December 23, 2017:

Hola!

It's COLD here and getting colder by the day, brrrrr. By December 26th the high may be only 3 degrees above zero. Yuck! But it's nice and cozy inside, and filled with the scents and sights of Christmas and Yuletide!

Today I made a crock pot full of my easy-peasy Beef Burgundy, made with a soup can full of sweet red wine (to rinse out the soup can, of course), and four other ingredients: beef (this pot I used beef already sliced in the package for beef stroganoff, and then cut the long thin strips into bite sizes), a can of Golden Mushroom soup, an 8 ounce package of whole button mushrooms cut into halves and thirds (depending on cap size), and a packet plus a little extra of a second packet of dried onion soup/dip mix. I also added a generous helping of ground pepper, dried thyme and dried - and aged (a year and three months, yikes!) of whole basil leaves that I ground up in between my fingers. Then the pot cooked on the "low" heat setting for 4 hours, with only one stir half-way through. The scent permeated the house and even managed to waft out to the street - wowsers - guess I need to get some additional insulation in these 1956 walls! My mouth was watering by the time I made up my first dish (over on-purpose a bit dry mashed potatoes) and gobbled it down, then had half a second dish as well! Now I want a nap.

I have my dark chocolate covered Queen Anne brand cherries (a Christmas must!), Beringer White Zinfandel wine, plenty of new fuel for my gel fuel fireplace and a host of Christmas movies to watch. Best of all, Solstice is done and we had a bit of sunlight day, late this afternoon. Every day, although it is not noticeable right now, it will get lighter a few minutes earlier and the Sun will sink below the horizon a few minutes later each day until the Summer Solstice on June 21. The worst is over, except for the bitter cold of January and February. I think I will go visit my friend Isis in Las Vegas in March - that always perks me right up :)

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to all, and may the Season's blessings shower you with good fortune for all of 2018.

Jan

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Kitchen Reno: Into Week Three and Still Not Done!

ARRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

Drywall patching is a word that starts with B and rhymes with WITCH.  It seems the painter/drywaller brought in by my contractor to mud and prime the drywall patches  thought his job was finished after 3 coats of mud, a sanding and priming.

Not.

Divets and dings in mud not caused by anything I did, areas that clearly to my untrained eye need more mudding and uneven sanding to smooth out transitions between the existing drywall and new patches, as well as unresolved "waves" in the mudding (not sure how else to describe them and they don't photograph so I can show you clearly what I'm seeing) --

The whole job should have been completed the Friday before Thanksgiving week.  All the guys took off for deer hunting up north, the opening of gun hunting season in Wisconsin.  Guess it was too much to think the job should have been finished right BEFOREthe crew took off for deer hunting.  But not in Wisconsin.  Maybe not anywhere, LOL.  It's like a sacred ritual or something.

ANYWAY.  The following Monday contractor guy appears to begin re-installing woodwork and also trouble-shoot the problematic transition between dining area flooring and the living room carpet, at about 3/4ths inch different heights.  He had to create his own transition threshold to fill the opening created between the two spaces by the removal of the wall because it's so wide and that was the fastest solution to solving the problem.  It works - sort of.

I showed contractor guy the relatively few issues with the drywall and he said he would call the painter/drywaller guy, who was supposed to call me to check on whether I was satisfied with the job (he did not call).  Contractor guy agreed more mudding and sanding needed to be done, possibly another 2 or 3 coats.  Another week of work, depending on how quickly the mud coats dry.

Contractor guy arrives the next day to install more woodwork and also the completed custom threshold.  Guess what -- the new woodwork doesn't marry correctly with the existing old woodwork because the old woodwork is thicker.  I have to laugh, I can't cry about it!  So.  contractor guy says no problem, I will replace the rest of this (a long stretch down the hallway wall to the bathroom door) with new woodwork so it all blends in.

He also told me that he had spoken with the painter/drywall guy and that he - contractor guy - would be finishing the mudding/sanding as needed to make sure the patches look as good as we can get them.

So - I had my Thanksgiving in a torn-apart house that is STILL not finished after more than 3 weeks to close up one simple doorway opening and open one simple doorway between two rooms.  Bloody Damn Hell.  I could have done it myself with my bare hands in this amount of time.  My hands, nails, and some spit.

My custom for many years has been to put up my Christmas tree and start Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving weekend.  Not this year.  Today - November 29th, contractor guy got tied up on another job and was not able to come to finish.  And frankly, I doubt he will be able to finish for at least 2 more days.  He has to still sand what I hope was a final coat of drywall mud he put on yesterday and also finish installing all of the new woodwork trim.  Prime the sanded drywall patched areas and stain the new woodwork.  Rutsa ruck.

I shopped online until I dropped to spend some of my frustration over the past few weeks.  More on that in post above this one.

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