Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

Barrington, RI Congregational Church
Built in 1806 using timbers from the 
Orginal Church built in 1711.

Children's Christmas Eve Service
If you look closely you can see the old doors on the pews.
The doors kept the heat in the pew space when the families brought 
small coal burners with them to stay warm.

Christmas Eve with our First Tree

Merry Christmas to All!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Christmas Lull

In 2011 We started with this

Thought we were Going to Do This

Had this happen in between

Now we have this in Lull Land

Christmas Cookies

My better half made some Christmas cookies with plans to bring them into work and give them to friends. I had other plans for them.

Shortly after making them she asked “Who has been eating the Christmas cookies?” What? We’re not supposed to eat them? Crap. 

Now truly, my contribution when invited to help making them was putting boobs on one of the snowmen (women?) after which I was told that my help was no longer needed. I thought it would be funny. The funny part was she wasn’t amused. Much.

So with there only being two of us I did what I had to about the missing cookies. I said, “You know, someone has been drinking my beer too. I wonder if the same person that ate the cookies is the same one that’s drinking my beer?” I pretty sure she didn’t buy that…

Back to the house.

Twas a few nights before Christmas and all of the contractors have headed for the hills. The house work has come to a complete stop. 

It wouldn’t be so bad if it hadn’t come to a complete stop a few weeks ago. Much of it is due to scheduling conflicts. Some of it due to the Holidays. We had a good meeting yesterday with the builder to go over a few items that we had concerns about including the apparent stop work that was only missing the picket signs. They have a sub that needs to wrap up a few things outside in order for the house to move forward. Fortunately, our Project Manager, Joe, is on top of this and we have a commitment to ramp back up next week at the start of the New Year. In the meantime I’m going to have to drink a lot of Christmas Cheer to feel better about this lull.

This will make our third Christmas owning the property, paying mortgages and trying to make something out of it. It’s been frustrating but we know 2014 will be “The” year.

In celebration of our two year anniversary of owning the property, I invite you to read one of my older blogs. It will make you laugh and like a Christmas Carol, it is the Ghost of Christmases to come.

Enjoy your weekend

Monday, December 16, 2013

Starting the Stone Work

Bobcat Moving Material 
(I need to think of way to convince my better half
that we need one of these.)

The Stone that will be Used in the Stonewall

Leveling up Under Where the side Porch will go
(They put down a barrier cloth to help prevent weeds)

These Stones will provide the type of wall that we are looking for.

Future Steps leading from Driveway to Walkway

Blue Stone Caps for over the Garage wall Stone Veneer

Blanket Material to help keep the Ground from Freezing
This will be the side patio.

It will be nice once the Porch is Built

Perfect. The stonework starts and it snows.

Then it Rained and Froze and now we have a Front Yard Skating Rink

While most of the inside work has come to a lull as the different contractors are off on other sites, we were pleased to see the stone work outside started. 

Mike from Stone Age Masonry had a crew there doing the prep work of laying down the base material. It starts first with gravel which provides for drainage. They would put the gravel down in layers and then use vibrators to compact it even further. Later they will put a few inches of sand over the gravel before laying the pavers over the sand.

The plan is to have a stone wall alongside the driveway with steps and a walkway leading to the porch steps. There will also be a small patio alongside the porch. I’ll have to dig up what everything is constructed from other than stone and concrete. Sorry. Long day at work.

Of course, within a few days of starting, it snowed and rained and the temperature dropped to the teens. Work has stopped for now but we have a nice skating rink in the front yard.

It’s the little things isn’t it?

Enjoy your week.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Prince Snow Farm

Ribbon Hand Stamped with Peace

Hand Stamped Gift Tags with Fabric Ties

Small Muslin Bags
(My Better Half said no, I cannot use them for screws)

Hand Stamped Lavender Bags
(My Better Half claimed these right away)

And my Personal Favorite - A Large Still Life Print

So while everyone is out buying lottery tickets for the $400 million mega millions I found my “win” in a very nice package sent to my house.
Recently I entered a Blog Give-a-way courtesy of Prince Snow Farm (http://nantucketdaffodil.blogspot.com/) and I was lucky enough to win some very nice gifts. If my better half hadn’t have been standing there watching me open the box I just might have had some nice stocking stuffers. Hmmm, maybe I’ll do that anyways.
Monica has a great blog with her writings and beautiful pictures. She is also a great artist and makes some really nice hand crafted gifts and other things that you just won’t find in one of those big box stores. Please visit Monica on her post (above) or see what she has for sale on Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/PrinceSnowFarm?ref=em).
You just might find some of your own stocking stuffers.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Kitchen Work Continues

Upper Cabinets are In

Starting to Add the Doors
Trash Compactor will go in the Opening on Left

Dishwasher will go in the Left Opening
Refridgerator on the Right

Stove will go in the Center
Drawer Microwave in the Facing Cabinet

Brushed Stainless Handles and Knobs

 We purchased a Kitchen Floor Display for Basement Cabinets

I liked it just for the deep stainless steel Franke Sink which 
we'll use in the kitchen.
I do the dishes so why not?

