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La Vien en Rose in early Spring

La Vie en Rose in early Spring

This photo was taken probably in early April before the rose bush’s leaves opened.

OMG what a day! I worked from morning till night doing all kinds of things; AND I’m going to tell you about all of them.  Why? Well, because if you’re fortunate enough to have a family member or friend who has a cottage and you get an invitation to visit sometime this summer, I want you to know that a lot goes into making La Vie en Rose and every other beach house a great place to stay.

Today, Sunday, has been the nicest day so far this Memorial Day Weekend, considered by all to be the unofficial beginning of summer.  Our street was filled with the cars of visitors who parked and went off to the beach.  That’s what we used to do when we would go to the Shore for the weekend.  But those days are long gone…..

I started off the morning shaking out the throw rugs, then I dust-mopped the kitchen and bathroom floor with my Swifter.  Then I washed both floors.  Peter had gone to get me coffee and while he was gone, I cleaned the litter box, put last night’s dishes away and made the bed.

When he returned with my Grandé Americano, I made us a breakfast of bacon, eggs and English muffins.  That was the last time I sat down!

While Peter washed the breakfast dishes, I decided to vacuum the white area rugs which are here and there though out the cottage and are too light weight to be vacuumed with the Hoover, so I use the Dust Buster to pick up all the pesky little specks.  After the third rug, the Dust Buster began to lose power – great!  And the day had just begun.  Downstairs to recharge the vacuum, I decide we must move the kitchen table so I can use the Hoover vacuum on the radiator where dust and cobwebs left over from the winter are probably residing. Moving the table is a two-man job and now that it is halfway out into the working part of the kitchen and the 4 chairs are scattered about, it’s kind of tight in there to maneuver.  My husband agrees he should clean the radiator and I tackle the window. I  took the curtains down and shook them out and noticed how dusty the window sill was and how dirty the window was – a lot of rain and snow this winter!

I’ve been harping about repainting the window sills and frames since last year because they are layered with paint, some of which is cracking, some is chipping and basically they just look bad.  This ginormous task has been carefully avoided by Peter  up to now.  I started cleaning that nasty dirty area between the storm windows and the window sill.  Let me just remind you all that this cottage was built about 1888!  Peter brought out two scrapers and I began trying to smooth out the rough over-painted areas and removing the loose crackled pieces of paint.  I’m just going to skip over the fight we had about scraping versus non-scraping and then sanding because let me assure you, the window frames got scraped and sanded as I knew they would!

The scraping/sanding task also included washing the windows inside and out in the living room. To do so, I went outside on the front porch and  yuk another job to do.  But before I deal with the porch, I vacuumed the living room rug as well as the scrapings and sawdust in each window.  I had to move the BIG TV, God is it heavy, to get to window back there.  By the way, have I ever told you how much I dislike, bordering on hate, triple track storms and screens.  After dripping in WD-40, I finally got one of upper storm windows down so it could be washed inside and out.  Peter went upstairs to do the window frames and while he was up there, I thought he should vacuum the back porch which was covered in debris and leaves.

For 2 days the box of the porch candles has sat in the living room and I was determined to get them out on the glass tables (after I washed the tables naturally).  But first, back to the yukky porch which was really dirty (it was a long winter).  Peter washed the porch which means furniture was all over the place and some of it on the lawn.  Yesterday I filled the porch planter (which is like an outdoor window sill planter) with geraniums and petunias but didn’t attach it to the porch BECASUSE the porch wasn’t clean.  It gets tied in place to the railing spindles BUT they were dirty and spotted with mildew.  So out comes the Tilex and brush and rubber gloves as I tackle spindle after spindle scrubbing the mildew away and discovering that some of them were losing paint and OMG, rotting and will need to be replaced. It’s hard to work on the porch and not notice how black the front of the house is due to the traffic and dirt from the road.  More Tilex and more hosing down.  By this point I’m pretty wet.

I still had a wicker planter to fill with pink petunias, however that piece was in the garage and Peter had to go get it – “Not now”, he said, “Do something else”.  OK, I will transplant the mint.  Yes, I know it grows like a weed and because it does,  some has already sprouted up in areas other than the patch of lawn I gave it last year.  I had bordered that patch of ground with sea shells, some of which did not survive the winter.  So, as most of the other jobs have been going so far today, this one wasn’t going to be any different – Stop, get some sea shells from a stash I have in the shed and replace the broken ones before I start to transplant the errant mint into its rightful home.  Now that I’m on my hands and knees, I can see that the flagstone walkway is overgrown with grass and needs trimming.  I have to do this a couple of times each summer and am always surprised that the damn grass grows on top of the stone but not in the lawn!  At this level, I see a lot of areas that need hand trimming and yes, I did that too!

