Saturday, December 19, 2009

he sold another piece...

Today I was renewing expired items and adding a couple of new paintings to my dad's etsy account. No lie, within 1 minute of posting a new painting - someone bought it!!! Man, he's doing better than we thought.

Dad is a little repetitive when it comes to his paintings. This one is nearly identical to the "Blue Trees of Winter" that was "found" by earlier this month.

Anyway, the woman who purchased this one lives in Pennsylvania and said "Your work is wonderful! I am treating myself. I am a huge tree fan."


I just noticed that this blog is started to become my dad's blog - LOL.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

artwork blog...

My dad's artwork showed up on an art blog called FoundHandmade (scroll down to the December 13th post under "White Winter II". His painting is #2 in the above picture.

I think that's AMAZING! I'm sure he's going to be pretty excited about this when I show it to him tomorrow.

Fame at 79 years old ;)

They said in their email that "if you register and log-in to your account, we will give you a free block to upload your item to, which will then link back to your shop!"

We've tried this, but the website is still trying to get paid. Waiting to hear back from them to see what we're doing wrong.

UPDATE: They got back with me and gave us 2 "blocks"; free for a month. Very cool. Too bad most of his stuff is expiring in the next day or two. I'll have to reload and re-post his art.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

2009 Romeo Christmas Home Tour

You can read a little pre-walk article by the Romeo Observer. And check out more photos here. And an after-walk article by the Romeo Observer.

It turned out really well. Group after group would come in; one after the other. We were told that there would be about 15 minutes between groups, but that was not the case. Many times we still had a group in the house when another was waiting outside on the front porch. We had 10 groups of 25-40 people each group.

Jerome and I had a couple of friends helping us out. Beth Nelson was stationed upstairs and Deepa Rajendran was stationed in the Dining Room. Jerome was at the front door and kitchen and Mom and I were in the Living Room.

They all came into the living room and I gave my little spiel about the house:
Welcome to the Heap house :)
The house was built in 1947 (and then I had to explain why the historic plaque says 1948).
The style of the house is Colonial Revival - and then I went into the difference between Colonial Revival and Georgian Colonial (which was how the house was described in the real estate listing when we bought it).
It's currently a 3 bedroom 2.5 bath house, but when built was a 4 bedroom and 1 bathroom house.
It's about 1800 sq. ft.
We are the 9th residents of the house and then I told stories about the former owners, but only one or two per tour, otherwise they'd be standing around far too long.

Then I explained about the paintings and photography that are around the house, the late 1960's nativity and the stuff we found behind the mantle.
I said that the whole house was open for them to look at; upstairs, main floor and downstairs. That we have hot chocolate and rice krispy treats in the kitchen - both of these things were a first for the tour - usually the owners don't want people traipsing all over their house and they never offer refreshments. Just for that, I think we were a favorite :D

Everyone was very nice and polite. We heard a lot of compliments and that makes all the work, worth it. One lady said "the way you have it decorated and painted, it feels like I've been here before; I feel comfortable and I've never been here.

The questions that I received most were about the color choices for the walls (if we ever do this again, I'll have the paint swatches out so that people will know the name of the color - since I can't remember off the top of my head). The stove "collection" that we have. The Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet dolls we have on the mantle. And about the garage demo and build.

Jerome was asked over and over, where was he from (France). He was told he was a smart man on several occasions when he told them that his wife picked out the colors and he agreed with it and when he agreed to keep what seemed to be junk (like metal window frames from the old garage) and allowed me to use it as decorations.
(The flash from the camera makes the walls seem much more yellowy-orange than they truly are)
Deepa had questions about the type of China on the table. Where the glassware was from (Belgium). Who was the artist for the painting in the dining room (a friend Roberto Baruchello) and if she was French (she's Indian).

Beth had questions about the original wood floors, the wall treatments (squares and stripes). The marble bathroom and if she lives here.

We met a lot of people who knew some of the former owners. A lot of folks were taught by either Pat or Fred Portwine. One older man (I believe he was in his 80's) knew the Scott's, the Nordman's and Terry and Marina. (His name is Mel and he says Hi Marina).

The day was really fun and a full day for sure. Beth showed up at 10:30am, the pre-walk started at 11am. We got to tour all the homes for free. As we left, we were given the bag luminaries, cat litter to put into the bag, candles, this years Romeo Christmas ornament (which was one of the houses on the tour - The Wellington Jersey Residence) and a 1 year free membership to the Historical Society.

