Finally Moving Forward Again

April
16
2014

 

We will be heading to Maryland this weekend and will finally be moving forward with our plans once again.  As you know, the Metal Building took a long while, and we haven’t been down there for a couple of weeks.  Since then, however, Kyle has been fixing up the sides of the building inside as well as outside, and also fixing up the floor inside so we will be able to start bringing our stuff inside. He’s using some kind of composite made with asphalt so it will pack down and eventually become very strong like a road.  So we will bring in the boat trailers, the tractor, the ATV, the crab pots, etc. Then – next week hopefully – we will rent a truck and start moving out all the bins and boxes I’ve been packing up here.  And we have a lot!  It’ll be nice to clear out the garage up here at the house, as well as get part of my living room back.

What a mess!

What a mess!

Last week John had a business trip to Prague, so I went to VA to visit my daughter.  She wants to buy a townhouse soon, so we spent a lot of time looking at them.  I’ve said many times that DIY is for the young – and now I also think townhouses are for the young!  Those stairs!  I guess it’s good exercise but it got tiring going up and down three or four sets of stairs.  But we both love looking at houses, so we really enjoyed ourselves.  Plus, we got to enjoy ourselves eating dinner at Ozzie’s in Fairfax Corner!  Have you heard of them?  They are part of a chain, and yes, sometimes the food is fantastic and sometimes is it so-so.  But it’s a fun place, the wait staff and managers are very friendly, and we always enjoy ourselves there. Plus, they have Ozzie rolls!

Ozzie rolls! Yum!

Ozzie rolls! Yum!

And the perfect Margaritas!

Delicious!

Delicious!

Last year they started a new spring appetizer, hickory grilled artichokes with garlic lemon aioli, and it’s been such a hit they brought it back this year.  We had it last year and loved it, so of course when we heard it was on the menu again we were very, very happy.

Grilled artichokes with garlic aioli

Grilled artichokes with garlic aioli

And, in case you’re wondering what I had for dinner…..  short ribs, with garlic mashed potatoes, carrots and frizzled onions.  Not a dietic dinner I admit.  But yummy!

Short ribs

Short ribs

We will try and take a boat ride also this weekend, if the weather and water cooperate.  But it will mostly be a working weekend, and then we can truly say we are moving forward again, to designing and building our dream home! Stay tuned!

You Can’t Stop Progress

February
27
2014

 

You’ve probably noticed I haven’t written in a while.  Mostly it’s because nothing has been happening on our building!  Whoever coined the phrase, “You Can’t Stop Progress” never tried to get a building built on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  I guess as John would remind me, that’s one of the reasons we are moving there, life goes by at a slower pace, we don’t have to rush, rush, rush all the time.  But still.  Slow is one thing.  Not moving at all is quite another.

As you would imagine, there are quite a few “gotchas” when you are building on the water.  Of course you have to take the weather into consideration.  The house and roof have to be built stronger than an inland home since the storms can be very severe.  Also, you need to build it up off the ground more, either by adding more soil, or adding more foundation, or doing both, as we will do on the house.  So, even though we were going to build up the soil for the metal building, we found out we have to build it up even higher. Resulting in more time lost and more costs!  Another “gotcha” -  if you add a building where there wasn’t one “grandfathered” in, you need to plant trees and bushes equal to the square footage of that building.  And they have to be native Maryland plants to insure they will grow.  Now I guess in the grand scheme of things it’s a good idea.  But I think it’s human nature not to like being told you HAVE to do it and what you can and can’t plant.  So, anyway, after these few hurdles,  slowly but slowly things are kind of moving along.  Sort of.  The company building the metal building is now backed up because of the weather.  So we’re hoping around St. Patty’s day is when we’ll start to see something going on.  (We originally thought we’d have it up before Thanksgiving!)

This is really what has been going around here:

February snowstorm

February snowstorm

 

Back Yard

Back yard

 

A friend of mine

A friend of mine

 

It did melt a little this past weekend, so today it looks like this around here:

 

Front

Front

 

This and That 2014 004

 

Here's my friend again today

Here’s my friend again today

And her friends

And her friends

 

The other day there were a couple of foxes in the back!  The animals  are having a hard time finding food.  And one thing I’ve learned about foxes…. they are very itchy.  Must be dry winter skin.

Little Choptank 2014 B Feb. 21-23 112

Little Choptank 2014 B Feb. 21-23 089

Last weekend we decided to take a quick trip to Maryland, and there’s NO SNOW there!  Another reason why we are moving there.  The winters are shorter because the weather isn’t as severe!

Looking toward the entrance

Looking toward the entrance

 

Our Bocce Court (Just past that little tree on the right is where we will build the house!)

