Monday, November 19, 2018

Some Assembly Required

When I sold my house in Seattle, I ditched 90% of the furnishings, as they were old or shabby or broken or all three.  Thus for the new house, I've gone shopping for new stuff, sometimes in town, other times online.  The online stuff often required some skill with a screwdriver or hammer. 

I am not that skilled with either implement.  Nor am I savvy regarding the arcane drawings that come with assembly instructions, yet I ordered a coffee table online anyway, because the Google reviewers claimed it was "easy to put together."

Hah, I say.  Hah!  It would have been easier if the part labeled "B"  on the instruction sheet actually corresponded to the real part "B" of the table.  It did not.  However, I persevered, and as you can see from the photo below, I wound up with something resembling a coffee table -- just don't ever move it, or the one wobbly leg that refused to accept the screw intended for it will collapse.


Next I tackled a freestanding towel rack (not shown), which went together okay after some pieces got put on backwards and then got put on frontwards with a bit of struggle.  It does not wobble, so I am happy.

Emboldened by this success (more or less), I ordered two bookcases from Office Depot, despite the Google reviewers who claimed they were "easy to put together."  What I failed to notice was that each box weighed sixty pounds.  Thank goodness the kind delivery truck driver hauled them inside the house to the front hallway.  From there, I had to lug a piece or two at a time down to the library at the other end of the house, where they looked like this:


The instructions, unlike any assembly instructions I've ever read before, were legible, clear, and even sensible.  I still had trouble here and there, possibly because I have issues telling left from right.  I blame this on being about 75% ambidextrous.  It simply doesn't matter to my brain most of the time which one is which. 

But hey, after some effort and a bit of head-scratching, I got it together!



They are very sturdy bookcases, and I am quite pleased.


The next thing I ordered was a mobile for one of the many hooks in the ceilings, and I was delighted to discover that it came fully assembled.  Whew.  Just imagine what a tangle I could have made of those strings.


Having tackled 60lb bookcases, I knew better than to tackle anything heavier, so I looked for a dining table at a store in town and made certain they would not only deliver it, but put it together inside the dining room from which it will never move.


It feels luxurious to even have a dining room -- I have to cast my mind back over three decades before recalling a place I lived in that had one.  I've always lived in small spaces until now.  As an adult, I lived in college dorm rooms (TINY!), then in shared houses where I had one bedroom to myself, then in a 750sf apartment (sometimes with a roommate) for nine years, and then in a 630sf house for 21 years.

Having a 1400sf house for just me and the Hounds is very weird but I'm getting used to it!  My main issue is all the blank space, in the rooms and on the walls -- it needs to be filled!


The Hounds are enjoying having lots of room, too. 


I have a lot of pictures that I could hang on the walls, but not enough picture frames, so until I order more, there is always another way to cover up blank space:


The hallway wall that faces the living room was crying out for something, and as it was painted medium-gray, I decided to try something different -- a monochrome scene.


So far I've got a woodsy/marshy pond thing going, and I plan to stick a Great Blue Heron in there, and add a whole lot of leaves and cattails and other foliage.  It's still in the preliminary stages now.


There are other blank walls here and there...if I can't put furniture or framed pictures on them, they may need a mural instead.  We shall just have to wait and see!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Roadside Attractions

Last week I went venturing to parts unknown, and as usual, had a grand time.  On Monday I decided to explore Clover Island, a tiny speck of land in Kennewick which boasts a hotel, marina, restaurant, and a lighthouse.

I had hoped to do some sketching, but the weather did not cooperate -- there was no rain in the forecast, yet it was sprinkling when I got there.


So I drove up and down the short island looking at the sculptures instead.  This one is "The Call of the River" in honor of early pioneers:


And this one is "Mother of Reinvention II" and it's interactive -- you can move it to get different views.

And this lovely rendition of two eagles fighting over a salmon is titled "Fair Game":


As you can tell, the clouds departed, and rain stopped, and the sun appeared.  I could have sketched the lighthouse on the island, but I decided to take the Hounds for a walk instead.


We found a trail on the mainland side.


