Mama's Got a Fuse Box, Daddy Never Sleeps at Night

It's been a while since we last posted, and a lot has happened! Namely, the Aldrich Family Reunion in Estes Park, CO. Although Bren and I only got to go up the mountain once, we were lucky enough to spend some serious quality time carousing with the likes of:

Mom O.!

Dad O.! (Check out the new grill he got us!)


Wes...and the fancy lad behind him is Porter!

Porter smells chicken.

Unfortunately, both Wes and Porter were stung by hornet/wasp/bee things (otherwise known as the jerks living in a crack in our porch stairs). Thus...

No, we didn't throw a meringue pie at them. It's insecticide. The directions said to use it at dusk, when the jerks would be "at rest," so we went out at 8PM, thinking it was pretty dusky. Apparently we were a bit early. After we sprayed the crack, one by one, the curious pests began arriving at their former outpost. Bren sprayed each one into the gunk...we stopped at TWENTY FIVE, intent on saving the rest of the spray for a REAL dusk attack tonight.

On to happier happenings on our front porch:

Also with Mom O.'s help, I transplanted our geranium and zinnia. I have terrible luck with plants, so I hope she's right when she says geraniums are "impossible to kill!"

Like I said, we were able to visit the extended family in Estes for one day. We spent the night in my grandad's cabin on the Big Thompson River. While we rested peacefully and safely inside...

Miles slept in a parachute and warded off raccoons. He's so hardcore! Kids, if you wanna be tough like Miles, you have to...

Eat your veggies. (Note that our other, itty-bitty grill has been happily demoted to side dishes.)

Cory, Wes, and Porter stayed with us for a few days in our sumptuous guest quarters.

Now our only tangible reminder of their visit is temporarily immortalized in plaster dust...

How could we get anything done on the house with all this excitement, you ask? Have someone else do it! Yesterday, the electrician came to replace our infamous fuse box. Now it looks like this:

And here's the shiny new one:

An expensive couple of hours of work. So, when the power went out for two hours this morning, I was more than a little concerned. Guess it was just a coincidence. Whew!


Serenity Now

Two back-to-back, straight through, 24-26 hour drives to and from Vancouver B.C., with 7 days of high-schoolers in between can really take it out of a guy. As a result, only a few light projects have been accomplished on this unexpectedly long weekend.

We grilled outside for the first time. It's been lousy hot, but the advantage of a west-facing house, is that the backyard is nice and shady by 3-4 o'clock.

We spent about the same amount on the grill as we did on the food.

I officially have experience in the world of electricity, bringing my lifetime stats to 1-2. Thats one light installed, two fuses blown (yes our house has a fuse-box, remember?).

Agreed, it's not exactly the most stylish fixture ever, in fact it is an outdoor light. It sort of looks like maybe it belongs on a boat. Anyway, it was $3, and makes our basement bathroom feel a little less dank.

Finally, I was ably to endure the heat long enough to put up:

Thanks Dr. W. Now we can sit back and enjoy "the cool evening breezes of Anytown, USA."

The entertainment factor of a porch swing is easily overlooked. Watching the neighbors set off illegal fireworks from down the street, and scurry inside when the Denver PD comes creeping, is hours of fun. Now I need to figure out how to get our porch light to work again.


My Stumps

Work on the walls continues.

The wall I began with (on the right) has taken three coats of various plaster-ish products, dried, and is almost completely sanded. There are some tiny air bubble imperfections, but I'm confident that a coat of primer and two coats of paint will take care of those. It's SO much work, but those walls are smooth. The big window wall only has the first coat, and the small window wall has two. Hopefully that will be sufficient after sanding.

The other day, I did a little time on the walls, and went outside to rinse off my taping knives. Ummm...

Our hose was gone. Make that Uncle's hose. I called him to make sure he hadn't come by to get it -- he hadn't. Who steals a garden hose? It's not like anyone nearby actually takes care of their lawns...

Anyway, this theft bumps a privacy fence up on the list of priorities. We hadn't planned on installing that or landscaping the front and/or back yards until next Spring when the house is under control, but what can you do?

There are several things in the way of our prospective fence/garden. Namely, some trees that are growing in and through the existing chain-link fence, and these:

Stump #1 (the background illustrates yet another reason for the aforementioned fence), and...

Stump #2. Frustrated with the tedium of plastering the walls, I was desperate for a project that I could kill (and I mean kill) in a day. A 102 degree day might not have been the best choice, but nonetheless...

I killed Stump #1. Stump #2 was a little trickier. When I got here:

My shovel broke. Ignore the fact that my shadow looks strangely reminiscent of Grimace.

Thumbs down, nine dollar shovel that I bought five hours ago. You have brought shame on your family.

I sanded some more wall while Bren went back to Home Depot to exchange our faulty purchase. He's home safe, by the way. More on that later. Ask him about whales and peace signs.

With shovel #2, I finally dispatched Stump #2.

It even looks like a grave, doesn't it?

On a somewhat poignant note, I couldn't help but reflect while labouring over these stumps that they were once truly great trees, providing shade and shelter to however many generations of families that have lived in this house. It is evident from the wood itself that they were cut down some time ago, and even the bugs that called them home have abandoned them now. It's time to go. And time for Bren and I to plant something new in the rich soil you leave behind. I hope whatever we plant will still be standing in another 80 years.

R. I. P. Stumps #1 and #2. The shovel is definitely living inside for fear of abduction, and now I guess we need a wheelbarrow. It's always something, isn't it? Not sure where we're going to stow that...