A little break

My husband seems to like to spend all his time at the house. The exception is the errands into town. He loves to stack one errand on top of another, so that when I start to go into town to return my library books, say, and go to the grocery store, suddenly he has added on a trip to Walmart (I hate Walmart), a pickup of prescription drugs at Walgreens, and a trip to the hardware store. Every jaunt into town must include at least one trip to the hardware store. Luckily for me, there’s a Dutch Brothers coffee booth right next door and I love their Cocomos, a combination of coffee, coconut milk, and chocolate. There is always a big line at Dutch Brothers, but if it isn’t too bad, I get in the walk-up line while my husband is looking at nuts and bolts next door.

This is all a big lead-up to say that I finally got him to take a little drive with me on Sunday. It was a beautiful day. We had one really hot day this weekend during which we actually started up the air conditioning for a few hours and one really beautiful day, during which we had the windows open all day. And then there was yesterday, when it was cold and cloudy all day, never out of the 50’s. I loved all of them.

These are the falls without the kids. They had momentarily gone out of sight.

Anyway, we chose to drive to Sunset Falls, which we had not seen yet. The drive was a nice one, southeast farther into the foothills of the Cascades. The falls aren’t spectacular, but they are pretty. Kids were sitting on the rocks over the falls in the middle of the creek (it looks like a river, but I’m pretty sure it’s a creek), and some of them were jumping off the rocks into the river or going along the bank to a cliff and jumping off there. Twenty years ago I would have been up top sitting on the rocks or wading in the creek, but I don’t think I would have had the nerve to jump off even forty years ago! It’s not terribly high up, but you could easily hit rocks on the way down.

On the contractor front, our general contractor finally came over yesterday and cleared out our basement, so I foresee some busy days of returning to what we had been doing two months ago or so when they messed it all up. We have almost all the bookcases out of the dance room, only three to go. My husband is going to fasten them to the wall because of the kids, and then I can start putting away my books. Finally! That will free up a lot of room in the dance room so that we can find the rest of our possessions and start organizing the storage in the dance room and garage.

As far as our remaining projects go, it looks like what I feared might be coming to pass. We had been waiting to hear from the guys who are going to asphalt our driveway, the guys who are going to install our marmoleum, and the guys who are going to install the carpet on the stairs. Some of these projects have been in limbo for months. I feared that what would happen is they would all want to do their jobs around the same time. That could be a problem if the driveway was being asphalted. And sure enough, we have a provisional start date from the asphalt guys of June 5 and a provisional start date for the marmoleum of June 8. I’m not sure how many days the asphalt will take, but this seems too close together. On the other had, both dates are provisional, so I’m not going to start trying to reschedule anything until at least one date is set. Also, no word from Lowe’s about the carpet since mid-May, when they said it had been shipped. I don’t want to put any of these guys off. We’ve been waiting for the carpet since February and the marmoleum since April. And the asphalt guys have the toughest schedule.

We also have a provisional start date of mid-June for painting the outside of our house. That’s not such a problem as the other projects, except, of course, if they end up being the same time as the asphalt.

We recently made a possibly foolhardy purchase. Well, who knows. It’s an interesting one at least. I have been wanting to buy a grill. I used to do about half of my meals on the grill when I was single. That was a standard Weber charcoal grill, and I used it so much it had a hole in the grill top. But when I got married, we decided to try a gas grill. Frankly, I never felt comfortable with it. I never knew if it was heated enough or whether the grill was supposed to have some sort of medium in it, like rocks, or anything like that. Our family has always used charcoal. And my husband is one of the few guys I know that doesn’t grill. (This used to be one of my dad’s favorite weekend activities.)

Our gas grill ended up being hauled off from our Austin house, where it had been chained to the deck but unused for years and was in horrible condition. Now that we have a lovely deck and some nice deck furniture for dining, I wanted to buy another charcoal grill. I was discussing it with my niece’s husband when he told me about something that’s called a Big Green Egg. A Big Green Egg is a kamado-style grill. I had never heard of these grills before, but most of them are made out of enamel, and you can use them to grill, smoke, or bake. What sold me was the information that you can use them to make tandoori chicken and naan.

I was 2/3 of the way there after reading about them, although they are expensive for a charcoal grill, but I wanted to see one. That is the difficulty. Our local Ace was supposed to carry them, but apparently they decided they took up too much space in what is a fairly small store. They said they could order one for me, but I wanted to at least look at one first. Then we stopped by Home Despot, which does not carry Big Green Eggs but has several other styles of kamado grills, some of which are less expensive. But they didn’t have even one of them in stock, either. We talked to a helpful guy in the store, who told us where we could see a Big Green Egg just to get a look at a kamado grill. The plan was to look at the Egg and then return to the Home Despot, where he would show us his other kamado grills online and we could order one. It was this kind of informed and guided shopping that I wanted from the store, because I had already read some reviews and looked at all the various grills online. I just wanted to hear what he had to say about them.

Well, we went to look at the Big Green Egg, but when we returned to Home Despot, nobody knew who the heck we were talking about, even though we knew his name (he might have been a manager), and if he WAS the manager, he was in a meeting. We stood around and stood around waiting at the service desk, but when I heard they were getting someone from flooring to help us, that’s when I decided to leave. After all, someone from flooring wasn’t going to know any more about the grills than I did. This is a problem with the local Home Despot. In Austin, they had pretty good service, but here, you’re lucky if you can find anyone to talk to. We went right back to the store with the Big Green Eggs.

