Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Aching Back

Monday: (10/26) Little work on my part. Ernie worked at sand filtering. Lou and Dawn moved some planters. A neighbor down the street accepted my old table saw so we rolled it down the street before he backed out.

Donuts for breakfast. Cold cuts for lunch. Hamburgers and macaroni salad for dinner.

A View Of the New Shop Sheds and The Green House and Our Worn Out lawn
Tuesday: (10/27) Little work on my part. I inspected the contractors work on the street nearby. I installed some door handles on the shop and sealed the gutter. Ernie finished filtering the sand pile. Lou and I picked up our new dishwasher.

Waffles for breakfast. Grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Chicken, baked potato disks, sweet potatoes, peas and broccoli for dinner.

Wood Decking Removed Just the Rotten Supports Remains Wood Deck All Gone Exposing the old Garage Foundation
Wednesday: (10/28) Ernie, Lou and I worked on removing the wooden deck. We removed about 3/4 of it. Ernie and I also installed the new dishwasher. It's so quiet, I wasn't sure it was running. Quite a difference. It's a good thing the old dishwasher stopped working because it had a leak that could have turned in to a real problem. They don't last forever.

Breakfast was some of Courtney's homemade pumpkin pie. Lunch was from our local Chinese fast food place China Mei. Lou made a nice pot roast for dinner.

Thursday: (10/29) Lou, Dawn and I went up to San Francisco. We stopped for breakfast in Milbrea at Neal's Coffee Shop. We dropped Dawn off at the EPA office for a job fair. Lou and I looked around nearby in downtown San Francisco. After Dawn was finished we all went to Chinatown for a late lunch and a look around the shops. We returned home about 7:30.

While Lou and I were having tea waiting to pick up Dawn, I noticed Lou had some spinach in her teeth (see breakfast below). Spinach's reputation proved true. Hopefully Dawn didn't have a similar piece of residue on display during her interviews. Note to Dawn, no spinach before any future interviews.

We arrived back in time for Dawn to go over to Courtney's for a pumpkin carving party.

Ernie worked alone today removing the rest of the wood decking. Getting old nails and screws out isn't easy.

Breakfast was corned beef hash, eggs, hash browns and pancakes. Lou and Dawn had a spinach Italian sausage omlette with home fries and toast. Always good. Lunch was white rice, Kung pow chicken, sweet and sour pork, minced meat dim sum (aka pork stickers), egg rolls, and won ton soup.

Friday: (10/30) Ernie and I finished removing the deck and salvaging the decking boards. They make a nice fence now. They will either be used later for a smaller deck or given away for someone else to use. There is a lot of good redwood there. The only thing that has to be dealt with still is the fence that was attached to the deck on one side.

We also unloaded a couple of new metal garden sheds Lou picked up yesterday. We're replacing Lou's worn out shed used to store some of her ceramic molds and adding another for Ernie's storage needs. Unloading was enough for today. We'll assemble them another day.

The evening was ruined by a kitchen sink drain stoppage. I took most of the night trying everything to get it open. I finally succeeded in poking a small hole in it and Lou then opened up with a good dose of tide detergent. It popped open after about 30 minutes of tide. Fun! Fun!

It's a good thing my back has been cooperating and I was able to get something done today.

French toast for breakfast. Lunch was smoked chicken and avocados. Dawn made a nice vegetable soup and baked some beer bread for dinner.

Saturday: (10/31) Halloween.  Everyone was busy in the yard. Ernie and I made a dump run with the debris from the deck removal. We also removed the grape and scarlet trumpet vines.

Lou was busy moving molds from her shed. Just a little more work before we assemble her new storage shed for the molds.

Breakfast was whatever you found. I had a PBJ English muffin. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. Meatloaf baked potatoes and corn on the cobb for dinner.

Sunday: (11/01) Lou Ernie and I went down to San Jose to look at a used RV for Ernie. It was a 1988 Tioga 27' class C/ It was in pretty good shape but the delaminating exterior walls worried us. No evidence of any leaks though. We want a short RV, in good shape with a low price. The search continues.

Other that our morning trip we relaxed most of the day at home.

