Friday, August 10, 2018

Recent writing

Since I've had a hard time getting around to posting here lately, I thought I would share a couple of my recent columns for the local publication I write for. Promise to be back with more original blogging stuff soon.

Monday, July 16, 2018

About done

It was not my intention to go another month without writing something here, and I guess it has not been an entire month, but I am only a few days shy of it.

I do have a few topics in mind, so maybe I'll hopefully get those addressed in short order and be here more frequently.

I've always found summer to be an odd season. People will ask me, "How is your summer going?"  I don't remember anyone asking me the same about winter, fall or spring. I guess it's because of the school calendar and since most all of us went to school at some point in time, many of us still think of summer as a time of having a break in the routine, or for travel. 

That's beside the point, other than to tell you that just as Wife and I entered the summer season, we found ourselves still in the midst of a house project that we had expected to be done long before.

Late last year we decided that this year we would do a renovation of our master bathroom. Our house was built in the 80s and while our bathroom was a nice size, it had a wall separating one of the sink/vanity areas and the true bathroom -- the area with tub/shower, toilet and another sink. There was also a walk-in closet on the other side of the sink/vanity.

Our vision was to knock out both walls and open it all up. We would reconfigure a bit and have a walk-in shower only rather than a tub with a shower.

We were mostly able to do what we envisioned, but ended up keeping part of the closet, which was a good thing. It  all ended up very nice and we are pleased but oh my, it sure took a long time. Demolition started in February and the finishing touches did not take place until about two weeks ago.

Since I am not handy like my blogger friend Ed who regularly impresses with pictures of his home improvement projects, this was a hired-out job. The folks who did the work were great, but there were a lot of moving parts (and different crews for demolition, tiling, plumbing, etc.) that caused it to take so long. In addition, two fixtures arrived broken and had to be returned and replaced, and the first toilet did not fit. All of that set us back.

I got kind of tired of it along about month four, and when Wife would ask me a question about something like a paint color, I would tell her it did not matter to me, that I had lost interest! That's not entirely true -- I was just frustrated. And I should have been more cooperative when she asked my opinion.

But today we are about there. I say "about" because the bathroom is fully functional, but we're still putting things back in place. I put up shelves in the closet over the weekend and Wife is in the midst of filling them with sheets, linens and miscellaneous items.

Over the 17 years we have lived in this house, we have had a number of such projects. The owners from whom we bought this house would scarcely recognize it today. It definitely has our signature.
When budgeting time and money for such a project, my policy has been to triple the original budget in my mind so I won't go crazy when we only double it (that's an exaggeration but you know what I mean), and to have no expectations about a completion date.

That's easy for me to say, but when the budget is exceeded and deadlines pass, I still become impatient. To be fair, we stayed mostly on budget this time, but I did become a bit antsy when it ended up taking so long.

But now it's done. I just took a lovely shower in there. It was worth the wait.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ten years

Ten years ago today I made the first entry on this blog.

I'm not going to make a big deal out of that other than to say, as I look back over these past ten years,
it's gone soooooo fast and so much has happened. I gained a daughter-in-law (DIL) and son-in-law (SIL). I made a job change. I chilled out a lot about politics (and please disregard a whole lot of my political commentary in those early years of the blog). Older Son had just graduated from college when I wrote my first entry and since that time Daughter and Younger Son also completed their higher education. Over the past ten years I lost weight, gained weight, and well, we'll see how it goes as I continue to battle that particular demon in my life. I keep saying I'll lose it and keep it off.

I am not nearly as faithful to the blog as I used to be, but I still try to check in here from time to time. As regular stoppers-by know, I write a weekly column for a local publication and sometimes -- much of the time -- that's about all I can manage.

And yet . . .

I still enjoy maintaining this presence here and especially enjoy reading the entries posted by the friends I've made over the years. Thanks to all of you and I hope we continue the relationship.


Older Son, Younger Son, SIL and I made our annual baseball trip a couple of weekends ago. We had a tremendous time and packed a lot, including two games at Citizens Bank Park where the Philadelphia Phillies play, into 48-ish hours. We toured Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell, went to Geno's and Pat's, the famous makers of Philly Cheese Steaks that are across the street from each other, and the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, made famous in the "Rocky" movies.

With technology that enables us to book a room (Airbnb), get around (Uber and Lyft) without the necessity of using cash, and find our way around with the GPS app, we are able to maximize our time on these short trips.

Regular visitors here also know I have a love/hate relationship with technology but there is no doubt, over these past ten years, I have bought into the many advantages it affords me.

By the way, with this baseball park visit, Older Son has only three to go in this journey we began when he was eight years old. I am a few behind him and Younger Son is just a hair behind me. SIL was late to this party, but he's gaining ground.

But as Younger Son once eloquently put it, it's not a race. And it's tremendous fun.