Thursday, February 28, 2013

Fiddler, er, Carpenter on the Roof . . . and Thursday Out

Last day of February . . . Things have come along with the room addition. I'll catch up with today down a photo or two. Here's where the month started.

Wednesday was day off for the guys. Craig, my builder, has had his eye on the weather forecast, because we're coming up on the roofing project. My house is about 25 years old and its roof is at end-of-life, so I made the decision to have it replaced at the same time the roofing is put on the new addition. Soooo . . . things must be scheduled . . . in the right sequence with the right workers and suppliers and with the required building inspections, while avoiding rain while the old roof is off my house. And don't forget the weekend. And keeping the homeowner (me) apprised of the schedule.

Wednesday I ventured forth for my first driving since the eye surgery. There's still a pile of plow snow at the post office.

I also stopped at the grocery store for orange juice and ginger snaps and came home with four bags full of groceries, including an unprecedented number of veggies, which would lead to the dread c-o-o-k-i-n-g. I guess I'm inspired by my two Ninas, blogger/professor Nina, who at the very least posts a  colorful breakfast on one of several delightfully set tables every day (at home or abroad), and Facebook/quilter Nina, who puts together gorgeous one-pot meals that she pops in the oven for after work. All magazine photo worthy. I'm feeling a little pleased with myself for merely making stir-fry that I put over my favorite rice: a mixture of brown and wild rice. Better yet, this will last at least three meals. The rice takes quite awhile to cook but low effort, while the stir-fry takes lots of rinsing and a little chopping, but cooks really fast. If it weren't for dishes . . .

Today, Thursday, is NeedleCrafts day, so I was up and dressed by the time Tom's truck pulled into the driveway with its throaty rumble promptly at 8. Not too much later, Craig rang my doorbell.

"Gotta move your car and your truck. The roofers are coming through the gate right now. They're tearing your roof off today."

Woo hoo! He did the moving for me. The schedule for the day was to get the plywood on the addition and the shingles off the house. The inspector would come Friday morning and the roofers would be there to install Friday and Saturday.  Gosh, fingers crossed about the inspection. Things look pretty sturdy to me. Then, he and Tom might have a little time to do some "honey-dos" they've been offering and I wondered if they'd forgotten. No, not really. Craig's wife has honey-dos for him, too, so she's first in line.

So I heard footsteps on the roof and scrape scrape screech, scrape scrape screech moving along.

Craig, meanwhile, was toting plywood onto the deck where Tom would pull it up to the roof.

Tom was filling in edges. This view inspired my Fiddler on the Roof reference.


The plan was for me to spend my normal Thursday at NeedleCrafts, then run to the Little City Down the Hill to stock up on big bags of cat food for the feral cats, which the guys would lift out of my car for me, and pick up a special battery for the garage door battery backup system. It's been beeping every thirty seconds for two or three days now and a little display on the wall control tells me in French to replace the battery now, see the instructions in the manual. Another job for the guys.

Still snow at The Little House where NeedleCrafts meets and Senior Lunch is served.

One of the ladies came last week with a whole lot of partially completed knitting projects she's getting from an elderly relative and several here have taken on completing the projects. It really touches my heart that they're able to pick up this lady's work and bring it to a finish for someone to use.

A few weeks ago, "Grandma Rose" brought the grandkids' three year old dog Fang home to take her (Fang is a "her," unlike Phyllis Diller's Fang) to obedience classes. Fang graduated the other day and came in to meet us before saying her goodbyes to the mountains and going back to her family in the city.

I did my errands in the city, then came back just as the roofing people were gathering the last of their tools and debris up to leave. Tom was still pounding nails on the addition roof, but finally he finished and got the cat food bags out of my car and brought my truck back to its parking place.

Naked roof

And here's our progress to the last day of February.

But what's that in the sky? Those aren't precursors to rain, are they? Fingers crossed.

When I went in my bedroom the view out the side window had darkened. The roof has made quite a difference. This is the view into the quilting studio.

 And here's the view into the study.

I thought work was over for the the day when I heard the sound of loud trucks in the street and coming up my driveway. Men were heading for the backhoe, which has been parked here since the beginning of the project, New Year's Eve to be precise. I raced out to thwart possible backhoe thieves, but then recognized the backhoe owners and operators who swarmed in and moved it and the extra bucket I think I posted the other day off in just a few moments, bright lights flashing in the darkness. Rather other-worldly.

