Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Molly, the Road Dog

Back when Mrs A and I first got together, she wanted a little dog she could mother. Mainly because I wouldn't let her fuss over me. I have never been a fan of little dogs, but it was something she needed.
So we found a Shi Tzu that we bought.
I chose her because she had a sweet mellow personality.
Shortly after we met her, we hooked up with Morning Light, a Christian Rock band. They specialized in performing in detention facilities, primarily youth facilities. The band members and most of the crew were recovering alcoholics and drug users We really believed that they were delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. Although it meant long days of hard work, we became Road Crew for the band, and Molly became a Road Dog.
She loved going places and being around all the people and going places. She was a comfort to the incarcerated.
After being an only dog for seven years, Mrs A found another pup in need of a home, and we bought Monk, a Brussels Griffon. When we brought him home, molly retired to the upstairs bedroom and refused to come down. She would come to the head of the stairs and let us know when she needed to go out. But we had to carry her through the living room to the back porch. She would not deign to set foot on the main floor.
This went on for several weeks. Finally she would come down the stairs, jump over to the chair, then to the couch, but would not touch the floor.
Eventually she mostly got over shock of having to share her time with her brother, but she always let him know that SHE was the top dog.
She turned 12 this fall, and started slowing down. She had bad kidneys. Some times her front end and back end didn't always track properly. She moved less and less.
She had visibly weakened and turned frail. Her favorite place was curled up on a blanket by my left foot. She really did not like being held, but was content to be near.
Tuesday, she collapsed on the kitchen floor, and didn't want to move. Her spine was hunched, and she was obviously in pain.
We called the Vet and told her we were bringing Molly in to be put down. As I type this, tears are welling up in my eyes. We rook her in. I carried her while Mrs A drove. Her breathing was labored and she would occasionally whine and shudder.
So She has now gone on her final road trip.
I'm going to miss her. She was a sweet little dog who loved everyone she ever met, and provided us with many hours of joy and companionship.
Pets come into our lives, and bring us many hours of joy. The downside is they are short lived and remind us how fleeting and fragile the things we value really are.
So long to my good and faithful companion.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Spiral staircase.

The only access between the main floor and upstairs in this house is a spiral staircase. It is something that immediately catches peoples eye, a distinguishing feature.
As with about everything else in this house, it is poorly designed and constructed. The main problem in that the balusters are too far apart. Per building code, there cannot be an opening larger that 4" between balusters. There are only 2 per step. There should be 4. That being said, the slate in blank as far as how I go about filling the space.
I have spent some time looking on line and sometime wandering around Home Depot and Lowe's looking for an inspiration. Something that will look classy and do the job. So I have considered everything from wood doweling to custom hand wrought iron. Price anywhere from a couple of hundred to five hundred or more.
Time to sit down with pencil and paper and do some doodling.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Electrical Upgrade

I bit the bullet today, and called in an Electrical Contractor to bring the wiring on the house up to date. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, going over what I knew, what I figured needed to be done.
When I got up this morning, my mind was made up to at least replace the outlets close to the sinks. As a safety precaution, the modern code demands GFCI outlets (Ground Fault Interruption Certified) near water sources. As long as the Electricians were here, I had them update all of the old two prong outlets to modern standards. The bill was just short of $1500.00. Money well spent to have the pros do the work.
For the first time since I bought this house, I feel it is good electrically. By the rime I get through the place will be so sound, I probably won't want to move.
The only other thing I am fretting about is the deck. It is mostly OK, but there are a few things that need to be addressed. The joists are on 16 inch centers, except it seems I got a couple of them too far apart. So Someone will need to slide an additional joist in between the existing joists. Also I need to secure the deck to the house with lag bolts, where it is currently just nailed. And a few other minor things.
I feel a lot better now that the electrical stuff is taken care of. We might actually get through this.

