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Abe Feldman death

What a terrible way to reenter the world of Dreamwidth, but I thought I had to post this:

 Reposting from Ett McAtee:

As you may know, Abe Feldman from the DC Lambda Squares was in a serious car accident Monday night when he was hit, as a pedestrian, by a car. It is with a heavy heart that I tell you that Abe has passed on overnight. The only saving grace is he probably never saw it coming and was never conscious afterwards. He lived a good life. He was a beacon of hope and decency for us all, and he will be sorely missed in our square dance family. Let us all dance and call our dances in his memory. We will remember him at the Memorial Quilt in Denver IAGSDC convention in July.

Details are forthcoming from the family. We will keep you updated as we learn more about the arrangements. See comments on address to send condolence cards.

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Finally, real vacations!

It's really been since 2014 that we took any real time for vacations, and that was 3 weeks to Africa.

We now have two of them lined up!

June 12-14 Unofficially, my birthday trip. Las Vegas, Wynn Hotel 2 night, with La Reve as the featured show. I'm sure we'll try to pack as much as we can into this. I'll be driving there--it's only 4 hours from the house!

October 6-November 1 (open ended). Officially, our honeymoon! 22 day cruise from Seattle to Sidney Australia, with stops in Hawaii, Fiji, Vanuatu, Loyalty Island, New Caledonia. Lots of days on sea for relaxing. When we debark in Sydney, we'll spend several days there on our own and fly back to the states. The cruise is booked, but after events and return aren't yet.

Yay for retirement! But now, so much to plan for!
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Danny's Mid-winter Summer Garden Party - he turned 65!

Lots and lots of prep went into the party, but it paid off. There was WAY to much food, and WAY too many beverages bought, but that's the way it goes.

Danny counted 41 people that came to the party. On Facebook, he got 4 "Sorry, we can't make it now" notes just before the party (as expected).

We had been hoping a lot that the weather would cooperate, and it did. It was partly cloudy most of the day, and the temps crawled past 60 for a good while. It actually felt toasty at times!

Heating the pool and then the spa was also well-appreciated. There were 7 or 8 guys that took advantage of the good weather and the warmth to skinny dip--Danny was first in, of course!

After the party, Gary Dougan stopped back by the house for an hour or so to chat--he had left a bag here that he needed to pick up.

I think we'll be snacking on the leftovers for some days!

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Secrets from Danny

Danny just returned from a month away, after competing in two rodeos as his new hobby as a horseman.

Since I knew he was going to be gone so long, I set into motions plans before he left to do as much as I possibly could on our checklist of house projects, most of which fell into the expensive, long-deferred maintenance category.

As far as I know, Danny just thought I was sitting at home eating bon bons and watching TV.

Here's what I got done, some by me, some by contractors, and some with a little help from friends:

- Upstairs guest bathroom tub refinished. The old refinish had been damaged in the 08-09 remodel. We should have just replaced the tub then!

- Rebeam the sagging garage roof (both beams had cracked in the past few years). Went from two support trusses, to six. This was a biggie. It was originally a carport; it wasn't converted to a garage correctly by the contractor back in 2005.

- Had concrete pad poured for a storage shed, being built partly to block the view from the neighbor.

- Had the old, leaky gutters removed
- Had all the soffits and trim on the house scraped, sanded, primed and painted

- Purchased an 8' x 10' Shed kit from Lifetime Storage Sheds. Delivered by freightline after I got back from Denver. I built most of it, but friends David and Alan came over on the Sunday and helped me with the roof section. Took about 12 manhours in all, with lots of taking apart and putting back together, in spite of some pretty clear instructions.

- Re-landscaped a lot of the back yard, which entailed a lot of cleanup, shifting of railroad ties, cutting up trees, laying 35 backs of mulch, extending the drip system for a new garden area.

- Patched and painted two areas where the old gutters were

- Planted two 8 foot Purple Robe Locusts to replace the now-gone cottonwood. (the in-bloom pic is from online)

Here's what is still on the checklist:
- renovate the back deck for safety and cosmetics (this is in process - my handyman has another big project he's working on across town, but will be back to do this)
- replace the roof, skylights and vents on the house and garage (this is in process- we received a significant insurance claim settlement for hail damage this week)
- New gutters installed (in process- quote received, will be installed after the new roof is on)
- resurface the front stoop (I'm sure it'll be artistic)
- permanent fix for the water main cutout in the driveway. it's just filled with pea gravel now.
- complete the landscaping in the area where the old cottonwood was. Plant something in the area where the old pine tree was in the corner.

I was amazed how much I could get in my new C-Max in my many trips to gardening materials at several big box stores. Not as much as in my VUE, but it still has some significant haulage capacity. Lawrence helped me on Wednesday by hauling the two trees from Jericho Nursery home.

Okay, I'm officially tired!
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A new puzzle

Jim and I spent about $10,000 since August doing mandated repairs to the Cornell house getting it ready to sell to this particular new owner, a woman named Christine Beyerlein. I haven't met her yet, but because of the type of FHA loan she was getting, specific repairs were needed per official inspections or the deal would fall through. Most of it I don't begrudge. There was a LOT of 'deferred maintenance' to the roofs and electrical systems in particular that needed doing.

