Are we there yet?

We can basically say that “Stage 1” of our home renovation project has finished this week. That’s a little white lie, as we need three more tiles in the bathroom off the kitchen (which the floor people haven’t brought and installed yet). But, we finished putting back all the baseboards early this week. What a major job the baseboards are! There are two more baseboards to install in the bathroom after the tiles are installed. We want a new light in the kitchen over the table, and the fixture location will have to be moved. We still need rugs, and a few other things, including a new piece of granite to cover the one cabinet. Oh, and there is a lot of stuff in the basement that needs to be restored to its natural place in the house. So maybe we aren’t quite there yet. But there was a big sigh of relief at the Webb household earlier this week as we finished the baseboards, and now we can focus on “normal” house maintenance. For the most part.

Yesterday Sherrie went to Salt Lake and Provo to be with Esther and Silas most of the day while Matt and Becky and Jared and Rachel had day dates. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I helped Nathan move home. He’s getting ready to go back to school at USU this Fall. At least, he thinks he is; he needs final admissions confirmation which hopefully will come very soon.

We had a fun outing last week. We took our whole family to the Living Planet aquarium in Salt Lake. We had a birthday celebration for Rachel (Megan) and Becky, and had fun showing the grandkids all the cool things at the aquarium. Besides fish and sea life, they also have animal life from various places. Some of our kids were quite excited to see the binturong (aka “bearcat”). I liked the aviary. They also have a shark tank with a tunnel that goes underneath, which was cool. My favorites were the aquariums with tropical fish; I want to set one up at home one day.

Here’s a photo of Sherrie in the “bubble” at the aquarium:

sherrie-aquarium

Sherrie had a piano recital a couple of weeks ago where she played a duet with her teacher and a quartet (two pianos, eight hands) with the teacher and a couple of other students. It was great fun. She is an awesome piano player, and I love hearing her fill our home with the great music she plays. I started playing piano again; our new piano has inspired me to practice again.

And, you probably knew it had to come some day, and I’ve resisted for a long time, but I am now learning a jazz guitar piece. I’m learning an arrangement of Autumn Leaves. Wish me luck, and hope that I don’t go over to the dark side for good.

Almost there …

It seems like it is always my turn to write the family letter when I have had a pretty non-eventful week. I just spent another week home alone working on painting baseboards and putting my house back together. Actually, more of the former and a little of the latter. I have a strange sense of happiness that many rooms are mostly empty – all the knick knacks, etc. and anything that could be moved relatively easily are still in the basement. I kind of like empty rooms that you can sweep and dust without any fuss. What I especially love is that my nightstand isn’t covered with all the charging cords for all of my electronics. That is a problem yet to be solved, but I am determined to find a different solution for all of that mess and to keep my nightstand free. I think I have a plan that includes a hole in the back of a dresser and a drawer dedicated to charging stuff. Just waiting on Amazon :).

Michael spent the week in DC – his home away from home. It was probably a relief to get away from our house mess, but work is stressful as well so he seemed to be happy to be home even though we spent our Saturday painting doors. We did get out a couple of times to go to the hardware store for supplies, however. There are still a few doors and a few baseboards to be painted, and we need to buy a few pieces to replace broken or now obsolete baseboards and door trim, then we can start attaching it all to the walls. We decided that we have done most of the work again, so we might as well save the money and finish it ourselves. We just need to borrow a nail gun sometime in the next few days.

I expect it will still be a long time before we are all done – we need to figure out what we want in the way of rugs, get a new light for the kitchen, reorganize all the kitchen cupboards since a lot of things are now different, nail, caulk and touch up all the baseboards, finish painting and hanging the doors, then put everything back away. Give us a year and we should be done!

Thank goodness for tennis and pickle ball which pretty much get me out of the project mode for a few hours most days. I also made myself get out to my yard and have made a pretty good dent in the crazy amount of weeds I have allowed into my flower beds this summer so far. Sadly I have made a grizzly discovery – I am INFESTED with a plague of grasshoppers! Zoom in on the photo below and see what I mean – and you need to remember that when I walked up, about half of them hopped away.

20170629_093727.jpg

My friend, whose son mows our lawn, told me that he actually stopped mowing the other day to start a video of the grasshoppers jumping out of his way as he mowed because it was so impressive. That is impressive in a very bad way. I am not sure what to do – but I have large plants that are being eaten to the ground and it is horrible.

The other fun thing I have been doing is working on some duets for the piano this summer. My piano teacher makes summer optional for her students, and if you opt in it is all duets. I am playing one that is part of a four person, two piano version of the “Stars and Stripes Forever,”which is pretty fun, and one with my teacher that is called “Malaguena”. Both are pretty familiar tunes, and it has been fun to work on them – I have gotten together with the person I share a piano with a couple of times, and tonight we are going to try it for the first time with all four of us. We still have a couple of weeks to get them polished up so hopefully we can be ready. I think playing duets is really fun.

Oh, and I went kayaking with some friends down the Bear River the other day. It was more like floating on inner tubes down a canal than maneuvering through dangerous rapids, but it was super fun and relaxing. I only got sunburned on the front of one ankle somehow. We saw lots of neat birds and just had a nice, relaxing time.

20170626_084123.jpg

Wait, and last Saturday I got to go to SLC to my cute niece Cristina’s wedding and dinner.

20170624_144734(0).jpg

Sadly Michael had too much to get done before his trip to go with me, but I was able to ride down with Kevin and Laura and it was so much fun to see a lot of my family that day! Thanks for a lovely dinner and reunion, Cathy and Bret!

20170624_184124.jpg

I am really glad to have Michael home even if it is only for a week before he has to go back again. He is pretty tired and hopefully we will be able to both accomplish a lot of projects and find time for some fun stuff as well before he heads back for at least a short trip next time.