Saturday, November 3, 2012

Moved In, Pretty Much

There were few adventures along the road. A bit of searching for motels for the group, a bit more challenge in finding one with a pool. In the end, that's exactly what we managed in 4 days of travel: a pool. Since my swim suits were all packed and on the truck somewhere, I didn't go swimming.

Oh well. I'm making up for it.

The one real adventure was the truck thinking it had broken down. Some gauge registered overheating or loss of oil pressure or something similar and shut the truck off in the middle of the freeway. We were lucky in many aspects. Roadside assistance was prompt. We had just left Gallup so help was close. More important - for those of us who found it important - was the car was mobile and there were restrooms just 2 miles down the road. Trust me, we found it important. While we were there and waiting, we decided to take advantage of the Subway as suppertime was rapidly approaching, and cell communication to get everybody's order. As we were heading back, we got the call that the truck was fixed and they'd meet us at the exit we'd just left. It turned out that the sensor was wrong. The repair guy didn't have a replacement, wouldn't be able to order one for 2 days, but he jerry rigged something that would hold for the rest of the trip.

It worked.

We beat Paul to the house. His plane had been late taking off, or it might have been a toss-up. Beds got set up for all and the clean-up began.

It took me the rest of the day to clean the fridge/freezer. Blecchhh! Soap, bleach, scrubbies, removing parts, trying not to wonder too hard at what the crusted and sloshed remains had been before. At least now I trust that it's safe for use, though there are black bits that come down with the the ice cubes through the door dispenser.

They get picked out. The taste sucks, so Paul got us a Britta filtering pitcher for a housewarming present, much appreciated and much used by the whole crew. I will need ice cubes, and picked up a bag of lemons to slice and add to my water jug for work. It works, at least for the trial run here. I haven't actually made it to a day at work, but that's a long story.

Much more house work first.

The rugs/carpeting got removed more quickly than anticipated. Traditionally down here they are glued to the concrete floors, and we came prepared to scrape and scrape. Instead they affixed wooden strips around the rooms and attached the carpeting just like over wooden floors. Once it was removed, however, we weren't looking at concrete. There were 9" floor tiles in a dark ugly brown that turned out to be asbestos!

Home Depot identified them and instructed us to use floor primer and floor paint. The den was the first for the treatment, so we could have a site to unload boxes from the truck. Unfortunately the grey top coat needed 72 hours to dry before use.

On the plus side. it turned out that the tiles weren't actually attached to the floor any more. Perhaps it was 50-year-old adhesive. At any rate they were simply lifted off and dropped in the dumpster. But the floors still needed 3 days before we could bring in furniture, much less boxes to unpack.

Other painting needed doing as well. The master bedroom needed de-wallpapering first, and we figured the living room as well, till we decided to prime an paint over it. When the bedroom took three days, I began to believe we'd never get things done in time. To complicate matters, the colors I had mixed at WalMart before leaving turned out to be too blue a shade. We'd already used the dark on the bed platform, recoiled, and replaced it. Not sure why we trusted the light after that, but it was a 2-gallon mistake. I went to Home Depot for the first replacement, and did it for the second as well. The trim - floor and crown molding - needed white paint when the other was dry enough for taping. Our bed was set up in the middle of the room while all this was going on. We had a platform with drawers, box spring, and mattress. It was so tall we could hardly climb into it at night. Steve and I agreed to ditch the box spring, and fortunately found someone willing to haul it away for use by a grateful somebody who was previously sleeping on a mattress on the floor: our plumber.

Did I mention the plumbimg? Paul woke us up in the middle of the first night to inform us the shower stall drained so slow it almost flooded. Meanwhile the then-only toilet, off the master bedroom so we had constant traffic, was also plugged. The rule became Use But Don't Flush. Instant honey pot.

