Day 203, wood, furniture

Sunday, 6/23/2019

The sun, like a stage spotlight, shines into the room at 6 and works its way around the edges of my nose under the sleep mask. Need a better one.

Walked to Paris Baguette for Sunday morning coffee, and they immediately lost my favor. One, their plain croissants, although properly shaped and a good texture, have a sugar glaze. Come on, people! I’ve eaten croissants on a Sunday morning still warm from a neighborhood bakery in Paris. I don’t mind you selling a croissant-shaped sweet roll, but label it as such. And two, although I say “a cappuccino for here”, I get what can best be described as a small latte in a paper cup. That’s it, says the grumpy customer; I’ll be having Sunday breakfast elsewhere.

I extend my walk up to Alma and the hardware store where I get another kind of wood treatment for the coffee table. And two metric screws. For why? Boring story.

Sometime Friday I noticed that I have an old-fashioned aluminum framed window that opens, or should open. This is the kind of horizontally-hinged window with two levers you turn and then pull to swing it open; and it is regulated and stabilized by two side-levers that slide in the frame, or should slide. (I’d take a picture but it’s dark now.) I tried to open it and it wouldn’t. One of the two handles was dangling on a loose screw. The handle is secured by two screws, but one was missing and the other was half-out.

I turned the other handle and by heaving and yanking, got the window to grudgingly open. It clearly had not been opened in many years; the slide mechanism was balky and when I got it open, there were festoons of spiderwebs around the edge which was black with grime. Friday I had taken the one remaining screw in my pocket and when I stopped at the hardware store, I bought a mate for it. Feeling all clever, I brought it back and tried securing the loose handle. Hah! It turns out that both the screw holes for that handle had been stripped. Steel screws in an aluminum frame, too much muscle, the threads disappear.

Those screws were #10 machine screws. Today, just for fun, I bought the nearest metric size machine screw, which is juuust a bit wider. And brought it home. On the way in, I stopped at my car in the garage and got out the cane deck chair I’d bought at Cost Plus yesterday and brought that up.

So it was now about 9am, gotta love the early start on a Sunday. I tried the metric screws and danged if their little threads didn’t bite into the aluminum and snug up nice. So that handle is once again secure. I spent a while with cleaner and paper towels getting all the spiderwebs and general schmutz off the window frame. I also discovered I had a blind I could lower in that window. Well, it had been there, up at the top, now I found the string that raises and lowers it. The rod that you twirl to change the angle of the slats? Broken off. (Note that this window, being single-pane glass, will be replaced during the upgrade. Hopefully with a better style of window mechanism and blind.)

I assembled the deck chair and put it out on the deck, and fussed with the position of the chair, the little table I brought from the back yard at Tasso street, and the various plants, trying to find a nice arrangement. And failing. Not happy with what I have there.

I applied the new wood treatment to the coffee table and it is looking better. It hadn’t been oiled or waxed or anything for going on 40 years. The first application produced quite a bit of yellowish color on the rag, which I think was old nicotine coming off.

Killed a bit of time doing Zooniverse classifications and finally it was lunchtime. I went down to the first floor and discovered a traffic jam of hungry oldsters. This is actually the first time I’d come to the dining room for lunch. I didn’t want to stand in line so I sat in the lobby and did a sudoku, and then another, and it was 12:45 and still there was a jam-up at the food counter. I was aiming to walk to University to shop for furniture after eating, so I just started walking now. Had a sandwich and smoothie on the Ave.

Visited Design Within Reach and Restoration Hardware and didn’t see a good bookcase. So I took a Lyft over to Santa Cruz Avenue in Menlo Park where I’d noted another furniture place. Didn’t like anything there, so I took another Lyft to Crate and Barrel at Stanford Shopping Center. Here I found something that is pretty darn close to what I want.


It’s the right size, about, and won’t clash with anything else I’ve bought. I’m letting it ripen in a browser window for a day or so before I pull the trigger on it. For one thing,  for a 5-foot by 3-foot bookcase, $999 seems a little steep. All right, it is real walnut, not veneer on chipboard. But the one at Cost Plus, see previous day, was about a third of that. I can maybe live with veneer on chipboard.

Had supper. Then sat down with Amazon and selected a better sleep mask, one that specifically says, it blocks light coming in around one’s nose. It’ll be here Tuesday. First time I’ve had an Amazon Prime order shipped to this address! And so, as Mister Pepys liked to say, to bed.


Day 202, docent, washing machine, dinner

Saturday, 6/22/2019

On the way down to breakfast about 8am I ran into Craig, who pointed out that my painting was now properly hung opposite the lounge door. Later I wrote to Dean Linsky and sent this picture. He wrote back later, appreciative of the note and that the painting wouldn’t be sold.


Today I am scheduled to lead the noon tour at the museum. I put on my red shirt and head out at 10:30. I stop at the post office, but it isn’t open for receiving packages on Saturday, so I can’t mail the DVR.

