Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Salute to T.J.

We had to say good-bye to T.J. today. I came home last night and found him splayed on the couch and I thought he was dead. It turns out he went into a diabetic coma. I got him down to the Emergency Vet and they stabilized him but we think he had some loss of oxygen to the brain as he was having seizures and temperature spikes and not responding well. It did not look hopeful that he would recover so we had to make the hard decision.

A note from Susan:
T.J. - his full name being Thomas Jerald because when I first got him someone said he looked like the Tom and Jerry cartoon kitty - was an amazing, one-of-a-kind cat. He was definitely our Alpha kitty and I have to admit, my favorite. He was a good hunter and brought several birds, mice and even an earthworm through the cat door in my last house to show off. What a character! He did this unusual movement with his front paws in which he looked like he was waving. I called it the "paw thing". When he was little he would rise up on his haunches and do the "paw thing" whenever he saw something unusual, but when he got older he would mostly do it when sitting on my lap. You can go to the blog post of January 31st, 2011 to see him do it. I will miss you my dear, sweet kitty boy and I will never forget you.

He is missed!

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Pictured above is a hole that is going to be the subject of a recurring theme.
It will undoubtedly be featured here several times over the next several weeks because of the extraordinary wonder that nature yields. 
This is the west side of the Carriage House. That's right, we have a Carriage House. We have no Carriage, but when we do, it has a House. The unique feature of the west side is that it is the one area where nature can make its way under the building.

We have dealt with nature getting under there before and we have not enjoyed the encounter. And...that's a little strong. I thoroughly enjoyed the encounter but it required a great deal of extra work on my part.
The extra work to which I refer involves trapping and relocating pole cats. I have been battling a skunk for some time now that had been trying to dig under. She finally beat me. And I do believe that's a she.

So now I have the proof. I've seen her come out and go back in. I tried blocking her out and she made it back through. Skunks can dig!

So, I am expecting 4 to 7 little bundles of stink come popping out soon. Maybe within a couple weeks.

Skunk watching wasn't the only thing accomplished this weekend. I tending to the hops and the grape vines. I laid down some ant bait. I did some high level security work that I don't care to discuss here. I did a little pre-yard yard work. It's just the stuff you do before the other stuff you do.
I racked my current batch of beer, a clone of Alaskan Amber. This has been an odd brew. It reactivated itself after the first racking and got very active again. It kind of boogered up my cool new vapor lock.

Anyway, it's been almost three weeks and it's not yet ready to keg. That okay! I'm not yet ready to drink it. But it's coming!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Attack of the River

I have successfully completed my first transit of the Spokane River for the 2014 River Transiting Season.

I arranged with Don at work to get my car down river so it would be waiting for me when I arrived at the bottom.

Don then took me over to the river at Harvard Road where I put in.
The water was pretty chilly when I first stepped in but by the time I got out, I had adjusted. I wasn't worried because my plans were to be on the water, not in it!

The river is running at 15,300 cfs (cubic feet per second). That's about average for this time of year. And it means there are some kick ass fun rapids to ride through.

I put in at 4:40 and I pulled out at about 6. According to my GPS, I traveled about six miles and dropped about 25 feet.

It was the first trip of the year but definitely not the last.

Thanks to Don for taking the time to transport me around and for the bulk of these pictures.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Captain Dumb Ass

Thank the Lord for my neighbors, who are looking out for me, which is needed on a daily basis because I made an appearance this afternoon as Captain Dumb Ass Ass Ass Ass.

After having cut up a bunch of pallets a couple weeks ago, We have been enjoying lots of fires in the fireplace. That means lots of fireplace clean up. 

I cleaned out the fireplace after getting home from work and then went on about my other business of sitting around and avoiding doing stuff. I didn't bother to notice that the ashes were still hot when I put them in my garbage can packed full of dry leaves.
Hence the pretty picture.

My neighbor behind me rang the bell and alerted me to the situation. My water faucets were still turned off for the winter so it was a mad dash to find some water. 

Fortunately, it smoldered for a long time but never really took off, which could have been disastrous for the garage.

The garbage can is a total loss. I wonder what the city is going to ding me for that.

Update: March 28th, 2014, 10:05AM: I just got off the phone with the Solid Waste Department and they said they would get a new container out to me on Monday. I took total responsibility for the damaged receptacle but they did not indicate that I would incur a penalty or fee.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Big Weekend Roundup

I've been trying to post here all last week and it just never happened. So here I am, late on Sunday evening with the big Weekend Roundup.

It's the first week of the NCAA Basketball Madness and so we were all wrapped up in keeping track of our various brackets. One of the venues for Round Two games was here in Spokaloo. That means Susan had to work Thursday night and a good chunk of Saturday.

As for me, I'm unemployed on the weekends other than the income I can earn living off my wiles. 

My big accomplishments of the weekend include a little yard clean up and that's about it.

