Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter

 Check out the Easter eggs spread out on the lawn.
Yes that's a real live Easter bunny. We even had a photo taken with her.

We were invited to our first Easter party this afternoon. Shelly and Steve our lovely neighbors have kind of adopted us. They invited us over for a BBQ a few weeks back and we met her brother Tim who hosts this huge Easter get together at his amazing 10 acres just a few miles up the road up in the hills. They insisted we come, and reminded us again over the last few days. Tim has cultivated a huge lawn in front of his house (it's actually his private driving range 220 yards, if that means anything to anyone). This they spreads with Easter eggs. They have a little ceremony (involving an Easter bunny cart pulled by a tractor blaring music) and let the kids free to collect eggs. We adults in meanwhile enjoyed the multiple salads (pot luck) and BBQ for the carnivores. There was good beer. Bwo's chocolate trifle was a hit. 

After all the eggs were collected and the crying kids placated (the real life bunny was seemingly terrifying to some of the young uns), in what seems surprisingly inevitable here in Northern California, it started to rain. And rain hard. So we covered up the food and desserts and carried the dishes off to the house in a sort of rain drenched relay. It was all nice and friendly and warm. Bwo and I decided we have a good story. People here in the US are much more interested in where we come from and why than anyone ever was in the UK. The British can't ask too many questions, you know, not proper and all that. So we made some friends and they all joked we were now "in", we passed the membership test. I asked if they would hold a thumbs up or down vote to see if we could join once we left.

All in all a busy weekend what with the unpacking, broken back and Easter. I am actually looking forward to the quiet chaos at squint central Folsom tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Clean Garage

The container come tomorrow. So I spent this last weekend frantically installing conduit and power on the other side of the garage to where the wall sits. Then I cleaned up and packed away everything making maximum space for the tools that will arrive. So here is a before picture. I will send an after picture once everything arrives.
It's going to be a busy day tomorrow.

OK. It's all in and I can hardly move. I think I put my back out trying to lift some of the heavy metal. I am clearly not as young as I was when I accumulated all these machines. It's the forth time I have had to put these together (first was originally in Houston, then they moved with us to Sunnyvale, then across the seas to Israel, and then from HaNevel to the container in PTK, now all the way back to Northen California) and it's not like there are less over the years. Here is what it looks like now. All that's left is setup and some guitar building.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Container

Next Thursday our 40ft container will arrive in El Dorado Hills for our pleasure and enjoyment. Both bwo and I are terrified. Since we arrive here six months back bwo has done an awesome job of making a home for us here on Bonita Dr. We have pretty much everything that two people need (except for a lot of woodworking tools, of course). Now next week another whole house is arriving. While we do have a lot of space in the house, I don't think we have enough to comfortably absorb what is coming.

I tracked the ship all the way out of Haifa. The Zim Quigdao sailed to Livorno Italy, then to Tarragona Spain, then from Valencia Spain it set out over the ocean to Halifax Canada. From there it stopped in Newark New Jersey and Charleston, South Carolina before heading back to Valencia Spain. This was very disturbing, I imagined our stuff traveling back across the Atlantic, never to get to Oakland where it was scheduled on March 30. So I contacted the shippers only to find out that our container had transferred to the Manilla Express at her first stop in Livorno. So the ship docked last week and we get our stuff next week.

I will update with pictures as the story develops.

 The above picture is our container #76 where much of our lives was stored in petach Tikva while we relaxed for 5 years in the UK.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It's Chrain Time

It's that time of the year again. With Passover comes Ostrin Chrain (Horseradish). We did not have the facilities in the UK to keep up the tradition but here in the US, the interweb works wonders. We ordered 20 pounds of top quality organic horseradish root from somewhere in Idaho, various sized jars from Amazon. It all arrived on the weekend and bwo and I peeled, processed and mixed. It does not seem as strong as I would have liked, but it has a kick.

Now comes the packaging and shipping across the US to our families. Sorry Holy Land peeps, maybe next year in Jerusalem.

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Great Wall of El Dorado Hills

I know the pictures are a little unimpressive, but they are bigly for me. This is the wall we build in my garage. Greg and Dave came up from the Bay Area and Gilroy to work and to teach. They showed me how to frame, how to wire in 2 gang boxes, how to hang drywall and how to mud and tape. I learned so much, mainly because I was so incompetent that I need to do things a number of times. The wall divides off one of the bays of the garage into my wood shop. My tools will be arriving soon (the boat with our 40ft container docked in Oakland yesterday) and the shop will be ready to receive them.

The biggest pain was the electrical sub panel as we initially installed it upside down and Kevin the electrician wired it into the main panel without noticing. He used 4 gauge wire and man, trying to bend the stuff in order to invert the box was pretty much hell. But I managed to get it in and wired up. I screwed the face plates on the sockets this evening and threw the switch to test it all and everything is working. 6 double 110V and 2 240V sockets all working to spec.

So now all I need are my tools and I will once again be in the guitar making business. I am really looking forward to this. I have to thank my mentors Greg and Dave without who I would have never been able accomplish anything.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Wide Open Land

These days I try get home from work before it gets dark. I go in around 5am so I guess I don't need to feel too guilty about leaving around 4:30pm. One of my favorite things is to rush home, put on my waterproof UK style walking boots, pop a very enthusiastic dog into the back seat and head off 10 mins down the road to Brown's Ravine. That way we can hit the open spaces without any need for the leash.

Two evenings back, there was finally a break in the rain and as we watched the sun go down over Folsom Dam in the distance, I chucked the ball as far as the thrower would allow. The picture above is a perfect representation of the bundle of joy that is Roxy wating for me to launch the ball to the heavens. There is nothing she loves more than chasing the ball, finding huge sticks to carry and chew and wide open space to sniff and run. We are slowly finding our places here in Northern California, and while much land is fenced off (trespassers will be shot), there is still a lot of places to roam and explore. The girl and I are making it our own. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

It's dark out there

We are recovering from the trauma of a 28 hour power outage. One disadvantage of living out in the boonies between the trees is occasionally in high wind and rain situations (we currently are undergoing an "atmospheric river" - they just love naming weather out here) these trees dive onto power lines causing all kinds of havoc. The lights went out around 8 pm the night before last. I was expecting a few minutes of darkness, but seeing as it was close to bed time anyway (we're getting old), we just played with our various phones and tablets and went to sleep as usual thinking that all would be well in the morning. I woke as usual around 5am and the house was still in the dark. My normally dark early walk with Roxy was even eerier than usual with the pitch black broken only by my flashlight reflecting off the eyes of the local deer. I fed the dog, packed my bag and went out to the car, only to realize that the garage door was not going to open without electricity. Sigh. So it meant climbing on a ladder while holding the flashlight in my teeth to remove the pin holding the opener motor to the door (mine does not have the useful pull string that disengages the motor). Off to work I went.

Now all the while bwo was nursing a terrible cold. She was miserable and cold with no heating, so she decided to light a fire. Only the flue was closed, so she decided to put it out, only it was one of those compressed sawdust logs that don't go out easily, so the house filled with noxious smoke and she was even more miserable.
She handled the issue like a pro, eventually smothering the log with wet cloths, and all is well with only a slight smell of burning throughout the house. The lights finally came on at 10:30 last night after we were asleep for a few hours. It turns out a tree fell on the power lines a few houses down the block. It took PG&E many hours to deal with the many calls from all over the area.

So we were happy this morning when all was back to normal, and then due to the continuing rain and wind a tree in our yard fell over.
Luckily it missed the septic tank. On the positive side, I now get to buy a chainsaw.