Where has the time gone? We retired just one year and six months ago, and it seems like only yesterday. The days have just flown by – – every day Elaine and I get up with a big list of things to do, we keep busy all day and the next day, the list is longer. We work hard (mostly) and hurt worse than ever before. We have become addicted to pain. Everyday when we get up, we assess our bodies to see if we hurt anyplace special. If not, we go out on the construction site and do some damage to ourselves. We should rename Camelot Road to “Pain Lane”.
But we’re making excellent progress! The house is coming along fantastically well. It looks just like the plans, and we haven’t had to make any significant changes. The current status is:
The exterior is seven-eighths painted. The interior is nearly completed except for building and installing the cabinets in the second bath, the laundry room and the wet room (and of course putting the closet organizers in all closets but the pantry and the master bedroom closet). The wood stove chimney went in this week as did the railing on the stairs and the balcony. I have a preliminary fit on the two sliding glass doors into the den and that should keep me busy for a few days. On the outside, most of the concrete is installed including the porte cochere (Sp.?). The garden retaining wall is nearly done (I have to close one side of the octagon), the topsoil is installed one foot deep, the topsoil has been dug up and sprinkler system pipes installed and the topsoil laid back down again, the beds laid out, spring bulbs purchased, and some flowers are even planted. We have a plan from the landscaper and are waiting for the telephone company to move the buried cable from the middle of the drive so we can cut in Elaine’s turn-around and then start moving in rocks and gravel. Plants will come later. The basement is largely unfinished, but we should have a long cold winter one of these years to work on that.
Wow! If I think about it any further, I’ll get discouraged. Building a house is a big job, and don’t think that a contractor doesn’t earn his money. I know it would have been easier if Elaine and I hadn’t done major segments of the work, but it would also have been much more costly.
High points of the year:
In March, Bob suffered a mental seizure and agreed to provide about 4 months of volunteer labor for his old employer (they’ve gotten rid of so many people that they can no longer get the job done). Fortunately he recovered (with the assistance of some very pointed pressure from Elaine) and rescinded his offer. He still suffers from some recurrent nightmares, but may see those diminish in time.
In April (?) Pete and Chris Caldwell Roberts visited with son John Henry and nephew Bobby Caldwell. Gosh, it was fun finding a namesake after all these years thinking that you had only daughters. The really productive part of their visit was Pete’s assistance in cutting tiles. In a former life Pete was a tile contractor, and in one marathon day starting at 8:00 AM and ending at .10:00 PM, he and Bob measured and cut more than 500 square feet of Italian ceramic tile. On his next trip, Pete gets to do what he wants to do.
In April, Elaine and Bob also flew to California to help pack up Gramma Dorothy and drive her and her possessions to her new home in Sequim. We got her moved in and have really enjoyed her presence since. Bob gets good food when Elaine is out of town, and we’ve had some marvelous preserves made from the local free produce.
Crabbing and clam digging took a back seat to construction this past year, but we did do some serious damage to the squid in Port Angeles. The following people – – Justin, Michelle, John, Steve, Wally, Gary, Barb, Katie, Eli, Elaine and Bob caught, cleaned, and froze about 30 tons of sequid (at least it seemed like 30 tons- – maybe it was pounds).
At the end of July, Bob and Elaine flew to Portland, Maine, met Janette, Rick and Shelby there, drove on to Muscongus Bay and spent the week with the East coast branch of the Wing family (Ken, Sharon, and Krista). We had an excellent time, ate plenty of lobsters and clams, told lots of lies, drank some excellent beer and fondly remembered humidity and mosquitoes. It is an unrecorded historic fact that one of the primary motivators sending hundreds of thousands of people down the Oregon Trail was the chance to escape mosquitoes and humidity.
Sometime during the all-to-short summer, Margot, Wally, and the two much adored (by their Nonny and as much, but not so boisterously, by Papa) grandchildren, Austin and Averi, came up to spend several long weekends with us. Margot and Wally painted exterior walls whilst Elaine spoiled the children (which is, after all, a Grandmother’s most sacred obligation). I wish Wally were either 4 feet taller, or could hover like a hummingbird – – in either case, the soffets and facia would now be painted, instead of staring me in the face as a long deferred but necessary project. Perhaps we could learn to paint using a fly rod and a Woolly Booger instead of a brush – – then we could reach all the high spots and have fun in the process. By some unknown scheme (probably illegal), Wally managed to rake more crabs than Bob during these visits but he did share them, so all is forgiven.
August was a month of unremitting company. Fun? Lots. Work’? Almost none.
In September, Janette and Shelby came for a weeks visit – this took advantage of the fact that Shelby is old enough to travel, Janette was still early enough to travel, and it will be some time before the new baby will be big enough to travel. Again, we had a great time competing for the grandchildren’s attention. Little girls often have a compulsive attraction for gray haired old men that transcends anything that a grandmother can do – – this includes all the cookies, hugs, readings, games, and other nurturing strategy traps that Elaine could lay in Shelby’s path. All Bob had to do is walk by and Shelby came running, yelling “Papa! Papa!” Elizabeth (Wendel) flew up during that week and livened up the proceedings.
Since being in the house, Elaine has taken to cooking again without letting me know “that I shouldn’t expect much ’cause we’re living in a barn.” Tonight we had Indian food- – one of our favorite cauliflower and potato curries and some spicy kabobs. The other night we reinvented a garlic pork Thai dish that we’d had in Bremerton. Life is good!
Q. Is there really a Llenroc? My Mommy says that Llenroc is actually ‘Jerk” spelled backwards.
A. Of course there’s a Llenroc. The original Llenroc was buried by a vast sheet of continental glaciation that swept out of Canada into the Olympic Peninsula region. About 10,000 years ago, this glacier retreated, leaving Llenroc buried in some sediments right near the corner of Spath and Camelot road in Sequim. In 1989, while building his barn, a humble farmer unearthed LLENROC. Not realizing what he had found, the massive granite boulder lay ignored in the pasture until the following summer. Stumbling over the rock and stubbing his toe, the humble farmer asked the excavator to get it out of his way. Using a Case 580K Backhoe/Loader, Llenroc was carried tenderly to its current place of honor, guarding the entrance to the Caldwell ancestral estate. Neighborhood dogs were among the first to recognize the significance of Llenroc, and even today, visit regularly to pay homage.
Thank you for your interest. The Editor
Well, this edition of Llenroc Update is about done. We’ve enjoyed bringing you up-to-date (or at least as up-to-date as we have time for) and look forward to the next one.
Bob and Elaine