Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Week

Monday: (11/24) Another week begins. I started the day with a dentist appointment. They had to do some warranty work on one of my fillings. It only took a few minutes. I did a little looking around at the old Vallco Shopping Center now Cupertino Square. They've been remodeling it for years, going on decades. It's finally taking shape but still mostly empty and with the current economy, probably will remain that way for a while. they changed to an entertainment theme. They've always had an ice scating arena. A big multi screen theater opened a while back. A bowling ally more recently and now, the food court reopened. it only has two tenants now, Burger King and Popeye's but within a few days a third will open and it looks VERY interesting. It's the HB Express a german fast food eatery. They are going to open a big HB Hofbräuhaus sometime but the Express will provide schnitchels, bratworsts and other different fare. We've been waiting for the HB to open. We make it a point to drop by their Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas and their Biergarten in Las Vegas every time we pass through.

Lou Hanging The Pitures.JPG Wilton Security Door.JPG
Lou got the living room back in order today rehanging pictures, etc. When I finally got home, I decided to install the security door on the front. It got deferred but I had a few moments today and it went up easily. Then time to finish the dreaded gutter cleaning.

Brother Ernie arrives tomorrow evening. For dinner we went out to Chili's Restaurant.

Tuesday: (11/25) We were all up early today. Lou and Dawn enjoyed breakfast, I was fasting. We dropped Dawn off in Mountain View to catch the trolley. Lou and I passed a little time browsing a Rite Aide store. We arrived at the Kaiser hospital for my 930 appointment a bit early but they took me right in.

Finger Don's Finger After Surgery
The surgery on my ring finger was schedule for 1030 and started about 1025. They sliced my ring finger open and removed a cyst (a bone spur under a tenon) from my finger just behind the nail. It took about 25 minutes. Fortunately, there was no pain involved. I'm such a sissy.

Lou and I then went to breakfast at the Country Inn in Cupertino, my first, here second. We shared a really nice omlette.

I took a nice nap when we got home. Now, I get to sit or lay around with my hand held high for a few days. Oh gee, I can't do dishes! Brother Ernie is a great cook/chef but he is a real dirty dish generator. I usually spend most of my time trying to keep up. Not this year, poor Lou.

Speaking of Ernie, he just left Bakersfield, 5pm, on his way here from Las Vegas. Not only am I using the tiny keyboard on my little eeePC laptop but I'm also using just onr hand.Ernie arrived about 9:30.

Wednesday: (11/26) Ernie did his laundry all morning. He and I then went grocery shopping for his tenure as chef.

For dinner Ernie fixed some very nice chicken fried steak with smashed potatoes and sour cream green beans.

Chef Ernie.JPG Chef Ernie.JPG
Thursday: (11/27) Thanksgiving day or Turkey Day or whatever, it''s what those who work call a holiday. We, on the other hand call it "today."

Ernie has been very busy baking pies this morning. Lou's been busy trying to keep up with his dirty dish and messy kitchen efforts. They're both doing good work.

Wolfie Walter and Ernie.JPG Walter at the fountain.JPG
The doggies always like the holidays.

Today, the sun actually came out. Yesterday, the rain allowed the fellosw to collect mud and decorate the house with some of it. Much better today.

Wonder of wonders. Dawn actually made a post to the blog I setup for her over two yeears ago, http:\

Dinner was topical. Roast turkey breast, smashed potatoes, creamed peas with pearl onions, non stuffed stuffing, and fruit salad. Everything of the usual Ernie quality. This is the first time we did a turkey breast. It was cooked on the rotisserie.

And then there was desert. Ernie baked three pies; mince, cranberry pear, and apple. Thee cranberry pear pie is very good and holiday appropriate.

We didn't have a stuffed bird but everyone ended up stuffed after dinner.

Friday: (11/28) Omletes ala Ernie for breakfast. He and I went off to Wally World where he did a little shopping for items such as doggie food and I visited Trader Joe's for more eggs and some green peppers. Lou and Dawn headed over to the OSH hardware store and collected a sales tax rebate on the washer we bought a while back. This weekend OSH pays the sales tax.

Lou and Dawn continued thrift shopping. Ernie and i remained home with the dogs and computers

Saturday: (11/29) Lou and I sudoku-ed lot today. Ernie fixed biscuits and gravy for breakfast. He wanted to go over to Sunset gardens but they were closed today. For dinner Ernie fixed potato cheese soup.

