Sunday, January 14, 2018

Progress

We are moving forward on the home improvements here. Bob has spent all week on the countertops. He started out with a twelve foot length of cherry butcher block and cut it to size, then cut out the hole for the sink.
We had enough of the butcher block to make new tops for our IKEA kitchen cart and to top a portable small cabinet. We are using Waterlox finisher, a nontoxic type of Tung oil that provides protection against water. After four coats, with 24 hours to dry in between coats, the counter has darkened into a rich color with a light shine. After another three days or so of curing, we can start installing them.
Bob also has brought over the contents of my fiber closet in the coach, plus what was under the bed and the books in my clothes closet. There’s still a lot to be done to organize everything but at least it’s all here now. I suspect that this will be one of our projects next winter, to put up shelves. As well as to paint the bedroom and bathroom and replace the bathroom sink. It will all get done, eventually. This is what my studio looks like at the moment. Excuse the mess.

I’ve also been sewing curtains for the bedroom and living room. And kitchen. Here is the new curtain for the kitchen—I’m very happy with it.
I’m hoping to finish the living room curtains this week so I can post photos of the room all finished.

Between all the fixing-up, we are enjoying the weather here. Temperatures have been pretty consistent with daily highs in the 70s, except for a couple of days in the 60s. 




Thursday, January 4, 2018

Renovations

Happy New Year to all my blog readers! My flight back to Arizona on December 30 was uneventful, and I was so happy to see Bob again. Auggie greeted me hesitantly at first, then enthusiastically. He proceeded to sit apart from me and studied me for a while as if he couldn’t quite believe that I was still among the living. I truly think he thought I was dead and gone for good.

I walked into our little home and was so excited about the painting Bob had done while I was gone. Here are “before” and “after” pictures.
The room looks so much brighter and I am thrilled. We went out on New Years Day to IKEA and bought a rolling kitchen cart. Now I have the work space I need to prepare meals.
We also purchased a couple of Lazy Boy recliners for the living room and a cherry butcher block countertop that Bob will be installing. More on that when it is in the kitchen.

Between shopping expeditions (which any woman will tell you is WORK) I’ve been going to the fitness center daily, choir practice, and Fiber Arts group. And am settling into this new place. I had only spent a little over a week here before I flew off to NJ so I had to re-learn where everything was. Bob and I have decided that once the kitchen is done and the Arizona room is set up, we will stop renovating until next winter. We want to be able to enjoy our new home!

We have started emptying out the Arizona room that will become my weaving and craft studio. The ugly sofa bed is gone and I’ve made several trips to the local thrift store, donating unwanted items. It feels good to have all that gone. Hopefully in the next week we’ll start moving the looms, wheel, sewing machine, marudai, books, and yarn into the space. I need to start sewing up some curtains, too.

Despite all the work, we have been enjoying the lovely weather and people here. Temperatures have been in the upper 70s and I actually considered turning on the AC today. Our neighbors have welcomed me back and told me how they had been thinking of my daughter and me, as well as keeping an eye on Bob and Auggie. It’s so nice to be part of this community.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Reflections on 2017, Part 2

After our wonderful visit in NJ ended, we once again headed west, stopping first at the Flight 93 Memorial and then at Fallingwater to tour one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous works.
We stopped in Lancaster, OH before moving on through Crawfordsville, IN and Knoxville, IL. We spent a couple of lovely days in Dubuque, IA with my niece, her husband, and her boys.

We lingered by the Mississippi River for a few days in LaCrosse, WI before traveling to Adrian, MN and then on to South Dakota. We saw the solar eclipse in Rapid City, SD, and visited Mt. Rushmore, Badlands National Park Park, and Custer State Park.

