Let me start this off the same way that I did a year ago, by wishing you all a "Merry Christmas" and a "Happy New Year", and tell you that despite the supposed recovery in the economy, my student "load" of 6 is exactly the same as it was a year ago, so once again, I'm "scrooging", but this means that although you don't get a card or letter in the mail, it allows me to freely share photos with you, which I could not otherwise do!
This year was a mix of good and bad for me; if you haven't been following the blog, which came to a screeching halt at the end of April with only sporadic entries after that, I lost my favorite cat, Kassie, to an undiagnosed illness, at that time. About a month later, I started looking for a companion for Bella, searching all of the animal shelters from Seattle to Poulsbo, without finding a cat or kitten that I made a "connection" with. Sometime late in June, while cruising web sites for ragdoll cats, I found a breeder down in Walla Walla, Wa., that had a female that looked a lot like Kassie, that was due to deliver in July, so I combined a motorcycle ride down to Richland for the annual "Cool Desert Nights" car show and high school reunion, with a side trip over to Walla Walla to see her. Although she was ready to drop her kittens, and was very uncomfortable, she still came over and sat on my lap for about an hour; what a sweetheart!
Two weeks later, the owner sent me pics of 5 or 6 kittens, and I looked at 3 before I saw this one, and felt my heart leap. . . It was "Love at first sight" and I immediately fired off an email to claim her!
3 days before I took off for that trip down to the car show, my 35 year old refrigerator morphed into a freezer, overnight, and I decided that it was time to replace it. The problem is that it was 32" wide, and the alcove that it resided in, between the kitchen and the bathroom was 32 1/4" wide, and to get it out of there, I had to remove the baseboards and door trim, and even the darned wall switch. Once the fridge was out, I discovered that the little plastic tube that delivers condensation into the drying tray was about 4" too short, and had been dripping onto the floor underneath the fridge, causing part of the floor to rot out, so I had to rip out some fir floor, let it dry out, and then patch it, to bring it up to the level of the rest of the floor.
Having done that much, I decided that I might as well go ahead and redo the linoleum floor in the kitchen, which had gotten torn up (a bit), back when the tree came smashing through the back wall, in 1996, and repaint or rewallpaper the kitchen, the fridge alcove and do the same to the bathroom and "water closet". Also on the agenda for the summer "work party", was replacing a 14' section of bulkhead, and I gave myself until the 27th of September, which was when I was scheduled to take delivery of the kitten, to get all this wrapped up. One of my friends suggested doing a slate floor, since I liked his so much, and once I decided to go for that, he convinced me to install sub-floor heating, alluding to the fact that at my age, I could not count on being able to continue heating with wood, for the next thirty years (something about the physics of rolling logs off the beach, towing them home and cutting them up. . . ridiculous, eh?), so I thought,"Why not?" Well, over the 4th of July weekend, while I was installing the hardybacker subfloor for that, I found that I had gotten in over my head, because my back wall has a curve to it, and remember, my house is not square to begin with, it's a trapezoid, so I hired one of the guys that helped me raise the house last year, that had done several other slate floors for people here on The Beach. I can't tell you how impressive it is to watch a guy that knows what he's doing. But, for a month and a half, my front room looked like this:
And my bedroom was full of a washer and dryer, and bathroom cabinet, so, to get from the kitchen into my bed, there was a narrow pathway threading through all this stuff! While I was waiting for Chris to get back from Alaska and do the floor, I started working on the walls, and spent 5 full days stripping the wallpaper in the 32 1/4" X 8' fridge alcove; talk about frustrating! At that point, I decided the big bathroom would wait for next summer, and when I moved in to strip the water closet, which is 4' X 10', I screwed up the walls so badly that I had to have a sheet rock guy come in and put a skim coat on it, and I decided, "No more wallpaper!" I painted the walls in the water closet and the fridge alcove, which was very easy, but man, has the price of paint ever gone up since the last time that I bought it!
