DIY – Doze It Yourself Projects

Our new home in the mountains that we call The Golden K has so many amenities for Kali and Kloe that you would think we bought the house for them.  Full disclosure: on our list of pros and cons for buying this house several months ago at the top of the pros column was “great place to raise dogs”.

Forgoing the details I’ll just say that the house’s wrap around deck connects to a large tree filled area protected by cyclone fence that connects to a out building with A/C and heat with doggie door that connects to the back of the house facing up the mountain.  At every juncture there is a gate to leave open or closed creating a variation of areas for the dogs to explore and roam.  And all are safe, and protected from mountain critters.

There was one area that needed just a little more attention to make sure that Kali and Kloe were contained and safe when out of our immediate eye sight in the event they are tempted to move beyond their approved territories.  This involved putting up some lattice on a concrete fence of  imperfect dimensions.  This is why I called in the experts – Kali and Kloe – to work with me side by side on what I thought was a Do It Yourself project.  But it actually turned out to be a Doze It Yourself project as my assistants so deftly illustrate in the photos belowIMG_1050IMG_1051

I couldn’t have wouldn’t have done it without them!

The Emerging Compound

One of the reasons we fell in love with The Golden K before it was The Golden K was the layout of the property.  It has a wonderful house, a wrap around deck that connects to a dog run that is totally contained (and safe for Kali and Kloe), plus many out buildings.  One of those out buildings was a large shed with an adjacent car port.  I say “was” because when we bought the property  we designated this structure to be renovated into my office.  I work primarily from home and rather than take up a bedroom as an office we decided to convert the shed.

Full disclosure.  There is a smaller out building that would be far less expensive to convert to an office but when one makes dreams come true why not dream big, right.  Just not too big…

My vision for The Golden K has always been that of a “compound”.  Those sprawling homesteads with guest houses, trails to explore, room for privacy if you want it, and common areas for family and friends to come together at the end of the day for meals and spiritual nourishment.  In other words, steak and wine!…

The original plan for the shed was to incorporate the area that comprises the car port into the floor plan.  That area would be a good size bedroom and the shed area would be my office that doubles for living space when guests were using it. There was to be a bathroom, small kitchenette, couch, TV, etc.  Unfortunately reality kicked in when we received our cost estimates and we prudently scaled back the project. (Reference dreaming “too big” above…)

The car port for now will remain just that – a car port and place to park my truck.  The shed will  be converted to my office with enough amenities to make it another place to hang out and watch a sporting event, play music (my piano and guitar will be prominent elements), and just provide another spot for Holly or I or friends and family to escape to for a little privacy or solitude.

And now construction has finally begun.  Seeing the contractors strip the generations-old cabinets and counters away, cut in new windows, and begin wiring for canned lights and modern amenities has made this project become very real.  While it may be slightly less grand than my original vision it is still a new and exciting element of our emerging compound we call The Golden K.




Cheez-It, Dogs, and Dishwashers

Buying appliances can be a long endeavor with so many models, features, brands, and price ranges.  I’m always reminded when shopping for things of something my friend Bob, said a few years ago.  He said, “Mike – you can’t just go by Cheez-It any more.  There’s low fat Cheez-It, wheat Cheez-It, low sodium, white cheese, spicy, etc.  You can’t just go and buy Cheez-Its any more.”  And Bob was and is right.  It’s that way with everything.  We live in a world with infinite choices.  I’m not complaining, just saying’…

So there we were at Lowe’s shopping for dishwashers.  Holly, me, Kali, and Kloe.  Full disclosure – Holly had done the research on what we might want before our trek to Lowe’s but we still had questions and knew that if we chose to buy there it would take some time.

We spent about 45 minutes looking at dishwashers, getting our questions answered, making the decision, and going through the purchase process about delivery information, extended warranty details,  installation, etc.  Throughout the entire process our girls – Kloe and Kali- were so patient laying on the ground next to us and charming all the shoppers who passed by.  Yes, there were some treats involved every now and then.  Occasionally Kali would let out a short bark to get my attention and remind me that there were treats in my pocket.  And once or twice Kloe stood up and repositioned herself in a way that she tied Holly’s legs up in a square knot.

But all in all our girls were so well behaved for such an extended period of time you would have thought they had been promised filet mignon for dinner.  But there were no steaks offered.  There were no brand new squeaky toys.  There were just a few biscuits and our sweet girls lying by mom an dad’s feet while we purchased a box of Cheez-it Dishwasher.


Too many choices:  you can’t just go and buy a box of Cheez-It these days.




You kind of had to be there…

They laid on their backs looking straight up at the night sky.  It had been a very hot day and now a warm summer evening and the stars were emerging and plentiful.

They could have been teenagers at summer camp laying on a dock they had been diving off earlier on the day.  Summer love with a boy doing back flips – literally – to impress the cute young girl he had developed a major crush on.  They could have been newlyweds in Puerto Vallarta at the poolside or on the Captain’s Level of a Mediterranean  cruise ship laying on comfy sofas with their eyes alternating between the stars and each other.

Or they could have been aging baby boomers, still wildly in love with each other after 30 plus years of marriage laying their creaky old backs on the sprawling deck of their new mountain home.  The pines, oaks, and cedar trees that provide much welcomed shade during the hot summer days also present obstruction to star gazing.  So they positioned themselves in such a way that they had a clear view of the stars while laying on their backs, in the dark, with each other and their two Golden Retriever’s laying nearby.

That was us, Holly and I laying on our creaky old backs and staring straight up at the night sky in wonder at the calmness and quiet of the forest and the glitter of the emerging stars.  The view was so much clearer on this night.  After all it should be because we’re closer to the stars up in the mountains than back in the SF Bay Area from which we came.  Right?

Then and now, reflecting on those moments of star gazing, I know that the young refreshingly good looking teenage couple on the dock, and the thirty-something newlywed professionals floating on the Mediterranean Sea will be blessed to have what we had on that night, after 33 years of marriage, laying on our backs, with our dogs, on our deck, looking up at the stars between our trees at 3100 feet.

There is usually a picture here at the end of my posts but you can’t do the sky justice or capture the beauty of the night.l  You kind of had to be there…