Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Holiday Walkway

Wednesday: (12/26) I decided I needed to get a haircut and beard trim. My trimmer is in the RV at the repair shop. I’m always having to move it from the RV to the house and back so I decide to get another. I like the one I have but they don’t make one like it anymore. I found one close enough at Walmart an headed there first thing this morning. I had pie with a sausage for breakfast and later a couple of roast beef sliders before I headed outside to start work on laying the brick walkway. I mixed some mortar and laid a few bricks on the edge then leveled some sand behind those and laid more bricks. I set about 10 bricks on the edges and about 30 bricks on the sand. Then I noticed I had laid them without the alternate row stagger that the rest of the walkway has. So, I stopped for the day since i don’t want to disturb the wet mortared bricks. Tomorrow I’ll pickup and relay the bricks. I headed off to Lowe’s in Sunnyvale to get more mortar and sand. My little car hauled 12 bags home. On the way home I picked up dinner at Super Taqueria in Sunnyvale. I left all the bags in the car. I hand mixed small batches of the mortar today. Tomorrow I’ll use the electric cement mixer for mix a big batch and lay a bunch of bricks at once.

Thursday: (12/27) Granola for breakfast. I was back outside laying bricks. Actually, i started by picking up bricks to change the pattern. It actually went better than I expected because I didn’t have to lift all of them just the bricks in the rows that were incorrect. I made a tool out of a piece of brazing rod to hook one end of the brick then lifted each brick in the row up and replaced in the correct location into the slot between the two unmoved rows. After that I laid the rest of the bricks to the edge of the back door and then cut and fitted bricks by the edge of the house. The end result was the first ten feet of walkway is finished. I never got to grouting more bricks due to the late hour. I did lay down a bunch of bricks as a path to Ernies door so he can now not have to pickup all the little rock particles and track them into his trailer. We have the same benefit in that we can now enter the house via the back door from the driveway without tracking stuff into our house. Roast beef sliders for lunch. Macaroni and cheese for dinner. Lou and Dawn were out all day thrifting with Dawn’s friend Andrea. They all returned fo dinner and Andrea spent the night. Lou and I dashed over to Grocery Outlet to restock our cheese.





Friday: (12/28) I made a quick trip to Sprout’s market to get granola and some vegetables for a nice hash later. Granola for breakfast. I did some final checks and cleanup where my edge bricks need to be installed. I decided did needed to chip off some more to be sure to get at least ½ inch of grout. I decided to use my cement mixer for the grout. I miked the previous group by hand. Much easier with the mixer and it didn't stick to the mixer as bad as I expected. I ran out of mortar with three more bricks to install by the garden. It was just before 1500 when I finished. After a shower, I was off to lunch. Lunch/Dinner about 1530 at Lucky Chinese Bistro in Mountain View. After dinner, I stopped by Lowe’s in Sunnyvale to get more bags of mortar.

Saturday: (12/29) I made some chorizo hash and eggs for breakfast. When I got outside I laid more bricks to just past the washer. I will likely need to pickup and lower some that I laid toddau. They are too high when they arrive at the top edge. Lou made stuffed tomatoes for lunch. For dinner we went to Marie Callender's for Lou and Dawn’s prime rib dinner. On the way home i picked up more sand for tomorrow. Lou and Dawn did some shopping on their way home.



Sunday: (12/30) Leftover chorizo hash with eggs for breakfast. I lazed a bit watching the Sunday morning news shows. When I got outside ot work on the walkway i started by removing half of the bricks I laid yesterday to get to a point I could lower them so they arrive at the upper drain at the correct level. Getting them back in place correctly took more than half my work day. I them laid about 7 feet of bricks. It may look like something is finished if i have a good day tomorrow. Lou made grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and spaghetti for dinner.



Monday: (12/31) Granola and banana for breakfast. I managed to relax inside past 1000 before going outside to work. I mixed some mortar and laid the last three edge bricks by the garden, I then placed more bricks on the sand completing most of the way to Ernie’s door. I have the final row and a half to lay. I ran out of sand . Since tomorrow is a holiday, I likely won’t be able to get more sand tomorrow so I may have to take the day off. I could trim som bricks for the last row if I can’t take the rest period. Leftover spaghetti for lunch and salmon with rice for dinner.

Tuesday: (01/01) I managed to pick up some of the bricks I placed yesterday and relay them at the proper level. I managed to complete all the bricks beside Ernie’s trailer.  Breakfast at A Good Morning restaurant. Tomales for lunch and dinner.

