Tag Archives: Western Slope

Leak

As the week winds up and we lounge together by the pool in Chicago Land, I thought about The Leak.

From August 7, 2016 on Colorado’s Western Slope via Leak:

Two-plus weeks ago Erin and I took a break from our projects. While her sister Ellie, her family and their brother Edmund traveled to check on another property out of state, Erin manned Ellie’s house, the 5 small dogs and the cat.

I held down our home front. I’d intended to take a break from the downstairs project downstairs and check off the list of small tasks upstairs.

About midway through our sideways vacation I went downstairs for something I had seen that would be perfect upstairs.

Ordinarily I avoid going downstairs without Erin. I can go from zero to sensory overload in 06.1 seconds over the astounding collection of vintage items from 3 generations of her large family – all being sorted and repacked. Have I mentioned the fifty pounds of stuff on a ten pound property including the garage?

clutter pixabay garage

When I first arrived I enjoyed revisiting her things I saw growing up. But after sleeping on a futon for over three months (haven’t made a path to the bed yet), I now easily lose focus and my attitude can spin out of balance very quickly. Frequent, very fervent prayer helps. Still, I wanted to surprise Erin when she returned. I kept looking.

As I descended the stairs I told myself storage naturally smells musty, and dismissed what I thought was exceptionally dank air. But then I noticed the bottoms of some cardboard boxes were noticeably dark. Stepping cautiously into the room I heard and felt my feet squishing into the old carpet.

Houston, we have water.

flood toon pixabayA phone call and an hour later Erin and I teamed up to extract water. We couldn’t cut the water at the main until we found the leak.

So I became G. Annie Roo, super sleuth. I like the sound of that.

Without Edmund the fix-all brother we became very resourceful, reducing trips up and down the stairs. The following day we finally we discovered the cracked pipe. Ta-da!

Over the following week we tossed water on the lawn from bowls we filled with recycled milk jugs. Between that move, we replaced and repacked wet boxes. We were thankful to learn the 3-inch hole in the old cast iron drain is exclusive to the kitchen. We are not happy to learn the broken, slightly sunken concrete driveway outside the kitchen wall suggests a bigger problem. This whole project might take a while.

The contractors are due to arrive soon. By then we will have settled into our adjusted routine and used the better part of a tree for disposable dinner ware 😦

So goes this week’s episode in the continuing saga of two old broads rehabilitating the vintage family rental. Were the property owner any other than Erin’s mom we would have taken another, less laborious course. As it is love runs deeper and for now the futon awaits me.

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NLT)

Images courtesy of Pixabay

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2018-08-13 · 06:00

Variety

First Danny at Dream Big Dream Often and then Anne Mehrling recently posed the question, “Do you have a favorite season?

tree-spring-pixabay tree-summer-pixabay

tree-fall-pixabay tree-winter-pixabay

I wonder what makes any one season favored about the others. I enjoy them all!

Variety enhances life, especially seasonally. I thrive in climates with four distinctive, equal seasons. Early signs of the approaching season exhilarates me, but I don’t really have a favorite. I love bundling up to take in the silence of snowfall in winter, the invigorating, color displays and refreshing air in spring and autumn and warm, balmy summers delight me. But I especially like change when the current weather becomes tedious.

Following are photos from our recent visit around Glenwood Springs, Basalt and Carbondale, before autumn falls 😉

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“For the beauty of the earth
For the glory of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies.
Christ our God, to Thee we raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.”
Folliot S. Pierpoint,in Lyra Eucharistica, by Orby Shipley, second edition, 1864

Four Seasons Tree images courtesy Pixabay

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Larry

choose-joy

larry cable guyHey, all y’alls remember Larry the Cable Guy? Okay, after listening to the comedian for twenty minutes his bit got old with me. However, today’s whimper involves my cable internet and phone service, so I’m borrowing Larry CG’s persona.*

Restoring This Old House in particular could provide a month-long series on PBS, HGTV or DIY. So, Old School works well here.

Forget all the ads out there for bundles -and the fine print sales reps don’t mention till the end of the pitch. I’ve checked them all out for our area. Erin must live without her E!-TV, but we save for repairs and upgrades on the property from the entertainment and communications budgets. Utilizing satellite for television, cable for internet and phones we realize a minimum $20/month savings. Just don’t get me started on life without a DVR. Who knew one can’t program a VHS recorder without the remote?

So, our internet, land line and my (unlimited through Wi-Fi) cells services come to us from the wonderful people at “Mapper” Cable Company – who only recently came to our part of the Western Slope.

When I noticed cars stop in the street to talk to Mr. First Tech who was parked in front of the house, I thought, “My, this is such a friendly town!” It was actually the first sign that Mapper service is under par with my previous experiences in Chicago, Phoenix and Fort Worth.

