December 30th, 2022
We've done one more trip around the sun, my friends. The year, 2022 is nearly over. And what a long, strange trip it's been (to quote the Grateful Dead).
Like every year, 2022 had it's highs and it's lows but was mostly in between. I cannot, in all good conscience, say that it was a bad year, but it certainly was an interesting one. Speaking of which, my whole life I was given to understand that the expression, "May you live in interesting times" was an ancient Chinese Curse. But I am not certain that is true. I cannot seem to verify it anywhere. But I do know that back in 1898, Joseph Chamberlain gave a speech in Parliament that began, "I think you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times." Perhaps it's not a curse, maybe it's a blessing. I would like to believe that it is so.
For me, 2022 was the first year that felt as if we had finally moved away from the Pandemic that ruled our lives with an angry and terrifying fist for about two years and I would say that outweighs anything else. It was a bright light after a time of darkness.
Speaking personally, this past year was kind of a a non-year. I feel as if I spent the majority of 2022 either preparing for a surgery, having one or recovering from one. It was not my favourite way to spend 365 days. On the other hand, I've come out on the other side pretty dang nicely. And I love that we are starting a brand spankin' new year without all that drama.
Toward the end of every year, I spent some time reflecting on the part twelve months. I think about where we've gone, what we've done, who I've spent time with, the people I love. I remember how very fortunate I am and consider what I could have done better then I resolve to improve as we move forward.
With that in mind, I've given some thought to my hopes for the new year. I am not looking for perfection. But it would be very nice if 2023 could be better. So here are my thoughts for six ways 2023 could be better:
1. Better Attitudes - There are times when I really need to give myself an attitude adjustment. Just changing the way I see a situation can completely change the way I deal with it. Which, in turn, affords a better outcome.
2. Better Decisions - Sometimes this just involves the decision to exercise more or eat better. Or maybe the decision to say yes to an invitation instead of my automatic, no thank you. Be more social. Or the decision to be kinder to those around me. Or even kinder to myself. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.
3. Better Health - Of course taking better care of myself will lean me toward better health, but there are some things over which we have no control. So I am going to hope that 2023 brings us all the gift of better health.
4. Better Timing - You know how they say that 'timing is everything'? Well that's not true. It's not everything, but it is a lot. No matter if it's timing for cookies, running, work or romance, timing is important. And think this is one that I have to give up to the Universe. It's not something within my control. I will absolutely wish that the Universe will afford us all some better timing. Get those stars in proper alignment.
5. Better Opportunities - I'm sure those better opportunities are out there, somewhere. I just have to seek them out. And then take advantage of them.
6. Better Luck - I think we could all could use some really good fortune right about now so let's hope that 2023 brings us all a terrific wave of good luck.
However you ring in the New Year, please have fun and stay safe. Hugs all 'round.
Happy New Year Y'all!
December 26th, 2022
Of all the things I've taken pictures of at the beach, the above is one of my favourites. Tim and I spent some time at the beach on Christmas Eve and we saw this cutie there. I don't blame this doggo for wearing a sweatshirt. It was chilly out! I know that other parts of the country had much colder temperatures Lots of zeros and below zeros. Brrrrrr. Negative numbers should NEVER be a temperature! We had more high 20's and low 30's which, while much warmer than say, upstate New York or Colorado, was quite cold to us.
We went out to Breakfast on Saturday morning and, as expected, saw a lot of people very bundled up. My favourite was the lady in a puffy coat and flipflops. Which says to me that she was compromising. You know, "I'm cold but on the other hand, I'm in Florida". Heh.
Not every house in Florida has heat, by the way. Some of the older ones do not, though most of those have fire places. And honestly, it never dawned on me, before we moved here, that a Florida house would ever need heat or a fire place. Boy was I ever wrong. We don't get a lot of really cold weather each year, but they do happen. And when they do, it's brisk!
When those days inevitably roll around, we turn on the heat. (Our house is older but we do have heat, thank goodness). At least for a little bit in the morning just to take the chill out of the air. And quite honestly, during the day it's not much of an issue. We are both busy all day long and if I wear long pants, socks and a sweatshirt, I'm good. It's at night when we are trying to sleep that it's an issue. Even Tim gets cold eventually.
