billeyler: (Default)
It's really been since 2014 that we took any real time for vacations, and that was 3 weeks to Africa.

We now have two of them lined up!

June 12-14 Unofficially, my birthday trip. Las Vegas, Wynn Hotel 2 night, with La Reve as the featured show. I'm sure we'll try to pack as much as we can into this. I'll be driving there--it's only 4 hours from the house!

October 6-November 1 (open ended). Officially, our honeymoon! 22 day cruise from Seattle to Sidney Australia, with stops in Hawaii, Fiji, Vanuatu, Loyalty Island, New Caledonia. Lots of days on sea for relaxing. When we debark in Sydney, we'll spend several days there on our own and fly back to the states. The cruise is booked, but after events and return aren't yet.

Yay for retirement! But now, so much to plan for!
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Lots and lots of prep went into the party, but it paid off. There was WAY to much food, and WAY too many beverages bought, but that's the way it goes.

Danny counted 41 people that came to the party. On Facebook, he got 4 "Sorry, we can't make it now" notes just before the party (as expected).

We had been hoping a lot that the weather would cooperate, and it did. It was partly cloudy most of the day, and the temps crawled past 60 for a good while. It actually felt toasty at times!

Heating the pool and then the spa was also well-appreciated. There were 7 or 8 guys that took advantage of the good weather and the warmth to skinny dip--Danny was first in, of course!

After the party, Gary Dougan stopped back by the house for an hour or so to chat--he had left a bag here that he needed to pick up.

I think we'll be snacking on the leftovers for some days!

billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
The stage crew gave me a going-away gift last Wednesday--with a card saying "enjoy your retirement in Florida!"

Shows how well they were listening! :-)

Thought I'd model what the gave me. A complete outfit!

billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Danny just returned from a month away, after competing in two rodeos as his new hobby as a horseman.

Since I knew he was going to be gone so long, I set into motions plans before he left to do as much as I possibly could on our checklist of house projects, most of which fell into the expensive, long-deferred maintenance category.

As far as I know, Danny just thought I was sitting at home eating bon bons and watching TV.

Here's what I got done, some by me, some by contractors, and some with a little help from friends:

- Upstairs guest bathroom tub refinished. The old refinish had been damaged in the 08-09 remodel. We should have just replaced the tub then!

- Rebeam the sagging garage roof (both beams had cracked in the past few years). Went from two support trusses, to six. This was a biggie. It was originally a carport; it wasn't converted to a garage correctly by the contractor back in 2005.

- Had concrete pad poured for a storage shed, being built partly to block the view from the neighbor.

- Had the old, leaky gutters removed
- Had all the soffits and trim on the house scraped, sanded, primed and painted

- Purchased an 8' x 10' Shed kit from Lifetime Storage Sheds. Delivered by freightline after I got back from Denver. I built most of it, but friends David and Alan came over on the Sunday and helped me with the roof section. Took about 12 manhours in all, with lots of taking apart and putting back together, in spite of some pretty clear instructions.

- Re-landscaped a lot of the back yard, which entailed a lot of cleanup, shifting of railroad ties, cutting up trees, laying 35 backs of mulch, extending the drip system for a new garden area.

- Patched and painted two areas where the old gutters were

- Planted two 8 foot Purple Robe Locusts to replace the now-gone cottonwood. (the in-bloom pic is from online)

Here's what is still on the checklist:
- renovate the back deck for safety and cosmetics (this is in process - my handyman has another big project he's working on across town, but will be back to do this)
- replace the roof, skylights and vents on the house and garage (this is in process- we received a significant insurance claim settlement for hail damage this week)
- New gutters installed (in process- quote received, will be installed after the new roof is on)
- resurface the front stoop (I'm sure it'll be artistic)
- permanent fix for the water main cutout in the driveway. it's just filled with pea gravel now.
- complete the landscaping in the area where the old cottonwood was. Plant something in the area where the old pine tree was in the corner.

