Mother’s Day lunch. Shopping at The Home Depot. Front yard work.

at Smashburger
Elaine at Smashburger. She’s talking on the phone with Destry.

It was her choice, so we had Mother’s Day lunch at Smashburger. Smashburger is Elaine’s favorite burger place, and she especially likes the Avocado Club Burger (Fresh avocado, applewood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, ranch dressing & mayo on a multi-grain bun) with Veggie Frites (Fresh green beans & carrot strips, flash fried). I had a Buffalo and Blue Cheese Burger (Frank’s® RedHot® Buffalo Sauce, blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato & mayo on an egg bun) with Fried Pickles (Garlic pickles battered & fried). The was our first time trying the Fried Pickles; they were OK but not an outstanding choice for me.

new plants
A hanging basket of portulaca and some new plants in the planter beyond.

Earlier this morning Elaine, Kerby, Gizmo, and I had gone shopping at The Home Depot for some front yard stuff. We needed some additional plants for one of the planter boxes and Elaine also wanted some for the ground level. She picked out a couple of purple lantana pots for ground level; these shrubs grow well in Arizona and will expand and spread. You can see them in the photo below.

white chain
My first try on attaching the white plastic chain to the black posts. There will be two runs of chain between each pair of posts.

We also got the base hardware for the eighth post, and bought the white chain and hardware to attach it to the posts. We bought screw eyes for one end of each chain segment and screw hooks for the other end. The chains will be permanently attached to the eyes but can be removed at the hook end for whatever purpose. When I first experimented with the attachments I was not happy with the screw hooks because of their length; they stood out to far from the post face. But I realized later that all I have to do is screw them in further! Duh!


Go for a walk. Bridge down, temporarily repaired. Pretty posies. Painting posts.

time for a walk
Kerby and Gizmo loudly telling me it is time for a walk

Twice a day the boys and I get to go for a walk. In the morning I usually wait until they tell me it is time to go; it is usually Kerby who first goes and stand by the front door, looking at me. Gizmo soon joins him. In the evening I often initiate the walk process as part of our schedule just before dinner. But tonight I waited until after dinner. Gizmo was sitting with Elaine on her recliner and Kerby was on the floor between us when Elaine asked about our w-a-l-k, spelling it out. She commented that it would not be long before they understood the spelling and, sure enough, Gizmo hopped down and went over near Kerby. I looked at them and spoke the walk word and you can see the result in the photo! Continue reading Go for a walk. Bridge down, temporarily repaired. Pretty posies. Painting posts.

Shaggy Gizmo. Breakfast in the Park. More on planters.

Our shaggy Gizmo.

Gizmo is really shaggy, because we have let his hair stay longer in the winter, but it is time to go shorter again. That will happen tomorrow when they both go for grooming with Danielle. The photo of Kerby I included a day or so ago showed how dirty he has gotten, in addition to being shaggy. With Gizmo’s color we don’t see the dirt, but we sure can see the shaggy! And Elaine has commented the last few days that when he gets close she can smell his doggy body odor. Continue reading Shaggy Gizmo. Breakfast in the Park. More on planters.

Record 108 temp. Planters progress.

What a change in spring weather in Phoenix!
108 temp
A record 108 temp today in Phoenix

Yes, it is spring in Phoenix. And as in other places, the weather can be variable. Witness today’s record high of 108° with the forecast of 74° on Tuesday! That’s a 32° difference. With relative humidity at 9%, that’s a dry heat of course. I worked outside a lot during midday and did not feel uncomfortable, even with those temps.

My work turned into a lot of frustration, however. I was working on our new planters. I needed three more 5″ corner braces to finish the job and had bought them a day or so ago at Barry’s Ace Hardware on W Glendale, not wanting to drive the extra distance to The Home Depot on W Thunderbird. I also bought some 5/16″ stove bolts to attach the planter facing boards to the brackets. Well today I discovered that the hole pattern on Ace’s braces did not match the pattern on Home Depot’s braces, so they did not fit my system. Then I drove to The Home Depot only to find out they were out of that item! On to The Home Depot at Cave Creek Road and Thunderbird, where I was able to find plenty.

Back at the house I then discovered that the 5/16″ bolts that fit Ace’s braces were too large for Home Depot’s. Back to Ace and I exchanged the three braces I bought plus all the 5/16″ bolts, nuts, and washers for 1/4″ bolts, nuts, and washers. They only had 20 bolts, so I will have to go to a different store to buy the rest I need – another 20.

face panels
I have the first face panels in place on our planters

I installed the new brackets to finish that part of the job, and then turned to the facing boards. I was able to use the bolts I did have to mount the board on the south side as well as one of the boards on the front side. You can see the partial result in the photo. I think they will look good when done; I still have to paint the bolt heads, touch up the boards, and do some minor tweaks.

