Sunday, December 31, 2017

Before Pics

 Three weeks into the new house and I must say I am making it my own, at last. Baking in this kitchen works out just great. The counter space is much smaller than the other house and therefore contains my mess much better.
While this is not a house I would have ever dreamed of owning, it is turning out to be just what I want. And will be even better when the laundry room gets moved upstairs, starting Tuesday. 
The rooms are so functional and full of character, (read sloping, creaking floors) and unique spaces. Two closets have yet to hold anything. That will of course change. Because of its imperfections, there is no stress getting everything 'just so' and ready for prime time. When I see something that needs a fix, I just laugh and continue on my way. How did this all happen? It's a miracle.

 Yesterday I announced that Dave should move his art space upstairs, which I accomplished quite diplomatically. I told him that the lighting in the other room was much better for his artwork, emanating from a ceiling fixture and two bright windows. It already housed his stereo, guitars, and tv. Now the great big studio room is all mine, muahahaha! I might even spread out a bit more...

The living room is empty, as we have the furniture on display in the other house.

 The coziest room is the sunroom of course, and it will be even nicer when the tree is down, maybe by tomorrow.
Dave attacked the pantry/maintenance closet, and got distracted, upstairs. He'll be busy all day trying to find things. 
  I made him hold still for this before picture. The drawing table, rolling rack, all the art supplies and stuff have yet to find a place.

 So nice to have this mess up and away, out of sight.

The master bath is so big, it could house a party, so I decided the murder mysteries could live there. And there was this niche which probably had shelves in it prior to our move, and I found a perfect instant solution. These drawers are Sterlite, and two sets of 3 hold my lingerie quite nicely (and cheaply.)

Little Tony waits in the driver's seat for a ride to the doggie park, which is not gonna happen. Too cold for me, let alone doggies.
So for the last day of 2017, I am feeling pretty darn happy and hope you and yours will have a great,healthy and happy 2018!
Happy New Year, with love and peace

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Hurray! I made it!

Today I hit 70. And I still feel like 17. Wow!
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By now I thought I would be more little ol' ladylike, but noooooo. I am embracing my wrinkles, gray hair and chins and happy to still have all my teeth. Nothing aches (at the moment) and I am happier than I have been in years. I have more of everything and that includes friends, and now is the time to look forward to what is still to accomplish and try to pack it all in the next 30 or so years I have left. 
I believe there will be much more giving stuff away, since you can't take it with you, and after four moves in ten years, with so much still unpacked, it looks like a great time to if.
We had a very nice Christmas with friends, family and doggies. Half our furniture is still at the other house, so we cobbled together what we had and it turned out so pretty.

I am so blessed with these crazies, my sister Brooke and niece Glory, and so glad to be living in the warm South, altho we do complain about how cold it is here. ha!
To celebrate this day, I am going to the other house to wash walls, do some paint touch ups, go to knitting and make a great birthday dinner of lamb chops, champagne and cheesecake! O happy Mel!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Alberto The Magnificent

 Alberto installed our new front door which replaced a cold air leaking banged up mess, and this one is tight as a drum and so much prettier. He also installed a new door on our makeshift pantry/maintenance closet off the kitchen. I had the door open towards the kitchen this time so that it makes it easier to get at stuff. Dave will paint it white...someday.

 I had a second railing added for the staircase, for balance and to help us maneuver. We still have to carry Tony up and down, as he slipped once on the stairs and will not attempt another ascent. What a dog.
The most necessary new fix is the staircase into the garage. This was a serious trip hazard and now I can easily go back and forth without falling on my face, which I did, first thing! All of this was done in one and half days. Alberto will return January 2nd to rip out the tub in the middle bath and install the washer and dryer up stairs. It will take a week but is soooo necessary.
Here's an update on the drying out rib roast. Pretty awful looking, right?

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This roast is what it will look like as it gets trimmed, altho this one has been ageing for 35 days.
Here's hoping your holiday preparations are moving along smoothly. Santa is coming!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Butcher's Wife

There's a lot going on all at once around here, but a moment of clarity reminded me that I need to be thinking ahead to Christmas dinner. 
After buying a new front door, door handles, and a doorbell, we went to our local chain grocery, Food City and asked the counter man for a small end 3 rib beef roast.
 The butcher was out to lunch, so we did our shopping and waited for his return. It became obvious to Dave that the returning butcher was more like a clerk and didn't understand or know how to find what we required. Dave followed him into the cutting room and proceeded to cut and trim our roast for him. It was a flash from the past and the meat man was in awe. Dave felt like a big shot, of course.

