Friday, June 30, 2023

Long weekend

We were supposed to have three days of thunderstorms, starting today at 3. We were about 1/3 of the way through getting the subfloor down. It was hot and it was humid, so we took a break in the afternoon, but we headed back up in the evening after supper and worked until dark. We stayed there over night, and got back to it early this morning. We had it done and tarped for the coming weather by lunch time before the real heat and humidity kicked in. 

We headed home and the shower felt good. (And yes, I propped my feet up). I have drunk an unbelievable amount of water today, plus two very large glasses of unsweetened iced tea. I'm still thirsty. 

The storms that were supposed to hit were pushed back until 9 PM. It is 10 now, and we have not seen hide nor hair of these storms. The latest update is calling for them at 6 AM tomorrow. 

It just reinforces my belief: If I prepare for an emergency, there is no emergency. Since we're all prepared for bad weather, there will be no bad weather. 

(Late edit: Just to prove that point, it is 7AM. Now it looks like we might get rain at one and that there is a "marginal" chance of severe weather today. See? Prepare for the worst, and the worst will not happen. My philosophy of life. 

Tim has been grumbling about my car having no air conditioning. He bought a kit to recharge it. We went out for supper tonight. Tim said, "I don't know how people manage traveling in a car with no airconditioning." I said, "That's it. It's official. We're old, aren't we?"

Strangest thing. My phone keeps switching its keyboard to Spanish. I only notice this when AC changes my word to Spanish (and becomes anda for example.) Then I go into my settings and change my keyboard back to English. At first I thought it was something I was inadvertantly doing, but as it continues, I really don't think so. 

That ever happen to anyone else?

William is away until Tuesday night. It's a strange feeling. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

June 28th.

 Jaycee is back! YAY!!!!!! I like our little 'community', and I was very sorry to see her decision to close up her blog. I am glad that she reconsidered. 

We worked on floor joists today. Again. Tim is very precise. My stance is "MY GOD! Does a quarter of an inch even matter?" Evidently it does. We worked on them again, and we did not get to finishing the subfloor. I try so hard to be patient. I do. But his absolute insistance on absolute precision drives me nuts. He's a machinist. I'm not. I think my biggest frustration is that I'm not doing anything. Not one thing. I'm just standing there while he agonizes over his numbers. 

On the way home,  I said, "Did I do better keeping my mouth shut today?"

His response: "Not really." 

Poor man. Tomorrow is another day. We have two rainfree days coming. We'll either get a lot of work done, or we'll get a lot of measurements taken. I don't know. Stay tuned. 

The rain has caused the new back fill to sink by a couple feet in some areas. We'll have to hand fill around the basement. Joy of joys. 

If we can get the basement closed in, we bought a tarp big enough to cover the subfloor (although it claims to be weatherproof. Once the basement door is up, it will be a place where we can do some work inside out of the weather. They are calling for thunderstorms the week that I'll be away. 

Ricki? Can you make it stop now?

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Last Day of Break

The storms continued to rattle through in the early hours this morning. Parts of the county had no power. Ours blinked off, but then blinked right back on again. The grocery store my daughter works at was without power when the store opened. The power was not restored until noon or thereabouts. 

Tim wanted to take a run up to the lumber store. It was a good day for me to putter at home. The laundry is caught up, vacuuming is done upstairs and down, mopped the kitchen and the bathroom.  I repotted my new Bird of Paradise, shuffled some plants around to new places, 

Mighty exciting, innit?

I made my version of a stir fry here. I simmer the chicken in broth with teriyaki and garlic, and then add steamed vegetables. I add the noodles, and cook for a couple minutes and that's supper. I did make a discovery today. I never thought it was possible, but you can add too much garlic. 

Tomorrow is back to work on the house day. We've got three days of sunny weather coming. 

Monday, June 26, 2023


 The weather has been nuts. It rained off and on all night, and the thunderstorms rumbled in and they rumbled out. It was a dark morning, and it was raining hard. About the time that I was ready to set out to pick up Mattie and the baby, it got ugly. The thunder was loud and shook the house. 

I headed out, and it eased back. By the time that I got to the top of their hill, it was sunny. It's been a while since I've seen her and we found plenty to chatter about on the 45 minute trip. I waited in the car for them and watched yet another storm move in. I sat in the car with the window down, feeling the breeze and listening to the far off thunder. 

Mattie had two stops to make on the way home. I picked up some sparklers for the children for the fourth of July. Found a 'distressed' bird of paradise reduced to $4. While we were in the store, the skies opened up yet again. You could hear it pounding on the roof of the Walmart. Mattie did not take long and I pulled the car up so that she and the baby would not get wet...but it stopped raining as I pulled up to the loading area!

We headed down the road marveling at the black, black sky. We had one more stop to make, an Amish store. They had some real deals going on, that's for sure, and I got a lot of stuff for my $19.95. The Amish girl that rang us up was wearing bright yellow flipflops. I'd never seen that before. I kept my mouth shut, but it made me smile. 

Back in the car, the storm hit with a vengeance. The ditches were overflowing and running fast and muddy. We followed a modular home being hauled some place and a large piece of siding blew right off. There were a lot of tree branches down. The road to Mattie's house was blocked by a very large downed tree. We took another route and saw another giant tree that had fallen in the yard, miraculously  landing between the road and the house, 

I got them home and helped them haul stuff in. I got soaked to the skin. Mattie sent me off with two pounds of churned butter, a bottle of homemade rootbeer, and a batch of raisin filled cookies that she knows Tim likes. I dashed back out to the car and headed down off the hill. Things were pretty bad at that point, and I probably should have stayed, but...'too late smart' as their old saying goes. 

By the time that I got into town, it was once again sunny. 

I got soaked to the skin once more before the night was over. I went out to check on our fox friend. Disappointingly, the bowl of catfood and the two dog biscuits were still there. The bowl was filled with rainwater, and the biscuits turned to mush. It seems that this is one story that we will likely never know the ending to. 

The weather has made for some pretty easy days, work wise. Tim is going to pick up some supplies tomorrow. I'm going to get caught up on housework. Wednesday is suppose to be a fine day, and we'll be right back at it. 

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Bless the Beasts and the Children.

 We went up and did some work on the new house. Not a lot. Not the heavy stuff. It is way too hot and humid for that. We were gratified to see that the mud dried up quite a bit over night. 

Tomorrow morning, I'm driving Mattie and the new baby to see a pediatrician about 45 minutes from here. The baby is quite a screamer, and Mattie is concerned because he does not seem to be gaining weight as he should. She's supplementing with formula as suggested by their doctor, but little David screams on. Mattie is worried. 

So I won't be at the build site tomorrow morning. I'll be driving Mattie. I told Tim that I'd hurry as much as possible. Mattie makes the most of having someone to drive her, and I can guarantee you that there will be a stop at a grocery warehouse and probably Walmart on the way back home. Tim said, "Don't you hurry her. Where ever she needs to go, you take her. We are in their debt." 

