Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sunrise on the Rock

Sunrise today was pretty good.

Jim took that. Yay Jim!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Last Night on the Rock

Oy. We have headaches and are sad. May's pain is no longer responding to her current meds. She ended up in an ambulance at 0300 hours because she just couldn't take it anymore. The ER gave her dilaudid which did ease it. Unfortunately, dilaudid can only be given in in the hospital or a skilled nursing facility. Her doctor is going to talk to her tomorrow about leaving Wyatt House for a nursing home. We really hoped Wyatt House would last longer than this, it's a really nice facility.
Tomorrow we'll finish cleaning, and back out of the house vacuuming as we go so we leave those nice diagonal marks on the carpet. There will be final trips to the dump, to Wyatt house, and then a ferry to the other side. Friday's flight is too early to risk leaving from here.
Jim will be back up here sooner, rather than later.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Life Tips for the Aged

If you're advancing in years, actually if you've already advanced; for each and every utility bill you have, you should name someone who is authorized to speak for you regarding the account. I tried to disconnect the land line phone today and was unable to do so. Tomorrow we'll put May on the phone and let them try to talk to her.
May was released from the hospital today. She's back at Wyatt House. She went down to dinner, and did well with the walker.
We're entering panic mode on our departure, we still have a ton of stuff to do, and only two days left.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

May remains hospitalized. This is the view from her room. I can not tell you how unusual it is to see blue skies this time of year. We'll take it, however. It's so much easier to do stuff when it's not raining sideways.

After leaving May, we went downtown and walked around. The Lynden LaRouche people were out singing Christmas carols. The singing was a nice touch to their nut-bag politics.

We walked down to the market.

This guy was amazing. Playing guitar, harmonica, singing when not harmonica-ing, all the while hula-hooping.

View of Harbor Island.

This was in front of Nordstrom. This is wrong on so many levels. Wrong, just wrong.

It was nice to get out of the house for awhile and walk around. We're trying not to be melancholy about the holiday and etc., but sometimes it sneaks up on us. This is the first year I have sent out zero Christmas cards. When packing I did not bring a spare pair of contact lenses, or the address book. So, there you go.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

Without going in to details, because that would be a HIPAA violation, I will say this. May lost ground today. It's unlikely that she will be returning to Wyatt House tomorrow. We will go visit her tomorrow and see how it's going. That's all I have to report maties. Go hug your loved ones, and realize that tempus fugit.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More from the GPNW

I took the photo this morning. That's the weak winter sun in the middle-ish of the photo.

May continues to improve. We took the ferry over to see her today. Her color is good; nail beds and gums are pink. She'll probably be discharged day after tomorrow.
I lost the bet with Jim, the trash haulers got it all in one load today. So, I'll take the $5 off the gazillion he owes me already.
Aargh. One thinks one is ready, administratively, for these things, but one is not. The long term health care insurance requires forms to be filled out by all and sundry. Setting up electronic bill pay is tedious beyond belief. We think we've misplaced a piece of equipment that belongs to Comcast, but we're hoping that since it was so old that they won't want it back. And then there are the unknown unknowns. So parents; I say to you, anticipate the worst, hope for the best, plan accordingly.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day Two of the House Empty

May is doing better today. She spent the night in ICU, but they moved her out to a regular room this afternoon. Her lungs have less fluid and her kidneys are performing better. We don't know when she'll return to Wyatt House at this point.
Speaking of which, this is her new living room. It's very pleasant, she has her recliner, and guest seating for 3. Her living space is bigger than ours, so she wins.

The guys who take the stuff to the transfer station were here at 0800 hours today. They worked like animals, all day. Clearing the shop just about finished them off. There was much heavy stuff there. This is the first of today's two loads. Jim thinks they'll finish in one load tomorrow, I think he's underestimating what's left. They still have the dreaded shed and all of the wrought iron deck furniture. I bet him $5, I plan to collect.

The chimney guy also came today. The situation was not good. Chimney liners are supposed to be stainless steel. For some reason, the people who installed this furnace used aluminum. It melted, today the tech pulled out the collapsed portion and it was just cooked. So, the furnace has been venting into the shop area for quite some time. There are 3 possible fixes, if fixing is required:
  • Insert a 5 inch diameter liner into the 6 inch chimney flue
  • Convert the existing furnace into a side venting system, which will involve drilling through the wall
  • Replace the whole shebang with a new furnace and venting system
The options are listed in ascending order of cost, anyone want to place bets on which it will be?

