Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday, playing catch-up

Sorry about missing the Saturday post. I'm helping a friend with his own project and will be occupied for a few days. I know, I know, you'll be wondering what junk food I had for lunch and what I microwaved for dinner, but I'll try and fill you in as soon as I can.

Friday, July 27, 2012


It did rain in the morning on Thursday, but quit by noon. I filled up my gas tank at lunch and then went home and ate the last brat for lunch.

I had a sandwich for dinner and watched the news.

Coletta, my brother Jim’s wife called to thank me for her birthday card. She has something wrong with her vocal cords and sounded like it. But, she’s supposed to go and get it checked out on Friday. I talked briefly with my brother as well.

It did rain again around 9:00 PM for about an hour or so. I think all the good, soaking rains went north of us. I went to bed early, reading a food magazine that came in the mail.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hump Day and Dry

Well, it was another hot, dry day on Wednesday. In spite of my brother Carl’s optimism and the morning weatherman’s forecast, no rain showed up in the afternoon.

I stopped at Costco during lunch and got more coffee and a box of Swiffer dusters. I took those home and ate the last of the sloppy joe mix (yes, on an onion roll – I gotta use those suckers up, Carl!)

I started the Wednesday night wash and, when it was done in the washer, I set out the sprinkler to water the raised bed herb garden and the new garden at the rear of the house (still not a cloud in the sky at 6:30 PM).

When the timer went off, I moved the sprinkler to water the garden around the reflecting pool. I warmed up a brat and a small can of Bush’s beans and ate dinner.

When the next timer went off, I disconnected the oscillating sprinkler and hooked up the soaker hose in the vegetable garden. I went back inside and set the timer yet again. It was 9:00 PM.

Just before 10:00, my NOOA radio alarm went off "severe thunderstorm watch" for several countries, including Wayne (mine). The last timer went off. I went outside and turned off the water in the spotlight (I set off the motion detector). I unhooked the hose, reeled it in and went back inside.

I went to bed late, but there was still no rain yet.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, Tuesday...

It was cooler on Tuesday with a high only in the 80’s. But, still no real rain.

I made two quick stops at lunchtime: Home Depot and Office Depot. I was in the Depot zone, man! I dropped off my purchases and had a sloppy joe on an onion roll for lunch.

After work, I watered the container garden out front. I realized I was fighting a losing battle with the bleeding hearts in the hanging basket. In spite of hand-watering every two days, there is only one stalk on one branch of the original three beautiful plants I put in there.

I carried two buckets of water out to the peonies and then stuck the hose end in the reflecting pool. I turned the water on 1/4 turn and set the timer for an hour. Why? I’m trying to save the Japanese maple next to the pool. I’ve babied that sucker for years and now it looks like it, too, is succumbing to the heat. I checked the vegetable garden and decided to pick my first harvest of green beans.

Back inside, I switched out the two power strips in the office for two new ones I bought today at Office Depot. Mine were old and really rated low (I learned about the rating of power strips when I bought the bed – the surge protector I had to buy for it needed to be rated at 700 joules or better, so I went with 1000).

I cut the ends off the green beans and snapped them into bite-sized pieces. Then I steamed them while I warmed up another of those grilled chicken breasts from the company picnic I had frozen.

I ate the chicken breast on an onion roll with mayonnaise and the green beans with just butter and salt. The chicken was still good but the green beans were excellent!

I went out and shut off the water, I reeled in the hose and locked up. I watched TV until bedtime.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


It was already warm when I left for work Monday morning and it had started sprinkling when I was putting the shower door in the dumpster.

It rained for about two hours and sometimes hard, but it had all cleared up before lunchtime. So, it was just hot and steamy when I stopped at Pet
Smart for kitty litter (tomorrow is garbage day). I dropped it off at the house and warmed up a sloppy joe for my lunch.

When I got home after work and was watching the news, I learned the high today was 98 degrees F., which tied or broke the old record.

I rolled out the trash can out to the road and did some minor trash pickup in the front before I went back inside.

I warmed up two bratwurst and ate them, along with the last of the store-bought potato salad for dinner. I filed old paid receipts that had been building up since I went back to work while I watched TV. I went to bed when I felt sleepy.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday Supper

I woke up at 6:30 AM. I made a cup of coffee while I threw on my shorts and t-shirt and then went outside to set up the sprinkler in the front yard. Thankfully, at this time of the day, it was dead calm, so there was no fooling around with positioning. I went back inside and set the timer.

I processed yesterday’s photos and posted them. Then I finished the Blog entry and posted it as well. I made a second cup of coffee and turned on the morning news. I ate breakfast and refilled my pill box.

When the timer went off, I hooked up the rain wand and hand watered the forsythia. I weeded around the lilac and then put the rest of that bag of mulch I bought around it. Then, I watered the hell out of the mulch, too.

I pulled the hose back over the north gate and dragged it around the house and out the south gate. I set up the sprinkler to water the side lawn, tree garden and the mailbox garden (first time this summer – I’ve been hand watering instead).

Back inside I started on today’s mundane chores (no projects). First I cleaned the main bath, except for the tub area. I’ll do that after I take my final shower up here (I have to wait for the outside watering to be done).

The timer went off for the side lawn at 10:30 AM. I went out and shut off the water. Then I reeled in the hose, leaving the sprinkler and just enough hose to water around the rear of the house. But, there are the usual “pop-up” thunderstorms and showers predicted after 3:00 PM, due to the heat (highs in the 90’s to8), so I’ll wait and see if I get lucky. If not, I’ll water after dinner.

