Category Archives: home improvements

Time for a Pity Party

I was introduced to the concept of a Pamper Party some years ago, when our daughter was a teenager, and decided to throw herself one. It was interesting to watch her

I was introduced to the concept of a Pamper Party some years ago, when our daughter was a teenager, and decided to throw herself one. it was interesting to watch her going through the activities. She felt good about herself afterwards.

I don’t expect that a Pity Party will produce the same results, but I’m ready to throw one for myself. What’s so bad that I’m ready to hold a pity party? Perhaps nothing, at least nothing of monumental significance. But it seems that too many things are not going right right now. Major projects aren’t getting done. Minor projects aren’t even getting started. And I have no desire to write right now. Haven’t written anything except this blog for over a month.

My latest publication, When Death Changes Life, doesn’t count as writing. That was just boxing up short stories that were already written and re-publishing them as a short book. Since it didn’t include any new writing, it wasn’t writing.

So, what’s so terrible that I need a pity party? I’ll just use the dishwasher as an example. That’s clearly a first world problem, but it’s a problem nevertheless. It started going out some months ago. I didn’t catch it before it started doing damage to the ceiling in the basement. Finally I had our plumber come to verify where the damage was, and he confirmed it was the dishwasher. That was in late August or early September. Back in 2012 we put in a new refrigerator that we got at Lowe’s. I looked, and saw they had a matching dishwasher. But it’s noise level is higher than what’s currently available. I could live with that, but I need buy-in from my wife. So far I don’t have it. So we need to go to Lowe’s to see what’s available. Or, any other place that sells dishwashers.

I told Lynda I wanted to get this done this weekend, that I wanted us to go together to Lowe’s either Saturday or Sunday to decide on what to get: the matching one or a quieter one. She said fine. Saturday morning was full of work inside and outside the house. Then came the Wal-Mart run, which I made alone. That brought us to sometime after 4, maybe closer to 5 p.m. I still had to study my lesson for Life Group, and I was dead tired, so I didn’t ask to go to Lowe’s. Sunday was Life Group and church (I went alone), followed by lunch and a quick nap. At lunch we learned that Lynda’s mom was totally out of her insulin. She took the last pen from the box in the fridge and didn’t tell us. Since we don’t normally go looking for her insulin, we didn’t know until she had to take it for her meal and found the problem.

So, I called the pharmacy. It turned out the prescription wasn’t refillable without a doctor’s consent, which of course we wouldn’t get on a Sunday. So I spoke to someone at the pharmacy about an emergency fill, and they said they would. It would be ready by 2:00. I decided to wait until 3:00 to go, after my nap. When I got there it wasn’t ready, them saying they were waiting on the doctor’s authorization. So, I went through the whole emergency thing again, and finally got the prescription. I looked for a new jar-opener pad (ours being close to disintegrated, and me not remembering to get one on my normal Wal-Mart trips) but couldn’t find one. So I bought a package of Reese’s cups and went home.

By then it was 4:00 p.m. I still had supper to fix, and had planned a meal with a lot of fixing. I started that at 4:45 p.m. and was on my feet till 6:45. During that time I washed a boatload of dishes (because, of course, we don’t have a working dishwasher), cleaned some dead stuff out of the fridge, and threw the garbage into the woods. We ate dinner. My new main dish turned out very nice.

By that time, I was more tired than I had been on Saturday. I decided not to bring up a visit to Lowe’s, and my wife didn’t bring it up. So we didn’t go. One of my main goals for the weekend was unfulfilled, and was no closer to fulfillment. The wife has headaches all the time. I’m not sure she will ever want to go, nor will she want to leave the decision up to me.

Well, the pity party should be over, except much more has happened of late.

  • Despite having 26 items for sale, with a new item added, I have zero book sales in October. Zero. Obviously I’m not writing the kind of things people want to buy. I can’t see my way clear to spend the time needed to learn the tasks necessary to place advertisements, so my writing sales seem to be at a standstill.
  • I can’t write with all these things hanging over me.
  • We are no closer to replacing either of our ancient vehicles than we were two months ago when we decided to do so.
  • Once the dishwasher is repaired, I’ll have to see about getting the ceiling in The Dungeon fixed.
  • I found it very difficult to prepare for the Life Group lesson I taught yesterday; hence I don’t believe I taught a good one. I don’t think I teach next week (though who knows, since I never hear from my co-teacher before Friday evening, sometimes not till Saturday evening, when I receive a text “whose week is it to teach).
  • For the last two weekends/weeks I guess I’ve way over eaten. My weight have ballooned, and six months (or more) of weight loss is wiped out. I don’t know if I have the strength to do it again.

