Friday, October 28, 2011

Home Alone

My project manager, Willow, went to get her teeth cleaned yesterday, and I had no idea how empty the house would seem without her. Each movement I took--into my chair, out of it, to the kitchen and back, to the piano and back, outside for a walk, and back--was a reminder of how often I look for her and say little things that sound pretty silly and sad in a house all alone.

I did get a coat of paint on the wall using the rag technique to help give it a glow. I can't say that it does glow now or that I like the color, but I'm moving on--I can always change the paint later.

Who knew how serious a teeth-cleaning could be? She got a full anesthetic, a tube down her through, and she could barely get back into the car late yesterday. Even today she's very groggy and unsure, and I can't imagine that her clean teeth are much compensation.

People sometimes ask me how I can stand to work alone during the day. I didn't know until yesterday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Reliable Gadget

After several days of antibiotics I feel pretty much normal except that my head is still filled with fluid, gurgling in my right ear as I tilt my head to the side, glug, glug, glug, and then my ear opens up and I can actually hear, and then glug, glug, glug as I straighten my head and my hearing goes away again.

We had company for dinner last night, giving me the incentive to finish off the bathroom wall prep work, remove the tape and clean up the incredible mess of my various texture attempts.
Now I'm ready to paint.

Also, I had a nice surprise when my aunt sent me something that I remember from childhood. I remember it sitting on my grandmother Mamie's kitchen table, capturing my attention as I waited for the breakfast of eggs and bacon and homemade bread, with the bacon cooked first and the eggs in the popping grease. Mamie would tilt the iron skillet and paddle the grease to cook the eggs on top. I see this all very clearly still today.

Mamie allowed me to play with the sand timer as much as I liked. I remember wondering why it worked. Why did the sand go through the tiny opening in such a consistent way? How could it know which grain of sand should go next?

And I still wonder. Today we would need to stop the sand and hold meetings at every 5th or 6th grain, produce a statistical analysis and discuss at length the dependability of gravity and the trustworthiness of sand.

So, being the adult that I've become, I had to measure the thing. My guess was 2 minutes but it finished at 3 minutes, 7 seconds. Had it grown slower with age? So I tried again, and again got 3 minutes and 7 seconds. Of all the gadgets that we've collected, I wonder which one will still be working 50 years from now?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Deja Vu

It occurred to me that my symptoms today are very similar to symptoms that I had not too long ago--a stuffy head, popping ears, fatigue, flu-like nastiness--so I checked my blog and found an entry from last January titled Antibiotics.

Exactly the same.

There's no point in writing about it again. Once again, I'm on antibiotics, waiting to get better before returning to the project. What a baby.

Friday, October 14, 2011

A Big Head Cold

I'm stuck in a blurry, stuffy world of muffled sounds, with the mother of all head colds that won't go away and that makes me tire out so quickly that I can't get any serious work done.

A few days ago I stumbled, literally, onto a solution for the ceiling and wall texture. Stumbled, because I was tired and depressed after my first, failed attempt but I didn't want to give up, so I tried something that would not have occurred to me had I been in my right mind.

And it worked--pretty much. By mixing less water with the sheet rock compound, I was able to roll it on and get a nice texture. I got part of the ceiling and wall finished, then I ran out of compound (and energy).

I need to get over this cold before doing any more work.

I've been fascinated by the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York--Cheryl and I were there when it first started, but we never went down to the park. It will be interesting to see where it all leads.

I've been thinking what it means to be an American, what it means to say we. Sometimes big changes grow out of a small beginning like this.

The texture is not exactly what I wanted but I'll get there.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Tomorrow is our 20th wedding anniversary. My memories of life before marriage are like random scenes from an old movie, while everything since that day is clear and connected with a common thread and a happiness that I never deserved: Cheryl, our homes, our dogs, our trips and our life.

Here's a picture of Jam looking up at Cheryl with the love that I also feel for her. Happy anniversary.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Frog-Free Project

All the grouting is done, leaving just one more tile-related step: sealing the grout. But I'll save that for later. The grout needs to be bone dry before getting soaked with the sealer. Sure, it feels dry now, but it's just trying to deceive me--underneath the grout it is as cold and damp as a frog's butt.

In fact, in the old days tile workers would hang up a frog and wait until its butt was dry before applying the sealer. And, no, they didn't use expensive silicone sealer. The human race wouldn't know how to do anything if it weren't for the old-timers.

We have no shortage of frogs in our backyard, but I'm not keen on the idea of hanging one by a string and letting it suffer and flop around. I could possibly use worms, but they dry out too quickly. Instead, I'll just wait for a long time.

So now I'm prepping the walls for painting, getting them ready to try another old-timer's trick (no animals are abused). I'm going to create an orange peel texture on the wall--the physical texture. Then I'll do some rag painting to get a textured affect with color.

But first I need to even out the drywall, and for some reason I've never had much patience with drywall.

Here's the project task description for this step: Earlier I installed a thin sheet of cement board on the ceiling above the shower and then tiled onto that board, so the tiles stick down a bit and the edge of the board would be visible (as in ceiling, board, tile). I'm filling in that area with compound to make it all smooth and level. On seeing these layers, the eye is tricked into believing that the tiles are applied right on the ceiling.

Except it take a little work to get it smooth. It all has to dry, of course, between layers. Fortunately it dries out much faster than a frog's butt, more like a worm's butt, though I can only guess.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Orchestra Pit

We had a great weekend in New York with some friends, highlighted by the Book of Mormon play, which was hysterical. The music, one of the songs in particular, has been going through my head since we returned on Sunday.

As usual following a plane ride home, I've been fighting a cold this week. I'm making very little progress on the bathroom. I did finish the remaining grout work this afternoon. Tomorrow, or when the spirit moves me and I can get my brain focused, I'll start prepping the walls to be painted.

But part of me is still in New York.

I wonder what it's like to be a musician in New York, playing in the orchestra pit of the Book of Mormon. One of my favorite memories from college is playing violin for the school's production of The Music Man--I know, a corny play, but I loved being in the dark pit, with tiny lights below our sheet music, listening to the actors sing and to the audience laugh, playing my simple parts and getting some mean looks from the conductor because I was not a very good violinist at all.

After the Book of Mormon ended, we exited out a side walkway, and I could almost see down into the pit. The orchestra was rocking away, having a great time. What fun.