Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mr. & Mrs. Shitload

We bottled 27 bottles of Cabernet on Monday night. We had filtered it the night before and noticed how faded it was. Just two months ago, I took a sample into Jim's Home Brew to see if I should oak it. They all thought it was fine as is. And it was dark and rich looking. You know, like a Cabernet.

We ended up letting it sit another two months simply because we couldn't remember to get to it. When I checked it on Saturday, it had faded in color quite a bit. Not quite a blush, but definitely not a Cab.

It still tasted okay so we elected to bottle it and call it Pink Cab.

I bring this up only because I finally got around to moving the bottles to the basement, only to find I have nowhere in my wine racks to store it.

That means we have a SHITLOAD of wine.

It is time to stop acquire wine and start drinking it. 

So tonight I have opened a cheeky little Syrah that we purchased the grapes for in 2012 and bottled in 2013 We entered it in the fair in 2013 and it placed remarkably unremarkable in the competition. That is to say, I don't remember. Another way to say that is, it didn't win.

It's very fruit forward in aroma and disappointing in taste. It's drinkable...don't get me wrong. But it tastes coarse to me for a Syrah. It's very bitter at the start, which kind of squashes any flavor that comes after. And it's parsimonious!

However, I have several bottles of this and it's growing on me.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Compulsory Sunday Post

Look at me and how special I am!!!

It's Sunday and I'm posting. Even though I have nothing of interest to put here. And yet, I've sucked you in to my vortex of disinterest.


It is almost 60 degrees out on a beautiful sunny Sunday in February. The spring thaw is on as the river is running at 28,000 c.f.u.'s. The newspaper says that's the equivalent of 166,000 gallons of water going over the falls every second. It's really quite spectacular and a good reason to see the Falls in the Spring rather than the middle of August.

We tried to go to a movie last night (American Sniper) and it was sold out. So we went for a drink and then back to the house to binge on Breaking Bad. We only got through one episode before falling asleep.

So we are going to try again this afternoon. And then, with any luck, we will visit the Falls.

We went to the Falls after the movie. Wow! What a story! It's a good thing to see to remember the kind of people we're fighting against, but it's a tough thing to see for the people who go over there. I don't know how you could go through something like that and not be changed for the darker.

I don't think we have any idea how good we have it.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Excuse for not Posting

Well. I clearly punted on the promise I made in the last post. You know, to try and post at least every Sunday.

I can reconcile my shame with the fact that nothing remodeling like is going on right now. We have a couple of things planned but no actual work.

My only excuse comes down to health issues.

I had my very first root canal procedure today. It did not live up to the hype. You know, it's a horrible, painful procedure to be avoided at all costs. Instead, it was very much like having a cavity filled but it takes twice as long. 

I have to go back to my dentist in a week and get a cap. After that, I'm going in for an Angiogram. I'm feeling crappy and have very little stamina. My cardiologist said it's been six years since I was scoped so I'm due for a little look around.

Then a couple of weeks after that, I'm scheduled for a Colonoscopy. Long overdue at 57.

In the meantime, we are having one of our worst ski seasons in years. Mt Spokane announced yesterday that they were shutting down during the week and trying to compile enough snow for the weekend.

The only place with any amount of snow is Lookout Pass, our favorite place, and even they are hurting. 

With all this mild weather, I probably should be working on something. Maybe once my mouth feels good again.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Proof of Global Warming, or Climate Change, or Just a Warm Day

Perhaps I can maintain some semblance of a routine if I can manage to post every Sunday-ish. I'll try that.

It is January 25th and nearly sixty degrees outside. It's been a very nice day for goofing around in the yard and accomplishing some minor accomplishments.

My main reason for posting today is to announce my entrance into the Grandfather of the Year Competition. My reason for my entry is because I have finally started to establish a relationship with my grandson, Alex...who is thirteen.

I have no excuse for not being a part of his life up until now. One might suggest that one is a scumbag for neglecting one's grandson for so long. I, for one, could not offer a good rebuttal. 

Nonetheless, a relationship has been established and we move on from there.

I picked up Alex yesterday and spent the day with him. He helped me with some clean up in the yard and the subsequent trip to the dump to relieve ourselves of the clean up. Then we had a nice lunch at Domini's. 

After a quiet afternoon of hanging out at the house, we went to the Spokane Chiefs Hockey game. They lost to the Tri-City Americans, one to nuthin!

My future plans include teaching Alex to ski. I am hoping that will happen in about two weeks.

On the other hand of the Grandfather thang, we had planned to attend a birthday party for my step son Rob's son, Lucas. He turns one today but is suffering from the flu, so the gathering got canceled.

