Jan's Journal

Half and Half

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November 23, 2012: Wow! Has it really been 2 months since I updated this site? Lots has happened...first, Woody has been renamed Skeezix; Woody just didn't seem to fit him, and his kittenish antics really made him more of a Skeezix. He and Amber are now definitely best buds! Second, we have a new 36" french style Whirlpool refrigerator AND the cabinet next to it was removed and replaced with a custom designed and built pantry cabinet (we're still waiting for the cabinet doors; we seem to spend a lot of time waiting for things to be delivered to the island...sigh). We love the fridge -- there's enough room to hide a body and was wonderful to have it in time for Thanksgiving, plus it is much quieter than the old one, so all is good. We are now seriously broke (as opposed to just plain broke)! The furniture eventually arrived; it looks good and is comfortable. We bought a brass coffee table at the local consignment shop...just the right size and it finishes off the room nicely. Next on the to-buy list are area rugs for the living room, dining room and bedroom, and a night stand for Jim. We put what art work we have up; the colors don't go with the new color scheme but they were favorite pieces we put in storage over 10 years ago, so for now, we're enjoying them. I suppose eventually they may be changed out.

We had a pleasant Thanksgiving holiday. Joyce & Nick came up from the Bay Area for a week...always good to visit with them. We had a family conference with Babs' physician regarding her diminishing "cognitive skills". With a little pressure from us kids (Peter stayed silent), the doctor agreed to request a referral for a CAT scan and take her off all her drugs. We will see... Anyway, back to T'giving...too much food for 6 of us, but it was all very good and we'll probably be eating turkey for the next 6 months!

My quilt retreat at the end of Sept. was wonderful. I hadn't sat behind my sewing machine since March so we had to reintroduce ourselves; once that was done, I was on a roll -- watch her sew!! :-) It is 2 months later and I have to admit that I haven't actually *finished* any of the projects that I started, but I'm THIS close! And now I'm lining up new projects for the upcoming January quilt camp, as well as finish the bed quilt that I started in Sept., and I'm hoping that the lap throw-turned-table cloth will be done before then, even though it's not Christmas-y.

Speaking of Christmas, there are 4 or 5 boxes up in the barn labeled "Christmas". For the life of us, we can't remember what is in those boxes! We had one box on the boat and that's not included in the ones in the barn. So, it's going to be fun going through them; it'll either be lots of treasures or lots of trash. We're debating on whether or not to have a tree this year; I can picture both cats at the top! And unfortunately, when we designed the house, we didn't take a Christmas tree into account so we may have to do some creative furniture rearranging.

Sept. 15, 2012: Jim is back from his trip to Mexico; he had a great trip and this year they caught more dorado than tuna and 1 Wahoo. To be honest, I basically did nothing while he was gone...it felt good to just sit and veg without feeling guilty. We're still waiting for our loveseat and chair to be delivered. Jim was supposed to pick it up on his way home. He stopped into the store and was told that the furniture would be in "tomorrow". "Wrong answer," said Jim. "You're going to deliver it to Orcas free, right?" After much discussion, the store's management agreed to deliver it. They weren't sure if there was room on Thursday's truck but the manager said she'd confirm and let us know. She said that Tues pm, she said that Weds. pm. On Thursday, there was no truck and no furniture. Yesterday Jim got a call from the furniture company telling him his furniture was in and wondering when he was going to pick it up. "Wrong question," said Jim! We spent today installing more pine paneling in the vestibule; I'm not sure it we're going to have enough to finish the space or whether we'll have to buy 1 board. Two of the walls are now finished. Then the fridge started making a clicking sound; Jim opened the freezer and felt hot air blasting...not good! He turned things off and on and reset the dials. The fridge started humming again, but now we don't trust it. To make matters worse, our kitchen was designed as a temporary space to accommodate the used fridge and cabinets that we bought. The space between cabinets is only 32"; standard width refrigerators is 36"! So...we're trying to decide what Plan B is. We don't want to buy another small fridge, nor do we want to remodel so soon. I picked our kitten up a few days earlier than planned. This allowed me to be home and supervise both cats. After spending the week calling the kitten every name we could think of, we finally agreed on the name "Woody", as he matches our fir floor! My boss thinks his name should be Firwood Farkel! Amber is doing better...at least she no longer sings every time she sees him!