Which is why I am so glad that way back, six + years ago, when we were preparing to move here, even though we got rid of SO MUCH STUFF, we kept our down comforters. Most everyone thought we were crazy. "Dude, you are moving to Florida, not Alaska!" But we, stubbornly, held on to them. Not sure why we decided to do that, but no matter.
We have two of them. One for our bedroom, the other for the guest room. 99% of the time they live in zippered containers in the utility room. But as soon as the weather guys start talking about iguanas falling out of trees, I haul them out. Or I ask Tim to do that part for me. Hey! It's a tall shelf!
Unfortunately, because it's been sitting in the utility room for 11 months, it kind of smells, old and musty. Like a utility room. So this is where my work begins. First I need to strip the comforter cover off, which is like peeling a wiggly small child out of a wet snow suit. The cover goes right into the washing machine and of course then the dryer and that takes care of that.
The comforter itself, however, is not so simple. First of all, it's down. Despite the fact that water fowl are frequently wet, for some reason, it is not recommended that a down comforter be washed. Sort of like how leather shrinks when it gets wet but cows do not, I suppose. Second of all, there is no way this monster comforter would even fit in my washer anyway so it's a moot point.
I suppose I could have taken it to the dry cleaners for them to do their magic, but nope. We all know that I am way too cheap for that! So instead, I draped it over the kitchen table and chairs and sprayed it thoroughly with fabric refresher spray. Lavendar scented :)
Eventually I dragged it off the table and struggled and heaved to turn it over and do the same thing on the other side as well. This is also in front of an open window so it's airing out nicely at the same time by the way. Gotta use every trick in the book to get that funky smell out or there is no sleeping no matter how toasty warm it might be.
Once everything is smelling fresh and clean, the next step is to wrestle the comforter into the comforter cover. And it honestly is like a wrestling match! Holy Cats! And nearly every time, just when I think I'm done, I realize that I've put it on the wrong way. The shape of the comforter is almost but not quite square. It's so subtle that you wouldn't think that it matters. Trust me, it does. But again, hard to tell before shoving and hauling and pulling and dragging. And then, it becomes evident that I've not done it the right way 'round and ARGH! Now I have to strip the cover back off and either turn the comforter or approach from a different direction.
No matter, at some point it's done. And I'm hot and sweaty and well exercised but everything is as it should be and the comforter is on the bed and I know that we will sleep well that night. With cold air around us while we are tucked up so cozy and warm. I love that! Usually the best sleeps of the entire year.
There will only be a couple more nights of the need to sleep under the comforter this week but odds are good that there will be a few more weeks, here and there, before spring, with frosty temperatures and we will drag it back out again.
In between those bizarro cold snaps, the weather is gorgeous in the 60's and 70's with low humidity, shorts, sandals and open windows. So a cold snap really is kind of a shock to the system, though, oddly, I don't mind it. I kind of like being reminded of what real true winter weather is like. Wouldn't want it all the time but once in awhile, it's a nice change.
I hope all of you stayed safe and warm during this arctic blast! And that you had an absolutely delightful Christmas Holiday!
Here are a few other photos of a cold day at the beach. You will notice an absence of people
December 23rd, 2022
It's almost here! Just a couple more days and the jolly fat guy in the red suit ought to be flying his reindeer across the sky with a sleigh filled with gifts for good little boys and girls. Which suggests clearly that I should not expect anything :)
Even though current weather reports around the country are abysmal with flights cancelled, roads treacherous and power outages galore, December 25th will still be Christmas day. If you planned to travel for Christmas, I hope that you arrive at your destination with minimal jeopardy and all of your luggage intact.
For those that are safe and sound, snug and warm in their homes (or someone else's home for that matter) during this holiday weekend, I say, Huzzah! Now stay in that warm, safe place until the storm is over and the roads are clear, please!
To everyone, my Christmas Wishes for you this year are for Good Health, Much Happiness, the Knowledge that You are Cherished, Lots of Laughter and tucked way down in the toe of the stocking is a tiny box of Great Adventures that I am also wishing to you.
