Monday, April 28

Walls? We Got Em

Are you getting tired of this yet? It’s okay if you are; I understand. But I need to chronicle this stuff somewhere. And here is where it is.

We drove up the coast to The OC choose a different tile for the laundry room and secondary bathrooms because it’s been discontinued. Us and several others. We needed to take the orchid to Michelle that we forgot on Easter, anyway. It was a beyond-belief beautiful day. It rained Friday, and everything is glorious. Ah, Spring!

They have put on the first coat of stucco. The next coat will have color. Yellow—not my favorite, but I had no say in the matter. I asked; they laughed. Politely.002a

Here’s the great room. How different it looks with walls!004a

Below is the dining area, and the island base. We chose the plain drywall base instead of the furniture-looking one and saved five Gs in the process. Oh and the new tile we chose cost a little less, too. 003a

It looks so much different with walls, doesn’t it!

Here’s a view you’ve seen often. I actually have to stand in the neighbor’s yard to get this shot, LOL! The yard is tiny, only 13 feet to the fence! (I’m so okay with this.) We measured it today because I’m starting to think about the landscape design. 006a

Here’s looking out the front door to the porch, I guess you’d call it. I love the arched door and entry.


Until next time!

Friday, April 25

Halfway to Home

We’re midway through our between-houses stint—a milestone of sorts. I can tell you this—it can’t come soon enough. The original title of this entry was to be “Cabin Fever.”

I haven’t blogged much because there hasn’t been much anything to blog about. Living in this tiny 600-square foot box doesn’t offer much in the way of interest. But we’re hanging in there, despite having only basic cable. We keep ourselves occupied by scouring the internet for landscape ideas.

We have been going up to the house almost every weekend, here are the latest progress photos, although it doesn’t really look like much has happened since the last time.

I can’t see what I’m shooting with the little pocket camera.002

These were taken on Easter Sunday, we were up visiting the kids, who live only a few freeway exits away (sure beats 3,000 miles away). The drywall was about half up; this will be our great room, and it looks like 5:00 came when they only had this area left to do.

We had a lovely time with the kids and granddaughter on Easter, gosh it sure is nice to have grown children who have taken over the holiday duty. Holly came too. She is our daughter’s BFF, and like a daughter/bf to us. Granddaughter Savannah, who turned 6 just three days after Easter, kept us entertained while she was flying high on Easter candy.

While we’re holed up here we I decided it’s time to go on a diet. I think I meant to start this in January, if memory serves. We’re not traveling now, and it’s the traveling that kills us, weight-wise, so it’s a good time to get with it. We were eating a lot of convenience foods here at the apartment because I’m very limited by the kitchen and its lack of tools and ventilation. Anyway, I downloaded an e-book, Wheat Belly. Very interesting! Daughter Michelle has had health problems for a long time, it turns out she has Celiac Disease and cannot tolerate gluten at all. Now that she’s gone wheat-free, she is [finally] in glowing good health. So, vicariously through her, I have learned about what has been done to our wheat in this country and why it (and HFCS) is responsible for so many of the obesity and health problems in the US today. Shock!

We were having toasted English muffins (and butter of course), with wonderful raspberry jam from the local market. I am not sensitive to wheat, nor is J, but we have given it up. We aim to go low-carb for the long-term weight loss, but, for now, we are only giving up wheat. Sugar too, the half-empty jar of that lovely jam went into the trash as well.

It’s a start. Next we’ll forego the other grains. Potatoes and starchy vegetables will have to go, too. Looking back, this is the same diet that crazy nutritionist had J on when he was sick—and he lost a lot of weight.

We have both been lucky with our health, but we are getting up there—I’ll be 65 soon—and we want to live a long and healthy life!

Tuesday, April 15



We went up to the new digs today to go over a few things with the foreman. He read through his list of upgrades to make everything was correct.

He showed us where this pipe goes, where that vent goes, HVAC system, sprinkler system, trusses, joists, and he explained how a house is built without load-bearing walls or posts. It was very interesting.

There is a lot of paper and plastic that goes into a house these days. Copper pipe is a thing of the past. It’s red or blue poly plastic pipes for hot and cold water. I guess when you think about it, plastic is probably better because it doesn’t corrode.  IMG_1109

They put up the outside styrofoam stuff and chickenwire, and it is starting to look like a house. Two coats of stucco will be sprayed onto the surface you see here. 007-001

We have windows now, too! Tomorrow they will put in the pink insulation and the next day the drywall goes up. The foreman said it will really go fast after that.

Here’s a peek at our street. 004

Friday, April 11

Whine on Wine-Waiting Woes

And other Winey anecdotes.

This has been my week—waiting for wine. You may already know this, but J is a wine collector. He started this hobby when we lived on the Central Coast, in wine country, and the house we lived in had a proper wine cellar.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of that beautiful cellar, or the beautiful wine, older photos have all been put on disk, which are currently in a box in a storage warehouse, in a galaxy far away.

But here is the story. J got into wines, he became a wine snob (a good thing), and he started an enviable collection. We even went to France and Italy for wine, and he has some bottles of French Bordeaux worth over $1,000 each. He didn’t pay that for them, but that’s what they’ve become worth in the decade he has stored them.

