Tuesday, December 12, 2017

And so it goes ....

Geez ..... I need to write another update.  But our life has been kinda boring .....

Unless, of course, you're excited to hear about shingles, or trenches, or those little switch boxes our electrician has nailed randomly around The House.

WHICH, by the way, is becoming more real, although it's still far from livable.  And I'm not sure when it WILL be livable because the construction industry in this area is governed by snails, AKA contractors, who always seem to have another job that they MUST finish before starting on, or finishing, ours.

So we wait.

And wait.

And tear up with joy when we find an actual work vehicle parked on our property, with actual work people, who are actually working.

And (dare we hope) we might have electric power soon.  Maybe within (gasp!) a few days.  (How naive were WE, to expect power to be wired onto our property from an existing power pole that sits capably across the street, in the same year we request it?)

Husband working on The Box where there will soon be an OUTLET which will allow us to PLUG stuff in!  (Note the brand new pole on the right.  We honor the two trees that gave their lives for that pole.  One from which it is made, and one that was in the way.)  Oh .... and that flat area where the tractor-thing is sitting is where Husband's shop, housing many guy-toys, will be built. 

A couple of posts ago, when I mentioned we might be painting by late November ..... Let's all have a good laugh.  How silly.  Now we're thinking January.  But we'll see.

We met with Eric -- Awesome Cabinet Maker from Spokane, recommended by Favorite-First-Son-Who-Knows-This-Stuff.  Eric delivers all the way down here.  And he is making our cabinets!  Or at least he will ... make .... our .... cabinets ..... someday.

I don't mean to sound cynical because truthfully, I'm not.  Life is great!  And we are excited.  So rather than cynical, let's just say I'm anxious for each new stage of the building process.  I JUST wanted to see the house started and as soon as it was started, I wanted walls, and as soon as there were walls, I wanted windows and a roof, and now there are windows and a roof, and I just want doors!  How wonderful it will be to have doors to lock it up securely!  And THEN I'll want that boring wiring and plumbing to be DONE because they're ... boring, and life will be perfect when we FINALLY get siding and sheetrock ....

Anyway, you get the picture.

Should've got over to get this pic sooner, before the sand pile arrived.  It's for the future pavers that will comprise the driveway and sidewalk.  

Rear view and another sand pile awaiting a gazillion more pavers.  

Future patio.  We have no plans to landscape beyond the rock wall perimeter.  It will be au naturale. And if there are any remaining funds, there'll be a hot tub on the patio, outside the slider door, toward the edge of the rock wall by the trees.  

And that's all for now.

Oh, and by the way -- Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sasquatch and Murphy's Law

Last winter, before we escaped to California, wasn't the best.  We weren't anticipating  one of the worst winters in recent memory (even though I'm a strong adherent of Murphy's Law wherein if anything unfortunate or untimely can happen, it probably will) .......   I suspect Mother Nature waited until we left our securely roofed, warm home and moved into a rolling monolith .... to unleash her icy armageddon.

We hung around in the atypical deluge of continuous ice storms until after the holidays, enduring newly discovered leaks (including a small non-scenic waterfall through the ceiling AC unit directly over our bed) and ice-encrusted slides (the walls that move outward).  We had to chip the ice off the slides to bring them in so that we could AT LEAST drive to the dump station .... an errand that MUST happen regularly, regardless of one's situation or mood.  Once the slides were in, we didn't dare to put them out again in case of more freezing rain and leaks.  So we spent three weeks living in a narrow hallway.   It's doable, but definitely not preferable.

I purchased a tiny fake Christmas tree and set it on the dashboard, which fell short of offering the festive cheer it was meant to.  It was going to take more than that to salvage the drippy, gloomy season.  Needless to say, we've had better Christmases.

That day in January when we finally arrived at the RV resort in Palm Springs after a somewhat harrowing trip, I SO remember the joy of setting up, putting our slides out for the first time in weeks, and remembering why on earth I ever wanted to live in a motorhome.   There was also the comfort that winter was miles away.   'Twas possibly my favorite motorhome moment.

So here we are again, facing Winter Number Two in The Beast.  And rumors indicate another bad winter is coming.  Of course it is.  Murphy's Law and all.

So far, no new leaks (the old ones were fixed) and no ice yet ...... but it's still just early November.

The difference this year is:  1. I doubt we'll be going to Palm Springs (Husband doesn't quite agree) and 2. We're building a house which will have a solid roof, wood stove, furnace, and won't need to travel to a dump station.

However, it will not be done before winter lands squarely upon us.  Our short term plans involve keeping a keen eye on the road conditions in the mountain pass that currently separates us from said house.  Hopefully a weather window will open, allowing us to rumble through, with no guarantee we can make it back (in the Beast) before the spring thaw.  Hence, committing to holiday events or any other appointments will be tricky for the next few months.

NEXT YEAR ..... after the house is finished, the motorhome is sold,  and the three of us (Husband, me, and the wood stove)  are nestled inside, drinking eggnog and gazing out at the winter view ...... then BRING IT.  "Let it snow", as they say.  "Let the north winds bluster and blow"!   Let all you-know-what break loose and all the mountain passes clog up with ice drifts, and let Sasquatch (and/or the Abominable Snowman) stomp around to his heart's content.

