Monday, April 24, 2017

Getting Up to Date

I know, please don’t gripe at me.  It's been a really long time since I blogged!

I am sure you understand. We’ve all done it -- We get caught up in our busy life and procrastinate somewhere.  My “somewhere” is my blog.

When we started the renovation of our newest home and downsized our living space into just the master bedroom, my desk space became only as big as my laptop.  The large monitor I had been using for a few years was stuffed away in a storage closet and I only had a tiny, little, itty bitty, scrunched up space to sit and work on my small laptop computer. It was not very inviting.

And, then there is the renovation.  What was I thinking???? Hubby D asked me if I could handle it and I said, "Sure!" Maybe I am rethinking that decision. . .

What started out with a goal of 6 months is now in the 7th month and I am certain we will not be finished in the next month - maybe 2 if I am lucky.

The exterior of the house was painted Florida Coral.  I could not wait to get a new color on the outside!
Livingroom, dining room, office, bedroom all rolled into one room.
D's desk was looking out over the pool deck. Here they are getting ready to install the granite for the outdoor kitchen.

Leaving Bahrain I had many adjustments, but I never dreamed finding good tradesmen in the States would be so hard.  Apparently (unknown to me – dah!) every painter, electrician and plumber is 100% booked from August through December.  That seems to be the season everyone wants to update and renovate here in Florida.

I was out of luck finding good tradesmen for our interior work until AFTER the first of 2017.

So we decided to start with the outside – repairs, new paint and all new landscaping. Overgrown palm trees had to be literally pulled out of the pool decking and multiple dead palm stumps had to be ground up throughout the yard.  At one time the entire yard must have been a palm tree paradise.

Hubby D grilling on our "$20 WallMart Special" grill. Our outdoor kitchen was not complete until March. Notice the palm tree to the left. It is a pony tail palm and was growing through the top of our screens around the pool.
We had 7 large (very large) palm stumps that had to ground up so I could replace the landscaping.

The hundreds of boxes from our household goods that were stored before we left for the Middle East were delivered and I picked out just a few of pieces of furniture so we could survive – a sofa, some kitchen chairs, a glass table from the old basement, our bed and night stands.

Then everything else (enough to fill a 3 car garage) promptly was put back into storage. (Oops – when was the last time I went over and checked on it??? – better go soon!)

Our shipment from Bahrain arrived and took up residency and filling the garage AGAIN. Now we were overflowing with stuff.  I have a feeling a big garage sale is in my future.  UGH!

As we started the outside painting and landscaping, we also had some concrete work done and LW was enthralled.

In the mean time, Thanksgiving came and went.  We had no dining table so we ate out on the pool deck.

In early December we celebrated Hubby D’s birthday by babysitting LW while BHB and her hubby went to a holiday party in Orlando. It was LW’s first overnight and we loved it.  BHB baked an angel food cake for her dad (fantastic!). LW and I made ice cream.

Hubby D (known as Papa to LW) is reading the "Big Truck" book with LW.  It is so cute because LW LOVES Big Trucks!

Here is a video of LW reading the BIG TRUCK book. If you are reading this in an email, you will need to go to my blog page online to view the video. 

We did make a couple of short trips. We traveled to Amish Country and visited with good friends LW and YW celebrating their son's graduation from high school (in Bahrain).

We also traveled to NYC for a SAME function and visited the new One World Trade Center. Later we traveled to New Orleans for a CMAA conference and had some great meals in the French Quarter. No exotic trips, just RENOVATIONS!

Inside the new train station at the One World Trade Center.

Burbon Street. Same as it always was. . . however I think they have better restaurants than before!
Granddaughter ML came for winter break. Grandson BSJ and father-in-law DM came for the holidays. All we could offer them was a small bed and chair in an empty guest room.  We did not even have holiday decorations. They did not seem to mind. We promised next year would be better.

On Christmas Day and we hosted BHB and her family on folding tables in our dining room.  That was a hoot!
Father-in-Law, DM caught a fish in the lake right off our back door.
We took ML to the "Surfn Santa" festival. There were A LOT of strange Santas and they WERE surfing. We are considering this as an annual event for us.
I was able to bake cookies with ML and BSJ.

I also baked cookies with LW and BHB.

January 3 Hubby D was off on another business trip so ML and DM helped me move our the small bit of furniture BACK out of the house and into the garage so construction could start on the interior on January 9.

