Tag Archives: The Weather

Brick. House.

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So the other day The Lovely Rhonda called me and plaintively whined about The Brick On The House and how unlovely it is and can we please have our siding wallah take it down before his crew of minions left for the day.  This was on Wednesday and I was at work. 

Because I live to make TLR happy, and also because she had been cogitating over this brick thing for months on end, I said yes, please have them take it down.  I didn’t have strong feelings about the brick either way and clearly it meant a great deal to TLR, whom, as I said, it is my sole aim in life to make insane with happiness and harmonious agreeableness.

So I can check that off my list, because she continues to rave about the brick and how it is gone and what a difference it makes and so forth.  This after three entire days have passed.

It took a bit of a toll on my plants because the brick fell in great slabs directly onto them.  So I lost an azalea, and a few Gerber daisies, and probably some other things, but the important thing here is that the brick, it is gone.

Actually it isn’t so much gone as it is relocated, into a jumbled heap of masonry along one side of the house. 

You can tell who your friends are when you face adversity, and I’m thinking that the jumbled heap is definitely named Adversity.

Did I mention how today is the hottest day so far this year, in fact in three years, and it was 102 degrees, and nobody can stop talking about the heat?  Yet despite this, two different friends came and sat with me in the shade of my garage and knocked mortar off of brick.  I am salvaging usable brick from this heap so that we can use it to put a path next to the driveway and also to expand the patio a bit on three sides.

I bought a couple of different types of chisel and some rubber mallets and a stiff wire brush, and dragged a defunct kiddie pool from the back yard and we submerged bricks in it.  We did this because my mother, who is a fount of knowledge about these things, told me that it makes the process easier if you soak the bricks.  Lord knows they will dry out quite nicely in This Heat.

And so for about six hours today I sat with soaking wet leather work gloves on and chiseled mortar from bricks.  The water kept The Heat at bay, and the friends made the process less tedious, and so far we’ve made the tiniest dent in the heap. 

And my arms and hands are so tired.  I only stopped because I was having difficulty gripping the chisels and mallets any longer.  My hands are stiff.

But there will be brick!  For projects!

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Relampago!

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So it’s been muggy all day and kinda cloudy.  Not my favorite.  And I’m suffering from some kind of mild ague wherein I crack a sweat about fifty times a day.

No, it’s not hormones.  Shut up.

Okay it might be.  Shut up again.  But it might be something else, so shut up some more.   And wipe that look off your face.  Jeez.

Tonight there is lightning, and thunder, and it’s raining.  We have a new window that opens out under the covered patio and now we can hear the soothing sounds of the rain pattering on the corrugated fiberglass roof, which is a good thing because The Lovely Rhonda does not care for this kind of thing.  Neither does the dog, so he’s huddled beneath the table we sit head-to-head at while we’re computing.  Earlier he met me in the kitchen, and by “met me” I mean that he bolted into the corner behind me and tried to look nonchalant.   “It’s cool, it’s cool,” he said, with his eyes. “Yeah, no, I’m not wild about thunder but it’s cool, I’m fine, just, you know, hanging out.  Hey, is that chicken?”  He doesn’t love thunder but he’s into poultry.  Can’t fault a dog for trying.

I used to hate storms when I was young because I associated them with The Worst Thing In The Whole Entire World, which was the power going out.  I hated the way the appliances sat all dull and lifeless, especially the TV.  I was worried the power would never come back on.  It was unnaturally quiet and dark.  It just wasn’t right.  I’m not sure what changed that but now I love a good storm.  Granted, we don’t get severe storms and I’m sure I’d feel a whole lot different if we did, but I live on a hill so there’s no fear of flooding, the power rarely goes out even with a big storm, and they’re rare enough here that it’s a novelty to have one.

So I say, “WOAH!” while TLR grits her teeth and whispers “Cheese and crackers!” and sighs heavily through her nostrils when a big thunderclap hits.  And I mentally review where the candles are (do we have any matches anymore?)  and I listen to the rain outside and I’m glad to be alive on a night like this.

Spring, and cleaning. Sort of.

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So I have this stupid broken foot which necessitates the use of a big Velcro boot.  So attractive, and the very pinnacle of comfort.

I’m at loose ends today in that The Lovely Rhonda is at work and the children are all off at their other homes.  There’s been a lot going on lately that is not the sort of thing one blogs about, at least in my particular case, and a lot of it has been very stressful, so I’m restless.

Let’s review: hobbled by broken foot, and restless.  Oh, and it’s the nicest, warmest, breeziest, most perfect day so far this year.  The two days ago it snowed and school was two hours late, and now it’s a mild, hopeful sixty degrees out.

I was tempted to embark on some craft related tangent because I am exposed to Pinterest against my will via Facebook, but I felt that this was not really  justified in light of the fact that the house was a little messy and decided instead that perhaps I should direct my attentions to something a bit closer to home.

(Read this in an Andy Rooney voice:)  Did ya ever notice how when you clean your house, you clean everybody’s room but yours?  You’re so busy scrubbing the toilet and cracking the whip over the recalcitrant children to pick up their fifty bajillion toys that your own room remains untidy and cluttered behind the closed door.

