Saturday, August 26, 2006

Progress Report and a Mojito Please

After the painters left on Saturday I went out to see what they did, and my baby made us a couple of de-lish Mojitos. The Knee braces on the north side are still raw, but on the south side they are caulked and have a coat of primer. They have almost all of the trim primered. Still have some of the upper windows to do, but it's moving along. I think Jesus said it would be about two and a half weeks, and it's been just that. I figured that with the detail it would take a lot of hand paiting and frankly I was surprised they were able to spray the siding color on.

They have also taken great care in scraping the old paint off the window panes and cleaning up the overspary, which I'm very pleased with. That's one of Will's pet peaves about house painting, the slop of paint onto the window panes. For me it's when they put too much paint on the brush and the paint drips and hardens.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Ranger Dog

Ranger got her stitches out Saturday morning and her cone came off. She's growing by the sencond and fetches with enthusiasm running back with her stick or ball and barrelling into your lap, though she needs to work on the "drop it" part a little bit more. Will's got her sitting very nicely for a cookie. This morning we went out to get the paper and I took her for a little trot up the block on her leash. She did pretty good. Here are some shots from a little play time with her stick in the back yard.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Painting in Progress

I first began this process in February, got a few quotes in March, but ultimately decided to go with my trusted Jesus, who wasn'’t going to be available to start for several months, as he was on a big project in Santa Barbara. Which was a referral from a referral of mine. I'’m happy that he'’s doing well, driving a new red truck and all, but it'’s increasingly difficult to get into his schedule if you'’re not prepared to wait in line.

Now, Jesus and I go way back. He was on my foundation crew, working for Sinai Construction back in the summer of 1999 when I bought the house. After that he went out on his own and he'’d stop by occasionally and say Hi and chat and see if there was anything he could do for me. I had a few odd jobs on occasion but it wasn'’t until my corner tenant moved out and Will moved in that I called him to open up the rental unit to the rest of the house, making it our library, and renovating the bathroom.

He did it all in two weeks with his helper, Victor. Demo'’d the stove gas line, cabinets, relocated the electrical switch and light fixture, put up new drywall, and tiled the bathroom, moved plumbing and installed a new sink, molding, trimmed out the door, installed a ceiling fan and painted the entire space, including ceilings. The whole thing in two weeks. And he pays attention to the details and he does good honest work.

So I waited for his schedule to open up, which began last week, with Victor here on his own for the first few days prepping. As he sanded away the old layers of paint I was surprised that there weren'’t more coats. It looks like under the top coat is a creamy color, over a grey (probably a primer), over a hunter green.

Now Victor and Jorge are at it and color is going up, fast. I'’m very excited to see it all done. I'’ll post a few shots as it progresses.

Part of what I've want to do is restore the knee braces. I have all the horizontal pieces, but the diagonal braces have been removed. It would have been nice if they had just tossed them in the basement, but they are long gone from the premises. After much searching of the itnernets I did find knee braces, but they are expensive, and I only need the diagonal piece, and I need 19 of them.

So I thought a less expensive solution would be to use the existing projection, have the workers cut a 6x6 angle piece then "cap" it with a decorative molding. I found a very reasonable manufacturer and ordered a few diferent styles to sample, then Jesus and Victor worked out the measurements and angles and installed a piece to see how it looked. When it's all caulked and painted it'll look like one stunning piece.

I made my choice and ordered the other 17. However, the manufacturer is in Cananda, and they were running behind in their production and wouldn't be shipping my order until mid-July. I replied that's fine as my project won't be starting until about mid-July, and the timeframe would work out fine.

When the first week of August passed and I still hadn't received my order I shot them an email. I got the reply that my order shipped 08/01/06 by DHL. Well countless emails and excuses later informing me it's all DHLs fault, of lost packages, hazardous spills in the DHL facility, getting held up in customs, and finally that I should have delivery by Monday (yeah, we'll see).

