Saturday, September 27, 2008

Road Trip

Don't hold yer breath waiting for posts. Going on a Road Trip with Poppa. Back when we're done!

But first this update: Caulking still holding. (I know I didn't tell you about the process. I'm saving that for a day when I have nothing else to tell you.) Helpful Neighbour has drawn plans for ripping the mess off and replacing with a proper roof. Jr Boy has looked and there is, (no surprise) probably more to it than a simple (is there ever any such thing??) roof replacement. The Proposal: Continue to spend fall/winter dejunking and when I'm tired of that, (no doubt a daily occurence) make the list of What I Would Want If I Were Buying This House. That list could be fairly exhaustive so it's a good thing (a) I'm leaving town for a few days; (b) it's all conjecture otherwise the investment dude would be falling about in panic and (c) that the market here is tanking so I'm not about to list before Christmas anyway. If the market stays tanked, I might start working on the list in some sort of order rather than my usual random (Let's do this. No, let's do that. No! let's do that first and then rip it out to do this properly!! Don't ask how I know this)

Stuff's in the car. Flight's on time. Gotta go.

Still breathing

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finished Objects

Three things:

1. The deck is painted. It is a different colour on the deck than on the paint chip. Is anyone else surprised by this?? The sander has not been returned as the new green on the deck doesn't "go" with the old green of the wooden tables and chairs. Sanding of furniture will be done and maybe even some painting in the garage because

2. The engine block is Gone!! Glory and praise and joyous dancing!! Dead Metal Recycling is my new favourite local hauling company! With a bit of reshuffling, I may even be able to reach the vacuum cleaner can and vacuum the

3. New vehicle! The acquisition of which is my new party piece. When I have finished telling it to everyone who will listen, I might tell you all but it sort of loses in translation from voice to print. Suffice to say, that once again, technology wins a game I didn't know I was playing. New vehicle is a green 2005 Toyota RAV4, standard transmission with 52,000km. Does this sound familiar? It should: it is the vehicle I was looking for a year and half ago. Guess I waited long enough. Will miss those heated seats, though.

Caulking report next time.

Still breathing...

Friday, September 19, 2008

This is not a knitting blog

Disclaimer 1. I knit. This may not be too important to most of you but it is important to me as it keeps me from drinking (somewhat) and smoking.

Disclaimer 2. I have a few projects on the go. Well, all right: 8 that I can think of (and that includes 2 things I was knitting for The Sr Boy before he went off on his own adventure).

Disclaimer 3. I have a sort of stash that could be used for a project if I knew what it wanted to be.

Disclaimer 4. I have purchased yarn without knowing why other than it was beautiful and I wanted it.

Disclaimer 5. I have purchased yarn over the interwebs despite having to trust my monitor's colour resolution and learning how to use online payment.

Disclaimer 6. I have given away yarn because I knew the giftee would enjoy it more than me.

Disclaimer 7. I have been given yarn.

Disclaimer 8. I read knitting blogs. A lot of knitting blogs.

Disclaimer 9. I have frogged so often my middle name should be Rana. (I would actually choose Rana aurora which is the Red-legged version and may do so when I get my red leggings knat. Not!)

Disclaimer 10. Knitting in the round? Yes!! Lace? Mmmmm - still waiting for the joy which I think will require serious sofa time with no Mike or Igor or any of the cohort of tube-ish distractions. Everything else is up for consideration.

Disclaimer 11. My mother taught me how and for thirty years I only knit patterns with stockinette because the other stuff was "too hard". That worked right up until I lost the Aran sweater she had made for me and she had lost too much memory to be able to work the patterns to reknit so I took over. Who knew how easy an Aran sweater could be?

Disclaimer 12. I have issues with gauge. Ask The Jr Boy about the sweaters I have made for him in which he could have a party along with six or seven friends. I like to think that this is because I was sure he was, despite excellent evidence to the contrary (um, measuring tape, anyone?), 6' tall and weighed 185#.

Disclaimer 13. I have knit in public most recently last night at a concert with this phenomenal woman but absolutely not while she was singing. Unfortunately, some people who were knitting with their MOUTHS didn't show her the same good manners. Ahemmm

Disclaimer 14. I have been given knitting by dear ones and a total stranger. All have been warm and wonderful.

Disclaimer 15. I have said "You can't afford my time to knit what you want" more than once. That phrase is really code for "You are not that special in my life."

Disclaimer 16. I have knit wool, hemp, silk, seaweed, cotton, acrylic, and fishing line (boredom).