Aug. 31, 2012: JAN & JIM ARE IN!! We moved mostly in last Sat., or in enough to give us 2 chairs to sit in and 2 end tables to put our coffee and/or wine glasses on. On Monday, my 2 strong co-workers moved our very heavy cherry dining room table down from the loft and into the house. Voila -- let there be a living room and a dining room! We've spent the week going through the numerous boxes up in the barn, bringing some into the house, and leaving others. There are still items that I think we put into storage but haven't found yet. Am I remembering correctly? Only going through each box will tell! And I've unloaded several dock carts full of clothes and food off the boat. I didn't realize how much food we had on board -- we would NEVER have gone hungry, as long as we liked garbanzo beans and stewed tomatoes!! Chris and Jason did a wonderful job with the finish painting; the red paint they chose for our exterior doors is so rich and absolutely perfect! We still have to install the bedroom door, bedroom closet folding doors and laundry room bi-fold doors. Many of our paintings are currently in the living room, waiting for us to interview walls to see where things will look best. The bed is extremely comfortable; we lucked out with that purchase! My sister-in-law gave us a very generous gift certificate to Lands End for Xmas 2010; we added a few more $ to it and splurged on a top notch set of sheets, which I have to say feel...luxurious is the only word that describes them! I feel like I'm sleeping on silk. Amber is beginning to feel a bit more relaxed here, although today I discovered her hiding under the quilts on the bed (earlier in the week she was hiding under the bed). She's still not eating as much as she did on the boat, but she doesn't appear to be lethargic or sick. We filed adoption papers on a 10 week old orange boy; the Orcas Animal Shelter has named him Brick, which doesn't fit him at all! He was neutered on Monday and gets his shots next week. We will pick him up on the 11th, when Jim returns from his annual vacation with the boys in Mexico. Hopefully he will help to keep Amber company while we're at work. So that is what is currently keeping us busy! I have started cleaning the interior of Manana; after 10 years of living aboard, it is long overdue! My plan while Jim is gone is to spend some time each night working on the boat, scraping or sanding...then again, it might be really nice to reintroduce myself to my Bernina -- we haven't talked to each other since last March!

Aug. 18, 2012: The answer to the question that everyone is asking us is...."No, we're not in yet!" The painting is taking longer than planned, but we can't blame the painters; we've both been so busy that we've finally just finished putting the trim down in the living room. However, the bedroom is finished (minus the closet doors), so today we moved the bed and bureau out of storage and into the bedroom. Yeah! As the mattress and bed are used, I want to buy a mattress cover before sleeping on it. My sewing room is set up but I've yet to sew a stitch, and I'm slowly moving food and dishes into the cabinets in the kitchen. Hopefully Chris will be done with the painting by next weekend so we can move the rest of the furniture in and start setting up house.

We went to America last week and spent oodles of money -- bought a propane BBQ, patio chair cushions, nightstand lamps (note: we don't have nightstands yet), closet system and a sewing room chair. We also stopped at a furniture store and test sat lots of chairs/love seats. The next day we placed an order for a salsa red love seat and a comfortable chair, which is in a modern floral print. Those should be here by mid-Sept. So we just keep plugging along...

July 31, 2012: Hooray! Jason signed off on the house! This "adventure in building" has taken over 3 years of our lives to get to this point. At the time of the inspection, the house was minus door and baseboard trim. Then we made the decision to hire professional painters, a very smart move on our part, since we're both still up to our eyeballs in outside work. (The painters are Jason, the inspector, and his wife!). So we spent last weekend cutting, installing, spackling and caulking miles of trim, trying to get the house ready, as Jason was scheduled to start yesterday. They estimate it will take them 2 weeks to complete the work; the interior doors were taken to their shop for spraying. There's still a few pieces of baseboard to be installed in the living room and it needs to be caulked. As soon as the trim is finished, we'll start working back in the bathroom on the medicine cabinet, linen closet and drawers for the vanity.

