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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Weekend Back In Time

Who said there is no such thing as a time machine?  Our car is one, it took us back in time as we spent a weekend in Amish Country in Ohio with Marti's family.

Front Row:  Sister Anne, Sister Janet, SIL Elaine, Marti and Sister Gail.
Back Row:  BIL Bud, BIL Wayne, Brother Bob and some strange dude that was hanging around bothering everybody.

Marti's family rented a house in Charm, Ohio.  We drove about 400 miles in the car to get there and once we got out in the country, we got not just lost, but REALLY lost.  Even the GPS was lost, but what would you expect when you go back in time?

Every road we drove on had these strange looking vehicles clip-clopping by.

Even the parking lots had many of these vehicles parked there.

In the fields, there were farmers using old style equipment to harvest hay.

We took time to visit some of the hot spots in the area.

The lumber store,

and the hardware store.

After the thrill of those store visits, we went back to the house.  The girls worked on various crafts, giggling and laughing while the men watched 1100 miles of car racing, the Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600.  Fortunately, we had TV, because we were so far out in the middle of farmland, there was no cell phone signal.  For some funny reason, Marti had no calls from work. :c)

We wondered how the Amish found their way around all the unmarked, back country roads.  It eventually came to us, the don't use GPS, they use HPS.

HPS, the Horse Poop System.  There are horse droppings everywhere.  No, I didn't take any pictures, I'll leave it to your imagination.  Nellie, from  Diary of a Midlife Cruiser would be disappointed, I'm sure.

All too soon, Marti and I had to leave for home and work the next day.  We stopped for gas and saw a giant Amish BBQ grilling across the street.  As much as the Amish like living the old way, they sure know how to run a BBQ grill.

I noticed they we looking at me kind of funny.  Then I realized this sign might of had something to do with it.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave of comment.

Monday, May 30, 2011

What's Up With Blogger Comments?

Before I put you to sleep with a post about our weekend in the past, also known as Amish Country, I need to ask if anyone else is having problems leaving comments on favorite blogs you read?

I'm scratching my head because some of the blogs give me no trouble posting comments, while others fight me, sending my comments in a never ending round of edits and never publishing, or putting me down as anonymous, even though I'm signed in to Blogger.

I hate to have some of my blogger friends think I don't enjoy their blogs anymore because I've "stopped" commenting.  Any ideas (or solutions)?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Marti's Musings: Taking a break

Well, after doing serious prep the last couple weekends, to get the house ready to put up for sale, this weekend we are taking a break from it all.

This past week Paul managed to get a few things knocked off the 'to do' list: painting and sealing the deck.  Me, on the other hand, have done nothing but work and crash at night.  Yeah, it's been 'one of those weeks' at work - yes, again.  (on an interesting note:  Carol, from Caring Transitions, attended an educational program at my building today - that was kind of odd for me, seeing her walk down the hall, unexpectedly- as we were unable to reveal how we knew each other, nor talk about the progress on the house! ).

So, why are we taking the weekend off at this critical time?  Other than needing the mental health break, we are meeting up with my siblings in Ohio's Amish country (without the Journey - bummer).

We haven't all been together in several years - so this reunion comes at a much needed time.  Of course, we are known to get a little crazy when all of us are together - so it should be fun!  We will come back online in a couple of days.  Then it will be the final push - to get the last items done on the house.  woo hoo!

Happy Memorial Day, blogger friends!  Let's remember to keep our military in our prayers, and thank them for their sacrifice and service to our great country.  God Bless America!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Abducted...By Aliens!

We're still a little bit groggy.  Bits and pieces keep coming back to us, but we're not sure if we've fitted it all together.

It all started on Saturday, with the house in organized chaos.  I was taping the edges for the last room to paint.

Marti was busy wrapping and boxing up some precious memorabilia that we're going to store at our daughter's house.

Everywhere we could, we've stashed items that are going to storage, donation or trash.

Towards the end of the day, we were both pretty tired, so we decided to clean up, shower and head out to get something to eat.  We went to one of our favorite restaurants, and that's where the trouble started...

Two couples met us there and asked if they could join us at our table for dinner.  For some strange reason, we felt compelled to say yes.

We ordered our meals and began talking.  One of the men, who called himself Mike, took out a huge wallet, so big it would dwarf the average sized dictionary.  I began to suspect something was wrong, the wallet couldn't have possibly fit in a back pocket.  How right I was because he took something from that wallet and slipped it into our food.

By the time we were done eating, I began to feel woozy and lethargic.  And that's where the abduction began!