I guess eventually they'll un-burry themselves from whatever stories they have manufactured to cover the delays and actually get my order produced and shipped to me. And hopefully they'll arrive before my worker's go on to their next project and I have to wait another 5 months to finish this one.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Traipsing the Trails

Traipsing the Trails in Yellowstone, WY 07/06/06 - 07/09/06
Although it does seem that the majority of visitors drive from parking lot to parking lot, walk out to the vista points, and drive on to the next one. We got out of the vehicle and hit a few of the 30 plus well traveled trails in Yellowstone. And, except for Artists Paintpots, we mostly traipsed the trails in wonderful solitude without encountering too many other people (who tend to talk too loudly, walk too quickly, and generally annoy us) as we amble along and take photos, embrace under the sun, and write in the sand.Tower Fall Trail
2 miles out and back
Description: The trip to Tower Fall is one of the shortest but most rewarding hikes in the park. The trail leads to an overlook where you get a great perspective of the 132-foot waterfall. However the switch-backed trail that takes you down to Tower Creek and the foot of the falls was closed due to instability. We did manage to scramble down to the river’s edge and get a closer look and feel of it.Canyon Rim South Trail
7 miles out and back

Description: There are two ways to see the sights of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. You can drive from parking lot to parking lot, get in and out of your car several times, and call it a day. Or you can hike this spectacular trail along the canyon rim and see it all.
The scenery is world renowned the entire way with many views of the mighty Yellowstone River and its Canyon, Lower Falls and Upper Falls, all the way to Point Sublime.Artists Paintpots
2.4 miles out and back

Description: This short hike skirts the edge of massive Gibbon Meadows.
It is partly boardwalk and the rest is double wide, flat and easy, winding its way through several interesting thermal features, hot pools and steam vents.

Lone Star Geyser
9 miles out and back
Description: A very pleasant hike along the Upper Firehole River passing beautiful meadows. The geyser, named for its isolated location, erupts 30 to 50 feet every two to three hours or so for about ten to fifteen minutes. We reached the geyser and just caught the tail end of it erupting.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Wildebeest and Zebra of Yellowstone, WY 07/06/06 - 07/09/06

There are so many photos from our road trip this summer that I find myself categorizing them. As with this post dedicated to the animals we saw in Yellowstone. Wild animals, unafraid, undisturbed, especially in the U. S. where humans have encroached so thoroughly on their territory, is truly wonderful to see.

I was hoping we would see Buffalo. And we sure did. On the way to Yellowstone we passed a Buffalo farm, or some such nonsense. There were real Buffalo, but Buffalo behind a fence or in a corral is not the same as Buffalo roaming free. Thank goodness for these protected areas and the efforts of those responsible for the preservation of our wild animals.

So here is what we saw, not counting the gazillion chipmunks, like this little tike, that we somehow managed to avoid hitting as they darted across the road. Of course there were Buffalo (the Wildebeest of Yellowstone) and Elk (the Zebra of Yellowstone)Saw this feller strolling along the grounds of the Mammoth Hot Springs Lodge where we stayed in one of these little cabins with a hot tub
Beautiful Elk next to a calm stretch of river flowing through Hayden Valley with thermal steam rising from the ground behind the row of pines
Mule Deer Moose in a meadow next to the horse stables And horses looking at the Moose
Pronghorn at the crest of a knoll Grizzly Bear grazing A Coyote stepped into the road a car ahead of us, snagged a road kill, trotted up the bank and (I love this shot) in 30 second chowed it down then trotted off
There's a Wolf there in the center of the frame. It's way out there. A woman with her sighting scope was letting us scopeless folk take a closer look at it. But even with Will's zoom, this is as good as we could get.
We also saw the tail end of a Black Bear as it headed up trail and into the forest, but couldn't get a good shot of it. The only animal we didn't see was the Bighorn Sheep.
This was among one of my favorite adventures. I will look forward to going there again and getting off the road and on the trails and into the back country a little more.
Maybe the next photo installation will be the trails we hiked, along with some thermal activity. Then there's still Arches and the Grand Canyon, plus Spokane and Baker City.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

How Does this Happen

The plan for today was to take our beloved little Ranger dog to the vet to begin her series of pup shots, look into getting her microchipped, and maybe a flea dip. I had petitioned for taking her to my vet, the Beverly Virgil Animal Hospital. My two cats have been there, Bink for a check up and teeth cleaning, Pumpkin for his shots and neutering. They've always done alright by me and my animals. And it was there that I took ol' Minney when she passed. The staff are very nice, it's convenient, they're open on Saturday,I've never had to wait long, and the doctor is very kind and caring.

