Monday, November 26, 2018

Repair, Restore, and Thanksgiving Too

It must have been Wednesday afternoon that I sat down to write a blog post in the usual fashion. I begin by putting my camera card into the slot on the back of my iMac, wait and see if I've got any good photos, and begin formulating a story to tie them together. Much to my dismay, a message popped up on my screen saying that my photo library could not be found. Great.

Now I can't remember what I'd planned to write about, however, I know this photo was meant to be shared.
And I'd intended to talk a bit about all of the changes happening around our neck of the woods, including this demolition across the street from Publix and the new Lucky Market center going in.
The old house and apartment building were in pretty rough shape, however, you have to wonder where the folks who lived there have found affordable housing. I'd gone to Publix for some seriously needed shopping, something I seem to put off until I'm forced into it by an empty refrigerator! Our upgraded Publix is still a work in progress, but so far the changes are very good. After shopping for groceries in downtown Vancouver for a year, where the aisles are so tiny, I definitely get the Publix slogan, "Where Shopping is a Pleasure." Indeed.

Probably I'd just finished making the dough for the pies I was going to be making Thanksgiving morning. The recipe from the back of the Tenderflake box is for six shells, three of which I used, and the remainder will go into the freezer for a later use.
I'd also spent some time picking out a paint color for the bathroom vanity, eventually settling on a deep gold to pick up the gold flecks in the countertop. Gold is a tricky color to get right, so I brought home a bunch.
Michelle saw my choices and questioned if I was really set on the gold as she does not share my same enthusiasm for color. My reply was, I thought it was worth a shot! Because I was not preparing Thanksgiving dinner for a crowd, after dinner Wednesday night, we went over to Dave and Michelle's place for a visit and to see their beautifully decorated condo, beginning with the outside,
and continuing on every available space inside.
As is my custom, I took loads of pretty photographs, however, in the interest of the length of this post, they will remain in my library for now. Because the next day was their 10th wedding anniversary, we celebrated with some Dom Perignon and reliving that lovely day by watching their wedding video.  (photo taken from television screen)
All in attendance that day will remember how much fun was had, dancing the night away.

Somehow, I remained calm even though my photo library was inaccessible. That's like cutting off an arm for me, however, I felt sure it had to be somewhere. After all, where could 155,000 photos go? I'd been storing them on an external hard drive that I discovered was completely full, so my thinking was that if I bought a new one, I could find them somewhere on the computer and transfer them. Not so fast Gail, as you will soon learn.

Meanwhile Bruce got to work on the vanity, repairing the joints near the bottom as they had some water damage.
Using my dough, I made the pies while he worked on the vanity Thanksgiving morning and afternoon. If you've never made a pie crust using lard you will be surprised at how easy it rolls out and how yummy it is. We sure were. With the pumpkin pie in the oven, I began peeling apples for the second pie that turned out looking like this. Perhaps I should have cooked it a wee bit longer, however, it seemed to be a hit, so that is nit picking on my part.
Vanity with primer...
and here comes the gold, a Benjamin Moore color called Bryant Gold.
Before you go and think I am crazy, yellow and grey are a classic combo, so this is my version of the two. One coat of paint completed, it was time to head over to Bill and Fallon's house for the feast, and I'm using that term literally! They too, have decorated for Christmas and it looks outstanding. That tree is neat because it can go from colored to white to gold lights which seems to me, the best of all worlds.
Every time we are over, I am reminded of the first day that I walked in there with Bill, wondering about his choice. He did too, however, he has great vision, and with a lot of help, it has been transformed. He never fails to tell anyone who will listen how it was my idea to swap the kitchen around and create this opening.
Of course ideas are just that and without someone to execute them, well, they aren't much, are they? Papa Bruce to the rescue, and the same goes for the kitchen cabinets which caused him some sleepless nights! Back to the vision aspect, one of thousands of ideas Bill had was to make the door opening to the kitchen larger which I thought was unnecessary. Wrong! It worked beautifully, making the kitchen seem much larger. Speaking of feeling large, most of the family hung out in the kitchen, and especially when Fallon's Dad was instructing Bill on the finer points of carving a turkey.
Fallon's Mom, Glenda, worked for days on the meal, helping Fallon along the way, and what a meal it was!
The table was so inviting, set with beautiful Spode dishes Glenda had shipped home during a trip to London. The gorgeous cut glass is a gift from her Grandmother.
As most of you know, Fallon is a registered nurse working at Florida East hospital twelve hours daily, and since she'd worked on Wednesday, just before we left she curled up on the couch,
so tired she fell asleep within minutes of our departure. I will admit it was quite the change for me, not preparing Thanksgiving dinner and spending it with my siblings, but the times they are a changing, as you well know from your own life.

Bruce finished up the vanity, adding some handles and now you can decide for yourself whether I am crazy or not.
I will admit that it is different, but I'm happy. Eventually we will be getting a new toilet and flooring, but one step at a time.

