Jan 13, 2017

home happenings

In my post in late December, I mentioned that Charles was working on a forced bathroom repair situation complete with leaky and leaning toilet and disintegrating particle board in the master bathroom.  The project was finally completed on Friday January 6th--woohoo!  I've got some before and after type pictures to share.

You can see Charles down on his back in the crawl space with the flooring cut away that was under the ruined flooring.  He got it all filled in and then discovered that particle board was just flaking away when the two courses of vinyl flooring were removed.  (DJ had just put one layer down over the existing flooring while my bathroom went down to the bare flooring).  He had to cut out about a 24 x 30 some section total.  Thankfully we had the two varying thicknesses of plywood on hand for the initial placement and no more lumber was required.  Just lots of that mud stuff and sanding.

In order to remove the leaky toilet, the curved counter top over the stool had to be removed.  Here you see the sink's residence while the work was ongoing.

In this picture Charles was getting ready to cut down the existing counter top over the vanity from the top side.  You may be able to see how it narrows where he has his left hand placed.  We were able to salvage the trim for the cutaway and re-use it.  I am not fond of this counter (UGH it is in the kitchen and my bathroom too) but it did save money to NOT replace it.

How it looks now.  New bathroom accessories and door pulls.  The wall paper border we applied to covers the tears to the paper when the counter came out.  Charles idea there so we would not have to strip off the rest of the wall paper or paint. It brightens the room up and matches the existing drape in there.  The vanity also got a new coat of stain to freshen it up.

He also tried to cut down the full size mirror that had been in place.  That didn't work out so well.  A friend saw a comment I had made of facebook and suggested a place near here that can cut hers down and then she used molding and rosettes on the corners to give it new life.  Too late for mine but we are talking about updating mine next.  THX Brenda for the suggestion!  We picked out this mirror from Lowe's---our home away from home lately!!--when the plan did not work out.

Charles is a retired master electrician so it was a piece of cake for him to move the electrical box over a bit to center the new light fixture over the sink.  The problem was that it did make a larger hole.  I thought we would have to get a different fixture with a bar like base but he suggested using a ceiling medallion, painting it and using it behind the round light base.  I didn't get what he wanted me to do with two different colors of spray paint as it was not working to try to spray on the darker color on lightly.   It was either one color or the other.  He finally told me to spray some of the darker paint on paper plate and then daub it on the high spots.  LOL, I finally "got" that he wanted me to use like a stenciling, pouncing technique to sort of antique it.  In person it looks good with the light globes we picked out.  The lighting is much brighter in there now especially with one bulb not hiding behind the medicine cabinet.

Finally the new toilet made it into the house on Friday morning, once the flooring was completed.

And here it is in place along with all new quarter round and the shelving above the stool for a bit more storage space.  We got a chair height one so it is easier on the knees as several of my friend's were suggesting.  One of them asked me the other day what I thought of it and I haven't used it yet!!  I have always thought that one secret to a good relationship is never having to share a bathroom with your spouse or significant other if you can help it!  I bought a baker's dozen more of the tile so we can use what remains in my bathroom down the line.

In between tasks and waiting for glue to dry for the umpteenth time, he put a small ceiling fan up in the laundry room.  I tried to do what I could to help mostly being the ground guy and holding the flashlight, LOL,  That and pick up the stuff that got dropped.

Earlier THIS week he corrected an long time electrical situation in my living room.  For almost 20 years there have been light switches that turned on nothing. From the hallway and the kitchen I had to cross the living room to turn on any light source.  Well, that was like waving a red flag in front of a bull or at least throwing down a challenge to the electrician to solve this mystery.  We picked up some of his electrical tracing equipment from his home shop and he was off and running.  The problem was in the wiring to the ceiling fan and he took the thing down to wire it correctly.  I can turn on the living room ceiling light in three places---hallway, living room and kitchen.  I can turn on the fan on its own switch--not the speed, I still have to reach up on my tiptoes for that part--but off and on works great.  There is one remaining mystery switch in the kitchen and that's challenge for another day, he said.   I have been happily flipping switches since he fixed it.  Woohoo!  Doesn't take much to make ME happy, LOL.

We had some raining and cold weather recently along with some ice and freezing rain/sleet stuff a week ago Friday.  Enough that they preemptively cancelled school on Thursday.  In light of the cold weather he couldn't work out in the shed or set up on the sawhorses on the patio.   I told him he could work on our chain saw here in the house if he protected the table. Here he is working on the primer pump and tubing which had disintegrated out in the shed. ( He took a small engine repair class after he retired.)  It is still not completely fixed but it did take off some limbs on the large crepe myrtle tree yesterday!  He borrowed his son's temperamental chain saw to get the last of the holly bush limbs down.  I helped haul off the sections to the burn pile and did some of the go-fer stuff.

