Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Fall again

Fall – nice time of year. Got up this morning at it was 58f outside. Supposed to be up to 90f this afternoon, so we will have a 30f swing from low to high temps. That is typical here in the desert – even in the summer when it hits 110f it usually drops down to the 80’s at night. San Diego had a lot smaller swing, due to the big mass of the ocean keeping things calm, usually high of 72, low of 68 (or something similar). I remember summers in New Jersey, it would be a hot, sticky 82f all day (yea, now I live in Vegas where 82 is cool) and at night it would cool off to a comfortable 83. Lay in bed all night just sweating, looking for any breeze through the window but nothing comes. Nobody in Jersey had air conditioning – big radiators, but no air. And then we had no fans, or just one in the parent’s room.

It’s easy to see the change in the morning – we’ve got a skylight in the bathroom – it’s an inside bath, with no outside wall so no outside window to look out of – but the skylight lets us see the sky. Used to get up with the alarm and walk into a bright bathroom, but today it was full dark in there. Flip on the lights and go blind from the quick flash. Took my time with breakfast and at least the sun was up before I drove off to work. But I drive down Twain headed almost due east, so the sun sits just under the sun visor straight ahead. And if I’m just a little late getting out of the house I end up behind three school bus pickups. No center divider on Twain, and for safety the Nevada laws require full stops from cars in both directions if a school bus is stopped, so there are four lanes at a full stop (if everyone stops as they are supposed to). Then there is usually some idiot that has to zip down the center turn lane because they can’t wait just missing the kids running across the street.

We’ve got a big peach tree in the back yard. It is gorgeous in the spring, full of pink flowers. But right now the peaches are ripe. The tree is too big for us to get up and thin out the peaches; with the rains last winter there are hundreds of peaches. Because there are so many the tree cannot put enough into them and the peaches thus are not very big or very good to eat. If we would take off about ¾ of the crop we would end up with some good stuff, but I don’t have a ladder high enough. So the peaches are now dropping – I was sitting out back last evening, enjoying the sunset and reading a book, listening to the ‘thump – thump’ of the peaches falling. A slow, noisy rain. Almost every morning there is a three inch deep layer of peaches under the tree, with a 20 foot spread. Lots of peaches. We pick them up and fill black plastic bags. Sitting in the sun, with the temps around 90, the fermentation starts. I took the bags out for the trash and wondered if we should just keep them a while and extract some brandy or something, it smelled pretty potent.

We just finished redoing our little bathroom. When we moved into this house two years ago it was a step into the past. The house was built in 1977 and at that time wallpaper was really popular. Most of the house still had the original wallpaper – lots of flower prints all over. The small bath had little flowers, starting to peel. We took down the paper, which was a challenge because it was put up on bare wallboard that had not been painted. The original owner was a builder, and he built the house just for himself. So he (or his wife probably) knew what they wanted papered, and so did not have those areas painted. Wallpaper was put up directly on the cardboard layer of the plasterboard. Which means that some of the cardboard facing comes off when the wallpaper is pulled off, resulting in a lot of work to patch up and re-smooth the wall. My wife scrapped off all of the ceiling textures around the house – another popular thing, still done sometimes. It’s a great treatment for the builder, so they don’t have to be too careful in putting up the ceiling, a little thicker spray of the texturing just hides all kinds of mistakes. Still have the two smaller bedrooms to do. And we’ve got wallpaper in our bathroom and one bedroom, so more to do. But the small bathroom is now two shades of green, and we hit Ikea when in San Diego a few weeks ago bringing back five of their tall CD racks. They fill up one wall, giving a nice white pattern against the dark green wall. And B made a frame for the mirror out of the small glass tiles we used on the fireplace. I’ll try for some photos – guess I should wait to post about it until I have them, but I already typed this so I’ll leave it. Thinking about the bathroom because Ana just redid her bath in stripes, and it looks pretty good. I like that sink.

Our friends from Sweden are due out the beginning of November. We have one ‘guest’ bedroom, and want to redo my mother’s room before they come. Ulf and Karina have three boys; twins that are about 18 months, and Alex who is now 3 1/2. The rooms are small, so if we can get the other one fixed up they can put the boys in one room and have a little space in the other. I’m slowly going through things in there, my mom saved everything and forgot she had stuff. Papers and cash are mixed in with bags of books and old birthday cards and old shopping coupons. Yesterday I dug out a whole bag full of bingo daubers – those really big markers you make spots on the bingo cards with. She loved bingo (and Lawrence Welk) so there where daubers from casinos and the church all over the place. Must have found four dozen or so. She had stuff piled all over, so we just didn’t go in there. It still has wallpaper, so that has to come down, and the cottage cheese ceiling, which needs to be scraped. And the old carpet will come up, we’ll probably do the Pergo wood floor the same as the front room.

And we still want to change the big front room window into French doors and fix up the front patio. And redo the kitchen. And our bathroom. So even though we’ve redone a lot of the house there are still lots of other things to do. The yard conversion was a big task – pulling out the sidewalks and edging and old trees and bushes, moving in over 120 tons of topping, then planting twenty trees and lots of bushes and other stuff. It was over 14,000 square feet of lawn pulled up. But it really is looking good. Instead of fields of grass there is the tan of the Mojave Gold rock with all the plants, most of which bloom at different times of the year. Really pretty (OK, photos to come). But at least we've got a house - thoughts to those in the Katrina area that are without.

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