Kitchen Finally Complete!

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So the tile for the back splash was finally delivered to the store in Fairfield on Saturday, but by the time I found out about the delivery, it was after the service department closed (12:00 noon).  I was finally able to pick up the tile on Monday morning at 7:30 AM and was back at home with it in time for the tile contractor.  The tile was installed on Monday and the grout on Tuesday and it looks beautiful.  Under the cabinets is a basket weave design in a cream & brown colors to match both the counter top and the cabinets.  The design over the stove, is a herringbone pattern, in similar colors but, in a larger tile surrounded by pencil tiles.  It works like we had imagined and we had it in for Christmas, which was the goal.  Meg was inspired by the back splash in the kitchen of the HGTV Dream Home in Florida.  It was a black and white basket weave that went all the way to the ceiling (like a 12-15 ft. ceiling) over the cabinets.  It was a very dramatic effect, and while ours doesn’t go up to the ceiling, and is in different colors in our kitchen, it still has the dramatic effect we were after.

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The week before Christmas I took a class at the Woodworkers Club of Norwalk on ‘How to Turn a Pen.’  I had not used a wood lathe since shop class in Junior High, which is a very, very long time ago!  It was a very good class and because it was postponed from the day before due to snow, there were only three of us, myself and a guy from Ridgefield, and his young son.  After a brief introduction to the lathe, the instructor did a demonstration pen turning and then we were let loose on our own lathe and had at it under his helpful eye!  We made two pens each in the time allotted although the pen blanks were pre-drilled for us so we got to start with loading them onto the lathe and then turning them.  I made two pens, both in cherry,  that I gave to my daughters as Christmas presents.  The pens look very similar to our new cabinets in the kitchen and while there is a very light stain on the kitchen cabinets and no stain on the pens they look very close to each other.  Using the lathe was easier than I expected but the potential to make a mistake is there and you can easily ruin a pen quickly.  I enjoyed the experience, primarily because you go from a collection of parts to a completed, finished and working piece in a short time.

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We had a great Christmas!  Carolyn is home from college for a month and the week before Christmas she got her main present – a new kitten!  The kitten, which, is now named Ollivander (Ollie for short), is a lot of fun, and is really into the Christmas tree and the low hanging ornaments he can get to.  Kate & Kenny also came several days before Christmas but had to leave to go back to Kenny’s family in MA right after we opened presents and had Christmas breakfast.  We had our usual Christmas Dinner for Christmas Eve and then went to church at 10:00 PM. and then home for the usual last minute wrapping, finishing hand-made gifts, stuffing stockings etc…  Finally got to bed around 2 AM and then we had to get up early so that Kate and Kenny could keep to their schedule and leave by like 10:30 AM.  The dinner was great (roast beef tenderloin!), but we have to go with simpler side dishes rather than the real complicated like we always seem to do.  We had an involved process with the roast so we can switch to basic baked potatoes rather than the twice baked potatoes, or a simple vegetable instead of the stuffed mushrooms where there are like 18 ingredients that have to be prepared and cooked before stuffing the mushrooms.  We did go to a simple but very good Creme Brule for dessert, rather than the very involved Daquoise or Bouche du Noel we seem to do most Christmas Dinners.

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No real big plans for the New Years!  Carolyn’s new boy friend will be visiting and I think they are going out to dinner with some of Carolyn’s friends and then the horde will descend on our house to continue the celebration probably playing with the cat, board games, and eventually watching the ball drop.  Meg and I will probably do lobster or swordfish at home and then struggle to stay up until midnight!

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Hopefully Not Premature Excitement

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After months of ignoring my repeated emails, and phone calls, and getting nothing but total silence regarding the boat I am supposed to receive as a part of the HGTV 2016 Dream Home Grand Prize, HGTV has lit a fire under the boat company and they have been heard from.  Originally ordered in late May it sounds like it will soon be ready – knock on wood – (according to the company president)!  Supposedly the hull has been laminated and it is out of the shell, and now is ready for the engine to be installed and the interior rigging etc…  I have asked that, since the docks are now in for the winter, and the lake is about to ice over, that they hold on delivery until the Spring – this will save me winter storage fee and defer the taxes on the boat for a year!  Feeling somewhat positive about this prospect, Meg and I went to Candlewood Lake to visit the Marina/Dealership where the boat will be delivered!