Okay, pity party over. I probably shouldn’t have written any of this. I do so knowing almost no one will see it. Or maybe it really will be no one.

Bread and Boxes

My time is very limited these days, almost all of my own making. I’m working hot and heavy on my novel, Preserve The Revelation. Over the weekend I added slightly more than 5,500 words to it. That exceeded my three-day goal of 5,000 words, so that was good. I was writing a difficult part, where a character dies, and another, closely associated character must carry on. But I’m through the worst of that. The worst going forward is I really haven’t planned out this next section very well, so I may find writing it quite laborious.

Two other writing tasks I’m working on is my chronological composition bibliography of Thomas Carlyle, and further study with writing intentions into my harmony of the gospels, specifically the Resurrection account. When I finished up my latest round of revisions, intended to be my last, in June, I did a little search for references I might add to the resurrection account. I found a couple, which led me to doing some writing on an auxiliary document last week and on the weekend. And some reading on it. This is perhaps totally unnecessary, but it’s something I want to do, something that gives me satisfaction.

Saturday saw me doing the typical chores around our house. I moved a large bookcase from the garage to the basement, to help close-in the temporary bedroom we’ve set up there. I loaded the shelves with Christmas decorations and who knows what all was in the boxes I placed. I now know I need to put a light back there, and will do so next weekend, or I might hire an electrician to do it, as I have a couple of other things I need for one to do.

Sunday was fairly restful. I wasn’t scheduled to teach Life Group, though I always prepare to since my co-teacher (on alternating weeks) is a veterinarian and can be called out at any time), but late on Saturday I received a text from him, saying his on-call weekends had switched and he would be on call Sunday. That meant I did have to prepare to teach. I did that by getting up early Sunday morning (thought in fact I had been preparing during the week). He didn’t get called in, and so he taught; I participated as a student. I napped in the sunroom after church, though not for long before I headed to The Dungeon for my writing.

In the evening we felt the 5.0 earthquake that hit Cushing Oklahoma, about 200 miles from us. That was minor excitement. We got pizza instead of having to prepare food, which was good. I pulled out a writing book to read, since I’ve finished all other books and was ready for something new and since I hadn’t read a writing book in a couple of years at least. But for some reason a wave of tiredness washed over me. I’ve learned not to fight it, so I set my book aside, slouched a little in my easy chair, laid my head against the back, and dozed. Maybe for an hour all together. I woke up about 10:15 p.m. to find a different tv program on.

At that point I tried reading a little more, discovered I couldn’t, so went to the kitchen to prepare for the week. I washed a few dished that needed washing, then packed my breakfasts for the week and my lunch for Monday. Yes, I eat breakfast at work. I leave the house at 6:30 a.m. so as to miss traffic, and have a quiet time at work to read the Bible, pray, and do miscellaneous things (such as write this blog post). I did all of that, finishing right around 11:00 p.m.

At that point I headed to bed. I no sooner laid my head down when I realized I had forgot to put bread for my breakfasts in my food bag. I had done the same thing last week, and got to work and had a boiled egg, slice of ham, slice of cheese, and no bread. I debated getting up to add that, but decided instead to say, “Add bread to my food bag” over and over till I fell asleep, hoping I’d remember it in the morning.

Another unfinished task that crossed my mind as I was trying to lock in remembering the bread was that, during the yard sale last weekend, I moved many empty boxes out of the garage and strewed them on the side of the house or under trees nearby. Lynda reminded me on Sunday that those needed to be brought in. I figured I’d better do them in the morning before going to work, so I started to lock that task in by saying to myself, “Remember the boxes, remember the bread.”

I’m happy to say that this morning I remembered both. I put five slices of bread in two baggies and put them in my food bag. As I left the house through the garage I brought in the boxes and put them where they needed to be, at least temporarily. The need to do that was emphasized to me when I hear on the radio that rain is probable today. These  tasks, and one other within the house, made me about eight minutes late, caused me to be behind two slow moving truck, and then in a long, long line of vehicles heading in to Bentonville. So I was at work late. Alas.

