Bathroom Tap Pt. 4

Final leg of Saturday’s plumbing work (see Bathroom Tap Pt. 3 for the events leading up to this).

I now had the PEX through the floor and attached to the supply. I went back up to the bathroom to install the new PEX to pipe thread straight quarter-turn valves, and the new extension lines. When I removed the old 90° quarter-turn valves and extension lines, I found a major source of the low water pressure.

The old valves and lines were severly plugged. I tried blowing air through the lines, and there was strong resistance to even that.

Where did all of that detritus come from? I suppose many years of buildup in the old galvanized lines. If this is any indication of the future, I expect to have the chance to replace more line over the next couple years.

Now that the new valves were in place, I opened the main valve on the whole-house water supply. This way Tiffany could have water in the kitchen and garage as she needed. I headed back into the house to make sure my new pipes weren’t leaking and at the front door I heard a roaring of a water jet.

Uh-oh! I sprinted back to the meter and shut the water off as fast as I could. Then Tiffany asked me “should the tub be running full blast?”. Well that was a relief. I had only forgotten to close the tub tap from when I had drained the pressure earlier. So I shut the tub off and turned the main water back on.

At this point, I thought I was only a few minutes away from the end of it all, when I realized the extension line felt funny as it connected to the old faucet…

Uh oh.

The hot water supply within the faucet itself (a 1/8 inch copper line) was corkscrewed and wouldn’t be letting much water through anyway. There’s a good chance it was already this way, because I found evidence of a previous leak and someone had wrapped one of the joints apparently to try and stop it, so maybe they overtightened the hot supply at that time…There’s an even better chance that I did this to the supply when I attached the extensions.

It was then clear that we needed yet one more trip to Home Depot. Tiffany quickly got Katarina ready, and we all three went to pick out a new faucet.

While in Home Depot, my dad video-called us and I couldn’t hear him very well, so I told him I would call back. When we got back home, I was tired and wanted to finish the job rather than talk on the phone. I called him back anyway.

As I installed the new faucet and drain, and took the chance to clean years worth of sludge out of the trap, he talked with me and told me some of his stories of fixing these kinds of things.

It was a beautiful moment.

Bathroom Tap Pt. 3

I had finished all the prep work, and I was prepared to install the new water lines to my bathroom faucet (check out Pt. 2 if you missed it).

Throughout this project, I had many more trips in and out of the crawlspace than I am expressing. Also I took more trips to Home Depot than are written. I was so new to all of this, that I was taking one single step at a time (e.g. crawl down and take a measurement, come back up and check it, crawl back down and drill…) rather than compiling my steps into efficient groups.

Anyway, for my first time cutting the PEX, I used a utility knife with a new blade, and rolled the pipe as I made the cut. It worked decently well, but I did freshen the edges to get a nice smooth line sans burs.

Crimping was more challenging than cutting. Mainly because the crimping tool was bulky and the copper rings, that fit the half inch pipe, are quite small. However, in only a couple minutes, I had a proper length of PEX with an appropriately affixed brass adapter to connect to the water supply.

It wasn’t too long till I had both lines connected and up through the floor.

I thought I was home free at this point. I had all the hardware I needed to plug into the old faucet; two straight pipe to PEX valves, two new extension lines, even flanges to spruce up the holes for the PEX entering the bottom of the vanity. Just a few more minutes and I would be finished….

I’ll write the last bit of the story tomorrow.

Bathroom Tap Pt. 2

I started by drilling a pilot hole, through the bottom of the vanity (just off center under the wash basin) and continuing right through the floor. I fed some wire through the hole so I could find it easier from the crawlspace under the house. I wanted to make sure I was knew, when I was below the house, which pipes supplied the faucet (since there is a shower, bath, and commode all within a few feet of each other).

Next I went crawling into this hole from our backyard, which got me under the house. This gave me a look at the plumbing leading to the bathroom, and thanks the wire it didn’t take long to figure out what was what from underneath.