About this time, I realize that there are about 7 jobs in progress and none completely finished.  The furniture is still all over the kitchen, the porch furniture is scattered and the porch floor is wet and littered with paint chips.  I went back to the front of the house and made the mistake of looking up and saw that the porch ceiling should probably be repainted and certainly it was really dirty, so as I aimed the hose upward, the water came downward and I just got wetter. I asked Peter to go get the wicker planter, PLEASE!

As he filled the bird feeder,  I got the Round-UP out to kill the weeds that were popping up on the patio and between the blocks on the sidewalk.  That done, it was time to put the petunias in the wicker planter.  Uh oh, I don’t have enough dirt!  I dug some up where I plan to plant a basil plant but it really wasn’t enough.  I think there were 12 plants in the flat, however the flat was a plastic molded affair and it was really difficult to get the plants out.  There were a few casualties!  I squished them in together and HOPED that their dirt will blend together and I probably better buy some potting soil soon. I just hope they survive till I return next weekend.

Our neighbors strolled over and she noticed how stick like my hydrangeas were and informed me that I needed to cut back those stems because what I thought were buds were not and I should cut them all back to where there was some green growth near the bottom.  She offered me the use of her new clipper and now even though it was 6:30pm I tackled the two hydrangeas in the front and the one in the back.  Somebody has to tie up all these dead branches for the yard-waste pick-up. 

By the time the kitchen table and chairs were put back, the TV was put back, the porch furniture was put back (only to come off again BECAUSE the porch needs to be repainted) and the two vacuum cleaners emptied and put away, as well as the bottles of Tilex, Windex, Awesome, Simple Green and Fantastik, it was after 7pm.  I was most definitely NOT making dinner tonight.  

After a shower and two Tylenol (for my achey body), we ordered Chinese food!. Tomorrow is another day and after the Parade, I think Peter will repaint the front porch floor….this ole house! 

 

 

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It’s 7:30 am and I’m hustling around to get ready for the today’s big yard sale.  I have spent the last couple of weeks scrounging around the apartment, the cottage and through stuff we’ve had left over from doing Flea Markets.  In other words I have WAY TOO much stuff to put out on two tables!!

AND as Peter predicted the ground is wet because for the last two days we have showers….this is NOT an auspicious beginning 😦

I literally spent the entire day yesterday sorting through the boxes of stuff trying to group the junk, er, I mean stuff into plastic bins and price each piece.  This is of course an area where we diverge: I want this stuff GONE and am happy to price it to sell and well, my other half is a bit more attached to his possessions and is not giving anything away!  Oh no?  I’ve already promised myself that 90% of what is going into the sale is going to Goodwill and Habitats if it doesn’t sell.

I’m not immune to the fact that we are probably putting out some items that really don’t belong in  a yard sale, they are much more Flea Market antiques and nostalgic collectibles but right now, this is the only venue.  And, I swear I will do another yard sale in the summer when lots more people are in town.  This particular day was designated by an organizer and promoted as Town Wide.  I hope there was sufficient advertising to entice people to come even though this is one gray, soggy day.  Oh how dismal it all looks now!

This is the morning to be moving quickly and hello Murphy’s Law – we’re up and Peter takes the first shower and drops his lens in the bathroom-15 minutes later we find it.  I need him dressed and outside to set up those big table for me and to lug the crap er, I mean stuff out to the porch.  Just to add to the total aggravation of it all is the fact we broke the door on our shed two weeks ago, it’s not fixed so the wagon which is supposed to be for sale is in there along with big sheets of plastic I wanted with me in case of a shower!  Oh yeah, think it’s going to be a fun, fun day all around!

Friday afternoon my living room looked like this…

And this…

Trying To Sort Through

Trying To Sort Through

By 8pm last night, I had priced, sorted and packed up everything and then listened to the weather report

Way Too Much Stuff

Way Too Much Stuff

Packed and Priced

Packed and Price

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Or History Repeats Itself!  Clichés yes, true yes!

