Monday, April 30, 2012

Yosemite Weekend April 27-29th 2012

As most of you know, this year my parents turn 70 years old. We have had the surprise brunch for Dad and this past weekend we did a family trip to Yosemite. We stayed in Curry Village tent cabins but thankfully, I was able to get one for my parents that had wall boards and heat. The unheated ones were so cold that I can't imagine staying in them until summer.
Curry Village Tent Cabins
They are actually a good value because you can sleep 4 people in one, and they are roomy. You have to share a bathroom so it is just a step up from camping but I think it was fun.
The highlight of the weekend was the lunch at the Ahwahnee hotel where Mom and Dad both had a Monte Cristo sandwich... I think that thing had enough calories for an entire days worth of meals.
We did some light hiking as well and I have pictures of that from my camera. Nick took his camera and I don't have those yet. Here are the pictures from the weekend.

View from our tent
Curry Village Tent Cabins
Video from the lower Yosemite falls bridge - you can hear the power of the water and see the nitwits climbing the rocks to the right. They would climb out as far as they could and stand on those rocks in the spray!

Lower Yosemite Falls from bridge
Yosemite Falls From Ahwahnee

Jacob following Nick by the falls - this was a theme for the weekend.

Nick and Jacob at the Falls
Jacob and Laine in a tree

Happy Isle Bridge

Jacob and Laine

Jacob and Laine - Merced River
Flower by our tent

View from grass area at Ahwahnee
Denise and kids at Awhanee

Mom and Dad with their cupcake at lunch

Sunday, April 22, 2012

UPDATE - Kitchen Sink Saga - 4/22/12

 UPDATE - 4/30/2012
The faucet is finally fixed - the water lines on the faucet were labelled backwards, so hot was cold etc. I transferred the lines around after clearing out the buildup in the cold one and now it works fine. The tech support guy at Vigo was nice and emailed me back and forth but I actually figured out the issue and fixed it myself. (With help from Nick of course..)

I know I have been teasing you since I bought the faucet but Nick and I finally got the sink in this weekend.If you have never done it before, it is a bit of work, and Lowe's rates it "intermediate" skill level on their website. (see video below)  I have put in about 4 of them so I thought I had seen everything. Wrong!

First mistake I made was to buy the faucet and sink from the internet.. but I really wanted an industrial looking faucet and couldn't find one at a good price or the right size anywhere but online. The sink took forever because I wanted a stainless steel, 2 hole drop in sink and finally found that online too. 

Well I thought I was ready to rip out the ugly sink I put in 7 or so years ago with the broken faucet and Nick was around so we went for it...

Old Fiberglass sink - was stained and pitted and had a broken sprayer

Nick removing the piping

Nick removing the garbage disposal

Water lines - hot on the left and cold on the right. The cold water line is fixed to that faucet and is too big.

New sink halfway there

Testing the water - why don't we have cold?
So here is what happened... ripping out the old sink was a piece of cake. We turned the water off, unhook the water supply lines, the garbage disposal and the dishwasher air gap. After slicing through the old silicone sealant it was off. Yea! No more than 15mins... we were on a record pace.  Next we hooked up the new faucet on the new sink while it was on the ground, as well as the new baskets. We weren't concerned about the railing running under the sink I am sure it is fine. Oh no.. the sink doesn't fit the granite opening. This sink has railings to stiffen it up and that is causing an issue. We can try and grind the granite  down (um no...) or figure out how to remove these railings.
Hammer it down
We tried brute force for awhile and that didn't work. Then Nick pulled one and it gave way.. turns out they are held on by some kind of glue. What makes glue disappear? Acetone. So I get the jug of paint thinner and sure enough those things pop off. There is a little denting to the sink, but we are almost 2 hours in and I don't care so much. So we throw it in the hole and start hooking things back up.. when.. ooppps...

The cold water line we have is an old one that is permanently fixed to the shut off valve and it doesn't fit the faucet connection. Are you kidding me? Now I am beyond my comfort zone and find a plumber to call out.. he comes at 630pm...(we started at 1pm) and in 1 hour has everything working. Sorta... 

Here is the moral of the story kids when buying online.. it is because if all these items worked really well and had no issues there wouldn't be any excess inventory. I have only hot water in the faucet.. no idea why. I don't have the energy to figure it out so it has to wait. 
Sunday - I had my carpets cleaned by and I have to tell you it was the best part of the weekend. Johnathan and Juliet came out and worked on my carpets for about 4 hours and they look great. No toxic chemicals, no odors and they were happy with how clean my carpets were already. But I have been using a home carpet cleaner and foaming soap and it caused a bigger issue. After some time the soap builds up in the carpet and clings to dirt.




Garden - April 15th 2012

Just a couple of pictures for you... I transplanted Nick's sunflowers and my squash plants that survived the cold and got the water going on everything. I found a volunteer onion in the compost pile that I transplanted around the yard. And my 2nd year Asparagus is coming up.. that is a commitment to that plant. It takes 3 years before you see any real production but years 5 -10 are supposed to be great. And of course, my lizards...
Sunflower in the front yard this time.
Asparagus - I can't wait until you produce enough to really eat!


Lizard looking at me - almost posing for the camera

Squash and onions along the front there.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter 2012 and Spring!

Happy Easter Everyone!

I don't have much for you this time as I stayed in Moraga, I had to work too late on Friday night to get out of town. I have been starting seeds again and some of them I am going to keep here in a big container on my deck. I have planted beets and carrots, with a bush bean in containers and they are doing pretty good. Of course we need more of days like today to get them really growing well. Just a beautiful day here..
Baby Carrots coming up

Beet Seedlings - in a container for the Moraga house

Sunflowers they will go up to the hill next weekend
One reason I grow so much is that I love gardening.. even with failures like freezing all my corn seedlings or gophers and deer eating everything in sight. The other reason is that with fuel costs going so high, food prices will start going up too. I paid $1 for a bell pepper at Safeway yesterday and that was on sale. I can buy a packet of seeds for $3 or a bell pepper plant for $2 each and make a better ROI than the stock market. Even if you have a small yard like I do in Moraga you can grow things in containers. I mostly grow herbs like chives, thyme, cilantro and others that do really well in pots. But if you have one that is deep enough you can grow root vegetables like onions, carrots, beets and potatoes. Just remember that you will need to fertilize and water them more in a container than in a garden plot. 
Give it a try even if you don't have a green thumb... I dare you to mess up growing chives... :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Dad's 70th Birthday Party - 4/1/12

 Happy Birthday Dad! 70 years old on 3/28/2012


My dad turned 70 years old on March 28th, 2012 - and we threw him a big surprise party on Sunday, April 1st. It was held at a restaurant called Campagnia in Fresno and a lot of people showed up. My dad was totally surprised which was a shock since it seems we let hints slip the whole weekend. Here are some of the pictures from the event...
You can tell Dad wasn't expecting anything - he is wearing a sweatshirt!

John and Dad

Matt giving a toast

My sis and her family


Landy, Kathleen and Dad

Friends Tina and Paul
Tom and Kathy

Margaret, Joyce and Maryann

Don and Vickii

Don, Vickii, Noah


Sandy and Howard

It was a great time and I know Dad loved everyone showing up like they did. He is a special guy and none of us can imagine life without him.