Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Giving Thanks

Right now I'm giving thanks for a productive day.  We are just about ready for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner and family gathering.

The house is clean.  The yard is clean. The turkey is ready to go into the cooled brine.  All of the ingredients for the stuffing are cooked and cooling, ready to be combined and refrigerated over night. Jill is finished with conferences and checked in to make the cranberry sauce.  My berry pie is baked. 
My sister-in law is in charge of the pumpkin pie and she has been practicing.

The table is set.
Tom has his equipment assembled to cook the turkey on the charcoal grill with applewood smoke.  Now he is napping in his recliner.

The weather is still mild and mostly sunny and will hold at least through Thanksgiving day.

No one is coming over the river and through the wood to Grandmother's house, although several will cross over the Narrows of Puget Sound and several others will cross over the Lake Washington Ship Canal so bridges are involved, but no snow, no ice, no sleigh, and for tomorrow,  not grandmother's house.

We will all have issues that need to be dealt with in our daily lives, but tomorrow we will all have much to be grateful for as well.  We can all count our blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving to my blog family.  May your blessings outweigh all else and may you have a day filled with love.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Time to Change My Focus

For the last month Tom and I have been focused on helping Jill and the kids get comfortably settled into their newly purchased home.  

This house was built in 1960 and for most of it's life it was lovingly cared for.  But we have learned that it was horribly abused for three years and then vacant, and finally rescued by Fannie Mae, who restored it cosmetically.  It is a clean, solid house.  But the plumbing and electrical were not really checked or fixed.  We spent $2250 to get the plumbing unclogged and functioning.  Tom is still figuring out the wiring.  He gets one thing fixed and another problem occurs.  One light fixed, and another stops working.  Outlets still need to be replaced, but some are waiting because the circuitry is still a mystery.  Now the new wall oven doesn't work. Tom has been wonderful in putting up with these frustrations and working through the issues.

This week, after working at home in our own yard, we worked outside at Jill's house, moving dirt, and spreading gravel to increase the parking area and leveling a pad for the storage shed we moved from the rental.  After the site has a chance to settle, we will reassemble the shed.  Then we can get Jill's van in the garage along with her car.

Today we helped Jill move some furniture around and add a guest room bed she bought at a friend's yard sale yesterday.  Jill still has boxes to unpack and organizing to do, but right now she is finishing up report cards and  will have parent conferences the next two and a half days.  She has been a trooper, battling through a days long migraine headache.  I think she has come through that finally. 

We will be having Thanksgiving without the kids this year.  With the divorce still a recent event, there are firsts to be dealt with.  The kids flew to Colorado Saturday morning and will be gone all week.  None of us here are happy about that, but Dad and the other grandparents will be happy to have them for this holiday.

I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner and starting tomorrow I am changing my focus.  I am going to prepare a beautiful setting and a lovely traditional dinner for my adult children, my sister-in-law and her partner, my cousins and my Aunt, all of my Seattle family.  

I am going to go for my daily walk, enjoying the cold, clear weather while it lasts.  And I am going to start thinking about Christmas.

Tom will still be needed to fix things at Jill's house, and sometimes I will help too.  And I will certainly be working in the yard there when the time comes.  I have newly rediscovered this week how much I prefer working outside to being inside. It must be the farm girl in me. But for now my heart and my head will be here at home.

And I intend to fully appreciate the beauty of the season.  I started that today.  

As Tom was finishing up, I went for a little walk in Jill's neighborhood as the sun was setting.  A block away I got views of Mt Rainier.

And then as the sky got all pink, I hurried back and announced that we were leaving and we had to go to the marina right now!  Only about two miles away, we watched another beautiful day come to an end.

I'm glad I had my iPhone camera!

And I am very thankful for all that we have and all that we are still able to do.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Job Done!

The weather has changed here in the Seattle area.  It's now dry and cold, good weather for tackling that big job that has been sitting in our driveway for four weeks.

We have had leaves delivered from a yard care company for many years.  We use the leaves to mulch our garden beds for the winter.  The blanket of leaves adds humus to the sandy soil, gets the worms working, discourages weeds, and keeps the winter rains from compacting the soil.  Our trees are mostly evergreens, so we don't produce lots of leaves here in our own yard.

Yesterday we got a good start on the job.  We got Isaac, who was home from school on a sick day, settled on the couch in front of the TV.  He watched Home and Garden channel most of the morning.  Then by 9:00 we were hard at work.

It was cold, but working kept us warm.

By 11:15 Tom was getting weary and I had to clean up to go to a lunch date with retired teacher friends.  Grandpa fed an improving Isaac lunch and rested before getting back to work.  He moved all the rest of the tender plants into the greenhouse.

I was home and back outside by 2:30 and we worked until we were too tired and the sun was going down.

This morning there was frost on the diminishing pile of leaves.
 The work we had already done looked good in the sunlight.
Isaac had recovered enough to be back in school.  We got a slower start outside.

