Tell me a story: July 2020

It’s nearly August. Time is passing one day at a time. I can’t decide if it is slowly or whether it is just way too fast. It’s hard to believe that I have now been at home 4.5 months. I am still busy working, but time seems in limbo. I wake up, make a protein shake, feed Sim, Moo & Hoo and then I sit down at my computer. My problem is that I do not move. I am trying to force myself to go down the stairs every hour and go on the elliptical machine for a few minutes just to move the old joints around.

Each day seems the same, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays we stay at home, most of the time, unless I absolutely have to go out, or Richard has decided he has had enough of home and needs to go out and eat.

I have been banned from feeding the ducks, the birds and the squirrels so I don’t have a lot of wildlife activity in my garden any more – which I will add I hate. Every so often I will get up and drive to a local park to watch the sunset but even that feels like too much effort some days. Other days I will watch it from home.

An update to this is we are stuck at home. Richard tested positive and we are in quarantine. Happily trying to avoid each other. Just remember if you are asymptomatic, it does not mean that you could not test positive. If you come in contact with someone or you know you may have been in contract for longer than 15 minutes and within the 6ft social distancing, remember that you could get infected. He does not have a single symptom that would indicate that he is sick. Wear the mask, keep the distance.

Last week Wednesdays was one of those days that I watched from home. I happened to move Hoo (the quaker parakeet) into the spare room as I was going to have a conference call (only to find out it was cancelled) and I looked out of the window and watched the clouds come rolling in. Below is a pic take with my old cell phone.

It was a little intimidating to be honest. I grabbed my camera and headed downstairs but the sky did not have the same effect.

The wind picked up, thunder happened at a distance but not a drop of rain fell. Clearly it happened on the east side of town. In fact there was a rainbow just a little later that I saw. However, I decided I would head out back and see what the sunset was like given the weather or lack of weather earlier in the day.

My first thought was this was not going to be that great, but I persevered and sat outside with Sims and waited.

And it did not disappoint. Maybe not as spectacular as some of the other days but it was still a pretty sky overall.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that it doesn’t matter what is going on in the world, the world is still beautiful and we can sit back in our own small space and truly enjoy this incredible creation that we live in.

Tomorrow is back to work, and another week will go by, but remember, there is beauty all around us, we just have to take the time to look for it.

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives.  This is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Beth from Beth William’s Photo Blog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share

30 Minutes in the Life: July 2020

And so life goes on…. Florida is spiking like crazy and I am staying at home as much as possible. The virus came closer to home with my sister in law, who lives oversees, being diagnosed Covid Positive. Then one of my husband’s employees was diagnosed Covid positive. We are now quarantining for the next 2 weeks dependent on his test this last week. It is a bit of a wake up call that it really can affect you no matter how much care you take. The good news is that I am okay with staying home 🙂

Work happens 4 days a week, and all is good. Our vacation was cancelled and that was a real bummer. Hopefully August 2021 will be a better year. Now to figure out what to do with 24 days of vacation.

Oh, I so want to travel. What better to do than to go back in the archives and see what has not been edited. Maine 2018, and we had just traveled through Bar Harbor. What to do the next day? I suggested we go to the “less busy” island adjacent to Bar Harbor. Less busy was a good description. What we had more of was mist. That said mist gave me the opportunity to go back and play with black and white images. This month I am sharing 30 minutes of a day in the mist.

Mist or fog creates this eerie kind feeling as you walk along the banks of the water. However, I did like the mist slipping around us. One day we will be able to get on the road again, and I have to be honest I look forward to it. I am sure you do to.

Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend April of April White Photography  and see what she has for you this month.  Check out her Facebook page as well.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: July 2020: New

It sure feels like these blogs are flying around faster than I can get to them. Share Six is up today and the theme is {New}. I would like to say it is a new day, but sadly life goes on, the same old same. Florida’s test results for the Corona Virus are spiking and it is just better to stay at home where we can. Yesterday we had 9488 new cases and 68 deaths. Today we have 11458 new cases and 17 deaths. Florida has had a total of 3703 deaths. When I start to dig deeper 541 of them have come out of my county. Go deeper and I know that in the small zone area that I live in 79 people are positive. I have to wonder what the rest of the year is going to look like. Added to that we are in hurricane season, and August to November are typically the most active. If you read my blog on the 29th you would have read about the Sahara Sandstorms. Apparently hurricanes do not like them. Not sure which is better but I am opting for the sandstorm. Lots of dust that creates beautiful sunsets.