Since no trip to the valley was required, that allowed me to hang about the house today and do some jobs in the out of doors, as I mentioned earlier. It was uncharacteristically warm, which empirically proves Global Climate Change is true.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Skiing and Football

It has been a loooooong and eventful day!

The plan was that our friend Mark had $10 vouchers to ski at Schweitzer Mountain. A regular weekend pass is $75. The vouchers had to be used by January 28th and with all our varied, mixed up schedules, today seemed to be the best day to use them.

The only hitch in the plan was that the Seattle Seahawks Football Club was playing the divisional championship contest again the Green Bay Packages. The winner would be going to the Super Thing. Mark wanted to see the game. 

I said that since we are only paying $10.00 for our lift tickets, who cares if we get there, ski until noon and then hit the bar and watch the game.

Another hitch in the plan was that Susan worked the rodeo the previous night and was not terribly excited about getting up at 6 AM on a Sunday. But she is a trooper and didn't want to watch the game all by herself, so she agreed to the plan.

We arrived at the mountain at about 9:30, a little off my planned schedule but no big deal. We had to park in the parking lot at the bottom of the resort. That means you either get on a shuttle bus to the lodge, or put on your skis and ride the Bunny Lift up. We chose the Bunny Lift.

We got in line to purchase our tickets, only to discover that our $10 vouchers were no good on Martin Luther King Weekend. It was in the fine print which nobody bothered to read. 

I neither get a day off for MLK nor am I black, so it is not a holiday that has ever really effected me. Therefore, it didn't occur to me or any of us that there was going to be a problem.

Mark was really apologetic and upset he didn't see the fine print. It was no big deal to Susan and I. Besides, the conditions did not appear to be all that ideal for skiing that day.

So we skied two runs on the Bunny Hill, got in the car and headed for Sandpoint.

We ended up in a wonderful spot called Sweet Lou's. We walked in and got a table. There were about 27 thousand TV's in the place, so watching the game was not going to be a problem. The added bonus was that the place was full and pretty evenly divided between Seahawks and Packers fans.

The Seahawks played perhaps one of their worst games ever for about 56 minutes. They played their luckiest game ever for the last four minutes. AND they played well enough in overtime to walk away with a win. It's the first time in about eight years that a defending Super Bowl Champ returns to the big game.

We ate, drank, yelled at the Hawks, and cheered our faces off until it was over. It was a great day!

The only really bad thing that happened was that there was a prize give away going on during the game and Susan won a Taylor Hicks CD.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Remodeling 2105 Style

I think it is about time to start talking about a remodeling project. That is the alleged point of this so called Blog after all. Additionally, in order to maintain the stringent requirements of (H.I.B.A.A.) the Home Improvement Blogging Association of America as well as the strict guidelines of M.W.C.B. (Men Who Can't Build), I must occasionally talk about remodeling here.

I went skiing yesterday. It was fabulous and I think I did well for my first day up for this season. That is, until I got home. By then my body had realized what I had been doing all day and started to complain. Most specifically, it complained in my legs, my butt, and my ability to stay awake. I was in bed by 9.

Fortunately, sleep is the great healer and I awoke this morning with nary an ache or complaint.

That allowed me to concentrate on the next remodeling project which will be........drum roll........the new upstairs closet.

The next part of this project will be to put in a door. Doors are good because they help facilitate access to spaces that are between walls.

The plan is to slightly move the existing wall, perhaps a foot, to create more room in the closet.

My jobs to accomplish today are simple.
1) Discover if the existing wall is a weight bearing sort of structure.
2) Shop for pocket doors.

Update-7:48 PM: It's a quiet night around the estate. I'm watching the Seahawks in their playoff game with Carolina. It's into the third quarter and Seattle is up by four.

Susan and I took a trip to Home-A-Rama to check out the cost and availability of pocket doors. They are available and it looks like it will cost us about $35.00 for a door and $85.00 for the pocket door assembly and frame.

I checked to see if the wall is a load bearing wall and my uneducated guesstimate is that it is. I will be assembling my team of experts to confirm and verify in the weeks to come.

Now we have to start figuring out logistics. We've been sleeping in the back bedroom because it has the Sleep Number bed, which we really like. We are going to have to move most of the furniture and stuff out of the room for this remodel as we'll be doing a few other remodeling things in the room.

I hope to be getting this underway in the next couple of weeks.

Thursday, January 01, 2015


Happy New Year!

We are enjoying the day by doing nothing. At least, that is what we have accomplished as I write at 12:43 PM. We are heading for the hot tub, which will test our mettle with the temperature at 24 degrees.

