This is Spring?


Spring has officially sprung here in Kentucky, but I have seen very little evidence of it so far. We had a couple of warm days last week, but it is cold again with highs in the 40-degree range. There is even a chance of sleet and snow today and tomorrow!

I did get to work outside for a bit yesterday morning. Believe it or not, four years after our massive ice storm I am still using a chainsaw to remove damaged limbs from trees. Although the main portion of our lawn has been in pretty good shape since we moved here three years ago, the trees and undergrowth lining our wooded area is another story. Due to the threat of snakes and poison ivy, there is a very short window of opportunity each year for me to get in there and remove downed limbs, dead trees, etc. This time of year seems to work best for that; too cold for snakes, but not too cold for me.

Even so, I am about to die for warmer weather. As I was perusing some of my springtime photos from last year, I noticed they were dated March 15th. The photos showed blooming trees, bushes, flowers, and green grass. It is now almost April, but there is barely anything blooming outdoors. The jonquils are making a valiant effort, but the frosty mornings haven’t done them any favors. I do see the promising sight of buds on many of our trees though, so I know the beautiful blossoms are just around the corner.

We recently had our front porch jack-hammered out, our back deck removed, and a new front porch and large back patio poured along with three new sets of steps. We are currently in the early stages of getting a roof added over our back patio so we can enjoy it regardless of the weather. Maybe by the time the roof is finished, it will actually be warm enough to BBQ.

One more thing… that groundhog in Pennsylvania is a liar.


Windowgate 2011 – The newest set of windows are installed and look fantastic! This installer seemed to really know what he was doing, and even though we went with the same window brand the second time around, they were sized correctly and the house is even quieter.

Kindle – Honey gave me a Kindle e-reader for my birthday last week, and he was really happy to actually be able to surprise me for once. I absolutely adore the thing. The first book I chose to download is currently in the top spot on Amazon – Water for Elephants. The writing is brilliant, so I’m wondering how the recently-released movie bearing the same name will compare. Books are typically much better, aren’t they?

Birthday – We celebrated my birthday so many times over the past week that I’m a little scared to get on the scales, but I felt very loved throughout the various lunches, dinners, and parties. I am fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful people.

A bright, sunshiny day

I loved today. It was one of those extravagantly beautiful days where the temperature is just perfect and there is nary a cloud in the sky. To make it even more sublime, I was given the day off with pay by my superiors. In case that sounds like the result of disciplinary action for misbehavior, it was actually a gesture of appreciation. Knowing today’s weather forecast, I certainly didn’t argue when it was offered.

For some reason, when I don’t have to get up with an alarm, I tend to wake up earlier than normal. My eyes pop open and my mind begins to ponder all the things that I should be up doing. I’m extra-tired this evening because of that, and also because I stayed up late last night thinking I would be sleeping in this morning. No such luck.

Anyway, I spent most of my day working out in the yard. It’s my form of therapy, and (depressing thought ahead) one of the few things in my life that I actually enjoy doing. I’m thrilled to report that some of the flowers I worried about surviving the frigid winter are beginning to poke their heads above ground. Seeing them feeds my spirit and I often take a moment to send a “Thank you” to the nice guy in the sky.

My sister and her kids stopped by this afternoon, and I sent them home with day lilies, irises, surprise lilies, and forsythia. Bessie smiled so brightly that I got a tan.

We are still trying to get our window problems resolved. Right now, we have plastic covering the outside of the windows that leaked during last week’s storm. The installers admitted that they covered the drain holes on the windows, so we no longer trust that they know what they are doing or that they won’t only make things worse if we allow them to try to fix the various problems. It looks like we will be having these windows removed and new ones installed by a different company. Wish us luck.

Regardless of the home improvement problems, I feel happy and content. I love this house, this land, and my wonderful partner. One year here, six years with him. I am a blessed man.

One step forward, two steps back

We were delighted when we had our new windows installed a few weeks ago. They gave the house a much-needed facelift, blocked outside noise, and promised to be more energy-efficient. We had researched the window manufacturer and gotten two recommendations from personal friends before choosing the installer. It was an added bonus that they actually provided the least expensive estimate that we received.

Huge thunderstorms rolled through today, and the rain came down in torrents. Honey called me this afternoon after finding water in one of the bedroom floors, and I rushed home to discover damp spots in the carpet under another window. We were devastated and frustrated, so Honey took a few moments to calm down before calling the installer to report the problem. We had to leave a message, because the business owners are out of town on vacation.

From what we can gather, the rain actually leaked in around the window and into the wall underneath. The outside of the drywall or the inside sill wasn’t wet, so it seems likely that the insulation in the wall under the windows is probably soaked.

We are currently in wait-and-see mode. Luckily, we haven’t sent in our payment yet, so the company should have a good reason to satisfy our concerns. Wish us luck…

On how life is

We’ve already been living at the new place for almost four months. The change has been difficult at times, but this place feels more like home every day. It’s strange that I don’t really miss the old place at all, even when we go over to visit Mrs. J.

We have made a million improvements to the new place already, but there is still so much to do that it gets a little overwhelming. The new roof was the biggest cosmetic and most expensive thing that we’ve done so far. The most awesome thing we’ve done is installing a Rinnai tankless water heater. We also had a storm shelter buried in the back yard – something that I’ve wanted for many years.

Honey recently started a new teaching job that forces him to commute 3 hours a day. He plans to get a job closer to home next year, which should be much easier with some experience under his belt. We are learning to prioritize our limited time together so that the focus is more on quality than quantity.

Between work, church, and taking care of things around the house, I find that I have very little time for much else. Even so, I feel pretty content with my life most of the time. I am blessed. I am thankful.

Eye can see a difference

If the average human eye can perceive millions of colors, mine must see billions. I say this because when it comes to coordinating colors, I might be the pickiest person on the planet.

Case in point, a couple of days ago we decided to mix up the color scheme in the living room. It was time for the coral-colored throw pillows, abstract curtains, and large flamingo print to go. We found a fantastic set of lamps with crimson and gold shades and used them as our starting point.

Curtains seemed like the next logical purchase, so we picked out some panels that appeared to be a good match. Since the lamps were in the car while we were shopping for curtains, we had to rely on memory to pick just the right color. They looked pretty close at first, but started looking a little orange to me over the next couple of days.

“They’re too rusty,” I kept telling Honey. He argued until he realized it was useless and gave up.

So, I took them down and returned them for something more safe… and neutral. Unfortunately, as soon as I got home with the replacements, I decided that safe and neutral really isn’t visually appealing. These are going back tomorrow and I’m going to take one of the lamp shades with me as I continue my search for the perfect set of drapes.

Honey is used to me being this obsessive about color, but he still gets a little miffed at times – especially when we paint. He’d better brace himself, because the living room is getting a couple of coats really soon.

Remodel progress report

We managed to replace two interior doors last night, which was a miracle considering that neither of us had ever hung one. Removing the old doors was a delicate process, since we didn’t want to destroy the surrounding painted walls. The absolute worst part of hanging a door is shimming it to get the sides perfectly level – not an easy accomplishment in an almost 40-year-old house.

I can now envision just how much this update is going to change the look of our home and it spurs me on!