Thursday, July 31, 2014

july has rolled on by (part 2)...

We had visits from both of my sisters this summer.  Deni first and then Terry and Bill.  While Deni was here, she and I took a walk into Romeo and had a snack at the Antique Bank Cafe.  I showed her one of my favorite shops; Two Romeo Girls.  Also showed her some pretty gardens in downtown Romeo.

While Terry was here, I took them to Harsen's Island.  We ate at the Schoolhouse Grille and took a lot of pictures.  It was a beautiful day, perfect for a short ferry ride to the local island.

We also made plans to see a Tiger's game with whomever in the family wanted to come.  You have to see at least one every year.  Later we met up with my brother Ray at Hard Rock Cafe and took Felix to the casino so that he could play Roulette.  He was pretty drunk and put all of his money on black.  Immediately, red came up.  All of his money was gone.  We heard about it all the way home.

We had a bunch of AirBnB visitors this summer.  If you count Felix, we've had 7.

  1. Our first guests were a couple that were traveling to San Francisco in order for her to get some training in her field.  He was from Michigan and we were their first stop.  After talking with him for a while, we found a connection.  His uncle is a big supporter of the Detroit Grand Prix and Jerome volunteers for the Grand Prix every year.  There was only one degree between the uncle and Jerome.
  2. The next guest was a business man that we in town to show the ropes to someone who was going to expand his business.  His business is making take home, nutritionally balanced food for underprivileged children in Macomb County.  He was also a pastor and his family have the entrepreneurial bug and have a business with their bunnies.  They rent their bunnies to people who are having birthday parties, photo shoots, all kinds of events.  They will also sell the meat and fur and breed some bunnies for people who want pets.  Then they also board bunnies for people who are going on vacation.
  3. Then we had a couple that were in town for a wedding. This was their first time using AirBnB and their first time staying at a Bed & Breakfast at all.  The strange thing is that they left us a side note in our reviews that the only thing they would change is the toilet paper.  Not sure exactly what they meant and never received a return email letting us know.
  4. The next was a man who would arrive by bicycle.  He was on a trip from Muskegon, MI to Buffalo, NY; this year's continuation of his trip from the west coast to the east coast.
  5. Then a couple from Toronto Canada on their way to Chicago.  They were teachers and were going to a conference in Chicago.  Very Canadian-friendly and even left Jerome and Felix a couple of beers to enjoy while watching the World Cup.
  6. Finally, there was the mother that was coming up from Indianapolis to visit with her sons.  She stayed with us for 4 days.  You get to know a little more about a person when they are staying with you for so long.  She was divorced from her first husband and he had custody of the boys.  It had been a while since she had been up to see them and it seemed that our price was right.  Being that I work part-time, I spent more time with her than Jerome did, so I got to know her a bit more.  We had a lot of conversations about kids, old marriages and relationships in general.

I do not fool myself, I know that these people are not my long-term friends, but AirBnB has really given us the opportunity to get to know a nice segment of the population of this earth.  It's been pretty cool and I would recommend it to anyone who would want to open their home.

We went to see one of my favorite musical artist, Sarah MacLaughlin at Meadowbrook Music Theatre.

We took Felix to Frankenmuth; Little Bavaria.  Met up with our buds, Dee & Lou.  We had the World Famous Chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn.  He said that the food reminded him of home.

Visited Pratap and Deepa.  Got to see our Argentinian friend's kids for the first time in years, Lisa and Pedro.  I am now Facebook friends with them, so I can see how they grow up.

Continued to work on all the rentals.

Getting ready for our upcoming trip to Europe.

Went to the St. Clair boat races at Dee's mom's house.  She's right on the St. Clair river.  The boats do a turn right in front of her house.

There was the first in a series of bad storms that day and some branches came down at 251.  We needed to go and chainsaw them up and fix a portion of the fence that came down with them.  Needed to again a week or so later when a full tree came down.

Monday, July 7, 2014

july has rolled on by (part 1)...

We had a busy July.  The weather seems a lot cooler than what we've been used to in past years.

At the beginning of July, we went on a bit of a road trip to Tennessee.  My friend Debbie invited us to her aunt Bev's house for their annual 4th of July party.  Why not?  It was an excuse to stop working on the condo and also to show Felix a couple more states in the United States.

Typical of my husband, he had ideas!!!  He wants to do fun things on our vacations so he mentioned that it would be cool to go ziplining.  We would be passing by two cool areas that offered ziplining; one was in Hocking Hills, OH and the other was in Cave City, KY.  Out of the two, the Cave City one was much cheaper.  It was also closer to our destination and at first we were trying to hook up with some friends that have relocated to Tennessee.  However, this didn't work out because this year, Ramadan fell right on the 4th of July and they are no fun for them...oh well, next time.

We were also planning on going on a cave tour at this same time, but when we got there it was so busy that weekend that they were all booked up.  So we bought tickets for the day we would be driving back.

We booked a couple of rooms in a very nice looking AirBnB 30-45 minutes away from my friend's aunt's house.  Good thing we didn't go on the cave tour because as we were driving to our BnB after ziplining, I decided it was time to call the host and let him know when we would be arriving.  It was around 5pm when I called and we weren't going to get there until 7:30-8pm.  He was not happy with us.  In a perfect world, he would have wanted to have been contacted much earlier so that he could plan his day.  I felt pretty badly, but also a little put off.  It's been a while since I've been scolded...let alone from someone I don't know.  We found out as the weekend went on that he was a little anal about time, being on time and what you did with your time.  We found out other things too...but before we did, we were greeted with lemonade and conversation.

