Retirement Resolutions

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I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions last January, because, hey, I’m retired. I can just go with the flow, be in the moment. Oh wait, that would require me to be an entirely different person.

I like to plan, and I worry, whether I like it or not. So there are two retirement resolutions that I needed to make.

I WILL NOT HIRE SOMEONE FOR ANYTHING THAT I CAN DO MYSELF.

That doesn’t mean I won’t hire someone to fix or build things. My DIY skills are sorely lacking.

It does mean no more professional mani/pedis, no wax when I can save money by shaving, and no housekeeper. Do you know I’ve had a housekeeper for the better part of 35 years?

“Retire”, people said. “It’ll be fun”, people said.

I WILL TAKE ON ONE PROJECT AT A TIME.

That means no beginning project number 2 while project number 1 is still lying around half-done. Half-done projects are clutter. I got rid of 35 years of clutter by moving to Costa Rica. I don’t want to start rebuilding it.

MO AMIGO ROBERTO, LOADING ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS INTO HIS TRUCK FOR THE TRIP BACK TO THE USA

MI AMIGO ROBERTO, LOADING ALL MY WORLDLY GOODS INTO HIS TRUCK FOR THE TRIP BACK TO THE USA

And it also means, since shopping for projects is the be-all, end-all funnest thing in life, no shopping for project 2 (or more likely, projects 2 through 111) until number 1 is done. Ouch.

The latest “project” I’ve been working on is recovering from my knee surgery. I had a full knee replacement on the left side on April 26th.

I was in the hospital overnight, then went home with a walker. I just graduated to a cane today. Progress! Yay!

I have about 4 weeks of physical therapy left. I can move into my own apartment and start driving again as soon as I’m off the painkillers.

Does narcotics rehab count as a project?

Stay tuned…

Final (For Now) Patio Project Pix

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The Minnesota weather is holding really well for October, but I may as well pack the patio furniture into the garage for the year. I wanted to share the final (for now) photos first.

See the before picture here.

Patio

Patio

The pillows are from Amazon (buy here), as is the rug (buy here), while the patio set is an old one that I put MANY layers of new paint on.

Next spring I’ll get some plants potted. I’ll fix the patio door too, so I can water the plants without having to hike all the way around the house. The plants’ odds for survival increase in direct proportion to how convenient it is for me to take care of them.

Patio table

Patio table

I’m loving the cobalt blue, or as it’s sometimes called, Majorelle Blue. See the original Majorelle Blue here.

Moroccan lantern

Moroccan lantern

The lantern is from Amazon (buy here). I bought the plate in New Orleans.

Moroccan vase

Moroccan vase

The Moroccan vase was a gift from No.8 Sis. It’s a survivor of last week’s purge.

Stay tuned….

p.s. I shared this post at Cozy Little House.

And at DIY By Design.

And Chic on a Shoestring.

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn margarita money!

Patio- Halfway There

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It took 4 trips from the garage to the back of the house to populate the patio, and I’m hot and sweaty. That’s my exercise for the day. Oh wait, I still have to clean the house. Family coming over tomorrow morning.

The patio is halfway done. I’m still missing a table (not started) and some big pots. Here’s the halfway photos:

Half way there.

Halfway there.

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No name elephant, later in the day.

No name elephant, later in the day.

The pillows, rug and lanterns came from Amazon. The teak elephant is old; I think she came from World Market.

Remember the before?

Patio, before.

Patio, before.

And remember the inspiration? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majorelle_Garden

Stay tuned…

P.S. It’s weird how writing this blog brings up childhood memories. My Dad was quite a handy man, and he poured a concrete patio outside my childhood home. If it was just up to my Dad, I’m sure it would have been a gray concrete slab. But my Mom had him put 12 x 12 squares on the diagonal. Each square was colored in one of a few shades of pink, and while the concrete was still wet, Mom, Dad, and each of the kids put their footprints in one of the squares.

It was like our own little Grauman’s Chinese Theater. Don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but Jane Powell had the smallest feet EVER. I’m surprised she could even stand upright, much less dance.