A trip to Best Buy, late morning on Black Friday proved to be pretty easy and now to transfer the files. If only it were that easy. I sent Matt an email explaining my problem. It is definitely times such as this that I so wish he were at least on our same time zone! He said he'd help on Saturday which began with a sky like no other.
Lasting only maybe five minutes, Bruce took off in his kayak under this sky to fish on Lake Willisara for the first time. I was confidant there were fish to be caught and released because I see them jumping most days. Not only did he catch a nice Bass, but the otters were playing in the water near his kayak. Big win for the morning!
This marks the end of pretty pictures and the repair and restore begins. Too complicated to fully explain, but Matt helped me locate the files, we repaired and restored the library after many hours, over two different days, with reloading the entire operating system thrown in for good measure because my computer is running so slowly. Saturday required extreme patience, with the massive loss by the Seminoles against the Gators adding to my misery.

But, here's the thing, I have so much to be thankful for, that somehow I did keep the faith. A tenth wedding anniversary, a son who willingly gives his Mom tech support, Maureen safely moved to a new place that will help her take better care of herself, a first Thanksgiving for the newlyweds, a husband who can make anything look good, ducks either fighting or playing, don't know which, outside my window as I type, and I saw a new bird on Saturday morning which I will post next time. What's a girl have to complain about?

Your friend,


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Form Before Function

Around our household, one of us is known to prefer form before function, whereas the other is a fan of function before form. Can you guess who is a fan of form being the most important? If you guessed Bruce, you would be correct. So, what was I thinking while choosing a brown sink? I succumbed to the form before function in this case. While in Vancouver we had black countertops which showed every speck of dust and I vowed I would never have a dark countertop and then here I go and get a dark sink. What gives? I wish I knew. Once Herbert finally had the water running, I quickly discovered that I will be cleaning the kitchen far more than is my custom what with the shiny stove top, and now the sink. At least the countertop is user friendly! Plus I love it. As to the brown sink, I do love how it looks, so maybe this old lady can learn to become a form before function fan after all.

Weeks will pass without an otter sighting and then two days in a row this past week they surfaced.
Can you believe it? Periodically, throughout the day I stand at the shoreline watching the lake. Much to my surprise, in the late afternoon, this happened. And when there is one, there are two.
Although they were very close to the shore, relatively speaking, I still can't get a good shot, but I will keep trying.

What I've learned is that there are often things to discover if I am paying attention. This little birdie was a nice little surprise.
The tile for the backsplash is ordered and hopefully it won't be long before it is installed. So many little things are happening, or in progress, one of which is I get my permanent crown on Tuesday, and later on that day the medicare consultant is coming. Nothing that every reader is not experiencing in their own lives, right? Your to-do list is just different from mine. I've been thinking of the folks in California who are completely overwhelmed, having lost every single thing, and it makes me ashamed that I think I have things to think about. In the news, the fires have overtaken the hurricane damage suffered by the folks in North Florida, however, you have to imagine there are scores of people still in bad shape there as well.

Nevertheless, we carry on, don't we? In our case, following the faucet install, I realized that the bathroom, in spite of the new countertop, was still seriously lacking. In particular it was the wall color which is good in some rooms, but in there, it was as blah as could be. Taking the counter sample to Sherwin Williams, I studied all manner of paint colors finally deciding to go dark and paint the room Morris Room Grey. Losing no time, I drove home, got the step ladder out and went to work.
Because it was such a drastic change, I began on the smallest wall surface, over the door.
It didn't take long to know that it was going to be a win, and I painted away. Then Bruce came home and took a look at my work. Hmmm.....turns out the areas that I thought just needed to dry were actually areas where the paint needed two coats. In fact, the whole room got two coats, as well as, Mr. Peck taking over the ceiling cut in which looks oh so much neater now.
For the moment, the floor will remain the same, however, that dopey toilet paper holder is now a thing of the past. For whatever reason, there was none when we arrived, and up until yesterday afternoon we were making do with that thing. Now, however, after a trip to Lowes to get the matching holder and hooks, it now looks like this.
The color in the above did not turn out right, but you get the idea. The previous one is truer to the color and we cannot be happier. Now I've got to pick a color for the vanity and I'll leave that painting to Bruce.

We've had a cold front come through and one morning the temperature was in the low 50's resulting in steam rising from the lake. So cool.
As the sun rose higher, the steam did as well, dancing above the surface.
With the chilly weather, the fire pit got a work out on Friday night.
The Crinum Lillies continue to bloom with their showy pink flowers.
On our way home from Lowes we traveled down Curry Ford Road to check out a restaurant that we imagined had finally opened in the Hourglass District, a new neighborhood designation that is showing great promise. In spite of eating there last night, neither of us can remember the name exactly, but it is something like Italian Kitchen. What a pleasant surprise it was, and oh so cute.
There is actually one more of this wall art that, if I'm being picky, looks more Mexican than Italian to me, but that is indeed being picky isn't it?
As we were waiting for our check, who should we see coming from the patio? None other than Pam and Glen, along with Alex and Jennifer! We are indeed back in Orlando and glad for it.