Our Bocce Court
(Just past that little tree on the right is where we will build the house!)

 

 

Looking across the water

Looking across the water

 

 

And of course, our beautiful sunset

And of course, our beautiful sunset

Weekend in Maryland

November
20
2013

We went to our place in Maryland for a long weekend and it was just glorious.  We visited with one neighbor for coffee, and we went out to dinner with another.  It poured two nights, but well after we went to bed, it made me think of the song Camelot, where it doesn’t rain till after sundown.  Two mornings were very foggy (it’s supposed to disappear by 8) but it was very interesting looking and it cleared enough for us to go fishing on Sunday.

But first, our winter sunset.  It’s over the trees this time of year instead of over the water, but still beautiful.

We arrived at sunset

We arrived at sunset

We woke up to a thick fog where you couldn’t tell the sky from the water.  As it cleared a bit, we found we had some visitors.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 025

Who then made themselves right at home.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 026

It stayed foggy most of the day, but we didn’t mind relaxing and reading and putzing.  (That’s John, he likes to putz.  Or he is a putz, one or the other, I forget.)  We also had a nice visit from our neighbor, Judy, who came over for coffee.

Sunday, we were determined to go fishing.  The weather was supposed to be warm and sunny, and we were a bit surprised when it was also kind of foggy.  We had to wait for the tide anyway, and as it got a little later, the fog started to clear.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 034

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 033

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 035

This is across the water from our place.  It looks like a painting with the fog.  It’s such a cute little building, and we always wonder who lives there.

As we headed out to the Chesapeake, the fog was still hanging onto the water.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 040

We hardly saw this guy till he got a little closer.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 039

But then it cleared, and we went out to find some stripers!  Or as people in Maryland refer to them, rockfish.   This is the big prize, since they have to be a certain size in order to keep, plus some of us who aren’t that crazy about eating fish (me) will eat striped bass.

These we caught out in Montauk one year, one of our FAVORITE places to go on vacation.

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Our little family of fisherpersons:

Copy (2) of Montauk Vacation July 22-29, 06 148

And this one John and our friend Bill caught last summer, right out in the Chesapeake.

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And this one John caught last December! He was fishing with our electrician, Rick, in the Chesapeake.

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So, anyway, we’re no strangers to catching them.  And did we catch any you may ask?  Um…. no.  We didn’t.  We caught two crab buoys.  Which we certainly didn’t intend to catch.  And we caught a giant net that must have broken off a commercial fishing boat, it was so big!  We could hardly lift it, so we didn’t bring it into the boat, but I wish I took a picture.  You know what I could’ve said then….   nothing but net.

We did see a pretty sailboat though.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 fixed 043

And we caught the sunset as we were flying home to get in before it got too dark.  It was such a nice weekend, we really can’t wait till we move down there.

Little Choptank 2013 I November 14 to 18 048

 

 

 

Cleaning Out the Attic

October
31
2013

 

As you know, we’ve been getting our house ready to be put on the market (next spring) and we will move down to our “Crab Shack” in Maryland where we will be building our (semi) retirement dream home.

And as you also probably know, cleaning out the “stuff” from some 20 plus years in one house can be daunting!  John and Jackson (our son) have been bringing me down boxes from the attic, so that I can go through them a few at a time.

Boxes from the Attic

 

Some, over the past couple of weeks, have been easy to go through.  Old clothes that (sadly) I will never fit in again.  Or old shoes that I wouldn’t want to fit into.  Today, I came upon three boxes of photo books. Three Boxes.  From the time before the digital camera.  Can you imagine how many pictures didn’t make the books?  Probably thousands!  I spent more time looking at pictures yesterday and today than I did packing.

Wedding Book

Do couples today still have a wedding album?  Or is it all on a CD.  Or a DVD?  It makes sense, since we all look at our pictures on our computers and devices now.  But still, there is something nice about sitting with a big, heavy photo album in your lap.

Photo Books 032Here’s my sister.  She passed away, it was 11 years this month!

Photo Books 030It was such a happy day for our parents too.  Sadly, the four of them are no longer with us either.

Photo Books 034And the priest let everybody come up to watch us say our vows.  It was pretty special.

Jackson's Baby BookHere’s Jackson’s baby book.  I know, it’s kind of dirty.  And the pages are falling out!

Jackson's one year book

Look how big it is.  And this is only up to his FIRST BIRTHDAY!

Jackson

Here’s Jackson on his second day of life.   Look at that head of hair! The nurses were parting it before the week was out.  Big baby, 10 lbs. 14 oz.!  I was happy about it, since I never handled a newborn before.  I didn’t feel like he was going to break every time I picked him up.

