Monday, October 31, 2016

Back to the Routine

This morning, my bicycle ride got off on the right foot, so to speak. Of late, my pretty red bicycle has mostly been collecting dust, and more specifically in this case, sawdust, because Mr. Peck has been using his various saws to finish up the trim work himself, deciding he was the better carpenter. Well, duh!

Just as I was starting out, I quickly put the brakes on when I noticed a hawk on our neighbor's roofline. Oh my goodness!! Rarely, or maybe never, have I seen a hawk on someone's roof, so of course I had to stop!
Amazingly, this sweet faced, but really not so sweet, raptor, allowed me to get pretty darn close. To give you some perspective, it looked like this from the street.
Some folks say that I notice things others don't, however, how could anyone miss such a big bird is what I say.

This morning's temperature was a tad cool when I began, however, by the time I returned it was already warming up. Too warm? Maybe just a little, but we know the end MUST be in sight as November is, well, tomorrow, isn't it? During my ride I saw more Halloween decorations, including one with a live dog. Oh wait...not part of the decoration, but apparently just chilling amongst the fake headstones.
Another house had this very clever spider web display. Who isn't afraid of spiders?
Can you imagine if they really grew so large? Yikes!!

As well, near the house with the hawk, I discovered that the peach tree a few doors down, is blooming again. What is with that so late in the year?
Meanwhile, back at the ranch house, aka as our house, Baxter is learning to live with hard floors, in particular at night. There were many years that he slept in the upholstered chair in our bedroom, but these days, he just can't make the up and down required. He's growing old, just like we are. So, of late, he'd been getting himself about half way under the bed on Bruce's side. Or that's is what he had been doing when there was soft carpet in the room. Remember when I made that little blanket thing for him that he completely ignored? Not any longer! Bruce trained him from day one to sleep on it, and he seems comfortable enough.
Now his only problem is not stepping on him! The life of a dog...

So, remember last week when I said one of the days was torturous because I could not do a thing while the rooms were torn up and Scott was working? That was not entirely true. What I did was use Bruce's desktop, cutting pieces for another scrap quilt. Once I felt like I had enough, I sat down on the couch, pairing them, the uglier match, the better. I used a Restoration Hardware catologue that came in the mail, lining things up between the pages, until the next day, once Bruce cleared the kitchen table, I began sewing the pairs together.
Back in business in my own space, the process began of putting the pairs with other pairs.
There are some pretty scary "matches" in that pile! More mismatches, and pretty soon, well maybe that's an exaggeration, more like diligence if I'm honest, the pairs go with other pairs and it ends up looking like this:
I've now added six more rows to this with the total number of pieces being 512. I'm thinking this is where I'm going to stop.

Setting that project aside on Saturday,  there was need for another Baxter blanket. As in immediately. I don't know if all little dogs have sensitive ear,s but ours sure does. Baxter went scurrying back to the sewing room when Bruce began using either the jigsaw, or bandsaw, cuddling up in the bottom of the curtains for some comfort. Well, I had some fabric left over from another project, so I put this together using it. Notice how nicely it all lined up because it did not stay this way for long.
Adding borders enlarged it, followed by backing it with this crazy soft fabric called Minky. I mean seriously soft, almost silk-like, but fuzzy. Before putting the back on, however, I decided to quilt the top. Normally that would have been just fine, but for reasons still unknown to me, when I attached the special foot, the stitches were minuscule no matter what setting I used.  Ever the optimist, I kept thinking it would start sewing properly so I kept going. Yeesh...that was a mistake. It pulled it all out of square with the stitches so small I could never rip them out. Nonetheless, Baxter is happy with it just the same.
Amazing how fast he moves when he gets into his back rubbing routine. :)

In other news, our darling neighbor Regina, who I wrote about here, slipped in her kitchen and broke her femur three weeks ago. Stopping by yesterday following church, we were thrilled to see she is her same old feisty self, just with a walker for the time being. Talking on the phone to Corrine in Alabama, later in the day, she remarked that if anyone can get over this, it is Regina. I couldn't have agreed more! Corrine, btw, is doing really well, participating in all of the activities, and staying healthy for a 90 year old. That makes me happy.

So, things are back to normal around here, at least until the holidays. See what I mean?
He's working on his next project, beginning in a matter of weeks in Plano, TX, a suburb of Dallas.

