Old Friends on the Wall

The house is full of our things and too much of it is still on the floor.  Rather than continue my usual routine today, I decided to hang some pictures. As with other things, I have been moving the pictures around the house and setting them on the floor in different places. Next day, I might rearrange a few.

This morning I took one to the sewing room to find a suitable hanging spot. The lamp on the nightstand had dropped its shade.  It was shockingly immodest, like a person dropping their pants and flashing a crowd.

I suppose you can’t expect a lampshade to sit around for seventeen years and maintain its grip. I might try to find some white cloth tape to repair it since the shade looks fine otherwise. Or, I might just buy a replacement.

The first picture I chose to put on a wall was a painting given to us as a wedding present. It was painted by my Sister/Friend Susan’s mother, Eleanor Wachtel. It took me a long time to decide where to put it.  I love the painting and want it to be visible, but there is not much wall space in my parlor. The one wall space facing the door to the room is too big.  The one space across the room from the loveseat in too much in the corner.  I ended up putting the painting on the wall beside the door. I call the painting Eleanor and it was so nice to see her again. She has been gone now for a number of years and we still think of her.  Andy likes to quote her saying, “I’m a cement person” referring to being a New Yorker and not someone accustomed to being in the woods.

Eleanor went to Massachusetts every summer to paint and this is a street scene in Cape Anne.

One of my favorite pieces is one I call “Granddaddy” because he reminds me so much of my Granddaddy Quince Dail. Granddaddy was a farmer and wore overalls. The cow in the background doesn’t fit though; my Granddaddy raised hogs. I wanted to put him where I could see him the most and found the perfect spot next to the sliding glass door to the back.  I could see him from the kitchen sink and “my chair” in the family room.

Sadly, the spot was not so perfect after all.  There was too much glare from the front window and door no matter where I stood to look at him.  So I moved him to the wall between the kitchen and the hall.  No glare or reflections there.

I realized later that I walk by that spot a hundred times a day and get a close, unglared look.

I chose a small spot between doors for my Haida Salmon I bought in Vancouver, British Columbia.  We were living on the boat at the time and Andy asked, “What are you going to do with it?”  My plaintive reply (that he still likes to quote) was, “Someday I’ll have a wall”. Now my someday has come and my fish is on my wall.

Oh to be rich enough to buy more of the First Nations’ art I saw in Alaska and Canada! I find this style fascinating. It is full of symbolism.

I hung a few more, but it got too dark to photograph them today.

My sister Barbara asked me to take some pictures outside the house so she could see and understand the setting better.  This is looking straight out from the front door.

I walked all the way across the street to the far curb to take this picture of our house. We don’t have neighbors on either side yet.

Next, I stood in the middle of the street and took a picture to the right from the house. The house on the far right is two lots over from us.  The one in the distance is the same model as ours.

Then I turned around and took this picture looking left from the house.  There is a pretty wide expanse of empty lots on both sides of the street. The Port-a-Potty is a sign that something will be happening on that lot soon.

They had put four stakes in the ground last week.  Yesterday, they pushed the dirt around.  This morning, they delivered the wood they use to make the forms for pouring concrete. Here is another look.

It won’t be long before houses line the streets one after the other.



Five-Year Cancer Checkup and a Hamburger

On Monday, brother-in-law Tom returned from his family visit near Tarpon Springs.  We picked him up at the car rental office in Belleview on our way to Gainesville. We arrived at Shands Hospital and Dr. Mendenhall’s office right on time

Big surprise!  Nurse Terry was back.  She had moved to another department for a year or so.  We were so happy to see her as she had been a delight during the horrible treatment months. First, she took Andy’s vitals in the open area.

Then we went to an examination room where she went over Andy’s chart.  At one point she said, “You know he is going to stick that hose up your nose today”.

Andy looked at me.

He hates that hose the worst. Dr. Mendenhall arrived with a post-doc for the examination.  First, he felt Andy’s neck.

