Changing the Katrina Cottage


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Lots going on around here in real-time.  We are packing up the Crab Shack, the kitchen and bathroom and mudroom that is, because the builders are starting in here on Monday.  We’re going to live in John’s office, which is above the garage.  It also serves as a guest suite – it has a daybed and a bathroom of course.  So we’ll be living up there for as long as it takes them to finish up in here. (Hopefully a week to ten days.)

Plus it’s my daughter’s birthday tomorrow and we are going to VA for a day trip to celebrate!  It’s also my cousin Irene’s birthday – so it’s a double celebration! Busy, busy, busy.

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The plans call for them to break through in the mudroom and add double doors into the back hallway of the “addition” a/k/a the house.  This was the requirement to make it an addition….only the one entry.  Then, they are tearing down the wall of the bathroom in the Crab Shack where the sink is now and re-configuring the bathroom (except for the shower) to make it bigger.

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We’re also adding a tub – which actually was the cause of much conversation as to what tub we would get.  We were going to get one of those beautiful stand alone tubs, that was our decision for a long time.


Then we realized that a lot of the guests who would actually use the tub would not find it that convenient to get into and out of.  So then we went to a drop in tub.  They are also beautiful and we’d have the tile surround and have Fernando (lead builder) make wainscoting to go in the front.

Here was my vision – not the tile all the way up to the ceiling, but maybe a third of the way.  The shower and tub placement are like they will be in the Crab Shack:




So we went to Seaford, Delaware where the plumbing showroom was (had great Pizza there at Sal’s by the way) and gave Karen from Elegant Designs Showroom our plans to make sure everything would fit.  Well, surprise, surprise and not in a good way….we don’t have room for a drop in tub!!  So if we want to completely change the floor plans (a definite NO) then we had one choice – a slide in tub.  A plain old tub.  It’s a little fuzzy but here is a picture of the new configuration of the bathroom and closet – where our kitchen is now:


I was a little disappointed – a “little” in this case meaning “very.”  There’s no room for a tile surround or the wainscoting, although we’ll still have tile around the three sides of it.  But let me tell you, by this point in the project, even though it’s been a very good experience and we’re still happy with the workers and the work, we’re a little tired of it all.  So, we bought the tub and moved on.

The rest of the project is moving along – although slowly it seems.  Everything takes longer than you think.  Everybody says it on a building project as large as this, and it’s so true.  When the actual building started – in March – John thought they’d be done by his birthday – early August.  There’s a reason why we say he could be the president of the optimist club.  I thought they’d be done by my birthday – early October.  But now, we’ll be “thankful” if we get in the house by Thanksgiving!  We’re going to spend it at Chrissy’s in Virginia anyway.

So, next time we’ll be back to the progress as it moved along in July – putting on the metal roof.  Meanwhile, enjoy our sunset.

Little Choptank 2016 G July 089



Property Improvement


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When John and I moved down to our “retirement” property full-time a few months ago, we decided to make a few improvements even though winter was coming and we might not be able to enjoy them until spring.  One thing high on John’s list was an awning for the back deck!  One of the reasons we fell in love with our property was the unobstructed view. Yes, shade is nice, but our property in New Jersey was surrounded by trees and was so shady it always seemed dark. Plus, raking leaves is not something we want to spend our time doing.   Our place here is the opposite, it’s BIG SKY country,  but along with that comes a summer sun that is so bright you need sunglasses inside.  Our awning will bring down the temperature in the back where we spend most of our time at least 10 degrees, plus I won’t have to spend my time squinting – always a good thing!

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Here’s how it looks from the inside:

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Nice and shady, huh?


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So with that project done, we moved on to what I would say was my number one priority:  finishing off the fence!  John and I both agree Robert Frost had it right when he wrote, “Good fences make good neighbors.”  After we were here all the time we began noticing that our neighbor’s dog was leaving us little gifts.  Gifts you don’t want.  And after spending more and more time cleaning up after a dog I don’t own, we knew it was time to complete the project!

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This part of the fence may look a little strange, but we cut it down this way so our neighbor’s view of the water isn’t blocked.  And it’s not the way we face when we’re looking at our view and sunset, so it doesn’t bother us too much.

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And here’s our beautiful gate:

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Ah, fences.  They are also a very good thing.

The third project which we are all excited about (and by all I mean John and myself, and Chrissy and my cousin Irene) is the garden!  Chrissy and Irene will have a spot for themselves and for our areas we’re going to put in raised beds and one waist-high bed for herbs.   John built it for me in December!  Yep, December.

