Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Some decisions made . . .

We got home Sunday evening late. After my heart breaking open at the cemetary, I didn't feel up to doing much visiting anywhere. It was such a shocking emotion to me - I thought I had shed all of the tears when Dad passed. We took Mom and my aunt back to Missoula, stopped in Helena to visit Bob's parents graves and headed home. We hit some snow on the passes but there was not snow here when we arrived home. Yesterday I went to the Memorial Day parade and then enjoyed a quiet day at home with a little sewing.

Today I made some decisions about the kitchen. Here is a picture that shows the cabinet, floor and wall colors I am aiming at and the granite here is right on with what I have selected. This picture (borrowed from some cabinet site) also shows the cabinet style similar to what I have selected. I love this look. I have to get a new dishwasher and microwave so will get stainless. I might keep my black stove for a couple years as it is good and it would save me some money for right now. I want gas and will have that line put in now for the time when I get a new range. The current black refrigerator works for now and I can put a stainless insert in the front as it has the edges to hold a wood cover. That might help me stay within my budget. We will just have to see. The insurance company will pay for the flooring and for the counters to be replaced with laminate as well as all of the tear out.

We also have a back area that we call a butler kitchen - it has some cupboards, more counter space and a large sink. How to do that has been a problem. It is kind of a long narrow room that you walk through when coming in from the garage. There is a small bathroom off from it and a large pantry closet also off that area. Well, that tile extends from the kitchen and will also come out as will the cupboards and counter. The tile out there is under the cupboards.

What to do with that area? There are only 3 cupboards - 2 lower and 1 upper - out there with a large open area under the counter. First I thought I might paint the cupboards there and use a laminate that resembles the granite I want. But I didn't like that idea and I don't want granite out there. Today I decided to order new cupboards for that area and use a charcoal laminate that has no granite look pattern - it will just look like laminate. I will keep the same sink with updated faucet. In the little bathroom, I will paint that little cabinet charcoal and hope for a little piece of leftover granite for that counter with a new vessel sink - if not then use the charcoal laminate with the same sink.

Done deal - decisions made - now to get the work done. The kitchen will not be torn out for 2 weeks. I hope to get the cabinets ordered by the end of this week as they will take about 8 weeks to arrive. I will post pictures of the progress - but for now I am excited! I will see how closely I come to this in the final implementation - let the fun begin. I will take lots of pictures - before - during - and after.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

traveling . . .

We left Bozeman about 7 this morning. Drove 200 miles northwest to Missoula and picked up Mom and her sister, my aunt. She never really seemed like an "aunt" as she is only a few years older than I am. Her mom was my Grandpa's second wife after my Grandma died. I didn't know my Grandma, she died long before I was born.

But anyway, we left Missoula and drove 200 miles west to Great Falls and on to Fort Benton. I took some flowers to put on my dad's grave. I had not been there since he was buried there over a year ago. I have missed him every day, but I was so thankful he not longer had to suffer the horrible pain and treatment in the nursing home. He deserved better, but he would not leave Missoula as he would not leave Mom and she would not leave Missoula. She could not live with him. He kept thinking he was "going home".

I think he is home now. I have not been able to stop crying since I saw his gravestone this afternoon. I loved him so much and I miss him.

It was a dark and rainy day. I am glad - I did not want sunshine today. Tonight we are in Great Falls - 40 miles from Fort Benton. Tomorrow we head back to Missoula, then Helena and then home. I wish I could go back to the cemetary alone and just lay on his grave and cry in the wind and rain. I don't want sunshine tomorrow either.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

busy, soggy times . . .

It has rained hard here all day - again. It is supposed to break for a bit tomorrow afternoon and then start again through the holiday weekend with much cooler temps.

This first picture is a cute one of Bob with Walker on his shoulders at Walker's birthday party on Sunday. He is such a cute little guy with a definite mind of his own. The second picture is of Weston at his graduation tonight from preschool - with a big bite of cookie in his mouth. He has attended a Christian preschool this year and as part of the program, they each recited a Bible verse that went with a letter from the alphabet. He spoke his out loud, definite and clear. Afterwards he got to the cookie/treat table before any of us and came away with a plate loaded with 3 cookies and this cupcake. Grandpa thought he was going to share, but no dice. Weston made short work of most of each of them.

The samples are from work done yesterday regarding selections for the kitchen. I am going to order new cupboards and they are taking measurements again tomorrow morning. The flooring will be wood and the two samples I favor are shown here with the one on the right being my favorite. It is kind of "loud" with lots of value differences, but I like the way it pulls all of the woods together. The cabinets selections will be one of the three small wood samples - I have decided on a shaker style door, but have three estimates coming so I will see which I like best. This is the only granite sample I like from the many I have looked at. We found one more today to consider but I need to find a sample to bring home. I am not 100% sure I am going to have granite countertops yet. There are many laminates I really like and we have a small kitchen, but a lot of countertop with a large peninsula. One thing for sure, it is going to be a summer without a kitchen. They will start the removal process on June 14th and from then on, we be "roughing it" until early August I suspect. The first decision is the cupboards.