Once under the house, it was quite dark down there, so I took my Solar LED Lantern that my dad had bought me for my birthday. It was so light, ad bright enough, that it worked very well for me getting into position, then I dragged a corded work light in, because I was going to be in and out all day long.

I only had 18 – 24″ of total vertical space, from the terribly dusty old dry dirt underneath me, to the bottom of the floor joists above me. So much of my crawling was with my chest flat to the ground. I wore an N95 mask and full coveralls, but still got filthy and I coughed up dust later.

I made some determinations about which galvanized pipes I needed to cut. I was going to replace just the last couple feet of both the hot, and the cold, supply lines with PEX.

I headed to Home Depot with a plan to get the PEX and necessary adapters.

The gentleman who assisted me steered me away from any kind of compression fitting, or other work-around fitting, into the galvanized. He said even if I had to replace 30 feet of the galvanized, I’d be much better off by finding the closest threaded end and attaching the PEX there. He also told me to try PB Blaster on the old fittings, since I had seen they were pretty rusty. I grabbed two 14-inch pipe wrenches (one aluminum and one steel) and went back home.

I filled a bucket with water, in case we would need the toilet twice before I had the water back on, and then I shut off water to the house and opened the taps on the tub to bleed the lines.

Back under the house, I used a cutting blade on my angle grinder to sever the sections of galvanized line I was removing. There was still a decent amount of water in the lines, and some ran down on my grinder, which I didn’t like mixing electric and water. Maybe I should have found a way to bleed the lines better than just opening the tub faucet? But hey, silver lining was that the pipe didn’t get hot (hate to have any kind of fire risk under an old wood floor) while I made the cut because it was water-cooled.

With the PB blaster in place on the fittings, it was quick work to remove the pieces of galvanized. This was a great moment, because I knew I was now past the blockage that caused me to do all this in the first place. These lines were connected to taps that had good pressure, which meant I could run new lines to my bathroom sink and have good pressure there as well!

More to come.

Bathroom Tap Pt. 1

We left Sandalwood Ave, and moved to Auburn St, this past April. We had rented an older, but clean, house through a management company for the 12 months previous to that.

When we did the initial walk-through of the house, before we signed the lease to rent it, we discussed many things that still needed repair or replacement.

One of the issues in the home was the master bathroom sink. It had no hot water flowing to it, and it had poor pressure from the cold water tap. The handyman told me he would fix it soon after we moved it. We contacted the company nearly every month and the response was always the same, “we will tell our man to fix it soon”.

He never fixed it. We lived there for an entire year without hot water in our bathroom sink.

Our home on Auburn also had a shoddy bathroom tap. When the faucet was opened up wide, the water came out from the tap much too slowly. Fully on, it could be better described as leaking rather than flowing.

Today I finally had the gumption to tackle it. It took several hours, but it was successful in the end. I’ll write more about the techniques soon.

A Simple Joy

We’re excited to share breakfast with some friends early tomorrow morning. If the Lord wills, there will be poached eggs, sauteed onions and mushrooms, breakfast sausage, bacon, and plenty of milk and hot coffee available at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

It isn’t much, and it isn’t a very big thing, but it is something we are looking forward to. There are wonderful memories made around a shared meal.

If you’re in town, come and break bread with us.

602 Auburn St.

Best Friends

I visited two clients today and after finding and checking the last heifer, I was tired from several hours of work, and I slogged through more mud as I headed back to my truck. I was at an open lot heifer ranch that, like the rest of the central valley, was pretty muddy from the recent rains.

I washed my boots off at the water hose, and then washed them a second time on my tailgate because they got so muddy getting back from the water hose.

My drive out of the ranch took me by their office, and I saw the wired haired butterscotch mutt, who had been hanging with me while I worked the heifers.

He too was tired.

I rolled down my window to take a picture of this odd couple, and one of the employees told me they are best friends.

Don’t worry if your best friend doesn’t look like you, just enjoy their presence 🙂

Anomalies?

