Friday, October 17, 2014

first time in baseball history

For the first time since stats have been kept, two wild card teams have made it to the World Series.  Each beat out the winning-est team in its league.  Congratulations all around and we'll be seein' ya on Tuesday in Kansas City.  Go Giants!

Monday, October 6, 2014

getting ready for the cold

We're ready with this beautiful stash of seasoned almond.  Bring it on!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


My friend EFBWD in La Jolla has an interesting reading rhythm.  She divides her books between her "upstairs" reading and her "downstairs" reading.  Upstairs is for fun reading ~ fiction, lighter weight stuff, magazines, etc.  Downstairs is for the heavy duty subjects ~ history, biography, weightier tomes.  I am currently reading two very different books, one for upstairs, one for down, even though I live in a one-story house.

This is my downstairs book, The Discovery of France by Graham Robb.  My friend MSMAS over there on the left at No More Commas Period is departing for Paris next week (you have NO idea how difficult this is for me to deal with!!) and in her honor I decided to tackle this tome.  It is absolutely fascinating and completely different than your run-of-the-mill history books.   It's a narrative of exploration—full of strange landscapes and even stranger inhabitants—that explains the enduring fascination of France.

This is my upstairs book and I am deep into the crazy, utterly dysfunctional Foxmore family as they gather to sit Shiva for the departed patriarch.  I know a film has been made of this story; it will be interesting to see what a director and cast can do with this story.  What a quirky bunch.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

rain, glorious rain

I woke at 5 AM this morning to the sound of gentle rain on the skylight in our bathroom.  Then I heard water gurgling down the drain pipes, followed by the sound of rain pattering on the patio tiles.  Beautiful music.  Steady, refreshing, gentle rain fell here in the valley for four hours.  This morning everything looks so glossy and clean, so fresh and bright.  The new roof has passed its first test with flying colors.

Spurred on by the wet and cold I ordered our winter wood ~ half cord of aged almond.  Looking forward to some cozy nights by the fire soon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

open wide, say "ahhh"

My sweet Dorothy had to go to the hospital this morning.

Last week I took her in for her annual check-up; oil change, tire rotation and inflation check, general examination.  All was just fine.  She got a bath, a vacuum, and we were out the door in two hours.

But starting on Thursday, Mr. C spotted an oil leak on the garage floor.  I kept my eye on it and it did not stop.  So today I went back to the shop and she got another full check. 

Not Dorothy, but you get the idea
Sure enough, there was a leak in the oil pan; the threads on the stopper were stripped.  So back into surgery she went to have the new oil drained, the old pan removed, a new pan installed and then the crank case refilled with oil.  Because the car is so tiny they had to completely remove the engine to get at the old pan, remove it, put in the new one, reinstall the engine, pour in the new oil.  What an ordeal.  Five and a half hours later she was ready to return home.  The cost?  Zero.  Nada. Zip.  Why?  They should have noticed the problem when they drained the oil during the first visit. 

So now I'm good for another 10,000 miles or one year.  It will be a year, I'm sure.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

the roof: week two

Monday morning the final touches were put on the roof before submitting it to scrutiny by the city building inspector.  This meant that the nails had to be driven flat,  all the seams even, the insulation was the right kind and grade,  the new plywood met standards.  We ended up having to have more preparatory work done that we had thought because of both the age of the original roof and all the new city requirements.  By the time the crew left, however, it looked ready to be checked.

New plywood in the front.  Pkgs. of new shingles stacked on the ridge line.

In the back
Tuesday morning the inspector showed up, crawled all over the roof and pronounced it sound!  Then started a whole new round of pounding  as the new shingles went on.  It has been very hot during this past week so work went from about 7:30 in the morning until 1 PM.  It's just too hot after that.  The work has been slow but steady and nobody has passed out with heat stroke.  Although I was sad to see my shake shingles go, I like how this looks.

Tomorrow they will finish up on the west corner in the back, anchor down the flashings of the skylights and solar tube, and generally prepare for Tuesday's final inspection.  There are a couple of things that have to be done inside the house, too.  Mr. C was thrilled when he heard this news but has been led, gently, to understand that it MUST be done.  It is now required that any room in a house that has a closet must have a smoke alarm so that means, for us, three smoke alarms when now we have none.  Any hallway must have both a smoke alarm (yes) and a carbon monoxide alarm (no).  The hallway alarms must be hardwired.  So on Monday, John will install two combo units in our two hallways and three alarms in the bedrooms/office.  These are  items we didn't need when the house was built.  If everything is as it should be (must be!) we should be finished with this little project.

But wait!  There's more!  The pool has developed a nasty leak and, before we head south again, we must get it repaired.

 We noticed we'd been losing water ~ there is an autofill function and you can hear it click on and I was hearing it constantly ~ and this is a very bad sign.  There is a crack on one side of the fountain feature and we think that's where the leak is located.  Mr. C turned off the autofill ten days ago.  As of this morning, the pool level is down 9".  Through some mathematical gymnastics (how many gallons of water in a cubit foot = 7.5 X the L & W of the pool X how many inches of water have been lost ) we arrived at 2,000 gallons.  Yes, we've lost about 200 gallons per day. 

We'll let it continue to drain until it stops and, the thinking goes, that will be the site of the leak.  So, she asks, what if it drains dry?  Then what?  Stay tuned.

Monday, September 15, 2014

the roof: week one

One week gone and we are about half done.  There were a couple of delays such as more work needed on insulation and many plywood sheets had to be replaced.  Here's what happened last week and here's where we are as of today, Monday morning,

Two skylights in the garage, one solar tube in bath. 
The first real visible progress was the installation of two skylights in the garage, one solar tube in the bathroom.  These were done before anything else and they look terrific.

Next came the delivery of this insulation stuff that had to be blown into the attic.  What a gawd-awful mess it made all over everything.  It looked like snow falling, but apparently our attic is now snug and, most important, meets all the energy requirements of our fair city.

That hose on the right is connected to a blower.  Dave's wife fed the bags of insulation into the blower and it shot out and into the attic.
Next came the plywood replacements.  There were some rotted sheets here and there so we  had the whole thing redone.  This stuff has foil on the back for extra insulation.  It's going to be might snug around here!

By now it's Thursday.  The rest of the week, including Saturday morning, was spent hammering and sawing and getting the roof all ready for the delivery of the shingles this morning.  It was beastly hot here all last week and the two chaps, Dave and John, were totally beat by Friday afternoon.  But everything looks clean and ready.

Sure enough, early this morning the truck loaded with shingles, tar paper, the attic vents and other assorted equipment showed up to dump its contents.  The workmen got up on the roof and started unloading.

But wait!  Let's check the color of those roof shingles!  Wrong color.  So they've loaded up the shingles and taken them back wherever they came from and will return with the proper color.  But the guys are still working on the vents so all is not lost.  I don't know how long this exchange will take; perhaps they'll be back this afternoon and we'll try again.

Meanwhile, it's going to be a bit cooler here in the valley for the next few days.  Much better for the workers.  Again, hot, dirty work.