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Back Home in Fresno

February 25-March 4 (I think)
written February 27 +
Dear Friends and Families,

OK, it's back from Colorado and back to work, at least what passes as work for us retired folks.

d140225_02_plate.jpgAfter unpacking, our first priority was getting the car legal.  We had finally received the Customs import paperwork, and we believed that a quick trip to DMV was all that remained before we would have one of those cute California license plates.  "Quick trip to DMV" is an oxymoron and the real result was an hour spent pushing the application up to Sacramento.  At least we got a 90-day temporary sticker.  (Importing the Audi remains one of our least wise decisions.)

The next task was to line up all the deliveries and craftsmen needed to proceed with "moving in".  On Tuesday, Steve, the appliance guy, came and removed the range, the hood, and the dishwasher, leaving the kitchen with gaping holes.  He can only come back with the new appliances once Tim fixes the electrical connection, Robert fixes the gas connection, and Kurt corrects the exhaust duct.  Three urgent requests that, amazingly, get done in two days!  Thanks guys.  (In the middle of this, a Fashion Furniture delivery truck delivered our TV-room sofa.  Now, in principle, we can watch TV, except who has the time?)
Cambridge Avenue filled with trucks.
Dishwasher, range, hood and ancient wiring and pipes all gone!

d140227_02_architect.jpgThursday was more of the same.  Kurt's guy came early and fashioned the kitchen exhaust piece we needed.  It cost about $75 per pound, but was a nice piece of handcraft.  After that, it was Brent the architect measuring for the garage extension.  In a new, non-descript neighborhood, getting a permit for such a trivial building would be easy, but he says it can be tricky here in the "historic Taylor-Wheeler" blocks.  "Tricky" is code for time-consuming, so we have little idea of when our extra parking space may exist.  Until then, we are stuck with just one car, because street-parking is not recommended in our town.  (Even though Fresno's car-theft ranking slipped to #2 in the nation last year.)

d140228_02_paint.jpg Mamo joined us for dinner, a pleasant, spontaneous diversion for her and for us.  After returning her home, we got a call from the Custom Appliance Installation boss saying his other Friday job may get snowed out, so we should be prepared for appliances on Friday.  I said OK, but it meant I had to jump into action painting the places where we had removed cabinets to make room for the new range exhaust.  I got a coat of primer on and then fell into bed.

Friday started before dawn, since I needed to apply one more coat of paint.  It was pouring down rain, normally viewed positively around here, and I got as far as opening the paint and slopping a bit on the cabinets before the lights went out.  It seems this rainstorm was severe enough to put our part of Fresno in the dark.  Bad for painting kitchen cabinets. We waited for the sun to come up and I started painting again, with Marianne's help on the flashlight.  Sheesh!

By mid-morning, Marianne was off to a medical appointment and some shopping.  I met Steve of Custom Appliance and he and his #2 dug into the job of squeezing three large appliances into one small kitchen.  Not easy, but four hours later we had great new cook and wash stations.
d140228_04_washer.jpgd140228_06_hood.jpg -- d140228_08_doneRange.jpgd140228_10_doneWasher.jpg
d140228_20_Pinot.jpgWe celebrated by going out to dinner. Real use of the range would have to wait, since we needed to go to one of our local favorites, Pinot Wine Bar and Bistro, to pick up our wine club monthly offer.  Each month, we get two bottles, one our choice and one chosen by Daniel, the club manager and restaurant owner.  He is also a great Tower District booster and his sales pitch is working on us.  Maybe we are beginning to feel at home.

OK, that was Friday and I am updating this on Wednesday (March 5).  What's happened?  Not much reportable.  Yard work.  House work.  Time with Mamo.  Shopping (I think we have finally bought all the lighting we need!)  Marianne watched the Oscars for the first time in 15 years, a milestone for her.  (Not my thing, however.)

And Russia invaded Ukraine.  We have been emailing with a few folks we know or knew in the region and we are watching TV reports whenever we can.  The quick observation is that we are glad we sold our apartment there, though it was one of the nicest homes we ever had.  More seriously, we worry about our friends and their friends and compatriots.  That part of the world is complicated and we were privileged to spend some years trying to understand it. Part of "understand" was learning a language, Russian, because all my work associates were Russian-speakers.  Honestly, we failed on deep understanding, but have a hint or two and those insights make me worry.  We'll see.

Today, Marianne headed off to Los Gatos and I will join her tomorrow, as we start the Grand Ava Birthday Celebrations.  That will certainly be  a whole new diary.

Take care and stay in touch.

Take care and

John and Marianne


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