December 19, 2018:


I can't believe we're less than a week away from Christmas and I haven't yet really decorated the kitchen and dinette! I've got the small cardinal tree up on the peninsula counter and my Christmas cards are shaped in the form of a Christmas tree and taped to a wall by the dining table; I put up my colorful teal floral curtains with lots of gold and red, my cardinal prints and added a red tablecloth to the dining table, but that's it! Enough, I suppose.

The tree is done! It seemed to take forever this year to decorate but I am loving the result. It looks like the kind of mish-mash everything on it but the kitchen sink kind of tree I remember from my childhood. The only thing missing is the bubble lights, but I'm too frugal to buy them!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season and that the dreaded Polar Vortex stays away!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Visit to the Former Maison Newton and Progress on the Niche!

Hola darlings!

Today it is still unseasonably cool for this time of year around here, but the sun is out and very warm; I started the day off with a long sleeve turtleneck knit sweater underneath a Green Bay Packers hoodie/sweatshirt (it was 60 degrees F in the house when I got up this morning) and took the hoodie/sweatshirt off after working outside for awhile.  After getting my most recent combined electric and gas bill from the GREEDY WE Energies (fricking crooks!), I turned my heat OFF and every single light (not that I used all that many to begin with, geez) and I don't care how damn cold or dark it gets, the furnace is not going on until sometime in November and except for the energy sucked up by this trust old laptop and appliances (I've unplugged some that I don't use all the time, like the t.v.), so is the electricity.  I'll warm my hands over candles and work by candlelight before I'll give WE Energies a penny more of money than I absolutely have to for the next 2 months, the SCHMUCKS! 

Fall is here, though, no denying that.  Here's a photo taken from my little front stoop down the block:

Some of the trees, like the one mostly hidden here behind the still-green street tree (center), have already turned brilliant colors, and some have dropped all of their leaves. But the neighborhood still has many trees that are just barely beginning to show the effects of reduced sunlight and the light frosts we've had the past several nights. I've been wanting to take an early morning walk with my camera, perhaps tomorrow I'll take the time to do that.

FINALLY, TODAY -- more than three months after I moved out of the former Maison Newton, my brother Jeff and SIL Heidi came over with their vehicles and we went to my old place to clear out the last of my things from a corner of the garage, which J&J have been extremely patient in letting me use to keep my stuff for months.  It was a perfect day for it, and J&J and J's (the first J) dad is up from Alabama for several weeks now, helping them with things around their new house - they were all outside working when we pulled up. Tony (the first J's dad) and I have known each other from the time he was courting my high school friend, the first J's mom!  So it was a kind of old home week to see him again after so many years.  He owns rental properties and is extremely handy and knowledgeable about all kinds of things, so having him here has been a blessing for J&J, helping them settle in to their new home and getting various repairs, etc. done around the place.

The house IS different!  There is a new roof; new grading; lots of shrubs were removed; today they are installing an automatic garage door opener and the first J and I talked about them having to buy a snow blower because I did not own a car and hand-shoveled the walks and driveway for 24 years, but I could take my time doing it cuz I didn't have to worry about getting a car out of the garage down to the road in order to get anywhere!  J&J are making the place their own, and I'm so happy for them.  And they are happy too, but it's been a lot of new kind of work for them, taking on a two story with a large lot as their first buy!

The first J took me aside and told me how much their friends and relatives who visited after they moved in just loved the gardens in the backyard.  That made me very happy.  Those gardens were a labor of love for 24 years.  But then J&J  had the big ol' double Chinese Elm tree that towered above the house taken down, and now the railroad tie retaining wall that backed up the big ol' tree that BIL Fred put in 24 years ago is gone, along with half the landscape and some of the fence, eek!  Some big machinery was involved in taking down the towering old tree and some of the fence had to be removed to get the equipment into the part of the yard where the ginormous tree lived.  I lived with that tree for 24 years and yeah, it certainly did shed some BIG branches (sometimes the size of a small tree) during really strong windstorms, but she survived more than one attack of 100 mph plus straight-line winds and never budged an inch, and no branches ever landed on the house, either.  But I do understand the second J's nervousness about having such a HUGE tree overhanging the house and the shedding of the occasional small tree from its massive limbs...  I sure do hope, though, that no squirrels lost their nests and/or babies during the process.

The yard now doesn't look so great, and to add to the (temporary) nessm J&J regraded around the entire perimeter of the house -- goodbye flower beds, oh my! But I think maybe some of the daylilies, hardy as they are, may pop up next year... I'll have to email the first J about that so she keeps an eye out for little peaks of greenery poking out from the soil in March, just in case.

It was a little bitter-sweet, but mostly sweet, seeing the house again, because it's clear that J&J love the place, and the first J now marvels at how on earth I did it all by myself for so long when the two of them together (both under 30) find it difficult to keep up with all that needs to be done.  So, Jan old gal, KUDOS to you - that is - ME!  LOL! 

JAN BAD BLOGGER.  I didn't even think to take my camera long and there are no photos of the former Maison Newon as it looks now, nor of any of my remant stuff removed from my former garage, either before - or - after.  Geez.  The first J proudly showed me the bookcases from the family room that I included as part of their purchase.  They would have been much too large for the space in my current Maison Newton.  She had painted them and moved them into the living room to anchor one of the tall walls, and they look great, totally transformed from what they were!!!  It never ceases to amaze me what a fresh coat of paint can do.

Having Jeff and Heidi over today and showing them around the new place for the first time, it gave me a fresh appreciation for just how nice this ranch house, and all its storage space, are, even though I do not have the same kind of square footage living space that I had at the former Maison Newton.  I sure don't miss taking four hours just to cut the front and back yards!  And, I have to say, traveling up and down the basement stairs here sometimes several times a day has been good for my figure (what there is of it).  All the hard work I've been doing since April has finally shown up on the scale, darlings.  I've dropped six pounds and am now definitely stable below my (former) plateau weight for the past two years, yippee!  Every pound I lose is very good for my heart/lung condition.

Today, Kevin the Handyman arrived just about 10 a.m. and had in tow all of the supplies needed to finish off the niche in the living room that is being restored to its bookshelf status!

When I first viewed the house in May when it was for sale, the sellers had two smallish floating shelves installed in the space.  No photos of that space, sorry.  I immediately envisioned bookshelves to hold some of my (tons of) books and all of my fledgling "horsy" collection. As it was at the time, I thought it was a waste of precious space! 

Here is a "before" photo:

You can see the filled-in holes left behind by Mrs. Seller from the hanging shelves and on the right side of the niche wall, the "crud" that was left behind after the old metal shelving tracks were removed -- who knows when?  The area was never scraped down/sanded and was just painted over, mummifying all the bumps and lumps left behind once the tracks were gone. 

In progress photos:

And today, Kevin worked his magic and did a final sanding (yet more crud to clean up throughout the entire house, $&@Q!), painted the raw areas, and installed the new metal tracks that will hold the shelf brackets.  I have the cut-to-size shelves and the brackets already to go.  I will install them tomorrow.  Kevin suggested giving the paint 24 hours to "cure" and I think that's a good idea.  Plus, after doing a lot of moving stuff and yard work today, I don't exactly feel like it...

But tomorrow - here is what it looks like now, just waiting for the brackets and shelves and stuff to be installed!!!!

Stay tuned for the "reveal" -- I'll be cleaning up and polishing the wood base (and using a touch-up pen to mask deep scratches in the finish), putting up the brackets, installing the shelves, and "styling" (what we, in the not so old days, used to call arranging stuff) my horsey collection and various books and photographs.  Can't wait to tackle it!!!!

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