Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Whiteness in the Pacific Northwest

It's the first snow fall of the year. 
We awoke to only a couple of inches and it is still coming down as I write, but very lightly.

It didn't feel like it was enough snow to break out the snowblower this morning, so I didn't. Besides, I am expecting it will all be gone by this afternoon. That is usually how we roll this early in the snow season. 

Having said that, watch this snow hang around and build and make the whole rest of my snow blowing season a nightmare because I didn't blow on the first day.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Damage Assessment

I walked around the yard today and picked up a lot of branches. I also picked up a lot of shingles. 

The odd thing was that I was not able to readily see any problems with the roof.

I was out in the street talking to my neighbor Lou when I looked up at the house and saw the area of de-shinglization. I had not noticed it earlier because the light and the angle I was viewing from made it look like a shadow.

As you can see, that is not okay.

By the same token, it's not an impending disaster. There are still shingles up there and I am not finding any evidence that we have a leak. It is still too early to be sure so I will be keeping an eye on it.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Spoiled by Lectrik

Our power came on just in time. It was 18 degrees when I left the house this morning. Susan is still unable to go to work because there is no 'lectricity at her office. So she is again enjoying a day off but, today she can enjoy it in the comfort of a house with 'lectricity. That's new!

However, if the power had not come back on, it would have been a very long, cold miserable night. We were okay with the fireplace going but we have to assess what we need for the next time this happens.

Thinking about our future kitchen remodel, I have been vacillating between whether our cook-top for the kitchen should be an infrared electric set up or gas. This little crisis solved that problem for me very quickly. Gas still works when the power is out.

I also think we need to get a generator. It doesn't need to be fancy or elaborate. But it does need to be quality. I would only use it to run the fan for the fireplace and a light or two. It would also be nice to be able to power the fridge or freezer...at least part time.

Other than that, I think we weathered the situation pretty well. Everything in the freezer seems to be okay. I ate eggs out of the fridge this morning and I'm not feeling sick...yet!

I will be checking out the house more thoroughly this weekend for damage. There are a lot of shingles that got blown off the house and we will probably have to re-roof within a few years.

I Love being the owner of a money pit!

Thursday, November 19, 2015


The power was restored at 5:56 this evening. I was filling a travel shampoo bottle to take over to Mom's so we could take a shower. I was suddenly wondering what light Susan was bringing upstairs that was so bright. That's when I realized the hall light was on. 

Susan and I both let out a Whoo Hoo at about the same time. We then proceeded to go around the house and turn on every light, appliance and electrical device we had.

It is great to have it back and I will not take it for granted for at least the next few hours.

Good job, Avista Crews!

Blackout Day Two

It was the second evening of no power and we are getting along fine. I must say that I would prefer having electricity but we'll be okay until it is back. In the meantime, we have been enjoying the fireplace and sleeping in the living room.
Concern is starting to build over stuff in the freezer. It all has to be thawing and the latest info from Washington Water Power (Avista) is we could be out for 3 to 5 days. We opened the freezer in the kitchen once to get the ice out. We have not opened the big freezer in the basement and that is where a lot of meat is. I'm hoping the insulation will keep it cold for another day or so, but beyond that, I think we're in trouble.

Avista is saying this is the worst storm damage they have ever had to deal with in 126 years.

We sat in the living room in front of the fire, drinking beer and wine and listening to an audio book. (The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt) It's a very good story but it is long. We started listening to it when we drove to Iowa this past summer and we still have a good ten hours of listening to get through. I'm hoping this power outage doesn't last long enough for us to finish the book.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wind Storm 2015

It is amazing what you can take for granted. Something that is so much a part of your everyday life can be absolutely paralyzing when it's gone. I'm speaking of our old friend, electricity!

The forecasters have been in a tizzy the last day or so reporting that the wind is coming. I awoke yesterday to moderate winds and a little rain. By mid day, the wind was howling and the rain was coming in fits and starts.