Don's Finger Repair
We got our first look at my finger without a bandage today. Doesn't look bad, if a dark ugly finger isn't bad.

The weather was nice again today.

Sunday: (11/30) Ernie was up early preparing to leave. he did a some final laundry and prepared breakfast for us all. He is very handy to have around! We distracted his doggies in the back yard while he packed up. He was off sometime around 11 am. We then all cleaned up and headed out to do a little shopping and generally waste the rest of the day.

My finger has been very nice. The minor pain both during and since the surgery has been much less than the occasional feeling it had been hit by a hammer that has been common for these past many months.
I've got a couple of doctors appointments over the next two weeks and Lou and Dawn plan another visit to Lou's sister in Fresno. I'll also take a few hikes if all goes well. Then, hopefully, we'll be on the road again in mid December.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lazy Days Of Fall

Monday: (11/17) Lou and Dawn were up before me, I didn't wake until after 9:30. After breakfast I hit the green house.

Salvaged Shelves In Green House.JPG Finished Green House With Plants.JPG
I finished the non permanent floor, the portion that will be used for the garden in summer. I threw down a bunch of leftover bricks and pavers. I then installed some wire shelves, then started moving in the plants.

Dawn headed off to San Jose about 1pm. Lou was busy working on finishing the wall.

Tuesday: (11/18) Lou worked on finishing the wall. I cleaned up around the yard and the mess made building the green house. Dawn returned from San Jose and we all went to Carrow's for dinner. Lou and Dawn shared a big prime rib dinner. I had a mile high roast beef sandwich. All very good.

Wednesday: (11/19) Lou finished textured the wall. Now it just needs sealing, painting and some cleanup and the living room will be back in full service. I lazed around working on the computer and other business.

Thursday: (11/20) Lou and I started the day with breakfast at Brian's in Los Altos. We shared a chicken fried steak and eggs breakfast. We then headed over to Kaiser for an appointment. It only took a couple of minutes to setup the surgery for my poor little finger next week. They're going to remove a cyst on my ring finger. It's been fun working with it because any bump or touch feels like I hit it with a hammer but I wanted to get some work done that required the use of my hands so I differed the fix for a couple on months. I didn't get everything done that I wanted to get done but there is always next spring. The house is fixed up much better than before, the green house is finished and some work was done on rebuilding the shop. That's the big project for next spring.

While we were out we did some shopping on the way home as well as stopping for lunch at the Crazy Buffet in Sunnyvale.

I've been enjoying the recent more relaxed days, messing with the computer and such.

Our current tentative schedule for the rest of this year is Thanksgiving at home with brother Ernie whenever that actually occurs somewhere near the real thanksgiving day. Hopefully medical and dental appointments will be completed by mid December and we then can hit the road for a while including Christmas in Las Vegas.

Friday: (11/21) I made a list of things to be completed before I end up with a big bandage on my finger next Tuesday. It's not a long list but I needed to go off to the hardware store to get a few things for it. I got and fitted a new baseboard for Lou's wall repair. I also worked on the sprinklers for the plants in the green house and repaired a light fixture. Those are the kind of little projects that I hope to get done quickly.

I've been hearing the squeal of a hawk the past couple of days but hadn't seen it. It scared off the squirrels and birds quite often though. Today, I heard it again. This time I saw it, being chased by a flock of crows. It's twice as big as the crows but they kept it busy bumping it and chasing it. Interesting.

Lou did all the final prime painting of her wall and she and Dawn visited a rummage sale. Lou made tortellini soup for lunch.

To top off our day, we did some grocery shopping. I'd say we enjoyed dinner at Costco but we didn't, enjoy it, that is. The crowd was terrific. Note to self, never go to Costco, or anywhere else on Friday evening.

Saturday: (11/22) Busy day today. After trying to relax and then realizing there was much to do before I'm forced to really take it easier. I started by cutting a bezel for Lou's new sewing cabinet to fit her old sewing machine. Next, I installed a pipe through the wall in the sun room to accept a drain hose from the dehumidifier. It's been going out the doggie door for a while. it's now going direct to the storm drain system. I then finished off the sprinklers in the green house by cutting a hose to just fit to the sprinkler pipe on the shelf. I then tested the sprinklers and they work great. the list is getting shorter.

