Passing the time..

Life seems to have settled down during the last two weeks from the go – go -go last few months.  Vacation season for us is mostly over and the spring gardening season is trying it’s best to not arrive.  Last weekend it rained for three days with our northern neighbors getting snow. Maybe we can ship some of this excess water to California.  They have quite the drought going on out there.

I have been back to playing lacrosse on Monday and some Wednesday nights. Monday nights are far more competitive than Wednesday nights. The real attraction to playing on Wednesday is that DS1 also plays. Sometimes we are on the same team, some times not. Playing against him makes my game better.  This past Monday night I scored three goals in the last fifteen minutes of the game. I spent the first 45 minutes trying to catch the ball and not succeeding. Something clicked during the last fifteen minutes and I caught the ball and scored three times. The rest of the “older crowd” was excited for my success.

I have been visiting my deceased MIL’s house about once a week for the last few months.  I start her car, walk around the house making sure that the doors and windows are all intact.  So far so good.  Visiting there is like living through a post apocalyptic movie. By that I mean on December 23, the world stopped at her house. The calendars all say December. The towels in the bathroom are of the Christmas motif. The decorations, such that they are, Christmas. On her dresser is a birthday card for one of her grandsons. He would have received that card on Christmas.   Next to that card are several cards that the daughters would have received at Christmas.  The car sits in the driveway. It has not been off the street where she lived since at least December 3. The clocks are all on Eastern Standard time, Daylight Savings time never arrived.   The whole scene is just plain eerie.

This weekend we are on the road again. DS2 has his last Wind Ensemble concert as a Marywood University undergraduate.  Graduation is on Mothers Day. It is hard to believe how fast time passed since I took him to the university to audition for a spot at the school.

Pictures, I have a few.. (sung to the tune of Bohemian Rhapsody)..

Namaste

 

Climbing back in..

Hopefully. I have been thinking a lot lately about blogging, or actually my lack of blogging.  I just have not been motivated. We came back from vacation and I seem to be trying to get back into that easy rhythm of life.  It has been cold here in New Jersey and just today we had another snow storm forecast.  We have pretty much missed the heavy snow down the shore. But if you travel 35 miles north to where I work, the snow piles are abundant. And I guess when I get back to the office on Monday, there will be even more.

Our vacation ended on Monday, January 27 instead of Sunday, January 26. I guess I did not look to closely back in August when I booked the trip. The reason we had (really, had to) stay was that our flight from Florida to Philadelphia was scheduled to stop in Chicago. And Chicago was closed due to weather. Who in their right mind decides to layover in Chicago in late January?  We tried and failed.

We spent the last night in Fort Lauderdale at the Riverside Hotel on East Los Olas Ave.  This is one of the trendy, hip areas of Fort Lauderdale.  We got a decent deal on Hotwire. The hotel was of the art deco style. The lobby was beautiful. They had a heated pool on the New River so you could lounge in the pool and watch the boats go by. The pool of course had table service.  What else would you expect?

We walked around the Las Olas Ave area window shopping and eating brunch at a restaurant called Vodka. Expensive, but good. Dinner after an afternoon by the pool was at a street side table at the hotel. The food was excellent, but expensive.  We were a little out of our league.  The only downer of the night in Fort Lauderdale was that I left a cash tip for dinner and the next day when I checked the charge, a tip had been added to the credit card charge.  It took two or three emails to resolve that. But the restaurant reduced the charge back to the correct amount.

Since coming home I have worked, and I mean worked. Everything that would have been done if I had not gone away was waiting when I came back. I played lacrosse several times. Each time I have scored a goal or two. Tuesday and Thursday night yoga with my DW has pretty much rounded out the week. Last Saturday I drove to Scranton to have dinner with DS2 and DS3.  My DW was on call for work and could not attend. She enjoyed a quiet evening of Olympics and her blanket.

Here are a few pictures from the last day in Florida and the last three weeks in New Jersey.

And, we head back to Florida next week for some more sunshine..

Namaste

 

Busy living, not writing..

