Sunday, October 6, 2019

HappyFirst Fall

We are enjoying the first signs of Michigan Autumn.   Typically this spell won't last too long and we will have more warm weather before Autumn comes in earnest with its first frosts.  But right now it is chilly, in the 40s and 50s, and the leaves are turning.  Acorns and nuts are falling like crazy . . . yup, it's nuts.

And the chipmunks are very bold, scolding me loudly when I come near them, but not giving ground.   It is clear to them that this is THEIR property and they seem confident that they can hold every inch.   Perhaps because there are so many of them . . . my husband is threatening to change that balance.   I am conflicted about it because they ARE so cute.

It is the beginning of one of our most beautiful seasons, and we are enjoying the fireplace in our new house.

My surgeon's appointment is a month away; apparently that is what they call 'expedited.'   I do not know the man or anything about him and my family is challenging me to find someone who can take me sooner.   I am working on a note to my doctor to ask why he chose this surgeon and whether he has a good reason why I should not look elsewhere.   Meanwhile, I am getting closer and closer to getting my Saginaw house done, which is still my main focus and will be a great relief to have finished.  My son, beloved DIL and grandson moved a whole load to the new house for me yesterday, and the progress is more and more evident.    Doing a happy dance!  :)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Ups and Downs

I have been busy cleaning, packing, sorting and stacking at my Saginaw house.  I have done several things to get the house ready to sell -- I painted the interior, as well as the shed door.   I reglazed the tub, put in a new kitchen sink and the new basement floor goes in today.   I had a new porch put on and caught up on the maintenance that had slipped -- I had the windows washed, the carpets cleaned, and the furnace inspected.    I have moved countless loads of belongings in my little Suburu Impreza, and I have dozens of bags lined up to be moved.   

I am SO CLOSE to being done; a couple of strong people and a small truck could finish the job in half a day.  But the people-for-hire are backed up almost a month, and my hurting right shoulder has turned me into a pretty pathetic worker, with a limited load limit and forcing me to work mostly with my non-dominant left arm.    That darn right arm is so much better than it was, but it is still hurting.  

As I think I mentioned in my last post, my doctor ordered an MRI of my shoulder last week and and the results arrived yesterday evening.  They were not what I hoped for.  The report says:

“8 millimeter full-thickness tear in the anterior half of the supraspinatus tendon. Recommend immediate referral to Orthopedic surgery to be evaluated for surgical repair as the ruptured stump is already retracting and there is mild atrophy of the supraspinatus muscle.

Additionally, there is a partial thickness tear of the biceps tendon, moderate acromioclavicular joint arthritis and mild subacromial bursitis.”

My doctor will be referring me to a surgeon near my new house who works at our local hospital.  Since I am the only driver, I don't have the luxury of hospital-shopping to choose the one that is best for this particular surgery.  According to Doctor Internet, I will not be able to drive for 6 to 12 weeks if they do, in fact, decide to do the surgery.  This is bad new all around - for my husband and his son, for my kids and grandkids, and for my ill brother.  And for me, sine there will be physical therapy and follow up appointments.   Choosing a hospital that is only a couple of miles away is a practical decision.   

On the plus side, at least I wasn't complaining about nothing!  On the Big Baby side, now that I know it is really injured, it seems to hurt more.   Which is just too bad so I'll need to shake it off.   My kids are tied up with work and school activities every day; in fact, they rely on me to help get it all done.   My husband thinks I should stop driving and working on my house now that I have the diagnosis, but in my view nothing has changed until I meet with the surgeon.  After all, s/he might decide that surgery isn't an option and I might just need to adjust.    And no one (except my husband) has told me to stop what I'm doing.   So right now it's business as usual and I have work to do.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Our Escape, Continued

We are enjoying indulgence after indulgence on our little getaway.   I am trying hard to put out of my mind all the work that is waiting for me back at home!

Ludington is small, a lakeside city, and easily walkable.    It was a logging town back in 'the day.'   Originally named Pere Marquette, after the Jesuit explorer who died there in 1675.  In 1871 it was renamed after James Ludington, who owned the lumber operation, and incorporated as a city in 1873.

There are a variety of Bed and Breakfasts.   They all look pretty gaudy and over decorated on line, but I check them for reservations every time we come here.   This is pretty much always a last minute, unplanned trip for us, so they are always full, as they were this time.    Last year we discovered the very low key Stearns Hotel.    It opened in 1903, and must have been elegant in its time.   

