Saturday, August 28, 2021

Plants and Animals

It's becoming clear that some landscape simplification will be required.  The woman who used to live here really enjoyed gardening.  She was out everyday with the clippers and other equipment.  It appears that the planting paradigm here is to plant many things close together including trees that are going to get really big.  Anyway, we have one dead pyramidalis and three sick ones in the back yard.  It's odd that they're doing so poorly, generally they are a hardy plant.  However, these are not - so I guess we'll be cutting them down.  We can't replace them, someone else would have to dig out the root ball, so we may just take them out and not plant new.  Getting a stump grinder back there would require driving over the neighbor's yard, which is a non starter.

We decided to give the hibiscus another chance at life.  This is why.  There is a gas fireplace in the living room.  This is the exhaust for said fireplace.  Talk about unattractive.  So, we thought maybe the hibiscus should be spared because it camouflages the exhaust.  It's a really large, unattractive thing.  There's a lot going on in this picture.  Look at the bottom and notice all of the dessicated white things.  Those are dried up dropped blossoms, laying in the lava rock.  That's a problem because lava rock is very light weight, so you can't take the blower to it.  So, after cutting the bush back, we picked up all of the debris with our fingers.  You can also see the window well in the picture.  It's full of decaying blossoms.  Jim's response to today's clean up is that he's doing this once.  I think the hibiscus is toast.  We're on the hunt for some sort of a screen to go in front of the vent.

This was yesterday.  This plant was massively overgrown and invading the front porch.  We took the brand new hedge trimmer to it.  The trimming is not the problem, it's picking up all of the plant bits. 

We also did the hedge.  It was pressing up against the house, which is bad for the house.  Since I am the smaller person, I cut my way in next to the house with the trimmer.  Trimming is fun, picking up the bits, not so much.

This neighborhood has many very large rocks.  If you look mid photo you can see a water feature, cascading down a giant rock.  I need to get out and get some pictures of them, they're just amazing.  Anyway, I'm not clear on how this recirculates.  There are many water features on the street.  We have one, but it's turned off and is full of algae.  We're afraid to turn it on until we clean it out.  I did buy the little floating things that kill the mosquito larvae.  They work!

Yesterday we saw a cat stalking a group of 7 or 8 quail.  We thought the quail would fly away, or at least run.  But no, they turned and faced the cat and started yelling at it.  The cat backed down.  People let their cats out here.  I haven't seen that in eons.  Tucson had too many coyotes, cats make good dinner.  There are three cats that roam our cul de sac.  There are almost no birds, so I guess they're not going to extinct any breeds.

Later I saw movement out of a window.  There were wild turkeys in the side yard.

They walked around to the front yard and moseyed on off back into the woods.

We've been told there are white tailed deer here, but generally they are not too destructive.  I was not expecting turkeys in the side yard, or the quail. 

I saw this photo on twitter.  Can you imagine what it feels like to walk off the airplane and in to a new world?  These people are so brave.

So, we're tired once again. Since we got here, we've been sleeping very well.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Sort of a Catch Up Post

Here is my last photo from Tucson.  It was very early in the morning on the day we loaded the U-Haul.

We have opened all the boxes except the bikes we had packed, and the framed art.  That can wait.  It's been a slog.  Going from living in your basic shoe box to a two story with stairs has been hard.  However, we have internet, Jim has his loveseat and I have my recliner, so life is good.  We had to order a desk, since our previous one was a built in, and a filing cabinet since it, too, was a built in.  I also ordered a sewing machine table.  That was almost stupid because I don't sew very much at all, but I needed the table to use the machine even rarely.  Amazon, baby.

People here are friendly and will stop and talk on the way to the mail box.  The lady across the street is very nice, she put pizza in the refrigerator for us on the first night.  Is that nice, or what.  She has the code to the garage, which is good because she was able to let the sprinkler guy in before we got here when our grass was dying due to a mis-aligned sprinkler head.  Anyway, nice people.  (I need a synonym for nice.)  The next door neighbors have three little kids who are vocal.  Oddly enough, they don't bother me, nor do the dogs down the street who bark a lot around 4pm.  We have lived in places that were utterly silent for so long, it's actually nice to hear life around us. 

Today we took out a large honey suckle that was leaning on the house, it was attached to a rusting iron trellis.  Tomorrow, if our neighbor has a chain saw, we're taking out a giant hibiscus.  It astounds me that they can over winter here, I thought they were a tropical plant.  Anyway, it drops dead blossoms everywhere, so it must die.  