While it was still in the low 80’s and I had my brace on, I had a few things to do before it heated up. So, first, I went into the attic to get some things I wanted. Then I went out back and did a trash pick-up patrol. I completely filled up the mulch bag (I saved it for this very purpose).

Back inside, I took off my brace and started the main project for today: cleaning the house. Boring, yes, but it needs to be done.

I took a break after the office, bedroom and living room were complete and ate the other half of that musk melon. I just finished that when my daughter Melissa called. We talked for quite a while (Dave was watching the British Open), but then I had to beg off. I’ve got a house-cleaning to get back to!

I cleaned all the glass surfaces in the office, bedroom and living room, including mirrors and then I dusted everything. I put the lap blanket (from the living room rocker) and the throw rug (from Caley’s Cat-o-matic basket) in the washer (both were covered with cat hair). Then I used the pet hair remover attachment on the vacuum cleaner (for the first time) and did all the furniture in the living room. I was surprised. It worked pretty good!

Next was the downstairs bath. I loaded the glass shower door and all the aluminum in the car for disposal in the dumpster Monday morning. I was very tempted to keep it, as I had conceived of a possible way to use an angled piece of aluminum in place of the one side wall jam. But, I decided to let it go.

Then I scraped off as much of the silicone caulk from the tile as I could. I re-hung the shower curtain after installing the rod.

I put the lap blanket and the throw rug back where they belong when the dryer stopped. I was surprised that the lint filter was full (and I clean it after every load)!

It was almost 6:00 PM, so I started the charcoal for the grille. I took out the T-Bone steak I bought yesterday and the bratwurst I had thawing in the fridge to come up to room temperature.

When the charcoal was ready, I cleaned the grate and oiled it. Then I started grilling the brats (they’re for the coming week, BTW). Inside, I shelled the last two hardboiled eggs, cut them into large chunks and mixed them with the deli redskin potato salad.

I pulled off the brats when they were done and set them on a paper plate to drain and cool. I put them in the house and brought out the star of tonight’s Sunday supper: the steak.

I am somewhat of a purist now with grilling steaks. Oh, I’ve tried various marinades, dry rubs and Montreal steak seasoning over the years, but I have learned that (for me, anyway) the best steaks are merely seasoned with salt and fresh ground pepper.

But, I did try a little twist tonight. I cut two long stalks of fresh rosemary and threw them directly on the coals. Then I put the steak on the grate.

I didn’t touch it for four or five minutes. I never do. I like it to get a nice crust on it and if you fiddle with it, that doesn’t happen. Then I flipped it with the tongs; Never a fork! You just let all the juices run out that way. In fact, if ever someone gives you a nice barbeque set as a gift, I would recommend the first thing you do (after thanking them, of course) is to throw that stupid fork away. There is nothing I know of you should use it on.

But, I digress. I let the steak grill until it felt done (yes, I feel it with my finger). I pulled it off and set it in the house to rest (and redistribute the juices). Outside, since we never got any rain, I turned on the sprinkler which I had previously set in place to water the gardens around the reflecting pool.

Back inside, I set the stove timer for an hour and proceeded to eat on of the best damn steaks I ever had. Oh, I had some of the potato salad, too. But the steak was excellent, a perfect medium rare and seasoned so well, I didn’t even add any extra salt (which I normally end up doing).

When I was finished, I cleaned up the kitchen counter, putting the rest of the potato salad and the now-cooled brats in the fridge. I took my evening pills and watched TV until the timer went off. I relocated the sprinkler to water the raised herb bed garden and the new garden at the back of the house addition.

An hour later, I turned off the water, disconnected the sprinkler and reeled in the hose. I locked the downstairs door, checked on the garage door and the front door deadbolt and then watched TV until bedtime.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Saturday's Failure!

I woke up several times during the night but successfully went back to sleep. I finally gave up and got out of bed at 6:39 AM. I made a cup of coffee and then wrote and posted the Blog entry and a couple of pictures.

I leisurely ate breakfast, shaved and showered and then got dressed. I left the house for a shopping run at 9:30 AM.

I took the shorts I bought at Target back. Thankfully, I only washed one before I tried it on as it was WAY too big! So, I took all three back (you can only get these in the summertime for some reason, so I have to stock up – last year’s batch is down to only one, worn set). Also, thankfully, they did take the one I washed back and I just exchanged them all for three smaller-sized ones. I keep forgetting I no longer wear the same size as I once did.

Then it was on to Kroger. I got everything on the list, except for something Melissa recommended. She said it was called “Western Jalapeno cheese spread” and was delicious. She also said she has to stock up on them when she’s here because they are not sold down south. Well, I even asked a store guy, but they don’t seem to be sold in Kroger’s either.

I made one last stop at the Feed Store for more birdseed. Then I headed home.

I unpacked everything and put it all away. I wrote the date on the four replacement herbs and spices I bought before they went into the cupboard. BTW, I’m not sure if it’s true, but Michelle at work told me (when I was telling her about throwing away most of my herbs and spices) that “red” spices (like chili powder, Caribbean jerk seasoning, paprika, etc.) are the first ones to lose potency. Like I said, don’t know if that’s true, but I thought I’d pass it along.

I changed into my old shorts and t-shirt and started washing all my work clothes.

Jake called and we chatted for a bit. It sounds like as uncomfortable that the weather is around here, it’s even worse in South Carolina! I told him I was going to try and install that shower door today and we hung up on that note.

There were a few backyard issues I needed to attend to first though. I used the Velco tape to secure my tomatoes to the next rung on their trellis (and was reminded that I need to pick some of the green beans).