Tim believes quite strongly that we owe them a great deal. Without their behind the scenes work, we would have never been introduced to Carrot Top. We've been trying to line up a concrete guy for a long time. They are booked so far ahead that they don't even return your phone call. To be introduced to a guy who could not only do it, but do it right away was miraculous.  

We were driving back from the build, and both of us were hot and sweaty. The windows were down and the breeze was a blessing. 

I caught sight of something in a field. My first thought was a woodchuck, but it was an odd color. When it moved, I could see that it was long legged. 

"What is that?" I asked Tim. I watched it walking very slowly. 

He muttered 'Where?" and "I don't see anything." 

I said, "Stop the car. Pull off right here and look." 

He did. I pointed it out to him once again. "That is NOT a woodchuck..." 

He drove along the field to get a closer look. "No. It is not." It stopped turned in a circle twice and wearily lay down right there in the field. Tim said, "That's a fox."

I said, "How tiny it is!" We pondered what could be wrong. It could be too young to be on its own, too young to hunt.  It could be sick with parasites. It could have rabies. We couldn't be sure, but it definitely had a problem. We sat in the car watching it. 

I wished out loud that we had something to feed it, and just that quickly, we were headed to the nearest gas station, where we bought a package of hot dogs. We made our way back. He watched us warily and scooted under a chain link fence. Maintaining a distance between us was relatively normal behavior, which made me a bit less worried about rabies. We slit open the package of hotdogs and took two out. When he saw me walking towards the fence, he hid, quick as a wink. I tossed the hotdogs over the fence and went back to the car where we watched to see what would happen next. 

He came out cautiously and we could see his nose twitching. He headed straight for the hotdogs, nabbing one and trotting back to his hiding place. No limping, no signs of injury. That made me feel better too. Tim said, "Well, he's got a good sense of smell. That is a good sign."

We went out for groceries this afternoon. We stopped in front of the pet food. "Do you think we should pick up something for that little fox?" Tim thought we should. I picked up a few cans of catfood, the regular size cans, not the dainty morsels in small packages like Mangey and Houdini eat for their evening treats. Tim said, "Grab a box of those dog biscuits too." 

I mixed the cat food up with a bit of medicine to treat external and internal parasites. (It can be assumed that they have them, from my reading.) We drove back in the cool of the evening to where we saw him hiding. I took the lid off the bowl and slid it under the fence where he had gone when we first saw him earlier that day. I tossed two dog biscuits over for him as well. 

We are very curious to see what happens next. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Rain, Rain, go away.

 I woke up to the sound of heavy rain falling. I sighed deeply and fell back asleep. It felt very nice to sleep. It was supposed to stop raining at 11 according to the weather man. The good news is that it stopped raining about 9. So we headed out the door. 

The bad news is that we barely got ourselves out of town, in a little town called Starbrick, when the skies opened up.

The good news is that 7 miles down the road, the sun was shining brightly. 

The bad news is that 10 miles later it was pouring rain once again. 

Tim said, "Well, it's supposed to stop, so we'll just wait it out inside, and when it stops, we can just walk out the door and get started. I commented that it was going to be a muddy mess, and our mud is the worst. A kind of clay-ey mud that sticks to your boots like weights. 

We got ourselves settled inside. I curled up on the couch to read (We Were The Mulvaneys), and Tim played with his phone between staring out the window anxiously. He finally said, "It's stopping..." and out the door he went. I didn't rush, because he needs his pondering time. I figured to give him 15 minutes and then pull on my boots and head outside. 

Before my 15 minutes were up, he was back inside, and he was ornery. "Never mind. It's raining again." He sat fuming for awhile and checked his weather once again. It was supposed to end in the afternoon. 

"Well," he said, "we might as well go into Titusville and have lunch. Maybe hit a couple thrift stores." (Anyone who knows me knows that I am not going to turn down an opportunity like that.) 

So into town we went. We found an awfully nice jacket for William, and a sun catcher, and I found a nice sweater I liked. We ambled across the street to pick up some fresh fruit. We had tacos for lunch. 

Sure enough, as we headed back to the build site, the sky was much brighter. I said, "We can get a good afternoon of work in, I bet." 

I went into the camper and pulled on my boots, and headed over to the basement. We set to work. We had sawed four boards. Four. I said, "My gosh, look at that sky!" Tim said, "I don't care, we're getting as much done as we can." 

About that moment. the sky opened up once again. 

I said, "You know, maybe we should just give it a rest today. We can come back tomorrow. It will be hot and humid, but this rain is supposed to be done." 

And we locked up and came home. 

By the time we got home, the rain had (again) stopped. I hung my 'new' sun catcher and admired the way the sun was shining through it. 

Friday, June 23, 2023

All work and no play.

 Today we made good progress. The floor joists are done, and we are putting the subfloor down. The lumber we need for the walls has been delivered. 

We had the basement poured by experts because it is something that we know nothing about. We had the excavation work done by a professional because we do not have the heavy equipment to do that kind of work. The rest of it, we are doing ourselves. Tim and I. We'll need help, of course, when it comes time to set the roof trusses. They were ordered preassembled and they are far too heavy for two people. 

These will set on the walls that we build and raise. 

Once that part is done, we'll be back on our own. We know that if we run into a snag, we can call people. My sister and her husband live across the road, and their two grown boys live just a short jump away, but we are trying to avoid being a nuisance. 

A fellow did stop in and offer to work for us. As an example of his work, he pointed to a garage "he was working on" down the road. The thing has set half done for over a year, raggedy tarps covering the doors. "Thanks," Tim said. "We really don't need help now." 

That's the problem with 'stop in' help. Tim had a guy asking for work while he was working on a roof on one of the rentals. He took him up on his offer, and the guy worked until noon. He asked if he could get paid at noon, and so Tim paid him for the time that he'd worked. He went to the bar for lunch and did not come back to finish out the day.
 Two other fellows stole from us. 

Yes, it's exhausting, but it's almost easier just to do the work on our own. I am planning a trip east to see my grandaughters. Tim can't be away from a project at a time like this. He'd be restless and itching to get back to it. I want to relax and enjoy my days. So, it will be William and I on this trip. 

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Endings and Beginnings.

 Well, all the wondering is over. We know what happened to the Titan. I mean, that was the stuff of nightmares there, wasn't it? Envisioning five people alive in a tiny submersible. Cold. In the dark. Waiting for the oxygen to run out. That scenario made me sick to think about. 

Today, they announced that they'd found a debris field consistant with a catastrophic implosion. Reading further about it, it says that the implosion would have happened quicker than the victims could have processed what was happening. They died instantly and never knew what hit them. 