However you spend your precious Christmas Day, Stay Safe, Stay Warm and Be Happy!
Hugs all 'round and wishes for a Very Merry Christmas!!
December 19th, 2022
Yeah, that's Tim and I. Not our most flattering photo ever, but still, it's us! Yesterday was our 29th anniversary! Woohoo!
Some years we celebrate big. Other's years, not so big. This year, very very small. But as long as it's still us and we are together and happy, it makes no difference to us. Honestly. We made no plans ahead of time so when it turned out to be a weekend where Tim had to work through it (not on the project room this time, actual work-work) it changed no plans at all.
Poor thing was nose to the grindstone all day and well in to the night on Saturday but on Sunday afternoon, he stepped away for jus t a little bit. And we went to the jetty because it's a beautiful, healing place and then just spent time walking around, breathing the sea air and watching the birds and the sun sparkle on the water. It was exactly perfect.
Although the sun was shining brightly, it was also rather breezy and a wee bit chilly but we didn't mind. There is something about crisp air that feels cleaner and brighter and while we live in a place that normally has warm weather, it's nice to have the reminder once in awhile of cooler temps and other places we have lived.
When I looked through my photos this morning I was laughing when I noticed that there was one thing every bird I snapped had in common. I caught them all scratching itches. Must have been an itchy sort of day for birds. heehee
A little bit of time at the water's edge is good for the soul and it was really good for both of us.
It was just a nice little break in a work weekend, but it was exactly perfect for us.
I made an absolutely terrible chicken cacciatore for our Anniversary Dinner (I don't know why it came out so badly. I've made it a zillion times before when it turned out perfectly) but it doesn't matter because we are already laughing about how bad it was. And we treated ourselves to ice cream for dessert. (Ben & Jerry's was on sale this week BOGO!)
Happy Anniversary to us :)
December 15th, 2022
Taadaa! This is the entirely of our exterior Christmas Decoration. It ain't much. On the other hand, considering that my plan was to do nothing at all, it is a Christmas Decoration so it counts!
Here is something you probably do not know about me. There is a tiny, bratty little toddler that lives inside of me that hates being told what to do. I suppose most people don't like it really. But when this tiny rebel rears it's ugly head I do things like, tap the lawn with the toe of my shoe flaunting the sign that clearly says, "keep off the grass". It makes me gently graze wi th the tip of my pinky finger whatever object in the store bears a sign firmly saying, "do not touch".
It doesn't happen always. Most of the times we are told what to do, I am in complete agreement with the order so it's not a problem. Things like, "Come to a complete stop at a stop sign". I do that with no problem. Or like, "Take one antibiotic, twice a day for ten days". I do that too. But then there are the other times. Yikes.
The times where my boss walked by my desk and harshly directed me to do something that I was already doing. "Hey! I know my job. I know how to do this!". Yeah, that never went well. Or being instructed to do something one particular way, when they way I do it is perfectly fine. That just sets my teeth on edge. It irks me.
I think the entire thing came to a head when we lived in an HOA neighborhood. Neither of us had ever experienced such a thing so we had no idea how ill suited we were to it. The very idea that we had to get permission to paint our house the exact same colour that it already was, seemed ludicrous. The first time it happened I was, "Wait, what? You mean to tell me that we paid for the house and the insurance, we maintain it and pay the property taxes but you get to tell us what we can and cannot do with it?" Yeah it was a problem for me.
One of the most aggravating examples came when we decided that we wanted a small shed in our, fenced (by the way) backyard. We did our research ( of course we did) and found a company that could make a little shed that not only looked like a mini-version of the house but could be painted the exact same colours. Coolio! We checked very carefully in the HOA manual and there was NOTHING in it about sheds. But just in case, we talked to our neighbors about the idea and they very kindly wrote letters saying that they were fine with it. We submitted our request along with the shed specs and the letters and we waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Eventually the word came back and the words was no.
