And now for Mom’s fence…

Steve and I both thought that water sealing my mom’s fence would be fast. She has a small yard. How long could it take!? 

Well, there’s a mile of fence around my mom’s small yard. Not really, but it seemed that way. We started at 8:30 AM, and finished at 2:45, with a tiny break for lunch. 

You can see that it really needed this and it does look much better now. And the fence will last longer, too. 

  
On the up-side: it didn’t rain. On the down-side: it was clear and sunny and hot. We are both beat, but happy to mark this chore off the list. Yay!

On home ownership, part 2…

Do you remember that we have a problem with our irrigation system? I think the problems developed when we were in Hawaii but it could have been farther back. We had a wet spring which masked a lot of problems. But we now have a lot of very dry plants:

   
   
It took two days for the first repairman to have time to over. He started digging and found this:

  
That is a flexible black pipe that should be bigger, rigid PVC pipe. The guy who put in our irrigation system obviously did not work to code. Sigh. 

A tree root has pinched and broken this main line and if it has happened here it’s going to happen in other spots. It doesn’t make sense to just repair it. Everything underground is going to have to be replaced. Deeper sigh. 

So now I’m waiting on Bruce, who installs irrigation systems. He’s coming over Sunday afternoon. For now I’m watering the old fashioned way:

  

On filming videos…

Many of you know that I have a variety of youtube videos online. If not, look for links here at pieceocake.com and on my youtube channel. 

I thought you might be interested to see where I film. As you can see, it’s not fancy:

  
The primary requirement is good light. Surprisingly enough, it’s better if the light is diffuse, and not shining brightly on my hands. 

I’ll be sending a newsletter in a few with a new video and maybe a bit more on the filming process. 

FYI: Work should begin tomorrow on the sprinkler system. I do hope so, otherwise it’s back to a day of moving those hose. 

On home ownership, part 1…

I love our house. That said, I don’t love it when things that are not fun have to fixed. Take, for example, the front spigot. Saturday I turned it too far to the left and that was it. Something inside came un-done and there was no way to ‘turn’ the water off. If I pushed the knob all the way in, then the water turned off. But it wouldn’t stay there on its own.

It being Saturday, we didn’t want to call a plumber. Steve did not want to try to fix it himself because sometimes pipes break in the wall. I wasn’t keen on that either so I wired it shut. Steve was working on other things and was happy not to get involved in this. He really does not like plumbing jobs.


The plumbers came today and were impressed with my fix. They also said, after taking the knob and guts out of the spigot, that this was not something they’d seen before. We had a unique plumbing issue! The spigot would have to be replaced. I was not surprised.


As it turned out, the old spigot unscrewed easily. We could have done it ourselves, but you can’t tell by looking. The plumbers had fixed one yesterday where the pipe broke in the wall.

The replacement is actually better. It is mostly copper, and it fits against the wall better. I still need to shoot some insulation foam into the gap, but it’s fixed! And it was less that $175! Which is good because part 2 starts soon. The sprinkler system has developed breaks. More on that tomorrow…

Busy Sunday…

First, I want to thank Celia for her excellent guest posts! We’ve all enjoyed knowing more about life in NYC, and I have really enjoyed her photos. She and Jeff will be crazy busy all through the school year but perhaps Celia will have time to check back in with us over the winter :-). 

Now, about our busy Sunday… Last night Steve and I were sitting by the pool, looking at the fence and we decided that we should water seal it. I remembered doing this job with a sprayer and that it wasn’t so bad so we decided that we would get up and do it today. And we thought we could do Mom’s fence too. Silly us. 

I didn’t take a before photo but the wood was gray, like our neighbor’s fence:

  
At 7:45 AM Steve went to Lowe’s for a big can of Thompsons water seal (TWS). He had checked our pump sprayer and it worked, but sadly as it turned out, not with the TWS. Ours sprayed a jet, not a mist. Back to Lowe’s once, and then again. 

  
We tried both of these to no avail. Deep sighs all round. We couldn’t use a roller on the outside of our fence because it’s not flat. Instead I used a wide brush. 

As I worked, memories started coming back to me. The last time we did this the same thing happened! How could I have forgotten? Note to self: forget the sprayer. 