My prayers and love go out to the families in Joplin, MO as they begin the hard road of recovering from this tragedy. I have spent some time there in the past when I was traveling and teaching. It is a lovely area with the most wonderful people.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Birthdays . . .

Friday we went over to Missoula to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday. We took her to lunch and had a good long visit which we all enjoyed. We are going to have a larger celebration for her this summer, but I wanted to be sure to celebrate the day and I am so glad we went.

Today we had another birthday celebration - we went to help Walker celebrate his big 2 year old birthday. His Grandpa Ross and Grandma Yvonne from Portland were also there to help celebrate. The "Grandpa Ross" was my first husband and is Stan's dad. I am glad he and Yvonne were able to be there. I am also really glad that they have been happily married for all of these years - and I am very happy that I have not been married to him for all of these years.

But it is okay that we are now able to have a nice family evening - short and cordial - always appropriate - there were a lot of years that would not have been possible. Time is such an amazing leveler - or maybe we just forget as we get older. It was a difficult divorce - I was young, left to raise two little boys, had no job, no self-esteem, and lots of public humiliation. With God's grace and support, we all made it. I thank Him every day.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal and watched Walker open his gifts. I made him this quilt - nothing fancy, but he loves trains and needs a new soft blanket to cuddle so I hope this one will get worn out from use. I used minkee on the back and brought it around for the binding. The batting is bamboo and it is so soft. I love it!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday . . .

Here it is Thursday - what happened to Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday? It has been a busy week. Working to select items for the kitchen and getting in some sewing and some customer quilting. I finished a little quilt for Walker for his 2nd birthday party coming this Sunday. I will post a picture later.

Today we left fairly early to do our delivery for the senior grocery program for the Gallatin Food Bank. Bob and I do this once a month and our route is in Manhattan. We then met up with Rainy and the little boys for lunch and the boys came out with us for the afternoon and evening while Rainy got ready for a garage sale. Tonight I ran into the mall to find a little something to take to Mom. We are going over to Missoula tomorrow to celebrate her 90th birthday with her. We will have a party with family and friends in July.

I woke in the middle of the night wondering if I should select granite or laminate for counter tops. I went back and forth thinking of pros and cons. Then I thought, I wish I didn't have to do the delivery for senior groceries and I would go look again at some counter top examples in town and that might help me decide. Then it hit me. Delivering to seniors in need is soul work and if I am laying awake wondering about granite versus laminate counter top, my spirit needs some soul work. Sleep came very easily then.

We will leave early as it is 200 miles each way so I had best get my head on the pillow.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Another windy day . . .

This wind is endless - or so it seems. We rarely get wind in this valley so it is causing lots of damage with signs, trees, and electrical problems.

We had a very productive day - went out for breakfast first. Our kitchen is still out of commission so it was a nice change from the cold cereal we have been enjoying. More on the kitchen later in the week as we know more.

We worked on going through some stuff in the garage and started with a storage area. We are going to participate in a community garage sale on Saturday and we want to make a "workout" area in a room just off the garage. Bob also got the Corvette running - that might be some fun. It is a 1969 and he bought it new.

I got caught up this evening on the block of the month that I am working on in one of the longarm online groups. TV was pretty good and that always make the piecing go faster. I am using two different color groups. The first one is all batiks - reds, blacks, pinks, oranges with a pale blush batik for the background. The second set is made from a group of fabrics I have had for an eon - reproduction fabrics. We all started together in February and the churn dash is the block selected for this month. They are 12 inch blocks and I am hoping to get at least 9 of them done.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fast week .; . .

I am never sure how a week can go by so quickly.

Kitchen . . . The insurance will pay for returning the kitchen to the original status and that will mean new floors and probably new laminate counter tops if they can't get them out to remove the floor and wall section without having to cut them. We have had estimates on new cabinets, wood floor, and granite counter tops as well as tile like is there now and laminate. So we will see what we will decide. We will have the restoration company do the work to remove the water damaged areas and the mold as soon as possible - just had to wait for the insurance company decision. The mold area is totally taped off. Once we start the removal part, the kitchen will not be usable and if we order new cupboards we could be without a kitchen for two months.

The sickies . . . We had both little guys out here on Wednesday and they were both sick. Walker could not keep anything in and it came out both ends with gusto. I felt so sorry for the little guy as he just wanted to sit on Grandma's lap and snooze or cuddle. He was a sick little guy and here is is during one of his awake times on my lap. Weston was on the mend and doing better. But today, my big guy got it and he has been down all day - or should I say down until he has to make the bathroom dash. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am going to miss this one.

