Thursday, September 8, 2016

It's Finished!!!

I can't even contain my excitement!  The Art Glass Doors were put up today.

TA DA.....



..... and that's all I've got to say!  I'm going to go sit and look at my magnificent art!

:)Amy


Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Odyssey Continues - End of Summer Update

Hello to all my Weight Loss Cheerleaders!

It is time for an update although I really don't have a lot do share.

When I finished the school year in May, I was very afraid of the effect being off for the summer would have on my weight loss journey.  Just after school was out, I logged my best-ever home weight at 214.  I went on 2 vacations in June during which I pretty much ate whatever I wanted to eat (within reason), but I also walked a lot on those vacations.  By the end of June, I had gained about 5 pounds = 219.

For the month of July, I was back home and back on program.  On Wed, July 20, I logged 215 pounds (-45 total) at the weekly WW meeting, and I was thrilled by that!  That was my new OFFICIAL WW low.  The month of August has not been good.  I've bounced around between 215-220 fairly liberally.  My Aug. 31 weigh-in at meeting was 217.

I guess, over-all, a net gain of 3 pounds for the summer isn't too bad considering what it could have been, and it is better than I feared.

Now that I am back in school, I feel like the routine is going to help me start losing again.  It is also going to help that the humidity is down so I can start walking outside again.  My goal is to get up to 1 hour a day - right now I'm typically at about 30 min a day of dedicated walking.  Today, Hubs and I walked to the park up the street, and I did 3000 steps in 30 min.  (Gosh, there were days on my Maine vacation when I EASILY did 15,000-18,000 steps!  Seriously! So, I know what I am capable of.)

My next big goal is 199 - Otherwise known as Onederful-99.  Can I make it by Jan.1?  Stay tuned!

I have to say that being part of the weekly WW support group and also having Cheerleaders who are not part of the group is a huge help to me.  Several of the women in the group see me as an inspiration.  One friend who started with the group in April has now lost 40 pounds in 4 months!  She looks AWESOME!  Knowing that I am an inspiration to others helps keep me motivated to continue my work.  Not only do I not want to let myself down, but I don't want to let others down either.  One thing I've learned is that a huge part of this journey is mental/emotional.  The pounds drop fairly quickly at first, which is motivational and fun, but once the losing gets harder, it is necessary to find motivation anywhere I can get it!  Thanks to all of you who are rooting for me!!

Thanks for reading - I'll be back again before you can say Chocolate Chip Cookie!

:)Amy




It's Done - Well.... Almost

Hello Friends!

I am pleased to announce that the big kitchen renovation is finally done!

Almost...

The one thing left to do is put on the stained glass doors above the stove which I will not be able to pick up until Sept. 3 at the earliest.

However, aside from that, everything else is DONE!  Here we go... the big REVEAL...

TA DA!!!




Let's review the Before Pictures:




Wow! Is it really Sept. 4 already, and has it really been a month since I posted the last update? 

I actually had this post ready, and then saved it and forgot to put it live - DOH!  I now HAVE my stained-glass window doors, but they have not been put on yet.  That will be the next update!

Here you go!  Sorry for the delay!

:)Amy



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's BackSplash Day!

Hello Friends,

Today was backsplash day after giving the countertops a night to settle into their silicone caulk.

Keith started with the stove side.  He had previously smoothed out the wall with drywall mud in preparation for today.  My tile comes in sheets which makes for easier application than individual tiles.



Here is a before (old kitchen) photo:


Here is the wall after demolition with the new cabinets in place:
(The old tiles were individual squares)




Here is a photo of the prepped wall:



Here is today's work in progress:




This whole job has been a greatbighuge learning experience for me.  One thing I learned about tile is that even after you order your tile sheets, you will need some sort of finishing-edge product.  It could be bull-nose tiles, or it could be a border of some kind.  My Handyman Matters workers instructed me about this (I didn't learn about it from my kitchen designer).  They suggested I go to Home Depot or Lowe's and look at the options in the tile section.  I did that, and I found a metal strip that fits with my hardware theme.  Technically it is called Aluminum Tile Edging.  I chose one that is 3/8" in Brushed Antique Bronze.   It comes in 8' long pieces and then is cut to fit.  The back portion with the holes is fit into the mortar.  My tiles fit into a curve on the piece.  Here is what it looks like: 




Here is the workspace as it is today:  




The sink was also plumbed today. The Insinkerator is on the left side.  


