a man with a plan

Sound the trumpets! Why? Because the sun is shining and the temperature might hit 70 degrees today.

Banjo Man couldn’t be happier.

Assembling a new wheelbarrow.

He has the perfect Saturday chore ahead: putting together one of two new wheelbarrows (Job Lot had a sale). Then there will be the weekly trip to the dump.

Oh, how happy is Banjo Man!

One down, one to go.
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a little fabric therapy

I have been sitting in front of my “special fabric” cupboard this morning staring at the fabric. I really need to cut something up.

It’s a stress reliever, believe me. Give me some freshly ironed fabric and a rotary cutter, along with a ruler and a mat, and I’m going to be a happy camper.

But what to make? What to cut? I’ve used up most of my blues. There are a lot of purples and pinks on those shelves, but those colors aren’t calling me. And yet…they can’t sit there forever. It might be time to find a way to make them beautiful.

Browsing on Pinterest has given me some great ideas. I need something simple to sew yet is cutting-intensive. I don’t want to fuss with tiny triangles and matching points. Give me some strips–lots of them–and maybe then I’ll figure it out.

Of course I could organize the shelves by color and let that be my project for the day, but I’m not in the mood for folding neat rectangles and making pretty piles.

I think a wild, modern baby quilt is about to be born.

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mother’s day 2019

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there! We deserve a happy day with lots of time to relax. I hope you are planning something peaceful.

Banjo Man, our daughter Nancy, my mother and I are heading to Denny’s this rainy morning. Pancakes all the way, baby!

Even though it’s Mother’s Day and I am allowed to splurge, I think I’ll skip the temptations of Cinnamon Roll pancakes and Caramel pancakes and opt for my favorite Mixed Berry Pancake Slam.

With hash browns and sausage.

Oh, my.

It’s not easy to find a restaurant that all four of us enjoy and that has easy handicapped access, but Denny’s is a hands-down favorite.

Pass the syrup, please…

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rest in peace, old friend

I’ve debated all morning–and yesterday, too–about how to write this.

If to write this.

But our grief is heavy. I can’t blithely blog about Newport and lobsters and our broken stove while I’m crying.

Banjo Man and I are hurting for My French Friend Janou and her family. It is so hard to be so far away from them right now.

David passed away yesterday, while in his bed in front of his beautiful view of the lake he loved so much. His family surrounded him.

He was a teacher, an artist, a dedicated rower, athlete, husband, father and grandfather.

He will be missed so very much.

2017, in happy times.
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the turkey field

See this ugly field? That’s what I call it. The Ugly Field. It has been occupied by dozens upon dozens of turkeys this month. Every time I would drive by–on my way to Home Depot–I would be tempted to stop and take a picture of them, but I more important things to do. Like return a bucket of grout.

One morning I drove into position for a great photo, determined not to let the opportunity pass by, when I realized I didn’t have my phone with me. Therefore, no camera.

This picture was taken when there were only a couple of turkeys in the field. Earlier that day there had been at least a dozen enormous male turkeys strutting their stuff with their tail feathers spread out in grand displays of turkey masculinity.

Impressive, in a Thanksgiving-decoration way.

You’ll have to take my word for it, because I missed all the photo ops. Even Banjo Man doesn’t believe me.

P.S. Note the clouds. This is what we call “Spring” here in Rhode Island.

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highs and lows and klondike bars

8:15 and I’m waiting in line outside of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

It has been an interesting week here in the Land of the Remodel. In the seven weeks since this project began, Banjo Man and I have consoled ourselves at night by eating Klondike bars, those chocolate-covered squares of vanilla ice cream we have never bought until this winter. In the midst of chaos and uncertainty, our nightly ritual of Klondike bars in front of the tv was an excellent stress reducer.

By the way, we’ve been watching season 1 of True Detective and we’re very grateful we don’t live on or near the bayou with all those crazy drugged up people.

Check out the picture I took this morning. Remember I told you I had sold Mom’s car to one of the wonderful electricians? Well, the poor kid couldn’t register it because he needed the title. Recently the Department of Motor Vehicles had changed the rules from not needing a title after 10 years to needing a title until the car was 19 years old!

Who knew? And with my mother’s papers in storage, there was no way to dig out a title. I’d taken a stab at going through her files last fall in hopes of finding the title, but I didn’t spent a lot of time on it knowing it was necessary.

Silly me.

I was on the road at 7:30 this morning and at the DMV–the only place in town with the capacity to issue a duplicate title–at 8:15. There were at least a hundred people ahead of me.

I called Banjo Man and warned him. “I’m going to be here all day.”

