Remember That Pool of Dreams?

Hey there, readers! Do you remember that back in September we started building a swimming pool over here at the Hermits’ Rest Ranch? You haven’t been hearing much about it lately, have you?

Lee inspects his plastic palm trees. They will help keep people from falling off the steps, which has already happened.

That’s because, just as Lee feared, the workers disappeared for about a month. Naturally, the only day all this week that I was gone was when people showed up, at last. They came to put the plants in the flower beds. Hooray.

Workers, working. Photo by Lee.

They also put in Lee’s fake palm trees, which I have to say look pretty good right now. We will see how they hold up after a few rains. I was glad to see that the real plants are hardy items like palmettoes and those yuccas with the red blooms. They will at least lend some color.

The dogs seem to approve of the plants or whatever peed on the rocks before they were delivered, perhaps.

Lee and the gang were glad to see that they did put landscape fabric down and they put tan rocks in, not glaring white (which pretty much cooks plants in the summer sun here).

They didn’t have enough rocks. Oops. My job is to remind the owner to order more rocks.

The frog pond is now dry, as well. There is a lot of silt and such in the bottom of the pool that they will need to get rid of before the plastering can occur. I have been told that the plastering will commence tomorrow or Monday. We’ll see.

I think the plants look nice, but I do hope they remember to make the electricity work and make the pool actually work after the plastering. I want that hot tub.

In Other News

I enjoyed a book club at a nice restaurant last night with Anita and the women from the old neighborhood. Finding the restaurant was challenging, because it is in a dimly lit (but lovely) shopping area and its sign is not lit up at night. You are just supposed to know where it is, sorta like Bob’s Steak House in Cameron. It was really nice to see everyone and get caught up, at least a little bit, on what’s going on with them.

It’s not quite everyone, but is most of the neighbors!

They gave Anita a lovely poster with lots of photos of them as a going away gift. Wasn’t that sweet? No wonder we’ll miss them once Anita is no longer cat sitting on the next street over!

They say hi.

You will also be happy to know I got a replacement helmet for riding the horses. I actually ordered two, in the vain hope that Anita or someone else concerned with the safety of their noggin will want to go riding with me some day, once I have two horses. I guess, though, if one’s my son, I’ll have to get an XL helmet.

I figure if my horse is named after a Native American group, I can have a matching helmet design. The other one I ordered is plain white and has more air vents, like for summer.

At least Sara and I won’t mix our helmets up anymore.

Hitting the Deck at Breck

It was more like hitting the sidewalks, but I wanted the post title to rhyme. Anyway, yes, on my fourth day here in Breckenridge, Colorado, I finally made it to the scenic downtown.

Look at the stained-glass window in this lilac house.

It’s an interesting contrast to Vail, where we were last Saturday. Vail was sort of like Disney World for physically fit adults. Nothing is natural or what it appears to be and nothing is old. If there were little snowmen and moose characters wandering around, I wouldn’t be surprised. Of course, they’d have to be luxe snowmen and moose.

But here, they have statues of donkeys! This is called “Fast Friends.”

Breck has a lot more history, having once been a mining town. There are museums and old buildings, plus some cool Victorian houses that have been fixed up and made into businesses with lodging on top. I really enjoyed looking at them, even though it was snowing hard enough to mess my glasses up.

Early Breck.

It wasn’t cold, so the snow was melting quickly, which made it an enjoyable day to go for a walk. I got myself a t-shirt, a coffee mug, and some warm pants like everyone around here wears. They are so comfy I may wear them all winter at home. Plus, I think I can ride in them.

I love that they are preserving history, even with all the trendy shops everywhere.

After I finished work, I headed over to the new hot tubs they just installed here at the lodge. They are placed in the front of the building, with a pleasing view of the trees and hills. It was great to sit there watching the trees drip and the steam rise. Since it was around 4:00, there was only one other person there, and she was in another tub. The only downer is that the ceiling is very low on the tub platform. Even I hit my head. But I forgot that in the steam. Ahh.