Larry, our third tech in four weeks came in musing how customers don’t understand he’s dispatched from remote parts of the country, so he can’t just swing by to look into their problems too. “They seem to see red when they notice the Mapper sign on the truck,” he went on as he happily accepted some sweet tea. This actually is a friendly town – just sayin’.

So early Thursday Larry devoted himself to confirming Mr. First Tech and Mr. Second Tech’s reports – both now closed as PNF (Problem Not Found). A healthy hour later, he affirmed the frequent crashes I continue to experience are most likely ‘at the pole.’ To be sure he covered all bases he swapped out the modem and router for brand new ones (whoop-whoop) and promised to order a service check at the pole (technical paraphrase mine 😉 ). ‘Guess he liked the tea.

But this morning’s fitness walk complicated the whole unfortunate sequence of events when my flip knife wasn’t on my dresser where it had been Thursday morning – before Larry’s arrival. Seriously, flipping the car, every room, bag, laundry hamper… every square inch I use in the house for two hours didn’t locate the knife.

So try to imagine my reluctance as I explained to Ms Agent at dispatch, “I’m positive Larry isn’t a contractor. I have a keen sense about people. He’s not the kind of guy that would take anything from a customer. He’d been working on the dresser that houses the equipment where I also had the ‘tool’ that’s missing. It’s possible he inadvertently picked it up as he ever-so-considerately cleaned up after himself. I don’t want to generate a report that could ding the man’s record. I just want the tool returned.”

Ms Agent assured me contacting dispatch to reach Larry would be no problem for him or me. I know better. Back in the dark ages I worked dispatch for the same company (before Mapper acquired them). I told Ms Agent how to route a ‘Call Back’ (“it’s an industry term”). Amazed, she thanked me. For a moment I thought, “Cool, not that much has changed.” Then she had to go and say, “Yeah, going old school is healthy once in a while.” Shrew.

So, I no sooner hung up the phone when Girlfriend that had also visited us with Ellie Thursday afternoon, came bouncing up the walk. “Heya Roo! How ya doin?”

Goody, more tea…

The short story, Girlfriend saw the gruesome-looking flip knife on the vanity in the powder room – right where I’d set it so it’s hard, steel edges wouldn’t scratch our nice, oak toilet seat. Knowing we don’t leave things like that laying around for Eight-Year-Old-and-Very-Inquisitive-Niece to find, Girlfriend slipped it into her pocket meaning to hand it over to me. She washed her hands and promptly forgot all about it. Under a deadline, I didn’t walk the neighborhood on Friday, and I didn’t notice the knife missing from where I always, always keep it, on its very own tray on my dresser – until this morning.

Great, now I have guilt for ruining Larry’s career. At least I can now narrate in precise detail the whole new brand of frustrated humiliation, trying to contact Ms Agent again – it simply doesn’t happen. Fortunately, Mapper’s Billing Department STILL hadn’t called me back about crediting my account for all the down time. I spun the call so I could include cancelling the Old School, sequestered Call Back order to Larry.

Another Tech will be scheduled to check the pole issue tomorrow. Mapper’s got two strikes and one ball, so we’ll see. Now I must check next week’s schedule for the Elementary and NCIS episodes I missed during the move. Film at eleven…

Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.” James 1:2

Joy image courtesy FreshFitnHealthy,  Larry the Cable Guy image courtesy Alchetron.com, Video clip from Toy Story courtesy YouTube

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Heat

In my new home on the Western Slope the Dog Days of Summer took on new meaning over the past couple of weeks. In this older, lathe and plaster house we experienced some Sirius heat (forgive the pun).

Though I Googled the region extensively before moving, I wasn’t sure what to expect from summer in my new climate. This is the first (and for me unexpected) seasonal change. Still, even with the sudden heat I wouldn’t have guessed how perfect, how close to heaven as I can imagine this environment is for me – now that the evaporating cooler is up and running.

The transition wasn’t so smooth for the two elderly, long-haired cats we live with. The temps jumping from the mid-seventies to the nineties in less than a week, the poor pusses suffered for days.

We now walk to errands and shopping first thing daily rather than leisurely going whenever we see fit. During the second day of heat, we returned home to find the poor, old pusses flat on their backs on the floor where obviously they willed the cooler to start blowing relief. They’ve lived in the house all their lives, so they know the drill and had adjusted to Erin’s pace. Still, it was hot…

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Matty cooling it

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Miss Chill & Erin’s Crock

I was ready to crank the cooler up when temps were still in the 80’s at 23:00 hours. Even with dual fans in the windows and ceiling fans running for a few days, sleep did not come to me until the wee hours of the morning. Unless easy-going Erin is busy upstairs she is oblivious to the still mild heat. So I sleeplessly commiserated with mes mews those few days. …Until I noticed inside the house was hotter than outside in the early afternoon. Then we got serious.

