Tag Archives: home

Homeless, well not really

Today when I headed out for our regular morning walk something distracted me and I forgot my house keys.

We had a lovely morning walk, it is unseasonably warm and clear, in spite of the weather predictions calling for rain. The mountains were out, I think that may be a Seattle phrase. They are often hidden by clouds.


The pups and I walk about two and a quarter miles, generally the same route with two moderate hills and, on days like today, nice views of the Olympic mountains. We don’t make very good time, the pups and I sniff stuff.  We humans sniff in funny ways. I mostly “sniff” by taking pictures.

On arriving home I couldn’t find my keys. My husband was out on a bike ride. We have a neighbor with an extra set but there were no signs of life at his house. So I pulled a few weeds and did a little yard clean up.

Then we re-walked our morning route backwards. No keys… But the views were still nice.


I got up my courage and rang the neighbor’s doorbell. No one was home. Did a little more in the yard, but the sun had moved around and it was starting to cool down. I sat on our porch in the one chair that still has a cushion and wrapped myself up in the warm clothes I had peeled off during the middle of the day and tried to “study” Chinese by closing my eyes and remembering the lessons. Boy am I out of practice with that! I used to be okay at it, and it served me well when taking tests.

Eventually my husband rolled up on his bike, the dogs went crazy. As if it hadn’t been a splendid day for them: it was sunny and 65 degrees F (18 or so Celsius). They got two longish walks and laid in the sun. They had plenty of water and got lots of love and weren’t ever left alone.

I reflected on my day (actually only about 5 hours) of being “homeless”, but kept coming back to the things I had:

We had the sheltered porch with a cushioned Adirondack chair. I had running water (hose spigot) and geoduck shells (Pronounced: “goo-ey duck”, geoducks are super sized clams) I could use as a drinking vessel. I didn’t get into the emergency supplies out in the shed, but they are there. Worst case the dogs and I could stay pretty warm in the shed if the weather had been less temperate. I also had the confidence that Richard would be home before dark, and the neighbors would eventually come home.

It made me think about people who really don’t have a home. Even though I couldn’t get in I had a place to be…What would I have done without it?

This post started out as a response to the prompt Study. I’m not sure where it ended up, but I ended up grateful.

Sniping at sandpipers

I’ve been feeling kind of beach-y this week. Between the noise and dust from a nearby construction project  starting about seven in the morning and a seasonal allergy that makes it difficult to breathe so I have trouble sleeping and am prone to sneezing fits, I am a bit crotchety. It’s not really a Crisis, but it adds an edge to every minor setback in life.

I decided to go to my dad’s (he lives at the beach) and make a project I had in mind: a planter of concrete and beach rocks to replace one that falls over when the wind blows.

Naturally I couldn’t just follow the directions in the book. I tried to add complexity to the project. I came over yesterday to create a stand with feet (I like planters to not be flush against the ground). That seemed to go fine. I came over today to finish up the project. I started working and things were not going well. Then my back started aching.

So Sam and I went for a walk on the beach, Sam fished and I breathed and sniped at sandpipers, and other birds (with my camera not a gun). Sandpipers (actually most of these are Kildeer, a similar species) are well camouflaged, nervous and pretty fast movers, and I am kind of shaky so this is a bit of a sport. The birds, and there were a lot of them, don’t seem to mind Sam.

KSM20160727-DP-Crisis-02After our walk I went back to work on the project, building up the sides of the planter like a rock wall against a trash can. There wasn’t enough wall thickness between the base I made yesterday using an old 5 gallon bucket of my dad’s and the trash can I had; I made the mortar mix too dry and it couldn’t get into the nooks and crannies of the rocks. Being stubborn I persevered until there was a mini landslide.


KSM20160727-DP-Planter-01I washed off all of the rocks and decided that, instead of giving up entirely, I would try (gasp of horror) following the directions, and use the remainder of the 5 gallon bucket as a form.

So far the follow-the-directions one is looking okay…fingers crossed. It won’t be big enough to replace my problem pot, but if it turns out I can plant a few pansies and think of the beach.

Surprise visitor

I looked up from washing dishes and there was a hawk sitting on the rail of our deck.

I  have never seen one there before. I raced off to find my camera and, as quietly as I could, I removed the screen and opened the window. It didn’t notice the screen removal but flew up into our maple tree when I opened the window.

We tried to figure out what type of hawk it was using the pictures and a field guide, but only got as far as recognizing that it was immature. It is likely either a Sharp-shinned or Cooper’s hawk. Both common around here, but not in my front yard.

It made my day.

Cherry On Top

Analog-Open-Pure…oh RATS!

Analog-Pure Open…Open-Pure-Analog…Pure-Analog-Open…

Those are the three Daily Post prompts for today and this week. I am not feeling inspired, but I am stuck at home waiting for my new counter tops (yeay!!!!), so I decided to write a bit. Now I just need to find a topic. The only thing that comes to mind is rats.