However, Will's been taking his animals to Gateway Animal Hospital. But agreed to take Ranger to mine and we discussed consolidating the pet care from Gateway to Beverly Virgil. But then I looked up Gateway on CitySearch, and did a search of local Animal Hospitals within 5 miles, and checked their ratings and comments.

Beverly Virgil Animal Hospital - 1.38 miles - 7.4 rating
Gateway Animal Hospital - 3.42 miles - 9.0 rating

I considered a facility all-together different:
Echo Park Animal Hospital - 0.67 miles - 8.7 rating

So when I saw the rating, even though I've never had a problem at Beverly Virgil, I suggested Gateway be the one for Ranger and our future pet care. They have Saturday hours and we would take Ranger together. We got there just after 9:00 am this morning and waited about a half hour to get in to see a doctor. In addition to the shots we decide to go ahead with the microchip and a flea dip. The doctor said we could come back after 11:30 to pick her up. We spent the hour and a half making a Trader Joe's run on the way home, came home and had a car towed that was blocking our driveway, had a sandwich and checked out my Mom's blog.

On the way back to pick up are beloved little Ranger dog, we stopped at the bank and the local U-Haul to get a refill on the BBQ's propane tank. Made it to Gateway and after a few minutes were called back to Room #1 to collect our pup.

This is where it all goes wrong. First the doctor says something about an injury at the base of the dog's tail...and since he doesn't know...well, he has to ask us if we noticed an injury at the base of the dog's tail before bringing her in today, or if it might have happened here??? We said there certainly was NOT an injury of any kind when we left her here an hour and a half ago. The doctor said something about this never happening before and he doesn't know how it happened, but there is a, and he spreads his fingers about 2 inches distance, a gash, did he say gash, a serious wound, at the base of the dog's tail. He says they stiched it up using a local anesthetic, and they've put her in a cone!!! We'll need to giver antibiotics daily and bring her back in two weeks to remove the stitches.

Then someone else brings our beloved little Ranger in to the room and sets her on the table in front of me and I immediately wrap my arms around her and tell her we're there and kiss her head.
She looks as though she's been crying and the base of her tail is shaved and there is indeed a gash, stitched up and red and swollen. She's got the awful plastic collar on her and I'm saying to myself: How does this happen? After all she's been through to make it here, after all the love we've given her, we bring her here for some shots and a dip, and they've cut our pup!!!

She's resting now in her favorite spot on the cool tile floor of my bathroom. Her little tail damaged, coned head resting on her big puppy paws. And as I search the internet all I can find out about Veterinarian Medical Malpractice is that unfortunately in this country, an animal is considered an item of personal property, and most courts limit the Veterinarian's liability to the pet owner as the cost of replacing the animal with another animal. She'll be fine, I'm sure. But it was negligence, I'm also sure. A slammed cage door, a sharp instrument, something happened and somebody's not saying.

I also found a few organizations, the California Board of Examiners in Veterinary Medicine, and the California Veterinarian Medical Association, and the Animal Defense League that we will be reporting this to and asking for advice on what, if anything, we can do about this. At the very least they must investigate Gateway and hopefully whoever caused this injury will be properly dealt with.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Where the Buffalo Roam, Yellowstone NP, WY 07/06/06 - 07/09/06

Yellowstone was a gem. A wondrous place full of wild animals and unbelievable natural beauty. We passed through the Hayden Valley area in central Yellowstone several times during our visit there. And we saw Buffalo. Herds of Buffalo, Buffalo swimming across the Yellowstone River, Buffalo trotting down the side of the road, Buffalo being startled awake in a small stand of trees in the picnic area where we pulled in to have lunch, and the grand Buffalo jam.
Big Buffalo and little Buffalo
Buffalo in the water
Buffalo grazing in the fieldsPhotos by Susan and (mostly) Will