Following my husband's death in 2008, I moved from Tennessee to Florida to look after my parents. Now I'm living in a retirement community, making friends and trying new things. The most fun I've had has been ballroom dancing. So far, I've taken intro lessons in all the dances and now I'm starting intermediate. I hardly have time to read anymore but I manage four or five dances a week!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Oops, my bad

Must have been a temporary glitch.  Everything is working like it was before.  

So how do you you like my new format?  

Monday, March 29, 2010

Where'd My Pictures Go?

The great news is I got a new MacBook Pro. It's quite a step up from my little MacBook and has all kinds of nifty features.

However, the bad news is that Blogger no longer seems to be able to find the pictures on my computer. What's up with that? To upload a picture Blogger only allows me to choose from pictures on either Picasa or a url. Arrgghhhh!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Remodeling Week Four 3/15 - 3/21

I forgot to mention the big plastic room divider they built in part of my den.  It's to keep a lot of the dust out of the house now that the arched doorway is open to the sunroom.  So I have my dining room table sitting in front of half my couch and a big plastic wall that rustles.  Oh yeah, and there's dust - everywhere.

Actually this week all we've been doing is waiting for the plaster to dry.

I also had a stump removed from right in front of one of my pin oaks.  The new fencing will have to be contoured around the rise at the base of the tree but the stump was really in the way.  It was ground out in about 15 minutes.  Barkley's Tree Service came out as soon as I called and did a great job.  Thank you Richard.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wayland-Felton Wedding Reception

Norma Jean & Bill
Last Friday, Dennis and I went to a wedding reception for two dear friends of ours in the dance community - Bill Wayland and Norma Jean Felton. It was held at the Pioneer Garden Club where USA Dance holds their dances. Norma's daughter-in-law organized the whole thing. It was catered and Bob & Gladys Arthur were the DJs. More than half of the celebrants were dancers and it was called: Come Dance at My Wedding. We were more than happy to oblige. LOL

Dennis & Me
Norma and Bill had a huge picture of themselves from the wedding in the reception area and it had a wide bordered mat around which attendees were asked to sign. What a great idea! Much better than a guest book. Every time they look at the picture they can see who came to the reception.

Frank, Betty & Hilda
This last picture is of three special friends.  Hilda is an "adopted" member of Den's family and is the sweetest person.  Sitting with her are Frank and Betty.  Betty has been dancing a long time; Frank took up dancing and that's how he met Betty.  He's been taking a lot of private dance lessons to keep up with her.  LOL  I get such a kick out of Frank.  He's perfected the grumpy old man routine (although he really isn't) and he puts me in stitches all the time, laughing.

Den and I stayed for the entire three hours and danced almost every dance. Every once in a while, I'd suggest he ought to ask a single woman to dance. He's really good about doing this and the women are so very appreciative because he's such a joy to dance with. I'm a lucky woman because I get most of the dances.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Remodeling Week Three

So now the space has a new concrete floor, sliding glass doors with a doggy door in between and a shingled roof. We're ready to put in a vent for the A/C, insulation and drywall. The framer suggested that arches in the doorway to the den would be a nice touch since I don't plan to close the door anyway. Although I had promised Robert that I wouldn't make ANY changes once I'd signed the contract, I asked if this would be too much trouble and he said, no. In fact, I understand I won't even be charged extra for it. Yay! This was accomplished in three days.

The electrician came out and put the switches where they should have been and then it rained again. This time it was a real gully-washer. Thursday we got six inches of rain. I had a waterfall coming off the back roof. Plus the drywall and concrete floor were having a hard time drying because of all the moisture in the air. It didn't help that the drywall guy left the sliding glass doors open while he worked which let some rain in, as well. So Troy put an industrial fan in the room to try and dry the walls.  This thing is LOUD.  I finally had to turn it off and use my own little oscillating fan.  The drying may take longer but I'll still have my sanity.  *grin*

Sunday, March 21, 2010

FABI Conference at Mission Inn

A week ago, Dennis was the seminar presenter at a FABI (Florida Institute of Building Inspectors) conference. He talked about toxic drywall - what it was and how to recognize it. Then he had a session on Portland cement, it's history and composition. He took them on two walk-throughs of tricky inspections he had done. And last, he had a session on the chemistry of building materials.

Now I'll be honest, I couldn't imagine how he'd keep their attention and presence in that last lecture, but he did. I've seen one of his training videos and Dennis is a talented instructor. He keeps it light and interesting using jokes and a few magic tricks and he talks directly to the audience without any notes. He doesn't mind questions. But what is most impressive is how he deals with someone saying they really don't understand something. Instead of just saying it again, but slowly, he actually approaches the subject from a completely different point of view, explaining it so that the person can understand it. It's a gift.

The conference was held at the Mission Inn which is located in Howie-in-the-Hills. The Mission Inn is a beautiful resort hotel which we've been to once before. This time was even better. FABI put us up in the Valencia Suite, next door to the FABI Hospitality Suite. What a beautiful room and it had an even better view! Actually I don't think there's a bad view anywhere. I neglected to take any pictures on this trip so this view on the right is from our room during our first visit to the resort. In the suite, however, the balcony ran the length of the bedroom and the living room.

