Guy's last day.


Today is Guy's last day working for me this summer. I'm bummed that he'll be leaving, but really, how much of a future does someone have working as my personal lackey? Answer? Not much, school is a much better choice.

Still, he managed to complete a LOT of the tasks around the house that I've been meaning to do for a long, long time. He painted the bedroom walls in stripes with a lighter blue than the previous much-too-dark blue. He rotated the compost bins bi-weekly. He moved trees from the parkway. He carted compost to the backyard. He watered my plants. He walked the dogs. He dug up weeds. He chipped branches. He trimmed trees. He painted the living room ceiling. He removed the old baseboards from the bedroom. He painted the new baseboards and installed them. He purchased the new baseboards before either of the remaining baseboard tasks. He painted the trim in the hallway. He harvested various vegetables. He installed the backyard irrigation system. He built wire cages for me. He went in search of hog panel for me. He researched other buying options on various items I was looking at.

He even stripped the sixteen layers of wallpaper from the secondary bathroom. I managed to strip one layer about six years ago. Kris has been a bit bitter at me for those entire six years, for starting a job and not finishing it. If I was going to strip wallpaper from the bathroom walls, could I please not do it next to the toilet when I'm taking a crap? I mean, come on.

Guy stopped by for lunch, so he, Doyle and I all went off to for lunch at the Ginger Cafe. Turns out, both Guy and Doyle lurve sesame balls. I don't think Guy took advantage of my buying lunches for him nearly enough. We had maybe 10 lunches together, if that many. Still, this summer, I got my money's worth in summer assistance.

Even if he never took his shirt off, as the Smith brothers did.

Morning shower


We've been having bathtub issues for a while now, maybe six months or so. Ever since I realized that my hair clogged the bathtub drain faster than than you can shower twice, I've used a hair trap in the tub, a trick that Allyse Manoff showed me way back when, like years way back when.

Fortunately, I learned this lesson in an apartment, well before we owned the plumbing that could get clogged and require expensive fixes.

Unfortunately, some hair still gets through, and after six years of showers, those little protein strings had their way, and clogged our tub's P trap.

The timing could not have been worse, with Ben, Lisa, Jake, Heather and Andy Fisher staying with us this past weekend. Ben and Lisa stayed over at Keith and Katie's more than our house, so that meant only four people showering in the tub.

When I called the plumber last week, he was able to clear the toliet and the main line, but unable to remove the cover from the tub's overflow (because the previous plumber who was out had cut the screws off, then put in broken screws in the remaining holes) and the drain cover. He told me when I had one of the two items off, give him a call back and he'd come out to clear the P trap.

Guess what Guy did yesterday.

Yep. Cursing the whole time.

Well, as much as someone as wholesome as Guy can actually curse, that is.

Five hours, and one good long lunch break, later, he had the cover off the tub, having drilled the broken screw out. Yay, Guy!

I called the plumber back, and, while I was having a massage in the back yard, he came over and started work on the tub. Kris managed to deal with him, thankfully. I have to honestly say there are few things less relaxing when getting a massage than hearing a plumber pound on your house's plumbing, the sounds reverberating throughouthe neighborhood.

Yeah, new plumbing is going in. Right along with that new wiring and new windows. I wonder if I can cancel the purchase of that other house without any penalty, use that money to do all these repairs now instead of later.

After the plumber left, and my massage was done, I walked into the house and asked, happily, if the shower was ready for me. Kris looked at me and said, well, no, we weren't showering in that tub any time soon: the plumber couldn't unclog the drain, and the suggested solution required the water in the tub to drain and then dry somewhat.

A tub. Dry out.


I looked at him dumbfounded. I needed a shower, and I needed it now. Tomorrow night was going to be way too late.

Who was closest to us? Where could I go shower? Brynne's old apartment was only 3/4 of a mile away. Thinking her lease didn't expire until tomorrow, the end of the month, I called her to see if she still had her keys. She did, indeed, have her keys, but she was in Los Gatos, hey, I could head to Los Gatos to shower. I thanked her, declined, hung up, and starting thinking.

Kris is always suggesting to me, encouraging me to be resourceful. Instead of giving up and asking for someone else to solve a problem, try for a few moments to think of an alternate, clever solution to a problem before asking for help. This is in stark contrast to my usual beat-my-head-against-the-wall-until-it's-bloody technique of gnawing on a problem until I'm completely frustrated, and only then ask for help. Fortunately, the latter problems are work related, and not shower related.

Nearest friend now that Kate and Mike have moved out? Max. He has a baby, that might not be good.

Next closest? Andy Crews. Might be awkward.

Next closest friend's house: Keith and Katie. Hey, that might work.

But, really, think about it, all I needed was running water. The hose outside would be fine, except for the cold water.

Cold water.

Hot water.

I walked to the garage and looked at the faucet on the laundry tub. What do you know? It had a hose hookup.

One connected garden hose, one rag, one bar of soap, two flipflops and two confused dogs later, I was in the back yard, standing in a mud pit, washing myself as the heathens do (that is to say, with a rag).

Kris didn't realize that the place I go for Tuesday and Thursday morning workouts doesn't have a shower when he talked to the plumber last night. He realized it this morning when I commented I was going to stand in a mud pile for this morning's shower.

As I was standing in my back yard this morning, naked with the hose splashing nice hot water, I recalled a story my mom tells of how she used to do yard work in the back yard, naked at Eric's old house. She'd just head outside and start on the yardwork, who cares about clothes, no one could see her over the fence.

She did this until she heard a noise, one day, turned, and saw the neighbor's kid on his roof looking down, watching her rake leaves with only her shoes on.