I have typically been highly sensitive to decision making in small sample sizes. A single day’s outcome doesn’t matter much in a year’s worth of results.

Parts of Popper’s philosophy of falsification were thoroughly engrained in me during college, and my common exposure to research, statistics, and significance leaves me very wary of the single case of surprises. Anything to avoid a Type 1 error.

However, I think there is an area of study where a single aberrant finding can mean much more than it would in chemistry and physics. Undesirable behaviors.

I don’t yet have this thought fully fledged in my mind.

I just know that I have experienced, now multiple times, the significance of a single event when investigating problems on dairies. A single observed expression of a bad behavior; undue aggression, cutting corners, carelessness etc. has later been shown to be only one in a long list of transgressions. It has been just the “tip of the iceberg”.

Moving forward, I think I should consider longer those be single actions, and not chalk them up as anomalies.

Connecting Dots

My Co-op post yesterday got me thinking even more about connecting the fields of Modern Agriculture and Conservation Biology.

I remembered a group of researchers being led by Dr. Katy Proudfoot at The Ohio State University. They are looking at spatial use of maternity pens by dairy cows. These maternity pens are typically small (1,000-3,000 square feet) and can have a high cattle stocking density (I believe only 50 square feet per cow is common)

As a Wildlife Sciences undergraduate, I would have found the opportunity to collaborate with a veterinary group as an extremely attractive project. So today I reached out to the College if Natural Resources at the University of Idaho, to see if I could connect with anyone there who would be interested in helping the veterinary group on these studies.

I also tweeted at a post-doc researcher who has done much work on white nose syndrome in bats. She said she may know some people from the conservation side interested!

On the natural resources side, determining spatial use is a major pillar of conservation research, and maintaining the proper environment to maximise use is a fundamental task of ecologists.

On the veterinary side, we often talk about barn design to control the environment in favor of the cows, i.e. proper ventilation, temperature control, access and delivery of food and water, waste management etc. We spend very little time thinking about the cow’s preference or biological drive, and Dr. Proudfoot’s team is leading the way in that area.

Co-op

We could be talking about a housing unit for chickens, or we could talk about my favorite type of video (and board) game – wherein you play with a friend instead of going solo. Instead, let’s consider “CO-OP”s, organizations explicitly arranged around cooperative action.

My family was, as many other homeschool families were, part of a food purchasing co-op. I can remember, on occasion, helping sort hundreds of pounds of bagged bulk-grains into each families pile per what they had ordered. This co-op gave us access to resources and prices we could not have easily obtained from other methods.

But that’s not even the co-op I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about the $50,000 lecture. You see, I heard a lecture in undergrad that the prof called his fifty thousand dollar lecture, and he hadn’t even given it that name. It was the same lecture he had given to land and resource managers within the USFS, FWS, and BLM sometime before. After delivering the speech, a gentleman approached him and asked where he had been 5 years ago, because that talk would have saved him fifty grand and years of wasted time.

The essence of the lecture was teaching us to find sustainable solutions to conflict. Public lands are used in as many ways as their are people who want to use them, and as future managers of those land resources, we need to find solutions to ongoing deep conflicts over the lands. The best way to do this – CO-OPs of the stakeholders, the people who really care about the lands. No matter how far they seem to be divided, user groups that respect each other can actually agree on many things as good for the land and the future, and finding common ground can get people off their accusative rhetorics and onto beneficial solutions and teamwork.

It was an absolutely beautiful lecture, and I’ve carried the thought with me when I’m looking for solutions to any kind of conflict.

Unfortunately, respect seems to be rapidly draining from our public conversations. Outrage is the new norm. We feel the need to silence all dissenting voices, and disagreement is perceived as equivalent to hate.

I rejoiced when I recently heard about someone bucking this trend, and pursuing meaningful conversation from all sides, and real change. Not only a positive example of this kind of co-op, but one that bridges two places of my own experience and passion that are deep to me. Two separate societies, of which I am a committed member of both, that don’t see eye to eye, and often think the other has done little more than given them a black eye. I long to see them married to one another. Conservation Biology and Modern Agriculture.

