Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter, Yardwork, Vacation Needed

My wife and I were supposed to go to my Mom and Dan's today for Easter lunch with them and my sister and her kids.  I bowed out last night, after working extra lately I was exhausted.  Yes physically, but much more mentally, either way rest is what I need.  It's my own fault for agreeing when I knew I've been in need of time off from everything to relax, and 4 hours driving is not relaxing.  So, my apologies to Mom and the family, I'll see you next time.

After another very long night's sleep I got a bit of yard work done today instead.  I moved the rock line along the back fence out another 6 or 8 inches and did a bit of garden repair.  The rocks always disappear when the hostas come in so I moved it out so maybe they'll still be visible and allow more room for the hostas and a better sight line in the summer months - and while mowing.  This was one of those jobs I really wasn't looking forward to, but I had it done within the length of the latest Slash CD.  I think I escaped without messing up by back, so I hope it's the last time I move those rocks.

Yesterday Kate cleaned up the stump area and gardens and planted lots of seeds.  The plants all around the yard are growing and starting to bloom.  But around the gardens the wood is starting to fall apart.  I knew they would have to be replaced eventually, I just hoped for longer than 10 years, I guess.  I staked the bottom right corner of the west garden by the door so it closes again and the wood doesn't fall out.  This will need to be addressed too soon, perhaps this fall and/or next spring.  I'll have to do some research this time before rebuilding.  And, for that matter, the back fence will also need replacing soon.

All in all, I only spent a couple hours working in the yard and have been pretty lazy most of the afternoon.  I need my batteries recharged for the upcoming overtime-mandated work week.  Soon I will be on vacation, I just need to make it a few more weeks.  But I'm tired.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Hanging Pot Rack

A few posts ago I mentioned a hanging pot rack that I was making and said I would post about it later.  Now is later as I completed it yesterday and, thankfully, my wife loves it.

When we got the new stove with the double ovens we lost the storage space under the old single oven so we needed a new place for our frying pans and some pots.  We looked at several online, but my wife wanted a wood one and we had very limited space.  In fact, the only feasible place was against the far wall of the kitchen in front of the window, and we didn't like the hanging ones we saw.  We settled on a wood kit from Amazon that I sanded, stained and finished so it would blend in better with our woodwork.  I also had to get much bigger brackets than the ones that came with it to place the rack out from the window a bit.

It came together rather easily, but when it came time to fasten the wood to the rack I ran into an issue.  The brackets had a hole near the end that I was going to use to bolt the wood rack onto, but the holes lined up with the end rods that hold the wood rack together.  It just barely fit as it was with the brackets right next to the window.  I couldn't move the brackets so I had to think of a different way to fasten them together.  What I came up with was a 1/2" screw to go into the wood but not hit the metal rod.  Now, the screws alone I'm confident would hold for normal use, but just to be sure I took some black zip ties and fastened the wood to the bracket towards the back of the rack.  Maybe not the best solution, but effective and you really can't even tell they're there.

This project was drawn out due to the winter temperatures and staining and finishing, but is finally done.  Now I need to start coming up with a plan for my spring vacation project.  I've talked about creating a cat box area under the basement stairs for a long time and I think this is finally the year.  In the next few weeks I'll have to come up with the plans and get the wood, paint and other needed hardware so I'm ready to go.  This will be a lot of fun for me to do, and I do really need the vacation.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Um, Spring?..

...You're not doing it right!

Monday, April 8, 2019

10th Blogday!

A full 10 years of this now.  Huh.  How about that?

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Basil Update, A Truly Spring Day

Wednesday was one week since Basil came home from the vet after surgery.  It seemed sufficient time for the cats to see and smell each other, and any hissing had seemed to end, so we reintroduced them.  Things went very well, there was only a hiss or two, but the brothers were back together.  Of course, we need to watch when we leave the basement open because Basil is still not to go down there even though he really wants to use his regular litter box.  He does not like the litter he has to use so we bought puppy pads to place outside the box and he has been using them, though still reluctantly.  The carpet in the back bedroom will definitely need a good cleaning after this.

In a few days Basil will have his stitches removed, then we'll have to find out from the vet how long until we can take the cone off and also how long until he can use regular clay litter.  The sooner the better on both accounts to get our house back to normal.

Yesterday was the first day it thoroughly felt like spring.  The day started overcast, but the sun came out in the afternoon and the temperature rose.  I managed to do several things outside that have just become possible.  First, I got the garage organized a bit by putting away snow shovels and salt, swapping out the snow blower for the lawn mower, and giving the whole garage a good sweep.  With a clean garage and dust settled, I was finally able to apply the finish to what will be a hanging pot rack in the kitchen.  I'll write a bit more about that once it's complete.