I was amazed how much I could get in my new C-Max in my many trips to gardening materials at several big box stores. Not as much as in my VUE, but it still has some significant haulage capacity. Lawrence helped me on Wednesday by hauling the two trees from Jericho Nursery home.

Okay, I'm officially tired!

Hit it!

May. 15th, 2015 06:13 am
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
I've had the goal of 204 pounds several times.

This morning's weigh-in: Nailed it!

Next goal: ONE-derland!
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Jim and I spent about $10,000 since August doing mandated repairs to the Cornell house getting it ready to sell to this particular new owner, a woman named Christine Beyerlein. I haven't met her yet, but because of the type of FHA loan she was getting, specific repairs were needed per official inspections or the deal would fall through. Most of it I don't begrudge. There was a LOT of 'deferred maintenance' to the roofs and electrical systems in particular that needed doing.

When I first went on the large flat roof of the 2 front units a few months ago, I was nearly in tears about how much debris was up there. I spent 4 hours raking, tossing tree branches, leaves and twigs, and blowing off debris on a Monday morning (a work day) so we could get thorough inspections for what repairs were needed. The back house has a pitched roof (except for the garage). Amazingly, we were able to get all but our $500 deductible covered to have the shingles replaces through insurance - prior hail damage. The wiley estimators for Roofing USA seem to do nearly all their work in getting insurance settlements for roof replacements. That process was a bit unsettling, since it felt a bit underhanded, but that is all done and an upgraded shingle roof was put on a month ago.

The front house flat roof repairs were made this past week, having been delayed by a couple of rainstorms, both of which required me to go on the roof and broom off massive amounts of standing water and ice. But that's done, too.

Soooo...the new puzzle.

A week ago, Danny and I started noticing a musty sewerish smell in our downstairs bathroom. We couldn't really trace the source of the smell, but thought maybe the wax ring on the downstairs toilet had failed and was letting sewer gasses up. The smell came and went a bit, but it was always there.

This morning, when I was getting coffee, he came upstairs to tell me he had started to trace the problem. He found a slight drip coming from an outlet in the downstairs bathroom wall--the outlet controls the overhead heat lamps. It's not a big leak, but enough that it IS a serious issue. Checking out the area that would be above it, the upstairs guest bathroom toilet is more or less overhead. He removed the switch plate, and indeed the cavity there is rank with sewer smell.

So now we're not going to use that toilet (which we use much more than the master bath or downstairs toilet) until we can get a plumber in.

We're expected $3000+ in repairs. It'll probably require tearing the downstairs ceiling out in several places, repairing or replacing plumbing/sewer lines, replacing the ceiling, texturizing it and painting it.

Danny wondered idly if we can file an insurance claim. Sigh.

In other news, we have a new Mr Coffee brewer, which works quite well.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
All in all, it was really a lovely weekend with only a couple of minor glitches. The flyin itself went truly smoothly. Dropping the early Saturday morning mini-dance at the balloon fiesta was a stroke of genius on my part (although I think others will claim it was their idea). It was replaced by dance workshops at the center that morning, nicely attended. The balloons did go up Saturday morning, perfect weather, floating all over the northeast heights, including right over ASDC when we arrived!

We had five houseguests this weekend: Aldo Watkins from Austin, Evan Smith from Dallas (his first flyin ever!), Bennet Mark and Kim Harris from Mountain View, CA and Scott White from Alamosa CO. It was a very good mix of folks, all who got along very well.

I mentioned glitches--it only applied to houseguests. Evan arrived 4 hours later than planned (1am Friday morning), then he got really sick on Monday (bad cough) and to top it off, his flight back to Dallas was delayed about 2 1/2 hours. Kim arrived either sick, or had a bad bout with allergies, coughing his lungs out for a day, curtailing part of their activities.