But lucky for me, I was out of there within an hour. After lining up with all of my new friends in the wrong place, and then being sent to the right place (the “research” department on the third floor), I discovered there were only two people ahead of me. I was armed with notarized papers and the Power of Attorney and my check book, so it actually went smoothly.

This was not what I expected. The RI DMV is the place of legends. People line up all day and then get a blue “return ticket” to keep their place in line for the next day. A scam was uncovered last year: DMV employees were selling low numbers. For $25 you could save yourself a couple of hours in hell.

Speaking of hell, Banjo Man and I tried to put together a cd storage book case I bought on line. On the right side, part E, the holes were slightly off and the cam locks wouldn’t lock. Some worker in China wasn’t paying attention that day. Banjo Man tried to take out the cam lock and ended up punching a hole in the Side E, which means we can’t return it.

I’ve decided to repackage the whole thing and slide it under the bed until we have more patience. Or somebody really smart and really bored comes over for a visit.

I was sad about this because it was to have held almost 500 cd’s and was the perfect height, width and color for the space in our living room.

In the process of a little retail therapy, I ordered new sandals. They were two inches too long and had to be sent back. Are my feet shrinking? What the hell???!!!

My mother’s new pants are too big and had to be returned. She gave me the latest rejected pair at Easter. I give up. I AM DONE WITH PANTS.

My beautiful new gas range was installed on Friday. The gas company guy, Joel, couldn’t hook up the oven because the door couldn’t be opened all the way (which I’d told the appliance company people weeks ago and they’d said it was a quick fix). But the burners worked, so as soon as Joel left I made pancakes.

The appliance repairman came on Saturday to (a) fix the hinge and (b) install the oven and broiler. After a couple of hours here, he was not a happy camper. In fact, he was downright angry. He (a) couldn’t fix the hinge and (b) couldn’t get the door off. A specialist, a bonafide GE repairman, is coming next week to see what he can do.

In the meantime, the oven works and I made cookies.

I’m pretty sure I’m in love.

I had such a proud moment last week. I patched a serious hole in the ceiling after the electrician centered my new pendant light over the sink. I spackled and sanded three times. And my construction crew guys told me I did a really good job!

They couldn’t hide their surprise. Hah!

I dare you to find where the hole was. Come on over and try!

A low moment last week: we were in Home Depot and Banjo Man told me to pick out stain for the new stair banisters. I totally freaked and started to cry right there in front of all those little cans of stain. “You didn’t tell me, you didn’t warn me, I don’t have my floor sample, I can’t do it,” I wailed.

The decision-making part of my brain has collapsed. Hopefully only temporarily, but still…ask me questions at your own risk.

To add to all of this, Banjo Man has not recovered from the root canal he had three weeks ago. His jaw joint is locked and his cheek muscles are in spasms. He has a hard time eating (an understatement, actually) and we have made two visits to the dentist and oral surgeon. Yesterday’s visit resulted in more medication, exercises and hope for relief some time soon.

Surprisingly, this hasn’t slowed him down too much. He’s installing those freshly-stained stair banisters as I type this.

And I think I’ll put a beef stew in that new oven. Or take a nap. Or both.

from google.sites

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a little update

Pardon my excitement, but I just had to share. Nelson wouldn’t let me take his picture, so I had to settle for the tile.

Lots of thunder and lightning this morning. The crashing sound of disaster woke me at 5 AM. Some of the state lost power. It was intense for a few hours, but now the rain has stopped.

to be continued...

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at least there’s this


Look at me, fancy kitchen person that I am. I now have a Keurig that matches my new counter.

Of course, everything else is a mess and I will have to remove this tonight before the crew returns early tomorrow morning, but I couldn’t resist unpacking this little baby and putting it through its paces for the weekend.

So far so good.

Tomorrow the remodel crew will finish the whole damn thing. On Tuesday the Appliance Guy comes to install the new gas stove.

I was up at 4:30 this morning worrying about everything that could go wrong. I will not torture you with the list.

We are still waiting for the plumber to tell us when he is available to hook up the sink and dishwasher, but another week or so won’t make any difference. I can unpack, wash floors, put the furniture back and hang pictures without needing a working sink.

I have one more round of sanding to do on my ceiling patch job over the sink. It looks pretty darn good to me, but I’m sure my perfectionist work crew will have something to say about it. I expect a lot of eye rolling and unsolicited advice about how to do it better next time.

Our wonderful electricians were here for two and a half days. There was a bit of a crisis while hooking up the new light in the basement kitchen. Suddenly half of the basement went dark. The refrigerator had to be moved. The door opened and a lot of things spilled out. No one cared, least of all me. I heard the crash and then I heard laughter, so I didn’t even go downstairs to see what happened.