'Cause I won't care.  We'll be ready for it.

Which means, of course, it'll be the balmiest winter on record.  Just wait.  There'll be no snow.  Nor ice.  Nor Sasquatch.  The passes will stay all dry and boring .... with Palm Springs whispering, "Should've kept the Beast".

Because .... you know ..... Murphy's Law.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A curmudgeon speaks out on "TRUNK"-or-Treating (Warning .... controversy ahead)

As we returned home the other night, we passed by a huge crowd of parked cars with adults and children milling about.

"What's going on?" asked Husband.

"Oh," said I, "it's the ranch community TRUNK-or-Treat party."  (Not to be confused with those my church group has sponsored over the years.)

These are, as I have heard, parking lot parties (held sometime during the week prior to Halloween) where people gather with their vehicles decorated in a festive-spooky fashion, and hand out candy to costumed children going car-to-car.   This is offered in addition to the traditional trick-or-treating on Halloween night, October 31.   I don't understand such activities that mimic the real thing a few days before the real thing, causing a double sugar whammy for children and added assault on the wallet for adults ..... and will explain why.  But first a bit of personal history, titled,

"As It Should Be, In My Opinion" or "My Generation Ruled, So There"  .....

When I was a kid, and I'll just say it .... some 50 years ago ..... Halloween consisted of putting together a costume of sorts (there was seldom room in the budget to buy one) using old clothes or whatever one had on hand.  The ol' hobo theme was always a good backup ... (which I've heard is now politically incorrect.....)  Then we teamed up with our friends and set out after dark with the grand plan of covering miles and miles to facilitate the biggest candy haul ever known to mankind.  But after two or three blocks, we fizzled out and returned home to sprawl on the living room floor in front of the fireplace to count and sort the spoils.  And on the banner years, there might be a spooky-fun movie playing on the TV to top it all off.  (No recorded movies back then.  We got what was offered on any of the five TV channels, or nothing.)

The Whites, two houses away, always gave out homemade popcorn balls, and Mrs. Phelps (next door) always greeted us with a tray full of paper cups of apple juice.  These were traditions a kid could count on.  And get this -- back then the candy bars were FULL-SIZED.  Yup.  None of this "fun size" nonsense.  My favorite was Nestles Crunch Bars which I had to hide before my dad got them.  Then anything chocolate, then anything soft and chewy, with the suckers ranking last.  It was glorious and I usually plowed through it within three days.

Then as teenagers, we had the grace to pass the tradition on to the younger kids and stayed home to help at the door or perhaps go to a well-chaperoned party.  (Hint to parents:  THIS is the age that needs an organized party or activity.  The little kids are happy JUST trick-or-treating..... trust me.)

As a kid, I never once heard of a "TRUNK-or-treat" party.  We had the little parties at school but other than that, TRICK-or-treating on the 31st was it.  I mean .... it was mind-boggling-to-a-kid plenty.  We never felt deprived because once a year for a few magical hours we could canvas the neighborhood after dinner, knock on any door, and get free candy!

Possibly for religious reasons, if Halloween happened to fall on a Sunday and some felt it inappropriate to knock on doors, threatening tricks on the Lord's day .... then I understand the need for an alternative event on another night.  Makes sense.  And I suspect this may be how Trunk-or-Treat parties began because if you google "trunk or treat", my particular religion is implicated in the top site.  (These may be the same people who thought -- Why stop with Santa when we can burden parents further with "elf-on-a-shelf"?)

Good and well-meaning ideas tend to take off like the plague and with some groups, this one has become the norm every year.  So now kids get TWO almost-consecutive nights of fleecing strangers for free candy so that they can gorge themselves on enough sugar to set back the health code for years.

Some cite safety reasons ..... but really .... did those old razor-blade-in-the-apple stories really happen?  Really?  Check the candy before they eat it, if needed.   If you really don't trust your neighbors, then organize the trunk-or-treating party to happen (INSTEAD of trick-or-treating) on Halloween night.

I'm all for a good old-fashioned Halloween.  As adults, when we lived in a populated neighborhood where children seemed to be bused in, we geared up with bags of candy, spending a small fortune on Reeses PB cups, Snickers,  KitKats, etc., since homemade treats are now forbidden ..... and happily tossed 'em into the plastic pumpkins, pillow cases, or bags, held by the little goblins awaiting at the door.  I'm even well-behaved and kindly give to the teenagers who (again, my opinion) look quite ridiculous standing there asking for treats.  But having to spend the money needed to buy enough candy to cover TWO nights in one week .... is too much.  I mean ..... why?  Isn't one big night enough these days?

So even though I feel a bit surrounded by trunk-or-treat candy-gorged events, I avoid them.  I feel no need to dispense candy twice in the same week.  To be clear --- I am only talking about parties that try to duplicate trick-or-treating for children when actual Halloween-night-trick-or-treating is already available.

Because once a year the real thing ..... is wonderful enough.