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Easter Week

April 14-20
written April 15+
Dear Friends and Families,

I am starting this diary on the presumption that something interesting will happen this week and, besides, I need to kill time while our Audi gets a tire change.  The shop is called "German Auto and Tire Service", but I had to explain that our tires were in fact marked in German, something no one in the shop could recognize.  ("HL" = rear-left, for example).  I do get a bit nervous turning our car over to someone new, but at least I can talk about car difficulties in English now.

Yesterday was more yard chores, Marianne in the rose and other gardens and for me, assembly of our new gazebo.  Her work was finished, but mine was not.  After eight hours* of working hard, I reached the roof-lifting stage, which requires a crew of six or eight.  Our plan is to draw on our friendly neighbors.  We'll invite everyone and insist on completing the 300-pound lift before wine and beer can be served.
(* The instruction manual said 90 minutes for the nominal assembly time, including the part we have not yet done.)
Yard looks good, better in pictures sometimes!
Gazebo building - 280 screws and bolts, 300 washers, 16 nuts, and uncounted pieces.and pieces.

On Wednesday, a young technician from the local power company came by to do an "energy audit" in order to give us some clues about how to limit power usage on our roughly-80-year-old home.  The process was pretty systematic and thorough, including measurement of the air leakage from the place, but I'm afraid the conclusion was pre-ordained: leaky (single pane) windows and doors,  uninsulated walls, too little insulation in the attic , ancient water heater, etc.  We do have a relatively new air conditioner, but paying PG&E to operate it on our 110F (43C) summer days will be a challenge. I am thinking we may just move to cooler climates for July and August.

On Thursday, we hosted a genuine German bratwurst BBQ for 20 neighbors.  We traded brats, potato and cucumber salads, and beer and white wine for a few minutes of labor, lifting the roof of the new gazebo.  The job turned out easier than  I had worried about, in testimony to the many-hands-make-light-work adage.  Our crew of amateurs made quick work of the one serious task and settled in to eating, drinking, and "quatching" (chatting).  A fun bunch and a fun evening - mostly.  (We won't talk about the tumble one guest took on our uneven pathway out front.  I promise to have a smoother path and better lighting before we try this sort of thing again.)
Friday was "as usual" for us: cleanup from the party, shopping, lunch out and a doctor visit with Mamo.  This week has had more than its share of medical visits, especially on Tuesday when Marianne strung together a series of four or five appointments out at the Kaiser Medical Center.  Everyone, including four-score-and-fourteen-year-old Mamo, is basically healthy, but it takes lots of medical folks to convince us of that.

Saturday was another yard day.  Not much to report, just some trenching (again) and path-making.  Someday this too will be done.

On Easter Sunday, Marianne took Mamo to church and the plan was for all the local relatives to come over for brunch.  Mamo and Marianne made it. Babs and Rubin made it.  The Easter Bunny made it and hid tons of stuff for nephew Henry's kids.  Unfortunately, the kids didn't make it, reportedly due to colds.  The no-show put a damper on things, and I am using that as the excuse for only having "before" pictures.  Maybe next year we can find some kids for the Easter Bunny's goodies.
Now we are into another week and, according to locals, the weather is turning "cold".  I think that means we will have a few days with highs below 80, before we return to normal-for-Fresno 90F springtime temperatures.  It should make digging in the yard easier, I suppose.

Regards and stay in touch.

John and Marianne


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