I’ve been to Home Depot three days in a row. I buy things, they are wrong, I return them and I try again. It’s quite amazing. I could be losing my mind.

I’m sure this remodel project will end eventually. One way or another, I’ll be back at the lake in forty-eight days.


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the busiest day

Yesterday Banjo Man woke me at 6:30 yelling, “Get up! The counter guy is here!”

I didn’t think so. He comes from an hour and a half away, in Massachusetts. But I staggered out of bed and found my robe to check it out for myself.

It was the lumber company delivering three cabinet doors to replace the defective ones.

Because I was up so early, I actually wrote my phone number on a FOR SALE sign I bought at Walmart last week. I taped it onto the windshield of my mother’s car. That poor Toyota Camry would not hold a charge and we were all–Glen, my brother, my sister-in-law and I—tired of calling AAA. We rarely drove it. I’d been intending to sell it for months, but I wanted to time it so that AAA would charge the battery (or put in a new one), there would not be a cold snap, there would be no construction workers’ trucks in the driveway and it would be a weekend when I could list it on Craigslist.

Slapping the FOR SALE sign on was my commitment to calling AAA on Friday and hopefully selling it this coming weekend. It was parked right in front of our back door, next to the dumpster.

At 9:00 the electricians returned to hang the chandeliers. This would prove to be a nightmare for them and the mysteries of the wiring would continue off an on until after 6 PM.

Everyone looked askance at my fancy crystal island light until it was lit up and then the consensus was that it was “really cool”.

One of the most exciting things–and there were a number of them–yesterday was the centering of the light over my sink, smack dab in the middle of the window.

I’ll be happily patching that hole later on this morning. It’s a thrill every time I look at that centered light.

The counter installer arrived around 11 and–gasp–the installation went beautifully. “Dana” was afraid I was still upset over last week’s fiasco and I had to assure him that I was fine and didn’t hold a grudge. The glue stunk up the place, sending the electricians to the basement to work on things down there.

When they returned, I kept sweeping and cleaning, discussing fixture heights and light switches and music. There was lots of chit chat going on. The sun was shining.

No one seemed too upset when they discovered I’d tossed their circular drywall drill attachments into the garbage box. I thought they were old lighting boxes. They forgave me.

Around 4:00 Banjo Man came upstairs to tell me that one of the boys was interested in Mom’s car. I lowered the price and typed up a bill of sale, just in case.

By 6:30 last night, the car was sold, the lights were in, the wiring had been figured out (after an intense couple of hours) and Banjo Man and I were reeling from exhaustion.

As he said, he was so tired he felt as if he’d done all the work himself. I felt the same way. We were too tired to eat. Banjo Man had a bowl of cereal. My dinner consisted of tequila and potato chips.

Don’t judge me. I’ll cry.

We watched a silly British comedy, DEATH AT A FUNERAL, and the first episode of “True Detective” before staggering off to bed.

Here are the new recessed lights in my office. No more industrial lights hanging from the ceiling! No more extension cords draped over windows and doors!

Today I am washing floors, cleaning cupboards and unpacking more boxes. The contractor is going to come by and hopefully he’ll have good news for me about when the back splash will be installed and if the plumber will hook up the sink and dishwasher this weekend.

It will be nice to have a sink again.

Fingers crossed!

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and week six begins

It’s always a thrill to throw something away.

See the white bookcase? It’s 30 years old and has served me well. But now it’s history.

For my own amusement I often ask Banjo Man, “Would you mind throwing this in the dumpster?”

I say it with a straight face, as if I don’t want to bother him and he’d be doing me a big favor.

And of course his face lights up and he rushes to do the deed. It’s quite entertaining.

Speaking of entertaining, our electrician was here yesterday with his two electrician-in-training sons. It was quite hilarious to watch the father (a highly experienced professional used to running electrical departments in major manufacturing plants) tell his boys what to do and how to do it, though it was clear that the sons knew exactly what to do and how to do it without being told. I loved watching their faces and their restrained, ever-so-patient replies to “Dad” as they were gritting their teeth.

Ah, fathers and sons…..

They are returning today to hang the chandeliers. I can barely stand the excitement. I spent a bazillion hours online picking out these lights and today I’m going to see how they look.

The counter is going to be installed today…I hope. They should arrive any minute now and I’ll know if this time things have been done correctly.

I’m a little nervous.

But progress is being made every time one of these nice electricians picks up a screwdriver, so it’s going to be a good day.

And if I’m feeling stressed, I can always go throw something in the dumpster.

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