I brought home a new foster dog a couple of days ago. Scout is a mature collie boy with no apparent behavioral issues. My first "normal" dog in a while. I'd forgotten how easy collies usually are. Low-key, gentle, accepting of people and other animals. He needs to lose a few pounds and his eyes are being treated with drops and ointment twice daily, but he's otherwise very low-maintenance.
Slinkie, our cat, was right by the front door when we arrived on Thursday. She was surprised to come face to face with a dog the minute the door cracked open, but the meeting was peaceful. We re-erected the customary barricade that allows Slinkie a safety zone in part of the house that includes our bedroom and access to her door out to the garden.
Slinkie has been unusually confident in seeking out nose to nose contact with Scout, through the barrier. She has slid into the common space, wound her way around Scout's legs and miaowed greetings. Scout is thrilled. Even though he's a chunky fuzz-ball version, with some shaved-off patches where his coat was heavily matted when he was picked up as a stray, Scout shares a striking likeness with Diva, our original collie girl who is no longer with us. It's very unusual for Slinkie to be so accepting of a new resident canine. I keep coming to the conclusion that Scout reminds her of her old friend Diva.
There aren't a lot of empty spaces in my life just now. I travelled south last weekend to hang out with a friend. I don't remember if we've ever had a couple of days which were just for us; neither husband in tow. We chose to see movies that we liked the sound of and not something of universal appeal, and ease of translation. To heck with the "greater good", we had a blast.
The day after my excursion, I had to return to the airport to pick up The Artistic One, who landed from France minus his suitcase. The luggage did catch up eventually, but not without several days of phone conversations with Air France, which eventually unearthed the fact that somehow TAO's pronunciation/or writing skills had misled the poor airline into spending a couple of days driving around trying to find Deep Cleefe Drive, Rather than Deep Cliff. TAO's bag was delivered to our door in dead of night, complete with his lap-top and his medications.
Re-opening our work-shop on Tuesday morning, we quickly discovered that a large number of tools had gone missing. There was no sign of a break-in and I had been there, working in my office all the prior week. Sometime between Friday and Tuesday someone, somehow, helped themselves to $10,000 worth of equipment.
We made a police report, had a locksmith change our locks and must put it behind us. There's no recourse, no insurance and no sure way of discerning what happened. We're almost more angry at our one "lead employee" who was supposedly the only key-holder. Although the key is imprinted with the words "do not duplicate", he chose to have an extra key cut and gave it to our second employee, presumably for his convenience, should he be late getting to work in the morning.
We don't pay them to be brain surgeons or rocket scientists but it's hard to imagine they didn't know this wasn't good employee behavior. If they thought we'd be O.K. with it, they could have asked us, right? My first instinct was that I'd rather fire both of them. TAO doesn't want to as it's taken a long time to train them to do the work we need them to do. It's all very distasteful.
On a lighter note, I've been helping a client with ideas to remodel her childhood home. Her father passed away a few months ago and the house, which was built in the 1940's has a labyrinthine floor-plan with bits that were added on over the years. The in-law unit above the garage has a toilet in one closet and a shower in another and there's a downstairs bedroom with a door through one end into the garage.
The garage-bedroom is a natural place to put washer and dryer (currently in the tool-shed). A sink and some cabinets turn that into a laundry/ mud-room and reducing the size by moving one wall creates a full-size guest bedroom with copious closet space on the other side.
The in-law unit will be accessed by a new straight staircase, which will pass through the toilet-closet. Changing the location of the stairs also adds space in the kitchen below, and now the kitchenette anteroom is perfect for a full bathroom. There's a deck off the bedroom that has a view over trees and a glimpse of San Francisco Bay. It's sunny, with windows on three sides. It's destined to be a fabulous suite.
I've brought the floor-plans home with me. I'm trying to work out the best layout for the kitchen. I've enlisted a designer friend who is really good at space-planning. Unfortunately she's not always reliable about deadlines, especially when it's a case of returning favors, which is why I'm trying to move forward in my own way, in case she lets me down.
"Little House" as we've been calling it, has the potential to be a sweet little home with character. It has personality and a large flat garden on a very quiet street. My client's Dad used to enjoy his garden, and feeding the birds. A Blue-Jay followed me, peering at me through different windows, from a variety of improvised perches, as I went from room to room. The garden is overgrown but I can see the magic, waiting to be brought back. It's a perfect candidate for a white picket fence and a wonderful outdoor entertaining area.
I'd be keen to help plan the rebirth of this Little House purely because I love this kind of problem-solving construction, and the client is a sweetheart, but this also has the potential to be a house we can rent and live in as part of our master-plan to reduce our overhead and our time driving back and forth every day.
Many a slip is possible before this comes to pass, so I won't jinx it by saying it's a sure thing. If it happens it will be several months away. The house has been gutted and will need to be put back together once design decisions and budgets are firmed up. Even if we don't end up living there, Little House has sparked so many dreams of decorating rooms and gardens to plant that I feel recompensed for my time. I could never resolve a Rubik's cube puzzle but I can move walls around in my head and visualize the results.