Monday, September 29, 2008

Recipes for the Girls

The Banar gals invited me to do two recipes for them. Poor Vicki is swamped. I'm doing a Coconut Panna Cotta and a Tropical Fruit Tart. Not too hard. I submitted the ideas to them for the concept. They will get back with approvals of one or the other

Meanwhile Shari is trying to sort out some requests of BB. One was for her to create recipes that will match two photos that the agency had shot. They are supposed to be simple and one of them - a spinach salad should be. The other is a taco that the agency has made very complicated by adding too many ingredients and now they want a simple recipe. Furthermore the photo contains a couple of unbelievable faux pas - a toothpick has been left sticking out of one tortilla and you can see a slice of bread sticking out from under the tortilla..they used it as a prop. Ouch.

I will help Shari with her photos next week for two days. This week she's on her own.

This week I will try to get the bathroom cabinets designed and finish up the kitchen with necessary modifications. I have been suffering with a cold and am just getting over it. Perhaps I'll feel a little more with it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


We had to choose an ironing "center" today. A built-in unit for the master bathroom. We chose one with a swivel board and a timer and a spot light. The iron can be plugged in at all times and you only have to turn on a timer to get started. Once done, you put the iron in the rack provided and close the door. It will turn off at the designated time. This is supposed to eliminate the "left the iron on" anxiety that we have all suffered. We'll order the iron tomorrow along with the steam shower - a Thermasol. Once again we are having to learn more than we'd like about all the options. 10 years ago there was only one hide-an-iron called Hide a Board. Now there are about 10. It must be a lucrative business because there is not much to them and the price is high.

We cleaned the rancho today...drywall and crap everywhere. The workers are just throwing their empty food containers and bottles off the roof to wherever. I carried drywall and insulation and will probably get asbestosis now on top of my other problems. Richard worked on filling the dumpster. He picked flowers for me which were in the car when I left with Pinkie. Buster stayed at the rancho on the watch with a Kangaroo Rat, flushed out of one of the closets. He was mesmerized.

Beautiful day today..about as good as it gets. Are we lucky to be living in this marvelous climate. And the bail-out bill was restructured and should pass tomorrow. Does that mean happy times will be here again?

Note to myself: watch out for the ruskies. I think they are on the move again, big time.

Pork tenderloin, baby zucchini, baked potato and a nice salad with hand made croutons for dinner. Life is good.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Big Bail out

Today congress passed the big 700 billion dollar bail out. We have reached a disgraceful place in this country. What a mess. The government blames greedy lenders when the problems rooted in the congressional meddling in the whole process to make fair housing available to the poor and needy. Right.

House-wise, we are getting stucco bids. Lots of plumbing going on...laying pipes and running wires. The roof is stacked with tiles and the felt is on. The upper deck has been water proofed and tomorrow Ken and the boys will be over to hand the big slider and to build the roof ridges, the shower framing and lower the roof in the bedroom. I have a cold and am experiencing some anxiety over the tumor. I'll be happy to have my meeting with the neurologist over with so that I know what I have to deal with. Daily I think my buzzing is getting worse and hearing worse..but I don't know if it's my imagination.

I'm busy with cabinets, appliances and have to make tiles and counter choices. More shopping.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Stress this week with the arrival of the big beams from Vintage. Instead of 400 pounds which they claimed the big beam was, we estimated closer to 800 pounds. Five guys could hardly budge it. We decided to cut it in half and use half of it on the underside of our arches when you walk in the house. Things are starting to look hunting lodge like but we like it. The massive fireplace and beams are a nice contrast to the La Cantina door. Once it was up, I wished we had bought another for upstairs.
The whole wall looks like glass.

Ken was very shocked at the size of the beams. He thought we meant small beams and got lost in my changing back and forth from fake to real. I only bought the beams because he assured me he could set them. If I ever did something like that again, I would make sure the contractor knew what I was talking about.

The sliding doors were set, the beams raised and the bathroom prepared for the new walk-in shower. We decided on a glass brick wall for the guest shower/steam shower and on the jacuzzi bath tub for upstairs. I have to decide on whether we will wax the beam or not. I know I have to get some stain to touch up a few spots on the wood which are just too stained to be really nice.

Today we have to cover the thresholds and the door edges so the "animals" don't wreck them - that would be the stucco, dry wall and roofers...everybody who comes stomping through.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My New Reality

In Lowe's today, looking at outdoor lights, a man walked past me and I heard, "mumble, mumble, grumble." I asked him, "Are you speaking to me?". He replied, "Mumble, mumble, mumble." I said, "I'm sorry could you repeat that?" and moved closer - again, a mumble. So I told him I couldn't hear in one ear. A look passed over his face and he said "I LIKE YOUR SANDALS!" in a big, loud voice. I laughed at the reaction because it's becoming familiar. Why wouldn't somebody be frustrated after repeating an innocent little compliment three times until it's importance is blown all out of proportion? People run out of patience very quickly. So do I when someone dares not to hear me!!!

I'm thinking of getting earrings that say on one side, good ear and on the other, bad ear.