Our friend Irene made a comment about one of my blog posts, thanking me for sharing, "the fabric of life." Wouldn't that make a great name for a blog? I wish I'd thought of that!!

Happy that the windows are wide open,

Gail

p.s. you can imagine how all those bits of thread show up on my floor now...

p.p.s. Cool video of the give away of the Quilts for Pulse tragedy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

One Way to Force My Hand

As is well documented in this blog, I'm not much of a housekeeper. Making stuff--I love it. Maintaining stuff, not so much. However, that very well may have to change right about now. Our floors are done, and what an improvement in looks, as you shall soon see. On the other hand, it will be quite the job for me to keep them looking their best, that's for sure.

Let's back up some days, shall we? When last we met, Mr. Peck was dismantling his desk. He moved onto the kitchen table, never missing a beat.
He was pretty squished up in there, but he made it work nonetheless. Please note the light over the table because, in addition to the new flooring, I purchased a new kitchen light, along with four new ceiling fans. Basically I went crazy on Build.com. Although I had never heard of them, my search for fans in person was fruitless. The same for the light, thus I took to the internet. Everything went beautifully; all arrived in record time with free shipping. So, while Scott was here working on the floors, Herbert was working overhead, and doing a great job, I might add. It was chaos on Saturday.

Good thing we'd had our date night Friday at Earls where they treat us like gold. Bartender Brandon made a lemon flower for my Raspberry Mojito. So cute!
Our server, Michelle, could not have been any better. She came down from Bruce's other project, Tyson's Corner for a little change. I absolutely loved hearing her say that the customers there are always remarking on how beautiful the restaurant is. You and I know it was not easy getting there!
Friday, Scott worked on the little bedroom. Bruce had already removed the carpeting and pad, along with the ancient tack strip, which fell apart underneath his crowbar. Little Missy did the sweeping and clean up. Come to think of it, that tack strip is only a few years older than we are! Scott began by grinding the concrete slab with a giant sander, removing, I don't know what. We talked about floating the floor, but in the end, it is all glued down snug as a bug in a rug. Oh wait...we won't have bugs in the rug anymore! 

Applying glue to the concrete, he followed by laying boards of random lengths. Once he had a few courses in, these neat straps keep things tight and straight.
He finished laying all of the boards Friday, with only the quarter round to go on Saturday. Herbert was hanging the new fan when he arrived at 10 (late start time in my book, but that is his idea, not mine), so he went to work on the sunroom floor. What a mess!!!
When it was all finished, the huge windows, as well as parts of the walls, were coated in clay dust. Once the floor was sanded, he poured a leveling compound of concrete over the tiles to get a flat surface to work on. Meanwhile Bruce and I put the bedroom back together once he nailed in the quarter round. Before it looked like this:
And now it looks like this:
Whereas before, dust and dirt could hide in the carpet, that is now a thing of the past. Yikes! Before we actually got it back in shape, there was cleaning to be done in here due to the concrete dust created by his sanding. Windows, bookshelves that sort of thing. I was literally being forced into cleaning. Should you be curious, the wood is wire brushed hickory. 

Needless to say, we slept well in our guest room because our bed was now in the sewing room. Scott wanted to work on Sunday, and we did not argue with that plan. The concrete was hardening in the sunroom, so he began work in our bedroom. More concrete dust! By the time Hill's Happy Hour began, we had begun putting a few things in our bedroom. Bill McCormac came over to help Bruce with the dresser and the mattresses. I had stopped by to see some of Glen's quilting project, and when I returned the bed was operational. One thing though, they did not put the dust ruffle under the mattress. Well, my hand was finally forced on that one, because although it was too long with the carpet, it was three inches too long with the wood. Today, once my sewing room was put back together late last night, I finally hemmed the darn thing about eight months after buying it!
Scott was a little camera shy, but here he is working in our bedroom.
One of the biggest changes is going from light to dark underfoot. 
Interesting, isn't it? When we had all the tile laid in our living spaces I did not choose wood because of one simple reason--we have wood ceilings, so having dark on top, and bottom, would have been too much in my opinion. A wood sandwich if you will.

Once our room was complete, Mr. Peck began taking up the carpet in my sewing room. 
During the process he discovered the pad was from our last install. He also discovered how they had hardly kicked the carpet before. Bad guys, they were. 