And then I skied on Sunday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Vernal Gets Gassy

I had the evening to myself because the NCAA Tournament is in town and that means Susan is working at the Arena, which is the same place where the NCAA Tournament is taking place.

I bought myself a nice thick lean piece of sirloin to put on the barbeque to celebrate the arrival of my good friend, Vernal Equinox. I fired up the barby and waited for it to get good and hot. 

Whilst I waited, I played a little piano and started a load of laundry. It's important to pay attention and not confuse these activities. Getting soap in the piano makes my playing sound even worse and I totally screwed up the washer when I tried to tune it.

The steak went on the hot grill over indirect heat and began it's short trip to warm rare. I had it in there about 20 minutes but flipped it every four minutes.
Just as I was about to remove the steak there was a stern knocking, pounding really, at the front door. I opened the door to a fireman and suddenly noticed that there were fire engines parked all over the place.
They must have rolled up in stealth mode because I never heard a siren. I had been pretty intent on my steak and watching the NCAA Tournament where Susan was working.

Apparently, there was a gas leak in the neighborhood. More specifically, in the alley behind the house. I was asked to evacuate to the park. I told the guy I had a steak on the que that needed to be removed. When I went to the deck to get the steak, that's when I smelled the gas.
I then spent the next 15 minutes standing around in the park and chatting with all my other neighbors who got evacuated. I think they went to every house around the block and asked everyone to get out.
By then, the smell of gas was in the air. 

I walked up to Cleveland street with my neighbor Lou and we scoped the situation out there. I saw some firemen draining fire hoses but other than that, there really wasn't anything to see there either.

As I walked back towards the house, I passed a group of fire persons who told me all was well. I returned to the house to replace my steak on the grill to warm it up. 

And it was worth the wait!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Halloween Clean Up

For some time now, since Halloween if you must know, I have been wanting to remove the post holders I pound into the ground for the Flying Ghost display. 
In the past, I have found it to be a most arduous task, causing sweating, cursing, beer drinking, shortness of breath, and back pain.

In the past, I have always removed them soon after Halloween.

This year, the remained skewered to the ground all winter. 

So now it is approaching four months that they have been out there and it is time for me to be a responsible home owner and remove this blight.

I went out with shovels and rakes and implements of destruction, but no beer. I'm on my Season of Lent South Beach Insanity Diet and that means no beer. I was anticipating a fight and a beer would have been nice.

I proceeded to input my multi-pronged plan.
Prong 1: Place a post in the sleeve and move it back and forth and side to side to help loosen the soil around the post holder.
Prong 2: Place the post on the ground and use it as a fulcrum in concert with my trusty shovel to (hopefully) easily lift the post holder from its moorings.

Prong 3: With no beer to steel my nerves, say a short prayer.
Prong 4: Raise post holder from ground with the shovel as a pry bar and my courage as a force to be dealt with.

Prong 5: Remove the reaming post holder with the same ease and flare while imagining how much better this all would have been if I had a beer.

Surprisingly, they all came out easily. I attribute this to all the rain we have gotten in the last week...close to an inch.

With that job out of the way, I felt it was time for beer. Doo!

Sunday, March 02, 2014

A Snowy Spokaloo Sunday

I might have to consider writing a song that goes with today's header. It's probably a country song, kind of ballad like.
I have just taken this picture and it is not a clear indication of how much it is snowing right now.

It snowed a couple of inches last night and I didn't get around to clearing it until after church this morning.

So I went out about noon to tackle the snow. As I started up the snow blower, it began to snow again. By the time I finished clearing the driveway and sidewalk, it was coming down pretty good.

And now, three hours later, there's almost an inch on the ground. 

It continues as I write.

We were supposed to paint St Patrick's windows at a nearby Barber Shop today. But they were really busy and the gal who runs the place asked us to come back later.

We are kind of bummed that we didn't get this job out of the way. But I think we are both happy to have sudden unplanned time land in our laps. 

Susan is relaxing with her time. Well deserved, I might add. She had to work hockey the last two nights.

I'm going to try and get another coat of varnish on the mantle.

Let's see how I do!

5:04PM: I just went outside and stuck a tape measure in the snow. It came back cold so it must still be snowing. It has snowed 2 inches since noon.

10:00PM: I have just come in from shoveling a good three inches of snow from the front walk. 

We watched the Academy Awards tonight and it snowed for quite a while. I went out and brushed the snow off the cars and then cleared the front walk way and side walk. I may snow blow in the morning but I have to wait and see what comes down in the next few hours.

As I finished shoveling, a sleety wet snow started to fall. The forecast is calling for rain all week so I don't feel very compelled to get out there and get everything cleared. It will clear itself in a couple of days.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Four Corners of Spokane

A productive weekend was had by...well, somebody probably had a productive weekend. It wasn't us!

I had lots of little projects to do over the weekend and I did a lot of them. But it felt like I drove around on Saturday to all four corners of Spokane.