I have started moving my quilting stuff into my little room; either I have a lot of stuff, or the room is really very small! All in all, though, I'm really happy with how the space has turned out and am looking forward to turning it from a house to our home.

July 11, 2012: Aaarrgghh! No inspection yet, but hopefully the end of this week. Turns out the fire door flanges were for a 36" door and we had a 30" door; the hardware store told us we were supposed to cut them down...right, like we were supposed to know that? The east deck is finished, the front steps are done, all the electrical outlets are done. We installed the fan and light in the bedroom, only to discover the fan was defective; a new fan has been received and we'll swap it out, but for now, at least the light works. And the custom fireplace doors that we ordered don't fit; well, the frame fits but the optional mesh screen that we ordered doesn't. Jim's been in contact with the company and we've been given the okee dokee to install the doors minus the screen for the permit and then ship everything back. Trouble is, they don't think they'll be able to accommodate our request for doors & screen in the size we need. Our inspector left for vacation on July 4. He should be back either tomorrow or Thurs. Jim will call for an inspection once Jason is back; hopefully he won't be too back logged. In the meantime, we've been installing more paneling in the vestibule and I'm slowly transferring items from the boat's galley to the kitchen. And permit or not, I've already warned Jim that I'm moving my quilting gear off the boat on Sunday!

And the Subaru saga...well, I admit to preferring to drive it over the van (as has Jim). We headed off to the hardware store last weekend, only to have it overheat on the way -- damn! Jim said it was peeing out of the radiator as fast as he poured the antifreeze in. We barely made it back to the marina's parking lot; a phone call to the car shop says probably $400 to replace the radiator and hoses, and $125/hr towing. Double damn! So the Subaru has sat for a week while we juggle $$. Is there anyone else in internet land that wishes they could go back to being a child with no responsibilities, or am I the only one?

June 24, 2012: We continue to check the items necessary for the occupancy permit off the list and are hoping that we'll be ready to call Jason for an inspection within the next week or two. All the tongue & groove pine paneling that we had on site was installed and it's looking great (well, it's looking a heckuva lot better than the clear plastic over the insulation). In fact, it looks so good that we ordered a bunch more. Actually, though, it's not necessary for the permit. The 3 blue pendant lights over the peninsula are hooked up, but there's a story behind them. We ordered 3; the sales lady shipped 1. We called her and she shipped the other 2. Unfortunately we did not look closely at the globes when they arrived. Assuming they all matched was a bad thing. When you illuminate them, it becomes obvious that they aren't the same. I don't know if we have any recourse, as we bought them over a year ago, but we'll try. The fan in the living room is now up and functional and blanking plates were installed over the boxes that should have some sort of light, except we can't agree on what to install. As we need one light that works with a wall switch, we tried to install a light we found in the barn but there was no backing plate, and we tried to install the dining room chandelier but the "strap" wasn't long enough. Supposedly ACE Hardware has a selection in stock, so Jim will check them out tomorrow. The remaining outstanding items (for occupancy permit): finish hooking up the outlets in the bedroom and sewing room, install a light in the bedroom, finish the east deck, build the front steps, install fire door flanges and install the fireplace doors.

