Sunday, May 17, 2015

We Ache therefore, We Are Productive

We got a late start at our endeavors today but started them we did and even finished them, we did. Sounding like Yoda, I am.

I really wanted to start tearing into the bathroom some more but we decided that the front garden, and the condition of our Arbor Vitae's was more pressing. Besides, I was able to do a little work in the bathroom yesterday. Plus, I got the lawn mowed...a much needed chore since we had been gone for over a week.

So I broke out the many hand tools of gardening destruction and a few power tools as well.

Susan worked on the walled garden at the front of the house while I concentrated on cleaning out under the shrubbery. I'm guessing we haven't done it in five years. I base that on my feeble memory and the amount of fibrous detritus that my leaf blower hurdled skyward.

We were out there for about four hours and did a pretty good job. The front gardens are ready for some roto-tilling where I will be adding a great deal of peet moss to the ground dirt in order to try and change its consistency from something resembling cement.

I should add that it rained yesterday which means it was the second opportunity I had to see how the new rain barrels worked. From the storm we had on Wednesday, we filled both barrels, 80 gallons total. Same story for the rain storm we had yesterday. Both barrels were right up to the top. I currently have them attached to soaker hoses that are watering the shrubs.

It's pretty amazing to me that we got 80 gallons out of those storms. That's FREE WATER! I really should try filtering it and sterilizing it and using it for my Kool-Aid.

The day is now coming to a close and we are sore, which means we did something today. I can sleep on that!

Friday, May 08, 2015

Vacation Report

I am writing from Rancho Mirage, California.

We are on Vacation and having a wonderful time.

We left Spokane on Monday morning and drove as far as Klamath Falls, Oregon. That was our goal for the first day.

On Tuesday, we drove about six hours to my sister's place near Sacramento. We spent the night there and had a nice, but quick visit.

On Wednesday, we set our GPS on Palm Springs and drove for nine hour...about 45 minutes of that consisted of sitting in traffic in L.A.

So here we are in the desert visiting Mom and Margie Stanton. They are quartered in a place that looks like a movie set. It is perfect and ideal. There is not a leaf out of place.
The weather so far has been very temperate, very comfortable. There was a wind storm that came up yesterday afternoon and lasted well into the evening.

It looks like today will be cloudy and cooler, but not by much, I'm guessing. 

I am of course, not publishing these posts until we return home. There is no need to advertise that the house is empty. Especially when that is not really the case. 

My neighbors are watching the house and Phil is there working on the bathroom. We should have an almost clean slate to start work on when we return.

In the meantime, the order of the day is to lay about and be quiescent, sluggish and languorous.

Yup! I brought my thesaurus!

Sunday, May 03, 2015

Big Decision Day

First, let me remove the item that is heavy on your mind right now. Susan ran Bloomsday and completed the course in 1:33:something.

It was a beautiful day for a road race in Spokane. The totals are coming in and I can say for sure that over 47 people ran the race. 

According to the Bloomsday website, 45,000 ran. I'm sticking with my number.

But enough about Bloomsday! Let's talk about something important.

An important decision was made today that will effect the bathroom remodel. We have decided to remove the exterior day that is currently in place. 

We have always thought how nice it would be after hot tubbing to be able to walk right into the bathroom. Well, now that the wall is down and we are starting to see some space issues in the reality of actual space, we have come to the conclusion that we would rather move the toilet over by the door than have a door.

We've done fine over the last several years walking into the kitchen after hot tubbing and then moving on from there. There is really no need to have a door there. I can make arguments for both sides of the issue. But when it comes down to it, removing the door totally changes our design features for the better.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Main Floor Bathroom Remodel - Day One

It is official! Our summer remodeling project is underway.

The main floor bath is about to be transformed from a hideous, cramped tomb of pink tile and burgundy walls into an capacious oasis of luxury, tranquility and soothing earth tones.

I am hoping to be done with this in two months. I think that is a fair time table. So, by July Fourth, this project will be complete. 

There's no way!

Adjustments to follow.

Friday, May 01, 2015

The Boiler Game - 2015

I shut down the gas last night and drained the radiators. I still can't get over how much water that system holds. It took a good solid 45 minutes before the water stopped draining.

So, we are now officially without heat. I think it will be okay as we do have portable space heaters that we can use as needed.

I drained everything because we are going to start on the main floor bathroom remodel. We will be exposing the wall tomorrow. That means knocking off all the plaster and lath and taking out the studs. It is a weight bearing wall so we will need a beam put in place. That's what I use Phil for.

Pictures to follow!

Monday, April 27, 2015


My rain barrels arrived today. I got them into place and ready to go. So let's have some rain!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Preppin' for Summer

I have been waiting for a nice warm day so I could hose down the front porch. It was dusty and dirty and stained with paint from when I decorated our front windows for Christmas. Saturday was that day. The weather was gorgeous and I was available...two items that have not been able to align. So I broke out the hose, the super fireman strength spray nozzle, and a scrub brush.

The windows were a mess. I was scrubbing and scratching and rubbing and wiping and finally ordering Susan to never allow me to paint the windows again. Fortunately, she agreed with me.

Anyway, it took some doing, just like everything does with us, but the porch is ready for Summer.
Sunday's Project: We have needed to get paint on our deck railing for two years. We missed our opportunity to paint last year because the hops and grape vines had gotten to big and lush.

So last Fall, after the hops and grape harvest, we got out there on a fairly nice day and primed the deck. Not the whole think, but the areas that needed attention.
Time is running out to paint because the hops have already taken off. You can actually watch them grow. I guarantee that the vine you see below will be to the top of the railing by tomorrow.
The great weather carried through from yesterday so it was perfect for us to get out there.