Time to get to bed. I have to get up early while my helpers will (hopefully) be available. If they can, they'll disassemble my Organizer Bed -- built-in drawers underneath. I've got a taker for it. I'm at the age where I had a taller toilet installed and need a lower bed. It has to be moved and stored anyway, so it seemed like the ideal time to make a change.

One little change -- room addition -- just seems to lead to others, doesn't it?

See you soon.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Next-Day Eye Test

The alarm went off at five-fifteen this morning, starting the mind off on its little stream of consciousness about why. I felt the metal cover over my eye, the cover that looked like a white patch to me when I saw it in the mirror, but like a little steamer rack you'd put in the bottom of a small pot when I saw it in the photo I posted here last night.

Gotta put in two kinds of drops. I'm going somewhere. Where? The eye doctor for a followup of yesterday's cataract surgery. When? Oh, anytime.

Shake awake. There is an actual appointment. Sister-in-Law will call me at seven to see whether I can see well enough to drive. Or not. I touch the eye patch. Everything looks black in that eye. How will I react if it's still black after I take the patch off? That should be a scary thought.

I patted the top front of my head above the patch. The numbness was gone and feeling was back. It had felt like there was tape all over my head, but now I could feel its edges, just on my forehead and not into my hair. I got a warm damp wash cloth and lay down with it on the bandage for a few moments, then began to peel the tape off slowly. The steamer rack lifted away. The view was still black. I felt a cottony patch, also anchored by tape. I tried to peel it but it was on solid. It was going to smart to pull it off. But a glimmer of light snuck under it. It wasn't going to be all black. I could sort of see. It looked like a squinty eye, but otherwise, nothing to look at.

I probably could have driven, but it's a long drive -- about 50 minutes -- on winding roads flashing in and out of the rays of the rising sun. I decided I shouldn't drive, and let SIL do it again. When we arrived, they noted they had gotten my message that we needed to be seen at the earlier of the two slated appointments. (Never mind that little glitch.) We weren't but we nevertheless were back up the hill in time for SIL to go to work.

So. The followup appointment. I was escorted back into the rabbit warren of little exam rooms and took my seat in "the chair." The guy handed me a black plastic thing that had a hole in it to look through with the eye in question.

The usual question: "What's the farthest line down that you can read on the chart?"

This is as close as I could find to looking like what I saw:

I got this off the Internet. I'm given to believe that it's Chinese and not on an X-rated topic. The guy moved to the top of the chart where the Big E at the top was a Big S. There were an E and an L in the second line down. And then it reverted to Chinese on down. He did a pressure test and I didn't think to ask what it was.

The Big Cheese was called in and snugged me up to an eye machine. I can't remember just what he did, but he said my new lens should settle in by my next exam in a week. (I could read the logo okay on a cover over some other machine which was about half as far away as the eye chart.) It was gratifying to get home and discover that I am somehow able to read the computer using both eyes, though neither alone seems to do very well. I can see that light appears much whiter -- in contrast to yellowish -- something many cataract patients have mentioned to me.

When we got home, the guys are removing shingles from my old roof and adding things to the new roof.

The daffodils in the barrel are cheering up on this sunny, slightly warm day.

Tom is filling in the edges where the roof extends. The walk around:

Hah! They've finally taken down my Internet satellite dish! It's been sitting up there doing nothing for several years now. At least I won't have to climb up there and remove it myself. (Is that a vision, or what?)

I love the lighting on the house and tree as the sun is setting.

Sister and Brother-in-Law returned to the US this evening from their trip to England. Sister is the nurse and worries about all the family's health, worries about me fending for myself through surgery, worries that I'm seeing Chinese characters on the eye chart. The most difficult thing I'm facing is that I'm not supposed to lift over 10 pounds. I believe I have a couple of cats here that weight close to 10 pounds, and lots more "stuff" to pack up out of my bedroom and study. Not to mention the heavy boxes already in my car that need to be transported and removed.

But I have this little chart from the doctor and I sent it to Sister. I think it's too early to get worried about the eye chart.

See you soon.


Monday, February 25, 2013

A Fine Excuse for Kicking Back

First, I've been watching a race between the little clump of daffodils near where last year's first flower of spring bloomed, and a clump growing in a barrel that got displaced displaced by the construction that I more recently discovered.