This thrills me, and I want to see more of these.

Please check them out!

Peninsula Pride Farms.

How To Leave Well?

When is the best time to leave?

How do you say goodbye?

When you’re having a wonderful time, but you must end it soon, how do you do so graciously?

On a couple of occasions, I have quietly gone without saying any goodbyes, and I avoided the immediate pain that way. There is an absolutely beautiful wedding arc in the BBC production of Sherlock, and Holmes himself leaves that way.

That made it much easier for me. My uncle Gordon was known for that, he never said goodbyes, just slipped away. For a while I had planned to make that my life routine. In the summer of 2010 I worked on a Resort Ranch with my dear friend Audra. She teared up when I told her I planned leave that way, and she said would really hurt her if I did that.

The last twelve days we spent in Ohio, and it was a flurry of visits to so many people we dearly miss and don’t get to see enough. We said goodbyes dozens of times over and it was no fun.

There is something beautiful in a goodbye. They hurt. That very pain reminds us that we are still connected to them. That we care about them. I don’t ever want to be happy about saying goodbye to old friends or family. Yes I want to be happy for them, and for the better places they are heading, but not happy about our paths diverging.

Pelicans & Pancakes

Had a meeting with several individuals in northern Columbus this morning, regarding the American Solidarity Party (ASP), a Christian Democratic party.

The red-bearded fellow on the left is William Campbell. He is a long-time friend and the host of this public outreach on behalf of the ASP. He shared with us, for two hours, on the ASP history, tenets, and structure.

A joke was made that members of ASP seek to be radical centrists. They are a wide umbrella and “a party of the common ground”. An attempt to bridge the great chasm that seems to be growing only wider with every election cycle.

They believe in;

  • Sanctity of Human Life (abolishing abortion and capital punishment).
  • Necessity of Social Justice (many places of emphasis including economic policies and working toward universal health care).
  • Responsibility to the Environment (including anthropogenic climate change).
  • Promotion of Peaceful World (violence only as a truly last resort).

Check out their website. I’m not sure yet if I’ll be with the ASP, but I definitely want to learn more!

Just Like Momma

I am continually amazed at how much Katarina wants to be like her mother.

I heard a neurologist say, on an interview, that the three ways children learn from their parents are; example, example, and example.

Many times I have seen Katarina enthralled by what her momma is doing, and this is just another example. Katarina watches every move Tiffany makes, and is very excited to imitate her mother.

It is sobering how much the little human is watching and learning.

Holiday Puzzle

Puzzles are fantastic family games. Today we spent a couple hours on a thousand piece holiday scene, and I felt good about working on it together.

There are no complicated rules to puzzles.

You don’t need to have any previous experience.

You can’t really lose when you put together a puzzle, and you definitely don’t have to beat someone else to “win”.

I want to make puzzles a more regular part of my holiday tradition.

In The Neighbourhood

We traveled from Bladensburg to Gallipolis Ohio today. I have made that trek dozens of times before, but I went a different way today.

On one of our windy country roads, we saw signs for Ravenwood Castle only a few miles away. It brought back memories for my wife and I.

Four years ago we visited this charming location.

Just before proposing to my girlfriend, we stopped in at the castle and I tried to subtly inquire about Ravenwood as a venue for “events”. My thinly veiled attempt was thoroughly pierced by the receptionist, who quickly asked “Like a wedding? Are you two getting married? Congratulations!”…. I am still trying to play it cool, when she says “oh we are having a wedding reception right now, try some of the cake!”.

Today we laughed about that trip, and about how awkward Tiffany felt at that time as we were not yet betrothed. We decided to visit again and look around.

Coming here with our daughter is unbelievably different, and we want to bring her here when she is a little older, when she can all dress up like royalty, and Katarina can feel like a Princess in her castle.

