Almost Done

We are back in Florida.

It was a great trip north even though I was fretting about missing the house construction for so long and fretting about Hurricane Irma going over our RV lot in the Florida Keys, our motorhome, and our new house in Leesburg, Florida.  We were busy.  I sang a couple of songs at a Bluegrass Jam that brother-in-law Tom goes to every Friday night.  Sister Barbara put me up to it. On Saturday, we attended the wedding of Son Christopher’s childhood friend, Joey Cumberland at the Calvert Marine Museum. Christopher was the best man.

Here is the wedding venue.  It was perfect weather for a wedding.

We had not met the bride so this was our first look at her.

You know how the kids who are in your house so much you begin to think of them as one of your own?  Joey introduced me to some guests as his “other mother”.

My son Christopher is the tall one with the skinhead. Mama has not been able to convince him to grow his hair.  He was an excellent best man.

On Sunday, Andy and I took Christopher up to Annapolis for a visit with his grandmother. At 93, she was having a good day and recognized us.  She snuggled with Christopher the whole time.

We also stopped at the Naval Academy to visit Grandpa Moulton.

Fortunately, someone else drove Christopher to the airport on Monday morning so I didn’t have to get up in the middle of the night for that.  We drove up to Rockville, MD to visit Son Andrew and his family.  Since they were all at work and school, we stopped to visit Laura Bender aboard Kindred Spirits at the Gangplank Marina in Wash. DC on the way.  It sure was nice to sit on a boat again.  We had a great visit, including a nice lunch at a nearby restaurant.  Andy slipped and fell on (not off) the boat as we were leaving.  By the time the kids came home from school, I decided that someone should have a look at Andy’s swollen knee.  So we went to a local Urgent Care clinic rather than to watch baseball practice.  The x-ray revealed no break.  They put Andy in an “immobilizer” and prescribed elevation and ice.

On Tuesday, we went to visit Susan and Richard during the day.  Richard is recovering nicely from open-heart surgery and was looking well and rosy, if not robust. It was not enough time to catch up with all the chatter Susan and I needed to accomplish.  We returned to Sister Barbara’s house on Wednesday. She has started back to school, I think this is her last year of nursing school. On Thursday, we visited one of Daughter Jennifer’s childhood friends in Solomons.  Kelly’s baby boy Liam is ten months old and as happy a baby as you are likely to meet.  He loved Andy, as all children seem to do.

A highlight of the trip was my 50th high school reunion, which will require a separate post.  I had so much fun squealing and hugging childhood friends. I talked about it for most of the drive back to Florida. We saw more than a hundred electric utility trucks heading north, their hurricane clean-up work done,

We drove straight to the house when we got back to Leesburg. There is a lawn, shrubbery, and some trees. And shutters, which I had not noticed until I got the pictures on the computer. There are also screens in the windows.

The sod is multi-colored.  This is the west side of the house.

We have a house number.

And baseboards. It is beginning to look finished. There were two or three painters inside putting another coat of paint on the walls and touching up scuffs, chips, and scratches. The walls no longer look as blue.

The master bath has medicine cabinets and a mirror.

I watched two men install the glass on the shower stall.

We have a laundry tub and a dryer in the laundry room but there was no washer in sight.

We solved the mystery of a small PVC pipe sticking out of the outside wall of the garage.  This is the irrigation system controller on the wall.

The guest bathroom also has a medicine cabinet and mirror.

The big excitement was in the kitchen.  The dishwasher was installed, but I did not take a picture of it. The cabinet over the refrigerator finally got doors.

I have a stove with five, count ’em, five burners!  I’ve been trying to cook four-burner dinners on three burner stoves for seventeen years and am beside myself with excitement.

Here is a better look with tiles on the wall behind.

The pantry has shelves.  I can’t wait to get my food out from under the sofa in the motorhome.

Someone drilled a hole in the countertop for the sprayer, which is now under the sink.

The clouds were pretty across the golf course.

This will be a flower bed/ veggie garden. Notice the downed tree in the background, a victim of Irma.

My herb/kitchen garden has a little erosion from the hurricane rain.  The small tree in the background looks dead to me.  It is a dead Live Oak.

The misplaced outside electrical outlet has been removed.

We probably should not have been surprised to see a downed tree next to Sao in the RV park. It had been standing on a neighboring property. We were lucky, it fell between us and our neighbor.

 

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Faucets, Shower Stall, Grading, Garbage Disposal, and Toilets

The painting company truck was in front of the house.  It says Power Washing on the side.

And, indeed, there was a man power washing the garage floor.  I’m sure that is in anticipation of painting it.

Inside, we could see the tile man on the back porch mixing a bucket of mud.  He carried it into the shower stall.  I noticed he had installed a drain fixture.

Toilets and faucets had been delivered.

The tile man was building a corner seat in the shower stall.

