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    • Coda
      Posting these cat-cartoons-without-the-cartoon was a long journey that I don’t know if I’ll repeat soon again. A daily blog is tough … even when you have your material handed to you! But, I couldn’t have done it without the artwork … Continue reading →
    • December 31, 2011
      Father Time is riding out his last few minutes of being the temporal keeper for 2011; he sits in an easy chair with a calendar showing “Dec 31” behind him and a grandfather clock pointing to the time of 11:53. … Continue reading →
    • December 30, 2011
      A happy young lady shares a table at a tony restaurant with her cat; they both wear festive, cone-shaped party hats. The woman gaily says to the tuxedoed server, “One martini and one glass of milk.” The cat does not … Continue reading →

One of those days

Posted by joeabbott on October 23, 2011

imageI live a pretty charmed life but Saturday had it’s share of both ups and downs. This is going to be one of those whiny, self-indulgent posts so, if that’s not your cup of tea, you may want to find somewhere else to read for a bit.

A long time ago I was a busboy, cook, soda jerk, and manager of a Bridgeman ice cream parlor. The store I worked at is long gone but I remember the people I worked with and have a lot of good memories of the place. My manager, Steve, was long-suffering under the yoke of the owner, Moe, and I once asked him why he didn’t quit. He summed it up by saying over the course of time you have some good days, some bad days, and it’s the balance that makes the difference, not one individual day or instance.

Sage advice I’ve often recalled and so a day like today, when a lot is going really badly, you can just tough it out and wait: this, too, shall pass. And, as I look back on the day, it wasn’t really all that bad.

Morning

imageMy morning was a typical Saturday morning: I got up, fetched the paper, let the cat run in the backyard as I read the daily news. After the chickens started running about and it was full daylight, I noted it was starting to rain in earnest so I pulled the cat in and spent a bit of time on the computer: blogging, posting pictures, catching up on the online world.

imageI also had to deal with a drill motor I got a short while back that, while working on the landscaping timbers this summer, failed! I had drilled through a damp 4×4 timber with an auger bit and was pulling it out when the chuck and bit were left in the wood!

It looks like I pulled the chuck out of a retaining clip and I can’t get it back in. I even cracked open the case but wasn’t able to get to the retaining ring. Anyhow, now I need to determine if I send it to Ryobi for repair or bring it to Home Depot for replacement. Just a messy detail to work with.

A little later I made myself some breakfast (oatmeal), let the cat run a bit more (that’s one feline that doesn’t let rain slow him up), and finished up by playing some game or other on our iPad. I have to admit to feeling a bit of a slug so I had to start working a bit.

The morning was OK … not strenuous but not overly productive, either.

Afternoon

imageMy first chore was to find out where some ants were getting into the house and stopping them. We found borate to be a great pesticide but this was tricky: we’d used it around baseboards and the outside of the house to great success but we now had them in the kitchen. Well, we cleared out anything that might be used for food prep, dusted heavily with the borate, cleaned heavily, repeated. I then waited a bit and found ants traipsing through the powder. So I dusted and cleaned again. Later, Suzy saw them waltzing around it, too. Ugh. Not sure what it will take but we’ll have to find something else.

So, for real work it’s: Joe: 0, Failure: 1.

imageI then moved on to building a shelving unit that will sit behind our garage. We have about 48” of space between the garage and a shed I built, so I planned to set in a 4×4 framed set of shelves so we can store some coop stuff, a bunch of planting pots, and stuff like that. Well, our garage is jam-packed with materials the builders are using (we’re having a sunroom added to the upstairs deck) and it made things very frustrating to work with. My tools were buried, I couldn’t use my saw, and everything was cluttered. Not a failure, but sure frustrating.

But, I pulled my car out and started working in my bay of the garage. I was about halfway done when it started raining again. Hard. Did I mention the shelving unit I was building was outside? Ugh. Again, not a failure, but sure annoying.

In the course of building, I put a part on upside down and sunk a bunch of nails in it. In the course of correcting this, I managed to gouge a big chunk of skin out of my palm. OK … I’m starting to feel this is a failure regardless of it not being show stopper.

Then, as I was working in the garage, it started raining on me.

Yup, you read that right: I’m in the garage and it’s pouring down on me. I looked up and from a seam in the garage, water is pouring in. I called the foreman for the construction crew and he said it probably wasn’t anything and he’d see if he could get a guy out to look at it. <sigh>

Well, the company doing the work owns a water damage business so I both figured he knew what he was talking about and that he could fix whatever was getting messed up. Still, I’d hoped for a more affirmative response and it made working in a wet environment (that should be dry!) very frustrating.