Mom also painted the picnic table to coordinate with the pink concrete. Each plank was pink, yellow, or red. Sounds garish, but I loved it. Maybe it was just because I was a kid, or maybe I’ve inherited Mom’s strange color sense. I miss that pink patio, but I’ll stick to the cobalt blue for now. 🙂

Laurel

 

 

137

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I took this whole week off work to finish ALL my home projects. Then I heard No.5 Bro is coming into town with his wife. They’ll be here all week. Parties will be scheduled. Dinners, brunches, picnics, cards. Projects will have to be fit into the gaps, much as they are during the regular work week.

No.5 and wife will arrive late tonight (Monday), so I had yesterday and today to do projects.I have a water spigot on the front of the house and one on the back. With the help of a 14 inch length of pipe, I was able to turn on the water in the back. I can’t even see the lever for the front. It’s all tucked behind the water softener. Or as I explained to my sisters, the salt machine. You know, the salt machine that makes water good? They were able to figure it out.

I linked together 2 hoses and ran them from the back spigot to the front of the house. Not quite long enough. So I ran to the hardware store AGAIN (the first time was for the pipe) and bought another hose. I linked the 3 hoses and added the power wash nozzle. Then I saw this:

Doorbell.

Doorbell.

Damn vandals! Unscrewing doorbells and running away! Kids these days! Why, when I was a youngster….wait a minute. The entire door frame has been freshly painted. Oh, the association must have sent someone out to do repairs. Cough, cough, well…I’m a little embarrassed by my reaction. So glad I didn’t call the police.

For a brief moment I toyed with the idea of replacing the doorbell because it’s butt-ugly. I knew that that would turn into a several hundred dollar project with the potential for serious injury, so I just fastened the doorbell back on (the screws were sitting nearby).

Then I power washed the entire front entry. The light still needs a little scrubbing. Apparently, it’s been a birdie rest stop. Eww. I took a picture, but I won’t include it here. I do have SOME boundaries!

Today, No.2 Sis came over to help me continue painting the patio chairs. The chairs look awesome! We haven’t even started the table yet. Between coats of paint, we worked on cleaning the house. We took out 3 bags of recycling and 1 bag of garbage. I also packed 2 more bags for donations, mostly clothes. It’s getting easier and easier to decide what to wear in the morning! That puts my count at 137. Sweet!

I promise I’ll post some pictures when I finish cleaning the entry and put some flowers out. I’ll also put the rug, chairs and pillow on the patio for a half-way there photo. No table, lanterns or flower pots yet. If I wait until it’s 100% done, you may not see it for a long, long, LONG time!

Stay tuned…

P.S. I almost forgot, we (meaning Sis) replaced the old, flimsy Throne Room toilet seat with a sturdy new one (buy here)! Yay, cross one more thing off the list!

Note to readers: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using the link (whether it’s the product I recommend or another). Thanks for helping me earn margarita money!

 

 

Let There Be Light

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And Laurel said let there be light, and there was light. Laurel saw it, and it was good.

I finally connected with the electrician on Tuesday and he came right over that afternoon. He took the chandelier totally down and used my leftover wire to splice extra length onto my little wire nubbins. He hung the chandelier back up and flipped the switch. There was light, but only in two of the three bulbs. I moaned. No more problems! He screwed the third light bulb in tighter and it lit up. I hadn’t thought of that.

20 minutes and it was all done. Well, 20 minutes and $125. Plus the $130 I’ve spent at the chiropractor (so far). Hmmm, I’m a wee bit over budget. Totally worth it.

Builder fixture.

Builder fixture.

Voila!

Voila!

Note to readers: Voila is French for “looky here!”. Viola is a stringed musical instrument. Wallah…well wallah is just gibberish. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

The rest of the week was spectacularly unproductive on house cleaning or projects. Wednesday, I went to the chiropractor after work. Thursday, I stopped at Lowe’s and pick up more paint for the patio (small bit of progress, I guess). Friday, I tested my blood sugar and found it dangerously high. I spent 20 minutes on the phone with the nurse and then waited two hours for the doctor to call back. That never happened. While waiting, my blood sugar dropped to more normal levels, so I did a Tarot spread a friend had requested and e-mailed her my interpretation.

Today (Saturday) I’m going to two graduation parties. After that, I’ll tackle one of two lists. I have a “rain” list, and “shine” list. Thunderstorms are predicted all weekend, so I’ll probably be working on the indoor projects on the “rain” list. Time to finish the rest of the Throne Room!!!

