Friday, February 24, 2012

Almost, Almost Done

There is an adage that says to finish you must take the first step.

We did that.

We began with the painting project.

Painting. Easy.

Empty house. Real easy.

Until you realize that the walls haven't seen a coat of paint in YEARS. And everything needs two coats of primer and two to three coats of color.

First day of first step
Oh, and I like red.

Part of the kitchen
 Then, just when you think things are going well,,,,,,,

The roof leaks.

And you bought the house "as is".

New roof going on
OK. We can recover from this and still move in on the right date.


wood rot.

Side deck wood rot
Resulting in another project...

Ripping out for the rebuild

Rebuild started

But, slowly, with a new Home Depot card, it begins to take shape.

Today, the back deck was partially replaced and made liveable.

Goodbye to the spa hole (yes, a hole in the deck from a hottub)

And the master bedroom was finally painted.

And I learned something. As much as I am a Green Bay fan, I also love the 49ner's. I didn't know I loved them enough to use their colors throughout my house!

Did I say I like red??????

Soon. Oh, so soon, I can taste it. We will be living here.

There will still be projects but I can do them when I feel like it. (And when I can afford it!)

Soon. Oh, so soon, I can sit on my deck and watch my oak trees,

 and my fruit trees,

and the hummingbirds that can't be owned

Soon, oh, so soon.

Friday, February 17, 2012


I remember.

A gnarly fig tree.

A lemon tree with thorns.

Three giant elm trees. (and the mess they made)

A giant attic full of secret doors and hideaways.

A giant, claw-footed bathtub.

A beautiful upright, grand piano.

A library shelf full of books and crayons and coloring books.

A Singer sewing machine.

A built in hutch full of beautiful china and crystal.

A musty smell.

Fresh apple dumplings with cinnamon milk.

Coffee soup.

A trash "incinerator". (a big oil barrel in the alley)

McComber's Market.

Nana's orange grove

The magnolia tree

A swamp cooler.

A screened in front porch.

A hidden sink.

Nana's closet.

A hide-a-bed in the living room.

All of this was at Nana'a house. In Strathmore, California

The house is gone. It burned to the ground one night long after Nana had passed. But I use to drive by it often and remember all these things.

Until I was in high school, Nana made ALL of my clothes. She was an incredible seamstress. And even in high school she would make my costumes for the plays that I was in.

She was no master cook but her apple dumplings were to DIE for. We have searched everywhere for the recipe but to no avail. They were steamed into white fluffy clouds of dough. There was a whole apple inside seasoned with cinnamon and sugar. And the sauce of sugared milk with cinnamon was the key to the whole thing.

A night at Nana's meant apple dumplings!

Going to church with her meant listening to her sing.  At one time she had a beautiful voice but as she aged and her hearing went so did her ability to stay on key. I loved it. She sang "lustfully" because she loved it.

She also played the piano. She was Julliard trained but never graduated because her father was diagnosed with tuberculosis and, in those days, that meant the whole family had the disease. So she wasn't allowed to stay.

But she would play for me and my brothers.


So strong that I don't even have to close my eyes to be in the room with her. Or to be in the attic. Or to be picking lemons.


Of what made me me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Stressful Serenity

The house is not done yet. It is a work in progress.

I must say that I could do without unexpected hindrance to that progress.

Like a completely rotted out section of the deck where the dog fence has to go.

We have the posts set in cement. The no-climb wire is ready. But we needed to attach it to the house first so the dogs (especially Ms. Zelda-the Houdini dog) could not find exit points UNDER the house.

Ms. Zelda

And when we take off the fascia boards what to we find? Untreated Douglas fir that is in full dry rot. ==sigh==

None of the wood was reusable.

Except as firewood.

This required ANOTHER trip to Home Depot.

We are now hitting the sounds, flavor and feel of THE MONEY PIT.

To say that I am upset by this latest turn of events, would be an understatement.

So I head to the front porch to sit and contemplate my fate.

And I am witness to a brutal battle. BRUTAL, I tell you.

Much screaming and screeching and, well, you know....

When hummingbirds get protective of their nectar, they get protective of their nectar!

Flying at speeds that the US Air Force would envy, about six of these critters swarmed around my front yard, knocked me back an inch or two as they strafed my position, hid in the trees and otherwise had an all out war.

They would all stop occasionally to have a drink from the flowers on the manzanita or the  local bar.

Local hummingbird bar
And as I watched (and avoided) I saw some amazing things.

 Just standing there. Not 100 yards from me.

An oak tree coming into bud.

Fresh deer tracks.

And I remembered this view from the day before--

And I thought to myself-----

Why are you stressing out about the place that gives so much serenity?  Take a look around. Just look and listen and BREATHE.

Yeah, I am losing sleep over this place right now. But when we get here, when it is a livable place, it will give such peace to anyone and everyone that comes to our home.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Little Jazz; A Little Blues

If you asked me right now what kind of music Dan liked, I would have to say "Every kind".

Blue Melon Band in concert in Montana

He loved music and concerts. He would drive hundreds of miles to a concert.

Dan Trying his hand at a cello
When Smitty was here over Christmas, he regaled everyone with the story of the VW. It seems that Dan had a VW in Germany in 1970. And he and Smitty and Don Johnson went to Hamburg looking for a guy that was suppose to be playing there.

The musician was a jazz and blues man. With a little ol' fashion rock n' roll.

He was suppose to be very good.

After all, they had an album by the guy.

The musician wasn't there. Or at least they couldn't find him.

But they had a blast in the VW.

Today, in the mail at the new house, I got a package from Amazon.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out who would send a package to that new address. And I had no idea what Amazon would send.

It was a CD of the album that Dan and Smitty had listened to 4 decades ago. It was the music that sent them to Hamburg.

It was a little jazz and a little blues.

Thank you so much, Smitty.

I love you!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Roof Goes On!

Finally, some progress on the big fixes.

Singles. Finally. And no rain in the meantime.


And on the interior. COLOR!

I am, if you hadn't notice, not going to win the wallflower of the year award. That failure is nowhere else so obvious as in my choice of house colors.

The outside may be gray.

The inside is not.

Evidence #1
The walls are Vanilla Custard. The trim is Clare de Lune. The door is New Brick.

Subtle, right?


The accent wall in the office. Known as Caribbean Coral. Ceiling is Vanilla Custard. Trim WILL BE Clare de Lune.


Going into the first bathroom you would think it was just Vanilla Custard on the walls.

Now, I ask you, would I do THAT to someone in need of that room? Of course not......

Just a touch of New Brick. To keep your interest and wake you up. The ceiling will be White on White and the trim will be Clare de Lune.

To say that I am having fun is just out of the question.

My friend Kris is working her heart out to get all the colors in the right order in the right room. Of course, she has to make sure that I haven't changed my mind in the last three minutes.

She did insist that once the color was on the wall that I not change my mind. She was beginning to flash on that scene from "Sleepless in Seattle".

But it is getting there. Only two more rooms to begin painting and only two to finish.

And, on the outside--The Roof Goes ON!!!!1