Jackson first birthday         Photo Books 012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here was one of his first birthday cake celebrations!  (He had four that year, we didn’t live close to our family and friends and they all made separate trips up to celebrate with us and him.)

Photo Books 008Here’s his “formal” one year old picture.  We did that every month, went to Penney’s or Sears and had a professional picture taken for his birthday.  Like we didn’t take enough of them ourselves!  Such a cutie!

Photo Books 013        Photo Books 016

This one on the left is his next photo book.  But at least it’s from age 2 to 4.

The one on the right is from 4 to 9!

 

I was slowing down I guess, since when Jackson was 4, we had Chrissy.

 

Photo Books 018         Photo Books 017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are her three early photo books, again, up to a year, from age 2 to 4, then 4 to 6.

Photo Books 025

Maybe a little smaller.  But not tooooo much, right?

Photo Books 021               Photo Books 022

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her first birthday cake celebration.  I guess we kept that high chair for a while, huh?  And the rattle!  It’s the same one!  I guess I really held on to things.

Photo Books 024 Now I ask you, who’s cuter?  Them, or the stuffed animals?  It’s them, I know it…. you don’t have to think about it.

Photo Books 026

 

So here are some of the boxes that we will be putting into storage in the garage in Maryland while we are building the house.   And I not only hold on to things for a long time, I’m also prepared for the future:

Photo Books

Neither one has children.  Yet.  Be prepared.  That’s my motto.  (Well, I guess it is now.)

Here they are, cute as can be.

Chrissy GW law....cropped

Those were some interesting boxes!

The Crab Shack

September
25
2013

Little Choptank Nov.5 to 7, 2011 078

 

A kind reader asked me to show you around the inside of the “Crab Shack.”  You’ve seen the outside, and I’ve mentioned that we actually were going to build a different building, one we called the “Boat House,” modeled after the lighthouses on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  But, after all the soil testing and the modifications and the collapse of the economy, we scaled it down.  John found plans online, Katrina cottage plans, and much to our builder’s delight, we still decided to build something.  We love our little “Crab Shack,” and yet, if we had it to do over again, there would be a change or two we would make.  We don’t have room for a table and chairs, so we would probably push the front of the building out maybe four more feet, giving us room for not only the table, but a dishwasher.  It would also make the “living” room a bit bigger, and with the amount of company we sometimes have, that would be a good thing.  But for the two of us, it’s wonderful.  Have a look:

This is what you see when you walk in the front door

This is what you see when you walk in the front door

 

When Thom, our builder, first painted the place, he called us and said we should come down and take a look at it.  He thought the color might be too dark.  So we took a trip down, looked at each other and said, “It’s perfect!”

As you first walk in, the kitchen is to your right.

As you first walk in, the kitchen is to your right.

While we were looking at tiles for the backsplash (and bathroom and fireplace) John saw these heron tiles for behind the stove and just fell in love with them.  We (as you will see) love using herons in our decorating, so these were perfect!  We had to “fit” a refrigerator into the space, we only had so much room, and we were lucky to find something that fit exactly right.  I have learned, however, that I don’t really like the freezer on the bottom!  I know it’s very popular now, and many people really like it, but I find that things get buried down at the bottom, and with “Reynauds” in my hands, rummaging around in the freezer is not my favorite thing to do.  You understand, right?  I’m going to stick with the side by side for the main house.

The "living" room is to your left when you come in the front door.

The “living” room is to your left when you come in the front door.

 

We had this couch, chair and coffee table from our place in Pennsylvania, but we think it goes pretty well here.  We had Thom make the TV stand to fit right in between the windows and we bought the leather chair and ottoman because it was a smaller profile and fit in that space so well.

When we first started building, we decided John would do most of the “decorating” of the Crab Shack, and I would do the house.  We both wound up making the decisions, but the Crab Shack does have more of a “fishing” cabin feel because of his choices.  It’s cute though, it fits the area.  The chair on this side is from my mother in law’s apartment, we also think it fits in well.

 

Looking back at front door

Looking back at front door

The stairs at the far end of the living room lead up to the loft.  Originally we thought John would use the loft as an office, plus it would also be a bedroom for guests.  We found out, however, that the reception for his phone (and therefore his internet connection through his phone) was not the best up there, and he moved his office to the room above the garage.  So now, it’s a guest room.

Heading up the stairs to the loft is the fishing wall of fame.

Heading up the stairs to the loft is the fishing wall of fame.

 

The loft area

The loft area

 

From up in the loft

From up in the loft

 

Looking down into living room.

Looking down into living room.

 

 

See our fun fan?  We first saw it at the Blue Point Restaurant at the Hyatt Resort in Cambridge, MD.  (If you’re ever around there, give it a try, the food is great!) It reminded us of boat propellers!  So we tracked it down, went to Dan’s Fan City in Laurel, MD and we think it fits in perfectly!