During the first week of heat, Erin and I made several trips to the hardware store replacing weather ravaged parts on the cooler. I hate considering I may not be as mechanically adept as I used to be, but brother Edmund dropped by and fixed what I couldn’t figure out for days. So, we had relief on the sixth day. It’s all good; we had to adjust our routine to watering the flower bed and garden earlier with old school sprinklers anyway.

Although we were quick to prepare the cooler, we soon learned another new adventure lay ahead – for me anyway. Matted fur. So there we were on the floor with electric clippers, brushes and combs, and the rubbery oven mitt, cutting away the amazingly hard wads of fur and hair from poor, old Matty, the older, grey tabby.

2014 jan 2 bak 010

Have I mentioned I’m allergic to cats – dander and fur? Or that they’re both long haired cats? True, I lived with my sweet Lucy Retardo for the eighteen years she reigned over our homes. And I cleaned, dusted and vacuumed daily. Every. Single. Day. Then there’s the barrage of immune support I now take (again), to lessen the affects. Living with Lucy taught me how natural foods work just as well as the prescription allergy medication and two other OTC remedies without all the almost comical side effects. Raw unfiltered local honey is truly a blessing – just sayin’  Though I walk even more to burn the additional calories, it works for me. Even without the dreadful humidity of North Texas, in the hot weather that’s love, people.

Granted, domesticated animals require a lot more work than the hummingbirds who nested for the second year on our front porch. But we learned they keep summer homes. Mostly to avoid being dive-bombed by the nesting family we simply use the side door. Still, the fur kids have already grown on me and we’ve established a routine that is helping us all live together more comfortably – I’ll spare you the details, but allergy sufferers can write me privately for additional helpful tips.

Caring for the earth and all life forms thereon is high on my priority list. Sure, with my almost obsessive vigilance to housekeeping I prefer to enjoy the Wild Kingdom and domestic animals in the great outdoors. Still, I adjust. It’s all about the love. Cats seem to fit a house with two old broads.

Today, in the quiet (with the cooler turned off), I often think of the many people I also love. Yet walking as gentle rain kisses the Western Slope I feel more content than ever before. Life isn’t quite perfect, but the lyrics come to me “…with two cats in the yard. Life used to be so hard…*”

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor. You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet: all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild, the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. Palm 8:3-8 (NLT)

From Our House, From the 1970 Crosby, Stills, Nash &  Young album Déjà Vu

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Walk

Today again I appreciate more and more how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. First, who knew how changing my post days to Monday and Thursday would go like this?

Today’s revelation began two nights ago – I was actually cold beneath my wool blanket and goose down throw. In case I haven’t mentioned it before I never feel cold, so in the gorgeous spring weather of the Western Slope, that was the first clue that I have been running overloaded for too long. I just checked: The temps were 46 degrees to 78 degrees here that day – around 70 degrees when I retired.

This morning confirmed my suspicion when I awoke with what I generally call hamburger throat, imagining what my insides might look like with that sore, raspy feeling.

Josey tea Carli JeanWith no fever it’s all good. I arose only slightly slower than usual and was sipping my Black Silk amaretto latte by the time Erin arose. I marvel at how, in only four weeks we’ve achieved very close to perfect sync with each other. It’s almost as though the past thirty-five years had been mere weeks.

thumb driveRight on course, by then I’d already checked my drafts for today’s post and had dismissed all of the ideas I found there. By Erin’s second cup of Black Silk Vanilla ambition, she suggested I consider her idea from a few days before, the things we miss while driving.

Before I prepared my second latte Erin invited me to walk downtown with her to City Hall to pay a bill and get some fresh air. Because my second latte was super low fat, low caffeine with evaporated cane juice, (and my body’s fighting off an infection 😉 ) I considered her suggestion longer than I usually would.

Despite having volumes of words and photos to consider, I immediately prepared to walk anyway. Walking simply seemed right.

Though I felt tired before we wrapped up the 1.6 miles, I’m glad I went. Walking alone and had I not been feeling slightly puny, I would have logged in 3 miles in that time. However I would not have met the neighbors.

Two blocks from home a Mini-Schnauzer, a Shih Tzu, and a Great Pyrenees/German shepherd pup rushed into the road, barking happily to greet us. The pup, already bigger than her mature dog companions, but clearly a baby, loped along. Their people, Guy and Barbie were right on their heels.