 

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

Simple Steps to Hanging a Chandelier

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  1. CUT THE ELECTRICITY TO THE LIGHT FIXTURE AT THE CIRCUIT BREAKER.

No, no, that’s not the first step. First glue the broken pieces back on the chandelier, paint the white ceiling medallion and charge the battery-operated drill you bought to supplement the electrical drill that you still can’t find. Wait 24 hours. Then…

  1. CUT THE ELECTRICITY TO THE LIGHT FIXTURE AT THE CIRCUIT BREAKER.
  2. Set up the ladder under the light fixture. If you have a very small room like mine, be careful to avoid getting goosed by the door knob.
  3. If you don’t have a helper/spotter, dial “91” and put your phone on the floor. That’s where you’ll end up if there are any ladder mishaps.
  4. Run an extension cord from another room and clip a work light to the ladder.
  5. Remove the old light fixture.
  6. Install the new strap and the threaded post (called a lamp nipple).
  7. Hold the chandelier up at the height you want it and determine the chain length needed.
  8. With 2 pairs of pliers, open the link of chain at the predetermined measurement. This may require you and the spotter  working together with a pair of pliers each.
  9. Hook the open link onto the chandelier.
  10. Try to close  the open link. Go ahead, just try it.
  11. Wrap white electrical tape around the gap in the open link. Don’t even try to open the link on the other end of the chain. Just use a big, fat “S” hook.
  12. Adding quite a lot of length beyond the chain length, cut the electrical wires on the chandelier. Thread them through the chain links.
  13. Add all the crystals to the chandelier by opening up the needle sharp rings they’re strung on, and thread the rings through the itty-bitty holes provided. This will hurt.
  14. Apply glue to the back of the ceiling medallion and place on ceiling, centered on the light fixture box. Realize you forgot to charge the drill. Curse. Have spotter hold medallion up with broom handle.
  15. Attach all the chandelier wires to the  ceiling wires. Realize that the lamp nipple is too short for a medallion and the chandelier.
  16. Take everything down.
  17. Run to hardware store, which is where you learn the term “lamp nipple”. Buy longer nipple. Run home.
  18. Reinstall the lamp nipple and put everything back up.
  19. Find that that the wires you cut so generously long are too short to accommodate the  longer lamp nipple. Curse.
  20. Take the chandelier down. Duck as the medallion falls of its own accord.
  21. Decide to forget the medallion.
  22. Reinstall the original lamp nipple.
  23. Put the chandelier back up.
  24. Attach the wires and screw the cover over the light fixture box.
  25. Unclip the work light and fold up the ladder. Smash your finger in the process (optional). Curse.
  26. Restore electricity at the circuit breaker.
  27. Flip switch to “on”. Chandelier does not light up.
  28. 3 hours have passed. Your spotter must leave.
  29. Get something to eat. Read a book. Take a nap.
  30. Admit your spirit is broken. Be like Scarlet O’Hara, and decide to think about it tomorrow.
Builder fixture.

Builder fixture.

Chandelier

Pretty. Pretty dark.

Disclaimer: I’m not an electrician and I assume no liability if you try electrical work on your own. If you follow these instructions you’ll have, at best, a non-functioning light fixture, and at worst, a nasty fire. Please consult a professional!

Stay tuned…

P.S. I linked this post to Chic on a Shoestring Decorating.

 

 

 

 

Throne Room Progress

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I’m sitting here with a sweater draped over my lap, and as I’m typing, Bella is trying to crawl up inside the sleeve of the sweater. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “Cats are queer kind of folks”.

I had Friday off of work, so after getting my hair done (no gray for 6 weeks, yay!) I went over to No.2 Sis’ house to help her sort out pictures. My Dad had left us boxes and boxes of photos, film and slides. My dear, patient niece, Maggie, spent an entire year scanning, sorting and labeling them. She then gave us each a thumb drive containing all the scans. No.2 Sis and I loaded all the boxes of the originals we could fit into Gypsy Blue and deposited them in her living room, where they are awaiting final archiving. This may also take a year, but we got a start on it.