Wedding plans are still in a stall pattern.  That recent ice deal cancelled church on Sunday but mostly it is because of the pastor's wife's continued health concerns (recent transplant).  We went at the appointed time but found a note on the door.  He had lost Charles' phone number and we didn't have his cell number so we were not making connections.  I think that is resolved thanks to one of church members/usher/deacon that was at the church today helping the missus set-up for a baby shower. We'll try again this Sunday.  I should be writing down some of my questions and get my nose back in my Weddings for Dummies book.  At this writing we are 43 days away for the big day---yep, the calendar is marked and we're counting!

I haven't mentioned the critters.  Oscar is back to wearing his belly band as he has been peeing on everything lately but especially since we were gone on that 2nd trip to Gulf Shores.  Charles is always asking him "where is your diaper?" as Oscar shimmies out of it when he crawls under the bed.  Skyler just gets more clingy but especially at night when Oscar has gone to bed.

Guess that is it for now---he is asking me if I am writing a book, LOL.  Maybe but that is what I get for not blogging for over 10 days.  Lots going on but I CAN take a hint.  Tomorrow the grandkids are coming for a bit so Mama can go shopping.  Decent weather means they are all going to the park and burn off some of that energy!  Till next time---------

Quilt Delivery

Bama Belles met earlier in the week and Lois' had recently asked me how many quilts I wanted.   She had 19 that she had been holding that I did not room for at home.  I knew that I needed to get the master bedroom closet emptied out to make room for Charles' things.  There were a bunch in there, some dating back to 2014!  I took my notebook to the meeting along with my camera to work on the numbering and documentation that will be needed for Wrap Them In Love headquarters.

 I kept 4 out for any immediate need and still had 81 quilts, if I counted correctly and then made a call to the Talladega Presbyterian Home for Children to arrange a delivery time.  Charles and I loaded up the van and went down late Wednesday morning to facility's administration office.  LOL, they were watching for us to pull up and three of the women came out to haul these into the conference room.

Here are some of the more recent additions to the 81---I'll add as many as I can but Lois had made 4 Pineapple Blossom quilts and they do look a good bit similar unless you look at the borders and/or binding.

I somehow missed getting two pictures taken and had to have Charles hold two of them up in the hallway.  So this one is wearing tennis shoes and if you look closely a nosy kitty's backside and tail, LOL.

Dec 26, 2016

Long time, no post

I know it has been forever and a day since I last posted.  I thought I kept busy before but my life is  proving to be not only busier but so much better with Charles in my life.  With him, everyday is a surprise or adventure.  How blessed I am!

A good bit has been happening.  Over Veteran's Day weekend Charles and I traveled up to central IL so he could meet my family. As I said previously, between winter weather possibilities in late February and the distance away from family I do not expect them to be here for the nuptials.  I felt they needed to at least see and talk to the fellow who has swept me off my feet.   We arrived on Friday evening and Saturday met my sister Diane at Schooner's for king tenderloin sandwiches and those famous onion rings.  I also took him all over Bloomington-Normal to show him all the places I had lived and worked.  Sunday my brother Phil and wife Jen hosted us all at their home.  All but one sister was there and even a few of the nieces as well along with two of the great-granddaughters.  Charles is still talking about what good cooks we have in our family and raving about Karen's (Jen's mom) cherry pies.  Always good to spend time with my family.

Originally we had planned on stopping on the way back at brother Steve's Tennessee home as he was still recuperating from his double major surgeries in October.  As my parents, Charlie and I were visiting Saturday evening, the family room room door opened and there he stood with wife Jan right behind him saying "I hear there is a party going on".   I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.  We had visited him at Vanderbilt in mid-October right before his discharge home but this was so special to have him with the family after we almost lost him--twice.

Thanksgiving was celebrated twice in one day with my instant, soon to be acquired family.  Charlie's youngest sister Penny hosted his family gathering in Lincoln, AL.  Later in the day we had been invited to join his daughter-in-law's family near Lineville, AL, a county or so away.   Below is a picture of us in Penny's back yard.  The two guys are Charles' sons--Brian on his right with his wife Melissa and her two daughters Raleigh and Graclyn. Missing are the oldest daughter and her two sons.  Jeff is on his left with wife Michelle.  Charles is holding Abby, the twincesses Emma and Araya are in front of me and Michelle while Zeke is standing in front of Gramps.  Jeff has an older boy in high school but Trenton lives in Kentucky with his mom.  I have met him though when he visited last summer.

