Friday, August 29, 2008

Sublux patella

well well well. Darn it.

So... David's brother Terry was coming to visit today and we were going to go pick him up in Marquette and go to the hardware extravaganza store and get some more goodies for the house. I knew he was coming but the part about David and I going to Marquette was a bit of a surprise to me and I had not really finished cleaning the house and had not showered so that I looked presentable. Oh well. Not really such a big deal.

The real problem arose when my 90+ lbs puppy bounded past me
as I was walking out of our bedroom turning the corner.

She hit me just right and blammo.

There went my knee.
In technical terms I subluxed my patella...
or suffered a patellar subluxation whatever the proper way to say it is.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure... what that means is that your kneecap slips out of its groove, causing a bit of a knee/kneecap dislocation, and then continues on slipping around the side of your leg. An odd feeling really. Ya know how your knee normally bends back and forth? Well, it feels like it bends sideways. You can kinda feel the leg bones sliding around on each other when the kneecap comes loose. Ya know those tendon thingies on the back of your knee... well my kneecap this time tried to meet them up close and personal.

Now this is not the first time I have done this... the first time I did it the kneecap stayed out along side my leg and that ended in an ambulance ride. However, I have done this enough times that I can tell you.. it definitely was worse than the last time or two I did it.

I waited a little, made sure the kneecap was back in place, David propped me up and we went to Marquette where I got a little brace. I am using Davids.. er uh.. Jerry's crutches. We unfortunately are getting too much use out of them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hark! Let the trumpeters sound!

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars…
~William Shakespeare

I have one thing to say...
(for right now anyway)
We take toilets for granted.

One of the toilets has been installed! The tile was set, David and I grouted until midnight, and the throne was put into place. What a true sign that we will be close to being able to live in our house! There is also running water! Which I suppose happens to be a very good thing when you have a toilet.

Not to worry… the water came before the toilet. It was all done… almost… in order.

David and Jerry have been working so hard… I know I keep saying that but they really are amazing.

They have not taken much time off and in fact Jerry may be taking on a couple of other jobs. The church in town needs a handicap ramp, and the old hotel has been bought by a private owner and is being remodeled.

However, we did manage to get in a quick ride though the other night out to Glitter Lake. Here is Jerry and the boys in their normal state when they are relaxing… yes... he normally wears a helmet. He told me the wind felt good in his hair.

and below is a picture I took right on the banks of Glitter Lake where the beavers tried to take down a few large pople trees but did not fall them correctly. This is what was left… they were not able to use any of the 4 of them. If you look close at the bottom of the picture, one of the logs is like a bridge across the path, about 2 feet off the ground.

Can’t you just see the beaver crew with their little hardhats getting all pissed because they did not factor the other trees into their falling plan? Shaking their little fists at each other. Throwing their hats on the ground.

The weather is starting to change a bit… the gardens have slowed town quite a bit and I don’t know anyone who is having a good crop .. or any really… of their tomatoes ripening. Oh God no tomatoes! I'm melting!
Also...I noticed this the other day when the dogs and I were riding the scooter.
Uh oh…

Leaves are starting to turn. We are going to be just in time with getting into the house.

I have met several people while working at the Post Office on Saturdays. Very friendly folks and I have had several ask me where I was born and raised. When I tell them Northern California.. they just kinda smile and say…

“Oooooooh. So… you have never been in a winter like we have here in the U.P.?” I shook my head.
“Did it snow at all where you lived?” No I tell them, but I lived in the state of Washington for a few years and it would get a little dusting of snow.A brief flash of a smile then happens…along with the obligatory Oooooooooh.”
Then they abruptly change the subject.
This is probably why.... here are two photos of Lake Superior... near where we live... and YES those are waves in the lake that have turned to ice.

and then here is a photo of Lake Michigan....
if you look on the map for those who are great lake challenged...
it is also pretty close to us.


