Lots Of Progress Happening

WOW–it almost feels as if we are on the home stretch!  Today Seattle finished the smaller bedroom and the dining/living area–I vacuumed drywall dust for quite some time this afternoon!  While in Tucson this past week I purchased primer and paint–that’s next on the list–to me, when it’s time to paint–you are almost finished???

Seattle will start in the larger of the two bedrooms Tuesday morning.  The Cowboy has been working on outside doors as we have a crew coming to stucco the exterior of the house.  Sergio met with the Cowboy while I was gone and left a notebook of colors–we weren’t aware the stucco would be applied in “color!”  So, we’ve picked colors for the exterior walls and the trim–I am so excited!!  Our little structure may soon look like a real house!

We now have a walk in door to the garage which will save lots of steps–the Cowboy installed it today.  Sunday he installed the security screen door for the front door–it looks nice!

I spent the last two days unpacking and catching up the laundry.  And, I made a pot of chicken noodle soup–I’ve been under the weather for a few days and the soup hit the spot!  Anyone have suggestions for avoiding colds??  In the past we were rarely ill but it seems the last two to three years one of us or both has a bug every winter.  I know it’s late November but it still seems too early to be sick!


And It’s Over

Our Goddess Gathering that is–Wednesday I drove into Tucson to the house we had rented.  I opened the door and starting saying, “WOW” out loud as I wandered through the house.  The house was reasonably priced, had four bedrooms, more than ample living space and a gorgeous outdoor living area.  I was so impressed with this lovely home as were my girlfriends.  Kelly and Elaine arrived just after lunch time on Wednesday and we headed off to find a late lunch and groceries while we waited for Shirley to arrive.

Thursday we spent the morning drinking coffee and catching up–then headed off to find lunch.  Our original plans were to visit the St. Xavier Mission.  But when two of the ladies noticed the huge saguaros in the parking lot of the restaurant and said they had never been to Tucson, we changed plans.  We were within a few miles of the east Saguaro National Park entrance and decided to take the loop drive through the park.

 There must have been a memo about wearing white shirts! 🙂 🙂

We spent lots of time at the house–dining on the patio beside the pool and last night tried to take some group photos with the camera and tripod.  I think I wore out the girls as we got a little silly and giggly!

Friday we visited the St. Xavier Mission–an amazing structure considering its age!!

All that walking around at the church made us hungry for ice cream–Dairy Queen it was!  Back at the guest house we spent our last evening out on the patio and Saturday morning we all departed for home.  As just as soon as it began, it’s over–until next year!

I braved Costco after dropping the ladies at the airport–what a zoo!!  Once I left the parking lot I called the Cowboy to tell him I was leaving Tucson.  He told me he had heard on the radio about an accident on I-10 just east of Benson which had freeway traffic slowed.  By the time I got to Benson, 40 minutes later, the freeway traffic was at a dead standstill–I sat in one place for over 30 minutes.

And–I am officially a “Senior!”  While visiting the Saguaro National Park I purchased a lifetime senior national parks pass–I just missed being able to buy the pass for $10 but my 62 birthday fell just 10 days after they raised the cost to $80!–still a bargain!



A Gathering

Oops correction–where in the world did I come up with “Randy” as Seattle’s real name???  His real name is Jerry, not Randy!!  Maybe I better start writing blogs in the morning when my brain is fresh????

In my career as an operating room nurse I took my share of call–nights, weekends, holidays.  Patients don’t always require surgery from 8am to 5pm–thus someone has to cover all those other hours.  Most gunshot/knife wounds requiring surgery don’t happen in the daylight hours.  And believe me, most babies needing to enter this world via cesarean section are born in the middle of the night!

While working at Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas I was on the liver transplant team.  Weeks and weeks would go by without a liver transplant being performed and then we would get slammed.  One particular week when I was on call I remember being in my apartment a total of sixteen hours in seven days!!!  That’s not a whole lot of sleep!

The Cowboy and I married in late 1994 and I became unemployed.  The hospital in Big Timber, MT does not have an operating room and the nearest hospital with an OR was in Livingston–a 55 minute drive in good weather.  I was finished taking call–wanted no part of it any more and the hospital in Livingston would not hire me if I wouldn’t take call.  So–I became unemployed and after about three months of that I was bored out of my mind.

So, I interviewed for a job on the heart team of one of the large hospitals in Billings–was offered the job and after much thought about icy winter roads, declined the offer.  But–one of the nurses interviewing me called about two months later.  Linda was not only an OR supervisor but also worked on a contract basis for the Kimberly-Clark Corporation.  The job involved travel and working as a support person for the sales force selling drapes and gowns to hospital operating rooms.  Linda submitted my resume, I flew to Atlanta for an interview and was hired.  There was a team of about ten RN’s and we all worked as contractors–paid well when we did work, not paid when we didn’t work.  I loved that job and the people with whom I worked and I loved the travel perks.  The Cowboy even went along on some of my more exciting assignments–Hawaii and Nova Scotia.