There were Great Blue Herons everywhere -- I saw six in this one spot, but could fit only three into the photo:


We had a very pleasant stroll:



More good birds appeared -- here's a female Belted Kingfisher:


And a Horned Grebe diving:



And a Western Grebe taking a rest:


And one not taking a rest:

This spot also turned out to be good for Great Egrets -- I spied at least four flying around.



The Hounds were happy to be out and about.


However, the Hounds were not so happy on Friday, when I opted to leave them at home.  That's because my outing that day included eating and shopping.  But first, it involved dinosaurs.


The small town of Granger, WA, about fifty miles from the Tri-Cities, is infested with dinosaurs.


Back in the 1990s, the town's public works department decided to make a dinosaur statue, just because it could.  The people liked it, so they made more. 


And more....

They put most of them up in a public park, and added a store/food stand, and public restrooms inside a volcano.  Sadly, this was closed for the season and no one was about -- I can imagine it is hopping in the summer time.



There are also statues placed randomly about the town.


This one is in front of the police station:


And here is a lovely family grouping in another park:


I drove up there with my friend Beckie, and though it was a bit chilly, we had a fabulous time.  After taking the freeway there, we drove the old back road highways back, taking a leisurely tour of the small towns along the way.  We stopped for lunch at  El Conquistador restaurant in Sunnyside, and at the 14 Hands winery in Prosser, and a thrift store in West Richland before heading homeward.

Speaking of home...I have been decorating!


And I've been acquiring new furniture, which of course, is really owned by the Hounds:


Now I need to get some art on the walls.  I'm working on that -- stay tuned!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Finding the Yakima and Other Adventures

Last week I spotted some fabulous fall foliage from the car while driving by the Yakima River, so the next day I grabbed the Hounds and my camera and went in search of a good view point to snap photos from.

It wasn't easy.  Unlike the Columbia, there are no public parks running alongside the Yakima, at least none that I could find on a map anywhere near Richland.  I did spot one tiny parking area called the "Tapateal Water Trail" at the end of a gravel road, so we started there.


We found a lovely view, but the tiny parking area turned out to be WA State Wildlife Dept land, for which I needed a pass to park, which I did not have, so we could not explore the trail.  The Hounds were mildly disappointed -- here they are at the trail head:


The Yakima River winds between Richland and West Richland, so we continued on to West Richland where I decided to investigate a long and winding road called Riverside Drive, since it wound, appropriately enough, alongside the river.  

However, after a leisurely drive of three miles or so, we hit a dead end, with only glimpses of the river between the houses, for all of the land was privately owned.  Our one consolation was spotting an alpaca farm:


Having noticed a dike between the houses and the river, I wondered if it were walkable, so I followed a different route back, trying to get as close to the dike as possible.  There appeared to be fences and gates all along the way, and feeling frustrated, I nearly gave up on my quest when, right before reaching the main road, I saw a small parking lot near the bridge over the Yakima.  It was not marked on my map.  It was public, and it led to a short path that ran right beside the river -- success!


The Hounds were happy and so was I.



We enjoyed splendid views of the fall foliage.




Then we headed back to the car:


So that was one adventure for the week.  And that little park we found by accident?  It doesn't even appear on Google maps!  Ha!

For the weekly urban sketch group outing, the venue was the Richland Community Center, a building I would have liked to draw except it was very windy and a bit cool.  So I found a spot indoors which had large windows looking out at the park instead.


Finally, for our last adventure of the week, the Hounds and I explored yet another section of the Columbia Riverfront trail.  This part starts at the Richland marina and heads south towards Kennewick.  We did not go all the way to Kennewick -- that would have been a good five miles one way.  We went more like 1-1/2 miles one way.


The skies were overcast so things looked a little gloomy, but it was still a fascinating landscape.



And the fall foliage was good here, too.


You can certainly tell we are in an arid part of the state!


We came across some railroad tracks and a railroad bridge -- luckily, they are no longer in use.



I managed to get a quick sketch in:


This coming week I will be busy with house stuff -- I am finally moving into the new home!  There is a ton of stuff to sort out and put away, a lot of cleaning to do, plus the arrival of a new sofa, a TV, and the TV service installer.  It's great to have my own space again!