Yesterday, the clump in the barrel won. I use this to start with because the first picture shows up thumbnail on any blog link and  these are more attractive pictures to show up for the post than would the real reason for the topic of this blog.

This morning I had cataract surgery on my left eye. I have a big metal bandage over it and my list of instructions. I've been hearing from so many that it's so easy these days, so when I arrived at the ophthalmologist's office early this morning -- Sister-in-Law as my designated driver --  I answered the repeated question of whether I was nervous with a "no."

I also heard a variety of stories about aftercare, which has also changed dramatically through the ages. I can't recall whether my father had to stay in the hospital after his surgery, but I do remember that he had to be very careful not to lean over for something like a couple of weeks.

People who've had more recent surgery reported three days with an eye patch, and a variety of days for not being able to lean over.

My pre-flight, er, pre-surgery, instructions were to do eye drops four times a day for two days before and a drop on the day of surgery. No restrictions in diet and no need to fast, although I would be getting the lovely remember-no-more drug Versed and a local of some sort so I wouldn't feel the surgery. So I set my alarm for 4:45, showered, washed my hair, no make up, a blouse that buttoned down the front, no camisole, bra okay, took my morning meds and the eye drop, ate some breakfast and SIL picked me up a bit ahead of time and whisked me to the Little City Down the Hill and we got there in fine time.

As I got prepped -- pulse-ox, blood pressure, heart beat, multiple eye drops to dilate -- I heard another person in the next curtain, ahead of me. It was a man who chatted occasionally with the next person I'd be handed over to. My nurse inserted one of those needles in my hand that they use to dose me with the Versed. I asked her what it's called and she told me. Can I plead that the remember-no-more drug as the  reason I can't remember what? There was something about hep or saline.

I added another really good reason for enjoying single-hood to "complete control of the remote": No one snoring next to you in the bed. I kept wanting to poke the guy on the other side of the curtain to shut him up.

As to the surgery, I think I was seeing them tug on my natural lens and gradually pull it away. I missed seeing the new lens being inserted and the ride back out to recovery. I awoke with this:

It's pretty hard to keep the glasses on at an angle where I can read. There's almost nothing I can do but watch TV. Not too bad an evening for that. I take the patch off in the morning, put in two kinds of drops, and if I think I can drive myself in for the followup exam, I can do so. Otherwise, SIL is standing by. There's no problem with leaning over, but I'm not to lift anything over 10 pounds for two weeks. There are already two boxes in my car for transport to Sister's Garage Mahal that are way over that and still more to pack. That probably runs me past my deadline to be all packed up!

Meanwhile, I bring you cats.

Tiny Kitten and one of the others, warming in the sun after a really cold overnight. The patio table under the cover is their shelter at night and their rooftop deck in the day.

Tiny Kitten, Barefoot and the greyest one is either Sox or Extra.

Chloe in an unusual resting moment on the cat tree.

And then, when I was able to walk around a bit, I took some pictures of today's construction. There's some ugly stuff, shingles that were torn off the existing roof along the edge where the roofs for new and old will join, and rain gutters removed and tossed down, but there's some new stuff too.

Little eaves and fascia boards:

And some cute little details over the bay window:

And now back to Kicking Back with TV.

See you soon.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursdays Out . . . Taking a Break

The trusses were up on Monday. Snow was predicted for Tuesday. Since Tom commutes quite aways to this job and has only a two-wheel drive truck, work was cancelled for Tuesday. He normally has Wednesdays off, so there was a pause in the work.

When I woke up Tuesday, there were clouds, but also a little sun. It was darned cold, however, when I went to the Soroptimist lunch time meeting. As we left the meeting, a few tiny drops of rain misted my face and dotted the windshield. Skies darkened, then lightened, and darkened again. Was this another of those storms that turns out to be a big dud? Everything cancelled for nothing? Computer club was still on for the evening at that point.

I came home and worked on the blog about the trusses. At well after three o'clock, graupel pelted down, coating the deck and the floor of the new addition. There was a big flutter of excitement on Facebook as friends from throughout the county, even at lower elevations, started reporting the white stuff. It backed off for awhile, then huge white flakes began to fall and fell for a couple of hours, leaving a thick blanket of snow, five or six inches deep at my house, but deeper in many other places.

