Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Long Time No Blog

Where has the summer gone? My last blog post was June. That was ages ago and I didn't expect to go this long without blogging.

Doughboy and I just returned from a week-long cruise to Alaska's inside passage - Juneau, Skagway, Tracey Ar, Fjord, and Victoria BC. We spent my birthday weekend in Seattle. More on this in another blog post.

For now, I want to report that our remodel project - inside and out - is completed. We are very pleased with the result and look forward to years of enjoyment. Photos below are of the finished deck and back yard.

View of the pool, pool house, and pergola

View of gazebo/salt water spa

Hmmmm...the deck is a little bare and in need of furniture. Don't you agree?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pete's Dog House

As the remodel project progressed Pete and I were tasked with creating a name for his pub. Focus of the pub name was centered around dogs or wolves. Several names were tossed around -- some clever, others funny, and a few were hilarious but far from G-rated. Our friend and decorator, Denise, came up with Pete's Doghouse. Of all the contenders, it fit the best.

Thanks much to the wonderfully talented Mike Shepard for an original piece of art that will grace our wall for years to come. He captured the sweet face of our Westie, Kadybug perfectly!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Doughboy's pub was scheduled for installation tomorrow. I called Classic Bars early this morning to confirm the appointment and was informed that installation was actually occurring today; not tomorrow. Yikes! I quickly planned a half vacation day and raced home. Bob and his crew arrived shortly after 12 noon and the pub was carefully rolled down the hill from the driveway to terrace level piece by piece. The once empty corner had begun to take on new life.

After the base unit was put in place, the side pieces began to take shape.

Time flew quickly with only part of the installation complete. Bob and his crew will return tomorrow to finish the pub ceiling; just in time for Doughboy to return home for the weekend. Surprise!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

After The Rain

Day 1 of the deck remodeling project was complete removal of the old wooden deck. Day 2 was a day of rain, which our parched lawn desperately needed; crews were absent and progress was stalled until fair weather returned. Day 3 was sunny and beautiful with progress on the main structure. The floor structure was started and white posts have been positioned in place.

It's fun to watch the progress although we're only three days into the project. The project has an estimated mid-June targeted completion date. The entire deck will be maintenance free, comprised primarily of Azek - a vinyl product that resists moisture, mildew, fading, and scratches. Better yet, it requires NO maintenance. Woo hoo!

When it's finished the deck will span the entire length of the house. The main deck will tie into the screen porch, a gazebo will house the Hot Springs salt-water spa, and the under-deck will be water-tight and ready for enclosing at a much later date. It makes sense that we empty-nesters need more living space, right? Yes, it's a bit excessive but our expanding numbers of grandchildren require more room to play :) And you know it's all about the granchildren.

The view above is from the keeping room off the kitchen. The doors are kept bolted to ensure safety for the pups. Check back often to watch the progress!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Watch Your Step

Our massive remodeling project began small. Doughboy wanted a pub bar. Period. Like most of our my ideas, this project has evolved into something much grander than a pub bar and is waaaay over budget. 50% more, to be precise. To quote Bob (our pub contractor), "It's only money". He said this each time he increased the size of Doughboy's pub. His words took on new meaning as our project also increased in proportion. This, of course, has negatively impacted the non-existent little amount of hair Doughboy has left on his head.

With the interior project well underway, we moved to the exterior project. Our existing deck was removed today and construction on the new expanded deck will begin Wednesday.

Out with the old...and in with the new. The targeted completion date is mid-June. If weather continues to hold, it may be sooner.

The hardest part is getting our canine children used to going outside through another inconvient door. They're used to having the door open to the deck and wandering in/out to their heart's content. Sorry, pups.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Pete's Pub

After another lull period, the terrace level remodel has progressed quickly in the past week. Drywall and plumbing are completed, electrical is in progress, and the tile floor for the pub is being installed Monday.

We drove to Classic Bars in Smyrna today to see Pete's pub and deliver the bar sink. Bob, the owner of Classic Bars, was only too happy to show us the detail and workmanship of our pub. Constructed entirely of solid mahogany and mahogany veneers, there are numerous angles that will fit snugly against the tray ceiling that functions as a concealer for HVAC ducts. The intricate detail of egg and dart moulding is around the inside ceiling and along the bonet; mirrors and glass shelves will be inset within each arched opening when the pub is delivered to our home and installed. The brass foot rail has been attached, and custom bar appliances (two beverage centers, wine cooler, double-drawer dish washer, and ice maker) are at the ready to make the pub fully functional.

Monday the bar will be disassembled and taken into another shop room for the finishing stage: hand-rubbed stain, and multiple sandings and applications of a satin clear coat finish. The pub will be delivered to our home and reassembled in two weeks. At that time appliances will be set in place and plumbing/electrical connected.