We stopped at Jack In The Box for breakfast, Lou and i had steak and egg breakfast burritos. Ernie had an ultimate breakfast sandwich. Lunch was leftover soup and meatloaf.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still Not On The Road

Monday: (10/19) I was awoken just before 9am by Ernie saying brunch was ready. I got the hint it was late by his choice of words. Today was predicted as a rain day so I wasn't in a hurry to get up and successfully delayed it.

In the afternoon the sprinkles stopped long enough to get some boards cut for the other shop door before starting again. The bay area had some very sever rain storms passing through. About 5pm we called the dogs inside when one rain cell was reported to be dropping 6.7 inches per hour in Menlo Park, our neighbor to the North and was passing into our town. Fortunately it was just light sprinkles as it passed us.

About 2:30, I moved the RV out of the driveway in anticipation that the contractor would be pulling in our new gas line before they quit for the day but  evidently the guided boring guys were too stressed out and quite before doing ours. They've had a bad time hitting three gas lines, a few water lines and a fiberoptic cable on this project already. We watched as they did one push very close to an existing gas line on top of a sewer line. They could have gotten natural gas either of two ways but all went well.

Lou and Dawn arrived in Reno safely and were busy checking all the thrift stores and visiting a few casinos.

I finally posted the pictures for the past month.

Ernie prepared sauerkrauted fried potatoes with Italian sausage and eggs for breakfast. No need for lunch. Dinner was pork chops, Spanish rice and fresh green beans with bacon.

Tuesday: (10/20) In order to avoid the embarrassment of a brunch awakening two days in a row, I set an alarm. I got up at 7:30 and, after a shower, moved the RV from the driveway. I'd prefer to give them all the room they need to put in the new gas line and, to get the RV out, they can't have removed the traffic plates covering the trench in the middle of the street in front of our driveway. Our cars can squeeze by, the RV can't. Since they didn't get our new lateral gas line in yesterday, stopping only two houses away, I mistakenly thought they would be back today. They weren't. They moved on to other tasks today.

I managed to assemble the second shed door and install a deadbolt lock on it. Ernie and I also trimmed the neighbors tree that wraps around the RV when it's parked. Since the RV was gone, I took advantage of an otherwise wasted move, and trimmed the tree.

Lou and Dawn made it home about 1030 pm. Yhey stoped for dinner at Cabella's Sporting Goods at Boom Town on their way out of Reno.

Breakfast was apple fritters. Lunch was a brunch of a breakfast sandwich ala Ernie. Looked and tasted much like the ones I fix. Dinner was mostly leftovers but Ernie added baked potato disks. Something like very thick potato chips. We managed to polish off left over sauerkrauted pork chops, green beans and bacon,  and Spanish rice.

Wednesday: (10/21) I did only a little tinkering rekeying the lock I installed on the shop yesterday.

Boring In Our New Gas Line It Takes A Big Crew? Ernie Had To Supervise
Other than that it was show time. We all watched the crew pull in our new gas line to the house. I had moved the RV out of the driveway for the past two days but they didn't do the job. Today after lunch they finally showed up and did it but I didn't move the RV. They managed with no spatter and no other damage. It takes a lot of people to do it, evidently. They couldn't have done it without Ernie's supervision (right front of right picture).

I had intended to leave just after noon to go to San Francisco for a computer geek meeting. I was delayed when the boring contractor showed up to do our gas line. I HAD to watch. I ended up catching the 4:11pm train which got me up to SF in time for my meeting. I just usually like some time to look around when I go up.

The AfterMAX meeting at San Francisco State University's downtown campus for a presentation about what happened and was announced at the Adobe MAX Conference recently. This was a combined user group meeting of SilvaFUG North (SF),  SanFlashCisco. and  BAADAUG (which I belong to). There were about 100 of us geeks finding out all about what's coming from Adobe. it was fun!

Lou fixed French toast for breakfast. Lunch was bologna and cheese cold cuts. I was away and had pizza for dinner. At home everyone else had BBQ ribs, macaroni salad and spinach.

Thursday: (10/22) Busy day watching the contractor and cutting and installing trim on the new shop building.

Breakfast was Hong Kong Bakery pork stickers and egg tarts. Dinner was steak, asparagas and Ernie's potato disks again.

Friday: (10/23) Ernie and I cleaned up where the fountain and succulent garden was. We removed all the concrete blocks that supported the barrels and moved most of the sand.