Despite the above, this is still not, in my mind, a knitting blog. Those of you who have ventured in via someone else's comments may have wondered what I was doing making comments on their or their friend's knitting blog when I apparently "Don't Knit". I do. I just don't write about it much as it is a simply a part of my life. My life which includes dealing with loss, grief, stepping-up-to-the-plate, writing, walking, working, staining the deck, caulking the dod-gasted sunroom and breathing.




Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Me and Mike

We rented this house before we bought it. While renters, we spent a lot of time discouraging would be buyers by pointing out that there weren't a lot of level or parallel lines in the house and "why yes, those were water stains around the skylights" so it wasn't as if we didn't know what we were getting into. We knew and we bought it anyway figuring the house was only five years old, that some things (unlevel drywall) could be lived with and others (leaking skylights) could be fixed in time. Hey! after living on the Coast in houses built pre- and post-WW II, it was a pleasure not to have to lay out a schwack of $$$ for insulation first thing and have the floors refinished second thing.

We took our time about the skylights: good old silicone sealant and The Sr Boy's fearlessness on roofs were a good (and inexpensive) combination but after the 2003 fire across the lake, it was definitely time to replace the cedar shingles (have I mentioned we live in an interface area??) and new skylights were installed to great delight and refinishing of the ceiling. (Ironical aside: the roofers did a rather poor tarp job before quitting for the weekend. Up came the black clouds and we had a torrential downpour: right through the tarp over the leaky old skylight. Sigh.....)

Those were the skylights on the north side of the house. We weren't really thinking about the south side because we didn't really have any. Well, except for the sunroom.

If you have visited us, you know the sunroom. It's the space at the end of the kitchen with the little table and rattan loveseat and chair where two or three (very cosily) can have coffee, read, knit (yeah, I'll get on to that in here one of these days....), do the crossword, nap, yack on the phone and, when it rains or snows then thaws, mop up water. I don't really know what the builder/owner was thinking when he put the "skylights" in over the sunroom. I do know that the designer/owner (aka his wife) was only in here two months before she was designing the next place. I've been in the next place: NO skylights, NO sunroom!!

The problems are, I think, that he used "windows" instead of real skylights and that he didn't know what he was doing. There are things one has to do to keep the rain from running into the house and I believe it is called caulking. This is an interesting process by which one applies some sort of caulking or sealant to the exterior so the rain cannot run through the 1/16" - 1/4" gaps caused by the inability of the builder to measure anything with any accuracy. After the first winter where in we discovered that there was some problem with the caulking (but it wasn't our problem because we were renting) not to mention with the lack of a cover over the vent in the sunroom (which was our problem because the snow fell through it onto The Jr Girl in her high chair), we bought the house.

Then we discovered the purpose of the framework over the deck outside the sunroom and the vent. This house faces due south. In the Okanagan Valley. Which gets (as they say in Newfoundland) right some jeezly hot in the summer. We were so busy hanging bamboo screens over all the windows and trying to sleep in the basement and bath the brand-new Jr Boy in the bathroom sink because it was Too Stinking Hot to sleep in our own beds, that we sort of forgot about the leaking sunroom. I think we really actually didn't believe winter would ever come again. Wrongo, as they say.

So, The Sr Boy got quite adept at patching up the caulking on the sunroom windows and I never paid any attention to how he did it or how often. I just knew that when I had to start mopping, there would be sighing, bundling up (if we'd missed the fall rain warning drips), getting out the ladder, the caulking gun and the scraper? exacto knife? magic wand?

And that's my problem: I can do the sighing, the bundling, the ladder, the gun (although we have one fewer as of 1755h this evening when even China's best couldn't withstand my mighty Pilates strength. Dammit) but I can't figure out how to get the old caulking all out of where it is no longer supposed to be because it ain't working anymore. So far, I have used a paring knife, an elderly exacto knife which lacked the 'exact' part, a wicked looking curved knife I found in TSB's tool belt, and my fingers. A lot of it is off/out but there is some that simply won't budge and the new caulking says "All surfaces must be clean, dry, and completely free of old caulking especially silicone." Well the dry is not a problem at the moment (stay tuned for the weather report...), clean is a bit problematic but manageable but what do I do about the old caulking??? The interwebs has been only moderately helpful, The Jr Boy is busy with other things, and I've got the window washer arriving at 0800h tomorrow!!! (Now you all know why the rush to get the caulking done, right?) Where is Mike Holmes when I need him???