I had noticed before that “something” was knocking down the dill in the raised bed garden and finally figured it out. It was the paddle from the wind chime. So, I removed the hook from the wall (after taking down the wind chime) and moved it to the maple tree (the one that holds up one end of the hammock that never got put up this year). Then I hung the wind chime back up (I do love the sound of it and hope I will still be able to hear it inside the house).

Since I had the drill out, I took down the hook next to the kitchen window (where I’ve tried unsuccessfully for years to lure hummingbirds to my feeder). I use it in the winter for the suet cage, so I relocated that back to the bird feeding area (by the fire pit). I dug out the suet cage and some suet (I had it in the chest freezer so it wouldn’t melt in this heat) and hung it up. I took some photos of both so you could see what I meant.

[Note to self: remember to caulk the holes in the siding, when the caulk gun is not in use, to prevent water and/or insects from getting behind the siding.]

Then I got the wheelbarrow and took the new 40 pound bag of seed from the car out to the can in the bird feeder area. Since I had the camera with me. I took a couple of pictures of the new flowers that are showing up in the mailbox garden. I’ll have to ask CC what they are as I don’t recognize them, either, (unless you know and can comment on the photo).

Back inside, I put my brace back on and then I used the awl to punch a small hole in the center of each dowel (so I can start the drill without it moving around). I had to stop then and put the work clothes in the dryer and set the timer.

So, back to the shower door. I drilled through all six dowels with a drill bit just smaller than and as long (2 1/2 inches) as the #8 screws. Then I drilled the dowels out with a drill bit just larger than the screws, but only as deep as the penciled length next to each dowel. I’d measure the drill bit and wrap electrician’s tape around the bit so I would know when to stop.

Next, I put the long Phillips bit I bought into the drill and, after caulking the back, installed the two wall jams. The screws worked perfectly! I was happy I’d solved the problem of not being able to use wall anchors. Damn clever of me!!

But, there was a problem. When I originally set the tile in the door surround, I was not considering putting in a glass shower door. I just set them in. But, now that the shower light is on, and I am outside of the shower, I can see where several tiles are not even. The wall jams are not touching some tiles at all while they are tight to others. Damn!

Well, heavy caulk should take care of that right? Wrong! After I put the door into the hinge jam and temporarily set it in place, I put in the strike expander jam (don’t even bother to ask, okay?) and tried to shut the door.

It wouldn’t shut! I scribed a pencil line on the strike expander jam (where its supposed to go into) and the door was 1/4-inch too big for the opening. Damn, damn, damn!

I quit for a bit and ate half a musk melon (I can’t remember how to spell cantelope), which was an impulse buy at Kroger. It was okay, but not nearly as sweet as one homegrown, or at least grown in Michigan. As I ate, I thought... and thought... and thought...

I didn’t want to chop out any tile. But, if I do nothing at all, the door is a waste as I already pitched the cardboard. So, when I was done with lunch, I did what I would do with a wooden door. I scribed a line so that “theoretically” if I cut out places in the aluminum, the door should fit.

Since these are aluminum channels with uneven sized sides, I couldn’t use the saber saw. I thought briefly about the Sawzall with the metal blade, but that would be too hard to control. Instead, at last, I settled on Jake’s electric grinder wheel. I took off my brace so I wouldn’t get metal crap on it.

I spent about two hours out in the hot garage, grinding, filing the turned-over edges, etc., and then testing the fit, again and again. I got it a lot closer, but I never got it right. Finally, standing there, sweating and covered with grinding dust, I realized I had failed and that I had to get the original wall jams unscrewed before the silicone caulk dried.

It was close at that. I had to pry them off with a pry bar after taking out the screws. I scraped off the bulk of the silicone caulk on the tiles with a putty knife, but I will have to go back when its fully dried and scrape them again with a razor knife.

I suppose I can drill out the dowels just a little and fill the holes with the same almond colored caulk I need to put on the siding outside (to fill in the holes from the hooks I removed this morning). But, I had to admit defeat on this project. Which was a bitter pill to swallow, because I can usually figure out some way or another to make my ideas work. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. This one I lost.

It was after 5:30 PM when I gave up. I cleaned up myself and my tools and started supper. I browned a pound of ground chuck I thawed last night, drained the grease from it and added in a can of Manwich. I let that get happy on low while I watered the front container gardens.

Then I went out back and carried two buckets of water to the peonies (watering the petunia pot and filling the birdbath on my way). On the second trip back, Rick and Tammy called me over to the fence. They proudly presented me with five more huge cucumbers and warned me to expect a TON of butternut squash (Rick doesn’t like it, so just Tammy eats it and they give the rest away to family and friends, like me).

I hooked up the hose to the soaker hose in the vegetable garden, turned on the water and went inside. I set the stove timer for two hours and plated (well, paper-plated) my dinner: Two onion rolls filled with the sloppy joe mixture and a scoop of redskin potato salad from the Kroger Deli (not an impulse buy, lol!) I ate that watching the rest of the evening news.

This slaughter in Colorado is really getting to me! What the hell is the world coming to? I’d be the first to admit I wouldn’t hesitate shooting somebody who meant to hurt me or mine. I can even understand terrorist acts by oppressed people on some level. But, randomly killing strangers in a theater? Why?