Afterward we went out to lunch at Times Square and then came home and had an hour or two to get the luminaries up and running. Fix the first batch of hot chocolate and watch a video of our New Orleans trip in November 2000 (Beth's family lives in N.O.). Then the first group showed up just after 4pm and the tour was on and relentless until 9:30pm. After that, we all reconvened at the Village Presidents home for the after-glow party. We were exhausted and couldn't last until midnight.

It reminded me a lot of our August party (which we were unable to have this year). We invite everybody and their brother and you spend about 5 minutes with each person; a whirlwind and fun.
This lovely vintage ornament wreath was made by a local artist; Janet Haslett of Richmond, MI. If you are interested in obtaining one of these, please post a comment and I'll give you her contact info.

Friday, December 11, 2009

justin time (just in time)...

Justin was here for a couple of weeks. It is called Block Leave and he was able to take this time before he deploys later this month.

The Army has changed him a bit...of course, to the better. He is growing up and some of those old young boy traits are finally falling away. I didn't catch him in any "over the top" stories (lies) and I didn't feel afraid that money would disappear out of my wallet or the keys to my car needed to be with me at all times.

It was a lot less stressful too because he is now old enough to do stuff that he wanted to do when he was too young. And I could look at him as an adult and not have to remind him of rules.

Oh, and he helped around the yard, which was always such a pain to get him to do. This time, it was raining on his head and he still stayed out the whole time until the job was done. AMAZING! However, I did have to ask him to help - he didn't offer, but we'll get there.

He will be deploying soon and this does not make me feel very secure. There is only one good outcome of deployment; come home safe and sound.

I don't want him to lose his easy nature. Easy to laugh and easy to smile. He's always been that way. I don't want him to see or do anything that will take that away.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

thanksgiving coma...

(my brothers; Ray & Marty - they're ready to eat)

We had a really good time on Thanksgiving. We nearly had everyone in the Family on Thursday (other than my son and my sister-in-law Chris). It was really good food, but gets cold so quickly :(

Jerome was cooking like a mad man!

The next day we picked up Justin from the airport and headed to my parents for a second round at the Thanksgiving food.

Today is a bit of a quiet day - nice.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

flight delay...

Justin's flight out of Fayetteville, NC was supposed to take off at 8:58am today, but it's delayed (at the moment) until 12:53pm!!! Fog. He still has to catch a connector out of Charlotte, NC and then fly here.

I think he'll be late for dinner. :'(

Justin won't be here today. His flight was so delayed that he already missed his connecting flight and was told that there would not be any more flights out of Charlotte today. He is told to come back in the morning and do it all over again.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

but before that, there is thanksgiving...

Having family over tomorrow; my oldest brother Marty, his wife Chris (she went to the wreath making event with me) and their kids Jacob & Jordan. My youngest brother Ray and his youngest daughter Cate. My cousin (from Belgium) Martine and her twin daughters Jill & Lynn. My son Justin. And possibly surprise guests (not tellin').

Jerome was busy last night shopping and starting to prepare the dishes and then he will continue all night tonight. I'm the cleaner and house preparer - he is the shopper and cooker. I like it like that.

I pick up Justin from the airport tomorrow at 1:15pm. And we are expecting everyone around 5pm. Hope everything works out the way it's planned.

The table is set with my parents china that they received for their marriage in 1951. It is Wentworth china with the Viola pattern. It's made in Japan, so why do they call it china? ;)

Monday, November 23, 2009

whoa, i am all christmassed out!...

You know Christmas can be so gaudy! I hope I haven’t overdone it. I have Jerome tell me whether something is too kitsch and I hope his all-seeing-kitsch-eyes are working when it comes to what I’ve put up.

The only thing left as far as decorating is concerned is the basement. Jerome had a good idea and I hope we can make it happen. My mother had a group of ladies come to her house a couple of years back to learn how to make these really cool looking paper snowflakes. Jerome says we should make a bunch and hang them from the drop ceiling tiles in the basement – tons of them. It will look like it’s snowing.

I think I’ll try to have the kids make some on Thanksgiving. Sweatshop style :)

Then I want to hang a bunch of paper decorations that my son made me throughout the years. THIS might end up looking kitsch!

And finally, we’ve done a few crafty things together like making ice luminaries and recycling old Christmas cards (photos to follow).