Soooo, our bedroom, possibly the nicest room in the house next to the kitchen, is in need of some pretty comprehensive swilling-out, so I decided to start there.  And so I found the box of Christmas things laying around neglected in the corner under the comforter that disintegrated when we washed it after one of the kids threw up on it.  And there were some winter gloves and scarves and things and a few stray ornaments and such, and we keep that in boxes in the garage, and so I was forced to open the garage up.

Oh, the garage.  The last time we had any business to conduct in the garage was during the Great Kitchen Makeover when we had to paint a lot of cabinet doors in it because it was so rainy the paint wouldn’t dry on the back patio.  It’s been butt-cold since then, so it has remained disheveled with painting and sanding things strewn around.   I cracked the door open, and there was a whoooosh of that dusty, horrible tomb air that escapes this kind of sealed environment when you’ve neglected it for a while.  Once the bats and moths had cleared out and the eerie screaming died down, I knew that this was the real project for me today.

So I spent a delightful couple of hours removing things from the garage, loading certain of them into the van to be donated to charity or returned to their original owners.  There was sweeping, there was shifting of things from one place to another, there was organization.  The winter things and the ornaments were put in their respective boxes and the painting and sanding things were put back into their box, and it was all just so satisfyingly tidy when I was done.

But the side effect of having your one foot in a big stupid Velcro boot is that your other foot gets tired, so although I could have spent all day out there, my left foot now dictates that I stop.  Maybe later, if I’m feeling ambitious, I might consider putting a garbage bag over the boot and mowing the front lawn.

Or not.

I do what I want!

It was a dark and stormy night. Also, I somehow broke a bone in my foot.

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So I’m sitting here listening to the wind and the rain.  It’s blustering out there with all its might, and I look forward in the morning to the sight of tufty little evergreen branches all over the roads.

A couple of weeks ago I spent yet another delightful hour or two at the urgent care.  I’m thinking of having my magazines forwarded there.  Okay, magazine.  Maybe then I’d get a chance to look at my beloved Smithsonian before it’s Alphabet Share Day Featuring the Letter L! at the preschool and suddenly all the Lips! are cut out of anything with a mouth.

Anyway, I was there for this stupid pain in my foot that came out of nowhere, wouldn’t go away, and about which The Lovely Rhonda had wearied of my complaints.  They x-rayed it and didn’t see anything too obviously awry.  Based on this and several other urgent care experiences, I am fairly certain that there would have to be bones jutting out of something before anyone felt it might warrant medical intervention.   “But,” said the urgent care doctor, who had a name like an Italian Formula One driver but was disappointingly ordinary in real life, “since your feet are… well… since you’ve got, um… —  Well, anyway, I’m sending you to podiatry.”

I can’t blame the poor dear.  When the podiatrist remarks, “Wow, they really are flat!” you know you’re working with something a little special from the ankles down.  I try not to gloat but is it my fault such greatness is thrust upon me?

Finally I got in to see the podiatrist — the same one who made the remark, in fact — he pressed and prodded and wiggled things around with pretty unremarkable results, and then repaired to the control room or wherever the mysterious place is where they look at x-rays, to review my urgent care images.  Then he practically bounded back into the room, seized my foot, rather excitedly asked what did it feel like when he did THIS to it, and sank his thumb into a spot that had previously escaped his notice.

After I apologized for involuntarily kicking him in the beard, I asked that he kindly refrain from touching that particular spot ever again.

He then retrieved a model of the skeleton of the foot, which piqued the 7-year-old’s interest to no end, and spread the thing apart to point at a bone.  Don’t ask me which one, I’m a psychiatric nurse, not some kind of anatomy dork.  But he said, “You’ve got a fracture!  Right there!”

Really, it warmed my heart to bring such joy to the man.  I have a feeling he doesn’t get out much.

Snowmageddon 2012!

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So these were taken last week, but I’m lazy.

Snow! Finally!

It started snowing at 9:30pm and stopped by morning.  In fact it was already raining by 8am.  But that didn’t stop the kids from playing in it.

Rhonda's oldest

Delia

The youngest child took one look and was all, Yeah, you guys have fun, I’m staying in where it’s warm.  Suckers!  She did go out later but not for long.

By the end of the day it was gone completely, but I had enjoyed looking at it in the night.

Around midnight

Birthday Fun!

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So The Lovely Rhonda turns an undisclosed, youthful age today, and to celebrate this we repaired to the beach for grown-up time.

This almost didn’t happen because some child-care arrangement plans fell through, but my adorable cousin Carmen agreed to come stay the weekend with our children.  Despite having met them all before.  We cannot thank her enough, but I do aim to try.

It was especially an issue since the room was prepaid through one of those internet things, but it wouldn’t have been the end of the world.  It would have just felt that way as we squatted in our hovel surrounded by our grubby, ill-behaved children, visions of gamboling the days away on the endless sunny beaches…

But I digress.