 At home I salted the roast and placed it unwrapped in the fridge. We let it sit for the whole week unwrapped and it dry cures, getting darker and smaller and totally awful looking. Then an hour before roasting, Dave will slice thin layers off the flesh and it is again bright red and white. The dogs love the dried dark meat, and stand at full attention as Dave trims the roast. This process results in extra flavor, tenderness and more character to the taste. Even a day or two of dry ageing can make a significant difference in taste. Take it from the Butcher's wife.
The other day I noticed some kids gathering in the bushes at the side yard and sent Dave out with the dogs to investigate. The kids follow a path behind our house to walk home from school, reminding me of my own childhood. They were a mass of giggles as the dogs wiggled up to them for pets. Then they asked for a drink of water and followed Dave into the house, all seven of them! I took this photo but one boy was hidden behind the girls and the boy in the turquoise shirt. All of them are in some way related; some have the same dad or mom and are from Guatemala or Mexico. The hidden boy is shy because he is the most recently here and doesn't quite speak English yet. 
They were so polite and friendly and asked lots of questions all at once. I had the best time, enjoying their enthusiasm. All that long black hair!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Taming the Tools

Dave's old heavy tool boxes (AND OVERFLOW) which don't fit in our new tiny one car garage. Where did they end up? In the PANTRY! When a tool is needed  he says "I have just the thing" and 45 minutes later he might return with the right tool. Or not. 
This is an easy fix. I emptied all of his tool boxes onto the kitchen table, and filled plastic bins with related items. No doubt there would be duplicates. I would say he has over 50 screw drivers. Tons of pliers, wrenches, hammers, drill bits etc. There are two more boxes with SAE and metric wrenches, now neatly stored. It took only an hour to clear out the old boxes, and dispose of broken and useless bits, and out goes those awful, filthy, heavy, old, mostly broken boxes. 
I really don't think he will access these much, since we now have the Handyman Connection on retainer. Alberto the magnificent has already been here and assessed our immediate needs and will return to fix them on Tuesday next week. Sigh. What a wonderful service.
Here's the sewing room in its present configuration. The early morning sun comes into that window and shouts: "Let's sew!"


My overflow is now living in the downstairs shower. This house has three full baths, so this shower is never going to be used.
Speaking of baths, my laundry room is currently housed in that same tiny garage, which is cold and far away from our upstairs closets. You know that has to go. Alberto is going to fix this. The hall bath upstairs has as 50 year old tub which will also not be used, and it will disappear and the laundry twins will fill that space. Perfecto!
By the way, the electrician came and fixed the socket that the refrigerator would use, so the extension cord is gone and once again, we have a fix. Hurray!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Movin' Update

I've been waiting til everything is unpacked and ready to show you, BUT, it is taking a bit longer than I thought. The move went much quicker than I expected, mostly because we had already filled our garage with 70% of what needed to be moved. But where does it all go now?

 The studio is filled with mega-amounts of our stuff. Dave and I are sharing this room and it will be great, any day now. Actually I did get my machine set up and the fabric is now on the shelves, and we completed Dave's corner drawing table, shelves and supplies. Pictures to follow, I promise.
 The living room/eat in kitchen is looking much better than this now. The clothes were brought upstairs and hung, and I've cooked several meals and even made bread!
 The new refrigerator arrived on time, and yet we couldn't use it because the outlet in the wall didn't have power. We tried everything to remedy this situation and nothing worked. Then during the night it dawned on me to use a heavy duty extension cord plugged into the living room outlet. Voila it worked!
 In the interim, I set up a baking center, with laundry supplies and doggie food, just so I could find things faster...but it is hidden from the rest of the house, so it may just stay there.
 As predicted, the sunroom is the great hang out space. We got our old white couch back since I had lent it to my sister. It now has a red cover and that is also covered with a gingham table cloth, to collect doggie hair. This room is so cozy and bright. We've got the stereo going and on Saturday Dave set up the Christmas tree, which just fits the 12' ceiling. 

 Now here's where things get serious...Our downtown house was my dream home, but DREAM is the operative word. Reality was another story. I had such high expectations to have it this clean and neat and it was just impossible with the constant construction keeping dirt flying in the air, brought in by all of us. Then there was the open kitchen which got out of hand daily. Sometimes I just left it messy and locked myself in the studio, but then that's no way to live. I started resenting Dave for leaving dishes and food out and getting frustrated and angry. I became MEAN. But I didn't recognize the reason...seriously. I tried to be nicer, and it just didn't work. Poor Dave.

When Dave and I started playing at house looking, we were having fun together again and it was great. There was no declaration of why we should move, but it was obvious we would be getting more for less in some of the other homes we viewed.
And then we found this house and bought it the day it was listed on Zillow.
Suddenly, the mean Mel disappeared.
There is nothing perfect about this house. It has lots of boo-boos that need fixing, and is kinda like the Charley Brown Christmas tree.
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So I have NO REGRETS about leaving the other house. Just relief.  I've apologized repeatedly to Dave about how I treated him downtown. We are already so much happier, even with the imperfections we keep finding here. We'll get 'em fixed, someday, but in the meantime we are loving the place and loving each other. And we just celebrated our 39th anniversary. How appropriate.