Painting the House: Slow but Steady

I am tired. I painted all day and got only the tedious lattice work completed on the porch. I knew it would take a long time but sheesh, that was a patience eater. And it didn’t even turn out all that great. Call it good enough.

I opened up the box with a new paint sprayer today. It has a backpack tank and a lithium battery so I can climb a ladder and not worry about hauling up a power cord. I am hoping it will save me some time now that I have most of the small areas completed. The decks should be next, as they need it most. Really, the open deck that gets the sun needs to be finished, but it seems silly not to do both at once. Why clean up twice? So tomorrow I sand, then hopefully do some spraying the next day. We’ll have to use the front door.

Of course, I need to paint the wall next to the deck, so I should paint that first. That means a coat of primer, which needs to dry for a day, then a coat of paint on top of that. So best case scenario I couldn’t get to the deck until day four, if the sanding goes as planned. So maybe I just go for the deck first and use a drop cloth when I paint the wall. Seems silly. So, of course, I will do it right. Do the wall, then the decks.

So I am tuckered and I need to keep it up. Rain showers are in the forecast but not until tomorrow afternoon. I will try to get up early and get cracking. Again. Let’s hope the smoke detectors don’t start howling like last night and wake us all after midnight. I replaced the batteries in all of them, so we should be set, but who knows what strange things might be afoot in the wee hours. I just need enough sleep to be ready to crank. Early to bed for me. With dreams of oil-based primer. And hopefully ice cream.

End of the Day

Warm night. Lightning bugs dot the field. Children sleep their innocent sleep, half under blankets.

Summer has arrived. I watched the sun set on the lake tonight. The Adirondacks outlined in pink and red. Peepers still sing to one another in the darkness.

I am in love with everything around me–my wife, my children, this world. I am love with the lightning bugs and the sunset. My heart leaps up.

Dew settles as the air cools. The wind has the night off. The sun wakes the other side of the earth. Somewhere outside the house, a skunk searches for breakfast.

How can I sleep with such wonder? How can I sleep with such beauty? And what about love? That, too, keeps me stirring long after my family sleeps, long after I have risen and left my bed to gather the day’s dust.

Holiday Pics

My daughter was awake at 3:30 AM this morning. I gave her the good news that it was after midnight. I also gave her the bad news that she had to wait a few hours to get up for the day. We took a peek at the gifts laid out, then back to bed. She managed to fall asleep for about an hour between then and 5:30. Then she was up for the day. Her brother was not so stimulated. He was conked out until 5:45 when she went to “check on him.” Then we all were down by the Christmas tree, ogling the booty.

We unwrapped, with some restraint, for a couple of hours. We had some scattered breakfast. We ate candy. We took photos. And then it was play time. The children looked at books and did an art project and had some rescue pretending, among other things. Then they went outside and now we are ready for some apple pie. That was a special request from the early riser. That was easy enough to provide. Plus, it means I can eat pie as well.

The day is young and we have much play time to come. There may even be a bath involved, to test out the toy shark cage. Only a huge snowstorm could make this day better. Merry Christmas.

Heading Downstairs in the Dark

Loot

A Little Chaos

Not a Mouse

A few days ago I posted in the middle of the night how I was being kept awake by a mouse in the walls. Set out some traps, wait for it to come in and bang–catch a mouse.  The traps are still sitting there. We don’t have a mouse. I think we have a chipmunk. The thing is driving me mad. Every night it does more damage. Every night I try to scare it away. Every night I get no closer to figuring out how to get rid of it.

There are plenty of ways to catch a chipmunk, some lethal, some more pacifistic. The problem is that I do not know where to set any trap at this point. It isn’t coming into the house yet, thank the mammalian goddesses, but I also can’t find where it is traveling in and out of the walls. I naively filled in one tunnel early in the invasion. It hasn’t touched that spot since. Now I can’t find any tunnel. The spot it seemed to have gotten into the house has offered no signs of animal travel lately. It has another route in and out.

Rat traps, Haveaheart traps, hot pepper, whatever, I am willing to try it at this point, but where to place any such device or deterrent?  That is the question. My plan at this point is to get some traps and just set them out and about near where I thought it was getting in. Maybe I will get lucky. That will tomorrow’s task. Too late tonight. Maybe by filling in its tunnel it is trying to find a new way out by tunneling in the wall. I don’t know. If I set out traps and they offer nothing, maybe I will unclog the original tunnel and set the traps there.

In any case, this critter needs to go. And soon. Chipmunks are cute, but I am willing to resort to violence if necessary. I would prefer I find a way to simply get it out and keep it out, but that may prove fruitless. Stay tuned for more reports from the front lines.

Going to Sleep

Ah, the woes of being a parent. My two children seem to be having some trouble falling asleep.  Some commennts they have made recently while they should be falling asleep:

I think I heard something.

I can’t stop thinking about bad things.

I have a question: Can I have two cookies in my snack tomorrow?