However, so long as I crowd writing into my life, so long as I have so many other obligations that can’t be shunted aside, I will have to compromise somewhere. Driving in heavier traffic was this morning’s compromise. Who knows what it will be for the rest of the day, or tomorrow, or the next day?

Oh, and sorry for missing to post something here last Friday. Too many tasks, something had to give.

Recovering From The Weekend

As I was not too long ago, I’m again a day late with my blog post. It’s not for lack of something to write. Indeed, I have a choice of topics and ideas. Some things I’m not quite ready to write a post on, though, if I needed to, I could break out a short, introductory post, and leave the bulk of it till I’m ready. Other things I’m ready to write on.

So why didn’t I write yesterday? Sheer tiredness and brain weariness. This last weekend we had a yard sale, the one we were supposed to have any time after August 2015 when my mother-in-law came to live with us. We didn’t get it done last fall, and I was too busy this spring with many projects to do it. A summer yard sale works in this part of the world, but not as well as spring or fall.

So, about two months ago I decided I would get it done in October. All I needed to complete before that was the flower bed in the front yard. I completed that in early October. My wife was gone to Oklahoma City for an extended stay helping with grandkids, and my mother-in-law was gone for months visiting in her home town. I got much done during those two weeks, both inside and outside the house, and still more in the three weeks it was just me and the mother-in-law here.

Projects completed, and a visit to OKC out of the way, I began yard sale prep in earnest. My wife returned on Oct 23, and I said we were having the sale Oct 28-29. She didn’t think we could get it done, but I showed her how much I had done, and said we would proceed with it. So we did. Was it a success? I had set only modest goals: sell one box of the old books; sell the old porch swing, old suitcases (from 1981), unused air purifier and dehumidifier, and a box of farm junk left over from the 2009 sale when my mother-in-law first downsized, from a house to an apartment. Oh, I also set a $ goal of $200.

I’m happy to say that each of those goals was met. We netted around $220, and each of the items mentioned in the previous paragraph are gone—sold! I think more of the stuff selling was ours, rather than the mother-in-law’s, but it’s gone, never to take up space in the garage or basement again. However, I have to say that meeting all goals seems to be almost a wasted effort. When we brought things back in the garage, we have just as many tables set up, just as many items we don’t need but don’t feel clear to throw out, and we still can’t get a car in it. And, it was a lot a lot of work for a lousy $220.

Some other benefits were achieved. We found a set of salad plates that were not to be sold. In getting ready for the yard sale I was able to fully clean the storeroom. We had contact with some neighbors and near neighbors we rarely see. I expended a lot of energy, perhaps lost a little weight, which is a good thing even if I didn’t have my annual physical tomorrow.

But I ended the days exhausted. Sunday wasn’t all that restful, as I had to teach adult Life Group, made my Saturday run to Wal-Mart on Sunday, and did some good writing on my novel-in-progress. I had to do most of the work on the sale, as my wife woke up with back spasms on Friday, and wasn’t any better on Saturday (or on Sunday for that matter, though improved some by Monday), but I expected that. I took an extra pain pill or two each day, kept going, got lots of steps in, and then slept well.

But, Monday came, and the rush of adrenalin that comes from a sale was gone, and the tiredness set in. I probably didn’t earn my pay yesterday, though looking back I did get some good things done, including a couple of difficult tasks that involved using a website so changed from what I’m used to it might as well have been a new site. At home in the evening I got supper ready (just leftovers from the roast I cooked Sunday—oh, yeah, that was another energy-sapping thing). After eating I balanced the checkbook, then went to The Dungeon. Stock trading accounting took over a half hour, as there was much to do with it, then I wrote. I only added 625 or so words to Preserve The Revelation, but I crossed another thousand threshold, which was satisfying.

Hopefully today my energy has returned. Just being able to write this blog post is a good sign. Future posts will hopefully get back to my writing career and life lessons. Stay tuned.

Staying Busy

I’m a day late with this post. The last two months, since I established my Monday and Friday posting schedule, I normally try to write my Monday post on the weekend, or at worst on Monday morning before the start of my workday. I’ve missed a couple of times, but I’ve been doing better about regular posting.