June 18, 2012: Happy 29th anniversary to us! Today Jim learned that over the weekend Babs had a mental "blank out", for lack of appropriate term. She drove her van to the post office and picked up the mail. She backed the van out of the parking space and then went blank. She didn't know how to make it go forward or how to shut it off. Luckily, the Sheriff just happened to be in the parking lot and noticed Babs sitting so he went to see what the mechanical problem might be. He quickly ascertained that she had mental issues rather than mechanical, parked the van and called Peter. We've all been wondering how/when Babs was going to stop driving; this was the absolute best conclusion. Given our issues with the Subaru over the weekend, Jim offered to buy Babs van. Peter discussed this possibility with Babs, who thought it was a good idea and a deal was struck. So we are now the owners of a 1998 dark green Plymouth van. We need to stop working on the house long enough to transfer the "stuff" in the Subaru to the van and put the Subaru on the market. Damn! I really like the Subaru and wish there were a way we could keep it -- I just don't feel like I'm a "van" person, but we've gotta pay for the van somehow.

June 15-17, 2012: Off to America for the weekend to celebrate grand daughter, Karina's, high school graduation. We are SO close with the house but no doubt about it, family comes first and we were excited to see Colleen, Rachel and the kids. We hope that one day soon we'll be able to take a weekend off without feeling guilty. Had an uneventful trip down on Friday. Arrived early enough to check into the motel (Westwynd), with plans to do a bit of off-island shopping before hooking up with Colleen. The hotel was straight out of the '70s! I took a picture of the linoleum in the bathroom...it will make a terrific looking quilt! :o) But on the positive side, the room was clean, the bed was comfortable, there was plenty of hot water for a shower and 2 nights + tax came to $156...and that's in Gig Harbor! After checking in, we headed off to Target. As we were sitting at a red light, I noticed steam coming from under the hood. A quick look at the temperature gauge showed the needle pinned on the H. Oh oh...definitely NOT good. Thankfully we had just passed a gas station, so we limped the car back there, bought a couple gallons of antifreeze and headed off. Just what the budget doesn't need...a car repair bill! We spent Sat. at Colleen's, helping them get ready for the graduation party. At 3:00pm, everyone headed out to the Tacoma Dome for Karina's graduation. It took us 30 min to get off the ramp from I-5 and into the parking lot. Graduates in cars ahead of us were bailing and running, as they had to be there at 3:45 (the ceremony began at 4:30). What we didn't realize was another high school graduation was ending as Peninsula High School's graduation crowd was arriving. There just wasn't enough room on the street for everyone. What a disaster! Thankfully the car behaved itself, although we kept an eagle eye on the temperature gauge. The ceremony went off without a hitch, pictures of the graduates with family and friends were taken and then we headed back to Colleen's. As we were driving onto I-5, steam began pouring from under the hood again. Damn! Jim pulled over and put more antifreeze in. The needle went down and off we went, no worse for the inconvenience but wondering if it's time to start figuring out how to afford a newer car (our Subaru is a 1992). After that, we decided to keep a gallon filled with water and check the radiator frequently. There were about a dozen of us back at the house and a good time was had by all. We headed back to the motel at 10:00pm. Thank goodness it was only a couple miles away...we were wiped from the stress of all the traffic, the crowds and worrying about the car. Jim topped off the coolant before we left the motel Sun. AM. He topped it off again on the Port Townsend ferry. I'm happy to report that we made it home with no other episodes, but perhaps we'll address a newer car in the Fall?

On the house front, the Jenn-Aire cooktop is installed and San Juan Propane hooked up the propane line, so we now have a working stove top. While in America, we bought 2 bar stools for the peninsula. They were on sale at Target for $19.99 each. We weren't able to test them out and they very well may be crap (we have to assemble them); however, at that price, we won't feel bad about selling them at a garage sale if they don't work out. Jim's calendar is booked solid during the next 2 weeks so we'll be spending evenings at the house. He'll teach me how to wire the outlets and we'll do our best to finish up the rest of the items on the list. July 1 is coming fast; we're working as fast as we can!

