We celebrated out 25th wedding anniversary yesterday by renewing our vows with good friend and pastor Jeff Parziale, then going out to dinner with family and friends at the Westin La Paloma. It was one of those perfect dining experiences, just flawless. Wonderful service, attentive but not hovering, and the food was perfection. Everyone raved over the evening out.
I'm looking old, but Vicki stays young. Did you know that when I first met her I thought she was too young for me, then I was pleased to discover we are only five years apart.
We have been blessed with a great life together, and we agree eventually we will be the nicest couple in the old folks home. Much to be said for that.
How was a poor dog supposed to know that the package of tea bags the grandkids sent for Christmas weren't for her. Apparently tearing open the package and pulling out the tea bags is all sorts of fun. In the past we have had dogs eat Christmas chocolates and fancy Christmas bars of soap (no damage either time).
Every year at this time the people who live behind us put out their turkey carcass, I guess for the benefit of the local cats. Bailey got loose and gorged on it. She was only gone 30 minutes, while I searched the streets, and the moment I saw her I know she was sick to the gills. Off to the vet for IVs and a nausea injection. The Metoclopramide we had to give her twice daily with her rice and boiled hamburger (low residue) made her agitated, one could say demanding, so she would climb into my lap to stare into my face and whine to go for a walk.
In 1977 (a long, long time ago) my wife and five kids and I spent a month in our RV touring the West. On our way to San Diego we intended to camp at Picture Rocks Park, West of Gila Bend. We got there and it was clean with lots of ramadas, nice scenery, and of course the very interesting petroglyphs, but we were absolutely alone. Not another soul anywhere. That seemed strange. Then I opened the door and quickly figured out why. It was like sticking my head in an oven. We looked around, and left for Yuma.
And this past week, where was I surveying? At the huge solar project on Picture Rocks Road, and it was again warmish. Not as bad as last time, but warm enough. Those are huge glass mirrors that rotate to focus the sun on the boiler tubes.
We're renovating the mother-in-law suite attached to our house. Since my mother died years ago we've used it for storage of anything we didn't want to deal with, so it resembles Miss Haversham's house, with cobwebs. We've stripped it, painted it, vertical blinds will be in tomorrow, and new carpet and tile next week.
We decided to junk most of the stuff, including the old knick knack stand. I've never been able to open the base, so just took it all apart. Imagine my suprise when I found an unopened bottle of brandy. The excise stamp is from Florida, meaning the bottle has been sitting there for at least 33 years.
The adjoining apartment (mother-in-law suite) where my mom lived for 24 good years is in dire need of a top to bottom cleaning and refurbishing. Since daughter Cathy and family are coming for a visit, we decided to fix the place up now. New paint, vertical blinds, carpet, tile and did I mention a really good cleaning. It needs new cabinets and sinks too, but time is too short for that.
I pulled the stove away from the wall the better to paint, and found the tea bags that had been there for decades, hidden from sight.
We also have a pair of raccoons that visit. Fortunately we don't have an attic, which is their favorite home, and I have screened the fireplace chimney, their other favorite.
We have a family of six javelinas that roam the area at night. Three of them were at our front entrance and the big one, I assume the male, was rubbing his butt on our car cover support post. Either he had an itchy butt or he was marking his territory. After a while they wandered off into the street.
Bailey sniffed the post the next day but didn't seem particularly interested.
We wonder where the years went, but we are so grateful for each other because we are completely dependable best friends, and we still feel all squishy about each other. We have been blessed with a wonderful marriage.
We went to Olive Garden, with old friend Doug as our server, had a very nice meal, and lingered over coffee/tea and dessert. Oh was it good.
It was an honest mistake. There was a wrapped box of chocolates with Vicki's name on it on top of the other presents, out of reach, I thought. Bailey naturally assumed it was for her and ate all the chocolates.
It didn't seem to bother her at all even though chocolate can be poisonous to dogs. We gave her bread and pumpkin with some olive oil to push the chocolate through her system, and she was fine.
We are going to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving with Vicki's family. The very nice people down the street come over twice a day to walk Bailey, and feed Kat and Bailey. When we are here Bailey scrounges constantly for food - biscuits, kibble, people food, anything. We feel bad with her getting fed only twice a day when we are gone, so I bought an automatic kibble feeder, to give her a half cup at 5:30 am, noon, and 10 pm.
We had to test it, of course. She assumed it was some elaborate toy with kibble inside, and did her best to take it apart. I do expect she will demolish it while we are gone, but in the meantime she is patiently waiting for more to come out. So sad.
I am doing a survey on the Western Passport Center in Gateway Center, a commercial subdivision I first surveyed around 1984 when it was part of the old dump. This site was originally Skate Country, then when that folded the GSA leased the site for the passport center. Very security conscious, with guards, with guns.
Down the street I found this tree, with sort of fall colors, about the best we can do in Tucson. Sigh.
Years ago when at CBA I did a subdivision plat called Bay Colony, by the airport. I've done several ALTA surveys in there since, and last year I did a topographic survey for some drainage problems. The engineers recently needed more shots in Valencia and in the ditch heading north.