The work went surprisingly fast and it really made a difference. There are a couple of spots that will probably need additional attention by Autumn but we are ready for Summer on the deck as well.
We concluded the day with a short walk to a local restaurant for some spaghetti and wine and all the bread we could eat.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Celebrate Spring

We've been decorating sky walks for the last several nights. The Downtown Spokane Partnership, which organizes this kind of stuff, is running a "Celebrate Spring in Spokane" promotion.

Susan is painting the large letters for Celebrate Spring and I'm lettering out the various events that are happening.

Here are some pictures.

When we are finished, we will have made enough to pay for the slipper tub that will be centerpiece of the main floor bathroom remodel.

That remodel is scheduled to begin in May-ish sometime.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Vapor Lock Video

About a month ago, I detailed the parade of birthday presents I got from Susan prior to my birthday. One of the gifts was a wine kit.

We finally got around to getting that brewed up last Tuesday and it is sputtering along now as it ferments.

Here's a nice video of our groovily scientific looking Vapor Lock chugging away.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vernal Cometh...and Siteth Awhilst

It is Spring!

That means it is time to change the water in the Hot Tub. I haven't paid the hot tub much attention in the last few weeks so replacing the water seems even more urgent than it might otherwise.

I hauled out my hoses from the winter storage bunkers and connected up to the hot tub drain. Then I ran the hose out to the curb and got the flow started. After a few minutes, I checked the water flow. It was fine but it was still coming out cold. Surely by now enough time had elapsed to warm up the hose. I went to the tub and it was 50 degrees. Icy cold! In fact, the power had been cut off.

I flipped the breaker next to the tub and got nothing. I ran down to the main breaker and got nothing. I finally remembered that there is an internal breaker and I flipped that on. Ker-Chunk! I got power. I also discovered a rather sizable leak in one of the jet pumps.
I had a little trouble getting this shot because the leak sealed itself shortly after the pump started up. In fact, now it seems to be okay.

I have refilled the tub and the water has come up to temperature. There may be a small leak when I first turn on the pump, but it seems to seal itself.

I'll keep an eye on it. I want to find out why the internal breaker tripped. That's the most troubling part of this.

We are coming to the time of year when the tub doesn't get much use. So I have time to try and figure this issue out.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Ides of a Leaky Balcony

Greetings to all on this Ides of March.

We have discovered an issue that I think we need to deal with concerning the house. 

It is a wet and rainy day today. I've heard that over an inch of rain fell today. When I retrieved the morning newspaper it was damp. At first I thought it had just arrived and maybe had been exposed to some rain. But then I noticed water on the porch and a little stream heading for the front steps.

It seems that water is leaking through the balcony area and then dripping through that upper porch ceiling and onto the porch. I could easily see a couple of spots where the water was dripping. There is a whole section of paint I removed that wasn't even sticking to the wood. The water had built up a little reservoir between the wood and the paint and then looked for or created cracks in the paint to run out. 
Water goes where it wants to go.
One idea is to tear into the tongue and groove ceiling and try to see where the water is coming from. Another less invasive option might be to just reseal the whole balcony area and see what happens next.

That idea appeals to me much more.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

The Birthday!

This is the scene that greeted us high atop Lookout Pass at 4,700 feet. It was a great big giant sunny day at 50 degrees and more the whole time we were there. The snow looks good in this picture, and for the most part it was. But we also saw a lot of this.
This was shot at the very bottom of Chair Two, on the Montana side of Lookout.

Susan and I slept in a bit an then went to breakfast at our favorite breakfast place in Wallace. We got up to the mountain right about 10:30.

When we got to the top, we ran into a co-worker of mine, Don. He was skiing the morning at Lookout on his way to visit his Mom in Hamilton, Mt for the weekend.

I would say it was an excellent day of skiing. It was Spring skiing at its best and you had to keep an eye out, especially towards the bottom. It was made even better considering my health issues of late. I did fine. I had to pause walking from the car to the lodge and when the day was over and we had 7 runs in the bag, I was tired.

Then it was back down the mountain for a nap, followed by a nice dinner at the Fainting Goat Wine Bar and then a couple of beers at the 1313 club to watch the Bulldogs of Gonzaga defeat the University of San Francisco GayBoyz in the WCC Tourney.

An excellent day!

I almost forgot to mention my last birthday gift. Again, something I mentioned ages ago and Susan took note of.

I wanted a water pick that I could use in the shower. I had been told by my Dentist or one of his Hygienists that there was one you could take into the shower.

Susan looked a round but was only able to find this.
I have not installed it yet so I cannot give it a review. However, it looks like it should work. The trick is going to be adding an extension to a shower that already has an extension.

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Sexth Day of my Birthday Week

I had mentioned a while back that I wish I had a St Patrick's tie. I bought a bowtie a few years ago but I would like to have a nice shamrockin' tie.
Once again, Susan paid attention and went out a purchased one. Except she didn't. She bought material and made one.

So now I have a kick ass St Paddy's Tie custom made by Corbin Park Designer Su-San.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Fifth Day of my Birthday Week

Now that I have a really high quality mortar and a matching pestle (at no extra charge), I wish I had a kit wine so I could pulverize some camden crush tablets into a fine powdery dust to purify it.
Oh wait! I DO have a kit wine...a Petit Verdot, which is one of the smaller verdots.

We haven't made a kit wine in a while...probably a few years. I can tell you Susan spent some money on this gift. I should take her to a movie or something.