This weekend, however, I did nothing concerning a post. By the end of Sunday I realized that, but it was too late in the day to write it. I decided I’d do it Monday. Monday came and went, and alas, I did nothing on it. Shame on me. I’ll do better going forward.

So what’s keeping me so busy that I didn’t do my blog post? On Saturday it was first work around the house, followed by writing on Preserve The Revelation. The house work included a major cleaning job on the refrigerator, thinning the blackberry vines, cutting a lot of low hanging branches, and weeding in our back yard. I also had chair set-up at church, and trips to Wal-Mart and Home Depot. Sunday was Life Group and church, followed by lunch at a community event. That put me home around 1:45 p.m. I should have written.

Instead, I began work on the print cover of In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People, using G.I.M.P. to assemble the graphics. As always, G.I.M.P. defeated me. I was able to create a palette the size of the cover, and add and size the front and back covers. But on the back cover I needed to hide three corporate logos. I had planned how to do this, and got two done quite easily. However, when it came to the third one, I stalled. I was using the same procedure as for the first two: cover it with an opaque layer. Only on this one I had to add text. Somehow the layer that is the back cover was deselected, and I couldn’t add the opaque circle. Without the circle, the text was meaningless. I worked more than three hours on it, and finally quit in frustration. I went back to Wal-Mart to pick up one thing I hadn’t the day before, then spent the evening reading.

Yesterday was the normal busyness of work and house. In the evening I went to The Dungeon, intending on writing. But there, on my work table, was the box of photos from our time in Kuwait, with several batches of photos out on the table. I had dug into the box last Wednesday to select some photos to scan and post on Thursday. In the box I found batches of photos not in envelopes, hence not matched with their negatives. I decided getting those photos matched was a better use of my time than writing. I don’t say that facetiously, either. Some day we’ll pass those photos on to our children, and having them properly organized is critical. It was a good use of my time—not that I finished, but I made significant progress. But by the time 9:00 p.m. came I wanted to be about my evening reading. No time to write the blog.

So here I am on Tuesday, writing Monday’s post, and it’s about nothing but why I didn’t write on Monday. But it lets my few readers know what’s going on in my world.

Since the weekend, one of my cover designers contacted me, saying he’d done work on it. We discussed it. Hopefully he’ll complete it very soon. In case not, I’ve contacted a third cover designer and am in discussions with her. Today I sent off a letter to an influencer, a seminary professor, concerning Doctor Luke’s Assistant and things he’s written that dovetail nicely with it. This is by snail mail, as the seminary doesn’t post faculty e-mails. We’ll see what comes of it.

Tonight, when the work day is through, I plan on staying about an hour after to do some research and typing on our fact internet and computer. When I get home, I have one small task to do in the yard, then I’ll heat some soup for supper, and descend to The Dungeon. No photos tonight. I need to add at least 1,000 words tonight, and 3,000 in total, before I will allow myself to return to those photos and finish that big task. I’m looking forward to it.

What to do on a Holiday

It’s Independence Day! On my other blog I’m going to sneak in an extra post about that. But on this blog, I’ll talk about what I’m going to do. Unfortunately, I have way too much to chose from.

Writing is something I could do, of course. I have a manuscript of edits for Headshots, things Lynda and I came up with as we read it aloud last weekend and earlier this week. The edits are: fixing typos, improving word use, improving sentence structure, eliminating redundancies, and correcting a few plot lapses (where I changed something as the book went on, or forgot I’d already written something another way). All but the last can be accomplished in a day, and I’m looking forward to doing so, possibly on Sunday. Another day is all it should take to fix the plot issues. I’ll then be very close to publishing.

Alas, I have some things I need to do before I can give time to the book. The back yard still looks like a disaster zone. I’ve cut most of the small branches from the tree cutting and piled them. Those piles need to be hauled off. Most of the branches that can easily be carried up to the road and hauled to the stump dump have been so hauled. I’ll have one more load to take. All the others I’ll be hauling off into the woods, far enough away, at the request of the wife, to be non-visible from the house. Dealing with the small stuff should be about a six hour job, I figure, or maybe more, too much to do on one day in this heat. But it would be nice today to get the one load to the dump and get two piles hauled into the woods.