Then came the nose hose.  Andy was actually very calm and relaxed this time. He reported later that there had been a longer time than usual between the anesthesia spray and the hose insertion and it was not at all uncomfortable.

All was good, as we expected.  Dr. Mendenhall was cheerful as ever.  Now Andy only needs a checkup once per year. Nice going Dr. Bill and Andy!

Then we were off to Alachua and Conestogas Restaurant for those legendary hamburgers. We were so happy to be able to take Tom there.

Here is Tom with his hamburger and half the gigantic baked potato Andy shared with him.  Notice that Tom put the hamburger back on the plate upside down.  I do that too.  It is just easier to handle that way. We got the small hamburgers. Stoagie Junior.

After a fine lunch, we jumped on Interstate 75 to head back to Leesburg.  I decided to make a stop at the rest area on the north side of Paynes Prairie so Tom could see the landscape.  Spanish moss was waving in the breeze on this live oak.

This is a long, elevated walkway to get to the viewing point.

The view was a bit disappointing though.  We could only see a small slice of the enormous prairie/wetland.  The trees in the foreground blocked the otherwise panoramic view.

I have been so busy with moving in and unpacking that I have not been wearing the camera around my neck as I usually do. So, I have not been taking any pictures.  But I did have it with me for the trip to Gainesville and remembered to take a picture of the trellis and jasmine growing in front of the garage wall.  I took the photo from the sidewalk to the front door.

As soon as we were back home, Tom got busy doing little projects.  He installed hand-towel bars in the bathrooms. He and Andy secured Andy’s bookcases to the wall to make them solid and stable. It has all been a blur, so I can’t remember all the things Tom did.  He is amazing. He can’t sit still very long so he went to the garage and organized the boxes. In the evening, we hung pictures in the office.  Andy was so pleased with our decorating.

We drove Tom to the Orlando airport on Wednesday morning for his return trip to Maryland. I’m going to miss that man! Then we stopped at Costco with a grocery list.  We bought a television set. It was not on the list. It will be delivered so we don’t have to worry about fitting it in the car or carrying it into the house.

Even though Tom has gone, I am still spending my days trying to organize the house.  I have made some progress and will try to remember to take some pictures tomorrow. We’ve made several trips to drop off unwanted items at the thrift shop.  Of course, a day does not go by without a trip to the Home Depot or Wal-Mart.

Some Evidence of Progress

I didn’t kill myself trying to work all day today.  It is the Sabbath, after all.  But, we still got some things done.

It is unbelievable how much stuff we have packed into the motorhome.  This morning, we used a roll of kitchen trash bags to carry things into the house.  We carried and carried and carried some more.  Then we quit.  And we have not gotten it all yet. We drove the motorhome to the neighborhood RV storage lot and parked it in a very narrow spot between two others.  I had to try several times before we got it in well enough.

Our other task for the day was to put down the dining room rug so I would stop stumbling over it. I dragged the dining room chairs, the living room chair, and several empty cardboard boxes out-of-the-way and Andy helped me carry the table out.  We unrolled the rug, which is not the same as cutting a rug, and aligned it with the floor tiles. Then we set the table back in place and I put the chairs back in. If you ignore the pictures on the floor, the cleaning supplies on the cart, and the thrift-shop bound cardboard box, the room is beginning to look put together.

Here it is from the foyer. This is the first room with any semblance of orderliness and it is a psychological boost for me. We don’t have a light fixture in yet.

I have been working with Andy to get his library off the floor and on the shelves. I enter the title and author in a spreadsheet and he is putting them on the shelves in alphabetical order. We might be a third of the way through this project.

I usually make the bed very soon after getting up in the morning.  Andy distracted me this morning and I didn’t make it.  That is a sure sign that we’ll have company. I did finish the second half of my bed decoration though. That made me happy!  It is white tulle with gold stars.  The corners are plastic gold things people put around the base of a large candle. They fit neatly over the bedposts and hold the fabric in place. It will be a garland for Christmas.

