Friday, April 29, 2016

The First Mow of the Summer and Very Old Family Photos

All winter long I day dream about mowing the lawn and enjoying the sunshine and it's warmth as I ride around and around.  But sadly the first mow of the year was cold and unpleasant.  I had to wear a hoodie under my winter coat to protect my ears from the cold wind and boots on my feet just in case I needed to step onto a soggy area of the lawn.  Guess what?  It's raining again.

So what do you do when it's raining and sleeting outside???  You walk around outside looking at concrete pots and assorted lawn items while using a large golf umbrella to keep the rain and sleet off. It kept me dry but I was continually poking my husband in the eye when I would spin around and say "what about this one?"

We bought a large, fairly plain concrete pot to replace the faux concrete pot that is deteriorating around the bottom.  This concrete business is closing and I was able to get the large pot for 20 bucks. I know, unreal...right?  They had some fabulous pots (not pot but POTS) but they were a little too fancy for our Cape Cod style home.

On our way home we stopped at the new farmer's market along I 69 in Davison.  It's a nice facility but holy moley it was quite pricey.  I always expect to pay more for farm fresh but wow the only thing that didn't make me want to faint when I looked at the price tag was a pint of organic, no GMO, chocolate milk.
So I bought it and drank it before we got back on the highway.  R took one sip.  He said it was too thick. No such thing.  I'm a whole milk drinker.  Can't help it.  Grey colored milk just doesn't do it for me.  I wish I had another pint to go with this health food bar that I am eating right now.  It's one of those Nature's Bakery fig bars.  They sponsor Danica in NASCAR so I thought I'd give them a try. They are non GMO, dairy free, zero trans fat, and cholesterol free so I think there was plenty of room for a pint of thick chocolate whole milk.  Am I right?  BTW the raspberry fig was very tasty.

Once we were home, I started poking around on My sister and I found several old photos while going through my mother's stuff and that peaked my interest in what was out there and all I can say is OH MY GOSH.

Take a look at these fun bunch of people....LOL  The irony is that my mother was always sweeping. Who knew it was in her genes.
 That is my grandfather on the far right in the dapper suit and straw hat.

I see they are working on their barn too.  Must run in the family.  The couple below are my maternal grandparents...Alberta and Russell.  He really loved those straw hats. Very Maurice Chevalier.  Must be a French thing.

And then I found this little nugget.  The grave marker to my 5th great grandfather who fought in the Revolutionary War.
We really need to get back to working on the house because during my mother's eulogy, the Monsignor asked me "when was I going to finish my house?"  It drew a chuckle from those that know the inside story but I am sure some of my mother's friends were thinking..."whaaaat?"

My mother, in healthier times, used to always say "are you going to finish that house before I die?" I told Monsignor Jerry that the first thing my mother probably said to my father was "I told you she would never finish that house.".....LOL  So now I have extra incentive to get the outside of the house completed.  So Mom if you have any pull with the big guy up there....please make it stop raining, I am not building an ark and I can't paint when the shingles are damp.  Thank you in advance for any help you can throw my way where the weather is concerned.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Custom Window Box Info and Installation

Today was the day.  Yup....the day that the window box installation was finished.  I still need to prime and paint the fronts and the support brackets but I was able to prime the back, bottom, and sides before the installation.  I have had to work around some rain and very cool weather so I thought it was best to get the backs done first so that we could at least get them on the house and off the saw horses.
These window boxes were ordered from Dave Ciliberto.   I ordered my original window boxes from him when he was selling on eBay and those boxes are still doing just fine despite our harsh winters here in Michigan.  If you need info on the window boxes or estimates for custom sizes just use his email address at the bottom of his home page on his website.
Cilibreto's Woodworking

I chose style C in white cedar and I also use the hangers (support brackets) that he makes to go along with the boxes.  He ships for free and all the boxes have arrived without mishap or damage.  He uses Styrofoam on the corners of the window boxes to protect them during shipping and includes all the screws needed to install the boxes.

The method that Dave uses to assemble his boxes hides all the screw heads.  The only visible screw heads are on the back where no one will see them.  If you order an extra long window box it will be made in two pieces but when the installation is complete it will appear as if it is one long window box.  I highly recommend Dave and I am sure you will be as pleased as I am with your window boxes.

We had three windows to install boxes on.  Two of the windows required extra long boxes so those were two piece window boxes and one window had a one piece window box and that was the first box that we hung.

Hanging a window box or even a light fixture on cedar shingles can pose some problems because the shingle is thicker at the bottom than at the top.  Depending on where your window box lands on the shingles will determine whether it tilts back, forward, or is plumb.  That is why we didn't install the partial shingles directly underneath the window sills.

Notice the bubble on the level in the photo.

We corrected the problem by installing a piece of shingle upside down so that the thick part was at the top.  We played around with some scrap pieces and found the sweet spot on the shingle for the correct thickness.  We then cut the scrap pieces 1/2 inch shorter than the height of the window box so that it would not stick out from behind the box.