P1030814But, I corrected my problem with the shelves and was just finishing the installation when the head construction guy, Scott, showed up, spotted the problem, and set about fixing things. It turned out to be a gutter that was severed when putting in some roofing and, even though it was capped, they didn’t support the cut end. This allowed water to flow  away from the downspout and spill over the capped end. From there, the water hit the side of the new wall and flowed behind some flashing. So Scott just tacked up a bit of Tyvek from the eaves to the flashing and built a quick support for the gutter so water would flow properly. He also cut out the wet sheetrock and setup fans to dry things out.

I have to admit this helped my mood a lot.

But, the absolute best thing that happened today was that we got two eggs! Yup, that means the chickens we got a few months back are about ready to start earning their keep by providing us with eggs! Yay! It’s been a bit of a wait but we’re happy that good things are about to happen in the chicken department.

So at this point, my mood was improving but I sure had a sour taste from the afternoon projects.

Evening

It was time to clean up and get going with the evening events so, immediately after my shower (a real one … working in the rain doesn’t count) I ran out with the missus to Uwajimaya.

imageYou see, when we were coming back from Whistler a few days back, we were stopped for a random inspection at the border. Super … a new experience! Unfortunately, they confiscated our Kinder Eggs!! They claimed it was due to FDA regulations and the little toys representing choking hazards. I’d never heard of such a thing and had even seen Kinder Eggs in Uwajimaya in the past. Anyhow, the border guards cost us 12 eggs so I wanted to replace them from Uwajimaya. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any (or stopped carrying them). Another failure.

imageFrom there we went out to dinner and decided we wanted a good burger … so we looked for a Carl’s Jr. We don’t often eat out here but we had back on a road trip in CO and enjoyed it. We found one that was local and drove in for some eats! I tried their chicken burger and found that you don’t go to a burger joint for their chicken. At least not Carl’s. Then, while eating, we played their “spin the Wheel of Awesome” game on Suzy’s iPhone (“there’s an app for that!”) … and found that we won some food but had 30 minutes to redeem it. Umm … we just ate. Another bummer.

From there we headed to the Renton-IKEA Performing Arts Center to enjoy the Rainier Symphony. I’ve been looking forward to this concert for a long time. I last wrote about them in May and mentioned we’d be enjoying more … well, tonight was the night!

imageOn the whole, it was a lovely evening but I found there were things here that rubbed me the wrong way. The strains of Hebrides Overture washed over me and I again fell in love with symphony and the smaller, more intimate setting. But the new conductor merely “did his job”. That is, he came out, turned his back to the audience, conducted the piece, and walked off after a bow. One of things I liked about the Rainier Symphony and noted previously, was that the conductor explained the piece and generally talked to the audience … I really liked that and missed it. Fortunately, this new conductor only led that piece and David Waltman retook the stage.

The next piece was a long one: Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major. It was chosen to star a 15 year old phenom named Sophia Stoyanovich, who did marvelously. She truly showed the mettle of a virtuoso. But, again with the “unfortunately” … this time, it was just so darned long! Yes, she’s amazing but I don’t know the pieces well enough to find the breaks, the different movements, or follow the flow … I just like the music. But when it goes on and on and on … one just starts to lose it.

And, the night ended with Symphony No. 2 by Charles Ives. I know nothing about Charles Ives but, if offered a chance to hear more of his work, I’ll be reserved. The piece we heard was a bit of a mess by my standards. Some parts were well structured and melodic; they flowed and worked well together. Other parts were all over the place: discordant and abrasive … it even contained the snare drum! Wikipedia says Symphony No. 2 “adopted new techniques that included musical quotations, unusual phrasing and orchestration, and even a blatantly dissonant 11-note chord ending the work.” Even the conductor’s stance was wildly varied: at times the baton would float before him, and other times he’d grip it, hunch over, and jab in masculine, jerky spasms.

Let’s just say it was disappointing to end on this piece.

Coda

So here I am: I have leisure time, opportunity and talent to build things, I’m enjoying a chance to remodel, eat out, and attend an evening concert, and I’m just carping about not liking this or that. A bit petulant but there you have it my sour view on a day of ups and downs.

I warned you this would be a whiny post but, have faith: later I’ll return with more uplifting material. Just you wait and see!

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