Anyway, I took my evening pills and settled back to relax. The only thing I had left was to turn the water off. B___ called and we caught each other up. After our brief chat, I shut off the water (the timer had gone off while we were talking) and put the hose near the north gate (so I can water the front lawn first thing in the morning). Then I watched TV until bedtime.
Downstairs Shower - Before
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Downstairs Shower - After
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New Addition to Mailbox Garden #1 (closeup)
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New Addition to Mailbox Garden #2
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Relocated Suet Cage #1 (too dark, I know)
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Relocated Suet Cage #2
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Relocated Wind Chime
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Finally Friday

Friday dawned with some sun and a nice cool breeze. I did go out and check the rain gauge, but none of the small scattered storms overnight left more than a trace in the bottom here in Redford.

I decided just to go home at lunch and relax (I had another restless night). But, the first thing I saw after walking in the bedroom was a hairball on the bedspread. Sigh...

So, I stripped the bedding and stuck it in the washer while my bean with bacon soup was heating up.

Meanwhile, Vicky and Michelle went to the Grand Opening of a local “5 Below” store. I never heard of it, so they explained that everything in the store is $5.00 or less. Sort of an upscale dollar store, I guess. Anyway, they spotted a T-shirt with their nickname for me on it so Michelle bought it and they presented it to me after they got back.

After work, it was warmer out (81 degrees F.) but still very nice compared to previous days. In fact, I sat on the patio for a while with a glass of apple juice, watching the birds and squirrels, smelling the growing herbs and enjoying the break. I decided to give any watering a rest for the day.

I watched the rest of the news and found, weather-wise, we are going back into the 90’s and dry, starting Sunday. So, my time outside was well spent.

I went online and paid a couple of bills (today was payday). The bedding had dried by then, so I made up the bed.

I tried some new frozen food for dinner. I microwaved up some chicken fried rice, made by Tai Pei. Flavor and texture-wise, it was spot on. My only complaint was there were too many vegetables in it. I like my chicken fried rice to be mostly rice and chicken.

But, not to continue the Chinese food myth, I was hungry later on. So, I made some popcorn. On the stove!!! I skipped the butter, not wanting a possible mess on my clean sheets.

I read a magazine that had come in the mail from cover to cover and then watched a little TV until I was sleepy. Then I went to bed.
See, Carl, I still cook!
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My New T-Shirt
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Friday, July 20, 2012

A little more rain, please...

I slept lousy overnight, restless and in pain. Maybe it was the humidity or the warmth of the bedroom. I don’t know. I only know I woke up feeling tired.

It was raining on the way into work on Thursday, but I didn’t mind a bit! Come on rain!

It did rain hard a couple of brief times through the morning, but when I left at lunchtime, it was only drizzling. I went to Target for a change, instead of Home Depot or Lowe’s. I had planned on just heading back to work and picking up a sandwich but after a long wait at the checkout, I needed a restroom. So, I drove home (its just a mile down the road), treated the cats, dropped off my purchases, used the facilities and headed back to work.

My plan to “zip” into Jimmy John’s went awry when I discovered that half of the way from I-96 to Plymouth Road (south on Farmington Road) was full of orange barrels and down to one lane!

So, I got back to work a few minutes late, but I made it up later.

I checked every now and then but never saw it really raining again all afternoon.

About 20 minutes to 5:00 PM, a woman came in the office. She introduced herself as a new team member of Facilities and asked why a copier hadn’t been moved yet. Vicky was across the street assisting Paul, one of our programmers, Fred had already left and neither Michelle, Matt or myself had any idea what she was talking about.

It turned out that Facilities had a vendor coming in at 8:00 AM to our Building 16 to tear out some old wall paper and replace it in the room the printer/copier was in. She said it could just go out in the hallway, but it had to be working and it had to be moved tonight. I told her I could probably get a long network cable but IT didn’t have extension cords. She said she had checked with Maintenance and they didn’t have any to spare, either.

So, I went in the back where the techs are and got a 25-foot patch cable. Then I went out and asked the mechanics in the back garage if they had any extension cords. It turned out they did, so once I called the admin at Building 15 and got the code for Building 16 (there’s no receptionist there and its locked down), I raced over there.

I was doing okay until (a) I realized it was a multifunction printer/fax/copier and also would need a longer telephone cord and (b) just how heavy (even to roll) a multifunction printer/fax/copier was! Mumbling something under my breath I won’t repeat here, I did finally get it out the door and into the hallway.

The extension cord and the patch cable were fine. I asked a woman down the hall to try and print something, so she did and it worked! I asked her if faxing was a necessity and she said it was. So, I got back in the car and went back to my office. Thank God everyone hadn’t left yet! I asked Doug for a long telephone cable and he gave me one, saying, “This is the longest one we have.”

I went back to Building 16 and tried it. Damn! It “just” reached (and I mean, stretched out a foot off the floor). I sent myself a fax (I just grabbed a piece of paper) and headed back to my building. There was no one left in back to ask about a longer phone cord, but I checked my computer and I had received the emailed fax.

So, I sent an email to Renee (at Building 15) and Bryn (the new Facilities person) letting them know the multifunction printer/fax/copier was in the hallway and I had tested it. I told them I would try and get a longer phone cord in the morning.

I was just leaving the parking lot at 5:20 PM when Vicky came walking across the street. I rolled down the window and told her I left the door unlocked for her (Michelle had warned me before she left that Vicky’s purse and her keys were still in the office). She thanked me and I drove home.

I’ll try tomorrow morning to find out how we dropped the ball on this and to get a longer phone cord before somebody trips on it.

When I got home, I checked the rain gauge (it was misty out, but not enough to use the wipers, except every now and then) and I only had about 1/4 inch of rain. But, maybe it will rain more overnight (it might).