Quilting . . . I picked up a couple new customers this week and that will be fun. They are both beginners, but so nice and seem to be easy to please. I also put this little train quilt together this afternoon for Walker's 2nd birthday which is coming up soon. He is totally in love with trains and this was a panel. I thought I might find one of Thomas the Train, but this is the best I could do on short notice since i didn't know about the new train theme for the birthday party. The panel was an odd shape - long and narrow so I cut it apart and kind of framed each picture. The background is a polka dot. I have minkee for the backing. I need to get it loaded and quilted in the next day or so. I have some fun projects and quilts to quilt so time in my studio is lots of fun.

So - that is about it. Another busy week. A good one!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rain, rain, rain . . .

It has rained all day here. It started in the night and has not let up. It is supposed to rain most of tomorrow. The predictions are for sunshine the following 5 days and that is going to be grand. We sure can't complain considering all of the really bad weather and flooding some parts of the country are having.

I worked in my studio today and finished a table runner from Breakfast Club. It was the project from March when we were in Arizona. Have you ever made a simple block and nothing goes right? For some reason, every seam I sewed, I also "un-sewed" at least once. And that started from the very beginning. I am just glad it is done. I spotted another error today, the one pin-wheel, but it will stay. Normally, I would take it out, but this project has a mind of it's own and I declare "you win".

The next project is from April Breakfast Club and it will be a wall hanging. I don't like the pattern as it was presented, so I made a couple minor changes and I will like it better. That oriental print will be the border - or I may make it into a jacket and stash the whole project. I haven't liked any of the project patterns this year. Each month, we can decide to make placemats, a table runner, or a quilt of various sizeds using blocks presented. I enjoy sewing together with others in the group - it is a great group of ladies. And the breakfasts are fun, but the projects are not appealing to me at all. I am not sure what I will do about that as the year progresses. I signed up for the year, but I feel I am spending time piecing on projects I have no passion for completing. Not a good place to be, huh?

Now, I will get back to work on my customer quilting and work on these little projects in the evening or early morning hours. I had to do some maintenance on my longarm today and it is ready to roll in the morning.

Stay dry and warm.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day . . .

Here is one of my favorite pictures of my Mom with Meagan taken about 7 years ago. Mom will be 90 in a couple weeks. She and I have built some wonderful bridges these past couple weeks during her visit here and after her time back in Missoula. It is the best Mother's Day to have my heart filled with love for her again . . . it has been too long in returning. Lots of blessings on this Mother's Day.

And there is more . . . the first picture is of my son, Stan, and his two boys, Walker and Weston. This was taken at Easter when we were all together here. Of course, there is another wonderful mother who makes this family tick and that is Rainy. Happy Mother's Day.

The second picture is of my son, Roy, and Meagan and I took this picture when we were there at Christmas. Meagan is now 7 and has changed a bit since that photo above. Roy is a single dad who sometimes has to do the work of the mom as well. He works hard to be the best and he succeeds. Happy Mother's Day.

So, all of this is why I enjoy this day.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wonderful day . . .

We had a great afternoon and evening. Walker was here this afternoon and then I picked up Weston from his Friday afternoon activity program of gymnastics, swimming and open play. He loves it.

This evening we went out to Three Forks to have dinner at Pompey's Grill which is the dining room in the newly remodeled Sacajawea Inn. It was a glorious dinner. It is owned by the same family that owns Wheat Montana. They really know how to work hard to create success. We met our friends Chuck and Carol there and enjoyed good conversation over dinner and then we went to their home for coffee and dessert. We are planning our first "summer" camping outing with them in June. They have a 5th wheel and we are thinking of a week at Canyon Ferry Lake.

New awareness . . .

A new awareness this morning - like a gentle breeze across my being. This quote is a good summary.

"A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals." Larry Bird

Thank you, God, for the talent you have given me. I have set my goals for my fiber art and now I am off to do some development.

No excuses!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

more news. . .

Here is a picture of the area where the dishwasher was and the range is moved out as there was also water damage behind it. We were advised to tape off the area because there is mold. The dishwasher has been moved totally out of the kitchen. We will soon move the range out for storage until we get things fixed.

Today the insurance adjuster came to survey the kitchen situation. She assured us we do have mold coverage to a good limit in our policy and coverage for repairing water damage. That is good news. But she also said the company's decision to cover this depends on a clause that references if this was a recurring or ongoing problem. That means we should have known sooner that the water was leaking from the motor shaft/pump area of the dishwasher. Now that is pretty tough. How often do you pull out your dishwasher to see if it is leaking from the motor shaft/pump area in the back. We did not notice this until the wall on the backside showed the first signs of being wet and that was on Sunday when Bob then pulled out the dishwasher (not as easy as you might think) and called it in on Monday.