Abby and I--Charlie's two best girls,  I'm told

Right after Thanksgiving my sister Diane and brother-in-law Rick headed down to Gulf Shores from Illinois.  They had rented a condo at Crystal Shores right on beach till the following Saturday and invited Charlie and I to come down while they were there.  However, we left on Sunday November 27th to go visit his sister and brother-in-law near Destin, FL.  She was the only sibling I had not yet met and Gulf Shores was about a two hour drive to the west of there.  It seemed like a good opportunity to visit with them.  Danny and Ellen both work at the Sandestin Resort and took us over there after supper to look at the lights and stroll around the lagoon and park like area.  This oversized chair, below, reminded me of the old "Edith Ann" skit by Lily Tomlin on Laugh-In.  Ellen is such a stitch and I think I laughed until my sides ached!  Their neighbor had come by and he was kind of egging her on.  I was warned that the situation would be similar if Ellen and Gary their brother who is closest to her in age get together.

We got to Gulf Shores Monday afternoon and started the return trip on Thursday December 1st that week. We strolled along the beach trying to avoid the jelly fish--ugh there! I love the water though it was a bit cool and windy.  There were storms coming in so one day we did have some rain.  Charlie and I went souvenir shopping and out to lunch that day so we avoided most of it.  The four of us did a nature walk at the state park one day as well.  Fun times!  Diane and I worked on the wedding invitation/announcement thing we planned to send out and talked about some of the wedding details.  She is going to be my matron of honor, after all.  Diane took this picture after we left, LOL.

We have had the grandkids take turns staying overnight with us though Abby has been here a bit more than the others because she is not in school yet.  She and Gramps are tight though since she was born after he had retired and his wife and mother-in-law had passed away.  We've also been on grandparent detail as Michelle had Christmas shopping to do.   Brian and his family live just down the road from me about a mile or so.  Charlie had been living with his son Jeff and his family about 33 miles from here in a small apartment in their home.  We are usually back and forth from there once or twice a week, sometimes more, especially now that we are gradually moving his things to the house.

I had two Christmas parties on the same day for my two Tuesday quilt groups but missed the JOY meeting due to the return trip from Gulf Shores.  I've gone to see Trolls, Dr. Strange and Rogue One which is more movies in the theaters than I have done for years.  Because the whole family is into the Star Wars series,  I have now seen 3.5, 4, 7 and parts of others on the marathon on TNT that proceeded the release of Rogue One, LOL.  Not too worry about the ones I've missed as the DVD's are on hand along with lots of "Dr. Who".

As expected I have barely even stepped into my sewing room.  That's okay though.  I will--when things settle down a bit around here.  He is encouraging me to do so as he knows it is something that I enjoy.  Smart man!

He's nursed me through family emergencies, tooth issues and a long run of bronchitis.  Recently I've returned the favor---bout of flu and a miserable toothache and subsequent extraction.  Later this week I'll have to suck it up and drive the van back from Birmingham and the VA hospital and the eye doctor appointment.  I hate driving in Birmingham and on I-20 but I'll do it for him.

We finally got the brush burnt off from the 4 holly bushes we are attempting to remove at the end of the lane. Apparently there is still some drought situation on-going but there had been enough rainfall to allow the State of Alabama finally lift the burning ban. (I've heard 17 inches behind on rainfall totals.)  That burning off two large brush piles was an almost an all-day deal especially since we raked up another 4 or 5 wheel barrels full of leaves, brush and twigs on top of that and I dragged in a bunch of dried up stuff from the kudzu bank too.  I know I sort of smelled like a smoked ham by the time I hit the shower--salty and smoky.   We need some parts for the chain saw but are hopeful that the alligator lopper can deal with at least some of the stubby bits of the bushes that remain.  We'll get back to those later.