I had a couple of cups of coffee, but still didn’t feel good or awake. I did take a level and draw a line on the tile over the middle of each dowel I’d put in each hole. That way I can tell if the dowel moves when I drill it out.

My plan is to drill a hole in the dowel just a tad bigger than the screw and exactly as deep as the dowel. Then I can screw into the stud and (hopefully) not pull out the dowel.

But, it was already late, I was tired and I decided that could wait.

I heated up some individual-sized Marie Callender’s lasagna (and no, Carl, I didn’t take a picture of it or its paper tray I served it in, lol!) and ate that for dinner.

I watched TV after looking at a magazine I got in the mail. I went to bed at 11:00 PM.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A rainy couple of hours always brings me down...

It didn’t rain overnight as predicted (at least not here) but it was noticeably cooler Wednesday morning. About 10:00 AM, it did start to rain and it was still raining when I went to lunch. I didn’t do much, just got some money out of the ATM and went to the gas station to fill up. My low-gasoline light came on during the ride home from work Tuesday night, but if there ever was an ozone action day, Tuesday was it! I ate a drive-thru fish sandwich for lunch.

BTW, it has not been lost on me that the name “ozone action day” is an oxymoron. When its hot and muggy, you are supposed to NOT drive unless you have to, NOT cut your grass or use any other gasoline-powered tools outside and NOT fill up you gas tank. If you’re supposed to NOT do stuff, it should be called an “ozone non-action day.”

Br that as it may, the rain had just about stopped by the time I got back to work. And, later on, the sun came out, hot enough to start drying up puddles.

The first thing I did when I got home after work was the check the rain gauge. All we got at my house was less than 1/8 of an inch! Better than nothing, I suppose, but an all-day, steady rain would work wonders (or maybe it’s too late for that).

Since I was outside, I was once again reminded just how dirty the windows were. So, I washed the inside and outside of the downstairs bathroom window, the French door and the storm door, the kitchen window and then the main bathroom window. The last two required digging out the short step ladder.

On a roll, and carrying a roll of paper towels, I also washed the stovetop and the top and sides of the fridge. I finished about 7:30 PM and then started the Wednesday night wash (I wish I’d thought of that earlier).

I wrote out a few bills (there are still a couple that I have to pay by check) and balanced the check register.

I made a peanut butter and orange marmalade sandwich for dinner, watched a little TV and then went to bed early.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Tuesday Tale

I didn’t run into any trains on the way to work, so I arrived there nice and early. I got a cup of coffee and got to work.

At lunch, I had errands to run in Westland, so I stopped at the Newburgh Grill and had a cup of bean with ham soup (my favorite, as you probably know) and a turkey sandwich on a fresh croissant. It WAS hot, but at least I didn’t drive over any bombs...

At 5:30 PM, the news said it was 102 degrees F. at Metro, breaking the record of 101, set in 1887!

I rolled in the garbage can and got out the watering can. I hand-watered all the container gardens in the front yard. Then I went out back and hooked up the oscillating sprinkler to water the raised herb bed and the new garden in the back of the house. Again, the gusty winds were a problem for proper sprinkler placement.

I went back inside to the cool (well, I say that, but it was 79 degrees inside – my A/C just couldn’t keep up) and set the timer for one hour.

I checked out the screws I bought from Home Depot and decided I could go with the #8 2 2/1 long ones. Which was good, because then I didn’t have to drill out the holes in the aluminum uprights. But, it did mean I had WAY too big holes drilled into the tile walls.

So, I went with Plan B. I used my wood dowel to measure the depth of each hole and wrote it on the tile next to it with a pencil. Then I cut each dowel to the right size (each hole was a different depth, obviously), applied some Elmer’s carpenter glue to all the surfaces and pounded them into the holes until they were flush. I will have to let them dry (at least for a day) before I can go any further.

About halfway through this part of the project, the timer went off, so I went out and reset the sprinkler to water the gardens around the reflecting pool. I reset the timer and finished the dowel insertion.

I was rethinking my choice of glue, however. If it was just wood, the carpenter glue would be perfect. But, there is also ceramic tile and the cement board it needs to bond with. If this doesn’t work, I’ll drill out these dowels and try again with Liquid Nails or something.

Dinner was a Puerto Rican dish Vicky’s mother, Evy (the one who I made the truck planter for), sent me. In Spanish, it is called “arroz con pollo y alubias blancas” which in English means its rice mixed with shredded chicken and white beans with potatoes. She carefully kept the beans and potatoes in some sauce separate in a baggie (apparently the bean/potato/sauce stored with it makes the rice soggy or something) and I was supposed to mix it all together before reheating it.

So, I did just that, then heated it up in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes. I stirred it and then put it back another 1 1/2 minutes. I let it set for a couple of minutes after the timer went off to get happy and then ate it.

It was delicious! It was spicy, but not hot like Mexican food. I originally estimated that she had sent enough for two meals, but I ended up eating it all! It really was that good.

When the timer went off, I went out and disconnected the sprinkler, reeled in the hose and shut up the house for the night.

I was starting to worry about the air conditioner running 24/7, so I turned the thermostat up to 80 and it finally shut off. It was warm inside, but not that uncomfortable and the sun had gone down. I turned on the fan in my bedroom to get the air moving.

I did run the dishwasher, though. It was almost full and I wanted to bring back Evy’s dish in the morning. When it went to the drying cycle, I turned on the stove fan to exhaust the heat a little.