At this point, which was about half way into August, and I realized that maybe my summer project was just a little too ambitious, and I decided to postpone the bulkhead rebuild until next summer! Well, the weekend of August 24th I headed back down to Richland for my 50 year high school reunion (seems impossible that it's been that long!), and to check in on how the kitten was growing. Boy, was that a mistake, because while I was sitting in the breeder's house with my kitten on my lap, another little rascal came flying out of the back room, and did a "Nascar" around her front room and jumped up on my lap, and. . .
So, "Sia" is the upper cat and the original choice, and "Kydai" who came with the name, "Squirt", because of a story I'm not going into here, got a name change, at the request of my vet, who told me that I could just not stick such an elegant looking little cat with such an plain name. Luckily, Bella, my Siamese, seems to love Sia, but just tolerates Kydai, because she is full of the devil, sometimes. Sia, on the other hand, is a purrfect little lady, although I think that she's going to wind up being a pretty big cat, while Kydai is going to be much smaller.
Back to the house: since the height of the floor, combining the sub-floor and the self leveling compound and the thickness of the slate changed by over an inch, I also had to remove all the doors, 3 of which were pocket doors, and trim about 1 1/4" off the bottom. Of course, with the pocket doors, that meant tearing out all the door trim, so I wound up having to repaint all the woodwork, because the new paint didn't match the older, faded paint of the crown moulding. And, once I put the stove back in the kitchen, I discovered that I couldn't open the cabinet doors, behind it. It just seemed like the more I did, the more I had to do, that I hadn't forseen. . .
3 days after getting back from the reunion, I threw my back out, contorting to get some baseboards down behind the toilet, and since then, up until about a month ago, I started each morning with 2 "Breakfast of Champions" (Aleve!) with my coffee and oatmeal, in order to be able to keep working on the house. My exercise regime had gone by the boards anyway, due to the fact that I was working on the house from about 8 a.m. until 9:30 p.m, 7 days a week, so, after the end of the year, I'm going to have to ease back into that, because I need it to keep myself in shape.
For maybe the first time ever, my revised project was finished, and the house was all back together on the schedule I had set, September 27th, but unforeseen circumstances delayed the delivery of the new members of the family until October 1st, so with the extra 3 days, I went to work on the crown moldings throughout the house. Due to the fact that the molding is fairly inflexible, and that my ceilings weren't exactly flat, at various points, in all of the rooms, the ceiling would not meet the moldings, and that had been niggling at me for years, so with help of Red Devil's One Time Spackle, I managed to fill those little gaps and make it look great. And I used the spackle to fill in around the gap between the trim for the circular staircase, and the first floor ceiling; finally, after. . . ummmm. . . 39 years (blush!), it finally looks finished! Quoting another friend of mind, "Ya don't want to rush into anything."
Two summers ago, I raised my house 18", and yesterday morning (12/17), I was once again happy that I went to the effort and expense that that "little project" entailed:
The bottom edge of the house used to be at the bottom of the the long beam, running front to back. This pic was taken at peak high tide, and the wind started to really blow, about 45 minutes after this. Had I not raised the house, my first floor would have been a wading pool.
So, now as the end of 2012 draws nigh, the house looks great, and I have 4 beautiful "grrrls" to make my heart smile (too bad 1 of them isn't a "2-legger, but I count my blessings!). I've enrolled in a photography class that starts February 6th and goes every Wednesday evening for 2 hours, for 5 weeks, and I'm looking forward to that. Also, one of my students runs a Tai Chi class every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. and I think that I'm going to take advantage of that, since it's just up over the hill from Salmon Beach, and takes place at such a "civilized" hour of the morning!
I hope that the "hollydays" will find you all healthy and happy and surrounded by your loved ones, and that the upcoming New Year will bring joy and prosperity to you all!
Late addition; I just got this from a friend, and it's a beautiful way to end this:
Your Li'l Salmon Beach Buddy