Then it's time to fire up blender, sit back, and enjoy a refreshing margarita at our new pub.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Long Awaited Progress

Several weeks passed with little or no progress on the remodel. Work on the remodel has picked up this week and progress is evident. The electrical work, plumbing, and framing is nearly completed. According to the contractor, drywall will be installed tomorrow and we will see significant progress in the next couple days. Pete's Pub will be finished within a week, as well as the 19 foot built-in wall unit. Floor tile and granite was ordered today and wallpaper has begun to show up on our doorstep. At last!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Promise

For a short time, Ayden's behavior was untypical of the sweet boy I know and love. He was getting into trouble at school and went through some struggles in making good choices. Thankfully, it was short lived and he is once again my sweet little Ayden.

As an incentive for continuing his good behavior, Ayden was promised a sleepover with us if he achieved ten consecutive days of green stickers at school. A promise is a promise, and this weekend Ayden was rewarded with a sleepover. Sleepovers with us means lots of fun and special one-on-one attention. The fun began with an outing to the movie theater to see the animated feature "How To Train A Dragon". It was much better than I expected and is a movie that even adults would enjoy. I recommend that you see it, especially if you have children or grandchildren. It was Ayden's first 3-D movie adventure. He was riveted to the movie the entire time. After the movie, Ayden was allowed to pick a restaurant for dinner. He chose Chili's, would coincidentally is one of our favorite places. The night ended all too quickly and Ayden fell asleep watching "Horton Hears A Who".

After a breakfast of pancakes and warm maple syrup, Ayden took a bath. He LOVES the garden tub in our bedroom, and especially likes to play in the mounds of bubbles generated by the jacuzzi's jets. I left him alone to play for a few minutes and was quickly summoned to the bathroom by Ayden yelling, "Mimi! Come here!"

It was hard to find Ayden in all the bubbles :) Note to self...add less bath bubbles next time.

Our two grandsons enjoy sleepovers, but Ayden is getting too big to be content playing with toys. He is really into the Nintendo DS we gave him for Christmas so I thought it would be fun to buy a Wii. After Ayden's bath, he and Bumpa setup the new Wii I bought last week. Even as I type I can hear them having fun yelling and screaming upstairs. That ought to keep them occupied long enough for me to get my kitchen cleaned. It's the perfect form of entertainment for a rainy Sunday.

Keep getting green stickers, Ayden. We love your sleepovers with us!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fit For A Princess

Almost eight months ago we began laying plans for decorating Ava's bedroom. The three people that read my blog know quite well that Ava is our one-year-old grand-daughter. Decorating the upstairs bedrooms has been such fun - making plans, selecting fabrics and paint colors, and putting final touches - all of which reflect the unique personalities of the kids.

Ava's room is an explosion of pink, lime green, and all things girlie. After two boys I was ready to decorate for a little girl. It couldn't have been accomplished without an incredible team of talented professionals: Denise Timmins (designer/decorator), Susie Spencer (seamstress), Mike Shepard (faux painter), Carl Dann (painter), Wayne Nored (built-in bookcase), AAA Upholstery (chair), and many more.

With the decorating nearly complete, here are a few sneak peeks...

Looking into the bathroom

Inside the bathroom

View from the bathroom

Cozy chair for curling up with a good book

Every princess needs a vanity for primping

I hope as Ava grows she comes to realize how very loved she is. Although her heart and home is with Mom, Dad and her brothers, Ava always has a special place to call her own when she comes to visit her Mimi and Bumpa :)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Construction Begins

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Doughboy and I have made plans to remodel the terrace level (a/k/a basement) of our home. I think it is called a terrace level because the entire back of the house is open to the yard and, well, terrace.

Contractors have been coordinated and designs are well under way (our minds are constantly changing on a few points). Already the support wall between the pub room and lower garage had been removed and soffits opened. This was necessary for the HVAC contractor to see what was in store and to determine if the soffit could be raised. Saturday February 27 was a day when the pub contractor, electrician, plumber, carpenter, and general contractor all met. Coordination is crucial and timing is paramount.

Doughboy rests elbows on his imaginary pub.

Four days later heat in the main area of the house was turned off so that new duct work could be installed. Opening an odd angle to make room for the built-in cabinet meant moving the furnace. Temps dropped into the teens; temps in the kitchen and main areas of the house were a chilly 56 degrees. The pups and I cozied together in the master bedroom that, thankfully, was warm due to being connected to its own heat system.

Stay tuned as our construction project continues...

Sunday, February 21, 2010


What a difference a week makes! Last Sunday we were recovering from a snow storm; today the forecast has temps escalating to near 70 degrees. Woo hoo!

Doughboy is still asleep; therefore, I am looking for ways to quietly amuse myself. I like to take opportunities like this to check in with my favorite blog friends and see what they're doing. While visiting Kate I read her blog post about Wordle.