Trucks, cars, and tractors were at the house when we returned to the house after lunch. The landscapers were doing the final grading.

The kitchen faucet had been installed. The granite man had not drilled a hole for the sprayer so it was not installed yet.

There was a toilet in the water closet.

The plumber was installing the bathroom faucets.

We saw a garbage disposal under the kitchen sink.

I went out the back door to check the grading back there.  It turned out pretty nice for a place with almost no back yard.  They had added more soil so it was a gentle slope from the back patio rather than a sharp drop I was worried about. I may need to do something to make my herb garden a bit more level.

Here is the view from the golf course “rough”.

Looking west from the patio, there will be a flower bed at the end of the patio to the corner of the house.  I’m not sure what I will plant there yet.

The tile man was cutting the small squares for the shower stall floor.  He made a separate cut for each little square.

I looked in the shower stall and saw that the bench seat was done.  After he built the front wall of it against a concrete block, he removed the block and filled the space with concrete. His lunch was sitting on it.

The bathroom faucets were installed.

And, there was a water heater installed in the garage.

We decided to go home by way of the gas station to fill the car for our trip to Maryland in the morning.  The car had less than a quarter of a tank. There were long lines at all the pumps.  And there was no gas to be had.  We drove to another gas station and they were out of gas too.  We began to worry.  What if took off in the morning and could not find gas before running out? Then we decided that, since we were already packed and ready to go, we would hit the road.  Things would probably be worse the next day.

We loaded up the car with our bags and headed to the Florida Turnpike about six o’clock.  The Okahumpka rest area is just a few miles up the turnpike from where we entered.  There were a lot of cars there, but I found a pump with no one there.  We filled up and drove all the way to South Carolina.

Northbound traffic was not too heavy.  We are in north-central Florida. We were amazed at the heavy southbound traffic on I-75. We got off it at Ocala and took US 301 across the state to I-95. There was not too much traffic there either.  As soon as we crossed the South Carolina border, Andy said it was time to find a hotel.  It was some time between eleven o’clock and midnight before we got our room, watched a little hurricane news on the television, and crashed. I began to worry about the storm track aimed right up the state to where we left the motorhome. Maybe we should have driven it north.

We drove the rest of the way to Sister Barbara’s house in southern Maryland on Wednesday.  I called our RV park in Florida and the woman told me they were filling up with people from south Florida.

As luck would have it. Daughter Kathy happened to be in southern Maryland for work.  She came by after work and took us to Stoney’s Seafood where we all ate one of those famous crab cakes.

Hurricane Irma

Three Sandhill Cranes were across the street from the motorhome, one was kneeling down, which I had not seen before.  They moved about twenty feet and the same crane went down on its knees again. It looked rather sad like that.  Then, when the other two had moved on further, it gave two wing flaps and was standing back up and walking again.

We went to the house twice today, mostly just to get out and about.  Although we did pass some houses with workers, no laborers were laboring at our house on Labor Day.  I think they should all have a holiday.

We have been watching Irma closely.  We were planning to drive the car to Maryland on Wednesday for Joey Cumberland’s wedding.  But, this evening, all the storm trackers and models seem to agree that the storm is going right up Florida.  We can’t wait a few days to see what happens and make it to the wedding. So, we agreed tonight to leave for parts north tomorrow. We’ll watch the storm as we go and, as soon as we decide it is safe, will leave the motor home parked somewhere and then drive the car on to Maryland.

 

No Work on a Sunday

Sunday; and we were not expecting much to happen at the house so we did not make a morning visit.  We attended Orlando Friends Meeting instead.  This will be our new spiritual home.  After meeting, we took our shopping list to Costco. That may not be the best time to go there; that place was a madhouse.  We stopped by the new house on the way home.

Andy noticed this bug on the garage ceiling. It is an inch or two long. I thought it might be a damselfly, except for those antenna-looking things.

While we were looking up, we noticed this on the garage wall.  There has also been a mysterious blue wire tucked under the fascia board outside, but we forgot to go out and check the other end of the wire.

We only ordered two ceiling fans when we had the “build comm” in March.  Yesterday, new friends Mary and Terry, dropped by in their golf cart and said we really need one in every room, even the master bedroom closet.  This is the one in the family room, the only fan in the house.  The other one is outside on the lanai.

 

A Painted House

The Sandhill Cranes were making a terrible racket outside the motorhome this morning.  I couldn’t sleep any longer with all that warbling and got out of bed.  They continued.  After a bit, I decided to look outside to see what had them riled up. There were five of them behaving as I have not seen them behave before.  They were walking about in a loose group. They seemed to be wandering aimlessly rather than their normal slow graze across the lawn.

They throw their heads back when they warble.  The closest I can describe it is something like a turkey gobble yet much different.