Just no. No reason, no explanation just no. Naturally we asked why. And we asked and asked and asked! Eventually we learned that one member of the board, ONE PERSON, did not like sheds and therefore, no shed. Dang. And the thing with HOA's is that you have no recourse. If it's no, it's no. Very Aggravating.
So when our first Christmas season here rolled around and several neighbors Very Kindly and politely told us that most everyone on our street put these tiny solar lights on their mailboxes, I smiled and nodded. Then they went on to say that it would be nice if we also put tiny solar lights on our mailbox. Again and smiled, nodded and then did absolutely nothing.
Why? Because, sometimes I am, apparently, three years old. Geez. There was no reason why not. Just I didn't want to because I didn't want to. This little dance continued with the advent of the Christmas Season for several years. My lovely neighbors, who I really like, would so politely and kindly mention it and I would smile and nod and not do it. Basically being a brat.
This year, on his own without saying a word to me, Tim ordered some tiny solar powered Christmas lights. He put them on the kitchen counter and there they sat while I mulled this over.
First I had to admit that I am not the only person who lives in this house so mine is not the only voice that should be heard. Then I further had to be honest with myself and say that the lights, in and of themselves, are in no way offensive. And in fact, it's quite nice to drive down our street at night around Christmas time to the line of lighted up mailboxes. Then the last thing I had to be truthful with myself about was the reason I was saying no. It's not as if I was ordered to put up these lights, it's not a law for heaven's sakes. It was just a kindly request.
And so yesterday afternoon I found myself and a bag of white zip ties endlessly wrapping tiny solar lights around the mailbox. I got a little dizzy going 'round and 'round the mailbox pole (heehee dizzy chick). I was very careful to not obscure the house numbers or impair the opening or closing of the mailbox door. And it looks just fine.
Tim and I both admired it out the front window once it was full dark last night. It's done. The rebellious toddler was squashed back into the box it needs to be locked in and we are finally, at long last, compliant Christmas mailbox-wise.
And I am rather proud of myself and pleased to learn that even at my advanced age, I am still capable of personal growth. Yay me!
December 13th, 2022
I have heard, all my life, stories of people who have lived in the same town for a very long time (often their entire lives) without having visited local attractions. I don't know for a fact that it's true, but I've heard it so many times from so many different sources that I assume it is a fact. Folks who live in the San Francisco area but have never been to Alcatraz or perhaps St Louis residents who have driven past the "Gateway to the West" but never stopped to check it out. New York residents who haven't been to the the top of the Empire State Building or lifelong Bostonians who haven't bothered to walk the Freedom Trail. You get the gist of what I'm saying.
I suppose those folks either aren't interested in things they consider 'touristy' or maybe it's more a matter of them thinking, "it's not going anywhere, I'll get to it some day". And then someday never comes. It happens. But I know for sure that I never want to regret a missed opportunity. And that is what it seems like to me.
However, I want to make it very clear that to me, not every opportunity that is turned down is doing to met with excitement. Some well be met with a resounding, "nope". If, for example, someone said, "Hey, let's go parachuting ! Or Bunji Jumping! Or Race Car Driving!" my response would not just be "no", but rather, "Hell no!" There are some things that I just do not need to try to know that I shouldn't be doing it. I will not die unfulfilled without that experience. I know me well enough to know that skipping out on a chance to jump out of an airplane is the same thing has choosing to not have a heart attack that day. No thank you Very much please.
But most things - most non adrenaline related things at least - are worth checking out at least once. That's how I feel about it anyway. Which is why, on this past Sunday, while just taking a drive, we stopped at the John Ringling Causeway Park.
It is tucked in between the road and the bay very neatly. Barely acknowleged as existing by us, it is a slender slice of green twixt the grey and the blue and we pass it every single time we drive to St Armand's Circle which recently, is fairly often. St Armand's circle is not only an area of Sarasota that we find particularly appealing but one of my doctors has an office there and over that past year, we have been there far too often. This time, Tim took a hard right and suddenly there we were.
We jumped out of the car, eager to check it out. From that vantage point we could see the bridge we just crossed over, Sarasota Bay and glimpses of St Armands and Long Boat Key as well as the little park itself.
