Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tilting Skyward

We finally have the roof replacement underway. Mac has been up there stripping, putting down new plywood and shingles, and repairing the crumbling chimney.

  Here he is working on the chimney flashing a week or so ago. Over in the lower left corner of the picture above you can see the new skylight he just installed in our master bedroom. Below is the view from inside.


It is surprising how much brighter the room is all day now. I see that willow across the street gilded in morning sunlight when I rise. On clear nights I can see the stars and sometimes the moon shines in and floods the room with a magical glow.  Mac is currently installing another skylight in the little guest room.  The happy result is that our upstairs is now a bright haven of golden light each morning.


The only down side is that now when it rains,we can hear each drop.  Before the skylights, the upstairs was incredibly quiet, due to all our insulating.  During hurricane Irene a few months ago we were looking out the second floor windows, watching the driving sheets of rain and the trees outside bend and twist wildly in the wind and we were amazed that we could not hear a sound.  Now when it rains hard at night, the sound wakes me up and keeps me awake (not Mac, though- he could sleep through a stampede).

There are handles to be installed that will crank them open to let air in, and special blinds to shut out the hot sun in the summertime but those can wait until spring.  Right now we are focused on finishing the roof, getting a floor installed in the attic so we can have storage space, and getting the living room to a usable state.  One day at a time!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Music To My Ears

I don't know about you, but music is an essential part of my life.  I have gotten away from listening to the radio, because of the constant barrage of ads and babble, but when I am alone in the house I turn up the volume on my cds or mp3s and let my mind get lost in the sound as I go about my household tasks.  If Mac is home I will still listen, but with much lower volume as he can't stand it too loud.  When my son is home and awake or my daughter is around, I pull out the headphones and try not to sing along too much, because that drives them crazy.

 Mac likes pop music from the fifties, sixties and seventies, primarily and listens to it almost exclusively.   I like music from that period too, but my musical taste is much more expansive and eclectic.   I love everything from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Native American flute, Gospel, Gregorian Chant and Enya.  In fact, about the only types of music I really don't enjoy are gangsta rap, cacophonous jazz and country pop (I do like most hip-hop, a lot of different types of jazz, and I really like progressive and folky, country rock a whole lot). 

Mac enjoys the musical arrangement and the overall sound of a song and pays little attention to the lyrics.  For most everyone that's probably sometimes the case; who doesn't occasionally like to sing or dance around to a nonsensical tune?  But for me, the greatest pleasure to be had from music comes from listening to a song with a great sound, wonderful instrumentation and lyrics I can completely relate to.

 I was thinking the other day, about certain songs that always have a profound effect on me.  Some of these are: Fields Of Gold by Sting, I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Cline, Katie Melua's version of The Cure's Just Like Heaven, and Bob Dylan's Sara.

I've been a Dylan fan since I was a kid, and over the years of listening I've come to the realization that Bob writes songs based on dreams, stories, movies and his own life experiences.  I love listening to him spin out a tale in his craggy, slightly off-key voice and drape it in layers of guitar and harmonica.  He's penned some of my very favorite songs, but one of the most poignant and heartbreaking is Sara, written for his wife.  The wistful song recalls their life together, describing moments from their early days, and vacations and beach days with their small children in bygone years.  It's an ode to their love, and to his lovely wife, whom he places on a musical pedestal, extoling her faithfulness and virtue as well as her beauty, and the listener soon realizes that he is begging her not to leave him.  But alas, it was too little, too late.  The lilting notes of hope and whimsey at the beginning of the tune change to sounds of despair as the song finishes.  Their marriage ended in spite of his beautiful and haunting tribute. 

I prefer not to hear the song Sara when I am in the company of other people, because even though I have heard it hundreds of times, I simply cannot listen to it without my eyes welling up.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Cee-ment Pond

The other day, my friend Jude came by to pick me up for a movie date.  As she strode up the driveway she announced that she had just had an argument with her husband.  He told her we had an in-ground swimming pool here in our yard, and (although she had been here many times since we purchased the place back in January) she was quite certain that we did not.
 "Sure we do", I said, and with a dramatic arm sweep toward the eastern edge of the yard and a laugh:  "Welcome to the jungle." 