My happy place.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, it’s rainy, but some work got done on the pool. It is looking rather good, I think.

There’s also good horse news! Not only is Apache still cute (thanks to Kathleen for the photo)…

He looks so clean. And there is a piece of Fiona in the picture.

…but Drew is getting ridden at last. He’s getting better at cantering in the round pen, but he still has issues with his back, thanks to being ridden way too young by people who were too heavy. I’m glad he is well cared for with the trainer and she isn’t rushing him. It will take as long as it takes to get him in shape to be a partner to me for as long as possible.

Look, he’s being ridden!

I’m looking forward to a couple of reasonable and not-too-cold days coming up. I’ll have to do a lot more walking during my lunch hours and before it gets dark. Things are looking up in the visitor department, too, so I’ll have some friends to hang around with.

Right on Main Street

This is a delightful place, other than kids moving in an hour or two ago, right across the hall, who run back and forth and screech constantly. I like being surrounded by quiet, ancient people. OMG I AM OLD.

It’s Not Sunday, It’s Sunaday

Have you ever wondered what Suna would do with a day entirely to herself with no one else’s agenda (other than a deadline)? Truthfully, neither did Suna.

Samhain greetings, by the way.

But, today was indeed Sunaday, and I got to do whatever the heck I wanted to, all day long. I did have a newsletter to make, so I did it MY way, and gave myself little incentives like if I worked for an hour I could knit four rows, go for a walk, or have a mini Hershey’s bar (you know, in case anyone knocked on the door looking for candy, which did NOT happen in this building full of old people).

I looked at nature, duh.

Other than that, quirkiness ruled. I did many things I can’t do at home, like set food on the coffee table with NO consequences, burn a smelly candle all day long, sit around in bed watching CBS This Morning (what a comforting show), and watch things on the computer (gasp, not eating up all Lee’s bandwidth!).

Right outside the resort.

One thing that I did that wasn’t atypical was watch football all day. But, I did do other things, so there was no lolling on the couch without being productive. I still can’t manage that.

Tree hugging another tree.

The highlight of the day was going around the neighborhood. It wasn’t too cold yet, so I got to look at all the trees and listen to all the fun birds around here. The most fun birds, for sure, were the magpies, who were very vocal and active. They and the crows seem to be the biggest birds here.

My other favorite site was perhaps the cutest squirrel I ever saw. It was an Abert’s squirrel. They are small and have fun tassels on their ears. Of course, I did not see any moose or other large animals, since I was in a neighborhood of condos and resorts.

You could hear it chewing

Still, there were a lot of remnants of flowers and beautiful evergreens to enjoy. It smells quite nice here up in the sky.

In other news, I got a few photos of the pool, and I was surprised to find out that the little tiles they put on the steps glow in the dark! I guess we hadn’t gone outside after dark since they put them in.

That will look cool under water.

According to Lee, there is still a lot of tile work to go, since we chose that difficult but visually stunning Versailles pattern. Good for us.

Tomorrow starts my week of 6 am meetings. I have a great attitude and am sure I’ll do fine. Today put me in a great mood. A Sunaday is a good day, whatever day of the week it is.

Imagining the Future

I know I’m supposed to be living in the moment right now, but just for a few minutes let me digress and think about the future.

The sun will come up tomorrow!

Lee and I took a walk this evening and were looking around with the dogs and everything her. The sun was so beautiful in the sky as it was going down. The dogs were playing, the clouds were scuttling across so beautifully. Some of them were fast and some of them were slow. It was pretty cool.

Sunset dogs.

Then we decided to go sit in the hot tub and watch the sunset. Yes we could do that. We watched the sun making beautiful colors and imagined there being water in there and not dirt.

Mmm. Might be nice some day.

I did discover a problem. Do you know what? It’s really hard to get in and out of that hot tub. There are no stairs. And I am a short person. I think we’re going to have to work something out.

Trapped forever.