That is my excuse.  We have been busy living our lives, and have not had much time to document the journey.   Writers block is too strong a term or phrase for the current situation.  I am going to resort to bullet points tonight. And they are in no particular order:

  • Sunday, was supposed to be a quiet day. Stay home, 6 pm gentle yoga, dinner and bed.  While watching football my DW called me into the kitchen where the back door was open (45 degrees out) and the kitchen smelled like natural gas. I said, hmmm. Seems the stove did not want to light even though the gas wanted to flow. The stove was about 15 years old. We bought it when they brought natural gas to our street.  Instead of fixing it again, we decided to replace it. So, at 3 pm Sunday afternoon we did some online shopping at Home Depot and Lowes and then went to Lowes and bought a new stove. I put it in the van, removed the old one and installed the new one. We were not late for yoga. Nor were we early.  The stove works great and by 5 pm the next day the old stove had been trash picked from the curb.
  • Saturday, we decided to buy a new table to put the 55 in tv in the tv room on. It had been sitting on a chest from the bedroom for months. The cable box, surround sound and DVD player were all sitting on the floor. We had shopped for something to put them on but had balked at the cost. We found a reasonable piece of furniture at Kohl’s that would do what we want.  We put the table together, disconnected all the wires and re-wired the connections with the cable hidden and the outward appearance looking really nice.  I mean adults live here, shouldn’t things look nice?
  • Saturday night we visited DS1 at his new apartment. He moved out back in September and for the first four weeks we had a general idea of where the apartment was. Then we actually got a mailing address.  After we visited and dropped off some goodies for his apartment we traveled to Philadelphia to eat dinner at Doc Magrogan’s Oyster House. The restaurant is on Samson Street near Penn and Drexel Universities. Dinner was excellent!  I had oysters and fish and chips. My DW had the lobster mac-n-cheese and DS1 had the lobster raviolis. We also shared a lobster dip. This month lobsters are the focus of their menu. We have eaten at another of the Doc Magrogan’s in Scranton several times. Not cheap, but really good food.
  • Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were days that we celebrated my DW’s birthday. The actual day was Wednesday. On Wednesday we had dinner at home and went to yoga. Thursday night we had a birthday dinner at one of the local BYOB Italian restaurants. The food was good. Friday we went to our local watering hole for a burger and soup. Another birthday celebration toast was shared that night.
  • Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were yoga nights. Work has been really busy for me. It is not like I tote that barge and lift that bale kind of work. But the details, stress and sheer volume have left me pretty burned out when I get home.  My DW has had a few crazy weeks at work as well. Some days she works overtime and then the next day she is flexed because there are no cases. Same old story where she works.
  • Today I went to see my cardiologist. It has been two months since my procedure in the hospital. It was decided at the visit that I can stop the blood thinners but continue the beta blocker. Upside? Yup, I can go back to playing lacrosse in a week. I hope to play with DS1 next Wednesday night. 
  • Tonight my DW attended a retirement party for one of her co-workers. I had dinner alone (boo hoo) and went to yoga alone. The ladies were asking where my DW was. We almost always attend together so when one of us is missing they always ask why. The class was full. There may have been room for one more student tonight.
  • Children – DS2 is working on his graduate school admissions stuff. He has a concert Saturday afternoon at 4 pm. DS3 is going to Long Island this weekend to visit his girlfriend. He will miss seeing his parents in Scranton.

Pictures, yup – there are a few.  Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Namaste

 

Hot tub repair, Second post..

Back on August 28, 2013 I posted the first installment of the rebuilding of our hot tub. That blog can be found here. The original blog detailed the destruction of the wooden housing for the hot tub by our cat and termites. This past weekend, some six weeks later, I am almost done rebuilding the hot tub enclosure. We (DW and I) spent three of those weekends in Scranton. The other three weekends were spent mostly avoiding the inevitable construction. As I wrote six weeks ago, my carpentry skills are not the best. I should have taken a shop class or two in high school. Most of my carpentry experience was gained as a teenage working for a construction company in the summer time.  Most of that work was dig this and move that.

Back in August I removed all the old wood. Over the last six weeks I rebuilt the frame that the exterior hangs on. All of the wood that I used is pressure treated to resist the  insects. After the enclosure was framed we got 1.5 inch think Styrofoam boards which were cut down and fitted into the wood frame.  After the insulation was done, we (DW and I) attached 5/8 x 6 pressure treated decking to the wood frame. Can you say over built? I think so. DS3 says that anything worth building is worth over-building.  In the pictures below you will see four of the final sheathing boards attached to the wood frame with the Styrofoam insulation showing.

I left the once corner un-insulated since there never was any insulation there to start with. The air that gets drawn into the hot tub enters from that corner and sealing it up tight could lead to problems. And, if and when things break, this is the area that needs to be accessible for repairs. I still have two more boards to attach to be finished. Then we are going to power wash the deck and stain the deck, the hot tub and the hot tub stairs all the same color. Hopefully this occurs before it is too cold to stain wood outside.

Enjoy the pictures, and thanks for reading!

Namaste

Lunch without french fries..

Yes, I admit to eating lunch out today and not ordering french fries. That whooshing sound you just heard was the hedge funds dropping their potato futures.  Maybe they can buy a few more houses from foreclosure and then rent them back to the same people that lost them in the first place.

