A Week Of Change...
October is quickly waning and November fast upon us. The last of the leaves have turned golden and russet on the maple tree. So beautiful!
I put the first bird-feeder up at my new home ~ and the first visitors are a pair of red-breasted nuthatches! So fun to watch them hard at work gathering seed!
While the season changes, things around the new house have been changing too.
The day the big cottonwood trees were scheduled to come down, we had our first snow of the season ~ about 4-6 inches, which delayed it a day. But the following day, the crew was there bright and early. It looked like they took small chunks of the branches off at a time, but when I measure this falling piece on the ground later, it was two feet long and over a foot in diameter!
Eventually, the enormous trunk was all that was left. The crew teased me about all the photos I was taking, but also made sure that I got some good shots!
The pile of logs was enormous ~ almost as big as the house! It's sobering to think about what would have happened should this tree have come down in a storm ~ and really puts into perspective all the terrible damage on the east coast from Hurricane Sandy. My heart goes out to all who are dealing with the aftermath of damage.
Once the trees were down and mostly removed from the yard, they came in with big grinders and chipped away the bulk of the root ball. In all, they hauled away 5 enormous truck loads of logs, and 2 to 3 of shredded branches and another 2 to 3 of the root chippings. A friend thought I should have kept the wood for firewood ~ but the logs were SO large, it would have taken an arsenal of equipment to cut it up into usable pieces ~ that I would have to wait over a year to use. I opted to only keep one "smallish" piece for a project my daughter and I want to work on ~ once we get settled and and all the other work done!
The house and yard feel enormously open and bare now. But sunlight streams in through the windows, which I'll love this winter, though I may not be quite so fond of it come summer. In the spring, I'll plant new trees ~ some apple trees along the path, a nice spreading oak on the corner of the lot and maybe a couple of lindens. In the meantime, I've planted daffodils in the freshly dirt filled spots!
Inside, we've been working hard! Jessie couldn't wait to get the ugly tile up (it looks far better in the photos than it did in person) and she did a great job of removing all of it!
DIL Amanda had great fun taking out the countertops!
The whole family has been involved in one way or another! It's been a real team effort! I am SO grateful for all their help! And it turns out I need it more than anticipated as I developed a sudden blurry spot in my eye, the result of a large floater putting pressure on the retina right in front of the optic nerve. So I have been put on lifting restrictions to prevent a tear of the retina. Now that's a kind of "fun" that I could do without! Especially the week before we move in!
The kids got all three layers of the countertop off and all the metal cabinets removed!
Underneath the cabinets, we got a look at the great wood flooring beneath! I think it's fir, though I'll rely on the floor guy to give me a more definite identification.
We also uncovered some scary things ~ such as this wiring, which needless to say was NOT to code! When I bought the house, I suspected wiring issues and one of my very first calls was to an electrician about replacing all the wiring in the house. They are about halfway done already!
But what I hadn't anticipated was having to replace all the plumbing. I thought we could just upgrade a couple of things such as the hot water heater and some valves, but after looking at lines like this with practically no water able to flow through (and filled with black goo that I don't even want to think about), it was an easy decision to redo the plumbing while we had things torn apart for the electrical too.
So instead of gross galvanized gooey pipe, I'm now have technicolor modern pipes in red and blue! And you know what? The water tastes and smells so much better!!!
With the tile up, the cabinets gone, scary wiring disconnected and plumbing capped, we set about removing the underlayment over the wood floor. It was a dusty messy job. My soon to be SIL David has spent days getting really dirty while helping clean out crawl spaces and chisel up mortar so we could find the screws holding the underlayment down. I'm bent over in my typical work pose (before the eye Dr. told me I couldn't do this anymore).
We ended the weekend with a fully gutted kitchen, covered in sticky notes for the plumber (blue) and the electrician (red) so they would remember everything I wanted done! The floor was painted black and then later sanded somewhat, so refinishing them should actually turn out to be ok! Can't wait to get to the point where it's time for that to happen! Right now, the plumber and electrician have gotten nearly all their work done in here and I'll be able to start patching walls and next week, after we move in (yikes!) I'll be able to focus on getting the walls skim-coated and painted. The new cabinets arrive in a little over a week and hopefully will get installed right around Thanksgiving!
We did have a little bit of nature excitement when the electrician discovered not one, but two enormous yellow jacket nests in the attic of the garage! This big one had to be cut away from around the rafters. The exterior patterns of the paper are fascinating ~ like paper shells overlapping one another.
Here I've shown it with a large glove to show the scale of how big these were. The other one was so entwined in rafters that it was mostly demolished in the removal. I must admit that I am greatly relieved to have them gone!
It was fascinating to get a good look at the layered structure of the inside. All the little support posts that hold the layers apart and the perfectly formed paper honeycomb layers. Just amazing! We learned from the pest control guy (who was promptly called upon the discovery of them!) that yellow-jackets only use a nest like this once and then make a new one the following year. I hate to think about how many it must have taken to build a nest this size, but you can be assured, that I will be sealing up the garage attic to prevent any more such nests from being built!
The week also saw the arrival of my piano! Dear friends have kindly been storing it for me in their living room for the past 8 years! How glad I am to have it back again! It's badly out of tune and needs a little TLC, but the piano tuner will be here next week along with my music! Can't wait to start playing again!
Things will stay super busy this coming week. This weekend, my daughter and I move out of my oldest son's townhome and into our new home (sans kitchen for a while). I have a job interview on Monday (here's hoping and praying that I have the mix of skills they are looking for!) We'll have a visit from the chimney sweep, finish the electrical rewiring, vote, have the piano tuned, have a visit from the kitchen installer, get the basement walls and ceiling patched by the drywall guy, while I prep and finish the kitchen walls and prepare to paint, make another trip to the eye Dr. to make sure my eye is staying healthy, plant more daffodil bulbs, prepare for delivery of the kitchen cabinets and attend a luncheon welcoming me back to Colorado put on by the ladies that I used to teach childbirth classes with! I'm tired already, but eager for the coming week at the same time!
As I sit here on All Hallows Eve writing this, a night that is said by many to be a time to honor the spirits of the saints who've departed from us, it seems fitting to have been thinking about this past year and all that has taken place. Despite the sorrow and difficulty of losing both my parents within a ten month span of time, it's been an amazing year with a lifetime dream trip come true, moving back to Colorado to be near my family and purchasing my sweet little cottage. The grief still catches me off guard at times, and especially with all the changes taking place. So many times, I've wanted to pick up the phone and tell my Mom all about what's happening. Though I cannot do that, I know how pleased she and my Dad would be with all of it. The legacy of faith that came down through my parents gives me strength and courage to move on through that grief when it comes. And as a result, though this has probably been the most difficult year of my life in so many respects, it has also been one of the most blessed years I've ever experienced. A fitting tribute to my parents that it can be so.