Their grief stricken families probably take some solace in that, I imagine. I would have. 

We went up and worked again today. It was cooler. We did not make the progress we had hoped for, but we are half way done with the joists. 

We're getting another load of lumber dropped off tomorrow, a reminder that we've only just begun.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023


 We got about 1/3 of the floor joists in. We'll hit it hard tomorrow, because it is calling for thunderstorms tomorrow afternoon. We plan to get up early and try to get as much done as we can. We hope to have the subfloor on by the time they make the second delivery of lumber for framing up the walls (Saturday). We will work on that next. 

No pictures today because some ass forgot the camera. 

Not even bad pictures, because she forgot her cell phone too. 

It hasn't been all grim. Remember my row with Optum financial? I needed an account number on my paperwork to close my account. On their paperwork that they send me apprising me of my balance, it only provides the last four digits of that account number. After several tries with customer service, I finally was told that they couldn't tell me that number over the phone, but they could send it. I waited for a week and finally received their reply. It was simply an envelope that contained the form that I had already printed out. There was no account information at all. 

I put the form completed with the last four digits of my account number, a polite letter telling me that the invoice they sent me did not provide the full number. I listed the calls to customer service. I enclosed the unhelpful form that had been sent to me. I pointed out that I had called my previous employer at their headquarters in Minnesota. They did not have that information. They promised to check into it and call me back. 

(Cue Morgan Freeman's voice) "However, they did NOT call her back." 

I enclosed the four pages of documentation, and told them I was expecting to hear back from them and sent it all off. 

It's supposed to take 10 days to process an account closure. 

Two days ago, I hauled out my copies of everything and pondered how to word my letter to the Federal Reserve. YESTERDAY, people, an amazing thing happened. I got a check for the entire $1471.94. 

So. That was some unexpected happy news. 

And remember that I bought an economy pack of toothbrush heads for my Phillips Sonicare? I spent $40 on a five pack only to discover they were not the ones that fit MY Phillips Sonicare. Steve said he didn't think that Walmart would take back an opened pack of toothbrush heads. Note that every head had a plastic cap snapped over top of it. Those had not been removed. Still, the carton was opened. To make matters worse, Tim had tossed the bag and receipt looking for his prescription. So. I was nervous heading up to customer service. 

They looked up the order by my debit card, found the purchase, and put the money back on my card. I was surprised about that. Turns out that the returns go to giant Walmart return centers.   People bid on pallets of returns. Who knew?

Anyways, I ordered the toothbrush heads from Amazon (an economy pack of 10 cost me $12.00). They arrived and fit fine. They are a different color. My toothbrush is like a pearl white, and these are just plain white, but I can deal with that. I've always been a function over form girl anyway.

So there you go. Two happy things. 

I am tired. My wine cooler tastes extra special tonight. Tomorrow, we will get up and do it all over again.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

The Turtle.

 Well, the day had an unexpected start, a hubbub on the street. A snapping turtle had come up out of the river, and was laying her eggs at the corner of a porch across the street. She dug her hole with her face and feet. Every time she laid an egg, she'd cover it with her back feet. 

So that was pretty interesting. 

We eventually made our way to the building site.
 You can see that that huge pile of dirt has become a big pile of dirt. 

A lot of the dirtpile was pushed back in around the basement walls. 

The is the main beam. It is an LVL beam, which means it is made from multiple layers of wood bonded tightly together. The beam is 40 feet long. This is the first length, the one that caused Tim and I so much grief. His son helped him set it into the notch. It was the best Father's day gift Tim could have gotten. 

Tim was dead sure that he and I would be able to get the two other beams in place. We did. It was hard work, but being able to stand outside the basement wall and see what you were doing from above rather than being inside the basement and working over your head made things a lot easier. (And safer). We got it done. 

The final step was putting the floor jacks in place. They are permanent, and provide extra support for the beam. We will begin the floor joists tomorrow. 

Monday, June 19, 2023


 Remember how I told you that we have been stockpiling stuff for the new house? Just random stuff that we pick up as we see it.

This old butcher block will go in our kitchen. We found it at a sale of contents from the old Oakview Tavern along the river here in town. It used to be quite a class joint back in its day. When Tim heard about the sale, he said, "I want you to go there and get something." To this day I do not understand why it was so important for him to have something from this restaurant. It was closed down before we ever met, so I suppose that it had something to do with his life before we were us. 

He set a sum that I should spend, and it was an eyepopping amount. I said, "I'm not even sure what you want..." and he said, "You'll know it as soon as you see it." I scrolled through the online pictures and he was right. When I saw this, I stopped. I said, "I think I may have found it..." When he looked, he said, "Yes. I want you to get inside as soon as the sale opens and buy that block." So I did. 

Tim and I went back after he got out of work. Tim found a pile of corbels in a dark corner. While I was helping him, I found this little table tucked away in another dusty corner. I stopped with my armload to look. Tim passed behind me and said, "I saw that table too, and I like it." For $35, we got that too.  These things are stored away to be pulled out for the new house. 

One day I was on line. and saw these leaded glass windows. The woman said that one was missing. The rays didn't line up. I got them at a discount. You know why the rays don't line up? She was looking at them upside down. The rays line up perfectly when the pictures are turned around. These will go on the enclosed sun porch in the front of the new house. 

Here's a stove I got for the kitchen. Isn't it a dandy? 

And this is a little wood stove that I got for that little sunroom of my dreams. I was just driving down the road one day and saw an elderly man hauling it to the curb. I stopped dead and said, "How much are you asking for that?" He said, "Free. We're moving. I always meant to hook it up in the garage, but I never did. Now we're trying to get the house ready to sell. It's got to go." 

It was unused. Brand new. I needed help loading it, and so I turned right around and fetched Tim. It was a hot day and we were working on a renovation and he was grumpy at the interruption. His complaints stopped as soon as he saw what I was excited about. We loaded it right up. It is heavily greased to avoid rust, and it is stored away for the new house. 

We've got our kitchen cabinets. Hickory. We bought them off a friend who had two trees fall on his house during a tornado. He decided since he was rebuilding the back of the hosue, he might just as well reconfigure his kitchen, since he'd never been happy with it anyway. So we bought those cabinets and stashed them into the old house on the property that we are using for storage.  Of course, within a few months of hauling them from Terry's house to stash away in the old house, don't you know that two trees fell on our  little storage house? It caused us to give some amount of thought about whether the cabinets were cursed. Maybe we shouldn't put them in the new build...

Nah. We're not superstitious. 

That little house is stuffed to the gills with all manner of things. 

Yesterday, I was looking for something in 'the gift closet' upstairs. I buy things that strike my fancy and put them away in the gift closet. If I need a quick gift for someone, I run upstairs and pick something out. But you know what else I found? 

