In Which I Grumble, Grouse, and Gloat Because Sometimes Life Is Like That

The Code of Personal Bloggers, if such a thing exists, suggests that all blog posts shall have an image on them. Hence I give you a photo of a green rocking chair on the screened-in porch.

TODAY IS THE LAST TUESDAY in Winter in the Northern Hemisphere while also being the first Tuesday in Year Two of the Pandemic. And ain’t it a pip?

Even though there wasn’t any snow or ice we didn’t do much of anything over the weekend. It was blah and bland outside, totally uninspiring, plus Daylight Savings Time *stole* an hour of my life again. And I was feeling poorly after my second shingles shot so laying low was the way to go.

On the upside, having gotten my second shingles shot out go the way I can now focus on getting my/our Covid-19 vaccinations, which supposedly will be available to us starting in early April.

Uh huh. We’ll see. 🙄

WHILE WE CONTINUED TO STAY in our Covid-19 bubble, Zen-Den worked on his latest 2,000 piece puzzle. It’s of Pokemon characters who are large, colorful, and a bit menacing to see on your dining room table. But *hey* if it keeps Mr. Man entertained to put all those little puzzle pieces together, then it’s good.

I tried a new recipe over the weekend, but it’s not worth repeating. It was for Irish Soda Bread Muffins. The muffins turned out to have an identity crisis: too sweet to be Irish Soda Bread, too bland to be a yummy muffin. I’ll go back to making a proper loaf of Irish Soda Bread.

Like my ancestors before me. 🍀

THE ONLY OTHER EXCITEMENT HERE, if you can call it excitement, is that after months of trying we finally got all the composite decking samples we are interested in. Procuring them has been a game. You order them online where *no surprise* one sample or another is not available. Then you check back a few weeks later and one of the samples you want is available, but the others are still not available. Try again later.

However after much effort we have way too many 17 different samples from two companies. At the moment the top three contenders for Chez Bean’s new deck are: TimberTech Brown Oak, Trex Toasted Sand, or Trex Coastal Bluff. All are medium brownish with gray undertones and noticeable imitation woodgrain texture.

So huzzah! 🏡

INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW: Have you had your Fauci ouchies? If so, how does that make you feel? If not, when will you get your vaccination shots?

A Letter Home Blog Post + Food For Thought On A Tuesday Morning

February 9, 2021

Dear Friends & Relations,

Not much happening around here, but I’ll write to you anyhow because it’s Tuesday, my favorite day of the week. Huzzah!

Nowhere to go, no one to meet, but things to do.

We continue to wait until we are eligible for our first Covid-19 vaccine shot. Then, of course, there’ll be a wait for the second one, which seems to be in short supply around here, so maybe not getting the first one yet is a good thing?

I dunno. We’ve been home together in our own little bubble for about 11 months now, so what are a few more weeks or months? We’re safe, we’re healthy, we’re doing low-key things.

Here is where we updated the cookbook.

We’ve finished updating our Family Favorites Cookbooks, 3rd edition. Yep, this is a re-do of a re-do of my first home computer project that I completed in February 1994, then updated for a second edition in April 2005. The bottom line is that we now have all our favorite recipes saved in the computer as well as printed, put in binders, and ready to go in the kitchen.

Move over Martha, you ain’t the only kid on the block who has it going on with her recipes. Ha!

The epicenter of clutter where the paint fan now resides.

We’re also in the process of deciding on a new exterior paint color for the trim and siding of Chez Bean. A new roof a few years ago + a new limestone retaining wall last December + a new deck sometime in 2021 [fingers crossed] = time to repaint exterior of the house bringing the color scheme into this decade.

Deciding on a new color is fraught with design peril. Oh yes it is. We have four seasons with natural light shining in different ways on four sides of the house, and there’s a need to coordinate with the brick and new retaining wall. Thus there are many variables, many possibilities– and one dithering me.

Our “communication center” where I await your replies.

And with that I’ll end this missive about our humdrum daily life, hoping it finds you well. What’s new with you?

Very truly yours,

Ally Bean, the bored

~ ~ 🔹 ~ ~

Food For Thought: When’s the last time you wrote a letter home? It seems quaint now to think about doing that, let alone write one that includes snapshots. Remember doing that, too?

~ ~ 🔹 ~ ~

A Bedroom Transformed: Goodbye Ceiling Fan, Hello Chandelier

THE CHIT CHAT PART

I enjoy looking at shelter magazines and interior design websites and home decorating projects on IG.  When I began to notice photos of bedrooms with chandeliers, instead of ceiling fans or ceiling lights, my curiosity was piqued.

Why, you ask?

Welp, after 20 years of looking up at a large white dusty boring ceiling fan in our bedroom, I was ready for a change.  I never liked using the thing, especially at night when rotating fan blades above my sleeping head worried me.

Made me fretful, they did.

So I decided that we’d replace our dodgy old ceiling fan with a pretty, useful chandelier that’d hang from the spot where the ceiling fan had been.  Here are a few things we learned along the way with this DIY project.