  
It got hot. I put on sunscreen and a hat and powered on. Even behind the bushes. 

  
Steve worked on the inside of the fence with a roller and brush. I joined him and we were making good progress. Clouds rolled in, it got cooler! Yay! 

And then it started to look like rain. At any other time we would have cheered. More sighs. We ran out of TWS and Steve went Back to Lowe’s. 

It started to sprinkle, then rain but we were so close to finishing and the rain wasn’t hitting the fence so we finished what we could and tidied up. 

Steve cleaned out the sprayers and brushes.  (I love that man.)

  
The sun came out and after a couple of hours it was dry enough for Steve to finish the very top of the fence. 

  

We used clear TWS but it still changes the color of the wood. It’s brown again!

  
If we’re lucky, we won’t have to do this again for 2-3 years. It’s worth the effort because it lengthens the life of the fence, but it is not a fun job. 

Moms fence awaits. It is flat on one side and can be rolled so it’s faster but we’re going to wait until it’s cooler. 

PS: We celebrated with ice cream at Braum’s! 

Piece O’ NYC: Work and School and a Park

I’m getting my Masters Degree from the institution where I work. It’s often an interesting ‘balance’ — and thank goodness for tuition remission! Funding for Masters Degrees is generally non-existent, and funding for graduate degrees in general seem to be disappearing over time. Isn’t that dreadful?

That said, I believe in Higher Education and its value. I’m a full-fledged Higher Education Advocate and I know there’s a fit for every student out there. You want to talk about going to college, I’m your girl. You want to talk about how it’s life changing, hit me up. You want to talk about the pains of college too, yep I totally understand and have a bazillion resources I could share. I didn’t want this professional path in the beginning, but becoming a Professional Unicorn Cat Princess wasn’t available as a job (nor would it bring home the money). So I fell into Higher Education and am now pursuing it … at least until I win the lottery and then attempt to buy College Board.

Classes start in a couple of weeks, and as the summer has slowly come to it’s close I realize that I generally look forward to the start of school every year. The flow of the academic calendar isn’t meant for everyone, but I love it. Fall is short and sweet. Spring is dreadfully long but then transitions into brightness. There are huge bouts of stress and tension around mid-terms and finals, and then comes the airiness right after grades are due. What a love story.

FullSizeRender 2FullSizeRender 4Getting to campus itself every morning doesn’t take me long (I know a lot of people who come in from NJ or Upstate, or other states…), and it includes one of the greatest things I can give myself: a walk through Washington Square Park on my way in. A lot of people do this to get to their offices around here, and some might even think it’s a ridiculously simple thing to mention, but it’s become a powerful tradition and daily habit of mine. Who knew a walk through a park right before hitting the office could be a serious preemptive to a good or bad day? This city has a lot of fun things to offer, and I hope I highlighted enough for you, but it’s very hectic too. I’ll take 10 walks in the park if I could to remain sane… Do you have any soothing things to to help you clear your thoughts right before the day starts? When I was in high school, my mom and I would get up early and watch Pokeman or reruns of Charmed right before we departed for our days. It became a thing that we kept looking for each morning, and it was pretty neat too ;p.

FullSizeRenderAnd…this is where we’ll part. I wish you all a beautiful Fall and thanks for reading my posts about this city, my life, and nothing related to quilts ;p.

More from the Iowa State Capital…

The library inside the Capital smelled like old books, which is a nice smell! It’s a tall space with two amazing spiral staircases. 

   
The books were pretty on the shelves. I would have taken many more photos but we didn’t get to stay long. 

 
Also seen on the tour were mosaics which made me want to play with tiny tiles…

  
And spiral stairs to climb up and down to the dome. I got a little dizzy and my thighs are still sore. 

  
We got to look outside from one window when we were high in the dome. I guess squirrels don’t come through the gap in the screen…

   
I was surprised to find the signs of the zodiac painted on the ceiling on the ground floor. 

  
There were quotations in many places. Every politician should take this one to heart…

  
And then we went outside where I had noticed a gold building. It was, not surprisingly, built to reflect the Capital!

   
   
I think this last photo may be my favorite one of all.