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November 26, 2008


My window coverings (which I stretcheddddddd to buy) came this morning - a week early. They will be very nice. Because I look into Shannon's carport on the side of the house, I got the ones that either go up or go down. I struggled with that because they have visible strings when they are down -- but found that was normal for all brands. So, I went ahead. I just couldn't continue going into the kitchen in my nightgown without having some kind of covering on the window -- especially in the middle of the night. Doesn't happen often, but it has happened.

I'll put up a picture when I can go downstairs and take one. I HAVE THE FLU! I am turning in the end of November, 2008, very gladly. It was the month of the broken car radio, the car rattle (still not attended to), the broken drink refrig, the spill on the new stove which caused part replacement, the sore tooth, the root canal, the painful aftermath, high blood pressure, and now the flu which has been going around between Dani's family and my neighbor's family -- they share play dates.

By the way, this does not take away my greatfulness during Thanksgiving -- it just makes it harder to care today if my house is picked up or stuff put away. I'll sit back and let the family take care of food tomorrow. If I'm better (and both Dani & AmySue say I will be) then I will join the crew. Otherwise, I'll hide under the covers. Right now I'm laying in bed listening to NPR music -- I don't even feel like reading although I have a new issue of This Old House that I might open for the pictures. AmySue brought me Ginger Ale and I put a note on the door for Walls and Windows to come in and do their thing --which they did. I did go downstairs to get my laptop because I'm in the middle of a Scrabble game with two friends from the Fairhaven Middle School staff. They found me on Facebook and invited me to play Scrabble with them. I missed yesterday and it is my turn. So silly, but lots of fun.

It is dreary outside but I don't even care. I'm in my own little world -- something that I don't do very often. It isn't a bad thing, either. I hope your Thanksgiving is lovely. I'm thankful that some people actually read my blog -- and always shocked that they do since it is such a solitary thing to write it.

Posted by Marilyn at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)

November 25, 2008


Today is supposed to be the final inspection for the remodel. Actually, there is also a final electricity but Mike needs to do a few things first. The last time the house was inspected, it was 180 days ago. And, so I got a warning notice that it needed to be inspected again. That got everyone moving a bit. We've been rather sluggish since most things are done. And, I just found out that my kitchen window coverings are in and will be here tomorrow. In the meantime, I am filling out forms so that I can get back some $$$$$$$$$$$ on the new insulation and the new water heater. It is part of the gas company's incentive program -- so many things to do that are not very visible. Tom has a punch list that he is working on -- but the radiator cover, even not yet painted, is really beautiful.

Life has been at a standstill while I have been taking care of my dental situation. That is finally put to rest as I got my crown back on yesterday. It took three or four days for the pain to subside and I was on round the clock medical strength Advil until it did. Then, I have been checking in with the doctor because my blood pressure is too high. He is putting me on meds -- blah! All because I have been a lazy person and stopped walking and losing weight. I'm annoyed with myself.

I'll show you a couple of pictures today -- one of the radiator cover and one of the sideboard that I bought from Millie to house my good china and some of the leftovers from the remodel that used to be in the little dining room cabinet. I was looking for a china cabinet -- but this works just fine. More decorative and less utilitarian, but the price was right. Now, I'll have to remember to pay her.

I began this earlier in the day and have been busy since then. The inspector came and signed off on the house. We still have an electrical inspection, but I trust that will go well. I had an old inspection that was still open because they never finished signing off on a water heater. Since that was still open, I didn't get a new permit for my new water heater -- but the inspector signed off on that too. He had previously seen the back of the house, so he didn't even go back there -- and I think he missed a few items that might have been a problem -- like the lack of a bannister on my stair case. But, we can still do that -- only we don't have to worry about it not passing.

I feel truly blessed this holiday season. A successful remodel which may have me strapped for cash, but I was able to pull it off without compromising my way of life too much. In this time of need for so many, I count that as a blessing -- a big one in the scheme of things. I believe that I will someday reap the benefit of the remodel. But, none of this is as satisfying as my friends, my normal freedom from physical pain and illness, my church, and of course my family. Those are worth much, much more than any house on earth.

