Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Best Xmas Present!

This is a Shona carved stone sculpture titled "Circle of Love". It is a (too expensive!) gift from my lovely and talented Sister in Law. It was made by craftsmen in Zimbabwe, and purchased from Spirits In Stone.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Another movie alert

"I Am Legend"
No kids
Not during Xmas (we saw it last night, xmas eve)
Not for the depressed
Not for people with startle issues or PTSD

Moonrabbit should get some of her money back since she had her eyes covered during some scenes.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry Window Coverings and Happy Holidays

A definite case of the sum being greater than the total, or vice versa. The new window "treatments" (That means they're expensive) for front and side windows are in. They create a nice ambiance inside and they look great. We still want to see a nice sunset through them. Gone is the morning glare at the kitchen sink (and the excuse of not washing dishes in the am). We're going to use the old rods on these windows for some shear curtains.

And enjoy the holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lawn Circles

We were recently searching in our storage locker/dustbin for an item which was not located, but in the process we found other items we HAVE been looking for and boxes that could be gone thru. One of the boxes was a hastily packed box from my last day at work (when my MIL died). Amongst the detritus was my old helmet which now graces the picture on the side,and some undeveloped negatives. I could make out a fire engine in one picture, so I had the half dozen pictures developed to see what there was. This was taken in the mid 90's.

Two pictures were of a lawn circle which appeared shortly after Capt. J reported seeing a UFO. I documented the circle just as Capt J spotted another UFO which looked suspiciously like a Frisbee. I missed that part of the shot. They may mave been attracted by the flag pole.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

'Tis the season

Today I got to wondering if at this time of year dyslexics are asking themselves "Who's leoN?"

Monday, December 03, 2007

FicMe, FicYou, FICUS all !

I'm not sure whether this is creative or pathetic. After first thinking we wanted a small tree this year (no one's coming over), then a small artificial tree, (couldn't find one we liked) WHAT ABOUT THE FICUS BENJAMINA?

Then, the first three sets of lights we tried didn't work, even attempted repairs failed.

updated pictures

First, the new barometer. (White faced gauge below black faced anemometer) As I type I'm waiting to resolve a shipping dispute. Saturday I got a bill from Fed Ex for $51.90 for shipping. The damn thing only cost $99 and shipping was supposed to be free.
Next, the new fireplace screen
Lastly, our new door knocker. I almost wish there were two so someone could use the line from "Young Frankenstein"...."Wow! What knockers!"

But most importantly, the on demand hot water heater has not been working right. It wouldn't supply the bathtub faucet when it's supposed to supply two appliances. Also, it took ALL the gas, resulting in the pilot lights going out on the wall furnaces. The gas company came out today and replaced the pressure regulator and now you can have the 4 burners on the stove, two wall furnaces, AND two hot water users all on, and it works. Whew! The options were not pretty if that hadn't worked.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm a deadbeat

At least in the eyes of credit card companies, because I pay the entire balance each month, thus depriving them of their immoral interest rates.

I also refuse to pay for the priviledge of carrying a given card.

Given all that perhaps I should not have been shocked when American Express notified us yesterday, in a very confusing (misleading?) notice that at a date in the future there will be an annual fee of $450!

Some time ago American Express split off their credit card company and their investment side which is now called Ameriprise. My theory is they took all the coke addicted VP's and sent them to the credit card company. WTF are they thinking? If they charged $10 I would cancel the card. Anyway, we're going on a spending binge of our rewards points, and when they are sufficiently depleted ADIOS American Express!

So if you get an innocent looking envelope from American Express, DO read it. And I recommend calling and clarifying the date when this fee is to begin, because you could not determine from the letter or your existing expiration date for your card, when it takes effect.

All this was after seeing a matinee showing of "No Country For Old Men" . This is not an uplifting movie. I think it may be a movie that in a few years reflects the outlook of our culture during these times, much as the old sci fi movies may have been an expression of fear about nuclear (nucular for any Texans reading this) war. Anyway, no sweet dreams last night for sure.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

After pics

Still to come, a "sofa table", a new fireplace screen, window treatments and some sort of desk. Oh, and a new barometer

Those with a discerning eye or no life might notice the lack of a light on one picture. This is due to the bulb failing the 8' drop test.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ahh, memories

Looking at the picture in the previous post for awhile brought back some memories. This was obviously a certificate presentation of some sort, and there wasn't a lot of outside training going on in those days. I was the only EMT that I know of in the dept, although any others might have kept their mouths shut since that seemed to be cause for suspicion. The certs might have been for going through the Navy's shipboard firefighting school which was based on Treasure Island.