Wednesday: (01/02) I took a walk around Stanford University Arboretum, Up into Menlo Park and around downtown Palo Alto about 11.8 miles. I checked out the construction of several buildings and did some shopping. Nice to get a stretch, Breakfast/lunch at Safeway Market. Dawn’s soup for dinner.

Thursday: (01/03) I drove Lou to an appointment in the morning. We dropped Dawn off at the bookstore in San Jose and went to the appointment. On the way to the appointment we got  call from Leale’s saying the RV was ready. After the appointment I was dropped off at Leale’s and Lou and Dawn headed out shopping. I took the RV out on the highway including the terribly bumpy highway 85. It handled the road well even at 70 mph. It was scary before at 45. At home I pulled in the wires for the RV power pedestal. Breakfast was an piece of apple pie from Walmart. Lunch was a roast beef and cheese sandwich. Leftovers for dinner.



Friday: (01/04) Granola and a banana for breakfast. I connected the downspout by the water heater that I disconnected when I laid the bricks. I also put some things away that were in the yard. We expect rain tomorrow. I worked on the RV electrical service panel. I finished the panels installation and the hookup of power to it. I had to make a run to Lowe’s for some additional parts and stopped by Dim Sum King for lunch. I finished the installation about 1600. Dawn made sausage and kale soup for dinner. She and Lou made a run to Costco earlier to get some supplies.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Day

Tuesday: (12/25) Christmas breakfast with Ernie at  A Good Morning  restaurant. The rest of the day was spent relaxing at home. I tinkered on the computer. In the vain of communications improvement and consolidation, I moved my old cell phone from Total Wireless, which was good service with 15GB for $50/month, to my Verizon account. I set up the Verizon account when I bout a Jetpack MiFi modem last month. It provides unlimited, unthrottled data service for $65/month. It has worked well so I added the old phone to Verizon as a second unlimited device for $45/month. These are both prepaid devices. Prepaid is much cheaper than our old post paid account. No hidden fees, taxes, etc. Just a flat rate. It all continues to work well, I’ll be moving Lou and Dawn’s phones over as well. They currently post pay $163 for 10gb for one home, 3gb for the other and service for one tablet. I can move them to prepaid service on my account and pay only $115 for all three with unlimited as well. We had leftovers for dinner from our Thanksmas dinner the other day. After dinner we took a walk around the neighborhood.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Little Work, A Little Rain

Sunday: (12/23) I started my day by going by Courtney’s place and picking up an old futon frame. It has some nice dry wood that could be useful o I’ll disassemble it and stow the wood away.  Lou found some good looking garden soil at a neighbors driveway on a walk a couple of days ago. I stopped by and ask if I could have it and they said yes and there was more to come. They are removing an organic garden spot to put in a therapy course for their daughter. It is great looking soil I made several trips bringing 9 five gallon buckets each trip and backfilled the walkway by the garden. I also stockpiled some before the pile was gone. A neighbor across the street from the source was also hauling soil. Competition. On the last load, the wheel on my dumping cart fell apart. Good timing. After an afternoon nap, I took the wheel apart and welded the rim back together then reassembled the wheel. It’s out of alignment but may work for a while. Granola for breakfast. Chinese rice with wieners and cheese for lunch and dinner.


Monday: (12/24) We all went out shopping early then stopped for breakfast at A Good Morning  restaurant. It’s a rainy day today so no outside work, in fact no work for me. It’s not really hard to do nothing. Ham and cheese sandwich for lunch. A salad and some wieners for dinner. I received a letter from ATT asking if I wanted to signup for their fiber Internet service that they just started connecting in our neighborhood. No thanks. I am tired of ATT. That’s why I switched to Sonic for our DSL service. True it arrives at our house on ATT lines but it works much better and the billing is honest. Since ATT was offering fiber I thought that Sonic might be able to as well. They can. I scheduled an upgrade of our Sonic Internet service from DSL to fiber. It’s the same cost and at least five times as fast, theoretically. We seem to be struggling at about 8-10mbs. With the slowest fiber thay say it will deliver 50mbs. The monthly fee is identical and no installation charge so it’s a no brainer.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Thankmas Dinner

Saturday: (12/22) Today is the day we are celebrating Thankmas. We had to defer our Thanksgiving dinner and decide to combine it with our Christmas dinner and call it Thankmas dinner. We had our neighbor Meili and friends Cecelia and Courtney over.  Granola for breakfast. We had an early Thankmas dinner about 1400. Too much was eaten by all. Not to be bothered by tradition, we also opened our presents as well. Now we have a clear holiday on the 25th.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Rainy Daze

Saturday: (12/15) I managed to relax all day. Even though it was a nice day, I never went outside. I rather liked today. Granola and banana for breakfast. Cheese burger for lunch. Leftovers for dinner.

