Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Trailer life... again!

After my last post about our snowfall,
we've had some crazy cold days and nights down in the single digits.
Thankfully the house stays warm and isn't drafty.

We're still waiting on the glass doors for the fireplace in the den 
so we haven't been able to enjoy a fire inside yet.
But the outside fireplace is a real treat.  

We needed warm weather to come back though so
that the staircase railings and bannisters
could get their final coat of stain.

The odor of this particular oil based stain,
which we got it through our cabinet maker since it isn't sold to regular folks,
is so horrendous
that we knew that we'd need to spend a night or two in the RV of the horse trailer again.

And we feared that we'd be frozen popsicles
if we tried to sleep out there when it was in the teens or lower!
The trailer has a heater,
but ZERO insulation..... and aluminum gets mighty cold!

Yes, we're trailer folk again 
Attagirl, Noel, Joe and I .....
living out on the driveway,
but just for one more night.

It was that or sleep in our respirators!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

First Snow of the Year

Last winter was milder than many a Louisiana winter, 
and the lack of cold this year had me wondering if it was ever going to snow.

My Louisiana snowfalls were few and far between so 
I was as anxious to experience a Virginia snowfall 
as a kid waiting for Christmas.

And finally!!....
The snow on Thursday began with huge wet flakes
Just before sunset, it began to come down so thickly
that you could barely see past our woods line 
We didn't last long outside!
Most of my watching was done from the kitchen window while I cooked dinner.

I'm not a morning person, but the next morning it was worth getting up early enough 
to see the pink sunrise hitting the mountains.

We're living in Paradise.... no doubt about it.

Atta and I went for an early morning walk along our road.
These are two of the mountains we can see from the end of the driveway.




 The first time that we came to look at the land, 
I fell in love with little gravel road that we now live on. 
It just felt "right." 
 Crisp and clear and I could see for miles...
We could have walked longer, 
but my paint brushes were calling and I had work to do.
Even though I was down in the basement painting most of the day,
there was plenty of time to stare out the windows 
at the beautiful countryside!
I love this place!




Monday, January 14, 2013

Back to the Fumes...

I'm "employed" again.
Back to painting!

Note the steely concentration of the master painter at work!  :)
(Yes I forgot the respirator for awhile)

It was harder than I thought to get back into the groove.

True confession:  during the first day spent sanding trim primer coats, 
I was grumpy and as bristly as a porcupine.
Sorry Joe.  

During our 3 week hiatus, 
we've been enjoying dinners with friends, bridge games, movies, strolls around town etc.

Sunrises and sunsets on the porch have been showstoppers!

It hasn't been all play, there have been subcontractors doing work, 
boxes to unpack, 
windows to scrape and clean.... 

But I've avoided the basement as though there were a dragon down there.
When really there is just a little dust and some blotchy primer.  

The first room in my sights is the study.
Ages ago, before the trim was hung, 
I had painted what I thought was the first coat of paint on the walls
"Elephant Tusk," which I expected to be a muted khaki beige, 
looked way too yellow in real life.
I'd hoped that after the crown molding was painted, it would look better.
But even after that it was sort of "nursery yellow."

The benefit of being my own painter is that I didn't pay anybody for my mistake.
Except for the horribly expensive waste 
of a couple of gallons of Benjamin Moore paint, 
I can shrug my shoulders and make it go away.  

The first lines of a new color look so alarmingly out of place.
It's funny how you're swayed by the color contrasts.  

It's a way better color for the study.
Sag Harbor Gray.  
Which I'd never call "gray" in a million years.

No painting today.
It's been a nice break doing a blog post, 
 but it's back to my Monday cleaning day.

It's a gray drizzly day here and perfect for staying inside.
Tonight we're going to see if Joe's first attempt at DVR recording yesterday was a success.....
Downton Abbey!
I'm awfully worried about poor Mr. Bates .....

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'm Still a Retired Painter!


In my last post, I announced that 
I'd quit my job (only temporarily!)
as unpaid painter at the house 
and was heading to the hair salon to get "beautified."

A chance encounter with a 10x mirror in a store display 
had sent me reeling a few weeks before!
Ladies of a certain age, if you want to scare yourself: 
ignore your grooming habits, lose your tweezers for a few months 
and then look in a 10x mirror
under fluorescent store lighting.
Scary doesn't begin to describe the situation.
I wasn't even sure that I still had eyes under my bushy eyebrows! 

I'm married to a saint that he didn't say anything to me about how I was looking.

The morning that I quit/retired, 
the crew seemed genuinely glad to see me in something other than my tatty work clothes.  
I'd guess that building a beautiful house for a slob 
must be something of a let down!
And of course they couldn't say anything about my eyebrows and crazy hair either!

The building inspector was in a holiday mood 
and we received a verbal "blessing" that
 despite being unfinished and out of compliance on a few things, 
we could set up beds and more or less move in.

I think we're probably still flying under the radar, 
but we're not asking any questions.


So four days before Christmas, we spent our first night in the new house!!
For most of us, it was a delight to have room to move around
and to finally curl up in a real bed for the first time in ages....


But one member of the family missed the trailer 
and thought the house was too big, empty and scary.  
Notice that lump in the bed?

That's little tabby cat Noel saying 
"Make the world go away."

Joe and I were mopping and sweeping up sawdust and nails 
until minutes before the first of the family arrived late on Friday night.
The house was clean (sort of) 
but that was the extent of it.... 
there were no dishes, eating utensils or pots, 
no beds other than the one Noel was hiding in.
And the only furniture in the den and dining room
 was two folding chairs and a dog bed.

But by Sunday night when the last couple arrived, 
everyone had pitched in and it was no longer a construction zone.

We'd unearthed most of the dishes and pots we needed for cooking and eating,
made a few trips to the grocery store, 
hauled the sofa, rug and a three chairs up from the basement,
found sheets, towels and mattresses for everyone, 
decorated a tree, installed the dishwasher, 
set up a jigsaw puzzle and gotten out a few games (no TV yet)
hung the stockings on the bolts for the mantel, 
convinced Noel to end her three day hibernation under the covers,  
and then I was busy feasting my eyes on my handsome sons and lovely daughters in law.

I'm a lucky woman.

I didn't wrap a thing and the presents I gave were few and far between.
The "kids" got stockings (Santa never wraps things that he delivers to our house) 
and one big gift each which just came straight out of the cardboard box that Amazon sent it in.
Joe's sole gift from me arrived late the day after Christmas.

I didn't fret and I didn't apologize... 
it was just the way it was this year.

Odd as the whole holiday was, 
it was close to perfect.
It snowed just enough to let us know that we weren't in Louisiana any more.
Clark and Raeanna volunteered to sleep out in the "love nest" 
aka the horse trailer,
so everyone had beds. 
The kitchen is awesome  
and I love, love, love the gas range!

If we needed it and couldn't find the box it was in, Wal-Mart sold it.
Blessings.... 
little and big
they were all around me.  

We've had two nights now without company in the house. 
It's a peaceful feeling to be here together.
We've unpacked and settled into our bedroom and bathroom 
but are waiting on the rest of the house 
until the rest of the construction is finished. 

Pat and Dave came back today and worked on the stair railings.
Once again there was sawdust in the air.
On Friday I'll put on my work clothes and find the paint can opener.
But I've had a break and now I'm in a position to set my own pace...
which no longer has to be at breakneck/exhaustion speed.

I've got a bridge game tomorrow followed by lunch with lady friends
and a fellowship dinner on Saturday night with church friends....
I have a life again!!!!