Ya know, with my workday being so long and so full of hard thinking, it’s great to just sit around and not do anything for a little while. I love my new job but wow, are the assignments I’m given in there complicated, and they have a lot of problems and issues. My job is to fix them! How about that? I may be tired, but it’s al good.

We also relaxed and hung out with friends.

Autumn sunsets are my favorite, and when I get back from my next trip, the leaves will be gone. So, I’ll save all these views for enjoyment when I’m elsewhere. These are in chronological order. Storms are coming!

Gotta Watch That Pool Construction!

We dodged a bullet yesterday with the pool. I’d been wondering why nothing was happening in the planter area, so I brought it up to the Men at My House, and they said, “Oh, we found out that there will be no planter. It was one of the things deleted to bring the cost down.”

Retaining wall in progress

I was really confused, because I remember the planter and plants being in the contract. But, they said they’d talked to Kevin the Pool Guy. I went ahead and called Kevin the Pool Guy myself, and said that I thought something was wrong. He said yes, indeed, there was something wrong, and he was about to call us about it. The planting area IS in the contract and paid for, so we WILL get it.

Drainage for the sides of the patio

The mix-up happened when we made the pool bigger and the designer had to hurry with a design. He’d omitted the planter, because he was just showing the changed part. Everyone thought that was THE design. Um. Not good.

These look pretty to me.

My assumption is that the people who will be here today and start working on that, too.

Ready for the fire pit insert. It fits, by the way.

Speaking of those people, wow are they doing a fantastic and thorough job with the preparation for the patio area. We can’t stop watching. All the workers are so skilled and careful. There is a LOT of smoothness. I especially thought how they worked on the drainage pipe for the gutter that’s in the way of the patio. One guy (the very large man with the very high voice) has been pretty fixated on that piece.

A nice surprise came yesterday, when they put in some shiny blue tiles (what, a color? I didn’t pick that!) on the steps and seating areas. That will be pretty under the water, plus it will be a great visual reminder of where the steps are.

More than just patio work happened yesterday. They also installed all the lighting (except one, which needed a longer cord) and the fittings for where the water will come in and out. The jets already had their cool outlets. That hot tub will sure have plenty of jets!

You can see the little light bulbs in there.

It’s cool seeing the area around the pool take shape. I keep wanting to go sit on the patio! Here are some more pictures of the action.

We Made Them Fix Stuff

The day is over, and it was long but good.

Sunset over freshly mown grass.

More work got done on the poolside patios, but it got slowed down a bit because the Men spotted exposed rebar that happened when the workers chipped off the pool edges.

The beach are looks good, though.

So, they made some concrete and fixed it. They even dug up some areas to check. I’m sure that didn’t go over well, but it will make the Pool of Dreams last longer.

Fixed now.

I was impressed at how much work it took to build steps from one level to another. These are going to be STURDY. No corners are cut. And wow, they measured a lot.

Checking the stair measurements.

There was more pounding, including a manual pounder for smaller spaces. This patio ain’t going nowhere.

It does the job.

We were happy to see drainage pipes in the retaining walls they’re building. Lee approved big time.

You can sorta see the little pipes.

So, that was today. I worked a lot and then hugged all the horses. Ahh.

Even I got petted. A lot. I love Suna.

Enjoy more work in progress!

We had a beautiful sunset and moonrise to enjoy while feeding horses and planning future improvements. Ranch life is pretty good.

Intense Day at the Pool Site

Whew, it was a whirlwind day at the Pool of Dreams, with deliveries coming and going, plus machines zipping and banging. It was the big day for preparing the edges of the pool for installing the pavers.

It sorta looks like a pool!

Trucks brought loads and loads of fine sand, which was then packed down as hard as possible by one of those vibrating things that packs sand down well.

One of the men was zipping around on some kind of little tractor thing that dumped sand and smoothed it a bit. Let me tell you, there was a lot of dog barking, back-up beeping, and banging going on. Oh how I miss my office at the Pope house! But, hey, I’ll get a pool. That’s good.

