November Island Trip – Day Three

Today felt scattered with a through line of bathroom painting, which I started right after breakfast, and finished (for the moment) after 5:30.

The painting job was odd and discouraging. The paint brush moved the paint around rather than applying it. The roller laid the paint down. So weird. The bottom line is it’s going to need another coat. A huge win, even if needs another coat, was painting the closet the washer and water heater reside in. It’s been a dark cave for as long as I can recall. While far from perfect, due to two appliances being in the way, it’s amazingly better. I discovered a keyless light fixture, the sort you pull a string to turn on and off, in the closet, which I’d never seen before. Adding a CFB to the fixture made the tiny space almost wonderful! While I can get excited about fancy gadgets, finding delight in simplicity is very grounding.

Our amazing neighbor stopped by minutes after I picked up the paint brush. He’s going to take down the spruce, and mill the wood. He’s also going to:

  • Deal with the grey water now that the ground is saturated again. We’re hoping the area below the cool rock outcrop will work.
  • Remove a chunk of the juniper on the south side of the house. This will make it easier to replace the deck, and increase its size a little.
  • Remove three decades-old stumps. It’ll make mowing much easier.
  • Burn the slash piles that have been sitting around, at least, since dad died. He has the requisite burn permit. 
  • Bid the materials for the deck when we get a list together. He is a local lumber source on the Island, on top of being a good guy!

The tile guy stopped by to strategize about the fireplace surround, and explain why he didn’t dive into the stove top counter grout repair. I understand his logic, in its tile contractor geeky way. I have some tile shopping to do.

The county inspector came by to sign off on the propane insert permit. Aside from looking at the insert installation, he was on a mission to get me to place an address marker at the entrance to the property. He entered the house asking, “Do you have a scrap of plywood, a can of spray paint?!?!” I assured him the task was on the day’s list. He said he wouldn’t ‘final’ the permit until the property’s address was identifiable from the road. Knowing not to argue with an inspector on a power trip, I grabbed my keys, went through three buildings, and returned with the ingredients required to create the sign. The spray paint can, an antique, was out of propellant. The inspector’s agitation level was increasing. I said, “I have a can of paint and brush in the house. Hang on a minute.” Using $35 a gallon semi-gloss paint, I drew the house numbers on the plywood. The inspector said, “Wow, such nice lettering!” I explained I learned how to hand draft while getting my landscape design degree. After placing the sign, the inspector turned into a cool, mellow dude. Signed the permit, asked about the ailing spruce, how many acres we had, complimented the land, and headed out.

The property manager and I pow-wowed about what’s next. We went on the roof after he offered all the options for getting it through the next little while. For once, the least expensive and easiest option, which we’d discussed before, and I’d advocated for from the get go, wins the day. Hot mop. The interim repairs look great.

I removed 99.5% of all negatives and photos from the darkroom.  While going through everything, I found lots of stuff to recycle or throw out on a future trip: empty film boxes and slide frames, instructions for chemicals that are long used up, scraps of photo paper, copies of email that no longer have meaning… It was a really sad chore as everything was a jumble. Like one of my father’s deep loves (photography and film developing) had been thrown down and abandoned, left for the spiders and rodents to scavenge through.

One of gals my mom used to walk with bought the firewood left on the property, paying me the not inconsequential market rate of $350 per cord (4x4x8 foot stack). She told me a wonderful story of the day she met my mom. “We were all going for a walk, and the first thing your mom ever said to me was, ‘The fucking doctor says I have fucking Alzheimer’s!'” She said she knew right then she liked my mom. We both laughed. Mom’s spunk and attitude are what she leads with.

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