I watched TV until the news ended. Then I turned off the fan and turned in.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

~ Lao Tzu

Monday Moanin'

I was going to mention the heat and humidity we had today, but it was only a high of 91 on Monday. It did feel stifling in the afternoon, but the predicted high for tomorrow is 102 degrees F.

However, whenever I am tempted to bitch about it, I remember a photo my friend Tracey (who son is a Marine) posted on her FaceBook page. The text said:

If the heat gets to you today, just remember...
It isn’t 120 degrees
We’re not 5,700 miles from home.
We’re not dressed in full uniform.
We’re not carrying 70+ pounds of gear.
And there’s little chance we’ll drive over a bomb today.
Thanks to all who serve.

I was two minutes late for work. I got stopped by and east-bound train on Inkster and then another east-bound train on Levan!

I did go to Home Depot at lunch. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any wall anchors that would fit my needs. So, I bought several sizes of screws and a 5/8-inch dowel (in case I need to plug the holes I drilled through the tile). I also picked up a bag of mulch, a gallon of Roundup (on sale) and two hot dogs on the way out.

I stopped at the house to drop off the stuff and eat my lunch in a setting that wouldn’t get mustard or onions on my brace.

Back home after work, I cut out a piece of landscape fabric in a circle. I gave the forsythia another two gallons of water, added the landscape fabric and topped it off with mulch. I took an “after” photo for you after I wet down the new mulch with two more gallons of water.

I put the trash out to the road, which was a bit tricky as I had that large piece of cardboard from the shower door. I set the garbage can on top of one end of it and the heavy beer case Mom’s diaries were in on the other.

Before I finished with the front, I sprayed the new growths of grass I’d noticed popping up at the roadside in the driveway.

Back inside, I processed the photos and noticed all the tall dead grass left from where I used the line trimmer. So, I got a leaf rake and pulled it away and into the ditch.

You may have noticed the problem in the photos. The forsythia is just out of range of both my sprinkler and the two my neighbor has set up for his front lawn. So, I guess I’ll have to keep hand watering it until the rains come (if they ever do).

Then I went out back and hand carried the buckets of water to the day lily, and the two peonies. I noticed when walking back the cracks in the earth by the play structure and the burnt up grass. So, I went back inside and grabbed the camera again.

I hooked up the soaker hose in the vegetable garden and turned on the water. I picked and ate a fresh green bean and it was delicious!

Before I went back inside, I dumped the ashes and all the spiral notebook springs out of my fire pit. Then I filled up the birdbath for the poor thirsty birds.

Back inside, it was 7:00 PM. I set the timer for an hour and processed the latest photos. I figured I might as well post them, too, while I had the time.

I made a chicken potpie in the microwave for my dinner. I haven’t had one of those in a while and it tasted great!

When the timer went off I went back outside and checked the little flat container I put under one section of hose (to find out how much water this puppy puts out). It was about half of what I was hoping for. So, I left everything in place and went back inside. I set the timer for another hour.

When the timer went off again, it was dark enough that I set off the motion sensor lights when reeling in the hose. But, now I know how long to leave the soaker hose on.

I watched TV until 10:30 PM and then went to bed.

Monday, July 16, 2012

More burned grass
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The only green grass is in the shaded areas
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Scorched earth
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Holding down the fort, er, cardboard
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Forsythia after mulching and raking
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Forsythia after mulching
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Campfire wood
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The freed forsythia
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I woke up, stiff and sore, at 5:30 AM on Sunday. I made a cup of coffee and then posted the Blog entry.

I started the weekend wash and made breakfast. I watched the news while I refilled my pill box and shaved. The I put the first load of laundry in the dryer and took my shower (in the main bathroom so I could work in the downstairs one without it being wet). After I was done using the water, I put the second load of laundry in the washer.

I was going to water the front garden in the morning, but there is a “slight” chance of pop-up thunderstorms from noon until 4:00 PM predicted. So I decided to hold off on that until tonight, just in case it rains and I can save the water.

But, I still had to water the container gardens out front and the window box on the patio. So, when my shorts were dry, I got dressed and put the second load of laundry in the dryer. Then, I got out the waterer and started. I was adding Miracle-Gro to the jug this time around.

I finished up the front yard and noted some things I didn’t like. I did the window box out back so I could put the waterer and Miracle-Gro away. Then I went out front again.

I used the line trimmer to clean up the space between my north wall and my neighbor’s house. Then I cleaned up around the forsythia bush out front of the row of tiger lilies. I’ve ignored it all year and the grass and lilies were crowding it out. I cleaned it down to the mulch I knew was under there (I would add more mulch if I still had any) and then got my work gloves.

I pulled out as much grass as I could and then watered it with the two gallon bucket, full. It looks better, but I need to get some more mulch this week!

On the way back from the bush, I pulled the few weeds that had come up from under the mulch in the front garden.

Since I had the electric cord out, I decided to do something about the big limb that fell off the maple out front a few years ago. As the tree is technically on my neighbor’s lot, I just put it in the field next door. And, when a guy would bush-hog the lot, he would just drive around it.

But, the guy would does his bush-hogging this year moves it onto my lawn, cuts there and then moves it back. It just seems stupid!

So, I got out my Sawzall and cut it into fireplace lengths. If I see my neighbor, I’ll tell him its sitting there and he can have it (he heats his house with wood). If not, I’ll put it out to the road with a sign: “Free Campfire Wood” and somebody will probably take it.

It was after 11:00 AM, 81 degrees already and humid, so I was sweating on my brace. I decided that was enough outdoor work for today! I went back inside and took off my brace and tried to cool off a bit in the air conditioning (I sprayed the brace with Fabreeze like I usually do, so I don’t offend).