Aren't these the most beautiful tiles? I got them for 79 cents apiece on clearance and tucked them away. I'd forgotten all about them. I do have a good eye if I do say so myself. 

Scared Myself.

 It could have been catastrophic. We were lucky that it wasn't. Tim got the bright idea that we could shove the heavy 40 foot main beam onto the sill by using two truck ramps to get it across the trench between the basement wall and the hole that was dug for the basement to be poured into. 

See how the basement stands alone. The excavator is coming back with a skid steer tomorrow, and he will push dirt back into the hole around the outside of the basement walls. The ramps cross that chasm like little bridges. Tim's idea was to drag the beam into place, and then ever so slowly slide it along the sill and drop it into the notches made to hold it.  

I was pretty nervous about this. I mean, 40 feet. That is a heavy, heavy beam., but Tim was so sure that we could do it. So he drilled two heavy screws into the side of it, and we pulled the beam over to the ramps. It went much better than I thought it would. Tim had screwed 2x4s in place at the end of the ramps so that the beam would not have to be raised over the bolts.  The beam did slide across the sill a lot easier than I would have expected. 

Where the problem came was when we tried to drop it into the notches in the concrete. Tim was on one end, and I was on the other, and it was heavy, and I was struggling to slip it into position and I dropped my end of it. I managed to keep it on the sill, but the sudden jerk caused Tim to lose his end all together. His end fell off the sill wall and into the basement. 

It scared me. Really. It could have knocked him off the ladder He could have been seriously injured, he could have been killed. We also now had to figure out how to raise that end of the beam out of the basement and back on the sill.

I was a wreck. It was just the two of us, and all I could think of was what could have happened. It made me sick. If the beam had fallen on top of him, I could have never moved it on my own. 

"We're done!" I said, getting down from the scaffolding. Unfortunately, in my haste, I got my bad knee tangled up in the cross brace, and didn't have the range of motion to get untangled without adding a few tears to the mix. 

Tim said something, I don't even know. I yelled at that point. "We're done! It is too heavy! We need extra hands! It's not safe, and I'm not doing it!" and I hobbled myself over to my phone and then straight to the truck. 

It was a quiet ride home. 

Friday, June 16, 2023


 Since our excavator decided to hold off until Monday, we were not able to wrassle with the main beam. Never fear. We got some work done anyway. We moved 58 14 foot 2x10s and 4 16 foot 2x10s from a pile in the yard into the basement. 

We never get board around here. 

Thursday, June 15, 2023


 Well. Last night, Tim and I made a run to the store. I needed loratadine. My nose has been been nuts since this smoke from Canada's forest fires a few days back. William's been snuffling too, and it was predicted that today was going to be another bad day for smoke. (I didn't see that it was, however). When I grabbed a bottle of Listerine. I remembered that I needed to buy a new head for my toothbrush. I studied the display carefully, found the heads for Phillips sonicare. It was $18. for one head, but you could get a 5 pack for $40. That was a no-brainer. So I grabbed the multi-pack. They did not fit. I didn't know there were two models of Phillips toothbrushes. Even more aggravating? I just ordered a 10 pack of the right heads for $12 and free shipping. 

I'm headed back to the grocery store tomorrow to see if I can return an open pack of toothbrush heads. 

Today we spent cleaning up around the construction site for the guy to come in and do the backfill. Amazing how quickly debris piles up. We had a bonfire while things were still wet from the rain.  Now they are calling for thunderstorms tomorrow. The guy with the bulldozer has decided to wait until the rain stops, so it's looking like Saturday or Monday. But the cleanup is done. 

William will be gone for a big part of the weekend. It is the Pride festival and his mother is one of the organizers. He's spending his first night at their new house, in his new bedroom, in his new bed. He went over today and helped set things up. It's a pretty exciting for him. 

We are going to take advantage of his absence to take on a big job that we really don't want him around for. We are hoping to install the main beam, a heavy job. The beam is 40 feet long, awkward, heavy and it has to fit perfectly into the notches in the concrete. We have two jacks which go into the basement to support that beam. We will set them 13 feet in from each basement wall, so that the beam is evenly supported. 

Once the main beam is in, we can start work on the floor joists. Once the joists are in, we can nail down the subfloor. We have a steel door to install and then the basement will be closed off. 

Tim's a bit leery now. We're accumulating quite a pile of lumber and the roof trusses and the treated sheeting. We'll probably begin to spend nights down there to make sure that we don't get robbed. It happened to us once a while back. Tim had some steel trusses to build a bridge. They were stolen right off the back of his parked truck, probably by a local scrapper. We're guessing the one that went to prison for theft not long after our trusses were stolen. 

I also want to apologize to Anonymous once again. S/he said Especially what’s highlighted in blue!🥺It’s a scary country to live in right now😟"

 In our country, Republicans are denoted as 'red', Democrats as 'blue'. I am proudly blue. I thought that the commenter was saying that the parts of the country highlighted in blue were scary. I disagreed. The blue referred to in this case was the blue in the Steven King meme. Blush.  Again, the misunderstanding was entirely mine. 

So that's it, really. A working day. I'm tired, and ready for bed. Have a good weekend, everyone. 


Tuesday, June 13, 2023


 Yesterday, we started work on the sill plate. It was kind of miserable, drizzly and windy, and that made things more difficult than they needed to be. But we got one side of the house done, before calling it quits for the day. 

We got up early and headed back. Over night, I'd been doing some thinking and came up with a couple ideas to make it go more quickly. The main idea was laying a 14 foot plank between the ladder and the scaffold, so that we could walk back and forth along the wall as we worked. That simple idea made things go a lot faster and saved a lot of wear and tear on old knees. 

Because everyone knew what we were doing at this point, that also made things move right along. Tim set the seam seal, William and I hauled the plank in. I climbed up my ladder, and together Tim and I raised the plank into place. We positioned it perfectly and then drilled the holes for the bolts which extended from the top of the concrete. We dropped the board over the bolts, and Tim tightened the nuts and washers while William and I brought in the next plank. And so we worked in the sun, like a well oiled team.  

We had two more walls done by lunch. We were completely done by 1:30. 

William was cheerful and industrious. 
We were putting things away as the clouds rolled in. 

On the way home, he said, "I think that I did a good job today." 

I agreed with him. "You always know inside when you've done your best."

He said thoughtfully, "I was feeling grumpy when we started, but my brain said, "If we all work together, we'll get it done quicker, and my brain was right." 

The next step will be installing the beams. It will be raining tomorrow, so we have an inside project for a tenant, who has had some health issues. Her stairwell has a hand rail on one side. We are going to install a second handrail on the other side of the stairs for extra security. 

On Friday, our excavator will come one last time to push that big pile of dirt back in the ground around the outside of the basement walls. 

Monday, June 12, 2023

Unheard of.