Right now we are dealing with some plumbing issues in the master bathroom.  I knew that the stool was leaning to the right and the flooring was suspect. Until recently this bathroom was seldom used and in fact, often had the water shut off in there to prevent the stool from self-flushing.  A couple days ago, before the bathroom flooded, we had talked about the need to get this fixed down the line. He also wanted to replace or upgrade the bathroom lighting---well, he is a master electrician and qualified to do so!  Go for it, I said.  It will be addressed but on the back burner for now.   Water was leaking from somewhere--the sink had water dripping a bit near the P-trap but the main deal was cracked tank on toilet.  The master bath had a curved counter that extended over to the stool with a large mirror above.  With a gap of only about 3 inches above the toilet tank, there was no possible way to pull the stool up without dismantling the vanity, counter top, mirror etc.  We have made a couple of scouting expeditions to Lowe's to decide on what we might want for replacement and to pick up needed supplies.  He cut out about a 2 foot x  2 foot section around the stool and rebuilt the flooring---plywood with particle board is not a good choice as pretty much disintegrated.  As he was removing the rest of the flooring (two courses of vinyl flooring) this morning, we found that more of the crappy floor will need to come out but not as much as we feared.

Add in the wedding details--two months away, after all. We both had written down our list of friends and relations but I needed to track down the addresses.  My Wedding Planning for Dummies said the invitations needed to go out about 8 weeks before the wedding.  They hit the mail box on Saturday!  I am thrilled to know that both my sisters are coming to the wedding along with my niece Randi.  Janet said that Randi will either take pictures or video of the wedding as their wedding gift so we will have a keepsake and family members that cannot come can see it.  The best thing is that Diane has arranged for Mom and Dad to fly with her so they will be here too! Dad will give me away--he officiated at my sisters' wedding and if I remember correctly, my brothers walked them down the aisle. I know that Steve and Jan are planning on coming down from Tennessee--they RSVP'd almost as soon as I said I was getting married, LOL.   I think another of my brothers and his wife are coming too based on something Diane emailed me.   I've gone to expecting just my matron of honor to come to a good many of my family members joining us.   Charlie said just because I didn't have my family here the first time or didn't have an engagement ring, etc doesn't mean I can't have those things THIS time.

Charlie and I will meet with the pastor in early January to discuss the ceremony and get some questions answered about the fellowship hall usage.  His daughter-in-law and I have had some discussion about the cake and food for the reception but will have to put our heads together a bit more. Melissa said maybe like this one below but incorporating teal and silver/gray (color of my dress and his suit)  and possibly a traditional topper.  I assume a rehearsal/rehearsal dinner deal will be needed too especially with family members coming in from out of state.  Trying to keep this low-key!  I didn't have to do any of this stuff first time around so what do I know about flowers, etc?

Christmas Day was low key for us.  I told Charlie that he was to take the day off from doing anything in the bathroom though!  Michelle and the grandkids left on the 17th for Kansas as they await the birth of her first blood niece or nephew any day now.  The kids opened their gifts after school let out for break the day before.  We had invited Jeff to come join us for dinner but he was not feeling well and bowed out.  I had prepared what I could on Saturday tracking down a pecan topped sweet potato casserole that Charlie likes.  We expect Jeff this evening after work so I'll pack some of those leftovers for him.  I mentioned making ham balls or ham salad of some of the leftover ham but he says he doesn't care for either of those choices.  I guess maybe I'll explore some other options!  I'm not used to dealing with picky eaters but I'll learn.

It has gotten so warm this past week that I was able to drag the plants back outside again--low 70's and back to wearing shorts again.  Seems so odd after about 5 nights of dripping water from the faucets and opening the cabinet doors to the exterior water source wall.  Meanwhile, the Midwest seems to be going through ice and snow issues.

Guess that is about all I can think of to pass on at this point other than to wish you all the very best in 2017.  You never know what unexpected things may come your way when you least expect it!  I am living and loving my 2016 surprise, after all.

Nov 4, 2016

I said "YES!"

So, this happened this past Saturday-------

and because my friend Pam said "Ummm...a picture of that ring on your finger, please!"

If you are Facebook friend, you have already seen the pictures but this IS my blog and news this big needs reporting, don't you think?

Now the rest of the story----
A friend asked me if this was a surprise.  I had asked for some time to be sure we were doing this for all the right reasons when I first learned he wanted to take this all to the next level.  Actually I asked him a leading question when we were talking.  Because of an earlier promise to me, he had to answer honestly.  However, it was not at all how he had planned to bring up the subject.  I felt bad about that but told him he could still do it right-- ask me at some special place in a special way, drop to one knee, whatever when we both were ready.  So no, not entirely surprised.

He had asked if we could get sized for rings a couple weeks ago. While we were there, what styles did I like?  "Simple" since I am a no frills kind of girl and I prefer gold to silver.  I didn't need an engagement ring and he said "why not?"  Just because DJ didn't get me one didn't mean I didn't deserve one.  I pointed out a couple I liked but the rest was up to him.  The last I heard, it would be a couple weeks before it was ready. Turns out they called to say it was ready on Friday.  I had tried it on that evening just to see if it fit properly but handed it back to him.  A real proposal please.