I had to spend about Three Hours removing the Silicon that held it
in place on the Display Cabinets

Bathroom Vanities Delivered

The kitchen work continues although it was more of a lull this week than continuing. You can really see how the doors make a kitchen. Right now it’s just a bunch of white boxes hung on the wall with the doors leaning against another wall. I’m not sure why they haven’t hung them all yet but there must be a reason.

Riley Kitchen & Bath is opening a new showroom so they put all of their display units up for sale at significantly reduced prices. My better half suggested that we buy one to use in our future Family Room in the basement. I looked at her with that “Are you crazy?” look because why would we need two kitchens and that’s just more money we’ll have to spend. Her reasons made sense (to her) so being the dutiful husband I went along with buying these beautiful cherry cabinets at a price we (? She) couldn’t say no to. Truthfully the display had a really cool deep stainless steel Franke sink (I’ll get the measurements). When I found out we could use it in our new kitchen instead of the standard one that comes with the counter top, I went along with it. After all, we have an agreement. When she cooks, I clean up. Which means that I clean up all of the time.

Once we took the display apart and moved it, I had to spend about three hours gently removing the silicon that was used to attach it to the display cabinets. I used some Motsenbockers Lift Off Silicon Remover to help remove it all. It was still a lot of work and I had to be careful not to scratch the sink. It will look great in the new kitchen.

My better half was successful in picking out some really nice brushed stainless steel handles and knobs for the kitchen cabinets from Top Knob. This was despite my offer of assistance with such gems as:

·         “You probably want them to match.”
·         “They have websites that have a lot of them.”
·         “The website will give you suggestions on the handles that will go with the knobs.”
·         “You probably don’t want to mix companies with knobs and handles.”
·         “You might want to make the picture larger so you can see them better.”

She went into the other room to look more. I think it was because I was being so helpful.

Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Late Night Walk

Providence Skyline at Night

Me Calling the Number on the Sign that Said:

I Guess they mean it...

We decided to take a break from eating left overs and drove into Providence last night to see the movie Dallas Buyers Club with Matthew McConaughey at our favorite theater the Avon (www.avoncinema.com) which is located on Thayer Street street on the East side. Anyone who is familiar with the area knows that it has great restaurants large and small along with a number of shops that cater for the most part to the college crowd in Providence. This always makes parking a bit dicey so we parked in our favorite not well known about parking lot a few blocks away. The one with the signs that stated if you park here we will tow you. We knew the signs were just a threat because we had parked there for years and the lot was always full and no one was ever towed.

I guess things have changed. When we arrived at the lot, it was apparent that new brighter lights had been installed and the lot was empty except for one car. So I parked right under one of the lights thinking this is a great spot. As we’re walking away congratulating ourselves about how smart we were to find this off the beaten path parking spot, we figured the lot was empty because everyone was home for Thanksgiving. If only.

Walking back after the movie, which I enjoyed (9 out of 10), we yakked about the movie and what we liked and didn’t like. The night air was 28 degrees and cold enough to make you shiver. Well me mostly because I wore a light jacket unlike my much smarter better half who was dressed for the cold. As we rounded the corner to our parking spot I was thinking how nice and bright the parking lot is now with the new… “hey, where’s my car?” It was gone the lot was empty. And it isn’t big like the lots at Disney so I knew I didn’t go to the wrong spot. Crap. It was towed. And right on that new light pole where my car used to be was a sign that basically said, “If you park here…” The sign I never saw and probably would have ignored anyways.

So we called the number on the sign that they were nice enough to leave and were given walking directions to the car jail and “Oh by the way, you’ll need $138 to bail it out. Cash only.” How convenient. I was in the bank parking lot where there was an ATM. They planned this well I thought.

So we set off in the direction of the tow company which was fortunately a little over a mile away. Me in my light coat. My better half in her nice warm coat. I did my best to laugh about it given there wasn’t much else that I could do. We walked down the streets and across a dark interchange and park which is under construction with the walkway guided only by some plastic netting to keep the drunks from falling in the mud. And over the river like the Goldilocks absent the woods. It was here that my humor went down a bit. The wind was whipping up the river. It was cold. I had a on a light jacket. My car was waiting for me to dig deeply into my wallet to bail it out. In the middle of the bridge my better half stopped and said “Let’s stand here and admire how pretty the Providence skyline is at night. When will we ever get to do this again?” I’m like “Really?” Yup, really. “Really?” “Uh huh.” So we did. I must be going to heaven.

After walking some more and bailing out my car later, I just laughed. It was an expensive night. But I had good company, we saw a good movie had a nice walk and got to admire the Providence skyline at night. What could be better?

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Kitchen Unwrapped

Kitchen - Living Room Side
Drawer Microwave in the small L

Kitchen - Outside Wall

Kitchen - Looking from the Dining Room

Beginning the Install

It was raining like crazy outside

Looking Towards the Dining Room

The Stove will be in the Middle on this Wall

Doors Ready to go up

Upper Cabinets

My Cran-Apple Pie (made under direction)
HT - Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Today is the day where we give thanks with family and friends for what we have and we do it with food, lots of food. So much food in fact that I think in the old days it would have actually been called a feast. And we stuff ourselves silly. But there always seems to be room for pie.