The trip up was predictably awful.    

Tucson to Kingman:  307 miles of slow driving on two lane roads.
Kingman to Orem:  491 miles of mostly freeway
Orem to Butte:  453 miles of freeway, almost all of it in the rain
Butte to Spokane:  314 miles of freeway

Jim drove the truck, towing the Jeep on a trailer the entire way.  It was hard enough for me in a car, the truck was really tiring.  When you're as tired as we were, Subway makes an acceptable place for dinner.

In Kingman we stayed at a very nice La Quinta which had decent truck parking out back.  The truck stayed with some heavy equipment.  This is a big truck on a landoll.  What's interesting is the amount of hydraulics involved in lowering and raising heavy equipment.

This is a crane on the back of the bed of another truck. 

And this is the Caterpillar engine that will be craned off when it reaches its destination.

I think Orem was not too bad of a hotel, because I can't actually remember it.  Jim had to park the truck on the street which was nerve wracking.  Twenty six foot truck and car carrier requires space.  We got there while there was room was available and so all was well.

Butte was a different story, we stayed at a Red Lion Inn.  It's a decent chain, we chose it over the hotel across the freeway  because they're an ok chain - right?  Nah.  People were living in that hotel, some of them looked like meth heads.  It was so bad we got in the car to see if we could get a room across the highway and just eat the $200 fee at Red Lion.  But no!  They're sold out,  and so was the Red Lion.  I guess it's because they're at the convergence of I15 and I90.  Anyway, we're never going back there again.  It was the only night I expected the mountain bikes to be stolen off the back of the Jeep.  But they weren't.

Since I was driving, there are few pictures, and they're pretty awful.  I was holding the camera up and shooting without looking.  I think these were on the way to Butte.

People here spend time on their yards.  We will, as well.  One does not want to become that neighbor.  This is the next door lot, look at those flowers.

This was taken standing in the kitchen.  It gets me up high enough that I can see more of the sunset.  The yard is too low, and the trees block it.  So, that was a nice thing to see.

This was taken somewhere in Spokane.  It's a poignant thing to write on your car.

So, we're here.  There will be much organization in the garage and painting of base shoe in some of the rooms.  The house was built in 2005, and there are a few dings and nicks, but nothing that spackle and paint can't cure.

Friday, August 20, 2021

We Have Arrived

 We're in Spokane at the airport Holiday Inn. It's a lovely hotel. Pizza will be delivered because we are too dang tired to go out and forage.

That is all, I'm thumb typing on my phone. And we do like the house.  Good thing!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Last Night Here

 Notes to self about packing a television.  Give some consideration to buying a new one when you get there, and leaving the old one behind.  It was really tedious. It was everything I thought it would be and more.  I think we're done packing.  There are still a couple of open boxes, but by and large it's done.  Good thing.

The guys that load the truck will be here between 7:30 and 9:00.  I really wish they could narrow that down in advance so I could know how late I could sleep.  The Spokane guys start at 9:00 which is much more civilized.

This was the setting sun on Bren Peak tonight - really pretty.

This is the truck.  Not so pretty.

Jim reports that the ride quality is not great.  Hopefully once its loaded, it won't be so uncomfortable.  That's the car transporter behind it.

One of the great mysteries of staying in hotels is how bad the internet will be.  If we're radio silent, you'll know it was bad.

Keep calm and carry on!

Saturday, August 14, 2021

There's Always Another Sunset

 Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgh.  My feet are screaming.  At this point, we still have the TV and associated electronics to box up.  We left that for tomorrow so that we'd have one more night of mindless entertainment.  There are also three lamps remaining.  I'm really hoping we didn't push too much stuff into Sunday, because that is the day we pick up the truck and auto transport, and staff at U-Haul take just about forever to do things.

Last night there was some sunset.  These are cell phone pictures.  Not great, but that's what there is.  The big camera with the stuck battery is still stuck.  We're just going to leave it alone until we get to Spokane.

Back in March of 2020, when grocery stores were running out of food we stocked up on shelf stable food.  I hesitate to call Velveeta food, but hey, any port in a storm.  It's been in the refrigerator since then.  We took it out today to have a look, it really doesn't look bad.  We didn't try it, we weren't that brave.

Today was interesting.  A Penske truck showed up in front of the neighbor's house with the terrible yard.  The lift gate went down, we saw mens' legs on it, and then the lift gate went back up.  Nothing seemed to go in or out of the truck.  It's a big truck.

