kip_w: (sarah tongue)
Sarah requested and got her introduction to the use of the lawn mower. She watched me check the oil, explaining as I went, and then I put in gas. I told her she can do that soon. She wheeled the mower into the back yard, where I determined that the part between the back deck and the hill was back to being very muddy after having dried out to where it was only somewhat muddy. We found a dry portion to work on.

She now knows that starting the mower is not an easy thing to do. She cut practice swathes through the once and future spot for the trampoline (I'm going to try and alternate places for it, as it seems to have an unfortunate effect on the place it sits). Then we were called in to dinner.

She's been keen on the lawn mower for a while. I think she even pushed our old one a time or two, back in Virginia, and again here. I'll be happy if she continues to have some interest in the lawn mowing chore.

I may update the 'Sarah' userpic some time. That one's from Massachusetts, and she's like twice that old now.

yard work

May. 6th, 2011 01:54 pm
kip_w: (Default)
Bright dandelions,
Each one perfect in its way;
Mowing them, I smile.
kip_w: (sarah tongue)
Sarah and I have been doing stuff together. The routine has been that Cathy takes her to Chinese school on Saturday morning, and then they eat lunch. Cathy's doing better, but the week before this one, she wasn't up to the Saturday morning part, so I took Sarah to her class. The day before that was payday Friday, and Cathy wasn't able to go out for dinner, so Sarah and I went out to Sakura for sushi and yakisoba. Since it was a weekend night, they had a piano player in the lounge. I didn't have a dollar bill, so I made a point of giving him a thumbs-up on my way out, so he'd at least know I thought he did a good job.

Getting back to Saturday (I seem to be unstuck in time today), I suggested to Sarah after her class that we might go to the science museum. She responded with a degree of apathy and I used my Jedi mind tricks to guilt her into going. She started enjoying herself right away, going through the climber, up the rock wall, controlling the little bathyscaphe (or whatever it is) and other stuff on the first floor. It got to be lunch time, so we ate in the museum cafeteria. I had a delightful potato and leek soup, and Sarah grudgingly munched the grilled cheese sandwich she had first asked for. I missed the part where she changed her request to a cheeseburger. Refreshed, we continued through the museum. I made a trip back to the car for my camera, which didn't work. I suspected at first it might have been too cold to work, but signs seemed to indicate that it might have been left on (which I thought was impossible). No batteries in the gift shop, so I made another trip through the rather cold day we were having back to the car for two AAs. Then we went to the top floor (traveling bug exhibit, with giant mechanical insects, flats of pinned specimens, and some live crawlies in glass cages) and worked our way on down. Sarah enjoyed the hands-on stuff and tried to hurry me up through the museum-type stuff, with artifacts and dioramas and recreations of old-timey stores and offices with mannequins.

Sunday was our usual day for bowling, but the snow was coming down, and streets weren't plowed quite enough for my taste, and I didn't want to get stuck on the street when Cathy couldn't even come for us (her car wasn't starting for some reason at that time) so we stayed in.

Then we passed a pretty normal week, with some extra shoveling and sweater wearing. For supper Friday, I took Sarah to Wendy's to see how she liked it. She liked it fine. I suggested the root beer float, and she liked that, and got a mandarin orange cup for both of us. I showed her the small bacon burger, and she got one of those. It was the first time I remember going to a Wendy's since before we had her, and I was glad to see that the Junior Deluxe Cheeseburger is still a good eat. The chili was tasty as well.

When Saturday came, Cathy was doing well enough that she went in with Sarah, and after class and a bite of food, they watched HOTEL FOR DOGS at the theater near the mall. On Sunday, Sarah and I went bowling and arranged for her birthday party on February 8. Our first game was a good one. In the third frame, we both got strikes, not even hitting the bumpers. We also picked up several spares. Sarah was rolling a bunch of good ones, right down the middle. I wasn't doing all that badly either. The second day wasn't as great, but it still wasn't awful like two weeks before when I couldn't manage a straight roll if somebody'd offered me a trip to Disneyland. (My suspicion was that playing Wii bowling was wrecking my reflexes for real bowling.) Then we went to King Buffet, where we both enjoyed some tasty stuffed clams and other delights for lunch.