When I first went on the large flat roof of the 2 front units a few months ago, I was nearly in tears about how much debris was up there. I spent 4 hours raking, tossing tree branches, leaves and twigs, and blowing off debris on a Monday morning (a work day) so we could get thorough inspections for what repairs were needed. The back house has a pitched roof (except for the garage). Amazingly, we were able to get all but our $500 deductible covered to have the shingles replaces through insurance - prior hail damage. The wiley estimators for Roofing USA seem to do nearly all their work in getting insurance settlements for roof replacements. That process was a bit unsettling, since it felt a bit underhanded, but that is all done and an upgraded shingle roof was put on a month ago.

The front house flat roof repairs were made this past week, having been delayed by a couple of rainstorms, both of which required me to go on the roof and broom off massive amounts of standing water and ice. But that's done, too.

Soooo...the new puzzle.

A week ago, Danny and I started noticing a musty sewerish smell in our downstairs bathroom. We couldn't really trace the source of the smell, but thought maybe the wax ring on the downstairs toilet had failed and was letting sewer gasses up. The smell came and went a bit, but it was always there.

This morning, when I was getting coffee, he came upstairs to tell me he had started to trace the problem. He found a slight drip coming from an outlet in the downstairs bathroom wall--the outlet controls the overhead heat lamps. It's not a big leak, but enough that it IS a serious issue. Checking out the area that would be above it, the upstairs guest bathroom toilet is more or less overhead. He removed the switch plate, and indeed the cavity there is rank with sewer smell.

So now we're not going to use that toilet (which we use much more than the master bath or downstairs toilet) until we can get a plumber in.

We're expected $3000+ in repairs. It'll probably require tearing the downstairs ceiling out in several places, repairing or replacing plumbing/sewer lines, replacing the ceiling, texturizing it and painting it.

Danny wondered idly if we can file an insurance claim. Sigh.

In other news, we have a new Mr Coffee brewer, which works quite well.
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2014 Chase the Chile

All in all, it was really a lovely weekend with only a couple of minor glitches. The flyin itself went truly smoothly. Dropping the early Saturday morning mini-dance at the balloon fiesta was a stroke of genius on my part (although I think others will claim it was their idea). It was replaced by dance workshops at the center that morning, nicely attended. The balloons did go up Saturday morning, perfect weather, floating all over the northeast heights, including right over ASDC when we arrived!

We had five houseguests this weekend: Aldo Watkins from Austin, Evan Smith from Dallas (his first flyin ever!), Bennet Mark and Kim Harris from Mountain View, CA and Scott White from Alamosa CO. It was a very good mix of folks, all who got along very well.

I mentioned glitches--it only applied to houseguests. Evan arrived 4 hours later than planned (1am Friday morning), then he got really sick on Monday (bad cough) and to top it off, his flight back to Dallas was delayed about 2 1/2 hours. Kim arrived either sick, or had a bad bout with allergies, coughing his lungs out for a day, curtailing part of their activities.

The schedule for the dancing worked out nicely for Sandie Bryant, Kris, Scott A and me. The only LONG feeling dance was the Sunday 11am to 3pm last gasp dance. Only two callers signed up for open mic sessions (Alan Hirsch, 2 tips and Mike Turley, 1 tip), so Kris, Scott and I carried the rest of the dance. We still had a couple of squares going when we ended at 3 and I was totally tired (but happily).

Food? Oh, my! There was ALWAYS food. Our contribution to the massive Friday night potluck was to slather two of my thawed meatloafs in homemade tomato sauce, reheat it for an hour and take it to the center. It was all eaten, although it was the 2nd meatloaf in the offering and was near the end of the food line.

It was a nice respite to not have to be at the theatre for WICKED show settlements until Sunday evening. I did work from 5pm to 9:30pm at the theatre for the final (24th) show and big wrapup settlement, but was able to spend a lot of quality chat time with our houseguests otherwise. Danny had completely cleaned and prepped the house from Tuesday to Thursday. My back issue had mostly abated, although I did have quite an ache for a while. Danny's leg issue had been cleared up by antibiotics, although it turns out he had a serious tooth abscess on Friday evening that nearly spoilt his weekend. He's back on even stronger antibiotics to clear that up, after a trip to the dentist on Monday.

Although I posted an album, here are a few pics from the weekend.

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It's listed!

31 years and 3 months after we bought this investment property, it's now listed and for sale! Danny asked if I'm going to be sad for it to be gone--the short answer is NO.


I did just send a note to my bulldog realtor Carol that there were a couple of inaccuracies in this listing:
1) There is only 1 bathroom in each unit, so there are 3, not 4, bathrooms
2) The duplex in front was built in 1948, so listing it as built in 1935 isn't that accurate. I've only been guessing that the little cottage in back was built in the mid 1930s.

It's in prime rental territory, being only a few block from the university, a block from a supermarket, and very accessible.

Crossing fingers!