On Saturday, No.2 Sis came over to my house, and we tried to make some progress on the Throne Room. I say tried, because I was having a VBD (very bad day) which is relatively common on a work day, but quite unusual on a weekend. I was in a weepy mood, having read a romance novel with a sad ending. I thought they all had happy endings. Unrealistic, fairy-tale, happy endings. Dr. Ima Shrink doesn’t like me to read romance novels (see unrealistic, fairy-tale, etc, above), so don’t tell her.

I did a further search for the drill, but no luck there. I need a drill to mount the ceiling medallion and the toilet paper holder. All I could do was e-mail No.8 Sis and ask to borrow her drill, but I probably won’t see her until next weekend. I did get the old TP holder off the wall, though, and unpacked the boxes containing the medallion and the chandelier. The chandelier is supposed to be white, but it’s an off-white. That means I have to paint the bright white medallion. There was also a piece of the chandelier that was supposed to be welded on, but was lying in the bottom of the box instead. I’ll try gluing that back on. Minor things, but all adding to the VBD.

And the patio project I wanted to start this month has not been started yet. It’s been raining so much here that I’m thinking of moving to Seattle to get some sun. My patio has a nice green sheen from something growing on it…mold, mildew, moss? I don’t know. In the 13 years I’ve lived here, I’ve never seen anything like it.

To sum up the progress report, there has been precious little progress. But I’m still facing forward, and still putting one foot in front of the other. What more can I do? And I’m expecting today, Sunday, to be a VGD (very good day)!

Stay tuned…

 

 

Sedona Scrapbook

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I have traveled a lot, and I used to be very good at putting my photos in albums. Traditional, black paged albums, with the photo corners, and a caption written in white under each picture.  Yes, I am really 100 years old. Then I was introduced to the wonderful world of Scrapbooking, with a capital “S”. Now my pictures never make it to albums, because I can’t decide on a layout, and a color scheme, and journaling, and embellishments…

I decided yesterday to scrapbook my recent trip to Sedona with a new attitude, halfway between my old “glue it down” attitude and my newer “make it art” attitude. I laid out 6 sheets of 12 x 12 paper from Earth Elements and 3 sheets of  Venetian Romance designer paper from Stampin’ Up.

Photos, bag of ephemera, paper, tape, scissors.

Photos, bag of ephemera, paper, tape, scissors.

Then I sorted all my trip ephemera and photos into 5 themes, and shuffled it onto the paper. Then I edited it and taped it down.

Sorted and shuffled.

Sorted and shuffled.

I will win no awards for these pages, but they’re done, and the next ones will be better.

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Sedona.

I had promised myself that I wasn’t going to shop and bring home a lot of stuff from this trip. We went into a New Age shop the first day there, and I saw all their amethyst. I LOVE amethyst so I bought a geode. When I got home, I unpacked and put the amethyst on a shelf, and realized it was shaped exactly like a foot. I brought home a $68, several pound, purple foot.

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Out of Africa.

I can see I’ll win no awards for my photography either. These pages are reversed. Oops.

We went to “Out of Africa”, a large animal rescue group that puts on shows to help fund their rescue efforts. I bought the tiger photos in their gift shop. They’re obviously much better than my photos. The most popular show is the “Tiger Splash”, where several staff members play games in and around a pool with several tigers. In their prime, wild tigers with claws and teeth intact. Um, scary. We took a “safari” too, and saw ostrich whispering, giraffe kissing, and a two headed water buffalo. Just kidding, it was really two water buffaloes lying rump to rump.

Jerome and Flagstaff.

Jerome and Flagstaff.

While we were driving to Jerome, I saw a sign announcing “Dry Beaver Creek”. I said, “Oh, that’s my Indian name, Dry Beaver Creek!” Later, I saw a sign for the Brittle Bush Saloon.  I turned to No.1 Sis and informed her we had just found her Indian name, too. Still on the watch for No.2 Sis’ name! By the way, the really good photos shown here are post cards I bought.

The BIG BONUS to scrapping my trip was that I found my missing Kindle!!!! I’m so happy! It was in the bag with the ephemera. I don’t know why.

I’m also happy that my internet is fixed. I was unplugged for about a week while I waited for a new “Hot Spot” battery. I have never been so diligent in picking up my mail every day, as I have been this past week!

Stay tuned…

p.s. I probably shouldn’t have told everyone that No.1 Sis must have stolen my Kindle when she was watching our bags at the airport. I should have just referred to her as a “person of interest”.