Saturday, September 23, 2017

Road Trip

I woke up at 6:00 a.m. on Friday. I had waffles for breakfast and then lazily got shaved, showered and dressed.

I left at 10:00 a.m. for Clinton Township and my doctor's appointment at 11:00. I got there one minute late.

I crushed that checkup!!! Blood pressure 120/80. I've lost 11 pounds. My A1C was 5.1 (she cut back the diabetes meds). And, she does take Medicare, so I don't have to find a new doctor!

Sidebar: It was funny. After she learned I was retired, she warned me about just staying in the house. She said that's how retirees get depressed. I laughed and said, "Don't worry. I have this friend Amanda who is constantly dragging me here and there."She said, "Great!"

I left there in a very good mood.

Then I headed to Marine City. Betsy Knapp needs some shelves in her garage and her son, Erik, asked me to check it out. He lives in Massachusetts and it would be a little far for him.

I got off 1-94 at the Marine City exit and drove the 12 miles to Marine City. She was ready for me, so I sketched the two shelves to her specifications and then added in the measurements.

She also mentioned she'd like a handrail (I don't blame her. I was a little afraid walking down those steps and she's older than me). I asked if it had to be wood and she said, "No. Why?" I told her I could make one out of galvanized pipe that I thought would be more secure. She agreed.

Then I headed back home. It usually is a long ride, but this was worse. There was a stop and go traffic jam between I-75 and I-96.  Then, all three lanes on I-96 were stopped for a long while because of an accident. But, I finally got off at Beech Daly.

At the first light south on Beech Daly after the expressway, the entire street was block off! There were no detour sighs so people were going everywhere. I went through the neighborhood back to the service drive and went to Inkster.

I promptly got stopped by a long train. With nothing better to do, I counted the cars. There were 131 cars on that damn train!

Finally home, I treated the cat and collapsed on the bed.

Amanda called when she was leaving work to see how my checkup went and I invited her and Keldon to dinner to celebrate my check up. She picked Outback.

Sidebar: Since I have half of a beautiful steak in the fridge, that wouldn't have been my first choice.

But I had something called the Alice Springs chicken. It was a grilled chicken breast topped with mushrooms and bacon and covered with cheese. There was warm honey mustard on the side. It was pretty good.

I was back home around 7:00 p.m. I called my brother Carl to fill him in on the Betsy visit (they are old friends). I caught him playing bingo with Hannah, so I talked fast.

After we hung up, I changed clothes and watched some TV. I dozed off at 9:00 p.m., (it had been a long day) but woke back up at 11:00 p.m. So, I watched the news and part of the tonight show and then went to bed for real

Friday, September 22, 2017


It was already 68 degrees when I woke up at 5:00 a.m. on Thursday! This does not bode well...

I made hard-scrambled eggs covered with ketchup for breakfast. Note: I prefer soft-scrambled eggs when eating them as is, but that doesn't work well with ketchup.

I watched the morning news until 10:00 a.m., then I shaved, showered and got dressed in a t-shirt and shorts.

I ate a simple salad for lunch.

I took a bag of garbage out back to the trash can. It was hot, humid and hard to breathe. Since I was out there anyway, I finally got the wheelbarrow out to the compost heap, emptied it and put it in the shed.

I have a lot more leaves down. Oh, forgot to tell you, the weatherman said the reason the leaves are turning so early this year is that the trees were stressed this summer by the drought conditions.

Back inside, I started back hand sanding the toy box. I was moving right along until I found one strip on the front side that had split at the very bottom. Dammit!

Luckily, it's as easy to take off as it is to install. I heated it back up with the iron (six inches at a time) and pried it up with a putty knife. Then I replaced it with a fresh one.

The house was getting uncomfortable (we hit a high of 88 degrees here) so I turned the air conditioner on. Imagine that! Needing the A/C on September 21!

I took a break to let it cool and watched the news at 4:00 p.m. I shouldn't have laid on the bed as I never got back to work.

I did get up and fixed two hot dogs with potato salad for dinner.

I watched some DIY shows and went to bed at 10:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 21, 2017


I woke up early on Wednesday. I had a cup of coffee and two Eggo waffles for breakfast while I watched the news. Puerto Rico just got hit by Hurricane Maria.