In the spirit of this food, family and friends centric day, I’m going to tell you about our new kitchen. And here’s my disclaimer, everywhere we I say “we”, I really mean for the most part “my better half” because this was the hardest job that I haven’t had to do.

When we were first going to remodel the other house we started working with a Kitchen & Bath place in RI who will remain unnamed for reasons to follow. We felt comfortable at first were getting some good ideas. When we decided to build new, Meridian (our builder) suggested that we use a designer that they use frequently. However, we had already put down a $1,000 deposit and didn’t want to give that up so we stuck with the company we were using. And it wasn’t long before we were feeling very stuck. Our designer was frequently late for appointments and even missed them altogether. The few times I went with my better half it was painfully obvious that no work had been done on the design since the last appointment. Months were passing. Confusion reigned. The wrong drawings would be emailed to us and often the designs were not updated with new requests and ideas. We were getting dangerously behind in our timeline. It was fast becoming a nightmare.

On a whim, my now frustrated better half went over and met with Lisa Riley from Riley Kitchen & Bath in Bristol, RI (www.RileyKitchen.com)to see what she might suggest. This was the same company that Meridian had recommended when we started designing the new house. It was such a good experience that a few hours later after some discussion we decided to walk away from the first company (and our deposit) and start over. What a difference. Lisa spent the time going over kitchen ideas with my better half and made design recommendations that we liked and incorporated into the overall design. She is a true professional with significant design experience and always made sure that our drawings were always up to date and reflected what we were looking for. I think the true measure of a company is when asked if you would use them again. Our answer would be a resounding yes!

For those that like the details, the cabinets are Waypoint (www.waypointlivingspaces.com) with the 650F door style in Maple Cream Glaze (sounds like ice cream doesn’t it?). We’re still undecided about the draw pulls and knobs. Probably another decision I’ll need to just go “uh huh” to.
Truthfully, I have had little to do with the kitchen planning. I know my place. The only thing I asked for was one of those cool drawer microwaves. It's stupidly expensive but I'm getting it. I've never liked the over the stove microwaves because of the height and the potential for spilling hot food. My last house had one installed and I found the built in vent and lighting to be just passable. I'm not sure that anyone has designed a combination of the two that works really well. That's why we're going with a separate vent. And a cool microwave in a drawer. 

It’s fantastic to see drawings turn into reality. The house is up. The walls are up. The plumbing is installed. The wires are run. The doors are swinging. And our kitchen is being installed. Things are really moving along rapidly.

But even as thankful as we are for the work and those that helped get us there, we are also thankful for our families and the many friends we have made across the years and even on this blog. Because at the end of the day, they are what life is really about. 

Please remember those in need and less fortunate than us during these holidays. Because that completes why we are here to begin with.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Trim Work Continues & Other Work Begins

Cutting the Trim in the Living Room Shop

The Stairs to the Room Over the Garage Have been Installed
They look great!

White Oak Treads

The Crown Molding Breaks up the High Wall Nicely
LED tape lights will provide nice up lighting.

Windows Trimmed out and Crown Molding in the Dining Room
The Orange Paint outlines the Stone Wall and Walkway
Stone Veneer will Wrap the Garage wall

A Load of Processed Material being Delivered
Boxes of Kitchen Cabinets in the Kitchen

And more in the Dining Room
The trim work continues. All the interior doors have been hung and working smoothly. Crown molding has been wrapped around the Dining Room and three quarters of the Living Room. With the high walls the crown molding breaks it up nicely. We left the wall opposite the fireplace without the crown molding to give the impact of a high wall. Sort of like having two rooms in one. I suggested to my better half that down the road we could put LED tape lights along the backside of the molding to give an up light effect. She liked the idea. When I then added that we could also set it up to have changing colors like red, and green and white and have them change every ten seconds or so, she commented that now would be a good time to stop.
While the trim work was going on in the inside, outside I met with the Mason, Mike Carpenter from Stone Age Masonry (whosyourmason@cox.net) to go over plans for the stone wall alongside the driveway as well as installing stone veneer on the garage wall. We had originally planned to slope the side area and put in granite stairs. But like with any plan, the more my better half I talked about the different possibilities the more we liked the idea of a stone wall. We also wanted to cover up the unappealing concrete wall on the garage so we’ve decided to have it covered with a stone veneer.
I had planned on building a nice stone patio and walkway next year on the garage side of the house near the kitchen, but never having enough weekends and knowing how much outside work we’ll be doing next year, we’re obtaining quotes from Mike for doing the work instead.  He’s already provided some really good ideas and we’re glad he’s doing our masonry work. JM Equipment also dropped off a load of processed material for use in the work. They are a busy company and dropping off the material was really appreciated. It's companies like this that keep things moving along.
In the middle of all of this, the kitchen cabinets were delivered. This calls for a big YAY! I’m not sure when they’ll start the install but just having them on site is huge progress. And with Thanksgiving coming up this week it seems appropriate.
Enjoy your week.