Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas randoms


It is the usual busy life around work and Christmas around the Cat Ranch. 

Here's just a few photos of our week.

We went to a Christmas party.  It was a at the house of an old friend of Walt Kowalski's.  We've gone several years in a row now, so I've gotten to know the people who attend.  It was nice, even if the ladies are a bit snooty falooty.  I don't wear nearly enough jewelry.  I did were my hair up and earrings! Walt Kowalski approved.

Here was her cheese ball.  He was almost too cute to eat.

 
He looked better than he tasted.

Then ornament Chewbacca found himself a dance partner. Nobody else had short enough legs, except for sister bunny. Chewbacca was a gift from the neighbor's eight-year-old daughter.  She said he was a cousin of sasquatch. I can see the family resemblance.


But you know, every time you take a nice photo with your dance partner, some bunny comes along an photobombs you.


Walt Kowalski said "That's a nice photo.  Where were you guys?"  I said "Sitting at our bar in the game room."  He said "Wow, that looks really nice."

Finally, I had extra milk from baking.  Not being a milk drinker, I was looking for recipes to use it up. Walt Kowalski said "You know what uses milk? Pistachio pudding. with extra pistachios."


He's too funny.  How could I resist.  And it's in the shape of a Christmas tree. AND those are my grandmother's pudding cups. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Busy Morning

Mornings are fast. 

Walt Kowalski started his early winter shift, so we're out the door by 5:40am. He's done at 2:30pm now.  JEALOUS!

I *should* get up earlier, but the big bed is so hard to get out of.  I *should* go to sleep earlier, too, but this is the Cat Ranch, it never happens. 

The morning race goes like this:

Wake up
Bathroom
Feed Cats
Walt Kowalski wake up (he gets 5 extra minutes)
Fix hairs
Walt Kowalski shower
Remove cat from heat register
Find work clothes
Remove cat from work clothes
Get dressed
Slap on a little makeup
Put on left shoe
Remove cat from table
Fix lunches
Find right shoe
Get gym bags
Feed cats
Remove cat from chair
Put on right shoe
Wash hands again (about a dozen times so far this morning)
Fix snacks
Fill water bottles
Find coat
Find car keys
Find phone
Find house keys
Search for water bottle that was just here a moment ago
Find gloves
Make travel coffee for Walt Kowalski
Put on gloves
Take off gloves
Clean up hair ball
Put on gloves
Warm cars (if needed)
Turn off lights
Turn on lights
Find phone and keys that were left on table when looking for water bottle
Turn off lights
Lock door
Confirm phones and keys in pocket
Pick-up newspaper in drive way

That's the short version.  Sometimes, like today, there was a clean litter box in there because it was stinky.  Breakfast is when we get to work. 

Yesterday, everything was running smoothly.  We weren't even in a rush. Walt Kowalski said "I'll take your bags out to the car and get the paper.  You lock the house."

So I did. 

Hug, hug, kiss, kiss and away we went to work.

Except.

When I got to work, I thought "what is this extra lump in my coat pocket?"

ARGH!  I have the house keys!  More specifically, I have Walt Kowalski's house keys AND my house keys.

Oh I dreaded sending that text message. 

We have talked about hiding a key outside, but it's one of those things that we'll get around to one of these days.  But it never happened.

Rats.

So I manned up, or rather womanned up and told the boss.  I said I would work through my normal lunch and then go home a little early and log on and finish my last hour of work at home. He was ok with that.  Walt Kowalski had a good laugh, too.

Weekend Project #1:  Get hide-a-key hidden. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Memories

On the way home yesterday, I heard a song on the radio I haven't heard in years.  It was " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" sung (spoken) by Perry Como. 

The moment that song started, I knew it instantly and a flood of memories came back. Now, I can't find my keys, phone, wallet, shoes, cat, on a regular basis, but when I heard this song I was instantly transported back to 1981.

My grandmother would always play the record on her Hi-Fi and her Hi-Fi stereo was more than just a radio, it was a piece of furniture.