I was puttering around, carrying things from one room to another when the doorbell rang.  I had to move the living room chair out-of-the-way to open the door.  It was Ted/Fred and Dee Kermode along with their friends and our new neighbors, Brian and Nancy Howard!   Both ex-boating couples have just returned from an RV trip to Alaska.  We had not met the Howards yet but knew they would be here soon. They came in a took a tour of the mess and my unmade bed.  I guess it was not too noticeable with the rest of the chaos.

Here is the status of our bedroom after we carried clothes and other things in from the motorhome.

It sure looks a lot like a college dorm room to me.  

I had a plan for two chairs and a coffee table in the bedroom next to the sliding glass doors.  I put the furniture somewhat in place and told Andy he could sit there to watch the golfers tee off when it gets too cold to sit outside. He loved the idea and said it would be a perfect reading spot too.  Then he suggested a small bookcase in the corner for our pleasure reading.

It will get better one of these days.


Unpacking Boxes, Washing Everything

It’s been ten days since I posted a blog update.  And, it has been a whirl of activity.  I have lost track of the days of the week and the date.

We took two days to drive to Sister Barbara’s house in Maryland. As before, we took a day of rest before moving day. Early Sunday morning, Brother-in-Law Tom, Andy, and I drove to Fairfax, VA to pick up the rental truck and then headed to Daughter Kathy’s house in Vienna. Kathy had already set out our furniture, lamps, and artwork in her living room. It was not too much, so we had it loaded into the truck quickly.  Tom was in charge of draping things with moving blankets and strapping them into place.

Our next stop was son Andrew’s house in Rockville, MD.  They had also set out most of our belongings in their driveway. He had also posted a Facebook picture of it as the status of his yard sale. That is what it looked like.  They had not brought out our china cabinet or bed.  I took the doors off and the glass shelves out of the china cabinet and removed the small drawers.  Then, the guys carried the cabinet out in two pieces. Tom and I disassembled the bed.  Unfortunately, we broke one piece of the canopy.  (Tom glued it back together when we reassembled the bed in Florida.)  Andy ordered a couple pizzas for us and we took a quick break from loading the truck to eat lunch.

Our last stop was Tom’s and sister Barbara’s house in Prince Frederick. Barbara did not have much of our furniture, but she did have some of her own that we loaded into the truck. Their three-car garage is full of “stuff”.  I picked out some tall chairs to set at our kitchen counter and some knickknacks Barbara had used to “stage” houses when she sold real-estate. The best thing I took was nephew Joshua’s bed.  Actually, it was my daughter Jennifer’s bed, since she moved out of the crib. When we sold the house in 2000, we gave her bed to Joshua.

Joshua did more than just sleep in that bed.  He turned it into an alarm clock backup.  He took the bed apart and mounted jacks on the back side.  Then he rigged a system with the alarm clock, I presume, that would lift the bed and dump him on the floor if he had not gotten up when the alarm sounded. I hoped he had the video of it in operation on YouTube but could not find it. Now the bed, without the lifting mechanism, is in my sewing room in this house.  Grandsons Owen and Cam are going to sleep on it when they come to visit. I had a bookcase headboard/nightstand but I did not take it because the room is small.

It was late afternoon before everything was loaded into the truck. We were anxious to get on the road and declined to spend another night at Barbara and Tom’s house.  As soon as we took off, we used the GPS to forecast when we might arrive at Bill Ellis Barbecue in Wilson, NC.  Boo; it was half an hour after they closed. We talked about barbecue all the way down I-95 but did not get any.  You can’t just stop anywhere when you are driving a big ol truck towing a car. Tom and I took turns driving the truck until Andy cried out for bedtime. We found a motel at the next exit off the interstate.

It was nearly dark when we arrived at the house on Monday.  Tom got a mattress out of the truck and slept on it in the guest room. We slept on the family room sofa-bed. We unloaded the truck in about two hours on Tuesday morning. Bring in and setting up beds was the first priority. Then I returned to the job of emptying boxes, washing contents, and finding a place to put things away.