The schedule for the dancing worked out nicely for Sandie Bryant, Kris, Scott A and me. The only LONG feeling dance was the Sunday 11am to 3pm last gasp dance. Only two callers signed up for open mic sessions (Alan Hirsch, 2 tips and Mike Turley, 1 tip), so Kris, Scott and I carried the rest of the dance. We still had a couple of squares going when we ended at 3 and I was totally tired (but happily).

Food? Oh, my! There was ALWAYS food. Our contribution to the massive Friday night potluck was to slather two of my thawed meatloafs in homemade tomato sauce, reheat it for an hour and take it to the center. It was all eaten, although it was the 2nd meatloaf in the offering and was near the end of the food line.

It was a nice respite to not have to be at the theatre for WICKED show settlements until Sunday evening. I did work from 5pm to 9:30pm at the theatre for the final (24th) show and big wrapup settlement, but was able to spend a lot of quality chat time with our houseguests otherwise. Danny had completely cleaned and prepped the house from Tuesday to Thursday. My back issue had mostly abated, although I did have quite an ache for a while. Danny's leg issue had been cleared up by antibiotics, although it turns out he had a serious tooth abscess on Friday evening that nearly spoilt his weekend. He's back on even stronger antibiotics to clear that up, after a trip to the dentist on Monday.

Although I posted an album, here are a few pics from the weekend.

billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
31 years and 3 months after we bought this investment property, it's now listed and for sale! Danny asked if I'm going to be sad for it to be gone--the short answer is NO.

I did just send a note to my bulldog realtor Carol that there were a couple of inaccuracies in this listing:
1) There is only 1 bathroom in each unit, so there are 3, not 4, bathrooms
2) The duplex in front was built in 1948, so listing it as built in 1935 isn't that accurate. I've only been guessing that the little cottage in back was built in the mid 1930s.

It's in prime rental territory, being only a few block from the university, a block from a supermarket, and very accessible.

Crossing fingers!
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
[second attempt--the first post disappeared]

Not sure this Facebook album is viewable by everyone, but here goes.

We're both seriously jet-lagged, even 5 days after returning from the trip. Puts a serious crimp into productivity. We can't even stay awake past 7pm in the evenings right now!

Hope this passes soon!

Great memories though of this exotic trip!
billeyler: (Airplane)
Here's the link to the little Facebook album I put together of our trip. I don't know if it will work unless you have a Facebook account, but it works for me. For now.

Five days after we're back, we're both still seriously jet-lagged. Again last night, we both fell asleep within minutes of sitting in our recliners to watch an episode of "Under the Dome". This time I was able to crawl into bed about 10pm (after having slept 3 hours already), then woke up for realsies at 3:30am.

Makes it difficult to work with good concentration. Hope this passes soon!
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
My first official post was June 16, 2005, thanks to [personal profile] bearfuz's encouragement.

I do have a 2004 picture posted from my 50th birthday that I did retroactively, so that doesn't count.

Just hard to believe that I'll be 60 in three days!

The memory

Sep. 11th, 2013 07:48 am
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
I'm sure it must be the same for others, but when appointments are made or events happen (even birthdays) on September 11, I never fail to remember what happened that day in 2001. This is more a permanent reminder of that Day of Infamy more than anything else that's built as a permanent reminder--the memory.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
For a couple of hours earlier in the evening, we could see strong, near constant flashes from a storm on the other side of the mountains, about 40 miles from here. It didn't look like we were going to get anything, but surprise, surprise! About 10:20pm, a fast-forming storm headed south from Bernalillo and lasted for several hours. Most of the time, it was just a big light show to the north of us.

Finally, about 1:45am, we got SOME rain pelting down, hard and fast, but it didn't last long.

The results at the house, .18". Up in the heights where the brunt of the storm was, nearly 3" of rain. Wow!

The streets are completely dry, though. Lots more 'tropical gulf moisture' floating over the state, so the next three days hold promise of more of these storms.

This storm eventually came south and hit us a glancing blow, but it was mostly east of us.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
I'm 98.6% packed for the 8 day trip to San Francisco! The energy there can be felt this far away!