The young lad to the left of locker #3 was a captain, and one of the few people with Fire Science degrees which caused ENORMOUS amounts of suspicion and jealousy. He went on to fame and fortune with a large fire dept in the Silicon Valley.

He was also quite the prankster.

At the shipboard firefighting school we were divided into several groups which got out of classes at slightly different times for lunch. One day we were all out except for Danny, so we left without him, leaving him to walk about 4 blocks back to the fire house. As we were fixing lunch, the phone rang alerting us to a helo landing in 5 minutes. One of our duties was to "standby" for "Helo Ops" so we all loaded onto the rigs and drove down to the Helo Pad and waited. We're sitting there shooting the bull for awhile and I look around and there are no security vehicles. We call security, they don't know anything about incoming helos.

We get back to the station and there is a smiling Danny enjoying his lunch.


Heard a fun story today from a friend and former supervisor. First, without his permission, but WITH editing, is his story.

"Somehow the engineer's mic got stuck in transmit mode without any buttons being pushed. We didn't know this and by the time someone called us on our cell phone, "Benny" had already dropped the "Motherf...r" bomb three times. Fortunately he wasn't talking about anyone. I think almost every station called the cell to express their "shock". PJ was our chief that day and by the time he got through, he simply said, 'I guess I don't have to tell you anything.' "

My story is from over 25 years ago when I was working for the Treasure Island Naval Station fire department as an engineer. We were driving somewhere and the captain hung his hat on the engine microphone which pushed the transmit key. His most famous utterance was "Geez I'm bored, maybe we oughta go START a fire!"

I'm the good looking one...

remodel pictures coming soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

Phantom Plumber strikes!

Phantom Plumber showed up sometime between 2:30 pm yesterday and 9am this morning and finished the gas line replacement. He didn't call to say he was coming or that he had been there and finished.

Tile boy says he will be there Sunday am (early) to grout.

Furniture's on order, 3 week estimate.

Contractor made boxes for the new electrical panel and the water heater, protection from the salt air, elements etc, I "painted" them (I slop more than paint)

Tip toeing to the finish line!

Friday, October 19, 2007

LAST PICTURES (for awhile)

Why? Because everything that shows has been done. What is left is the bit o' plumbing, ("If it rains I'll be there FOR SURE!") yeh right. Some touch up painting. Lots of caulking. The front and back doors are in process for new varnish.

In the process of rewiring the heater thermostat, there was a need to put a hole in the bedroom wall. This precipitated the addition of an outlet (there were none on that wall) and the cutting out of a piece of sheetrock with the custom paint we needed to match, to touch up a few spots.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I wish I had a football


Passed final inspection just before noon with only one minor task to complete. (caulking under the new toilet).

Still plenty to do.

Since the last update, the phantom plumber showed up and installed the correct toilet, but did not do the gas line. He said to go ahead and turn on the propane tank and start bleeding the lines even though he will be coming back to finish replacing about 6' of pipe.

So I spent HOURS first getting the stove to work, then the wall furnace so that the pilot would stay lit, but the furnace would not light, so I moved on to the On Demand water heater which has a long dedicated line and took FOREVER to bleed off, and in fact, it turns out it may not yet be fully bled of air (damn). Back to the wall furnace, found a broken thermostat wire, reconnected it and it still didn't work. (Meanwhile the batteries in the thermostats needed to be replaced) In the end it seems there is a break in the thermostat wire IN the wall, so the 3 Amigos will have a return engagement to fix that, install the pendant cable lights over the stove, and three halogen "Can" lights above the sink.

But YAHOO!!!!! anyway.

Oh, and the redone cabinet faces have disappeared, hopefully they went home with the painter to be stained and finished at his house and returned.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

whaz hapnin

Not much. The plumber once again promised to finish today, probably this am. When I called at 8:30 he was busy with housework, but renewed the promise. Meanwhile, I pulled the incorrect toilet bowl yesterday and returned it for credit.

The last cabinet face is in and hopefully the painter is working on them as I type.

I ran into a neighbor at a grocery store (where I have never seen him before) and when I mentioned the possibility of final inspection on Monday, he turned white and begged me not to, he's pouring concrete just down the street on Monday. What's another day?

Some cultures think the sighting of wild animals indicates your present or future path. This is what I have been seeing recently.

