Friday, August 31, 2012

Renovation Update: Relief!

Two weeks ago Sunday we moved all of the furniture out of the downstairs.  We still had the kitchen undisturbed  because we are staying with the vinyl flooring there.  We lived in the kitchen and on the patio, and of course the upstairs bedrooms and office. 

 The next day Tom removed the brick veneer from the old fireplace.
 That week the fireplace crew came and removed the old zero clearance "can" and installed the new one.  Another team repaired the drywall and then installed the new surround.

 Thursday and Friday the first floor crew came to remove the carpets and cut and remove the parquet.  Now we had dust and grit everywhere, and those raw floors full of the original building plaster dust.  I was always dusting and sneezing.

 We ran away for the day on Saturday, and then in the evening we brought in the TV and our patio rockers.  As Tom said, "If you have a TV as big as the front door, why wouldn't you use it to watch soccer?"  It was a Sounders victory!
We expected the hardwood installers on Monday, but no one came.  After calling, we found out our project had not been scheduled with the installers!  Oh, great!  Tom was not nice on the phone, and the company got a team in on Tuesday, but they were working on another project too, so we had different people each day.  Finally on Thursday the expert came with help and they worked from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm, finishing the floor installation.  

 It was a noisy and dusty three days.  We spent as much time outside as we could.  The cat hid out in her nest upstairs in the office closet.

While the crew was finishing the dining room and entry yesterday, Tom vacuumed the family room, and we moved in our recliners and the TV again.  It was time for another Sounders match.  We were so glad to have our chairs back!

 Josy got her pedestal back, and curled up in it while we watched soccer, then the convention, and then some Seahawks football.  Our teams both scored wins.  
 But we couldn't really relax, so we got out of the chairs and started sweeping and vacuuming and dusting before falling into bed too tired to sleep well.

The stairs are not done.  We changed plans and will have solid oak treads installed.  They are being made up and we hope to get that done next week.
 The baseboard moldings still have to be reattached, and some supplies removed, but everything is cleaned up.  And it's quiet!

We will do some painting on two walls in the family room, and we have ordered the book shelves and entertainment center cabinets.  They will be made and delivered Sept. 25th.  Then we can hook up all of the components of the TV and sound system and get to know how to use all of the applications of our "smart' TV.  At some point we'll get all of our furniture cleaned up and moved out of the garage and back into the house.

Today we began cleaning upstairs.  Those rooms are not changed, but the dust filtered in, and anyway, it's time for a thorough cleaning and sorting.  We got the guest bedroom done today.  

We'll take the rest of the weekend off.  Tomorrow I'll be cooking for the family picnic on Sunday.  It's time again for the annual Phosie-Gertie Picnic.  We'll all gather at the cabin on Whidbey Island for a day of playing and visiting and eating.  Jill and family went up to the cabin this evening.  We will just go for the day on Sunday.  On Monday we hope to be started on the painting.

Happy Labor Day, everyone.  We're doing our best to keep folks working. :-) 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Republican Convention, Day Three

What can I say?  It's over, Hurray?  That works.

We had the hardwood floor installers working here from 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.  It was a weird day, noisy and dusty.  They got the family room done and we moved our recliners and the TV set back in, watched a little of the convention on C-SPAN, then the Sounders at 5:00, NBC coverage of the convention at 7:00, and then switched over to Seahawk football in progress.  Then we cleaned, vacuuming and dusting so that we could live with a little less dirt and dust.  I'll work on a renovation post with photos tomorrow.

Back to the Republicans.  Newt blamed Obama for ruining Reagan's economy, completely skipping over Bushes I and II and Clinton.  Weird.  He and Calista followed a video tribute to Ronald Reagan.  They are in desperate need of a new hero.

Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair, pretending that President Obama was sitting in it. He kept implying that the President was telling him to shut up and go F*** himself.  Very strange.

Shining star Marco Rubio introduced Mitt Romney.  Rubio is an appealing young man, but his digs at the President didn't become him at all.

I was ready for some dignity by the time Mitt Romney took the stage.  I got some.  He delivered a very good speech.  His main theme, aside from telling us about himself, was that President Obama had not delivered on his promises.  And then Romney proceeded to make many promises of his own.  Would he be able to deliver?  Just how would he create those 12 million jobs?  We really have no idea, and he doesn't plan to tell us.

Next week we'll have the Democrats.  Then there will be debates.  Along the way about 8% of the voters who have not already locked in will decide who to support.  Someone will win by a small margin.

And then they will try for four years to accomplish whatever they can in a country so divided that cooperation is a dirty word.

First Day of School

It's Back to School Day for the Highline School District, here where we live south of Seattle.

Corey posted the official First Day Of School photo on Facebook this morning, so I stole it to share.