It is there, although you would never know it looking in from the road, covered and hidden as it is by grape vines, bittersweet, wild roses and black raspberry cane.  It is standard size for a backyard pool, a rectangular shape surrounded by a rusted chain link fence which has been padlocked for years.  The liner has long since rotted away nearly completely; only thin shreds of turqouise vinyl hang from the sides in various places under the tattered remnants of a dark green cover.  Since we have lived here, there has been a foot or two of stagnant, muddy water in what used to be "the deep end". 

Upon first examining it on a walk through late last year, I was astonished to see that reeds and cattails had established themselves there.  Several frog species have taken up residence, and now a flotilla of  bright green algae floats on top as well.  It is a real "cee-ment pond" that would have made "The Beverly Hillbillies" proud.


Right now it is a mysterious, secret garden, full of birds, chipmunks and amphibians. I almost felt like I was in Costa Rica on a rainy Sunday a week or so ago as I took some of these pictures.

When the frost comes back, all the vines and vegetation will die off and expose the ugly pit and the rusty fence again which event I am not really looking forward to. It was a bit depressing last winter to be greeted by it each and every time I walked out the back door, and no help for it in sight ( as it is the last priority for us; so much else needs to be done here). It is a daunting reminder of all the overwhelming work and expense lying in wait for us in the years to come. Still, I have no doubts...it will be so worth it.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More Upheaval

No sooner had I received word that my position was stable, than our manager announced she would be leaving.  She was taking another position with a different government agency, and a new manager for our office was being fast-tracked.  The following week, one of two remaining job counselors, and the only remaining woman except myself also gave her notice. 

Now just three short weeks later, the office has changed radically.  Since I started there in January of 2010, seven co-workers have either transferred, resigned or been let go and five of them were women.  I grew up with five brothers, and was, by anyone's standards, a tomboy.  I don't feel uncomfortable at all around men and I can hang with the best of them, but it is still a bit odd to go from such a diverse team (young, old, multi-racial, mixed gender) to what exists now (five middle-aged guys and me). 

The man chosen as the new manager started this past week.  His first order of business was removing lamps, artwork and all manner of decoration from his office.  His blinds remain closed all day, eliminating the panoramic view of the skyline and a nearby, wooded pond.  He keeps the light off in his office and sits in the dark except for the pale light of his computer monitor.  The ongoing discussion of team sports (boring to me) now fills the air for long periods each day.   Where my previous manager was a strong woman who treated me (almost) as her equal in the office, he assigns me secretarial tasks and says "Thank you, dear", (mildly irritating) when I complete them.  This is definitely going to be a major adjustment for me.

My former manager speaks very highly of him, having interviewed him herself for a different position some months ago.  It is way too early to tell what sort of manager he will turn out to be.  I will certainly reserve judgement for a month or two.   He asked to meet with me yesterday, and for a little bit under an hour, asked about my observations, ideas and concerns for the office, which I found promising.  Personally, he seems nice.  He appears to be generally serious and well-intentioned and I am reassured by that, as well as by the fact that he has a corporate background.  Hopefully he will run the office in a fair, no nonsense way.  We shall see.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Next Phase

Some interesting things have happened on the work front in the past few weeks.  As I shared in a recent post, the funding for my position was due to expire on June 30th, and although a potential new funding source had been found and I had all but the final approval, the position was in jeopardy because of cuts in the new state budget.  I was in danger of again being cut adrift.

The first seredipitous happening was that I received a text message from my old manager at the design company I had worked for two years ago.  Business is once again on the rise, and they are considering hiring again.   Would I be interested in coming back?  I told them I will consider all offers.  They are watching economic indicators and not quite ready to hire, but will be in touch.

As the days ticked away and the 30th approached, it looked as if I would be signing up for unemployment benefits in the very office I have worked in for the past eighteen months...how bizarre.  And how troubling, because I could not get by on what those benefits would pay each week, now that we own a home. 