We ended up closing the office a little early and I made my way up to visit Mom. My car kept wanting to change lanes on the freeway because the wind was blowing so hard. It took a while to get to Mom's because most of the power on the south hill was out. The traffic light at 17th and Ray was out and traffic backed up all the way down the hill.

When I got up to Rockwood Manor, the wind was really blowing and the new tower they are building for apartments was echoing the loudest, eeriest noise I ever heard. The wind was blowing through the open structure of the building and it was very loud. It was almost as if the wind was resonating off the bare steel girders like a reed in a clarinet.

Mom's area was without power but they had backup generators running lights in the corridors and main areas.

We were supposed to have a meeting at church but that got canceled. As I drove home, most of the south hill was dark. Downtown was lit up like a roman candle and then it got dark again just past Boone Avenue.

I arrived home to a very dark neighborhood. Susan was already home and had the place lit up with all the candles, flashlights and lanterns should could find.

I got the fire going in the fireplace and we inflated a mattress we use for camping and settled down in the living room. We drank beer and listened to an audio book for a while. I think we crawled into bed around 9.

I had to get up several times during the night to keep the fire stoked and it was pretty much out when I got up a 6 this morning.

Susan's office is still without power this morning, as is our neighborhood. But the lights are on at my office so, here I am...with my hot cup of coffee and some instant oat meal.

Power is out everywhere so I'm not expecting to see lights on at the house anytime soon. It would be nice, but I know the Washington Water Power crews are very busy. So I shall sit tight and hope the fridge and freezer don't completely thaw.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Joy of Home Ownership

Another weekend in the books where we did not work on the bathroom. We need to get the tile ordered so we can proceed to the next step of getting the tile in place. 

I also have just a little more work to do in the dry walling department. Actually, the cement boarding department.

We did do some work around the house this weekend. Susan ran the vacuum most of Saturday. She worked it so hard she wore one of the wheels right off the power brush unit. I worked last night to re-attach the wheel with some JB Weld (the Handyman's friend) but to no avail. The knob that holds the wheel in place does not have a clean break. It will not fit back onto the structure from which it broke away. This Hoover vacuum is about four years old and it really has been a piece of shit.

I finally got all the leaves off the ground. At least, all the leaves that I'm going to worry about before the snow flies. 

I got them packed into garbage bags that I will be adding to my garbage can over the next several weeks. I think I filled eight or nine bags. I don't think I'll be adding anything this week because I already emptied the grass catcher from the mower...from about a month ago.

The next project I need to get moving on is putting the rain barrels away for the winter. I know I don't want them attached to the down spout all winter. I'm sure they would crack if they freeze. 

I tried to get to them yesterday but just couldn't make it happen. Perhaps it's because I'm too lazy. Perhaps it's because I just wasn't motivated enough.  Or perhaps you should just mind your own business!

Friday, November 06, 2015


I am finally getting around to posting the results of Halloween.

The count was 1,642, which is ten less than last year. It seems we have peaked.

The earliest Trick or Treater came at 2:41. That was a record. The mom had to work that night so she wanted to get him out early before she went to work. We didn't even have any candy ready.

The crowds started coming about 4:30 which is earlier than past years, but it was a Saturday and I think people were hoping to beat the rain. By the way, the rain never showed up during the peak Trick or Treating hours.

Here are some pictures:

We closed everything down about 8:45 and then enjoyed our little after party with chili, and chicken wings and sliders.

The amazing thing was getting everything cleaned up the next day. Mark came over to help us and we were a tight, efficient team and got it all cleaned up.

We also had a successful Punkin Toss except for the part where people were unable to hit the target...or anywhere near it.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

All Hallows Rain

9:35AM: Good morning!

It is the day the spooks come out but they are being hindered by the fall of wetness in the form of precipitation known as rain. 

I already had to drain my 50 gallon rain barrels as they were overflowing from the deluge of the past week. Deluge isn't the right word. It's just been raining a lot for the last several days.