Sunday: (12/16) We went out grocery shopping first thing today. Lou and dawn headed off just before lunch and had lunch at Chavez Market in Redwood City along with some shopping while I stayed home for lunch. More relaxing the rest of the day while we had  some showers. I made bacon flavored spam hash with eggs for breakfast. For lunch I made pancakes with peanut butter and jam and ice cream. Leftover artichoke chicken with rice and asparagus for dinner.

Monday: (12/17) Out chasing big waves today. We drove up to San Mateo for breakfast at Jack’s restaurant. We then continued up to Daly City to the end of John Daly Ave for a look out over the ocean to look at the waves. We stopped further up along ocean beach in San Francisco then explored the Cliff House and the waves there. This storm supposedly provided the biggest waves in several years at 40-50’ high. It was quite impressive. On the way back we visited many thrift stores. We stopped for an early dinner (late lunch) at Neal’s Restaurant in Millbrae.

Tuesday: (12/18) Lou and I made a shopping run to Home Depot in Sunnyvale. I returned three pallets an Lou got some screws. After lunch I started doing the final grading for the brick walkway in the backyard. Lou assembled a bunch of of parts drawers into a hobby cart.
Soft boiled eggs for breakfast. Leftover spam hash for lunch. Dawn made soup for dinner.

Wednesday: (12/19) I worked a couple of hours on the walkway leveling before having to cleanup for lunch. After lunch, I didn’t feel well so i napped the rest of the day. Leftover spam hash for breakfast. Ernie took us all to Marie Callender's for lunch. Leftover soup for dinner.

Thursday: (12/20) I spent the day outside, in the fog, extending a conduit under Ernie’s trailer and trimming and leveling the walkway. I think I finished it to the end of Ernies shed pad, most o the way. We expect rain tonight and tomorrow so likely a day off for me tomorrow. Granola for breakfast. Chili for lunch. Meatloaf with baked spud and peas for dinner.

Friday: (12/21) Lou and I were off early to do our grocery shopping. Stops at Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Sprout’s completed the task. I picked up breakfast at the McDonald’s in Walmart. At home I relaxed since it was raining today and even when it wasn’t it was wet outside. No need to play in the mud today. Leftover meatloaf with air fried french fries for lunch. PBJ toast with wieners for dinner.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Harvey Bear County Park Hike

Friday: (12/14) I headed down to Gilroy for a hike at Harvey Bear County Park. It was 8.5 miles with 13 fellow hikers. Nice clear views, green hills, no rain, and lots of wildlife. A flock of turkeys, a herd of pigs, a group of deer and lots of cows.Nice hike. We started at 0930 and finished about 1330. I took a drive down to the South end of the park to look and the campground there. We might come and camp there sometime. I also stopped by at See Grins Rv to look at Small class B motorhomes. Breakfast from Happy donut. Late lunch at King Egg Roll in Gilroy. Dinner at Marie Callender's in Sunnyvale.




Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Concrete Work

Wednesday: (12/05) I drove the RV down to Leale’s RV in San Jose to have it looked at regarding the possible bad shock absorbers. Lou picked me up and we stopped by at Dawn’s Apartment and I installed a new smoke detector. I also finally installed the new toilet I bought a few months ago. It works so much better than the old one. I ordered a new MiFi modem and it arrived today. I set it up and it seems to be working fine. It’s an Unlimited, unthrottled prepaid account for $65/month. If it works out it will be good to use in the RV and may just replace our home DSL line as well. Granola with diced apple for breakfast. Chinese food for lunch. Pork chops with rice and Brussels Sprouts for dinner. 

Thursday: (12/06) I was out early setting up to pour the first slab of Ernie’s shed floor. Ernie helped. It took a little while to get the mixer placed for easies use, to decide that directly pouring wouldn’t work because the mixer doesn’t like flip over to pour from the other side so we used a wheelbarrow. Bur once were were set we poured the 28 bags needed for the slab in a little over an hour. The rest of the day was spent waiting and finishing. When we got home from Chili’s about 1800 I was able to do the final troweling. It takes longer to dry with the cool weather. Granola and diced apple for breakfast. Leftover Chinese food for lunch. Dinner at Chili’s.