It was time to continue, so we headed north to North Dakota and spent time in both the South Unit and the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park Park, where we saw wild horses, bison, and a nest of baby rattlesnakes. We visited Bismarck and some fine museums there, learning more about the Louis and Clark expedition and Sacagawea.
From North Dakota we turned the motorhome southwest to Miles City, MT and the Terry Badlands, then headed to the Yellowstone area where we lingered for a couple of glorious weeks. We saw loads of elk, bison, a fox, a wolf and bear sanctuary, and the most wonderful views. We visited Old Faithful, the Grand Tetons and crossed the Continental Divide numerous times.
Leaving Yellowstone, we passed through Idaho Falls, ID, stopped into the Idaho State University Library in Pocatello, ID, then moved on to the Salt Lake City area where I was inspired to do a bit of genealogy. We passed through Green River and visited Moab, UT where we saw Arches National Park, Islands in the Sky NP, and Canyonlands NP.
From Utah, we moved on to Arizona, spending a night in Cameron before arriving in Mesa where we fell in love with a park model and decided to purchase a winter home. We spent a couple of weeks in Mesa before visiting friends in Tucson. Then we returned to Mesa for the winter season.
My daughter’s health concerns resulted in me flying to NJ for a few weeks, and I return in two days to my waiting husband and to poor Auggie (who is by now certain that I have abandoned them forever.) I will be returning to help out again when my daughter has surgery in February but until then I look forward to being reunited with Bob and seeing what he has been up to.

It has been a year full of memories, to be sure! And 2018 promises to be an interesting year as well.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Reflections on 2017, Part 1

It’s that time of year, when I gather up all the data and take a look back at where we have been all year. We did spend a lot of time in one place at a time throughout the last 12 months, yet we also saw so many new areas. Join me as I revisit our travels for 2017.

Bob and I started out in Yuma, Arizona in our longest stop to date—4 months in one spot, from December 1, 2016- April 1, 2017. While we were there we spent some time exploring the area, visiting Quartzsite, touring a date farm, getting dental work in Los Algodones, Mexico, and checking out local museums. We lost our beloved kitty, K.C. to old age. But we were ready to be on the road again when April 1st rolled around.

The first place we went was Chino, CA to have some repairs done on the motorhome, and we got to tour the Nixon Library while we were there. We then backtracked to Yuma for a night before heading on to the SKP Benson, AZ for two weeks, where we were planning to become leaseholders when our names came high enough on the list. We visited Bisbee, AZ and decided to return next winter during peak season.
Little did we know how those plans would change!
Leaving Benson, we headed for Canyon de Chelly but never actually got there, stopping in Payson, AZ for a night. Strong winds and threatening weather kept us moving until we hit Albuquerque, NM where we stopped to see friends. And then, a weather forecast predicting a foot of snow caused us to detour south to Roswell, NM where we visited the UFO International Museum & Research Center.
Bob and I continued east to Amarillo and on to Woodward, OK where we saw our first rattlesnake in the wild. Or rather, in our campsite. We dodged spring storms as we stopped in Abilene, KS to see the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Museum & Library. We then stopped for a few days in Lawrence, KS where I got to go to one of the best yarn shops in the country, the Yarn Barn of Kansas. We were in a good spot to visit the Truman Library as well.
 

In Marshall, MO we saw the museum for Jim the Wonder Dog, and had to replace two front car tires following a towing mishap. We moved on to Osage Beach, MO where we saw the Lake of the Ozarks before moving on to St. Louis where we went up inside the St. Louis Gateway Arch. And Auggie joined us at the AKC Museum of the Dog for a look at a lot of canine art. Our campground just west of St. Louis was next to a snake infested pond where we witnessed a water snake swallowing a fish.



In Springfield, IL we toured the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. It was then time to head for Wooster, OH for the Great Lakes Fiber Festival and a trip to Lehman’s, where we had a marvelous time before requiring a tow truck to pull us out of the mud. Thank goodness for our Coachnet towing service. We spent a night at a winery in Somerset, PA before heading to NJ where we stayed for two months visiting the family and holding our annual GrandCamp with the grandchildren.
I needed physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around my knees while we were there, which limited our trips with the RV.

Tomorrow: our year in review continues.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Update

We have had good news about my daughter. Her most recent tests came back with good results, so while she will still have to have surgery, it won’t be until January 29th and it will be more preventative. That means that I can go back to be with Bob and Auggie for a month before I return to help out with Catherine’s recuperation.

