Catching Up

After a long weekend … wait, every weekend is long when you are retired … still plugging away organizing things in the garage. Got another 24” cabinet, and put that together, so now there are three. That gives me some space to get things out of boxes into the cabinets. At the previous house, all of those things were in the equivalent of eight 24” cabinets, so I will need to be careful about how things are stored.

And I have noticed that, over the years, you accumulate multiple ‘copies’ of things. For instance, I have now found five tape measures. No, wait. Six, including the free one I got from Harbor Freight on the way back from SLC last trip. Not sure why I even need more than two. But, there are six. Including one that I had from our second house we lived in starting about 1980. That might make it an antique. Still works, though.

I did a bit of gardening. Well, mowed the lawn (that only takes about 10 minutes if you go really slow). Half of the front yard is bushes and a few trees, and the lawn area is about the size of a large living room. I’ve got a nice gas mower, but you could probably do it with a manual reel-type mower. But you use what you have.

I also replaced a couple of the sprinkler heads in the front bushes area with an eighteen inch extension pipe and a shrub sprinkler. The existing sprinkler head was a popup type, and the bushes were getting in the way of good coverage. So the extensions poke up above the bushes, and will give better coverage. I should be able to reduce the watering time on that circuit with the better coverage. That will help with the water usage a bit (and the subsequent bill).

The weather here has been ‘hot’ – at least that is what the locals call it. Anything above 73 degrees F is hot around here. It is unusual for a house to have air conditioning. Our system, like most, is a heat pump. It can function as an air conditioner, but we haven’t needed that. We just open the windows a bit to keep the house cool. The nice weather here includes a slight breeze, so it is quite enjoyable.

Pam and I were sitting on the deck last evening, and saw a fox trotting up the street. That was nice to watch. We have also seen a few deer here: a female with two fawns once, and a solitary female another time. They like the berry bushes around here, which are showing lots of ripe purple berries – I think they are huckleberries. I tried a few the other day, they are quite sweet. Probably should gather some up and freeze them for use with ice creama.

Weeding

The lot here at home is on a corner, with the north side of the lot (the street) has a down slope to the group of houses to the northeast. Because of the slope of the streets and lots, there is an area next to the street, below and to the northeast of my lot, that was not buildable. That area slopes down to a narrow flat area that roughly parallels my back lot line. That area is about 30 feet below the grade of my house, and is bordered on the other side by forest sloping down further east.

So that area  – below my lot, and to the northeast – is a common area that used to be maintained by the homeowners association. (It is also an area where the neighbors pick the berries.) The homeowners association doesn’t maintain that area (cost cutting, I guess), so there are some weeds there.

The previous owner paid for keeping those weeds under control. And, after I got permission from the Homeowners Association, I do that maintenance.

Which is a long way of getting to my main task today – chopping down the weeds. I have a nice gas weed-whacker, so spent about an hour today (plus some time last week) cutting down the weeds on those areas. There is also some berry bushes trying to get started on that area, so started on those also. I need to get some more bush killer ‘fertilizer’ for those extra berry bushes. Although I can’t cut back much of the berry bushes into the forested area, I can trim back some of the extra-long vines (sort of like tree ‘waterspouts’?) that don’t have any berries on them.

There is still some weeds that need to be removed from the slope directly behind my back lot line. But I need to ‘fertilize’ them a bit more before I get rid of them.

And, some more unpacking of a few boxes in the garage. I need to get another garage cabinet purchased and put together; that looks to be on tomorrow’s list after a trip to the local (20 minutes away) Home Depot.

For dinner tonight, I fixed some bacon and eggs. I cooked the bacon in the oven (foil-lined cookie sheet, bacon strips laid out separately, start from a cold oven to 400 degrees for about 20 minutes), which resulted in some nicely crisp bacon. Some eggs over medium, some Grandma Sycamore toast, and all was good and yummy.

I sat down with dinner to watch the Little League World Series (recorded), but with the rain delay, missed the last inning. But a good game – those kids are very good.

A Resident

Today’s task was to become an official State of Washington resident. So Pam and I drove to Port Townsend, found the small but efficient drivers license office, and 10 minutes later we both have a Washington drivers license.

Then off to the Jefferson County Auditor’s office, who issue vehicle registration and plates. Not so successful there; we are missing the documents that prove that we paid sales tax on both cars, so no registration for us.

But, we did stop for lunch at Jordini’s, a nice sandwich place right on the bay near the Ferry terminal. They hve a small outdoor dining area perched over the small beach, with a nice view across Port Townsend Bay towards Indian Island, the US Naval Armaments port. A nice day, partly cloudy with a little bit of a breeze. Good sub sandwiches there; this was our second visit.

I did get a couple of more boxes emptied in the garage, and took four boxes of excess stuff to Goodwill in Port Townsend. Then home to read a bit on the back deck, and watch the Little League World Series.

Still Moving In

We’ve been at our new house in Port Ludlow, WA for about a month. And I am still working on emptying boxes in the garage.

Most of the inside stuff has been taken care of. I have assembled two dressers, two nightstands, a TV stand for the bedroom, a headboard for the new bed, two drawer things for the scrapbook room, and two garage cabinets, an outdoor table, and the new BBQ. (OK, to be fair, Home Depot assembled the new BBQ. But I got to pick it out.)

There were many boxes of scrapbook stuff that had to be moved to the new second floor scrapbook room. Luckily, the local missionaries for our ward came over and carried all the boxes upstairs. And there were lots of them.