What’s In A Snickerdoodle?

When I ask myself, “what’s in that cookie”? My mind replies with the tangible components, that we would physically put into the mixing bowl, when preparing the cookie in question.

Flour, sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon and all those other precious things, commonly quantified by their calories, which our bodies will use for fuel and structure. Made of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, on a molecular level, we will burn them and/or rearrange them into the building blocks of our cells.

This morning I got to visit my grandma-in-law for a morning cup of coffee. We stayed over an hour and that seemed still too short a time. Princess Katarina snuggled into her great grandmothers lap and contentedly fell asleep within minutes of arriving.


Thinking again of the cookie, grandma told me those cookies were the recipe from her mother Babetksi, who made cookies that way when she lived in Poland around the start of the 20th century.

She left the old world shortly after World War I and was fortunate enough to catch a ride on a steamer to North America. This refugee lady left much of her family and set out for a better life. It’s lost to history when, or from whom, Ms. Babetksi learned to make these cookies, but over a hundred years later her grand-daughter Julie carries on the tradition.

I never thought a cookie contained so much history, so many meta properties, until today.

P. Graham Dunn

I got to spend over an hour in the P. Graham Dunn shop today. The cheery decor and inviting charm were overflowing the unbelievably large facility. Elegance seemed the hallmark of the entire store.

Ten thousand photo frames and painted wooden signs adorned the displays and walls. Twine, wire, crystal, leather, ceramic, copper and slate were also commonly incorporated into the products. Not once did I like at something and feel it to be baroque.

Harry, the general manager of the twenty thousand foot retail store, introduced himself soon after we entered. He chatted with us for twenty minutes and told us about the P. Graham Dunn story, and of his own life journey.

This mug was the only thing we ended up purchasing, but we had a great time visiting.

Extended Breakfast

We went to Newt’s Place, in Navarre Ohio, this morning for a 09:00 breakfast. Well we had scheduled it for 09:00, but we didn’t all actually arrive till half past the hour.

Four generations sat around the table for two hours and shared a little bit of life. Coffees all around, and the table was covered with plates of eggs, bacon, sausage gravy, home fries, and toast in various renditions.

There’s no substitute for spending time with our families. It doesn’t have to be in a restaurant. It certainly doesn’t have to be fancy or pretty, but it must be at the cost of giving something else up. To open our schedule, to make time, means to sacrifice something.

We have to give up some other activity of value, for this one that is even more valuable.

Right Time

I packed a bag full of dice for our trip to Ohio without a clear plan for them. I figured using them for a game could be a decent way to pass some time in the layovers. That didn’t work because we were exhausted during our layovers.

Last night they came to mind at the right time. We met up with a good friend to have a nightcap at the hotel bar, and a nearby gentleman struck up conversation and we learned his daughter is interviewing at the Ohio State College of Veterinary Mebdicine right now.

A pick up game of liar’s dice, using only our hands to cup our throws, ended up being a terrific diversion and made for a lot of laughs all around.

Change Again

It is easy for us to call out for others to change and do better, to leave their old ways behind and embrace new and better practices.

It is hard for us to go through the same process ourselves. We have stories. Our choices and habits got us here, and oftentimes we feel we would be happy staying where we are right now. In fact, a gentleman once told me “Your life is perfect. Right now you are in a perfect place. Don’t change anything”.

I think he meant well by saying that, and he wanted to protect me from pain and loss, to shield me from the heartbreak and disappointment that marks so many of our lives.

Would that be a good life?

To live statically?

Suspended in a single moment like an old stone statue?

C. S. Lewis answers this beautifully.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

A Good Word

How much a good word can change a person’s day.

There is way too much pain in this world, even in our everyday experiences, already. When we speak, we have a chance to give a good word, or a bad word, to help or to hurt, and to heal or to damage.

We influence (even a small change is a change) the life-course of our neighbors each time we open our mouths. There is no fence to sit on. Your words are important.

Listen first. Speak honestly and with kindness. Speak humbly and boldly.

