Marilyn wanted to take me out for my birthday, but since I was in Thailand that day, and she was attending to her unwell brother until last weekend, we had to put it off. She gave me a Mensa book of brain teasers, and I gave her a square of Thai hills tribes embroidery.
We had dinner at Andy's BBQ in Santa Clara, which I'd gone to a few times when it was in Campbell, before it got condemned. I'm only half joking about that. The place looked like it needed a bulldozing, but the food was always excellent, huge portions. The new place has less atmosphere, but the food is the same and the help is excellent. They surprised us with a birthday dessert - peach cobbler a la mode.
*Marilyn isn't really my ex-wife, she just played my wife in Santa Clara Players' production of Come Blow Your Horn a few years ago.
I'll tell you this story so I can tell today's sequel:
Sunday night I went to Walmart hoping to find a patio umbrella. I should have thought of this more than a year ago when I moved into my apartment and the patio was ankle-deep in redwood tree branchlets and seed pods, and the cats would get seriously wet when they went out on the patio. Walmart only had the kind which stick through a hole in a table, and I wanted one which just set on a stand. So I started thinking of alternatives, and looking in the camping section, I remembered I already had at home, in a closet, an unused camping dining shelter. It's just a set of poles and T-connectors and a cover to throw over the lots-of-assembly-required frame.
So at about 10 pm I dug it out and took it onto the patio, and spent about 90 minutes putting it together. It is not the highest quality product, and setting it up was like a 3 Stooges or Marx Borthers routine - every time I got some poles connected and reached for another, one of the poles would come out of its connector. It took a while. Once the frame was finally up on its legs, it was still a major production getting the cover on and snapped into place. Once done, I went upstairs and to bed.
I didn't look out my bedroom window at it till yesterday morning. It's rectangular, and I had set it up in the wrong direction. It needed to be rotated 90 degrees. Which means I had to pretty much do the whole thing over because there just was not any room to rotate it fully assembled. So I put a note on the white board to do that Saturday, because I had a class after work yesterday and was being taken to dinner tonight, and it looked like a job which should be done in daylight, anyway.
I needed to come home after work and grab Marilyn's present, looked at the clock and decided I could probably rotate the canopy in the half hour or so before I needed to get on the road. So I went onto the patio, unfastened the cover, disconnected three of the four legs, and rotated the frame around with the cover still on top. As expected, poles came out of their connectors, and it was another comedy show before I had the frame lined up in the right direction and all four legs connected. By this time the cover was all askew, and in my efforts to straighten it out, somehow it got turned upside-down. That took a few minutes to fix, but I did manage to finish the project just in time to get to my dinner date.