Tomorrow, Keith will grout what has been put up.  He will finish everything after the 2 delayed upper cabinets come in (next week).  

That's it for today!  Thanks for visiting!

:)Amy

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kitchen Progress Is Being Made!

Hello Friends,

Since I have a number of friends who are watching progress on the kitchen remodel, I decided to post an update today, even though it isn't finished yet.

Today was a big day - Countertop Installation!

However before I get to that, let me give you some basic information and share that knobs and pulls have been installed since my last update.  Here is what those look like:


Cabinets
Brand: KraftMaid
Door Style: Amhurst
Wood:  Oak
Color: Fawn


Knobs
Store:  Lowe's - special order online only
Brand: Hickory Hardware
Name: Craftsman 1-1/4"
Item #: P2170-Bl



Pulls
Store: Lowe's - in store stock
Brand: Style Selections
Name: 3.78" Pull - Aged Bronze Finish
Item #: 0300920


Faucet
Store: Home Depot - in store stock
Brand: Pfister
Name: Cantara - Pull-out 
Color: Tuscan Bronze Finish
Item #: F-534-7CRY


Sink
Store: The Anderson's
Brand: Karran
Material: Quartz 
Color: Beige
Style #: Q360R


Countertop
Store:  Lang Stone 
Brand: Silestone 
Material:  Quartz
Color: Quasar

Lang Stone came out on July 14, after the base cabinets had been installed, and did a laser measurement for the countertops.  At that time we talked about the reveal over the sink, and the edge style I wanted.  They gave me an installation date of Monday, August 1, and they took the sink with them.  

This morning, my Handman Matters workman, Keith, came around 11 and disconnected the plumbing and removed the old countertop.  Promptly at 1 pm, the Lang Stone people arrived with my countertops.  


The first thing they did was install the sink, and lay the counters on the stove side.  Here is the rough-in of the sink:



I had misunderstood that the sink would be attached to the countertop because when they came to measure for the countertop, they took the sink with them.  In fact, it isn't hanging from the counter.  The sink is actually sitting on 2x4 pieces that were screwed into the inside walls of the sink cabinet.  

Next, the big countertop was laid in place, some shims were added to make it level, and then silicone caulk was used at several points to hold it in place.  There is no adhesive used because it is so heavy that it really doesn't need adhesive.  Here is what it looks like now:




The caulk has to set before the plumbing can be done, so that will happen tomorrow, and then work on the backsplash will begin.  Keith will start on the stove side, and then move to the sink side, but he can't finish that side until after the 2 missing upper cabinets are installed - which we HOPE will be next week.  

Stay tuned for info about the backsplash tomorrow!

:)Amy

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Now That The Jinx Has Passed...

My regular readers will know that I recently posted an entry about all the cars I've had since I was 16.  At the end of that entry, I indicated that my most recent car had been rear-ended.  What I didn't mention was the new car that I was planning to get.  I didn't include that in my entry because I hadn't signed any papers, and I didn't want to jinx the deal!

Today I can introduce my new ride:  a 2016 Kia Soul in Latte Brown.  Here are some photos of the new baby:










After a 9 mile drive home, the Soul has 3583 miles on the odometer.  Even though it is a 2016, it is used.  The first owner returned the car for an upgrade because he wanted a moonroof which this doesn't have.  As a result, I got a DEAL!  It is virtually a new car, but because it has been owned already, they couldn't charge me a "new car" price.  I am very happy with this new vehicle!  He or she has not yet been named, but "it" will be.... because that's what I do!  

Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for more info, and come back again soon!

:)Amy





Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Drive Down Memory Lane

Events of recent weeks have sparked memories of the vehicles that have parked themselves in my life since I got my license at age 16 - do the math - that's 1975!!  Ride with me!  Let's go for a drive, shall we?

