Thursday, December 1, 2016

One Special Bird

Recently, I told you about my morning with Sarah and her friend, Beth. Here's what Sarah and I did the rest of the morning after we left Beth and her singing. It was a simple, routine morning, but one that gave me a smile for the rest of the day.

The air had a chill to it as Sarah and I did our regular walk from one building to the other on a short path that goes through the woods. Sarah enjoys these walks because she loves everything to do with nature. We always stop and examine a leaf, bug, or bird along the way. Actually, we examine many leaves and bugs- some of which we collect. More often than not, our pockets are full of her treasures. This morning as we were walking along, Sarah said she saw a skunk. I told her, I wasn't sure it was a skunk and suggested that maybe it was a cat. I then told her about a black and white cat I used to have named Samantha.

I shared stories about how Samantha would stand up on her hind legs and hold her paws like she was praying. I also told her how Samantha would drag clothes into a pile and how one time she made a pile of my mother's underwear by the front door. Sarah was amused by these stories and asked how old Samantha was. I told her that Samantha lived a long time ago and she had died.

We finished our walk to the other building and sat down to examine our treasures. However, Sarah had other things on her mind. She was obviously still thinking about Samantha because she told me that it was okay to be sad sometimes and gave me a big hug. She said that she had my back and she loved me. But to top it all off, she dug through the bag of stuffed animals she had with her and picked out one specific one for me. It was a very well loved Beanie Baby bird that she told me was a kookaburra. I was afraid that Sarah would miss this bird when she got home so I suggested that she could keep it for me and she could bring it back every time we met. You see, even though Sarah has dozens and dozens of stuffed animals, she has given each one a name and personality. She would definitely know if one were missing. But she insisted that I keep it, so I did.

After our very tender moments of Sarah consoling me about the loss of Samantha, we started to sing Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum tree laughing as we sang. A perfect ending to another special morning with Sarah.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thankful Sunday--November 27, 2016

I don't have a picture of Beth.
Instead, here's a picture of a few leaves still hanging on.

I am thankful for Beth.

I spent the morning at church with my special buddy, Sarah. We met in the youth chapel and had breakfast before singing with the praise band (kids playing guitars, drum, piano, etc.). The songs were contemporary and fun to sing. Sarah loves music and she usually has one of the stuffed animals she brings do motions to the songs. We both have fun with this. This morning while she spun her stuffed dog, Riley, I danced with Beanie Baby ostrich, Stretch.

While all of this was enjoyable, that was not the best part for me. It was watching Sarah's friend,
Beth sign the songs. Beth is a young adult with Down's Syndrome who goes to the front and "sings" each song with sign language. She is very expressive and is beautiful to watch. She truly moves me each time I see her. For Beth and this special gift she shares, I am thankful.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Thankful Sunday, November 20, 2016

I am thankful for my new house.

The moving trucks showed up and we've actually moved! We have enough stuff in our new house that this is where we sleep at night. Now to empty the boxes and figure out how to fit things into their different spaces.  I think we have have all of the utilities switched including the internet that we got turned on yesterday.  It was a nice break to not have it for a few days, but I'm happy to be connected again. You may we remember that we are a dinosaur family with no smart phones or devices with internet.

The cats are adjusting better than we had expected, but still need a lot of attention. Both to calm them and to keep them out of places they shouldn't be. They have already figured out how to get around one barrier we set up. So much for the theory that our geriatric cats couldn't jump that high.

The old house now needs some serious painting and other cosmetic fix ups so it can go onto the market. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm really looking forward to concentrating on only one house. Soon enough.

Below are a few pictures from our move.

There are a lot of moving companies out there, some good and some shady. I picked one after selecting three to interview from Angie's List and the BBB. They all seemed good so I chose the one with the cheapest hourly rate since local moves are charged by the hour. We did all of our own packing and had already moved some of the more delicate things ourselves before moving day. They did an excellent job and we will definitely use them for our next move when we move the things we left for staging. 

All of our boxes had both a color code and writing on them to help the movers to know what room things went into. We had the tape on all four sides and the top so they wouldn't have to rotate the box to find the label. If you study the list above, you may notice that we have a Bedroom #2 and a Master Bedroom, but are missing a Bedroom #1. When we were boxing things, we were too tired to go find another color of tape, so they didn't get labeled. However very quickly the movers figured out if the box didn't have a label, it went into Bedroom #1.

Each room also had a sign to identify which room it was.

So far, we have not found one misplaced box. I think the organization also sped things up because the move came in under estimate. All three moving companies estimated approximately the same amount of man-hours for our move and they finished two hours faster than that.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Another step forward

We finally have a moving date scheduled for this Thursday. Hooray! Well, actually, it's the first move date as some of the things will stay in the old house for staging and will move when it sells. We will be stretching some areas a bit during this transition time, but that should be okay. It won't be the first time that we've used moving boxes as furniture.

So you may have surmised that if we're moving the new construction on the new house is done. Almost. The new master bath is done and looks really good. There's nothing like something new and shiny. :) Also, the floors are done. We can walk on them now and they should be cured enough for the heavy traffic of the move by Thursday. There's still a bit of construction going on in the basement and we've found three different leaks last week that need some attention, but those can be dealt with later.

Not surprisingly, we have been packing in earnest this weekend. We are lucky that the houses are only 20 minutes apart so we have been packing delicate and awkward items and taking them over ourselves. This way we don't have to do the extra packing it would take to put them in a moving van. And in some cases, we've been able to put them in their places which is so much the better.

Better get back to packing so I can get another box or two done before I go to work. Below are before and after pictures of the bathroom.

The old toilet and shower were in a separate room and very cramped. This was the main motivation for changing things.

The shower stall was opposite the toilet and you had to sit on the toilet to get out of the way of the door when it was opened.

The other part of the bathroom was not too bad. There was a reach-in closet on one side and vanity on the other. However, we wanted two sinks instead of one. The carpet was also pretty worn.

In the new bathroom, you can see the wall is down between the vanity and the toilet. The toilet is just peeking up on the far side. We took part of the closet away to enlarge the shower. Also, I'm really looking forward to the heated floor.

A look inside the shower. While not huge, we're thrilled because this is a bigger shower than we've ever had. We expect to get a lot of use out of the bench.

Another view of the vanity wall. You may have noticed the walls are very blue. It reminds me of the the color of a bluebird's egg and was chosen to specifically be something cheery in the morning. This is a big departure for us. We're more of the variation on beige people.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

A Second Look--November 10, 2016

While turning into my driveway yesterday, I noticed an unusual sight--a day lily blooming. Not something you usually see this time of year. Well, all of the work that was waiting for me inside just had to wait a little longer while I went to get my camera. And as long as I was out there, I did a quick Second Look around the yard. Once again, there was nothing like a look at nature to put me in a good frame of mind. 

Here are a few things I saw this week 
during a Second Look.

There were two more little day lily blooms besides this one.

I also found a coneflower blooming in another part of the yard. We have had a couple of hard frosts, so I was surprised to find this.

I have been collecting seeds from plants, including these marigolds, to take to the new house.

The squirrels are beginning to enlarge this hole on the birdhouse for a winter home. We already had to repair a large hole they made another year.


Ailanthus webworm moth on mum

While there is still plenty of color to be found, many trees have now lost most of their leaves.