Friday, July 3, 2009

The First Day(s) of the Rest of Our Lives

Ok, I’m still not feeling retired but the fact that I’m not tethered to the job via Blackberry is starting to feel strange.
The sleeping Tuesday night was wonderful with temps in the low 60’s and the campground so quiet that we didn’t get up until after 7:00. I enjoyed my coffee under the awning and a walk with the dogs before Ken cooked up potatoes and eggs for breakfast.

We didn’t get in to Kyle’s house until after 10am, but Ken immediately went to work.
Whoever owned the house had really short-changed some of their remodeling efforts. For example, rather than hard wire the bathroom vanity light, they had the cord running to a plug-in. Ken dove in to that wiring project and sent Kyle and I to the hardware store.

I'll give you a quick photo tour of Kyle's first home...

As you drive up to the house there's a nice relatively new drive. The front door leads in to the living room to your right and the master bedroom to the left.

Before we go in we'll drive around back. In the back of the house is the small garage. It does not actually have a driveway. Apparently when they added the kitchen and deck on the back they changes all the back entries from the west side of the house to the east. The large covered patio has a door in to the utility room with the kitchen to the far back of the house.

So let's go in through the back door.

There is a large back hallway/utility area. As you see, this is where Ken has set up 'shop'.

To your right from the utility is the kitchen. It has nice updated cabinetry, and countertops and 4 nice windows for plenty of natural lighting

There's pleny of room for a kitchen table.

Off the utility/hallway is the bathroom. This is where Ken had to hardwire the vanity light which the past owners simply had plugged in to the outlet.

He also had to work out a way to put supports behind the bathtub faucet.
While it appears that they had recently remodeled they had not secured the pipes and the faucet was moving several inches in and out of the wall.

Walking back through the utility/hallway we get to the large living room. All of the ceilings are 9 foot high and have ceiling fans.

The master bedroom is reached from the front part of the living rooom.

There's a door next to the master that leads to the staircase to the 2nd level.

The 2nd floor bedroom is made up of all 3 of the small roof gables.

The second mainfloor bedroom is reached from the other end of the living room. It's obvious from the paint colors that this was a child's room.

The only entrance to the basement is from the back porch but it has a new set of doors and is underroof so really not too bad.

There is a surprising amount of storage room in the basement.

Ok, that's about it for the tour. We're back on the back porch looking out toward the front of the house and at Kyle's car. One of Ken's next projects is to put an outdoor water spicket on that basement wall to your right. The only spicket now is now the far side of the house which isn't of much use since there isn't anything over there!!

Oh, before we leave, take a look at the backyard. It's nice and big with a large alley. In fact, we will probably park the motorhome there on occasion when we are only staying for a short time.

One of the things I love about small town living are the stores. People at the hardware store are really helpful and Kyle always seems to be running in to people he knows.

After we delivered the items from the store, Kyle and I made the next important trip which was shopping for the major appliances he would need. Kyle ended up purchasing from ‘Big Ed’ in Litchfield—new refrigerator, gas range, washer, dryer and dishwasher. Big Ed was quite the talker and we learned a lot of local history in a very short time including that their were lots of local Frerich's families but they spelled their name with an 'h' not a 'k' and were Lutheran not Catholic. We suspect that the 'h' spelling is actually the correct spelling anyway.

When we got back to the house there was a major deliberation over the dishwasher situation. There was no place for a dishwasher in the kitchen. Kyle and Ken had discussed building a cabinet area to house the unit, but the more we talked about it the more no one was convinced it was a good plan. So in the end, we called ‘Big Ed’ and told him to drop the dishwasher and we’d come over the next day and reconsider the portable he had there. I had a portable dishwasher decades ago and hated it so it wasn’t my first choice but based on the kitchen layout, we all decided that it might be the smarter move.

At lunchtime, Kyle treated us to the pizza buffet at Reno’s Italian Restaurant on the square. Great food and $7 for all the pizza, pasta, and salad you want with drink and tax included.
Ken’s afternoon project was one we hadn’t anticipated. Again, their seemed to be some less than professional workmanship done on the bathtub plumbing and the faucet moved all over in the wall. This turned out to be a bit of a challenge even for super-handyman Ken but after several hours, 2x4’s and expletives, he was successful in stabilizing the pipes. He was very surprised the home inspector had not found this because it was a mold and water-damage problem just waiting to happen.

A new outside dryer vent was needed and there were lots of places where wires were running in and out of the house that had not been caulked.
By 6pm we were all tired and called it a day.

Kyle said he’d rather just stay in town on his own for dinner so Ken and I enjoyed a quiet evening back at the RV. We did ham steak on the grill with noodles and peas. By about 7:30 Ken was saying “Is it dark yet, can I go to bed…omg, I’m sounding like I should be in a nursing home!!” He did a lot so its not surprising he was exhausted. It’s good that we will be heading home tomorrow afternoon so he doesn’t make himself sick trying to get everything done that he sees. Kyle doesn’t expect to buy a 90-year old house and have it in Ken-perfect condition in a week or two.

It was another lovely night for sleeping and I think we were both asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow.

Thursday morning, Ken suggested we ‘splurge’ and go to the restaurant on the lake for breakfast. Its really a comfortable little café with great food, a wonderful view across the lake, and lots of hummingbirds visiting their many feeders on the cafe deck.

I learned something new from Ken based on the orders placed by the two old guys on either side of us. He said, “Both of those guys were probably in the military”. When I asked why he told me that there were two clues. One was that while both had on over-alls and work boots, the boots were spit-shine spotless. The other clue was that they ordered their eggs over hard. Apparently in WWII days in the army, the breakfast lines were always shorter for the guys who didn’t want their eggs over easy or medium, since the cooks were always breaking the yolks and had plenty over hard. After awhile, they guys who wanted plenty of eggs and didn’t want to have to wait learned to like their eggs that way. Now is that just a story from one of the older uncles or have other people heard that as well?

We were on the road to Litchfield by a little after 9am. ‘Big Ed’ wasn’t in so Kyle dealt with his son and decided to include the portable dishwasher instead of the built-in. The whole order is going to be delivered next Tuesday afternoon. Since Kyle works all of next week we’ll need to be there for the delivery. I’m really happy that he is patronizing a local smalltown dealer.
When we got back to the new house, we set ourselves in to scrupping down the siding in the patio area. It reminded me of what my Mom used to say when she’d come over to help clean at my first house. “Boy, it feels really good to clean here, because its so obvious that you’ve accomplished something when your finished!” I do believe that patio will probably be one of the most used areas of the property.

Stay tuned! Next installment will cover our brief return to Quincy for our annual Croquet tournament and picnic.

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