Back to Work

The brief pause in fix-it activity was a blessing. There is a reason to keep one day Holy and absent of work, so that the suffering is not prolonged unalterably. But we needed to get the closet finished and the door-stops done – and we did. The DeWalt screw-gun is a blessing, and so is the hammer-torque driver. And so is the battery-operated skill-saw.

Meanwhile I received a letter from my Old Friend and mentor who hired me for the first Real Job that I had, one with some responsibility and one that proved I could do it. He taught me to drink single-malt Scotch neat, and always had hair-raising stories – like when he was Stage Manager for the Rolling Stones “Sticky-Fingers” West-Coast Tour and had to provide Security for the mis-managed event at some Arizona University arena full of College Kids who were clueless… He had a stroke several years back and went from lopsided shuffling, to walking with a cane, to full wheel-chair invalidity. While I was between-jobs (on one of those many occasions), I acted as his butler – or something. He is a man with a precise and photographic memory, and the stroke had no effect on that or his speech, but the physical debilitation has had an un-happy cascading effect. On my calendar was a birthday reminder, and so I sent him a belated Birthday card/thank-you for taking a chance on me, the weird-kid all those years ago. He and his wife were close friends through my Theater years, and my girlfriend/now-wife attended many annual summertime Croquet-Tournaments/drinking-party that they hosted with other friends from that Theater Tribe. In later years and following a different career trajectory, and after his illness we were not as frequent visitors. But it was good to hear from them, very good, and they were both pleased to hear from me/us.
That’s it for now, partly. I picked up some nice actual-wood wooden screen doors that I will fit, they will allow for a cross-breeze and keep bugs-out on days when it’s not too hot and the A/C isn’t cranking. Oh-and the “lawn” -the one that’s decorative – not the wide expanse of Prairie – on the other side of the Ranch, needs mowing. And weeding.

Carpet

Carpetization is coming Thursday to the Low Granite Outcropping, and it’s a serious lot of the shaggy-stuff. Which means moving a LOT of once stationary and heavy furniture to a location where it’s not in-the-way of the new underlayment. Also means time to paint that nasty closet with the yellow-orange “Dried Plantain” interior. Yecch-yellow. Seriously?? A huge walk-in closet painted something other than white?? That is just El Stupido – to paraphrase The Don. So we work and we move stuff.
Meanwhile plans to go forward with Mud&Tape at Los Garage De Los Ranchero advance when new BFF comes by on Tuesday night after his current day-job doing tile at a house-flip. Pay-Money Work up here is scarce, and the thin pale ones doing hated retail under fluorescent lights in air-conditioned splendor don’t know how lucky they really are.
Back-When I applied at so many places for such work and was always turned-down. Also many front-room food-service jobs were simply wiped-away by my lack of bi-linguality. No Habla. But now in my “retirement” we may have to revisit that trend/opportunity – just as soon as I spend all my money on retrofitting this/these place(s).
I appreciate the fact the guy has no life and will work more, after first-work. I was up Friday night ironing shirts.
“Sorry I can’t, I have to wash my hair.” Remember that one? With me it was common enough back in The Day. Today it’s entirely possible to hear it again, but from me – that is if you go by “my hair” as a singular noun. There’s one thin one sticking up in the middle of the glowing dome. But enough.
New gun shop has a Model-19 on consignment that I’m considering…
Spend it while you got it. Blow it up. Pour radioactive crud on what’s left and blow it up again, then light it on fire and throw it into the ocean, onto a whale. See if anybody remembers you. They won’t.

