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Another Week+ at Home

May 28-June 6
written June 2+
Dear Diary (mostly),

This diary promises little.  We are back home in Fresno, in a break with very little planned.  Nonetheless, I want to keep a record and maybe someone out there needs to know that nothing is happening with the Fresno Trotters (in case they want to drop by -- hint, hint).

We drove back to the San Joaquin Valley Monday (26th) after our stint as babysitters, returning to the normal routine of house work, personal maintenance (doctors, physical therapist, nails -- Marianne's kind --, etc.) and local family.

Starting with house matters, we met with Gary our contractor, and discussed moving ahead with the garage enlargement and the bocce court.  We hope to finish by mid-August and will have a series of diary posts of good-news/bad-news, I'm sure.  Martin, the air conditioning service guy, uncovered the problem behind the non-functional register in our bedroom - the specific basement ducting had been removed in years past!  Next week he'll fix it.  Bobby, the gardening company supervisor, came over to look at the semi-functional sprinkler system and we noted a half-dozen required fixes, some of which may expand as he tries to disconnect ancient iron pipe to make repairs. Next week, he'll do his fixing too.  Joys of older houses.

d140601_02_market.jpgSaturday was a bit more interesting.  We started with a 7am stop at the Fresno State University student-managed market and picked up a couple of pounds of raisins.  They really are worth the effort.  While there, we saw a dozen folks already lining up for FSU corn, reportedly the sweetest in California.  The first delivery truck was due in two hours, so these people must really be corn-addicted.  After that, it was over to the regular Saturday farmer's market.  Cherries are on their way out but still tasty; Blueberries, blackberries and boysenberries are at the peak of their short season as are apricots; Peaches, plums, and crosses (nectarines, for example) are starting to show up.  The San Joaquin Valley ships these fruits around the world and our farmer's markets are authentic. 

That evening we joined the family and celebrated Henry's 24th birthday.  It was another great Rubin BBQ, aided by green and potato salads from Marianne and Babs.
Cup cakes, a giant margarita kit,
and BBQ chicken and sausage.

d140602_02_artist.jpgd140602_04_smallprog.jpgSunday was a home day, not a single errand.  Marianne finally had enough painting time to finish her "angels" canvas, a project that has been under way for months.  While she was being creative, I worked on backyard irrigation, another project that has been pending for a long time.  Unfortunately, irrigation fixing may continue forever and I'm sure it is not nearly as satisfying as painting.

d140604_02_oil.jpgd140604_04_trans.jpgIt's Friday morning of  a week mostly devoted to repairs.  The biggest deal was oil leaking from the almost-ten-year-old Audi.  These things always seem minor, but they had been growing for about a year, so it was time.  I tell myself that thousands of dollars on repairs is no different than thousands of dollars of new car depreciation - my story anyway.  House repairs hit too: a clogged toilet; a missing air-conditioning duct; failed outside lights (20 feet up on the house); and broken sprinklers.  It would be OK, if I thought that was all there would be for a few months, but both the car and the house are old, after all.

However, on Thursday Kenny and his crew showed up to start some new construction.  Gary, our architect, had said his concrete guy was coming by to take some measurements, but things went well beyond a few measurements.  It turns out that the bocce court needs to go in first, for access reasons but, when the guys checked with the bobcat operator about how much space he needed, our original access route proved too narrow.  The solution was to punch a big hole in the garage wall, a solution that caused me to scramble moving things off that wall.  In any event, it is fun to see real progress.
Since this was the first Thursday of the month, we also went downtown to the "Art Hop", a monthly series of open art galleries and shops.  The Fresno art "scene" is pretty active and, in the past, we have been impressed with Art Hop displays, but tonights selection did not strike us as favorably.  What's your view?
1821 Gallery, pretty normal contemporary art
A younger, Hispanic-flavored scene around the corner.
Silva/Salazar Studios, a pair of more seasoned artists.
Friday morning construction started early, before 7am.  Kenny marked the bocce court with the dig depths  for bobcat guy.  I had a hard time imagining the digging being done the tolerance this implied, but that's pretty much how it turned out.  Within four hours, Jeff, the cat operator, had dug the court and cleared the foundation area for the garage.  (He uncovered an old concrete-walled cellar in the process, and removed the top three or four feet.)  Hand digging would have taken a week!
Planning the dig, donating dirt for the front garden, roots, cellar.
At the end of the half-day
Next week, the crew should set the walls of the bocce court and install five or six inches of fine gravel, in addition to starting the forms for the garage concrete.  We will miss some of this action since we will be visiting Ava and Sam (and whatever parents are there!) for the first half of the week. 

Anyway, we might add a bit to this diary, or not, but we will have a whole new grandparent story starting Saturday(7th).

John and Marianne


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