Isaac is starting fourth grade and Irene is in second grade.  Jill begins her second year teaching at Seahurst, this year with a first/second split.  Last year they had just moved back here from Colorado and it was such a wild start.  Today is more settled, but always there is the nervous anticipation.

It brings to mind the words to the song "Turn Around"

Where are you going, my little one, little one,
Where are you going, my baby, my own?
Turn around and you're two,
Turn around and you're four,
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of my door.
Turn around, turn around,
Turn around and you're a young girl going out of my door.

It all goes by so quickly.  

I'm sending my best wishes to all of the kids and teachers returning to the task of learning and teaching in the next few weeks.  Nothing is more important.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Republican Convention, Day Two

Condoleezza Rice began her speech five minutes before prime time. Ooops.  But we who are giving the Republicans an hour each evening saw and heard enough to get her message.

Dr. Rice gave an "up by your bootstraps" speech. She said, "It doesn't matter where you come from, it matters where you are going".  She went far from her start in segregated Birmingham, Alabama.  She was an only child.  Her father was a Presbyterian minister, her mother a teacher.  In other words, she had parenting, good parenting.  What a difference that makes!

Dr. Rice talked about the "crisis in K-12 education {that} is a threat to the very fabric of who we are" as a nation.  She talked about many kids, many of whom are minorities, "trapped in failing neighborhood schools", that this it the "civil rights issue of our era".  Those neighborhoods are lacking a lot, that's for sure, but mostly they are lacking the kind of parenting Condoleezza had.  So is the answer to cut education budgets?

Was it a good speech?  Yes.  Did it have any substantive answers to anything?  No.  It was a convention speech.

The second speech was that of Paul Ryan, the nominee for VP.  Tom didn't think he could sit and listen to the whole thing, but I stuck it out.  There were quite a few rather clever hits on President Obama.  The crowd loved them.  He said his "opponents are desperate to keep their power".  Their ideas are gone, and " fear and division are all they have left".  Hmmm.  Pot calling the kettle black?

There were also a lot of fact check red flags. There were references to medicare: Obama "raided" it, Ryan and Romney would "protect it", (Ryan would turn it into a voucher program).  It's interesting to note that the $700+Billion that Obama "raided" from Medicare in the form of reimbursement cuts to providers and the elimination of unnecessary services in order to help fund the Affordable Care Act is also the same amount Ryan's budget cuts from Medicare to help balance his plan, while making sure he doesn't raise taxes on the wealthy.  

Ooops, my bias is showing.

But then, this is just another convention speech.  It is all about bias.  And it was substance free!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Republican Convention

As a good citizen, I gave the Republicans an hour of my time this evening.

I listened to Ann Romney and Chris Christie.

I would be happy to be snarky about the whole business, but I have to admit that Ann Romney was very impressive.  She was animated, appealing, charming, in fact everything that her husband doesn't seem to be.  She was of course appealing to women voters, and after the blunders of the last few weeks and months, the Republicans could use a little appeal.  

But alas, it isn't Ann that we would be voting for.  It's those men and they won't be getting my vote.

Chris Christie was the keynoter, and he was mostly about Chris Christie.  News flash, Gov, New Jersey still has one of the worst job recovery rates in the nation.  You balanced the budget by deferring costs.  You talk a lot about working together, about bi-partisanship and how it worked in NJ, and that we need that in DC.  Well, we're waiting for your fellow Republicans there to do more than try to cause the President to fail.  Maybe you could talk to them and straighten them out.

And I do have another issue, Governor.  What is it with teachers unions?  Now I confess, I don't know how things are on the east coast, so maybe when you say about Democrats "They believe in teachers unions, we believe in teachers", you have a reason to make that distinction.  But here on the west coast, teachers and their unions are one and the same.  They work for better teaching conditions because those are also better learning conditions.   

And one other thing.  You say that it is the Democrats "game of scaring and dividing our country".  Really?  I could have sworn I heard it coming from the other direction.

One hour a night is about all I need.   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Running Away From Home

With no crew coming in on Saturday morning to continue the renovation projects, we were free to fly the coop.

We had read about the Soos creek Botanical Garden in near by Kent, which had just recently opened to the public.  It seemed the perfect uncomplicated outing, paired with lunch out and with a trip to the Puyallup Farmers Market.

 The Vegetable Garden

 The Pond
 Can you find the duck in the photo below?

 The Long Borders.

 The long borders are backed my many varieties of trees.

 There is a hardy fuchsia collection in another garden room.

 A rose garden with gazebo.

 Here are a few colorful photos of the Farmer's Market.

 We mostly strolled, but bought a few of each of corn on the cob, blueberries, and nectarines.  
The colors of the fruit match the colors in the garden, very golden, very August.