I remember the front slide open to reveal the record player and dials inside.  The speakers where hidden by fabric on each side. You can see it in the background to the right here:


(Gee, the living room looks much larger now.)

She had a record player that could be "stacked" with records.  Once one record finished, the needle would raise, the arm would move, and another record would fall and start playing.  As a kid, it was the coolest to watch when the record would change.  "Don't touch!" You didn't want the needle to scratch the record.

I loved Christmas and Christmas music then and I still love it today. Gran had a big collection of records with lots of Christmas albums.  I'm certain she was tired of hearing this song, because I asked for her to play it all the time. What's not to like about the smooth voice of Perry Como?

I can remember standing at the top of the stairs, looking out the small windows in the front door, at the Christmas lights adorning the neighbor's house on the street below.


Gran and Pap would also put candles in the windows.  Not the single flicker candles or icicle lights like we have today, but an electric, 5 blub candle with a switch on the cord.



Getting all the same color bulbs was always the tough part because any bulbs you had from last year were always just a slightly different color from this year's. Nobody wanted a missing or burnt out blub.  And you'd better be careful when you turned off the switch or pulled the curtain, because one slip and the entire base would fall and then you'd be replacing all of the bulbs.  Oh and don't let the bulb touch the sheer curtains either!

I still remember all the words and sang (spoke) along with Perry in the car on the way home. Even now, when I read the words, I hear Perry's voice.

A Visit from St. Nicholas

by Clement Clark Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house 
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, 
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; 
  The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot; 
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. 
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly. 
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself; 
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, 
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, 
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Dam


I have lived here forever and I have never seen the dam. I even had a friend that lived close to the dam, but never saw the dam. Walt Kowalski and I were out on an adventure this weekend and made a right onto what we thought was called Alien Road.  It was actually Auen Road, but we made a lot of alien jokes.

Before we knew it, we were just a mile away from the dam.  We've come this far, let's go see the dam.

Dam. Hee hee.

The dam was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936 and completed in 1952. It is one of 16 flood control structures in the area.

If this dam wasn't here, the point downtown would be under at least 4 feet of water. 





Holy cow! That's a dam.  I have seen smaller dams, Kingston, and larger dams, Hoover, but this was still impressive. 

It was a miserable cold and rainy day, but the dam was still cool.

I want to go back in the rainy season to see how high the water is and see more water shooting out.


Dam.  Hee hee. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Groceries


It was a beautiful day yesterday. Cool, but as long as you were in the sun it was warm.

I had a few errands to run at lunch.  I (and Walt Kowalski) am one of those people that doesn't have to have a front row parking space.  I don’t mind walking a few extra steps to the store AND if I'm driving Big Red, I really don't mind parking away from everybody to give myself more room to maneuver. 

The dollar store was one my list, so I parked at the back of the parking lot.  But as I was on my way, I thought about the grocery store in the same plaza.  They have gift cards on sale. Ok, slight detour to the grocery. It's not a far walk.  The weather is good. I'll leave my car parked here.

Gift cards are easy to carry.  But as I picked up my gift cards, I saw a few other things on sale.  Oh, I'll grab those.  Also easy to carry. Yams.  I need some more yams.  A jar of apricot preserves.  I need that, too. OK, now I need a buggy.  Well, now that I have a buggy, I can get a few other large items I need.  They are on sale.

And I have a $10 coupon, so I better get enough to use the coupon.

25 minutes later, I have a buggy full and I exit the store.  Only to remember I am parked WAY over there. 

Crap.  OK, through the parking lot I go with my buggy full of groceries. 

Now, it didn't seem like a long walk when I was just carrying my wallet.  But when you're pushing a cart full of groceries, suddenly it's not a short trip. 