Then there is the furniture. Well, the footprint of some of it anyway. We looked at Italian "made" (actually China) because they come in smaller sizes, but there is a 4 month wait. Also the cushions are all attached. Macy's had nice sectionals, made in the USA, 6-8 week wait, detached cushions, but much larger. Now we're looking at custom made, and the prices are all comparable.

The cardboard in the corner is a chair and the rectangle sticking off the far edge of the sectional is a sofa table.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Once again named Great Uncle!

My eldest niece has once again made me a GREAT UNCLE by birthing Isabelle Jayne, on Oct 5th about 5:30 am in Lethbridge, Canada. 8lbs 10oz, about 10 hours labor.

Congratulations to me AND the proud parents.

Pictures are promised, but who knows....

If she is as good looking as her mom, watch out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

More progress

I found out that the tile guy who had yet to return my phone calls, would be working next door today, so I called and he came over and did our small patch of tiles (Sans grout, which must wait two weeks until he gets back from a vacation). Also you can see the cool doors on the shower enclosure.

And here are the sconce lights installed by none other than moi.

Just talked to the phantom plumber who promises to be there sometime Tues, after which we can call for a final inspection.

Also spent three hours yesterday getting the stove in correctly. I eventually had to cut off another 1/8inch on each side of the front lip of the granite to accomodate a couple of screws on the stove. And the downdraft vent hose hookup, and the leveling, oh the leveling!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Gettin' Closer

The 3 amigos, (electricians) finished yesterday except for two sconce lights that arrived this afternoon, that I will hopefully install tomorrow.

The replacement toilet bowl arrived today also, so when the phantom plumber makes an appearance, he may finish all that he needs to do, which will put us ready for final inspection next week sometime.

Cabinet shop finished the fridge panels, but didn't do the new face for the dishwasher. Stove is hung up about 1/4" from going all the way in, work on that tomorrow also.

Painter still has work to do, and still have not heard from the tile guy about the small area above the shower enclosure.

Our new light just inside the front door

Our new light just outside the front door.

The kitchen with working sink, cable lights (look carefully) flourescent lights that well.....let's just say they are required for now.

Dishwasher is hooked up, but not installed.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Faltering steps forward

Friday started off on a positive note. The Three Amigos comedy team (aka the electricians) showed up and were kicking it. Light fixture in the 2nd bedroom closet, phone jack hooked up and working on the cable lights. In order to stay out of their way, I took a road trip to return the undersized refridgerator panels to the cabinet maker. Enroute I get a call from Amigo #1, "Hey we're out of cable, we need another 40 feet."

Call cable light provider to see about more cable. We ordered 126' and recieved a spool marked 126'. Rep gets all defensive, "I don't see how this could have happened." yada yada yada. I just want to get some more cable. Oh, TWO WEEKS! Called local lighting company that has given us great service since we found them, and yes, two weeks, but there's a company about 30 miles down the road that probably carries it. I call, they do, I drive and pick up, @$2.60 a foot. I call back to the house for a last chance to remeasure, no answer. I buy an extra 2 feet.

I drive BACK to the house (60 miles) the electricians are gone for the day :(

I walk off the wire that has been hung and come up with 78'. I see no extra laying around. So I call the rep back and tell her we got shorted. She makes some calls and the cable company will credit back for 40'. (I paid for 126 and got about 80) Before we disconnect, she says she hopes we'll continue to shop there for our lighting needs. Yeh right, you bet.

Does anybody care about doing their job anymore?

Thursday, September 27, 2007


One step forward, two back

Started putting wood trim on the fridge, the pieces for the two bottom drawers are the wrong size (small of course)

Toilet installed, Lid is biscuit colored, tank is biscuit colored, the box the bowl came in says it's biscuit colored,... BUT IT'S NOT!!! It's freaking white! (but the color blind plumber installed it anyway) The place we ordered it from cheerfully said they would order the right one.

Wood paneled front piece for the dishwasher is not what we wanted, but we accepted it, so we'll probably have to pay for a new piece.

On the bright side, the shower enclosure is installed and has really cool doors. They're two pieces that slide around the inside to open.

Contractor is gone for two weeks, so I have lots of time to screw things up before his return.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

PROGRESS! (with pictures)

Still need more electrical work, plumbing, trim and paint, but it's getting closer.







Saturday, September 15, 2007

Another possibly addictive blog

Blogger has a site that show pictures that are being uploaded via blogger in real time according to their web site.

