The stated purpose of our trip to the cabin this weekend was a simple one- power wash the house. This was in preparation of a project to line the house with stone this summer, which sounds like a pretty fun way to spend some Saturdays and Sundays.
I was skeptical, but I kept that to myself, no need to confirm Mrs S’s opinions about my negativity. She recently made the following remarkable statement about me and projects; “you always say no”.
To me she said this. Hah.. Sometimes she says “no” to but rather than say any thing.. sometimes it’s the pitches you lay off that define you as a ball player. That’s all I’m say’n.
The Fates were against this project from the beginning, and they went out of their way to tell me so, and her so, but she’s was determined and I was determined to do what ever it was that she was determined to do so we peservered in our march to folly. In the end we accomplished nothing, well we do have a nicely power washed deck, patio furniture and cheese slicer.
The days events started promptly at 8:00. Watching the news I learned that we would be enjoying a cold by sunny day.
We can do this, even at 52 degrees. Mrs S suggested that we go to the hardware store, rent the machine, bring it back and then get the kiddos up for breakfast. Since the hardware store and the breakfast place are both in Amery, about 15 miles each way.. I kinda felt like we should roust their lazy asses, make them come with us to Amery NOW, get the maching, have breakfast, and then comeback. Saving a 30 mile round trip that we would be making at least twice anyway.
So we did. At the hardware store we learned that the machine they had was 2500 PSI. About 1/2 what she wanted. The fellow explained to her, as I had… although not because I knew, but because someone else had told me, that at 5000 PSI we could blow a hole through our cement wall. “we’ll be careful” was her reply. “For the first time ever” was my under breath reply which apparently I said a tish louder than I thought, based on the death stare.
We also learned that that particular hardware store, as only open until noon and was not open on Sunday,
This actually meant that we would have to get our work done before 11:00 to get it back in time which meant that we would not have time to get pancakes at Ida Mae’s Cafe which caused to be to do something I rarely do.. put my foot down. “Project or not, I am having pancakes, who is with me?” Always interesting when you make you children choose parental allegiances, even more so when they’re adults. Red and Daughter were in on the pancakes, giving me the majority I needed not to have to worry about getting left behind in Amery.
Besides I noted, there is the other hardware store. “They don’t have this stuff” she exclaimed in a way that was reminiscent of “NO”. “My precious turtle dove” i exclaimed, ‘Lets go try ’cause we’re here.” We did, and guess what, they did. And guess what again, they’re open to 5:00 AND they’re open on Sunday. In some ways I was right.
Let me remind you that it was cold on Saturday, about 40 degrees. It was also windy, like whitecap windy out on the lake. This was going suck and the fellow at the hardware store told us so. “You really want to do this today?” Personally the day has yet to come where I would “want” to do this, but since we’re “going” to do this, today is as good as any other. “Mothers Day present”. Ok…
He walked us to show us how to use the thing, “you know, you may have trouble starting this machine, they don’t run well below about 60 degrees.
We loaded the thing into the Durango and off Ida Mae’s Cafe we went.
Ida Mae’s is a new-to-us place in Amery that has become my GO TO spot on the local breakfast scene, the food is delicious and ridiculously inexpensive. They were packed, and as a result were slow. However as opposed to the horrible service we had the night before at a taco joint, at Ida Mae’s the owner was constantly coming back to tell us that their grill was full and thanked us for our patience offering coffee and juice. We decided the longer we sat in there waiting the warmer it was getting outside so no big deal. Besides the food would be worth it.
It also gave us some family time free from the distractions of electronics, save the occasional text message. Funny the conversations we have these days. Some way some how we got onto the topic of geometry, that noblest of sciences. One kid was asking another about some sort of special triangle and the other was describing various forms of the same and I weighed in, since geometry was my favorite math course and was also the point at which I realized that a career in mathematics was something I should avoid given my learning disability. A disablity ironically I discovered and self-diagnoesed exactly one math class later, calculus. Discovered in once in college and again in my feeble attempt to to return to college for an MBA. In the words of Barbie, “Math is hard”, and I’m afraid of it.
And here’s a great example of why, I do know my triangles, I can pick a triangle out of a population of shapes any day. So as the kids were talking about 90:45:45 degree triangles I mentioned what about a 33:33:33 degree triangle? You know the old equilateral thing?
Silence, followed by snickers, the red head looked away.. shamed, the daughter looked up at me and said in a way that sounded hurtful, “What?” For the moment I didn’t realize my mistake. The oldest gently pointed out that what I had described was impossible.. and something about 90 and 180 became clear to me and I realized my error. I looked at my wife for support “You got yourself into this one Dude.. I don’t talk about this stuff with them.”
All I could come back with was I knew who Euclid was and I knew about this 47th problem. All though I could only describe it as a bunch of squares merging in someway that makes it look like a cool pin which you could buy at a Masonic store they dove into Pythagorean theory and blah blah. Subject changed to storm water management. The local hospital in Amery recently had some landscaping done that would effectively manage storm water and run off, the oldest kid is interested in getting an internship with the firm that did the engineering for the project. I asked about the storm run off in our back yard that annually moves all of our mulch form our upstream flowerbeds to the storm drain at the lowest spot on our property. “What can you do about that” I asked.
“Nothing”. Which is the very answer I’d been giving to Mrs S these last several years as she’s been trying to mitigate flow with everything short of a cement dam. Good thing breakfast started rolling in ’cause being right twice in one day.. to much.
Two hours killed getting breakfast, plus the hardware stores.. we were off to late start.
After breakfast we started heading home. By now the wind was blowing so hard the car was difficult to control. Passing over the Apple River the water looked downright angry, it was a dark almost black color with long trails of foam from the white caps, which were quickly progressing to full on rollers.
As we continued the drive the north the weather go worse.. clouds were rolling in, started sprinkling…
We unloaded the machine, hooked up the water and just like that.. out of nowhere, combination rain storm, sleet, blizzard.. literally every sort of known precipitation came falling out of the sky at the same time. Except hail, not hail. No brimstone either. But everything else.
I was out. Kid however, he kept at it. We learned that you can not power wash paint off cement at 2500 PSI.
Crapski. We failed.
An so the wall project moves to Plan B- latticing. Something about chicken wire and molly bolts.
I’m sure it’s going to be interesting.
In footnote, while he was working out side, I spent my time inside, cleaning out some cupboards that have been on my list to clean out since 1999. When we bought the place we bought it with everything in it. The place was loaded with old glasses, plates, odd appliances, time to get rid of it. I found three boxes worth of crap, some of which might have some value. All of it was odd. More later. Among the oddities, a small marble cheese guillotine of some sort with a weird mold on it. Powerwashed it looked brand new.