Thursday, January 15, 2015


No secret we want to move. Mt main project since leaving work has been to get the house in shape to sell. So I have done a few things. Drywall and paint. Sorting and taking stuff to the dump.
In anticipation of putting the house up for sale, we called a home inspection service, just to make sure their are no giant problems.
For the most part, it is exactly as I anticipated. No splash blocks for the down spouts, missing a couple of corner flashing pieces. New smoke/Carbon monoxide detectors. Lots of "recommendations" that are not requirements. Some of the stuff is absolute bullcrap. The circular staircase, the openings between the supports are not supposed to be further apart than 4". hey, that's the way it is made. I'll probably have to come up with something creative.
I need to hire an electrician to do some work. There are things that need to be done. The outlets in the bathrooms are not GFCI outlets. Same with the outlet by the sink in the kitchen. A quite a bit of the wiring is old, two prong outlets.They need to be updated, but I will not be stampeded into rewiring the whole house.
There are a few plumbing minor things that need to be fixed. Drain for the sink in the upstairs, drain for the tub downstairs.
Lots of stuff wrong with the deck. I will need to hire a contractor to make sure It all gets done to spec. All told I guess we are talking a couple of thousand bucks. Not bad all in all.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015


There are a couple of things I really don't like about doing drywall.
First of all, the sheets are awkward. You have to be careful moving it around because the sheets are rather fragile. I have broken more than one sheet moving them around by myself.
The good thing is it is relatively inexpensive.
Putting up drywall is not rocket science. The spackle work is annoying. Again not rocket science. Spackle, sand, repeat until flat. Every little flaw will become apparent when you put on the paint. It takes patience to get it right. The spackle has to dry between coats, Fine with me, I am not in any hurry. I should finish up and be ready for paint tomorrow.
When I get finished with the hallway, it will be back to the basement.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Project One

We are getting the hose ready to sell, so there are a lot of little things that need to be done.
First I needed to figure out how to go about fixing something.
A good example is the hallway between the living room and the music room. The house was extensively remodeled in the 70s. The quality of the work is terrible. Halfway down the hallway there used to be a doorway, which was filled in by throwing a sheet of drywall up. You can still see the outline and dimensions of the doorway. The wall is not flat by any measure.
So as is usual with this house, I will have to undo what was done before I can fix the wall. So I spent the day tearing out the old drywall.
Since I only have a small pickup, I needed o build a rack so I could lay the new drywall down on the bed of the truck. Now I can go down to the Hardware Store and get the drywall. Then I have some drywall to do in the basement, which got interrupted because of a leaky pipe. The leak is fixed so after I get the drywall in the hallway hung, that's next.
Then I have to figure out what I'm going to do about the ceiling of the stairwell going downstairs.Just stay focused and keep marching forward.

Friday, January 02, 2015

New year

The calendar has turned another page, which means something to someone somewhere. Not around here. Just another day. Ain't retirement grand.
I no longer wake up to an alarm clock. What day of the week it is matters very little any more. Sunday is still Football, but that;s about the only relevant thing now.
I try to accomplish something every day. That isn't too difficult, as I have a lot of things going on. I have put off cleaning the basement for over twenty years, so it takes some time to get into what I need to keep, what goes to the dump. I had a reason for keeping everything down there, but I need to take a reasonable reassessment of whether I will get around to using that particular thing in the next six months while fixing up the house for sale.
Today I finished harvesting my three pot plants, separating the bud from the leaf, getting it bagged up for storage. I ended up with about three OZ of bud, maybe a half a pound of shake. Since I only use it to help me sleep, that ought to be enough to last a quite a while. First time I have raised weed from seed. The harvest was a little disappointing, but then I didn't do anything to enhance the crop. Plant it, sit it ina sunny spot, water it. It has been sampled and passed the ultimate test: my standards.
Rounded up a truckload of crap from the basement, but haven't taken it to the dump.
Talked with the retirement Specialist at Boeing today, and she was very helpful. Things are on course. I need to send them some documents, but no delays are expected.
My blod sugar is finally coming down. I was pretty upset when they put me on insulin, and it wasn't working at bringing my blood sugar down. After a week, I finally got up this morning and it was 86, right where it should be,
Need to figure out what I am going to use to cover some walls. need to do some drywall, need to do some tape and spackle, but things are proceeding according to plan.
Well, there was that one unexpected complication today. I was down looking things over to put up some dry wall when I noticed one of the drain pipes from the bathroom was leaking. No big deal, but a distraction as it needed to be taken care of before anything else. Got to be flexible.