The Barrio. And other news.

Saw some ladies walking the street today while out working. Not THAT kind of walking. They had the look like they were pitching Jesus. Just went out the front door of Tony and Dan's. They were pitching Jesus. Left a flyer in the door. The flyer was in Spanish. Not a word of English. If TW were here he could tell me what it says, but from the pictures, I infer pitching Jesus. Preacher pictures in flyers look the same in any language. We are in the Barrio, have to expect Spanish is assumed.

Continuing on the Jesus vein. An enormous (tall and wide) African American man moseyed through what is left of the car port about as I was shutting down for the day. Seemed familiar with the place. Introduces himself as Pastor something. The mind starts spinning through possibilities. Mrs. Murray (the beloved previous owner), was apparently quite religious. This must be her guy. Seems she is Sister Murray. We talked awhile and he seems to approve of our plans. Told him we had saved the Murray's sign from the front porch and were going to find a place for it when we're done. I just might get a blessing for that. He didn't say, but he had an approving look and gave me that preacher nod. Then he commented on the missing Juniper. Liked the new view. I told him what Ann wants to do with the dead tree in back, and that I was not all that convinced. He said I didn't have to tell SWITBO, but he thought it was a hell (my word) of an idea. Told him to not be a stranger and we'd have him in for some wine when we were done. Quickly processed, this guy is going to start preaching me a sermon about the evils of demon rum. So I added, or water. He was happy with water.

Continuing on the moseying into the yard vein. On Monday, I'm whacking away at something in the car port (where there is shade) when I hear "HEH" from the backyard. This time it was a neighborhood guy in a wife beater tee shirt with jeans that were barely staying up because he's a skinny dude with no ass (for our mining buddies, think the hoist man at the Maxwell, Danny something or other?). The shirt comes to a point. The pants start at a point. The two points don't intersect so there's a nice band of skin. Which is not my point. He's not just a little bleary eyed and starts looking around like he owns the place. Seems he too knows Sister Murray, since he grew up in the Barrio. He and his dad have built 6 or 8 houses around here. He points them out. I have no idea which ones, but I nod respectfully. This goes on for a while, I figure what he really wants is a little pick-up work from the rich honky. I start shooing him off. He asks for work. I tell him I have a contractor. "Oh, he'll have his guys..." he responds and with that he moseys back through the backyard from whence he came. We have GOT to get that back wall built!

Today was marking day. Marked the corners of the garage and the landscape walls. Marked the plants that need to be avoided. When I finish this I'll upload the pictures with the marking if anyone is interested. They'll be in the renovation front and back picture area.

With dispensation from Ann and Dan, I dug-up and potted the plants that have some value but were definitely in the way. In the process, I've learned some things about the soil here:

  • It's crap. Side note. it's vs its is like semicolons - when do you use one. So I looked it up. For those with one of them liberal arts degrees from a fancy university; you already know I are an engener from a state school and my grammar sucks; you already know how to use its and it's AND how to use a semicolon.
  • It's crappy crap. 
    • If the geologic process of rock turning to soil is a continuum, "A" Mountain was formed the week before we got here. What we have is rock and dust. If you walk on it you get dusty. If you dig in it, well, you don't dig in it. That's kind of the point.
    • My first clue was going into Dan's shed to borrow a shovel. What I saw was a square nose, don't dig with that. And a narrow trenching shovel. No regular round nosed shovel like people the world over dig with. There may be one in there, but it was not front and center where tools that are being used regularly are stored. We have a trenching shovel at home - that we use for trenching.
    • I used the trenching shovel. Turns out the only way to dig a plant is to trench around it and then use the shovel like a spatula to lever the plant out of the "hole".
  • It's hell on wooden stakes. I started with one bundle of stakes - that'll be plenty. In the first 15 minutes I ruined so many stakes it was off to The Depot for more. I got twice what I was sure were too many, and had only 4 left.
  • It's heavy crappy crap crap. This stuff must be 90% uranium. I looked it up. A gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds. A gallon of uranium weighs 150 pounds. That means a 5 gallon plant container weighs infinity. Three of the plants went into 5 gallon plant containers. I went to carry the first one over to Dan's. I kind of know what a 5 gallon plant container weighs. I can't budge this thing. Not even a little. I did think it curious that Dan would have a 2 wheel dolly in the storage shed when I was borrowing shovels... So I went and borrowed the dolly too. To find out the dolly has two flat tires. AFTER I put the first 5 gallon container on the dolly. Flat tires or no, I drug that som-bitch out to the street. Then I went and got the bicycle pump that thank god we gifted Dan and Tony on our first trip down here. Tires pumped right up and things got a LOT easier.
  • Dispensation or no, I'm not transplanting anymore plants.

