“Laziness may appear attractive, but work brings satisfaction” — Anne Frank.

Here’s a shot of the current state of the Bama/Training Room:


(We’re going to have to come up with a good name for this room). The pool table should be here within the next three weeks; I should have the electronics on the bicycle side fully functional by COB today. There’s still all of the stuff – both triathlon and Crimson Tide – that has to go up on the walls.

Busy. Busy all day. Still haven’t played a single game of golf, or spent any real time in the hammock, or signed up for a piano or language class or signed Juneau up for dog training. Haven’t gone hiking or done any midweek bike rides. NONE of the stuff that I was going to do in retirement is happening.

But I’m busy, busy all the time, and tired.

I’ve actually been considering going back to work; given that the stock has dropped A LOT, I now have considerably less money in my pocket (i.e. not in tax-deferred accounts) than I had when I retired. And it’s weird being busy all day and tired at the end of the day, but not getting paid for anything 😉

I’m also feeling a little better with respect to the reasons that caused me to get testosterone in my tuckus – while my ADD is bothering me, I suspect that that has more to do with having six things going on at once (and not being able to find anything) than it does with aging. While I am tired, my brain and body feel somewhat more functional than they were a few months ago. So I suspect I might be better able to do my job now than I was when I was doing it.

So, given all that – why haven’t I contacted my old boss and asked for my job back?

Answer: sometimes one doesn’t ask because one is afraid to hear the answer 🙂

When I explained why I was quitting to my boss, I think he was surprised to hear how poorly I’d been doing, and now I suspect that he may not want anything to do with having me on the payroll.

My normal course of action, at this point, would be to ask to have the fear removed, and then take the action I was afraid of; I’ve done the first part, and prayed about the second. I’ll wait until I get some definite response about asking to go back before I do so.

So, in the meantime, I reckon I’ll get busy on the Bama/Training room. And starting that Fourth Step. And getting the bed into the guest bedroom. And bringing over the stuff from the old garage into the new one. And getting my swim in this afternoon, and maybe a short jog as well. And getting the soundbar debugged, and spending time with tech support to find out why we’re not getting all the games on the ESPN app using our new DirecTV account, and making a noon meeting, and getting more stuff up on the walls around the house.

Sheesh. Who wouldn’t rather go to work? 🙂



Here’s the berm/kidney bean/island in the front yard, as seen from the front door:


We’ve always called a formation like that a “berm”, but the landscapers have other names. Whatever you call it, it looks great.

I won’t have much to mow in the front yard 🙂

They’ve raked all the topsoil and got everything nice and level; next comes the sod. But for some reason, I don’t think it’s going to be here until Tuesday.

My hammock is up 🙂 It got dirty during the move; I tried bleaching it, and then using Woolite, but no luck. So eventually I talked Ethel into letting me wash it in her Samsung on “Delicate”. Afterwards, there was quite a bit of untangling to do, but it’s done. As soon as I finish typing, I’m going to go lay in it for a few minutes.

We’re putting things on walls. We had a major marriage moment about the Matriarch, but she relented when she understood how important it was to me to be able to see her from the kitchen table. This is Ray Swanson’s “Arizona Matriarch”, and for inscrutable expressions, I think she’s got the Mona Lisa beat hands down.


It’s obvious she’s unhappy; quite often, it seems that she’s just plain disappointed in me. She wants me to go back to work, or she’s wondering why I’m not working out. Maybe I should be cleaning house.

Other times, it seems that maybe she’s so tired that it’s coming out as depression. I get that, too.

I’d better go rest now. I’ve gotten myself into a situation where I need to be at an 8 PM meeting. Yes, they have those here; most ski towns keep their meetings no later than 7 PM, but Whitefish is Whitefish, and there’s no changing it. But if I’m going to be up that late, I’d better rest.

Fortunately, I have a hammock 🙂

I’m typing this in my new office, on the second floor of the Dog House.


