Thursday, October 31, 2013

Finishing My Bedroom

I suppose all of you have been dying to see how my bedroom turned out. This is the third room I've carpeted, and I do have to say that I'm getting rather good at it.

If you don't look too closely.

I also did my first real carpet seam with this room. I tried a peel-and-stick seam in my living room, but, while it peeled, it never stuck. There is a very attractive metal threshold nailed there now. It holds the carpet together fine, but I didn't want that in my bedroom.

I was able to borrow the rather terrifying seam iron from my friendly neighborhood contractor (the same one that loans me the $100 knee kicker each time). It was actually pretty easy to do. All I had to do was position the tape under the seam, run the iron along slowly, press the carpet down behind, and pray I didn't catch anything on fire.

Must have worked, because the carpet stuck nicely without any charring to be seen. Not that the seam was invisible, but I wasn't going for that. The carpet was used and the sections I joined had worn way differently, but the seam is in the corner where I keep my bed and isn't really going to show.

I love things that won't show! (You can see the seam along the wall)

Looking into my room from the opposite direction.

Now with all the furniture moved back in. See, you can't even see the seam anymore.

I really, really love my room. It's so peaceful and restful to relax in after a long day. I wish I still lived there.

 Sadly, I've had to move back out into the living room again. The kittens I've been fostering are being weaned from their reluctant---and tender---mother now that they have such strong, healthy teeth.

They're too little to be loose at night and and the mama already has dibs on the bathroom. So I've given my room over to them and I sleep on the floor.

Does anyone want to adopt a nice, adorable kitten? I want my room back!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Calvinball of Math

 Yesterday was the first day of my first college class in 12 years. All I'm taking this semester is an online 8 week prep-class for college level algebra. But that is plenty intimidating for someone who has never taken any algebra in her life.

My sister and niece have been doing their desperate best to tutor me the last few weeks. I think I'm showing some improvement, but all I can say is ancient mathematicians have a lot to answer for. Basically, anytime they got stuck, they made up a rule to get unstuck. Like the game Calvinball in the comic strip "Calvin and Hobbes".

And now I have to learn them all.

On the bright side, at my advanced age I am no longer held hostage to the polite scholastic fiction that I might actually need some of this in my "real life". I know perfectly well that I will never use it again (unless I encounter a sudden and unexpected need to find out how fast a train is traveling) and can file it in the recycle bin as soon as I have passed my class.

There's not so much room on the hard drive as there used to be, you know!

But at least I got this charming, attractive, and decorative $126.00 math packet out of the deal. I'm thinking coffee table center piece, myself.

Or maybe I'll frame it. It would be the most expensive art I own!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Homeless Camp in My Living Room

 Life has been incredibly hectic here lately. Autumn is the season where you suddenly go, "Oh, snap! I can't put off my 50,000 projects anymore!" It's like having all your bills come due at once. Those little "loans" of time you took out over the summer to do fun (and not so fun) stuff are now due---with interest!

I won't make your brain hurt with the convoluted list of projects I'm trying to complete in the next month. I'm too nice for that. I'll just talk about the first one on the list: carpeting mine and Caleb's bedrooms.

We had carpet in there, but it was thin, stained, unpadded, and uninstalled (just lying on the floor with the edges untrimmed). I was blessed with the gift of another large piece of used carpeting, one big enough to do both rooms.

Yay! I was so thankful, but not very successful in actually getting around to the installation. A couple of weeks ago I took the plunge and moved Caleb out into the living room, figuring I wouldn't be able to stand it for very long and that would force me into action.

Worked like a charm and Caleb's carpet was soon installed. I used the same basic method as when I did my living room. You can read about it here.

The room looked very nice when we finished. I was just happy that Caleb could move back out of the living room.!

Finley is our quality control officer. He checks every new carpet for soundness. So far they have passed the comfort test with flying colors.

Then it was time for my room. I moved all my stuff out so I couldn't procrastinate, but I haven't made very rapid progress. Progress, yes. But not rapid. I've had a very busy week with almost no time at home. 

Each night after work would find me trying to do a little bit more to move things forward. First I had to bleach the floor, then paint it with Kilz. Then I had to seal up gaps around the edges (Winter Motto: Every little bit helps) and cover an old floor duct hole.

After that, it was at last time to put down the tack strips and carpet padding. And that's where I had to stop for the week. I'll try to finish installing the carpet on Sunday.

And it can't happen too soon! See, the cats are rather taking advantage of the situation. They think I've camped out in the living room simply for their pleasure and convenience.

I used to be able to hide behind a door at night, but no more! Easy access for their snoozing pleasure....

Run!!!! It's a Cat-alanche!!!!

I can't WAIT to move back in my room! These guys can find a new snuggly!!!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Two Walks

Fall is the perfect time to take long walks. The cold nights have knocked down the mosquito and tick populations so you don't run the risk of being devoured miles from safety and the fields are open and clear after harvest.