Later, a young man stopped in front of the neighbor's and knocked on the door.  True to form, the neighbor did not answer the knock.  As the man was walking away, he asked me if the house was empty, I told him no, knock louder and wait for a bit.  After asking if we had an HOA, he volunteered that the house is in foreclosure.  One wonders if it is for non payment of property taxes, or non payment of the fines the HOA has levied for non-compliance with the CC&Rs.  We will probably never know.  As much as the man irritates me, I feel bad for him.  I wonder what will happen to him.

It rained a lot last night.  Early in the morning it cleared up and was a nice day.  Then the clouds rolled in.  The cell phone makes the edges of the photo look weird.  See the agave flower spike sticking up?  There was a Desert Cardinal sitting at the top of it.  He was singing a lot, it sort of sounded like he was repeating "eager."

It's raining hard out in the distance.

So, that's been today, head down in the boxes.

Update to post:  I forgot to add this picture of clouds. They're kind of pretty.

Friday, August 13, 2021

One More Sunset

 My big camera, that I use to take the sunset pictures, has a problem.  The spring that pushes the battery out is dead, so the battery can't be extracted.  It's always something, it's never good.  Anyway, this was an interesting sky the other night.  Many colors were in evidence.

We saw the escrow people this morning and signed papers.  The buyers have already signed, so I guess the deed will record next Tuesday and this will be done.

These are the Catalina Mountains up north.  Look how green the mountain sides are.  Last year they were completely brown and sad.

Well, it's time to put more stuff in boxes. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Last Bike Ride Here

Yesterday was supposed to be the last ride day.  Unfortunately, it was pouring when we got up.  So, it was back to bed for us.  Today was better.  We almost didn't go because we're so close to the move, but decided we would do it anyway.  It was a pretty day, but hot!  and humid!  By the time we were done we were both soaked with sweat.

It is eerily green.

This is a ramada of some sort.  We can't get a good look at it from the street, especially now that the palo verdes have leafed out.  They have been working on this for about a year, we never see more than one person working at a time.  There is a chimney on the left, and the base of the supports have had rocks put around them.  For the life of me I can't figure out why you would spend money on this.  It's not close to the house and what would you do out there?

Flagstone will be installed somewhere.  There is a lot of material waiting for installation.  We were really hoping it would be finished prior to our departure, but no.

The road at the bottom of one of the washes has been undercut.  The edge of the road is just out of sight at the bottom of the photo.  There used to be more concrete poured there, but the water has taken it away.  I guess they'll be pouring more concrete after monsoon is over.

Remember the paver project on the driveway?  Short version is here, long version is there.  We have a ten year warranty on it.  Two pavers sank, they were about an inch below their neighbors.  For EIGHT WEEKS Jim has been badgering the company owner about sending someone out to fix it.  The owner does not answer the phone, other people do and then they ignore us.  Jim got a little forceful with the office manager today and told him that they were well on their way to a really terrible Yelp review if they didn't make it right.  Anyway, the repair crew was here in an hour.  According to him, critters tunnel under the driveway.  Then, over time the dirt under the paver moves and the paver sinks.  The repair guy says it happens a lot in Tucson.

Today there was more packing.  There was also cooking for tonight and tomorrow.  After that we switch to frozen dinners served on paper plates so we can box up the kitchen.  I think we're boxing up the tv on Saturday.  It's one of the many tasks that takes longer than you think it should.  I will be happy when we make it to Spokane.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Whining and Packing

You know what I hate about packing?  Well, all of it, but in particular I hate it when I put something in a box, with unlike stuff, don't write the item name on the box, and now the item is essentially lost until the box is opened.  I bought some white gloves on Amazon.  The white newsprint that I pack with must be flattened out some before you can stack it and fold it.  Running your hands across paper for hours just sucks the life out of your skin.  I packed the gloves.  No idea where they are.  So I ordered more from Amazon.  Anyway, the gloves are gone, and my tiny zebra print cross body bag is gone.  It was on top of a chest, now it's gone.  I can only assume I packed it, since it isn't there anymore.  I have zero memory of doing that.  Perhaps I am losing my mind.  I'm documenting this for if we ever decide to move again.

We rode again this morning.  It was a slog, we're kind of tired, and getting up at 6:30 to ride is not helping.  It was good to get out and get some exercise, however. 

I took this with the cell phone - it's a Black Chinned hummingbird.  They're going to miss me when I'm gone.