Scott showed up to take my tour. We started with over 20 people. At least 5 wandered away, but the rest seemed to enjoy it. Just after I finished up, Deborah called to say someone wanted to see the washing machine and dryer, could I show it at 3pm? Oh, yeah, sure. I drove back to C.H., changed clothes, picked up the house key, and drove to Tasso street. A very charming couple showed up; they are moving into a rental that, they think, doesn’t have a washer/dryer. They approve of mine, and went away to talk to their landlady. Later in the evening, Deborah texts that they won’t be taking the machines after all.

At this point it was 3:30. In the morning I’d used Google Maps to make a list of all the local furniture stores. I’m determined to find a pleasing, open bookcase to display some objects and my few books. I can exactly picture what, in college, I would have built out of glass blocks and planks. Now I decide to drive to the southernmost of my list, Cost Plus. I remember visiting Cost Plus with Marian several times, although I don’t recall what specifically we ever bought there.

55782_XXX_v1This time, they have one that is almost exactly what I want. The only problem with it is the shelves are only about 10 inches high, and my taller books won’t fit. They could be on top, held by a heavy pair of bookends I have, but I am going to keep looking.

I headed back to C.H. where I’d been invited to join Patti and Craig for dinner. We sat for over an hour chatting, that was nice.


Day 201, lunch, Time Capsule, DVR, mail forwarding

Friday, 6/21/2019

Went for a run first thing, without breakfast. I don’t want to go into the dining room in my t-shirt and running shorts and shoes, and there’s nothing in the to-go case that I can eat while running (whatever that might be, I really can’t imagine). So, went without. Health app said, 2.5 miles.

Had a baked good and coffee at Prolific Oven then stopped at the Walgreen’s on University to find a sleep mask. Jackpot! Found a good sleep mask, one with an adjustable elastic band and convex eye-covers, so there will be no pressure on the eyes. The sun through the drapes at 6am is just amazingly bright. Have I written that I spoke to Angela about the missing drapes, and it was a misunderstanding between us? She thought I was willing to wait for them when they replace the drapes as part of the upgrade this fall. I had thought they would be installed now.

Well, I can’t disagree that it makes sense to wait until the drapes are replaced; but that leaves the problem of sleeping past sunrise, which will be getting earlier and earlier in the next couple of months. The problem will solve itself in September when I am moved to the 4th floor West side. Meantime: a sleep mask.

Next I solved a technical problem: getting my Apple Time Capsule to work in the C.H. internet ecosystem. It turned out, thanks to the magic of Apple technology, to require little more than plugging it in and turning it on. I put it next to the Comcast modem and connected with a cable. It immediately found the internet and began to broadcast the same Wi-Fi signal, “Cortesi Home”, that it has been serving for several years. I don’t want it to do that; that network is redundant and unneeded here. However, it turns out you can use the Airport Utility to make it “hide” its network. So the name won’t show up in the long list of competing wi-fi networks in the building.

Meanwhile my laptop and desktop both found it and immediately began backing up to it. So, problem solved. After they’d both done complete backups, I shut the Time Capsule down. I’ll start it up every week or so for another backup, or if I need to recover anything.

Now it was time for lunch with Scott and Craig. Craig drove us to Town and Country in his newish red Prius. It makes my 7-year-old Prius look dowdy. I had been thinking — and still do think — there is no practical point in buying another car. The 2012 plug-in will serve me just fine for as long as I’m likely to drive. But… on the other hand… the new ones have some safety features mine doesn’t… and smell nicer… Maybe next year, after the house is sold and my finances are solid…

Scott and Craig reminisced at length about the old days at IBM. I had worked longer in the same organizations as Scott so knew roughly what he’d done during those years, but I had no real feel for Craig’s career. It was interesting to learn.

For a couple of days FedEx has been texting me about the progress of “your package” — what package? I couldn’t think what I would have ordered that hadn’t already come. Today I guess it might be the package from AT&T/DirecTV for returning the DirecTV DVR. When at 4:50 I got a text saying my package had been delivered, I drove over to Tasso street and sure enough, it was the DVR return box. I am still sure I bought that DVR but heck, I’m not going to fight AT&T over it. If they want to recycle it for me, great. I packed it up per instructions, but it was now to late to deliver it to the Post Office.

I gassed up the car (first time in a month, almost 800 miles on a tank at 91.4 mpg, let’s hear it for the seven year old plug-in hybrid!) and stopped at the hardware store to find some kind of snake oil to improve the finish of my teak coffee table. It’s a beautiful piece of furniture but it has the patina of 40+ years of benign neglect.

Back home I checked the mail, and there was a letter from my insurance company, addressed to me at 2340 Tasso, and officially redirected by the Post Office computers to the new address. So my address-change has truly been processed.

I guess I live here now.

