18 October 2011


Some days are bursting at the seams with projects and accomplishments, adventures and creativity. Some days I rush from one thing to another, clinging to my list and checking things off. I love that kind of day, but there's another day that I'm reminded to appreciate. An ordinary day.

An ordinary day might start with the gym, a few errands and phone calls, then a simple lunch of toasted sour dough bread with butter and Havarti cheese. The afternoon could include a good book and, on the right kind of day, a nap. By dinner comfort food would be planned--pasta or homemade soup.

The evening would be spent with CA reading, watching t.v. or a video, and some quiet conversation.

Ordinary days are great days. Life can be just this simple.

16 October 2011


There will now be a refreshing pause in our renovation, until the furniture is delivered and set in-place. Then the results will be revealed.

15 October 2011


The window washer just left. I can't take any more. We've had non-stop renovations and service/repair guys here for two solid weeks. We need a break. No more small talk. The end to dust and clutter. I've nothing left to give.

13 October 2011

HUGE PROJECT: The Painters

We hadn't planned to paint until winter, but with the hardwood floor installation all the furniture is moved out. What better time to call in the painters?

Today is Day 2, and most likely the last day they'll be here. We will have them back later to refresh some other rooms, but this visit they're concentrating on the great room, back hall and kitchen. They've done some drywall repairs; painted the baseboard and a few doors. Every time I do a walk-through I find more I want them to do, but they will come back...

I am very, very weary from all the chaos and home invaders. My choice, I know, and worth it. But, nonetheless, I'm emotionally exhausted.

Sal, the painter, and his assistant have agreed to move all the large furniture back inside for us at the end of the day. What a blessing! CA and I endangered our backs moving it all out (except for two chairs and the sofa), and are wiser this week--deciding to spend a few dollars to have  younger, stronger backs take on the task.

11 October 2011


From the time she could walk and talk LG danced and dreamed of taking dance lessons. She practiced with Angelina Ballerina. She pirouetted and leaped, wearing a tutu as often as possible.

This year in Orlando her dreams have come true. Each Tuesday after school she attends dance lessons. Look at those long legs and arms. She's born to be a ballerina.

10 October 2011


Gorgeous floors. (The caramel-colored chair rail is being re-painted the same SW Blonde as above.)

Between Saturday and Monday I'm out of town visiting GG--helping with some administrative  matters. It's increasingly difficult for her to write checks, etc., so we're setting up on-line payments for her utilities, etc.

Sunday, it's a relief to have no workmen in the house. A huge relief. These guys couldn't be any nicer or more efficient. It's just that home is my center, my refuge, and we've had days and days of clutter.

It's fabulous to have a day free and quiet. CA and I sleep in and go for a late brunch in Woodstock. A very mediocre to bad experience. The restaurant. Enough said.

CA says the fumes on Monday--after the house is closed-up for 9 hours--are piercing and tear-inducing. He's able to open doors and windows before sequestering in the bedroom for the evening.

07 October 2011


Day 5 end looks the same as Day 4. The only difference is that the first coat of Glitza Satin finish is added today. The raw wood is extremely porous, so drying time is about 3 hours. The fumes are sharp and piercing, so we're encouraged to get out of the house just after 7:30am.

BR and I've planned an hour walk along Lake Geneva and lunch at Simple. I repeat the corn fritters. The combination of corn cakes, avocado, and chipotle sauce leaves me with a lingering desire to re-visit the southwest, especially Santa Fe.


Enjoying the views out over the wetlands of Duffield Pond.

Not sure if it's official, but it feels like Indian Summer this week with temperatures in the low 80s and bright sunshine. The garden is changing dramatically after a September growth spurt. Things are definitely fading and dying. We made a great start with perennials this year, with room for improvement next year. Can't wait to get the back yard and borders in shape.

I love these trees. Last year I gathered a bouquet of branches for a friend.

06 October 2011


Isolated to two rooms and a bathroom, CA says, "Now we know how hoarders feel." Yuk! Have you watched those shows? His words struck a painful chord... I'm keenly aware of not being able to straighten-up or clean, because the carpeted spaces are stacked with all the furnishings from the hardwood spaces plus EVERYTHING from the great room.