We called the equivalent of Roto-Rooter down here: Rooter Hero. They had lots of coupons in the yellow pages. They - he brought an apprentice - ended up clearing the plugs - by then 3 systems were down - scoping the sewer to outside of the house where they found one pipe narrowed from lack of use joined to another cracked on the bottom and ready to attract tree roots, digging up and replacing pipes halfway through the yard, locating an uneven join to the rest of the system which they offered to fix for another $6G and we declined so he connected it up and gave us a 15-year warranty on the work done. While they were there we had him replace the internal toilet part which filled the tank so slowly we couldn't tell whether or not it was always running. And because it was there and Richard wasn't, we had them replace the second leaky toilet with a new handicap-height one we'd brought.

The system works now, though we've been cautioned that the uneven join in the yard may cause - no, will cause - problems in the future. Hopefully later rather than sooner. Also while we are absent next summer water needs to be run through the pipes every month or so to keep the shrinking pipe from shrinking again. The emergency fund has been extinguished, however.

One positive is that the digging did us the favor of eliminating one of the unwanted bushes lining the front of the house. Turns out it is the only one completely gone. The tops are gone, but ugly stumps stick up, a hazard to anyone crossing the front yard to the street. The yard is littered with hoses, pine branches,  rocks, paving blocks in stacks, and broken down packing boxes waiting for recycling right now, hopefully a deterrent to that activity.  Of course with the dumpster still in the driveway despite two calls to the company to come remove it, Steve and I still take that path.

Eventually all the paint dried and rugs and furniture got moved in, the storage wall built and installed in the master bedroom by Paul, boxes brought in for leisurely unpacking. One person down from our plans with Richard never showing up, we were behind in yard work. We'd all been enjoying the now screenless porch/patio, relaxing, smoking, and eating out there. Evenings we'd hear coyotes, including one night when sirens went off for a local fire and they began howling from three directions at once.  Waiting days for paint to dry, Paul moved the futon out to the patio and slept quite comfortably with the help of a warm bedspread. He almost refused to move back in when the floors were ready.

The unwanted chain link had been removed, other than the vertical posts imbedded in concrete. The dogs still had full run of the back yard, once the nasty cactus were removed. Koda twice needed pricklies removed from a foot, and now with getting shaved down and the worst area covered in pine branches, we hope it won't be repeated.   The ponytail palm got planted, though looking much the worse for wear. It looked so bad, in fact, that I had Paul scrape a bit of bark to find proof of life. It will recover, and in the process of checking we discovered several new babies growing at the base of the trunk which may be replanted at some future point. Imagine: a yard of ponytail palms!

The last day was a day of mishaps. Lance and Orrin were working on getting out their first stump, when the pick axe handle slipped, nailing Orrin the the least desirable spot for such a mishap. A bag of ice and some time later, he declined a visit to the hospital, less than a mile away. Lance wasn't so lucky. Getting back from a late night trip for cigarettes, he tripped over the curb at the street and hit his head on a rock. Paul drove him over, Lisa tending him on the way. He wound up with nothing broken, "just" a sore head and lots of soft tissue damage to the foot he tripped with, the right. He assurred Paul he could still help drive their rental car home as long as it had cruise control.

Scary thought.

However, we heard from all concerned, and they made it safely with a side trip to the Canyon and a route going along the east side of the Rockies.

Steve and I got out recreation center passes and the punch cards allowing us to bring guests, so most nights most of us enjoyed a good long soak in the spa pool after a hard day of work. There is nothing quite like sitting in an open air hot tub or walking in a pool after sundown, watching the moon or planes from the airport pass by, knowing it's November, to help you realize that you are no longer in Minnesota!

The real topper came last night in the walking pool. I find just walking boring, and started varying that with long stretches, crossovers, and basically moving in the pool in ways this body hasn't moved for years. Music plays in the background though I don't really try to keep up. Slow works best in the water. The spa warms me, I exercise in the walking pool, and spa warms me again. Last night I kept noting the sign that says low-impact walking and exercising only, and got a bit inspired. When Steve left the spa for the walking pool, I joined him and in the 4' section we got together to do something we both thought we'd never do again: we danced, for the first time in years!

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