I think I may have spent a little over $200 on different items for this tour. Including, but not limited to:
holiday ribbons (different sizes and colors) from Michaels
wreath making event at the Henry Ford
vintage ornaments in a jar and eucalyptus sprig from The Lambs Tail
an assortment of ornaments from The Home Depot
60 feet of cedar roping from Sherwood Forest Garden
a poinsettia from The Home Depot
a pump pot and some cups (for refreshments) from Sam’s Club

Sunday, November 15, 2009

wreath making at the henry ford estate...

When I worked on Detroit's west side a few years ago, a friend that I worked with brought me to the Henry Ford Estate for lunch. The HFE has a room called The Pool Room which used to be an indoor pool inside the mansion. They have covered the pool and made that part of the room into the dining area of the restaurant. It's very beautiful and you get an idea of how the Ford's lived (very nicely, by the way).

So, for the duration of my time working on Detroit's west side, I frequented this little restaurant - took everyone and anyone there. I nearly always ordered the quiche of the day and soup of the day which were always fantastic.

Also during that time I had picked up one of their fliers and saw that they have little events there like "Tea with Clara Ford" or "Spring Bouquet" where you make an arrangement of spring flowers as a centerpiece for Easter.

Five years ago, I decided that I would try out the wreath making event. This is taught by a couple of guys who own their own floral decorating business. They teach you step by step how to make a wreath with 5 different types of evergreens; juniper, 2 different kinds of cedar (I remember one was called incense cedar), white pine and can't remember the fifth...oops.
I really enjoyed it and decided this year to go again. This time I invited my sister-in-law, her mother Pat, her sister Debbie and my 10 year old niece Jordan. It was sticky, dirty, smelly (like pine, so not bad) fun! And we all got to take our beautiful wreaths home.
I highly recommend this class and the "Tea with Clara Ford", which I took my mother to last year. I'm sure the other programs are just as good, but I can only recommend what I've done.
After the event was over, we all headed to Romeo to catch some lunch. Then off to The Lamb's Tail Holiday Fair. This is a cute little antique shop in Armada. I purchased a jar full of vintage ornaments (very reasonably priced) and a sprig of colored eucalyptus.

When I got home, I used my newly tuned wreath making skills and threw this together:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2009 Romeo Christmas Home Tour...

Finally “that time of year” is upon us; the 2009 Romeo Christmas Home Tour.

Two tour times; 4:00pm and 6:30pm on Saturday, December 12.

Tour six holiday themed historic homes. This year our house, will be one of the six houses on the tour.

Tickets for the Christmas Home Tour are $15 (proceeds will benefit the Romeo Historical Society) and they are available right now at the following stores in Romeo:

Kane’s Town Hall Antiques (205 N Main St)
• Connelly’s Creations (175 S Main St)
• Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (218 N Main St)
• or by calling 586-752-4111

Hope you find the time to come and visit.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

food critic...

I decided last night that since we do eat out a lot, I should do a little write up on the restaurant we visit – especially if it leaves a lasting positive or negative impression on me. If it sticks in my mind.

Last night we were headed to Younger’s Irish Tavern in downtown Romeo for their Wednesday special; dollar burgers. Yes, the burgers are a dollar, but if you want anything on them, it’s extra. Only once did we try to actually make them $1 by just ordering the plain burger and a glass of water. Anyway, when you have it with all the fixin’s, it’s a very good burger and a really good gimmick to get customers in the door.

As we were pulling into the parking lot, we noticed the new restaurant “Polish Village”. There was an empty parking spot over there and Jerome said we should give it a try – support local businesses. A couple of week’s back we went to the real Polish Village Cafe in Hamtramck and enjoyed the stuffed cabbage (golabki) and kielbasa. We were hoping for something similar.

The restaurant is very spacious, having plenty of tables and booths but also plenty of isle way for customers and wait staff. But the atmosphere was uninviting and had an unfriendly feeling and smelled of sauerkraut. We decided that they kept the furniture from the previous business that was in the space and just set up shop.

We sat in the first booth we came to, but were asked to move because the booth seat was apparently broken. So we moved deeper into the restaurant.

The wait staff was friendly and took our order quickly. I ordered the combo meal; city chicken and stuffed cabbage with mashed potatoes. Jerome ordered the potato pancakes. We both ordered the stuffed pepper soup.