While Marti and I were unable to move, the couples began to explain what was going on.  They said they were from the Planet Fiver and had ridden to our area in two space ships, one named Excel and the other Cameo.  They had taken on human forms and their mission was to discover what motivated us to  go full time in a motorhome.

We were tough, we wouldn't talk.  We frustrated their questioning.  After blunting their every attack, they decided to abduct us and take us to a secret location, probably borrowed from the CIA and use enhanced interrogation techniques to get us to talk.

Before we knew it, we were whisked to the secret location.

First they put us under hot lights.

Then they threatened us, not with bodily insertions like most alien abductees relate, but with hot, just made doughnuts!

They forced the first doughnut down our throats, but we wouldn't talk.  They forced a second doughnut on us, but we held out and still wouldn't talk.  That's when the made the most insidious threat!

More kinds of doughnuts!

We are only human, we spilled the beans for over an hour.  We told them of every detail of our plans to go full time in our Journey motorhome.  Where we're going to go, what we're taking, how we're going to manage our finances, bills and insurance.  I think I even revealed my shoe size and my favorite type of underwear (briefs).

I'm not sure what exactly happened next because my recollection gets a little fuzzy about here.  I do remember the big smiles on their faces, I guess they were pleased with the hard won information we divulged.

Here is the alien couple that called themselves Terri and Mike.

And the other alien couple, who called themselves Jim and Dee.

 Through the haze of my mind, I think I heard them say they were going to return to "Base KOA", probably to plan more interrogations of unsuspecting future full time RVers.

The next thing I know, Marti and I woke up in our bed at our house.  I don't know how we got there, I have no recollection.  I looked at Marti and said I had the craziest dream.  She said she had one, too.

With that, we wrote it off as just some kind of trick of our overworked, tired minds and got up to begin another day of work on the house.

Until I found this in the trash...

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Marti's Musings: Plum pooped out!

We had a very productive weekend.

Saturday,  Caring Transitions - Carol and Thomas - helped out again, Praise the Lord!  They arrived at 10am and got right to work.  Packing, labeling, and trucking to temporary storage.  6 hours later, a truck load to the dump and 2 loads to storage- voila!  We have very few boxes left to fill and haul wherever. 

Paul, meanwhile did the lawn, cleaned out the gutters (gotta let him tell you that story), painted doors, and reseeded a part of the lawn where the tree was cut down,.  (of course, right AFTER I raked the yard of loose sticks and debris so Paul could mow - one blister later, and then the guys arrived to grind out the stump- sheesh!)

Saturday night we had a wonderful break, and met up with Mike and Terri, and Jim and Dee - Paul will have to link their websites in - and post pictures.  Explanation to follow.  After dinner at Carraba's, and dessert at Krispy Kreme (who can pass up HOT glazed donuts?) - we made a trek to WalMart - yup, I ran out of bubble wrap again, and medium boxes.  *sigh*  We got home after midnight (who knew the lines at WalMart were longer in the middle of the night?  What's with THAT?)

Sunday we did it without CT - there were some things we had to sort (read: trash most of it).  We made another trip to the RV to deliver the  things 'for the road' (no doubt I will be weeding out again, once I get to the RV to be road ready), as well as another trip to storage, once I bubble wrapped precious photos, awards, etc.  Paul taped off the LAST room - and we actually see the end! 

There are mostly empty boxes now, rather than piles of full ones.  3 of the 4 bedrooms are now 'staged'.  The living room is 'staged'.  The dining room, once the roll top desk is removed, will be 'staged'.   PROGRESS.  The kitchen floor is due in this week.  The last room will be painted.  The final boxes packed. 
Then.....  the house goes up for sale....  woo hoo!

Now, to explain:  After we finished our chores today (of course, after our morning worship) - we promised to quit at 4pm.  That was pretty close prediction of getting accomplished what was needed - so we treated ourselves to a nice steak dinner.  We got home about 6pm - I went upstairs to get comfortable, and when I came back down, Paul was asleep on the couch.  2 hours later, he woke up and went to bed.  I am sitting here de-stressing playing my Wii - mentally preparing for a week at work.

Yeah, we are plum pooped out.  But, soon it will be worth it!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lost In Space and Other Unintended Consequences

Progress, no matter how little is still progress.  I keep telling myself that.  I finish one job on the house and discover two more things that need attention.  I've been trying to correct little things, things that really don't bother you or don't really matter, but to get the house to the "WOW" factor, I want them done and done right.