Started the day with breakfast sandwiches. Leftover ribs, macaroni salad, and baked pumpkin for lunch. Dinner at Sweet Tomatoes was even sweeter than we expected. The people ahead of us had printed out several 2 for 1 coupons which we were able to use to reduce our cheap meal to really cheap. Excellent as usual too.

Saturday: (10/24) Lou changed our plans for the day, early. She was cleaning up the kitchen and couldn't get the dishwasher to go. It was dead like it had no power but did. It's in pretty bad condition since it is almost twenty years old. The service panel screws were rusted necessitating a destructive removal of the panel. I determined Lou needed  new dishwasher. We headed out looking for the perfect replacement. Good design and price are hard to find. We can find something to dislike about most units and most of the ones we can live with are too pricy. We eventually narrowed it down a best choice but didn't order it since we couldn't get it until Tuesday and can just let them know on Monday and still get it Tuesday. We'll look around some more tomorrow and Monday to be sure our choice is "perfect."

Breakfast was cereal and diced apples. Lou and I enjoyed lunch at Neal's Coffee Shop in Millbrea. Ernie fixed hamburgers for dinner.

Our Recycled Sand Pile / Dog Bed Plants Waiting For Their New Home
Sunday: (10/25) Ernie worked at processing the sand from the succulent garden filtering out roots and other junk so the sand can be reused as needed later. I moved and staked bricks and concrete blocks that had been removed from the succulent garden and Lou had washed yesterday. Bricks were no problem but the concrete blocks weigh up t0 300 pounds or more and I got carried away and one of them got my back. So, I relaxed the back most of the rest of the day. Good thing most of the work is done.

Brunch was donuts. Dinner was smoked chicken, broccoli. and sweet potatoes (Lou and Dawn) or Ramen noodles (Don and Ernie).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sheds Finished

Monday: (10/12)  Finally, the new shop and storage shed are mostly finished. It took a while. I started it in April. There was time thinking, plan changes, a couple of trips, some unexpected additional work but it's finally done. We're expecting a really heavy storm tonight so it was just in time. Today we installed the siding and rain gutter.

Breakfast was left over quiche. A bologna and longhorn cheese sandwich for lunch. Ernie fixed corned beef hash and a carrot apple and raisin salad for dinner.

Tuesday: (10/13) A busy wet day. Ernie and I assembled some industrial shelf units and moved much of the shop contents from the temporary tent into the new sheds. Our severe storm had started heave rain by 5am and hasn't slowed by 6pm.

Breakfast was oatmeal. Lunch was Jack In The Box burgers. Lou fixed artichoke chicken with rice and steamed vegetables for dinner.

Wednesday: (10/14) I finished move the rest of the stuff into the shop from the tent. It takes forever to move a pile of junk.

Ernie and Lou erected a temporary fence on the patio area so the dogs can be outside during the day. Dawn is allergic to them and having them in the house all day is to much. The back yard turned to mud with all the rain so they have been inside and walked on leash in the front yard since the rain came. Poor dogs, but the house doesn't need more mud.

Today, fortunately, was not raining. The weather predictions said two days of heavy rain but we only had the one day storm giving  us at least 2 inches of rain. While it was overcast, it didn't leak all day.

The contractor doing the gas line on our street hasn't worked all week. Monday was a holiday, Tuesday it rained and Wednesday it was supposed to rain and they relieved the weatherman.

Breakfast was eggs, bacon and some of Dawn's homemade sourdough toast. Lunch was leftover chicken with artichoke and rice with steamed vegetables. Dinner tri-tip roast, rice, and a green salad.

Thursday: (10/15) Another overcast but nice day.The contractor was out working on the gas line, first time since last Friday.

Temp Shop Tent Gone From Deck Temp Shop Tent Gone From Deck
Ernie and I removed the tent that was my shop for this past year. The walls were garbage, the top blew apart a couple of weeks ago. That tent didn't last as well as the other tent that we've had for several years. I spent the rest of the day tidying my junk and cleaning up the deck and yard. Lou's been busy potting some of the plants from around our big fountain that we're removing. We'll also be removing our detached wooden deck soon.

Breakfast was maple bars thanks to Ernie's morning walk by the donut shop. I fixed grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch. Dawn and Courtney fixed dinner.