From then until just a few days ago we camped out in the master bedroom of the house – we had our bed, two cozy chairs (our living room), a small folding table (our pop-up dining room) and two LOADED folding tables with desk chairs (our office) in a 400 square foot bedroom. There was a make shift kitchen (coffee pot, hot plate, microwave) in our bathroom.

I lived for over 2 years in Bahrain without a garbage disposal, and here again I did not have one.  However, the biggest challenge was washing dishes in the small bathroom sink.

January 25 LW celebrated his second birthday, but the week prior I became extremely ill and I did not get to attend.  Hubby D was there and told me all about it.  However I was very ill and spent almost 3 weeks off my feet. It was a huge setback for me.

Celebrating birthday number 2 at the zoo with the sting rays.
When we were nearing completion of the construction stage in the main part of the house I started the interior design stage. To prepare to decorate, we rolled out some of our rugs (carpets) from our time in the Middle East. It was almost a rug flop. And, it was certainly fun for us and for LW. He started tumbling all over the rugs.

LW loves to help no matter what you are doing.

We have divided the renovation into 4 stages

1- Exterior (done!)
2- Main spaces – foyer, spiral stair case, living room, dining room, guest bedroom and bath, kitchen, family room, laundry room and office AND the outdoor kitchen, pool and pool deck (almost done!)
3- Master bedroom and bath (started 2 weeks ago)
4- Two upstairs guest bedrooms with baths (will start when Master is complete)

Over a recent weekend, we moved our possessions out of the master bedroom and into a much, much smaller bedroom to start demolition of the master bedroom.

So I guess you can say we downsized one more time. LOL

Construction has been consuming my time.  I played a little golf before stage 2 started but after the tradesmen started coming every day at 8AM, my schedule has been to stick around.  Every morning I get up early, check my text messages to make sure no one has canceled (happens) and move the cars out of the driveway so the trucks, trailers and vans can arrive. They all fight over prime placement close to the house.

I know we will enjoy the home when it is complete, but I am tired of workmen coming and going every day, all day. I just cringe every time I see plumbers crack (which is often). I am ready to be past that!

Baby crack is better than plumbers crack!

And, now we have a dumpster in the driveway as well.  That is yucky in my opinion.  I can’t wait for it to go away!

          Just a few of the problems along the way:
New doors too short for the space
Countertop cut too long
Electrical outlets that had to be moved
Electrical outlets (many) put in the wrong place
Drain installed but not unplugged when icemaker installed (It flooded at 3AM one morning.)
Pedestal sink not same color as toilet (same manufacturer, wrong color)
Paint the wrong color
Instructions not passed along to workers from their boss (fired that company after it happened 3 times)
Wrought iron not painted correctly
Whole house audio system not working correctly
Grout not right
Mounted 75 inch TV crooked
Delays, delays, delays
Dishwasher not level because of tile floor
Scratches on stove hood from HVAC workers
Scratches on outdoor grill from installers
Pool forms not working right
Not enough tile ordered (not my fault!)

In the scope of life, not big problems.  As my friend DW would say, definitely first World problems.

I have been blessed and have a great life. Our home will be beautiful after it is all complete.

Here are a few of my favorite picture memories for the past few months while I have been having fun with LW (along with managing the construction). I hope granddaughter ML and grandsons BSJ and MB will forgive me for all the photos of LW but I am trying to savor all the "Grandma with a baby" moments I can. He is the last and I want to experience it all. (Big thanks to Hubby D for letting us live in Florida and close to BHB. xoxo)

Sharing a splash in the water running down the driveway.
Helping Oma (me) unpack.
LW at Papa's "desk."
Riding on Uncle BB's old hot wheel when we unpacked it - he loved this bike so we kept it for him to play with. Uncle BB will turn 39 this April 30. WOW! The makes me feel old. 
Helping clean up after hauling some plants for the yard.
He loves to play around with my glasses.  I had to find just one pair for him so he would not tear them all up bending them.
LW found one of his mom's old hats while helping me unpack and had fun wearing it.
On Good Friday Hubby D took the afternoon off and we went to the beach with LW.

Someday I will have plenty of time to blog my heart out.  The only question is will I have anything of interest to say?


This is the view over the lake looking back towards our new home (in the far distance) at sunrise. I captured this image early one morning after returning from taking Hubby D to the airport in Orlando. Enjoy!