Wow–that was a long explanation for “A Gathering!”–did it put you to sleep???  Each year four of those nurses, myself and three others, meet somewhere and enjoy a few days of catching up.  Kelly lives in Kansas, Elaine in Kentucky and Shirley in Texas.  We are “gathering” in Tucson this year where I’ve rented a house–didn’t think the ladies would want to “camp” in our as of yet unfinished house!

The Cowboy, Emmi and Seattle will continue the restoration work while I’m off having fun.  Tonight when I walked Emmi the sky was beautiful–in all directions.

 Purple mountains!

 Flying saucer clouds!


Drywall Finishing Has Begun

Before 8am Seattle, aka Randy, sent us a message to see if we were ready for him–yep, that’s an understatement Seattle!  His real name is Randy but when he moved to this little community from Seattle, people started calling him Seattle and the nickname stuck.  He brought his equipment and went right to work–so far so good!

It goes against the Cowboy’s nature to hire help–he would rather invest the sweat equity.  When we built our log home in Montana–it’s 1700 square feet upstairs with a 1700 square foot unfinished basement–we built it in a year from start to finish.  At that time Nat was healthy enough to be a great help to us.  The Cowboy was working full time with our excavating business and I was still traveling as a nurse consultant for the Kimberly-Clark Corporation.  We paid someone else to do some of the cement work, the fireplace and to lay the metal roofing–that’s all–the rest of the house was built with our sweat equity.  Our log home is the Cowboy’s third house to build for himself.  So, for him to hire help is unusual–but his wife finally convinced him to at least check the price–and the price was good enough for him to concede defeat and let Seattle do the drywall finishing!

We both breathed a sigh of relief today–we’ve been going strong for a little over two weeks–long days, hard work so we would be ready for Seattle to start.  Now we are going to take our time and have a little fun along the way!

I have a fun trip coming up this week and did some baking today in preparation for those visitors.  The Cowboy puttered–hanging a few pieces of drywall, building Seattle some shorter coasters for his scaffolding and he even went to the grocery store with me this afternoon–see, we are slowing down all ready.

This afternoon late, I walked Emmi and came back to find the Cowboy in our swing watching the sky change as the sun went down.

And here is Emmi enjoying a patch of sunshine today–

The Home Stretch

We are entering the home stretch–the drywall finishing guy comes Monday and we had to have the floor raised before he could start.  We have one more section to complete after putting in two very hard days, Friday and Saturday.  Friday we started late due to our supply run to Willcox and it was a very warm day–the Cowboy was beat last night and it was early to bed for both of us.

This photo shows the reason for raising the floor–that’s a taller than it should be step–we didn’t want a step of any height and we surely didn’t want a step that high.

Friday progress.

Saturday morning section of floor finished and oh, no–that’s a big hole where the door used to be!!

Today we started earlier and it wasn’t so hot.  By lunch time we had completed a section of the floor and it was then time to hang the door we purchased the other day.  Hanging the door took a while but tonight it’s all finished and looks great!

Emmi and I manage to walk a couple times a day and the scenery never fails to impress!

One more section of floor and a small amount of drywall hanging–then we are ready for the finisher to come on Monday and we can take a deep breath!

Steady Progress

On Tuesday I headed for the Tucson airport leaving the Cowboy and Emmi holding down the fort.  I had a quick little job in San Diego–I am a nurse consultant for a company selling a line of health care products.  Once again I flew Southwest Airlines–always a pleasure!  Cheerful, fun flight attendants, planes loaded and unloaded quickly–so much nicer!

The Cowboy finished hanging most of the drywall but was short six sheets.  We’ll head out somewhere tomorrow to get drywall and a few other supplies we need.

While I was in San Diego Emmi and the Cowboy experienced 30mph winds and heavy rain while in the toyhauler trailer–they were not impressed!

Today we finished raising the floor in the small bedroom–the Cowboy did most of the work with me helping lift the heavier plywood this afternoon.  Here’s a before photo of that small bedroom–it was way worse than this photo shows–the ceiling drywall had fallen down due to leaks in the ceiling, there were spiders and other nasty varmint evidence everywhere–just gross!

The floor raising has begun!

And all finished about 4:30 this afternoon–new windows and new sub-flooring.

The pressure is on–the drywall finishing guy comes on Monday and we must finish raising the floor in the living/dining area–we should be able to do it.  It does involve taking out the front door and raising its header the same amount as we are raising the floor.

