Hard Pass

Hurricane Ian gave us a miss. Not so lucky were the people where Ian came ashore. It’s gonna take some time for that to get cleaned up.

As for us, we got some wind. A dead branch landed in my yard. Some palm fronds are in the yard. The empty trash cans got knocked over. No rain, no flooding. Thank God for that. We are feeling blessed and thankful that Ian did not decide to stay in the Gulf and work himself up to a Category 9 before arriving here!

I feel terrible for the people who did get a kick. And thus understand why insurance is so ridiculously high and a lot of companies won’t do business here.

We attempted a trip to the beach the other day. Closed til further notice. Damn. But there is a public access strip nearby, so we parked and went to walk on the beach. It was beautiful, calm and clear.

There was a but of disturbance that rolled in while we were walking.

We did not make it back to the car before it struck. By the time we did get back, we were pretty drenched. Nonetheless it was a lovely outing.

Tuesday the kittens had a spa day. I used the time to get the guest room set up. Somewhat.

It’s still the kitten room for now, so I can only go so far. This morning when I went to get them, they were lounging on the bed. It’s a great sign they weren’t UNDER it. They are getting more comfortable here and have discovered the comforts of this bed! It’s kitten approved!

I have pictures and whatnot to hang in here still, but it’s pretty ready for our first guest in October.

I did a little more garage work. I have half a seam left to mud and snot. After I finally do that (maybe tomorrow if the spirit moves me), I can paint. The Hubs offered to help, and if I can get it paint ready tomorrow, perhaps we can knock out the painting on Saturday and scratch that off the list.

Dare to dream.

Halloween is coming!

Of course I’m stocking up on candy corn. And every time I eat it, I think about this Lewis Black bit: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU6S3-cXtKs) It’s 2 minutes long and cracks me up. Every time I buy a bag I think of him saying “They wash it!”

The Hubs has no end of fun with the fact I actually eat it. But there is no accounting for taste. If it’s Halloween, I’m gonna consume a bag or two.

We are still trying to decide what to do for Halloween, hide inside in the dark (what we usually do), or sit on the driveway and hand out candy. I’m leaning toward option A. I will ask the neighbors what it looks like here on that night.

I sent an email to Scott about the AC, which he has apparently forgotten about. He responded with maybe next Friday the tech can come out. Wow. And he’s trying to get us on the inspectors schedule. Which is so odd, because 2 weeks ago we were told the inspector would be out that week. Huh.

I wonder if they will arrive or if they will say, “can’t do it now since it’s too cool for AC. Maybe in the spring.”

Won’t that be fun.

Thars A Hurricane A’Coming

Well, it was. But now it’s not. But it may change its mind and come anyway.

Either way, I’m not ready.

Big Sister has been keeping me apprised of the situation. She says there’s no bottled water here, which to me sounds a lot like, “You’re screwed!” I mean, I’m sure that is not what she meant, but during a sleepless night I stumbled upon an article written by someone VERY hardcore about hurricane lessons learned.

Up til that moment, I was feeling like a hurricane would not kill me. But now I am not so sure. There’s formulas for how much water and food you need. There’s rules about your stuff. There’s places to put stuff, there’s sandbags.

Shit.

You know what my plan is? Print out important documents. Keep them in a plastic bin in the laundry room. Transfer them, my laptop, and kittens into the car. Leave town.

I’m starting to feel like my plan is flawed. Like I should have a guest room filled with bottled water and canned food. Like I should have documents double wrapped and sealed and locked in the dishwasher. In the freaking dishwasher! OK, I get it, it seals, and I never use it, so maybe? I was thinking about getting rid of it, but now it could save my life. Or at least my papers.

I don’t know if it’s 2 hours sleep and 3 Cokes, or reality dawning, but for the first time I’m feeling like this might have been a badly thought out move.

So yesterday this was me:

Now I’m more sure this is my future:

And now you know why we didn’t buy a condo on the beach.