Friday: (10/16) The morning was wasted watching the contractors pull in our new gas main. I loaded the car with all the concrete debris, used forms and other junk from the yard and delivered it to the dump. Lou and Dawn went to a craft fair in Los Altos. Ernie and Walter, his dog, went to the vet. Walter hasn't been eating in his usual ravenous style.

Sourdough egg, cheese and bologna breakfast sandwiches. PBJ sandwich for lunch. We went up to Menlo Park to the British Bankers Club for dinner. They had a prime rib special which Lou and Dawn enjoyed. Ernie and I had shepherds pie while Courtney had fish and chips. All very good.

Shovel Headed Garden Worm
Saturday: (10/17) While enjoying breakfast Dawn spotted a rather long worm. It turns out it's a shovel headed garden worm. Dawn and Lou set up a terrarium for it. Poor thing got caught.

Windy Hill Preserve Fallen Tree Windy Hill Preserve, Hamms Gulch Trail
I hiked the Windy Hill Preserve from Portola Valley up to Skyline Road (the top of the mountain). I looks like they lost a lot of trees in our last storm. The tree above split and fell both directions.

Interesting Trees Along Corte Madera Creek At Windy Hill Preserve Palo Alto Viewed From Near Skyline Ridge In Windy Hill Preserve
The 3 plus miles up on the Hamms Gulch Trail were mostly tree covered, still moist from the recent rain. The smell of eucalyptus and bay leaves was quite aromatic. The group of trees by the Corte Madera Creek were interesting. The view at the top looking out over the Southern bay and Palo Alto was good since the air was nice and clear. The hike down was via the Spring Ridge Trail (mostly a sunny fire road) and Meadow Trail. Coming down was much quicker than the struggle going up.

My camera failed just before I got all the way to the top so I didn't get all the pictures I wanted. I have to get a new camera!

Breakfast of Ernie's apple pie. Pie didn't last so brunch of toasted English muffins. Lunch was a peanut energy bar (for Don). Dinner is refrigerator findings.

Sunday: (10/18) Ernie moved a lot of Lou's molds from her storage shed. Her shed is going to be relocated and has to be emptied first.

I tinkered with my new table saw using it for the first time since I bought it a couple of months ago. My dinosaur huge table saw will be disposed of by sale of give-away soon. I ripped some 2x2's and built one of the shed doors. The return of some rain cut that effort short. Our weather report calls for a good rain tomorrow but if it happens to be clear, I'll get the second door built.

Lou and Dawn started the day with a visit to a rummage sale. They then packed up and headed over to Reno for a girls weekend off.

Breakfast was my usual breakfast sandwich. Lunch was chicken soup and Parmesan French toast. Ernie fixed pork chops, sauerkraut and potatoes in the crock pot for dinner.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Raising The Roof

Starting The Shed Framing
Monday: (10/05)I stripped the form from the new shop floor and did the final cleanup. Today was a material gathering day. A couple of trips to Home Depot for lumber, plywood, and siding. I had been thinking of making the frame square metal tubing but we're expecting a big rain storm in a few days and it would probably take a two or three weeks to finish the shop if I used the metal rather that using wood. I hope to finish the building in 2-3 days now.

Lou Cleaning The Fountain
Lou was busy cleaning the fountain. She also finished installing her living patio in the front yard. There was an unplanted flowerbed by our front door and front patio and she filled it in with little brick tiles that have space for grass of in this case a plant like baby tears. She also cleaned the fountains.

The contractor for the city began breaking out the concrete by our gas meter in preparation for replacing the pipe to it. Tomorrow they'll be bring a very big noisy vacuum truck and a high pressure washer to dig it out and start sawing the road  to start making the street rather interesting to navigate. They are using guided boring to install all the new piping.

Ernie returned late tonight from a visit to Las Vegas to work on cleaning out his storage there.

Breakfast was left over Green Chili and cheese omlette, Lunch was the same with cottage cheese and chunky apple sauce. Dinner was baked macaroni and cheese and a broccoli, peanut and bacon salad.

Tuesday: (10/06) Not too productive today. I did get the baseplate for the walls installed and did repair the other adjacent fence. Ernie assisted as needed. Since I removed and reconstructed two sections of the rear fence the dogs assisted as well by being chained up during the repair.