Human resources sent along my exit package with emergency health insurance info. A letter from the agency arrived in the mail thanking me for my service and expressing regret that I was being terminated.

Then at the eleventh hour, an email arrived stating that I had final approval as a permanent hire.  I felt relief, tempered with a little anger that I had been left to dangle for so long, not knowing whether I had a job or not.  For now, I will continue in my present job...close to home, good health insurance but low pay.  If my old company comes back with an offer I will have a lot to consider.

Once again, my faith has been rewarded and I have not been forsaken.

I am getting ready to visit the island again with my sister and her family.  I will take the ferry over tomorrow morning and stay for two or three days.  I'm looking forward to some sunshine, swimming and good food.  Hope you enjoy the Fourth of July holiday!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Expanding Their Range

I am sitting here having a glass of wine, watching the rain and listening to the thunder rumble and the Gray Tree Frogs call. The area around the old swimming pool is a haven for frogs, and especially for these vocal tree dwellers.

I started thinking about all the creatures we take for granted around here that we never knew when we were kids... Eastern Gray Tree Frogs included.
I grew up a few miles from here in Southern New England. As a kid, I was familiar with the Eastern American Toad, Leopard Frog and Bullfrog.   It was not until years later, in my early twenties that I first heard the plaintive call of the Spring Peeper, and later still when I first heard the Gray Tree Frog.
Back then, summer nights echoed with the sounds of Katydids, toads, crickets and maybe the occasional night calling bird, but the noises are different now.
Speaking of night calling birds, I had read "To Kill A Mockingbird" before I had actually seen a live Mockingbird.  Back then I thought of them as birds of the south - never saw one up here until I was an adult.
We had Gray Squirrels everywhere in those days, but no Red Squirrels. Even the Northern Cardinal was a rare sight for me back in the sixties and seventies.

Today in our new yard, I see blazes of brilliant red among the deep green leaves as male Cardinals vie for prime nesting spots.  Red Squirrels chase each other in and out between the trees in the early morning, and the sound of the dueling Gray Tree Frogs is deafening on a warm, humid night.

 It seems to me that these critters are all relative newcomers to our part of New England.  It makes me wonder what factors converge to cause a species to expand it's range.   Is it a result of population explosion, or do various species just adapt to slightly different conditions?

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Karma Wheel Turns Again

Employment drama has again reared it's ugly head, friends. You might remember that I was cut adrift from my beloved admin job in an international design company back in December of 2008, sparking the creation of my first blog, "Deedee, Cut Adrift!".  Eight months later, after a harrowing and dreary stint of unemployment, the president of that company called and asked me to come back and serve as his executive assistant, which I happily did.  In the interim however, I had applied for a state job in the office where I had gone for unemployment services, and eventually, they offered me a job.  I accepted because the benefits and health insurance were much better, plus it was a shorter drive from home.  That new position was funded by the Obama Stimulus (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) and as such, was a temporary position. 

In the meantime, my new operations manager decided that they really, really needed me as a permanent part of their team, so she set out to find a new funding source for me.  She found one, and at the beginning of this year,  I had to apply and interview all over again for my own job.  Early in March of this year, I was told that I had been chosen, approved and signed off on every level to stay as a permanent part of my office team as front desk receptionist and office clerk.  I was a virtual sure thing, and I have just been waiting these past few months for the final approval.  Then, a few weeks ago, the recession era state budget hit.

Now it seems they have less funding than last year and are rethinking how to distribute it.  All pending appointments are in Limbo.  There is a very real chance my position will be eliminated, after all.
 The ARRA funding which has been paying my wages in my state job thus far, expires on June 30th.  If the word does not come down that I have final confirmation before then, I will be unemployed again. Now that I have a mortgage, I could not live on what I would receive on unemployment benefits. We will be in financial trouble very quickly if that happens.

 I am not freaking out yet.  As I read recently on an inspirational webpage,  I believe that I will either be given a firm place to stand, or be taught how to fly.  I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  I am now waiting for a sign.

