What’s Going On

July
9
2014

 

You’ve probably noticed that I haven’t written in a month or so. And by “month or so” I mean since May. Our move is getting closer, and we are getting busier.  But here’s a run-down of what we’ve been doing.

We took a little vacation in May, and went to one of our favorite places, Montauk.  It was our anniversary….35 years!!…so amidst all our other work, we decided to take the time to celebrate.  It was wonderful!  It was right before Memorial Day, so the crowds hadn’t arrived yet, everything was open for the season, and best of all, the prices hadn’t gone sky-high yet!

Here's the view from our room

Here’s the view from our room

We stayed right in town at the Royal Atlantic, and truthfully, I’ve never seen Montauk so empty!

The view to the left

The view to the left

The fishing was a little off due to the long winter we all had, but the weather was just great, cool in the mornings and nights, and hot during the day.  Just what we wanted.

View to the right

View to the right

Here is a view of the place from the beach…..

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk,  Long Island

Royal Atlantic on the beach in Montauk, Long Island

 

We saw the world’s biggest flip-flop in town:

Montauk Anniversary Trip 049

Here’s the famous Montauk Lighthouse:

Montauk Lighthouse

Montauk Lighthouse

We also walked around the outside of the Lighthouse on the water side, the large boulders placed there for that purpose are really amazing!  That was some good planning there!

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

Boulders surrounding the Montauk Lighthouse

And here’s a familiar sight when you gaze out to sea:

Fishing boat

Fishing boat

And if you were more adventurous:

Shark Cage Diving

Shark Cage Diving

We weren’t.  We spent our time fishing from the safety of the beach and drinking margaritas.  We also ate out every night.  There’s a Chinese Restaurant in Montauk called Wok and Roll.  If you bring them the fish you caught that day, they’ll cook it for you.  They offer about 10 different ways they’ll prepare it, the place is very popular.  We didn’t have our own “catch” to bring them, but the dinner was delicious anyway.

Earlier in May, I was busy helping our tenant move out.  We have a little condo in town where my mom lived for six years before she passed away.  Our tenant was pretty good, we had a few bumps along the way,  but she’s on state aid,  she doesn’t drive and she needed some help getting around to look at new apartments.  The state also cut her rent allowance, and finding something acceptable was a little difficult.  So, I’d take her around to look at apartments, and finally when we finally found one, we had to go back and forth for her to look inside the apartment, pick up paperwork, drop off her state papers, sign the paperwork, get back the paperwork for the state to look at, and pick up the keys.  Could these things have been done in fewer trips??  I would have thought so.  But no.  All different trips to the apartment, which is not that close by,  and we had to make “appointments,” we couldn’t just pop in for them to hand her the keys.  Anyway, when she finally moved,  we had to clean up the apartment to put it on the market.  It’s a cute little place, it’s the first floor unit at the end on the right side…. and there aren’t that many condo places in this town, so hopefully it’ll sell soon.

Condo

Condo

My mom had wall to wall carpeting,  so we actually never saw what floor was there.  We were happily surprised to find a wood floor, which we had refinished!  It’s looks really nice!

Bedroom

Bedroom

Our tenant was a smoker, so the kitchen cabinets were kind of messy.  They cleaned up pretty well, I think:

Kitchen

Kitchen

Our realtor was very happy with the before and after, so she’s optimistic it won’t be on the market too long.

Also, in May and June, we made trips to Maryland, bringing down some “stuff.”  Stuff you don’t want to pack up and take the chance it’ll get broken.  But of course while we’re there, we get to enjoy the place!  Our daughter Chrissy even came to visit during one of our trips there, and that was a treat!   We all went fishing, and Chris wound up catching this stingray, which we later learned is one that they are trying to get rid of!  It eats the crabs and oysters that are the livelihood of the watermen down in the Chesapeake and it’s tributaries.  We didn’t know it at the time… we let him go.

Chrissy caught this ray

Chrissy caught this ray

We fished a couple of times.  One calm day we spent out in the Chesapeake.  We caught a few fish, some were small and we threw them back, but we had a few keepers.  There was some interesting boat traffic:

The tanker and the fishing boat - sounds like a children's book

The tanker and the fishing boat – sounds like a children’s book

 

John found a terrapin in our driveway, so he brought him down by the beach to show me.  He sat there for a minute all tucked in his shell, and then ran as fast as he could to the water.  It was hysterical! I didn’t think a turtle could move that quickly!

