I posted a version of this on Instagram, but I like it so much I put it here too.
My folks are in town this week so that my dad can do some testing at Johns Hopkins for his breathing. They saw him on Wednesday and then had him come right back on Thursday for observation; he’s been there ever since. They’re trying to untangle why he continues to have issues getting full lungfuls of air. So far everything is good. He’s in good hands at the hospital. They’re feeding him well, and he’s comfortable. Unfortunately, this meant he missed our Thanksgiving dinner. Due to other illness, we were down three other family members, so we had four empty seats and an 18 lb. bird to eat. Luckily, the Redmans were free, and we found a way to stuff as much food in our stomachs as possible. Finn had a friend to play with, and we adults got some time to talk amongst ourselves.
The piping in the basement is fixed. I got a plumber in the door on Wednesday and within a half an hour he had the joint sweated, sealed, and finished for only $100. So we came out about $400 ahead of the deal.
September 21, 2016
Look at the size of that kid. How did she get so tall?
All photos by Mama. God, she’s gotten so big.
In 2003, Jen took me to explore a funky little settlement of buildings alongside the Patapsco River outside of Ellicott City, and we spent a couple of hours crawling around exploring them. I posted some pictures on my site, which longtime readers may remember.
Today, on our way back from a client pickup, I made a detour down that same street to see if Finn and I could find the house while the weather was warm. Nestled into the hillside under a sea of brambles, all of the structures still stand, worse for wear but intact. Finn and I climbed over nettles and under creeper vine until we were inside the main house, and her inquisitive nature took over. We started trying to figure out what the buildings were for, how long they had been there, and who had built them.
I’m still unclear myself. The buildings are too small to be inhabitable, and there’s no evidence of insulation or interior finishing. The exteriors are all constructed with a high degree of quality. And the masonry alone must have taken years to plan and complete. Sadly, it was so overgrown, we didn’t see any of the riverstone decorations that were clearly evident 12 years ago.
Finley’s pretty sure there’s a chicken house and a donkey stall and provisions for other farm animals. I’m not as convinced, but somebody obviously had a vision for the place. I’d love to dig up photos of what it looked like in its prime.
My lovely girl turned seven on Monday. With every day she transforms into the young woman I glimpse ahead of us: brave, mature, smart, and strong. And every day I see the little girl still inside: stubborn, mischievous, innocent, and curious. There are many, many days when I have to stop and remind myself how old she really is, that she’s not a fully grown adult yet, and give her the space to be a kid and make mistakes. But that’s hard when she splashes water out of the tub and creates a leak in the downstairs hallway ceiling.
Mama and I have rented a pavilion at the tire park this weekend, and we’re going to have a small group of friends come for pizza and cake, let the kids play outdoors while it’s still warm, and get the last summer out of the summer.
I took Monday off this week so I could make three days of uninterrupted progress on the front walk. Saturday I broke out another 8 feet of concrete, moved it, and cleared the bed. Then I bought crushed gravel and sand, prepared the bed, and got about halfway done before the brick I was working with stopped fitting correctly. We inherited a mixture of different sizes and makes with the batch we got, and the first bunch I used was smaller, squared off stock that fit together pretty easily. As I kept pulling off the pile, the bricks got bigger and rounded off, and didn’t fit the pattern we started at the stairs.
So I bought a masonry blade and started chopping them with my miter saw to finish the next section. On Sunday morning I knocked out the next slab of concrete, prepared the bed, and started cutting brick but by the middle of the day I knew I wasn’t going to make much progress: the blade just bounced off of some of the brick I was cutting. The wet tile saw that I rented from Home Depot made short work of the bricks I needed to finish, and by 3:00 on Monday afternoon I’d made my way through the rest of the remaining brick and returned the saw. The pile of brick shards I created was almost as high as the first load of concrete I hauled. The bad news is that we don’t have enough to make it to the front sidewalk; by my calculation we’re about 200 bricks shy. I’ve got enough to finish another 8 foot section, and then we have to go find some more salvaged stock to work with.
It appears that Volkswagen has completely shit all over itself for the last ten years in search of higher sales volume. Their strategy of selling decontented, unreliable cars and touting green diesel as an alternative to hybrid technology has been soundly debunked as fraud. I don’t know if this could be any worse for them or for diesel technology, which has never really recovered from the tarnished legacy of the 70’s, but I have a feeling things are only going to get worse for the company. What a colossally stupid decision.