June 4, 2012: Well, the light at the end of the tunnel just may be...the end! Dare I say it? We have been pushing as much as possible, still really hoping to be able to call the inspector within the next couple of weeks. The kitchen is looking very good; the laminate ("Oiled Soapstone" by Wilsonart) arrived last Thurs. and by the end of yesterday, we had all the surfaces laminated, the hole for the kitchen sink cut and the back splashes for one of the corner cabinets caulked and attached. We'll continue installing the cabinets this week. It's amazing how the introduction of another color really changes the look of the previously yellow and white room! The new fireplace door arrived today -- it looks great and hopefully will be easy to install. Still need to finish the railings on the side deck, build the front steps, finish wiring the outlets in the bedroom and sewing room and install one wall of paneling in the vestibule. We have one design element that we haven't been able to resolve and that is the lighting in the ceiling in the living room. Jim installed wiring thinking pod lighting would hang down at various levels, depending on what the pod light was trying to illuminate. I don't want anything hanging down! As we must have at least one wall switch light, we will install something cheap and put plates over the others. There is still much that needs to be done before we move in, but the majority of it isn't necessary for an occupancy permit. So we continue to plug and cross items off the list.

On a sad note, our friend, Gail, fell into an open hatch this morning, breaking both her ankles. Apparently her husband left the cover off the hatch and although he told her, she forgot...she was flown off island and most likely they will not be able to return to living on their boat until she's mobile. Definitely a bummer as they love living aboard and this is the season. I can't even imagine having 2 broken ankles...

May 24, 2012: Rumor has it that the County approved Crowsnest Lane, although we haven't seen anything official, so we don't know our house number yet. We keep pushing with the house, although at this point it feels like it is conspiring against us. The new can of Kilz primer that we bought refused to kick off so Jim returned it. Unfortunately the store didn't have a can from a different lot # and the 2nd can did the same thing. The new spray gun is spitting fish eyes, despite the fact that we're using latex paint. He's tried all sorts of things trying to figure out what's causing it; a technician told Jim that it's probably a contaminated can of paint. Then Jim discovered that he primed the BACK side of the tongue & groove pine paneling...on every single board! Doh! And finally, as we were hooking up the brand new dishwasher, we noticed water dribbling out the dishwasher door (it had been a floor model demo). We got it in place, turned it on as the directions said, and had to put a cup under the corner of the door because the water was running out. All this happened in the same weekend; needless to say, the dishwasher was the crowning blow...my response to everything was, "Screw it!" I am not happy with the store where we bought the dishwasher; they told Jim to call a repair man but since we hadn't even hooked the thing up, I feel like they should take it back and exchange it for a new one that wasn't a floor model. As of today, all of the used kitchen cabinet doors/drawer fronts have been painted, repriming of the correct side of the paneling has started and the plywood for the counter top has been cut. There's a possibility that the Formica may arrive tomorrow; unfortunately I'm working solo tomorrow through Monday, so I won't be of much help at the house.

May 2, 2012: The street naming went remarkably well! Perhaps everyone being plyed with alcohol was a factor? We decided on Crowsnest Lane; we're still waiting to see what the county thinks of it. As we all own boats, we thought a nautical term would be appropriate. Plus, we live near Crow Valley. I guess time will tell!

So we ended up having to put a 4th coat of finish on the floor and a 5th wouldn't have hurt, but we left it at 4 and called it good. Jim and I went to the mainland last week and did major damage to our credit card! We bought 7 2" white blinds for the bedroom and sewing room, 3 kitchen cabinet bases, a 6' shelf unit that we'll use as a pantry for the time being, a dishwasher and a microwave. The interior doors were delivered and we've installed all but the bi-fold door for the laundry closet. Boy, you put doors in and it really starts to resemble a home! We sorted the used cabinet pieces and were able to use 9 of the 11 pieces; we hung the wall cabinets and arranged the lowers (which was how we determined we needed 3 more bases). I removed the cabinet doors and handles and washed them down with TSP; they are now ready for a fresh coat of paint. Jim finished installing the bathroom sink, faucet and towel rod. Also delivered were 3 bundles of pine tongue & groove paneling that will line the vestibule walls. Jim began prepping them for primer (he bought a new paint sprayer). The fireplace metal samples FINALLY arrived; we chose natural iron. Jim will place the order for the fireplace doors ASAP as there is a 4 week lead time on them. We'll be concentrating on the kitchen cabinets over the next week or two as we can't get an occupancy permit without a kitchen sink. The pressure is on -- we're still shooting for getting the permit by mid-June.