The flight on Southwest is a one-stop 'direct' to SFO, so no worries about lost luggage. It leaves at a decent 9:20am tomorrow, so no crack-of-dawn rousing for this one. I even remembered to do the online checkin bit.

I spent last weekend and off and on during the week reviewing notes for the caller school and prepping my hand outs. I was so monstrously tired all week that I couldn't concentrate on much of anything, so my final push started at 7 this morning. By 10:30, I was finally done with all the handouts, then spent another 4 hours printing them out, hole-punching, and stapling, labeling folders for them and just generally getting organized. This is going to be a fun adventure, thanks to the ENORMOUSLY appreciated efforts of [ profile] bjarvis as the hard-working and underappreciated caller school coordinator (I remember him saying, "shoot me now, please!) and also Barry Clasper taking the lead on putting the final schedule together.

Since my stress levels were high that I wasn't all together yet, I opted to miss two events today: The Pride Parade at 10am and the Popejoy Hall Volunteer Social at 2pm. But I'm on vacation now, dammit, so Scott Amspoker can take the lead on calling from the truck this year!

9am to 9pm is a LONG day for a school of any sort, but I've done it before. As long as I don't have to stand up for 12 hours at a time, I'm good. However, not everyone can say they've co-taught a caller school with the Chair of Callerlab, so I'll count that as a bonus in my resume.

This is my 29th IAGSDC convention--in a row. Other than the 7/7 Sunday afternoon "Intro to Calling" session, I have ZERO time commitments for the convention, so it will be social and dancing deluxe. I'm not calling any of the specialty tips, either, so I can 'watch' for a change! And maybe even leave the convention hotel, the Marriott Marquis downtown.

Theoretically, the rumored BART strike won't affect me on the way in. I'm meeting up with Barry and Pam at the airport, then we'll be taking the train to the hotel together, maybe getting in a quality yak on the way. We'll see.

So, I'm all set internet-wise. Danny had bought me a nifty Google Nexus 7 tablet for my birthday, feeling bad that my little tablet he got at Big Lots a couple years back didn't do much of anything. It is just...WOW! And with the wifi hotspot on my phone, I'll be groovin' and movin'.

Danny doesn't come in until next Thursday, on July 4 proper, but we'll be flying back home together on July 8. He's been busy as a beaver on the IAGSDC website for weeks. This will be a thing of beauty. I know over the years, he's probably put in $100,000 of time into it, using current market rates, but he's been a stoic volunteer all this time.

Oh, and 1098 days till retirement, per my handy online calendar.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Except it's freakin' hot in the shade, too. We've just tied a 23 year old record here, 104. That's as hot as it's been since I moved here in '81. Yikes!

At least the humidity is a comfortable 5% outside. The swamp cooler is working away non-stop, bringing the inside temp down to...81.

And that's what we're all talking about in Albuquerque today (and probably most of the desert Southwest). This heat.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Laughter abounded last night with me, Danny, [ profile] omero_hassan, and Lawrence Klebesadel dining, wining, and playing "Catch Phrase".

I'm sure a lot of people's ears were burning last night, too, as we sat on the deck sipping wine as the night came on.

Unfortunately, Steven had his shirt on the whole night.

Oh, and Lawrence and I were teammates for "Catch Phrase"--we lost EVERY game!

game night
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Today was an overload day, for sure.

Danny called me this morning to talk about the Palm Springs trip while I was working on an email to our Popejoy Hall media buyer. Who did I send the email to? Danny. He just let me know after he got to Phoenix on his way home when he could check his emails. He doesn't know I was also working on three spreadsheets and dealing with two other do-in-now emails at the time, but that's that.