The stuffed pepper soup had a tomato base, with rice and peppers. The serving size was large and it was a filling soup and we could have stopped there and had been satisfied – with a fair review. But we continue…

In a reasonable amount of time, our main dish arrived. The presentation was fine. The first thing I tried was the city chicken, which was in a nice thick brown gravy. The gravy had a pleasant taste and the city chicken was pretty tasty. Then I tried the sauerkraut – MAN was that stuff salty and tasted like they poured a little too much vinegar in the recipe. The mashed potatoes were a dry thick consistency which makes you believe they were from a box. But on top of that, they had a very strange bland taste which didn’t become any better no matter how much butter and salt was added.

Finally the stuffed cabbage (golabki). The tomato sauce was a thick sauce which had a nice flavor. They were not very generous with the sauce as it could have used more. The meat and rice inside were quite tasty too; yet the cabbage that surrounded it was undercooked and hard. Ended up not finishing the cabbage or the sauerkraut.

Jerome was not impressed with his potato pancakes either – he said it reminded him of a glorified hash brown.

He was disappointed and we decided that we would not come again.

The waitress and the manager came by the table to ask how everything was, but we were too polite to let them know our real thoughts and just said unenthusiastically that everything was fine.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

garage door mess...

Over the weekend, Jerome was installing the garage door opener. He only needed my help every now and then.

The instructions (yes, he is one to actually READ the instructions) said to put a 2x4 on the ground in the path of the garage door to test the reverse mechanism. This will help you determine the “force” that is required. There is a little tuner on the side of the opener.

Jerome did what was instructed and the door did not automatically reverse.

The instructions also said to push the button and then hold the garage door as it is going down as to prevent it from going down – the automatic reverse should go into effect.

Jerome did what was instructed and the door did not automatically reverse…in fact, the garage door continued to close while Jerome was holding the door and the “force” was so strong that it buckled the door – creasing it so much that it split. I happened to be there when it happened.

Oh My God! It brought tears to his eyes. Our beautiful special order door; the top panel completely dented…and ugly.

He was crippled. I told him to give the garage door guy a call and see what he says. Maybe it’s covered by the warranty. He called the guy and was told not to feel bad, that it happens to a lot of people.

The thing is, the door cost us around $1700 – it’s not insulated because the garage is not attached and so it doesn’t need insulation. The top panel (the panel that was destroyed) was mostly made up of windows; hardly any metal – so, considering those two points; hardly any structure. And then you think what kind of cheap metal is this thing made out of that it can bend so easily? It’s not Jerome’s fault, he was just following the instructions.

The garage door guy came out last night to take a look. Since it’s a special order, it will take upwards of two weeks for it to come in. We asked if we could reuse the current windows in the new panel. We were told that we could, but we should try to not open and close the door very often in order to make sure the windows will stay in tact. That means we either won’t park in the garage or we will keep the door open all the time. The guy will get back to us regarding the cost…not covered :( (Update: got an email from the garage door guy and the new panel is going to cost nearly $700!)

So, the next step is to see if the manufacturer of the garage door opener will reimburse us something, since the reverse mechanism seems to be malfunctioning…we’ll see.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We’ve got neighbors!

5 years ago today, was the first time we laid eyes on this house. At the time, the property to the west of us was a wooded lot. We were informed pretty early through the process that the little old lady (Ilene Lock) who owned the lot was about to have it zoned and put it up for sale. We were also told that she would be more than willing to sell us a 1’X200’ piece of land for $1000 and we could buy as much as we liked – but to let her know ASAP, cuz it was going on the market within the month.

We were already shell shocked by how much we were spending and were not yet used to the new payment and whether we felt comfortable with adding an additional $10,000 on to what we already owed. Turns out we more than could have done this and we are totally kicking ourselves that we aren’t very risky.

We moved in on June 15th, 2005 and apparently, the lot had been sold to a builder a few months before. By the time we moved in, one house was close to completion. We thought there would only be enough room for the one house, so we were not all that concerned. When in October of 2005, he started clearing the lot closer to our house, we started getting worried.
(photo taken mid-October 2005)

He began pouring the footings for the basement in mid-October and by the looks of it, was going to be building a very large house on a small, awkward lot. We were assured by the Village Inspector that the builder was not allowed to change the grade, and that the hill would remain in tact.