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Mini Tour

I have not had much free time to write lately because trying to put the house together while working full time keeps me pretty busy. We still have a lot of boxes around and no idea where to put the contents.  My daughter, when visiting recently, asked how it was possible to move from an apartment into a house and actually have less room. Not sure, but apparently we did it!   Actually it's because we had a lot of storage at our former dwelling place - a full attic, two story garage and two story barn out back.   Here at the new place we have no out-buildings at all, an attic with no floor (just insulation above the ceiling) and there were only two closets in the whole house, one downstairs and one upstairs. So, the first thing Mac did was build a closet in the master and one in my son's room.

As I write this, he is outside constructing a small shed to keep the recycling bins and the lawnmower in to keep them out of the rain. It hasn't solved the whole problem but we've made a start.  Here is what the upstairs looks like right now.  Scroll down a few posts to see the pictures from a couple of months ago for comparison.

Here is what the hallway Mac built looks like now. He still has to put the window trim and the radiator cover on.

Here's the new half bath.

This is the little bedroom where my daughter will stay when she visits. We were calling it the office until we realized there won't be room for a desk if we keep the bed in it, and of course we want her to have someplace to sleep when she comes to stay over. And there is a small stand of shelving and a T.V. as well.
We had to take space from the two smaller bedrooms to carve out the half bath and the hallway.

This is the master bedroom.  The skylight has not gone in yet - that has to wait until Mac does the roof.  But it will be right over the bed.  Here too we still have to do all the window trim.

Although most of the work we have done has been upstairs, as you can see it is still a work in progress. 
The downstairs is another matter entirely.  We really have not done anything to it.  Because the frame of the house needed such extensive repairs, we didn't have nearly enough money to do what we needed to.  There is still much that needs to be done and because of time and financial constraints, it will take years.  But at least it is livable.
Here are some shots of the kitchen.

...And our little deck out back.
Mac is planning to demo it, maybe next year and build a patio instead.   It was not done correctly in the first place and because of that, it's causing problems with the sill of the house, but for now it's nice to have a place to sit out there.

 I would show you the parlor and living room, but they are not too photogenic right now.  We have most of our furniture crammed into the parlor, because Mac has all his tools and table saws and building supplies in the living room.   He needs a space to work that's out of the weather and as previously mentioned, we have no garage or barn yet.   He intends to build one as soon as our budget allows, which may be a long time away.  We also have an in-ground pool, but it has not been operational for many years and is over grown with grapevine and bittersweet.  There are cattails and reeds growing in the bottom of it and it is currently serving as a frog nursery.  Mac says he hopes to get it back in shape and running by 2014.  I'll post some photos of it soon for the curious.

All things considered, I feel very blessed.  I now have everything I ever wanted in life.  How many people get that?

Monday, May 9, 2011

We Finally Moved

Well Hell did not come, neither did high water, and neither did the carpet when it was supposed to. We were delayed yet again, but finally were able to move in on the 22nd of April.
There is still a ton of work to be done. The biggest problem we are facing is a lack of storage here at the new place. We are living out of boxes and every free moment is spent trying to unpack and figure out where to put things. Because Mac spent so much time getting this place ready, he got behind in his work. He is trying to catch up and is juggling three jobs at the moment, so he's been working nights and weekends as well as days, and it is slow going for work here at home.
There is still a lot to be done, but I will post some pictures of our progress in a few days.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dealing with Delays

Things are not real great right now.  We are a few weeks behind schedule with the new house.  We had hoped to move in on the first of April, but due to circumstances beyond our control, delays happened.  The new move date is the fifteenth.  We were looking like we were right on target and then....the plasterer blew us off today.  If he comes tomorrow, which he said he would, it will still take him until late Thursday to finish (if all goes well)

Because the plaster then has to "cure" for three days, that means we have to cancel the big painting weekend we had planned.  My sister and her husband, our daughter and her beau, and my younger brother had all offered to come and help us get the painting done this coming Saturday and Sunday, but now the walls won't be ready.  I also had to postpone the carpet install until next Wednesday.  