I did a couple of other things today where I got my wires crossed while I was doing 10 things at the same time. Multi-tasking only works if you can really do multi-tasking. Today, I couldn't. I had to pass off a serious project to one of my direct reports that I would normally do. But that being said, I had to run some stuff to the business center that I normally have student runners do, because they were all out sick (pink eye and the flu). Gawd. I did it on my way home, but of course that entails over a 1/2 mile walk to my car south, then driving west and north for a couple of miles to GET the business center, yakking with the controller while waiting for my 4 large packets of petty cash to be approved for disbursement, then dropping payables off to A/p, then hitting all three cashier at the bursars office AT THE SAME TIME to get the petty cash payments and deposits done. Then I went home and multi-tasked.

I had to breath deeply several times today when I was being pulled from several sides at once. I was a gentleman about everything. But inside, my head was exploding. And of course, my boss, who is also torn by several sides because of staffing quarrels between marketing and development have hit a head and I had to do some fast paced work to get an independent contractor into the system to do work that can't be done successfully by marketing (I could reference the unstable graphics designer still on staff, but that would be moot).

So glad it's Friday night. But still, when I was making meatloaf, I was multi-tasking in my head. The only thing that saved me was that I had latex gloves on for the making of the loaves, so I couldn't just drop what I was doing and do something else.

I'm going to go see if there is anyone to 2step with at the monthly booze-free dance at the Lloyd Shaw Dance Center. G'nite.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
Apparently, several Wilde Bunchers are going to the Tucson flyin this coming weekend. No one has talked about it at all, possibly because they know I'm calling for Austin's first flyin (along with Sandie Bryant) this same weekend.

Tucson is just a 7+ hour drive from us, making it a doable event both coming and going, for most people. Also, with carpooling and hosting, it's definitely cheap.

What dancers don't know is the behind the scenes on this. Austin made a concerted effort about 18 months ago to find a weekend when no one else was having a flyin. They knew that Austin is a bit out of the way for many people, and with airfare escalating, a bit of a stretch to the travel dollar. I think it's at least 12 hours from here, not a fun one-day drive. The organizers have done as much promotion for the event as they know how, and were dismayed when they found Tucson had booked the same weekend.

Out of the blue, Tucson decided to book the same weekend about six months ago. Members of the IAGSDC board even tried to get them to move their date, being as they had normally had the event sometime in February, and as with Phoenix, even January. They wouldn't budge.

I've never seen any promotion at all for the Tucson flyin. The time I called it a few years ago, they had booked FOUR callers and only had 40 dancers show up, if that. We were split into duets in two different halls in an elementary school, competing to get one square at a time. If we had two squares at once, whee!

I'm taking the high road on this. Dancers can do whatever they like, but from what I understand no one from Albuquerque is going to Austin to help support their first flyin.

That makes me sad.
billeyler: (face in the sunlight)
We just got a dusting of snow Sunday evening, right as the Oscars were finishing up. I was thinking that it might make the roads treacherous in the morning, but it didn't. The roads were 100% clear in town on Monday morning. What little snow we got was gone by noon.

Not so west Texas. What we got was a bit of wrap around snow, while west Texas around Amarillo was pounded by a major blizzard. The interstate was shut down; as a precaution, I-40 was shut down at Louisiana Blvd here to try to divert truckers to the fairgrounds to park and wait it out. No one got the word, so eastbound I-40 has been an absolute zoo. Later, I understand the city moved the closure to the more logical Tramway Blvd, the easternmost exit on the freeway in ABQland before I-40 enters the canyon.

Two days later, the interstate is STILL closed, which must confuse a lot of people since it's blue skies and dry roads here. The Schooltime performances at the theatre today are cancelled, since the guy can't get his van west of Amarillo. He's absolutely stuck. I don't know the details, but it was a nailbiter until the last minute. MAYBE the 250 mile section of the freeway that's closed will reopen sometime this morning, but won't do us much good. Our marketing/education team is having to contact all the teachers, APS drivers and homeschoolers to somehow keep them from showing up at the theatre, all 4000 of them. Yikes!

All that said, the cold weather appears to be going away. Heading for the 60s all next week (while Danny is in Palm Springs!)

April 2017

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