As the house was going up; this huge vinyl beast, we couldn’t help but feel like we had really made a mistake by not buying some of the property. The guy wouldn’t have been able to fit two houses on the lot if we had purchased around 10 feet...or could he?
(photo of water in the window well taken July 2006)

Being that the house is on a hill, and the hill cascades down toward our house, we started noticing problems immediately. During a downpour, the water from the hill directly fell into our western-most window well. It filled up with water and started leaking into the house. I have a movie of Jerome trying to use a bucket in the well to remove the water during this torrential rain storm. Jerome ended up constructing an additional level of protection with cinderblocks left behind by the former owners. It seems to have done the job – that, and the fact that the builder had finally installed some gutters on that monstrosity.
(by mid-February 2006, the second house was up)

Fast forward to the economic crisis. The house never sold. It stood there vacant since they finished it in late 2005. The builder never finished the inside, nor the driveway or landscaping – he went into foreclosure. The house he built next to this one (west of this one), has had 2 owners already. The first owner purchased it for nearly $300,000 and put more than $50,000 into it before GM transferred him to another state. GM gave him what he bought the house for and then put it on the market. The market plummeted and GMAC ended up selling it for $235,000. It’s up for sale again (by owner); they are asking for the same amount that they purchased it for, but in the meantime, here is this vacant, never lived in ramshackle right next door that is bank owned.
(photo taken May 2006 - the house (gray one next to ours) pretty much stayed looking like this for the next 3+ years - however, empty and not cared for)

About a week ago, we noticed a lot of activity around that house and over the weekend, Jerome said that it’s true, we do have new neighbors.

A young couple purchased it from the bank and have big plans for it. He is a builder and her family owns a local sod farm. They are putting in new flooring, new kitchen countertops, they want to make a walk out basement. They are going to put up a retaining wall between our properties and build a deck and put in a swimming pool. They will be sodding as well and have verbally offered up any extra sod that they don’t use. Oh, and they want to do it all in a month (with the exception of the swimming pool which will go in next year). He also mentioned that he would love to brick the house. Now that would be awesome and expensive.

I asked how much they purchased the house for and how much our property value has decreased. He told me $130,000!!! MY LORD! This house is around 2300 square feet.

Well, we’re hoping for great things. It will be a little strange having someone over there, but I hope that the look of the place will improve now that there is signs of life.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

garage update...

We just finished putting the railing up...I mean JUST - about 10 minutes ago. Just wanted to post a new pic.
Still need to do plenty of stuff on our own, but the major stuff seems to be coming to an end. The contractor does need to come out a couple more times to finish up things like grading, etc.

trip to boston, cont'd...

So, to continue with the rest of my fabulous trip to's long and really meant as a reminder to myself of all the things that happened.

Erin and her boyfriend Chris in one car (small SUV) and me in my VW Golf head out to the airport. I brought our walkie-talkies in order to make everything a little easier and good thing I did; Chris drives fast!

They landed at 2:45pm - and were in customs, we were already there out the customs door, waiting. Nick called Erin and said that he and his roommate Brandon were coming by mass transportation and couldn't get their friend Adams truck - so it was a really good thing that I came with my "big" car.
The kids hid me behind the welcome sign and then behind Brandon. Terry looked so surprised to see me and ran directly to me - passing right by the kids to give me a huge hug. All I can say to that is that she LOVES me MORE!!! ;)
The dogs were loaded in Chris (and Erin's) car and the suitcases and Terry in mine. Nick, Brandon and Bill took a cab to the temporary housing.

Pretty nice place for them to live for a month while they look for a house to buy.
We settled in for a nice American pizza and salad dinner. Their kids were very happy the "rents" have moved back - and so close by where they live.

Later I took the boys back to their place and got to check it out. Very bachelor-paddy and nothing on the walls, which surprised me since both of them just graduated from an art school. Nick showed me his paint swatches for the future wall colors. He likes really right colors. We discussed what he could do with the remains of the futon; make a coffee table with the frame.

Then I took Miss Erin back to her house at Wheaton College and stayed one more night.

The next morning I got up, showered and gathered up my things and went out to my car which was parked in visitors/faculty parking. Noticed that I had a bright florescent green violation on my windshield; $30. Bummer.

Drove out to Terry's following a map I printed at Erin's - yes, I can still read maps ;) For some reason, Samantha (my GPS) was not finding 1 Windsor Woods Lane - must be that it's such new construction.

Terry & Bill were nearly ready to go. The plan for today was to do some reconnaissance all the way up to Rockport, MA. It was a beautiful fall day. Terry was busy taking pictures.
Once in Rockport we got out of the car and walked around. Such a beautiful town on the ocean. We had lunch at a cute little restaurant right on the water.
The rest of the day we drove through little towns working our way back to Boston. They were trying to figure out the commute time, train schedule and where they could possibly live.

