Sunday thru Saturday, July 21-27—Rain, Projects, and Birthdays

Sunday was my sister’s birthday, and we called to wish her a happy one—my, but she is getting old!  After church and Sunday school, we enjoyed the peace and quiet of “camping” at Quarry Park.  It rained a good portion of the day, our 2nd day in row of much needed rain.

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It rained again on Monday, keeping us inside most of the day.  We had two different sets of workers scheduled to begin work today on staining and sealing the deck and landscaping, respectively, but the rain kept them both away.  We really wanted to get these projects finished this week.  Tuesday was wet as well, but we dared not complain because we really needed the precipitation.  Kay took delivery on the last piece of furniture ordered in early spring, and I was able to sneak in a few photos of a Spicebush Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio troilus) and Common Buckeye Butterfly (Junonia coenia), the latter shown in the photo here.

130724 E 007It began to dry out on Wednesday, but we were still homebound.  The landscaper did come and begin the “stepping stones” and “shade garden irrigation” projects.  We’re adding large stepping stones from the upper garage parking pad to the patio and an irrigation zone to Kay’s shade garden under the large cedar tree in the back.  (A third landscaping project is to rehabilitate the retaining wall under the steps on the front deck.)  We’ve obviously spent too much time at home the last two summers since we’re still adding to and/or modifying our place.  While the guys were working, I noticed Giant Swallowtail (Papilio cresphontes) Butterfly, and photographed it using a too short lens.  Getting a good photo of this elusive butterfly is proving to be a major challenge.

The guys came to seal and stain the deck early Thursday morning, and all but finished, and the landscapers worked late, essentially completing all the projects we had hired them to do.  As an aside, I remember my dad sitting and watching his hired help and offering instructions to make sure they did the job correctly (or at least to his satisfaction.)  I committed to never doing that, but we’ve observed that regardless of how good a contractor is, they do a much better job and meet our needs if we provide “feedback” to them; we’ve done it both ways, and except for a couple of contractors (Dennis Charbonneau and Jeff Dunn), we’ve been dissatisfied when we’ve not provided a modicum of supervision.
Friday, both contractors came back to finish, and we were very satisfied with their work.  We took advantage of a couple of young helpers and ask them to load some furniture into the Expedition to take to Jenny in Memphis, saving our backs!  We completed packing for our Wisconsin and Michigan trip, washed dirty clothes, and drove into Mountain Home for lunch and Kay’s medical appointment.  It took over two hours in the doctor’s office, and almost another hour at the pharmacy to pick up meds.

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Saturday was the highlight of our week.  We drove to Memphis, departing about 4:45 AM, and dropped of the furniture at Jenny’s.  And then, we spent an hour or so at Costco’s stocking up on items not easily found in Baxter County.  Jenny texted and asked us to come to her mom’s and help with HARP while they completed preparations for her 1st birthday party.  Of course, we love to spend time with our grandchildren, and gladly agreed. It’s always a bit uncomfortable being around one’s (for all concerned), but we made the best of it.

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Jenny, Brian, Vickie, and Roy did a great job getting ready for the party, and Jenny spent lots of hours making and decorating a “unicorn” cake; it looked fabulous.  At 12 noon, we began HARP’s birthday celebration with other family and friends.  She did great, and was very well behaved.  The most humorous thing that occurred during the party was HARP’s eating a piece of the unicorn cake, her first ever taste of sugar.  She made suck a mess that they took her outside and hosed her clean!
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We arrived back home about 6:15 PM, unloaded the Expedition, switched cars, and drove back to Quarry Park where we visited with neighbors Wayne and Loretta who had just returned from a long RV trip to Colorado.  We got the low down on their trip, shared our itinerary, and enjoyed each other’s company.  So, considering Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were somewhat wasted days as far as our R&R, we did end up with a good week and our final project of the year at Dunnhill were completed.

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