It is still clean and quirky, with a 24-hour reception desk, ridiculously low prices, and hand lettered numbers on the room doors.  It is my husband's favorite hotel, so he was happy when the B and B's fell through again.  From here, we are less than 2 miles from the lake and within walking distance from all the shops and restaurants.

We wandered around yesterday, window shopping.   On our way, we found a small farmers' market, not very crowded, with tomatoes and sunflowers.

We met a lady who was there for her last day, selling lavender cookies that she made herself.    And oh yes we did.  The cookies were an almond shortbread with lavender buds added.   I really liked them; my husband avoids sugar and he was less impressed.

We sat on a bench by the lake.

We window shopped, except when I accidentally bought things, like this sweatshirt that was on 50% clearance since it is the end of the season.

We stumbled onto a wine and cheese tasting where we were offered glasses of 7 different wines from different areas and countries.   And then we really stumbled back to the hotel, after buying two bottles of our favorite.

Today, while it was still mild, in  the mid-70's, it was windy and quite cool.    Lake Michigan took on a different mood and we enjoyed watching the waves, the one brave wind-sailor, and the pretty Brides who were having photos taken.

Since it wasn't as pleasant outdoors, we took the 14 mile drive the the Pig Patch Farm Quilt Shop in nearby Custer.  It's the only quilt shop in the area and as cute as can be.

I had a mental list of things I actually wanted to buy -- those mental lists are always a mistake for me -- so I came away without my intended purchases.   Instead, I picked up a yard of each of these -- the music fabric because it included a bass clef, which is rare, and the other fabric for no reason that has yet been revealed to me.

Tomorrow we head home so we're on our way back out to make the most of what's left of the day.  From the looks of the sky, we are likely to have rain on our way back, which won't be much fun for driving, but will suit our moods as we return to the chores we left behind, lol.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Taking a Break

My hubs and I took an unexpected and probably ill timed break this weekend.   Except for family events, we have not been away alone since our marriage, so it was also over-due.   He still insists that we will have a Real Honeymoon sometime down the road, but I've never had one so I guess I don't feel the lack.      A weekend in Ludington, Michigan was just what the doctor ordered, even though it will mean that we will feel more frantically behind when we return home on Sunday.   

Ludington is only two hours away from home, and we always bemoan that we don't get here more regularly.  We chose a beautiful weekend to slip away.  The sky is a bright blue.   There are no crowds now that kids are back at school, but the little shops are still open and Lake Michigan is a beautiful as ever.   It is one of our favorite lakes, with sandy beaches and dunes; a wonderful place for star watching after dark.

We started out the day with a decadent breakfast at one of our favorite places, Brenda's Harbor Cafe, where Brenda herself took our order.  And then on to the beach, where tensions floated away in the peaceful setting.

It is good to get away.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

On The Move

It is still happening slowly, but I'm more and more certain that it is happening!    I hired movers  to transfer my larger items to the new house this week.  I am still going back to Saginaw every day to sort and organize what is left.  I have a few more repairs or improvements to do, and a whole lot of clutter to donate, but the end seems to be in sight.    Jack (even Jack) has moved a few boxes into the new house (trying to claim some space before I fill it all!) and we are definitely making progress!   He is afraid that, if we start sleeping there, we will just stay there, abandon our 'old' houses and never get them done and on the market.  My DIL thinks he might be right.  Sigh.
But I can say at this point that my work on the first of approximately 10 areas of the old house is pretty much finished -- I just need a little help replacing the drapes because . . . wait for it . . . the doctor says I have a tear in my rotator cuff.  Seriously, worst timing ever.     But it is getting better and I am being careful to only move things that I can carry (mostly) with my other arm.    Slow moving, but still moving!  Sigh.
And the new house is slowly becoming livable, and functional, if not ideal.   (For instance, at the moment, we have several lamps but no tables to place them on, lol.)  Once Jack's furniture has been added to the mix, we will decide together what to keep and what to replace.  Fortunately, we both like an eclectic style and plan to live with what we have for a bit before making any 'spendy' decisions.
 As I sort through boxes, there have been many little trips down Memory Lane, and I expect there will be more.    I found the fairy houses that my Grandchildren and I built several summers ago, along with lots of bits of their artwork from those days.   They have grown up so much, but they have enjoyed thinking back to all our fun and sometimes silly projects.

So, as they supposedly used to say back in my day (although I never heard anyone say it), we just Keep On Keeping On.      If our fortunes from tonight's dinner are valid predictors, and who could doubt?, we are right on track.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

I Love Surprises!

