Always tweaking something!


Day 2109

Holy cow! Been a while, huh? Saddest part is that Linda, the giant multinational corporation behind the “Random Dozen” is taking a break for June so there won’t be that particular easy post to lean on. A bunch of us will actually have to try and write something. Quite a challenge.

So. The Memorial Day weekend recap. Firstly, thanks to all my fellow brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price to defend the freedoms and privileges we enjoy and too often take for granted in this country. As a Vet myself, I really ought to know better than to take ANY of our freedoms too lightly. Easy bad habit to fall into, so I will endeavor to cut it out.

For the recap. Man, ,did we have us some gorgeous weather up here in Camp Rachacha!! Outdoor time was mandatory and mostly enjoyable. Did one spin class. Did 10 tons of yard work. Literally. Ripped plants out. Planted more stuff. Moved plants. Got things crossed off my “honey do list”. Got things added to my honey do list. Had a nice dinner at a ‘new to us’ restaurant. Well worth the 30 minute drive in the country to get there too.

Way back when we first moved the pond and ordered those 5 pallet loads of rocks, we had a vision of creating a stone bench using a pallet of larger slabs. For 2 years the last, biggest slab has sat there on its pallet, taunting me, daring me to try and move it. This monolith was as big as a pallet in surface area (2.5 x 3 feet?) and has to be all of 8” thick. As to weight, 400lbs is certainly too low. 500 may be low. Let it suffice to say that when it is laying flat on its pallet, I can’t lift one end to start to tilt it, and I can do 500lb leg presses till the cows come home, if it’s a short trip for the cows. (and yes, I ift that kinda stuff with my legs, not my back. I may be bull headed & stubborn, but I don’t abuse my back.)

I had an idea what I wanted to do with the rock. Using some slightly smaller rocks, I wanted to build two roughly equal pillars and stack this monolith of a slab on top to serve as the seat. I had another thinner slab that I was going t use as a seat back – sort of entrenched in place.

Figured out that I had planned to put the bench in the wrong place. If I could settle for building the bench right next to where the big slab was sitting, it might be an easier task. As luck would have it, I also learned that I could move some of the smaller slabs by myself. The piece that was to be the back I got standing on end, dug a trench and rolled it in place. Then it occurred to me how I could move the big slab.

When Zach moved last year, he never took his floor jack. It can lift 2 ton. The big rock was already off the ground (on the pallet), all I needed was pieces of plywood to set a car floor jack on, cribbing to keep the rock in place, pry bars, logs for rolling and a come along (hand winch). It took two hours, all of the pieces & parts I mentioned, some grunting on my part, some risk taking on Cindy’s part in placing the cribbing while I held the @^&% rock in place, a providentially placed big tree to anchor the hand winch and a hunk of rope that when quadrupled managed to hold up under the strain of pulling that rock. Had that rope broke, the cable whipping free of the tension would likely have cut me in half. It would certainly have left a mark. There was just no place to stand where I could crank the winch and still be out of the line of fire of a cable or rope failure. Consequently, I missed seeing the rock actually move because I was watching the rope/cable/tree combo to try and pick up a hint as to whether I should at least TRY and duck.

Total distance the rock moved? 4 feet. Tops. Two hours to go four feet. That’s 0.000379 mph. Right up there with the snails & slugs I think. But the bench is done. That had been a paralysis point for me in finishing the pond. Now? Easy peasy. Plants, small rocks, maintenance.

Install an arbor leading to the pond from the front yard? Done. It’s nicely visible from the street too. Clematis vines in place? Done. Plants re-arranged around bench & arbor? Done. Desire to yank out arbor and re-do it all? In place.

Still to do? Dryer vent, transition strip between powder room & the room formerly known as the family room, access panel for dryer exhaust. But those are all indoor jobs. This weekend looks pretty poor weather wise, si maybe I’ll attend to the boring indoor tuff then.

I also had Tuesday off so I could sit at home and wait for the local utility company tech come by and check out our electrical installation. He was supposed to tell me where the new outdoor meter was to go (he did) and how much we could upgrade our service (he didn’t). Apparently he couldn’t get any information off the feed cable as to size & capacity. He had to refer it to the engineering department, who will have to look through their records and see what they installed there 45 years ago. We were hoping to be able to upgrade to 200 Amps. The tech thought we could get 150A which we’d be happy with. If we’re limited to 100A we have to entertain thoughts of running a new cable. It turns out that there is a junction box in our yard so there’s no need to ditch witch through 3 yards & driveways (and a bank account) to run the cable. It’s probably still scary expensive so we may have to suck it up and make do with 100A if it comes to it.

Been quiet on the relationship front. The good kind of quiet. Communication is better. That’s good. Drinking, while not at problematic levels, is not zero. There may be some unassisted drinking going on, but I can’t be sure so I don’t raise a fuss. When I do have a beer (like I did Saturday after moving Gibraltar) Cindy jumps right in and has one with me.

Updated on Day 2111 (I should do this tomorrow – ‘2112’ by Rush is one of my all time favorite albums)

Did the bike commute Wednesday. Weather forecast was for clear skies & fair weather till about 7pm. Thought I’d be safe riding to work then to the Y, getting in a spin class and riding home. Heh. I left work @ 5:10, the last of the long haul commuters to leave. Why? Because weather radar showed rain directly over our heads from about 4:30 on. On the ground? Nada. I ran into a couple little spritzes, but I sweat worse than that. Made it to the Y relatively dry (see: sweat) and headed in for class. According to our friends at, the next threat for rain was at 7pm – just before class let out. But the ride home turned out as uneventful as the ride to the Y. Definitely got wetter in class.

After class, I had a few minutes alone at home. I decided to put my suspicions to rest one way or another. Since The Bob’s memorial service we’ve had a relatively large stock of liquor & wine in the house. Personally, I’d been surprised by how little the stocks have diminished in the last month. I’d also been somewhat suspicious because Cindy appeared to be more affected by the little bits I’d seen her drink than I thought she should be.

My suspicion? Hidden stock. Sure, she may share a beer with me at the end of the day, but I KNEW getting a 12 pack of ginger ale was a two headed beast. So last night, I checked out a known hiding place. Found a liter of hooch, maybe ¼ full, and a separate 2L bottle of ginger ale. My suspicions about the unassisted drinking were confirmed. I need to figure out a way to broach the subject that doesn’t send Cindy scrambling into ‘potato bug mode’. She’ got Janine fooled into thinking that maybe she isn’t really an alcoholic; she just ran into a spell of abusive drinking and never got addicted. To me, keeping a separate, secret stash indicates otherwise.

Enough for now. Gotta get some work done.


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