Sidebar: I worry about all of Vicky's relatives down there, but especially her Aunt Mundy and her Grandmother. I'm not worried about flooding or storm surges as they live on top of a mountain in Arecibo. But, in 150+ winds, I'm not convinced being on top of a mountain in a little wood and stucco house is all that safe.

Fortunately, when her Grandmother started going downhill, her sons all got together and added on a hurricane room. It's a cement block addition to the back of the house (It's where I slept when we were there). It has it's own bathroom and a reinforced roof. Hopefully, that's where they hunkered down.

Unfortunately, all the cell towers blew down and power is out all over the island. So, it may be days or even weeks before we learn if they are safe.

I shaved, showered (more water on the floor) and got dressed.

Pat's Sewer Cleaners showed up promptly at 9:00 a.m. Fortunately, one of the guys on the truck had been here before.  So, I didn't have to spend a lot of time explaining the outside cleanout. I just ran a 100 foot extension for them and left them to it.

They ran the cutter out to the road and then, for the first time, ran it up into the house.

Sidebar: They usually came inside and use that cleanout and make a mess. Not that the downstairs isn't already a mess.

I helped out by running the water in the main bathtub and flushing toilets when requested.

Results: There were some, but not a lot, of roots in the line out to the road. He said the line in the house was installed with too little angle for proper draining. As a result, sludge builds up (something the cutter is not meant to deal with).

He said if it happened again soon, he would suggest a high-pressure water treatment ($500.00) to blow the sludge out to the road. If not, he said I should at least have them come out yearly to clean it out.

I gave him $210.00 and shook their hands. Then they went on their way.

I took a rest on the bed for an hour. Then went to Kroger's and got a package of hot dogs (I'm tired of brats) and some buns. I plan on grilling that steak today and hate to waste charcoal. I did an impulse buy of a bunch of beautiful radishes. I also bought a pie pumpkin. Back home, I made a ham sandwich for lunch. I hard boiled some eggs and boiled some Yukon Gold potatoes

It was still overcast, but getting warmer. So, I went outside. I put the pie pumpkin on the bottom shelf of the porch rack (looked bare after putting away the flower pots). Then I got some Indian corn that I've had for years (used to hang it up on the porch) and set it on the top shelf. Hmmm... Not bad.

I went out back and put away the all statues along with two of the three patio chairs and the tables.

Then I got the wheelbarrow and took down the kitchen window planter box. That was tough! I got the wheelbarrow back as far as the shed when I ran out of gas.

I locked everything back up, went inside and made a quick potato salad. The dressing was mayo and mustard with fresh thyme and chives. I stuck that in the fridge and took a nap.

It was sunny and hot when I woke up at 4:00 p.m. My back hurt (that window box is not only heavy but up high).   I took the steak out to come to room temperature and started the charcoal.

I grilled the dogs first and then, after seasoning it heavily with salt and pepper, (its a really thick steak) grilled the steak.

I let the hot dogs cool and then put them in the fridge while the steak rested.

Then I plated my dinner. A sliced piece of the steak, some potato salad and some radishes. Excellent!

I cleaned up the kitchen and quit for the night. I went to bed early (I was still beat) at 10:00 p.m.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Terrible Tuesday

I woke up early and got the trash and recyclable bins out to the road. Then I had a cup of coffee and some oatmeal and started watching the news.

I was going to wait to retrieve the trashcan (they pick it up first) but I couldn't. They left it standing in the road! So, I went and got it.

Note: I am now going to keep both on Jake's patio. Not as convenient as inside  (especially in the coming winter) but it does free up much needed space in the garage.

Back inside. I watched Donald Trump's address to the United Nations. Then I got the brilliant idea to wash all the bedding (I missed this on Sunday). I went back to watching TV.

Then I heard a weird, gurgling sound. WTF? I went and checked and water was gushing from the floor drain!!!

I scrambled to get the many cardboard boxes (there are a lot of boxes from the garage downstairs) out of the way of the water. I put the bedding in the dryer and retreated upstairs.

