Saturday, December 29, 2007

Garage Extreme Makeover...Part 1

GarageTek: "The world's cleanest garage."
"The slogan of progress is changing from the full dinner pail to the full garage." ~ Herbert Hoover
The garage organization renovation was scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th. Of course the garage steps weren't done, just in and stained but not sealed or varnished. Sigh! But the truck arrived from Richmond right on time at 10AM and they began.

Men at work... putting together cabinet units
My part had begun a week or so earlier. First Dad and I bought a big storage cabinet to put behind the door in the laundry room. We had to put it together and get it in there so I could move the larger "sometimes used" kitchen appliances in and off one of the metal shelf units I brought over from the old garage. This way my parents wouldn't have to go to the garage and carry them up the steps to use. This took a full day. Then I boxed up the stuff on a second shelf unit I had already put in the garage and started stacking the boxes in the middle of the garage. The contract with GarageTek said that we were responsible for moving all things in the garage at least six feet away from the walls. So, cat tree, plastic containers filled with cat food, toys, bedding, and all things cat went to the middle. Then toolboxes, lawnmower, spreader, boxes of music, boxes for eBay, bicycle and a variety of "stuff" moved to the middle. Then a keeper cabinet that was my grandmother's and two filing cabinets (full) moved away from the walls.

....and working on the wall covering.
Five fellows showed up and they divided up the work. Three set to putting up the wall slatted units on three of the walls, while the other two worked on the overhead storage units and started assembling the wall cabinets. One of the two work benches was ready and delivered and all the wall cabinets. They had their own radial saw set up and after the leveling and marking of studs, the work went rather smoothly. As the wall covering neared completion, one of the men started in on the trim. They were determined and obviously familiar with the installation. They ate lunch in short shifts and the work never stopped... not even when my dad accidentally hit the panic button on his security key fob and it sounded like the world was coming to an end. They started at 10 AM and finished by 4:30 PM.

Stage one my work begins again. Posted by Picasa
So here it is... the end of stage one. Now I have ten days to arrange all the things in the middle, getting as much organized into the cabinets, on the shelves, on the hook hangers and tool hangers and leaving as little as possible on the floor. They will be back to bring the other work bench and put down the floor covering and I must be ready!

(To be continued....the end for now)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas At Catalina Court.... Come On In!

Christmas on Catalina Court
(Click pictures for larger view)
"God grant you the light in Christmas, which is faith; the warmth of Christmas, which is love; the radiance of Christmas, which is purity; the righteousness of Christmas, which is justice; the belief in Christmas, which is truth; the all of Christmas, which is Christ." ~ Wilda English
Christmas Day is here, our first on Catalina Court. We combined households, furniture and Christmas decorations this year. Though we still have much to put away and things put away that we cannot find, we found our Christmas decorations and did our best to make it magical.....Come on inside!

"Come on in!"
Together we have three larger trees. One was placed in the dining room, one in the den and the smallest in the foyer. The tree in the dining room is primarily covered with ornaments my parents have collected through the years and the one in the den with mine. Our thin tree in the foyer has been designated our "Austrian tree" and here we have ornaments from Salzburg and other parts of Austria. Delicate hay and wood shaving ornaments mix with fragile, hand painted eggs and small painted glass hearts and thin glass teardrops. Some of the eggs did not weather the move that well, with small cracks and pieces of shell missing, but most are intact.

Our "Austrian" tree.
I also put a very small 3ft tree on Nyssa's dresser, a large ceramic tree in the master bedroom sitting area and a small white ceramic tree in my room. We have five nativity sets in various places, garland on the winding staircase, the stockings hung by the fireplace with care and the cat stockings hung from the upstairs. We have baked gingerbread cookies, sand tarts, chocolate chip cookies... OH YES!!... I have made 21...yes, 21 potica breads over the last two weeks. Ours is ready to cut for breakfast.

Our dining room tree. Posted by Picasa
Oh, look! It is after midnight and I must take my aching knees and hands to bed...but before I go, let me wish you all a joyous and peaceful Christmas. As we spend time with family and feel the excitement of exchanging gifts, let us remember the greatest gift ever given .... the Christ Child... Immanuel... God with us.