Then I’ll begin dealing with those limbs that are big enough to justify cutting into firewood. On Tuesday I moved a bunch of them over to where they are at a convenient place to cut. Others are too heavy to move and will have to be cut into smaller pieces first. I’d like to pile a few more of them, and will try to do so today.

But, alas, we are dog sitting for the weekend, beginning today, and we have company coming in on Saturday. The toilet in the hall bathroom is turned off due to leaking, so fixing that by Saturday midday is a priority. As is getting some things from the store to feed the guests on Sunday. So a couple of hours must go into that.

As they must into clean-up and preparing the house for guests. We aren’t in bad shape, except for papers for filing or sorting on tables. Most of these are Lynda’s mom’s papers. We have taken over that part of her life. Lynda has been working on that sorting and filing this past week. It’s possible that most of that will be done by noon today, with me having to do little or none of it. I’m not even going to think about straightening the computer room, or perhaps will do it a little.

So, will I really get to write? Hopefully an hour on Friday, and on Saturday, and maybe two on Sunday. Except, I’m way behind on filing our own personal papers, and on my budget tracking spreadsheet, on my health expenses spreadsheet, and on our business financial sheets. I see close to ten hours of work on those, though I did make some headway on it last week and this. Then, of course, it is the start of blackberry season. Those blackberries don’t wait to ripen just because I have writing to do. So I will be taking time for them.

But I will write this weekend. I will write. If I keep saying that it might just come true. Now on to the back yard and the cleanup, while it’s still cool outside.

Almost all back together

Since October 1 I have been much engaged in doing the homeowner thing. By early October all repairs needed from the two water damage problems have been completed (I think the last was done Oct 12, but most done earlier). I worked on the upper deck during October, cleaning it, re-staining it, and replacing the much-damaged top rail. That still needs to be stained, but not till it has a few months for the preservative oils to cure. The last of that was completed last Sunday.

That left The Dungeon and the family room to put back together. No, wait, as long as we were all torn up we decided to re-do the downstairs bathroom: strip 20 year old wallpaper that was on the walls when be bought the house, but which we didn’t like; paint; put up a border. It’s all done but the border, and in a small room like a bathroom that’s only a one evening task.

For all this work we had a deadline added. That’s good. So often without a deadline you let things drag. Well, the deadline is today, when Richard, Sara, Ephraim, and grandson no. 2, halfway through his gestation period, visit us from Oklahoma City. We’ll keep Ephraim, while the other three go off for a couple of days at a nearby resort, given to them by their church for pastor appreciation.

For their visit, we needed everything back in place. Major furniture was already in place, but book cases, books, and residuals from repair work were everywhere. So for the past week I have been moving book cases back where they need to be, after a good cleaning for dust, mold, and mildew. We decided to elevate the ones without a false bottom, which meant cutting and staining a 2×12.

Then we had to get all the books arranged. This was no small task. How do you sort them? Was the way we had it before the best way, or is there a better way? What about those that have never been inventoried? What about those few that were on a shelf in the downstairs bedroom? We’re talking about a couple of thousand books.

Most of it is done, as of last night. We still have one bookcase mostly not loaded, and eight boxes of books and some more books on utility shelves in the store room to go. But these are all safely moved into the store room, out of sight for this weekend. The bedroom is back to normal, the bathroom is clean, the family room looks good, and The Dungeon–well, it’s back to the normal clutter that accumulates when a wannabe writer and a stock trader work side by side.

During all of this, I haven’t felt much like writing. I’ve done a few articles, and I’ve typed a little on the harmony of the gospels, but nothing creative. Nothing on my novel. Nothing on Bible studies (except some research). Nothing on market research or other non-writing tasks a writer must do. Maybe, after this weekend, I’ll see my way clear to get back into it in a bitter way.

Improvements in Body, Mind, Outlook and…Pick-up Truck

When I wrote here last, on Sunday, I was in the midst of a difficult weekend. Pick-up truck—in the shop, uncertain problem. Wife—in Oklahoma City on the way back from Santa Fe. Arthritis—flared up to the worst it has been ever, I think. Writing—not doing well, as it was too painful to type, almost to write.