We were all dressed up because unfortunately one of the members of our little Bama game watching group had lost her daughter to a long illness just days before and we had a visitation to attend.  After a quick lunch and an errand for a missing meal ingredient, he asked if I had anything planned for us that afternoon.  Bama had an open date so other than getting said ingredient back home and fixing us supper, no plans.  Off we went down the road but I had no clue where---just 21 South heading towards Talladega.  Ahhh, we were going up to Cheeha State Park but the back way.  I'd always taken the route up from the Heflin end.  Cheeha Mountain is the highest point in all of Alabama at 2407 feet above sea level.  Gorgeous views up there from Bald Rock and near the hotel and restaurant up there.  I had wanted to go out on the boardwalk sometime this fall!

We stopped at the CCC tower and walked through the museum area and then he asked if I wanted to walk up to the top of the tower.  I am a bit afraid of heights so "no" and I was in my dressy shoes so not good walking shoes.  He dropped to one knee and did it right!!  But no ring---he had left it at my house,  LOL.    No cameras either.

We had gotten a text from his son about a family matter and planned to go out to see them anyway. Abby his 3 yr old granddaughter had her mama call him as were heading down the mountain so that clinched it.  We would ask Michelle to take some pictures while we still were dressed up and just stage the ring deal borrowing the ring box from son Jeff.  (It had his master mechanic signet ring in it so Michelle said to turn the box so it would not show up in the picture!)  He DID ask me---again--or I would not be smiling so well.

I'm getting married!  Who would have thought this was even possible say, in late July when I was so miserable and questioning my place in this world?  Little stories of how this came to be are coming out.  How Paul was sort of nudging us.  How my flirting with him one Saturday afternoon was missed but he was still looking at me with some realization that it might be worth pursuing.......what do you know!?

I have also been asked "where?"  I live in Alabama and will continue to do so, obviously, since I am marrying a Bama boy!  The answer is:   Charlie's church home near here.  We mentioned it briefly to the pastor at services last Sunday but will meet with him after we go up to Illinois so I can introduce him to my family.  I may be cheating them out of another wedding ceremony, just like with DJ, but they have to have at least met Charlie first!!  He wondered if I wanted to get married up there to begin with or do two ceremonies?   I am leaning to renewing our vows up there late spring or early summer so my family can be there and have my dad do the honors if possible.  We will talk about it when we go visit.

The when?  If the church calendar permits, the date will be February 25th. I thought Valentine's Day maybe but that's a Tuesday.  When looking at the calendar for the Saturday dates, I told him my parent's anniversary is the 25th and it has brought them many good years together.  Let's go for it!  I've asked my sister Diane to be my matron of honor.  Our friend Paul will be the best man.  I want Abby to be the flower girl, the twincesses, his almost 7 year old granddaughters, to be bridesmaids and his going on 9 year old grandson to be a groomsman.   He needs another guy up there with him.  I think maybe his older grandson might be a good choice if he can travel down from Kentucky but that is up to him.  Other than that---the suit is ordered, so is my dress.  Beyond that, I am clueless about invitations, announcements, decorations, flowers and all that.  His oldest son's wife Melissa does cakes and told us she and Brian will do that as their gift to us or help in anyway possible.  I so appreciate that!

After three drive-bys, I finally met his long time friend Bruce on Monday though his wife Cathy was at work.  We have a luncheon date with his brother and his wife on Sunday after church but Charlie thinks more family members will be joining us.  We'll see!  He will have to deal with the mob scene with my group soon enough--only fair, right?

Going to be a busy weekend!  Abby spent the day/overnight with us last night and Zeke is coming tonight after school.  Saturday is the twins birthday with cake, ice cream and a trip to see "Trolls" with the family followed up by Bama-LSU game.  It has already been a busy week since I last posted.  I had the fidget quilt sewing a week ago---still in pieces but what a fun day!  Brenda made three of them and shared at quilt guild yesterday.  Both Carol and Judy's were done.  I did get some sewing done at the Tuesday evening group, more of the framing strips on the one I started at retreat but only got about half through the stack of blocks.  Other than that, the only thing getting done in the sewing room was ironing some pillow cases.  I can't stand those looking like a wrinkled up mess from the dryer.  I still have stuff to put away from the fidget class, for Pete's sake.

Guess that's it for this post.  I've been awake since 3 so at least some of those hours were spent in a useful way!  THX for stopping by------