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We had a very good visit and learned a lot.  We met with the sales manager and told our story, and he told us about some recent issues with the boat company regarding customer service, but he also told us that the quality of the boat is as high as ever – which is very good news!  We also met with the owner of the marina/dealership and he told us that the president of the boat company had been in touch with him about taking delivery in the spring, which is somewhat re-assuring.  They also assured us regarding some of the issues we had regarding using/driving the boat and summer/winter storage at the marina etc….  We are confident now that we should have a great first year with the boat using their marina on Candlewood lake as a home base.  Now this is still all dependent on the boat company actually coming thru with the delivery in March.

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The tile for the back splash in the kitchen was scheduled to arrive at the tile shop today so the tile contractor can start installation on Monday so the back splash will be completed for Christmas.  Unfortunately, UPS tried to deliver after the tile shop was closed so they could not deliver the tile and will try again on Monday!  I had originally scheduled the tile contractor to come on Monday so that he could get everything installed for Christmas.  Tiling the back splash is scheduled to take three days starting on Monday, but I don’t know if he can work three days starting on Tuesday into his schedule.  Everything is very up in the air right now and to quote Col. Hannibal Smith, “I love it when a plan comes together,”  I don’t do particularly well when a plan doesn’t come together.

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Carolyn got home from college yesterday and her main plans for Christmas break is to buy/adopt a kitten!  The kitten will live with us for a month or so until Carolyn returns to Ithaca for her last semester.  Kate & Kenny (who is allergic to both live Christmas Trees and Cats/Dogs) are coming to Connecticut for like 3 days and will be here for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  While Meg and I have gotten used to living empty nest style, we are really looking forward to everyone coming for Christmas!  I have a considerable amount of work to get done before the holidays including some presents to carve – hopefully they will turn out well – and present shopping, food shopping, decorating etc….  Meg is working thru Friday, so I am trying to get as much done as possible, so that she doesn’t have to try to get everything done in the evenings.

th-6Merry Christmas to all!

I hope that everyone has a great holiday with friends and family!

No End Of Projects

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So it has been about a month since my last post.  Since then the kitchen has been finished and we are really enjoying using it.  We still have the back splash to finalize, but we have selected it and met with our tile guy. We will order the tiles and other materials and hope to have the back splash installed by Christmas, but it will be tight scheduling with the Tile Contractor.  Other than tile the only thing left to do is a window treatment, and that is Meg’s domain and I’m not allowed to enter into it!  This past weekend, we emptied the Pods Storage Container, and today they came and finally removed the Pod from our front yard.

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In other construction news, we are in the planning stage for the next part in our Dream Home Conversion.  We are going to put on an addition off of the kitchen.  If you look at the picture at the top of this post you see a doorway, on the lower left, to the outside that has been covered with plywood.  This is where we took out a large sliding glass door so that we could re-size the opening to the same size and placement as the opening on the right into what is now the living room.  The addition will be about 16′ x 20′ and when completed it will become the living room/family room, and the current living room will become a formal dining room.  Now we are in the middle of designing the new addition – where to put windows/doors/deck etc….  Then we have to finalize the layout and submit the paperwork first to the Naugatuck Valley Health Dept and then to the City of Shelton so we can get permits to proceed.  Our goal is to break ground on the project when the weather breaks in the spring and we can start the foundation work.

th-12Health wise things are continuing fairly well.  I saw my primary care physician in November and got the usual BP issues / Weight Issues / See Heart Dr. / See Eye Dr. etc…  I did get a new one to see a Neurologist regarding some uncontrollable shaking in my hands and balance issues.  These are some normal side effects to the anti-rejection medicines I take for my kidney however those side effects usually stop after a few months and I’m going on two years so my Dr. wants it checked out.

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Today I went to the transplant center for my 3 month check up for my kidney function.  I went in early for a blood draw so they didn’t have all the results back at my appointment.  Usually the traffic is awful when you are trying to get to the hospital for a 9:00 a.m. blood draw and usually there is a long wait at the blood draw station and then in the waiting room at the Transplant Center.  My kidney function has been great and I have no reason to expect that to change.  they want to see my BP lowered so they also increased  a dose of one of my a BP medicines.  They also refilled my arthritis pain medicine prescription.  I had run out around Thanksgiving and my knees are in a lot of pain so hopefully now they can get back to normal and I can do some walking again!