As we walked along the little path we noted benches and a covered picnic area and discovered, to our surprise that the trail goes under the bridge to the other side and an entire other little green area that we had no idea existed! Lovely!
I happened to have my camera with me and took a few shots. These photos are a little more "artsy" than what I usually show you but it's what spoke to me that day :
There was still some fog in the distance though the sun had come out and was burning most of it off and the temperatures delightful. While this is a very touristy time of year, there were few people in the park so we could make really see everything. Things like the very artsy bridge with it's scallops and curves, the peek a boo views of the bay and the buildings that sit beside it. We enjoyed the palms and mangroves and the birds that were curious as to what we were doing. I loved the little surprise extra park whose path wandered under the bridge of course the bay which was dotted with sailboats. It's the sort of place where in spite of the near constant sound of traffic, it was ridiculously simple to block out that noise and just sit and watch the water. Ahhhhhh, relaxation!
We didn't spend a long time there, but I'm so glad we finally stopped to see what there was to see. Hopefully we will continue to discover wonderful little treasures and we will never have the regret of missed opportunities.
December 08th, 2022
It's this time of year!
The photo was taken of our downtown. It 's pretty :) There are houses lit up spotted here and there around and I'm sure as Christmas closes in on us, there will be more and more of them. I like when we drive at night and I can see people's Christmas Trees all decorated inside.
Our Arboretum, which is usually in it's best glory with decorations of all sorts filling all of the trees and shrubs and sometimes even the ground, is undecorated this year. The hurricane took down a number of trees and left the remainder with a rather compromised integrity so the decision was made to not stress the trees further with seasonal frippery. It was the right choice of course but it was one of our favourite parts of the holiday since we moved here. We would always walk over twice, once to see it in daylight, because many of the decorations showed best in the light. And then another time, usually Christmas Eve, we would go over once again to admire it fully lit up. But not this year.
This holiday is a completely different feel to it and it's not just the arboretum. It's me, I guess. I did not magically transform into a Christmas Elf, which is my normal state of holiday being. And try as I might, I do not have the energy or the wherewithal to make the enough effort to fake it. Oddly, when I confessed it to Tim he said he felt the exact same way. The "spark" is just absent this year.
When it came time to consider decorating, well, I knew very well where the outside Christmas Lights were but I just didn't have the Ooomph to put them up. So, like the arboretum, this year will be unlit. When Joy reminded me of the adorable little silver tree that she once gave me that I could just put on the kitchen table and say..."The tree is up" .... I said, "maybe". I did wander through the utility room and sorted through two boxes marked "Christmas" that were at ground level but it wasn't in either of those. I found the other boxes but they were up very high. I suppose I could have asked Tim to get them down for me but meh. I guess I didn't care enough to ask.
I said, I suppose this will be a tree-less Christmas, to Tim and he shrugged and said "okay". I've had them before and I promise you, Christmas Day is still Christmas Day with or without a tree. It isn't just putting up the tree, y'see, it's decorating and then later undecorating and putting it all back away that is the issue. It exhausts me just thinking about it this year.
And then my friend and neighbor Debbie gave me a gift. She is terribly clever and crafty and artsy, y'see. I was absolutely charmed with my gift and brought it home planning to put it.................somewhere. I even said to Tim, "here you go, we now have an official Christmas decoration". He smiled and nodded.
I tried it in several places. It's a small house, now made smaller by the ishkabibble state due to the ongoing construction situation. I couldn't seem to find anything that was exactly right. Either it wouldn't stay standing up or it got lost in the miasma. And there are literally Very Few places it could go. I hmmmmmed for awhile. I looked through the pantry and the cupboards hoping for inspiration and taadaa! I found it.
Way way up on the top shelf of one of the cupboards was a dark green ceramic pot that, on one earlier Christmas, I must have received some sort of Holiday Plant. But I loved the pot so I kept it and it sat, quietly on that shelf, waiting for me to remember that it existed. I had to get out the big step stool to reach it and I brought it down carefully, washed it, dried it and put it on the table. I stuffed it with some sparkly tissue paper that I had also saved from a previous year and put the New Decoration from Debbie in it and it was perfect!
