Tuesday, September 28 2004
It began raining in the middle of last night. The rain startled me awake, since it hasn't rained in a couple weeks (a window of opportunity I'd exploited perfectly for my trench project). I ran outside and rolled up the windows of both the truck and car, since there'd been no hint of rain last night. (The windows on our vehicles are open so much that Clarence the cat has developed a habit of napping in the cars.)
The rain continued steadily throughout the day, providing a test for my new foundation drainage system. It successfully held out the water, but by evening there were a couple of tiny damp spots on the wall, some in places where there was no possible way for outside water to have reached. I had to conclude that these spots must be areas of condensation resulting from the humidity. They tended to occur at seams between the Sparfill blocks, which is a prime spot for leaks. But they also tend to be the coldest parts of the wall, since (because of the density of material here) the coldness of the backfill can be conducted through the wall most easily at the seams.
Gretchen and I were demoralized by the quality of teaching in today's Spanish class. As usual, our teacher came in fifteen minutes late and spent an unpleasantly long time talking in English about the relative merits of Toyota versus Subaru. Later he was trying to teach us when to use indirect object pronouns versus direct object pronouns, but he didn't seem to be sufficiently familiar with the underlying mechanism of the language, his first language, to answer students' questions, particularly with regard to the problematic verb "gustar," which means "to please" (though Gringos often treat it as if it means "to like").
Gretchen drove down to New York City today while I stayed home and made small repairs to the concrete foundation wall from the inside using Portland Cement. I broke occasionally to watch HGTV. A show I especially liked was House Detective, where building inspectors investigate problematic houses for their unfortunate owners. I think the reason the show was so entertaining was that it featured homeowners whose troubles far exceeded my own.
I was watching the final game in the west coast semi-finals between Sacramento and Los Angeles when the power went out, so I was forced to light a candle and entertain myself by reading, you know, a book. Happily, neither liquor nor marijuana require electricity to do their thing. At one point I looked out the bedroom window to the east to see how widespread the outage was (usually even when the power is out here there are a few lights on down in the Esopus Valley). I don't know if the outage was huge or if the fog was thick, but it was completely dark out there. I considered going out to the truck and listening to the radio to see if the Rapture had arrived, but I was too lazy.
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