Later we are off on a journey of discovery for our friend Mike of Arabia. He found a listing for a house for sale on Craigslist and wants us to check it out. They are supposedly having an open house today starting at 3. 

So that's our big adventurous plans for the day.

6:00 PM: Well, that was bust! As far as trying to find this place, it's a ghost property. The main problem I had was the CraigsList posting did not offer an address, and when I went back to it today to try and nail that down, the post had been removed by the author. 

I knew the general area of the property as they had shown a map. So we drove out, possibly hoping they would put out an "Open House" sign that would help us to locate it.

That was just simply not to be. Perhaps they found a buyer already. I don't know. I just know that Mike will not be buying this place.

To be fair to Mike, he told me he wasn't in a position to be buying a place yet. But, I thought it would be a nice outing for us and if nothing else, it would get us out of the house.

As it is in most situations, we ended up at the Hub and had a couple of pitchers and watched Oregon decimate Floriduh State in the Rose Bowl.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A Looooooooong Winters' Nap

For some reason, Susan and I were sitting around the house last night, doing little odd jobs and watching TV, when we realized we were dead tired. We went to bed shortly after 9PM and got up 12 hours later. 


It was made even more fabulous by the discovery of snow gently falling and covering the ground with a thin white blanket. As I write at 11:38 AM, it is still snowing. I don't think we are going to get a massive snowfall, but it looks like I'll be able to breakout the snow blower machine and get some use out of that.

The problem with using the snow blower machine is all the branches that are still lying around the yard. Martin did a crappy job of clean up and I've been trying to rectify that issue, but there are still some branches and twigs and piles of saw dust to contend with.

I'll be careful about where I blow and hopefully the issue will take care of itself as the season progresses. Also, I'm very confident that Martin will return to finish the job he committed to finish. I mean, he gave me his word! (How does one indicate sarcasm in print?)

Friday, December 26, 2014

Post Christmas Report

It is the day after Christmas and all through the house, I'm not doing anything, cuz I am quite soused. No not really. I just couldn't make a rhyme work with grouse, louse or prouse, which is not really a word.

I guess I need to update since I haven't posted in nearly two weeks. It's the Holiday season and therefore, I got me better things to do than sit here and type. But for now, you got me.

As predicted, Martin the Hillbilly Tree Remover has turned into the Martin Remover. I have not seen him for two weeks and don't expect to.

I have a sizable stump in the back yard but what remains should be fairly easy and inexpensive to remove.

It will be interesting to see what happens this coming summer when the tree is no longer there to provide a substantial amount of shade for the house. 

Susan is working today which means I am free to hang out and do nothing. And yet, I'm accomplishing some small tasks. I cleaned out the fireplace. I've done some laundry. I've watched a lot of TV. There is an "NCIS" marathon going on the USA Network, and even though I have seen every episode at least 37 times, I still love it. 

Speaking of the TV, we have managed to see all our favorite holiday classics this year. We saw "It's a Wonderful Life", Hoe the Grinch Stole Christmas", the cartoon, not the movie, "A Christmas Story", "A Charlie Brown Christmas", and "A Christmas Carol". For me the good one is from 1952 with Alister Sims. 

We spent our Christmas Eve at the Annual Jensen Family Christmas Eve dinner. There were 34 of us this year. Susan and I are honorary members of the Jensen clan through marriage and a 20 year span of living next door.

On Christmas morning, we were up at se7en to get dressed and get to church to help with Meals on Wheels. Our church combined with a couple of others to take up the holiday slack. We helped prepare and dish out the meals, get them boxed up and then we delivered. We had a route with 5 stops and they were all pretty close. All together, we delivered 350 meals.

We got home around 1:00 and went straight to work on opening the presents we had. All in all, we did okay for people who don't really need anything.

Christmas night we went to our friends Randy and Karen for a fabulous dinner. We only had to bring wine and some Dilly Beans, which was great. No effort put forward on our part at all.

That's my kind of dinner!

So Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Joyous Hanukkah and a change of mind set to all you Devil Worshipers.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

More Tree Fun

Martin the Hillbilly Tree Remover showed up today and this time, he had an assistant who has been to the dentist. This guy seemed to have all his teeth, and seemed like a reasonably decent, normal guy. That's a complete departure from the toothless, inarticulate swamp people he's had with him previously. It's hard to talk and spit your chaw at the same time.

Martin got the last tall branch of the tree down. Then he asked for more money to get his big saw out of hock. I told him (for the third time now) I would pay him when he finished the job. He said he couldn't finish the job until he got his saw out of hock. 

I think I've seen the last of Martin.

Here are some pictures of his work...on the occassions he has worked.