The house was pretty amazing.  It sits on the top of a hill that overlooks some of the foot hills and a cow pasture.  It was built in the 90's to look like an old fashioned Victorian from the outside.  The inside boasted 5600 sq. ft. of living space, several bedrooms and bathrooms.  We were taken on a tour and were very impressed.  He had vintage political posters and photos of him with several presidents.  He purchased the house from the lead singer of the country band Lonestar.

He mentioned that he had owned 13 restaurants, bars, clubs from 5 stars to fast food...not all at the same time.  He was just divorced from I think his 5th wife.  He's got 5 kids all under the age of 13...he was in his retirement years.  He is a member of the millionaire's club....and he was going to cook breakfast for us!  Isn't that something?

We stayed that evening and sat by the pool (Jerome swam) and talked with the other couple that was staying on the property.  We had to stop at Walmart to pick up some beer and snacks for the party and then stopped and had dinner at the local Sonic (our first time).  We turned in early because the next day was going to be pretty full.

The party was really fun.  We all had a great time.  We started out by going to the Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree, which is a festival in Smithville, TN that they have every year.  I went to it when Debbie and I visited back in the early 90's.  This features dancers, bluegrass, art and craft shows and a very small gaming area.  It really hasn't gotten much better in the many years between visits.  However, Felix did find a very cool instrument that he ended up purchasing.  It's called a Woodruff and it's sort of a banjo, ukelele, small guitar.  It's was pretty cool and we kind of peer pressured Felix into buying it.  Now he's having trouble figuring out how he going to get it home to Germany!

After the Jamboree, we went to Bev's and relaxed before being brought by a huge ATV, driven by Bev's grandson Dalton, down the road and to the river.  We were going to walk to the falls.

The hill to get down to the river was crazy steep.  We held on tight and waited for the rest of our group.  The walk to the falls was pretty cool, up a trickling brook, under some fallen trees.  The light was strange because it was the middle of the day but it was sort of dark and the light had sort of a greenish tone.  When we were ready to head back, we ran into some other folks that were taking the walk to the falls.  They told us of another set of falls just up the road a piece, so we decided to go investigate that one too.

Dalton then expertly drove us all back up the hill and back to the party where some were swimming in the pool, some were riding horses and others were just lazing around waiting for the party to get started.

By nightfall, Felix was pretty drunk.  He was in competition with Debbie's husband Curt.  They hit it off pretty well.  Actually, it seems Felix left quite an impression on most of the people at the party.

They shot off fireworks and unbeknownst to us, the horses got spooked and somehow got out of their pen.  For about an hour or more, everyone was in search of the horses, in the dark - drunk.

We eventually had to leave and hoped for the best when it came to the horses...they ended up finding them the next morning in a field 2 miles away.  Animals don't like fireworks.

We were leaving the next day, making a stop at the Mammoth Caves to have our cave tour.  Felix was not doing very well.  He slept the entire time driving from the BnB in TN to the Mammoth Caves in KY.  Luckily for all of us, he did not get sick.

Mammoth Caves are nice and cool and it helped Felix with his major hangover.  By the end, he was feeling much better.

We drove all the way home after that and got home that night.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

month ONE with Felix...

Felix is staying with us for the summer.  He is a student intern at Takata Germany and for his degree he needs to work at Takata for 6 months a year.  Takata Germany decided that he should do a rotation in the US for three of those months.

So far we've done a few things with him and we hope to give him some more memories...

We've driven him through Grosse Pointe to Detroit - always a shock to the system...
Comerica Park
Belle Isle
MINI trip to Gun Lake
Many, many BBQ's and parties
Green Dot Stables and Ocean Prime + many other restaurants (including Younger's!)
My brother's house for our niece's 15th birthday...

We will take him to Tennessee and go zip-lining and cave exploring at the Mammoth Caves in Kentucky.

We are planning a trip to Frankenmuth in mid-July.

Hopefully he'll go to Toronto, Niagara, Mackinac Island...but most likely those places he'll have to go on his own.

backsplash tiles and faucet...

Photo taken with iPhone camera

So, nearly 2 months later and we've almost finished the kitchen.  Also, the only room that still needs paint is the living room...oh, scrap that - we haven't even started in the bathroom yet.  The bathroom will take us another month.  I think we won't be done until after we're back from our trip in August - which is a big bummer, but I think whomever rents this place from us will be happy with all the updates.

I've been sweatily wearing my mask/respirator constantly now and I took the advice of a friend and fellow blogger and have brought some shop fans in and have them blowing out the windows the whole time we're there...and thus, I am feeling a lot better.  The sinus drainage has nearly stopped and the throat irritation doesn't seem to be there any longer.  This is a HUGE relief to my overworked brain.

What still needs to be done in the kitchen...
 - dishwasher needs to be hooked up
 - outlets need to be installed
 - counter top needs to be cut to size and glued down (on the opposite side from this photo)
 - toe kick needs to be installed
 - stove and fridge need to be cleaned up a little more
 - 1/4 round needs to be installed
 - window covering needs to be purchased and installed
 - trim at the top of the cabinets needs to be installed
 - countertop sides need to be adhered (ironed on)
 - some paint touch-up to the wall
 - perhaps some cabinet knobs would need to be purchased and installed - however, Jerome is not thrilled about it
 - the floor needs washing...and with that, I think the kitchen is done.