Retail Therapy

Awoke to overcast, and mid-coffee it actually rained. Lunch at Bricks and then a visit with our favorite Darling-of-Retail at the Western shoppe – who’s quitting! Fortunately we’ll see her again soon at the Gun-Club Picnic, since her grandfather is Treasurer.
Trying to reach a contractor to get a bid on a quick mud & tape job for the garage and the phone glitches and blurps and I’m in some kind of cellphone dead-zone. So I tried another avenue, and it worked with the guy who’s got experience here already – and I’d rather pay local than a guy living out on the 80-corridor in Roseville. But local guy is in the middle of a flip, on his hands and knees laying tile, so the project might have to wait a while. Oh well, carpet is coming and there’s paint to do at the other house.
So off to the new Gunshop in town to meet the guy – Jeff – then to Wally where they had this which I had not seen in ages. And JHP too.
IMGP2286

Tractor Bjork and Enduring Brightness

It was 102° on Friday with slightly lesser temps in the high 90’s on Saturday and today (Sunday) dawned bright and cool so I went out to mow.
Out in the middle of the tall grass the twin rotating blades ceased to rotate. Maybe it was the hidden stump I hit? But that was earlier, and I kept mowing – so I disengaged the deck and drove up to the wash-out point and hosed it down to get all the green crud off and have a look-see. Kinda dark in there and the bright sunlight hitting the other side – I can’t see much but one of the belts is not running on the pulley, and just seems a bit loose. Maybe I burnt a belt?
Without being able to take a closer view and understand the situation I’m stuck – and my big fat wheel-chocks are at the other house. Time to take a shower and have some breakfast.

Lights and Lamps: Down at Costco we picked up and installed seventeen on-sale 14-watt LED floods to replace the 65-watt incandescent ceiling heaters and PG&E cash-register ching-a-ching-ching lamps. And they’re fully dimmable and work in the existing can-lights with no extra mods. Bright but cool to touch, the lamp color is normal and not some ultra-white surface-of-the-moon effect. I have two, 2-way wall switches to replace the current flip-switches that are good for dimmable LED’s and that will help in the main open-concept space/room to bring down the brightness for when we don’t need surgical lighting.

My Cup Runneth Over

IMGP0626_x800On a gray rainy day it’s good to fiddle with organizing the re-loading bench while the rain-barrels spill water out the tops. The two left-side drawers of the Harbor Freight bench that did not fully open on the cheap Chinese drawer-slides finally had to go, at least now the lower shelf is more readily available. Also now there’s room for another press (the RS-3) and the upper cabinet can be used as tool storage as God intended.

Meanwhile as the rain pelted-down in a steady pour, I went out on a ladder up on the deck to check a corner downspout because it was overflowing at the roof-line, backed-up vertically almost twenty-five feet. Cleared some pine-needles at the top-end and then went down by the understory and I yanked the diverter hose to the big-barrel so the water flowed freely, but a closer inspection and clean-out will have to wait.

UPDATE: Well that didn’t last long. The rain is coming in waves, and you can see the wet clouds streamin water as they approach, coming across the ridge at us, blanketing and hiding the ridge behind – and the water was backed-up again to the roof. In a few minutes I was back down there with the DeWalt drill and removing the diverter. As I removed one screw, a stream of water poured out as if from a hose, then the next, and finally a huge spray of water surged up and hosed me down with blockage: dirt, pine-needles, and sand from the composition asphalt shingles… But now it’s REALLY flowing freely.

After the chill, sunshine

Morning dawned cold and bleak-gray, and there were chores to do and decisions to make, even (or especially) on a Sunday.
Got my haircut so I could think clearly, and then went on-line and joined the El Dorado Rod & Gun Club – the oldest active Rod & Gun Club in California, 103 Years! 1911 – 2014 – and also bought two dinner-tickets to the Club Banquet & Raffle in a few weeks.
I need to get out and meet some guy-people because the sign at the door isn’t going to be mistaken as an invitation to tea. It’s been a year and my most recognizable best “friends” work the check-out at the grocery store. And after a year my wife is tired of spending ALL her free time with me – she needs a break from this relentless twosome-ness. Also while we’re both struggling with a bit of nasal/respiratory congestion and making awful snot-goober noises, some distance might be preferable.
And so as a birthday present to me I signed up for Joe’s all-day Shotgun class.
Then we went back out to work on the yard together. Like my haircut, it needs some clipping around the edges every three weeks whether it needs it or not. At least we haven’t seen any snakes yet. If you grew-up in a Protestant-religious household this song might tickle a few funny-bones.