In an effort to distract myself, I worked in the yard some this morning, and finished up with some wet sanding and mudding seams in the garage. Now that I am almost finished with it, I have a rhythm and I’m getting a lot better at it. The ceiling will be like a record of my journey! I might even be done with it in one or two more sessions.

What a joy that will be!

I planted my azalea:

And my Mexican Petunia:

I hope I don’t regret putting it under the kitchen window!

Does anyone else use Chewy? I placed an order the other day for kitten food and kitty litter.

Saturday, this showed up at my door:

Every time I order from Chewy, I am reminded of this:

Fortunately, the kitty litter and bag of food remained closed. Otherwise I might have had the 10 million stray cats in this town at my doorstep!

And don’t you just need a dose of cute today?

This is Mayhem:

I just love an upside down cat!

Slugs and Ceilings

This morning when I got up, there was a slug near my bedroom door. I am starting to think that weird little vestibule that leads to my bedroom might be a gateway to Hell.

OK fine, a little dramatic, but if you lived in this house, you would understand.

I’m still plugging away in the garage. To be sure, it sucks. A lot. But I am making progress. Don’t judge, this is not my finest work. But it’s a garage so I don’t really care.

I covered the water stain with Zinsser:

I’ve decided I like it better than Kilz, it gives better coverage overall. So far, nothing has bled through. The stain was old and the drywall is dry and bowed, but again, a garage.

I’ve finished one run:

This morning we added the spray snot, it’s patchy and not great, but after it’s painted it should be all right.

One thing I really hate about the real estate here is the texture. Everything is popcorn and orange peel and it sucks. Or maybe I just suck at reproducing it. Either way, I am completely over texture, but if I want it gone I will have to re-drywall and I’m not doing that in this house.

I’m still working on these two runs. I accidentally pulled the entire run of tape off the long one, so I have committed myself to the entire length of the garage. I have also gotten carried away and am doing places the tape is loose, where there are wall-to-ceiling failures, and nail pops. I spend about an hour every morning working on it. I’m doing a wet-sand to minimize the dust. It does not give me a smooth finish, but what is the point when it’ll be snot-textured before it gets painted.

Once these are good enough I’ll do the spray snot and call it a win. Even if I don’t paint right way, it’ll be better than it was. We invested in an actual use-on-ceilings can of spray snot today, so maybe that will work out better.

I finally bought an azalea. And then came home and looked into it and I don’t think it’s gonna do well in front of the garage – too much sun. So now the plan is to get 2 more and put them on the side of the garage. That gets some afternoon shade which will make them happier.

Next to it is a Mexican Petunia. I’ll have to find a suitable place for that one as well. For some reason, every night it drops its blooms. I did not expect that and wonder if it’s normal.

I just read it’s invasive and hard to control.

Of course it is!

Maybe I’ll plant it next to the bamboo monster!

Looks like I’m making all the wrong choices for my yard.

Maybe I’ll just go back to an all-daylily plan.

If only I could get mine to flower…

Anyway…

My babies are getting very comfortable here:

Nope, still can’t tell you which is which!

Mehh! What’s up Doc?

Not really me, in case you were wondering…

I wouldn’t want to make a habit of stealing my wife’s blog, but it’s time to report on something that is definitely husband territory. I don’t mean that in a Macho Macho Man kind’a way (look it up kids). In fact, it’s probably better if we just ignore that thought. Nope, this is about planting and harvesting a good solid crop of food from the good earth.

You see, we’ve always had a garden and tried to make the most of what the good Lord provides by way of rain and sun and the miracle of His perfect, life sustaining world. I have to say I’ve been the one to push this idea for most of our wonderful life together. My dear cutie-pie really isn’t that enthusiastic about living off the land or living off the grid either for that matter. I mean, so long as living off the grid comes with a beach and seafood restaurants, she’s all for it. But since quahogs and steamers (think soft-shell-clams) don’t grow in the ground, it’s not really her thing.

It’s been me that pushes for green growing things. You see, I do all the hard work of planting and a little watering, at first. And I do the harder work of harvesting the abundance at the end. All she has to do is weed and water the garden every day in between. So really, this is all about my hard work.