But, it could be interesting. An appraiser from a local restoration company also came while she was here. We had an appointment for Monday, but she called him and he came sooner. That is a good thing. He could determine where the areas were wet with a tool he used - including under the existing tile. In order to return the area to required standards of repair and restoration, his recommendation is to move out the lower cupboards on both sides which means to remove the counter top. The counter top is "l-shaper", large and done in one piece so it would have to be cut for removal. The subfloor is wet under the row of tile closest to the dishwasher and range opening. That means remove tile and since it can't be matched, it would mean removing all of the tile which is in the entire kitchen and through the back butler kitchen area. So this half of the kitchen would need to be removed to the subfloor to make sure the water damage is restored and the mold removed. Some areas of subfloor may need to be replaced. The area behind the dishwasher and range is a regular wall and the sheetrock on both sides will need to be removed and replaced. We should know by next week what the decisions will be. Until then - the plastic is in place and we have some thinking to do. And - no cooking.

Tomorrow our little grandson, Walker, comes to visit and it is safe. So we will enjoy our time with him. Life is interesting, huh?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I would show a picture, but . . .

just believe me it is a mess.

Our dishwasher has been leaking - maybe for some time. The water has gone under the tile, under the range, cupboards, and through the wall between the kitchen and family room. It wasn't until we saw the small wet marks starting on the wall on the back side that we realized there was a problem.

It appears the kitchen will need to be dismantled - cupboards moved out - tile taken up - sub floor replaced - range and dishwasher moved out with the dishwasher replaced of course.

So what is good about this? This may be the total kitchen remodel I have been thinking I would love to do, but hated to deal with the mess. Well, the mess is a reality - so on to the new kitchen. It will take some time, lots of picture gazing, estimates, shopping, and all of that stuff. I might as well make it fun, huh?

I will share pictures once we get started. The existing kitchen is mostly from when the house was built 35 years ago. We did some updating about 12 years ago. More is on the way.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

And the saga continues. . .

Whew - it is Sunday and what a blessing that is.

I will be quick about an update on the past 4 days.

Wednesday - Mom and I looked at condos here for her to consider in her thinking about moving here from her senior living apartment in Missoula. We found several that she liked and one in particular that she thought she really wanted. She seemed to be really excited about the move.

We had the Australian family here for supper on Wednesday evening and invited in some neighbors who wanted to meet them as they had spent lots of time in Australia. It was a fun night and supper was simple - soup in the crockpot, great bread from a local bakery, wonderful salad and cookies for dessert - all something I could gather ahead during the day so Mom and I could do the condo search right up until dinner time.

Thursday - Mom and I headed back to Missoula. She was so excited about the possibility of moving here into the lovely, new little place. When we got there we looked through her apartment to see what would go where. It would be fun to have her here and I think it would help us mend some wounds from the past 6 years.

I drove home through Helena and had supper with my good friend, Laurena. We talked "RV-ing" and "mom-ing". Good friends like that are few and far between. Then I drove home to Bozeman with the last 40 miles driving in a snow storm. Will the snow ever end?

Friday - Up early, early to watch the royal wedding live and then take Bob in for an upper GI endoscopy to check out a couple little issues. All is well there with only some medicine change - nothing serious, thank goodness.

We picked up Walker right after that to watch him in the afternoon and that evening we enjoyed a wonderful meal with our Australian guests in their motorhome. Another busy day.

Saturday - The Australians were planning to leave and Stan needed help getting his trailer out of storage. So Bob was off playing the RV assistant. Weston came out with his dad, but decided Grandma's house was more fun than moving RV's. It helped that there were three boys here riding bikes in the snow. Yes, it had snowed again overnight.

I called Mom to see how she was doing after her big decision to move over here. She had changed her mind and decided to stay in her senior apartment in Missoula. I was disappointed at first as I thought we could enjoy some good times together, but I want her to do whatever she feels is best for her. So, put those dreams away - again.

Then when the Aussie's big motorhome (41 feet) started to move out, it bogged down in the very wet ground as the sun had come out and everything is saturated. After some unsuccessful efforts to remove it from being stuck, a call was made again to AAA to send out the tow truck. They got off and all was well.

Bob and I then took Weston with us and picked up Stan and Walker to meet up with Rainy (who had gone to church) for supper. When we got home we noticed water marks near the baseboard on the family room side of the kitchen. So, Bob is spending the day pulling out the dishwasher and stove to see how extensive the damage is and to see what is the cause.

I am thinking it is a sign that the kitchen remodel is on . . . no sense putting money into new sub floor, etc. and then just put it back as usual. We will see.

Yes, it has been busy here - but is has been a wonderful week filled with lots of blessings.