Christmas — 2015

A Merry Christmas to All

It’s Christmas once again and Di and I and the cats are enjoying a quiet day.

I have only one present under the tree — a bottle of some good whiskey (or whisky) from Di’s brother, David. I’ll open it before dinner and sample it then.

Di and I agreed that the new tub/shower, Heating (and especially AC unit) system and patio enclosure/sunroom constituted our birthday, Christmas and Anniversary (our 28th) presents to each other for this season.

Woke up this morning, fed the cats and then made coffee for myself. Woke up Di and made her tea. We both sat down to watch our morning shows and do our respective puzzles — she in her smoking/sunroom and I in the living room. Later, I fixed her salmon sandwiches and one for myself. (The cats were napping and didn’t notice.)

Around noon we fixed stuffing for the turkey and stuffed it. It should be ready between 5.30 and 6.00 pm. In addition we’ll have peas and roast potatoes. The cats will sup on salmon and turkey (cat food) — and, maybe, a couple of small pieces from our turkey.

Di is currently napping — with the cats sharing the bed.

To all of you — our relatives and friends (including friends we have not yet met) — Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Joe, Diana, Smoke and Mist

Construction is Finished — Almost — Sunroom 3

Construction Finished – Almost

Ahh . . . the continuing saga of construction: remodeling, replacing, upgrading and building is nearing completion. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Or, at least, we think we can — Bathroom, Heating, AC and Sunroom (patio enclosure) — and, of course, a depleted bank account. The work should last for several years (decades?) and enhance our retired lives, especially, Di’s.

I think it’s better to spend for retirement early (if you can) and enjoy the results for years, rather than delay things until they are absolutely necessary and having to rush getting them done.

Today saw most of the construction of Di’s sunroom completed and the backyard cleaned. The work on the “patio enclosure” is being done by Patios by B & B a local Orange County company. Its workers have been both neat and hardworking. Between the de-construction and construction at least seven different workers (plus the production manage and owner) have been involved. Questions are answered quickly and phone calls returned promptly.

The roof was finished and the rain gutters installed. Caulking was done and the room seals well. The room is usable and the cats won’t get outside.

On Monday the crew will be back to finish the electrical work — this includes adding lighting to the ceiling. The city inspector will come and check the construction. Finish work and the installation of the flooring can then begin.

Also, on Tuesday our Heating/AC folks (Cool Air Technologies) are coming out to see about extending our system to the new room. We may get some sort of blinds for the windows so the sun does not shine directly into Di’s eyes or make the TV unwatchable — need to have a cable outlet (TWC) installed, too.

The room is usable now — the amenities will follow at their own pace — quickly, if not yesterday, as far as Di is concerned.


Construction Sunroom 8
Sunroom 8
Construction Sunroom 9
Sunroom 9

Sunroom 10
Sunroom 10
Sunroom 11
Sunroom 11

Sunroom 12
Sunroom 12

Sunroom 2 — Deconstruction and Construction

Sunroom – Continued

Well, no work on the sunroom today.

Took Charlie to get her picture taken to renew her British passport today — No, a British passport picture is not the same as an American picture. Both the pose and size are a bit different.

Then, I took her to one of her favorite stores for a “little” shopping. The shop is called “Fleur de Lys” and is located on 17th Street in Costa Mesa — almost, but not quite, in Newport Beach. We got there a little after 1 pm and left about 3 pm — women and shopping . . .

They are supposed to do some work on the sunroom tomorrow, Saturday. Enough to be ready for final inspection on Monday. One thing that needs to be corrected is a wiring error that has an outdoor light switch connected to an indoor dual plug. Hopefully, the roof over the room is completed before any rain comes. We’re supposed to get a bit this weekend — I’ll believe it when I see it.

Also, on Saturday the electrician who installed our new 200 amp box is supposed to return and correct two things the city inspector found wrong. One is that the new copper grounding rod needs to be replaced with a stainless steel one — our local soil corrodes the copper too fast.

At any rate, here are some pictures of the sunroom as it now stands — sans roof.