Notice the bubble on the level now.  Look who's rocking purple nail polish.  I must have gotten hit on the head with a coconut. Big Bang Theory shout out.

We pre drilled the holes for the long screws that we used to attach the box to the house.  Once the box was hung we installed the hanger/bracket/supports.  Again if you just attached them on top of the shingles they would not be plumb nor flush.  So we marked the outline of the support using a pencil and then cut out just the top shingle using an oscillating saw.

To make sure that we didn't cut into the shingle underneath the piece we were cutting out, we stuck a screw driver underneath it to prop it out.

We also had two windows with the two piece window boxes.  One window required the upside down shingle trick to achieve a plumb window box and the other landed just right so that we could screw it to the house without adding the upside down shingles.

The two piece boxes are made so that the trim covers the area where the two boxes are screwed together.  It looks like one long box when completed.  Can you imagine trying to hang a window box that long or trying to ship one that long?

Notice how the window box appears as though it is just one long box?  Only you and I know that it is actually two pieces.  That's the beauty of having a blog that doesn't have a huuuuuuuge Donald Trump size following.  We can keep things like this, just between us.

The window box is level.  The camera person obviously was askew.   
I'm getting antsy to plant some flowers but that is about 3 weeks away even though it was 82 degrees today.  Friday is suppose to have a high of 56 degrees so that is kind of a bummer but not unusual for us here in Michigan.  I actually heard someone mowing their lawn today.  The first one or two mowings of the year are fun but after that it's "I have to mow AGAIN!!!"

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Southside Shuffle and the Reveal

The weather is just being a PITA lately.  It's either raining, snowing, or cold but R has been a trooper and finished the southside shingles on the library/family room while I took care of some the most difficult business a daughter has to deal with during her life time.

But first the reveal.
Of course the priming and painting will have to wait until spring and at this rate, that will be sometime in June.  The window boxes are all staged on saw horses just waiting for primer and paint so they can be hung and planted.  I couldn't stand it any longer and on Saturday my husband and I went to a nursery during a snow storm just to look at pansies and feel the warm air.

Now on to the unhappy news.  My mother passed early on Thursday.  She has either been in the hospital or rehab or hospice since Feb 13th when she went by ambulance after her doctor called me saying her white cell count was extremely high and to get her to the hospital immediately.

While waiting in the emergency room, the 13th changed to the 14th and my sister and I were reminded of the fact that it was many moons ago that my mother was in the hospital giving birth to me on the 14th of February.

We are a very small if not tiny family and by Good Friday it was not looking good.  She was up and in a wheelchair in her large room that was set up like a living room. My daughter in law did her hair, family brought in flowers and a chocolate malt for her to drink, and she was able to see everyone.  Ice cream products were the only food that interested her which was strange because she was a life long meat and potato gal. She had many visitors that day including her doctor.  It was decided then by my sister, our doctor, and myself that she would transition into hospice.  She passed 6 days later.

I will do a post later on explaining many of the ins and outs of what to expect, tips on how to be prepared, and things to look for and to expect from the staff.  We thought we were prepared on the paperwork side but they always want more and a copy for themselves.  On the other hand you can never be prepared for the death of a loved one. I'll give plenty of warning so if you find it difficult to read such things you can ignore the post.

In the end we kept everyone away except for myself, my sister, and my daughter in law at the end when we had a snafu that needed a legal consultation to explain and clarify that the staff was not doing what the doctor's orders were, what hospice had laid out, what our wishes were, and most importantly what my mother's wishes were.

We kept the three grandchildren away because they could not handle seeing their grandmother in that condition.  Even though they are in their 30's and 20's it was hard on them.  Both my sister and I are in agreement that sometimes it is best to remember a loved one in happier times.

Our husbands were another story.  They stayed away because it was too traumatic for them to see their mother in law in that condition.  My husband was an only child, his father died at age 60, and his mother was in a wheelchair and paralized from the waist down since her early 20's. It fell on my husband to completely take care of her.  He was great with his mother (she died in 1996) and also my mother while she was still home.  He would get her out of bed in the morning and even helped her to the bathroom.  My brother in law lost his mother to cancer after a long battle and it was bringing back that most difficult time in his life. Our husbands kept busy taking care of everything else so that we were free to spend 24 hours a day with her. In the end it was the three of us. We slept in her room and most of the time took turns sitting on the side of the bed or on the floor next to her bed.

I'm looking forward to just working on the house and not thinking about anything else. R has shuffled around the corner and is shingling the area in the deck area. He is happy that he is no longer standing on a ladder rung.  Fairly soon we will need to install the vintage exterior french doors that we purchased about 5 years ago, wire for one light on each side of the doors, and order 4 more sets of windows to replace the inappropiate replacement windows.  And then I need to paint all of this new goodness.  It will be great to just paint and think about nothing.