We are very limited in what we can do right now. We are hoping the rain will fall this morning and end before the Trick or Treating begins. Ideally, it would end in time for us to get some stuff out in the yard.

Some stuff can go out regardless of rain. However, we want to wait until the rain is done. If the rain doesn't finish, then we will wait until 5ish to get stuff into the yard.

Here are my morning photographs to share.

Here is cheesy, quick and dirty panorama of the front of the house.

2:42PM: We just had our first trick or treater. It's a record early time. I had to search around for some candy because we weren't ready. The mom apologized and said she had to work tonight.

Well, it's on now. Probably won't hear from me again today.

Friday, October 30, 2015

One Day Before Halloween

It does not look promising for the Spooky Holiday as far as the weather is concerned. It has been raining all night and continues this morning.

We finished our hay bales last night and we think they might actually work. That remains to be seen. At least the bales will be tested in battled hardened conditions.

I also finished the kid eating pumpkin last night.
We got these extra large pumpkins from our friends Randy and Karen. They have a friend who grows them. Anyway, I think he came out looking fine and very tasty.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Two Days to Halloween

It's two days before Halloween and things are not looking good for this year's event. The forecast is calling for rain. That is bad news for a lot of our outdoor decorations. As long as it is not too rainy, we should be okay.

We've been spending the last couple of days on fake hay bales.

I think they look pretty good but the big unknown at this point is if they are going to be very durable. 

We have glued straw onto Styrofoam boxes. It seems to be sticking but the permanence is what is at question right now. The plan is to put them in the yard and see how they endure. Hopefully, no fat ass will come along and decide it's a nice place to take a load off.
I spent last weekend getting the flying ghost working. So far, all is going very well but I don't know what a rainy night will do. I suspect I will not run it if it's raining Saturday night.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Sleeping Neighbor of the Year

We had an interesting event take place last night here in the neighborhood. The great thing is that I was unaware of what happened until I talked to neighbor Ted today.

The two houses across the alley from us are rentals. The one on the corner has three rentals, I think and the house next to it has two units.

The young woman that rents the ground floor apartment in that house has four kids. We met her last Spring shortly after she moved in. She seems very nice and she clearly has her hands full.

She has an ex husband with a restraining order against him but for some reason, she invited him over to see the kids. At some point in the evening, a disagreement took place and Dad began to destroy the house.

Our other neighbors Shelby and James said they heard something around 11:00 and it went on until 2ish.

Ted came by and took me over to the house. Every window on the main floor had been broken out, from inside the house. Furniture was turned over. The place was a mess.
All the windows are boarded up now. Somebody made quick work of that.

Best of all, Susan and I slept right through it. We never heard a thing. 

That makes me feel great about the prospect of ever waking up when something is happening at our house.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Lemberger Report

Tonight we transferred the wine into the primary fermenter, removing the must from the grape skins...the pulp. I was surprised the see that we had more than enough juice to fill the six gallon carboy.

We have been dealing with fruit flies for the last week. Hopefully, they will start to die off in the next couple of days.
We ended up with about a half gallon extra juice which I'm chilling in the fridge and drinking. It's definitely got some kick to it although it is a little sweet for Susan's liking.

It wasn't long after the transfer that the bottle started foaming and frothing, indicating that it is still got some fermenting to do.

Odds & Ends

We said goodbye to the old bathtub and sink yesterday.

The good news is that they are going to a good home and we got $550.00 for them.

The couple that bought them are rebuilding an old farm house near Davenport, WA. It burned this summer and has quite a bit of damage. They were very pleased to find our tub and I'm happy they are going to a place with people who appreciate history.

Phil has been working the last two days on the bathroom and it is nearly all dry walled. It's amazing the difference the drywall makes on the room. It seems a little brighter and a little warmer.

I have to get the Plumber back in to crimp on the connections for the bathtub and toilet water lines. I called them today and have it scheduled a week out for next Thursday.