Hopefully in the dead of winter we won’t have some kinda Shining movie incident happening…

all work and no play makes Becca a dull girl
all work and no play makes Becca a dull girl

heh heh. Dang that was a scary-ass movie.

Well… one thing is for sure is it won’t be dull. We will have a lot of finish work to do. Including the finish painting. I have been pulling my hair out over colors. Just when I think I have a good scheme it changes. I was going to go a goldie tan in the living room/loft area but after sealing the ceiling ;) pine boards the paint would almost match. I don’t want that to match. So back to the drawing board…

Now we are looking at a kinda khaki brownie greenish olive color now. It is darker but with all that light coming through the windows I think it will look nice. Oh hell who knows I may change it between now and the actual painting day.

Speaking of those windows… The ones on the top at night from the loft… when there is no moon on the lake… looks black and reminded me of one of my favorite t.v. shows.

It looks like the bridge of the Enterprise!
On screen Uhura!

Friday, August 22, 2008


Granite is an intrusive igneous rock. Intrusions (plutons) are bodies of igneous rock that result from crystallization of magma deep underground. Slow cooling at depth in the earth produces larger crystals (coarse grained) that can easily be seen by the unaided eye. Granites can be pink to dark gray or even black, depending on their chemistry and mineralogy. Outcrops of granite tend to form tors, and rounded massifs.



sounds like it would be a pretty harsh, coarse material for a home.
But look what happens when intrusive igneous rock from magma pits are cut and polished!

These counter tops are well traveled.

Apparently, somewhere in the magma pits of Mount Doom
or some such place the granite first formed.

Then some lucky folks dug them up, cut and polished them and took them to Ukiah.

Eventually, the counters found themselves on our moving truck and traveled from California to Michigan. David and I (and Lukie) loaded a truck first with the cabinets that Doug made, then these lucky counter tops. Only after those items were safely in their places did we fill our belongings in around them. As you may remember me mentioning, what didn’t fit… didn’t come.

I know the house is a while from being ‘finished’ but we are very close to being able to live in it.

Now that the sinks are in, Larry is going to come up from Wisconsin and help David finish the plumbing. Yayyy a toilet! Very important indeed.

We have also picked out the tile we wanted. It is Mannington Garda tile in Pine Cone:

We also decided on a pattern. Jerry has eyeballed it and will be putting it in the mudroom (entryway), master bathroom, and hearth under the woodstove downstairs. He will be starting on that next. Here is a picture of the pattern:

Gee... I am going to have to decide on paint one of these days... that will come later I am sure after we are living there and can see everything in its place and watch the lighting throughout the day. I thought I was on the path of choosing a palette but ... after the cabinets and granite in the kitchen was installed I realized the colors I had been contemplating will probably not work. Oh dear... back to the drawing/oujia board. I am hoping to channel a combination of Martha Stewart, William Morris, Gustav Stickley, Geene & Greene, the Roycrofts or Frank Lloyd Wright soon so I can get the painting part out of the way.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Kitchen, ceilings, and things come in threes... hopefully!

We got the cabinets in! We really are getting close to being able to live in our house and we both are so very happy about that! David, Jerry, and their friend Mark installed the cabinets Monday. I knew it was on the agenda but during my lunchtime from my first day alone at the post office I ran home to the garage to find our stuff there… without cabinets… so I could not wait to finish work to go check it out. My excitement might have contributed to what happened at the post office later… you will find out as you read on.

Anyway… here they are!

Then yesterday, after painting polyurethane on ceiling boards for several days David and Jerry started to get them up on the ceiling.

The walls will be painted and the stuff we put on the boards seals it, but did not add any color. It will stay nice and light. (Remember the house is not really large so we want it to look as open as possible)

and finally... they say things come in threes... hopefully this will be all!:

One. Dang.

We have a leak behind the guest shower.

A little one… but really if you think about it there are no little leaks inside a wall. We are talking about like a couple teaspoons of water over a nights worth of a leak. But… not to worry. David has cut a square out from behind the leak and is eyeballing it and is going through his options. That bathroom will be back on track in a jiffy. David will fix it.