When we met with our realtor last January, he recommended we remove the wallpaper in the kitchen and repaint in neutral colors.  He even had a couple of sample paint chip cards in his pocket that he said people love.  Being the trustworthy soul that I am, I took it for action and we got all that work done.

Looking back to admire that new paint job, we noticed the kitchen counter now looked pretty shabby.  So we went to Lowe's and had the countertop replaced with new Corian unit.  An unintended consequence.

Standing back to admire the new countertop and Marti decided she didn't like the cabinet and drawer knobs.  An unintended consequence.

Off to...Walmart this time, we occasionally need some food in the house, so while we were at it, we picked up new knobs to replace the flowery ones.  All thirty of them.

Painting other rooms in the house made us aware that the carpet was looking shabby.  Off to Lowe's and in no time a complete replacement of all the carpet was done.   An unintended consequence.

The day before the new carpets were installed, I had finished painting one of the bedrooms and I had a paint can emergency.  I had a can of dark green paint that the previous owners left behind.  They had painted one wall in that bedroom and all the trim, plus had installed matching green shades and drapes.

 We liked the color and even our realtor did, so I just touched up a couple of spots and sealed the can.  The other walls I painted "realtor neutral".  Cleaning up all the paint stuff from the room I picked up the can and noticed this.

No big deal, I thought maybe a little paint had dripped down the side of the can, but it was on the old carpet.  I walked to another room to put the can with other paint and supplies.  I turned around and saw I had left a little trail of green paint drops all along the old carpet.

I wondered where the paint was dripping from, the top was on tight and the sides were all dry.  I lifted the can up to look at the bottom and...

The can had a hole in the bottom.  The can had sat in our basement for at least 13 years and rust must have formed and eaten its way through the metal.  A paint can emergency!  Off to Lowe's for a replacement paint can to salvage most of the remaining paint.

Another unintended consequence.  I was very thankful this happened on the old carpet (VERY thankful!). 

Now, we stood back to admire the refreshed kitchen and the linoleum floor looked shabby.  You know the drill by now. 

Back to Lowe's, we picked out new laminate flooring that looks just like tile and is going to be installed right after the Memorial Day weekend.  An unintended consequence.

The storm door on our front door always closed a little funny for my taste and I thought if it bothered me, it could be a turn off for a potential buyer.  This needed a little adjustment (I thought).  After fiddling with the striker plate and the door latch for several hours to get it to work just right, I stood back to admire my work.  Then I didn't like the weather stripping, it looked old and worn.  As I went to remove the weather stripping, there was a nest of tiny sugar ants living behind it.  It was war!

Ant spray, my shop vac and a scrapper were employed.  The battle raged back and forth but finally I the upper hand and sucked all those little ants up in the shop vac.  Now that the weather stripping was removed, the trim looked old and shabby.  Yep, another unintended consequence.  Out came the paint and all the trim was repainted.  While it was drying, another trip to Lowe's to get new weather stripping.

While I was there, I spotted a grill spatula.  Our grill spatula is lost in space, somewhere between the house, the newly rented storage unit and the Journey.  For dinner I was going to grill some burgers and couldn't envision trying to flip them with a pair of pliers and a screwdriver, so I spent the five bucks and bought a new one.  An unintended consequence.  I'm going to hide it from the house staging people.

When I left Lowe's, the cashier reminded me to make sure I punched out on the time clock before going home.  I think she was trying to be funny.

Will this kind of stuff go on when we sell the house and finally hit the road in the Journey fulltime?  I'm sure it will, but the Journey has two major advantages, it's much smaller than a house so there is much less to take care of, and I can drive it to Lowe's!

I guess you could say I've finally broken my Walmart addiction. ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Requiem For A Paint Brush

Little Paint Brush, so soft and hairy,

You've dripped so much on me I glow like a fairy.

Spreading paint so smoothly upon the walls,

The end result is really worth it all.

Dipping in all kinds of paint colors,

Up and down, back and forth showing up paint rollers.

But alas, when washing again to get you clean,

Your bristles still have the remains of paint sheen.

Where green is now white and cream looks like black,

Spreading new paint comes out so bad that I'm taken aback!

The swirls are not good, the paint blends are off color,

Now the walls look like some kind of horror.

You've labored hard and I've been your fan,

But now it's the end for you and time for the trash can.

I'll miss you, my friend, and remember your feel,

But I'm still trying to get  all the paint off my heel.

A good job you've done and I'll always be proud,

Of the way you made our house stand out from the crowd.

So sleep well my friend, in well deserved paint brush heaven,

You've done the work of any other seven.

PS:  Yes, I think I've inhaled too many paint fumes. 