So when we got to this brand new twenty year old house, there was no vegetable garden. In fact, there were no gardens at all. Our entire volume of landscaping involved a single bamboo nightmare in the back corner of the yard and one small Sago Palm in the front.

Okay, neither of these pictures look like ours. These are more like the idealized version of what we have, rather like their own personal fantasies, if plants have those.

Anyway, the natural thing to do was to clear a garden, so while I did the hard work of choosing where to put it, the cutie-pie did the easy part of digging out the sod and making the sand that passes for topsoil here ready for planting. Then, I went all in on effort, and bought a packet of carrot seeds from Home Depot and planted a few hopeful rows in the sandy soil.

You see, the important thing with carrots is when the package says “well draining soil”, it means exactly that. Carrots grow downwards and are quite happy to grow around roots, rocks and hard clumps of clay. So if you want carrots that look like what you get in the store, you’ll plant them in the deepest, softest soil you can find.

So I watered them for at least a couple of weeks before I got bored and saw a squirrel to chase, and the cutie pie did the easy part of weeding and tending them after that. Then finally, after something like 70 days, or whatever it says on the package, it was time for me to roll up my sleeves and start pulling carrots out of the ground. Big, beautiful, orange carrots that would put the store bought ones to utter shame.

Well, almost…

They just needed a little cleaning up. That would fix ’em.

Not quite so icky, right?
Almost edible looking!

Lest you think these are really small, this cutting board is really at least five feet wide and three feet tall!

Ready to go into the stew pot with a couple of store bought ones, just to remind us how much better ours came out!

Yes, it’s tough being a man in this house. I have to do practically everything around here. After all, those video games won’t just play themselves. And these carrots were really, quite nearly, almost tasty, after steaming with a pot roast and a dozen of their lesser store bought brethren and a few onions. In fact, I’d say we’re almost ready to unplug from the store entirely – just as soon as I figure out how to grow Doritos and boxed Mac n’ Cheese. We’re nearly there!

Busy Day

The Hubs was called into work today. He was supposed to be gone all day.

I planned a full day of projects.

I picked my jalapeƱos and sliced them up:

This is about 10 peppers. I roasted them to bring out the smoky flavor of the reds:

I’ll use them on salads, baked potatoes, veggies, eggs, whatever I eat while they last.

While they were roasting, I emptied and cleaned out the guest room. I moved the bed:

It is my hope that one day, after 2 years in packing this will be an actual place for someone to sleep.

But for now, I needed to expose the last wall for paint.

I locked the kittens out, which for some reason really did not sit well with them. I painted the last piece of baseboard with them meowing and reaching under the door.

Once they finally evaporated for a nap I moved all my supplies in there and painted. While I was finishing – actually fighting with getting the roller cover into a baggie in case I need it to touch up, I hear the Hubs calling out for me.

WTH?

Seems gone all day actually meant gone til noon. Had I known, I would surely not have blocked access to his office with kitty litter pans!

He jumped into a meeting while I cleaned up and then explained his computers at the office were booting him off when he tried to do anything so he came home.

The wall came put pretty good, and now the whole guest room is painted!

I’ll wait til next week, give the paint some time to cure, then set up the bed and move it into the 3 positions I’m considering to see if I can make it work. The room is pretty small, so jamming this queen bed into it is gonna be a challenge. We have discussed putting a sleeper sofa in here instead, but I really don’t want to buy one because we already have this and it’s comfortable.

Unless of course it really doesn’t fit.

But that is a worry for another day.

While I was reading this afternoon, I was excited to have Havoc napping on the back of the couch:

This is actually take 2. She has not quite gotten the hang of couch-back sleeping and rolled off. I was proud of her for giving it another try!

Mayhem was lying next to me being big until I finally gave up and moved. He looked at me like, “finally, are you dense or what?” and then stretched out:

I just started this book “Hotel Nantucket,” I borrowed it without knowing what it was about. It doesn’t suck, but it’s kinda slow. I like reading books set in places I know, so maybe the location part will make up for the rest!