Now, what I know about plants wouldn't fill a thimble. Me moving plants unsupervised is like going to Eastern Europe for a last ditch miracle treatment for some medical issue. It's just not a good idea. I did my best, but if any of these poor things make it - it will be a miracle. 

 This is Dan and Tony's side yard (opposite the Quail Manor). Lovely isn't it. The things in the pots are the plants I transplanted.

This is Dan and Tony's side yard (opposite the Quail Manor). Lovely isn't it. The things in the pots are the plants I transplanted.

Did I mention it's over 100 again.

We were supposed to start stripping the roof on Tuesday. But Craig (the contractor) ran long finishing up a job to turn-over to the drywallers. He did come over and we sorted through business relationship issues and did a good walk-through of the plans and the property, so it's all good. Today they were going to get the drywallers started and actually wrap things up. We'd start in on the roof tomorrow at 05.00 to avoid the heat. In the wrapping up, they discovered some electrical issues hidden under some drywall. Like junctions not in an electrical box behind some drywall issues. So that precipitated doing some more checking and more issues were found. Anyway, we're putting the roof off until Friday at 05.00. 

Whilst working issues Craig remembered some scaffolding he has. His helper has a set of wheels that will fit on the scaffolding. I have a remarkably smooth concrete slab under the aforementioned termite infested roof that needs to come off. Working off rolling scaffolding instead of walking on a questionable roof in 100 degree heat...it's a good thing.

So, hopefully Friday.

I too had an idea today. I was taking pictures. Uploading them. Calling Ann to discuss disposition. When I start thinking. What if I got a webcam to work off the WiFi. We could look and talk in real time. So, tomorrow it's off to the webcam store. There may be a way to set-up the webcam so it just broadcasts all the time. Kind of nanny-cam but the Quail Manor-cam. Then if I'm not here or Ann's not here and decisions need to be made where seeing would be helpful, just schlep the Quail Manor-cam over to what needs to be seen and discuss. Perfect!

Now for just a little rant.

We have a 5/8 inch water meter. The plans call for 3/4 inch. Presumably because we're adding a bathroom. Interestingly, the water meter is in the middle of the freaking driveway. No more than 6 inches below the surface. Now, it's been there since 1962 and presumably never a problem. What I don't know is how often that Cadillac moved... Anyway, I figure as long as we're changing out the meter, let's move it.

Talk to Craig, he concures, says call the City. He kind of giggles and drives off. I smell a rat so didn't do anything about it yesterday. Today when it got too hot to be outside, I called the City. 9 calls in, I've actually talked to only one person. But I've found the option that goes through the phone list; press 1 for Mary, 2 for Sally, etc.

So on the 10th call, I press 1 for Mary. She's actually quite helpful, in a manner of speaking. I explain, she clicks keys. How far do you want to move the meter. I tell her 13 feet. Clicking of keys. That will be $754.93. It will happen some time (I eventually find out at a time that I am not even informed of, it's their meter after all, unless it needs to be moved then it's my meter), after I come down and fill out some forms and write a check (I forgot to bring the damn check book, won't take credit cards). We argue about who's meter it is and what happens if I just leave it in the damn driveway and it breaks (they fix it free of charge). But to move it so it won't break in the first place, THAT costs me $754.93. Go figure. So, how much if I move it 6 feet. Is it half? Clicking of keys, no, that'll be $608.39.

I still need to upgrade to a 3/4 inch meter. Clicking. That'll be $1,141.67. At this point I'm in WTF mode. Is there tax on that? Where do they come-up with these numbers. $0.67, that sounds like a round up from $0.666666666666. The concept of using credit cards. Or the Internet. That's just nonsense.

Turns out there is not (any tax). And, I can just write one check for the combined amount. I'll write two to piss them off. When I remember to bring the damn check book.

If I report this to Fox News, it will be Obama's fault...