 After quite a long stretch of days with no rain, it was starting to get worrisome. Mattie said that she got scarcely any strawberries this year because there just was not enough rain. We had 2.01 inches of rain in May, which is less than half of what we normally get. We have had no rainfall at all for the month of June. Until Sunday. We've been promised rain for the past couple days. It didn't happen. I read that the reason we are not seeing the rain is, after three weeks of no rain and some blazing heat, it has been so dry that the rain is evaporating before it hits the ground. I need to do more reading on that. It sounds reasonable, but I've never heard of such a thing before. 

But it is raining now and they are calling for rain for most of the week. Of course they are: we are expecting the lumber for our house to be delivered Monday morning. Funny story about that. Tim went up and placed the order, over $4,000 in material. He pulled out his wallet and handed them his debit card. They said, "Oh, we don't take cards. Cash or checks only."

*shocked silence* 

Being unfamiliar with the area, Tim asked if there was a branch of our bank anywhere near by. 

The fellow said, "Oh, don't worry about it. You can just give the check to the guys when they deliver it on Monday." (It's about an hour away.)

Now how long has it been since you heard of a place that does business like that

There wasn't anything to be done at the new house, so we stayed in town Sunday afternoon and put a second coat of paint on the renovation. We got the house done before the drizzle started. 

One of the things that we are working on this summer is gently pushing William to be a bit more independent. He's pretty timid.  Yesterday, while we were painting, he did a $5 job, got bored and began to wonder when we would go home. He pushed a bit and I said, "Listen, if you want to go home, it's a nice day for a walk, but we're not leaving until we're finished here. I can't tell you precisely when that will happen." I honestly did not think that he would even consider it. 

Much to our surprise, he pondered this. It is exactly 1 mile, about 19 blocks. He said, "Well. I know the way." 

I agreed that he did and kept on painting. 

"I could call you on my cell phone if I got nervous."

"You could," I said, painting on. "I don't really think that you have anything to be nervous about though." 

It took him five minutes, but he made up his mind. "I'm walking home," he said and off he went. 

Spoiler: he was fine, he got home with no problems and even remembered to water the geraniums. 

Today, we went to the new house to install the sill plate. William was a great help. Tim was on scaffolding. I was on a ladder. It was very nice to have an extra set of legs to run things back and forth between us. There was no complaining either, which was appreciated more than you can guess. This evening, his grandpa gave him his pay for the last two days and his allowance for the week. He was pretty happy with life. 

He remembered a book that he wanted. He had plenty of money to make that purchase. I offered to take him to the store. "Here's the thing though. I'm tired, I'm in sweats, my hair's a wreck from working in the rain all day. If we're going, you'll have to run into the store yourself, get the book, and then pay for it. I'll wait in the car." 

He was quite nervous about that, not at all certain that kids his age were allowed to be at checkouts without a responsible adult. "What if they ask me for my ID?" 

"They won't," I said. "It's a cash transaction." To make him laugh, I suspiciously asked him just what kind of book he was buying anyway. 

"Not that kind," he said. 

He wanted his book pretty badly. I could tell he was wavering. I let him decide.

"I could call you on my cell phone, if there was a problem?" 

I assured him that he could. 

So off we went. On the way there, he made up his mind to use self checkout because he would not have to talk to an adult. 

The parking lot was pretty empty when we got there, which made him happy. I was able to park right at the entrance. He headed off to the store on his own. He must have run, because he was headed back to the car in very short order, waving his book over his head. 

It's kind of cool to be able to watch him making these little steps towards independence. I'm a lucky grandma. 

Sunday, June 11, 2023


 William is done with school for the year. I picked him up in the car and we went to the grocery store so that he could pick out the celebratory desert of his own choosing. He chose a cheesecake sampler, in case you are curious. 

He said it several times: "I don't have to go back for 3 whole months..." and he would give this big sigh, and such a happy smile. 

I remembered that joy, getting off the bus for the last time in June, having the summer stretching before me, an empty notebook waiting to be filled. It's different now. When I was a child, no one looked for things to fill our days. We lived in a remote area. My mother did not drive. 

Every two weeks, the book mobile came and we would walk into town with our books, crossing the old railroad trestle that scared me to pieces because of the open spaces between the ties. I could see the water rushing below. I was afraid of heights. 

For a week in the summer, a church held a vacation Bible school, and one of the mothers from that church would drive out to pick us up. 

One day we always got to go to the Garland Gala Days. My grandparents bought us each a book of ten tickets. We would talk about nothing BUT the rides we were going to ride. In those days, one ticket equaled one ride. There was live music. We always got to play one game. 

For a time, the local radio station played the old time radio shows, a half hour of pure entertainment starting at 5 PM. Fibber McGee and Molly was a huge favorite. The Lone Ranger, The Shadow.

And day by day, summer writ itself. We were often bored, but we had great imaginations, and that carried us through.

It is different for William. There are pool passes and sleep overs. A trip to Michigan. A trip East to see his aunt and uncle. The summer reading program. Camping trips, Minibike riding. Time with his cousins. A lot of effort is put into figuring out how to keep William entertained this summer. 

It's a good mix of fun and opportunities to make money and seeing new things. 

He won't be bored, and I guess that's good, but I cannot help but remember those long ago summer days. There was a sweetness to long empty days which wrote themselves.  I hope he has a chance to experience that as well. 

Thursday, June 8, 2023


 We went up to the house-to-be today. I was tarring/waterproofing.  Sound familiar? That is because, initially, William and I tarred the joint where the walls met the footers. Then, for whatever reason, Tim decided to go around it and paint up 14 more inches. I honestly don't know why. That was the day that he exhausted himself to the point of having some pretty significant speech problems. Last night, he announced that he had been thinking, and he thought we should tar the concrete 4 feet up the wall, just for insurance against leaks. I privately made up my mind that I was going to do that myself, and so I did. I painted steadily for nearly 5 hours. It was cooler today, and the tar was thicker, which made the going more difficult. (Pro-tip: I tarred five feet up to avoid subsequent ' know, I've been thinking.' 

By the time that I was done, my fingers were stuck to the tar brush. My clothes were spattered. My arms were tarred up from dipping into the five gallon bucket of tar over and over. My sister and her husband came over on the four wheeler to see our progress. My brother-in-law noted that I was supposed to be tarring the wall, not myself. I invited him to step down into the trench and demonstrate his technique. I promised to observe carefully. (spoiler alert: there is no way to do tar anything without creating a mess upon your person). Anyways, I made up my mind that I was absolutely going to finish the job all in one day. It is such a messy job that I did not want to stop in the middle of it. So I got it done, and then I changed my clothes and tossed the old clothes straight into the fire. 