I have to tell you something: Why does Mars look so rusty?

I have something else to tell you: Tonight, Jupiter was the only planet in the whole sky.

Can I have a band aid for my cut? I cut myself when I was playing with the Playmobil horse.

Today, at school, I found some treasure in the sandbox and no one would let me keep it.

I don’t want to go to school tomorrow.

I can’t wait to go to school tomorrow.

I have to return my library books tomorrow.

Before you got home we could hear a mouse over by the art table, and you know what? At school, Kristen told us that one time she was with her lawyer and a mouse, I mean a squirrel, popped its head right out of a hole in the wall and she screamed!

How soon is it until Christmas?

I don’t know what I should dream about tonight.

For Christmas, I know just I should order from Santa–a tractor!

I’ve tried everything I can think of to fall asleep but I still can’t fall asleep; I’ve tried to lie this way and that way and do everything and I still can’t even though I tried really hard.

I have to go poop.

When you gotta go…

October Ice

My good friend Scott has a birthday today. Here is one for him.

 

OCTOBER ICE

 

I stepped off the train in Rock Springs

hours before we had planned to meet.

The air smelled of rain falling

but not reaching the ground. I wandered

among dust until dark, until everything

but the bars closed. Scott was late, then

hunched over the Volvo’s wheel as he drove

past me on the curb. When he stepped around

to the passenger seat I drove us into a night

already ripening into tomorrow.

We headed north, both of us taciturn.

Grass and sage stretched east and west.

Beyond them in the dark the Wind Rivers rose.

The predators–bears, wolves, coyotes–had been shot

or fenced out, so rabbits had the run of the place.

They dashed through our headlights, the pavement

bumpy with their crushed bodies. I sucked in my breath

at the smack and crunch of quick death.

We agreed to sleep under the stars

and the aspens at the Eden cemetery,

outside town. A warm wind blew

over tilted tombstones and the weathered

stockade fence. We cocooned ourselves

in sleeping bags on the dusty ground.

While we slept the air froze. Death

surrounded us all night, our trip

just beginning. Ahead of us

were scuffed boots and several pitches

before we reached any clear view.

We carried a list of adventures and futures

we couldn’t imagine. The ghosts of settlers and nomads

whispered lessons the dead learn when they leave

their bodies to the earth. The words stiffened

in the cold air, drifted with the scent of sage,

wrapped the fence, the stones with blankets of ice.

We lay in the moments before shadows,

reviewing frame by frame what might come,

then lifted our bags and scattered frost

into the dust. When wind rubbed smooth

our tracks, these fragile crystals would melt,

moisten grass and bits of fur

and the remnants of bones. These blades of ice,

pulled from October air, would rise, fall

again and settle in sedimentary cracks.

With the patience of ice they would push down

stone after stone from the peaks the morning light

had just begun to warm with the scent of day.

Pizza on a Chilly Night

Pizza for dinner. That is a standard one in our house. We sat at the table and ate together. I want to make sure we do that as often as possible. It matters. It was a quick dinner to make. The dough was made already, half what we usually use. but it did the trick. My wife had made it for a pizza breakfast this weekend. That isn’t so typical, but why the heck not? We were out of standard breakfast fare, so dinner for breakfast. I rolled out the remaining dough tonight after letting it rise a little. It was way thin. It was awesome. I’m going to use less dough more often. The super thin crust makes it crispy and just plain old dee-lish.

It is chilly. Fall is full on, winter on the way. The woodstove warms the house. I just came inside. The kids and I went out to see where my son found a cool rock. We looked at the stars, at Jupiter trying to outshine the moon, at the crescent of the moon in its humble glory. Clouds drifted. Smoke rose from the chimney. Hard to get more beautiful than that. Excepting my wife, of course.

Soon the children will get wrapped into their evening routine–showers and pajamas and books and a story. I like the routine. Cleanliness and literacy, two good things. They also need to scrub the sauteed leeks and onions from their teeth, some of the last produce from our garden. That made for a good pizza topping. I have been trying to cook more lately. I made bread over the weekend and that should be a more frequent event. I need to make some pumpkin soup, and some pumpkin pie. I want to make some pasta as well. It has been too long.

The nights are shorter. Our home feels cozy. The children already are showing signs of resistance to heading up to bed, but once they get into it, they will glide along. Here is to a quick drifting off to sleep for them. Maybe the adults in the house will have some quiet time before they as well need to go to sleep. I plan to rise early in the morning. There will be frost. The stars will be out. I want to get plenty of sleep.

I had hoped to run this morning but was feeling off, and way tired, even though I woke in time to get in some miles. It is hard to start the week without running. It needs to happen tomorrow. Venus and Saturn will be waiting to greet me. That should help me pick up the pace, my headlamp beam bouncing on the road as I go. Just imagining that, it makes me look forward to waking tomorrow. I only need to slumber well before then. And some pleasant dreams will help–give me something to stir my thoughts as I move through the cold of morning. As I run though fall.