Day 199, gym, tidy up, counters, FOPAL, furniture

Wednesday, 6/19/2019

Between breakfast and time to leave for the museum at 10:30, I totally blitzed a bunch of unsorted stuff. Weeks ago I cleaned out the desk by moving all sorts of office and stationery items, also some electronics and things like cameras, into the drawers of a tall narrow chest. Plus there was a big box of office supplies of various sorts.  Now I went through all of that.

toffee and biscuit tins at work

I populated the two “desk” drawers, shallow drawers at the top of the file cabinet that sits under the drawer-less computer desk, with the usual things, neatly arranged. Back in 1975-77 when we lived in England, we accumulated the cute little tins that the Brits sell candy in. They make perfect little drawer organizers.

I moved often-used printer supplies into the little table the printer sits on. I put lesser-needed supplies and such into drawers in the tall chest, but more rationally organized.

Then I cleared off the plywood counters in the bathroom and kitchenette in hopes the real counters would be installed today — and in fact, just as I was ready to leave, the guys with the counter tops arrived!

I joined the other docent named Dave to lead tours for a group of Berkeley students. Not the usual Comp. Sci. class, rather a group of Swedish exchange students doing graduate studies in management. So older, and not quite as tech-y as some student groups. Older, but not old enough. When I hold up a vacuum tube and say, hands up who knows what this is, not one one hand went up.

The 1401 team was there early and volunteered to give this class their demo when Dave and I finished our tours, so the Swedes got the full deal. They seemed appreciative.

Then I got some lunch, and changed clothes (I didn’t want to wear my fire-engine red docent shirt to FOPAL, and brought a Tee and jeans) and went to sort books. When I signed out at 4:15, I was honestly bushed. I stopped by Tasso street to look for the indoor/outdoor thermometer, but it wasn’t there. It must be packed in one of the 2 boxes I’ve not opened yet — I hope.

On arrival home I found my Corian counter tops installed, but still no sinks or faucets.

There is a possibility that a guy will want to look at and maybe buy the sofa tonight, and I really hope he cancels. I don’t want to go out again. As soon as I had settled in to writing this and relaxing, a man arrived to install the sinks and faucets. Then Harry, the guy who borrowed my old Kodak carousel projector, called to ask if he could come return it. So it’s a three-ring circus around here.

Deborah texted; Tony wants to pick up the sofa. So I grabbed a quick supper and went back to Tasso street. Forgetting to bring the front-door key. Oh, wait, the secret back door key stash is still there, I think. Yup, so I could get in. And now have moved the secret back door key to the bag with the other keys, so that won’t work again.

Tony took the sofa and one chair and the ottoman, but couldn’t or wouldn’t spring another $100 to get the second chair. Off he went and I went home to find both my sinks and faucets in. But the kitchen sink has a slow leak around the trap, so there’s that to fix.

Craig called to set up his formal floor-manager interview with me. And finally it was the end of a long day!




Day 198, gym, FOPAL, furniture

Tuesday, 6/18/2019

The morning routine is shaping up as pretty comfortable, not greatly changed from the old one. Make a cup of coffee in the apartment; sip it while reading the paper and watching the pre-recorded TV news. But in order to get anything to eat, I need to dress and leave the room. This kinda messes things up. The flow would be better if I could just eat adequately up here before dressing.

I just may in future start breakfasting on a meal-replacement drink. Not Soylent, although that would work. There’s another of the meal-replacement companies I follow that will sometime soon release a low-carb drink that I’ll try.

Today I wanted to drive to the YMCA. So I dressed in exercise clothes and went down to the dining room. When it is open, there is also an area with take-away food in a refrigerator. I had never checked it before. The selection for breakfast was not great. I took a bag with half a raisin bagel and a squeeze tube of Philly cream cheese. I noshed on  this while driving to the Y.

On return from the Y, I did two errands. One was to stop at the UPS store and hand in the AT&T modem. They had sent me instructions and a sheet with a bar-code to print, and return was just that easy: hand the device and the sheet over the counter, get a receipt. So that was nice.

Not so nice was the next item: I went to my former home on Tasso street to pick up a couple of items. With many of the furniture items gone it has a vacant, neglected air that is really saddening.

Here I need to write about something that happened Saturday. There was so much to describe on that move-out day, and I skipped this, but pulling away from the house today I remembered it and think it was important to put down.

Saturday, after the truck had been loaded, I got in the car and started the drive to Channing House, and no surprise, was hit by strong emotions at the thought of leaving home. I was weeping as I drove, but part of the emotion was a kind of rage and determination. I was shouting our loud, lecturing myself, about You planned this; you mean this; it was a great house but and at this point it turned into a kind of chant or curse, no more fucking a/c breakdowns, no more fucking roof rats, no more fucking earthquake insurance, no more fucking noisy refrigerator, no more fucking worn-out dishwasher … and on for a couple of blocks naming all the irritations and stresses that came along with home ownership. So when I headed down the ramp into the C.H. garage I still had wet cheeks but was also felt oddly purged. During the last couple of weeks there were so many occasions when “This is the last time I’ll ever…” But there were lots of things that were good to never do again.

Today, pulling away, I was sad, but mostly sad because the place that had been home, didn’t feel like home any more. Another shard, falling away.