You can't even see my car in this photo!
Push the buggy through the parking lot, past the truck full of construction workers having lunch.
Unload the groceries.
I'm so far away, there are no cart corrals and I won't leave a buggy unattended.
Push the buggy back through the parking lot, past the truck full of construction workers having lunch.
Walk back to my car, past the truck full of construction workers having lunch. They watched me every time.  I'm certain they had a good laugh at the crazy lady pushing the buggy.
Finally, finished. Back to work.
 
And I forgot to go to the Dollar Store. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Timber!

The extended warm weather has allowed us additional time for tree cutting, log splitting, and forest clean up.  Log splitting and forest clean up can continue even after the weather turns cold and rainy and snowy, but tree cutting becomes dangerous. 


These trees aren't pretty.  They are crooked and twisted.  Some are dead.  Others have diseases and are dying.  We aren't just cutting trees to cut trees. 

We have a few piles of wood.  There is the pile for this year, the pile for next year..


The pile by the garage.  The pile for the neighbors. 
 
 
Then what happens, we get a call from Chainsaw Johnny's aunt.  She is having a tree cut in her yard (we're not cutting it, she's hired a company.) and do we want the wood?

Of course!  It's maple, it's precut for us, it will make nice warm fires, and it was FREE. But that also means another pile of wood.

 
It was a big pile of wood. These are only the branches of the tree!

 
There's still many branches to go and the trunk of the tree is 4 feet across! It was a beautiful tree at one time, but has grown too large.  She had concerns about it falling on her house and it was providing so much shade to her house, that she was having moisture, dampness, and moss issues IN her house. 


We filled our Big Red truck and Chain Saw Johnny's truck and there is still two more truckloads of logs just from the first cutting!  We're going to be overloaded with wood.  If there is a cold disaster, we'll be ready.  

What comes after hauling...splitting.

 
Walt Kowalski said "We're wood groupies.  We'll go where the wood is." I said I think we're more like wood junkies.  We need another wood fix.


Come on over for a fire.  It's great!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Croak Croak

It's the season of cleanout up outside.

We got the swing moved and wrapped, dragged the patio furniture up the hill to the shed, emptied the flower pots, pulled the peppers, dig up the dahlias.  Rake leaves. Rake leaves. Rake leaves. Just normal fall activities. 

I still need to bring in the solar lights.

The hostas got frosted, or rather frozen, and they are done. I have been in the process of cutting of the top leaves. 

 
It's a simple process.  The hand trimmers don't cut very well now that the leaves have withered, so  sharp knife is a better instrument. Grab a handful, pull to the side, cut, cut, cut, throw in wheelbarrow.

I love hostas, so there was plenty to cut.  The leaves mixed in and will be raked out later. Except as I grabbed a handful of leaves, I think a leaf moved. 

 
No, wait, that leaf didn't move, it hopped.



Well hello there Toady. You were hiding in the leaves.  (He's in all three photos!)

I don't know who was more startled.  He was a big guy, and hopped away into a new hiding place in the rocks.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Feeling of Forebording


While out walking for my lunch today, I kept looking over my shoulder.


The clouds were moving faster than I was walking. WALK FASTER! I had an umbrella with me, but the wind started and it would have been useless.

Luckily, these dark clouds passed with only a few sprinkles.  Let's hope it stays that way for football playoffs tonight.


UPDATE:  I made it inside before the rain came and ended before football started.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Plans



Have you seen this circulating on the internet.  




Hahahahah, oh that's funny.  That will never be me.  I always get out my fall wreath and pumpkins and Halloween decorations. 

My front stoop this year:


Crap.  And thanks to the frost, the flowers are done now, too.  Crap, crap.

Hey, at least I removed the summer flag decorations before I set the pumpkins there.  

Winner Winner

A couple of weeks ago we went to a cash bash banquet to support the local football team. I always joke that if I'm invited or participate, your chances of winning increase. Cash bash, gun bash, lottery bash, football pool.  All of it.

I also joke that every organization needs donators. That's me. 

Along with the chances to win every 15 minutes, they had 35 Chinese auction items, and additional roaming prizes.