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Little Choptank 2014 L Nov, Dec and other pics 314

We were so naive then, thinking what a mild and short winter we were going to have.

Then the ice came.

I thought this was bad:

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Little Choptank 2015 B February 024

Till we had this:

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Little Choptank 2016 C March 005

It’s mostly melted now, although the cove isn’t completely unfrozen.  Soon though.  Very soon.  Spring in 8 days!

And that’s a wonderful thing!

Sitting on the Dock of the Bay


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Who could be happier than a man with his dock, his boat, and a gorgeous sunset.

As promised, here are pictures of the dock.  When we first looked at the property, the dock was in terrible shape, you could tell it was very unloved.


We were just happy we had one, because we thought it would save us all the time and expense of getting a new permit.  We reasoned we were just improving what was already there.  But no.  That’s not how it went.  We still had to wait for all the permits to be approved, and pay quite a bit for the pleasure.  Still, fishing and boating are a BIG part of our lives (or would be once we got all this work done) and we wound up fixing up the dock even before we started the “crab shack”.  Like I said, we had our priorities!

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Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08and May 080wtmk


Little Choptank, NEW BOAT, April 08and May 081wtmk


It was an interesting process to watch.  We decided to add a cutting table and a bench, along with lights and electric of course.



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We’ve had some visitors……

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But one visitor we really didn’t want……

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An osprey!  Although it would have been interesting to watch them with their babies, they would render the table unusable for a very long time.  Plus they would squawk and fly around our heads, and “mess” up the dock.  So we re-located their nest out on the “point,” closer to the water and away from where we would hang out.  But they wound up abandoning that nest.  But – don’t worry – there are  plenty of other friendly places for them to build, specific places that are built for them, with solar warmed platforms, so we’re confident they found another home that year.  One year we had to take the top of the cutting table completely off since they were so persistent!  But then, Thom our builder, told us to put up one of those plastic owls in the spring before nesting season, and so far we’ve been lucky they haven’t tried to rebuild again on the cutting table.


We’ve since added a couple more boats,  which I’m sure you’ll see in future posts.  But for now, we are enjoying fishing from the dock, or heading out on one of the boats to take a ride, or to fish,  or just sitting on the dock watching the sunset.  (One of my all time favorite past times!)  Enjoy!

Little Choptank August 10-12 2008 035wtmk

A House on the Water

April 2 2013


The one thing John and I knew, without even a second thought, was that we wanted to live on the water.  We did once before, we  lived on a canal on Long Island (an area that sadly was devastated during Hurricane Sandy).  And yes, even though there are major precautions to take when living on the water, we wanted to do it again, and on a grander scale.  We love to fish, we love having boats, and we wanted them handy.  We didn’t want to have to traipse to a lake and trailer the boat.  So, that decision done, we moved on.

I asked John today, how did we decide we wanted to build a house rather than buy a house?  We’re not sure how we came to that decision.  It may have been because we still owned a “vacation” house in PA, so buying a “lot” would be less expensive than buying a house. (so we thought at the time!)  Or it might have been because we saw house plans and fell in love, and to get that house we’d have to build it.  Either way, that decision also, seems to have been made easily, and without much anxiety.  And ask anybody, I am usually not one to make quick decisions.

But where, exactly, would be look?  Back to Long Island?  Many of our family and friends would be nearby if we did that, but the cost! The taxes!  And the crowds!  No.  We quickly ruled that out.  We thought maybe south Jersey.  We took a day trip to look, but not only was it very expensive with very small lots but it confirmed that we didn’t want to be on the ocean.  The water is a little too rough for us these days.

We took out our handy Atlas, came up with another criteria, a sunset view, and picked the Chesapeake Bay!  It wasn’t an area that we knew anything about, but was still close enough to family that we could drive to visit.  It’s also big enough so that there are plenty of places to explore, and the fishing is great!  We thought it wouldn’t be as rough as the ocean, and would have that “I can get out into the ocean and go anywhere” feeling.  You know that feeling?  The whole world is open to you, with endless possibilities.

For us, surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to come up with an area to concentrate on: the eastern shore - which offered beautiful, flat waterfront property with a sunset view.  And because there are so many rivers and tributaries right off the main body of water, it wouldn’t be as rough as the Chesapeake itself (as we found out), but still allow us access very quickly.  It’s worth it to spend some time figuring out what you want for your future.  Balance the wants with the needs, the costs and the responsibilities.  Then add in the dreams.  And the gut feeling.  It’s worth it.  So worth it.

Heaven.  That’s all I can say. sunset, sunset view, pontoon boat 116wtmk