Elaine braved the heat to wash down the porch floor. It had gotten quite dirty and was well in need of cleaning. It sure looks good now!

10 boxes? Planters. More house decorations. Scruffy Kerby.

The shipping boxes at Walmart for 6x6x32 inch plastic trays. Yes, one tray per box – even in those large cartons.

I ordered ten Pennington 32″ planter liners from Walmart all at once, so I was surprised when I received TEN emails letting me know they were at the store ready for pickup, one for each tray. I guess I should not have been surprised, then, when they brought out TEN boxes at the pickup station – but frankly I was. What was worse is that while eight of the liners were packed in small rectangular boxes that were of an appropriate size, two were packed in huge cartons as you can see in the photo. What were they thinking?!? (Or not thinking!) Continue reading 10 boxes? Planters. More house decorations. Scruffy Kerby.

Face boards painted. Newsletter published.

boards painted
Two of the five face boards for the planter boxes. All are painted now.

I finished painting the five boards that will be used on the face of our new planters. We used the same paint as our house trim, a dark purple. There are two of them on the stands and three more on the table in the back of the photo. They have been painted on both sides and are now ready to be installed. I will do the drip plumbing first, since it will be easier to do without the boards in place.

I finished the newsletter this morning and took it to the UPS at E Dunlap and Central to be printed. They struggled with it at first but finally discovered what setting needed to be changed so that the cover would get picked up and added to the book. I left after being able to see the first one come off and will go back tomorrow morning to pick them up. I also got the electronic copy posted to the web site, from there it gets posted in the Royal Palm Social Club Facebook group.

We had a good visit with George Immerso this morning. He stopped by to drop off his notes from newsletter review and stayed for a while to chat.

We went to the pool this afternoon but ended up not swimming. The pool water had gotten cloudy over the weekend – probably from the extra load of kids and adults there on Saturday. The crew shocked it this morning, but we decided to wait and let it clear up before swimming again. We did go in the spa while there, though.

Cat in tree. Faces for planters. Newsletter done.

cat in tree
The cat high in the tree.
tree and cat
Here’s the tall royal palm tree with the cat

A day or so ago I heard a cat crying when I took the boys out for a walk. I tried to figure out where it was coming from; it seemed to be coming from high in a royal  palm tree, but I could not see a cat or accurately locate the origin. I heard it several times. This morning I heard it again and this time was able to locate the cat, high in the palm tree about 35 feet above the ground. I called the Fire Department non-emergency number and the woman I spoke with said that most times these cats come down on their own. She’s known of one that spent a week high in a tree in the middle of summer. Continue reading Cat in tree. Faces for planters. Newsletter done.

Planter boxes – oops. Dog cookies. Elaine to nails, shopping. More newsletter ads.

Part of the line of brackets that will support the planter boxes. The first one shows how two brackets will be joined to form support.

I started my planter box project today, and soon ran into (or created) a problem. The planter boxes will extend across the whole front of the house and will wrap around the sides for about four feet. They will be a simple affair, with two 5-inch corner brackets bolted together to form the support and a series of plastic planter tubs around 6 inches wide and 32 inches long will be set on them. The brackets will be attached to the house on 16-inch spacing, so that works well with the 32-inch trays. You can get the idea from the photo at left. I have some leftover siding from constructing our shed that matches the house siding, and will use 7½” wide strips of siding on the outside face to hide the brackets and trays and provide decoration. The siding will be painted the same color as our dark trim.

So far, so good. I worked on it this morning and quit about 11:30 as it got hot in the sun. I was going to go back to the project in the afternoon once the sun swung around and put the front in the shade.

But when I got inside the TV in the living room was off; it had been on when I went out an hour or more before. I tried the remotes and nothing happened. I started checking electrical systems and found there was no power to the plug strip where the TV plugs in. Further, there was no power to the outlets in the office; the TV outlet is on the other side of the office interior wall. I checked the breaker box and found one breaker popped; I reset it and no difference. Obviously something I did outside had affected that circuit. Pete came over later and we did some further checking and measuring, and it appears that one of the bracket screws had probably done some damage. I have an electrician coming on Friday morning, but in the meantime I ran a couple of extension cords and have the living room TV and the office equipment running.

Elaine made cookies for the dogs today.

While I was working outside, Elaine was busy in the kitchen making some cookies for the dogs. She used pumpkin pie mix, peanut butter, coconut oil, eggs, and wheat flour for the cookies and decorated the tops with peanut butter mixed with coconut oil. Kerby loved them, and Gizmo was OK with them.

Elaine headed to Walmart this afternoon to get her nails done and to do some grocery shopping. She did not get back until 4:30, so she missed swimming today. I went, though.

I got two more newsletter ads today – a half page and a full page. Those will greatly help with the newsletter printing cost. I still have two more to check on.