B___ called and we commiserated with each other about the heat, our burnt lawns and what this drought will do to the price of food next year.

I went up into the attic to put away the rose bush Styrofoam winter covers and the tarp I cover my patio furniture with during the winter (both long overdue, I know, but I have been recovering!) Since I was up there anyway, I drilled a hole in the little downstairs hall ceiling for a possible future project. On the way down, I took Jake’s cross country skis and boots (one less item he’ll have to carry down when he comes).

Wow! It was HOT in that attic!!

Back downstairs, I took a break and ate the last two pizza slices for my lunch. A little rest and I was ready to start that shower door. And, yes, I did say “start.” I plan on taking my time and if it gets done today, great. If not, so what? I have two showers and no firm deadline.

About 3:00 PM it did start getting cloudy out (come on, rain!) and 89 degrees F.

I got the bottom sill of the shower cut and installed. It’s only held down by silicon caulk, so there is blue masking tape holding it in place until the caulk sets. I got parts assembled and then temporarily put the two main uprights in place, leveled them and marked the holes with a Sharpie. Then I carefully used a nail set and a hammer to break the glaze on the tile, without actually breaking the tile.

I drilled the six 5/8-inch holes required with a masonry drill bit and cleaned up all the dust with the vacuum cleaner hose. That’s when I ran into a show-stopper problem! I couldn’t get the cheap plastic wall anchors to fit into the holes. Once you got past the tile, the cement backer board and the old masonite (fake tile), there is a wood 2x4 on either side. So, I either need different anchors or longer #8 screws (I presume you would need stainless steel ones so they wouldn’t rust).

I made up a list for a Monday’s lunch-time shopping trip to Home Depot and emailed it to myself at work. It was almost 5:00 PM and still no rain. So, I checked the weather map online and sure enough, there are pop-up thunderstorms, just nothing right around here.

Reluctantly, I went outside and dragged the hose out front. I hooked up the oscillating sprinkler and turned on the water. But, there was a pretty good wind (and a bit tricky, too) so it took several tries and several soakings to get the sprinkler in the exact right place. Finally, I figured it was in the best place it could be (weather permitting) and I went inside. I set the timer for two hours and made myself a cup of coffee.

Since I had two hours, I started in on the old routine housecleaning. It was a little challenging (I couldn’t vacuum the living room carpet as there were shower door parts all over it, for example). But I made a solid dent in it.

When the timer went off, I quit cleaning and went out to turn off the water. I was pulling the hose over the north gate when I saw my neighbor and offered him the wood I’d cut, He thanked me and said he’d get it in a day or two. I reeled in the hose, made sure the gate was closed and buttoned the house up for the night.

I ate two cucumber sandwiches for my dinner. I ate them watching taped DIY shows and then switched to Longmire at 10:00 PM. Then I went to bed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Mother's little one-year diary from 1932
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Parts to the single shower door
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Old Times...

I woke up at 7:00 AM on Saturday. That staying up so late on Friday night must have caught up to me. The first thing I did after putting on my bathrobe was to go out and turn the water back on for that soaker hose. I set the timer for another hour when I got back in. Then I turned on the coffee maker (finally!)

I had a cup while I wrote the Blog entry and put up the photos from yesterday. When the timer went off, I went back outside, disconnected the soaker hose and hooked up the oscillating sprinkler. I set that in place to water the raised bed herb garden and the new garden at the back of the house.

Inside again, I set the timer for another hour and alternated between watching the morning news and surfing the Web. I ate my breakfast and took my meds, too.

I realized as I was moving the sprinkler again (to water around the reflecting pool, the rear of that part of the house and the arbor and St. Francis garden) that there was hardly any breeze this morning. So, I figured it was the perfect time to complete my promise and burn the rest of my Mother’s diaries.

I started a fire in the fire pit with charcoal and a few pine branches and then started putting on the spiral notebooks. Remember me talking about the one diary that really was in a diary book from, I think, 1945? I put that one in first as I thought it would be the hardest to actually burn without reading.

I was wrong. I found another one that was very small and was from 1932. I admit I did look inside briefly, not to read it but because I wondered how anyone (other than Jake and now I know where he gets it from) could write that small! But sure enough, it was my Mother’s perfect handwriting, only miniature. I took a picture next to a quarter to give you a size-reference.

Then I threw that into the fire next. I still had about 10 or so spiral notebooks left. I kept feeding them into the fire, one at a time so I wouldn’t smother it. It did worry me some that the wind had picked up, but that’s why I bought the fire pit with a domed screen top.

The final timer went off, so I unhooked that sprinkler and started lugging buckets to the back wall. This time I did carry all five. The heat and humidity were rising and my brace was becoming uncomfortable. I put on the last three spiral notebook diaries, left the hose unwound and out by the fire pit (just in case) and went inside. It was exactly noon.

I noticed they were setting up for a big party across the street. Somebody had a huge banner with balloons painted on it, hung on the side of the townhouses and four rows of folding tables (like Jake and Carla have) and folding chair were set up. I’m guessing it was a graduation party. It was all very professional and made me miss the good old days with my friend the gangbanger setting up kitchen chairs and people’s old tables in the field next to me for his grandma’s birthday. I hope they are both still alive.

I started laying out the pieces for the shower door on the living room floor. Now, I’ve installed ones on a tub and it was pretty easy. But this has a LOT more parts.

