Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 2017 - It's been a long time since we had any renovation progress to report but a lot of brainstorming and "window shopping" was going on in between Joie's intense academic schedule and Marilyn's completion of several new novels.

A lot of decisions have now been made and materials have been ordered, so work will be commencing again next week. As projects get underway, we promise to take plenty of pictures and tell stories of our mishaps and successes. All we have for this update post, however, is a pic of the samples we've chosen for the downstairs kitchen...
The flooring in the entire great room will be a gray composite wood planking, which we will install ourselves. A lot of new, solid white cabinets with black & gray granite countertops will replace the handful of makeshift boxes, cracked formica and three old, unmatched rolling carts. That work we are leaving to pros. New, standard-sized, black appliances have already been delivered. The three bedrooms will soon have speckled, shades-of-gray carpeting.

You may recall that, shortly after we moved into Chateau de Joie on June 30, 2014--yes, we really are inching up on our 3rd anniversary here--one of our first projects was to make the downstairs apartment safe and habitable for housemates. We removed all the commercial fluorescent lights, filthy drop ceiling (and the decaying matter concealed above it) and installed new white sound-absorbent tiles and recessed lighting, replaced broken interior doors and bifolds with standard ones , converted a mud room into a bedroom suite, drywalled window-sized openings between rooms, and  did a lot of clean-up, painting and patching.

Three years later, this area is again at the top of the reno list but all the changes and updates about to take place will take the space from above-average rental space for the area to outstanding livingspace.

Friday, February 24, 2017

February 24, 2017:  A just for the record post...because someday in the future we'll wonder if this really happened.

The last post reported on the big snowstorm that lasted a week. That was less than two weeks ago. As you can see, there is still plenty of snow on the ground from that storm, it's still February, usually the worst of the winter months, and yet, the thermometer reading was in the high 60s yesterday and again today.

Birds are everywhere and acting like it's springtime.

But the really big sign that winter may already be coming to an end -- Joie & Marilyn have a mighty case of spring fever. Although, yes we would like to go a little wild and crazy, but here at Chateau de Joie spring signifies the launch of a new round of renovations. We've been getting estimates on new windows, new siding, new roof, new kitchen, new garage door, new screened-in upstairs porch, reconstructing Marilyn's portion of the upstairs...

Obviously we would have to win the lottery to do all of that over one summer, but there's just something about the high temperature in the face of two feet of snow that has us thinking ANYTHING is possible!

Monday, February 13, 2017

At least we're safe & warm inside.
February 13, 2017: Mother Nature lured us into complacency last month with minimal snow and temperatures in the 40s, but she certainly gave us a swift kick in the past week. The snow storm started on the 8th and just kept on going through the 12th. The plow driver had to work his way through our driveway every day in order for everyone to get in and out.
Yep, that's the narrow window Joie climbed out of

Plus, Joie and Marilyn had to continuously shovel a few gazillion tons of snow followed by salt to keep the walkways and stairs safe. Special acknowledgement must be made to housemate Katherine, whose snow shoveling abilities rival that of the plow. And,of course, an area had to be kept clear for the Chateau's Princess Sweetie to do her business (though she still resists as long as possible).

  Midway through the storm, it was necessary for Joie to climb out a window to clear the snow off the flat roof before it caved from the weight.

We will never forget contractor/friend Ryan's warning that the multitude of acorns that fell in the fall signified a harsh winter coming up!

North end of driveway

There is more snow coming in a day or two, but meanwhile we're trying to enjoy the "pretty" views out our windows.

View out the kitchen window

Sunday, January 1, 2017

January 1, 2017: 2016 was a "challenging" year for almost everyone we know. As we look back on our blog, we are reminded that we had a lot of happy moments and fun with friends. But renovation-wise, finishing the fence around the pool was the only major improvement made for several practical reasons. THEREFORE, one of our resolutions for 2017 is that we will accomplish a LOT more home work to share...even if we have to resort to magick!

In numerology, 2017 = a "1" year, the launch of a brand new 9-year cycle (globally speaking), so our New Year's wish to all our family, friends and followers is that whatever seeds you plant this year will blossom into a magnificent tree!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

December 17, 2016:  Explaining snow to a southern dog isn't easy. Though this is Sweetie's 3rd winter with the cold white stuff, she is still bewildered by it. After all, the first 7 years of her life were in San Antonio and Miami.

 She likes the pretty pink sweater Godmother Barbara made for her, but seems to be saying, "I do NOT need to go that badly. I'll just wait until I see grass again."

But today's snowfall is already over 6" and still building so, she may have to compromise... at least until Joie takes a break from her classwork to shovel out a few feet of the lawn.

The following was Marilyn's positive thoughts post on FB first thing this morning:

"I'm enjoying a perfect moment. Heavy snow gently falling over the field outside my window, turning the world into a winter wonderland, but because it's Saturday, there's no need to hurriedly shovel walkways and stairs. Sweetie-Pie and all the housemates are still asleep, hot coffee's on my end table, and the only sounds are the new furnace humming and the occasional drag of the snow plow passing. Plus, it looks like we'll all be able to go sledding later today!"

By noon, she was grumbling "Bah, humbug!" and it isn't even Christmas yet. Looks like this will be a long winter.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

November 23, 2016 Winter is coming! Winter is coming! FYI, we do realize we sound like alarmists over something as normal as snowfall but remember, we've spent most of our lives in South Florida, so we haven't yet become blase` about below-freezing temperatures or seeing a winter wonderland in our back yard. (The photo to the right was actually taken last winter by the remarkable Jake Campbell.)

Maybe next year we'll be indifferent, but this year we're still amazed at all the unusual things that happen at the change of each season. Of course, the animal activity is always worth noting...as is the late Fall sound of rifle shots in the woods beyond our property. We try not to think about what that means.

A couple weeks ago, we posted photos of the annual brush hog mowing. This week, the ever-efficient Sokoloski Landscaping team performed the annual Autumn clean-up of fallen leaves and pine needles, which involves a whole crew with a gigantic vacuum and a trailer to haul it all away. Obviously not something we ever witnessed in Florida.

Hello down there Jerry!

Bye-bye leaves of 2016

Another thing we definitely never saw before we moved to New England was the annual placing of temporary posts to let the plow driver know where the driveway is when the snow is too deep to see it. Whirlwind Fine Garden Design, a local landscaping and stone contractor, is our team of choice for getting those posts set in advance and keeping our driveway and parking areas clear through the winter. Word is we'll be seeing a lot more of them this year than we did last.
This happened yesterday, 11/26.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

November 20, 2016:  How many grad students does it take to connect a treadmill to the internet? The answer is 3 + a mom. In this photo you see Joie adjusting the tread, Chloe following the on-screen instructions and Marilyn donning her reading glasses to give Chloe the passwords to make sure all our favorite channels can be accessed for maximum distraction value. Before snapping the photographic memory, Katherine was interpreting the paper manual.

Actually, it didn't take much time or effort and now no one in the house has an excuse for not getting in some exercise no matter what the weather is like outside Chateau de Joie.

And since Katherine wasn't in the group photo, here she is doing the final quality control test while the rest of the group checked the noise level throughout the house.
If you ever doubted what running can do for you, just take a look at those calves!

By the way, all the product placements in the pics were completely coincidental, but you're welcome to see how many brand names you can identify.

Another pretty thing that lightens the days before winter's arrival is the blooming of our Christmas cactus.