Monday I was meant to go to Days for Girls, however, Bruce had a meeting, so I stayed at the house with Scott which was pretty much torture because not only was there no place to even eat, he says very little, and my computer and sewing machine were not operational. Yikes! 
Now you can see the concrete base he put down. By day's end, the room was nearly finished, at least enough for Bruce to put his desk back together, which is quite the task, what with all his equipment and electronics. Prior to the desk being removed from the living room, it was worse than before because of all my sewing room stuff!! Good thing Scott is a little man because believe me, the walk aisle was minimal.
Not only did we have to remove the furnishings, but empty out the closets. I had an epiphany though, so that is good. Regarding my beloved dresses, of which there are many, I'd had them in my sewing room closet for years. Well, duh! I wear them more than anything else so why I had them in the other room is a mystery.
I've now switched things out, putting this whole bunch in our closet, and all the skirts and shirts in the other one. Why I did not think of this before, I do not know. Thankfully, we had a rod in the garage as is shown above. 

So, here's our bedroom with the carpet:
As well as the horrible dust ruffle. Now, it looks like this!!!
My sister Nancy, who has a birthday tomorrow, will be so proud that I finally tackled this task. Well, I was sort of forced, wasn't I? The room is sparkling clean now...all windows clean, the floors mopped, not once, but twice, to remove the dust, the blinds look good. As well, and this is sort of big...the Murphy's Wood Oil Soap I bought is good for furniture too. I cleaned it all. Of course, I was about beat to a pulp last night, so there's that. :)

One reason I was so beat is because we not only put the sunroom back, after I cleaned the inside of the windows, washed the floor twice, wiped the clay dust off the walls, and cleaned the windows behind Bruce's desk because that won't be happening again any time soon. Impossible to get to. 

Here's the before:
And now it looks like this. Spiffy new fan too.
The dust went everywhere, so each and every item had to be wiped down. Do people do this kind of thing all of the time? It would kill me! One thing we learned is that you have to use rubber casters on a rolling desk chair so B got some, putting them on both of our chairs. Another thing we learned is that it is hard to get rid of the carpet. Orange County is making us wait until next Monday to pick ours up. Bummer!

I was just too tired last night to finish my office, although the cleaning part was done before bedtime. It's all good now. Here is the before:
And now it looks like this:
Oh my goodness, what a project!! I am so thrilled with my new light as well, because it well, has a bunch of light, unlike my old one. These older eyes need all the light they can get!
This morning, aside from finishing my sewing room, was spent cleaning every last thing around here. How can this become my routine?? I HAVE NO IDEA!

We are so grateful to be able to hire someone to do this for us after a lifetime of doing it ourselves. Floors by Scott is the name of his business, and I can attest that he did an outstanding job. 

Relaxing in his "new" space last evening, Bruce said he was wondering what I will want to do next. Hmmm.......

Good tired,

Gail


Friday, October 21, 2016

Changes Underfoot

In January 2012, I wrote this post about having new carpet installed in our bedrooms. Well, despite what I wrote about it going well, it hasn't gone so well after all. In the ensuing years, the carpet has buckled and shifted. On several occasions Bruce has rented a carpet kicker, doing what he could to stretch it back into place. In hindsight, I definitely should never have chosen carpet from a place with Discount in their name!

I will revisit the floor issue shortly but first, what the heck else has been going on while I was blogging about the trip?

Well, we had a bird in the house for starters.
I am still chuckling thinking about trying to get it OUT of our house! Seriously, it was flying back and forth across the kitchen, perching on the fan, the light, wherever it could find a flat surface. And how did said Catbird get into the house you ask? Well, early last week, there was at least one day when it was a tad bid cool and Mrs. Camera Crazy insisted on opening the doors to let some much needed fresh air into the house. She, did not anticipate a bird, however. After about ten minutes, it flew into the living room and out the back door!