We're having difficulty getting cleaning people out here. I called ServPro today, they're the people who advertise that after a major disaster, they'll make it like it never happened. They "aren't sure" they want to clean the shop. I don't get it. No flood, no disaster, just a little soot. I may have to call the head office and ask them what they consider to be a real disaster. I know they do the crime scene clean ups in this area, how bad could some soot be?

We went to Central Market for stuff for dinner. They have crabs, at least 4 huge tanks of them.

So, tomorrow we'll see the end of the house emptying process. We're looking forward to that. If we can't get a cleaning service out here, we're going to have to buy a vacuum cleaner. Nooooooooooooo.

Another Year

Another wedding anniversary forgotten. Jim, are you reading this? We're bad.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Photos from Day One of the House Empty

Photo from this morning. Black and white and grey. Except for cropping, that's straight outta the camera.

A historical piece. It's an eating set. Here we have the embossed leather case.

In the olden days, when you traveled by stage coach or train, one took an eating set. You'd go down to the meal, and whip out your knife, spoon and fork. They're sterling silver. It's an interesting thing. The auction guy said he hadn't seen one of these in about 15 years.

These are chickens from Aunt P's house in Loogootee Indiana. At one point in my life I really, really wanted these. Now I don't. That was then, this is now.

No new information about May. Maybe tomorrow.

Day One of the House Empty

It's been a day.
May is back in the hospital. She's got fluid in her lungs and impaired kidney function. It's not yet clear why her kidneys are not functioning well. She took the ambulance to Swedish this morning, and was admitted.
I spent the entire day clearing out closets, drawers, bathrooms and the kitchen. I'm feeling like I have brown lung from the dust.
The auction guys came and removed a fair amount of stuff. They did take the 33 1/3 albums, and I am pretty dang happy about not having to haul them out of here. Today I learned that old ratty towels are in high demand by dog groomers. Goodwill and other stores like that consistently sell out quickly because the groomers want cheap towels. Who knew? The auction guy was saying that his business will be gone in not too many more years. The young pups are not interested in wall furniture (art), tchotchkes, photos, and etc. Homes have become very spare and digital.
Tomorrow the trash guys are coming. After looking in the giant shed in the back yard, I'm pretty sure this will take at least two trips. We're hoping they'll get the interior done tomorrow so the house can be shown, and do the yard and shed later.
In the mean time, ya'll should start throwing away anything you haven't touched in a year. Hell yeah!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Another Day in the GPNW

It's very strange. This is the driest December in recorded history. Apparently there is the mother all all high pressure systems sitting on this corner of the country. Its presence is pushing the bad weather into the south west, and is causing the blizzard that will be hitting New Mexico.
Parents, again; if you love your children, do not do this to them. Here we have another giant box full of photos in no particular order.

Here we have the deadly drawer of slides. Slides! That drawer has two layers of slide boxes. If you're going to own stuff, honor your stuff by keeping it organized and accessible.

Here are a few old photos from today. This is Caroline (one of Jim's Dad's older sisters) and Jim's Dad at Fort Benning, Georgia. This was at ROTC camp before WWII. Check out the boots.

A picture of the wedding of Jim's parents.

This is Olga, one of May's sisters. Olga died early under mysterious circumstances. My favorite genealogist has not been able to find a death certificate, so c.o.d. remains a mystery. It was weird to find a picture of her. We've never seen one.

Tomorrow the auction people come to pack up all of the items that they think will sell. That will be a day and a half. Wednesday, the guy that takes the remaining stuff to the transfer station comes and gets the rest of it. That will also be a day and a half. We're pretty happy about not having to rent a dumpster and haul it all up the stairs. I've been checking airline seat availability, it's diminishing rapidly. I think we're just going to have to pick a date and say if we're not done, then we're not done. I think 80% if it will be done by Wednesday. The rest may get shoved back into a closet or two.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Day off the Rock

The Rock would be Bainbridge Island. May's house is actually on the Kitsap Peninsula, but these distinctions are somewhat uninteresting, except when one is selling real estate. The Kitsap side has lower property values than does the Bainbridge side. They both look at the same water, but who am I to argue with these things.
Anyhoo, this was yesterday morning, just before the fog cleared up. It was a pretty scene off the deck.

After crossing over to the Seattle side on the ferry we drove south on I5. We noticed this DC3 fuselage laying on the grass verge of Boeing Field. We drove over to look and it and wonder how it got there and why.

Then it was over to the old Boeing headquarters building. Things just haven't been the same since the executives abandoned this site in favor of Chicago. It will be a shame if this facade isn't preserved. It's pretty cool.