Good thing I'm not driving the Journey... :c)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Caught Between Two Worlds

Do you know that place between sleep and wakefulness?  That warm, fuzzy location where you are starting to wake up but you sort of want to go back to sleep.  You know you have to get up but you want to hit the snooze button and keep your eyes shut just a few minutes more.  You're in between two worlds.

We are all creatures of habit.  I am entrenched deeply in some habits, especially when it comes to living in the same house for 13 years.  It's a comfortable world, everything has its own place and you know where things are without even thinking about it.

Last night, despite all the upside-downess (is that a word?) of our house, I took a deep breath, cinched up my pants a little higher and went into the kitchen to prepare a home cooked meal.  I looked forward to it, we've been so busy lately that it's been grab a meal on the go.

I opened the lower cabinet to get the skillet out...and it wasn't there.  Instead were a couple of neatly placed muffin pans and a bowl, courtesy of the Caring Transitions folks.  One of the tasks they completed last weekend was to minimize some of the pots, pans, dishes and assorted kitchen gear and stage things to look neat and inviting.  However, you can't cook a skillet dish in a muffin pan, so I went on a "seek-and-ye-shall-find" mission.

After rooting around all through the neatly organized  cabinets, all the while muttering to myself, I found the skillet wasn't in any of them, it was in a box in the corner of the kitchen that is destined to go to the Journey and be swapped out with the old skillet we carry in it.

Okay, skillet on the stove, now the recipe called for 1/3 cup of water.  I reached up to the cabinet over the stove where the measuring cups are and I found several little bottles of red cinnamon candies you decorate cookies with and two small jars of jimmies, all neatly arranged like soldiers marching in formation.  But no measuring cups. 

Marti saved the day, she heard me muttering to myself a little louder so she jumped in and handed me the measuring cups before I broke down in tears.  They are now in a drawer where we used to keep odd, seldom used cooking implements, aka, the "Junk Drawer".

With Marti hovering close by, I was able to get the meal cooked without slitting my wrists and it tasted good.  So we now find ourselves in the position of how we used to live in our home and how it's getting set up to appeal to buyers.  The new world.  And this was just the "fun" I had in the kitchen, what's going to happen when the Caring Transitions folks come back this weekend and get the whole house staged?  I'm really glad that the bathroom fixtures are just that, fixtures.  So I don't have to worry about a middle of the night potty call with me looking for the toilet and finding it staged in the garage or something.

I hope I can last long enough with our "new" world to sell the house without having a nervous breakdown.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Marti's Musings: Day 2 of This 'n' That

Well, the dreaded clothes chore is done - pretty much anyway.  I have clothes in the MBR that I will need for work etc until we can hit the road.  We filled 4 bags to donate, and I filled a closet that Carol and her crew can sell or donate.  I also filled a large box of items to add to the sell pile.

We did double duty today, as not only are we sorting our stuff - we also have to move everything off carpeted areas.  Not as easy as it sounds as our entire 2nd floor is carpeted except for the bathrooms. 

So, 6 bags of trash, 4 bags of donated clothes, a box of 'to sell' late and a bag of memorabilia later (cannot part with the love letters from Paul!) - we have piles everywhere - except on the carpet, of course. 

Oh yea, another trip to Lowes and now we have ordered new kitchen flooring. (did you hear them cheering when we walked in??)  The LAST order from them.  So, by next week - all should be DONE - and ready to put on the market. Another house, similar to ours, just went up for sale, and at a much higher price than we were thinking.  Woo Hoo.  Hopefully that is a good indication for us. 

The light is at the end of the tunnel!  ~Marti

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Marti's Musings: This 'n' That progress

If you are tired of reading about all our 'chores' to get ready to hit the road, feel free to skip this post!  :-)

However, if you are a glutton for punishment - want to either re-live the harried life before hitting the road; or if you are living this crazy time of life; or if you are preparing to .... well, you get the idea.... read on!

We hit the ground running this morning - coffee and bagels to-go, and then a myriad of errands and chores.

I called Caring Transitions this week, and suggested they hold off a week before coming back to help.  For a couple of reasons - first I need to sort my clothes (ugghh) - you know the routine by now - keep, need-now-for-work, winter (for our northern living kids - they will store 'em!), and some dressier ones at my daughter's for when we stay near her and attend church etc, and then of course donate/sell/trash.  My goal today was to get through the clothes.  Yeah, well - 'the best laid plans' and all that -(Carol and her crew will be back next weekend to pack up the piles I make, and start staging the rest of the house).