Every single day is a gift isn't it?

your friend,


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Three Day Affair

How about this for an amusing find when the kitchen countertop was removed?
To think that those cans have been sitting there since 1985! It is quite the wonder that the kitchen turned out as well as it did, isn't it? The funny thing is that while Herbert was hooking up the sink this afternoon, I mentioned it and he said while working in another condo, just down our street, he found the same! A beer can time capsule! The tabs were quite different and a remaining price tag read $2.99.

Before that happened though, on Sunday afternoon, Mr. Bruce decided to remove the bathroom vanity top himself as there is a huge mirror that sits atop the backsplash and he just felt better doing it himself. If the mirror were to break, he wanted it be his responsibility. Watching him do these kind of things is always fascinating because he does not do demo like you see it pictured on all of the home shows. Instead, he is very careful, taking things slowly. He began by prying off the side backsplashes.
Unlike the Formica kitchen counters, those in the bathrooms are more like Corian, extremely hard.
The photo above is such a mystery, what with the movement of his hand in the foreground, yet his hands are still in the mirror. I have no explanation. At any rate, once the backsplashes were pried off, he took a hammer to the top, breaking it up in chunks.
Once a few pieces were broken, he covered the entire mirror with a sheet, essentially putting a barrier up, and continued methodically breaking it up. Because the sink was a part of it, not all needed breaking, so once he got to that point, he lifted the whole thing and put it in the dumpster.
We toyed with the idea of replacing the cabinet, however, now that the new top is installed, it looks much more modern and we think a coat of paint will do.

On to the kitchen, Monday morning, he pried off the backsplashes in there as well.
Again, watching him do that with a block of wood behind the thing he used to pry it off, is really interesting. His method was the least damaging to the wall which will not be getting the same sort of backsplash, instead the new one will be tile all the way down to the countertop. As a reminder here's the before of the kitchen which I will update once the backsplash goes up.
Finally, 9:30 rolled around and Stone Crazy arrived!! I was dying to see  how the pieces looked as it had been so long since I'd chosen the material.
Prior to their arrival, I'd asked Bruce how long he thought it would take? "A couple of hours", he said, and when Bruce says a couple he actually means two, just as the word implies, rather than the more loose definition I ascribe to the word couple. Okay so with that established, it turned out that our guys, Fernando and Ephram worked ever so slowly, although, in the end, it looks great to our eyes.
It was not easy to keep from looking at how things were going, but eventually, the top was on, followed by the sink getting attached underneath the counter.  Here is Fernando, waiting on the glue to dry. Note the clamps holding the sink in place.
Thankfully, he vanity top went in without incident. Oh friends, how I love the look of the sink! Finally, at 3 in the afternoon, they were done. Woo hoo!
Yesterday, while I was out shopping for a good looking backsplash that is neither too busy, nor overwhelming, Herbert came to hook up the plumbing, which turned out to be quite the task. Bruce called as I was leaving Matt Manning Surfaces to tell me he was heading to a meeting, leaving Herbert to work his magic. When I arrived home, here's what I found.
Eventually, after maybe two or three more hours, he found success! Because it took so long, the bathroom faucet remains unattached, however, he will be coming today and soon we will be all up and running.

Speaking of running, I used the sink last night and am learning first hand some of the pitfalls I'd read about online. Not really pitfalls, rather differences in what I have had in the past. That square sink? It drains differently and stuff can remain in the corners, meaning I have to be more mindful about cleaning. Between my new cooktop and now sink, I am actually going to have to learn to like cleaning! Can that actually happen to a nearly 65 year old, cleaning adverse woman? Only time will tell. As to the new Silestone countertop? We are in love.

What remains of this post are some nature shots. Surprise, surprise!
Quintessential Florida, what with the Cypress trees in water and the alligator warning sign. :)

You may have heard of the lovely Angel's Trumpet plant, but have you heard of the Devil's Trumpet?
This one is from the front of the property near the raised beds that we still have not committed to using. Perhaps in the Spring? Before too much longer, as in maybe three weeks, Bruce will be looking for things to do, however, he's already making a good start on that front. This very morning, he's on his way to Apopka to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity! I can't wait to hear all about it this afternoon. The weather could hardly be any worse as it is meant to be 87 today!! Me--I would be going crazy working in that heat, however, Bruce will most likely not complain at all. We are meant to have a cold front come through any day, and I could not be any happier. Bruce seems to think I'm going through a second menopause what with all my bitching about being so hot.
A white Bird of Paradise also found on property, featuring all manner of goodness in the form of color and structure.

It has become my habit, when arising before sunrise, to watch it unfold. I love watching the lake come to life what with the ducks beginning to wander around the lake and one recent day, I saw what I thought was a tiny bird amongst the aquatic plants. Do you see it?
I've yet to figure out how to overcome the bad lighting, however, on this day I tried a trick I know and finally I had a little something to show you.
Still pretty terrible, however, at least I know that it is yellow. If I had to make a guess, I'd say it it some type of Warbler, but don't quote me on that!

Bad lighting continues to plague my efforts to get a great shot of the otters who, once again, showed up yesterday afternoon. I've yet to look on my computer at the ones I took, but I will soon and perhaps I will have something worth sharing with you.

And now to the thing at a time. A three day affair? Make that a three month affair!

your friend,


You Just Never Know