It turns out that January is not the peak season for beach excursions in the northern parts of the Oregon coast.  And it turns out also that the many and diverse storm fronts that have moved through the region, really attacking it from all directions in the past week, make for some interesting driving conditions.  We were fortunate in that the worst of the downed trees, icy roads and power outages were resolved before we embarked on our journey.  However, the rain did monsoon and the wind did buffet our valiant minivan around, and the highway was littered with tufty evergreen twigs and the occasional car in the ditch (facing the wrong way, even).

Nevertheless and against all odds, we arrived, barely, in time to eat at Mo’s as is customary.  When we opened the doors to the van they blew open very dramatically which made us laugh and shriek like the little girls we are.  The server obliged with free ice cream on TLR’s dessert and we sang the birthday song despite the fact that there was only one other table of customers in front of whom to be humiliated.  Tradition must be upheld!

The night at the hotel was uneventful, although I did make the desk clerk laugh.  She asked what kind of car we had and at first we had difficulty remembering the make and model.  In our defense, it was late and we were tired.  Finally I told her that if the Titanic had been made into a minivan, it would be ours.  It turns out that this is good enough for hotel recordkeeping purposes.

The next day we finally emerged around lunchtime to uphold another tradition, the Storming of the Outlet Mall.  I did not photograph this. You’re welcome.

Lunch was had, and we made our way to the beach for the obligatory Stroll on the Shore.  It was actually quite clear and very windy and you could totally see how stormy it had been.  Lots of foam and the beach was rather scooped away.

Lincoln City, OR

After dutifully admiring nature’s majestic splendor for at least thirty minutes (per regulations) we made our way to a coffee shop and obtained beverages and a nifty pack of playing cards emblazoned with pirate facts.  Also some hats, which The Lovely Rhonda models for you here:

Tide's coming in.

We sat and played rummy and absorbed heat from the gas fireplace for a time, then hit a store for comestibles including a bottle of wine.  I do not care for wine, but TLR does.  Off to the hotel!

Sadly, the pocket corkscrew TLR travels with was not up to the challenge and broke off, necessitating a trip to the front desk for some tools.

The monkey pokes the anthill with the stick and licks the ants off, thus demonstrating use of tools.

I am happy to report that the wine was successfully opened and TLR enjoyed it immensely.

Today we revisited the seawall and found that it was raining and windy, and the tide was coming in to the point of splashing over the seawall.  We parked facing the seawall and watched for a while, as did many others.  Next to us was a family in a large beefy manly truck.  Mom and Gawky Teenage Son got out to look while Dad stayed in the truck and occasionally locked Mom out, apparently for his personal amusement.

At one point Mom returned to the truck and emerged with her laptop, which she then used to (evidently) capture some video of the Big Angry Ocean, as we had taken to calling it.  We were deeply impressed with this and so I had to snap a few shots.  I kept waiting for the wind to catch it and sail it into the ocean, or at least dash it to bits on the wet, sandy seawall, but no.  Luck favors the idiotic, so it seems.

As Darwin spins in his grave...

I waited patiently for a moment when the sea would splash over the wall, and in the meantime saw a small be-sweatered dog reluctantly enjoying a brisk stroll in the driving rain and wind.

A fine day for a constitutional!

Every time I tried to get the shot, the stupid kid wandered into the frame.  WHY MUST I SUFFER FOR MY ART.

"Gawky Teen with Seawall, 2012"

At last, victory was mine!

Finally! The Gawky Teen got the hell out of the way.

Then we drove home in yet more pouring rain, the end.

“Snow” Day

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So this being the Pacific Northwest, and a valley location specifically, we don’t get a ton of snow.  Therefore, when we do it’s like a major event.  The news agencies put an idiot on every corner talking about the snow: we might get some, it’s coming, it’s here, it’s sticking, it’s cold, it’s slippery, it’s melting, it’s gone, and now a retrospective on SNOWMAGEDDON 2012!

They predicted a possibility of snow late last night, which turned out to be worth the paper it was printed on.  I slept in, a new hobby with which I have recently reacquainted myself, while The Lovely Rhonda got up rather earlier than usual.  She got up because Hermione, the Queen Mother of Cats around here, came in yelling things in Retarded Cat Language and Would Be Heard, IF YOU PLEASE. 

A moment later TLR returned and reported to me the following: the reason why Hermione was yelling was not to bring our attention to the usual potential hazards, i.e. dangerously low levels of kibble in the communal cat dishes, but to complain about Unauthorized Weather Conditions, namely a few flakes of snow that had the audacity to fall from the sky and land on the grounds of Her Estate.

Why exactly this would meet with the disapproval of a cat who rarely ventures outside and who does currently enjoy the luxury of a litterbox we are unsure, but there it is.

At any rate, after the hype and hope of the past 24 hours (for I am a total snow dork and am wildly excited when it snows, I cannot help it) we received a few desultory flakes in the mid-morning followed by a whole lot of nothing.  I had all but given up.

Now, of course, it’s snowing rather respectably.

So it goes.