I thought my day was over but to my surprise, I had a sweet note and unexpected housewarming gift waiting in my 'new' mailbox!    What a lovely gift for me and my mister at the end of a busy day.  I'll need to find my iron, which is buried in the pile of moveable items  at one of the houses so I can give it a quick press before I hang it in a place of honor at the new house --but where?   The entry?  The kitchen?   The hall?   For sure someplace where I will see it many times every day,   Thank you so much for thinking of us, Barb, and for your kind wishes and your hours of work on this charming little quilt.  I love it.


And so,  I wrote this and then I fell asleep for 13 hours.     Good grief.   Lots to do today and it's nearly 9:00 am.  Time to get busy!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Moving Into Fall

It is chilly and damp here this morning, jeans and wool shirt weather, but it will no doubt warm up this afternoon.   I am at the 'new house' waiting for the delivery of a bed base and mattress for our guest room.  From here I will go on to other errands, a routine blood test, the Saginaw County Clerk's office where I will file a marriage license from a wedding I did this weekend, a few stores to stop by, a visit to "my (Saginaw) house" where I will (again) load my car with small moveable items, and then, finally, the first after-school pick up of my grandson.   School started today and it will be a challenging one for the adults in our family, because the Grands go to different schools, and the nearest bus stop for my grandson is uncomfortably far away given recent tensions in the city. It will be even more challenging next year when my granddaughter's school will be on the other side of the city.   I anticipate doing a lot of driving for the next couple of years, until the kids are of driving age, even after I sell my house there.  Oh well, if the past is a good predictor, the years will fly by.

After my tasks are done, I will come back to the 'new house' to pick up the mail, which comes late in the day here, and then back to "Jack's house" to check in with him and hopefully share a meal.

I will be glad when we have a couch and a table at the new house, but I sort of regret that we have to move anything else in.   I like the way it looks, empty and spare.

My aches and pains are getting a little better, I think, although they are not gone.   I badly wrenched my arm a few weeks ago and it has held me back from some of the work I'd like to do.    It hurt badly enough to wake me at night; it was very painful to extend it in any direction.   But then last week, when Jack and I were working in the garage, I lost my balance and he instinctively grabbed my right, injured, hand to help me steady myself.   Oh. My. Gosh.   The pain was stomach-wrenching.    But as soon as he let go, I could tell that the arm was able to work more smoothly.    It still hurts like heck, but I can move it more normally now and I am hoping it is truly on the mend.   If not, I have a routine doctor's appointment next week, and he can have a go at it.  Every once in awhile, I move or  hit it just wrong, and then I know it's break time because the arm needs some rest.    Old limbs are big babies, and hard to get used to.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Acorns Keep Falling On My Head

I have been sweeping acorns off the back deck of the new house.  Again.   By the end of the "yard waste pick up season," I will have more than filled the huge container that the City supplies.   I'm glad that an automated truck picks up the bins because that many acorns are going to be heavy!  As I sweep, I set aside as many intact acorns as I feel like picking up to save for winter feed for squirrels and other seed eaters that run into a rough winter.    It's a much smaller number than I throw away because I don't know whether the ones with cracks and holes would spoil the bunch so those are discarded.  Still, until I find a covered bucket to hold them are, there are jars and jars of them, and after we put them out in cold weather, they are always gone by spring.    Despite my best efforts, it is obvious that thousands of baby oaks will be trying to find a root-hold when warm weather comes next year.  The former owners told us this was a "completely low maintenance yard," so they clearly had more grit than I do.   Oh my Achey Breaky Back.   (See how I've sneaked two subliminal songs in there already?    I owe musical, can't get out of your head, ear-worms to a few people!)

The sounds out here on the deck while I am sweeping is one of my favorite things here.   The trees that surround us -- lots of oaks, obviously, rustle in the slightest breeze.  It is such a pleasant sound, very soothing for me.  Even though we are reminded daily that this house is way too big, and way too much work to have made sense for us, we still love it.   I suspect we will love it even more when we have some furniture moved in!   Mid September can't come soon enough for me.  Although we may be months away from Jack's furniture moving in, once mine is here, we will at least have a bed, cozy seating and cookware.   What more could we need?  

