Saturday, August 31, 2002

The Pool

3'.5'" to 6'3" to 3'.5" deep
Royal Saltillo coping and and royal blue water line tile

...and full of water! We have all been sitting on the edge of the pool, dipping our feet and letting the moment sink in. Of course we can't believe it's actually complete. It needs the cover installed, and Tuesday they will add chemicals and do the final tweaking of things. Otherwise, we have a finished pool!

Too emotional to think and write. This is a good day. This is a really good life.

Friday, August 30, 2002

Get Plastered :: Summer's End

Good morning. It's Friday. It's plaster time. Victor and I worked until dark, last night, setting tiles on the steps and bench. I got pretty good at it, and with what tile is left I want to decorate something else. Anyway, we are all set for what these guys are going to do today. It's 6:30 a.m. and they are in the pool scraping and cleaning all the messes left by every crew that came before them.

This is going to be very interesting. I think we've grown accustomed to our rough, gray, concrete lined hole in the ground. After today it will be an actual swimming pool. We will enjoy all the luxuries, and some chores, of a private pool; except for skinny dipping: Grandfather has better vision than he admits to, a keen interest in keeping tabs on everyone, and a very wide open view of the pool and spa. I am sure he'll be giving me regular reports on who's 'been running around the pool,' which kid 'jumped in' and from where. All my friends have 'ooh'd and ahh'd,' about the romance of a back yard spa, and evening swims. I should be checking out the nurseries for a fast growing, dense hedge!

Everything is winding down and settling in. I've pruned some shrubs, Geoff mowed a section of lawn. The chicas left 2 eggs yesterday, and the tractor looks comfortable and well used. And by Sunday afternoon it will all be over. No more summer vacation, no more workers. No more trucks and wheel barrows and concrete. Even guests from out of town will be on their way home. will be strange.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Can It Be?

Take a deep breathe and let it all out. Repeat.

Writing is a poor medium for conveying the tension and suspense that hung in the air at the Rancho. Or perhaps I feel inadequate to convey the feelings. We were certainly stressing, and Geoff especially was under too much pressure, here and at the office. Strange thing about anticipation, once the event comes and goes, all the pent up energy and anxiety needs to go too, but where and how?

Mr. Navarro pulled up up at 11:30 a.m. and did his thing. He pointed out some spots that will need fine tuning, and cautioned us about the time when the pool cover will not be installed. Then he shook Geoff's hand and said, "You are approved for plaster." Cool and calm.

I feel elated, but full of that pent-up-worry energy. The feelings are genuine, but when I read the words and think about what I am going through; the whole thing totally amuses me. I know perfectly well that there are worse things to get all worked up over. No need to get stressy. It's really time to celebrate, relax and give thanks that I have the privilege to enjoy trivial and even good stress.

Tomorrow plaster will be applied to the pool and by 1 p.m. they will turn on the big hose and fill the pool with water. The pool will fill in 24 hours. It will be cloudy and even greenish. On Tuesday Mission Pools will come for a first clean up; brushing and vacuuming and starting chemicals. Then I will brush the plaster, several times, daily, for a week. Pool Safe will install the cover sometime in the next 2 weeks. That's it. We can swim in about a week from the time plaster is installed or as soon as the water is clear. Yahooty!

I should celebrate by doing something classically American, middle class: I will go to Target! Max needs more underwear, and we are out of shampoo. I'll check out the clearance aisle and see what inflatable goodies are sitting around, waiting to go to a good home.

Seeing The Pool Finish Line

This is the sprint at the end of the 90 day race. Geoff, Vicente, Rich and Corm have all been contributing to the completion of the two different fence sections. Setbacks have included: delayed delivery of fence sections, inexperienced hired help, a weak drill battery and a dead saw. Surprisingly we're doing better than I thought we would. My part is to call the county office at 8 a.m. and determine which 2 hour time window our inspection is scheduled for, and then possibly beg for the latest in the day; we don't need this guy showing up at 9 a.m.

I also need to set the tiles on the pool steps and bench. Without some color on these spots they will 'disappear' in the white plaster. This should be interesting, as I have never set pool tile. Did I mention 'plaster?' Are you sitting down? IF we pass inspection, Mission Pools will send their plaster team tomorrow! Grab you ear plugs and floaties, because we could be swimming in 10 days!

When Geoff and I met I had just cut my very long hair very short. Off and on through the years I have worn my hair short, but I am mostly drawn to the romantic notion that long hair is the most attractive. Geoff doesn't share this belief. In recent years I have joked, "I wouldn't have long hair, if we had a pool." Geoff would then laugh and threaten to build a pool. So, to make a long story short: I cut it all off on Monday. We laughed again at the fulfillment of my promise, and we attribute the sudden rush in completing the pool to my very short hair.

The brave ex... hold on, I just saw Luna pacing passed the window. Chicken Run!

Luna and Gracie both love to make a break for the wide open spaces. Cuties; they always cooperate when we come out to retrieve them.

So, I was going to write about the boys, the brave explorers, who have camped out every night this week. I joined them Tuesday night, and Geoff has been with them the rest of the nights. The boys have had the courage to be on their own, but us big kids haven't wanted to miss out on the fun. Monday night we found a frog and a toad. Last night the bats were very active. When I slept outside the ostriches were very loud (no, we aren't in Africa; there is an ostrich ranch about 1/2 a mile down the valley from here.) Alex is determined to make his 'roughing it' experience very authentic, and wanted to sleep outside the tent on the bare ground. He is hoping for a thunderstorm, and desperately wants a campfire. We'd better wait for some rain before we do anything involving sparks.