Back at CH I took a shower and got ready to go out again when the Wanda the 6th floor housekeeper knocked. I’d met her in the hall yesterday and was told that Tuesday was the day for her to clean my unit. I’d suggested Thursdays would be better because I was out all day. Now she told me that Thursdays at 2:30 would be her time in the future. Very accommodating.

I drove to FOPAL and put in an hour culling, pricing and shelving computer books. Then I felt rather feeble and tired, and realized, oh, right, I hadn’t had anything to eat all day but half a bagel. I got a sandwich at the nearby store and sat in the car to eat it. After a bit of rest, I put in two hours sorting before coming back.

Deborah had told me that someone was coming to see the sofa tonight so I planned to go out once again for that. But while I was eating dinner, I got another text; the person wasn’t coming. That left it open to stay at CH and see the second in a series of Hollywood musicals, Fred and Ginger in Swing Time. It’s the one with “This Is a Fine Romance”. Silly plot; two or three spectacular dance sequences.

Back in the room at 9, I realized I have SYTYCD on the DVR from yesterday. I think I’ll sit up and watch it.



Day 197, run, bridge, organize, dinner

Monday, 6/17/2019

Woke early, and then tossed and turned as the light through the flimsy drapes grew. I love my Eastern exposure but it comes with early light. Somewhere around 5:50 I remembered my “napping hat”. It’s an old knitted cap, very amateur (I don’t think it was Marian’s work) and quite loose. Which makes it perfect for napping. I can pull it down over my eyes and because it’s loose, it doesn’t press like a sleep mask does.

So I got up and rooted around and found the napping hat. Put it on, lay back, and slept soundly for another 40 minutes. Doesn’t mean I’ll let Angela off the hook for the dark drapes I was supposed to have, but it’s a help.

The newspaper arrived under the door at 6:30, a perfect start to the first weekday of life in the new place. The adventure is to see how many of my old, pleasant habits I can maintain here, and how many I have to modify. I made my usual cup of coffee and read the paper, with the KTVU “Mornings on 2 at 5AM” playing. For years I’ve been recording that show on weekdays, so the DVR can play the news in the background while I read the paper, and I can fast-forward the commercials if they annoy me. The new DVR is doing fine. Wow — it was just like at home.

I did the Monday crossword and was very pleased with a fast time (5:40). Entering it in the spreadsheet, it brought my 2019 Monday average to very slightly better than the 2018 average. (Who’s a nerd?)

First break in routine was breakfast time. As I’ve said to a few people lately, for 40 years I have always been able to have breakfast in my bathrobe. Now I have to put on clothes for it! So I put on my jogging shorts and a t-shirt and went down to the dining room. Oops; it wasn’t open at 7:25. What sluggards have we here? I killed time with a sudoku until the door opened. Had a nice low-carb breakfast  of egg and bacon, and headed out for a run.

This was the first time to run the route that I mapped out a few days ago, with the same net distance as my old route. It was interesting. Also humbling. I was going along Webster near University when I realized that a youngish woman was keeping pace with me. She was walking briskly, but still. I turned it up a notch to pull away.

I had been tapped for Craig’s bridge club at ten, so I didn’t stop at a coffee shop. Back home I showered and also shaved and brushed my teeth in the shower (no bathroom sink, remember?) and had a few minutes for my usual internet browsing.

Bridge was duplicate-style. I haven’t played duplicate since… I think it was probably the 1980s when Marian and I tried to play competitively for a few months. We even took lessons from a local expert to improve our conventions. We earned a few master-points but it just wasn’t fun after a while. This was probably my fault; I just couldn’t seem to develop the card sense for good play of the hand, and we kept being beaten.

Well, today I only made a few stupid mistakes, and on the whole didn’t embarrass myself. But geez, 22 boards is a lot of bridge. I guess I’m committed for next Monday but that may be it.

For what was left of the afternoon, I worked on moving in better. I toted stuff down to the basement storage. I decided to move my clothes from one closet to a different one; then I moved less-used stuff to that closet. I moved all the remaining boxes in off the porch and lined them up in the bedroom. One box was the printer; I unpacked it and set it up and tested it.

There are two boxes of office-related stuff I need to go through tomorrow. Three boxes have books and objects that need to be on a shelf of some kind. Buying a handsome, open, shelf on which to put a few books, my decorative objects, and the house phone, is high on the to-do list.

A bit of a nap and it was time for supper. I’d been invited to eat with Betty and Jerry, and they added Gwen. So I got some very pleasant socializing. Well, it’s always pleasant to talk about yourself, which they encouraged me to do, but they are interesting people as well. There’s lots of interesting “real people” at Channing House, as Jerry pointed out.

I did what I shoulda done weeks ago, added two “pages” to this site (as opposed to blog posts) about me and about Marian. Then I put what WordPress calls a “menu” — more like a navigation bar — with links to them across the top.

Busy day. Big to-do for tomorrow, including, hopefully, selling the sofa and chairs.