The bougainvillea is boisterous.

We got the wall art in Tubac.  We're leaving it.  Oddly enough there is one on the house we bought, and we really do not need two.

Wind last night blew the petals into the entryway.

I get the most interesting articles in my news feed on the phone.  Reading this was like reading a garbled translation done by someone who speaks neither language.  The article clarified a little.  It's something to do with mining (as in bitcoin mining) block chains and something is changing and to get people to move to the new software, they're detonating "difficulty bombs" (more software) to get people on the newest level of code.  Personally, I think cryptocurrencies should be banned, their environmental footprints are just horrendous.

So, that's it.  Packing, whining and difficulty bombs.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

More on the Neighbor

 The Junk King truck showed up bright and early yesterday. They brought out a few items, but then we saw the men standing in the street doing nothing.   The Junk King lady pulled up and asked what was the hold up - with a slightly exasperated tone of voice in use.  As we expected, the neighbor refused to let them take any more away.  So, I guess home improvement is now on hold.

The 26 foot truck is back on our reservation number.  Jim has been calling frequently to ensure it's still there and that no weirdness has happened in the mean time.  They also know about our two dozen moving blankets, so I'm less anxious than I was.

I guess it's time to start rolling up the rugs, and getting them ready to go.  I have to laugh at myself, they spent eleven years in storage, rolled, and I keep thinking "it's too soon, they'll flip up at the corners."  No, they'll be fine and it needs to be done.  So, back on our heads!

We've had some clouds, but nothing spectacular.

That's it, that's all I've got.

Friday, August 6, 2021

Packing and the Neighbor

Greetings Fellow Humans!  How are you?  I feel like people have been beating the bottoms of my feet with rubber hoses; not that I've ever had that happen, but that's how I imagine it would feel.  I'm currently in my recliner writing this, no more on the feet for me today.  This is how life is being lived in the house at the moment.

This is the fragile grouping; china and stuff like that there.

Lamps.  Lamps are just the work of the devil.  Each lamp generates two boxes, one for the base and one for the shade.

Miscellaneous stuff.

Progress is being made, but it feels like we've spent more time in the car this past week than in previous months.  Jim's had three appointments with his fleet of medical professionals, there was a trip to Costco to replace Jim's dead laptop, two trips were required to get four bikes to the bike store, and today there was one trip with two cars to pick up said bikes.  We decided to have the road bikes professionally packed in bike cartons so their chances of surviving the drive to Spokane would be increased.  The truck rental is just fraught with anxiety.  We checked on it yesterday, and somehow our reservation had been changed from a 26 foot to a 20 foot truck.  It's an interesting process, you don't get to choose where you will pick up the truck, they text two days prior and tell you where it will be.  This whole truck rental is just giving me the willies.

In every neighborhood there seems to be the homeowner who is not like the other neighbors.  Ours is across the street.  For three years we have been badgering the HOA to make him clean up his yard, but to no avail.  It's an eyesore, people drive by in golf carts and stop and point.  Anyway, yesterday three ladies came by and inspected the property and took photos.  Allegedly the photos are in support of a case being brought to get a court order to clean up the yard.  Today one of the ladies came back and talked to the owner briefly.  Then a Junk King truck showed up.

We were wildly excited, thinking they were going to do something about the abandoned car, the weeds, the dead trees, and etc.  But no, they're only going to be working in the house.  We talked to the Junk King lady for a bit.  Apparently there is mold and mildew in the house.  There is also a cat, but there is no cat litter in evidence.  It's pretty bad in there, respirators may be required.  The owner is not letting them take too much, he's a hoarder.  The Junk King lady is going to call a department in adult services that might come out and clean.  All of the carpet needs to be removed.  It's unlikely that the flat roof has been done in years, one wonders if the roof has leaked during the recent rains. The lady from yesterday, who also chatted for awhile mentioned that she's been helping the owner recently, stuff like going to the dentist, the doctor, the bank, and getting the flat tire on his golf cart fixed.  He's paying her, so at least he has some help.

So, after being faced with this for three years, and being low level angry about it daily, it looks like maybe there will be some resolution to it. 

The prickly pear fruit are becoming a deeper purplish red.

If you look closely, you can see that one fruit has split open, and there are seeds inside.

 We're hoping this will be a sign of more rain.

So, that's what we're up to - primarily putting things in boxes.

Oh, and ebay refunded the cost of the jacket I didn't receive and shipping this morning.