When Tim next walked into the room I gave it the Vanna White treatment, "Behold this year's Christmas Tree" I said. Tim laughed and was absolutely fine with it. I was better than fine with it. I was delighted. So delighted in fact, that I took a photo the next day and sent it to my sister who texted in return, "What a cute reindeer!". I said to myself out loud, "That's a reindeer?" And looked at it again.
I laughed so hard I cried. It IS a reindeer! I am so stupid! I just thought it was an adorable and very festive Christmas decoration of no specific thing and, googly eyes aside, it could have been! But nope, it is most definitely a reindeer. LOLOL I cannot believe that I didn't see it at first.
I don't care. This year that cutiecute reindeer is serving as our tree. Done and Done. Welcome to our Christmas Tree/Reindeer:
Thank you again Debbie!!
December 06th, 2022
Those look like hiking shoes to me! Which means yes! It's time for another Photo Safari Report! Yayay! And this time, you lucky devils, it's a two-fer. Kind of a Buy One, Get One situation. Which means I am calling this one, the BOGO Hikes.
Each hike has both similarities and differences to every other hike. These two are a good example of that. For the similarity column let's see, well, it was Joy and I both times, the weather was absolutely lovely both times, we took pictures and we hiked (duh), we had a great time, as we always do and oddly both times we started out trying to go to one set of trails only to find the park or preserve unexpectedly closed and had to come up with a Plan B on the fly. But that's pretty much where the "alikeness" ends.
The differences were legion. The first hiking day, Friday, we starting out trying to go to Myakka State Park only to arrive to a big sign across the closed gates stating that the park was closed. Drat. So we ended up at Celery Fields instead. It's not a wild preserve with forested and wild acres but rather a series of ponds with paths that go around them. The paths are lined with trees and shrubs and fences (mostly to prevent people from doing anything foolish). It is a beautiful place. There were loads of birds......loads! Birds of all kinds. And since the water was so still, I got an unprecedented number of water reflection shots. Here is a small sampling:
But there were also non-reflective birds. And no I don't mean that they were vampire birds. I mean they just weren't in a place that allowed for reflections. Sometimes you guys are so silly :) Here are some of those non-reflective (and non vampire) birdies:
Even though it's December (!) there still were a few pretty flowers as well:
bI'm going to save the rando files for the end and post them all lumped together. Just FYI.
Now then, on Monday, we set out intending to land at Carlton Reserve. This time we did check on line first and according to their website, they were indeed open for business. Hurrah. Only to arrive and learn that, nope, Big old closed sign across a firmly locked gate. Our best guess is that both Myakka and Carlton are still doing clean up from the hurricane and/or parts of it were still flooded. Which means, of course, that we understand why. But still, dang. Pivot once again and this time to Oscar Scherer State Park which we absolutely knew was open because we drove past it on Friday.
It turned out that while the park was indeed open, some of the trails were inaccessible which we learned by walking down the trails and finding, two miles in, huge mucky/watery areas followed by so much deadfall across the path that the only way through would be with a chain saw. Since we do not pack one, we doubled back and followed other trails. No biggie. At least we were out, hiking, talking and spending time together.
And taking remarkably few photos. While we could hear birds all around us, we saw only a select few. They were just not in the mood to be posing for portraits that day. Okay. We just worked with what we had! Here is all I have:
I did, however, get some nice shots of the park and the trails. It is a beautiful and wild looking spot:
And that was pretty much it. We managed to hike about 4 miles so if nothing else, it was decent exercise in good company.
And that means it must be time for my personal favourite, the randos. Here goes:
Every Photo Safari is unique, every single one is a surprise and these two did not disappoint in either category for sure! No idea when we will be getting out there again, or where we will go when we do. The one thing you can for sure count on, is that, afterwards, I will share the experience with you.
Thanks for coming along ;)
December 01st, 2022
Heh. That Tim. He is a funny guy :)
Ok today, my friends, I am going to tell you the story about how we got, got. It suppose we could be embarrassed about it, but that won't solve anything. As the old saying goes, "If I can't be a good example, at the very least I can serve as a hideous warning."