Okay, moving on, as you walk down the hallway, the first room after the kitchen on the right hand side is the bathroom.  When we first saw the room before it was actually built, when it was just studs, I couldn’t picture how everything would fit it!  I thought we’d be squished in the shower so that your arms would be touching all the walls!  But, small as it is, it’s got plenty of room!

Here's what the kitchen and bathroom looked like

Here’s what the kitchen and bathroom looked like

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 500

 

Little Choptank 2013  H August 2 to Sept 4 503

 

After the bathroom, again on the right hand side, is the mudroom/laundry room.  Thom did advise us to add to the original plans in the back part of the house, so we expanded it about 4 feet.  It gave us a bigger mudroom, and also a bigger bedroom.

Looking from the door in the hallway out to the back

Looking from the door in the hallway out to the back

 

This angle is from the back door to the door in the hallway

This angle is from the back door to the door in the hallway

And then, if you’re back in the hallway, the room on the left hand side is our bedroom.  We’re so glad Thom advised us to make it bigger.  We love waking up and being able to look out at the water. We pinch ourselves and can’t believe we were lucky enough to find and buy this property.

Looking in from the door in the hall

Looking in from the door in the hall

 

We recently purchased the artwork that is over the bed.  Again, herons.

We recently purchased the artwork that is over the bed. Again, herons.

 

Here's a closer look at the artwork.  Looks like it was just made for us!

Here’s a closer look at the artwork. Looks like it was just made for us!

Heron lamps too!

Heron lamps too!

 

Looking back to the hallway

Looking back to the hallway

 

Back deck and patio area.

Back deck and patio area.

Thank you for joining our tour of the inside of the Crab Shack.  It was the first time we built anything, and we never realized how many decisions and choices we’d have to make.  It gave us a good preview of what we’ll be doing when we start building the house next year.  I’ve read if a couple can survive building a house together, they can survive anything.  We say, bring it on!

 

Crab Shack and garage from the water.

Crab Shack and garage from the water.

Enjoy the sunset!

Little Choptank Nov 13, 14 2010 067

Looking Out My Back Door

August 7, 2013

We are spending August in Maryland, at our future (semi) retirement property.  We’re very comfy, with our garage, our dock and our “Crab Shack”, but what we don’t really have is great internet. Or even good internet.  It’s a problem down here because there isn’t enough people (a/k/a customers) to warrant internet providers installing anything like we’re used to (Fios)  – or anything at all, really.  So, it’s on our list of things to research this month because as much as we would love to have good service now, we’ll absolutely need it once we move here.  (Probably spring of next year.)  John’s job depends on it, plus really,  how could we live without it at this point!

So, all this to say, I plan on posting probably once a week until after Labor Day, and hopefully on Wednesday.  I hope you’ll visit each week, and if you have some ideas about getting good – and by good I mean fast – internet service, please let me know!  This is serious, people!

Here are some pictures of what I see from my back door….

Sunset, first day of vacation

Sunset, first day of vacation

Little Choptank 2013 H August 2 to Sept 006

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Dock, with new light out there by the boat

Light's fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

Light’s fixed on the flagpole! It was flooded in the spring storm.

 

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Osprey checking things out from the tree on our property

Sundown.  Or sun's down.  Sounds more grammatically correct.

Sundown. Or sun’s down. Sounds more grammatically correct.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

Crab boats are out early in the Little Choptank River.

 

 

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

Our new pedal boat! I can’t try it out till my knee is better.

 

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

Kyle and crew planting our new experiment, palm trees!

 

Aren't they cute!  If they grow, we'll plant  more.

Aren’t they cute! If they grow, we’ll plant more.

Okay, that’s it for now.  It took me two days to be able to get this post up!  So put on your thinking caps, we need some good internet ideas for rural areas.  We’re using either my Ipad hotspot, or John’s phone’s hotspot, but the service is spotty.  We could use the MiFi from Verizon, but the service would be the same as the Verizon hotspot we’re using now, I assume.  So if anyone has a Hughes Satellite, I’d be interested to hear if that’s a good option.  Thanks!

Pictures of Prague

July
10
2013

We’ve just returned from our trip to Prague and Vienna.  What beautiful cities!  Prague is like no other place.   Since it was not destroyed during the war, the buildings are all old, very, very old.    The trip was partly a business meeting for John, but then we decided to make a vacation out of it.  Here are some pictures, I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 019wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 038wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 107wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 026wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 093wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 404wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 202wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 343wtmk

 

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 306wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 314wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 315wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 114wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 197wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 438wtmk

Prague and Vienna-ALL July 2-8, 2013 437wtmk