April 14, 2012: We put coat #1 down last night and left. Returned this morning to see how the floor looked. Not surprising, the majority of the finish soaked into the floor. Coat #2 went down this morning; hopefully the floor will start evening out. Unfortunately Jim has come down with a cold and was too foggy headed to try to work outside, although it's a gorgeous day. Hopefully coat #2 will dry quick enough for us to do coat #3 tomorrow...according to the directions, that should be the last coat needed.

We're getting together with our neighbors tomorrow afternoon to come up with a street name for the driveway. Up here, once a driveway leads to 3 houses, it must have an actual name. Peter has referred to it as "Swift Meadow" for as long as he has owned the property, but he never made the name official. And none of the other property owners like that name. Now comes the fun in trying to come up with a street name that all of us will like, that isn't cutesy or punny, etc. And you thought picking a name for a child was difficult!

April 8, 2012: Easter...had quiche Lorraine and sausage for breakfast with P&B, then it was time to get some serious work done. Last weekend we finished the tedious job of sanding the floor. It definitely was not an easy task, and we, ultimately, made more work for ourselves without intending to. Jim decided to test the filler product that we'd bought in the sewing room. The product instructions said to "pour a puddle" but the product was so thick that it wouldn't pour it, so he fought to work it in across the entire room. We inspected it the next day, after it had dried, and were extremely disappointed; the filler was a lot whiter than our fir and the filled cracks stuck out. Plus it appeared that the filler had whitened the wood itself. Not good! We ended up starting the sanding process again in an attempt to remove as much of the filler as possible. Jim used an aggressive sandpaper, and then 2 lesser grits. I swept the floor between grit changes. It wasn't until I was vacuuming the floor getting ready for the final grit when we noticed that some sheets of the most aggressive grit apparently had some overly aggressive grit, causing gouges in areas of the floor. Back to a medium grit, trying to smooth the wood. By the end of last Sunday, the sanding was finally finished, but we still had to address the filler issue, as our flooring had lots of checks and splits. Jim came up with the brilliant idea of saving some of the sawdust from the final sanding. Yesterday he mixed batches of the dust with watered-down glue to make our own filler. For the most part it worked very well -- it matched perfectly! Unfortunately a couple of the batches were too thin and didn't cover the nail holes. We discovered that this morning. So.... back to making more batches of filler and filling the holes. By mid-afternoon, Jim had sanded all the spots and I had gone a couple rounds with the vacuum. We still needed to go over the floor with a tack cloth and we had no idea how long it would take to put the finish down. And unfortunately we were both sore and tired and Jim needed help with some Starfish work. I gave a final thorough vacuum of the walls, windows and floor and closed the place up. We'll let the dust settle a bit and hopefully be able to get over there after work this week for coat 1. I feel like we are teetering at the top of the mountain -- get the flooring finished and then it's all down hill!

We decided to install the bathroom door, thinking we could close the door and minimize the dust. That was a good thought but didn't work well because the door doesn't have a latch to keep it shut tight! Oh! And we sold the lumber to a guy from Friday Harbor. He was happy he didn't have to buy 2000 sq ft and we got a little money in our pockets. The rest of the interior doors have arrived but we're leaving them at the hardware store for the time being; the door knobs arrived; we're STILL waiting for the metal samples for the custom fireplace doors. I hope they can build the fireplace doors faster than they are sending the samples. The south deck is 100% done but the east deck still needs some work. And we realized that we'll need to install the pine tongue & groove paneling on the west wall of the vestibule so Jim can finish the fire door trim. But we're making progress, slowly but surely!

