When the Lights Go Out

Drawing by Candlelight
The last few weeks have been all about working and trying to get the downstairs apartment ready for the renters who are arriving June 1. Fortunately, a few days ago we had a brief power outage – just a few hours in the evening, which gave me an excuse to do a bit of sketching. Copied this pic off the front of a Rotarian magazine (Tom and I are both proud members) by candlelight that evening.

Our Yosemite Rental House and etc.

The Yosemite House

The steady churning of projects surrounding our new Yosemite vacation rental increased to a frenzy starting late May into early April. We have a nice stream of renters from VRBO who are planning to stay in our downstairs apartment starting on June 1, and the pressure to have everything in order by then is intense.

In addition to the furniture purchases we’ve made online, in the last two weeks we’ve made, collectively, 3 completely separate trips into Fresno for furniture and other finishing supplies for the house. We’ve bought a brown leather sofa for the living room, new comforters, sheets and bedding for the bedroom and the living room daybed that we ordered online, a sharp-looking 42″ TV, TV stand, rugs, blinds, and a multitude of other home supplies like kitchen gadgets, pots and pans. The friendly cashier at Lowe’s mentioned today that he recognized us from the previous times we’ve been in the store. We’d be a lot happier about that if we didn’t spend so much money every time we went in.

The building phase is finished. We passed our final building inspection a week ago on Friday, but we’ve hired the Roosevelt Cooks (that’s plural, Sr. and Jr.) to help us pour a separate parking pad and walkway, so that our renters will have their own space when they drive up. They framed it up in just half a day, it looks great, and now are getting ready to pour just as soon as the weather cooperates. I love hiring professionals.

We’ve also started thinking of the front yard area, and what we can do there that will be beautiful, but wild and un-manicured at the same time. We bought some Sierra wildflower seeds at a local nursery, and I hope that the yard area turns into a wild garden of color when the weather warms up. We’ve had some blissfully warm days, but just tonight there was snow again, and the Dogwoods in the yard still haven’t been persuaded to bud and bloom. This is a long winter year, and the snow is lingering.

Still, it’s coming together so fast.

Getting fit

I’ve finished the first week of a new weightlifting/fitness program, and am looking forward to decreased soreness in week 2. The first week, the bicep curls left me unable to straighten my arms, and after the leg work out, I now groan and stretch my protesting calves into a standing position in the morning before taking the first my first tottering steps. Truthfully, it feels fantastic because it feels like I’m getting stronger. Tom says that there is already some visible difference in my upper arms. My biceps are back. I’m not completely sure that I believe him, but the positive reinforcement is welcome anyway.

Tom also tells me that according to one of the fitness experts that he now follows regularly, sometimes the nutrition is the key to big breakthroughs. The expert himself is not a nutritionist, but he’s just noted over the years that often his athletes make a big jump in performance as soon as they get the diet part of the equation right. So, Tom’s concerned that the many handfuls of almonds I snack on pre-dinner, is not the winning strategy I’m looking for after all. The highly recommended 6 small meals a day (with an emphasis on protein) program is the hardest part of this fitness program for me. I’m going into week 2 with a renewed commitment.

The frozen shoulder is thawing slowly, as it tries to keep up with the other exercise. I’m up to 160 degrees of passive flexion – the same as the active range of motion in my ‘healthy’ shoulder. Still, my external rotation still needs some work, and the left shoulder as a whole is still terribly weak, although between rehab exercises and my weight program, it seems to be getting stronger quickly. I’m looking forward to making a first stab at rock climbing again. I want to try my hand (my shoulder really) on an easy boulder problem that everyone has been recommending (everything from 5.2 to V4). It’s going to be a long time before I’m climbing as hard as I used to, but at this stage in the game, I’m just looking forward to being out on the warm granite pulling hard.

Wouldn’t it be great if this summer was my summer to put all the things I’m interested in together? Backpacking, trail running, rock climbing, photography, playing the piano, art and the internet? Not to mention running a vacation rental and too many projects at work. There’s so much to do!

Swiss and Bay Area Guests

Next week, our friends from Switzerland arrive for a few weeks of mountain adventure and exploration. It’s going to be so good to see them again, and to meet the littlest Longchamp, who I think is already 3 years old. It’s strange how time moves. It seems seems mostly to slide by unnoticed, except for the size and ages of our friend’s children.

We had hoped that they would be the first guests in the new downstairs apartment, but there’s still too much to do to make them feel comfortable there, especially with a toddler. Instead, we’ll have a few more evenings of preparing, and then when more friends from the Bay Area arrive on Thursday, Tom and I are going to do the honors ourselves, and give the place it’s inaugural stay (if you don’t count the handful of people who crashed down there among the construction debris when it was still completely unfinished). It feels like we’re going on vacation, and I can hardly wait. Also, we’ll hopefully figure out if anything is missing before our renters arrive, so that everything will be ready for them when they come.