Because I am a responsible  home owner, I test out the new mattress every day after I work at the new house -- this is the view from where I am lying,

and the view above my head.    I think there will be few late sleep-ins in this house!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Nothing Much To Show

Here are the phots I tried to post yesterday.  The front of the house and the views of the back yard from the deck and 3-season room at the back of the house.  No inside shots until Stage One of the furniture is moved on the 9th!:

Monday, August 26, 2019

Picking Up Speed

Things in the moving "business" are starting to roll now, like a snowball racing down hill.  I've been working on sorting, packing and moving smaller things from my house, but not in any rush because I knew that I had plenty of time.   But after months of constant wait-wait-wait,  my painters called a couple days ago to say that they'd finished early on their last big job and that 4 of them could start on my Saginaw house this Monday, 8 a.m.   The owner is going to be out of town on a vacation this week and had offered his crews time off, but some of them preferred to keep working, which worked to my time advantage.   I'll  feel comfortable leaving them on their own for the most part because I "know" the guys from their previous jobs painting our new house and building me a new porch, and we've been happy with their work.

I already had movers scheduled for September 9,  which was intended to be complete before the painting was originally scheduled, but the movers are fully booked now and can't move the moving date up.  The plan was to have a fairly empty house for the painters, but best laid plans and all.  So last night I spent the night there and got to work taking down drapes, filling my little Suburu (again) with whatever I could fit, and moving things to the center of each room --  this process isn't going to be pretty, but it sure will be good to have it done!

This morning after the painters arrived (a bit later than when their boss is here!) and I got them settled, I ran to stores to make returns and then drove to the new house to unload the stuff I'd squeezed into my car.   I left a house key with the painters so they can close up when their day is done and I will do it all again tomorrow: Go to my old house, pack a load into my car, check on the progress, and then drive to the new place and unload.   Every inch of my body aches already, and I don't see anything changing for a few weeks, so there's no point in whining about it.   (whine)   It is all taking a toll on my body -- my arm has a bruise I can't explain, and my back and right arm hurt like hecky wecky -- but I am guessing it is just the protest of my flabby muscles, so I intend to muscle on.

Meanwhile, I am shredding our budget by picking up all the little insignificant things for our new house -- when you buy them all at once, little things like shower curtains, toilet brushes, curtain rods and such add up to a scary sounding number.   Moving is never any fun, but it seems even less fun as I get older.

So far I keep forgetting to take photos,  but I'll add that to my list.    All I have so far are a few of the new house and one of the new porch at the old house, but the only photo that will load today is this one.   I call it New Kitchen With Sunflowers and Bananas.   Stay tuned for further clutter.  

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Busy Hands Are Happy Hands, but we could use a break!

It has been another busy month.   We had turkeys, a hen and two young ones, in the back yard of my husband's "old"  house much of this month and that has been delightful.  They show up early in the morning and that's been perfect since we are up late at night and up again early each morning for appointments involving work and repair estimates for all three houses.    The turkeys have been our consolation prize for feeling a little overwhelmed!

Friday, July 26 -- We got the keys to our new house a week ago exactly, finally!, but then began the endless parade of estimates from painters.  My husband and I have always done our own painting but we promised each other that this time, hopefully the last time for a move, we would hire the work out.   He is a stickler for getting what seems like a MILLION estimates, so no actual painting has begun, which has made me a little crazy.   Since I can't move furniture in, or hang pictures, I've contented myself so far with buying the new washer and dryer (to be delivered next wednesday) and three Christmas trees (since I know where they will be stored and that area doesn't need painting.   (this last act horrified my husband, who has not had a Christmas tree in decades, and I refuse to comfort him with the fact that two of them are very small.  Hopefully he'll figure out that I could be otherwise distracted if the painting could get done so we could move in!)

The only other things I've moved in are the matched pair of duck decoys my brother made us as a wedding gift.   They are buffleheads -- did he intend a hidden message there??   And Jack played the bagpipes out in the back yard.   Both of us  seem to be finding our way to make the home our own even before we can live there.  Oh, and a coffee pot.  That goes without saying, and we have enjoyed drinking coffee in our empty rooms while we wait for painters to arrive.

But wait -- Do you hear the trumpets, the choir of angels?????    My husband just chose a painter!!!!!   He starts early next Monday!!

Saturday -- There were no early morning appointments today for a change and my husband let me sleep in, sneaking out of the room early, turning off alarms, and taking devices with him.   Good grief, it was nearly noon when I finally woke up,  both rested and horrified.   That meant I needed to fit lots of errands into half a day, so it was a mixed blessing.  But I got a few things done, including some cooking and household chores and errands.  Guilt work, mostly.

Tomorrow I hope to get back to the New House to start removing wall  plates and finalizing paint color decisions.   We missed the early summer flowers there so I am not sure what plantings we have, but it will be fun to observe.  We have a few pretties now, though, and lots of towering trees.  I bought my husband a surprise hammock that will arrive next week so he can better study those trees!