Day 196, settling in

Sunday, 6/16/2019

I definitely need those blackout curtains. Or well, I suppose I could buy a sleep mask but I don’t like wearing those. Anyway, awake at 6. Paper didn’t arrive until 7:30; I hope it will come earlier on a weekday.

Awake, and dressed, with no paper to read, I started assembling the desk. It went together fairly easily, and was done about the time the paper arrived. Later in the day I unboxed and set up my big iMac and the file cabinet. Here’s how my almost-complete bedroom/office looks now.


Panorama makes it all wonky. The printer will sit on the cabinet to the right. Out on the deck are some boxes of stuff yet to be sorted out, as well as a big pile of empty boxes to be disposed of.

I took the paper and walked out to find Sunday morning coffee and a baked good. I first looked in at Blue Bottle Coffee on University. Not a nice atmosphere, dark and cave-like, and I didn’t think much of their baked good selection. So up the street to Paris Baguette. Better baked goods. Still not right. On the way home (note word choice) I noticed that The Prolific Oven is even closer than the other two. That’s where I’ll try next week.

Now I launched on a long mess of errands. Things to get from the old house, things to buy. Paper towels for a fascinating example. At Fry’s I got a short coax cable to solve the splitter interface problem. Then at 12, Bill, the buyer of the bed, came in his large SUV, and I helped him in the half-hour long task of breaking down the bed. It was pretty complicated with various drawers and frames. Eventually he got all the pieces fitted into his car and off he went. Unfortunately he did not want the fine McCroskey mattress, so now I have that to dispose of, along with the pillow-top and the mattress cover that were over it. And the feather duvet. Well, that might sell.

At 2340 I took down the AT&T internet modem and tossed it in the car. After a few more stops, and thinking I was done, I remembered it. Oh heck, I have to back-track to the AT&T store at Page Mill and El Camino. I do that, and walk in with the modem under my arm and say, I want to cancel my internet. Oh no, says the friendly young floor rep, you have to do that online. Then they will send you a return kit for your modem.

Meanwhile, I’ve received an email saying the return kit for my DVR is on its way. Despite the fact that I’m positive I purchased the DVR, I realized it is stupid to refuse to return it. It has no use to me anyway, and nobody would buy it. So, I’ll return it.

Back at 621, I fiddled with getting the TV to work, and set up the big iMac, and took a short break before heading out to meet with Chuck. I did not feel like driving more, so on impulse I took a Lyft to his office just off California Avenue.

Bottom line from a long discussion: we really don’t understand L.L.’s motivations or her situation. She has treated her own agent as well as me, rather badly. However, that deal isn’t over yet. She put $50K into escrow. The deal isn’t over until she presents a document for me to sign, telling the escrow manager it is ok to return that. She hasn’t presented it, and conceivably still could come back to close the deal.

In the meantime, we are under no obligation to her, and can market the property to anybody and sell it if we get another offer. So we talked about the timeline for doing that. The critical path item is to get the house emptied, so that it can be painted. That can’t happen until The Sale. Later I talked to Deborah, and she really can’t hold the sale before July 6-7. After that she needs another couple days to clear any unsold items either to trash or a charity. So Chuck is now to schedule a painting contractor to start work on 7/11. He will also get a quote on my favorite upgrade, converting the step-in tub/shower to a walk-in shower. And if the L.L.’s foundation inspection has any action items, we can do those as well.

Back home again, I set up my new Comcast X1 DVR. Its remote has voice input, which I rather pooh-poohed but in fact it works amazingly well. You hold down the mic button and say “Find So You Think You Can Dance” and release the button, and it immediately shows exactly the words you said in text on the screen and executes the search. In this way I quickly set up subscriptions to the 25-odd shows I had subscribed on the old DVR.

The only time the voice unit failed was when I asked for the car show, “Find Fantom Works” and it looked for “Phantom Works” and said it couldn’t find it. Ok, B for effort.

Anyway, the TV is working, the DVR is working, sound bar is working, both computers are up, all the furniture is assembled. I have a stack of boxes as well as a lot of stuff that is just piled in a closet to sort out, but it’s a good start.


Day 195: Moving out

Saturday, 6/15/2019

Up about 6; look out; no newspaper in the driveway. That’s as it should be. Later today I expect to find my newspaper on the floor in front of the door of #621. Made my coffee, dressed, sat for a short while to drink the coffee. Then launched into the Saturday to-do list I’ve been curating since about Wednesday.

First up, strip the linens off the bed and start them laundering. Fold the colorful crocheted bed cover we made (hey, I crocheted at least 1/5 of the squares!) and set with other soft things to be packed.

Strip the mattress cover and put it in a pile with both pillows, to be discarded. Under its cover the McCrosky mattress looks good. I hope that Bill, the buyer of the bed, will take it with him tomorrow. Organize all the crap in the bathroom. All medicaments and supplements in a single bag. Toiletries and blah blah arrayed around the sink. All the little drawers opened and emptied. Finish coffee, put cup in dishwasher and start it. Several other things.