The Sideboard I Bought From Millie

The Radiator Cover Unpainted

Posted by Marilyn at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2008

Cleaning Up

I spent three days in the basement cleaning up and I am paying for it. Lots and Lots and Lots of dust, sawdust, debris left over from the remodel. I had to clean every box stored and stuff sitting around and the dust flew all over. Not a good thing since I have also been nursing a toothache until Tuesday when I'm having a root canal. So, with a stuff up head, sore throat and a tootache, I've been under the weather. However, I just walk through the basement when I feel bad and it cheers me up. There's lots of stuff to get through still -- but it is all organized.

I also bought a sideboard from Millie Tetrick for my dining room -- it will house some of the things that are left over from my previous built-ins. However, it is all open except for three big drawers (which will be very handy!) I'll have to be clever so it won't look cluttered. It took four people to move it in a truck and it is very, very heavy. I was going to have it painted, but I think it will have to be done in place. I'm not moving it soon, that is for sure!

So, an update on my remodel is this -- I've ordered shades for my kitchen and breakfast room, I now can finish putting stuff in my kitchen because I have the sideboard to use for the overflow and I have moved the search for the missing food from the basement (where I know it is not) to the attic where I have some other stuff stored. Wish me luck!

Posted by Marilyn at 10:10 AM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2008

In the Basement

I've been in my basement for two days. I think I once mentioned that one of my regrets is that I didn't know that there would be so much dust in my basement. With the plumbers and electricians, not to mention the building crews, using the basement as a headquarters and doing a variety of things down there, it is absolutely filthy. I would have covered everything with plastic had I but known. Since I still can't find a few items, I began removing everything (yes, every single box) from all the storage shelving and brushing and sweeping and cleaning with rags. I felt like a chimney sweep. Along with breaking down all the boxes used for kitchen storage, I've been a busy bee.

My kitchen is a mess because I've put so much here and there that needs to be gone through and stored. My basement is now half clean. I am filthy but I can see that the task is progressing. By tomorrow the main part of the basement should be in some kind of order. Hopefully, I can then work further on the kitchen.

Everything in a house is so integrally connected. Things need to be stored where they can be found and used. I have lots of items that I rarely use, so they are stored downstairs. But, do I really need them if I don't use them often? What about tools I don't even know how to use? Should I buy in bulk and store things from Costco or just buy items when I need them? Frankly, I love to go to Costco and buy a bag of things (say, Avocados or lemons) for the same price as one or two from the grocery store. Then, I give half away! It is really fun.

But, I do think I need another sweep of my basement storage, this time for tossing stuff and getting rid of a lot more items. But, first I do wish I could find my box of food!!!!!

Posted by Marilyn at 4:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2008


Yesterday my friend Judy and I were talking about the timeline for my remodel. I realized this morning that my blog began the day they tore the basement apart on November 6, 2007. Of course, much happened before that. I was working with Debbie in May and hired Tom who began demolishing the pool room in July. Then, he had to construct a false wall and we worked with the Engineer for plans to show the city. But, the real work began one year ago. As I have been putting my kitchen back together and actually cooking again, I realize just how invasive construction can be. It is exciting, exhausting, and educational but it does turn ones world all cattywumpus. I feel like I'm emerging from some wind tunnel or long, long carnival ride where one turns both manic and morose from time to time. In any case, Judy's words made me go back and look at the blog. Here is the basic timeline:

April 11th, 2007 -- Met with Debbie for the first time
In May - Chose contractor and engineer
In July & August - Pool was dismantled and false wall was built to stabilize the house
September - Worked on basement bathroom
November 6 -- Began tearing the pool room apart & got our building permit
January, 2008 - Pool room rebuilt & windows & decks up
February -- Two back rooms connected with stairs
March - All windows & siding up
April -- Chimney comes down & work begins on little back porch
May - Begin to set up new kitchen and put things away -- wallboard in back rooms - Kitchen demolished
June - Paint in back rooms & new oak floors in -- railing for back decks installed
July - Carpet in living room & beginning of cupboards in kitchen
August - Finish on building cupboards & drawers - Deck in front of house - lots of kitchen decisions
September - granite, floors, stain for cabinets
October -- finishing and beginning to move in
November -- Back in business -- a punch list to finish here and there!