This picture implies much more order than actually exists up on Vista Drive at the moment; this room has just been unboxed (to the extent that it has, indeed, been so) and so has an artificially low level of visual entropy. N.B. – those books are NOT in any order on the shelves, and only have the loosest of groupings.*

An illustration of this truth: the left bookcase has a Bobble Head Bill Wilson on the second shelf. And his head has bobbled off to some other location.

But much of our lives right now is a mine field. (Hint: don’t go into the garage. Either garage – the new or the old. I’m not going to take a picture of either of those explosions; suffice it to say that when I walk through the garage, I keep my eyes straight ahead. To look to either side is to succumb to despair).

Much of the house at present looks orderly; Ethel’s done a good job. But, again, the order means “items aren’t strewn across the floor in crazy heaps”; however, the fact that something is in a cabinet, or drawer, or on a shelf does NOT imply that it’s in the place that one would expect it to be.

So I spend much of my day going “Honey, where is the….<insert noun>?”

Some of these things will have to move. Right now, on the longest counter in the kitchen, the coffee pot is at the far left, under the coffee cups and other beverage containers; the flatwear is in the Fancy Flatware Double Drawer at the far right end.

This makes plenty of sense to Ethel, because Ethel drinks her coffee black. But I take cream and sweetener. So I have to go to the far left, pull down a cup and pour the coffee, go to the far right to get a spoon, come back to the far left to add sweetener and creamer, stir, then go to the middle to put the spoon in the sink. No wonder my Garmin is showing 20,000+ steps at the end of the day.

The whole kitchen has things where things ought not to be.

And then there’s the fact that so much stuff is still in boxes. Quite often, the answer to “Where is the…?” is “I don’t know. Might be in a box.”

I am grateful that my dresser still has the same clothing assignments per drawer. I’m on the same side of the bed. But I walk into the closet, and I’m on Mars.

That’s inside the house. Outside, the landscapers have broken down the universe, and are now rebuilding it in the image of the landscape plans. Here’s the current state of the front yard:


I said “the image of the landscape plans” but, of course, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. For instance – the house foundation is surrounded by a beautiful rocked area going out from five to ten feet, bordered with a think plastic border, with preplanned plantings every few feet. But one thing that nobody noticed on the plans is that there was a shrub – which will grow to a great size – directly in front of the side door out of the garage. Thanks to Dan the landscape man who asked me – “Hey, Jim – uh, do you want this here?” – especially since it was his boss who drew up the plan. That takes moral courage.

That open flat area there will be a berm in a few hours. However, the berm – as planned – was suppose to have two aspen flanking a blue spruce. But, as it turns out, Ethel and I bought multi-trunk clumps of aspen instead of single trees, and the clumps that we picked out are too large, so we could either let the berm grow to take up most of the front yard to include all those, or move a clump to the other side of the driveway. (We will now have two groups of aspen in the front yard. Well, can’t ever have too many aspen).

Yesterday, we thought that they’d be laying sod by the end of today; now it looks like tomorrow. And that’s a problem, because the landscape boss is going elk hunting next week. I am so, SO grateful that this house got done this week, as one elk season starts, all construction stops. (I’m pretty sure that somebody will be here working the landscape gig next week, though, because I only paid ’em half up front).

Ethel is downstairs working on the final draw; and it looks like we just went over our planned construction loan, with a few more items still to show up; I’m grateful that we didn’t go much over, though, given how many, many questions came up where we said “Oh, go ahead with the more expensive option”.

The landscaping and fencing was always planned to be out of pocket. But I didn’t expect it to be even half as much as it wound up.

I’m okay with all this expense, really; I know that selling stock now to pay for stuff will NOT result in us eating dog food when we’re 75 years old. But it still feels weird to be shelling out so much cash when I’m bringing none in.