In the meantime, I am enjoying being with my grandchildren and visiting with family. Catherine had a cooking lesson with my son in law, Anthony, who makes the best mushroom enchiladas. Even the tortillas and tomatillo salsa were made from scratch. Yum!

My dear friend from Ravelry, Jeen, was kind enough to send me one of her handwoven scarves to keep my neck warm.
Thank you, Jeen, and thank you to all who have lifted up my daughter and me in prayer these last couple of weeks. 

We are getting ready for Christmas, so I wish you all a very happy holiday filled with family, friends, and love.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Back to NJ

Things have been a little crazy around here. I got a call last week from my daughter, Catherine, who needed me in NJ for a bit. She is going through some health issues, and I was happy to be able to fly out and help her. Bob and I didn’t think Auggie would take to air travel well so the two of them stayed back in AZ to hold down the fort. I have a return ticket for December 30, which means that Bob will spend Christmas alone this year. Our neighbors have gone out of their way to invite him to their homes and to support us in prayer; it’s all good. Catherine’s most recent test results are much more promising than originally suspected.

Bob has been working on the house, fixing small things and starting to paint walls. He has offered to save some of the painting for me to do but I told him not to hold back. I’m such a giver, aren’t I?

So now I am experiencing winter in NJ again, and it has been COLD! While Bob enjoys Arizona temperatures in the upper 70s, today’s high here will be 32. Brrrr!!! I think my blood has thinned a bit since we left, over three years ago. We even had snow a few days ago.
I’m not sure how much I will be able to write over the next couple of weeks, dear blog reader, but if I have a chance, I will check in.



Saturday, December 2, 2017

All Moved In

Bob and I started moving into our little house on Sunday afternoon. It has been a long month, waiting for this day to arrive. We started, as most people do, with cleaning everything whether it needed it or not. We set up our new Sleep Number mattress. After four or five hours of work we were already tired!

Oh yeah, now I remember. Moving is hard work.

The next morning we were up bright and early, getting all the food into the refrigerator, clearing out cabinets in the motorhome, and bringing clothes over. I had na├»vely assumed that, since the former owners were leaving all their kitchen stuff, that there wouldn’t be much to move. Au contraire mes amis! It took us nine hours to move most of our stuff over. And we still had more to do on day three. We spent the night in the house on Monday night and every night since, sleeping well.

On Thursday Bob and I moved the motorhome into storage. It was so hard to drive off and leave it behind, but we can go visit it if we need to. My looms, yarn, sewing machine, spinning wheel, and all my accessories are still in the motorhome, to be moved after we have finished painting. The plan is to prep walls, then paint the living room, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and bedroom. Then we’ll add a cabinet to the kitchen and paint all cabinets. Bob will make some countertops. After which time we will move things out of the Arizona room and that will get painted.

Then I can set up my weaving studio.

We will also be replacing the sinks and maybe the bathroom cabinet, but that will happen later I think. The house needs a bit of updating to bring it into the 21st century, yet we have to restrain ourselves from over-improving it. Yesterday we moved the sofa bed from the living room out of the house, since sitting in it was aggravating Bob’s back. There was an upholstered chair in the AZ room that we brought upstairs for him to sit on instead. Bob had to disassemble the sofabed to get it through the door, and is now cutting it apart so he can dispose of it in various trash cans borrowed from empty RV sites. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and our new neighbors are getting a kick out of watching Bob’s creativity in disposing of the sofa bed. We are on a corner and are near the laundry center, so everyone heading for the washing machines stops in to say hello. We are meeting a lot of people and making new friends.

The weather here has been beautiful and today it is in the 80s with a nice breeze. We took a ride this morning to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Phoenix, coming away with a nice utility light fixture for Bob’s workshop. We also stopped into Home Depot and chose paint colors. We’ll be painting over the original vinyl-covered paneling that covers all the interior walls. I’ll post pictures when it starts to look finished.

So that’s about where we are now. I will update again when I have more news.