruit trees all over this property and have cut back many dead branches off of a fair number of beautiful Manzanitas we have dotting the property. Every couple of days I'm out somewhere with the Weedwhacker, trying to make a defensible space around the house in advance of fire season here. Our county has been hit the last several years by devastating fires, something in our neighborhood has been spared. I cannot afford to tempt fate and so I must continue whacking down the weeds and pruning the plants to reduce our own fire risk here.

60 to 70 years ago, there were a large number of rather stately grafted walnut trees here, both on our land and the surrounding properties. A fair number of them have died, and two of them are just outside of our fences. One is immediately to the side of the garage, while the other is right at the corner of out property where Cliff and Park Drive intersect. The one next to the garage still has some life in it; the rootstock seems healthy and whatever the native rootstock plant is seems to be springing to life. The grafted branches however, not so much. Up until a month ago, I thought the entire tree was dead, but in the ensuing weeks, towards the center of the tree, new foliage is springing up. Unfortunately, The bulk of the grafted tree is not coming back and in addition to it being a fire hazard, it's uglier than sin; not exactly what you want for guests to see, as they drive up to your house and park. When I went to take out the trash, I decided no time like the present to attack the tree with my pruning hook. My pruner extends to 18 feet and has a saw blade out the top. It's a lot of work to get through the trunk-like branches high up in the tree, but it's a hell of a lot safer than climbing the tree myself with a chainsaw. I came back inside, threw on a pair of overalls, without a shirt, slathered on some sunscreen and walked back out with the pruning hook. Did I mention it's 92° here today? I'm on the front porch now sipping a tall glass of ice water, before I go back out to take out the remainder of the dead wood. It's looking a hell of a lot better than it did and if I have the energy, thereafter I will start to attack the one on the corner. Later this week I see a dump run happening to get the deadwood out of here.

I was planning to hit the gym today, but I think I may just skip it given the upper body workout I've gotten today in the yard. Back to work.
osodecanela: (Default)
It's been a busy day.

I'm sitting on the front porch at watching the sun over the lake as it sinks towards the mountain. I'm wearing just a pair of gym shorts and nothing else having just gotten back from said gym. I ran a 5K in 36 minutes and 10 seconds, that is if the elliptical is to be believed. I did it while listening to Rachel Maddow's podcast from last night. Amazing how anger at the current administration can be motivation to get out and run at breakneck speed. This is a minute and 20 seconds faster but the last time I ran a 5K the end of last week.

Speaking of the administration, times are feeling more and more The Nixon administration just before his resignation. Trouble is the country is much more divided than it was back then, or at least seems to be & I don't think we had nearly the degree of right wing extremist media as we have today. Neither did the Internet exist, along with Breitbart news and the Drudge Report, pedaling their version of "news". Still, each day brings word of yet another outrageous thing associated with the president and his administration. I simply cannot fathom how this can continue without his base turning on him.

In addition to running and lifting weights today, I've spent time clearing brush, helping out contractor cl among the kitchen fun tile post grouting, and unpacking stuff and getting it out away. I'm trying to find as much as I can that I can do that with. Today, it was my coats and jackets, as well as Pop's suits.

I packed up a good sized box of outerwear, none of which fit me last December. Now all of it does. I have an Aussie oilcloth duster now hanging on the back porch airing out, several nice leather jackets in my closet as well as two XL Landsend field coats in the closet. There are two coats that will go away in a couple of months, one a Levi denim jacket, the other a down coat. They fit loosely now, but by fall I suspect they will have outlived their usefulness size wise. I feel a bit like a kid in a candy store. "Oh! Yeah! Look what fits!! Yes!!"

The suits were also pleasing but in a different way. These were my father's and came to me after his death over 20 years ago. I've never worn any of them. A) they were too small and b) I never had the occasion to need them. Still they were pop's, which made them important to me. Pop wore suits daily. He was a pharmaceutical detail man working in hospitals, also a heavy man. We however were built very differently and since I'd been to big to try them on till now, I'm just now realizing how different.

The box was labeled "open @ 250". They had been hanging in my office closet from the time they came to me. All were too small for me to wear when I got them. When I closed the office last year about 1/2 went to Goodwill, 1/2 I kept. I cried when I left them there. Even though I was ready to let go of them, since they had been pop's, it was difficult. As for the remainder I'd kept, traditional men's dresswear changes so little, that a classically cut business suit really changes very little over the years. If they're kept properly, you can get away using them for decades. Anyway, suits vary in cuts. Pop wore a portly or executive cut where the drop from the chest circumference to the waist was 4". A standard suit is 6". An Athletic cut is 8". Weirdly enough, guess who's an athletic cut. Almost all the dress clothes fit now. Sort of. Any suit where the jacket fits, the pants are huge and have to be taken in. Any where the pants fit, the jacket is too big. I now fit a size 52 suit coat, but the pants have to be taken down to a 43" waist. Pop's 52 suit have pants that are 48".

Fortunately for me, both my grandfathers were tailors. They made and did alterations on men's clothing their whole working lives. Pop's father first stuck me behind a sewing machine when I was 6 or 7. I know how to take all those pants in and if the need for a suit arises, I'm ready.

Our contractor will soon depart. When is not absolutely certain, but his work is drawing to a close. With luck the bathroom will be finished by the weekend. Famous last words. We'll see.

Also the central air and heat people are finally on the installation path. Ducting is now mostly in. The real heat this area is known for has not hit yet, but it's just around the corner. I have my fingers crossed that work will be done before the temperatures begin to roast. I succeeded in finding a pet door that is large enough for Arjuna and that fits the both the sliding door to the front porch as well as the one to the back patio, so he will have egress once the heat hits and we have a h doors closed to keep the house cool.

We (as in my husband and I along with 2 helpers) husband upped out the carpeting, padding and fiberboard underlayment in the living room last weekend intime for heat and air guys to set the floor ducts at the correct height. The old floor is in surprisingly good shape, only needing two small repair patches. Turns out the front living room was once two separate rooms and where the wall once existed the hardwood did not. Given the pattern and size of the missing hardwood, I'd say there were either French or pocket doors that separated the two rooms. Patching those missing areas should not too difficult or extensive. I may ask the contractor to take that on, or not depending his demeanor this week. If not, we've got another construction guy lined up for the next phase of renovation and if floor repairs are not his forte, Oana's husband did flooring for half a dozen years. This might be something he would be willing to take on.

Much to do. Time to go make supper.

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