So what is new? As you might recall 2 or so years ago I flooded the house. Yup, I did. I ran a bath and got distracted editing and the next thing the fire alarm was going off and I walked out of my office to a stream of water heading to the stair case. From the bottom it looked like a waterfall. My heart sank, and I knew I was in big trouble. Fortunately, and I thank my good Lord, I think Richard realized that I was probably in a state of shock and horrified by what had happened. The upside of the whole episode was that we had to renovate. The insurance company came in and dried out the house, removed and replaced the wooden flooring upstairs, and replaced the ceiling. We opted to remove all the existing old tiles and wood, and replace them with more modern larger floor tiles. We repainted and refurnished because everything on the lower level ended up wet. The whole process took us about 8 months to get finished and by the end of it I was so tired of living in a construction zone.

However the water did not reach the kitchen, and so other than the ceiling being replaced, and Richard putting in sunken lights, no other work was done in there. Twenty years ago the kitchen may have been great but as the years passed, the chipboard cupboard doors were doing just that, chipping. The wood finishes looked yuck, and it just needed a pick me up. Also at some point we will sell this house and the kitchen was not great. Added to that the counter was finished with tiny square tiles and a whole lot of grout that continually got dirty and I was continually bleaching and scrubbing.

So much has changed in the house that the next step was the kitchen. The process was pretty quick. We met with the contractor who showed us samples of different kitchen cupboards, handles etc. Lots of choices. We gave her an idea of what we wanted and before we knew it she had the plans for us. Richard had his ideas and I had mine, let me say no more. The old kitchen had this short wall behind the wash basin, that hid what was on the counter from the room adjacent. The room adjacent was a breakfast room, which Richard had finally turned into his office. That said we were not going to allow that to define what we did in the kitchen.

First things first, before any work can start, the old cupboards have to come out. Of course, I have visions of them being put in the Laundry. Well that did not happen. I was back to the sense of deja vu. The house downstairs was back to chaos again. Fortunately it was only for 6 weeks. The contractors came in and pulled out the old cabinets. Richard tiled under where the new cupboards would go, had a few plug points moved, pulled off the old backslash tiles and in the process had to replace the backing board. Since most of the houses are made of cardboard here and not brick the process was pretty easy.

Some of the changes we made. I wanted the dishwasher shifted to the end of the counter space and the wash basin more in the middle. Richard wanted to utilize the corners with corner cabinets. He wanted to put a corner cabinet next to the washbasin, and I wanted drawers. That was probably the toughest agreement to at this point. We had looked at granite and that seemed a very simple process. I wanted granite patterns that flowed rather than something that looked like a cross section of plant cells. I did not like the dots :). Added to that alot of what we saw had yellow undertones and our floor tiles have a red undertone. That did not seem like a problem to Richard, but that was a biggie for me. Having settled on a slab of granite, I went back to check the second slab as we would need two. My heart dropped. The second slab did not match the first one in any way. It was a completely different lot number and pattern. I was seriously bummed.

Now we have cupboards in and no counter top. I am tired of washing dishes in a basin out on the patio, and using the coffee machine and microwave outside as well. Added to that no stove. For people who do not eat out a lot, this quickly becomes a pain.

So I started looking. I was set on the slab that I initially like. We found it at another shop only to find that the slab was not big enough. Added to that, when they pulled out the old basin, the pipe developed a leak. So the water got switched off. Fortunately our neighbor is a contractor and he got one of his plumbers to come in and fix the leak. While Richard was working with him, I was driving from West Palm Beach to Broward County looking at slabs. Some of the factories I was happy to stop at but some of them looked a little shady. Finally I had a short list. To be honest I had gone back to Richards likes, even though I was not happy with it. However, I had seen a slab, that he looked at and did not like. I went back there again and still liked it. So I dragged him off to look at the shortlist and finally we settled on a slab. The best part was the second slab matched.

Once the contractor had the slabs they began the cutting process, and before we knew it they were ready to come and add the counter top. In the midst of that I was searching the web for wash basins. I wanted one part bigger than the other part. In hindsight, I probably could have got away with them both being the same size, but there are times when you have something that is big that you need to wash and you want the space. I wanted a draining board which are hard to find in the US and Richard wanted an under the slab kind of basin. So I lost the draining board. Yes, I tend to wash dishes more than use the dishwasher. There is just two of us and it is easier and quicker to hand wash them.

Finally the day arrived for the contractor and her team to bring in the two slabs. I was in awe of these guys. These slabs are heavy and because we wanted one solid piece that had to be very careful moving the bigger of the two pieces.

Kuddo’s to this team. They were so professional, worked well together and got that huge slab into the house in one piece. I was nervous watching them. They then had to get it into the breakfast room so that they could lift it up onto the cabinets. It took some planning, and a lot of muscle to do this. Everyone, including the contractor, was holding their breath.

They did it. I was impressed and relieved because I was not going to be able to get another slab if that one got damaged. Once the slab was laid, the basins were fitted, the holes for the tap and garbage disposal button were drilled and the counter top was polished.