About 7:30 I had pretty well cleared the list. Looking at the plants on the porch, I noticed that two of them — shit, I cannot remember what they are, common name “Chinese something”, big green leafy things that thrive in indirect light — are kind of flopping out of their pots. Their stems have grown and want to lean. They could easily flop around and break during transport. Check online: Summerwinds nursery opens at 8:30.

Then I work my way through DirecTV and into myATT and find the customer service number, and cancel my DirecTV service. Shavonda, the rep, is very pleasant. Toward the end she is telling me I can return my AT&T DVR anytime in the next few — hold on there, Shavonda. I bought this DirecTV-made HDR-2 myself from, when we switched to hi-def about eight years ago. Oh. Well, it shows here that when you first started, a long time ago, you got a DVR from us. Well, I seriously doubt that, but if I did, it is gone to I don’t know where. Well, we probably don’t care it being so old and all, but… and she kind of leaves it hanging. If they bill me for a DVR… I’ll probably just eat it.

I drive down to Summerwinds and buy a bundle of 2-foot bamboo sticks and some plant ties. Stop at Peet’s for a cappuccino to go. Back home, I stake the Chinese wossnames in their pots. Then move a couple of boxes of video and computer related parts including my new XFinity DVR and modem, to the car, rather than having the mover box them.

Laundry and dishwasher finished; I fold the linens and stack them with the other linens and towels that may or may not sell. Empty the dishwasher and put the few mugs and utensils I’m taking to my mini-kitchen, in a designated section of the kitchen counter.

And it’s 9am and nothing more to do but wait — for the movers at 10:30, and for the L.L. and her Ex coming sometime to do a foundation inspection.

When I weighed myself this morning I was 170 and a fraction. In the fall of 2018 I noticed that my weight was down to 175 from (probably) about 185 a year earlier. That was pretty clearly due to stress and irregular meals while dealing with Marian’s illness. The past few months it has been fluctuating between 172-174. This past two weeks I’ve lost another 2 pounds. I am almost down to the 169 that I considered normal when I was in college. I feel perfectly healthy; so I’ll put this down to the stress of the impending move. It will be interesting to see if it pops up in July after I settle in.

At 10:15 the movers rolled in and went to work. Three young guys, tall, muscular, talking among themselves in some middle-european language. They are fast and thorough. They wrap every small object in paper. They tape every box on every seam. They wrap every piece of furniture in quilts, tape the quilts down, then wrap that in plastic sheet. Despite all the wrapping, they are done and the truck is loaded at 12:40. They head off for lunch, I go to CH to pick up my key and see the room for the first time in a month.

It’s pretty much how it should be. First: the morning paper is right there. Let’s hear it for the SJ Merc circulation department.

However, I’m supposed to have black-out curtains in the bedroom, and do not. There’s a bodged job of mounting a bar in the kitchen closet. These things to be taken up with Angela on Monday. Also, in the kitchen I have only a plywood counter, no sink. In the bathroom, ditto. Some of the cabinet doors don’t open; this may be because of the missing counter top, or rather, the temporary plywood counter top.

Nevertheless, the unit is just as pleasant as I remembered it, bright, airy, with a great view to the East where I can just make out the profile of Mount Diablo. I have been left a tray with some brie and crackers and a champagne glass, and in the fridge is — a bottle of champagne! Nice. Also, useful, the brie and crackers, since lunch service is just over. I nosh on cheese and crackers, and the movers come through the open door at 1:30.

Luis, from the maintenance staff, also arrives then. Since the bed parts aren’t up yet, he starts on my cafe table and chairs, then abandons them to attend to a problem with the building HVAC system. The movers keep bringing stuff in, and I keep directing them to put things here, or there, which is difficult since most of the load is square boxes with minimal notes (“Living room”) written on them.

Eventually the bed parts are in and Luis returns with a partner, and they set to work.


It’s very complicated and takes the two of them over an hour. Meanwhile I finish assembling the two small chairs and the cafe table, and also the armchair. I also open all the boxes. Some of them I move to the deck to be dealt with next week. Some I move to different places and partly empty.

At a certain point I email a panorama of the general look to Amy the designer who helped me plan the furniture.


The panorama mode makes it look weird. Also I’ve added and moved stuff since, but that was the basic living room arrangement and it’s quite comfortable and inviting in real life. I need another piece or two, especially a bookcase for the small number of books I still have, and/or some kind of shelving to display decorative objects that are still in a box. But basically this is it.

When the guys finish the bed I thank them lavishly and they go. (N.B. tipping is verboten at CH, so at least I don’t have to worry about should I have tipped or not.) I make up the bed with the sheets provided, and my new blanket and pillow, and the old crocheted bed cover. I realize I stink, and take a shower. The shower is OK. I dress in clean clothes and go down for supper at 6:40.