And here is a short video of the last tall branch.
The unfortunate thing about this guy is he is really good at what he does. Getting him to do it is another thing entirely.

Well, I'm a little bit closer to having this nightmare tree removed and the next person I hire will have a much easier time with it. His name will not be Martin

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Where Have All the Hillbilly's Gone?

Today's painting job was at the Hub Tavern. We do trade out with them for beer. It only took us a couple of hours and now we have pitchers and pitchers of beer at our disposal.

We have two sky walks left and one storefront. We were hoping to have everything completed by Tuesday but that's not going to happen.

Susan had to work a hockey game this afternoon so we got the painting finished early.

After we got home, I decided to help my Hillbilly with some clean up. So I borrowed Mark's truck and took a load of debris to the dump.

I got home and kicked around for a while. I had all sorts of little odds and ends to attend to. I took some time cutting up the remaining turkey we still had on the carcass. It seemed like a good thing to have for dinner. 

As I was cutting, I suddenly heard a chain saw fire up. It was Hillbilly Martin at 7 PM, up the tree and cutting away. I told him it was 7:00 on a Sunday night. He said he had three quick cuts to make and then he would be finished.

Forty-five minutes later, he disappeared. Twenty minutes after that, he was back. By now it was 8:30 and he was getting ready to fire up the chain saw again. I pointed out the time on a Sunday night and he somehow got it through his head that city folk don't work out side through the night.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Hillbilly Tree Removal

It's been an interesting week and it needs to be chronicled. I will tell you that the events I'm about to describe and unfold could all have been eliminated if I was capable of uttering the word, "No!"

We are deep into Holiday Decorating Season. Susan and I have been out painting sky walks for the last ten days. So we have very little time to devote to anything but going to our jobs and then going out to paint.

Last Saturday, November 29th,as it was getting dark, this guy shows up at the back door and asks about the giant branch that was laying on the garage. He said his name was Martin and he specialized in tree removal. I got a looooong song and dance about how he's been doing it for 25 years. 

He said he would take the limb off the garage for $150.00. I told him to do it. It was close to five o'clock and it was dark, but Marin was ready to go and take it down. I told him to wait until the next day when it was light.

When we returned from painting on Sunday, Martin had the branch down and pretty much cleaned up.

He then told me he could take down the whole tree for $400.00. I told him, "Take down that tree."

Susan was a little miffed because, clearly, Martin was not licensed and bonded. If I had to describe him, Hillbilly is the word that fits.

He worked great guns for two days and expertly dropped a bunch of branches without hitting the power line that runs beneath the tree. I asked him if he needed any money and he asked for $150.00. I didn't have any 50's so I gave him $200.00. 

He was here a little on Wednesday and a little on Thursday but not much of the tree came down. He asked for more money on Thursday and I told him, "No." I told him to finish the job and I'll pay him.

He hasn't been here in two days. My ladder is strapped 30 feet up in the tree. There are a bunch of branches in the driveway.

Hiring this Hillbilly is not my proudest moment. I feel he'll be back but on his own terms. He still has a lot of tree to get down. He definitely under bid the job. However, that is not my problem. My problem is that my ladder is strapped 30 feet in the tree. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Susan is finishing up a long weekend from Hell. She worked all week and then on Friday night, she worked at the Arena for a concert. At least it was Christmassy...the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. She got home about 12:30.

Saturday we got up at 8 and went to church to help prepare the Thanksgiving Brunch for the next day after our service.

We worked there until noon. Susan got a little afternoon rest but then had to be back at the Arena for a Motley Crew concert. That kept her there until midnight again.

Then we got up at 6 to get to church so she could get everything set up for the brunch.

We again got out of there about noon and then it was back to the Arena for a 5:00 Hockey match. She finally got home about 9. We headed for the hot tub and then off to bed.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snow Season Begins

We shall mark this day as that in which we received our first fall of snow. It's not major. We didn't get six feet like they are getting in Buffalo, New York.

We got a dusting. A nice soft whitening over the landscape. It continues to snow as I write but I don't believe it is going to be anything substantial.

I need to update events since I've ignored the blog for a couple of weeks.

After a wonderfully warm Autumn, the weather turned icy cold right after Halloween. All of the sudden, it was below freezing and it was hard to adapt to.

Usually one gets the opportunity to slowly acclimate to the slide of the temperature. But this happened so fast, it really felt cold. It still does.

Susan and I were out working in the yard last weekend picking up the last of the leaves and the chill made it difficult to stay out there and complete the task. Our beers stayed icy cold the whole time we worked.

We are getting ready for the busy Holiday Window Painting Season. In fact, we are one week away from the beginning.

Oh joy!