Summer Travel Map

Friday, December 19, 2014

November 27-December 19: Very Productive

Yes, it’s been a productive few weeks! We had a nice Thanksgiving, wrapped up this season’s medical appointments, and even managed to get another room “done” in record time.

We continued a time-honored tradition of enjoying the Pell family hospitality on Thanksgiving. This is a big celebration for them, with multiple anniversaries in addition to the traditional holiday, and we’ve been honored to be a part of it ever since we started wintering here circa 2006. We enjoyed a great feast, excellent wines, and spending time with the whole crew!

On the medical front, Geri had her last follow-up MRI on her kidney. five-and-a-half years after surgery, there is no evidence of any issues, so she’s no longer in need of annual glow-in-the-dark procedures. Awesome!

I buckled down this year and got right to this season’s home improvement project: renovation in the “study”. Last year, I procrastinated and ended up doing the master suite and spare bedroom in February. Actually, it took me from late-January to early-March if I recall correctly. But, that involved laminate in the bedrooms, tile in the bathroom, and lots of complicated surfaces and angles on the painting.

Our house was designed to have three bedrooms or two bedrooms and a “study”. I’m never sure what to call it, since “office” makes it sound like we’re working in there (Ha!) and we definitely don’t use it to “study”. But, it’s a nice place to have a couple of desks where we can set up all our computer gear and it’s the only room that the Wine Box fits into! The room technically can’t be called a “bedroom” because it has an archway instead of a door, and the indent for the closet was never finished off. This makes for a much simpler room to paint.

When we bought the laminate flooring last year, we got enough to do all three “bedrooms”, so it would match. The flooring has been patiently waiting for me ever since. 

All that's left of our wine collection,
waiting for the Wine Box to be moved.
With Geri’s awesome help, we emptied the Wine Box and moved it to a temporary spot in the Living Room. It has “feet” instead of wheels, so we laid down cardboard and slid it all the way. Once the wine was back in it, and all the other “stuff” was moved out, it was time to tackle the room.

"Before": Furniture and carpet out,
painter's tape in place.
I ripped out the old, nasty carpet and padding first. The only one sad to see it go is Maya Lynn, since she liked to roll around on her back in there. Then I removed the baseboard, being careful to number (and not break!) each piece for easy replacement.

Painting took three days: One to do two coats on the ceiling and a primer (the room had never been painted since the house was built in 2001) on the walls, the second to do two coats on the walls, and the third to clean, sand and do two coats on the baseboard. Yeah, I know; all the paint people advertise one-coat coverage these days. Bunk.

"After": ready to move everything back.
Installing the laminate floor took another day. I was able to get the flooring down, reinstall the baseboard, remove all the blue painter’s tape, and put back all the switch/outlet covers and the like.

The next day of the project involved moving back and re-assembling the desks (for cheap “Walmart furniture” items, they certainly are heavy!), moving back the other furniture and setting up the computer stuff.

The final step of the plan was to empty, move, and re-fill the Wine Box. I took the opportunity to go back through my inventory spreadsheet and do some reorganizing to move the bottles we plan to consume soon (through 2015) to the front.

So, it took me a week. If we’d hired the work out, it would have been done in probably three days. Considering the cost savings, the extra time was well worth the investment.

"Not going back": 2003 vintage tower
computer. Parts will go on eBay!
We still have a few things to put back, but we need to go through the rest of the “stuff” and see what needs to go to eBay vs Goodwill vs back in the “study”. That can happen over the holidays.

Once the dust settled, so to speak, I was able to turn my attention to other things. I made up our annual “holiday card” and Christmas missive that we send out. Generally speaking, that’s all done electronically these days; we’ve got a handful of actual physical cards that go out to people who aren’t “connected”. We’re doing our part to put the USPS out of business. I’ll do a version suitable for posting here as well. Plus, I’ve got some emails and bills to catch up on after being distracted with paint and flooring for a week.

I took some time to make sure that our various devices are working on the “latest and greatest” releases and converted myself back to Safari from Firefox to take advantage of iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite cross-platform sharing options (yes, except for a couple of speciality applications like media serving and vehicle monitoring/diagnostics applications, we’re fully converted to Apple products at this point).

Meanwhile, we continue to eat well and enjoy our fine wines. Geri’s on her second batch of Snickerdoodle Cookies as I type, I’ve continued to practice my pasta making, and several new recipes are in the process of being perfected.

It wouldn’t be Arizona if I didn’t need to mention the weather. After a nice sunny and warm (not “hot”) stretch, things finally turned “normal”. We’ve had temperatures in the 60s, lows in the 40s, and even some rain. Nothing like they have been getting in parts of California, but enough to wet the streets, dirty up the cars, and even form the odd puddle here and there. Of course, passing storms can also lead to nice sunsets and rainbows, so in the final analysis, it’s all good.

I hope you are, too…