I've been trying to take advantage of it, knowing that in another month or so winter will set in and put an end to walking as a recreational sport (but that means skiing season begins!). It's not easy to get away from all the myriad of tasks that demand my attention because fall is also winterizing season.

But thanks to the blessings of divinely mandated Sabbath rest, I've been able to get outside the last two Saturdays and go for nice, long walks.

 I'm thinking of getting an enlargement of this one for my living room. It's the perfect thing to look at during the interminable winter.

My first walk was across the fields to the south. There is a small outbuilding way out there that I wanted to explore. Turns out it was really boring inside, but at least I've set my curiosity to rest.

One thing you quickly discover out here is that distances are very deceiving. That's one reason you have to be very careful in the winter about how far you go.  The barn looked like it was just a short walk, but it was almost two miles from the road.

I find the solitude out here very peaceful. During parts of the walk you couldn't even see any signs of other humans---well, except for the cultivated fields. But there was no one around currently, so it was easy to pretend I was out on the primeval prairie.

Inside the Very Boring Barn.

(If you look in the photo above, the tiny, little tree-dot to center-right is the tree I took pictures of earlier on my walk. My farm is the little blur of trees on the far-right, next to the barn wall.)

The next weekend, I headed north. I'd skied out that direction in winter, but wasn't able to go quite as far as I wanted due to the whole "distances are deceiving" thing. Walking out there now, I was stunned I'd made it as far as I had! That turned out to be a long walk.

By the time I got to the top of the hill "to see the other side", it was already pretty late and I couldn't stay long to enjoy the view. Besides, I managed to stumble into the one pocket of mosquitoes left in our county.

There's nothing like mosquitoes to take away all the poetic enjoyment of a scene!

I'd cut a straight line across the field on the first leg of my trip, but decided to walk back down the little farm track on the way back until I was even with my house. From there, I would cut over to the house, forming a thin triangle by the time I was finished.

There's a series of small, interconnected ponds back there, but I've only been back in winter when they were frozen. I wanted to see what it was like during warmer weather. It looks like a really nice place to hike back to during the spring---lots of animal life to see---but only if you're drenched in repellant first.

  I can't go near any water during nesting season because Finley will chase---and occasionally kill---all the ducks. But by now the babies are grown and the mamas don't have to sacrifice themselves for their children. The whole family can just fly away from the big dope.

The sun was setting by the time we made it back to the house. Our Great Horned Owls were waking up and hooting to let the world know they were on the hunt. The coyote family that lives back by the ponds was starting to yip. Time to go inside and be cozy, safe, and warm.

People, including my dear father, who not-so-secretly hopes I'll move back into town and into an easier house with less stuff to fix, keep asking me if I plan relocate. To go where it's easier, more populated.

Maybe someday I'll have to---if my house finally falls down around my ears, but until then, I love, love, LOVE living out here!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Seasons of Change

Our pastor is retiring this month after 43 years in the ministry. The last 8 1/2 years have been spent here in Eastern Montana serving a district that would have made a lesser man quail. The district includes 4 churches and a branch Sabbath School, all of which are spread over an area larger than the state of Maryland. Not to mention the contributions and patience of his faithful wife, Ruthie---it's not easy getting dragged all over the countryside, especially THIS countryside!

Last Sabbath was his final sermon in our pulpit. He still had one more sermon to go at another one of his churches, but they weren't us, so they don't count. It was bittersweet to listen, knowing this was our last time, but you can't say he hasn't earned a little R&R.

Not that pastors ever really retire. But it will be nice to be a different kind of busy.

 There was a potluck after church----hey, we're Adventists, there's ALWAYS a potluck involved----and we enjoyed the time of fellowship and good eats. I personally found the plethora of deserts a tad challenging since I was trying to save room for the hot dog roast planned that evening.

The Walikonis' graciously invited the whole church out for a farewell social on their farm. We had a wonderful evening visiting and making sure the younger set didn't cast themselves into the fire. There were some close calls, but I consider any evening that involves fire a rousing success if it doesn't end in the emergency room!

 It's always nice to take a break from the ordinary routine and come apart for a little while. Even Jesus did that with His disciples because life has a way of swallowing you up if you're not careful. There's always something to do, and you have to learn to take a deep breath, let "things" sit, and spend some time with friends and family.

Jackie, the Beautiful Border Collie was excited to see her VERY FIRST SHEEP EVER! Unfortunately, the sheep are guarded by a dedicated watch dog and this was as close as she could approach. Still, it will forever remain an epoch of her life.

After eating hot dogs, s'mores, and home-made ice cream, the group met inside for a short vespers and worship. We enjoyed the premier performance of the hastily-organized Plentywood Men's Chorus and some special presentations of thanks to Pastor and Ruthie. Then it was time to say goodnight. When people have to drive one and two hours to get home, the visiting gets a little truncated.

Now to see what kind of new pastor we are getting---always exciting.

I'm a pretty easy-going person and will be happy with whomever they pick. As long as he is, oh, about 38....handsome....unmarried....

With a strong preference for cats.

Lots of cats.