The year was 1970.  My family was living in Lima, Ohio - I was in 5th or 6th grade.  Dad brought home a slightly used car that he was very proud of and excited about.  It was a maroon 1969 Mercury Marquis Brougham which he proudly announced was loaded because it was the dealership show car.   Here is a photo I found which was taken about 1980:


This car was my father's pride and joy.  It took us on many family trips, went back and forth to visit grandparents in Dayton and Pomeroy many times, and moved with us to Milan in 1975.  It was an 8 cylinder gas guzzler at a time when gas was around $ .50/gallon.  Are you old enough to remember the energy crisis of the '70s? 

In the mid '70s, when my maternal grandfather was no longer able to drive, my father took his car (perhaps a blue Buick Skylark?  The details are sketchy), and gave me this Mercury "boat" for my senior year in high school  (1976-77).  Since most of my friends were younger than I was and didn't have cars, I became the chauffeur for many play rehearsals.  There was a time we were driving home from a cast party late one evening and decided it would be faster to take a "shortcut" down a partly dirt road that went between fields, which was fun until we got stuck in the mud!!! (This was before cell phones!) Which reminds me of how many times I struggled to get this very large vehicle with rear-wheel drive up the icy curvy hill that was Milan Manor Drive!  

Once the car became mine, I decorated the dashboard with a small stuffed bear named Honey Pot.  He was wedged between the dash and the windshield and the top of his little head became slanted, flat and sun-bleached.  It is a good thing Honey Pot couldn't talk!  

If you look closely at the photo above, you will notice that there was no structural bar between the front window and the back window.  There was just a metal strip with a piece of rubber between the two windows when they were up, and when both windows were down, the whole expanse was just open.  Some of my high school classmates figured out how to break into the car by sticking something between those windows to lift the door lock.  They would sit in my car and smoke and drink when they were cutting class, and I had to explain to my father why my car reeked of cigarette smoke and beer!  It wasn't me Dad!  HONEST!  

I drove that car until the engine caught on fire - then I was done.  I was on Rt 250 in Norwalk, when smoke started coming out around the edge of the hood.  I pulled into the Bargain Center, opened the hood and saw flames on top of the air filter and ran in to tell them my car was on fire.  When I came out, someone with a fire extinguisher in their truck had put the fire out.   It was the summer of 1980.  I don't remember if Dad traded it in on something else at that point or what he did with it, but it quickly left my life.  

By then I was in college - BGSU - and Dad decided I needed to have a car at school, so that summer he took me to a corner car lot in Sandusky and together we picked out my first car - a 1976 Plymouth Volare'.  Now, of course this was before the magic of the internet and all the wonderful information it provides.  Had I researched the car before I picked it, I would NOT have bought it, but to me it was glorious!  

Meet Aphrodite - we called her "Aphro" because she was SOOOO beautiful:



I had this car with me in BG for my senior year (1980-81), and the thing I remember most about it was that when it rained, it would stall out, and we had to stick a screwdriver in the carburetor to start it.  This was my first year with Hubs, and he was often the person standing out in the rain with the screwdriver - like on my graduation day!  

Aphro moved with me to Sidney when I got my first teaching job, she took us on our honeymoon in 1982, and was with us when we moved to Dayton in 1983.  I got to know the mechanics at the garage in Sidney very well because Aphro and I spent a lot of time there!  That car was a nightmare, and in retrospect, I can't believe we put up with it as long as we did! Among her other problems, her side panels rusted out - she wasn't very pretty in the end!   Only 20somethings with no money have the patience for all that car drama!

In October of 1983 my father bought me a car that he got from someone he worked with - a salesman, I think. We got it for $1000.  It was a chocolate brown 1980 Buick Skylark which we named Teddy because it was the color of a teddy bear.  I remember distinctly that it had over 90,000 miles on it when we got it, but Dad was ok with that because it was "highway miles" from someone he knew.    It was fairly reliable for a car of that age, and it moved with us from Dayton to Lima in 1986. We kept Teddy until August of 1989 when we sold him for $500 - he had 162,000 miles on him at that time!  Here is a photo of him sitting in front of OHS in 1989:







On July 7, 1989 we got Berry - a blue 1985 Ford LTD (see - blue...berry - get it?) that we bought at a dealership on Cable Road in Lima (that is no longer there). [In fact, it might have been the same Ford dealership where my dad bought the Marquis!]   We paid $4,470.90 for it and it had 45,173 miles on it.  