Luckily, my daughter Melissa called. And, we talked so long I started to get sleepy. I mentioned that, while I love the Craftmatic bed, I wasn’t convinced the Sleep Number mattress was worth the price. Heresy! She said I had it adjusted too high and recommended lowering it. So I did.

BTW, she HATES glass shower doors and says they are “so 80’s” and that shower curtains are the way to go. However, I want a glass shower door. So, I think we agreed to disagree. No, now that I think about it, we just disagreed! She is definitely part Brogan!!

But, by the time we hung up, I didn’t feel like starting on the project. Instead, I thought I’d eat lunch, take a nap and start fresh in the morning. So, I made another cucumber sandwich.

Before I could take that nap, though, I had to go out and make sure the fire was dead. It was, so I wound up the hose. It was then I noticed the still-dangling coaxial cable next to the hose reel box.

So, I went back in the house and got the coaxial clamps I’d bought a few weeks back and then forgotten. I got the cordless screwdriver and a nut driver and installed three of them, fastening the cable to the house. It looked nice, but not worth a photo.

I went back inside and lay on the bed, still thinking about a nap and idly flipping through the cable menu. It was fate. After posting that link to “Drive on” on Facebook, wouldn’t you know, the movie “Rambo” was on. I’m having Vietnam-era flashbacks or something! So, I gave up on the nap and turned it on to watch what was left of the movie.

I figured as long as I was going to throw the rest of the day away, I’d have a pizza for dinner. So, I topped a frozen one with yellow pepper rings and more cheese and baked it in the oven (with the vent on). I ate two hot pieces fresh out of the oven for dinner and two more cool ones over the course of the evening.

I realized before I went to sleep just how bad my back was feeling, which made no sense as I had worn my brace during the morning and didn’t do much BLT today. In fact, I hadn’t done much of anything all afternoon... Then it dawned on me: it was the damn squishy bed! So, I put it back the way it was and went to sleep.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New soaker hose #1
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New soaker hose #2
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The good peony
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The sad peony
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Heating up

Friday (and yes, its Friday the 13th) we went back into the heat and humidity, with a projected high of 88 degrees F.

I’m not sure why, but while rushing to get to work, I forgot my belt and all morning was annoyed by my pants slowly slipping down. They are hard to pull up wearing my brace!

I stopped at Home Depot during lunch and picked up that soaker hose, along with some vegetable garden fertilizer and a grill bush (that was an impulse buy). Then I stopped at the Chinese take-out place next to CVS and bought a quart of chicken fried rice. I ate about half of it at home for lunch. I put on my belt and went back to work.

I had just got home and was changing my clothes when I got a call from Luanne. She and Riese were driving back from Florida (where they had been visiting Lu’s stepmother) and on the way to spend the weekend at Jake and Carla’s. We talked for a long time (I guess the ride was boring) about the weather, my health, etc.

I finished watching the evening news and then went out back (hoping it had cooled off a bit). It didn’t. But, I sprinkled a sparse amount of fertilizer in the vegetable garden rows after I hand weeded. Then I used the garden weasel to work the fertilizer into the soil. I don’t want to burn the plants!

Next, I unwound the soaker hose and laid it in place as best as I could (being tightly coiled up didn’t encourage it to lay flat). I used leftover plant stakes to keep it off the plants. Then I dragged out the regular hose, hooked it up and turned it on.

I had successfully used about 200 feet of soaker hose when we lived in St. Clair next to the hedge I planted. I buried it under the mulch I laid and watered the growing bushes religiously. I also showed my system to the new owners. I don’t know if they kept it up, but those bushes are still growing great!

But, this is my first time leaving it above ground. I am hoping the warmth of the sun and the water pressure will take some, if not all, of the kinks out of it and it will eventually lay flat. We’ll see...

I took the fertilizer and the garden weasel back into the house and then grabbed the camera so you could look at what I was talking about. I would encourage you to click on the pictures to enlarge them so you can see the water better. Since I was out there anyway, I took pictures of the two peonies that have grown at dramatically different rates, although I planted them the same and water them the same. I still don’t get that!

Back inside, I set the stove timer for an hour (I have no idea how much water the hose will put out in that amount of time, though) and then warmed up the rest of the chicken fried rice for my dinner.

I went back out and was checking on the placement of some of the water lines when Tammy, from next door, called me over to the fence. She said she really wanted to apologize for all the noise and partying during the fourth of July week. I told her it was no problem. She said she had been out of town visiting relatives in Tennessee until the actual holiday, but was told there was a party every night. I said, “Oh, that explains the naked dancing girls on the deck!” She laughed and said, “I’m being serious! Then on the fourth, we even had that karaoke machine and all the fireworks...”

I told her not to worry. It didn’t bother me and most of the time, since I was in the front bedroom watching TV, I didn’t really even hear them.

We compared garden notes and she warned me I was going to be getting a TON of butternut squash this year. They have a big, fenced-in garden that's in direct sunlight and they water it daily, so its doing much better than mine. Then she said to wait a minute. She went over and picked two beautiful 8-inch long cucumbers and gave them to me!

I went back in house for the night after shutting off the water. I did see where some of the water lines needed adjusting (and so tweaked them) but was a little unhappy that some areas of the garden were still dry. I’m going to have to work on placement and timing, I guess.

I watched TV for a while. I started craving a snack about 10:30 PM (I ate more fried rice at lunch than I did at dinner I guess). Then I had an “Aha!” moment. I went out to the kitchen and used one of the neighbor's gifts to make a cucumber sandwich my Mother would have been proud of (she loved those things).

I went to sleep at 11:30 PM.

Thursday, July 12, 2012