Greetings from Seattle



Friday, August 28, 2015

Gramma Camp On Whidbey Island

When Jill went back to work on Tuesday we picked up the grand kids and headed to Whidbey Island for a few days.

It was close to noon by the time we got through city freeway traffic and across the sound on the ferry.  The rest of the day was pretty lazy, with everyone resting up after all those home improvement projects. 

When it got warm, Tom and I sat in the shade by the lagoon and read.  the kids disappeared into their bunks for screen time. 
 Later in the afternoon I did manage to wander  over to the beach via the public access before gearing up to cook dinner for the bunch of us. 

 Wednesday morning, after a late start, Tom and I spent most of the rest of the morning cleaning up the long neglected front garden.  We know now what can survive in the sand without much water. 
 In the afternoon I took a walk over on the beach.  The sand bar in the channel was full of gulls and terns.  Every evening about 6:00 to 7:00 they all rise up noisily for, as Irene puts it "time to go fishin' for their dinner". 
 When the tide refilled the lagoon, the kids took their kayaks out for a paddle.


 On the evening of the first day we had collected pieces of bark and driftwood off the beach for our craft project. On Wednesday evening we began creating our wreaths. 

 We ran out of glue for the glue gun, so we put the project on hold for the next day.  I had time to enjoy the sunset. 


 Irene came with me to the beach to check on her fort, Fort Hail. 

 She wanted to show off her feather fan assembled with the glue gun from feathers the kids had collected beach combing while we were doing yard work.

 Back over at the lagoon the sky was going pink. 




 We started slowly again Thursday. Tom made a trip to the craft store for more glue sticks and then we all ended up on the beach.  Isaac caught more "friends" to go with their collection of hermit crabs and shore crabs, which were living in a bucket of sea water. 
 The tide was out in Useless Bay. 

 Tom and Irene looked for sand dollars. 



 The kids enjoyed their captured "friends". 
 Isaac has a feather fan too. 
 Back at the cabin it was time to finish our craft projects. 


 kids can always fill the down time with the left over materials.  Isaac made a race track for Hot Wheels cars. 
 Irene's creation was elaborate and lovely. 


 I made two ↑ ↓
 The collection.
 One of them has already found a home. 
 We were going home in the evening on Thursday so the kids wanted to make the most of their last day. They had a time line - showers beginning at 4:30.  They got out the inflatables and floated in the bay. 


 Then it was time to release their friends back to the sea.  They did it ceremoniously, one at a time, naming each one.  As Irene put it, "They were being released from the bucket where we had imprisoned them."
We were away by 6:00 to get dinner on the way and to get them home to their mother, who had missed them. They were reluctant to leave, which is a good thing.  That means they will be ever so happy to return when it's time again for some Island Time. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Home Improvements At Jill's House

When you buy a 1960's house, you can expect that there will be things to fix up.  It takes a while to get to some of them. 

First on the list of Jill's priorities was to take down the shed that enclosed the hot tub that no longer worked. The shed was on the deck and blocked much of the deck from the yard.  We did that over spring break. That led to the purchase of a new hot tub and eventually the replacing of deck rails on the newly configured deck. 

The rail project was done about mid summer.
 There was enough material from the shed demolition to do most of the rail work.  The interior of the shed had been lined with the same lattice that was used on the rails. 

Tom was the crew chief and Jill and the kids supplied much of the labor. 
 Rails completed.
 Now to widen the steps where the shed once was. 
 Isaac and Irene both got to use power tools!  Cool!.

The next priority was to attempt to repair the roof where is has been leaking. There is an expensive metal tile roof on the house, mostly in good shape, but several roofing companies were not interested in repairing it.  One roofer gave suggestions of how it might be repaired, DIY.

Again Tom oversaw the project with his crew.  Yes, Jill had her kids up on the roof working. 
 They removed some sections of tile roofing and worked in some flashing and a moisture barrier around the chimney where we think the leak was.  We'll find out when we get a big wind and rain storm.



School starts next week. Jill is a second grade teacher and has to go to workshops this week, starting Tuesday.  So the rush is on to finish projects. They were too busy playing this summer to get to it sooner. 

Next up is the deck painting. Tom, Jill and the kids began this morning. 

 Where  was I during all of this?  Well, I did not volunteer for the labor force.  Instead I kept up my morning walking routine and worked on little things at home. But this morning I baked a cake using the plums we picked from Jill's heavily laden plum tree.  At noon I brought the still warm cake over for lunch.  Well, lunch had to be fetched.  Here Jill is taking the order for Subway sandwiches, and then I made the lunch run.
Jill also hired a neighbor boy to paint her downstairs bathroom and laundry room.  That is going on at the same time.  Her painter joined us for lunch.

For dessert we ate cake.  Oh my, that plum cake was so good we ate half of a 9x13 size pan full. Sorry.  No photos of the cake, but here is the recipe card, written in my mother's hand, which means it is at least 40 years old. 
After lunch today Jill went off to play soccer with her adult team so there was a rest period.  Tom and his crew reconvened at 6:00 this evening to finish the first coat of paint on the railings. I finished up a few things at home and then went over to help a bit. 

It was about 7:00 when I arrived.  It has been very smokey in Seattle today.  The sun glows orange through the smoke which obscures what would otherwise be a clear blue sky. 

 We all worked about another hour, and celebrated finishing the first stage of the painting.
 Then we ate the rest of the cake!

I had promised a plum cake and plum pie to be made from plums I took home. Jill wanted the pie for lunch tomorrow, not for us to take to Whidbey Island, where we will be going for Gramma Camp while Jill goes back to work this week.  I asked "What do you want me to do, paint or bake?"  The answer was a resounding "Bake!' 

So that's what I did tonight.  The pie came out of the oven at 10:30.  They'll have it for lunch tomorrow.
 And there are still plums left for another cake, which I'll bake tomorrow to take with us to Whidbey Island.  
After walking and baking in the morning, I might even have time to do a bit more painting.  Or maybe not.  I might be packing to head to the island. 

I'm so confused.  Did that really all happen just today?