That brings us up to today, which is just beginning. Sarah has already helped herself to breakfast. She announced to me (I was in the bathroom at the time) that she had mastered the whipped cream can and put some on a cup of pudding. Breakfast. I've been making her bacon for breakfast most days, at her request, and was surprised to see her vary her routine.

The house is looking better and better inside. I got a lot of boxes out of various rooms, upstairs and downstairs, cut up, flattened, and off to recycling. I made a bunch of new room in the garage, which now seems more spacious, though it will never be big enough for two cars, because the kitchen sticks into it. The family room is big enough for Sarah to really let loose when she dances, and she also wants to rassle more. She's home for the King holiday (no relation to the buffet), so all day today is Daddy and Sarah time. We're watching DVR'd "Avatar" episodes. It's a pretty good show. And Sarah's playing with the breath gauge they had Cathy using at the hospital. I brought it home because I suspected Sarah would be interested in it. I get to be right sometimes.

Cathy has ALA Midwinter this weekend, in Denver, so from Friday to Tuesday will be Daddy and Sarah time too.

edited to add: We also went swimming at the Y, for the first time in a while. Sarah seems to have had a good time, as she wants to go again soon. I'm all for it, as I need the exercise, and we're paying big bucks. She doesn't like her swimming lessons now because the teacher isn't letting her wear goggles with a nose cover. She says she's not used to it, and I tell her she should try to get used to it. (repeat sentence ad libitum)


Dec. 6th, 2004 08:15 am
kip_w: (Default)
I was Mr. Mom this weekend, while Cathy worked. Saturday morning, we raked and mulched in the yard. Sarah worked enthusiastically -- it was what she wanted to do. We went out and had a chicken biscuit and then played at Fort Fun until time to get lunch and join Cathy at work. After lunch, a brief nap, then more fun outside, and eventually Cathy came home. Sunday we did more raking in the morning (Cathy was still here until early afternoon), then Sarah went down for her nap. Light outdoor activities gave way to watching some videos inside. Normal bedtime activities actually resulted in Sarah declaring time to go to sleep before 9:00.

Also on Saturday, we sorted the laundry. Sarah is an excellent sorter. All in all, it was a lovely weekend together. I'm feeling fine, rested and ready for... work? I have to go to work? Feh.
kip_w: (tree)
We have two big trees in our front yard, which start dumping the leaves before any other trees on our street. We start raking before anybody.

Consequently, we finish before anybody, and while they're still breaking their backs, we're all done. Finis.

And that's where we are now. There can't be more than a hundred leaves left on those trees, which is why I went up on the roof to clean the gutters. It's so nice to be finished for another year. (Picture shows me in the one that just finished dropping 'em.)
kip_w: (tree)
The day of dread. The nastiest job of the year. I cleaned leaves out of the roof gutters. I didn't have to do this last year -- they put new gutters in, and I figured it was a freebie. No such luck this time.

Cathy and Sarah trailed along as I hauled the folding ladder over to the side with the lowest roofline -- a small bay window with a lower rooflet on it -- messed with the ladder a while. I tried to use it folded in half, but it lacked a feeling of security. I mean, even more than with the ladder fully extended. So, carefully defeating the reluctant locking mechanisms, I put it to its full length and set it up at a nice low angle. It rested on our new gutter, but Cathy said that was okay. I clambered up, clutching a watering head that I planned to use as my mucking tool.

So there I was, hating it, as always. It showed plainly on my face to Cathy, but Sarah didn't seem to notice the frown of fear that decorated my visage. She asked a lot of questions, or at least she asked three or four questions a lot of times. She said when she was big enough, she'd get the leaves out of the gutters. I will hold her to that. The leaves on top were dry, the ones under were wet, the lower ones were kind of nasty wet, and below that was the usual black sludge of asphalt from the shingles. My watering head (about 18 inches long and curved at the end) was okay for some parts of the job, but I still had to use my fingers -- my poor, betrayed fingers -- to scoop the nasty brew out of the gutters. Sarah wanted to go ride her new trike in the street, but Cathy kept calling her back and telling her to stay nearby. I mucked the part around the ladder, then worried my way to the far side of the garage, exposing drain holes that had been largely unemployed with the covering of leaves and ex-leaves. Then I did the patio side and worked my way over the peak to the front side.