Goodbye Jaime

Richard had a trying day. Jaime finally just stopped working. Oddly, he slashed his time sheet to ribbons and then went off to sleep in the grove. When Richard confronted him, Jaime cursed at him and flashed his knife. Richard calmly told Jaime he was fired and to leave. There was an outburst of profanity and name calling to Richard, who warily kept his distance and remained calm. Jaime left only to come back because he had left his cell phone behind.

Jaime was a good worker in that he did a job, any job, very well. He completed jobs including clean and putting tools away. he had become more trouble than he was worth - in summary, Richard's complaints:
Jaime at one point, virtually lived in the truck..he would do his laundry and hang it in the garage. The truck stank of Jaimes stinky clothes He never worked 8 hours. It was 7 1/2, then 7 then 6. He was arriving later and later and much of his time was unaccounted for; Richard found that he was coming to work, signing in and then taking off to collect cans around the neighborhood. Somehow, Jaime expected Richard to be benificent, bestowing money on Jaime just because he asked for it. He stole fruit from the grove a bit of a time and then became profligate about it taking as much as 50 pounds a day. We believe he was siphoning gas out of the truck - the tank emptied out awfully fast. He always had his own agenda. He preferred for example working with the construction guys and at one point was acting more like Ken's laborer than ours.

His parting shot was to slash up Richard's little tomato bush - we don't know everything he did - Richard will find out what was stolen and what ruined over the next few days. Richard believes Jaime to be insane or at least out of control. We are relieved to be done with him.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Equal and Cedar Rapids

Shari and I went to Cedar Rapids this week to do a presentation at Swank for Equal. We were not well prepared as neither of us were particularly into it. Our contact at Equal is gone, replaced by an unknown quantity and so our work there is probably over. I guess that's the reason we were so unenthusiastic. However, Shari and I enjoyed ourselves in first class both there and back which made the travel much easier.

Our little presentation went OK but I felt we were faking and dodging most of the questions. I particularly can't get behind the product at the moment because of my own anxiety about my AN. This may be distracting me in a bigger way than I acknowledge. I find if I keep really busy I don't notice the buzz so much. Coming down in the aircraft to Minneapolis, my buzz turned into applause for a while which was scary but it settled down in a little bit.

Shari and I shared a pork tenderloin sandwich and we also ordered cheese balls which were deep fried. Not exactly the most nutritious meals you could experience. Pork rules in Iowa.


This week marked the completion of the fireplace stoning and we picked up the mantle from Vintage Timer and appied the stain. It looks pretty good, full of character. The fireplace also turned out as expected. Now we are stuck waiting for the plumber to give us a price on jack hammering out the bathroom shower floor to replace it with the correct pitch for drain so that our shower can be a walk-in one. Gary is a nice guy but a lousy communicator - he simply does not return my calls and I have to ask Dan to intervene whenever I want him.

The roof is progressing and some of the paper is already on. They will load the tiles sometime during the week. We have one stucco bid but require a few more. I've decided against Cats Paw as I think it will be too busy with the wrought iron and our ultra fancy roof. Just too much going on. Now to convince Richard.

Our Anderson windows have been checked out by the Dixieline rep. He was surprised that some were as bad as they were. One has to be replaced completely. He repaired the latches that fell off immediately after coming out of the boxes.

In Bali they are working on our stair railings and should finish up this week. The whole order will then be shipped and will arrive within two months.

Gail continues to work on the electrical and has many questions..all good ones and all of which will help us get some really good lighting installed. Both Richard and I like well-lit houses so this part is fun.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Framing Finished

Ken and company have almost completed the framing. They have yet to do a few things and install the beams. Most of this should be completed next week. Jerry made a very nice arch for over the bedroom door and he added some bumps to the chimneys, finishing them off.

The foreman from Dan's roofing has been by and is planning to put the felt on next week. We have a lot of under belly stuff to do this week before we move forward again. Hot mop on the deck, before the sliders can be installed; shower pan to be resolved, before more plumbing can be done; a steam shower to purchase and a bathtub for upstairs.

Elbow gave us a reduced bid for the front wall. $7500.00. The partnership between him and Oscar has fallen apart and Elbow now wishes to pretend that we are paying him by the hour for future jobs to cut out his mordita to Oscar. Another construction politics - Ken fired Jeff off the job. Rob fired Dan. Are we bad luck or is this just the way it goes?

My left ear

My ear problem turns out to be more than expected. An MRI revealed an acoustic neuroma, a benign growth sitting on the vestibular nerve. These neuromas occur when a certain protein, effective against tumor growth and controlled by a gene on chromosome 22, ceases to be generated. It is a genetic mutation. Schwamma cells, a thin layer which sheaths the nerve start to grow. Eventually they form a mass...mine is the size of a BB at the moment. They are unpredictable..some grow slow, some fast. Some grow fast for a while and then slow down. Some grow fast and then slow and some disappear.

I've had a few days of gathering information to the point of overload so now I'll just leave it alone until I see the neurologist and get the info straight from the horse's mouth. For now I'll bet I get put into the W & W group - watch and wait. From my reading the treatment I'd select would be radiation knife. Risks abound no matter what path you choose.

Bottom line is the tinnitus is with me forever so I get used to it.