Sunroom 4
Sunroom 4
Sunroom 5
Sunroom 5

Sunroom 6
Sunroom 6
Sunroom 7
Sunroom 7

 

The cats already like the new room — they can now follow my wife “outside” and they’re closer to the bird feeders.

On Tuesday the folks who re-did our Heating system, and added AC will be here to look at the new room (patio enclosure) and see about what is needed to connect it to the system. Quite soon, Charlie ought to be able to enjoy an “outside” room to smoke in and watch her TV shows — a room of her own in her back garden, but without the disadvantages of wind, rain and heat that plagued her on the patio.

Basic Rules for Cats Who Have A House To Run

Chairs and Rugs

If you have to throw up, get into a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If no Oriental rug, shag is good.

Writing; no we don't think so--not on our lap.
Writing; no we don’t think so–not on our lap.

Doors

Do not allow closed doors in any room. To get a door opened, stand on hind legs and hammer with forepaws. Once door is opened, it is not necessary to use it. After you have ordered an outside door opened, stand halfway in and out and think about several things. This is particularly important during very cold weather, rain, snow and mosquito season.

Guests

Quickly determine which guest hates cats the most. Sit on that human’s lap. If you can arrange to have Friskies Fish’N Glop on your breath, so much the better.

For sitting on laps or rubbing against trousers, select fabric color which contrasts well with your fur. For example: white-furred cats go to black wool clothing.

For the guest who claims, “I love kitties,” be ready with aloof disdain; apply claws to stockings or use a quick nip on the ankle.

When walking among dishes on the dinner table, be prepared to look surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea is to convey, “But you allow me on the table when company isn’t here.”

Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything. Just sit and stare.

Work

If one of your humans is sewing or writing and another is idle, stay with the busy one. This is called helping. Following are the rules for helping.

1–When supervising cooking, sit just behind the left heel of the cook. You cannot be seen and thereby stand a better chance of being stepped on, picked up and consoled.

2–For book readers, get in close under the chin, between the human’s eyes and the book, unless you can lie across the book itself.

3–For knitting projects, curl up quietly onto the lap of the knitter and pretend to doze. Occasionally reach out and slap the knitting needles sharply. This can cause dropped stitches or split yarn. The knitter may try to distract you with a scrap ball of yarn. Ignore it. Remember, the aim is to help work.

Play

It is important. Get enough sleep in the daytime so you are fresh for playing catch mouse or King-o-the-hill on their bed between 2 and 4 a.m.

Begin people training early. You will have a smooth-running household. Humans need to know basic rules. They can be taught if you start early and are consistent.


 

Remember: a well-trained staff is the hallmark of a true feline household.


*From a fax dated May 2, 1994 and found in an old filing cabinet.

Root Beam Float

Here I am on vacation again. I know some of you think this is a redundant statement as I have been retired some three years now, but it is not. There is something about being away from home that adds to the experience.

While reading today’s edition of the Grand Forks Herald, I came upon the following recipes:

White Wine Sangria:

  • 2 bottles of dry white wine
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of brandy
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or honey
  • 3 cups of assorted sliced fruit
  • Combine all ingredients in a clear glass serving pitcher. Stir gently and let ingredients sit for 8 to 24 hours. Serve chilled.
  • (Wine snobs, please, omit the brandy, agave nectar/honey and fruit.)

Root Beam Float:

  • 8 ounces of root beer
  • 1 ounce Jim Beam or bourbon of choice (here’s a chance to get rid of/use the bottle of Old Crow your great-aunt Matilda gave you twenty years ago)
  • 2-3 curls of zest from an orange
  • 1/2 cup vanilla bean ice cream
  • Combine the first three ingredients in a float glass. Stir gently to combine bourbon and root beer. Top with vanilla bean ice cream and serve.

Ah, well, time to take the wife shopping. will return in an hour or three. Will open a beer and resume reading one of my books–either Phoenix in Shadow by Ryk E. Spoor or Liaden Universe Constellation: Volume III by Sharon Lee.

Oh, yeah–here are Smoke and Mist, also on vacation. Smoke and Mist at HB North