The weather has been frightful in Montana but that hasn’t kept anyone inside much–

Image may contain: 1 person, mountain, snow, sky, outdoor and natureLora looking cool!

This photo of Brooks was taken by Keelia Jo Photography from Livingston, MT–judging by the other spectacular photos I saw, she must have taken tons of great photos in Katie and Michael’s home.

And then there’s little Millie and her beautiful mom, Katie!

Image may contain: 2 peopleSweet, sweet photos and for that reason I am glad we have Facebook although Katie did send me some of the photos in a text–I even showed them to people standing next to me in line to board our flight–don’t you hate it when people do that to you?? 🙂




Still Working

I’m practicing or rather trying to practice the pause–think before I open my mouth–sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not so much!

Saturday was “go to the dump” day which we did with an entire truck load but Sunday there is a new pile outside the front door.  I finished removing all that dang wall paper from the bedroom wall–it was a better quality wall paper than the stuff I removed from the kitchen walls and once wet just peeled off.  It still took me all day yesterday and most of Sunday afternoon.  The bedroom had a built in platform bed which had to be removed before I could get to all the wall paper.  Removing the bed allowed us to get rid of that nasty, stinky, dirty carpet–see, we have more stuff to go to the dump!

The Cowboy has been hanging drywall in the smaller bedroom.  Saturday he moved some wiring and created stud walls where there had been no walls.  We make daily progress and are very pleased!

Back home in Montana it’s been nasty–lots of snow and cold.  Someone in the family took this photo–

Image may contain: sky, snow, mountain, outdoor and nature

We went to church this morning, lots of new people we’ve not met, all the winter visitors are slowly drifting back.  We were singing a particular song and I was singing (quietly, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket) without looking at the hymnal–the Cowboy said, “guess you know that one.”  It’s one of the reasons I like this small church–they sing hymns I grew up singing and playing on the piano like that one–I Love To Tell The Story.

So, we are still working, other than that, there’s not much going on around here.


Our Credit Card Is Groaning

Thursday the local power company had a planned outage from 8am until 2pm or later.  Seems they had to climb every transformer pole in this service area and flip some switch–the Cowboy thought maybe some of the transformers were accessed with a boom truck but the younger/skinnier of the two lineman who showed up at the transformer pole behind our house climbed the pole–Rather than run the toyhauler generator all day for power we elected to head to Home Depot againthus our credit card is starting to groan!  We found a new front door and security door plus some door locks.  We made a quick WalMart stop and also found a restaurant with outdoor patio so Emmi could sit with us while we ate–taking lessons from Nina and Paul! 🙂

Today was the day for installing the largest of the windows we purchased on Monday in Tucson.  The Cowboy worked hard all day long finishing the install about 5pm.  We are pleased and it helps make that little bedroom seem not so small.

Pardon the trash–Saturday is “go to the dump” day and we will have a truck load!

I was so tired of trying to find my clothes in that toyhauler–jeans, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweatshirts, etc. were all folded and stored in one large cabinet plus the Cowboy’s jeans were mixed up in that mess too–no shelving, just a big open cabinet. What a mess!  Today I visited the new Dollar General purchasing bins with lids–I sorted all the clothes and pushed the bins under the couches of the toyhauler–not pretty but at least I can find something to wear!

Can you believe the Cowboy is hiring someone to finish our drywall???–he had a lot of encouragement/nagging from his wife–I just didn’t want him breathing that dust!  The guy is scheduled to come in just over a week so I’ve spent time moving what I can out of the guest house.  Supplies were stored in two attached to the wall desk/cabinet combinations–I moved all those supplies to the main house then we disassembled the cabinets/desk and moved those too.  The closet was FULL of boxes of our belongings from the North Ranch house–photos, wall art, decorative items, table wear, etc.–those boxes all went to the main house too.  The drywall guy is going to do one half of the house at a time so we can continue to work on the other half.

Words of warning–don’t forget to take your credit card from the chip card reader and have text alerts on your phone for every time someone charges to your cards!!



One Thing Leads To Another

A few clouds and a little dust leave us with some awesome sunsets over the Dragoons–this was Monday afternoon.

As I’ve said before this guest house is an odd little building–about 1000 square feet.  This house was sloppily attached to the main house causing structural problems for both houses.  There is an electric meter on the outside of the main house and another electrical meter in the laundry room of all places!  We’ve often thought it would be nice to know the “why” of these two houses.  At church on Sunday we met a woman who knew the occupants of these houses.  Seems this guest house was being built for or by a niece–that explains the extra electric meter.  Nancy said the woman came to visit her one day, said they were leaving and left–never to return.  It still doesn’t explain how this property ended up in the hands of a REO company nor does it explain the oddity of the guest house rooms.