I just finished “Full Wolf Moon” by Lincoln Child. That one I enjoyed. It seems to be a new-ish character, and this is the 2nd book I have read with him in it.

I have given up, for now, on the Jesse Stone books I was reading. Since Robert B. Parker died, other people are writing his characters. I won’t say I’m a purist, but I don’t like some of the “interpretations” of both Spenser and Jesse Stone. The last one I read was so off I didn’t want to finish it. I get he’s dead, but to fundamentally change the behavior of the character is just wrong. I’m not sure why Mike Lupica doesn’t just write his own characters. There are 2-3 more in the series so far that I just won’t read because if you say it’s Jesse Stone, it should BE Jesse Stone. Otherwise, it’s just another small town chief and should be marketed as such. I’ll wait for the next writer.

Tomorrow I am making a run to Home Depot to lay in supplies for the garage and a couple of other projects. I might get some plants. I might not (because I’ll have to plant them). I might buy more paint for the living room, but I might not because I’m not really into finishing it up right now (too many miles of trim).

Rocks and Kittens

Today the kittens exhibited an intense reaction to “Stranger Danger!”

After waiting a million weeks, a team showed up to install a new garage door. The kittens evacuated the scene and I didn’t see them again til we got home from lunch! But when they appeared, they made up for the morning’s play session by climbing the draperies.

Kittens!

The new garage door is, well, exactly like the old one without the mold, rotten seals, dents, and chipped paint. It was kind of like getting a new dryer… you look forward to the day it arrives and then wonder why you were so excited.

But that is one more big project done. I think we’re at 3 now. Aren’t those supply lines just humming right along?!

Over the weekend we did a load of yard work, including rock distribution.

I have to say, I was not as jazzed as I thought I would be when it was all over.

Before
After

See? Not very interesting.

OK, granted, it’s not all over yet, but I thought what I did do would make more of an impact.

I was thinking that brick would work out better at holding the rocks back. I’m on the hunt for a large rock I can bury a little so the Hubs can weed whack without throwing rocks all over the yard.

I extended this gutter basin:

As you can see, the free rocks are not the same as the not-free ones. Oh well. I could not be bothered to bleach them, so it’s just gonna look mismatched til they all settle in. The bucket has some bleached rocks in it, I could sprinkle them around and pretend. I barely made a dent in the overall amount of rocks, but there is a rather long project still on deck. I am hoping there will be enough.

We’ve begun work on the garage. As we prepped for the new door, we took the opportunity to re-screw the drywall on the ceiling to the studs. Which led to the need to re-tape the seams. Which led to more mudding than I had hoped for.

Tape Fail

I covered all the holes today.

Tomorrow I’ll sand and re-coat. I don’t have any tape yet, so that gets kicked down the road. I still have to figure out if I have enough leftover paint to mix up and use on the walls. Will also evaluate if I can make enough to do the ceiling or if I’ll have to buy actual ceiling paint.

And while I’m mudding, sanding, and painting I have to think about creative and useful ways to digest all this shit.

We would like to get a shed to get the yard stuff out of here. The Hubs wants some work space. I would like somewhere to set up my still-in-the-box rowing machine.

Yeah.

I’m sure that will all happen.

Because it calms me, I’ll leave you with this:

I don’t know which is which, I still can’t tell them apart!

Happy Weekend

OK, I wrote a bunch of drivel and then erased it.

I don’t really have any information to pass along today.

I’m gearing up for a busy weekend of yard stuff, though. I have rocks to distribute, after all.

More erased drivel.

Damn, I got nuthin’ to say today.

I did talk to the Kraken today. She was on her way to PA to get a tattoo finished.

Yeah, I don’t get it either. But I was pleased she told me and didn’t hide it like she normally does. She did ask why I disapprove. So I told her.

I’m old enough to remember when tattoos blocked your way to the good jobs. But that is not the world we live in anymore.

I guess I should mention she also has pink hair right now.

