Thursday, November 3, 2016

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  What a busy day today!

Early this morning the roofer/siding guys showed up, and they got the soffits all finished plus most of the siding on one (of three) sides of the mud room.  They left very early, just as they did on Wednesday...

Later in the day our builder his two helpers showed up, as promised last week.  They went right to work on replacing the door from our kitchen to the back yard.  There were a few challenges there that we didn't expect.  First, on removing the old door a few of our kitchen tiles were broken.  I'm sure it can be repaired, but it's just one more thing to do on a long list.  More alarmingly, we discovered that the old door had been installed in two stages, and they were not exactly lined up.  The point where the two doors met was about a half inch closer to the outside wall of the house than either end was.  If you looked straight down at the exposed wood, it made a shallow "V", with the point pointing outside, and the sides slanted toward the inside.  To fix this, our builder had to mark a straight line from one end of the door hole to the other on the floor, then cut away all that tile with a diamond saw blade in an angle grinder.  What a pain in the patoot!  But they got that done, and got the new door mounted, just before knocking off for the day.  That means the giant (9' wide by 7' tall) hole in the side of our house got closed up before it freezes tonight.  Phew! 

Our fencing guy was supposed to show up this afternoon and never did.  But ... just before I came in to make this post, he pulled into our driveway with a trailer full of the steel wire panels they'll use to make the fence.  He had the day from hell, where basically everything went wrong.  He'll be back in the morning to start the actual construction.

On top of all that, I started the work of installing a 50 amp circuit for the Tesla's charger.  The first step on that project was to remove a built-in ironing board in our laundry room.  We didn't want the ironing board, and it had been stupidly installed anyway – its presence prevented one of our cabinets in the laundry room from opening.  I have to cut into wallboard to put this circuit in, and I figured if we were getting wallboard people out here anyway, I might as well get rid of that ironing board.  Well, to my surprise, when I pulled out the ironing board I discovered that the opening it exposed would make my pulling that circuit quite a bit easier!  Yay!  I mounted the 220V outlet box in the garage and attached one end of my 6/3 cable to it.  Tomorrow I'll start cutting wallboard and running the circuit over to our load center, which is on a different wall of the laundry room.  I had to run up to Lowe's to get the right breaker, but now I am in possession of all the parts I need to do the job.  Woo hoo!

More memories ...

More memories ... from my mom's photo collection...

First up, three studio portraits of guys in the U.S. Navy.  First up is my old friend Joe Trembula, then my brother Scott, and finally me.  I have no memory of that photo being taken, but it must have been in boot camp – at no other point in my Navy career would anyone have even proposed such a thing. :)  I'm actually rather impressed with the quality of these, except for the color fidelity on Scott's.  Mine and Joe's would have been taken in '71, Scott's likely a couple years later.  Joe's captures his intense visage very well; it's exactly as I remember him looking nearly all the time.  Scott, just as you'd expect, looks completely unreasonably happy given the circumstances. 

And here's another boot camp photo, this time Army, though.  On the back, in my mom's handwriting: “Bernice ‘90”.  I assume that means Bernice Dill, my brother Mark's good friend – who must have been in boot camp in 1990.  I'm struck by how much more serious and, well, threatening he looks than we three sailors.  If I was a bad guy, I'd be much more concerned about Bernice than those sailor clowns! :)

This photo brought back all sorts of pleasant memories for me!  On the back, in feminine printing that I don't recognize:
Sept. 2013
Joe   Rita  Clara  Jeremy  Amanda
Tina                                Paul (19 mo.)
Tina was my sister Holly's girlfriend the last few years I lived in my parents' home, late '60s and early '70s.  She was a very sweet young thing at that time, and the subject of, er, less than pure thoughts on my part. :)  I don't believe I've seen Tina since then, but I still recognize her in that photo.  I'm guessing that Joe is her husband, Rita, Clara, Jeremy, and Amanda her children, and Paul her grandchild.  My sister can verify that for me, I'm sure.

Then there's this portrait of me, another undated studio portrait that I don't remember.  This one is printed beautifully on quality photo paper.  From my apparent age, I'd guess this was taken in '57 or '58.

And finally, here's today's mystery photo.  The lab dates this as December 1959, earlier than most of my parent's color photos.  On the back, in my mom's handwriting (in fountain pen): “Bearberry”  This is the kind of photo my dad might take, though there's no indication that he did.  Generally his early color photos were all on Ektachrome slides; this is printed from a Kodacolor negative – so I'm not at all sure this was taken by my dad.  What makes this slightly odder than it otherwise might be is that this photo was in an envelope that otherwise contained only photos of me and my siblings.  It could simply be a mistake, but I'm wondering if this photo had some special meaning for my mom...

Paradise ponders...

Paradise ponders...  Well, some workers actually did show up yesterday.  Woo hoo!

Drywall guys showed up and taped all the drywall in the mud room and sun room.  That's the good news.  The bad news is that it needs a second coat, and they can't do that until Friday.  Then that has to dry for two days before they can put the texture on, so that won't happen until Monday.  This is taking a long time for something that was supposed to be finished last week.  I can't finish the electrical work in those two rooms until the texture is up, so my progress there is stalled.

A solitary roofer/siding guy showed up, too.  He spent all day installing just half the soffit on the mud room.  At this rate (which I hope will be accelerated!), I compute that they'll be finished just before Christmas, and that's if they show up every single week day.

On a more positive note, the fellow (Mark T.) I originally contacted to put sprinklers and sod in (which he hasn't started on) made a proposal for a way to fence our back yard that we really, really liked.  He's starting on that today!  If you haven't seen our back yard, it's completely fenced with white PVC post-and-rail fence.  We needed to make it dog-proof, so last year we had a local fencing company install “goat wire” over top of it.  It works, but it's ugly – and it's already starting to come apart.  What Mark came up with has several parts to it.  First, he'll insert a steel C-section piece into every top rail (the rails are hollow, so you can do this).  This will greatly stiffen those top rails, plus provide a solid base to screw into.  Then he will cut panels from fence made of 1/4" thick steel rod in a 3" square pattern to fit between each set of posts on our fence.  These will be trimmed up so that the top is level with the top rail and the bottom is in the ground a few inches.  Then that will be screwed into the rails with little clamps, with most of the weight being borne by screws into the steel-backed top rail.  This is a far better arrangement than what we originally had done.  Considerably pricier, but when its done we're going to have an awesome, strong, and durable fence. 

On Monday, one of our neighbors and friends (Tim D.) gave us a big mess of beets and carrots from his garden.  I cleaned them all yesterday afternoon, which is a much more elaborate exercise than you might think: these were grown in good Paradise soil, which all the locals know is also a good substitute for glue. :)  To get that sticky stuff off the vegetables took lots of water, brushing, and considerable elbow grease.  I ended up with 46 beets and 108 carrots, both wildly variable in size.  What to do with so many vegetables?  The last mess of beets he gave me, I made them into a sweet-and-sour cold dish, and that worked very well.  So I did the same for the beets again this time, and for the carrots made a variation that had more sugar (and brown sugar, instead of white) and less vinegar – in other words, more sweet than sour.  I also added cinnamon and cumin, to make it Moroccan-style.  It has to marinate before it will taste right, so I haven't even tried it yet (I'll do that later today).  It sure smells good, though!

I'm expecting the roofers to show up today, and also our main contractor, who should be here until the entire job is complete.  We await him with bated breath, as once he starts progress should be rapid...