Tag Archives: work

A work weekend at Casa Poolman

This was a work weekend around Casa Poolman. It seems like every weekend for the past several weeks, Mrs. Poolman and I have determined that we would get a few things done around the house. And every weekend, we allow ourselves to be distracted for all or part of our planned work-time. (Funny how that happens.)   This weekend, I took Friday off so there would be no question we would be working. Here was the “to-do” list, and how successful we were.

  • Mow lawn – I’ll do it later in the week
  • Change oil and air filter on lawn mower – done
  • Rake patio area and spread mulch (big job) – done
  • Fertilize vegetables and install tomato cages – done
  • Wash outside of windows and window sills – not done
  • Dust house especially venetian blinds – not done
  • Trim low branches of oak tree over patio – done
  • Clean patio pavement – done
  • Place umbrellas in stands at tables – done
  • Clean rat “poop” in attic  (another big and very unpleasant job) – done (See earlier posts about our rodent issues.)
  • Brush and wash dogs – done
  • Cut down dead bushes in courtyard – not done

We didn’t get it all done, but I’m feeling pretty good. (By the way, I love making lists. The only thing I like more is to cross things off.)

This is what the patio area of the back yard looks like to start the summer season.

The back yard at Casa Poolman

The back yard at Casa Poolman

In addition, I removed the pool cover (86 degrees as of this morning) and vacuumed, backwashed, and adjusted chemicals. I also updated the check book and paid couple of bills.

And let’s not forget out multiple trips to Ace Hardware for more mulch.

First trip – 6 bags (We grossly underestimated.)

Second trip – 8 bags (“What? You’re back again?”)

Third trip – 4 bags (“You guys really can’t count, can you?”)

In the past, I have described my less-than-successful efforts to grow tomatoes and other veggies. Since we clearly do not learn from past experience, we are trying again this year. We bought a pre-fab raised bed kit at Home Depot to create our little 4 ft x 4 ft effort at agriculture. It contains several bags of potting and planting soil, three tomato plants and two pepper plants, and a little cinaltro. (Total outlay to date — approximately $1.5 million.)

The Poolman garden

The Poolman garden

I have it placed where it gets a lot of sun, but is shaded in the very late afternoon. I really hope we get some produce out of it this year. I’ll keep you informed.

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I need a little recharge time

I guess I’m becoming a fuddy-duddy in my old age. Mrs. Poolman and I have been traveling or otherwise very busy for the past three weeks. Even our weekends have been full of either travel or out-of-town company. I really shouldn’t complain. Except for the event last weekend in Atlanta, which was work-related, these were all voluntary “play” events. We could have said “no.”

The last couple of work weeks have been busy too. Counting tonight, when I will read for a “Living Stations of the Cross” production, I will have been at our church for six of the past ten work-nights.

On top of that, Mrs. P decided now would be a good time to wean me off of artificial sweeteners. Since I practically live on Coke Zero and Pepsi Max, this also means cutting out caffeine. (I have never been a coffee drinker. My morning and mid-day caffeine hits have come from a 12-ounce can.)  So I feel a little like a small child who missed his afternoon nap

Tomorrow is Saturday. Both Mrs. Poolman and I are off. We have our income taxes and yard work on tap for tomorrow.  Then I believe a few people are coming over for dinner Saturday evening.

Sunday is looking like a low-energy day for the kid. Mrs. P is scheduled to work Easter Sunday. (Unfortunately, they can’t just send those preemies home with their parents and tell them to bring them back on Monday.) I’m scheduled to read at 10am Mass and then, of course, I’ll fix a nice Easter dinner for Mrs. P. Otherwise, I may let the rest of the world get along without me. A chair on the patio with a book in my lap sounds very inviting.  It’s time to recharge.

 

 

Ode to a swimming pool

I have often thought of our swimming pool, which we had installed in 1994, as our 7th child (after two natural children, two dogs and two cats) because of the amount of care and attention it requires. I ran across this description of a pool today. I can relate.

“Swimming pools need things. It isn’t enough to invest in the pool, the pool will require constant care, a cover, extra lounge chairs, extra towels, and plenty of poolside umbrellas. As soon as you think it is all taken care of, a storm will blow the umbrellas into the pool and rip the liner. You’ll replace the liner just in time for your children to have parties that you will get to cater. Afterwards you can spend the evening laundering your towels. Then the pool will want toys – slides, floating chairs, LED lights. You’ll want the pool to have self-cleaning robots that you just toss in…”

There is a great deal of truth in that paragraph. However, we still love ours .

 

A ‘manly job’

We had a nice heavy overnight rain a couple of nights ago – only the second rain to speak of in our neighborhood since March. The storm pulled down branches and trees all over the area. I slept right through the whole thing, including the fall of a couple of seriously large sweet gum tree branches in our back yard – right outside our bedroom window.The branch missed Poolboy’s boat, which is parked there, by only about three feet. He would have been quite upset. Lucky.

I was left with the job to cut up the branch and haul it out to the street for the weekly yard-trash pick-up. We don’t own a chain saw, but for some reason we do have possession of one of our friend’s battery powered chainsaw. I was eager to take it out for a spin.

I’m pretty much a desk-sitter, so I view working with a chain saw is a very “manly” job–even if the battery-powered saw is really one designed for girls.

