Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Projects At The Coast of Gowen

March 30, 2017

IMG_3722Ever since we retired and moved to our lake home there has been no shortage of projects. It began with adding a large “three season” room on the front. In the process rotted wood along the front wall was discovered necessitating jacking up the roof and walls so that a new sill plate could be installed. This destroyed the drywall in the front living room and front bedroom. So while this was being done Paula and I were building a 16′ x 20′ Garden shed behind the barn. Then we had a guy come in and hang new drywall in the living room after we did the demolition to the damaged drywall. He also repaired the drywall in the front bedroom. In order to finish the living room we cut through the wall to the kitchen to make it larger and more open. Once the new room construction was complete Paula and I finished the interior – ceiling, walls, trim and capping it all with new carpet including the living room and front bedroom. Her son and daughter-in-law came and finished some of the drywall to complete the living room and did a better job than the “pro”.

Now at the same time we were trying to condense two homes into one (still ongoing) and the garage is a mess and the barn is full. Oh yeah, the barn. We installed a large overhead shelf for storage along one 32′ side wall and the 24′ back wall. After the garden shed project we partitioned a 10′ by 24′ area of the barn for my woodworking shop. Paula and I built the walls and insulated it and her daughter Kim (the NCAA gymnastic champ) climbed through the trusses above the room and installed insulation for us. The shop needs a bunch of projects to make it functional including a workbench and a miter saw stand.

I’m concentrating my effort in the garage in order to make it useful. The photo above is a small slice of the organization in progress. Once it’s done the garage “shop” area will be very useful to complete the rest of the project list. That list includes demo of the dinning room and kitchen and renovation of both. Then I can concentrate on getting the barn organized for its intended uses which is to store the pontoon in the winter and to house the functional woodworking shop.

I forgot to mention the driveway upgrade and landscaping projects, but I’ll save that for another posting. So we have our work cut out for us… Retired indeed!

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I’ve Been Busy

February 6, 2017

635945179805942255129741197_originalSo I’ve been too busy to blog but not too busy to Facebook, hmm! So I decided to throttle back on Facebook and make a weekly blog entry here on “Five 14 Responding”. So let me bring you up to date.

I retired! That’s big!! That’s huge!!! It’s been interesting for sure. We relocated from the People’s Republic of Illinois to the great state of Michigan. We sold our home there and put the proceeds into upgrading our former summer home. We had a 16′ x 22′ three season room added but in reality it is in use 24/7, 365. I’m sitting in that room right now with my laptop. I can watch the lake or the birds out back from this location. Love it! We had the exterior redone with new vinyl siding, new roofing and new gutter system. There was some rot here and there and all of that was reworked by our excellent contractor/builder. We had to have the electric service relocated to accommodate the new room so at that time we upgraded to 200 amp and added a panel in the barn for my woodworking shop. We (Paula and I with some help from Kim and Chad) built a 12 x 16 shed for all the outside tools and the garden tractor. We did hire out the shingling of the roof since I’m too old “fo dat”. We finished the inside of the new room ourselves and redid the living room and front bedroom due to drywall damage caused by the front wall rot that was repaired. We had some help with the drywall since I hate it. So we don’t “feel” retired. Actually, up until the Christmas holidays we were busier than when we were gainfully employed.

Here in February I am trying to get motivated to get the garage organized and then attack the barn to get it setup for serious woodworking. I have a back log of projects.

We had a very busy and nasty presidential campaign season that went on forever and ended up with an upset win by President Donald J Trump. Now the left seems to be having serious trouble getting over Hillary Rodham Clinton’s defeat even though she took the lead in the popular vote she was campaigning in the wrong places allowing Trump to capture the electoral college which in this country is what counts. I think we are all sick of politics and political correctness so for me Trump is a breath of fresh air. So I have abandoned politics on Facebook because it is overwhelming. My blog may contain my opinions and you do not have to read it.

I have more guns and ammo than I need so I’m going to pare down my collection to what I consider the basics for home and personal defense and a little fun stuff too. My 12 gauge shot gun is loaded with #1 buck shot and ready for any intruders and that coupled with a 9mm Springfield “XD Mod 2” comprise my home defense. I think that should cover anything short of a full on ISIS attack. For that I have a Ruger Mini-14 which replaced my AR-15. AR-15s are the “scary” assault rifles you see in the press as the most evil of guns. Of course this is total bullshit but the left is what it is. I have a couple concealed carry options and that is where I will need to make some decisions. I desperately need some time at the range.

I now can feed the birds here in Michigan full time. I have a good group of clients that do their best to empty my feeders. I get 3 different woodpeckers, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Finches and sparrows year round along with a variety of migratory birds. I seem to have defeated the squirrel population since implementing my PVC pipe baffles. The birds love the variety of my feeders. I use sunflower hearts since the birds do not eat the shells which only makes a big mess I get more bang for the buck using hearts. I also use safflower, peanut splits and suet cakes. In the spring and summer I put out grape jelly which the Baltimore Orioles love.

My kids and her kids and the grandkids come to visit but not as often as we would like. We know they are all busy. The oldest granddaughter is a sophomore in college and the youngest just turned 12 so they all have school and sports that keep them all on the run constantly. We get it.

Next week I will explain what “Five 14 Responding” is all about along with some words of wisdom. So goodbye for now.

Mother’s Day

May 7, 2014

mothersWell another Mother’s Day is fast approaching. I think it’s important to celebrate Mother’s Day even if your mother is no longer with us here on earth. I’m one of those fortunate to still have my mother around as I approach my retirement years. I think it is amazing how well she is doing at age 91. Oh she forgets a thing or two here and there but she remembers much more than most and after all she has 91 years worth of memories to draw from. My mother was always there to support me even when I was wrong. Make no mistake, she is not one to mince words and she will let me know if I crossed the line. She put up with an awful lot of crap from me until I enlisted in the Navy. When she saw that I had matured into a reasonable human being she realized she had done her job well and there was nothing left to do. Then it became a friendship as much if not more than the mother/son relationship. My mother is a lot of things and they are all good. She is an artist and very crafty. She is an excellent cook (except those few years when she experimented with “healthy” eating). She does some of the best cross stitching I have ever seen and in my mind she could do whatever she set her mind to and do it very well. She is an avid bird watcher/lover. She is a religious woman with strong faith in Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. She is a professional mother. She is the oldest of 5 children and only 1 of 2 still with us having lost her only brother and 2 of her 3 sisters. She is from Long Island, NY and misses the ocean deeply but she never complains about moving to the Midwest because she supported her late husband. She is a widow since 1998 but has gained strength of will and mind as her body weakens. She decided on her own that she needed to give up driving several years ago and she decided on her own that she needed assisted living. She knows what to do and when to do it. Someday I will miss my mother as many of my readers do now. I can and do call her on the phone nearly every day and I visit her at least once a week and share a meal. I owe her an awful lot but it’s a debt that can never be satisfied. I love you mom, happy Mother’s Day!