We ate a sandwich and were packing up to head home. It was nearly time to get William. A strange truck pulled up in the driveway. A fellow had just bought property down the road and was clearing it. He's building a house on a concrete slab and was interested who we'd got to do our concrete. He said, "I can't even get anyone to return my phone call..." (Been there, done that, got the tee-shirt.) We visited and Tim showed him the basement, and he was impressed. We offered to introduce him to Carrot Top some day. 

Then we locked up and headed home. A long hot shower felt good. I used nearly a whole bottle of nail polish remover to remove tar splatter from strange places. I mean, I was wearing long pants. Despite that, I had tar on my knees!

We had left overs for supper. Here we refer to that as 'grab and growl'. There was pasta bake and there was macaroni and cheese and there were the makings for sandwiches. Everyone helped themselves. 

I did a lot of thinking in the past 24 hours.  Since we have both retired, we are spending a lot of time together.  Tim gets joy from his houses. That brings meaning to his life. It just doesn't do it for me. I mean, I guess I understood the relevance when we were building towards retirement, but now we are retired. I don't want to talk about building. Renovating. What project is next. That seems to be all that Tim can talk about. I feel like a spoiled woman, but I don't want to talk about these things 24/7. The silent space between us grows and grows. 

Last night, the silence was especially deafening. Tim went to bed, and I sat in the dark on the couch. I decided that I am going to go back to work. I see that Head Start is hiring, and I really do enjoy working with kids. It would be a job that gives me the summers off. My work schedule would mesh with William's school schedule. 

This morning, I told Tim. He was shocked. I said it to him just as plainly as I can. He can use the extra money to hire someone to work with him. 

Late Edit: This sounds kind of gloomy. It wasn't meant to be. It's just that Tim is determined to follow his star. It's only fair that I follow my own. He's always been single minded about his projects. His focus is always there. What he wants to do tomorrow. Next week. Next month. 

I don't want that to be the sole focus of my golden years. 

In brighter news, for the first time, I successfully over wintered my geraniums. They are a vivid, deep burgundy red, which I've never seen before, and I do love that color. My sister kept them for me last year and propagated some new growth for her own. I kept them at home this year and tried it for myself, and both plants seem to have done well. I gave them a bit of a jumpstart by hauling them downstairs out of their southern window, gave them a good fertilizing and stuck them in the green house for a month. I'm excited to get them in their urns on the front porch. 

Also, I fixed my phone today, all by myself! No call to customer service needed. That made me happy too. 

Tomorrow is William's last day of school. Needless to say, he's a pretty happy camper too. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Where there's smoke....

 This is the normal view from Washington Park, which is a park that overlooks our town. 

This is the same view today.

The haze is smoke from the wildfires in Canada. 

This smoke has traveled hundreds of miles and crossed Lake Erie. They say that the fires are larger than the state of Maryland. My sinuses are irritated and my nose is running. I cannot imagine how bad things must be for the folks who actually live up there. 

The basement is done. I'll be spending the day up there, and I will get pictures. 

Have a good rest of your day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Figured It Out.

 Our former tenant is quite angry at us. She feels that she was overcharged for things. We had to replace a padlock on the garage ("It was on the door when we left!") She said she would leave the house keys in the mail box, but she didn't. They had installed a keyless entry on the door and she left the key that you use to change the code on it, but she did not leave the keys to the  regular door locks, the keys that she was given when she moved in. By her own admission she did not clean the stove or the refrigerator. (She forgot), but she claims that she wiped down all the cupboards. She didn't, and we can tell that because she left stuff behind in the laundry room, in the kitchen, in one closet and the bathroom upstairs. They also left boxes and totes and garbage bags full of stuff that had to be hauled out of the basement. I charged her for five hours of work. She feels that I am implying that she was not a clean person.   

My problem is that things like that draw me into responding. When she accused us of charging her for normal wear and tear, I assured her that we had not. That we painted the walls, and she was not charged for that. We put a new finish down on the hardwood floors, but she was not charged for that either. Those projects are a landlord's responsibility. That's normal wear and tear.

However, when a wall is left with holes in it where a shelf was ripped down (it certainly wasn't unscrewed), she was charged for replacing the drywall. That is beyond the scope of normal wear and tear. While her boyfriend had filled the holes left from the barndoors they installed between the diningroom and the livingroom, he hadn't sanded anything down. The table they sawed in half and bolted to the bathroom wall as a vanity was removed. Thatwas more damage to repair, and touch up painting. Tim charged them two hours of drywall repair for work in three rooms.  The thing was, not one of those alterations was permitted under the terms of the signed lease. 

I guess that I just thought if I explained it to her, she'd understand. 

She didn't. 

She pointed out that we could have replaced the toilet paper holder cheaper if we went to Walmart. We could have bought a padlock cheaper if we went to this store. She didn't understand why she was charged $50 to replace a broken knob on the washer because it was a very old washer. It wasn't old at all. All the appliances had been bought from the same place on the same day. They were new when she moved in, and yes, that is a heartstopping price for a knob, but it is what they charged (that was so outrageous that we did enclose a copy of the receipt.) It was $31 to replace the screen because we had to pay the window people to build the new replacement screen, because they'd tossed out the frame, probably hoping that we would be less likely to notice a missing screen than the torn one. 

In the end, she received $206 and change out of her $600 deposit, and she was/is not happy. She feels that it was our responsibility to set up a walk through, and we did not. It's actually the tenant's responsibility, by law, but if she has not set up one by 15 days before the moveout, we are suppose to contact her. We didn't have 15 days. She gave us 9 days notice. 

She's required to give 30 days notice, but feels because we didn't tell her she could not move out when she gave her 9 days notice, this constitutes our agreement that she break the lease. We knew she was hauling her stuff out in a big hurry. We were a bit blindsided by the speed that it all was happening. I figured they would clean after they got all their stuff out, but there was one last message that they were done, and the keys would be in the mailbox. 

The end. 

Well. Until the angry messaging started. The last exchange happened when they received their itemized list and the refund from their depost. She told me that I was lying, in those words and that because I was lying, it made her question every single deduction on the list. She was outraged that I would imply that she is a dirty person. At that point, I just started sending her messages to spam. She wasn't willing to listen. She wasn't being reasonable. She is swearing that she will not back down and she's taking us to court. We don't need to be seeing this stuff. We can look up the messages once a week to print out anything new, but we sure don't need the upset every day. 

Yesterday, I was over there one last time, scrubbing at the grout in the upstairs bathroom. When I was done, finally, I swept the floor. The bathroom sink cabinet is on legs, and when I swept underneath it, there were bottle caps, odd earrings, dust bunnies, packaging from false eyelashes, cat toys, bobby pins, etc. 

That's when it hit me. I see where the disconnect is. She feels that her house wasn't dirty when she left. What she doesn't understand is that it wasn't at all ready to rent. Appliances needed pulled out. Spills and grease had dripped down between them and the cupboards. There was debris and papers and all manner of stuff underneath all of the appliances. The carpets upstairs had not been shampooed. The windows needed washed. The grout in the bathroom needed attention. The baseboard radiators on both floors were dirty and dusty, Debris had collected beneath them as well. 