I looked around to see if any neighboring houses has a good view of my blinding white butt (nope, none did), as I showered again. Part of me is thrilled the extra water I use when I shower is going to the tree in the back yard, but another part worries about the soap going into the ground. I might need to purchase biodegradable, good soap and shampoo tonight if the plumber's fix doesn't work later today.

Thankfully, Guy is out of town for a week. He might be able to handle my scurrying from the bathroom to the bedroom in a towel when he shows up at the house, but I'm not so sure he'd be able to handle a boss' full frontal nudity upon arriving to work.

That would be just weird.

A just reward


Morning time. What better time to go see another Harry Potter film than morning? I mean, just because you walk out of the theatre expecting cool and dark, and get hot and bright, doesn't mean you shouldn't go see Harry Potter at 11:30 in the morning on the company's dime.

Call it a reward for hard work.

I picked up Guy from his home (he deserved a huge bonus for all the hard work he's been doing around the house), picked up Doyle from the office, and off we went to the theatre, me in a huge panic because it's the day after opening day, and everyone knows that means full theatres.

Guy didn't think so. Doyle didn't think so. I had visions of young kids, out of school, swarming the theatre, making lots of noise.

I was so wrong.

When we arrived, there were four people in the theatre already. By the time the movie started, there were only about fifty. Certainly not enough to fill the theatre or cause the undue level of stress I felt.

The actual movie? Just like the book: lots of words and teenage angst.

Demon dog Annie


Since she's been on antibiotics and in the cone, Annie, the walking antibiotic dog, has stopped gnawing at her leg. I started her on benadryl so that, come Tuesday, she could go on her all-day, off-leash hike. After three weeks in the cone, except for Ft Funtown! she's been in the cone and realy hating life. I can't imagine how sitting in a smelly cone all day, using it as a battering ram, could possibly not be the most boring life ever.

Well, off Annie went, and, when Kris picked her up, Amber, the dog walker, commented that yeah, Annie ran off, but well, Amber herself didn't really worry about the dog too much, as she always seems to meet back up with the group near the end of the walk. At one point, Amber was slightly worried, and was getting ready to radio to the following group behind her to watch out for Annie, when Amber, demonstrating for Kris, lifted an arm and pointed into nowhere, "saw her running in the distance."

That's Annie for you.

When she came home on Tuesday night, she was totally exhausted. She couldn't keep her eyes open and spent the whole evening sleeping. Since I knew she had ticks on her, I didn't let her into the bedroom on Tuesday night, and didn't notice anything unusual. Wednesday morning, as we were nearly walking out the door to head to VS, Kris reached over to pet her good-bye and she looked up.

Both eyes were livid red.

I don't mean albino red eyes, I mean her inner eyelids wouldn't drop, and both eyes were bright, inflamed, blood red balls peering back out of us.

"What's wrong with her?" Kris cried out.

I looked at her, in my vast veterinary experience, and concluded her inner eyelids weren't dropping. (Oh, amazing conclusion of mine.) One of her eyes opened, so I said it was okay to leave, I'd come home early and check her out in the afternoon.

Well, by the evening, her eyes were still inflamed, so I called the emergency vet. She said, if Annie wasn't scratching or clawing at it, waiting until the next morning to see our regular vet was fine. If she was clawing at her eye, then she probably had a foxtail in her eye, and she should come in.

She wasn't scratching at it, but I couldn't tell if that was because she was on benadryl, or because it just didn't bother her. Though, not being able to see out an eye would bother me.

Guy took her to the vet today, and sure enough, she had a foxtail in her eye. The vet pulled it out, "it was gross, but really cool!" according to Guy. The vet also found a cornea scratch on her eye with a black light.

And now, Annie, the walking antibiotic dog, has one more series of antibotics to run through. If she didn't love these offleash hikes so much, I'd consider stopping them. However, they tire her out, if only for one day.

And for that one day a week, she's actually a good dog.

Not a Smith!


Today was Guy's first day of work at my place. As with Kevin and Kyle before him, I have a college student working around my house this summer, doing all of the little tasks I need done, but never seem to find the time to do. Having someone working at the house solves many of my issues: leaving the house empty all day, leaving the dogs alone all day, having a to-do list a mile long, being short (yeah, Guy's over 6' tall, so he can reach all of the areas above my reach that just need to be reached), you know, the usual.

Years ago, when I said I wanted to hire a high school kid for the summer to work on projects I needed done, Kris thought I was crazy. What person hires a kid for the summer? Businesses sure, but just people? And what kid would want to work all summer on random tasks? It's not like the tasks relate directly to the degree the kid will be pursuing in college.

Just like working in a Dairy Queen contributed little but a great story to my education.

Of course, Paul's parents hate me, so maybe Dairy Queen wasn't so bad after all.

As for who would work on random house tasks, Kyle Smith, Principal Engineer of Krikitt Downs was the first to say yes. Kevin took a little convincing. Guy seems to love the flexible schedule, even if the work is a little bor-ring (there is a reason why the items are still on my to-do list and not my to-done list).

And though Kris thought I was crazy, until all the house tasks started getting done, Mike never thought I was crazy. Instead, he was crazy jealous, and immediately asked if he could have some of Kyle and Kevin's time.

I think they liked him less than they like me. At least my work doesn't involve hard manual labor. Oh, wait, except those cement blocks. Sorry, Kevin, but it was an excuse to get you to take off your shirt, and what do you know? It worked!

So, Guy is following in the Smiths' footsteps. Adam recommended him to me, so I feel good about this working out this summer.

Guy, if you find this post, know that I'm really happy you're here. I'm sure I'll tell you that to your face, too.