Here you see the walls with blueboard installed, waiting for the plasterer.  It sure looks different from a few weeks ago, doesn't it?  Mac created a hallway between the two small bedrooms, and took out two big windows, replacing them with smaller ones which fit better in the spaces.  These two  rooms will have pocket doors so we don't have to lose any living space to the door swing areas.

That's Mac in the shot above.  He looks really tired these days.  He has been going from his day job straight to the house and staying until after midnight for months now.  He needs a vacation.  Here, he is plotting out how to pull up the floor in the upstairs master bedroom to add a supporting beam.  He saw it bounce as my tiny niece was jumping on it last weekend, and decided he couldn't live with himself unless he pulled up the sub-floor and rectified it, which he did in record time, finishing it in the wee hours of this morning.  He worked like a madman to be ready for the plasterer, and then the guy stood us up today.

On a very bright note, my brother has donated all our paint (gallons and gallons of it!) and my sister and her husband went over to the home center and astonishingly, paid (in full!) for the carpet we'd ordered!  I am so lucky to have such a caring, generous family - we have come to realize during this ordeal that they are truly our best friends, and we so appreciate all the help they have given us. 
We are determined to stay with our deadline for moving.  The only thing we can do now is for me to take next week off from work to try and get it all done, so I'm going to talk to my boss and see if I can get the time.  We are moving in on the fifteenth of April, come hell or high water.  The next time I write we will be in our new home.  Wish us well!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Constructing Stuff

I spent today pulling up old carpet and preparing the upstairs of the house for the new Stainmaster.  My sister, her husband and my brother came by to help.  The carpet came right up, but the old padding was stapled into place and so we had the pleasure of prying out all the old staples.  It was actually a breeze, though, because we had so much help with the task.  Thank you, guys!

Here you can see the new half-bath with the new piping in place. 
Tomorrow the new fixtures should be installed.
Once the plumbing phase is done, the electric will be next.  Mac is still occupied with the fire block.  This involves installing heavy blocks of wood in all the spaces around the outer walls.
 If there were to be a fire this would slow the progress of the flames. 
Without it, a balloon frame wood house such as this would "go up like a tinder box", as they say.

What you see above is just a small example of what has been taking us so long to get the house ready. 
All the new light colored wood you see here is a brand new supporting skeleton for this old house.
Below you can see the framed out skylight in the master bedroom (my favorite thing in the whole upstairs!!! :)
It's "crunch-time" now and we are full steam ahead for April first!  Pray that we can be ready.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Dispatch From My Corner of the Northeast

This morning at approximately 6:30 am in southern New England, the Robins and Blackbirds arrived.  As I walked Rigby out for her morning constitutional, right before my bleary, sleep glazed eyes,  26 Robins landed in the Butter Nut tree next to Mac's barn.  They chirped and twittered softly as they fluttered about, stripping an old vine that was draped over the tree of dried up berries.  Shortly after, a dark cloud of Blackbirds undulated across the sky over our street and settled in a big Maple.

Dare I say it?  Winter is OVER !!!!!!  Joy, joy, joy!!!

Today is also the day that the FOR SALE sign went up here at Cat Bird Heaven.  It is getting down to the wire and our moving day is looming.  Still, there is a lot yet to be done at our new home.  Due to the unexpected damage to the frame from the fire,  Mac has found it necessary to rebuild the place from the inside, out.  Most of the frame work is now complete, the plumber has begun his work and the carpet has been ordered.  All we can do is as much as we can do and hope for the best.   I will post some photos tomorrow showing our progress.

bird silhouette picture courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saying Goodbye To A Friend