Friday, September 14, 2007

More floor dance + Countertops!

Independantly, contractor and I found differant tiles that resonated when tapped, as if not totally glued down. Contacted floor company who contacted tech rep, and yes indeed, it's possible that a tile might be over a slight dip and not make contact. I ended up going out today for reasons that will be discussed, and found many tiles, particularly along the edge that didn't make contact, and when I tried to assist the process, several chipped along the edge due to the floor having a "lip". So I will be seeing more of the floor guy, who has the same first name as me.

About noon, contractor called and said granite countertop people wanted to install this afternoon and were loading the truck as we spoke and that he, contractor, couldn't make it, and that is how I found myself rushing out to meet them. Three hours, three tops, lots of dust and a little damage to some sheet rock and cabinet finish.
Countertop installer's name...Yep, that's three of us!


Bathroom vanity

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Floor Dance vs Dance floor

A Floor Dance is what happens when you are waiting for the floor to be finished, and appointments are made, and cancelled, rescheduled, cancelled, rescheduled ad inifinitum. Here is what is left to do.

Just two half pieces on either side so the stove will slide in and out. The joints were sealed, the glue down, but it was a long day and the floor guy spaced.
He'll be there Monday 10am, 9:15 a call, child care issues, can't make it. Will be there tomorrow, "What time?" He'll call. No call until I'm there (with no cell phone coverage) first message, be there at 10, second, can't make it today. I call the shop at 10:15, "Oh, didn't he call you?"
So now we're on for 10am tomorrow. Meanwhile I have time to take pictures, and the weather is beautiful.

And a gratuitous picture of Lily

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Floor's IN!

The place feels a lot more done than it is. Still needs the electrical finished, plumbing finished painting finished and trim work done. Then we have to buy some furniture.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

An inkling of progress

The first section of tiles has been laid, without grout yet. Tomorrow another section and the grouting of this piece. Next day, grout the newest section and lay another section yada yada yada. Supposed to be thru Saturday, but we'll see.

THE CURSE, or how I learned to give up hope

I just read this fine column at, and it reminded me of when I gave up hope and realized as the bumper sticker says, "I feel so much better since i gave up all hope."

It started as a quiet morning in the grocery store. It was a Lucky's grocery, a chain has been bought out several times, disappeared and is about to reappear!

I had only purchased a few items and as I approached the checkout, I observed that there were two clerks (one was the manager) and one customer. So, even though I know I have the THE CURSE, (wherein, no matter what line I get into it will be the longest) I foolishly thought to myself, "AH, I've got it made!"

As I put my items on the belt, I started picking up on the conversation between the one other customer and the exasperated clerk. She wanted to know why she couldn't get her can redemption money for her cans HERE because she had purchased them HERE! There was a redemption center in the parking lot which was not yet open, and signs for other nearby centers that WERE open. She wanted nothing to do with any of that, she wanted to talk to, wait for it, THE MANAGER (my checker) and proceded to argue with him for 10 minutes.

Thus I realized I was well and truly screwed. And the knowledge thereof I found to be freeing.

I now warn people behind me that I have THE CURSE, and that they get in line behind me at their peril. I have met a number of other souls like myself, and we smile and nod knowingly to each other while we hum "Amazing Grace" or "Ohm" or the Barney song to ourselves.

Serenity at last, great GOB a'mighty, serenity at last!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Que Pasa? Nada

But wait til next week.

The painter is plugging away, staining and eventually painting to his hearts content. I had hoped the electrician would be there today, but the painter was not to a point where the electrician could work?

This morning I got a "confirmation" call that work on the floor was to begin Tuesday. I explained that I had understood that it was to be Monday, but "Oh no, he doesn't work Mondays" (Did I detect a wee bit of attitude?) Also the tiles would be delivered this afternoon, so I ended up making the drive out anyway. Also got another call, "Gee you were right, they ARE starting on Monday"

Meanwhile I had called the contractor and electrician to say Monday was open, called back "Never mind!"

Did get the corbels installed on the island.

But next week, Watch out! We should have a floor! Which means I can bring in some of the stuff from the garage (TV and the like) Lots of stuff on order, faucets, sink, track and other lights, toilet. Granite slabs are in, and we're going to pick one or two tomorrow. (The granite guy did templates the other day and may be able to do the kitchen and the bathroom vanity with one slab (if it's large enough) plus a remnant.