Friday: (12/07) I met the inspector from Planet Orange, the termite people at 0830. He inspected the house and confirmed we have drywood termites in much of the front of the house. We’ve tried to ignore them with the idea there would still be enough of the house to knock down when we sell it since that what happens to most of the older houses in our city when they are sold. Now it looks like we may never leave so perhaps we’ll need to make the house last. I then got busy removing the forms from the concrete slab i poured yesterday and forming for the second pour tomorrow. I needed some more tie wire for the rebar so i visited Home Depot in Sunnyvale. Along the way I got lunch at Super Taqueria. Lou and Dawn were out all day for appointments and to have a Christmas dinner at IKEA. Granola and diced apple for breakfast. A super burrito for lunch from Super Taqueria in Sunnyvale. A pork chop with cottage cheese and Brussels sprouts for dinner.


Saturday: (12/08) Ernie and I poured the second half of his shed’s floor today plus a little piece behind Dawn’s shed. They both took forever to dry. I did the final troweling at 2100.  A wiener and cheese sandwich for breakfast. PBJ toast for brunch. Chili beans for lunch and dinner. 

Sunday: (12/09) I stripped the forms from the second slab first thing. I then mixed and poured four bags of concrete to do another 30 inches behind Dawn’s shed. I then started preparing behind Ernie’s slab and also the space between the two shed. I had to adjust the depth, add forms, set the drain inlets height, and install a drain trench. The drain angle is a bit low so i just hope it is enough to let all the water find the drains. I had to work about an hour after dark but i got all the rebar and forms ready. I do have one form piece to install because I need to cut some notches in it and it was too late to make noise. A sausage and cheese sandwich for breakfast. Shrimp queso dias for lunch. Fish with rice and carrots for dinner.  

Monday: (12/10) I was up early to finish constructing the forms and adjusting the rebar. About 1000 I started mixing and pouring the concrete, by myself today. I mixed about 40 bags pouring half of what will be the garden shed and all behind Ernie’s shed and the fence and another short piece behind Dawn’s shed. Only two pieces to pour tomorrow, about half as much as today to finish the concrete in the backyard. The afternoon was spent relaxing and finishing as needed. I did the last troweling about 2300. I discussed the RV repairs with Leale’s and it will be about two weeks before it comes back. I also scheduled the termite treatment for tomorrow. Breakfast from Happy Donut. Leftover pork chop with carrots and rice for lunch. A cheese burger for dinner.

Tuesday: (12/11) Waffles and sausage for breakfast. I was out by 0730 and stripped the forms and setup the rebar for today’s pour. Ernie helped and we finished it fairly quickly. I then spent some time putting things away since this finished the concrete pours. About 1600 I did a final troweling then after a shower, we were all off for dinner. We drove down to Willow Glen in San Jose for dinner with my fellow hikers at Aqui’s Mexican restaurant. We then all took a walk around the neighborhood looking at the Christmas lights on the houses. This is probably the best decorated neighborhood in the bay area.  Lou took a fall on the walk and broke her glasses.

Wednesday: (12/12) I cleaned up the concrete, removed the tape from the drain lines and trench, removed a forgotten form piece, and washed down the walls of the shed, the fence and the concrete. As I was finishing that, i got a call from the RV shop with some question about the RV. They couldn’t get power for the coach to turn on. They thought it might be something to do with the mods I put in. i could help them over the phone so I drove down to their shop in San Jose. Since I haven’t drawn a circuit diagram, I sketched one for them. Turns out nothing wrong with my mods, just an odd coincidental failure of the disconnect solenoid. I really didn’t know where it was but thought it might be in the compartment where the jacks control is. It was. On my way home i stopped for lunch at the Lucky China Bistro in Mountain View. Lou called and wanted me to meet here for a visit to the doctor. Dawn made gnocchi for dinner.

Thursday: (12/13) I poured the concrete patch under the gas meter. It’s a cap from .5 to 1.5 inches thick to bring the concrete up to the new level. That was it for me today. Lou and Dawn were busy cleaning up the cottage and preparing for the flea market sale. Popcorn for breakfast with a leftover pork chop. Chicken artichoke with rice and asparagus for lunch. Dinner at Hobee’s Restaurant, a stromboli omelet.