While I’m eating I get two things on from Chuck. First is, he has forwarded to me a voice-mail that he received from the other agent. (I didn’t know you could do that!) In the voice mail the agent, Lynn, explains in vague terms that Daphne was expecting to get “a certain signed document” from her ex-husband, and she has not received that document, so she can’t go forward with the deal. In a follow-up text, Chuck says he is “just deeply perplexed” and “It sounds as though their divorce has some loose ends which were not revealed to us.” Oh, yah think?!? It was the same ex-husband who came with her not once but three visits. It’s all just — this is highly unprofessional stuff from a woman who’s supposed to be a partner in a law firm.

Chuck and I will meet tomorrow at 4 to plan what to do next. Obviously we are not going to accept any more tentative or conditional offers from this buyer. If she came along and said, OK, I’m ready to put the full agreed price into escrow and sign now, no ifs or buts, fine, I’d take her money. But nothing less than that.

After supper I set up my Comcast modem which is providing me with sparkling internet access right now. I did not attempt to set up the new DVR, in part because the splitter that Comcast gave me, to divide the cable between the modem and the DVR, has a male input, while my wall plug has a male output. Splitters don’t do gay sex. So tomorrow I need to get either a short piece of coax or a splitter with a female input.

Also I’m a little bit tired, can’t imagine why, and I’m going to go and sit up in my new bed and read and hopefully sleep.


Day 194, counting down to move

Friday, 6/14/2019

First up, I went for a run (“the last run on this route” — just about every thing I did today was “the last” something.)

Then I rearranged the to-do lists, moving “Kill AT&T and DirecTV” to Saturday morning, just in case they would actually cut off service immediately. Then did a bunch of small things, including the laundry. I’m trying to arrange so that all my clothes are either clean, or on my body, when the movers come.

I found two drawers of stuff I’d never triaged! One was the travel drawer, all the stuff like toiletry bags, foreign plug adapters, etc. that one would rummage through when packing for a trip. The other was just a drawer of “decide later” items that I’d collected back in, probably, December. Well, “later” is here, so I went through that, selected a few things to keep, left the rest for Deborah to try to sell.

I was still flip-flopping on the TaskRabbit thing. TaskRabbit support responded with the PDF of their Certificate of Insurance, so I emailed that to Angela. (Responded at 8am to a ticket I opened at 10pm, not bad.)

Then I drove to Channing House and found Angela in her office. She was in the middle of conferring with the new Director of Facilities, who introduced himself, so that was handy. We settled that I would get at least enough Facilities help to set up the bed, and as much more as they would be able to do on a Saturday. She reviewed the PDF I’d sent, and she and the Facilities guy looked at it and agreed that normally, such documents name the organization, in this case Channing House, specifically, and this one was generic. She said she would ask them for a customized one, and I saw later she’d written to support@taskrabbit, copying me, but I doubt there will be any useful reply. So I canceled that Task, and I’ll rely on CH staff.

Back home, I shut down the big iMac and packed it up in the original form-fitting Apple shipping box. And then… there’s nothing more to do, today.

Well, while at CH, I picked up my mail, and there was the bag of TO-5 form transistors that I wanted to replace the two a museum visitor filched. So I have the transistors to show-and-tell. (Specifically the TO-5, which look like metal top-hats on three legs, because that is the shape of the transistors on the circuit boards that are on display. It’s an old style not much used now, but I think having the one I show look just like the ones on the exhibits, is important.)

OK, but I hand the transistors around for inspection in a little clear plastic box. It was the perfect size, about 2 inches tall and about ¾-inch square, to hold two transistors. I can’t remember where I got said box, but it is gone now. So I spent a wonderful half hour on the internet trying to find a similar box. Amazon, Etsy, Ebay, Nope.

At 3:30, Deborah texted, could I see a buyer for the desk today? OK. So I hustled around and cleaned the dust off Marian’s desk. Sam arrived and we carried it out to his car and he gave me cash. Deborah says with Craig’s List, cash is king. I’m not used to having a wad in my pocket. I need to do a cash deposit pretty quick, my money clip is stressed.

Deborah wanted to know how old the desk was. I am not sure. Marian had it when we married. From 1965 to 1968 she was in Hawaii and I doubt she would have shipped a lot of furniture back and forth. So I can only guess she bought it between 1968 when she settled in her apartment in Menlo Park and started working at IBM’s Watson Court building, and 1973 when we married. I told Sam it was probably bought around 1969-70, and he was very impressed. “So, it’s like… fifty years old already?” He looked about 40-ish to me, so I guess, anything is an antique if it’s older than you are?

A week ago, a Susan Gilbert at CH emailed asking if I’d join them for dinner Friday night, so at 5:15 or so I need to leave for that. A Social Event. Tidied myself up for that.

OK let’s try to remember names. Susan and Keith Gilbert. Keith said, “Your biggest problem moving in, is remembering all the names. Like me.” I gotta like this guy! They’ve been at CH for just a year. Ann Clark, Bob Schwaar, longer time. Lennie Stovel, she is new also, and hasn’t moved in yet. Impressive people generally. Lennie managed software development for Stanford Libraries. They’d all attended colleges like Wellesley, MIT, Stanford.