I wasn't interested in many of the auction baskets.  Golf items, ceramic decorative bowls, a car washing kit, beaded jewelry.  But I did put my tickets in the movie baskets, gift certificates for local restaurants, wine baskets, sweatshirt basket, golf shirts, and gift certificates for other stores. 

The Chinese auction didn't start until the end of the evening.  At that point, I was look at the dessert table and considering another piece of cake when they started to call the numbers.  It was good white cake, store bought with a thick layer of icing that is so bad for you.

I came back to the table just in time and Walt Kowalski said "Get out your tickets." I was half-heartedly listening to the numbers and looking at my tickets when...

That's my number.
That's my number!
They called my number!

I think I even gave a woo hoo because most of the people on our side of the room turned to look our way!



I won a wine basket.  2 bottles of wine, 2 wine glasses, and a corkscrew.  We have a long weekend coming, I know what we'll be sharing one chilly evening next to the fire. 

Things have improved lately.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Snacks?

If you know me, you know that I'm not a vending machine person.  I come prepared with snacks, drinks, and usually a lunch. When Walt Kowalski and I first got together, I never went anywhere without snacks and a drink.  Good snacks.  Nuts, berries, fruit, and chocolate. Always chocolate. 

It was healthier and cheaper.  At first, he would say "but if we're hungry we'll just grab something."  Sometimes that's ok.  Other times, I don't want to spend the money on bad food, cheap food, or not good food. 

The 10 minutes it takes me to pack a snack at home is totally worth it.  After a few day trips, and some good snacks of cheese and crackers, nuts and berries, and of course, chocolate, Walt Kowalski is hooked.  Now he even packs the cooler while I'm packing the snacks. 

Today, I was very, very unprepared. (I was tired from splitting wood last night and didn't do my morning prep at night.  We just went to bed.)  I had plans to stop and buy something healthy at the store.  However, the store didn't have what I wanted.  I have my lunch and ate it for breakfast.  

Ok I have a couple of dollars, I'll see what is in the vending machine. 

Much to my surprise...


It's gloves, safety goggles, and lubricants. 

Cool, but disappointing snacks.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Brakes

So I mentioned in a previous post that things have just been a little rough lately.  I am certain it really wasn't more rough than every family.  But it just seemed like it was a lot all at once.

It's the small things that add up.  Here are the highlights:

-Work as been crazy busy for both me and Walt Kowalski. I usually take a day and go to the store at lunch, but when work is too busy, I cut my lunch short and skip the store.  I don't like to do that, but it happens. But that means no food at the Cat Ranch.
-The evenings after work have been full of work on the Front House.
-I have been a slacker making dinner, because I haven't been to the grocery store.  Thank goodness for meals I have prepared in advance and frozen. But you just can't freeze a salad.
    (WK: Make it easy tonight. Let's just have a salad. )
    (Me: We have no lettuce.)
    (WK: Nachos?)
    (Me: No cheese No lettuce.  No chips.)
    (WK: Shrimpy pasta?)
    (Me: No shrimp. No Angel hair pasta.)
    (WK: What kind of house are we living in?!?)
-I have neglected my chores at the Cat Ranch, there is laundry and cat fur and things that need put away because we come home and plop things down, eat, shower, and go to bed. 
-The shelf in the glasses cupboard slipped off the plastic clip and fell. Luckily, a tall glass on the shelf below held the shelf above, so the glasses didn't crash and break. Of course it happened in the middle of the night. I heard the clunk, but couldn't find it. I didn't sleep well the rest of the night. We bought new clips, but they weren't large enough to fit securely. I don't want to put anything away until the shelf is secure and clean. So there are glasses sitting everywhere. In the microwave, in the sink, in the dishwasher, in the stove, on the counter.
-The other morning I shuffled out to the kitchen in the dark and on the way I kicked something hard.  I thought it was a magnet that fell off the fridge, but when I turned the light on I found:


A glass coffee carafe has no chance in a porcelain floor. I must not have had it locked in securely when I made coffee the night before and a four-footed-fur must have jumped down from on top of the fridge and knocked it off the counter.

