Saturday, September 24, 2016

Scaffolding and Copper Rain Gutters

It was supposed to take two to three days. Of course, nothing ever is finished on time around here. The building needed new rain gutters and it's a difficult thing to maneuver when they are located above the fifth floor. And of course, our tiny patio garden sits right below where the scaffolding had to be erected. The pounding and hammering started early one morning and lasted most of the day - just to get the platform set up. The actual work didn't take nearly as long, but the unfortunate part is that they started the pounding and hammering at seven in the morning. That's fine if you get up for work. But since I retired this year, I don't get up much earlier than 8:30. Of course, it also rained for the first time in three months which delayed the project. Luckily for everyone, the new copper gutters were completely installed by yesterday - two weeks after it started. Then the process of dismantling the structure started, which involved flying debris in to our garden below. But all in all, it really went quite well, and the workers picked up after themselves and really didn't damage anything. I'm sure they are used to working in such unusual circumstances. We're just glad this issue was finally addressed. The sad thing is it will start all over again when the roof repairs begin. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Muscat Grape Jelly from Merry Hill

It's not every day we receive home made jelly made out of real grapes from a vineyard on a farm in North Carolina. We've had home made jelly before - my husband concocted quince jelly. It has a peculiar taste for a particular person - and the quince fruit itself tastes like a wooden apple. We even had a quince bush in Milwaukee that we hoped would supply us with quince. That never happened. Yesterday one of our friends stopped by after work and brought along two glass containers of Muscat grape jelly. On the card was a picture of the old tobacco barn in the background and a the grapevine in the foreground. I recall him talking about the grape vines that he started planting there many months ago and he spoke of eventually making wine and such. And so he held true to his word. And of course we had to try it as soon as we opened one of the jars. It was quite good - I would actually eat it. I much prefer the jelly to preserves, and typically go for grape jelly. This was less sweet than most but was quite nice, and the color was interesting too. In the end it's not so much the jelly as the idea that he thought of us while making it. Now every time we have it we will fondly think of him and his family. What a sweet - and tasty - notion! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

Rather than take the usual neighborhood walk this morning, we headed out towards the Washington Monument. All the preparations are being made for the grand opening of the Smothsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday morning. We've been watching the construction over the last couple of years right near the White House on Constitution Avenue. You need timed tickets to get in to the place, somewhat like the Capitol Visitor Center. But there are none to be had at this late date, although there are activities and music around the Washington monument all weekend. When I worked at the Library of Congress we got to go on two behind the scenes tours of the Capitol Visitor Center before the grand opening. It's really interesting to get a guided tour and see places the general public rarely knows about. Unfortunely that wasn't the case for this museum. So it looks like it will be a beautiful weekend for the event. We will probably visit when the early rush of interest wanes a bit. What's nice about living here is that we can gauge the best time to become tourists ourselves. In the mean time we will check out a few presentations at the National Book Festival on Saturday. I wonder if they knew this date would be in conflict with this event? It's hard to be in two places at one time - especially when the traffic will be an even bigger mess. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Navy Yard Walkabout

Rather than take the usual promenade, this morning my husband suggested a walk towards the Anacostia River at Yards Park and the Navy Yard. Once we passed through the hustle and bustle of all the people on their way to work and the noisy construction of this urban environment, we reached our destination. It was quite desolate, and quiet - such a sharp contrast to the urban concrete and high rises. So we walked east along the river to the freeway, spotting various water birds and a heron along the way. The docks were quite empty and the battleship is no longer moored by the Navy Yard. The water seems a lot cleaner than the last time we were there. Every so often a jogger would pass us by.  The high walls extend around the entire perimeter of the complex. We walked past a few marines who were participating in some sort of drill. Then we made our way to M Street where the Wagtime Shop is located. We stopped to see my gallery of pet digital art portraits that I just updated on Sunday. The traffic and noise along M street was typically loud for rush hour. We finally made it back home to the quiet suburban neighborhood. What a difference a couple blocks makes. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

LLBean Softpack Cooler

If and when we take another road trip, we finally decided it would be a good idea to keep up with our healthy eating habits as much as possible. By that I mean fruit, cookies, and angel food cake! Additionally, it's a good idea to have a container in the car that is insulated for the rare event it might be needed for leftovers, or something else that needs that type of container. So now that I have become an LlBean fan, we decided to check out what might be available at the Tysons store. There was one style available in three sizes and several colors. Of course, I immediately went for the green. We both liked the soft sides, and the ample room for the ice pack and the contents of the picnic size - the bag in between the personal and the family size. There were pockets on every side, a zip pocket on top, carrying handles that open, and a shoulder strap. Plus, it was very light. One of these days we need to find rain proof shoes for winter, but that will be another time. Since I retired, our general style has switched from business to casual. And it's so much better! 

Monday, September 19, 2016

DC DMV Medical Report Headache

It is such a pain to go anywhere around here. What should take half an hour is two hours. My husband got a letter from the department of motor vehicles saying he needs to submit medical authorization for his drivers license renewal. Because we don't trust the mail service around here, we literally like to hand carry official documents and pick them up when they are completed. Lucky for us, the eye doctor was available today to complete the form, but the problem with that is she is located at Washington Hospital Center, a huge medical complex that is a pain to drive to, get around in, and escape from. And of course the parking ticket was a dud as it could not be read by the machine when we tried to pay, so it took even longer to find the parking attendant and get that addressed. While we were at it, I'm trying to relearn how to drive in the city, so whenever we go anywhere lately, I drive home. This time it meant going to our primary care doctor office in our neighborhood first. Today is rainy, there is always construction, the streets are congested, there are too many one way streets, and pedestrians are always jumping in out of nowhere. It gives me a headache! I dropped my husband off and he returned within five minutes or so. He always gets the runaround there and I have a feeling it will take forever to get a call to pick up the document. On the way home he said this is a great way to keep your mind sharp. All I can say is that it feels like such an archaic way to access this information and have hard copy documents in this digital age. These are the days I wish we lived somewhere else. But that somewhere else just isn't very clear to us just yet. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

HP Printer Replacement Ink Cartridge Program

The primary use for my printer is to make my digital art pet portraits come to life so I can display them at the Wagtime Shop. My old printer bit the dust a couple weeks ago and I researched HP printers and decided on the HP Envy 5660 all in one e printer. Of course, none of my old ink cartridges will work in the new printer, but I was intrigued by the mail in ink replacement program that HP offered. I always seem to have to make special trips to get the ink, never really knowing exactly when it would need to be replaced. So I signed up for the cheapest option at $2.99 a month, with the first three months service charge free, and my introductory kit just came in the mail. The program starts once I insert the replacement cartridges that were sent, and then the printer orders the new ones on line when it figures out it is running low. The program is based on sheets printed rather than by month, and the price for the ink is supposed to be a lot less. Also enclosed in the kit is a recyclable pouch that you send back to HP postage free when the cartridges are empty. So far I am happy with the printer and looking forward to seeing how this works. At least now I only have two cartridges rather than four. It's a necessary evil for my artwork, but it's well worth it!