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Saturday, November 15, 2014


When we got to Arizona, the first project had to be in the kitchen. We have a couple who look after the home when we are not here. They had told us about the leak from the hose that feeds the ice-maker. Because it had been discovered early, we didn't expect catastrophic damage as we'd had two years before. 

Once Ranch Boss pushed out the stove and refrigerator, it turned out to be worse. Mold went part way up the wall. Some of the cabinetry wood had been ruined by the water and mold. So began a week and a half of tearing apart and then rebuilding. The stove and refrigerator had to be moved, cabinets emptied of pans and food, then taken outside, wallboard cut away, a working mask to be purchased, and plastic sheeting used to wall off the working area. 

Although this mold did not look like the toxic black mold, it was black, and the only way to discern the difference is with microscope; so better to be extra careful than to take the risk when scraping away mold with spores in the air. 

Next step was a paint that destroys and blocks mold returning. Every step took time between for drying. With the stove and refrigerator out of there, it was discovered the previous owners hadn't tiled the floor all the way to the wall. So that was done. 

Finally wallboard was replaced, plastered, painted and destruction could turn into construction. Between tearing down and then replacing, this was a week and a half of unexpected work. 

It won't happen again as we removed the ice maker. First leak we could say just one of those things. Second leak-- not worth having a third. The humorous part is when I thought-- how will we get ice for our vacation renters... before I remembered ice trays. Duh! I bought some of those and began making ice the way we always did before the modern advantages that aren't always advantages.

This amounted to a week and a half of work for Ranch Boss, but when finished, it looks as good as ever and is actually better because when he tore out the walls, he discovered there had been old mold there from the previous owners before we bought the house in 1999. Ice makers might be convenient, but they do have a risk attached especially for people like us who aren't always there

Regarding Toyota and our Highlander (read previous blog if you are not sure what I am referring to-- and be sure to read comments where two engineers discuss what might have led to the malfunction), it's a long drawn out process to find out if they will accept any responsibility for the near disaster. We are going through their formal process of filing a complaint, but doubt it will end up with much satisfaction-- beyond ours in never buying another Toyota of any model. 

What I want to emphasize here is if you have a vehicle with the modern computerized systems, and that turns on the cruise control-- on its own-- quickly push it into neutral. Do not turn off the key unless you are stopped as that turns off power brakes, steering and if you can believe it, even airbags. Just push it into neutral. It will slow it, and you can then get safely off the road. When in neutral, rev the engine and that can get the computerized system to reset. Then get it to a repairman as this is not a safe thing to happen even if you know what to do-- and how many of us would! 

Because Casa Espiritu is both a second home for us and a vacation rental for snow-birds, we routinely do some improvements-- ones we plan. This year it is a fence that will enable cats and small dogs to safely be outdoors. Our piece of desert is home to predators like coyotes, javelina, and bobcats. We love that it is natural desert and that so many animals live here, but it doesn't make it safe for small pets.

For now, our two cats are inside and not pleased as in Oregon they have two fenced yards to be outside a lot. Here the fenced yard is with the pool, not connected directly to the house, and that isn't the safest thing for small animals who might fall (or jump) in and not be able to get out. 

The new enclosed patio, with an attractive metal fence, will allow us to be outside with them but not require it. We didn't want a wooden one because we like being able to see the desert beyond. No fence is ideal in my mind, but sometimes they are the best option.

We've been increasing the amount of walking we are doing to try to get back in shape. It's amazing how long that can take when you are old. But by adding a few minutes each day, I believe it will happen :)
Below are photos from one of our favorite spots to do this hiking because it's nearby and easy walking-- Catalina State Park with a variety of trails.


Tabor said...

Congrats on such hard work in fixing stuff. I have the energy (sometimes) but certainly NOT the knowledge. Hope all goes well with your car! Alas I do own a Toyota. These computers are going to be worse than we think as these cars age. Love the solitude in the desert.

Rain Trueax said...

When our neighbor guy, who is younger and strong, drove it back to the farm, it did it again. He shoved it in neutral, which let it stop, and then revved the engine, as I described; from there it drove home with no problem. Naturally it's not safe to drive until we assess why it happened. Since we won't pay to have it towed to Toyota dealer and they likely won't either, we may not know what caused this in the computer module until we return to Oregon in mid or late December.

I keep thinking our modern world depends more and more on computers that make everything so handy; but when it fails, it can fail catastrophically. I think of all the stories I've read about an auto surging into a crowd or a building and they blame driver error. Maybe not so much. This is a big deal even more in airplanes! And do they ever tell us anything if it might cost them money???

robin andrea said...

The kitchen looks great. I like the old-fashioned solution of ice trays. Interesting how the modern conveniences can really turn into such a mess, or something worse like a computer mishap in the Toyota. Now I wonder if we could buy a new car without all this crazy computer stuff in it.

Beautiful pics of the desert.

Rain Trueax said...

i have a feeling we can't, but it's been out long enough now that I think we can do searches online and figure out who maybe didn't design their computer modules as well as others. In 2004 when we bought this Toyota, it was relatively new. They say the newer Toyotas, after 2009, are not having the same failure. But after their lack of customer friendliness, I'd rather find another company and thinking Subaru which claims it has a vehicle now that tall men can fit into. That's why we never bought it last time. So when we get ready for a new vehicle, we'll see if the legroom has improved.

p_zenmind said...

I don't know how I stubled on this blog. Thank you for posting those Catalina Mountain pictures, Giant Saguaros and cute Quails. They brought back the memories of our kids making a snow man in front of our three giant Saguaro's and 40 other different cacties 32 years ago when we lived on the other side of Catalina north of Sabino High school.They thought of that was a winter wonderland. After that every x-mas they would be waiting for the same but 1n 10 years we were there it never happened but the kids have fond memories of Tucson growing up.

Rain Trueax said...

thanks for visiting, p-zenmind. I also have fond memories of snow here-- once even at Easter. It never lasts long, of course, but is a treat maybe partly for that reason. It's special on the saguaros.

I've been in Tucson off and on since 1965. We vacationed here for years and have had this second home since 1999. Every time I am here, it's rejuvenating.

Tara said...

when we recently purchased a refigerator/freezer, we opted out of the auto ice maker. I've heard too many stories of just this very thing. Ice trays are so much easier!

Beautiful photos of your walk. How inspiring to see all that beauty around you!

Rain Trueax said...

Smart choice, Tara. We had never had one until we bought this place and it had had one. We then got one for the Oregon place and are wondering about that choice....................

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

You're here. You're walking Catalina SP trails. Let's make a Tucson Blogging Walk at Ventana Day before you stop fixing leaks and building fences (hated but needed here, I agree) and return to Oregon... more safely than you got here <3

Rain Trueax said...

That would be fun. Does your hubbie ever walk with you? Usually mine does with me. We will be here until the middle of
December; so time to work it out. Hopefully we will get our problems resolved here soon and then time to enjoy :). How many miles is that walk?