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

 

Dust up at the Windmill..

Not really, but pretty close.  Dust up, means a fight or argument. Much more than just words passed between two people or groups.

So, into story telling mode I go.

The date was Wednesday, August 14, my first day back from my “relaxing” vacation. My knees hurt and I was a little overwhelmed by the events of the past few days. See the previous blog posting to get up to speed (or not..).  I went to the Windmill to get two hot dogs with chili and cheese. A comfort meal for me. And I had a coupon, so one of the hot dogs was free. I walked into the Windmill and there was only one person seemingly in line.  He was kind of standing where the line goes, kinda looking spacey and lost. I stood behind him and waited my turn. He got his hot dog and turned suddenly to go and get some condiments, nearly knocking me down. I just smiled and he walked around me and got his relish and stuff, walked back the counter, paid for his food and went to sit down.

My turn, yes, comfort food approaches. I am somewhat of a regular at the Windmill. I usually go there three out of four weeks each month. It really depends on the coupons and what is on special. I tell the lady at the counter what I want, and she relays the order to the lady working the grill. She stepped away from the counter to fill my drink. While she was gone, two older (older than me) women came in the stood next me at the counter. Not behind me (like in a line or que), next to me. Ok, I thought, tourists that don’t see the need to wait in line. They tried to get the attention of the grill lady who saw them and looked away. She knew what they were up to. Lines were not for these two. Not today, not ever.

I got my two dogs and the ladies were still next to me chatting. I wanted to put mustard on my dogs, but the ladies were between me and the mustard. I asked the ladies to excuse me so that I could get the mustard. The lady closest to me said, NO. I raised one eyebrow and looked at her. She stepped back. I said “It’s a good thing you moved or I would have given you a shot with my elbow!” They just stood there and watched as I put the mustard on my dogs. They made some other comment as I walked away to find a seat. I  expressed another thought to them not quite under my breath.

Wow, that sucked, But comfort food. Yum. I sat down at the middle table outside. Behind me were four elderly gentlemen eating their lunch. In front of me was a 30 something mom with a baby in a car seat. The baby and car seat were in the middle of the table. The mom was working on getting a bottle ready as the husband and daughter went inside to get some food. Then an elderly couple in their late 70’s, maybe early 80s, walked up behind me and sat down at her table. I figured they were the grand parents. I thought that table is going to be crowed with the baby and all those people.

The mom says to them “My husband and daughter are going to be sitting in those seats”.  Hmm, I guess they are not the grandparents. The woman says that they just want to sit down and that they had eaten already. When the mother asked again about them sitting there, the elderly women told her that a friend was in the bathroom and they were waiting for her.  Ok, not my problem. So the husband gets up from the table and sits at my table, with his back to me. Never acknowledging that I am sitting there. I watched all this so I’m just going to let them slide, for now.

The elderly women asks the mother about the baby, trying to make small talk since the barged in uninvited. The baby’s name was Kennedy. Oh, the elderly women exclaimed. And then the mother offered that the daughter in the restaurant was named Reagan and that the have a son named Logan. The elderly lady remarked that they named all their children with Irish names.  So, the friend in the bathroom comes out and they get in their car and drive away. End of the story? Almost. The husband comes out and sits down with the daughter and mother to eat his lunch. The mother looks at the husband and asks “Did you know that we named our children with Irish names?” He just looked up at her and looked back down at his food.

I don’t have any pictures to go with that story. Here are a few from Monday afternoon when we got home from Lake Placid. This seems to be my personal little black rain cloud.

As I write this, DS1 asks why there is no hot water in the house.  Just breathe…

Namaste

SMP Farms..

Maybe the title should be “A Tale of Two Gardens”.  Last Saturday, my DW and I traveled to Annapolis, MD for a professional lacrosse game.  Wes stopped by SMP Farms to visit DS1 at work. He has been working at this job since last spring and we had never visited his work place. He works about 50 miles away from home. The GPS took us over the river and through the woods since we opted to avoid toll roads. I wanted to see what the route that he drives each day is like. I don’t think I would want to drive that route everyday. I would suck up and pay the tolls and set the cruise control. His route has too many lights and 45/50 mph zones for my taste.

There are of course pictures from our visit. I will add a few at the bottom and a link to the Drop Box folder so you can see them all.  The farm/nursery is huge. I really had no idea how large the business was. We were both quite impressed. DS1 met us when we drove in and gave us an hour plus walking tour of the farm. We met the owner. He was a lot younger than we expected. I thanked him for keeping DS1 employed. I have a habit of thanking the children’s employers when I meet them.  We also met several of his co-workers.

We watched DS1 do his Saturday job which is being a salesperson to the plant needy populace. We also watched him drive the tractor using it to load a tree into the back of a pick up truck. DS1 shared some business wisdom with us on Saturday. He told us if the potential customer arrived in a pick up truck, the chances of closing the sale were much greater than somebody showing up in their car looking to “kick the tires”  We picked out a couple of Day lilies and a Sago Palm Tree to take home.  DS1 got the honor of delivering them to our home and planting them Sunday afternoon. The Sago Palm was not planted since it can not take the New Jersey winters.

Here are a few pictures from the farm.  Enjoy!  And thanks for reading!

The two gardens? Her (DW) has the flower garden. Him (me) has the food garden. Saturday’s visit was a flower garden visit.

 

Namaste

 

Domestic – ness..

A Noun, meaning to do or be domestic (duh!). Straight from the Lime Guy Dictionary. But really, just some more catching up on the mundane and not so mundane day-to-day.  Now that the first sentence has sent the slackers off to click Like and read another far more exciting blog, we can get down to the domestic – ness of the day.

July 28 was DS1’s birthday. He turned 25. I did not receive an email from my insurance agent telling me that his car insurance had gone down. Funny how that happens. There will be a picture or two down below from the cake ceremony. You know, where everybody sings and blows out the candles.

Yesterday DS3 and I picked up the washer and dryer that we bought at a garage sale last month. The garage sale was in the “better ” part of town. The family had sold the 5 bedroom house and was moving to a slightly smaller, but brand new house. The new house had a washer and dryer already, so the LG front loaders (4 years old) were expendable. We bought them and the family upright freezer. The freezer replaced our freezer which was in the house when we bought the house in 1987. It was time.  We put the washer and dryer in the back of my mini van. When we got them home we had to remove some trim and a railing to get them into the cellar. This morning at 6:45 am (I could not sleep),I was in Home Depot buying the necessary parts to hook up the gas dryer. At this point today, we have done about 8 loads of laundry. Things got a little backed up after our old dryer died a week ago. Pictures below.

Today around noon time DS3 texted me to say that his boss was bringing a load of stone to the house to put down in the driveway. It was a good thing I was working from home today. They dropped off the 2320 lbs of red stone and went back to work. I started raking the stone out at lunch time when DS3 came home for the day and helped me out. He likes to work (or at least he works without complaining). Pictures below.

Tonight in place of lacrosse (the Thursday night season is over) we (DW and I) went to “Restorative Yoga” The yoga studio has lots of props. Blankets, pillows, bolsters and stuff. We used all these props in this very slow-moving class. I think we did six posses in an hour. Everything was quiet, slow and restorative. This was my first time doing this kind of yoga. My DW has now taken three of these classes. She was less lost than I was. I’m not sure if the class is for me. I will go back in two weeks when I am home and looking for something to do on a Thursday night.

Garden? Nope, I did not pick vegetables today. It rained off and on. The really only dry time was during the raking out of the rocks. I will find time tomorrow.

Pictures, of course!  Enjoy and thank you for reading.

Namaste

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