I know that I may be pushing things a little bit, but the number of the year has me a little amazed, and it is NOT because we survived the Mayan New Year. You see, dear readers, when June arrives this year, I will be 60 years old. Almost twice as old as the woman in this picture, who happens to be my mother. She is posing in front of the mountain which was a talisman for my father all his life, largely because it was the first mountain of the Rocky Mountain National Park that he climbed. Mt. Meeker. Where I will be in mid-July on pilgrimage with my brother to cast his ashes to the winds high atop this peak and allow him to become one with the place that was always his favorite in the world.
He certainly had experience enough to know that this was actually his favorite place. Somewhere there is a map board that he created many years ago that had flags of countries he visited and worked in during his life stuck into the appropriate places. It was impressive, actually. Last time I counted there were well over 50 flags.
But I digress. Here is another historic photo, taken the same year as the one of my mother above, by the same loving photographer.
This is me, of course, engaged in delicate exploration of the beach at La Jolla Shores. Even then, at the tender age of six, I preferred to have my hands in the dirt rather than putting a utensil between me and the medium.
A lot has happened over the last few weeks. My “Pet Contractor” finally went under our house to see what he could see. What he saw was so alarming that he moved our job from “sometime soon” to “I’ll have guys there tomorrow, I’m having lumber delivered to your place this afternoon.” Yes, dear friends, the rot situation that had not been addressed because we couldn’t find someone who wanted to crawl around under our house to do the work and also because we had to deal with the downstairs neighbors before we really wanted someone doing that had progressed to a potential disaster. One of the four beams that support the house was actually broken in two places. Any engineer can tell you that the loss of 25% of the total weight support of a structure is bad news.
The good news is the other beams held, they have been sistered and the house has been shored back up and we are good to go. So now we only have to replenish the savings account, which took a Huge Hit (see, a crew of six construction workers only costs around $800 per day and clear 2x10s 14 feet long carry an impressive price tag). Fortunately, since my contractor is my “Pet Contractor” he was willing to accept payment in three portions so we never actually had to take money out of our IRAs, which is a good thing. And it is gratifying to be able to walk through the dining room and not feel the floor sink beneath my feet.
The whole construction escapade was ruled a virtual hell on Earth by poor Impy, who has barely adjusted to the new turn his life has taken since my father died and we adopted Impy. There were disembodied voices yelling from below, saws, hammers, creaks and groans as the house straightened back up, thumps, people walking across is lawn (horrors!). There was nowhere to go where he could not hear, no place safe enough to hide. I found him crouched on the bed, eyes as big as the full moon, ready to disappear into thin air if only it was possible. Fortunately (for my bank account, too), his travails only lasted two days, and a kitty heart attack was narrowly averted.
Mallory, on the other hand, remained supremely unconcerned about the whole thing, at least until the construction worker came into the house with his level to make sure that the floors were being jacked up to even status and not beyond. Then she felt it was important to supervise his activities. I was not able to get the camera going fast enough to catch Mallory with her head down between him and his level, watching the little bubble and exuding the attitude “Are you sure you are doing this right?” The expression on his face was classic.
Well, I’m looking forward to the next year, when we will start replacing carpets with something more amenable to being clean. I’m sure that the lack of traction will change the way Impy and Mallory play. While I am looking forward to the new flooring, I am NOT looking foward to moving all the furniture which includes huge bookcases full of books and an entire stereo set up including every sort of component from phonograph up to and including the BluRay player. I’m not sure how many cords there are behind that particular piece of furniture, but I do know it hasn’t been moved since we moved in here in 1996, so I imagine there is an impressive collection of dust to go along with the cords.
I really need to get busy and take down the Christmas tree. It would be horrible to have just fixed all the underpinnings of the house at great expense only to burn it down accidentally.