On Sunday the rheumatoid arthritis fare-up was on the mend, but not yet gone. By Monday evening, it was gone completely. I couldn’t get into work on Monday, due to having no vehicle. So I completed installing the top rail on the deck, and cleaning up from the project. The joints between boards aren’t professional, but they look acceptable to me. With all the work with my hands on Monday, you’d think I would be hurting by evening. Yet I felt better than I had for months. Go figure. Saturday I should complete the second coat of deck stain and be done with it until spring, when the top rail will have seasoned enough to add the stain. Oh, I have a few more screws to drive in the top rail.

Tuesday through today I’ve been working almost exclusively on the flood study for the City of Bentonville, related to our street improvements for SW “I” Street, and adding two adjacent road projects done by the highway department (for which they should have done a flood map revision but never did). This has been a particularly frustrating job. I finished the computer modeling some days ago, and have been working on the mapping. Of course, as I did the detailed mapping, I discovered that some further tweaking of the computer model was justified. Almost all of that is done now. I might be able to finish the map-model-map iterations tomorrow, leaving the engineering report and actually making a submittal for next week. The tunnel end is getting closer. Of course, at the opening of that tunnel is the Perry Road flood study for Rogers, Arkansas.

Today, in a mere hour, I was able to write my next article for Later I proofed and tweaked it, and sent it to my source for review. Tomorrow is the deadline, and it’s good to not be writing it at the last minute. Tonight, after posting this and reviewing one other blog, I’ll work on writing for another hour. I might do some typing on passage notes for my harmony of the gospels, or write an article for I have four or five in various stages of development for them.

And last, on Monday I got my wife back and on Tuesday I got my pick-up back. That’s the right priority, don’t you think? The pick-up problem was the battery cable terminals, which were shot and wouldn’t hold contact. While the darn thing was in the shop, I had them fix the driver side door, putting a new handle on it. Now I don’t have to crank down the manual window and reach outside to open it. This makes it less of a redneck truck, but should do my left shoulder a world of good.

Well, I must be about other business now. I had a more serious post planned for tonight, but will save it for tomorrow.

The Flesh is Weaker Still

Last night the last of the work was completed in The Dungeon. Well, the last required of outside workers, that is. It and the family room are still mostly empty. The heaviest pieces, such as the roll top desk, the couch, and the love seat are in place. Still to be moved are the 13 bookcases, all the books, end tables and lamps, second computer desk, two work tables, and non-functioning treadmill. Maybe I’ll leave that one in the storeroom.

While the last of the work was being done last night, I spent the time with paperwork clean-up upstairs. Much older correspondence and miscellaneous writings brought home from the office when the office moved last November were in a box, waiting for my action. Last night I got most of them sorted and ready for filing and maybe back side copying. I noted some duplication, so guess I’ll go through them page by page after sorting to cull. I estimate 500 pages.

While I have recovered from the weekend labors, my right arm and wrist hasn’t recovered, and my left wrist is getting worse. I don’t know if this is rheumatoid or something else. The left wrist feels like it could be either rheumatoid or osteo. The right is much worse and feels like it could be pinched nerves or even more serious. I’ve already had the carpal tunnel operation on that hand. And that’s the hand that was damaged while I played softball in Saudi Arabia back in 1982, requiring surgery at the Abdullah Fouad Hospital in Dammam. Although I’m left handed, I learned to use the mouse right handed. Maybe it’s a combination of those.

Typing is so painful I must close quickly. Spent a lot of time on the computer yesterday, trying to fix a floodplain model that I thought others had correct. Today is a day of meetings, little computer. Maybe that will help. Writing is a dream right now.

The Mind is Willing, but the Flesh is Weak

I have been mostly off-line since I posted to this blog last Wednesday. On Thursday, after an off-site meeting in mid-afternoon, I rushed to a rental place to see if they had a pressure washer. I’d already called and learned they didn’t have one for the weekend, which was my preferred time to do it. I hadn’t asked about one for that evening, since I didn’t think I could get to their place before their 5:00 PM closing time.

My meeting ended a little early, so I rushed to the shop and arrived at 4:58 PM. Yes, they did have a pressure washer, but it was scheduled to go out at 7:30 AM the next morning. I decided to take it. It turned out to be one of the big ones, requiring two men to lift it into my truck bed. Traffic was awful, and I didn’t get home till 5:55 PM, leaving me an hour of daylight, plus a half-hour of dim twilight, to get the thing unloaded, figure out how to use it, move hoses, hook it all up, and wash the stupid deck.