We were invited to Bill's mom's house in Foxboro, MA for a chili dinner that evening. Bill's brother Brian was there as well. Even though I've met him several times, he didn't remember me - I guess I leave a lasting impression on people - I mean, heck, they've only been married for 23 years and I was the maid-of-honor.

When we arrived back to the temporary housing, there were no parking spots except for under the carports. Bill told me to park there. I said that I wasn't sure that was a good idea. But he wouldn't let it go and said that he wasn't told they were for any specific tenant. So I did. By the second day, Bill brought to my attention that I had a nasty note on my car. Of course it said that the person pays for her parking spot and to NEVER park there again. I said to Bill "see, I told you I shouldn't have parked there" and he denied ever telling me to park there in the first place; weird.
The next two days we went out with the Realtor to look at houses in the Plymouth, MA area. We looked at something like 15 houses. Terry & Bill are very interested in finding a house on a pond (lake) or with views of the ocean. We didn't see many on the water. The one that was affordable needed a lot of TLC, especially on the outside (landscaping). We did see some beauties, but they were not on the water. The second day we went to see the inside of one that was on a beautiful pond. The house looked great on the outside, but needed work on the inside. But the pond was awesome and it's a selling point for Bill. The name of the street is Black Cat - how cool is that? The house was not priced to sell - it's new on the market. The owners have moved on to assisted living.

We needed to end early on the second day because we were going to visit my nephew Nick at his new job; 38 Studios. The drive to Maynard was picturesque! The old mill (Clock Tower Place) that Nick's job is located was transformed into a cool (huge) modern/industrial space. 38 Studios in general was way cool. Nick is designing characters for a new web-based video game. We stayed for a little over an hour and had the full tour. Met his co-workers and the owner of the company; Curt Schilling. When Terry met Curt, she told him that "anyone who knows anything about football knows him" - then laughed and said "I know you play baseball". Very "Terry" thing to say :)

Afterward we went to pick up Brandon and his girlfriend Jackie. Terry & Bill got to check out Nick's place and then we headed to Fabiola's (Nick's "friend-girl" who also happened to get a job at 38 Studios after graduation) place to take a look at what a bachelor girls place looks like. Then we headed into town for dinner. Margarita's was the first choice, but there was an hour and a half wait, so we went across the street to the Skellig Irish Pub. There was live Irish music and it wasn't very busy at all. I had the lobster cakes, which were very good - I would highly recommend them.

Took the kids home and headed back. I would be leaving the next day, so I needed my rest.

On my way home the next day, I noticed as it was getting dark that my headlights were out. I only had my daytime running lights and they were not very bright. I had to drive with my brights on for the last 2 hours of my trip.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

i get knocked down, but i get up again...

I started my new job today. I work for a supplier to Chrysler (again) as a VPM Coordinator (again). This time it's part time (Tuesday through Thursday) and temporary and I know this right up front.

I would say that today I was kept occupied the entire day - this is more than I can say for my last two supplier jobs.

It's a small office; I think I'm one of six people working there.

I found out about this job from one of the guys I worked with at my last job - his wife works at Chrysler and in a conversation she was having with a supplier, found out that they needed a person who knows VPM. She had her husband call me immediately to give me the info and to have me forward my resume. Which goes to show that it's who you know - and what you know is required later.

Anyway, I guess I can say that I'm pretty fortunate that I found something so quickly...when I wasn't even really looking hard...yet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

how many times does your sister return to the US?...

I'm sitting in my niece's room at college, using her laptop to make this post. She's going to college at Wheaton in Norton, MA.

I arrived last night after about a 14 hour drive. Normally I would drive through Canada and it would have taken closer to 12 hours, but I let my passport lapse and so, had to drive under Lake Erie.

You may be wondering why I've come all the way out here. Well, my sister Terry and her husband Bill are moving back to the United States after living in Vienna Austria for the past 8 years. And I'm going to be at the airport to greet them! SURPRISE!!!

So the answer to the above question? Um...well, this will be her third time coming back (first time from Belgium, second time from the Netherlands and this time from Austria).

Their children Nick and Erin have been back in the states for the past 4 and 2 years respectively. Terry was feeling that she needed to get back stateside for all those "just in case" moments.

I'm going to have this entry post later, so that just in case she is looking at my blog (yeah, right)...don't want to ruin a surprise.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

happy birthday dad...