March 17, 2012: Finally, a milestone to report...! We finished installing the flooring this afternoon -- yeah! Unfortunately it's not prefinished flooring so we still have lots of work ahead of us before we can say it's really done, but at least it's DOWN! We were both so tired and sore that we bought a pizza from the Orcas Landing and came home and watched movies rather than attend the community potluck. We still have several piles of lumber, probably 500 sq. ft. of raw lumber, stacked in the living room. Hopefully we'll find a home for it soon'ish! However, in the meantime, the dining room windows are now accessible and tomorrow we'll start framing them. The lumber yard called to say one door is in; it's probably the bathroom since that's the first one we ordered. Jim will leave it there as long as possible -- we'd prefer the flooring be completely done before we install interior doors.

March 11, 2012: Time flies when you're having fun! It's been a very busy month. I actually got to spend a weekend off island quilting with some friends -- boy, was that fun! And I realized that that was the first time since we returned (in 2008) that I had driven off island! Happy to report that I didn't kill anyone and I could remember how to push the gas pedal down to go 55 mph! :-) Jim attended a trade show down in Seattle. Unfortunately the Subaru decided not to behave, forcing him to take his huge van that doesn't fit in underground garages, and we all know how few street-level parking lots there are any more. But he ran into his friend, Brian, and enjoyed the show.

On the home front...we built the custom bathroom vanity (40" wide x 12" high), mounted it and Jim tiled and grouted the top. The tiling is now 100% finished -- yippee! We gave away/sold our excess grouts and paint, and the tile cutter was returned to its rightful owner today. The house is gradually being emptied of tools and supplies. As of today, the flooring in the dining room/kitchen area is 1/2 finished laying. Unfortunately, we're at the point where we are going to have to relocate the remaining flooring so we can finish off the area. Our neighbor behind us is also building and planning to put down hardwood, so we'll see if he's interested in our excess lumber. (I have decided that I'd prefer linoleum in the loft.) The ceiling fans for the living room and bedroom arrived and the interior doors should be here any day. Assuming Jim can balance his workload, we are hoping to be ready to call for an occupancy permit by mid-June. This is a major financial crunch time as we buy and install everything that we need to get the permit.

And finally, on the weather front, I think Mother Nature woke up one day and said to herself, "Oh gosh! I forgot to give the Pacific NW some winter weather!" Ever since I wrote that our weather has improved, it's been lousy -- cold, snow, sleet, heavy rain, sun -- sometimes all in the same day! NOAA has a wind alert in effect for the next 24 hrs., predicting that we could see gusts up to 60 mph. I think we're good; if it hasn't already blown off the boat, it probably won't! But it sounds like we could be in for a wild ride tonight. Like I said, "blaaahhhh...."

Feb. 16, 2012: The flooring in the living room/dining room is half down...but now we're at the point where we are approaching the stack of flooring, which is against the dining room wall and still 3' high. So we relocated the 10' lengths to the other end of the living room and started using the 12' lengths of wood (naturally, the longer lengths are at the bottom of the pile). We have more flooring material than we need, which means that we're going to have to find someplace large enough in the house to put these longer lengths of wood -- not an easy task as it is not a big house! We had originally hoped that there might be enough left over to do the floor in the loft of the barn, but that doesn't appear it will be the case. Aarrgghh! In the meantime, Jim has a full schedule of customers this week so no further work is being done; I work this Sat. and we are the Start Committee for the Winter Shaw Classic sailboat race on Sunday.

Feb. 9, 2012: The weather has definitely improved and I have declared winter to be over! The daffodils are up about 2" and daily temps are in the upper 40s. Surely Spring can't be far away!

