Easing into autumn

October 9, 1999

Alas, vacation time is over at the Gehlke household and the days are growing shorter, a certain sign that fall has arrived. Benji returned to school Oct. 4, following a monthlong break from his kindergarten experience. He was happy to see his friends again and to rejoin the school routine, even if that means less time at home with Mom and Dad. Glenn returned to work Oct. 6, after nearly three weeks away from the demands of newspaper deadlines. Roni also found time to escape from her work routine as the Oakley Almond Festival concluded, although her many other commitments precluded us from taking any lengthy trips.

Nonetheless, September proved to be a good month for adventures as we took day trips to the San Francisco Zoo, Tilden Park in Berkeley and Brannan Island for an afternoon of fishing. We visited the Oakley Almond Festival where Roni spent the weekend of Sept. 18-19 volunteering, and Glenn and Benji spent one afternoon riding the streetcars at the Western Railway Museum in Rio Vista.

Much of our vacation time was devoted to household projects, however. We helped boost Home Depot's stock price one afternoon when we purchased a variety of garden supplies and a can of paint for the guest bathroom. Roni redid the cushions on our dining room chairs and made curtains for the living room, while Glenn installed a new sprinkler head, transplanted a boysenberry bush and engaged in a seemingly endless stream of nagging little projects, somehow always finding new ones to replace those completed.

Painting the bathroom proved to be more of a chore than anticipated, thanks to our former landlords who saw fit to use two layers of wallpaper -- one to cover a misguided attempt at sponge painting and the other to hide the poor application of the first layer. A hefty dose of wallpaper stripper and a couple of days of scraping with tools and fingernails eventually removed most of the residue. Needless to say, we chose paint instead of paper to redo the bathroom. The vanilla paint we selected makes the room bright enough that even Benji will use it without prodding.

Another project that consumed more time than anticipated was the construction of a mountain and factory for Benji's HO train layout. Glenn and Ben spent several days cutting foam board and masonite, and painting the factory in a shade that not-so-coincidentally resembled the bathroom. Glenn then labored over new track, switches, crossings and wiring to bring the project near to completion. Benji is now excitedly running trains in and out of "Benco."

Glenn received an unpleasant surprise Oct. 5 when he broke a tooth eating leftover Chinese fried rice. Preliminary reports from the dentist indicate he may need a crown, or a larger filling at the very least. Naturally, he is quite excited about the prospect of a couple hours in the dentist's chair.

As October rolls along we look forward to celebrating the 24th birthday of Glenn's brother, Sean, and a night of trick-or-treating with Benji through the streets of Oakley. Meanwhile, we'll be enjoying our indian summer weather and keeping you all in our thoughts.

Glenn, Roni and Benji

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