This a 787. The engines are off the wing at the moment. Look at the swoop of the wings, it's just a beautiful plane. The interiors are also nice, they're very pretty.

Last night we had dinner at the CO's. It was, as always, just delightful. Food was great, dinner companions were scintillating conversationalists, all in all just a pleasant evening and delightful respite. We thank you all for the time out.

We awoke to rain this morning. This is the GPNW we all know and love. Rain, mist, overcast. I took this from the ferry.

Notice the cloud layer obscuring the tops of the Seattle skyline.

This is us on the ferry, wearing fleece vests and jackets, the official uniform of the GPNW.

I found myself back in the dreaded pile of old photos this morning. This is Jim's Dad at 9 months. Cute Cute Cute.

The real estate agent is coming over to discuss furniture staging this afternoon. Tomorrow the auction guy comes to tell us what interests him. That will determine the size of the dumpster we'll be ordering. We may have to hire some help, there are a couple of Ikea-like particle board entertainment units that we can not lift. So, there will either be help or a Sawzall.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day of the Move

Oy, it's been a trying day. The movers were promised to us noon-ish, they arrived at 3:00. We got a late start on it, but I will say the two men they sent were efficient and efficacious. The truck was loaded and out of the driveway in 30 minutes.
May is struggling with not being in her home anymore. She's (understandably) not happy with the fact that dinner is served at 4:30 pm, but plans to adjust her eating timetable accordingly. There were tears, there was guilt on our part, but it's the only living situation that makes sense for her now. We're hoping that, early dinners not withstanding, she'll be happy at Wyatt House in the time she has remaining.
It's a process. Tomorrow we will return with all of the items we forgot to pack today, and will be assembling a writing table and dresser from Ikea. We must get tennis balls for her walker. When she pushes it, it sets up a harmonic which is probably driving the lady below her nuts.
That is all I have to report maties. The captain has authorized an additional tot of grog, and I intend to have it now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Old Photos

One of the biggest time sucks in emptying a house is the dreaded pile of old photos. One feels compelled to look at them all, just in case. In case of what, I don't know. I just hit the deep drawer full of photos of people we don't know from a long time ago. Here are two examples. These two are from Jim's Dad's side of the family.

This is an old studio portrait of someone. I left it really big, click on it to enlarge. I love the look on the little boys' faces.

This is Jim's Dad, just after WWII. It was taken at a wedding. We've always loved this photo for its film noir feeling.

Jim and his Mom in 1947.

Now I must get back on my head and box up all of this.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

An Admonishment for the Aging

Reader, I am telling you this with feeling. If you love your children, do NOT leave them with a house full of a lifetime of accumulation. We cleaned out the storage area under the staircase today. If I develop an unexplained fever, I strongly suspect it will be hantavirus due to the rodent droppings in said closet.
We found large boxes full of bank statements from the 1970's and 1980's. We found a camping stove full of white gas. We found many things that did not need to exist.
THEN, I was in the second bedroom looking at a rather large chest. There's no drawer, but I knew (with the knowing of someone who used to own furniture) that it was a storage device. We took everything off the top of it, and lo and behold, the top lifts up. It is FULL TO THE GILLS of Franklin Mint porcelains and commemorative coins; some coins are from the British Virgin Islands, others celebrate the independence of New Guinea. None of it has any value, whatsoever.
We're getting very overwhelmed. Today the furnace guy came out to tell us why everything in the room with the oil burning furnace is covered in soot. The chimney is clogged. The maintenance guy who came out in the spring noted this fact on the receipt, but apparently May did not realize that action was required on her part. We can't get this taken care of until the 21st.
I feel like we are spending a lot of time walking in circles. Until the auction guy comes to tell us what he thinks they can sell, I'm hesitant to start piling it all in the carport. However, we may start piling it anyway.
Anyway, that's today's report from the GPNW. I don't have any pictures that do this justice. Perhaps at a later date.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mountains and Moonbeams in the GPNW

Click on the photo (please). Look in the very back ground, you can see mountains. That's the Cascade Range, they're almost never visible from here due to clouds. It was pretty cool that the mountains were out.

Tonight we had a great moon path on the water. It truly is beautiful here, when it's not raining.

Nothing much new on the move to assisted living. Virtually no progress was made on any front today. Hopefully tomorrow items will start moving toward the door.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sun in the GPNW

Today was a glorious winter's day in the GPNW. Cold, but beautiful. I took these off the back deck of May's house.

The north end of Bainbridge Island, Agate Point.

This is the back of May's house, where it looks at the water.