Here's the plan: (1) the window washer gets a break: all the windows except the sunroom roof. (2) ask The Neighbour Who Knows About Stuff Like This to take a look. (3) listen to TNWKASLT's advice. (4) act on advice (if I like it). (5) continue to pry old caulking out while finishing the book-on-tape that I was listening to when Agnes and I had flying practice. (6) pray for continued good weather. (7) practice with caulking gun. (8) caulk up the dodgasted gaps. (9) rethink plan of buying an older place and consider designing and building a new house that looks old. (10) keep breathing.

Yeah.... that's manageable.....

Still breathing.

This Just In: Wayne the Dead Metal Guy is coming for the engine block tomorrow, too. Clean windows and gone engine block. O frabjous day!!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beautiful View

Buena Vista means, I think, beautiful view. What were the English thinking when they ignored such lovely Romantic possibilities as buena and bella and landed on "beautiful"? Who is ever going to name somewhere Beautiful View even if it is??

Buena Vista, CO lives up to the ads: it is much like our Columbia Valley - broad with farms in the bottom and steep peaks sawing the sky on either side. The only difference was the rather institutional looking buildings with tall pillar boxes along the outside perimeter. Hmmm... what is it about prisons that they all look like prisons?? This piece of local information was not included in the tourist brochure.

There is another kampground there and when I rolled in asking for a cabin (so I could spread my gear out and then sort it into the smallest possible space and avoid paying for an extra piece of luggage on the plane) I landed the one on the furthest western edge with nothing between the front porch and the fields far below but the neighbour's rocks with their No Trespassing signs attractively arrayed along the barbed wire. As I wasn't sure if the rocks belonged to an actual person neighbour or the actual prison neighbour, I decided to pay attention and enjoy the buena vista and my last beer from the porch while the chipmunk investigated and the sun slanted day's end.

Dinner. Did I "need" food or did I "want" food? The balance was tipped by the people in the koaoffice: a list of various places relatively enthusiastically spoken of and then "Well, there's that new place. What's is called? mmmmm.... Mothers." I'm thinking 'diner' until person #3 wades in. "Yeah, Mothers," says the guy, "but the food's mostly that vegetarian stuff and the portions aren't very big." His hand gesture indicates that, instead of the mound of food that is presented as normal in the youessofay, there might be only a half-mound.

Mothers was not as the people in the office advertised. Mothers was delightful and delicious and not vegetarian at all. The waitress poured me tastings of wine until we got the right match for my dinner and then took my dessert off when it was a too-sweet lemon tart. ("I never eat it for that same reason, " she said) The portions were beyond half-mound by a goodish bit. The koapeople are missing a good thing.

Drove back to the cabin and the glistening dark. Stars I haven't seen in years here in the light pollution: Antares and all of Scorpius, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Capricornus and the drift of the Milky Way.




Saturday, September 13, 2008

Further evidence of bone-headedness

Apparently, I didn't notice that the comments' instructions were also in Italian when I set up the blog being all clever and using Italian because I was going there - was there (!) - three years ago, don'tcha know? Made it a bit challenging for the non parlo italiano among us, eh?

Fixed now.

Back to the deck.

Still breathing.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why I am wearing ear muffs in September

Blogger, you are on my S%$# List - this was much more entertaining before you LOST it.

I have a new piece of equipment and it is (thank you, Annemi) Waaaaanderful!! Actually, I don't have (as in "own") this piece of equipment but, thanks to My Good Friend, I have it (as in "on loan").

It is her 5" Random Orbit Sander and I am Sanding Wonderwoman! Actually, (I know that's the second one, stop counting!) My Good Friend is probably Sanding Wonderwoman because she has already sanded and painted her own deck but she's done for now so I am claiming the title.

The last time the deck was done was 2005. I seem to recall some excitement with a power washer and the use of a wire brush and a goodish bit of labour on the part of The Jr Girl's homme d'annee. No Sanding. I am sanding because (a) this is the last time I intend to paint the deck and (b) Certain People (you know who you are) were having such a good time that they didn't notice that the dodgasted candles had burned down and dripped wax all over the place and wax don't come out with no stinking power washer and wire brush. I've already had the power-washing done so I know about that and I hates wire brushes with the passion of forty steam rollers running over bagpipes (don't even think about getting all over me for that image: it will work for most people and for the rest of us who actually like Lagavulin, tatties and 'neeps, and haggis [which is really simply a fancy word for meatloaf/pate] as well as bagpipes, well, we are tough enough to cope with a bit of metaphor).