I'd brought back some pretty leaves but neglected to press them ASAP. I tried something and it worked for me, so perhaps, should you find yourself in the same situation, it will work for you. I put them in a ziploc bag with water and let them sit overnight. Voila!
Speaking of our trip, I forgot to mention I was bit by a tick in the neck. That's some sentence isn't it? Anyway, Liz and Steve have a full acre of land, part of which is serious woods, so perhaps that is where it happened. At any rate, I discovered it, hopefully pretty soon after it happened. Actually, I had no idea why I had a dark red/purple spot on my neck, but Steve did. He plucked it out immediately. Because I had a follow up visit to Dr. Parillo scheduled for the next day, he took a look at it and told me to watch it. He also said, "you know that is prime country for Lyme disease, don't you?" Encouraging words from my physician. Although the evidence still remains, we are hoping it means nothing! That's all I need, right?

Before the trip I'd begun some linen placemats as a thank you gift for Bill and Fallon. Keeping Baxter for nine days deserves something special. Finding the idea on the web, I'd never sewn with linen before and I'm not so sure I'd do it again, at least in this application. I was unsuccessful at completing them before we left, so I finished them last week. In the web post, she made it seem as if they were super easy, however, I think she was exaggerating! There are loads of mistakes but they are useful so I gifted them anyway.
For the last month I've been waiting for October 18 to arrive. "Why", you ask? Maureen's birthday! She received this from me...
It's the scrappy quilt I told you about. So fun to make and no discernible mistakes either.

Our Friday night date was...where else?
Our server was the sweetest thing you can imagine!
It was exciting to see business picking up! With no advertisement, word of mouth has done the trick.

On Saturday, Bruce's beloved desk lamp went kaput. Thus, a search for a new one ensued following a long FaceTime chat with Matt and Tom who will be here for a visit in about a month. Tom was not happy in the slightest that Matt was heading to Singapore for a week long business trip! Meanwhile, we'd been discussing our floor situation and decided to go for wood this time. First we visited Floor & Decor to see what we could see. Next up, a trip to Sam Flax for the desk lamp. I'm not sure I understand this street art but it is mighty striking, nonetheless.
No luck there, but Lightstyles came through for him.

The samples we brought home were bamboo and they looked pretty darn nice. Until, that is, the installer came and pretty much talked us out of it. We did not think too hard about using Scott because Bruce had seen the work he did at our next door neighbor's house and he deemed it great. This happened on Tuesday morning, and that same afternoon I went to the showroom suggested by Scott...Orlando Flooring, just off Princeton near OBT. Impressive place!
This is all working out brilliantly. The wood we chose was in stock, the installer was between jobs so there will be no waiting time whatsoever. Bruce and I went to work, clearing out the sunroom, where the wood will also be, as well as the "coral" room. Dismantling Bruce's desk is quite the task that's for sure.
Someone expressed surprise we were also doing the sunroom, however, once that rug was removed....yikes!! I'd forgotten how the previous rug left a permanent mark!
As well, there is a crack from one side of the room to the other from the now defunct gigantic oak tree that sat outside the window for so many years.

Our living space looks like this now:
A small pathway around the coffee table allows us to get to one chair and the couch where we've spent the last two nights watching LONGMIRE, season 5. So, so good. The other end of the room looks like this.
Not a great photo but you get the idea. Yesterday was the calm before the storm as Scott should be here in about three hours.

While we were on vacation, the 21st anniversary of our living here came and went. In our opinion, keeping things fresh has helped us stay in love with our home these many years. Hoping this will be a much loved change.

Let the flooring begin,

Gail





Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Last Leg

By now you may be weary of reading about the trip so I'm combining three states in one day, however, I warn you, although I did my best, it is still going to be both long, and photo intensive!!

Furthermore,  you might also think that we might have run out of coincidences, but you would be wrong. Before I relate that story I have two updates. One of which is Jedidiah Peck is no relation, which is no big deal, but what is a big deal is that I forgot one of the craziest details about our meeting the couple from London. Bruce reminded me on Saturday that the woman works at Hackney Town Hall, the place where Tom and Matt got married!! What, pray tell, are the chances of that? For nostalgia purposes, and should you not have enough to read, here is where I wrote about that happy day!

So, we took off from Albany,  finally leaving Rt. 20, following the directions of the iPad, it took us over the Hudson River,
and into Troy, New York, the poorest seeming town we drove through. Not much more to say than that.