This move was mostly about the dining room and bedroom furniture – and a truckload of odds and ends.  I love dishes and everything else to do with a dining room. I chose this house partly for the separate (mostly) dining room. This picture is weird. Our furniture does not look like that wood. The table top needs some work; I’ll adding refinishing to my to-do list.

We finally have our bedroom furniture back. Tom glued the broken piece of the canopy and it is barely noticeable.  We used the dressers as packing boxes and I had to empty all the drawers before we could put any clothes away.  Then, I vacuumed them with the hand-held. Clothes, boxes, bags, and laundry baskets filled with clothes are all over the place.

Brother-in-Law Tom, who is on vacation, works like a possessed demon.  He decided to stain two bookcases so they would match in Andy’s office.

This chair belonged to Gran Thorn.  It was old when she died maybe twenty years ago (or more). The fabric is at the end of its life.  The foam in the cushion has apparently been dead for some time.  It is crispy. A small tear on the front grew when the Stanly Steemer man was cleaning in and foam crumbs fell out and on the floor.

We took Tom to pick up a rental car and go visit some of his family for a few days.  I’m  not working as hard or as long now that he has gone.  I didn’t want to be a slacker while Tom was running around doing all kinds of things that needed to be done at full speed.  He even rearranged the boxes in the garage according to their contents.

I have been focusing on washing and putting dishes away for several days now.  I honestly don’t know how I accumulated so many sets of china.  I have two sets that I don’t remember ever seeing before. We are going to start using a different set of dishes for every meal.  All the dining room boxes were put in the parlor so we could put the china cabinet and table in the dining room. This room will probably be the last to get straightened out.

When granddaughter Elizabeth’s dresser broke, Andrew and Joanne bought her a new one.  I saw the old one in the garage and asked for it to use as a television stand in the family room. Making some repairs and fixing the paint is on the to-do list.  It already looks great on the opposite wall from the white kitchen cabinets. We don’t have a television yet.

The family room furniture was coated with a fine, brown dust.  It looked dingy and brownish.  After it was steam cleaned, it looks good as new again. I feel so much better now that the furniture and rugs are clean.

We unrolled the rugs when the Stanley Steemer men came to clean them and the upholstered furniture.  The foyer rug from our old house looks great in its new foyer home.

They put the living room, dining room, and guest room rugs outside where they could clean them easily all in one place. The living room rug is still out there because there is no room to put it in the living room. We rolled up the dining room rug and placed it in the foyer where I have tripped over it every time I go in the living room for more dishes, etc.  I even stumbled over it just walking by it to go out the front door.  At that point, Andy said we are going to lay it in the dining room tomorrow.

We are also still moving stuff out of the motorhome.  It is amazing how much we had in there! Andy said we could fill a house just with everything we had in the motorhome. The community only allows motorhomes to be parked in front of a house for a few days to load and unload.  Ours has been there way too long, but we have not had any complaints.

I am tired.

Moving Day

Today, we officially moved into the house. We are leaving for another truckload of furniture on Thursday.  While we are gone, our lease on the RV lot in the Ridgecrest Resort will expire. So today’s adventure was getting the RV ready for the road.  It is always a chore when we’ve been stationary for a long time. All went smoothly.  We hooked up the tow dolly to the motorhome and I drove to the house. Andy followed me in the car. The house looked small with the motorhome taking up the driveway and hanging out into the street.

I pulled Sao up close to the garage to minimize the walking necessary to carry things inside.

We spent the rest of the day moving from the motorhome into the house.  The first task was the food in the refrigerator.  Then the freezer. Next, I attacked the upper cabinets in the salon.  I would fill boxes with food from the cabinets and Andy carried them into the house for me.  Then, I would go inside and put things in the house cabinets. We used two not-too-big boxes so they would not be too heavy.