 We couldn't quite make it to the finish before we stopped for lunch at 1:00.  Tom really needed a rest, and he got in a short nap during our lunch hour.  I was a bit concerned about how tired he was getting.  He grinned and said " It used to be easier".
We finally saw the end of the pile, but then we had a lot of clean up to do.

 It bugs us that we can't get all of the leaves off the driveway, but these are frozen in place.
 Pile Gone!  Driveway cleaned up!
I took care of a few other jobs and then got my camera to record our garden now put to bed for the winter.

 There was sun on the deck and in the tree tops.  Here the magnolia stellata is full of buds for spring flowers.
 We do still have that dead dogwood laying over on the trellis to deal with.

The oak leaf hydrangea is just beginning to color up.

 Cedar tree mulch on the paths.

 Cedar tree droppings cleaned up on the gravel paths.

It was 4:00 when we finished up and posed briefly for a self portrait of two people very happy to have that job done.  We didn't linger for a glass of wine.  It's too cold!
We're thinking we might not do this again.  It's hard work.  But I have to say, I loved being outside in the sunlight and getting my exercise by working in the yard.  I feel good!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making Progress?

There is a fire in the fireplace.  The TV has been turned to Public Broadcasting most of the evening.  I have sort of noticed it.  Tom is next to me in his matching recliner and the cat is on her perch nearby.  I have spent most of the evening reading and commenting on blogs.  It seems like I am always playing catch up lately.

Grandson Isaac is asleep up stairs.  He is sick, so he is spending the night because he will stay with us tomorrow instead of going to school.  We were at his house with him today.  We have been there at Jill's new old house most days lately.  

While things are getting done, it seems to be two steps forward, one step back.  Today was a good example.

Tom put weather stripping around the garage door and patched up the rodent hole he discovered when he was rewiring the garage door opener sensors so the garage door opener would finally work after we found new remote controls to operate it.  That went well.

Next he installed the new florescent light fixture he had to replace the old one with when it was discovered it needed more than new tubes.  But last week when he tried to install the new fixture, he found he needed to add to the rafters, so this project was hanging over the weekend.  Today he got the new fixture in and then discovered that the wall switch doesn't work.

He moved on to change out the interior door knob on the hall closet that works hard.  We bought a new one last week.  But he couldn't find a way to get the old, unconventional door knob plate off, so that project was deserted for now.  

Tom moved on to the door bell.  There are old ones in the house that don't work.  We opted for a wireless, battery coopered system.  Tom got it set up.  It needed batteries.  I went out to get some.  Powered up, he tried to install it on the wall, but his mounting screws were 1/32 off.  He needed something from home to fix the problem.  Project left unfinished.  

I helped him with the ladder so he could patch the leak in the rain gutter.  The gunk he so carefully studied at Home Depot didn't hold.  Project unfinished. 

Jill called last night to say the new wall oven shut off just after she turned it on, and won't work.  Tom and Jake have spent many hours tracing out the wiring in the house.  It's quite the puzzle, with some issues yet unsolved.  Today he checked out to see if there was a loose connection with the oven.  Nope.  So he called Whirlpool, and they we able to trace out the sale of the oven to Fannie Mae in 2011.  But it is a new install and an unused oven, obviously from their warehouse of appliances to put in fixer-upper houses.  We may be stuck with a faulty oven.  Problem as yet unsolved.

My project for the day was simpler - putting Tung Oil on several unfinished bedroom doors in the house while keeping Isaac company.  I finished my job, got a little food into Isaac, and then spent several hours reading, out of desperation to avoid being totally frustrated.

We brought Isaac home with us and it was about 4:30 when I went out for a walk just to walk off the frustration.  Isaac camped out on the couch and Tom took a nap in his recliner.  

Tomorrow and the next few days we have to take advantage of the dry weather and get a big project done at home. Tom had a truck load of leaves delivered to our driveway about three weeks ago.  We need to get them applied as mulch to the garden beds and it needs to be done before we start preparing for Thanksgiving dinner here.  I also have a retired teachers lunch.  Isaac may not get much attention on his sick day, but that will probably be ok with him anyway.

And yet, with all of this, I have my fire in the fireplace, my kitty and my loving husband who is a wonderful father and grandfather, my lap top and my recliner, and a world of blogger friends at my finger tips.  I am very fortunate.  I can count my many blessings.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wolverines and Mud Dogs

It was a good morning for finishing out the grand kids' youth soccer season.
Isaac's team, the Wolverines, entered their last match undefeated.
 Isaac Gibson, # 10, played mid field, forward and defender.  Here he is in action.

The wolverines won this match too, 5-2, and finished their season undefeated.

I didn't get to Irene's match until the second half, but in that half she finally came alive and put on quite a show, charging after the ball, and even scoring a goal!  She had me laughing as she smiled as she ran and seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself.
Irene Gibson, #18 on the Mud Dogs.

 Right after her goal.  I missed the scoring and the big smile here.  I was just having fun watching.  Good job, Irene.↓

 With Grandpa after the match.  The Mud Dogs were victorious.

 And there were even cupcakes!
I know.  That was a lot of photos.  I left out lots, but I couldn't decide which of these to leave out. :-)