Friday, October 17, 2014

Piecemeal. But Progress.

The planting is finally done. Not permanently final. I still want another specific kind of tree, and some interesting aloes, something with colors beyond green and white. Other plants will demand my attention in upcoming months or years. But everything brought down or purchased here is in the ground. It took a few different days, with a couple or more days worth of breaks in between. But they're in. Two new trees, four Ocatillas, 3 ponytails, one aloe, three agaves, one nasty little but attractive dickia, and a scattering of hawarthia. Chicken wire cages surround them all. We bear assorted scratches and punctures.  I think the shovel is still in the front yard.

The knees are now demanding a few more days before something else is tackled.

They won't get them.

I'm hoping for the time when all the moving-in projects are done and the daily tasks are just that, merely daily tasks. That's not happening either, not soon.

Steve now has his own bedroom. It's cluttered with boxes to be unpacked, full of stuff needing spaces to be unloaded to. Spaces like the library, once two more walls are covered with shelves, and a closet is turned into an office. His room is much less messy than before we came down, since he got an attack of unpacking and we discovered where the Red Wing had been, and a few pieces glassware and of southwest pottery purchased long enough ago they had actually been forgotten. Those now have temporary homes until, again, the library shelving is completed and things taking up space in the living room cabinets are relocated so... well, same song, different verse.

Despite that work, the house remains full of packed boxes. We did organize Steve's room to the point where a full garbage bag of bubblewrap went back to the thrift store which had Steve's bed delivered, so we can now walk on the floor. The lady carrying it off to the truck had a bit of fun, going pop pop pop-pop pop all the way down the driveway.

I will finally believe the boxes are unpacked when I find the one holding my orange glass fish mobile/wind chime, and several other wind chimes. They are probably in one of the dozen remaining boxes marked "cabinet crap." Seriously. I packed a whole lot of boxes labeled "crap." Two and a half years ago.

Looking around, unpainted walls bear new colors, new-to-us furniture serves our needs, broken things have been repaired - not all, but some - and hastily placed things have been more thoughtfully located. A simple example of the last is our hummingbird feeders. We have three, formerly all located around the edges of the backyard patio. Hummers are territorial, however, and I though it might be more interesting, and better for them, if one were to be moved to the front yard. I found a spot where a hanger had been left by the previous owner, and moved a feeder there.

It's been appropriated. The back yard is full of battling females. A male has claimed the front feeder, and not just any male, but my favorite of all the hummers down here. We have a Lucifer! I fell in love with those lovely purple feathers when my parents stayed down here and a male Lucifer claimed their feeder as his own. Steve has now seen his first Lucifer, and he loves the color as much as I do. We have moved the wicker loveseat out to the front, and sitting there during planting breaks gives us plenty of times to appreciate him as he perches on the chicken wire cages protecting the garden plants about three feet from us.

We are waiting to get the "lawn" work done. That translates to having Felipe and his grandson come out with the backpack blower and rakes and rid us of pine needles and cones. He's done work for us for two years now and is appreciated enough that Steve has his business card to contact him when needed. While doing planting, we have already had 4 men stop by offering their services. Two were this morning, and the second one seemed skeptical when we turned him down with the excuse we already had somebody. I just told him that we were waiting for the first of the month so we could afford to get the work done. More needles and cones will fall by then anyway. He still may not believe we have our own preferred helper, but the suggestion of no money at the moment seems to have done the trick.

Cleaning is backed up a fair bit. It's not enough that every time I turn round, Fred has left another growing clump of hair to drift into a corner. They get picked up one here, one there, and occasionally a whole floor gets swept. That's just the normal cleaning. Mice have left presents, and not only do those have to be tackled as energy permits, but sticky traps are set out and baited, to no avail. I do not see new droppings, so maybe our return has chased them out.

Sure, right. Uh huh.

Lots of cleaning got left undone when we left last spring. It was a very short visit before hitting the road. Laundry has included all kinds of bedding in addition to the daily stuff. Food was left sitting in from-the-store boxes, and there appear to be a lot of tiny critters who are experts at invading pasts, beans, rice, pancake mixes....  There have been days spent sorting buggy from -we think - non buggy, and finding or buying sealable containers for future storage. Just to be more secure, the "good" stuff spends a few days in the freezer before heading back to the shelves.  I'm hoping that works. In case there were eggs.

Our garbage company will take all our moving boxes at once for merely $10, so we are sending them out a few at a time, mostly either as extra containers to take away recycling, or holding prickly pruned branches from yet another set of just-returned-down-here chores. Those go in the garbage but understandably our garbage collectors hate grabbing thorny stuff by hand. Non-prickly branches can be bundled with twine and laid on the ground by the can. Prickly goes in a box, thank you.

No problem. We have boxes. Lots of boxes. We'll still have boxes to dribble out next spring. That $10 fee is simply annoying.

There's a lot of wandering through the house opening and closing windows. We kept the AC on while Rich and Brenda were working in the house. Then we got the bill, so now it's open up at night (it helps they've finally gotten cooler and dryer) and close before morning heats the house, so we can get by with perhaps an hour of cooling via the AC. Open windows of course give Ellie a myriad more excuses to bark at whatever, even if that whatever is across the street, or perhaps, if our suspicions are correct, totally imaginary. Fans are a great help at night. Rich fixed the one in the master bedroom ceiling. The one in Steve's bedroom has always worked fine, and is hanging down from a short enough stem that nobody's tall head had bumped it out of whack. If Rich had more time here, the fan in the living room - brand new and with a shorter stem than the one it replaces - would also have been installed before I took them to the airport. I guess we can stare at the hole and wires for another... what, two years? He at least climbed through the attic and put in proper bracing so that this time a fan could be adequately supported.

Did I mention that he also found out that the attic fan does not work? Another repair for the future.

Like replacing the plumbing. Rich tried to fix a clog in one bathroom sink. After two trips to get the proper tool to open the trap, it turned out that 1) the trap was so rusted in place that it could not be replaced once moved, 2) the clog was up by the sink anyway, and 3) both bathroom sinks drain into that same trap so now both are unusable.

Speaking of nights, as I was a long while back now, I've discovered a weird adaptation to the time zone change. I go to bed on Arizona time. No problem there. But I wake up on Minnesota time! For somebody whose doctor is concerned that I get enough sleep, this is NOT HELPING! Even the dogs are getting into the act, creating a plethora of noises starting about 4:00 AM. About the only positive in the whole situation is that I'm getting to see a whole lot of beautiful desert sunrises.

And I can take naps. They cut into my reading time, but...


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