As I say every month...on the home front...the bathroom grout finally arrived. I think it was delivered by mule! The tile floor is finished and Jim has started putting the baseboard down. The lumber for the vanity and the linen closet arrived yesterday. The hardwood flooring in the bedroom, sewing room and hallway is down (still to be sanded, stained and finished). Last weekend we layed enough flooring in the living room to install Door #2. Gosh, we look like a real live house with a real live proper front door! The parts for the propane stove arrived and Jim now has the stove talking to the thermostat. We can continue the flooring in the living room, but eventually we'll have to stop and turn our attention to the bathroom vanity so we can get rid of the tile cutter, which is currently in the kitchen. Are you following all of this? Jim ordered the doors for the bedroom, bathroom, utility closet, laundry room and coat closet today; they should be here some time next month. Maybe if we're lucky, we'll finish the flooring before the doors arrive.

Peter's 80th birthday was a few days ago so we had a party for him last weekend. Joyce & Nick flew up from the Bay Area and we had a good crowd for his birthday celebration. I baked his favorite cake (chocolate w/raspberries) and there was lots of good food, wine and champagne. We took them out to the Orcas Hotel for dinner on Monday, his actual birthday. It was a nice treat for all of us.

Jan. 18, 2012: Winter arrived last weekend with colder weather and bouts of snow and freezing rain. Today the wind is honking from the north and sleet and snow pellets are tapping at the windows. The temp is in the mid-20s...brrr! The foam insert that we stuff into the gap at the door was either pulled out by Amber or blew out; in any case, Jim had to clear the snow from the inside of the door and it was only 58 degrees inside! I'm supposed to be at work in 12 min. but I REALLY don't want to go out! I doubt customers will be knocking on the marina's doors so maybe I'll finish my coffee, have some oatmeal and go in at 0900.

On the home front, the hardwood flooring is going down -- yes!! It's 3/4" tongue and groove fir. The master bedroom is almost done and the hall is about 1/2 done. The flooring is Grade D, which means it has lots of knots, holes, splinters, etc. that need to be cut out. We got ourselves into a routine; I cut, sorted and stacked and Jim nailed them down with the assistance of a refurbished pneumatic flooring nailer that he bought.

The tile rug in the bathroom is finished and looks terrific. Unfortunately the grout got lost in transit so we're waiting for a replacement. We'll put the baseboard down after the grouting is done. We need to address the bathroom vanity sooner than later; the counter top tiles will need to be cut and the tile cutter moved out of the kitchen before we can continue putting the flooring down. And we're at the point where we can order the bathroom door (privacy, what a concept!).

We took Jim's new huge Ford Econoline E250 van to America last week and visited several second-hand stores in search of kitchen cabinets. We lucked out and found an older plywood set in very good condition consisting of 4 bases and 7 uppers; we paid $425. It's definitely not our dream kitchen but should serve us well for the time being. The store owner helped us load everything into the van, then we raced from Mt. Vernon to Anacortes. We arrived just as our ferry was loading; we were way at the back of the boat, but we were very happy to be on it. Had we missed it, we would have had a 4 hr. wait for the next one. The winter ferry schedule sucks big time.

Well, I don't see any lights on at the marina, which means no one is at work. The snow is blowing sideways and we can no longer see the shore. It's blowing 30 kts. I do believe I hear my sewing machine calling my name and it just so happens that I have a quilt top ready to be sandwiched and quilted. Have a wonderful day! :-)

Jan. 1, 2012: What to call this chapter of my journal...such a dilemma. "We're still here" or "House building sucks", just to name a few ideas. In the end, I decided on Half and Half, mainly because we're still half on the boat and half on land. I'm at the point where I wish I were one place or the other, but not doing the split as I am now. Ah, maybe it's time for a talk with a good shrink! The pizza open house was a huge success with 43 attendees over the course of the afternoon. As with last year, friends Frank & Jane made the pizzas while Jim and I gave guided tours. The bathroom got rave reviews (even though the floor wasn't 100% complete) and so many people were amazed at how much space we actually have inside -- from the outside, it looks like it's a very small house, but the cathedral ceilings really add to the space. Getting ready for the party takes lots of planning and is getting to be too much for P&B, so next year, everything will take place down our end. Sure hope the house is finished by then! ps. Happy New Year!


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