Bit by Bit

It’s terribly mundane but represents the whittling-away of the chore-list which may lead to some greater freedom of activity besides yard and house-work. With the new freezer in place the garage is pretty much all-done.IMGP1777_01aB
Yesterday we ripped-into and bonsai’d the last juniper shrublet, and today the lowquat tree is gonna get a shaving. Temps are expected to be mild in the low 90’s and the King Fire is 98% contained.

Defensible Space

In keeping with this week’s theme of Fire & Renewal, we attacked the upper side of the house along the cul-de-sac side, and met some neighbors. While most gunny-prepper types might associate Defensible Space with a secure perimeter and enfilading fire lanes. Here in The Fire Zone we need to prevent an eruption of destruction not from jackbooted Gov. Thugs fast-roping in, but from some dumbass flicking a cigarette butt into the underbrush and taking out a block or two of houses.
Coming down from Oregon we saw fire after fire, and passed through the small mountain town of Weed. Weed liked to live-up to its name, and I used to think Hippies liked Weed, but it burnt from one end to the other like a poorly rolled spliff. On arrival home we were greeted by the Sand Fire to the south, and more have been popping up all around.
We don’t need that kind of conflagration, and so raked up about twenty 34-gal. leaf-bags of dry tinder consisting mainly of pine-needles and pine-cones that have a remarkable torch-effect. Back-in-the-Day at Church Camp, we held a ceremony at the end of the week where we spoke solemn words and made a vow – and then tossed a pine-cone onto the bonfire. This was before the current lackadaisical approach to “Forest Health” and outright naturism by the current crop of FS managers, and the bonfires were huge. Nowadays with the densely thickened undergrowth and heaps of fuels that date back to about the beginning of the Church-Camp Era, such behavior after 30-plus years of natural neglect would be criminally dangerous.

UPDATE: Friends asked if we were safe. Yes. The Fire went up past Icehouse on the South Fork to Hell Hole reservoir and is kinda trapped up there since when it hits tree-line there’s no more burn-fuels, it’s all granite. If it goes back down towards Georgetown it has to cross the river twice (Middle and North fork) and then runs into the old fire-burn – and there’s less fuel to keep going again.
When was the last time you saw a forest-fire in Switzerland? They have held onto that land for some 2,000 years since the fall of the Roman Empire. They pick up the pine-cone grenades and don’t let the understory fuels build-up. Smart guys.

TGIF and I don’t have to drive anywhere

Went for a bicycle ride down along the American River at Folsom, just below the prison. Met-up with a BFF of The Wife and went exploring the trails. Huh.
There’s a lot of grotesquely snooty spandexified boomer-retirees, old dudes wearing goatees and on freshly minted Specialized pedal-pushers, acting all cycle-entitled down there make the location perilous and unpleasant.
After lunch at the Sudwerk brew-restaurant on the bluff overlooking the prison-pool (not really), we came home and awaited a visit from another friend.
He was heading-up to North Tahoe along the truly awful Hwy. 80 Corridor, but work demands had put him late on the freeway – on a Friday – which is godawful THE BayAryan-OMG definition of the Seventh Circle of Hell.
The relentless driving-maelstrom that ultimately would followed, from tail-gating lowered Mazda/Honda/Scion/Prius-driving Davis University nimrod-students, to massive 30-foot 5th-Wheel Weekend-Warriors, to chains of Long-Haul Trux-Trux-Trux all in a row headed over Donner Pass meant that it would be a wretched, slow-going, hyperventilating nightfall before he reached his destination. So bail-out.
Maybe he can stop by on the way back on Sunday.
Meanwhile we took a break from the understory reconstruction, and let the right-knee come back to order – things down there are progressing rather wonderfully for junk-storage.