Rats are an analog problem. No amount of digitizing will make them go away. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to type “rats” a bunch of times, highlight the words and hit delete, like a digital effigy?

When I looked out the window this morning there were three rats conferring beside my husband’s car (my car has been living out on the street since the Mouse Droppings episode early this year). I was not fit to go out so I banged the window open and shut a couple of times hoping the noise would drive them away. They went, but without urgency. Two moseyed for the trash/compost/recycle bins and the third went under the car.

My dinghy genius.

My husband is a genius, with that goes being a bit quirky. One day he was on the phone with his sister and I was doing my exercise DVD. He interrupted me to have me look out the window to watch a rat going back and forth from the compost bin to under his car. He kept chatting with his sister casually and even spent some time describing the antics to her. This was a few weeks ago. His response to the rat problem was to go and buy a sling shot (it is still in its wrapper).

Mine was to go out and try to remove some of the mess and clutter in the back yard so they would feel less at home. He really is not disturbed by the rodents, even though they are obviously in his car. One notable day I worked like a whirling dervish in the garden while he placidly played with his sailing dinghy (I think it is technically a skiff).

That obviously didn’t work. Last weekend my dinghy genius casually said “they seem to have a pretty substantial warren under the walkway”. I vigorously went after that area. Fearing for his little science projects, he did finally move the composter, which seems to have been a rain shelter for the vermin, and made a nice protection for their main access to the warren. It has not been very active as a composter. Since then I have been going out and shoveling dirt into the exit holes as they form.

Ever since the mouse droppings episode we have had a pest control company (that specializes in being green and pet friendly). I called them a couple of times and the guy finally came out today. He added a bait station with a different bait (the original problem was mice) right under the car. He may have done that just to appease me, if so it worked. For now anyway, I fear this saga will continue.

Chaos continued

KSM-20160611-Remodel-05KSM-20160609-Remodel-02The chaos has gone on so long that her majesty has become accustomed to it. The remodel just finished week 5 and the major milestone this week is that the refrigerator is back in the kitchen. The built-in bookshelves by the fireplace are done but there is so much stuff in the living and dining room that it is hard to get them loaded.

Now all we need is the kitchen sink…and countertops, stove, dishwasher…..some doors and handles on the cabinets. Okay, so the end isn’t quite in sight yet.


The prize.

The on-going clutter is starting to wear on me. I lost two sets of keys this week (that is what I do when life overwhelms me). I found one of them today so maybe things will turn around soon. I am trying to keep my eyes on the prize: the amount of usable cupboard space in my kitchen will be about double what it was. The nifty swing outs for the corner cabinets are going to make crawling on my hand and knees with a flashlight to find the pans at the back of the cupboard obsolete.

Sacrifice to the Kitchen God(dess)

When I first saw this prompt, Sacrifice, I felt like I had nothing much to say, at least that could be said, but as the day, largely sacrificed to emptying our kitchen, went on I realized that this remodel is causing significant sacrifice. The cost of this remodel is over half of what we paid for the whole house…and it isn’t that fancy of a remodel! (It is worth noting that we have lived here for 29 years so the value of money has changed.)

I have cleared my schedule, sacrificing time, so that I can be home for the 6 weeks it is supposed to take. We have spent hours clearing out the kitchen, sacrificing more time (one more hour tomorrow and we are there!). I am sacrificing space in my work room to have an ad hoc kitchen.

For years I have wanted a better kitchen. I do not envy the top chefs or want high end appliances. My goals are to not need to go to the basement to haul up my food processor (or have it living on the dining table) or a can of tomatoes. We are not having walls torn out to get the latest “open concept” design. Just a solid reworking of existing cabinet layout, plus some added counter and cupboard space within the current kitchen floor plan. We are not replacing appliances or the floor.

Confession: I often cry during  visits to my husbands relatives in Texas and the mid-west. They have such beautiful homes…especially the kitchens. None of them seem to cook much (they all claim that they are not cooks, while some are pretty good, but, although I may sound conceited, not better than I am). I cook; I enjoy cooking. Not mostly gourmet, but pretty good for a home cook. I bake. I make jam. I have been known to do prep for fancy teas and other events at our church that serve 100 or more people in my home kitchen. It is less than half the size of the smallest one. When we come home adjusting to our mini kitchen is almost like a form of jet lag. My bachelor father, who has occasionally been known to microwave a Marie Callendar pot pie, has a kitchen about twice the size of mine.

I have traveled in the third world. I do truly appreciate all that we have…but it still has never seemed fair that I have a kitchen that the vast majority of our family and friends would consider inadequate to make coffee or heat up a microwave dinner in, even though I cook. So, right now, we are making some sacrifices to upgrade the kitchen.

I sure hope it feels great when it is done…or I may never hear the end of it from my spouse, who didn’t see anything wrong with the current set up…he doesn’t cook.