The big drama with this car happened the day we went to pick it up.  We had selected it one day, and when we went back the next day to get it, someone at the dealership had accidently put it on the truck to go to auction.  I CRIED!  Obviously, they got it back for us!  We had this car until May of 1993 when we sold him for $500 with 102,170 miles on.  

Next was Steve.  He was a 1988 Mercury Sable that we got in May of 1993 for $6133.68 at Delpha Motors.  He came with 71,254 miles on him.  We had him until 1997.  He was a good car, but his top was fading badly, so he was a little unsightly at the end. We referred to him as "balding".   His name came from a billboard we saw as we were driving shortly after we got him.  I really liked the long light panel in the front!



In October 1998 we sold Steve for $500.  He had over 126,000 miles on him. 

 At that time I was driving a station wagon that my dad had.  I think he gave it to us around the time we were moving from our apartment on Lakewood to the house on Spencerville Rd (summer of 1997).   The station wagon was named Bob.  BOB the COW = Big Ol' Buick - Cave On Wheels.  One day I drove him to school at Ottoville, and the shop teacher asked me if I would be interested in selling it - so I did - for $5000 in Nov. of '98.  Here is a generic internet photo of what Bob looked like.  It was GINORMOUS!  Dad really liked the car and thought it was great, but I had no attachment to Bob - he was too big for us.  I never really felt in control when I was driving Bob.



On Nov. 3, 1998, I bought a 1996 Red Sable from Raabe Ford in Delphos.  It had been leased for 2 years by a retired English teacher from Delphos.  This was the first car I really picked out for myself because I genuinely liked it and didn't settle for something cheap just to get by.  I jokingly called her my Mid-life Crisis Car because she was red.


I loved my red Sable, but for some reason never really named her (Cherry?) - she was definitely female.   Red Sable moved us from Lima to Westerville in 2001.  This was our first car that had fold-down rear seats for hauling big stuff.  Very cool!  I LOVED this car!  She had over 124,000 miles on her when we sold her. Towards the end of her life, she had transmission issues.  She got a rebuilt one, but she was never the same after that.  In September of 2008, I sold her for $600 to a custodian who worked in my building who got it for her teenage daughter.  

Next came Sparky - a 2006 PT Cruiser that came with 17,000 miles on.  We got him in July 2007.  I had a friend in my golf league who had an eggplant PT Cruiser, and it really caught my attention.  She let me sit in it, and I was amazed at how comfortable it was and how well it fit me, so I went looking for one.  I did some online research, and then contacted Byers Chrysler and asked them to find a blue one for me.  They found one in Michigan and had cruise control and a moonroof put in for me.  I paid about $16K for him.  








Sparky has been our all time favorite car.  He fits us very well physically and suits our lifestyle.  He is by far the most versatile car we've had.  He moved a lot of stuff in 2010 when we were closing out my parents' home.  

Sadly, Sparky was rear-ended on July 7.  State Farm has chosen to total him even though the damage is mostly cosmetic and doesn't affect drivability.  No one was hurt.  The woman driving the '03 Ford Explorer said her brakes went out.  







He's had some other issues in the last year - engine mount issues that lead to vibration.  He's also never had a very effective air conditioning system.  I really didn't feel he was very reliable anymore, and even before the accident, I was starting to consider a new car.  Maybe this was his time, and the accident was just the last straw?  Sparky and his 78,000 miles will be surrendered sometime in the next week or two.  We will cry, but we will move on....  

Here's a quick summary:

1 - '69 Mercury Marquis Brougham
2 - '76 Plymouth Volare
3 - '80 Buick Skylark
4 - '85 Ford LTD
5 - '88 Mercury Sable - Gray
6 - Buick Roadmaster Stationwagon
7 - '96 Mercury Sable - Red
8 - '06 Chrysler PT Cruiser

Stay tuned for news of what's ahead!  

Thanks for reading - come back again soon!

:)Amy

P.S.  Sparky was towed away on Tuesday 7-26-16,  with 78017 miles on him.  He was taken to Insurance Auto Auction in Grove City.  Somebody is going to get a great deal!