I didn't stay the whole weekend. Mom had gotten tickets for us to go to a fashion show at On Top of the World but we weren't certain about the date until after I had agreed to go with Dennis on this weekend. So Saturday, I drove to Ocala to attend the (three hour) fashion show and then drove back to Howie-in-the-Hills for the remainder of the weekend. Luckily it was only a 65 minute drive. But I had to miss almost all of Dennis's lectures.

Sunday morning was lovely. Although we stayed on the comfy couch, we had the doors open to the balcony and we were sitting with our coffee, eating the fruit and cheese that was included with the room, listening to the birds sing and watching an eagle (we think it was an eagle) feeding a hatchling.

Dennis had a lecture at 9:30 and then things kind of fell apart, for me. He sent me back to the room for a camera. I couldn't get in - the key card wouldn't work. Well, I'd noticed it didn't always work the first time from the beginning but thought it was operator error. I went down to the front desk and got a new card and returned to the room. *sigh* That one didn't work either. So, still thinking it was operator error, I went down to the desk again and asked for assistance. The doorman tried the key card and it still didn't work so he called for assistance from Engineering. They had this contraption that would open the door manually. Todd, the first man to respond to the call, couldn't work the contraption right so he called for Richard, who had more experience with this sort of thing. Apparently it was a dead battery in the door lock. Yay, not operator error after all. However, Dennis was getting worried because I had been gone nearly 90 minutes.

When I finally got back to him he was on the chemistry lecture and I was amazed because 90% of the conference participants were still there. It's a testament to how interesting they found him that they were willing to brave a session on the chemistry of building products. And many stayed afterward with questions. He definitely held their interest for the whole weekend. A number of them told him he was the best presenter they'd had. I was very proud of him.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Remodeling Week Two

The shingles went on, Monday, March 1. Someone was still on the roof, finishing up, when I left at 6:45 PM.

On March 2nd they continued to work on the roof and did some framing for the new walls. They removed a window and boarded it up on the 3rd.

Finally, on the 4th, they installed the two sliding glass doors with a doggy door panel in between that will be the walls of my new sunroom and put in the new wiring.

Friday Troy and I had our first disagreement. The electrician had placed the switches for the room four feet away from the door. This was what was specified on his drawing but I was certain that was not what I had told Robert when we were drawing up the contract. In fact, I'm pretty sure I specified where I wanted the switches for the light and fan. It was NOT where the electrician put them. Troy called Robert and explained the situation. Robert's reply was simple and to the point, "Make her happy." heh heh That works for me.

That evening I looked at my contract papers and, sure enough, on the drawings which I approved, the light switches for the fan and light were beside the doorway - just where I had requested. Someone decided to change their location without clearing it with me first. But at least I knew the error was not mine.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Remodeling Week One

I contracted with COA, Inc. They are the division of On Top of the World that does remodeling as opposed to new construction. Robert Colen (part of the Colen family that owns OTOW) has been my contact. He has been everything helpful and very accommodating. My main supervisor is Troy but Jerritt, who is the backup supervisor, is usually here at the same time. They, too, have been generous with information and keeping me up to date with what comes next.

On February 22 construction began when they removed the roof and the aluminum & vinyl walls. Wow, I loved all the sunlight ... until it rained. Water seeped into the spare bedroom which was carpeted. Argh! I had to call Troy to come out and lay down some foam at the French doors to the spare bedroom and the door to the den to stop the water from coming in any further. Poor guy - it was cold and raining.

February 23rd, they removed the old concrete and poured a new slab extending it out four feet from the wall (or where the wall would be). When it finally stopped raining, the roofing company put up the new trusses and roofing felt on the 26th.

And then it rained again but at least the water wasn't coming close to the doorways. Good test for potential leaks. Actually, there have been a lot of opportunities to test for leaks since the construction has begun. *sigh*

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Remodeling the Lanai

It's not as though I don't have enough room in my house (har har) but I decided to convert the lanai to a fully air conditioned room. Also, my Mom wanted a "project." So, I'm happy to oblige. She's the reason I moved to Florida, after all. These are my "before" pictures.

The lanai was at the back of the house and had a doggy door that gave the pups easy access to the tiny fenced backyard (see left). There was a French door leading to the spare bedroom (see right).

The outside wall was aluminum with vinyl windows and screens permanently fixed on the outside. The problem with the permanent screens was the male squirrels liked to hang on the screens and spray the vinyl. Because of the vertical blinds I couldn't clean the windows. Just squirting water on them didn't cut the squirrel spray. Yuck. Disgusting.

The roof was aluminum which was lovely during a rain but it was leaking, somewhere, and I had to lay down towels every time it rained. The floor was concrete and the area didn't have a vent for A/C or heat. In spite of this, it has become my favorite place to sit. I bought a porch swing that can convert to a flat surface and could be an extra bed, if I really needed it. It's really great for naps ... and I do love afternoon naps.