May you have a blessed Christmas!

(end of post)

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Step In The Right Direction

The new garage stairs, freshly built....side view.
(Click pictures for larger view)

New garage steps - face on view.
"The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps - we must step up the stairs." ~ Vance Havner
The stairs up from the garage into the new house were straight, with no landing and quite steep. With a 7.5 inch rise and 10 inch widths to the treads, it was hard for older folks to navigate. So, Dewey, who originally built the stairs, came up with this. There are seven steps instead of five and each one is 11.5 inches wide with a 5.5 inch rise. The platform at the top is nice to set groceries on while opening the back door. Dewey built them in one day.

However, the staining and painting and sealing and varnishing have been another story. That has taken four weeks and much prodding. But now.... FINALLY! The grand staircase is finished and ready for the unveiling.

The final product....(side view)

Stairway to heaven....well, the kitchen anyway. Posted by Picasa
I have to admit...Dad was right. They really ARE easier to get up and down!!!!

(Coming soon... the garage organization system. My brother is really anxious to see pictures of this in its finished state. You can just see a hint of it in the final stairway pictures.)

(end of post)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Tanyah - Royalty Became Her

Not the least hard thing to bear when they go from us, these quiet friends, is that they carry away with them so many years of our own lives. ~ John Galsworthy (1867-1933)

Tanyah (1991 - 2007) Posted by Picasa
Cat Poem

They will not go quietly,
the cats who've shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.
Old habits still make us think
we hear a meow at the door.
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.
Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And, sometimes, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.
And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them. . . and always will.

by Linda Barnes
When I met Tanyah, she was already in her senior years; although I suspect, as most ladies do, she would rather be called a "mature diva". Actually, she was just that; a seasoned actress and prima donna with attitude to spare. But Tanyah began life in a difficult position as a tiny stray.

The day Diane found Tanyah was the luckiest day of her(Tanyah's) life, though she would not admit it. Her life of luxury began that day and she took to it like a fish to water. Tanyah was pampered with gourmet food, posh cat trees and proper playthings. Oh yes! She also had a playmate....Tucker... theirs was a relationship of mutual tolerance.

Tanyah didn't care to travel, which was sad since she probably saw more of the country than many humans do. While traveling with Diane who was dancing in The Phantom of the Opera, Tanyah spent time in Chicago, Florida, Washington DC, Denver, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, as well as other locations. Tanyah didn't like to ride in the car, so she hid.... and she was very, very good at it. Once Diane thought she was really gone this time. She and Stephen searched the entire room and even the ouside area, to no avail. Finally, when all hope was almost gone, they saw Tucker sitting by the bed, staring at the mattress. There they found Tanyah..... inside the mattress box springs. She found a small hole and decided that this was where she would stay. After over an hour delay and much difficulty in getting her out... lesson learned.... put Tanyah in her carrier before she figures out it is time to go back to the car.

When Alec met Diane, he had to meet Tanyah and Tucker too. Tucker, ever the protector, wasn't pleased at first and did all he could to make the intruder leave. But Tanyah looked upon Alec as a conquest... and she worked her black feline magic on him... wrapping Alec around her fluffy tail in record time. She pranced and purred and head butted and showered him with attention and Tanyah wedged her way right into his heart. She became Alec's cat. Now she had what she wanted... a 5th floor window with the view of Manhattan, fancy treats and a personal groomer at her beck and call. She was "Queen Tanyah" and Alec was her willing slave.

Tanyah survived much in her "mature" years... kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, high blood pressure and other ailments. She survived the death of her housemate, Tucker, just last year. Actually, Miss "Diva" Tanyah flourished in the spotlight; with Tucker no longer around, she had the full attention of both of her humans and to her, this was how it should be. And though her physical ailments continued to progress, she was still happy and loved.

The cancer took Tanyah quickly, as it is want to do. Its swift progression surprised Diane and Alec, as it does all of us, even when we expect the worst. On November 30th, Diane and Alec made that most difficult decision and in a final act of love, let her go. Now there is a big hole in their hearts and great sadness.

Miss now in peace.

(end of post)