I love running the sweeper at 4:55am.  This coffee pot was only 2 weeks old!  Luckily, the old coffee pot was still in the donate box in the basement. I dragged it out, washed it up and Walt Kowalski had coffee. 

That same morning, I grabbed my bag to go to work only to find that I didn't screw the lid securely onto my water bottle and all of the papers in my bag were soaking wet.  The electric bill is now attached to the gas bill attached to the cable bill.  Thank goodness I pay them online.

But the thing that really pushed me over the edge was coming home from work Friday night. I was  half way home, stopped at red light just down a big hill when all of the lights on my dash flashed, the brake light stayed on, and Little Red jerked. At the next red light I had to press the brakes EXTRA hard to make the car stop.  It stopped, but it took twice the distance as normal! The back bumper of the car in front of me approached way too fast.

Heart racing.  Home is still 20 minutes away.

A panicked call to Walt Kowalski and a stop at the auto parts store for brake fluid that leaked out on to the ground, told me I had brake issues.  We could tow it, but it was now after 5pm on a Friday night and it would be towed to a garage that was closed until Monday morning.

Luckily, the rest of the way home was relatively flat and through construction zones, so I could go slow and put on my flashers when needed. I also had my hand brake if I really needed it. 

The problem with going slow on the highway is that it gives other cars the opportunity to pull out.  Especially in the construction zone. 

I limped my way home to a friend's garage and borrowed Pap's car.  At least I can get to work on Monday while the brakes are getting fixed.  But on the way home from Pap's house, the same thing happened to his car.  All of the lights on the dash flashed, the brake light came on and the brakes were smooshy when pressed.  THE SAME THING HAPPENED IN A SECOND CAR!!! (Had both cars been parked at the same house I would think someone tampered with the brakes.)

I switched out Pap's car for his truck and waited to hear the news about Little Red.

There was good news and bad news. The brake line to the rear brakes was broken.  The reason the brake line was broken is because the frame cracked and was getting worse. The brakes could be fixed, but it wasn't worth fixing the frame on a 16 year-old vehicle with so many miles.

"Drive it carefully. Don't hit too many bumps." was the instructions from the mechanic and Pap. "Don't go over train tracks." Uh, we have to go over train tracks to leave here!

"Don't drive it all." was Walt Kowalski's plan.  He let me drive Big Red and he drove Little Red to work.

I knew a new car was in my future.  Near future. I just didn't think it was in this near of the future. I really didn't want two car payments at the same time. I also didn't have the energy to go car shopping.

Could someone just go pick one out for me?

I knew what I wanted.  We drove a nice model on vacation. I had a few requirements. Good gas mileage. Good traction for winter driving. And the most important feature was that Walt Kowalski had to fit in it comfortably.  He was never comfortable in Little Red.  His knees were always at his chin. 

Here she is:


I like it.  In Little Red, I would have to fill up the tank every 4 days.  Now I get 6 days and some weekend errands before filling up. It is quiet and smooth. 

The rough patch has passed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Soup Season

It is soup season! I still haven't turned the heat on in the house.  I don't think I'll make it without through this coming weekend, though.

This past weekend I slow roasted a piece of beef. Normally, I would save the broth and freeze it for later, but I couldn't wait.

This is the way my grandmother made it. Leave a big hunk of beef, pull it out, shred it, and you can add as much as you'd like to your bowl.

I never used to like peas in my soup.  Then I started making soup.  The peas need to go in the pot last so they are only heated, not cooked within an inch of their life. Same with the corn.

 

Delicious.


I also made homemade croutons.  AKA What can I do with stale sandwich buns other than give them to the birds? Melted butter, garlic salt, and Italian seasoning. Stir stir stir. Bake.

Delicious. This recipe wasn't healthy. Next time I'll make a healthier version. 