First I worked my way over to the chimney and looked down it. Seemed nice and clean. It got too dark to see before I could see any obstructions. Then I sat down, thinking how nice it was to be next to the chimney, and not wanting to leave the security of that solid brick wall. A friend (rtred) apparently went up on his second-story roof one time to clean gutters, a thought that makes me shudder. To think I used to shinny up onto the roof of our old house to sit and peer at the distant train tracks and other scenic views. Right now, I'm thinking I'd like my next house to be one of those basements with a roof over it that I used to see. The front side is the longest side. As I worked my way across, I pondered what I'd land on if my weight shifted just one inch too far. I wished I had forearms about six inches longer. By this time, I'd abandoned the sprinkler head and was just doing it all by hand. My right hand did all the mucking, but it was my left shoulder that was starting to ache, from the strain of continually saving my worthless life. Thanks, lefty!

Last and least, I went back to the side with the ladder and finished the short side there. Something like a tomato plant was growing over the drain hole. I tossed it down to Cathy, and we subsequently stuck it in the hole we'd been digging with Sarah this morning (she was in a digging mood) back of the garage. Then I sat and breathed a while before working my shaky way back onto the ladder; always the worst part of the enterprise.

Done for another year. I think I'll go break into the minibar, so to speak.
kip_w: (Default)
They're doing some street work outside. Not this minute, of course. It started a few weeks ago when the City guys in hard hats came by and sprayed some marks on the curb where other City employees had previously taken some chunks off the concrete curb out front. We live on the bulb of a cul-de-sac, and the solid trash pickup guys sometimes have trouble dealing with the curve. Anyway the next thing was when some 'yellows,' as Sarah calls them, came by in the middle of the day and punched the hell out of the cement gutter that runs in front of the curb. This was interesting to me, just as it was to Sarah, who seemed to think the yellows were going to come back another day and knock the house down. I told her they wouldn't do that, hoping that they wouldn't make a liar out of Sarah's old man.

After they let the holes they'd knocked in the gutter ripen a while, they finished the job of knocking it all out and digging a trench, which immediately filled up with rainwater. I'd been photographing the progress, and was happy to snap a few shots of our moat. Fortunately, Sarah didn't seem inclined to run off and try to jump in it. When the moat had mellowed out a bit, they came back and poured a snappy new curb for us. They did it while I was at work, no doubt guessing that the wet cement would be irresistible to an artist like me. Yeah, I'm an artist, buddy. By coincidence, I also did cement work for one day, many years ago, and on return visits to my home town I can impress people with the fact that I worked on a sidewalk, a wall, and a fountain that are still visible at the public library (though I'm not sure it's still a fountain). I never saw the cement workers, so it's possible they knew of my experience and didn't want to tucker me out by having me repeat my anecdotes on the subject.

The new curb is an improvement over the old one, being on a level with the sidewalk. No more dirt residue collecting at the end of the walk. No more weeds taking root in the dirt to mock at me. Our yard, however, is now an opportunity zone. They dug up a lot of dirt, piled it on the lawn, and scraped it off to fill in the moat, leaving a small glacier's worth of small rocks to tempt the lawn mower (which someone else pushes, so my concern here is kind of noble, actually), which I am gradually picking up and tossing back into the holes in the asphalt out front where it doesn't meet up with the cement. The front three or four feet of grass no longer exists. It's like it's waiting for a sidewalk that isn't going to come. We're thinking we'll spade the dirt some and mulch it and border it off from the grass and eventually put bushes along the front, leaving gaps for dragging bags of leaves from our two very productive trees. Those trees are the earliest shedders on the block, and have already started heaving leaves left and right. When they finish, we'll enjoy some weeks of seeing leaves in everyone else's yard except ours.

Anyway, I should hurry up and toss more gravel in the hole, because they're about to repave the street. We'll have a week or less of inconvenience -- sorry for the neighbor who has to load up a moving van this week! -- and then we'll have a smooth street out front, instead of the present agglomeration of variously shaped patches. I wonder what the ducks think of all this, or if they even notice. ("Lotta trucks in the street today, but nobody got out to feed me." "Ya gotta wonder." "I hadn't noticed, frankly." "AFLAC!")

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