I got out my phone book and called Pat's Sewer cleaner (my guy). This used to happen almost every year until I took down that maple tree up front and I always called Pat's (my old landlady recommended them).

They said they could be out after 8:00 p.m. tonight or at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. I chose tomorrow.

An hour later, most of the water had slowly gone down the drain. Now my only question was did I dare take a shower?

I decided against it. Caley will just have to put up with me!

I went back to hand sanding the veneer edging on the toy box.

When I got tired of woodworking, I watched some TV.

I ate the rest of the beans with bread for dinner. Then back to more TV until bedtime. I had trouble falling asleep worrying about just what this sewer clanout would cost me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

September 19th

Monday Moanin'

I woke up early again on Monday. The first thing I did was to unplug the cable box and let it sit while I filled in the Blog post.

Then I plugged it back in and let it reboot while I drank a cup of coffee. I crossed my fingers and turned it on. I'll be damned! The pictures came back on!  I watched the morning news to celebrate.

Now, I have to go to the Social Security office again today with my completed employer forms. Last time I tried to "beat" everyone else there and went at 9:00 a.m. The place was packed though and I was there an hour and a half. However, when I was leaving, I noticed the waiting room had cleared out some.

So, my thinking today was to go a little later. I finally got off my ass and shaved, showered and got dressed. I left at 11:00 a.m. and drove through some sprinkles. It was cool outside, BTW.

When I got there, the parking lot was half empty! Inside, there were, like, 10 people waiting. I was in and out in less than 15 minutes!!!

Sidebar: So, now I am signed up for Medicare Part B. I still need to review my options and come up with my Part D (private insurance) plan.

It was still cool and spitting rain. But, since I was on that side of town, I went to Randazzo's for two mums.

Sidebar: As you probably know, I usually get my plants and flowers from either Lowe's or Home Depot. But, I remember this spring, when I was shopping at Lowe's and a guy asked the price of a flat of flowers. The Lowe's guy said $15.00. The guy dropped it like a hot potato and told me on the side that Randazzo's had the same flat for $8.00. That stuck in my head...

I do want two mums' for the front, but don't want to pay a fortune for them.

So, I found two two-gallon mums in the color I wanted for $3.99 apiece. Then I went across the street to Lowe's and got two cheap plastic pots (also in the color I wanted) for $5.99 apiece.

Back home, I went out back with the wheelbarrow and got some dirt from the plants I had just thrown out. In front, I re-potted the mums. I decided where I wanted them and placed them accordingly.

Satisfied, I went inside, changed clothes and ate a ham sandwich for lunch. Just after I cleaned up the kitchen, Amanda called. She said she was at Arby's (less than a quarter mile from the house) getting a sandwich (she likes their French dip) before she went home and did I want to join her for lunch. I said I wished she'd called me 20 minutes ago (I love their Buffalo chicken sandwich) but I just finished lunch. She said, "Oh, well. Maybe next time."

I changed clothes and took a nap.

When I woke up, it was still cool and drizzling. So, no grilling today.

Since Tuesday is trash day, I drained the sweet corn and threw it away (been soaking for three days now). Then I went through the freezer and threw away any meats that had freezer burns. I also emptied two soup containers that had old bean soup in them. That gave me a lot more room!

When I got hungry, I warmed up a can of beans. I ate half of the beans with a slice of buttered bread.

I watched the Nightly news. Then I watched a movie I'd taped called "The Grey." It's an excellent movie Jake and Carla turned me onto a while back.

It got over at 9:30 p.m., but I wasn't tired. So, I turned on the Lions game and watched them win! Then I went to bed.

Monday, September 18, 2017


I woke up early on Sunday. When the sun finally came up, I saw it was foggy outside.

I putzed for a while (not sure why, but I have to ease into the day these days - probably from having to hustle all those years). I filled in the Blog post and then I did the Sunday morning chores.

I diced some of my ham and made a ham and cheese omelet for my Sunday morning breakfast. It was pretty damn good!

I finally got around to shaving, showering and getting dressed in shorts and a t-shirt. It was supposed to be 83 degrees and sunny today!