There will no doubt be lots more photos to come as we explore and take breaks at our new abode.   There is lots of work to be done before we are there full time, but my true goal is to get to the point where we can just be lazy there.  :)

Saturday, June 22, 2019

The Slow Slide Into Summer

The weather continues to be unseasonable.    Yesterday was in the 50's, today the mid-70's, and nights have temps as low as the 40's.   As my Grands point out, no swimming weather yet because we haven't had the string of warmth necessary to take the chill off their pool.   I absolutely agree with them, even though I grew up swimming in the St. Clair River, a shipping channel that never gets warm.   Those cold weather days are behind me.

It is probably just as well, because I seriously need to get packing now that WE'VE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!  We don't get occupancy until July 20, so we wonder from time to time whether we found a house we love or whether we just got worn down after more than a year of looking.   It definitely has aspects about it that were on our NEVER AGAIN* list, and is lacking qualities that were on our MUST HAVE** list, but we were won over before we even walked inside by the trilliums in the front yard and the huge bleeding heart plant and small creek in the back.   We had given up our dream of a county home because Jack can't drive since his stroke and we felt we needed to have some city-type services within walking distance.   This house is smack dab within the city limits, but has a very country feel.   And when we met the sellers at closing, they remarked that they've had deer and turkeys raising their families every year in their back yard by the creek, a definite bonus for us!   

My sewing and cooking mojos ebb and flow.   After grabbing restaurant food all week, I cooked two meals today.  I've recently sewed thank you gifts for a few people who have helped us this summer, but lots more gets added to my list than gets done.   I am hoping that once I am in a single kitchen and single sewing room, rather than dividing time between two houses, that I will get my mojo back.

We have been working at some Together Time, too, and just got back from a short trip to Washington D.C.   We traveled by train, as Jack prefers to do.  His daughter lives there so visiting her was the highlight of the trip.    And we ate Oh-So-Very well!   

The only 'touristy" thing we did was to visit Jon Stewart's Presidential Twitter Library, a two-day exhibit of Trump's tweets up to this point.   The premise is that, since he has stated that he doesn't keep a diary, his tweet's will be what is left to historians when he leaves office.   It was interested and disturbing and largely presented without comment.   One hysterical political dig that apparently they couldn't resist was to have name tags for visitors automatically generated so that we would know what the president would call us if he ever tweets about us.  In keeping with Trump's pattern of giving women physical insults and men insults about their character,  I was "Bowlegged Gail" and my husband was "Aimless Jack."

I also spend time whenever I can with my busy Grandchildren.   This week I took them to a "Drawing Class" as a local museum, which was fun for all of us.   We were told to draw either a head, a torso, or hip and legs, and then the 'teachers' randomly assembled them.   

Fun.  The teachers pulled my 12-year-old Granddaughter aside to encourage her to pursue art; no question, the girl loves to draw!  But I also love my Grandson's more subtle style, especially his kilted legs.  :)

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Blooming Slow Start To Spring

The days have been (mostly) beautiful this week.   Sunny and almost warm.   I had to laugh as I was taking my walk this evening -- there were people jogging in shorts and tank tops, while I had on my mid-winter coats, hands deep in my pockets for warmth, with a short neck gaiter and wishing I'd brought another to cover my ears!  I thought the joggers were crazy and no doubt they thought the same of me but in my defense, there IS a frost warning for tonight.

Still, despite the too-chilly weather, my grandkids' Youth Orchestra had their Spring concert last weekend,   I am so very proud of those kids; the orchestra is pretty amazing.

I drove north to visit my brother again this week, he is always so glad to see me, although he tires of it pretty quickly.   My sweet husband made him a shirt -- Jack sews everything, so far, out of fleece, and he saw this fabric covered with lake fish and thought of my brother, who has always been an avid fisherman.   These days my brother is always cold, so he appreciated the fleece and put it right on.  My brother is coming to the end of re-habbing yet another house, and he hopes to have this one done before he dies.   He has done the hard work -- even curing his own wood to reside it the same way as was done when it was originally built -- so now it's just finish work.   The carpet was being put in today but I probably won't get to see it until afterour Illinois trip.

We saw 3 houses today, none made us fall in love.   It is almost a game now, although not all that much fun.

In the sewing world, not a lot has gotten done, but I did finish another celtic heart -- I am hoping to make several of these for my sisters in law.    Lots to do, new things on my list all the time.   Taking one step at a time!