My grandfather always said the soup was too hot to eat.  So he would take his bowl and set it outside, often on the patio stones.  We always used to joke that a chipmunk was going to run by and take a taste.  Now it would be the Yoo Hoo raccoon.  She'd bring her spoon.

Next up...chili, potato, and more chicken noodle.  (our favorite!)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Duty

I have been working on a catch-up post, but once again, I have to postpone. I have other civic duties for which to attend.

It was a beautiful day yesterday.

 
The courthouse is beautiful.  I was told that two of the courtrooms use colors to depict spring and fall. 


Call me Juror #8.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blood Moon


As with so many nighttime meteorological events, what happens?  It's  beautiful all day, then when it's time, the clouds move in.

Of course it happened with the Super Moon. Walt Kowalski, Power Tower, and I were out by the fire when we could see the clouds starting on the horizon. Even as we ate dinner on the patio in rain sprinkles we were hopeful.

They stayed out by the fire after dark, I went inside to finish my chores and joked "call me when the Super Moon comes through the clouds."

A little while later, they came knocking the back door.


 
We got to see the moon twice through the clouds.  Once as it was just rising, there was a break in the clouds.  The moon so clear and bright.  Brighter than normal. It was the perfect moment.

Then the clouds came

But about a 1/2 hour later, there was another break in the clouds and we could see the start of the eclipse.  Beautiful.


With the clouds on the moon and the trees blowing, it had a very Halloween feel in the air.  Just as quickly as the moment with the moon came, it passed.  Bigger clouds started and rain started.  At least we were able to see the Super Moon for a moment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Clouds


It has been a rough couple of weeks at a the Cat Ranch.  Not terrible things. Just normal life stuff.  I'm certain not more than any other family struggles with daily. 

So today I will just give you two, beautiful photos.

This was on the way to work a few weeks ago. The rain was moving in.

 

This was last night. After mowing (Walt Kowalski) and washing windows (me), we sat and watched the sunset.



The mosquitos enjoyed us watching the sunset. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Quiet Night


It was a quiet night at the Cat Ranch. We worked on the brick pile for a bit (more about that in another post), came inside early, had dinner at a reasonable hour, and got to bed early!  (Early for us is 9:45pm. Anything before 10pm is great. )

It was perfect sleeping weather.  Windows open, cool breeze, no fan needed.  Just one thin blanket ready for the early morning chill. Ahhhhh

Around 2:45am, I was searching for that blanket and flip flopped over to look at the clock.  Yes, I still have 2 more hours to sleep. 

Snuggle down in under the blanket.  Ahhhhh.

Then about 10 minutes later.

CRASH!  A huge crash. Walt Kowalski and I both jumped up out of bed.

It was really dark.  2:55am is like that. No porch lights. No headlights.  We couldn't see a wrecked vehicle.  Looked out the front window.  Nothing.  Looked out the side window.  Nothing. 

I opened the side window in the kitchen and said to Walt Kowalski "I hear music." He listened.  He said, "I don't hear music."

We waited for a car to come by so the headlights would aluminate the guardrail.  No car.  Except, I heard a car and looked out the front window.  The drug dealer on the top of the hill was leaving his house.  Hmmm.  Odd, but then I'm not usually up at this hour, maybe it's normal.

Still no car lights.  Now we could hear sirens in the distance.  Ok, there was a wreck and someone else in the neighborhood heard and called.  Finally, a car drove by and we could see the smashed guardrail, but no wrecked vehicle. 

It was difficult to believe a vehicle could wreck that big and then drive away.

Ambulance came.  And drove by and left.
Fire truck came. and drove by and left.

Second department fire truck came.  Drove by, turned around and came back to see the guardrail. More fire trucks came and left.  Too weird.

We went back to bed.  10 minutes later,  we saw more blue lights reflecting on the ceiling and more cars.  State Police were here and were searching down the lane.  They were looking with flashlights in the woods.  Then they left. 

OK this is all too weird. Back to bed we went.  It was a restless sleep for the next 2 hours. 

