Humpty Dumpty does El Camino de Santiago de Compostela

September 11, 2016

From Janelle:

Well, they finally broke me.  Just as indicated might happen in my last post, I finally cracked.  Not quite smashed into pieces as Humpty Dumpty when he fell off the wall but teetering on the edge.  Two jobs, two remodel projects, two corporate audits, TOO MUCH!

Post 80 HD

The house project started in January at my busiest time of the year as a corporate audit (not a bad thing, just a regular part of biz) was scheduled.  April commenced with office remodeling and shuffling personnel.  June ended with business travel piggy-backed by a second audit and the 2nd job has just been crazy-town all year.

The audits are over (on a high note I did so well they have scheduled out an additional year, a huge accomplishment and a nice payoff for all the hard work), the two jobs roll on (additional personnel have helped but every day still feels like Hans Brinker stuck his a finger in a dike), and the two remodel projects continue.  I hit the wall, first in January and then again, hard, about two months ago.

My fuse has been short and Lewis and I squabbled more about this project than any other.  It just took soooooo long.  Contractors can’t schedule incredibly busy subs and everything drags on and on and on and on.  The home project is finally almost completed but we’re so burnt we can’t think about furnishings and the joy in the room is gone, chiseled away each month by stress and confrontation.

We embark on cross country motorcycle trips every couple years and love them, me on my smaller but faster hog and Lewis on his cruiser.  He was adamant about heading to Colorado with our group and I just didn’t have it in me this year.  I’m tired and mentally exhausted.  Road-therapy has been good over the years but I’m not feeling it right now.

A friend walked El Camino de Santiago de Compostela  in Spain a year ago and from that moment I knew I needed to follow her footsteps.  WHEN never seems like a good time but when Lewis was insistent about the Colorado trip it was the right time for the Camino.

I’m traveling solo.  I don’t like to travel by myself but I’m going alone.  No time for a traditional thirty day Camino but the new boots will trek fifty miles in eight days.  The walk won’t be strenuous but I’m hopeful life as a pilgrim will be enlightening.

Lewis will join me in Barcelona after his road-therapy, we’ll rent a beach house for a week and remember life before we had too much crap.

From Lewis:

It’s true! It has been a rough year.  No more projects for a while. We are going to be here for a long time and so there is no rush to start anything else.

It is also true we like our road trips. Although I may like them a little more I wouldn’t say I was adamant about going on this trip cause I always want to go and I’ve been saying since last year that I would like to plan on it this year.  Janelle was just adamant that she didn’t want to go and I have no problem with that although I enjoy seeing her in the rearview mirror as we cruise on the open road. I will miss her on this trip. But I’m glad we’re spending time together in Barcelona. It should be a fantastic time after her trail therapy and my road therapy.  Who needs a shrink?

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This is progress?

June 23, 2013

From Janelle:

The hazy sunshine is burning off my dark mood with each ray that peeks through the clouds.  I feverishly hope that it is a vivid, sunshiny day; brightness always lightens me up.  We are going to an event today where we are to dress up as the “Princess and the Frog” but I feel like Cinderella covered in cinders, forced to toil away as her evil stepsisters gallivant around the kingdom having a fabulous time without a care in the world.  I’m tired.  I’m sick and tired of this project, work has been insane and twelve hour days have left me spent and lifeless and Lewis and I have been squabbling more than ever.  We knew this project would be hard and tough on our marriage but it’s a reality now; it’s hard.  We are both very much looking forward to finishing this project so we can get back to normal.

After the elation of choosing and ordering the wood floors wore off, Contractor Don decided that we needed to grind and seal the cement base.  It sounded innocent enough.  The grinding process was, of course, a mess but our house has been covered in dust for a year so it wasn’t that much worse than usual.  A sealer was applied to the floor, we couldn’t walk on it for eighteen hours, we climbed up scaffolding into our bedroom for a night and our shoes still stick and squeak after almost a week.  At least the nasty smell has dissipated.  There are a million flooring products in stock but of course I chose one with a three week lead time from Canada.  In addition to that delay the floors need to be acclimated to the climate for two weeks before they’re installed.  ACCLIMATED.  Who knew that such a requirement with wood flooring even existed?

We purchased the cabinet pulls at Liz’s Antique Hardware last weekend and designer Cynthia Pastor helped me mark the exact locations they should be mounted.  We are currently using the “tape method” to open drawers and while it serves the purpose, I’m anxious to utilize actual handles.  Dana Jones of The Kitchen Consultant has been spot on with every recommendation she’s made and any time I’ve veered away from her suggestions I’ve been sorry.  The interior cabinet in the middle of the island (bar, counter, I’m not sure what we will call the 16’ long expanse but it will eventually get a name) has two pull out drawers behind cabinet doors.  Dana suggested that we install two drawers rather than the cabinet but I thought that the island should look uniform and since we were used to the open-two-doors-and-then-pull-out-the-drawer-method it was no big deal, right?  Every time I go through that three step process I curse myself that I didn’t heed Dana’s advice.  I suggested to Lewis that we should change out the cabinets to drawers and I think that he could have strangled me.

We are now in “wait mode” for the heating elements to be mounted and then a wood covering to protect them until the flooring is laid down.  I don’t care for the front door handles after all so I need to find something else and hopefully the holes that we have drilled in the door will line up with the new handle.  We had already planned for Tom the metalworking artist to create covers for the incorrectly drilled holes so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.  The existing handles will look great on the new gates that will be made from wood but designed to look like the front door.  Slowly and painfully we are making progress.

