Sunday, July 31, 2011

The garage is done

We haven't had much summer, but my goal for it has been met:

I cleaned the garage.

Most of what I threw out (for the Happy Hauler to pick up on Tuesday) was left over from the previous owners' remodeling 10 years ago. I realized I was never going to need a box of bolts the size of Havana cigars or large sheets of drywall the cats had peed on. The 8-foot lengths of extra molding required their own shelving system. I realized I could rip down the shelving system, chop the molding to 7 feet, 6 inches, and store it upright in a Rubbermaid wastebasket in the corner, regaining access to the entire wall.

I also discovered I had three orbital sanders, two skil saws, and 35 slot-style screwdrivers (but only 5 Phillips head drivers, which makes me crazy since they're what I'm always looking for). And my beloved circular law seems to be missing.

Hank came over and tested all the electric tools and told me which ones to toss or give away and which ones to keep. He told me one of the orbital sanders just looks like an orbital. It is really a polishing sander.

The duplication was due in part to all of my dad's tools, which I got when my mom moved to Florida last year.

After clearing out all sorts of crummy scraps of drywall and lumber, I had enough wall space that we were able to put up an additional pegboard, and some gigantic wall hooks. Then a lot of the stuff that was hidden in drawers and piled on shelves got hung up, including my dad's  Oreck mini shop vac and heap of extension cords in orange, yellow, and green.

The sorting process involved hauling much of the stuff out to the driveway, including the mini-freezer, which desperately needed defrosting. Once the garage was relatively clear, I swept and washed the concrete floor. That was pretty disgusting.

This took all day Friday, Saturday morning, and Sunday afternoon — and Tom ran all the errands to Home Depot while I kept at the organizing. At 8 p.m. tonight I was still affixing labels (in yellow electric tape) to plastic storage boxes and shelves.

It's rather astonishing how much room there now is in the garage. I still need to organize the shelf with the drills and drill bits.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The dog in the night and the jerk who owns it

We have a neighbor who walks his or her dog in the dead of night and lets it poop on my lawn. Unfortunately, we don't know who it is.

After piles of poop started turning up on a daily basis, I did some research on surveillance cameras. They aren't cheap, so I decided to make a sign first.

It read "Anything your dog leaves on this lawn will be returned to your front porch." I placed it right where the dog had been pooping.

And it worked! The dog's owner was apparently embarrassed enough to keep the hound off my lawn.

Unfortunately, they weren't embarrassed enough to pick up after the dog. Four days after my sign went up, my next door neighbor came storming over to report that now she had four piles of crap on her front lawn. Her little daughter had just stepped in the poop, and she was furious.

She asked if she could borrow my sign. I said yes. Now I'm wondering if that will result in the dog returning to my lawn, or if the lazy owner will simply move the dog one more yard south, to the lawn of a newly remodeled house that is on the market — and has no one living in it who might open the door and catch the dog walker.

If the weather would just warm up, I'd be willing to get up at 4 a.m. and hide out on my enclosed porch so I could catch them in the act and follow the dog owner through the dark to his or her house — with the shit on a shovel.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What's really going on

• I got an invitation to Google+ (thank you!), signed on, and am sort of waiting to see what happens now. It's a cross between Facebook for grownups and LinkedIn without the recruiters.

• Mabel, the long-clawed black cat, nailed me yesterday morning. I washed the tiny puncture with alcohol, but for the first time I got an infection from a cat scratch. It came on very rapidly while I was at a reading at the U Bookstore last night. I left the store, called the consulting nurse (who reacted  as though I were about to collapse in the street), reluctantly skipped dinner, grabbed a bubble tea, and drove off to spend a long, long evening at urgent care. They gave me a tetanus shot and the opportunity to read nearly an entire novel (Kelley Eskridge's intriguing Solitaire) on my iPhone before I finally got the paperwork and directions to the basement late-night pharmacy to get some antibiotics. By 11:30 p.m. I was at Dick's on Broadway, where I finished the book in the car while drinking a delicious strawberry milkshake.

• The Clarion West Write-a-thon is halfway through. I've written one and a half of my three pledged short stories and yesterday ended up using a picture of Sheba to shill for sponsors. I love this picture of Sheba. The Write-a-thon is going very well (for the organization, as well as for the writers).

• I have three big Folklife projects yet to deal with as I wind up my year as board president (target date: September 27).

• There will be vacation of sorts. In July, I'm going to a weekend writers workshop at a remote location on the Washington coast. The conference center burned down, but we still have hotel rooms and apparently are going to wing the rest of it. In August, Tom and I are going to Worldcon in Reno, with a side trip to Lake Tahoe and Carson City. I've never see that part of the country. Against my better judgment, I signed up for a five-day volunteer assignment at the convention that is going to be major fun but demanding. At Worldcon, as at the Folklife festival, volunteering is the heart of the experience.

• The garden is different this year. The peas are disappointing but the beans are going gangbusters (especially my faves, the scarlet runner beans). We have very large, though green, tomatoes. It's the grapes where I've really got my hopes up. They have taken to the new arbor system and there are tiny clusters of grapes everywhere. Now, all we need is hot, sunny weather through August.