Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Retirement - Month One

I had a bit of trepidation on June 1st when i got up with absolutely nothing to do .... well, at least nothing that was dictated by someone else. 

It's taken some time to stop planning every night for what needed to be done the next day.  But, going with the flow has turned out to be ok. 


Thirty days and i have a new music/sitting room, new floors, a much "cleaner" garden, a cutting garden that's ready to plant, a "new" deck, and the June bounty of flowers all over the garden. 

Life Retirement is good.  Bring on July!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The To Do List for Inside

In April, my office looked like this:

My desk:
OK.  It was a mess, but i could run a small corporation without getting up except to file. 
Mitchell's desk:
There's nothing I can say.  Mitchell never met a horizontal surface that he didn't love.
As a double office it has served us well - first, just a place for each of us to settle to surf the Web, or pay bills, or write letters (ok, email).  You know, just stuff, 

Then my job changed and for the past 7 years, I have worked from home and it became the "corporate office" for my employer.  I added more filing cabinets and filled the closet and every other available space with office supplies and records. 

In May, it all changed.  My replacement at work took the furniture, and we started cleaning out Mitchell's desk and hutch in order to downsize. 
For a couple of months i used a folding table.
The carpeting was replaced with wood flooring to match the rest of the house, and i found a nice pale green paint for the walls (and the filing cabinet when now lives in the closet).

Early morning painting produced a great result.

Then new flooring.
Today, we have a music room with space for Mitchell's harp and keyboard, along with a smaller desk, a futon for extra company or just a place to relax and watch a different TV show.  Suddenly the house is so much bigger!
Where my desk used to be is now glass shelving and storage for supplies, plus room for the harp and the keyboard.

A futon instead of a big desk and hutch.  I need pictures!

And a new desk at the window.  I can see the cutting garden, too!

It's amazing what a bit of paint, new floor and new furniture will do for a girl.  Now, i just need to figure out what to put on the walls.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Consider the Lilies ....

Sometimes I think that lilies are really my favorite flower... before tulips?  no.  not really.  But they probably are my favorite summer flower, especially with so many blooming right now. 

The most spectacular one, tho, is a "tree lily" that i planted five (or more) years ago.  It was a huge bulb - like 6-7 inches tall and 3-4 inches "wide".  Since i didn't want to have to dig a hole to China, i put it in the raised bed at the corner of the garden ... and promptly forgot it.  [The truth is that i thought it was a gimmick.]

For the first couple of years, it was nothing special - a pretty clear yellow, with a gorgeous fragrance, but there are several more in the garden that are similar.

But two years ago it took off and got taller and taller.  This year it is about 6 feet tall and had six separate stalks - each topped with 15 - 25 buds.   A heavy rain on Tuesday night knocked two stalks down, so i cut them and brought them into the house. 

This is 20 blooms and more than 40 more buds.  I know they won't all open, but perhaps half will.  The entire house smells wonderful!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The DIY from Hell - part 1

Does anyone remember why it was that i decided to do the Deck Over* last week?

It seemed like such an easy project.  Quick, even.  I watched the You Tube videos, read the brochure, looked the pictures on the web site.  Did my research.  Four easy days:

Day 1 - strip and clean the deck
Day 2 - let it dry thoroughly
Day 3 - paint the first coat
Day 4 - paint the second coat

Done. Easy, peasy.

Well, it didn't work out quite that way. 

 The real reason that I jumped into this was that when i looked at the deck i realized that the remaining finish was in much worse shape than i had thought - peeling, bare spots  - a real mess.  
But i am impatient.  In the beginning, i was not waiting long enough for it to work properly.
My actual progress was more like this:

Day 1 - strip
Day 2 - strip
Day 3 - strip
Day 4 - strip
Day 5 - wash
Day 6 - let it dry
Day 7 - pre-spot the cracks and nail holes
Day 8 - first coat on half the deck
Day 9 - second coat on half the deck, and first coat on 25% more
Day 10 - second coat on 25%, and first coat on last 25%
Day 11 - second coat on final 25%

Let me be clear ... none of this was Behr's fault.  The products worked exactly as advertised, but Operator Error ran rampant!

And, then there was the weather.  It should be averaging 85 here right now.  But for the last 10 days, it has been averaging 93 degrees!  And, the humidity has been around 50% every day.  It meant that it was too hot to work after 9 or 9:30 a.m. and i had to be vigilant that the stripper did not dry out, so it took me way longer than i had planned. 
I was lucky with rain, tho.  I needed it to stay dry thru the entire 11 days, and the dry weather held for 9 days.  It did rain hard late in the afternoon, but by morning had dried out, and only that last 25% of the wood was "naked".  A hot and dry day took care of that by noon, so that i could finish up. 

And, we are thrilled with the final product.  The color matches the side porch beautifully.  It feels good underfoot, and seems to have covered very well.  Only time will tell how well it wears, but we are very hopeful. 
Part 2 will be done in the fall.  I plan to paint the railings white to match the other two porches, but it's too hot to even start on that now.

This retirement stuff is fun!

*Behr didn't pay me for any endorsement, altho i would happily do so.  I really like their products and they worked well.