Heading North on Rt. 7, our last stop in New York was here,
where the proprietor was old, frail and seemingly unfriendly. We bought nothing. Onward into Vermont, one of Bruce's favorite states.
The trees were beginning to show their fall colors, however, as any photographer knows, bright sunshine is not your friend while taking photographs of saturated color. Once again, we almost had the road to ourselves.
One of the nice things about Vermont is that has some lovely hilly and winding roads in the Southern part, which is where we traveled. For a Florida girl, it is just perfect; I'm a chicken if the hills are too big! Our destination was Bennington, VT,  the largest city in that part of the state. You can see this battle monument from quite a distance, set amongst the colorful trees it was a lovely sight. Driving into the town we checked it out.
Built in 1891, it commemorates the Battle of Bennington, considered to be a turning point in the Revolutionary War. It makes you wonder how in the world, in those days, they built a stone monument that big, doesn't it?
Seeing it in the right of the frame gives you a notion of just how tall it is. Now I'm disappointed we didn't go up in there to view the surrounding countryside. We did, however, head into their quaint downtown where we spent some hours moseying. I only realized, after seeing my photographs, that the fellow in my picture was shooting me a peace sign....very Vermont, don't you think?
Carol called, and while I was chatting with her, I was admiring the flowers hung from the light poles. At first I thought they were real, then fake because they were so beautiful, but during our conversation I noticed dropped blooms on the sidewalk. That settled it.
Bruce was in need of a haircut, so he walked down to the barber shop while I looked around. Did I mention the streets are quaint? Of course I did!
Turns out the barber was closing the shop for lunch, and would not return until 1:45. Can you imagine? To kill time, we went into a little gift shop across the street where, as the only browsers in the store, we had a nice conversation with the owner. Bruce mentioned that he'd spent quite a bit of time building restaurants in her part of the country, both Red Lobster, and Olive Garden. Are you ready for this??? She told us about her sister's, sister-in-law, whose husband picked up a door to use as their entry door from.....one of Bruce's closed Red Lobsters! Can you even imagine? We got quite the tickle out of that one!

After having the most delicious taco and burrito you can imagine, we made our way over to Pleasant Street, because we found someone sitting on the stoop of the barber shop, making for a longer wait for Mr. Peck. Instead he went to this salon.
There was yet another crazy coincidence during the haircutting encounter as well--the stylist was from North Adams, MA, another place where Bruce built a restaurant!

Following the haircut we continued on our way to Keene, NH. Across Vermont, we stopped at one quilt shop housed in an old home. How old you ask? From the late 1700's!!! Behind the parking lot were picnic tables. Awesome gold in those leaves!
We were traveling on Rt. 9 by now, and as we got into Keene, Bruce wanted to see the Olive Garden he built there about 15 years ago. Obviously he was sorely disappointed to discover it had been closed for over a year. He's texting his friends because he has the distinct record of having many of his stores closed, not something he enjoys thinking about after all of the blood, sweat, and tears, to put them up!
The funny thing was is that it still looked good; a testament, or that's what I say, of how good his buildings are!

The downtown is cute as a button, and using a recommendation from the desk clerk we ate dinner at the Stage. Super cute and good!
As we were leaving Keene, heading to Steve's house in Windham, NH, I had B pull over so I might finally get a leaf photo without brilliant sunshine! Asking the man who'd just stepped outside if I might go on his property, he readily agreed. I told him that as a Floridian, it was so special to me. His response....I lived in FL for seven years. Oh yeah? He lived in Leesburg, a town about forty miles from here!
And then we were in Windham, a suburb of Manchester. I've met Steve a handful of times, however, I'd never met his lovely wife Liz before. What a super couple!

After a visit around their kitchen island, they took us to the Bedford Village Inn for lunch. Another super charming place! Holy cow! Please note the woodpile...
Here's how they use it on the weekends...
It is seriously a storybook place with delicious food.  Here are the boys:
There were not one, but two weddings set up on the grounds, in spite of the gray and slightly chilly weather.
They have two children, Steve Jr. was away at college, however, their sweet sixteen year old Katie was around, and what a doll she is. We lounged away the afternoon, followed by a wonderful dinner in this crazy warm space!
They definitely have cozy down to a science! Honestly, it was such the best way to end a road trip.

We flew home without incident, Bruce accessed the yard, and here's how he ended our road trip...
All was well.

As you have noticed, we are big proponents of opening up to strangers on our journey...you just never know what you might have in common!

Back to the here and now, and mundane, I might add, in my next post,

Gail

Limping Along