It has taken me a little while to be able to write about my Catboy and his passing.  I first wrote about him here in my original blog, Deedee, Cut Adrift! way back in the beginning of 2009.   Then I did another post last April that you may have seen here, revealing my thoughts during his old age and decline. 
He'd developed diabetes and we were treating him by giving twice daily shots of insulin and trying (with little success) to control his eating.
Last summer was difficult for Catboy, and maybe even harder for me as I struggled to deal with his advancing age and illness.  He stopped using his litter box and had started urinating in various places around our apartment.  For weeks, I tried every suggestion and trick to stop this nasty behavior (I finally got some improvement when, on the advice of the vet, I purchased one of those four foot long, two foot wide, four inch high, under-the-bed storage container thingies and filled it with the world's most expensive cat litter), but I couldn't stop him from eating everything he could get his teeth into, including Ceecee's food, and Rigby's dog food as well.  This did nothing to help with his diabetes, as he was supposed to be on a strict diet and I felt like a failure as a caretaker for him, because I just could not control his intake.

Then one night, he had a seizure.  He was lying near my feet in the living room, seemingly at peace, when he suddenly bolted up and took on a very strange looking pose.  An unearthly sound suddenly emanated from him, sending a chill through me.  Within seconds, he was convulsing, rolling and scrabbling across the carpet, his lips draw back in a grimace.  I ran to the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of corn syrup and a syringe.  When he stopped convulsing and was still enough for me to open his mouth, I shot some of the sticky liquid down his throat as I had been instructed by the vet.  At about that point I noticed that he had lost control of his bowels and there was a trail of excrement laced across the carpet.  I felt this was really the beginning of the end for him.

Then came the autumn morning when I noticed him walking crookedly across the kitchen floor, his lopsided gait drawing my eye as I prepared his breakfast.  I studied him as he ate his food and then curled up under the kitchen table, seemingly okay for time being.  With some misgivings, I gave him his insulin, and then my husband and I left him and headed for work.  My son (who works the night shift), went to bed for the day.  Late that day I got a call from my son just as I was about to head home from the office.  Upon rising for the evening, he had gone into the kitchen and found Catboy under the table in a pool of his own waste, barely breathing.  I told him I would meet them at the vet's office, and sped off.

I was escorted into the depths of the animal hospital upon my arrival, and found my kitty lying on an examing table wrapped in several white towels, attached to an intravenous drip, his little pink tongue lolling out of his mouth, his eyes partially open.  The nurse attending him was sure he was not conscious of us.  It had been determined that this episode had nothing to do with his diabetes, as his blood sugar levels were good, and his current state was probably the result of something neurological in nature. 

I started to cry when I saw him like that because he looked so helpless.  I knew right away the decision I had to make.  He was old.  He had diabetes, and now this.  I could see there would be no more quality life for him.  I don't see any value in artificially prolonging life; it makes no sense.  And yet... I still hesitated.
Was it my decision to make?  I have been in this situation before with my dog Gretchen, and I don't like playing God. 

The vet was talking about a 24 hour care facility we could take Catboy to, where they would monitor him overnight.  I stared down at him and stroked his head.  I was acutely aware of all the ways my life would suddenly be easier if I no longer had to clean up urine and prepare insulin syringes twice a day, and that realization wracked me with guilt.  I wanted to do what was best for him-could I trust myself to think only of his best interest and not my own?  The responsibility was weighing too heavily upon me; I'd been alone when I made this decision for Gretchie and here I was again - I had a family who should share this burden.  I took my cell phone out and dialed Mac who was working in a basement a few towns away.  He said he felt the time had come and we should help him go.  It would be the best thing for all concerned, and yes, the best thing for Catboy.  With a torrent of fresh tears and deep sorrow, I asked the vet to euthanize my little pal.  I held him as she administered the injection.

This is without question, the hardest part of being a pet owner, but many times it is a necessary thing.  I had a friend once who owned several dogs and I had watched two of them a few years apart suffer terribly as they died slowly over the course of weeks, lying in the same spot, crying and in obvious pain, because the owner could not bring herself to euthanize them.  It was a terrible thing to see, and I swore I would never let an animal suffer like that.  But, making the decision to help a pet pass on will never be easy for me.  Rest in peace, my little buddy.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Slow Going

We are moving ahead on the work at the new house, albeit slowly.  The damage from the fire was more extensive than we thought.   A few of the roof joists and rafters were burnt nearly through and were not sound enough to provide reliable support to the roof or the attic floor, and so that meant more work for Mac.  The second floor is now almost completely framed, and after we get the electrician in to do his thing, we can install new insulation and sheetrock.