I'm sure, if you think back far enough, you will remember that at one point, we had a major reno project going on. And it honestly started just fine. We aren't stupid people. We did our research and met with multiple different contractors, read their reviews, made sure they were licensed and so forth before making our decision. The contractor we chose had actually gotten a "builder of the year" award from a nearby town. Sounds good right?
Things went, as things always do in construction. Which is to say, more slowly than preferred. But while things were progressing at a snail's pace, they were indeed progressing and we tried to be patient.
Initially, we were looped in on pretty much everything, including when the workers would be on site and when the plans had changed and what to expect next. We saw the main guy fairly often and he was pretty good about responding to emails, calls and/or texts if we had questions.
But as time went by, we seemed to be cruising past the estimated dates of certain markers. When we questioned it, it was explained plausibly. There were delays in shipping. Difficulty in finding skilled workers. Manufacturing shortages. All things that were showing up in the daily news. Absolutely Believable and just our dumb luck to have been caught up in it.
The estimated finish date came and went with us very unfinished and as time went on, communication became more sporadic and the excuses became less likely. Flat tires, car accidents, sick workers, family dramas, family emergencies and sometimes just no shows were the explanations. We became less patient and more aggravated as time went on.
And then came the day at the beginning of the new year where we realized it had not been mere days without any sign of workers and no response to any of our attempts to reach out but more like weeks. Not Good. After continued and more rigorous attempts at contact, we finally had to face the facts. They weren't coming back. We got, got. They took the money and ran. And left us with quite a mess to take care of. Dang.
As it turns out unscrewing this is a bigger thing than we ever could have imagined. It wasn't just an unfinished project, there were building materials left behind, a half full dumpster, even a portapotty! After having a lawyer look into this a bit, it turns out that we weren't the only people that got, got by these guys. We were one of many. And now, the construction guys were gone. I mean well and truly gone. Disappeared into the cosmos. Our lawyer advised us that not only would it cost a great deal of money and time to try to pursue them legally, but there was no money to get back from this fellow, even if he could be found. The well had run dry.
What to do, what to do. We had already poured a great deal of money into an unfinished project and now we were a little gun shy about even attempting to hire someone to finish it. And that would be assuming that someone else would be willing to try. So Tim contacted the town to find out how to take over the project on our own. Ambitious, yes. Good decision? Definitely.
First an inspector had to come out and check see where we stood. As it turns out there was a whole lot of stuff that had to be re-done. The inspector was very kind and went into great detail explaining how certain things should have been done. Which meant that instead of starting where we were and moving forward, first we had to go many steps backwards.
As with all construction projects, none of it was cheap. And it is beyond frustrating to have to pay for something twice (to say nothing of the financial ouchie of it). Especially when those things are not inexpensive to begin with. But one does what one must. Over the past 9 months or so, Tim has spent many a weekend first learning how to do these things (on-line tutorials!) and then the next part - learning by doing. I have been not very helpful at all as through most of it I have been healing and recovering from various stages of surgeries. But I do what I can, where I can, when I can. Even if it's just keeping him supplied with cold water and cleaning up afterwards.
Slowly, Very Slowly, progress is being made and there is the satisfaction of the work being done by Tim. I am certain that when it is completed, at long last, it will be gratifying for Tim to look around knowing, "I did that myself" and all of the bruises and cuts, the sore back and sun burns, the falls off the ladder and that one time he accident bonked himself in the head with a hammer (ouch), the permanently stained clothes and the sheer exhaustion will be worth while.
And on the day when we are completely finished and have put all of the furniture back where it belongs, all of the construction dust and dirt is really and truly gone and the house is fully livable once again, I will take photos of the finished project and proudly share them with you.
I think the message here is that it can happen to anyone. I mean, we did the work. We didn't walk in blindly, we stayed on top of things and still, it happened. But it's not what happens to you in your life that defines you, it's how you deal with it. This is how we dealt with it.
Many thanks to Paul and Marsha Minock who loaned us their tile saw and even delivered it with a smile :)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.