Thursday, July 12, 2018

Moving On

The process to sell Grouch Estates and move east has begun.

The de-cluttering whirlwind hit us on Monday and now the house is about 60% empty.  Stuff has been tossed, donated or moved into storage pending the sale.  The house echos now.  Some of the echos are from our 30 years of memories.  No house besides my childhood home holds as many memories as this place.

Today the pictures were taken for the listing while the cleaning crew was here!  It was quite the dance to coordinate the photographer's efforts with the cleaners.

Tomorrow the carpet cleaner show up as well as the sign for the front yard.

Sunday is the open house and when we visit the potential apartment for Young Son to move to.

It is all almost too much at once.  Poor Kerby the best dog in the world can't understand what is happening to her life.  I think the Missus feels the same.

Guess I better find us a house to move to!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Getting humbled

So, because of my shoulder surgery I have been sidelined from doing the home gardening.  I have always done the grass and bushes at our various homes.

 When I was in high school I had a burgeoning lawn service that I ran for a select group of clients who brought me more business by word of mouth.   I also cut the home grass, attacked the grass and honeysuckle vines on the hill behind the family abode with a sickle, raked the enormous amounts of leaves that the oak and maple trees dropped in the fall and generally made myself useful outside of the house.

I couldn't even escape grass duty when I went off to the Army.  When the Grouch family moved into government housing in Germany I volunteered (because no one else would do it) to cut the grass around our apartment building.

Here at Grouch estate there are slopes around the house to weed-whack, grass to cut and trim and trees to trim too.  I've done it for 30 years here in sunny SoCal.

So anyway, no grass cutting and trimming for me due to my surgery.  Young Son and the Missus have stepped up to cut the grass but they aren't checked out on the weed-whacker so the slopes were getting unruly. 

We're putting the house on the market so I had to sub the work out.  Oliver the gardener showed up  this past Friday when it was literally 117F.  He labored for at least 4 hours and when he was done everything was dress-right-dress, cut, trimmed, edged, and weeded.  I have never in my life done such precise work.  And he raked everything up, filling both of our giant green waste barrels. 

I supplied him with water and the Missus handed over an ice cold Pepsi while he worked.  The heat bothered him not at all.

I am amazed and humbled at the extent of his work and I realize now I have been a gardener poser all of my life.  This seems to be something best left to the professionals.

At least until I get to Grouch estate east and I get to buy and use a riding lawn mower!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Hey, it's me again!

Hi there, Grouch fans!

So I guess it has been awhile since I've checked in. Some things have happened since we last visited with each other:

The Missus and I went on a Caribbean cruise for a week in which we piloted underwater scooters -    the Missus was very brave


             And we visited the only Star Wars themed museum in the Caribbean - on St. Maartin



 I turned 64 in April

 I had rotator cuff surgery on my left (dominate) shoulder so I learned how to do everything with          my right hand.  Thank goodness older son gifted an electric toothbrush to me for this very purpose

  The Missus, Young Son and I spent the weekend in the Danish heritage town of Solvang and ate        scrumptious Danish butter cookies!

 We started the process to pack up the house and put it on the market July 15.  We'll be moving across the country to North Carolina.

There, now we're caught up!







Thursday, March 15, 2018

I fall to pieces...

I just learned that I need rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder.  I'm left handed of course.  The doc says that there is a six week no moving it at all and then a 4-6 month limited movement recovery time.  I absolutely don't want to do this but the pain is now keeping me awake at night so it appears I have no choice.

The surgery will take place in about a month so I am in a count-down to do the things I like to do and want to do before I am immobilized.  Did I mention no driving for at least some of the time after the surgery?

I feel this will be the times that try men's and women's souls.  I don't do well as a patient and the Missus is good for about 3 days of being a nurse.  After that her first sergeant persona kicks in and she expect the sick, lame, and lazy to get out of bed and get back to work, or else. 

This isn't going to be fun for anyone.

Stay tuned.

Written in concrete

On my walk today with Kerby the wonder dog I noticed someone had written their name and date in the concrete of a driveway, presumably when the concrete was poured.  It was from the 80s. 

I've seen this sort of thing many times over the years in my daily rambles.  In the older sections of Los Angeles I noted where the sidewalk constructors had stamped the company name and date from the 1920s.  In Glendale I saw the same thing from the '30s.  One route that I walked 5 days a week from the train station to my job and back had the outline of baby shoe soles, a name and a date from the mid '80s.  That baby is possibly a father himself by now.  Does he take his child to see his shoe marks that his parent did for him 30 years ago?