I spent this weekend installing joist hangers with a palm nailer (nifty little device that acts like a mini-jack hammer, pounding in nails with shocking speed) and pre-drilling holes then putting screws into those holes to hold a fire barrier in place where the walls meet the roof.  I also had the displeasure of pulling off more lath and plaster as well as removing more clumps of rock wool.  The photo below shows another wall that was damaged by the fire with some clumps of the dreaded stuff still clinging to it.

I also chose the space where the skylight will be installed a little later this spring when Mac puts the new roof on. I am so excited about the skylight, I can't even say.  I have loved skylights ever since I was a kid and went to a friend's house for a playdate. There in her bedroom was something I had never seen before - a window in the ceiling! She could lie in bed at night and watch the stars! I stood transfixed with my head thrown back, staring at the blue sky and the branches waving with pink and white clouds moving behind them. Since that time I have promised myself that someday, I would have a window into the heavens over my bed.  Now, it's really going to happen!  There will be a four foot high, by two foot wide skylight in the roof within the next couple of months.  I just can't explain how giddy with joy that makes me feel.

My sister and I installed the dark channeled material you see between the rafters here - it is called "proper vent".  It creates a channel for cool air against the outer walls of the house, behind the insulation, thus making ice dams less likely.  We each took turns holding it in place while the other secured it with a staple gun.


These horizontal pieces you see below we installed this afternoon.  They will keep the new insulation in place.

Very soon now the plumber will be here to install the fixtures for the little half-bath. Once the plumbing and electrical is complete, we can sheetrock and paint.  It is not looking like we will be ready to move in by our original deadline of four more weeks, but Mac is trying his hardest.  The poor guy is teetering on the edge of burnout this week.  He is spending nearly every free moment at the house trying to do as much as he can, staggering home after midnight.  At least there was no more snow this week to hamper his efforts and distract him with a load of shoveling to do on top of it all.  I thank the Lord for such small favors.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Can't Stop The Seasons

While we desperately try to chisel ourselves out of the ice shroud that encased us yesterday, forming over the three feet of snow we have accumulated since the first of the year, I was heartened to know the our little Groundhog friend Puxatawney Phil did not see his shadow yesterday and so proclaimed an early spring!

To lift all of our winter weary spirits, I have decided to post some photos of spring. Enjoy!

These wild roses you see in the photos above grow everywhere around here in late May and early June and fill the air with their sweet perfume. I can't get enough of them.

These look a lot like Black-eyed Susans, but are a bit different.  Probably of the same family.

This is the Forsythia hedge beside the garage here at "CatBird Heaven".  When we leave, I will miss this early harbinger of spring so much, I guess we will have to plant one when we finally settle in to our new place, "At Last!"

These in the shot below are my very favorite wildflowers of all: Bluets.  When you see a patch on the newly thawed ground, you do a double-take, because they resemble left-over patches of snow.  The flowers are tiny, with four petals which are white and have a slight blue tinge to them, and a deep yellow center.  I have loved these tiny flowers since I was a child and found them growing in the neighborhood baseball field near my home.  I can't wait to look for them in a few months.

This one below is of a flowering tree that sprung up wild in the margin between our yard and the street.  I have no idea what it is.  The flowers are tiny, yellow and in clusters.  They have an extremely strong fragrance, similar to an Easter Lily.  I know when this tree is in bloom before I see it, because the scent drifts all over the neighborhood.  If anyone has an idea about what it might be, I would love to know.

And you just can't beat those wild roses....These above bloom in our yard, tumbling over the evergreens and hanging off the oak saplings - the fragrance is just amazing! 

This is how I plan to survive the next two months of foul weather - with memories and dreams of spring!  The seasons keep turning, nothing can stop that and as bad as this winter has been, I know that spring will come and it will be even more appreciated this year than most.