*Sigh*

If a tattoo makes you happy, get one. You do you. Let that freak flag fly.

Sometimes I wonder how it all went so wrong with her. I raised her to be a normal human being. Instead she is kind, empathetic, and more than a little weird.

At least she’s kind.

So I was knitting the other day. And I made a mistake. Then I made 2 more. And this:

Became this:

I don’t know what is wrong with me that I can’t seem to get with the program. Maybe my knitting days are ending. I never have the opportunity to wear what I make. No one asks for stuff I make. If they do I give it to them, otherwise I don’t feel right foisting stuff off on people.

Maybe I should set up an Etsy site or rent a booth at a market.

Or just freaking stop wasting my time!

Blah.

I’ll end this really boring post with some beach.

And I just found this really cool:

Glorious Day

It is spectacular outside today! I keep making excuses to go outside and check on things.

For the last 2 mornings I have gone to a strange lady’s house to get rocks. She’s having to revamp her landscaping because she has a stupid dog who eats rocks. And no, it’s not a chocolate lab. I met him today, he’s a black puppy labradoodle. Super adorable, not smart. Anyway, I have picked up about a million pounds of rocks so far.

The cheapskate in me wants to go get more, but the practical part is hurting and not sure I can digest all I already have:

This translates into about 5 full 5-gallon buckets. Originally I needed about 3 bags for my projects and The Hubs needs another 4 bags for his projects. A bag is .4 cubic feet. Not sure how that translates, but I have a lot of rocks now and I am hoping I don’t need to go back (but I will), and I really hope I don’t have to buy any.

Don’t fret, you’ll see what becomes of all these!

Yesterday after hauling 3 buckets of rocks into and out of the car, I got to work on my garden:

By sheer force of will, I got it done. The weather was not terrible, and in the middle of it all I sat down to watch the show:

Does it ever occur to me to make a video?

Nope.

And as always, I’m way too jazzed they are so close to the houses, that I forget to take a picture!

Here is where we are in the grand scheme of the front yard:

The Hubs wants to dump a bunch of compost into this dirt to make it more friendly to the flora that will one day reside here.

What flora?

I don’t know. Something showy. The neighbor has this purple thing that peeks through the fence. I quite like it, so if I can find one or two I’ll do that. Maybe a hibiscus, they seem to like hot punishing sun. Maybe some ground cover. Either way, I have to wait for the compost to settle in before I can plant, so I have some time. I still need some height in the corner, so I guess maybe I do need to get shopping.

How about some kitten updates?

They have discovered geckos. They spend a good deal of time at the slider hoping to catch one! Yesterday there was a bunch of dragonflies out there and I thought Mayhem would lose his mind with glee!

They like to be on the desk, especially if I am playing a game. At this point they have jumped on the keyboard so many times, I can’t recognize or undo some of the changes they have made!

The also like to support the blog:

Mayhem is in the foreground after finally giving up trying to send you all a message. Havoc is coming out from behind the monitor looking for trouble – which she found by nearly tipping over my water. Again.

I have cleaned up roughly 11 glasses of water they have knocked over in the week they have been here. Seems like one of us would learn something from that.

Just sayin’

And finally, after a long day of causing Mayhem and wreaking Havoc:

Apparently it takes a lot out of kitten!

Zero Cookies

I have managed not to have to eat any cookies in the last 2 days.

Why? How?

Because we decided to just enjoy the last day of Hubs vacation by watching a movie and hanging out rather than doing any work.

I think we’re on to something here!

I just listened to Ben Shapiro’s podcast on How America Forgot 9/11 (https://www.dailywire.com/episode/ep-1572-how-america-forgot-9-11-2 ). Wow was it good, and very telling that someday soon if we don’t straighten up and get some real values back, we’re due for another attack. It’s sobering.

Whoops, I think I just revealed my conservatism!

Today it was back to the grind for us.

The Hubs is back in his office fielding calls and meetings. I did some yard work. I took pics and it doesn’t look like much, but perhaps I’ll finish up tomorrow.