The biggest chore was my motorhome pantry, which is under the futon-style sofa.  Andy held the seat up just enough for me to take things out while not so high as to open it flat into a bed – with me under it. It’s a tricky proposition. That is where we store our Costco-sized packs of beans, broth, and canned tomatoes. I also store seldom-used pots and pans under there. You know, the monthly birthday cake pan.  The wok.  The sandwich press. It is amazing how much food I had under there. We could easily survive a month on it.  Then, there was also Andy’s emergency supply of maple syrup, five jugs no less.  You’d think we were running a bakery with the four large bottles of vanilla extract.  He puts that in his morning waffle mix and isn’t taking a chance on running out.

Under the kitchen sink was no better.  I had a bottle of every kind of oil I can think of.  That’s what happens when I try a new recipe I’ve seen online and it has some exotic (to me) oil as an ingredient. I also have four or five kinds of vinegar.  Oh, and there’s the olive oil for cooking, the more expensive olive oil for salads and other uncooked dishes. Then there is the bottle I bought at a grocery store in case I ran out of the Costco oil before we got to a Costco. And, let’s not forget my huge jug of coconut oil.  It’s yummy for sauteing chicken, by the way.

However, the pasta is my worst food hoarding sin.  I have two shelves worth.  It’s Publix.  They get me every time with the BOGO (Buy One Get One (free)).  Whenever they have a bin of pasta at the front of the store with the BOGO sign, I toss two in the shopping cart.  There is not a single place where they were stored in the motorhome.  Today I found spaghetti, lasagna, fettuccine, elbows, bow ties, rotini, shells, and even some fancy-bagged “handmade” pasta noodles in five different compartments. And I don’t mean one of each kind either.

In the midst of moving, about lunch time, we went to Subway for sandwiches.  My kitchen is too messy to fix lunch! After a quick stop at Publix for a few items (no pasta this time), we stopped in the community office to get our gate-opening passes for the car and motorhome. This errand took quite a while as there were multiple forms to complete and people coming in and going out with lots of chatter to distract us.

Andy brought our computers, and all their accompanying paraphernalia, inside and set them up in his office.  I guess I should call it THE office.  I even have a desk in here.

All the food is out of the motorhome as well as many other objects we happened to pick up and bring in with the food. Tonight both of us have made several trips to the motorhome to get a forgotten item that we need for the night. I can’t seem to remember two things for one trip.  One trip for the nightgown.  Another trip for my traveling toilet kit with all I need for the night.  Another trip for the phone charger.  Back out there again for my medicines.  Andy made as many trips as I did.I made one last trip – for our pillows.

We don’t have our bed yet.  However, our family room sofa is a hide-a-bed.  I had already laundered some flannel sheets I found in a box. When Andy was ready to go to bed, we opened up the sofa and put the sheets on.  Then,  I made one last trip to the motorhome – for our pillows.


Rick Griffen Came to Visit

Our first errand this morning was to get our auto and motorhome registrations renewed.  I usually do that online, but this time I wanted the paper faster than I would get it through the mail. We got there about ten minutes before the tax collector’s office opened at 0830. There was a long line in the parking lot. I thought we were going to be there for hours.  However, as soon as they unlocked the door, we all filed in to three receptionists who asked what our business was and gave us a number.  We took a seat and were barely settled in when our number was called. It only took a few minutes to pay the fees and get new registration cards.  Now we can get an Arlington Ridge gate pass for our car and park the motorhome in the storage lot.

I needed a day off.  Hours upon hours of dishwashing was killing my back. We sat outside with our coffee and watched golfers.  Andy fell asleep so I went inside to empty one more box.  I just couldn’t stand seeing it sitting there.  That box with the pumpkin suit turned out to be mostly kitchen things. I found a set of adorable, fat pitchers I don’t remember having.  And, at the very bottom of the box, there was a casserole dish I just love.  I had not thought of it in years and it was so nice to unwrap it – like an old friend and a present.  Andy woke up and caught me working.  So I sat back down with another mug of coffee. We sat on the front porch in our rocking chairs and waited for Rick Griffen to show up.

Andy gave Rick a tour of the house with an emphasis on the pile of books in his office. Rick retired very recently and has a similar pile of books at his house. Rick said he felt as though he had been here before, after reading my blog posts. He even approved of the new kitchen table arrangement. We had a great chat in the family room before heading out for lunch.