The sidewalk not too far from my house used to have the names of two boys and the date of 1971 scratched into the then-wet concrete.  One boy was Lance and the other name escapes me but it seemed so perfect for the era.  In 1971 I was a junior in high school.  What grade was Lance and his pal in?  Where are they now?   Sadly, several years ago the city had to do some work on the that section of the sidewalk and Lance's name was jackhammered out and carted off.  So much for eternal fame.

Somewhere around Grouch estates the Missus inscribed young son's name and date in wet concrete on one of our building projects.  I don't know where it is but when the next owner moves in, will they wonder about his name and date and ask the same questions that I have when I see this sort of thing?  Who was he and where is he now?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Movie review: 'Annahilation'

Young son talked me into seeing the movie "Annihilation" this past Saturday.  I must admit I was cool to the idea of seeing it as I had seen the trailer for it previously and it seemed like the usual monster chase/women in distress/science mumbo-jumbo type of movie.

I was wrong.

The movie is a very thoughtful yet suspenseful movie that will require you to pay attention, connect the dots, and understand why things are happening in the movie.

https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/annihilation-2018

It has gotten great reviews and has resonated with people who see different meanings in the purpose of the movie.  One blogger feels that it is an analogy for the experience of cancer in people.  Another sees it as a metaphor for emotional depression.



Don't let the trailer fool you - this isn't a monster horror movie (although there are some scary parts) 

I must admit that the main character greatly shocked and disappointed me in a personal choice she made in her life, but that choice was integral to her motivation.  Pay attention - the clues will be there as the movie unrolls.  I missed them until the choice was revealed.

A great movie and one that I will keep in my emotional collection of great flicks.  Go see it.

4 out of 4 stars.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The Mysterious Light


In our bedroom resides a ceiling fan that is a marvel of modern technology.  It has no switch nor pull cord to turn it on and off.  Rather, all functions are controlled through a remote, just like a TV.  This remote does all sort of nifty things such as turning on the light that is in the base of the fan.  That is, we turn on and off the light and use the remote to do so.

At least, that's what we thought until about a month ago when the Missus told me that she was finding that the light was turning itself on around 6:30 in the morning about 2-3 times a week.  Then it stopped.  Then it started doing it again.  But never on the weekend (thank goodness!).

So, I thought the remote's batteries were getting weak and causing the light to come on (why, who knows?) but no, even with a change of batteries the light still came on randomly during the week, now between 6:10 and 6:30 in the morning.

I finally broke down and called for help.  I spoke to the nice lady at the fan company who reminded me that the remote is, after all, a radio transmitter and the fan is, after all, a radio receiver.  Furthermore, due to the limited frequencies available to such devices it is conceivable that someone else's remote device is triggering our fan's light!

Since this just started in the last couple of months possibly our neighbor installed a similar fan in their house and when they roll out of bed around 6 to 6:30 in the morning and turn on their overhead light, it is turning on ours too!  Why, the nerve of them!

So what's the fix?  Change the frequency settings via the teeny, tiny DIP switches in our remote and fan.  No sweat for the remote because even with my weakening eyes I am able to see those teeny, tiny switches (all four of them) and turn one of them from 'up' to 'down' and presumably change the device frequency.  No problem.

The problem lay with the fan itself.  It is a low clearance model which means it is smack against the ceiling.  The teeny, tiny DIP switches are in a tiny opening that is on top of the fan housing with no way in God's green earth to actually see them!


The fan.  Isn't it lovely?




The solution?  Yankee ingenuity!  The tools?  One each aluminum stepladder (check).  One each stainless dental pick (check).  One each Samsung Galaxy 7 phone with camera (check).  Ok, ready to deploy.

the tiny port to access the teeny, tiny DIP switches.  Notice the ceiling?

Standing on the ladder with my head scraping the popcorn ceiling material off and onto my hair, I positioned the phone over the tiny port for the teeny, tiny DIP switches and used the view on the phone to probe with the dental pick.  Of course the image was reversed so I had to move opposite of what I was seeing on the screen.  Most of the time the image was out of focus but randomly and just for about 5 seconds it would solidify into perfect clarity at which time I carefully positioned the dental pick by a switch - any switch, it didn't matter dagnabbit, and tried to pull it to the down position.  Let me say it was harder than it sounds here, and I think it sounds hard here.

Ultimately I succeeded and after coordinating the remote to the same setting, everything worked!

The true test is if the light comes back on again.  If it does, I'm going next door and telling my neighbor it is his turn to change his DIP switches.  Good luck to him.