I spent the late afternoon/early evening breaking in the fire pit.  The ground was solid enough that I hung out by the fire for a few hours, just watching the flames and enjoying the weather and relaxation.  It never gets old.  Just after sunset, as I let the fire pit die down, I fired up the grill for our first grilled burgers of the year.  I thoroughly enjoyed this first day spending so much more time outside than I have in a very long time.

More pics after the break!

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Basil's Surgery, Promotion, More

Apologies for the lack of blogging lately, we've been busy and somewhat distracted for several reasons I hope to touch upon here.  Basil needed surgery, I'm getting the overtime blues yet moving up at work, and with spring comes chores that need to be done.

My last post had Basil feeling better but, alas, it was temporary.  A week ago Sunday morning we had to take him in to the emergency vet again because his urinary tract was blocked once more.  We had talked about it, and if this happened again we were going to go ahead with the surgery.   Basil stayed at the vet, surgery got bumped on Monday due to another emergency so he wound up having surgery on Tuesday afternoon.  The surgery was to shorten his urethra so when he forms crystals in his urine they don't get caught in the bend or near the tip.  Now he'll pee like a girl cat, essentially.

After the surgery, they let him come home midday Wednesday, but he has to wear a cone, take medicine and use a special cat litter until he's healed.  We also needed to keep the cats separated, which has not been easy.  He'll have to wear the cone for two weeks following surgery, then he'll have the stitches removed and have to wear it for at least several days still after that.  My wife has been able to get him the medicine in food and pill pockets.  And our home has been divided into three segments; the back bedroom and porch where Basil has been sequestered, the living room and kitchen (and basement) where Hamish has been kept, and the neutral zone - the area in between that has our bedroom, the hall of doors, and the bathroom.  At nights we've had to include the neutral zone in Basil's territory so he can sleep with us - he wouldn't have it any other way, as we found out the very first night.  We've also been moving that barrier so the cats can see and smell each other but not physically interact.  There's been some hissing and batting under doors, but overall it does seem to be getting better so hopefully we can have them together soon.  But Basil does need time to heal without worrying about Hamish coming after him for smelling different.

Weather-wise it is definitely spring.  Most of the snow has melted and plants are starting to come up.  I got outside yesterday to get the yard raked but it's still a bit early for cleaning up the garage and getting ready for summer, though I could get the bikes down and give them a once-over at any time.  Soon it should be consistently pleasant outside, but for now we still have temperatures bouncing up and down, above and below freezing.  There has been regional flooding of some rivers and some communities but we have not had any issues with our lake system like last summer, and hopefully we won't at all.  I should get down to the creek and get a picture, but maybe in a future post.

Work has been keeping me busy with mandatory overtime, but every few weeks they have to give us a break from it, so just regular hours the next couple weeks, thankfully.  Also, I've accepted a promotion that will be effective tomorrow.  I've only been back in this department since July, but they've seemed to be grooming me for this ever since.  Although I'm not in a supervisory position (and do not want to be anyone's supervisor), it is a leadership position and I've already had to tackle many challenges thrown my way.  I've also had to undergo several background checks to varying degrees - including a high level government background check.  This had me being grilled interviewed by a federal agent because I had neglected to mention something rather inconsequential that happened almost 30 years ago!  The government takes things like this very seriously.  Hopefully soon all will be settled.  I have nothing to hide, after all, and this will certainly prove it once again.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Basil Cat Dirty Talk

It's been a very stressful week here as we had to take Basil to the emergency vet because he couldn't pee.  They got him sorted and he came home two days later with a cone, bandaged arm and medicine to take.  I'm not going to go into detail, just know that he is feeling much better now and is cone-free and settled back in. 

Enough stress has subsided that I can see the humor in some of our conversations!

Thursday, March 14, 2019


This afternoon
No, not another milestone birthday.  It will be a while until I turn sixty, though my half-birthday was a few days ago.  Our temperatures reached 60ºF (16ºC) today for the first time since, well, seemingly forever.  Let the melting continue!

A month ago, February 18
Today started out mild at 49ºF when I left for work a couple hours before sunrise.  We had fog in the early daylight, sunny midday/early afternoon, followed by short periods of heavy rain, and now it is overcast and cooler than it was this morning.  If it snows tonight it would be like all the seasons in one day.

This week has slowly warmed up, culminating in today's high temperature before it will get back to more normal temps for this time of year, upper 30's to low 40's.  Then in a week we may see it start to warm up again.  Yesterday I even noticed daffodils breaking through the mulch.  This gives us hope - Spring is coming!

We can see the fire pit again, but it still may be some time before there's a fire.