It was hard to get a picture without too much of the clean and dirty piles of stuff on the kitchen counter.

I have been wanting to try La Palma Mexican restaurant a bit north of here and Rick said he likes Mexican food too.  The decision was made and off we went.  It was delicious and all three of us enjoyed our meals.  There are dozens of Mexican restaurants in the area, but I see no need of checking out any more of them.

The waitress took our picture but we all turned out as silhouettes. A bit of Photoshop did not improve the picture much. At least we are identifiable now.

Next, we gave Rick the tour of our Village Green – cafe, bar, pool hall, banquet hall, movie theatre, craft room, library, card/game room, library, and swimming pools.  We skipped the exercise room and gym for fear of working up a sweat.

I so much enjoyed Rick’s visit.  It was fun to hear him and Andy talk about work and the people they both knew.  He also had some great stories to tell. I hope he comes back for another visit before too long.  We had an oil change appointment for the RAV4 and Rick had a long drive back to Jacksonville, Florida, where he is attending the Shock And Vibration Symposium this week.  I sure miss going to those.  Andy always attended the technical sessions and presented a paper, but I went sightseeing with the spouses. Great fun.

I took one last picture of Andy and Rick just before we left the house.

It was a very fine day off. Thank you, Rick!


Kithen Table

Every day is the same.  Get up.  Go to the house.  Clear the kitchen counter of yesterday’s hand-washed dishes. Unload dishwasher. Unpack boxes.  Wash contents by hand or put in the dishwasher.  Put fabric items in the laundry. Repeat.  All day.  I am down to one box in the kitchen.  It does not look like kitchen stuff.  The top item was daughter Jennifer’s Jack O’Lantern Halloween costume from when she was small. It would fit her children now.

I carry things from room to room. It seems that no box is dedicated to just one room. When I get to the proper room, I see something there that needs to go to another room.  Repeat.  All day.

Today, I opened a box labeled “baby linens” in the guest room.  Time for mom to pause and wistfully fondle the yellow crocheted blanket.  There was the small quilt with appliqued animals.  And two bath towels with a corner, animal head, hood. I miss my babies and am a bit annoyed with them for growing up.

I made spaghetti for dinner with a frozen container of sauce.  It was a struggle.  I didn’t have a proper colander and dumped the pasta into the sink.  Fortunately, I had cleaned the sink before I cooked.  We found an assortment of utensils to scoop it out of the sink and into the pasta bowls. I didn’t have a ladle to serve the sauce – or even a large spoon. When we finished eating, I decided to turn the table.  Literally. It seemed a bit awkward the way it was so we turned it forty-five degrees with one end close to the center window.  Now it feels spacious coming from the family room side,

and also spacious approaching from the kitchen side of the counter.  We can move it out if we need to seat more than three, but it is very heavy. The marble-topped cart is still unobstructed.  It is a little unorthodox and the table is not centered under the light fixture.  I’ll live with it a while and see how I like it.  Andy is delighted with it; he has a great view of the fourteenth tee from his seat.

There’s another project for me.  The table and chair legs have yellowed.  That job is probably going to be way down on the list of things to do.

I saw an odd box in the garage and knew exactly what was inside, without remembering how it got in there. I tried to carry it back into the house but was locked out. I opened the garage door and got back in the house through the front door.  I took it into Andy’s office and he opened it.  He remembered that the swordfish carving had been broken and didn’t think we still had it. Neither of us remembered that we had it repaired at Buck Woodcraft in Marathon years ago. The box had “Buck Woodcraft” packing tape on it.  We set it on the corner of Andy’s desk and I forgot to take a picture of it.

I’m tired.  We are going to take it easy tomorrow.  Going to the motor vehicle office to get new registrations for the car and motorhome at 0830.  Then Rick Griffen, a work associate of Andy’s is coming to visit late morning.  Then we need to take the car in for an oil change at 1600.  That leaves precious little time to empty boxes or wash stuff. Oh darn.