So one of the “Where is…?” questions is about my money 🙂

*the upper shelf on the right bookcase is all conference-approved material, either AA or OA with one Narcotics Anonymous basic text from the 1980s. Then things start getting much looserer – with the exception of the second shelf on the left, which is all Louis L’Amour.

We’re moving everything that wasn’t moved yesterday, besides the furniture. I have two pairs of underwear and two T-shirts upstairs, and some shorts – but Ethel just had to bring me back some clean jeans from the house, because it’s too cold today for shorts, and I got the pair I’m wearing dirty cleaning our grill before the move.


This is my 14 year old Vermont Castings grill; we bought it when we moved back to Arizona in 2005. We’d lived in Vermont and seen Vermont Castings wood stoves, but didn’t realize that they made gas grills; when I saw it in Home Depot in Cave Creek, I just bought it. No questions asked. It’s lasted 14 years and gets used – a LOT.

So every few years, I pull out a full bottle of 409 and a big tub of soapy water, and clean it. It was definitely time.

See, the new house is full of cool stuff – and today, I got the training room almost completely set up; just waiting on the longer HDMI cables from Amazon to finish that. All the screens are mounted. Also got the 55″ “PAC-12 After Dark” bedroom TV mounted, as well.

But we have to deal with the old ugly stuff as part of the move. For instance, SOMEBODY decided that we needed a Husky puppy, and the Husky puppy decided to chew up the trim by the front door. So we pulled that chewed-up trim off –


…got some new trim cut to fit, and now it’s in the garage, letting the second coat of paint dry before we put it into place.


No, I don’t have any sawhorses; why do you ask? Heck, I’m surprised I still have a paint roller – Ethel is carting everything out of this place and taking it across the highway to the Dog House. I’m doing the best I can with what I have.

The Dog House – today they are sealing the granite, and Ethel’s getting all the locks keyed to the same key (which is an exercise with a very low ROI – I don’t even lock the doors. This is Whitefish); tomorrow, the builder shows up for his last tasks (including the handrail on the stairs; the banister is in place, but code demands a handrail as well) and the city shows up to inspect and give us a COO – “Certificate of Occupancy”. Heck, I never knew such a thing existed.

It’s raining, raining, raining, by the way – the landscapers came out and tried this morning, but then gave up. So, no, there will NOT be any sod laid before we move in, even though I scheduled the landscapers to start in late July. (This is where I would say “I don’t think I’ll prepay folks again a month in advance to wait and show up five weeks late”, but then, I’m never going to build a house again, so it doesn’t really matter).

So the critters are going to the animal shelter the kennel for a few days; I want to leave them there until the lawn is established, but Ethel’s a real softie, so she’ll bring them home in a few days, and then force me to take them out, one at a time, on a lead, down the street to a vacant lot so they can do their business.

We’re building the *&^%$#@! house so that the $%^&* dogs can have a yard, but the yard that we built the house for won’t be there. This is called “the way things are”, and there ain’t no use in fussing about it.

Believe it or not, this kitchen is almost completely loaded now. Pots, pans, plates, glasses, flatware, pantry – all of that stuff. And we’ve still got lots of empty cabinets.


Today we had some great friends who came to help, so even though the furniture doesn’t go in until Tuesday, we moved a whole lot of our lives in today – clothes and linens and small appliances and ski stuff and bike stuff – heck, the list is too long. LOTS of stuff.

ALL of the stuff came down off the walls, and is now stacked sideways in the garage, waiting to go up on our new walls.

Boxes and bins and boxes and sacks and boxes.

So much so that there isn’t that much more for us to move, other than the garage.

Tomorrow I’m putting up TV mounts and finishing setting up the training room, and possibly starting the task of putting up the garage shelves – because it’s obvious we’re going to need a LOT of garage shelving. Get that stuff off the ground.

Maybe five more hard days. But then we should be mostly done.

I’m tired of this move, and I’m tired of moving in general. But I’m also self-aware enough to know that – let’s tell the truth and shame the Devil – it’s probably going to happen again.