We had two showings scheduled today. One did not go because the idiot real estate agent could not figure out how to undo the dead bolt. Door unlocking 101 should be part of the real estate curriculum. Alas alack. Anyway, the 2:00 showing was able to unlock the door. We're still overwhelmed by it all. May leaves for Wyatt House on Thursday, project management projects that moving her will take two days. Saturday we will start the removal of non-sale and non-donating items to the carport. We have a trash removal service coming the 22nd, and I hope to have this wrapped up by the 23rd. We're going to stay through Christmas, and then return home. I am really hoping we can get plane tickets out of here. We may not be on the non-stop flight we generally take.
May seems to be coming to terms with this new stage of her life. I think the thought of not having to clean and deal with a large house is a welcome one for her. Plus, there will be three meals a day served with no effort on her part required. She's had a good run here, but all things end eventually.
Over and out maties, I am just whooped.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pots and Pans

I did not know an electric stove could melt the copper bottom off of a sauce pan. Apparently it can. We found this tonight, trying to determine how May's cutting board got this burn mark. The two silver colored areas are where the copper cladding was burned. Oy.

Today we signed contracts for May's new apartment in the assisted living facility and with the real estate agent to sell her house. Both activities were draining. We're tired.

Agate Pass

Well, here I am in the GPNW in the winter. It's not raining, but it's cold.

May, Jim's Mom, will be selling her home of 50 years and moving in to an assisted living facility. At 97, the time for her to be living alone is over. She'll have about 500 square feet of apartment, so she's very limited in what she can take with her. Jim and I spent some time wandering around the bottom floor of May's house last night, looking in closets and drawers. We're in a heap of trouble. There is stuff everywhere. She has her deceased husband's discharge papers from WWII. What does one do with documents like this? We're struggling with how much to involve her in a massive downsizing. We have to respect her boundaries, but then again, it's going to be a massive downsize that needs to happen in short order.
The real estate agent refers to the house as a "period piece". I like that. It is pretty classic mid-century modern architecture. We'll see how it goes. The fact that there are five other houses for sale in close proximity is not encouraging.
The force of the internet here is erratic, I'll post our adventures as the force allows.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cold in the Desert

The RV behind us has a drip off his water hose. This ice formation was made last night.

That's it. This is all I have to post.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Going to Seattle

I'm leaving for the GPNW tomorrow. Can't say that I'm looking forward to it. 


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gates Pass

Jamie and I got a ride off this morning. It was cold! It was 47 when we left, the jacket and tights were feeling pretty good. After climbing a bit, some of it came off, but over all I think the jacket was the right choice. Anyhoo, we both rode well and got back before the rains came.

Storm number two is now moving in to visit us from the north.

Friday, December 2, 2011

More Whining from the Desert & Olive Oil

Bored! Bored spitless I am. It rained off and on for much of the day. I spent 1.5 hours on the treadmill which contributed to my state of boredom. It's been awhile, I'd forgotten how much I hate the treadmill. Anyway, it eventually stopped raining, but I have to say it did not warm up much.
Here is the desert after the rain.

I had hoped for a better sunset, it was pretty puny.

I heard an interesting interview with Tom Mueller, who wrote Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. It was very interesting. "Extra virgin" means more than just the first pressing of the olive. It must be free of defects such as musty, fusty and several other undesirable flavor characteristics. Most of the "extra virgin" olive oil on the grocery shelves is not extra-virgin. Some of it is not even olive oil. The bulk producers take whatever and then flavor it with real olive oil. This adulterated product will not confer the health benefits of olive oil. The worst outcome is that producers of high quality oil are becoming unable to continue production because they can't make any money. People won't pay for the quality product because they're accustomed to the inexpensive bad product widely available. Your tip off to the good stuff is that it's expensive, should be in dark glass (not plastic) and it's green. I've linked to the book on Amazon in case you are interested.

Jim has started taking his Mom around to look at senior living facilities. The one they visited today is run by a woman Jim has known for decades. He didn't know she was there until they arrived. That was kind of cool. It's close to May's doctor, which is high on her list of priorities. The process is progressing.

The weather heads are predicting rotten weather through Monday. Aaaarrrrgghhh.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

First Generation Airbags

Jim's Mom's car was a 1996 Bonneville. It had the first generation of airbags. I think the "cure" was worse than the risk of an accident. The passenger bag took out the windshield as well as damaging the passenger seat. Pretty amazing image.

Our weather has changed drastically over night. We are suffering a 20 degree drop in temperature, and high winds. Tomorrow it may rain, quelle horreur!

Other than this, nothing new to report.