I then started to change the lock on the sun room door. It's always been sloppy and was never keyed to the house lock. I have to get a deepset latch for the lockset. So, on to the next project. i had to cut off the kitchen to garage door. It's been sticky so a little more clearance will help. Next, a trip to the dump to get rid of the old washer then a vist to a hardware store for the deep set latch. Another project complete.

Lou put a final coat of paint on the wall then removed the plastic wall that's divided the house these past few days. In the evening she and Dawn went to a story telling meeting in Los Altos.

Sunday: (11/23) Lou's birthday! She's taking a raincheck on it. She's busy cleaning up after the wall project and getting ready for holiday guests. I had installed the baseboard and she then primed and painted it.

I needed to finish my list which included cleaning the rain gutters on Dawn's house and ours. While at Dawn's, the other tenant caught me and had me fix their toilet actuator lever and a door knob. Always something with an old house. On our house, I only needed to clean the gutter on our sun room but that's no simple job It's not a standard, easy to clean gutter. I got the bulk out but it got dark so I finished it Monday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Great Wall

Monday: (11/10) Dawn headed down to San Jose for work. We all headed out early so she could catch the trolley. I stopped at the Kaiser clinic for some lab work. Lou and I then spent the day shopping.We started with some grocery shopping.

The washer failed so we looked for a new washer. The existing one is over 20 years old. We found a model we liked and ten found the cheapest place to get it. It turned out to be at Orchard Supply Hardware which is actually owned by Sears but it was cheaper at OSH than at sears?We'll pick it up and save the delivery/installation. They don't know how to install stuff and why pay $65 for bad work? Plus, I'm cheap. We supposedly will be able to return to the store during the thanksgiving sale and get our sales tax back? Might work.

We also stopped by Home depot for some plywood and sheet rock for Lou's living room wall job and some stuff for relocating some pipes in the green house that were in the flower bed that went to the sprinklers.

Tuesday: (11/11) I tinkered a little this morning. I installed the plywood to stiffen the house. I also cut a bunch of wood strips to shim up the wallboard. Our walls are one inch thick, half inch drywall lath and 1/2 plaster. To simplify replacement we shim the wall and use 1/2 inch wallboard. Lou's been busy working on the wall and working pouring doll parts.

I had a dentist appointment after noon. I bought gas on the way home. Wow! Only $2.39 what a difference a few weeks makes. We really need to get out on the road and enjoy these low prices.

For dinner, Lou made a tomato blue cheese and onion salad that was based on something we saw on the Rachael Ray show this morning. That went along with some BBQ ribs from Safeway.

Wednesday: (11/12) I ripped some strips of wood and shimmed up the wall studs to make the 1/2" wall board become 1" thick. I tacked them up so Lou can hang her drywall.

Hidden Villa Trail.JPG Looking Back Over Hidden Villa.JPG
I went out to Hidden Villa and hiked up toward Black Mountain and Duveneck Windmill area, then back down the mountain.

At the Top.JPG View Of Palo Alto From The Top.JPG
It's a pretty hike and also gives some nice views of the town below. You can see our house in the right picture above, top right of picture (if you have really good eyes).
On the way home, I stopped at OSH and picked up the new washer.

Dawn returned home this evening.

Thursday: (11/13) I started the day by installing the new washer. I then worked a little on the green house rerouting the sprinkler pipes. Lou and Dawn assembled a new worm composter that Dawn got through Palo Alto Freecycle. It was never used. Lou also cut the drywall for the living room wall and tacked it up. I'll screw it down later.

We all went downtown to Dawn's birthday dinner. Her birthday was Monday but the celebration was delayed until she came back home. We went the the Palo Alto Creamery for dinner and then she went to the Bell's Books for an author talk, "War Is Beautiful". Actually, the author died many years ago the manuscript was misplaced for years, found in a library and then published. It's not about President Bush as the title might imply but about the experiences of a soldier during the Spanish American War. Actually this is what I got from Dawn, Lou and I did a little shopping while Dawn attended the talk.

Friday: (11/14) We're in for a warm day today. 80 degrees in mid November? The ants know this means nothing and we're in for a really cold winter soon. That or they are wasting a lot of effort.

I screwed down the drywall for Lou and installed a plastic wall for dust containment. Lou and Dawn went grocery shopping and came back with a case of bananas Dawn will dry them, hopefully.

