Note to self: Keep the glasses ON

I keep going on and on about what a pretty spring this is. The view of our back yard (from the bathroom of all places) is one of my favorites. We’ve spent a lot of time working back here and still have a long way to go (can’t take credit for the azaleas, they came with the house). But it’s FUN, and we can’t wait to do more. (This particular view also hides the perpetual “burn pile” we have going.)

Unfortunately, we have a little obstacle in the path to the garden of our dreams. Here’s the view of the back yard when you take off your azalea-colored glasses…

Yes, we’re still waiting for our new retaining wall (even though we OK’d the estimate for it in February). And it’s been over a year that we’ve been looking at a muddy mess and dodging various piles of rubble in the driveway. Mike gloomily said the other day, “It’ll probaby be August before they show up.”

But that’s not to say we’ve been sitting around moping (well, maybe moping, but certainly not much sitting). Our kitchen remodel is done — without a doubt the biggest project we’ve tackled. And it’s beautiful, if I do say so myself.

I’m also very happy to say our garage door replacement is done — well, done as far as I’m concerned, Mike tells me there’s much still to be done, and he will fuss with it for a while yet, but the changes won’t be visible to anyone but him, so let’s just call it done.

We’ve also scoped out how we can create “the world’s smallest powder room” in a converted coat closet. We’re hopeful when the plumber is here doing our sewer repair (in August, with his friend the retaining wall guy?), he can tackle the plumbing for that as well. Here’s the “before” — before we tore the wall down behind the coats through to the hallway by our back door (connecting to the “cubby” where the refrigerator used to reside). I don’t even mind the mess (visible only from the back door) because it’s so minor compared to the kitchen upheaval for all those months.

Concurrent with (and sort of as a part of) the sewer project, we’ll also be repairing the front porch — fixing the damaged foundation and column bases and replacing at least part of the porch floor (with the rest a project for later). I dreaded having the front porch roof propped up (likely for months), but ya know, it is what it is. I can’t fix it any sooner, so I better learn to live with it. (And notice, the daffodils still bloomed.)

So, today’s lesson: Keep the glasses ON. For now, they’re azalea-colored, then they’ll be iris-colored, then peony-colored, and right on into rose-colored to salvia-colored to lavender-colored to black-eyed-susan-colored. I’ll have plenty to tide me through the next five months — right into a glorious maple-and-mum-colored fall. And after that…well, let’s just forget about what comes after that. Slush-colored glasses will never have quite the same appeal.

Being an optimist after you’ve got everything you want doesn’t count.
~ Kin Hubbard


Does that mean progress or just spaghetti sauce? Anyway, we’ve had a busy week (starting last Saturday).

New garage doors are installed — a marathon effort for Mike. The directions advise allowing 12 hours per door for installation for 2 people. Mike did them both himself over 2 long days, along with first reframing the openings so they would fit. Next step is to install the openers (a luxury I used to take for granted) and finish trimming everything out.

garage doors for web Beforegarage floor during  New floor in process
garage doors during  New door going up
garage doors after  Voila!

We also have the new porte cochere pier rebuilt and the new columns in place. Yes, it’s actually straight now, though my picture doesn’t make it look that way. We are blessed to have such a great neighbor who let us have ugly support beams in her lawn for so long — thank you, Chris! Next step is to clean/paint the columns (probably next spring) and get a stucco finish over the concrete block to match the foundation of the house.

leaning pier before   pier removed
Old leaning pier                              Old pier removed

pier in process  New pier in process

new pier in place  Voila!

This about wraps up the outside work for this year. But no worries, next spring the fun begins all over again with a new retaining wall in the back of the driveway, repair of the front porch foundation, and maybe, just maybe, replacing (or tearing down and saying good riddance to) the dilapidated porch roof railings that I detest so much. 

Of course, there’s still PLENTY to do inside over the winter. Did I mention we’ve been remodeling the kitchen for oh, 7 months or so?

It’s a little like wrestling a gorilla. You don’t quit when
you’re tired, you quit when the gorilla is tired.
                                   ~ Robert Strauss

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