Two. Whoops.

When finishing final plans on house for plumbing necessities we flipped the master bathroom around. It’s a mirror image actually, it just worked out better for our pex plumbing… and well… we forgot something. Our cabinets were custom made… the bathroom cabinet was made to sit one way. The finished side of the cabinet sat one way, and the other side to sit against the wall. Well, now it is flipped and unless we make some modifications the finished side will be against the wall. Whoops. We did not catch it until the cabinets went in yesterday.

Good thing is that the fella who made our cabinets does not really make cabinets that have what would normally be called an “unfinished” side. He is Doug the super cabinet man. He is a friend of David’s and he has done a lot of beautiful work for Dad… Anyway, we adapted. To get it to work right we moved the cabinet over like 8 inches and David will build up the one side of the cabinet. We will also have to find a finishing product for the edge of the granite that WAS going to be up against the wall, Doug has made several suggestions. The good thing is that this ‘unfinished” side will be next to the toilet and not visible from the door of the bathroom at all. Not too big an issue. David will fix it.

Three. DUH.

I had my first full day at the post office the other day. Normally, I will just be working a couple hours on Saturdays. Two hours is actually just enough time to open the doors, sort mail into the post office boxes, and then close. There are 180 boxes but only about half of those are being used. There are NO delivery routes here… only PO Boxes. I also will be doing fill in work on other days. Well, the other day the Postmaster had a day off so I covered for her… my first time alone.

I tried so hard to make sure I did everything right. I wanted to be sure I had it all correct so that she would feel comfortable leaving when she needed to go. I have to tell you I was a little surprised at how many responsibilities there are within the office. Along with sorting the mail, we have books to keep and balance and computer work on the postal service network. At the end of the day to get the new mail started on its path we gather the mail from both the outside and inside box, and put it all in a cart in the lobby of the office before we lock the door. The mail truck then pulls up some time after we are closed, makes the switch, and then gets it to the processing center and the mail starts on its way.

Well… I was focused so hard on making sure paperwork, monies, etc was correct I forgot to do one thing.

Uh… I forgot to deliver the mail.

Yes folks, I neglected to push the cart out into the lobby at the end of the day.


(now remember folks you pay 42 cents a letter for this stuff)

I get a call at 9:00 p.m from the processing plant in this area. We were getting ready for bed. I was informed that the carrier reported that there was no mail in the lobby. The man on the phone said the protocol is for the postmaster or in this case postmaster relief person to deliver it themselves. The processing plant is 90 miles from where we live…

Now, I don’t wanna say anything about how the carrier could have stood at the doorway of the post office and hollered and I would have heard him/her. But that’s not what they do, that is not their responsibility. That carrier had other mail to pick up from several other post offices along our highway to get the mail on its way… it was my fault it was not there… and the mail must be delivered. Ya know that whole neither rain nor snow nor goofy-ass postmaster relief-person thing.

So, David, Cosmo, Delta and me jumped in the car and drove an hour an a half down to Kingsford… with two boxes of mail containing... maybe 30 letters and believe it or not… they were waiting for me when I got there. My God how embarrassing. We pull in and there is the supervisor. He was actually outside looking for us. He walks up to the car and says, “Sidnaw?” I said yep that’s me. He walks me into the mail Willy-Wonka factory which is buzzing with activity and as I sign off on some papers, before I can get even get my first three initials out onto the page here comes two oompa like workers pushing carts along a little cart road behind me.

They told me to 'watch out! step aside! and drop your boxes into the cart!" Then they just kept on going, did not slow down or miss a beat at all. There went our mail.

Actually, Mark was nice, everyone I met there was very nice and not oompa-ish at all... sorta. When he introduced me to folks they all had a little bit of a grin on their faces that they were trying to hide. I joked about it and we all chuckled at my auspicious first day. After a quick tour, Mark shook my hand and but then stopped and said very seriously, “thank you for delivering the mail”.