None of these things would indicate that I'm implying that she's a pig. I mean, if you pulled out my fridge right now, I am quite sure that I would be embarrassed, Same with the washer, the dryer the stove. I have my own shampooer, but there's a rug that could benefit from some attention. It's just a fact of life.

For some reason, it came as a big relief to finally be able to put my finger on the disconnect, to be able to figure out what she was so darned angry about. I mean, she had been a tenant for several years, and we never had a problem with her until this whole thing blew up in our face. 

I gathered up my stuff and the last of the garbage and headed back out. I locked the door with the new key to the new lock. I got in my car and came home. 

Monday, June 5, 2023


Tim and I have been very busy (as you may have noticed). He needed one more piece of pipe for the french drain. He always measures things out exactly. Precisely. My take on it is that you might want to have just a smidge extra on hand. Just in case. He's not a great believer in smidges, so it regularly happens that we are almost done, but we run just a bit short. Yesterday, it was the pipe. 

"Huh," he said. 

I said, "I really hate that you do this, Tim. If you wind up with an extra piece, we can return it, but it really is a pain in the ass to be almost done, but not quite...." 

And he said, "Well, it's probably good that it worked out this way, because I think that I'm going to go ahead and set it up so that the gutter system on the roof runs right into the french drain as well." (As opposed to just running on top of the ground). 

I let him think it was a good thing that he'd shorted himself on that extra pipe.

So last night, he said, "I'll go finish up the french drain. If you could finish up the bathroom at the rental, that would be great." 

I said, "Yes. I can do that. I have a pile of books to donate to the library anyway, and it will give me a chance to wash my summer clothes. I'll pack away my sweaters." 

"Okay," he said. 

So I got up and started laundry first thing this morning. I packed away the books Cara wanted to keep. I gathered up the books that she didn't want to keep, took pictures of another book case to send to her so that she could make her decisions on that. 

I watered my tomatoes, peppers and hanging baskets. 

I dropped two shopping bags of books at the library and then headed over to finish up at the rental. For good measure, I did weeding. 

I came back home, folded laundry, put it away. 

I popped the chicken in the oven and chopped vegetables to steam. I went down to meet William. 

I finally texted Tim at five. "Where are you?" I asked. 

He was still up at the new build site. I figured he was fiddling with the french drains still, but when he walked in the door an hour later, he was plainly exhausted, sunburnt. 

I looked at him in amazement. 

People: William and I had sealed where the footer and the bottom of the wall met. That's what the inspector asked for. Today, Tim decided that he wanted to tar the whole way up the outside of the basement wall. He did the whole thing. By himself.  The thing is, he did not have to do that by himself. There was not one thing that I did today that could not have been pushed to another day, had I known that he (once again) decided to do things differently.

"You need to keep me in the loop," I said, and I wasn't very patient about it. "So what's going on tomorrow?" Turned out the Amish crew was returning. 

"Tim! I haven't got lunch figured out!" 

In thinking it over, I decided the best thing to do was to just go ahead and get sandwich meat and sliced cheese from the deli. They could make up their own subs, and lord knows, whatever did not get eaten could be tossed into the freezer. We'll be needing quick grab and go lunches for the foreseeable future. 

Tim was so exhausted, but he said, "I'll drive you." 

"No, actually, you'll stay put, eat supper and relax. William and I will run out."

I bought two pounds each of smoked turkey, roast beef, honey ham, and salami. I got swiss and american cheese, having cheddar and provolone at home. I bought three tomatoes to slice, along with a head of lettuce to shred. I bought another case of water, two boxes of ice cream sandwiches (they love ice cream) and I picked up 24 pastries for their coffee break. I bought 24 sub buns. We got more gatoraid. 

I don't think that we'll be running out of food this time. Unlike Tim, I always like to have a smidge extra on hand. 

I got home and was setting things up for Tim. He came into the kitchen. He was stuttering so badly that I couldn't understand him. I stood staring at him, feeling sick. I was having a flash back of him trying to talk when I took him to the hospital back in January for his stroke. 

Carefully, I said, "You're stuttering pretty badly. Do you feel okay?" Inside, my mind was ticking boxes. 

F.A.S.T - Face: he smiled at me, as if I was being ridiculous. No drooping.

                Arms: he was putting groceries away. no weakness. 

                Speech: Scary. He was trying to say 'parole officer'. Several tries later, he got it. 

He scared the shit out of me. Of course, he thought that I was over reacting. 

After the boy went to bed, I let him have it. He needs to keep me in the loop. He cannot push himself like this. I made it clear to him that if he ever pushed himself like this again, I would simply not let him go up there by himself. It was stupid, and it was unnecessary and by GOD, he'd better never do that to me again. 

He's in bed right now. 

I'm too upset to sleep. Amazingly, I'm also too upset to cry, but I think that I'd feel much better if I could.

Sunday, June 4, 2023


We have walls! Sorry about the crappy cell phone picture. Someone forgot the good camera. I really have to begin making that a habit. This weekend was a pretty easy one, really, sealing the outside of the basement wall, along the base, where it joins the footer. The inspector recommended it. It was simple enough to do, and everyone likes a happy inspector. It will not need sealed inside, because when the floor is poured, it will actually be well above that juncture. 

Today we laid the french drain which didn't take time at all. My sister and brother in law stopped over and then my nephew and his wife and the kids stopped in to blab too. 

We went over to assemble some furniture and put the finishing touches on the house that we have decided to sell. I found a television stand at Walmart that was evidently a style they were discontinued. It was clearance priced at $50. Original price was $197. We bought it for a housewarming present. 

I am not having a garden this year. We just have so much stuff going on that I have (shamefully) just decided I am not going to stress myself out about it. I potted up a half dozen tomato plants and a half dozen pepper plants. I'm going to plant a couple zuchinis and some cucumbers and call it good. Maybe some beans. I'm going to try planting bag potatoes too. I've always wanted to give that a go, and they can fit along the wall in the greenhouse. 

But that's it. Really. 

No more than that. 

Except for my rhubarb. 

But other than that...

This is William's last week of school. We're trying to get things lined up to keep him busy. One thing is to get him enrolled in the summer reading program at the library. He'll go to the swimming pool at least once a week. We've got plans to go kayaking at least 3 times. He'll be doing some traveling, going to Michigan and heading east to spend time  with his aunt and uncle. There will be plenty of time to earn money along with the play time. We also plan to work on some maturity issues. It will hopefully being a learning summer as well as a fun one. 

And there you have it: life at the funny farm. 