Ahem.... And, Sanding Wonderwoman 1.0 said, "It's easy."

She's keeeerect about easy: plug in, turn on, swoop along boards knocking off paint flakes, dirt, Candle Wax (grrrrrr), and the heads of nails, wear out a sanding pad, replace pad, countersink nails, repeat. So far, I've done 15 boards with 45 to go including the top of the picnic table. With a couple of days of decent weather, I may get done before winter.

Next up: Colour Choice. I'm leaning towards sky-blue pink but my Colour Consultant (aka The Jr Boy) will be by this weekend and I think he will be steering me towards a more "saleable" colour. Boring but better for marketing.

Still breathing (and wearing ear protection.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I wish I could make this stuff up

From a newspaper on a coffee shop table in CO (I'd link if I could):

Police Blotter
Aug 16, 9:39 p.m.

A 24-year-old man approached Sgt. XXX in the 400 block of West Main St. to make a report. The man stated that his ex-wife was supposed to leave pajamas for him on the hood of a truck in her driveway and that he was going to have someone pick up the pajamas for him so that he wouldn't be in violation of his restraining order. The man just wanted XXX to be aware of the situation.

Wouldn't you have thunk he'd have taken his jammies with him when he left???

This gem was followed by the same Sgt. dealing with a trailer full of "cow remains and producing a very foul smell..." that was going to be left until Monday as it was Sunday and "a responsible party could not be contacted".

Tough to be the residents of 200 Block North Grand Mesa Drive who were planning a bbq on Sunday night, eh?

Buena Vista will have to wait as I'm on a tear down in the basement. Anyone want any canning jars??

Still breathing.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Well that was interesting...

For those of you who have nothing else to do but wait with bated (that is spelled correctly, thank you, it is the contraction for "abated" and has nothing to do with catching something with worms and a hook) breath for the next post, you may now start breathing. Do so deeply as there are SomeThings I Have To Tell You. Namely, that, although I am trying hard not to be a liar per se, I wasn't quite giving you all the facts over the last couple of weeks.

As you will recall, when you consider what was written, I made mention of "meeting up with and travelling with" dear friends. What got left out was the part that involved finding out about how effective properly worn, full seatbelts are; how long it takes to get a tow truck from Burley ID to nearly UT; that Agnes the faithful RAV is heading for the recycling yard; and, miraculously, the only part of me seriously hurt was my pride in my driving ability.

Words to remember: Trucker from TN on cell phone to 911: "Yes, she seems to be ok except for God sitting on her shoulder." State Trooper to me: "Ma'am, we usually take people out of these (type of accidents) in plastic bags." Me to State Trooper: "Maybe you should take my picture for your ad campaign about wearing seatbelts." (Neither seatbelt use nor motorcycle helmet wearing is mandatory in ID)

Suffice to say, I was badly shaken but the shock of inevitability kicked in and then The Cavalry (blessings upon Kathy and Robert and Ann and Tony) met me back in Burley, loaded everything from Agnes into boxes and bags, tucked me into A & T's 33' motorhome, and headed onwards. I spent the journey through the rally living in the lap of luxury: own swivel rocking chair with seatbelt (lots of knittage was completed while watching WY stream by), a/c, excellent food and drink, and my own pull-out bed. Robert was delighted to tell everyone the story and, by the end of the rally, I was being referred to as "RollieTwo" (you have to know about this man to get the joke) by a few cheeky people.

Then there was The Next Stage. The original plans had been for a leisurely trip through UT to places The Boys had visited followed by however I decided I wanted to drive home as long I was back before needing snow tires. (NB: there was new snow on the mountains of northern UT on the long weekend). The Junior Boy has pointed out that I do do project organization for big things very well but this didn't seem to have much "big" attached to it until I realized that I either continued to "live" with A & T (not quite their idea of a perfect holiday, I'm sure) until we got back to BC or I sorted myself out. After conversation with ICkyBiCky and a spell of time with the notebook and pen, I decided to rent a vehicle and spend a week in UT (how long would it take to see what I wanted to and get out, eh? I mean, it's a lot of rocks and limited access to good beer and coffee, right?) and then fly home from Denver.