Then David, the dogs and I drove an hour and a half home.

We got home at midnight.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A little before and after action

Well, this is not really a fair comparison actually... we did not remodel the old house we tore it down... smashed, trashed, and burned it. Then moved the footprint a bit, dug a big old hole, and then built a new one from scratch.. BUT.. it is kinda fun to see what WAS there... the before and after improvement of the property... so here is a couple views. Even as I post them they are out of date but I will get back to newer photos in a couple days.

Here is the view from the road:

Here is a view from the lake:

Here is the east side story:

and here is the west side story:

HA! I thought that was pretty funny. I actually could not find the west side photos.. and I actually have never seen that film... but it was fun anyway.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Rockin' and Rollin'

While I was in Green Bay, David was busy taping and mudding the drywall.

At first David just loved this job... and then as time went on, he grew to enjoy it even more! Well, by the time I got back he had nearly the whole house done... taped, mudded, and had the texture sprayed on. We are doing a kind of knock down texture, according to what we have read it was an easier texture for beginners and we liked the look. Ya have to kinda use your imagination to see primer and then paint on the wall over that texture.

Never fear, I did not get out of helping.

Upon my return I was given the opportunity to help with the guest bathroom downstairs. I taped a few walls and then helped David with the hopper spraying the texture in the last few rooms.

The next thing was finishing up the access road down the side of the house, the rock retaining walls, and some of the hardscaping outside. THAT is what I was really excited about. Here is a before picture. I had kinda dug out an idea for a walkway and some border of where the driveway needed to go. I would not have put it so near the house but someday we will want a garage over on the west side and the placement of the driveway will allow access to that garage.

I told David since we did not end up with as much room on that west side of the house near the access road, and since for drainage reasons etc it slopes down in that direction, I thought a large rock or a few large rocks on that side would help to balance out the house. He agreed and we found a rock during all this construction and earth moving...

isn't it a beauty!

The thing is... the rock was down the hill... of course.

I had even used the paint program to "draw" a couple of plans... ideas for the front. They are very low tech but you will get the idea. I copied just a picture of that rock, pasted it onto the picture and then did a couple of sketch ups. This plan has a lower type of ornamental fence with plantings. One of the ideas around both of these plans is that I am trying to guide people to the front door and not around the sides of the house. I pasted the rock where I thought it might look good, and made little stick plantings.

Idea #1

Idea #2
This second idea below has a larger gate and even an arbor type thing.. problem is you can barely see the rock and it seems to close in that front section and makes it off balance again.

We decided on Idea #1.

So David and Dickie-Bird (Richard) moved that big rock with the bobcat, we all three placed it and then after David used some landscape timbers to make the front path and side drain areas we filled it in with rocks. First an underlayer of smaller driveway type rocks and then some larger river rocks on top. You can see the two layers below... river rocks to the left and then the underlayer on the right. Those bricks by the way are going into the house for the chimney.

So... there ya go.
Soon the top soil and then plantings...
it is starting to look like idea #1 above....
scroll up and look again and then come on back down.
THAT, by the way, is the real rock... I LOVE IT!

We do have time to relax. Here is David coming home and Delta greeting him.

And we had some company for about a week. Jerry's Uncle Ray, his son Doug and then Doug's two boys. Ray is still a farmer/rancher. He and his wife Katherine raise and sell organic beef and chickens etc. Katherine stayed at home while the guys went on vacation. They enjoyed fishing with Jerry nearly everyday they were here!

It was nice for Jerry too!
One night Jerry pulled out the ice cream maker and we had home made ice cream!

It was so good! They were wonderful company.

At the end of the visit, David asked Ray (who is in his mid 80-s and works all day long on the ranch/farm) if he missed the farm after being gone for a week...

Ray was quiet... thought for a minute or two... smiled and said he missed his wife.

How great is that!?


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