From Lewis:

We are so close. The delay in making a decision on the floors has added weeks to the project and put us at a standstill. Hopefully the stucco guys will be back soon so we can get rid of the scaffolding. I’m sure the brown coat has cured by now. We are not changing anything at this point. I thought the handle was a little too funky to begin with but I lost the deciding opinion to ”It’ll makes a statement”.

Yes it has been a hard few weeks and tensions are high.…

What should we call our 16’ long counter, bar, island?

The "tape method" pulls drawers open.

The “tape method” pulls drawers open.

What could possibly go wrong with detailed instructions like this, right?

What could possibly go wrong with detailed instructions like this, right?

Someone must have sticky feet.

Someone must have sticky feet.

The 16' long counter/bar/isalnd needs a name.  Suggestions?

The 16′ long counter/bar/island needs a name. Suggestions?


Tagging Party August 2011

June 26, 2012

From Janelle

Remodel commencement dates are ambiguous.  Contractor schedules, vacations, and LIFE all come into play when determining when to begin such an endeavor.  Summer, however, is for parties.  Warm evening, outdoor barbecue centered, summer parties.  While the remodel trigger date hadn’t yet been determined, we were certain that it would begin soon and planned an August Tagging Party.

“Taggers” were invited to bring a felt tip marker and graffiti away on our pristine white walls.  Who knew our friends were so talented?  Mary Ann free handed murals in mere minutes, Debbie drafted 60’s era art and Tracy Metro, TV host and designer, went wild with a fluorescent orange spray can.  An unnamed party got a little crazy and spray painted a body outline in the carpet, complete with a wine stain for blood.  Seriously!?!

Mortgage interest rates dropped and refinancing the house was a no brainer until our loan broker informed us that the house must be “made presentable” for the appraiser.  Our beautifully defaced walls needed covering.  After a couple of trips to Home Depot to cover the markers that had soaked through several coats of paint the scribbling was a distant memory.  Most of it anyway.

The appraiser made his rounds, unaware that the Christmas wrapping paper strewn on the floor covered the life-sized body line, re-hung paintings covered holes in walls the contractor had cut for structural discovery and the strip of doodles remaining on an aqua wall went unnoticed.  Whew!  Our refinance concluded without a hitch.

From Lewis:

There really is not a good time to start a project. Just do it and get it done. You can try to plan but just let it run its course and start when you’re ready.

The party was a blast and everyone had fun. Too bad we had to cover all the artwork but we have plenty of photo documentation.  I wasn’t worried that we would be able to disguise our artwork although concealing the body on the floor with Xmas boxes and wrapping paper was pure genius. Of course, it was my idea.

Debbie’s artwork

Tracy Metro (famous designer!) graffiti

Lewis 3:00 AM

Lewis 3:00 AM

Someone didn’t make it home.  Can I keep the wall?


Marriage or Remodel?

February 3, 2012

From Janelle:

I love my husband Lewis more than anything in this world.  He’s my best friend, confidant, playmate.  We rarely argue and really never really fight but lately, we’ve been fighting.  What is the turn of events that has caused this unusual phenomenon?  We’re remodeling.

Actually, we haven’t even started our remodel yet and we’re fighting.  The project is expected to take almost a year.  Wow, this is really going to be fun.

We’ve had little squabbles over the past few months but when I decided that we should move out of the construction zone, at least for a few months, I was met with firm resistance.  My husband is usually a pretty easy-going guy.  We give and take but if I really want something, he’s usually pretty accommodating.  Not this time.

Taurus is known for loyalty….and stubbornness.  I’ve seen that side before but this time was different.  His heels were dug in, his jaw was set, and his tone was very firm.  Whenever the subject was broached and I asked why he didn’t want to move, his only answer was, “I just don’t see the need”.

He could live in a cardboard box.  Me?  No way.  In our early dating history he asked me to go camping in Yosemite.  “I don’t camp” was my response.  “It will be fun.  We’ll pack our gear, hike, pitch a tent in the wilderness and camp under the stars.”  “I don’t camp”.  A few rounds later he finally believed me.

We were going at it pretty hard about moving out for a few weeks until the house we were planning to occupy was no longer available.  We had planned to stay there while it was for sale (that’s my kind of camping) but it sold faster than expected.   The next day the fighting stopped.  He felt that he’d won the battle.

That space is no longer an option but I haven’t completely given up the notion of relocating.  When the plastic has covered our doorways and dust has blanked everything that we own, we’ll see where we land.  The battle may have been won but the war is not lost.

From Lewis:

It’s true. We rarely ever fight.  We don’t always agree but disagreeing usually does not end up in a fight.  I usually let her think she is right just because she is so stubborn and won’t accept that she may be wrong.  I’m fine walking away because most of the time there is nothing worth fighting about but this time I was not going to let her off that easy because she was wrong and nothing was going to change her mind.

We started this project with the laundry room. It turned out great but it was done first so that the cats would have a place to live during the construction and so that we would not have workers upstairs while we were living upstairs. I have already prepared myself to live comfortably in our upstairs “apartment” with a few minor inconveniences and I am not about to move away.

It will get dusty upstairs but not that much and we already have our bar set up in our bedroom and toaster oven and mini-fridge in our master bathroom.  What else could we need?

kitchen, mini frige

What’s behind this curtain?

The kitchen!

kids, cats, kitties, dog house, home

The kids in their new home


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