On paper, this looked quite reasonable. It would mean sucking up and paying a lot of $$ for hotel/motel as there would be no sleeping in the back seat of the ordered sub-compact but I wasn't going to go to the effort of getting back anytime I could see so it was only The Oncet and I'd simply Do It. Cue: Godde Laughing. And the Democratic National Love-In. And the lack of prepped sub-compact. And, TA DAH!! Guess who ended up with a mid-size crossover SUV to drive at sub-compact rates??? Good thing I didn't hand over my koakampingkard to A & T for their homeward journey. Oh, and as if making amends for letting me have A Little Learning Experience, Fred (my guardian angel, I think) reminded me that ANother friend was driving his RAV4 home from the rally and had lots of space in the back. He lives about an hour away and was quite willing to haul my gear. I packed him up and off he went leaving me with a suitcase, a foamie and a sleeping bag.

The rest you know. For the record: I will go back there. I had a job offer (complete with free accommodation) as a warm body who would take direction well (stop laughing) was more precious than gold during the fall tourist season. There is something about those ancient rocks hewn by wind, water, plants, and, very occasionally, by humans, that is draws me deeply. Simply knowing that it is "there" is enough in the same way as knowing that the nuns sing vespers in Sacre Coeur, that blackberries ripen on Gabriola, that the Milky Way and Summer Triangle and Orion and Southern Cross are "there".

I'm home now and starting the New Vehicle Process again. I think it will be another RAV. I have the snow tires after all.

Remind me to tell you about Buena Vista.

Still breathing, gratefully.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The day after Labour Day

Boulder Mountain Lodge is everything its publicity says: quiet (well until the upstairs elephants started at 0630h), a bird sanctuary, excellent bed, wonderful restaurant. I am rested, fed and ready for the turn north. Yesterday's road was a motorcyclist's best dream and a white-knuckle driver's worst nightmare. I stopped counting the hairpins. I also stopped looking over the non-guardrailed edges.

On this beautiful morning, I am wondering about the Anasazi people who built the village site I visited yesterday and which I can see from the lodge's upstairs balcony. Why did they leave and why did they burn the village? Lots of theories but no conclusive answers as they didn't leave any notes behind. Only speculation and the wind.

The sun is warm but the air is very cool - good for travelling.

And breathing. Still.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Labour Day, 2008

It takes longer to get places when one's mouth is constantly gaping open at yet another fantastic view of landscape. All the pictures are true and then some. I know that if I lived here, I would become inured to the beauty in the same way I stopped noticing the "lovely flowers" along the train tracks in England's early May ("Do you mean the weeds on the embankments?" my cousin replied.) after several trips up to London. That said, I am still driving only about 300km/day and it's taking me most of the day to do that what with stops and looks and dawdling. I have an expanded understanding of the The Sr Boy and am trying not to be regretful for not knowing this sooner.

Things that have caught my attention:

Torrey, UT - (another of TSB's "places") is a tree-lined, funky motel/coffee shop/galleried widening in the road with a 3-way corner around which the motorcyclists buzz on their various rides: there is no "where" to go, simply to "go".

The thunderstorm two nights ago over top of the Richfield koakampground that lasted for about two hours with less than 6 seconds between every flash and crash. I cuddled up in the car with my $1 book sale book from Torrey for a fine dinner of Dead Horse beer, crackers, avocado (did you know they sell them ripe here? Guess it helps to be close to the source.), and homous.

Silence is possible even in a campground and it is wonderful and restful.

The ancient Fremont and current Hopi Indian culture is more creative than the US Hwys Dept. Some would say it wouldn't take much but who else would have thought of putting a seems-to-be-working curse on the "so sad, too bad" Hwy Dept?

Laundry will dry just not until the rain stops and then it will only take about 30 minutes in the wind.

Bryce Canyon may be wonderful but the 2nd coming will have fewer people milling about and trying to get sorted. Ruby's Inn may be an outpost of Hades for those of us who have about had it with humanity in quantity.

The colours of the rocks, their massiveness, the wear rubble at the bottoms of the escarpments are prodding at my theology. What can possibly be meant by "Always"? Buried under water for several gazillion years, now reared up and being worn away by wind and water to fall back into the ocean at some point - seedtime/harvest/seedtime/harvest/seed....

Music for this section of the journey: Garnet Rogers' Firefly (he'll be in BC in Oct) especially "Better Days" and "Redwing", Bach's Cello Concerti with Yo-Yo Ma, and Mozart's Clarinet concerti. This landscape seems to need instrumental music but I have the phenomenal Ruthie Foster and kd lang for just-in-case.

Tonight I'm staying here. Bath, nap, dinner, bed. A civilization break in the car-camping.

Still breathing and moving on with blessings for my journey.