Travel Aroundabout

We left Tulare before 10 pm last night. We expected to be in Columbus Ohio within 9 or 10 hours, arriving at 10:30 am eastern time.

We left earlier than we thought we would need too, and in the end we were grateful to have that time margin.

First off, the Fresno airport was busier at 11:30 pm New Year’s Day than I had ever seen it before. After waiting twenty five or thirty minutes just to check a single bag, we went off to security and were turned away because Katarina was not indicated on our boarding passes. We were both using mobile passes and I wonder if that is why her name did not show up.

I quickly returned to the bag check line, and ended up waiting another fifteen or twenty minutes to speak with the agent. The agent quickly printed passes for us and Katarina was good to go. I returned to security and we made it through with only a couple minutes before our first flight began boarding.

Little did we know.

This was just the start of the January 2019 Great Ohio Adventure. Our next flight was cancelled, so rather than landing in Columbus at 1030 am, we left Dallas around that time bound for Charlottesville North Carolina. I think we spent nearly 8 hours in flight today.

Tiffany and Katarina were real champs. In the end we all made it.

New Year’s Allowance

In 2019, I am going to allow myself to write much shorter blog posts.

I’ve drafted many posts and never shared them because I didn’t feel like they were good enough, or because I wanted to flesh them out more.

Moving into the next year I am going to allow myself to share smaller, or even partial thoughts. Perhaps some my posts will be even just a single sentence. Trying to write more, and longer posts, hasn’t been working for me.

It’s time to be consistent, so whether its good, ok, or seemingly sloppy…I’ll be sharing here every day.

Christmas Eve

“Starting System Fault” – that was what flashed across my dashboard this morning.

It wasn’t difficult for us to understand that there was a problem in the starting system of my F250. We turned the key and the engine didn’t turn over.

We left the truck parked for a couple hours, and then it started beautifully without any intervention.

This happened once before to my truck. A similar thing has happened to one of our other work trucks multiple times. So far not to strange.

What makes it a head scratcher is that there events have been exclusively at one dairy. How does that happen?

Could it be because we often park on a slight hillside angled toward the passenger side?

Could it be because this herd is on a Monday-morning schedule and the trucks have sat idle for the weekend?

Could the herdsman (who is our driver while there) be starting the truck is such a way as to throw it off?

We may never know the answer, because the problem occurs so rarely and it is difficult to isolate and test variables when you have an interlude between problems of a couple months, but it’s a fun guessing game.

It reminds me of seizure investigation in neurology, or syncopal symptoms in cardiology.

Here?

I used to watch for the maple flowers when I walked, or pedaled, to the UI campus in early spring. I spent many late nights at the arboretum, walking among the evergreens, listening to the songs from the many creatures of the night.

Now I hurry from project to project. I’m always playing catch up on the laundry list of work items, and yet many times feeling like I haven’t made real progress.

Where are the wild things?

Some part of my soul cries out to hear the sweet summer song of a whippoorwill, to smell the must of rotting leaves in early spring, to see the full moon silhouetting a thousand barren and cold oak, hickory and ash branches on a cold November night.

How did I get here? Living within a thousand artificial machinations, and it all feeling rather drab compared to a single forgotten forest ravine.

Letting Go

My recent life experiences have shown me plainly the need to say no, the need to prune my life, the need to say goodbye and move on.

Frozen’s iconic song has taken on a new meaning for me. It stood for forgiveness, for rejecting someone else’s expectations on your life, and ceasing to wear a mask – at least that was my take on Elsa’s performance the first time I heard it.

It means more than that to me now. I am face to face with the fact that you must “give up to go up” as John Maxwell says. I have to let go of ok things, even things that were good at one time, to grab hold of the best things.

It’s painful to say goodbye to sunk costs. It’s humbling to walk away from a bad investment. It’s scary to cut something off from our life.

Jesus told us, as written in John 15, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Bear more fruit. Yes spiritually, and also at work.