Once that is done, we can start with the tile on the floor. That's our last big expense. It's probably going to run about $400.00.

Once the tile is down, then I can make the bathroom usable, even though it will not be finished. I can get the tub in, install the sink and the toilet and make it a functioning, working bathroom.

From there we can work on all the finishing touches.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Columbus Day 2015

Pretty much everything I first learned about Christopher Columbus 50 years ago is wrong. He did not discover America. The closest he ever got was Cuba.

He exploited the indigenous people wherever he landed. It seems he was a bit of a bastard. I'm beginning to think there should not be a day to remember him, let alone honor him.

However, this is a political discussion that does not really have a place in this blog. Let's talk about dry walling progress.

There is nothing to talk about as far as dry walling progress. Phil didn't make it over on Sunday, which allowed me the chance to do a bunch of other little chores.

I'm hoping Phil will get to the house sometime this week and get things started. Once the dry wall is done, I can get Rick the Plumber to finish putting the fittings on all the water lines. I might even be able to get a toilet installed in a temporary fashion.

The whole house smells faintly of fruit. The grapes are percolating away and if you were to smell the juice directly, you would notice a slight vinegar smell that translates into the production of alcohol.

We transferred the pulp into a mesh bag tonight. It had been creating a cap on top of the bucket that was pushing the lid loose. That attracted a herd of fruit flies that are all over the kitchen.

We decided we had better try and seal the vessel better and throwing the pulp into the mesh bag helped.

We have had the bath tub and sink from the main floor bathroom for sale since June. I put it on Craig's List and started at $800.
We finally sold it this week for $550. The people are coming to pick it up tomorrow. I have left the ad up but posted that the tub is sold.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Raking Leaves, Dry Walling Ceilings and Fizzy Wine

8:18AM: I have a busy day planned with the main goal being dry walling the bathroom. I learned last night from my telephone answering device machine that Phil, Master Dry Walling Guy, will be late getting to me today. We had planned to meet at 10, but he has another job to finish this morning.

I will not allow that minor setback to affect me as I have plenty of small tasks to keep me busy until the arrival of Master Dry Waller Phil.

Let's start with some nature observations.
I took this picture last week. Almost exactly a week ago. As you can see, Autumn is here. It has been a nice week since I took this picture. It has not been terribly cool and it rained pretty good on Wednesday.
This is the same tree this morning, just moments ago, in fact. It has dropped its whole load.
All over our yard! Well, there's one of the projects I may get to today.

But first, I have to get the deck cleaned up.

10:20AM: Not much time for chatting. I'll let my pitchers do the talkin'!

They say we can expect a visit from Mariah this afternoon so I have to get back out there and bag them thar leaves afore she blows them all to my neighbors yard. If you don't know about Mariah, I suggest you watch the classic Clint Eastwood film, "Paint Your Wagon" and get an education concerning what we call the rain, the wind and the fire out here.

11:58AM: Do you want to know what kind of genius I am? 

Of course you do! Because you'll want to employ this idea for yourself.

Once you have your leaves all piled up, make use of your other power equipment and mow up that pile of leaves. It not only bags them for you, but it shreds them so you can maximize your space.

I don't think it is going too far to say I'm an effing genius. AND the laziest man on the face of the planet!

In any event, I am pleased to have beaten the wind and the rain and gotten the yard presentable. It will look like hell again in the morning.

1:56PM: I am waiting for Phil to show. I could easily take a nap while I wait but I might not get up again.

6:53PM: Phil finally made it over about three and we got the ceiling dry walled. It only took us about two hours. I didn't bother renting a lift because it's such a small room but we sure did struggle with those first two full size sheets. I couldn't hit a 2x4 to save my life.

Tomorrow we start on the walls.

In the meantime, our latest wine is churning and bubbling. I punched the cap earlier and the juice that was in there was foaming. It ended up pushing the cap up and expanding it, lifting the lid just barely off the rim. Now the kitchen is loaded with tiny little fruit flies.