THE INFORMATION PART

√ A rule of thumb about the width of the chandelier: add the length of your room [in feet] to the width of your room [in feet], then use that number in inches to determine the size you need.

For example our bedroom is 17′ x 13′ so I added 17 + 13, which meant that we needed a chandelier around 30″ wide.

√ The chandelier we picked was 26″ wide, smaller than recommended, but for a good reason.  Keep reading.

√ We have a sloped ceiling in our bedroom.  We had to choose a light fixture that was sloped ceiling adaptable.  Not all light fixtures are.

√ A rule of thumb about how far down a chandelier should hang: the chandelier should be between 8′ to 9′ off the floor.  This is accomplished by allowing the light fixture to hang from a chain from the ceiling.

√  The trick here is that depending on the slope of your ceiling and the height of the chandelier, you have to allow for enough space above the top of the chandelier for it to hang down on a chain.

In our case because of where the junction box was in the ceiling we couldn’t have a chandelier that was taller than 25″ because there wouldn’t be any space for it to hang down from the ceiling.

√ Thus we picked a chandelier whose height allowed it to hang down from the junction box in the sloped ceiling, even though it meant that the width of the chandelier was a bit too small according to the rule of thumb.

In other words, we thumbed our noses at the rule of thumb.

THE GOOFY PART

As is the way with any home improvement project we tackle, there was a problem.  One of the globes for the chandelier arrived broken.  Thus we had to email the company and wait for a replacement globe, crossing our fingers that it’d be the same color as the other four.

It came within days, was the right color, and looks perfectly at home with the other shades so all is good.

However, keeping in mind that I can be a silly person, while waiting for the shade to arrive, whenever I walked into the bedroom I began singing the following lyrics to the tune of One Toke Over The Line:

One bulb over my head, sweet Jesus
One bulb over my head
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.  

Awaitin’ for the shade that goes on, sweet Mary
Hopin’ that the shade is delivered on time
Sittin’ down here on the bed I sees it
One bulb over my head.

THE END

The One About The Deck Stairs Betraying Us [No One Was Hurt]

CLOSED FOR REPAIRS… hopefully sometime in the next year, but who knows?

• • •

Our deck is 21 years old and we need to replace it.  To wit the top section of the wooden stairs have fallen apart.

Dramatically, in fact.

You see, the top section of the wooden stairs gave out as Zen-Den started to walk down the stairs to join me on the terrace below.

I saw it happen.

Fortunately Z-D is fast on his feet which is kind of amazing for a chubby older fellow, but there you have it.  He didn’t get hurt.  He used to be athletically-inclined, played team sports, so maybe those experiences helped him in the moment.

Still, unnerving.

  • Did I mention that the deck is 8-9 feet above the ground below?
  • That Mr. Man jumped about 6 feet down to the ground as the stairs gave way underneath him?
  • And that the look of amazement on his face was one for the ages?

Like I said no one was hurt, but now the long tedious process of finding someone reliable to replace the steps, and the deck, has begun.  Spring 2021 seems to be the earliest anyone can get to us.

Of course it is.

Nothing more to say here except stay safe, kids.  When things fall apart may you land securely on your own two feet.

• • •

Questions of the Day: Does anyone have any experience with OR advice about having a deck replaced?  Did you go with wood OR composite?  Did you go with a dark stain/color OR a lighter one?  Did you pick metal posts OR wood or composite?  How did you decide who would build the deck?   

I’m Not A Fish, But Know How They Must Feel In Their Bowls

Some of you know this story already, but I’ll be brief, keep it snappy, and tell it here so that the title of this post makes sense to you, my gentle readers.

After 4 1/2 months of waiting we finally got new replacement windows on the front of the house.

It was a tedious, anxiety-producing process that started with a 3 1/2 month wait, involved delivery of mis-measured windows, a thwarted installation, a makeshift faux installation of the wrong windows to fill the holes in the house created by the thwarted installation, waiting… waiting… waiting again…, and then correctly-sized windows properly installed.

A Christmas Pella miracle, she says with a hint of sarcasm.

The result of this home improvement project is: 1) we no longer have leaky broken windows;  2) we are noticing how much quieter it is in the house with new windows;  and 3) we have no blinds, my preferred window treatment, to put on the new correctly-sized properly installed windows on the front of the house.

Specifically blinds for the windows in the home office where I sit at the desk while using a desktop computer to write this blog.

Forsooth.

But here’s where it gets fishy. Now that it’s darker outside in the early morning, and with no blinds on the windows, I feel like a guppy in a fishbowl sitting in this room. Passersby, whether they be kids on school buses or runners or adults walking their dogs, can see me swimming around sitting at the computer, under the overhead light, doing my early morning bloggy thing, often in my pajamas.

We taped a plastic super strength high density painter’s drop cloth over the windows in an attempt to make this room less noticeable from the street, but it just blurs me, doesn’t hide me.

Ptooey, she says with a hint of defeat.

I don’t like the idea of being on display here each morning but until we get blinds on the new correctly-sized properly installed windows, that took longer to manufacture and install than building this house did, I’ve no choice but to live my life like a fish in a fishbowl for everyone who goes by to see.

And ain’t that grand?