I went to a local pizza place for lunch today. I am a big fan of ravioli. We don’t eat them very often due to my DW’s efforts to remain as gluten-free as possible. The ravioli came with a (gasp) salad and unsweetened ice tea. No sugar, no soda and no french fries.  Maybe I just might live forever!  One meal does not make a diet, just remember (in my best Yoda voice).

While eating (here the real reason for the blog) I watched a mother, daughter and 2-year-old son eating their lunch. The adults were, well adults. The young child, he was all that. I watched him playing with his food while the mother and daughter talked and ate. At some point the child felt the need for some attention and threw his toy truck on the floor. He looked at his grandmother and laughed. Not a funny kid laugh, but (it seemed to me) a mean-spirited laugh that said “now you have to pick up my truck”. The grandmother looked at child and ignored the laugh and the toy on the floor.

I started counting to myself to see how long it would take for the child to scream since the throwing of the truck did not seem to have the desired effect. The grandmother picked up the truck before the child could wind up. That was good from my point of view.

Question: Do you remember throwing your toys on the floor to get your parents attention?  I understand that this is all a big game to the young child. That laugh sounded like it was more than a game.

And, the raviolis were excellent. Maybe I should take a nap this afternoon…

Namaste

Slightly used, seems to missing the mattress

Slightly used, seems to missing the mattress

Rebuilding the hot tub, part 1..

I imagine that this will be a three-part blog. In this first blog we will talk about the history and partial demolition of the hot tub. I think in the second part we see the midway point of the rebuild and the final blog will include the stories about the rebuilding.  Bored yet?

I would have to guess that the third part will probably be the most interesting. Why? Well given my limited carpentry skills, I seem to belong in the measure it three times and cut if four-time club.  There should be some intersting moments of hindsight.  At least I am honest in my appraisal of my abilities.

The hot tub was purchased back in 1999 (I think). We have gotten quite a bit of use out of it. We have replaced the electronics twice due to lightning strikes in the neighborhood.The first time I paid someone to replace the electronics, the second time I did it myself. BTW, it was not any harder than building a computer.

The cat used to use the sides of the hot tub to stretch and scratch. This did quite a bit of damage to the wood. Over the years the termites also found a meal or three chewing on the hot tub wood. The hot tub itself has spray foam all around it and can stand and survive the winter without the wood outside. The wood provides no structural support. That is good since I had to remove about 95 % of the wood due to termite and other insect or animal damage.

At this point the bad wood has been removed and the hot tub is waiting for me to spend a few hours working my carpentry magic.

Here are a few pictures of the hot tub without the wood sides.

Namaste

 

A distinct dislike for August..

Seems like the past few years, this being the third year in a row, that things and I just don’t get along on August. They break, get lost, break again and so on. Here are a few examples from this August.

  • My knees at the Lake Placid Tournament
  • DS3’s driver’s side window. It was a misbehaving. One child put the window down and then up. It has not worked correctly since. DS3 and I have replaced the window motor and parts. Today we replaced the window. Still the window will not stay on the track. This week before he goes back to college (hopefully) the car will go to the mechanic and see what he can do.
  • Last Tuesday was an election day here in New Jersey. We also had a tornado in our town. This is quite unheard of. My DW drove her van though a large puddle and the fan belt came off. The van got towed though the tornado zone and the fan belt replaced.
  • Saturday, DS2 re-ended a SUV on his way to work. The bumper, hood and other front end stuff are messed up The radiator was not punctured. The mechanic says that the problems are cosmetic and the car is driveable. They got the hood to close correctly.
  • Tuesday, while eating my Election Day lunch I chipped a tooth. I will be visiting the dentist soon.
  • Tonight, DS1 came out of the bathroom and asked why there is no hot water in the house. I guess I will be making that call tomorrow.
  • Friday, my laptop battery would not charge, I ordered a new battery from Amazon with Saturday delivery. By the end of the day it became apparent that the laptop was plugged into the wrong laptop cord. I now have an extra, new battery.
  • On the plus side, the student loans appear to be complete so the two younger children can go back to school.
  • The garden is between harvests. That is to say the cucumbers are about done and there are a few green tomatoes waiting for the sun.

Overwhelmed, I am. But, I will carry on. Due to my knees being bad from the tournament, yoga, lacrosse and bike riding are currently out of the question. Time for a new hobby, perhaps?

Here is a video from the storm that spawned the tornado in town. I was working the poll and went outside for some fresh air.  The person running across the parking lot was my DW. The siren in the background is the lightning siren at the ball fields adjacent to the polling place.

Enjoy!

Namaste

 

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