Saturday: (11/15) I started the day sanding Lou's wall. She had filled the large gaps and screw holes. Unfortunately, she used some joint compound that was left over from previous jobs. What she used was waterproof compound. It's more like caulk and was difficult to sand. Lou then taped and textured the wall.
I finished the sprinkler piping and started the floor in the green house.

Dawn dried bananas and other cooking all day.

Sunday: (11/16) I laid bricks to complete the permanent portion of the floor in the green house. I also installed some wood on the exposed edges and grouted the big gaps.

Dawn dried bananas.

Wall Ready To Finish.JPG Lou Finishing The Wall.JPG
Lou worked on the wall.

Our New Green House

Monday: (11/03) the rain returned. It started sprinkling enough for me to stop about 2pm and then picked up from then on. I decided it must be time to do other things. Yesterday, I picked up what i thought was twqo pair of hinges to weld on the doors of the green house. Turns out they were not pairs so i need two more. It's not worth the drive to Lowes in Sunnyvale so I looked at our local OSH hardware. They didn't have any removable pin hinges. Not much of a store anymore but it is nearby. I then thought I'd try Home Depot but couldn't get to their store in East Palo Alto due to traffic being at a total standstill? So I turned around and went by a local rather expensive hardware store and found the hinges at a bit more cost though not as much as the cost of the gas I had already used. i also picked up a switch for a lamp that needs repair.

Since the rain wasn't letting up, it seemed a very good time to go by the garage and have the car smog check done. This older  car has had problems passing the past two times, both times requiring the replacement of the catalytic converter. kind of odd. Today, it passed, barely though it was excellent after the last repairs. 785 for NOX when it would have failed at 786. Next time I can assume it won't pass and will require the converter again. I really wonder what the results of the test would be if the tester were not connected directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles and or if they didn't reference the age of the vehicle as part of the test? I really believe they want me to get rid of this car since it's 22 years old. At least it passed for now!

I had a nice conversation with the office technician at the shop. He is from Hungary and this will be the first election in which he can vote. He bacame a citizen this past summer.

Green House Framing Started.JPG Green House Ready For Skin.JPG
Tuesday: (11/04) A nice clear sky today though it did get chilly in the afternoon. I finished hanging the doors on the green house and did a little prep to hang the plastic. I also nibbled away at the tree branches that I pruned putting them in the compost bin. Tomorrow is garbage day and I didn't want the pile to remain with room in the bins. Since the time changed, it gets dark so much earlier. Seems like more than one hour earlier?

I then settled in to watch the election results. Since we usually are traveling at election time we're permanent absentee voters so the voting part was done days ago. Congratulation to our new President Elect Barak Obama. Hopefully he steers the country back on the right course.

Wednesday: (11/05) Another nice day. More of the same working on the green house. The skin on the roof was installed. Lou and Dawn left Fresno at Lou's sister's place and went down to Bakersfield to visit Aunt Helen. They've been making a haul at the thrift stores on the way.I would have liked to go but wanted to get the green house ready before it's needed. The temperatures have been getting down into the 30's at night. it won't be long before a freeze warning and the mad rush to protect the plants.

Green House Finished.JPG Wilton Tree Pruning.JPG
Thursday: (11/06) Left, Green house all finished. It doesn't look like much. It's kind of invisible with the clear Lexan skin but it should protect the plants. I'll probably use it for the garden space during the summer with the doors removed. There was some light left so I continued with more pruning of the trees next to the green house. The tree is in the neighbors yard but all the growth is in our yard. The limbs are large and low and my head is always locating them so I'm raising the roof some.

Friday: (11/07) Today was a day of rest, mostly. I installed a peep hole in the front door and worked on a leaky toilet. How exciting!

Saturday: (11/08) More rest for me. This is kind of nice!

Lou and Dawn returned from Bakersfield via highway 101 with a long stop in Salinas. Dawn wanted to check some books that were at the local library.

Sunday: (11/09) I fixed breakfast home fried potatoes, fried bologna (European style, more like ham), and fried eggs. We enjoyed it in the back yard. The weather was nice. I then started digging out the floor of the green house. I built it over a raised flower bed and removed the retaining wall Thursday. Those concrete blocks weigh 200-300 pounds each and I think that may be why my back was bothering me recently? Anyway, today i dug out the dirt and leveled the floor.

Lou worked on moving her treasures into her shop. She found a load of doll molds at one of the thrift stores and received a lot of doll making tools and materials from a friend of Aunt Helen's in Bakersfield.