The Big Green Eggs are pricey, but while we were talking to the nice man in the other store, we found out about demo eggs. These eggs are used one time at a Big Green Egg demo in Portland, and then you get one for 25% off. So, we signed up for one of those. We get our grill, slightly used, on June 25.

.This is what I call color

I hate to subject you, completely changing the subject, to another picture of our ridge, but lately the rhododendron on the left side of the water feature has bloomed beautifully. I was complaining in early spring that our property didn’t have any color, but it just didn’t have any early color. Now wildflowers are popping up all over the place. First there were some small blue ones on the ridge, but lately there are lots of white ones and some yellow flowers all around the house, maybe buttercups. I need to learn something about wildflowers. Here is part of our ridge now, just a couple weeks after the last picture. You can see some of the white flowers at the base of the rhododendron.

We have had several returns of the bunny, one time with a smaller companion, to our drive, where he or she likes to eat the grass in between the bricks. Sadly, that grass is going to be going away soon. Maybe the bunny will stay to eat the grass on our lawn, though. The bunny comes almost every evening now just before dusk.

This is my cedar waxwing.

If anyone is still interested in my art class, I finally finished my picture of a cedar waxwing. My sister is still working on her hummingbird, since she missed a class. I guess that means I’ll be doing an exercise in class today. The exercises tend to be tedious, but they are wise to intermix them with the opportunity to draw a picture. I think my next picture is supposed to be of a furry animal.

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A fairly smooth day

On October 15 we got started fairly early, taking a route through northwest New Mexico, nipping a corner of Colorado, and continuing in to Utah. The day went pretty well except for the slow speed at which the truck managed the hills, and there were many.

I was worried about my husband’s hand, which was swollen and red, but he insisted on continuing on, doing a lot of the truck driving. His dog was a problem at first, because he would not be separated from my husband but didn’t like getting into the cab of the truck. I suggested my husband get into the truck first and call Hans. That was dismissed as a stupid idea, but was exactly what worked for the rest of the trip (after his brother suggested the same thing).

We made it all the way to Provo and stopped relatively early to get a good rest. That gave us delusions that we could make it to Washington the next day, because that was where we stopped four years ago on our first drive up there.

We finally had real internet for the first time at that hotel, so I found out that my niece didn’t even know that we left yet. The other motels claimed to have internet, but all my messages had gone into the ozone.

 

A slight impact and the wilds of New Mexico

This is my entry of October 14. I am way behind, because I’ve had no internet access for days.

We started out the morning when I went to my husband’s brother’s room and asked him to take my husband to the emergency room. My husband’s dog had to be with either him or me the whole time, which was why I couldn’t go. At the hospital, they gave him an antibiotic and Ibuprofen and made him wait for the animal control officer, who turned out not to be interested, since the cat was in Austin.

We left town around 10, with my husband insisting on driving the truck, even though I had driven it without incident for hours the day before. This turned out to be a mistake, as he drove quite some way through a crowded New Mexican town to get gas instead of driving through town on the freeway and stopping for gas on the other side. At this gas station, he managed to scrape a car. What fun we were having! But the guy was nice, and after exchanging insurance info, we were on our merry way.

My husband and I had mapped out a relatively flat route, but his brother talked us into a more direct one, which is why we found ourselves in the wilds of NW New Mexico late at night. I think he was perhaps a little more concerned with the scenery than we were. We tried to stop for the night in an itty bitty town but decided the motel looked too dicey. So, we drove until almost 2 AM, stopping in a town east of Farmington.

Our day of departure

This is my entry for October 13.

I probably forgot to mention in yesterday’s entry that my husband managed to catch our indoor cat, suffering many scratches.

Our plan for the morning was to get up early, throw our mattresses into the truck, and leave. But we had so much left to do that we didn’t leave until 1:30 PM.

My husband wouldn’t let me drive the truck through town even though he was terrified of it and I wasn’t, so he asked us to stop in Fredericksburg and ask the pharmacist for something for his scratches. The pharmacist said he should go to a clinic, so we tried to catch him, but he was already out of town and wouldn’t turn around.

I drove the truck for several hours and only hated how the seat edge cut into the back of my legs. We made it as far as Ft. Stockton. My husband by then had a swollen hand and a fever, but he refused to go to the ER. We made it to bed fairly late. End of our first day on the road.

Packing day, almost a week later

Well, we made it here yesterday, but we have had quite a few adventures, so I decided to post one a day each post for a while. This is the post relating the events of Wednesday, October 12.

The first thing that happened was that the moving guys let me know that we had way too much junk for the pod and truck (with one pod already dispatched). He said we needed a 26-foot truck. So, I got on the phone and asked to trade our 16 footer and sent my husband and his brother to pick it up.

When they got back, I learned that because my brother-in law’s Canadian license restricts the size of vehicle he can drive, he felt, because of liability, he could not drive it. That left me and my husband to drive the truck the 2000+ miles ourselves.

The packing guys (Army Ant) were great, but after they left at 8 PM, there were still hours of work to do to pack things they missed and clean up trash. One of the horrible discoveries of the day was the state of my husband’s shed (hoarder, remember?). It was packed to the gills with things like every empty bag of dog food we ever bought. The packers said it would be another four hours to pack it. So, I had my husband get out what he wanted (his tools) and then I got on the phone and arranged for a junk moving company to remove it on Friday. We got to bed finally around midnight on our mattresses on the floor.