Valencia was dangerous because of the cars, and the ditch, well, was muddy. I anticipated that and brought an old pair of shoes. Wasn't as bad as expected.
We always feed Bailey first, in the hope that she won't beg so much when we eat (it doesn't work). So, I gave her the usual supper, referred to as "The good kind" in this house: Canned duck and potato, green beans, and pumpkin, all heated until just right. She loves it. Then, just because she is so cute, I gave her a cup of kibble stuffed into a cardboard tube. She loves to solve the mystery of getting it out of the tube. Now she has been fed, and fed some more, plus entertained.
I made myself a nice salad for dinner, with a slice of cheese toast to dip in olive oil (Vicki spent the day heaving following a reaction to the latest pain medication, so I was dining alone.) I got the toast from the toaster, came around the corner, and there was Bailey standing on my chair and scarfing down my salad. I yelled at her, and went to whine to Vicki. While I was gone Bailey finished it off by grabbing my cheese toast. I surrendered and rather than waste what salad was left I gave it to Bailey. She cleaned the bowl save for the little piece of lettuce you see on the carpet. Then I got myself a replacement salad, and all the time I was eating it she sat and stared at me, her belly bulging. She is shameless.
One of my favorite clients, architect Burak Bekat, needed a rush topo on the strip of land East of Randolph Way and the junkyard I surveyed last month. I remembered that the sides of the drainage channel were steep and deep, so I fortunately thought to bring along my ladder.
It was an easy job except for keeping track of the northings for the sections, at every 30 feet. That's an oddball number in surveying so I had to concentrate on adding every 30 feet, and had to stop several times to think it through.
Why, you ask, would I show a picture of deer poop in our yard? Because there is plenty of it, meaning we have a herd of deer visiting our yard in the evening. During the day they lounge under the foliage by the banks of the wash, then roam at night. I saw them once jumping the wall and got about one second of video.
They have been eating the Indian fig cactus pads (no stickers) and must be hungry, so I bought them a bale of Timothy hay and some feed grain, but they ignored it so I gave it to our neighbor for her two horses, Bambi and Molly.
The deer were on our patio last week and I suspect playing in the pool, going by the amount of water splashed out and the wet hoof prints leading to the wall.
It has been five weeks since Vicki's back surgery, and she has made remarkable progress, to the point we went out to dinner for the first time in months. Olive Garden, always a favorite, and the meal and service were perfect.
We've been taking short walks in the evening, and she can handle that if she remembers not to bend over to cuddle the friendly dogs we meet on the way. Full recovery will take one year.
Don't laugh. I grew hollyhocks when I was a kid, back when I had a green thumb. Now it's more like a black thumb, and I've tried for years to get a hollyhock to sprout. This one almost didn't survive, as the top was cropped by a bunny rabbit despite the two predators who live in our house and clearly are not doing their job, probably because they prefer to sleep rather than patrol.
One of the tasks we face in Tucson is periodically whitening the roof, partially to ease the temperature from the blistering sun, and somewhat to prevent leaks in the monsoon season. So, I've been on the roof (1) scraping every inch with a putty knife to get up the old blistered material, (2) washing the roof with a TSP solution, and (3) giving the roof a double coat of Elastomeric. The hard part was the scraping, obviously, with 3700 square feet.
The part I dreaded was jacking up the north air conditioning unit to replace the rotten 4 x 4 boards holding it off the roof. Not so much the actual work, but getting the jack out of the car, and putting it back in so it won't rattle. Now that's the hard part. So far hoisting the AC unit was easy, but wish me luck in two days when I put the jack back in the car.
I did the final survey for the new Panda Express in Oro Valley, which requires some form of public art, usually whimsical and cute. This one was no exception. I loved it, as did the restaurant patrons, kids and adults alike.
I had lunch there, and it wasn't bad. Should have gotten the bowl, because even the small plate was way too much for me. Pretty good food, though. I can see why it is so popular.
I was out weeding yesterday evening and saw two of the primroses had buds. I turned around and one was fully open so I ran to get Vicki, and we watched the second one open. It happens quite fast, less than a minute, so you can literally watch the buds open.
And they are beautiful flowers.
On our way to West Covina to spend time with Vicki's family, we stopped off in Colton to see this house, just a block of the freeway. This is where Allie and Virgil Earp lived in the 1880s, after the gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone. He worked for the town of Colton in various capacities.
Nice little place with classy style. I imagine quite a nice house for the time.
I surveyed a BioDiesel site yesterday. Interesting place, where they convert used cooking oil and grease into BioDiesel fuel. It was, um, slightly smelly. In taking topo shots I came across a large chew bone, evidently a present for the guard dog at night. I can't imagine how big he must be because that was one large bone. He had buried it in the gravel for future use.
Worse, the bearings in the pool pump failed, so the poor repair man was here to replace the pump. I had to boil water so he could pour it on the seal to take the old pump off. He was from Sweden and the cold didn't seem to bother him that much.