I will be honest and say I was smiling. We had settled on the taps and so they went ahead and installed them for us as well. I was so impressed with the work that this team had done for us. They came in with a team of three to fit the cabinets and it was all finished in one day, then they came with the slab and it was all finished in one day. The work was quality and I was very grateful to them for all they did to make this happen.

Moving beyond that we had to settle on appliances. We needed a microwave that would fit the space. We debated a microwave on the counter and a extractor hood above the stove or did we want to fit in a large size microwave. After much search we found a compromise of the two. A microwave that has a extractor fan in it as well. I measured my largest dish and length and height both worked with the microwave. So this seemed the perfect option for us. We wanted to go stainless, but all the other appliances were black, so we did a combination of the two. We decided we would replace the rest of the appliances as we needed to or had the funds to do it. The fridge however, sped up that process and died on us. I have a side by side and the freezer was working but the fridge side felt as hot as Florida on a hot and humid day. So off we went to find a new fridge. I might add all this is happening in the middle of the start of the Covid pandemic, and I am at the local hardware store where they have lines letting you in and then I get in there and find staff are not even wearing masks. We finally decided on a fridge online. It was slightly bigger than what we had but would still fit in the space. On this we went stainless as well. Eventually the dishwasher and stove will be replaced.

One of the best decisions that we made was to loose the little wall and carry the counter top out 9 inches from the edge of the cabinet. That will ultimately allow for someone to sit and eat at the counter. Will we eat there, probably not. We have a diningroom, we have an outside patio table and we have an outside bar area, so this is moot, but it will be good when we come to sell the house. Added to that we scored 2 chairs off our daughter. She had bought a secondhand diningroom table and 2 of the 6 chairs did not match and she decided that we could have the two that did not match. It works perfect with the color scheme. Loosing the wall also opened the whole area and gives a much bigger feel to the room.

Next on our things to do, was agree on a back splash. Richard and I have such different tastes. I did not like what he liked and I had this rough looking stone in my mind, and he did not want that. He said it would gather dirt. Finally we found something we could both compromise on. I got the stone look and he got the smooth finish. A little side note, this scale is about 80 years old. It belonged to my grandmother. I had it bronzed before we left South Africa, but somehow it was sitting next to a water feature and the water drops damaged the bronze. As children my brother and I used to go to my grandmothers and I recall us playing shops. We had to weigh out all the cereal we were selling.

It’s all the little things now. Finding a decent container for the dish washing liquid, and adding some hand soap and cream to use after washing dishes. I just bought these two orchids the other day. Orchids remind me of my dad, and I saw these two, which are so different to the Phalaenopsis we so commonly find in Florida. These two were apparently products of Hawaii. The smaller one looks like a Clamshell Orchid. The taller one could be called a Hilo Firecracker ‘Lucky Strike’. But it is nice to have a reminder of my dad.

My little white canisters disappeared and the next thing I saw them back silver and black. That is Richard for you. Remind me of my grandmother. She used to paint everything. Including the scale above. When I got it from her it was white. Mmm maybe he needs to pain that as well.

Last little trick Richard came up with, which is very nice at night. Under cabinet strip lighting. These are cheap fancy lighting. They change color, and can be really bright or dim as you need them. He likes the blueish color and I like the warm tones of the orange. It is nice to dim them at night when you go to bed. If for any reason you find your way down the stairs there is some light in the kitchen to welcome you.

As I mentioned earlier we had to buy two slabs because the slab that had the larger counter top was not big enough to cut a solid piece and the second counter top piece. So there was a lot left over. Richard decided to buy some additional cabinets to go in the bay area and we had them cut a slab to go on top of the cabinets. Which is perfect for my lady lamp. There is a back story to the lady as well. When we first arrived here, those that had gone before us spoke of dumpster shopping. I was horrified. That was not something I had ever done. However, we were driving past a house one day and I spotted this at the end of the driveway. I told Richard to stop and pick it up. Of course, I was not doing it, I made him do it. It appears it was originally a lampshade, but I had him remove all the wires and made it into a candle holder. She reminded me of my friend Gavin, who had some beautiful lady lamps.

Last item we had cut out of the slab was a counter top that would function as a desk for Richard. We moved his old desk out of the area and he bought two units that were stand alone drawer and filing cabinets, and we had the second piece laid on top of that. It could be used as a serving area, or at some point it could be put onto high pedestals and made to be a high top table. We are trying to think outside the box :). In the meantime, that is his workspace, and mine is upstairs in one of the bedrooms.

{New} took me on an interesting path. I know this is longer than six images but I wanted to share the results of some challenging decisions, some compromise, great contractor and her staff workmanship and my new kitchen. I am so happy with it. Now to the next project…..

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  I love sneak peaks – they are always amazing.  This is an incredibly talented group of ladies.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Michele of Michele Tremblay Photo and see what she has for you this month. To check out her Facebook page click here and her Instagram page here.

Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_new