Friday, July 25, 2008

My nephew by marriage proves himself a genius

Sunday July 13th was a scorcher.  Shampooing the rug in the now cooled down ice house seemed like a doable chore.  I got it all set up; turned on; lots of motor sounds but no water!  Didn't have a user manual to consult.

Found a manual online that said the pump nozzle was clogged and recommended to clean it out.  But the manual gave no clue where exactly the nozzle was located or how to get to it.  Fortunately, my nephew is a whiz when it comes to taking things apart and putting them back together.  Turns out that the last person to use it several years ago had left it so that soap had dried in the lines.  After two hours of deconstruction, hand smashing of the dried soap residue, and reconstruction without any extra parts, I was in business.

Lucky for me that my nephew was here for a family dinner cooked up specially by my sister to welcome me back to Newfield.  Just proving out the omen that there would be small snags but lots of sunshine :-)

Saturday July 12th was Avalon Fishing Pier Picnic

My sister moved more of her belongings from the ice house to her storage shed and I vacuumed again.  Discovered that my parents had a Bissell carpet steamer that I could use the next day.  Put that aside so I could go car shopping with my parents.  I had returned my leased car in Seattle and needed wheels.  It's embarrassing at 60 to ask your Daddy to borrow his car.

I wanted a fuel efficient small suv/crossover that my parents could easily get in and out of.  My research had uncovered two vehicles to test out -  a Honda CRV  and the newly introduced VW Tiguan.  We did a test ride with the CRV and it was satisfactory.  A little sluggish on pickup compared to my former car but that is a trait of Honda's 4 cyclinder engines.  Next, we just tried getting in and out of a Tiguan but no dice.  The rear doors for passengers are narrow and difficult for seniors to manuever.  I was sad, since sitting in the driver's seat felt so good.  So we had a choice, now it was time to find a good deal. 

Unfortunately for me, the Honda CRV is one of the hottest cars in this down market because of its fuel efficiency and resale value.  But, on our way to the Avalon Fishing Pier, there was a dealer there to try out and see what prices might be like since the model year is changing soon and they did have many in stock.  The negotiations were not successful but showed me that using the COSTCO Auto Buying Program was going to be my best bet.

So, we ended the day, sitting out in the ocean breezes, smelling the salty air and relaxing.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

So how does this Dyson work anyway?

The rugs in the house and the ice house need very deep cleaning so the new Dyson with its hepa filter is perfect for preventing the spread of the flea eggs into the air. The dyson is still in the box and I have to figure out how it goes together and how the wand comes off. Most of the day is spent getting it working and then vacuuming. That chore reveals that I will need to shampoo the carpet in the ice house too.

Oh, what is the ice house you ask. Well, around the turn of the previous century, my grandfather and his business partner had a very large pigeon farm where they raised squabs to ship to fancy NYC, Philadelphia, Chicago restaurants and sold to ocean liners. In addition, Dyer & Davis canned squabs to sell to hospitals that were set up to deal with illnesses such as TB. There was not regular refrigeration as we are accustomed to, so they built a freestanding building and lined it all with cork. By the time of my childhood, the building had been converted to an office for the pigeon farm. And, by the time I was teenager, the ice house had been moved next to my grandparents house, where my grandfather did some shop work and made fishing poles for surf fishing.

The pigeon farm is long gone, done in by the all the federal regulations on poultry farming. It was a specialty business by that time, but I sure miss the squabs. Cornish game hens are still chickens, without the delicate flavor nor the unsaturated nature of the fat on the birds.

Flea attack July 10th

So, my sister informs me that my cat, who had come out from Seattle in January to accustom to the house and let me sell the Seattle one without her, has fleas. Poor Channi. She is approximately 7 years old and had never had fleas before as she is an indoor kitty and they are not prevalent in Seattle.

Of course, this means that the house is infested. So I get an appointment with a vet for the following Monday (soonest appointment) and think I will get working on getting the ice house ready for my occupancy. Well, it is way too hot in there, so my father and I go off to buy an air conditioner for the space and groceries for a special dinner he is cooking that evening to celebrate the return of the far wandering if not prodigal daughter.

So, in one stop, the air conditioner gets purchased and I get keys made for the house. The air conditioner is too heavy for either my father, who is in his 80's, or me, who has already had one back operation, lift but a store employee puts it into the trunk for us.

Back at the house, the electrician's helper, who is working on the 200 amp upgrade and running wiring to the ice house, carries it from the trunk to inside the ice house. I "accidently" phone my big strong volunteer fireman nephew and politely guilt him into coming later and installing the air conditioner in the window.

My nephew comes thru and the ice house is on its way to becoming livable. There is still a lot of cleaning to do in there but I won't die from heat prostration doing it.

The heat is exhausting so I set up a wireless network in my parents house, enjoy dinner, and then fall asleep in front of the Phillies game. That last part is familar because summers here before air conditioning meant sitting near a fan watching the Phillies and falling asleep.

Out of Seattle July 9th

Going separate ways from my grandson, daughter, and son-in-law after the red-eye flight from Seattle, I walked to the shuttle for Newfield in sunshine with scatters of rain. This was to prove prophetic of my experiences -- lots of sunny emotions with tiny setbacks to make life interesting.

Also, it was 80 degrees already at 7:00am. Also prophetic of the next weeks being a heat wave with all the mugginess typical of the mid-Atlantic coast. My Seattle sensibilities were sorely tried and I had just arrived.

Arrived at my parents', not my own house, because I didn't have a key and my sister was already at work. Also, the old ice house where I planned to hang my hat was not ready yet, so I crashed at my parents for the day. I needed to recover from the week long marathon called packing up a house. Even with all the generous help from my daughter-in-law and the break for July 4th, I was exhausted.

The movers had estimated it would take 2 hours to pack up the moving van but they arrived 2 hours late and then it took 4 hours. I barely made it in time to turn in the leased car before the dealer closed!

Anyway, we had an excellent dinner at Chinook's before making our way to the airport. They had even set up a special place for my 18 month old grandson with a spoon, high car, and paper napkin. Had my last taste of the blue plate special for awhile.