Without Erin I wouldn’t have stopped to chat. We wouldn’t have learned Guy and Barbie also have property just a stretch of the legs from Keira and Newlyn’s property (Erin’s mom and her late father) where we go for Sunday dinner every week. And yet, we paused a good ten minutes, met our neighbors briefly and their fur kids – well enough that 3-month-old Big Baby began walking with us as we departed. We’ll consider doing that another day.

pit bull leashHow delightful that Guy knows Keira and Newlyn’s place by the spayed Amstaf terrier that lives in the next lot on the road just before Keira’s. Though Guy doesn’t recall knowing Erin’s two brothers, everyone in town knows Nancy the pit bull, who initially seems ferocious, but locals all stop to greet her – usually with a treat. I adore the friendly, small-town atmosphere despite the wide geographical span.
coeds

Ordinarily under other circumstances I wouldn’t have stopped to chat up our two young, co-ed neighbors taking a break from their studies either. I wouldn’t have told them they remind me of mornings on our porch back home where Roan, Opal and I would sit, wrapped in our blankets, mugs of coffee in hand to see the day in.

What’s more, the girls wouldn’t otherwise have extended an invitation to join their occasional parties any time, and they wouldn’t have welcomed us to visit them for food and grog where they both work at the local chain establishment. We wouldn’t have chatted about the advantages of the new Fitbits and the knock-offs that are out there.

GJ Law ofcI also noticed the amazing array of flora, from blooming cactus to peonies, vivid iris and the many varieties of columbine, and how they differ in full sun and from beneath the immense shade trees. Nor seemingly everywhere the vintage, refashioned architecture styles and landscaping seen on the Western Slope.

 

 

cactus flower1 flora fence Iris GJ iris maybe yellow cactus flower

 

I noticed how the many other pedestrians nodded, saying, “hi” and how one in particular paused to ask us about the shell casing we’d found in the grass a few feet in front of him. “Weird,” he said. We agreed. I wouldn’t have noticed the bird calls, especially the dove that called to us, seeming to follow us from tree top to tree top going from our block and then welcoming us back to it.

What I didn’t notice is vehicle traffic. Aside from a rare, occasional car passing (below the speed limit), the driver waving or nodding politely as they passed, there are very few cars moving through the neighborhood mid-to-late weekday mornings. The breeze and bird calls aren’t drowned out by more obnoxious sounds. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but I might have heard some dandelions groaning as they struggled for root room in the thick grass of one sunny lawn.

Then there’s the view of the Book Cliffs, Sleeping Ute, Mount Garfield, The Mesa and the National Monument towering around us. If they don’t take your breath away you need new glasses – or perhaps a check up from the neck up.

Sleep Butte  Mt Garfield

Whether I’m actually sick or simply run-hard-and-put-away-wet, I’m delighted to have experienced some of the beauty we miss when we drive ourselves to our various errands. Clearly it’s good therapy. I feel extravagantly blessed that whatever we need in our household is walking distance from our front door, even when we need a break more than anything else. The reorganization project will be waiting for us whenever we return.

God knows this deep sense of belonging to family and community is exactly what I’d hoped and prayed for. Clearly He held it all together here just for me :D.

Thanks God!

 

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:21 (NLT)

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My Newest Normal

CO 1

Before leaving Texas rising before daybreak was my normal. Three weeks in at my new residence I’ve been up before the sun exactly once. This new feeling of having slept through most of the day is initially offsetting, but I suspect I shall adjust – eventually. We are enjoying catching up since Erin and I last lived together – often most of the night. I wasn’t even bothered after realizing I seemed to have lost an entire day. So, this week my Tuesday post shall be on Wednesday!

This all seems like a natural part of relocating to a somewhat new household. Expand that to an entirely new neighborhood and a new state which I had heretofore only visited and liked immensely. I am happy to report the populace and the environment continues to appear sincerely friendly and welcoming.

My challenges to date:

Household logistics:
I’m now familiar with the layout of the rooms. While not as intense as the first few days, we’re still in the Dude, where’d we put my stuff? phase. I find a modicum of comfort noticing Erin also shares this experience. While we shuffle items around to make room for my stuff amongst the belongings she and her son amassed over their 16 years in this house.

My Inner Compass:
Leaving the house an average of 3 times per week, distinguishing east from west on an overcast day here will take some time. Still, GPS on my cell makes walking to nearly anything I need a delight.

CO 3Visual perception:
I pray I never become desensitized to the often overwhelming beauty of Mount Garfield, the Colorado National Monument, The Little Book Cliffs, Colorado River, the groves, vineyards and the many other natural wonders of the Western Slope. I expect soon these shall help me navigate the area.

Mental perception:
The concept of Home remains a mystery to me, however Sunday Dinners every week with the family of childhood neighbors help tighten my grip on it all.
Home today seems to me to be like a presence that has lurked nearby as long as I can remember. I have longed to know it better but have yet to fully engage it. I am determined to relentlessly pursue.

 

 

“Whenever you enter someone’s home, first say, ‘May God’s peace be on this house.’  If those who live there are peaceful, the blessing will stand; if they are not, the blessing will return to you.” Luke 10:5, 6 (NLT)

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