Paul has a saying, now becoming a mantra these days:  "this house is breaking faster than I can fix it!".  Today, he had to repair the master bedroom toilet, as the bolt broke last night, and well?  That is a pretty important item to us.  (ha ha )  Then there is the kitchen cabinet knob that wouldn't budge last night, while I was changing them out - now he has to pull out his dremmel tool.  Then he and his buddy 'Paintbrush' - have found more and more spots that need touching up.

So, while we guzzled our coffee (for me), diet coke (Paul) and bagels, we made another Lowe's trip.  Yeah.  Again.  The FIRST Lowe's trip today.  HOT TIP:  Lowe's stock is about to jump up.  Pretty good indication is that folks clap when we walk into the store these days - we have spent a pretty penny these last few months.  So when Paul checked out today with 2 lonely toilet bolts, the clerk said:  "that's it?"  Yup.  For that trip anyway.  Of course, during the course of the repair, he had to go back and get a gasket.  sheesh.

After Lowes, we headed over to the local storage rental spot.  We are fast running out of room with the accumulating boxes.  Plus, I doubt the house would be very appealing with boxes and piles all over the place.    On top of that, the new carpet is being delivered Tuesday and Wednesday - so more preparations for THAT, now.  2 storage trips later, I can now park in the garage again, and finally I can start on my clothes.

Umm, after I finish packing the china cabinet (ran out of bubble wrap) - a must as the carpet-layer-people won't move breakables.  (can't blame them)  Okay - THEN I headed to the MBR to start on the clothes.
Only then I saw the jewelry boxes that I needed to sort (see above list, minus 'winter').  4 hours later that job is done (good grief!)  It was after 6pm by then, and we promised we would quit at 6pm.

A few more chores - laundry, more pile making - and dinner at 8pm.  As I type this it is 10:45pm and Paul is quietly snoring next to me.  My mind is still spinning, and I know I must finish the dreaded clothes chore.  Tomorrow is another day.

Thanks for visiting!  ~Marti

Friday, May 13, 2011

Notes From a Paint Brush

I thought I'd jump in here and give you an update since Paul put me down for a few minutes to take a breather.

I'm the paint brush that he's held in his hand for so long now it seems that I'm almost permanently attached.  I've been painting walls, ceilings and trim for days now.  I've even painted Paul's arms, hair and nose a couple of times.

The house may look perfect from the curb, but inside is a whole 'nother story.  There's paint cans and supplies all over the place.  Paul carries the supplies from room to room in a laundry basket.

Despite all the mess, I've made the rooms look pretty good, if I may say so myself.

Of course I've had to share some of the painting duties with a paint roller.  Paul says whoever invented the roller should be sainted, whatever that means.

Paul has taken care of a few other items on the list.  The deck in the back yard was pressure washed and re-coated with weather proofing stuff.

In the backyard is the reason Paul and Marti bought their house, a basketball court.  Thirteen years ago when they were house hunting there were quite a few nice homes to choose from, but only this one had the court.  Both their sons loved to play basket ball and they played many games when they lived here.

Since the boys grew up and moved away, the basketball court was pretty neglected.  The backboard was dirty and covered with mold and the net was green and rotten.  Paul got a new net and had a fun time balancing on a ladder while he struggled with threading the new net on the hoop.  I'm glad he didn't fall off because I was in his back pocket.  That might have hurt.

After Paul put on the net, it made the backboard look even dirtier.  With a moment of genius, Paul went and got the Awesome cleaner he uses to remove black streaks from the Journey.

He picks the cleaner up at the Dollar Store.  It only costs a dollar!

After using the Awesome cleaner on the backboard, with a little scrubbing, it looks as good as new.

That gave him an idea.  He wasn't happy that the grout around the tile in the Master Bathroom, it looked dingy, so he tried the Awesome cleaner on the grout.  A little scrubbing with some old toothbrushes and the grout looks brand new.  Another little thing to make the house look more appealing to a buyer.

But Paul has not done everything on the house himself, he has used some contractors to do certain jobs, like re-coating the driveway.  I'm glad he didn't do it himself, because he probably would have used me somewhere to touch up something and that would have been the end of me.  You can't wash tar off in the sink.

So it looks like it'll be a busy weekend with me putting more paint on the walls and Marti changing the cabinet knobs on the kitchen cabinets and prepping things for the new carpets that will be installed throughout the house next week.  Paul wants to have the last two rooms done before then, so I'll have lots of work to do to get it all finished.

Hopefully Paul will be so happy with the results of all my work that he'll take me along when he and Marti hit the road full time. :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.