Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Fixtures

For quite a while we've been experimenting with the lights out front. First with Christmas lights that tucked under the awnings, then with lights on the banisters, and to do this I ran the power directly from the light sockets of our existing fixtures, which we had abandoned as actual lights because the blue glass sleeves had long since fallen out and broken. An ugly mess, with wires hanging here and there. Because the big party is coming up, we decided to get new fixtures.

Picking out new light fixtures with Cheryl was certain to be difficult. She has one thing in mind, and I another, and so it goes for most things. But there in the store we looked up and said, in unison, that we both liked the same fixture. Sweet.

They have a yellowish stained glass that seems to go well with the house color. Installation was a snap, and now we have these nice geometric shapes to replace the chaotic clutter from before.

Christmas means hanging up my favorite ornament, a red chili with green sparkly top. I don't know why, but this thing makes me happy.

Otherwise, everything is pretty much on hold until after the parties. No more deadlines for now. Our big dog party is coming up, and Coach has a new coat.

Then our friends fly in for Christmas. I remain a lucky guy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


For the longest while I've been aggravated by a strange situation in the downstairs bathroom. At first I thought it might be mold--what else would explain the bubbling paint and white powder beneath? Yes, they looked very much like bubbles of paint on the wall, pustules of paint. Microscopic creatures might be extruding gas, I thought, but how would it bubble paint that was already dry?

And under the paint was a whitish powder. But no, the internet told me, mold is not powdery (it is sticky). The paint bubbles that I'm seeing are probably to do effervescence, a chemical reaction of the lye in the plaster reacting to water.

Of course, I believed it was effervescence because the Internet said so. The actual truth of the matter is of no consequence.

I did notice, however, that when I put some sheet rock compound on the wall to smooth it out, the compound bubbled up (and it is very sticky stuff). Even Cheryl noticed the bubbling, and she said so, which she probably regretted because it then drew her into a discussion with me about it, and I'm sure that quickly bored her to tears.

I knew what to do. More later...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Considering the Back Yard

It's 9 pm and I realize that I haven't written a post in a while, not a word even though many fascinating things have happened to me in the past few weeks.

In particular lately I am just amazed at how interesting each day can be. I look forward to my pot of tea first thing in the morning, and then to my first and then second cups of coffee later on. As noon approaches I am caught up in my private world of programming, one that never gets old (but should, if only I had some ambition or basic curiosity about life or art). Lunch time is a miracle--I can eat anything I like: okra, beans, soup. And then back to work and more programming and emails, solving one meaningless problem after another, watching them go up in smoke, one after another, a stupid way to make a living but one that I never get tired of. Then Cheryl comes home and we have some time together. And then it is time to go to bed again. Every day is oddly wonderful.

Last weekend I finally finished the stairs project. Here is a picture of it, prepped for the final coat of paint on the sideboards.

The project that will capture my attention for the next several months is the back yard. It is a real jungle, and by next spring I hope to have it completely transformed, with a new, high fence and new landscaping to replace the wilderness.

The jungle has played an important role, though. It has kept hidden the two ugly buildings in the neighboring yards. More later.