And, despite what I say about it, it’ll still be just as difficult next time 🙂

*yes, I’m aware that Boxing Day is a British Commonwealth holiday that comes the day after Christmas. But here, and now, today was Boxing Day. And Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be Unboxing Days 🙂


Here’s the training room in our current condo – after removing everything except the dresser.


The training bikes, Wahoo Kickrs, and supporting equipment are already over at the Dog House, waiting for the carpet guys to finish so they can go up in the Bama Room. I had to get that stuff out of here so I could (ahem) start painting.

This is an extremely difficult room to paint; what you don’t see is behind me, which is a bunch of angles, door, closet doors, and of course the en-suite bathroom. All of this has to be taped off and cut in before I can actually start rolling. It’s taken me the last 24 hours to just get this far; I have to admit that I’m pretty scared of this task. Like the Furyan Spirit Lady told Riddick just before she gave him the power, “….it’s gonna hurt!”*

The worst part is that the Puckett best suited for this task is the Puckett that is currently laying down with her leg elevated; she saw the doc this morning, and now she is allowed to sit up for thirty minutes, but then she has to lay down for fifteen. He didn’t mention any reasonable interval for “taping off and cutting in”; he just slid right past that topic.

That little white box over in the lower right is a Sonos amplifier, so’s I can listen to Gin Blossoms Radio while doing this most unpleasant of tasks. I have to admit; that helps.

Full disclosure – I only came up here to post this diary entry because that allowed me a little respite from the baseboard taping. But now – alas! – I must go back to it. Those baseboards aren’t going to tape themselves.**

Understand – it’s not that I don’t like this because it’s hard or unpleasant. I don’t like this job because I’m no good at it. But then, I’m not good at anything else, so there’s that 😉

House update – it’s really, really almost done. The landscapers are the farthest behind, but they aren’t essential to the move. The carpet is almost done. The tub is finally in. I think that while I’m typing this, the electricians are finally putting the oven and microwave into the space in the cabinets. And the construction clean up guy said that he was going to start the clean up this afternoon.

Since they are really almost done, that why our work has just now gotten hardest 🙂

*I’ve always found it interesting that the spirit of the Furyan race was a cute girl in a short skirt, with knee-high go-go boots.

*but, if they COULD tape themselves, they’d do a better job than I can do.

…all at once.

I’m worn out. I’ve been packing and painting the loft – my office produced 11 boxes of, well, stuff. Sheesh.

Meanwhile, everything is happening all at once over at the Dog House. For instance, the landscapers have finished the flagstone patio, and spread the topsoil:


The carpet guys are busy. Turns out that when you buy carpet that has patterns, they have to finagle the different sheets to make the patterns contiguous. If’n I’d’a known that, I’d’a bought something easier to install.


The granite is in – and most of the appliances, as well. Here’s the sink and the Bosch (oh my gosh):


And, then, finally – the Black Taurus Waterfall:


When we left a while ago, the steel guy had shown up with the corrugated metal accent siding. I didn’t hang around to get a picture, because Ethel had to leave.

Ethel, it seems, has a blood clot in her leg.

Yep – it’s called a Deep Vein Thrombosis, but it’s pretty much a blood clot. It’s why her calf has been swelling for the last three weeks – and now she’s on blood thinners and bed rest. Since we’re currently five days out from the movers showing up, it’s pretty much the worst time to go onto bed rest. But the Deep Vein Thrombosis did not check with us regarding scheduling.

Ethel has named her blood clot “Clumpson”. College football fans will understand.

Now that I’ve typed this, I have to hurry back to pack and clean and prep for painting. That’s what I do now. Ethel is supposed to be on the couch with her leg up, but I think that I hear the vacuum cleaner going, so before I can go back to PCP (pack/clean/prep) I have to go do an intervention on Ethel and her Clumpson.