I started in the back placing pads for watering cans:

I’m still missing some rocks to put in the gaps of the platforms, but I’ll need to go get them and who wants that kind of work on Monday?!

I did the downspout basin:

I guess I’m getting old or something because a bag of rocks suddenly weighs a lot more than I remember. We just had a bit of rain that washed all the rock dust off the bricks, so it looks nice and clean now. And it seems to be working to slow down the water enough not to dig into the ground outside the basin.

As for this issue where they cut the gutter to accommodate the lineset of the AC:

I think I have solved the problem by extending the downspout and the basin:

Seems to be holding back the flow, so we’ll call it a win for now.

When that was all done, I turned my attention to the front. I’m digging this new garden about 5 feet out from the house. I did not get as far as I had planned, but shit happens.

See that black circle toward the right? That’s some kind of termite bait thingee and I somehow got the shovel up under it, dislodging it. Whoops. I spent a fair amount of time trying to put it back and get dirt – which is actually sand, up around it. And wondering if I had rendered it ineffective. Also of note, I found pieces of what look like chewed framing material. I can only assume while they were taking care of termite damage, they dropped some debris in the yard which then got covered up.

I know, rich imagination I have right? Assuming they re-framed after the termites moved out!

Time will tell, I guess.

I still have 2/3rd of the area to excavate tomorrow. Or tomorrow and Wednesday. Then I’ll have to decide what I want to plant in here. That is the fun part. This part just plain sucks. But since it will go some distance to making the house look less abandoned, it’s worth the effort.

And today’s fun:

The AC unit in the bedroom puts out a dirty sock smell every afternoon. Yay. I emailed Scott and he said he’d never heard of this, but he would research and get back to me tomorrow. Looks like more AC fun ahead!

Some Amount of Joy

The first couple days were easy. I was deluding myself that having a pair of kittens would be a breeze. But it’s not.

Yesterday they turned a corner and have come to feel very comfortable with their new home. Almost too comfortable.

On the one hand, it is hard to resist this:

They are starting to nap in the open, which means they feel safe.

But then 10 seconds later they are swinging from the chandelier.

Kittens!

And then this:

10 seconds later he’s on the floor wondering what happened! His head pulled him down when he fell asleep!

And all is right in my world.

The other day my fireplace picture arrived. I was really pleasantly surprised at the quality of it. The Hubs did the hanging and I could not be more pleased:

OK, fine, I could. My mantle still sucks, but I am happy with the picture.

Today we finally finished the rain barrel farm. It took some doing, and last night we got torrential rain. The 2 that were there filled up like they should:

This is where we began the day. 2 full, and 1 half full rain barrel.

While the Hubs toiled to make the ground level, I emptied the one around the corner. We were eventually able to move it into its final resting place:

There is a bit of logistics to finish, like the drooping black hose, and pads for watering cans, but it’s essentially ready for the next rain. Which happened as we got the last barrel in place. Logistics will have to wait til tomorrow.

I have to level out the spot where the barrel was, take away the pads, and hopefully grass or moss will take over. I am now free to dig out and put the rocks in for this downspout.

Nearly all the projects we set for ourselves are done now! Of course hanging over my head is the front garden under the dining room windows. For many reasons, not the least of which is the heat, it has not gotten done. But, there is compost I need to use up and fall planting is around the corner. I guess I just have to suck it up and over a couple of days just get it done. Even if I don’t plant it right away, it’ll be good to have the soil/compost mix settling in.

Blah.

Let’s go back to kittens!

Can you just see the delight in Havoc’s eyes waiting for that tail to come swishing back?

All sweetness and light!

They have taken to sleeping under my desk, which is super adorable, but I am sure one day I will forget they are there and step on them!

In the evenings they climb up on me and settle in for a nap. First Havoc will come and curl up on my shoulder, then Mayhem will push her out of the way and settle under my neck. With both of them on me, one in each ear purring away it’s impossible to do anything but sit. In a way they are helping me slow down and live in the moment.

Words I need to say to myself every day.

Although, with this house, I might need to bake cookies every day!