Then he got that weird illness and we moved to the desert. We had to buy a wine fridge to store the wine in, and it is full. So he has had to quit most of the wine clubs, except for two he can’t bear to let go of, Talley and Kosta Browne, which you can’t find and you can no longer join their clubs—they’re closed to new members. So they’re exclusive, and J has stayed with them. They make lovely, exquisite wine. Not that we drink it, mind you, we just tend it. We drink supermarket wine like everybody else.

At one point we were members of way too many wine clubs, and I miss those wonderful wines that came twice a year, spring and fall, but storing the wine has become a hassle. Case in point: Last summer, two days before we were to leave for the coast for 6 weeks, I noticed the temperature on the wine fridge was climbing. By the hour. J was out on an errand, then we got busy, and I forgot all about it.

Until that night. Just as I was drifting off to sleep I remembered. “J, wake up! I almost forgot to tell you, the temperature in your wine fridge is 70!” (Wine likes to be 55-ish.) In full panic mode, we took the wine out of the fridge and turned down the AC. Remember, it was summer, with daytime temps in the triple digits, and nights not much cooler. Even when we were gone we set the thermostat at 93, but that is not cool enough for wine or any other living thing. It’s a hostile environment out there. 

The next morning, a Sunday, J got the wine into storage (I did nothing, J and the wine guy did all the work) and all was well. Eleventh-hour disaster averted! We eventually got the empty wine fridge repaired, and when we move into the new house the wine will come home. Temperatures are much lower at the new digs, by the way, so the fridge won’t have to work as hard. Sidebar: Our garage fridge died, too. We lost three refrigerators out there. Anyway, when we came to the coast last month, we moved the wine from the storage vault in the desert to one in The OC. You may remember I came up with that idea when faced with the prospect of schlepping many cases of wine up 24 stairs.

Okay, so that’s the backstory, what’s it got to do with this week? Well, we have been waiting for a shipment since Monday. It was sent to the old address in HOT La Quinta by mistake, it got put back on the truck, brought here to the coast, then the delivery man couldn’t get past the gate (unknown to us), and, finally, after several phone calls and tracking SNAFUs, we have located the wine and it is to be delivered today. We have been house-bound waiting for this delivery each day for four days.

Which all boils down to this: I have nothing to report for the week except a good case of Cabin Fever. We did get an invite to go on a pre-drywall house tour next week, the general contractor offered to show us the wiring and plumbing et al that will eventually be hidden behind the walls, so if we have any problem in the future we’ll know where to look. That’s the idea, anyway. He obviously doesn’t know who he’s dealing with, LOL.

Life is short. Drink your wine!

Sunday, April 6

Beautiful SoCo

(South Coast.) For lack of a more creative title.

We had a great week—albeit a lot of down time in the apartment because it has been COLD here, but we got out and about.

We went to the Padres’ Opening Day at Petco Park. Free hats!DSCF1288

Petco Park is a beautiful ballpark, and it’s right downtown, which I love, and it’s easy to get to and from. Below, the military is bringing out the American flag. There must have been 250 of them. DSCF1292

Because it’s a really big flag! The Padres lost to the Dodgers, but it was a good game and we had a great time. DSCF1295

We briefly considered living in a high-rise downtown because we both think it would be really neat to live IN a city and be close to the theater, restaurants, etc, but, in reality, we’re a little old for that. I think it fits better if you’re in your 40s, working, and upwardly mobile. The prices were reasonable enough (and the views to die for), but the HOA fees were astronomical: Like $3,000/mo. No lie. No way.

We went to see the Patriot Tour, with Marcus Luttrell and some of his Navy SEAL pals. Marcus was the guy who wrote, and was depicted in, the movie Lone Survivor. Here’s Marcus—I snapped this photo sans flash with my phone—it turned out pretty good considering it was dark and he wouldn’t hold still. 095

Now, Marcus just stands up and tells the horrifying story of how Operation Redwing really went down; in his own words. He told how the Hollywood version doesn’t come close to capturing the intensity of the event, and, having heard him describe it in vivid detail, I could understand why. He is one tough dude, but he’s also a very humble man. And extremely lucky to be alive. Extremely. We met other wounded heroes as well, and there were more standing ovations than you could count. Powerful stuff.

Next up, we took a ride up to The OC to see the house; on a beautiful SoCal spring Sunday.

Below, the garage and front door. IMG_1104

Below is the dining room, and the dark angular shape at the bottom right will be the island. You can see our view, and when we get some grasses planted you won’t see those rooftops below. We didn’t get a slider door there because it would have cost several thousand bucks and there is a door on the right side. IMG_1106

Looking back at the house, this shows the covered patio. It faces southwest and catches the ocean breezes. It will be sunny in winter and shady in summer. The dining room window is to the right, and at the right edge of the shot is the bedroom door opening. We got a big double slider there. IMG_1110

It was fun and exciting to walk around inside it, partly because the model is reversed so everything feels backward. It’s SMALL! Yikes! Well, as someone told me, we’ll live outside more. Good. Oh, and it’s so quiet there…