Except for dips in lights, brief cable outages, and lots of loud popping on the Surround Sound, I did okay through the storm and its aftermath, but lots of friends who were out on the roads have tales to tell about trying to get home and there were many accidents, stalled vehicles, and power outages throughout the county.

An email arrived canceling computer club.

I'll just show one (of myriad) snow photo, the morning after, when sun reflected brilliantly off its whiteness. This is looking out back across my deck, past my trailer and into the neighbor's back yard.

We'll have patches of snow in shady spots and big plow piles for quite awhile. I didn't go out until Wednesday afternoon to take an important letter to the post office (my final payment for Quilt Camp which I'd forgotten about!) and the main roads were all plowed by then. The parking lot today at The Little House where we go Thursdays for NeedleCrafts and Senior Lunch weren't very well plowed, if at all.

We had eight ladies at NeedleCrafts today, looking very serious here as they attack their knitting.

The ladies took a break for lunch shortly after this and I snapped all their little projects, which were also taking a break. I liked their colors and their relaxed poses in their baskets and bags and on the tables.

I finished rolling quarters and pennies from my late husband's piggy bank. An estimated four hours of work yielded $46.75 which I turned in to the bank. (Oh, oh, I just realized that I'd put the Canadian penny the bank had rejected into my pocket, then used it when I paid for a latté later. Whoops!) The newest coins in the collection were from 1999. Funny to see a bright shiny 1999 penny. There were some really corroded ones as well that I didn't roll, hoping the bank will turn them in to take out of circulation, if they do that.

And then I got back to appliqueing quilt blocks with my blue and white French fabrics. The picture I took of it looked so out of place with all these colorful knitting projects, I decided to wait until it's a little farther along than it is now.

See you soon.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

All Trussed Up

"Rolling trusses."

I like the way the term rolls off my tongue.  I think I first heard it back when Sister and Brother-in-Law were building Garage Mahal. When? Last year this time? Earlier? We didn't adopt the name Garage Mahal until more recently, so searching that term didn't take me back to the beginning, but I know it was a winter construction project.

Anyhow, I remembered the arrival and erection of trusses on Garage Mahal had been a fascinating and terrifying experience -- which I missed -- as Tom tight-rope walked up top the garage, which is two stories high in places, installing trusses.

My trusses were scheduled for delivery last Thursday, between one and two o'clock, which is before NeedleCrafts is over. So I made arrangements to leave NeedleCrafts in time to be home for "rolling the trusses."

My project at NeedleCrafts this week was "rolling quarters," to empty the piggy bank full which Husband had collected before he died 13 years ago. Why carry all that weight into storage, as I vacate my bedroom preparatory to connecting the room addition? There are pennies, too. They'll contribute toward paying for some kind of change order.

Except the delivery truck arrived at noon and the trusses were already stacked up top by the time I got home!

There it is. Craig is passing plywood up to Tom.

Looks like nine trusses. Maybe ten? See the piece of plywood laying on top of them?

Tom is nailing the plywood to the top truss.

The top truss, which now has plywood nailed to it, gets shoved up on the end of the room.

Now Tom and Craig wiggle the end truss back and forth, to get everything lined up properly with the top of the walls. Notice Tom has notched out the truss for the rafters (non-confirmed terminology) to extend out through.

And there it is, end of delivery day, with the end truss in place.

After all the Thursday excitement, it occurred to me I should take down more paintings for storage, since there will be construction stuff going on in the hall a ways down the line. Heck, if I have all my interior walls painted, I need to take all the paintings down anyway.

For a change, the lighting Thursday night was such that I could photograph the hungry ferals. It's a bit fuzzy through the screen, but the camera usually insists on focusing on the screen, blotting out the cats.

Tom spent most of Friday, "operating" on the trusses to make them flow forth from the existing roof. When it's a new build, the trusses can just go straight up (is that "rolling trusses?"). Thus, this "fitting" process takes a lot longer than Garage Mahal did.

Interesting what a wide shadow a two-by-four on the end of the room casts.

Then there was the weekend, which made it seem like putting the trusses up was taking a really long time. Monday morning, in the first part of the morning, Tom was back up top, while Craig was busy wrapping all the wood piles in tarps and sweeping up sawdust. (Snow is forecast for Tuesday.) Then I could hear lots of hammering and sawing, but I didn't go look until lunch time.

Woo hoo! Trusses!

It's moving right along . . .

See you soon.