I got the branches limbed up right down to the “trunks” (without cutting off a foot or hand, a major accomplishment in itself) and hauled the trash out to the curb. The only real problem was the heat. The work wasn’t that physically difficult, but it felt like I was working in a sauna.

I was left with two logs of 10-12 feet long and 6-8 inches thick at the base. They were just too thick to handle with my “girl-saw.” Fortunately, my friend Birdie (of Europe trip fame), lives for this kind of opportunity. He has spent his entire adult life in the forest industry and handles a real chain saw like the rest of us handle a knife and fork. He is more than happy to bring one of his real chain saws down and cut up my logs.

It’s nice to have friends with both the equipment and the skills to put them to use.

A small victory

I scored one small victory last night. It comes on the heels of one of my biggest disappointments while on my current job.

Part of my job is to open lines of communication between the science we do and the general public. In the past, we have held public lecture series. The last series which we sponsored last fall was pretty much a dismal failure. For a variety of reasons, our attendance was miserable. Feeling a little burned, some of the people here, including myself, have been reluctant to get back on the horse and try again.

I decided to take a different tack. Rather than sponsoring a publicly advertised lecture series, we went with a smaller, more exclusive event. We targeted the roughly 240 families that are members of our foundation. We billed it as a special, “by invitation only” event, and sent out printed invitations to the membership. We asked for RSVP’s because “space is limited.” We also encouraged our members to bring their friends as “their guests.” We included a wine/beer/snacks reception.

Our program focused less on science, and more on adventure. The speaker, one of our scientists, has been doing a lot of work in the Arctic Ocean at Barrow, Alaska.

Apparently, it worked. We had 50 people respond and show up. That is right at our target figure. (We have crammed 100 people into our largest meeting room, but it was not pleasant.)

Everyone was happy. Yea! We’ll try another one in the fall and hope for similar or even better results.

An island weekend

I had to work this Saturday, but at least it was fun work.

I took a trip to Wassaw Island, a barrier island near Savannah.  The purpose was this — each year, we offer some “trips” as prizes for the silent auction that is part of the university system’s big fundraising gala. Today one of the winners of last year’s prizes came for his trip. We put them up in one of our cottages on our campus and took them to Wassaw Island for a beach and nature tour. My boss, his wife (who was our guide) and I hosted the day.

Wassaw is only reachable by boat.

The Fish and Wildlife Service dock.

It is entirely a nature preserve. When we were leaving the island, we saw a few boaters “beaching it” on the very south end. Aside from them,  I believe we were the only humans on the seven-mile long island. Our own private pardise for a few hours.

The family involved was very nice – the parents and two children. They seemed to enjoy the day. We docked at the Fish and Wildlife dock on the land-side of the island and hiked across the island to the beach.

Wassaw has a different look to it than some of the other barrier islands I’ve visited. It is newer and doesn’t have the same expanse of maritime oak forest. There is a 35 foot high sand dune (hill) running down the middle of the island.

Hiking up the "dune" on the way back to the boat.

On the beach side of the dune, the terrain is low-lying but the vegetation is mostly pine and palmetto – not many oaks at all.

Burned pines on the beach side of the big dune.

So we hiked across the island and spent a couple of hours just hanging around the beautiful beach.

Arriving at our "private beach."

Not very crowded today.

When we returned, we got cleaned up and I started cooking dinner. We provided a low country boil, and that was my responsibility. It went well. I managed to cook the shrimp just right. (It’s very easy to overcook the shrimp. Then they are soggy and tough to peal.)

Mrs. Poolman originally planned to join me on the day’s activities, but her boss asked her to work Saturday as an overtime day. She would earn some significant $$$ for the shift, so she jumped on it.

Today (Sunday) is our only off-day of the weekend. We spent it cleaning house (Mrs. Poolman) and yard work in the backyard (me). I’m grilling some chicken for dinner and Mrs. P is doing the green beans and new potatoes. We’ll be to bed early tonight. The work week awaits.

What will you be watching?

What are you going to be watching on Friday? There are two, big, televised events that may say a lot about who you are.

The Royal Wedding?

Day 2 of the NFL Draft?

What do you think?

*    *    *    *

I had a nice thing happen to me this morning. I had just completed printing annual membership renewal letters, labels and insert tabs for a bunch of our foundation members. (Since I’m a one-man shop, my job runs the range from cool stuff like trips to barrier islands and research cruises to the absolutely mundane, like stuffing envelopes.) I was about to start the tedious process of stuffing the envelopes, attaching labels, etc., when one of our faculty scientists walked into my office.

“Hey, Poolman, my daughters (teenagers) need some more community service hours. Do you have anything you need done, like stuffing envelopes or something?”

“Funny you should ask…”

Talk about perfect timing. I don’t get lucky very often. I’ll enjoy this one for a while.

*    *    *    *

We should be swimming within the next week. Our water temperature is up to around 82 degrees, if you trust my thermometer, which I do not. And Mrs. Poolman likes WARM water. I think it has something to do with growing up in Florida. In any case, I ordered a new solar blanket and it arrived today. These blankets have worked very well in the past. It is basically a blue plastic bubble-wrap that floats on top of the pool. It magnifies the sunlight a little during the day, but most importantly, I think, it insulates the pool from heat loss at night. If we keep having sunny weather, I should get a boost over the next few days and be ready to start the five month swimming season.