Lou, Dan and Courtney went off to San Jose. Lou had a doll making class, Dawn worked at her internship at the City of San Jose and Courtney collected stuff to finish furnishing her condo.

There was a little added excitement in the afternoon when the gas line contractor ruptured the gas main on the adjacent street causing about five fire trucks, the chief, and ambulance and about a dozen city trucks and cars and a pile of contractor wite shirted big wigs to hang around for a while. I walked over not because I heard the sirens but because there suddenly were no construction workers working on our street. No fire, just preventative actions. It is more exciting than when they break water lines.

Breakfast was the usual egg, cheese dn bologna sandwich. Lunch was Chinese, Dinner was leftover pizza from House of pizza in San Jose which Lou, Dawn and Courtney had for lunch.

I do have some pictures to post but haven't taken the time to process them. Maybe next week if it rains.

Wednesday: (10/07) Ernie and I worked on the building. It required a lot of staring and thinking. We got the wall framing up.

I got a call in the evening that our tenant in San Jose was without hot water due to PGE working on new service lines and the technician wouldn't re-light the water heater because or a rusty vent pipe. My task for tomorrow.

Toast with peanut butter and jelly for breakfast. Lunch was an Angus bacon cheese burger from Mcdonald's.  Steak , spuds, and a green salad for dinner.

Thursday: (10/08) Dawn and I were off to San Jose early. I had to get the hot water heater working. Dawn had a meeting and SJSU. I checked the job for what I needed and went off to the hardware store. I replaced the water heater vent pipe and checked the range burners. All worked well except one very dirty one that takes a long time to start. No problem with the igniter just a very dirty burner. PGE, the utility company, is putting in new gas lines there in San Jose, just like at home. We never knew? They relocated the gas regulator and in doing so, left some of the wood siding damaged, possible mouse access points. I sealed the holes temporarily.   As I finished, Lou called to say that they needed to RV moved at home so I dashed home.

I pulled the RV out and the city utility contractor blasted out the gas service entrance pipe with high pressure water and a 6 inch hose from a huge vacuum truck.

I worked on the shed installing much of the roof.

Dawn and I had breakfast burritos at La Victoria in downtown San Jose. Lunch was cottage cheese and apple sauce. Dinner was Dawn's French onion soup and cheese toast.

Pulling Gas Main Under Street Shed Project Framing
Friday: (10/09) We wasted the morning watching the construction crew bore from in front of our house 450 feet to the corner of El Camino Real. After a laborious morning watching, we had lunch. After lunch, I finished the rafters and sheathing on the shed roof. Lou and Ernie assisted. I finished the afternoon with a trip to Home Depot for roll roofing materials, gutters and flashing for the roof.

Lou fixed Swedish pancakes for breakfast. Lunch was bologna and cheese sandwiches. Ernie took us out to the Boston Market for dinner. Lou Dawn, Courtney and I  had chicken pot pies and some Cesar salad. Ernie had the beef brisket.

Removal Of Big Fountain
Saturday: (10/10) Lou Dawn and Courtney worked on removing the plants from around our big fountain in preparation of removing it and the wooden deck around it. It's all in pretty bad condition.

Ernie and I finished the end wall framing. Lou and I worked on the shop roof getting the felt down and half of the asphalt roll roofing. It's barely warm enough in the afternoon to do the roofing.

Lunch was treats from the Hong Kong Bakery. Pork stickers and egg tart, my favorite. Dinner was BBQ beef ribs, a Waldorf salad, and spaghetti with misthra cheese.

Sunday: (10/11) Lou and I left early and went to the Home Depot in San Carlos. I needed another roll of roofing, some more plywood and some lumber. I also found some leafguard rain gutter covers, something never found in stock before. We stopped for breakfast at Chavez Market in Redwood City on the way home.

Ernie and I got to work on the walls. After it had warmed up some, i got to the roof finishing the roofing except for the trim metal. Now it can rain. Still have to finish the siding installation possibly tomorrow before the rain.

Breakfast at Chavez Market. Lou and I shared a huevos rancheros with chili verde. Lunch was a cheese quesadillo from our nearby Tacos El Grulense. Courtney prepared a nice broccoli bacon quiche and a green salad for dinner.