Turtle

Turtle

Run....run for your life!

Run….run for your life!

Safe at last

Safe at last

We enjoyed our sunsets:

Little Choptank Sunset

Little Choptank Sunset

Afterglow

Afterglow

sunset

And we enjoyed our dinner:

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer's market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

Fish cooked on a plank, farmer’s market tomatoes and corn, and mini potatoes roasted on the grill

And of course, we’re also packing up and getting our house worked on.  We just had the garage painted and epoxy put on the floor.  It looks terrific, I wish we’d done it years ago!  And…my cousin finally sold her house, so they’ll also be moving down in a month or so.  Such excitement!  Such a new adventure for the four of us! We can hardly wait!

choptank sunset

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

Katrina Cottage a/k/a The Crab Shack

June
17
2013

 

 

 

The Katrina Cottages were originally designed as a dignified alternative to the FEMA trailer.  They have now evolved into a nationwide option for guesthouses, resorts, camps and affordable housing.  They can range from 308 sq. feet to 1800 sq. feet, and John chose one that was just about 1200 sq. feet for our replacement of the “Boat House.”

Here are some of the choices:

Katrina_Cottages

 

After we found out how much exactly our “Boat House” would have cost, and with the economy doing what it did, this became a good alternative so that we could continue with our plans, but not spend all of our “house” money on what will eventually be a guest cottage.   These Katrina Cottages were designed by Marianne Cusato and her design team.  They now partner with Lowe’s, and after having all our floor plans drawn up by a draftsperson, we wound up buying the plans from them!

 

Here is the one we chose:

Katrina_House_1

We showed the plans to Thom (our builder) and he recommended we make the back of it a little bigger.  He said the bedroom was kind of small.  Here are the floor plans:

Katrina_House_Plans_2

We were so glad we took his advice.  Here is the finished product on the outside:

Little Choptank Aug. 7-14, 09 001wtmk

 

And here’s the back:

 

Little Choptank 2013 May 20-22 163wtmk

 

Isn’t she pretty?   We love her.

 

More on the inside next time!

 

The Garage Stands Alone

April
26
2013

Little Choptank - July 08 new 041

Right after the barns were burned down, Thom, our builder started on the garage.  We started with plans we found online, but then had a draftsman modify them a bit.  After all, it was just a garage, and we weren’t going to go too crazy.  Yeah right.

 

Little Choptank from John, some early 001

 

It does seem, even to us, that we had started our building and designing of the property backwards, starting with a garage, rather than a place to actually live and sleep, but we were still in the process of selling a vacation home in PA, and needed a place to store whatever furniture we were keeping from there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

So we built the garage without a bathroom, reasoning that we’d have a guest house and a main house with plenty of bathrooms, who needed one in the garage.  Let’s say we’ve learned from our mistakes.  We would have been able to sleep in the garage (it did have hot and cold running water and furniture from the PA house) and save ourselves many hotel bills had we added the garage right away.  We did rectify the problem since then however. And, I’d like to go on the record right now to say:  one bathroom – even for just the two of us – but especially because we frequently have overnight visitors, is NOT enough.

 

downstairs

downstairs then

 

downstairs now

downstairs now

Some of the vehicles needed on a property…..

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

upstairs then

upstairs then

 

bathroom, and you can see some of the inside

bathroom, and you can see some of the inside

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We have the upstairs decorated a bit more now, there’s a day bed, with a pull out trundle-bed for extra guests. It’s very comfortable up there with a couch, chair, mini-fridge and a tv, you’d never know it was a garage .  There’s also a lot of storage tucked away behind doors on both sides upstairs, so it’s a useful space, but not messy.

From the water

From the water

I know, I know, it IS just a garage. But even this brought dozens of decisions, not the least of which was the placement of the building. We have a dream, a plan, a vision.  And this was the beginning. It was the first thing we built on the property, we were starting our journey.  It was all we could talk about.  The project still dominates our conversation, which is why no one wants to talk to us anymore.  Just kidding.  Now, I don’t want you to hold your breath…. but next time…… we build the dock!  Enjoy the sunset.

Little Choptank Oct. 7-11, 09 033wtmk