You can create your own word art using favorite words, or you can link to your blog as I did and let Wordle create a work of art derived from words commonly found in your blog. This is too much fun (I am easily amused). You can take it further by randomizing your word art to let Wordle change the layout, colors, etc. like my example below.

Wordle creates Applets; therefore, if you want to display your Wordle art in your blog as I did, you will need to save it as an acceptable photo type. The first step is to take a screen print; next, copy/paste into your photo editing software, then crop. I saved my image as JPEG using PSE 7.0.

However you spend your day I hope it is enjoyable!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to Beat the Winter Doldrums

Today's temps were in the mid 50's making the fresh snow that fell Friday a mere memory. More snow is predicted for tomorrow, but that is likely to be short lived too. If you don't like the weather in Georgia, wait a day.

In spite of the somewhat balmy temps today, I have the winter blues. To keep my spirits until spring arrives, I plan vacations. In fact, I live for vacations. Doughboy and I had a fun-filled vacation schedule in 2009. It began with a Caribbean cruise in January, followed by a sailing vacation in the British Virgin Islands over Thanksgiving, and a week at Disneyworld for Christmas.

You may be surprised to know that our vacations are planned for the next two years. It's what keeps me going. We are excited to return to the BVI's for another sailing vacation in spring 2011. It is such fun setting our own schedule and charting a course to any number of islands. We are excited have our daughter and son-in-law join us, thereby giving them a break from their three lively children. Our SIL has never been out of the United States. He is in for a real treat!

This will be our 4th sailing vacation with the Moorings; a charter company with bases world-wide. With another couple on board, we decided to charter a larger sailboat - a 43.3 monohull (click here for photos).

The BVI's offer a large variety of destinations within line-of-site sailing. Most islands may be reached within a single day sail, making island hopping fun and relaxing. Speaking of relaxing, who wouldn't feel the tension float away with views like this...

Kids? What kids??

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Almost 2 years and 8 months ago we made an offer to purchase our existing home and put our previous home up for sale. Never in our wildest imagination did we anticipate the sudden decline in the housing market nor did we believe our beautiful home of 8 years would prove such a challenge to sell. The housing market, particularly in Georgia, came to a screeching halt. Foreclosures escalated with each passing month and the market became saturated with existing home sales. Sadly, our new community felt the pinch and new homes, selling previously in the high $900's, began selling for less than half their original list price.

Our lovely home was shown to prospective buyers sporadically during the first year on the market. We received one low-ball offer in early fall 2009, then prospects dried up altogether afterward. Just when we had almost given up, an offer came through - a serious offer. But there was one snag after another, 8 contract extensions in all, before the closing occurred.

Doughboy was hoping for a closing in time for his birthday. However, his birthday came and went without a closing date. Two weeks ago the long journey of carrying double mortgages, double utilities, and double maintenance came to an end. At long last! Hooray!

With a nice check in the bank we may now proceed with plans to finish the terrace level. There are plans to build a pub and wall unit that will showcase Doughboy's magnificent antique slot machine collection. We've already contracted with Classic Bars of Atlanta. Click on the link here to see a photo of how our pub will look; it is the bar and details you see on their home page.

Other plans include removing our existing deck (poorly constructed and a safety hazard) and replacing it with a multi-level, low-maintenance composite deck. A lower deck level will house a salt system Hot Springs spa that was purchased two weeks ago. All I can say is I hope our children aren't counting on an inheritance after our demise. We intend to have fun while we're still able to enjoy life.

Mean while, decorating the boys' bedroom (started over a year ago) and Ava's bedroom (started last August) is nearing an end. The boys' room is a western theme complete with faux cowhide bean bag chairs, 60" flat screen TV, and rustic bunk beds. Ava's room is an explosion of pink and lime green; a canopy hangs above a king-sized bed, a Pottery Barn vanity sits in one corner, and a large over-stuffed chair rounds out the opposite corner. Yes, our grandchildren are quite spoiled and we love their weekend sleepovers.

Join us on our decorating journey and stay tuned for photos as our plans unfold.

By Dawn's Early Light

Doughboy's flight arrived late into Atlanta due to our weather, but all that mattered is he was home safe and sound. As typical on Friday evenings, we like to dine at one of our favorite local restaurants (usually The Downtown Grille) but every one had closed early. We eventually found an open restaurant that had only 4 tables full; very untypical for Outback which has lines of waiting people out the door on any given evening. The food was great and the service even better.

I was anxious to wake this morning and see the snow. The pups woke me for the second time around 6:15am. With camera in hand, I waited until the first signs of dawn. What I saw was spectacular beauty all around. There is nothing like fresh fallen snow to make the world around you look clean and bright.

The photo below is of our back yard, looking at the pool and pool house from our deck. It was so strangely quiet. As much as I long for hot summer days and the sound of our grandchildren playing in the pool, the wintry quiet is peaceful.