I had planned on working on the toy box in the afternoon, thinking it would be too hot outside. But when I took the recyclables out back, there was a nice breeze.

So, the toy box can wait (it's waited this long, after all). I got the wheelbarrow out of the shed and, of course, the tire was low.

So, I turned on the sir compressor and backed the truck out. Since I had the room to reach them, I put away the summer decorations and forsythia wreath and put up the fall ones.

Then I screwed on that silly pumpkin.

Next, I started emptying the container gardens into the wheelbarrow. I dropped the containers off at the shed and took the dirt and plants all the way back to the compost heap. It took three trips.

I did get the hanging plants out back done, but I was too wiped out to do the kitchen window box. So, I buttoned everything up and went inside. It was almost 3:00 p.m. and I practically passed out on the bed.

If you remember, I was going to grill today. But, I was too beat. I'll try again on Monday. Instead I ate more pasta salad and went back to bed.

I was watching a taped movie when, just after 9:00 p.m., the picture froze. I waited for it to come back, but it didn't. So, I tried changing the channel. The picture was blank! I checked and they were all blank!!! The TV guide worked, so I knew the cable hadn't gone out.

But, I didn't feel like calling in or messing with it, so I turned it off and read a magazine until 10:00 p.m. and bedtime.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


I woke up at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday. I tried falling back asleep, but it didn't work. So, I got a cup of coffee and my muffin and filled in the blog.

Note to self: Next time, cut the muffin in half. It was delicious, but then I was stuffed.

I watched some of the morning news. Then I shaved, showered and got dressed to go to Kroger's.

Sidebar: It is an amazing weekend, weather-wise (with highs in the 80's, it feels more like July than September). Most of the smaller maples are starting to turn colors already. But I saw one yesterday on Five Mile on the way to Westborn that blew me away. Unfortunately, I was already past it so I couldn't take a picture.

But today, I turned down a side street so I could sneak up on it.

Kroger's wasn't packed, so I got in and out in a hurry. I did make one impulse buy. They had a beautiful t-bone steak on sale. I know, I know, I said, "All pasta salad, all weekend long." But, this probably is the last weekend this year to grill.

Kroger had already stopped selling sweet corn so I stopped at Westborn and got some sad looking corn I know I will regret. I also bought some good looking peaches.

Back home, I unloaded the truck and pulled it inside. It was still cool when I left, but it was hot now!

Speaking of falling leaves, my black walnut (always the first to go) has been raining yellow leaves for the past two weeks.

I put away the groceries and changed into work shorts and a t-shirt.

I decided to have some lunch before getting into a project. So, I dished up my first bowl of pasta salad. First impression? It needed way more salt (but I knew that). And, I put in too much broccoli and not enough green onions.

Note to self: Next time, measure! Winging it doesn't always work.

I rested on the bed while my lunch digested.

Now I fully intended on getting to work, hand-sanding the veneer edging on the toy box. But it was way too nice outside. So, I went out and sat on the front porch for a long while. It was hot, but there was a nice breeze.

Without my fellow porch monkey to talk to, I people-watched. I watched the people across the street come and go, cars and motorcycles passing, little kids playing and so on. Some of my neighbors passing by waved, which made me feel good.

When I finally went back inside, it was already 4:00 p.m.!

So, I got the kitchen set up for the sanding project tomorrow. I shoved the table back and got out the vacuum cleaner (to suck up sawdust). Since I am doing this by hand, I figured I could control it. Plus, if I do it in the kitchen, I can sit on a chair.

Sidebar: Normally, with veneer edging, you use a razor blade knife to trim it. But, that's for straight edges (like a shelf). There are almost no straight edges on this piece, just curves. So, the only alternative is to hand sand it flush with 150 grit sandpaper. Also, you might be wondering, "He had an orbital sander and a belt sander, so why do it by hand?" Because, the vibration might crack the veneer.

I was hungry again, so I ate more pasta salad. This time I ate around about half the broccoli.

I cleaned up the kitchen and ran the dishwasher.

I went in to watch the news, but sports games had run over and it wasn't on. So, I watched DIY shows until an early bedtime.

It wasn't as a productive of a day as I'd hoped, but it was a good day!