Burning off the last recorded shows on the DVR which will be shut down later.



Day 191, power out, stuff, painting, condenser

Well, last night was interesting. About quarter to seven I was watching TV when I noticed red lights reflecting on my walls. Looked out, there’s a fire truck parked in the street. And just then the power went out.

I joined other neighbors on the street. Pat and Rich down the block had noticed fumes coming from a transformer on the utility pole opposite their house. They called various numbers and got no quick response, so finally they called 911 and got a fire truck in 5 minutes. The fire crew were standing around looking at the fuming transformer (like a 30-gallon oil drum up at the top of a rather high pole) when the power went out for our block.

The P.A. Utilities arrived a few minutes later, as one guy in a van. He looked up at the pole and talked into a mic. A few minutes later a truck with a cherry picker arrived. This guy went up in the air and looked at the transformer close up. And came down and talked on his mic for a while.

I went back in the house. It was now too dark for reading print. I read on my laptop for an hour, by which time there were two utility trucks, working different poles along the street. So I went to bed. As on the previous night, our Pacific Ocean cooling breezes failed to come in. It was still over 80º at 9pm. Expecting the power to come on, I lay on top of the bed in my clothes.

At 10pm the light came on! I had just sat up when it went off again. I looked out; the utility guys were still working. At 2:45am I got up to pee; they were still working, now on a pole across from my house.

At 4am the lights came on to stay. There were still two Utility trucks and several workers. Hats off to the P.A. Utilities for working all night. This morning I see there are what looks like new transformers on two poles. Mind you, each pole has wires coming off in several angles to serve different houses. It is no joke steering the bucket of a cherry picker up through that to remove and replace heavy pieces of equipment — in the dark. Good work, guys.

Tuesday, 6/11/2019

Owing the heat I decided not to do explicit exercise this morning. Instead stayed in and took care of more minor to-dos.

  • I went around the house clipping the Virginia Creeper tendrils back from the windows.
  • I went on eBay and found somebody selling old-style (TO-5) transistors and ordered a few to replace the ones that some visitor pocketed from me (Day 188).
  • I made PDF files out of my Medical Power of Attorney and Advanced Health Care Directive documents — the same documents I need to hand in at C.H. — and emailed them to the people named in them as my representatives, Dennis and Darlene.
  • Then I went on the DocuBank site. This is a site where you can file your medical info, and you carry a card with your user id and a PIN, and any provider can download your info. I checked; yup, it had my old Advanced Directive, naming Marian as my rep. So I uploaded a new one.
  • I went out to the Comcast/XFinity store and picked up my new DVR and cable modem boxes, and stopped at Fry’s to buy a digital audio cable.

Somewhere in this flurry, Deborah texted to find out when a buyer could take my bed. I said, I don’t need it after Saturday. Could they get it Saturday? Um, no, I’m gonna be kind of busy; is Sunday OK?

Chuck texted; the Lawyer Lady wants to come by “with an architect” to measure the house inside and out to make remodeling plans. Could they come at 2? Oh sure why not. So at 1:45 I left and for lack of a better option (in hindsight I can think of several) went to FOPAL and did sorting for 2 hours.

Then at 4 I came home, changed shirts, and drove to CH for the 6th Floor Meeting and supper after.

This meeting was helpful in one way. CH encourages people to hang their art on the hallway walls. The wall outside your unit is your gallery space. You are supposed to identify your prints and paintings with your name on the back, but there are many that are not identified. People die or move away, their relatives don’t pick up their art (or don’t care), things collect.

There is a large painting of a lighthouse just opposite the 6th floor lounge where the meeting is held. Agenda item 1, Craig announced, is that one of the residents would really like to have this for themselves, as the wife grew up near the depicted lighthouse. The painting has no name on it and nobody has claimed it. Would the assembled meeting be willing to give the painting to so-and-so. Aye, so moved.

Next, what to hang there? Someone had offered a painting of the Stanford Quad. A picture of it was passed around on Craig’s phone and nobody much liked it. Well, I have my Linsky painting of Yosemite Valley and had been wondering where I could hang it for public view that would have adequate light. I put my hand up and offered it, and later passed around its picture on my phone. Everyone liked it, so that’s done. On Saturday it can go straight up on the wall opposite the lounge.

After supper I looked at my phone and found Chuck had texted about the L.L.’s visit. One, it wasn’t an architect she’d brought, but her ex-husband! Looking for his OK? Apparently he approved, anyway. Two, the $50K deposit has been wired to the escrow. That doesn’t mean the sale is locked in, she could still pull out, but it’s pretty solid. And three, oh by the way, while they were there, they noticed the A/C condenser smoking, and pulled the breaker on it.

See the first paragraph of yesterday’s post! Did I jinx myself? I put the breaker back and tried the A/C. I could hear a relay click, but the condenser fan doesn’t turn. The condenser is pretty old — I could go get the red binder and check, but why — so not a surprise. I went on Yelp and did the thing where you request quotes from multiple vendors. Hopefully I can get it fixed this week.