Lee and his nephew have many opinions on what the guys are doing, so I can’t wait to see how that all works out. I was just impressed at how much got done!

Gracie thinks it looks really good so far.

Trucks also brought in the pavers, which look like they will blend in very well. I think they’re the color of the dirt here. That was a creative choice of mine…I guess. In addition, a decision was made to make little retaining walls, so some retaining wall blocks showed up, which I had not selected, but will look fine. I’ll not be complaining about that.

Even though I saw the outlines they drew on the ground before starting the work, I’m not a hundred percent sure what the whole outside patio and planter will end up looking like. I know there will be steps! And retaining walls. That will just have to do.

Penney approves.

I tried to do Apache’s schooling this afternoon after work, not realizing that the noise of the pool building might not be his favorite thing on earth. So, I got a lot of chances to settle him down and practice not getting all nerved out when he got jumpy. He simply would NOT walk over to the cones. So, I ended up running him in circles in the round pen and doing figure eights in the field and around the fencing pipes in front of the house. After that I walked him over to the cones and let him look at the workers, then I walked him around his circles. I figure that was a win in the long run.

No picture of Apache, but I thought Mabel looked rather pretty out in the field. She is looking much better.

I took so many pictures, plus Lee took some, so enjoy the process of building the paver foundation.

Complaints? Nope.

Well, it’s been a nice couple of days, that’s for sure. The worse thing that happened to me was driving through the confusing world of Dallas, Texas traffic. But, I lived! So, what’s up?

Here’s the progress on the little baby blanket I’m working on. So far it’s very blue and purple, but you can see that will change soon.

House News

The first good thing is that the Bobcat Lair house finally sold! We were surprised it was on the market for so long, but we guessed it’s because the house has zero curb appeal. You literally can’t see anything but its miniature driveway! But the best part is it sold for what we asked for, minus an allowance to replace the deck, though apparently the new buyers are normal people and not afraid of a house with imperfections. Anita says the folks are nice and will fit in well, which makes me happy for our wonderful neighbors.

Pool News

We have good pool news, too. Yet another surface is going in (probably done by now, since I’ve been gone for a couple of days), this is some lovely flagstone that is covering the “beach area” where we can sit in little chairs and the dogs can safely enter. It was another one of the works of art that the tile guys do. Laying the flagstones was like filling in a jigsaw puzzle where you’re allowed to tear up the pieces to make it fit! In the end, it turned out really pretty. I can’t wait to get home to see it all grouted in and smoothed out.

They also did a pretty cover for the fire pit. By the time I get home, it will have a circular opening.

Horse News

Before I left yesterday, I checked on Apache’s eye. It looked way better. However, it sure was hard to keep his head down to put the drops in. I ended up with a sore arm! Glad I had help, for sure.

I look better. I don’t like drops.

Fun Times

I’m in Plano this morning, because I drove up to attend my bonus daughter, Ellie’s baby shower. I’m so happy she and her cute husband are going to have a baby! They announced the name by showing us a cute sign they’d had made on Etsy. I was thrilled to see her name will be Ruby. And they were all dressed in ruby clothing. So cute.

The baby’s middle name came from her grandmother.

I was so happy to see Ellie. There were multiple extremely long hugs exchanged. She is just a dear person and has done so well with her life. I met her when she was in college with my older son, and our families became good friends after we let her stay with us while she was doing summer internships and stuff.

This young woman is a therapist in her own practice now. Go, Ellie.

I am so happy to have also gotten to see her mom, Pouri, who has been a great friend to me for the past decade and more. She is one of the kindest and most generous people I ever met. And the best cook. If you’ve never had a home-cooked Persian meal, well, I’m sorry for you, because they combine some of the most interesting and delicious ingredients. I still dream about a beef dish with some kind of fruit in it that Pouri made once, no exaggeration.

My dear friend, Pouri.