Then I realized that they were not really a group of five but three cranes seemed to be herding two others.  I thought maybe it was a territory dispute.

The two apparent intruders took off flying and that was the end of the ruckus.

There is a big gap of empty lots between the previous one and our house so we can see it from a good distance away.  We could see that it was a different color well before we got to it. It is still gray, but lighter and brighter.  I had been expecting a darker gray like several others in the area.  I like the way the white trim stands out against the darker gray.  But our house is such a pretty blue/gray that we both like it anyway.

Three men were busy painting with long-handled rollers.

They were on their second coat already.  And, they had painted the columns white as I expected.

We went inside to see if anything else had changed.  The linen closet in the master bath has been spackled and is ready for a coat of paint and the doors.  We didn’t notice anything else.

We went back outside to watch the painters. As with most tasks around here, progress was fast.

The paint color is most noticeable right where they were painting.

At the back of the house, the left side had two coats and the right side had one.

The man painting the edges with a brush enjoyed having his picture taken.  When he finished painting around the front door, he caulked with a bright white caulk.  He gave me a thumbs up after he used that thumb to smooth the caulk.

The other two were making great progress on the east side of the house.

Check out the size of their paint roller pans.  They just dunked the roller, gave it a quick shake and slapped that paint on the side of the house.

They were done in no time.  I looked at the time stamp on my photos and it took them less than fifteen minutes to paint the side of the house.

Boating friend Ross Herbert sent me an email recently asking how I made the pizza topping pie that I have described in my log/blog over the years.  As a result, it has been on my mind and I got the needed ingredients and made one for dinner today.

This is a deep-dish pie plate with one of those Pillsbury rolled-up crusts from the grocery store.  First, I sprinkled a heavy dose of shredded mozzarella cheese in the bottom of the pie shell. That was to keep the bottom crust from getting too soggy. Then I scrambled some Italian sausage in the frying pan and spread it on top of the cheese. Next, I layered in sliced mushrooms, green peppers, and onions, with a little more mozzarella sprinkled in.  I used two cans of diced tomatoes, drained.  Gave that a more-than-liberal sprinkling of Italian seasoning and covered it up with gobs of mozzarella.  The pie pan was full so I put on the top crust.  On the top, I sprinkled parmigiana before laying out slices of pepperoni.  (They work better on top of the crust where they get properly toasted.)

This is a recipe I concocted myself years ago and I think I nearly perfected it today. The only thing wrong with it is that it is a little too juicy. Next time I’ll drain the tomatoes better. I have always called it pizza topping pie, but today thought I should call it “American as Pizza Pie”.

The painters were done and gone when we got back to the house about 4:30.

The white trim doesn’t stand out quite as much as on the darker gray houses.

Andy was admiring the front porch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It does not show up too well in this photo, but I like the way they painted the columns. The square base is the same gray as the house.  The square top of it is white on the vertical sides and a pale gray on the top.  The round columns are bright white.

 

Garage Door, A/C, Microwave, Counter Tops, Outlet

There was one truck in front of the house this morning.  The man was at the back rummaging around for something.

We were halfway up the driveway before I noticed a change.

We had a garage door.

We entered by the front door and saw that the microwave had been installed.

The linen closet in the master bath had been trimmed out so they can install the doors.

We looked around and didn’t see anything else new when we heard noise in the garage.  The A/C man smiled and posed for me, but I didn’t have the camera on and missed the shot.  He said he would have the air conditioning running soon.

We saw an electrician’s truck drive into the yard.  By the time I got to the back of the house, he had bashed several holes in it.  They needed to move the outdoor outlet.  He had bashed new hole number one that turned out to be solid concrete. Hole number two was going to interfere with a door.

So he moved to the far side of the sliding glass door and measured to match an outlet inside.

He whacked an exploratory hole with his hammer.

Then using only his hammer, he carved out a new hole for an outlet.

Back inside, A/C man was installing the thermostat.

We went home for lunch. I saw a picture that I missed on our house, on the next street over.  The truck lifted a whole pallet load of roof shingles and two men took them off the stack and placed them on the ridges one pack at a time.

I was beginning to panic over landscaping and called the landscaping company to inquire as to what day they will do our lot. The woman told me it would be September 9.  DARN!!  We are going to be at Joey Cumberland’s wedding in Solomons, Maryland that day. As I feared, I am going to miss the landscaping job.  I don’t know how they will manage to plant trees and shrubs without me here to supervise.

After lunch, we drove over to A Natural Farm to buy the things the developer’s landscaper doesn’t do.  I bought eight small blueberry bushes and one LSU Purple fig tree/bush. Then to make me feel better about sweet cherries not growing well in Florida, I got one avocado and one mango tree. Luc said he would deliver them on September 8. He does sell a Barbados Cherry, but we tasted some and they were very bland.