In the morning, we could see the damage to the guardrail.  When we got home in the evening, we could REALLY see the damage to the guardrail.




But no vehicle.  It looks like you can kinda see tracks where a vehicle HAD been.  They must have pulled it out while we were at work.


While I was taking pictures, the Farmer called up to us that we could get a better view from below in his yard.  I said I was ok from here, thanks.  But he insisted.  "Really, you'll get a much better view down here.  Come on down."

He was right. You couldn't see the vehicle from the road, but you could see it from his yard.  When we first approached I could see a front end of the vehicle that was majorly damaged.  Then as I walked around the other side I realized and exclaimed "The truck is upside down!"

It was so damaged at first sight I couldn't tell that!


The big crash we heard was the vehicle hitting the guardrail, going airborne, flipping over, crashing to the ground, and sliding through the trees. Never heard a crash like that before.  Don't want to ever again.

The reason the first ambulance and fire truck never came back past our house is because the driver climbed out of the truck and started walking! He had only head injuries.


I really have no words for this sight.  It's amazing that he survived.  (that says at lot about vehicle safety.)


He hit so hard and so fast, the roof is embedded in the ground.


 
 
 
But there is more to the story.  One of our neighbors was leaving for work just after the wreck and an other car was blocking his driveway.  At the same time, the drug dealer came back home (only 5 minutes later. Really?  Where do you go at 3am that you are back in 5 minutes? Our neighbor had words with the people in the car blocking his driveway and then left towards the drug dealer's house.  
 
All of this JUST before the police and fire trucks arrived. Coincidence?  Nothing is a coincidence in our neighborhood.  Especially at 3am!
 
After talking to the Farmer and his wife he asked the State Police to leave the truck there and he would have it removed, because they wanted to cut down the trees to get it.  The trees are his defense against a wreck of this type ending up in his house.  He's now thinking about installing a concrete barrier in the woods, too.
 
The State Police also said that a local company called this morning to report that one of their employees didn't show up for work and that one of their trucks was missing.  The police said "White truck? Yeah, we know exactly were it is." They believe the driver was high (which, amazingly, probably saved his life) and knowing the recent activity in our neighborhood, he was probably going to get another fix.
 
We can't get these people to move soon enough to suit us. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Beam Me Up

With a long weekend ahead of us, (we put the labor in Labor Day) we decided it was a perfect opportunity for beam raising day.

We already had the temporary wall in place.  Walt Kowalski need to do some clean up and prep work.  He had to cut out a section of one of the old studs to create a pocket for the beam.

 
You can see the holes the previous owners cut in the main rafters.  Really?!? Let's just cut through this main support beam for the house and put in a piece of duct work. 
 
 
Power Tower was there to help.  I can do so much, but with double the height, he can do so much more high things without ladders.  I spend most of my time moving my ladder.  (Stilts!)

Basically, we screwed together three 2"x8"x12' boards to make our beam.

 
There were no photos of the actual beam raising because I was helping to lift. We made a pocket in the wall on one side, lifted the beam into the pocket, then made a support on the other side and lifted the beam into the support.


It was tight.  Very tight.  Which is good, but also made it more difficult to get the beam in the exactly location. he exact location being directly under the wall upstairs and directly above the supports in the basement.

Then we *very* carefully removed the support wall, one 2x4 at a time.  The second floor shift only slightly down into place on our beam.


Now the most important part, admiring our work and talking about the next step. You can see the slight gap between the beam and the ceiling. on the left side. We expect that because the floor upstairs had a slight bow in the middle. Walt Kowalski will fill in that space as needed.



We did something correct because as we were removing our support wall, we heard one of the support jacks in the basement fall out onto the floor.  The temporary support wall had been pushing down on the first floor and up on the second floor. By removing the temporary wall, the first floor raised up from the supports and the second floor lowered on to the beam. Now we could tighten all of our jack posts in the basement and know the second floor was resting properly on the beam on the jack posts.