Anyway, it was a sweet party, and then I got to spend an evening all alone. There were no dogs, no noises, and no distractions. I enjoyed knitting, reading, and watching mindless HGTV. Pouri and I agreed that that’s the best part of any trip or vacation!

I hope, so dearly, that all of you get a chance to enjoy your friends, rest, or recharge this weekend or soon in the future. All of this good stuff has really helped me, and I wish it for all of you.

Final Tile Selections in the Dreamy Pool

I’m happy as heck with my tile choices in the Pool of Dreams, though I had a bit of a scare partway through the day. I’m glad we had a relatively dry day in between rain events, so the tile could mostly get done. I don’t blame you, by the way, if pool construction makes you want to take a nap; I’m mostly doing this so I can look back at it later, same as I did when we were building the house.

Men at work. Hombres trabajando.

I enjoyed going out on my breaks to watch the progress, and thought how pretty the square ceramic tiles were looking on the waterfall area…but wait, wasn’t that supposed to be shiny glass tile? I checked, and sure enough, I had selected a glass tile.

Where’s that stripy stuff? On the other hand, I don’t really like it.

That sent me into a panic. They were just about done with all that tile, and I was pretty sure it was the wrong tile. And I’d already noticed that glass tile was nowhere to be found on the premises (I mentioned that in a blog post last week). So, I called up the pool place to find out what happened.

Here’s the waterfall area from the spa.

The nice pool lady, Audrey, said she’d get back to me, so I had to sit through a long meeting hoping that the tiles wouldn’t be totally glued down before the guys had to remove them.

The guy on the right, with the scary “ladder” is adding grout to the tile they did Monday.

I sure was relieved when she came back with the explanation. It turned out that the glass tile was discontinued, so they couldn’t get it. She was supposed to tell me, but she totally forgot. I didn’t get upset, because that sounded like something that wouldn’t be too hard to do in the middle of a busy day (and she’s nice and likes my horses, which was in her favor). Besides that, the tile looks just fine to me the way it is, so no harm, no foul.

I think it’s pretty.

The tiling artists got a lot of the rough limestone tiles up, and its matte, bumpy texture makes a beautiful contrast with the shiny ceramic tiles and the smooth limestone on the edges of the pool.

Rustic beauty. So much texture.

Lee pointed out that they were really having to do a lot of work on the round part where the fire pit will be. The tile didn’t fit without a lot of finagling. They told me it was, indeed, hard to do. I think it’s worth it. I’ll be adoring it for many years, I hope.

Here you can see all three surfaces together. Nice.

I’m glad it’s all working out as well as I’d hoped. I like how subtle the pool will be, most of the time. But don’t worry, Suna’s love of bright colors will show up when we turn on those dazzling light shows! Even if we have another extreme cold event before I get to use the pool, I’m going to fire up the fire and the lights.

What’s That Sparkle?

It could be my mood, since I’m settling in at my new job and starting to do fun things. Job Aids! Woo!

Ooh. Aah.

That’s part of it, but I was happy to see the tile guys putting the accent tile around the edge of the swimming pool. It’s sparkly, but not TOO sparkly.

Snazzy.

I really love the earth tones. They’re going to be so soothing. I wonder if they ran out of the edging limestone, because they still have some left to do. We will see.

They put curves here, and at top you can see where more tile should go.

The tilers were fun to watch on lunch break, making perfectly smooth surfaces for the application. It was like icing a perfect cake.

In progress.

It looks like they are going to move on to the tile around the outside surfaces next. It’s more limestone, from Turkey. Its rough surface will contrast nicely with the accent tiles.

I don’t think the tile for the waterfall is here yet. I looked all over for it, but it isn’t hiding anywhere easy to find. Here are more pictures of today’s progress, including mortaring the limestone tile.

Speaking of water, it rained almost an inch last night. That made for an ugly mess at the bottom of the pool. I’ll spare you photos. You can sorta see it here.

I am enjoying a little break in my anxiety. The stress is manageable at the moment, and that feels GOOD.

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