I'm continuing to put together the kitchen but I have a big mystery. I cannot find any food or spices that I saved. I know that I didn't save much, but I can't find anything except one small box of tuna that was separate. It is a complete mystery. I know that I would have saved things like peppercorns, minced onion, certain spices that were new but for the life of me I simply cannot find the box that says food. My next task is to get into the basement to get things cleaned up after the dust from the remodel. Maybe I'll stumble across it -- but I have looked in every nook and cranny that I have -- maybe it was stolen by a hungry subcontractor. Just kidding! Here is a picture of the "kitchen shelves in progress."


Posted by Marilyn at 4:09 PM | Comments (2)

November 9, 2008

Island Retreat

I spent the past few days on Orcas Island with Bev Johannsen, who recently lost her husband, Larry, to a heart attack. I've known Bev since our first trip to Bellingham when she met Don and me at SeaTac with her arms full of daffodils to welcome us to Washington. She was on the pulpit committee that was responsible for bringing Don to the Bellingham church so we've been friends for a long time. Don and I used to vacation on Orcas in a nearby cabin owned by her friends. Bev and I share a love of writing and have been in a few writing groups together.

This visit was just to relax and be together as her life settles down to a new rhythm. Larry inherited the place on Orcas from his parents who built a cabin on land his dad had bought and parceled out to other Bellingham friends and family. Bev and Larry remodeled it once and after retirement they remodeled for a permanent home. It is truly beautiful and Seattle Times featured it in their Pacific Northwest magazine. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/pacificnw/2004/0620/living.html

I find I look at places with a new eye after my remodel. I was more aware of materials and design than I have ever been. I have always been emotionally affected by design, but I never grasped details or why something fit well together (or didn't). But, I was drawn to the bamboo floors and the ambient lighting, the variation of color on the wood doors, how the new fit with the prior structure, the use of light, the ceilings and light fixtures, just everything fascinated me in a new way. We spent lots of time in her kitchen which has one wall of floor to ceiling cabinets but otherwise no upper cabinets. It is twice the size of mine. I was curious as to where items were stored because I'm in the midst of deciding those things myself. We talked alot about how they worked with their architect and design person. The architect (the same one who built the first little cabin, the first remodel and now this one with his architect son) knew them well. He know how they used their home and how they entertained because his family have been Orcas friends of the Johannsens for years. It made me think about Debbie and Tom and how different people work together and collaborate to come up with a finished product. These are all things that are new in my life.

I came home more relaxed and curious about how to continue fitting out my kitchen. I have had some minor problems or concerns with a few of my appliances that need to be checked out. I have had a problem with my car radio, my television picture went belly up, and my blood pressure and cholesterol is too high -- so a trip to the island is exactly what I needed. I feel more ready to tackle most of these and my blood pressure was normal after I returned. I think I need to plan an island retreat more often. Thanks, Bev!

Posted by Marilyn at 8:50 AM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2008


I didn't do one thing in my house today. Went to church and then ran down to Bellevue with Bette and Marilyn who wanted to buy some closet organizational system at the Container Store. Met Martin and Christine to give him an old table for his writing studio that his grandfather made almost 50 years ago. After shopping, we had an early dinner and now I'm home snuggled up in bed just before 8:00 after a long day. I have my computer and the Sunday paper. Bliss!

I am absolutely loving my new kitchen. There are some things I have done exactly right and others that need to be tweaked. I still have a few unopened boxes, but I love opening the new drawers and everything glides so beautifully. I love the cabinets especially my circular corner wooden shelving. I love the pantry. I love the openness to the view and the light. I love the design and the craftsmanship that put together something that still feels old and part of the house but works like new. I love my sunny yellow floor. I love the fact that I don't have any more broken cabinets or cruddy places. I'm not exactly happy that my dishwasher did not get a few plates clean the other day -- so I'll watch that carefully. I also don't like the fact that I have no curtain on the windows so when I went into the kitchen with my nightgown on in the wee hours of this morning, I felt pretty exposed. I'm certainly anxious to get the cushions on my breakfast nook and the radiator covered, but none of that takes away from the sheer pleasure of having a room that is decent after 27 years of wishing it so. It is really the heart of the house and I am grateful from the bottom of mine.

Posted by Marilyn at 7:36 PM | Comments (0)