Much to all our surprise, the day before my dad's 79th birthday we received an email stating that he SOLD one of his paintings on etsy!!!

A nice lady in New Hampshire purchased "Cabin up North" for her husband. She said that they have a tiny cabin in the mountains of Vermont and she thought her husband would really appreciate the painting.

Little does she know (yet), that she's getting two paintings for the price of one. My dad, nearly always paints something on both sides of the canvas. I guess she can switch it out if she gets bored.

Anyway, you wouldn't believe how the sale of one of his paintings made my dad feel. He was really happy with himself. Which is a nice change of late because of all the drama that's been going on at my parents house lately.

As you may know, my dad has MS and has had it for as long as I am old. He is confined to a scooter now (he doesn't want to ever use a wheelchair - pride) and has aides come throughout the day to clean him, get him out of bed, transfer him from scooter to toilet and then back in bed.

Well, around 3 weeks ago, my mother noticed a small bedsore on his leg and called in the wound doctor. The doctor told them that dad would need to change his habits and only be in a seated position for 2 hours at a time. This meant my mother had to find (and pay) more aides to come throughout the day to get him out and put him back into bed.

The paying part wasn't the worst of it. My dad, who is usually very pleasant and doesn't complain at all (at least to us kids), was now really angry and saying some dramatic things. I mean, if you're feeling fine and you are made to be in bed for the majority of your waking hours - just imagine how depressing that can be. He never had enough time to work on his paintings before he would have to go back in bed.

He is also starting to lose track of time and so sometimes thinks that when he is being taken out of bed in the evening, that it is actually morning and he goes into the bathroom to do his morning rituals.

The wound doctor came yesterday and said that the bedsore is 80% healed and reminded him that he will need to stay off his butt as much as possible. My mom is starting to think about his quality of life and has said to my older sister that she is going to allow dad to make the decision about staying out of bed. If I know my dad, he'd rather stay out of bed and deal with the consequences when they come...just like he did when he was young. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009


Yesterday they added the Paulownia wrap to the columns and other areas. We'll have to fill the nail holes, sand and paint, but it's really added something to the deck area.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

look what they did yesterday...

We have a deck! They're not completely done; supposed to come early today to finish, it's already 9am...

Monday, October 5, 2009

the next day...

We woke up and had a couple fresh wet spots above us on the drop ceiling. It had rained all night and gotten really cold.

We had to roll up the tent and put it back in the car. Since it was raining and since we were the only ones at this motel, I told Jerome to back the car all the way up to the door so that we wouldn't get wet putting the stuff in the car.

So, the huge body bag that we trudged in late last night was now in tight manageable pieces and tucked back into the car.We continued our trip up the Keweenaw Peninsula. Another place that I wanted to stop was the Jampot Bakery in Eagle Harbor. This bakery is run by monks for the Society of St. John. This was another destination that was written in the article I mentioned earlier.
We stopped and got ourselves some Pear Jelly, my mom and dad some Dandelion Jelly and a friend of Jerome's at work some Boysenberry Jelly. It is a cute place with very interesting bakery items for sale.

We continued on and drove past the "Beginning of US 41" sign and drove on the dirt trail for a half hour or so, until it got so rocky and potholey that we decided that our mechanic would be upset enough about how dirty our MINI is underneath.
We went all the way up to the Skytop Inn; 735 feet above lake level and 1337 feet above sea level. The wind was so strong, it was pushing the signs horizontally. We asked the woman who was working there if this was normal for this time of year and she said "no, this is exceptional"...of course, that always happens to us. She was worried her huge golden retriever dog would blow away outside.

Another cute story. As we were trying to get a refund on the campsite the night before, a man was trying to rent out a site. We said that we hope he's got a camper and he said that he would be tenting. We told him he could have our site.

While we were leaving the Skytop Inn, this same guy was walking in. He recognized us and asked if we were able to find a motel. We said yes, and how was your tenting experience? He said it survived the night. It was a bit cold, but worked out fine.

Some people are more built for roughing it than the rest of us.
At one point, we were driving by the water and wanted to get a shot of the angry lake. Unrolled the window and the horizontal rain got the opposite side of the car all wet.
We drove all the way back to St. Ignace and spent the night at a VERY nice motel, that was cheaper than the stinky motel. And left for home the next morning.

It's too bad the weather got so cold and wet, otherwise we would have taken our time.