Friday, June 2, 2023

No Time

 The boy rushed home from school to mow his lawn. He solemnly handed over his $250 to his grandfather, snatched his VR gear and disappeared upstairs. We made him come down for supper. He snorfed down his food. I don't believe he chewed. Two of his friends from school were on. He dashed back upstairs. At 9:30 we made him stop. 

He sprawled on the couch next to me and had some oreos, some macaroni and cheese and some lemonade. 

"So," I asked him, "do you think your new gadget was worth that wad of money?" 

"It was the best money I ever spent!" 

Tomorrow, we get up early. I'll be waterproofing the seam between the footer and the bottom of the wall. The inspector suggested it. We'll do it his way. Tim will be installing french drains. We'll be working crazy fast, because the fellow with the excavator is coming back to backfill, and he's offered to cover the drains for us. 

Ed made a comment about how much water he drank doing concrete work. It is hard work, and in the heat, keeping hydrated is a must. The water is shut off there right now. and the pump pulled, so we stuffed a fridge with Gatoraid and bottled water. The first day, there were five men working. The second day, 6. They drank 24 gatoraids and nearly two cases of water. 

Foodwise...Thursday, I ran out of food. I thought for sure that 18 sausages with peppers, onions, sauce, and hearty buns would take care of them. They ran out. 

We're all exhausted, but tomorrow is a big push. I'll get pictures, the camera's ready to go. 

Tomorrow afternoon, we're moving a truckload of furniture. 

Sunday, we're going to take a break, I think.

A former tenant, unhappy that she did not get her full deposit back, said she's suing. That's the first time we've ever had that happens. We shall see what we shall see. 

Thursday, June 1, 2023



Tim needed to photograph the assembly of the horizontal rebar to send to the inspector, who wasn't sure he was going to make it out today. He did make it out, and he's a pretty chatty character. He really thinks highly of Carrot Top/Johnny. According to the driver, at the beginning of that business relationship, Johnny would call repeatedly trying to set up appointments for the inspector to be there during the pour, but he could never preschedule it. Amish can't play phone tag, seeing as how they don't have phones. Trying to coordinate cement delivery with cement inspection got frustrating enough that finally, Johnny called and left a message. He said, "The cement is arriving at 2, and we'll be pouring. If you want to see it, be there." The driver said, "Oh, there was quite a discussion after the fact," and he laughed. "In the end, they reached a friendly agreement." 

It seems friendly enough. Tim says they greet each other like old friends, and that the inspector has commented to Tim several times on the quality of his work.  If he's busy, he just tells Tim to take pictures. 

This picture is from Tim's cell phone (a cheapie like mine) so the quality is not good. It is offensive to Amish to have their pictures taken, so I wait until they are gone to haul out my camera, but today I couldn't go (car trouble). Tim just took pictures. They are pouring the walls in the picture. Tomorrow will be a half day. They'll come and remove the forms. 

Tim and I have an assignment. We will gravel in and cover the french drains around the house. Next week is the final step: they pour the floor. I imagine the following weekend, we're going to be going great guns on getting the floor of the house on to keep any rain out of the basement. 

In other breaking news, after William mows Mrs. Weaver's lawn, tomorrow, he will have the money to buy his VR gear. Saving up $250 is quite an accomplishment for a 12 year old. I was trying to remember when this head set became a 'thing' I'm sure that it has been 10 or 11 weeks. He never wavered, and he never spent one dime on himself.  

It's been a quiet day here. Tomorrow we've got a bit of work to do on a rental. A quick job. We'll have a nice break Friday evening before heading into a working weekend.


Well, things are under way. The first concrete pour happened. The giant hole in the ground now has a rectangle of concrete in the bottom, which is called the footer. It is the base that ultimately the whole house will be built on. 

The picture below is taken from what will be the outside entrance to the basement. 
You are looking east.

Looking south

Looking north

Looking west. 

 Today, they will be building the walls. The iron rods standing in the concrete are called 'rebar'. There will be four rows of rebar going horizontally along the vertical rebar. This will provide reinforcement for the concrete walls, just as your bones provide support for your body. The 'planks' that you see leaning up against the dirt walls of what will be the cellar are the forms. They will be stood up to provide a mold for the walls. They will sit on top of the footers and the concrete will be poured between them and around the rebar. The floor will be poured, which will fill in that concrete rectangle we have now. 

This is the foundation, and it will be strong enough to hold up a house. The inspector told a funny (?) story about a fly-by-night person who was trying to build a house on the cheap. He built it without rebar support, and didn't call the inspector until after the pour. The inspector refused to approve it. Ultimately, being cheap cost him a lot of money, because the concrete needed to be redone. Concrete work is not cheap. Our job is $20,000, and those fellows are earning every penny of that money.

In other news, a group of teachers addressed the behavior problems at the school that William attends. I am very interested in this. We meet William and walk home with him pretty much every day and I see plenty of behavior that does shock me. That's not just a word. I mean, it truly does shock me.

After reading about the problems, I talked to William this morning. I told him what the teachers had said. He said in a musing way, "I didn't know they talked to teachers like that too." 

(too???) This warranted further questioning. 

William said, "Walter came at my friend Levi with a metal water bottle acting like he was going to smash him in the head with it yesterday." 

(*deep breath*) 

"Well, you do understand that when a kid behaves like this, nine chances out of ten, he is not going to hit you. He's getting off on making you afraid. That's what makes him feel powerful." 

(please, God, let this be true.)

William said, "I know. We stand our ground. I told Levi he wouldn't do it." 

(good, good...) 

"And then what did Walter do?" 

"Oh, he got mad. Then he told me, 'You are a waste of space, you shouldn't even be on this planet. No wonder your father ran away.'" 

(*gasp* long pause as I figure out what to say next). 

"William, you do understand that your father did not run away from you. He was a dangerous man. It was unsafe for you to be around him, and the courts agreed." 

"I know," he said. 

"You are a good kid. You know this, right?" 

"I know," he said. 

"Walter is not a bully. He is abusive. For a kid to be that cruel and hatefilled is not normal. Something terrible is happening in his home. If he's talking like that, he's not talking like that just to you and Levi. I'm going to guess he gets in trouble a lot." 

"He does," William answered. 

"And the thing is, that behavior is not going to stop when he gets out of school. In the adult world, abusive behavior gets you in trouble. Abusive people get arrested. They get criminial records. They go to jail. Every single abusive person learns that behavior as a kid." 

William listened. He listened as I said, "If this shit ever lays one hand on you, you need to stop right there. You need to go to the office. You need to call your grandmother. He cannot lay a hand on you, and I'm going to guess he knows that, but if he doesn't, he needs to learn it."

I dropped William off at school. I worry about his footing too. Is the 'rebar' we are building that boy around strong enough to hold him upright in the middle of bullshit like this? 


 It was a day of getting ready to go, getting everything packed up. We are headed east to see Iris' ballet recital.  I picked up some la...