Just off one end of the living/dining area is a small room–it had one tiny window and a spot where there was a window but it had been removed and the opening boarded over–the floor in this little room is also stepped down.  We intend to use that little room as another guest room–so the Cowboy inserted a window in the space where the board was located.

See the little tiny window on the left of the above photo–the white patch on the wall is where the window space was boarded over.  Yesterday the Cowboy inserted this window–notice the narrow door and step–that door leads to the larger bedroom?????  The door is coming out and we are using drywall to cover the opening.

Today I scraped ceilings again–I did the bathroom and hallway yesterday, the kitchen today.  All the ceilings are scraped with the exception of the laundry room and we aren’t ready to do anything in that room–yet.

Now for the “one thing leads to another” title.  We had originally intended to leave intact the wallpaper in the main bedroom–it was in good shape, ugly but not too bad.  Well–we wanted another window in that room which entailed removing drywall and building a new window frame.  So, last night, out came the steamer and the wallpaper started to disappear–“one idea leads to more work is more like it!”

 Old window replaced with a new one and another window installed–the Cowboy worked hard today!!The outside of the house with three new windows.  All that white stuff is rubberized roof coating which we applied before heading to Montana in May–we thought it might protect the raw, new wood from the sun and it seems to have worked.  We are going to have someone come and stucco the entire outside of the house and garage–soon.Not the greatest photo, it was almost dark and this great horned was sitting at some distance–he was gorgeous!!


Goodbye Verizon

Friday morning the local telephone co-op guy arrived–he found our incoming phone line, installed a new phone jack and plugged in the modem.  I had ordered a TP-Link AC1900 Long Range Wireless Router. The telephone co-op in Montana supplies the routers they want you to use and you pay a reduced price for those routers.  The Arizona co-op didn’t sell routers, they wanted us to rent one for $8/month or buy our own from another vendor—Amazon to the rescue as usual!

The telephone company guy offered to set up our router but I told him, “I’ve got this.”  I don’t think I’ve ever had so seamless an experience with a piece of electronic equipment.  We plugged in the router, it received the signal from the modem and I connected both computers, both iPads and the iPhone in less than five minutes–done!!  I was amazed!  The DSL is fast, unlimited and costs $80/month!

Sooooo–I called good ole Verizon this morning and removed our Jetpack from service plus reduced our GBs to 5GBs per month on the iPhone–which leaves us with a $64/month Verizon bill–I’m loving it!  The Verizon rep who helped me was amazing–friendly, fast and very understanding!  And, while our combined bill of $144/month is almost the same as our previous Verizon bill with their so called unlimited data plan–our new DSL is actually unlimited!

When Emmi and I were taking a morning walk this past week I heard a familiar sound–sandhills honking–I looked up and counted forty sandhill cranes flying south toward Whitewater Draw–no camera that morning!

Sunday morning we went to church and enjoyed seeing all the people we had met last spring.  Once we were home, a very nice young couple came to get the gas range we had removed from the guest house.  Then the Cowboy decided to tackle another project–demolition time–again!  This guest house is on two levels–the previous owners raised the kitchen floor in order to install plumbing underneath the flooring.  It appears they later decided to pour another concrete slab making a step from what seemed to be the living area up into the kitchen.  You can see that step in the photo below plus the little wall between two doors.  This house is small and all those walls make it smaller–so out it came yesterday!

Where the vacuum is sitting was one of the original doorways–the Cowboy is going to close that doorway in with a wall so the bathroom is not so exposed to the living room/dining.  Then–the real work begins–we are going to raise the floor in the living/dining area to the height of the kitchen floor so there is no longer a step

We are also almost ready for the drywall work–which means new windows have to be installed.  To Tucson we went today.  Lumber and plywood for raising the floor and new windows were needed.  At Home Depot someone helped the Cowboy pick our order then rolled it outside to the drive-through.  When we moved the truck closer so we could load, I went inside and asked if someone could help us–we spent a bundle in there–you would think someone could help.  No one showed up so we started to load the truck ourselves.  Suddenly there are two young men beside us–fellow customers–one said, “you would think as much money as you spent in there someone would help you load, move out of the way, we will get it for you!!” And they did–loaded all that heavy lumber into our truck, got back in their own truck and left with our heartfelt thanks!!

Lunch then off to the Window Depot–a local business where kind, helpful, cheerful people work–and they loaded our windows for us!  We paid a little more for the windows but it was totally worth every penny!

It always feels good to come home after a long day in the city–ahhhhh, peace and quiet!