We went back to the house on our way home.  I had a clue what was going on inside before we got to the door.

Kitchen countertops! The man was so charmed by my excitement he laughed and posed as he greeted us.

I noticed that the white top was on the short wall of the shower stall.  Andy said it had been there in the morning.  I missed it.

The granite man was installing the kitchen sink. He had put glue or caulk on the rim and squeezed it to the underside of the countertop.

Then he got under the sink, put his cell phone on his chest for light, and screwed or bolted the sink in place.

The thermostat was installed and the air conditioning was running. Granite man had the doors open for fresh air.  That glue he was using was powerful.  I love the smell of it.

The bashed-in wall out back had already been repaired.  We had seen the stucco crew at a nearby house as we drove in.  We were surprised to see the old outlet still in place after the new one was installed.

I watched this delightful man drilling the hole for the faucet. He held the drill with one hand and the shop-vac hose with the other.

It made a lot of noise and very little mess.

They had left a piece of granite at the shop.  His coworker returned with it to install behind a counter.  It was just a bit too long.

He took it to the makeshift work table on the front porch and cut it. He told me to go inside because he was going to make a lot of dust.  I opened the parlor window and took a quick picture of him cutting.  Then I closed the window and took a breath.

The granite men were packing their tools to leave when another truck pulled up.  Three men were delivering bathroom sinks.

The granite men left and I took a moment to admire my kitchen.  With the lights on…..

And with the lights off…

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my kitchen!

Two men came in carrying the master bath counter top.

I am very happy with it.  It is Corian since I didn’t want to pay extra for granite in the bathrooms.  I like Corian just fine.  I would have chosen it for the kitchen if the granite had not been standard. The gray countertop is a lighter gray than in the kitchen and looks great with the cabinets and walls.

The guest bath countertop was too wide so they carried it back outside and set up shop behind their truck.  One of them cut a bit off each end of the piece, to keep the sink centered,

and then it fit just right.

Sister Ann inquired about the bathtub drain.  I haven’t kept that up to date.  All the water has been drained and the tub cleaned.  The stopper is still in it though.  There is still no faucet. It is still a mystery.

Here is a closeup of the kitchen countertop.  I do believe I see some brown in there. They call it black and the name is New Caledonia.  It looks like office building lobby floors or walls. I wasn’t sure about it.  I took a chance not going with the marbled style.  I am very happy with the look of it in the kitchen.  It is “the look” I was after.  Andy and the granite man agreed, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”.

Mama’s happy.

 

 

The Toilet Drain

There was one bright yellow truck in front of the house this morning.  I thought it was a utility truck of some sort until I read “plumber” on the door.

There was a lot of noise coming from the house and I could not imagine what he was doing in there.  We followed the sound and found the plumber on his knees in front of the master bath toilet drain. (No plumber butt here, folks)

This is how we had seen it last, in the other bathroom.

He had cut the pipe off, flush with the floor.  (Ha ha, I didn’t mean that) He explained that the drain pipe had been set an inch off-center.  I had noticed that it was not quite centered in the WC but did not think much of it.  Someone did and told this guy to install a fixture that would center the toilet and divert the flow an inch over into the drain pipe. All that noise was him drilling through the tiles and cement to accomplish his goal.

The only other change we noted was the master bath shower stall.  A cement floor had been poured, except for one corner.  What’s up with that? Did he run out of cement?

Funny that Elinor should have posted the question today.  We have been talking about not needing a large motorhome when we move into the house. I have been reminiscing about the days when we had a small RV and could park anywhere, fit into state park campsites, and easily stop when we see an interesting place. Andy suggested that we downsize to a Class B, which is a van.  I thought that was a great idea.

Next thing I know, Andy had found a dealer (he thought nearby) and wanted to go look at some. Nothing else was on the agenda so we drove to Lakeland (an hour away). The salesman, of course, wanted to show us new vans, but I don’t want to spend the money.  We did look at some new ones though.  We focused on the older ones. We saw a used one that looked much like this one I found online.

The salesman was eager to give us a “good deal”, but I said we can’t trade-in the motorhome until after we close on the house and move our furniture from Maryland and Virginia. That will be at least a month away. We will look again after that and if this one is still for sale, we might take it.  If it has already sold, we’ll just look for another one in our price range. He said he will stay in touch and let us know when he finds another good deal. So, Elinor, that is the plan.  We still want to take some road trips and spend time in the keys in the winters.

It was the end of dusk when we got to the house on our way home. The only thing that had changed was that the plumber had finished his job. We will henceforth be centered when we use the toilet.

It looks a bit rough close up, but I imagine the base of the toilet will cover that up. They who are concerned about a toilet being an inch off-center will probably patch it to look pretty anyway.

It was quite dark when we left the house.  However, we have a street lamp next to our driveway. I thought it made an interesting picture.