Mom's cars are not being driven so I went up to her place and started them and drove around briefly. I had to drive the Honda more than the other because the battery was stoned cold dead. Even after I started it and drove it home, it was not charged enough to restart the vehicle. I'm thinking it may need a new battery.

Anyway, while I was driving around to the four corners of Spokane, Susan was busy finishing the stenciling in the Living Room.

I think she is finally finished. And it looks marvelous!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Icy to Sloppy

What a difference a weather system makes!

Last week we were hovering just above zero. Two days ago, it snowed four inches. Today, it's 45 degrees and that snow is a sloppy slushy soup of goop.

I'm going to have to go dig out the corner sewer grate after work tonight. There is a lot of water pooling out there.

I'm part of a Neighborhood Social Media thing called Corbin Park Spokane. People who can be on it are limited to the immediate borders of our neighborhood.

It's got a lot of superfluous stuff on there...lost pets, stuff for sale. But it is also a great spot to find out about suspicious people seen in the area, break ins, and other news.

Last week, one neighbor posted about everyone being sure to clear their sidewalks and make Corbin Park safe for walking. Last night, she reported that Corbin Park was 100% sidewalk clean.

That's pretty cool! Of course, a day of higher temperatures and rain helped with that as much as the shovelers, methinks.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mo Sno

The two inches of snow that were forecast for today turned into four. I got home and got my designated portion of the world cleaned off and ship shape.

We are finally having a winter around here. 

We are just hanging out tonight. Susan is looking to do a little more stenciling and I have some work to do on my computer upstairs. No, my work does not involve visiting some sites of questionable repute.
Here's a picture of what Susan painted tonight. She is almost done.
She just has to finish this last portion on the right side of the fireplace, and then I think she will have reached the end of the stenciling line.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Broken String

I finally broke the string of consecutive posts at 35. Well, it had to happen sooner or later. The good news is that now I have some actual stuff of interest to post.

I skied yesterday with Mark. We went to Lookout Pass, which is my preferred ski hill.

We had planned to go up on Friday. We went so far as to take the day off. We concluded upon rising that it was too cold. The temperature on the mountain was 4. We decided to wait a day and see if it got better.

It did!

We drove up yesterday and arrived to a great parking spot and a clear blue sky. We only skied 6 runs due to a complication.

On our ride up the Number One chair for our fourth run, the lift stopped when we were a little more than half way up. After five minutes of no progress, we began to think there was something wrong.
Above is a picture of our view for most of the ordeal. We were close too a pole, but not close enough. After about 25 minutes, the lift moved suddenly...and then stopped just as suddenly. It continued doing that for the next 15 minutes. 

They finally got it moving steadily but slowly...which was fine at that point. Just get us off.  We unloaded at the top 50 minutes after the lift first stopped. 

You have no idea how heavy skis can get when they are just hanging off your legs for that length of time. 

A ski patrolman took our names and numbers at the top (we're not sure why)and we continued on our way. 

The number two lift was still running so we took a couple of runs but by then, the chill in our limbs was taking hold. 

We realized that if we went to the lodge, that would be it for skiing.

They had gotten everyone off the lift and now it was shut down. We ended up getting a voucher for another day, so all those runs were for free...or $39, depending on how you look at it.

I have chores to do today. Chief among them is to hook up an extension cord to the roof to prevent a giant icicle from ruining the ceiling of the Dining Room.

Okay! I was successful in getting the cicle down.

Susan continued to work on stenciling and I got a coat of paint on my window frames. Before that however, I was able to custom fit them to their respective places. It's a good thing I did too because they would not have fit. I'm still not sure they will after I get glass in them.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Colder Than A . . .

It is clear and cold out. I think the temperature is about 10 degrees right now.

We have both just gotten home a short while ago and are puttering around the house. I'm going to go out and get a coat of paint on my storm window frames. I don't think Susan is going to do anything other than her nightly exercises and then her nightly arm curls with wine.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Piano Man

I have just finished my weekly piano lesson. I'm not sure I have talked about them much here and since I really don't have anything else to write about, I shall expound now.

I took piano lessons from age 7 to 12. I learned the basics and then forgot them all. I can figure out songs when I have the music but it is long and arduous. I want to learn to sight read better.

I've been taking piano lessons since last Spring. I stopped during the Summer and then picked it up again just before Thanksgiving. 

The big reason I decided to dive in again is that my teacher comes to the house on Mondays after I get off work. Before, I met him at Music City on Saturday afternoons. Breaking up my Saturdays like that was too intrusive. This works out great now.

My instructor is Art Rosenau. He is the organist at church and very very VERY talented.

I'm paying $20.00 for a one hour lesson.

Tonight, I paid $20.00 so Art could sit there and listen to me practice. I didn't sit down at the piano at all this past week. I have to make the effort to sit down and practice as soon as I get home.

I hope to make that happen this week.