Somehow I got it all done, despite pulling the hose off the quick coupling and separating the 0-ring from the hose. I got the o-ring back on, miraculously, and finished the deck new the end of twilight. I then dropped the wand over the deck, went below and washed the lower decks—in the dark, with only the lights from The Dungeon windows letting me see what I was doing. I was pretty sure daylight would show this late washing marginally effective.

But washing a deck on Thursday means painting/staining it soon thereafter. On the way home Friday I stopped at Lowes and bought semi-opaque stain and a roller. Got home at mid-twilight. Saturday was the big day. I pounded down loose nails, scraped a couple of areas, and, while the workers were working on the insurance-funded repairs in The Dungeon, I stained the deck. At least, I did the bulk of the flooring. Since this was two or three years overdue, and since rain was forecast for Monday (today), I decided to leave the trim for later and get the lion’s share of the flooring done. It needed it badly.

Last time I stained the deck, probably four years ago, I used a 3-inch brush. Took two days and about killed my back and knees. This time I decided to roll it, using the long-handled roller Lynda bought. I’d never have spent that kind of money on a tool, but this one is a good one. It even had an extension on it. I barely had to bend, although standing erect and rolling I felt that I didn’t have enough control over the roller. Took two hours, and left me tired enough. The trim and rails were left for another day.

It would have been nice for that to have been the only maintenance needed on the property that day. Alas, clean-up and dishes (I’m batching it again, for two or three weeks) and clearing deadfall also needed attention. Then there was the neighborhood block party Saturday evening to cook for and attend. By Saturday evening I was in no shape for anything, except watching a little college football and reading less than my weekend day quota in Children of Dune.

Sunday was better. Good rest. Good worship. Good Bible study. Good lunch fellowship with a good friend who was also a temporary bachelor. Good afternoon reading. No access to computer until about 7 PM, however, as the workers were still at it in The Dungeon. I finally got in there about 8 PM, but the fumes were so strong I didn’t want to stay there and breathe in all those solvents and all that dust. Back upstairs, where I divided my time between pro football and catching up on Children of Dune.

So it was a weekend of little writing accomplishment. I researched my next Bible study, read some in Poets and Writers, read in CoD, which is sort of research for sci fi writing, and filed some writing business type stuff. Would have liked to do more, but that was all. Hopefully this week will be more profitable.

The Dungeon is Unavailable

The carpet is coming! We thought it would be installed Thursday or Saturday coming. Yesterday we learned it would be installed today. This is the carpet in the walk-out basement that was ruined when the hot water heater leaked. Insurance is covering it, less deductible, or course. The insurance check arrived today.

Part of the deal Lynda worked out with the carpet company was that we would move all the furniture from the two rooms except two pieces. Otherwise they have go charge for furniture. The rooms included are the family room and the computer room (a.k.a The Dungeon). These rooms have no wall between them, being defined by wall corners. The area has been torn up since July 22 when we returned home from vacation and discovered the leak.

For the last week to ten days we knew this day was approaching, so every day I’ve been doing something to prepare for it: move out an end table and lamp, remove two empty bookcase, remove the last loaded bookcase and the books on it, clean up all tools and supplies from painting the room, etc. But the move up of the installation day resulted in one evening to finish everything else. That’s what we did last night. Love seat, recliner, treadmill, office chairs, television and stand, and two computer desks had to go, moved into the store room or the downstairs bedroom.

We got it all done, leaving only the roll top desk and the couch for the carpet dudes to move. That also means I have no computer at home until we get the desk moved back in and the computer re-installed. Will that be tonight? I don’t know, but I doubt it. We still have some inventorying to do of bookcases and books damaged by the water, and probably should do that tonight and get it turned in to the computer folks ASAP.

So, I expect to be off-line at home until tomorrow night at the earliest, and I think more likely until Thursday. Our modem and router are still connected, so we’ll still have wireless access via Lynda’s laptop, but not for my desktop dinosaur. Whenever I turn that critter off I always wonder if it will wake up again. Of course, I still have the office and office hours, and so will read, even if I don’t post much. And, for writing I still have lots of pencils and reused backsides of papers to make drafts, as well as reading research in what is almost other dinosaurs—hard copy books.