There are still boxes in the garage, but the house is mostly together. And it is quite comfortable and nice here. Since I am retired now, I have plenty of time for projects, but also plenty of time to relax: sit out on the back deck and read and watch the ships go by on Puget Sound, or sit inside in the living room and listen to the nice built-in stereo system.

So, I am making progress on the boxes in the garage. Things are getting more organized there. There used to be a narrow path in the small two-car garage from the driveway to the back door. Now there are actually largish clear spaces on the floor. Not enough to get one of the cars in the garage, but progress is being made.

And Pam and I are enjoying this new area. She is getting her scrapbook room organized, and has gotten to the point where she is actually doing scrapbooking. And she doesn’t need any supplemental oxygen (she used to have it 24/7 in Utah), and has started to do other household chores like laundry and cleaning and cooking. That is a big change for her since she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. She has more energy than before, so the move to sea level has been good for us.

We’ve taken a few drives around the area, with more planned. The weather since we have been here has been quite nice. Temps in the 70’s to low 80’s, clear to mostly clear skies, and just a few days of short showers. Really a nice area.

So, with all of the extra time I have, it’s time to get this blog active again. Not that there are any visitors here, but that’s because of the lack of things to read here. Hopefully, I can get back into more frequent updates.

Transistions

Pam and I have enjoyed our move to Washington state. We really like the house we found, and the area is quite pretty.

Yesterday, we went to the local Port Ludlow Festival, a small collection of booths and food and music. Also a pony ride, which I didn’t get to go on. But there was some good BBQ Ribs there, and it was a nice sunny day. It is really a scenic area, with the bay, boats, and lots of trees on the mountains.

Today is Saturday, so I did a bit of yard work, trimming some of the bushes around the house. The yard is nicely landscaped with a wide variety of native plants and trees. The back yard is not very deep, about 20 feet, then a drop off of about 50 feet to a small flat area below, then trees and berry bushes farther in. The area below the house is a common area for the local subdivision. The HOA folks do the maintenance of most of the common areas, some areas (like the area below my house) are less-maintained. The previous owner took care of keeping the weeds down and the berry bushes intruding, so I get to continue that tradition. So that is one of the tasks I did today; some weed killer spray for errant berry plants. Then some trimming of the bushes around the house.

A trip ‘to town’ (Polsboro), which is about 30 minutes away, for some groceries, a visit to Taco Bell, plus bringing back some pizza for dinner. So, just a usual day.

As part of the move, my work has allowed me to telecommute until they get my replacement. So the inevitable notice has arrived, my employment will be done at the end of the month. That’s the transition part. I enjoyed my job and the people there, but moving to a lower elevation has been a great help to Pam’s health.

So here we are, in a new place, enjoying things here. And there will be lots more time to fill up, with the end of telecommuting.

Moved to a Nice View

Here’s the view from the back deck of our new house in Port Ludlow, WA.

View from back deck

View from the Back Deck

Although not anticipated, the move from Utah was required due to Pam’s health. At the 4100 foot elevation in Utah, Pam required oxygen 24/7 due to her recent pulmonary hypertension diagnosis. And that was putting a long-term strain on her body. The PH doctor said move, so, reluctantly leaving the kids and grandkids, we found this really nice house.

Although moving is not fun, and there are still many boxes in the garage, the almost sea-level altitude means that Pam doesn’t need oxygen (except at night while sleeping), and has a bit more energy. She has been able to resume some household chores that I took over since the diagnosis.

The climate here is typical northwest; but our area of the Olympic Peninsula is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, which result in less rain here than in Seattle. We have been here for about three weeks, getting here during ‘summer’, so have had mostly sunny weather. The natives have complained about the heat, with temps reaching into the 80′s (F). Today is cloudy, and a few showers, but the rain doesn’t last all day long. The area is nice, the view is great, and the neighborhood is quite quiet. This is a retirement area, and I think that we might be among the youngest in the neighborhood.

So, changes happen. And you adjust.

Remembering D-Day and My Family’s Service

A reminder from my brother Skip Hellewell:

70 years ago tonight, our Uncle Don Bosworth, along with a lot of other  brave guys, flew over the English Channel with the 82nd Airborne and  parachuted into occupied France the night before D-Day. Years later Don remembered the clouds clearing as they passed over the channel  revealing an immense armada headed for a landing the next morning. The  U.S. Navy Armada was a beautiful sight and reassurance they weren’t alone, that help was on the way.

Their mission was to intersect and delay German reinforcements headed for the landing beaches. His sons could tell the story better, but I recall that Don, a Staff Sargent, broke his ankle on landing but was in continuous combat for several weeks earning a medal for courage in defense of a critical road junction. Don continued in action and also fought in the Battle of the Bulge the following winter.

Uncle Gil Beardslee landed following D-Day with the 90th Division and participated in the invasions of France, Belgium, and Germany. He also supported the Battle of the Bulge.

Uncle Jim Scott also fought in France with the Army Air Corp as a flight engineer-top turret gunner on a B-26, completing 41 missions.

Our Uncle Glen Hellewell  [my father  -- Rick] was in the Marine Corp and participated in the Invasion of Okinawa a year later.

Actually, if you look at our family alive at that time, all did what they could, all they were asked to do, in this great war.

Such deeds of courage in defense of our country should live on in Hellewell family lore

So it should be remembered. I put it here for the three people that visit, but the googles will help remember also.