 Just said good-bye to CA as he climbed out the bedroom window on his way to errands and teaching. He begins half days today, hoping the teacher he's subbing for is healthy enough to begin teaching again. He's tired. Working harder and longer hours (with coaching) than a retired person should.

 Ignoring hunger pangs, because soon I'll have to climb out the same window and into the one in our study-dining room (former library)--the current residence for our disabled stove and enabled frig. Sandwich making things are in the study-dining room, as well as tea maker and cable connection. Our master bedroom--my current location--has the espresso machine and the most comfortable place to read.

 Last night we moved rapidly, sparingly, and stealthily in stockinged feet across the raw hardwood floors--having been warned that our shoe prints would impair the raw woodgrain. I think he was messing with us, as today he applied the stain to the raw wood, on his knees, clad in hockey player knee pads.

05 October 2011


Today looks like yesterday--some detailed sanding took place and the floor was wiped down. 3-1/2 noisy hours.

 I've been crawling in and out of windows between the Master bedroom and study-dining room, since walking on the floors is verboten. I'm not too inconvenienced--it's a great excuse to snuggle in the leather arm chair with my books and iPad.

 As CA said this morning as he left for work, "It goes without saying... We'll be eating out tonight."

 Tomorrow they stain the floors--we're going with the darker shade, as the plan has always been to go two shades darker. I believe we're losing much of the red tint, which makes me happy.

04 October 2011


 That caramel color is going away. All the Great Room walls will be Sherwin Williams Blonde, SW6128.

Three color samples contrasted against the previous finish (narrow strip of reddish-brown).
Top: too light; Middle: too muddy; Right: just right. 

This deeper hue requires an additional step in the finishing process. The entire floor will be wiped down with wet rags, then left to dry overnight--causing the wood to swell a bit and the detail to be more defined. We can't walk on it. Thursday morning the stain will be applied and left to dry overnight. Glitza satin finish will be applied Friday and Saturday mornings.


Yesterday was exhausting--being home all day while the new flooring was installed. After Yoga today and errands, I was driving home and turned my car north to Lake Geneva.

I had a delightful lunch, alone, at Simple and then spent two hours sitting by the lake reading a new book: Invitation to Provence by Elizabeth Adler. Light and entertaining reading. Perfect for a fine Fall day.

The Simple Club
House roasted pesto marinated turkey breast, 
fruitwood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, overnight oven roasted 
tomato mayo served on toasted whole wheat bread 

Got home around 3:15pm, just in time to discuss stain colors. Indecisively.

03 October 2011


Carpet was removed and red oak installed on the diagonal in Great Room, buffering existing hardwood in dining area. Tomorrow all hardwood surfaces to be sanded.

Loving the flush-mount vents.

Detail of the hearth tile. Still some grouting to come.


8:00am. The Huge Project kicks into high gear this morning. New hardwood floors are being installed and existing floors will be refinished. CA and I spent yesterday afternoon emptying our great room, kitchen, entry, and back hall of everything, almost. The space is cavernous, but will soon be filled with dust. Yuk!

I've been assured that new machinery and procedures reduce the amount of airborne dust that will result. I am a doubter. I've been through this before on a smaller scale, and the residual fine, fine powdery dust was pervasive. For months and months.

I am very excited about the end result--a deeper hue and no more bevel. Our existing floors are red oak and were pre-finished, so there's a slight bevel between boards--dirt catchers. We're also going for a satin finish rather than semi-gloss.

We aren't doing this...

Saw this in a rehabbed 100+ year old house during the CL Service League housewalk a few weeks ago. Talked to KP about replicating--labor intensive, costly, and mostly would be covered up by sofa.

Sigh... I love unexpected touches like this.

02 October 2011


Nelson DeMille. A guaranteed good read. Every time.

Just started Cathedral, and ran into a fine line:

Margaret took the gentle rebuke without answering. The good people of the world were infinitely more difficult to deal with than the bad.
Nelson DeMille
pg. 70

01 October 2011


Sometimes the perfect antidote to a lingering head cold-virus is a Lifetime movie. A really bad Lifetime movie--Deadly Honeymoon.