Yesterday was also devoted to some sight seeing with our Kona visitors, and Holly, Rich and Nicholas. We met at Max's gymnastics class; he had a fairly large and enthusiastic cheering section. Then we had lunch and headed out to Bate's Nut Farm. We fed their goats and sheep. We checked out their chickens and mulberry trees, and compared them with our own. We have fewer chickens and smaller trees. Everyone found tasty things to snack on, and treats to share later. The weather was ideal; warm and breezy.

It's nearly 8 a.m. Time to call the exciting!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Finish That Fence!

Are we ready for a pool update? Ya, me too. Okay here goes: The equipment (filter and heater) is hooked up, and today an electrician will come and connect all the lines. But now the ball is in our court, and frankly we have no 'racket.' I kind of thought we might get caught like this. The western fence is incomplete; the sections on special order are not in. The eastern fence is finished, but it is missing a big gate. This is pretty much as I predicted. We can't have our county inspection until security is secure, and we can't schedule plaster until we pass inspection...argghhh. On a brighter note; it's still frickin' hot!

Our landscapers retain their shining reputations. We didn't like the way things were adding up; they poured less concrete than we paid for, but this morning they explained that they deduct the difference. It is easier to over-order when buying concrete, than to come up short. Cool. Sod worked out the same way. They did extra grading for us, and now the street section and driveway are looking good.

Right now they are creating our grill and counter top. I am supposed to visit a place to choose a stone to top the whole thing. And neighbor John and Geoff are going to custom weld the actual grill and plancha for cooking. Sniff, you smell something? Tortillas are toasting and chiles are sizzling on the hot grill! Can I get you a cold cerveza, to go with your tacos? So, I'm thinking; 'pool, grill, fiesta-16 de septiembre!'

Grandma and Grampa are home from Oregon. They spent a long week with Mom and Dad; picking blackberries, visiting Florence, North Bend, Roseburg, Coos Bay, Portland, and Bandon. It sounds as though they had a really good time. They talked about how beautiful the new house is, and what a good foreman Ron is. They were also impressed with the intensity of the flower colors and the lushness of the trees. Mom and Dad are going to have to make it official and hang up a 'B&B' sign; Becky Sioux is arriving with a friend today, and at the end of the week Becky and Dan will join them. We have marked our calendar for a Thanksgiving visit.

Classic: I heard a truck pull up, so I ran to check. It's Mission Pools! Yesterday the scheduler said I had to be home from 12 noon through evening, so I could meet the electricians. I couldn't make any afternoon plans with Mom and Corm, who are visiting from Kona. And I made a commitment to go choose the stone with Victor for this morning. So, Mission Pools shows up 2 hours early and they tell me they need to work all day! It's not famine or the plague, but it sure bites, when people can't make and keep regular schedules.

The saddest part is that instead of running around Ikea with Holly and Ruth, or choosing flagstone with Victor, I will be home, and I'll be feeling compelled to clean the kitchen, do some laundry and go through paper work! Torture! Foul! Yuck! One of the weaker parts of achieving 'adulthood' is accepting the fact that you have to do all the stuff that no one else wants to do, including; bills, cleaning barf, scaring away solicitors, choosing a long distance carrier and driving yourself to the dentist. Well, if there is any one out there actually reading this, please think kindly of me and wish me luck: I am going to be a grown up now.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

"I am Happy This Way"

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, Max and I spread out an old bed sheet on the new lawn. The sheet was cool and the breeze moved through it in a summery way. The lawn was mown for the first time. It was dark, crushed green, and flat topped, like a good, thick haircut. Max rushed in to my arms and we sat embracing one another. He whispered in my ear, "I feel good right now. I am happy this way." This moment will remain in memory always. I have anticipated running in the yard, picnics on the lawn, cartwheels in the shade, and stretching out to watch birds and clouds. And now we are living dreams and it is wonderful; better than imagined.

Alex hounded us until we found the tent. He has spent the week preparing to go on a bug expedition. He has been researching insects, lizards and birds. He has a box and net for collecting specimens, and paper and pencil to record data and illustrate interesting finds. He helped pack sandwiches, and snacks. Earlier this week, as a special treat I let them have root beer. He saved his soda for his anticipated adventure. And now everything is in readiness. The domed, 4 person tent is pitched at the back of the yard, behind the playset and north of the chickens. Inside there are 2 sleeping bags, some pillows and other necessities. William has agreed to join the team; no decision yet from Max. The boys have flashlights, and vivid imaginations. This will be a very interesting night.

I am happy for my boys. They have the gift of finding the world engaging, interesting. They read together; Harry Potter, Tarzan, Swiss Family Robinson, The Prince and The Pauper. They build together; Lego towers, robots, castles and airplane models. They draw factories and cats, swords and penguins, and inventions with pulleys, wiring and gears. They plant trees and flowers, and care for their cats, fish and chickens. They create whole worlds, with languages, histories, cultures and technologies; they render them on paper, or in mud and sticks in a corner of the yard. They keep their curiosity, wonder and respect, they research and touch and listen. They have full and enriched lives.

Today I am taking the Chica Roja down to the corral. I will bring up dirt to the "Secret Garden." Alex and I have some flowers and herbs to plant. And then I will prune some of Grandmother's roses, gather some rosemary, and transplant the thyme.