Isn’t that what I truly desire?

Pruning must be a regular part of my life for me to bear more fruit. I don’t look forward to the pruning, but I rejoice in what it will bring forth through me.

Go ahead and leave it behind.

My news feed has overflowed recently with discussion on the “banning” of the song Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

Many of my friends are raising a ruckus and complaining that people are too sensitive today, and that it is a shame that the song is not being played in their cherished Christmas radio routines.

It’s ok if the radio stations don’t play your favorite song.

The radio stations aren’t obliged to respect your traditions. You are welcome to play the song yourself, if you believe that playing that song is a good thing to do.

In the words of Elsa’s song “let it go, let it go!”. Don’t let it offend you when people protest your traditions, take the chance to learn from them, and in doing so you might gain a new point of view, our even better yet a new true friend “from the other side”.

Maybe after it’s all said and done, you’ll decide to keep your traditions anyway.

2018-12-01

The last month already.

We are barely beyond the wonderful experience of Thanksgiving, and close living conditions for several days, with family.

I took off work early yesterday afternoon, packed my bags, picked up Princess Katarina from daycare and got ready for our trip. Tiffany got off work a little early too, and she had prepared ahead of time, so we left Tulare around 6pm and headed for LAX.

Tiffany drove all the way, I slept a decent portion of the drive, and Kat passed out only a half a mile from our home and slept soundly.

After some thick and crowded SoCal traffic, we made it to the airport at 9:30 and picked up my mother-in-law. Soon after we checked into our hotel and Katarina woke up. We fed, changed, and played with her a while.

Around eleven we went to dinner at Casa Gamino, a small nearby Mexican joint. Even though we were tired, we shared many laughs and ate some excellent, camarones, carnitas, arroz y frijoles.

We got back to hotel at after midnight and soon passed out. Susan was very kind to feed and change Kat in the night, and to rock her back to sleep. Around five thirty this morning, the lovely girl woke up and wanted to play. So naturally we were all awake.

I got up sometime after six and took her for a walk in the hotel, in my pajamas. The lobby had quite a few people already who were waiting for breakfast. Kat was just a star in their eyes :).

We met the lovely night manager, Andre, whom Katarina was delighted with and smiling at. Andre told me to enjoy these moments and be grateful, and he told me about his 14 month old granddaughter.

We video-chatted with Uncle Caleb and took a walk in the flower garden.

After a warm bottle of milk, Kat went back to sleep and I am the lobby having breakfast and reading Musashi.

11-28-18

No coffee this morning.

I broke our cute 4-cup carafe yesterday morning, and I haven’t yet ordered a replacement. I went to Mr. Coffee’s website last night and I wasn’t easily able to order, they wanted me to contact them during their business hours (eastern time hours).

I worked behind cows for a couple hours and I missed that rush that comes from morning caffeine. It’s a beautiful flow of energy and focus, and all very jittery.

I felt instead that I was underwater as I worked. My arms were slightly delayed when I reached for a cow’s tail, or a piece of chalk. My legs didn’t move forward like I expected them when I stepped. Even the sounds around me seemed a little dull.

I did however see the larger picture of the dairy more readily. The individual
pieces were hidden from me, but the overall experience came clearer.

I think I will play with this some more, titrate my caffeine and sleep and see how it influences my work.

11-27-18

Last night were the good-byes. After a wonderful full week of family staying with us on Auburn St, it was painful to see them drive off. We had a week together of old stories and new memories, of conflict and resolution, of honesty and surprises, of mirth and tears.

Katarina went to sleep. Tiffany was still at work, and the house was now unbelievably quiet, and a little chilly. I made some lemon herbal tea and put on a fluffy flannel blanket to warm up. I turned on classical instrumental Christmas music and a fireplace on my TV and read from Musashi.

It was very relaxing.

Tiff smiled when she got home and as she was taking care of Katarina, I told her I was living like a 70 year old and I hoped she was ok with that.

She is ok with that. We are both old souls.