Over the past several years I have been noticing how many things are being re-introduced to the PBCB generation.  Oh you don’t know who that is?  PBCB is my term for the all the young marrieds (from about 2002 on) who filled their Wedding Registry with items from Crate & Barrrel, Potter Barn and some Williams Sonoma thrown in for good measure.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com

The REAL Thing

The REAL Thing

My household has been filled with real retro items for years.  I love kitchen ware, dish ware and flatware from the 30’s-40’s and 50’s.  I have wonderful pieces such as the red, yellow and blue refrigerator dishes with the glass lids and now from Amazon.com you can buy a clear glass storage dish.  I had beautiful round golden oak claw foot dining room table in my house in CT and although I know 90% of the X and Y generation eschew the old and like to buy newer than new, I did a double-take when I opened up a Pottery Barn catalogue and saw their new round oak table!  Visit any one of the Holy Three (Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma) and you will find Fondue Pots, Martini Shakers, Mason jars, Bread boxes – I’m not saying when I was a 20-year-old newlywed that I was looking for antique furniture or retro kitchen ware, but within a couple of years I realized the value and practicality of many of the old items NOT to mention the price.  You can buy furniture made out of real wood, not laminated at an auction or thrift or antique shop for less than what you might pay for compressed board and veneer.

What actually prompted this blog today was the fact that someone clicked on a previous blog post of mine https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/what-the-heck-is-this-obsolete-relics-from-my-life/ and I took the opportunity to re-read it myself.   And then the light bulb went off and I thought about the present my sister-in-law, Juanita gave me on Saturday;  If you have a smart phone or Blackberry and you are over the age of 50, you probably send texts and emails (like me) filled with strange words, badly spelled and a lot of non sequiturs  because our fingers are too fat for the keypad or we are attempting to write that email or text while we are sitting on the bus or worse yet, walking.  You know you can send some very embarrassing stuff.  She gave me a stylus!  A cute little handy item with a soft rubber head and bingo, I find myself typing out clear messages!  

Yes, what goes around, comes around especially in an older person’s mind – I just discovered that I wrote a blog post almost identical to this one in 2010.  See https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/whats-old-is-new-again/

Now if you haven’t clicked on the link for the older blog or blogs and you have no idea of what I’m talking about, now would be the time to do so!  

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Reczniki papierowe

Paper Towels – I Love Them!

Really, I mean really!  I am now officially joining the thousands of people in the Mid-Atlantic and New England states who complain about the weather on a daily basis!  There is no where you go that someone doesn’t say something about the ever-lasting, mother-loving winter.  Where oh where is Spring?  We had two days of hot weather, too hot for April of course and now we are back to weather 10 degrees above freezing!

The calendar says it’s April and for me that has always meant it was time to shut down the furnace, take down the heavy drapes in the bedroom and hang the light weight cotton drapes.  I switch the area rug in the foyer, switch the covers on the toss pillows and put a chenille bedspread on the bed.  Switching the closets around with the seasonal clothing is next and oh God, how I hate that job!  All of the above (except the closets) has been done in the apartment, oh and the windows have to be professionally washed.

However, I’m writing this while I’m sitting in the cottage where the heat has been on since last night when we arrived!  Not only did we sleep with the blanket and the coverlet on, we also threw a quilt over us, (and I thought I was going to turn off the furnace!) That and a warm-bodied cat kept us cosy all night.  So even though it’s cold inside and out, this weekend was designated for Spring cleaning and I was determined to get some  deep cleaning done.  

I started this morning before breakfast and in my own frenetic way I was cleaning the bathroom and the stove top and shaking out rugs all at the same time!  I imagine that an observer would think I was haphazardly jumping from task to task but I know what I’m doing and as I circulate, I finish up what I started.  I took a roll of paper towels and a bottle of Simple Green and a bottle of Awesome and proceeded to wash and wipe everything on the kitchen counter and then every blessed thing in the living room.  Anyone who knows us, knows that, that’s a lot of blessed things!

I had help!  Yes, I coerced my husband into helping me mainly because I really wanted to get behind all the furniture and vacuum the baseboards.  This meant moving some heavy pieces as well as picking up more things off the floor to get behind and under them.  Cobwebs!  I found cobwebs!

The bedrooms got vacuumed and tomorrow morning I’ll finish dusting and wiping down things up there especially the guest room as we have a house guest coming.  When Murray arrives tomorrow I promised to make him matzo bri and then I imagine he will head to the beach with his camera.  I love having a guest who amuses himself because since the weatherman promised warm weather for tomorrow, we are planning to do some yard work.  Time to unwrap the patio furniture, rake the sand out of the lawn and I still have to clip some dead heads off one of my hydrangea bushes.  

I really don’t mind cleaning and thankfully when it’s done, I get great pleasure out of looking at the results!  Poor Peter, I must have told him 10 times tonight how clean I thought the living room felt!  I’m looking forward to being thrilled when I clean out the refrigerator and wash the windows inside and out!

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We did a few errands, mailed some bills at the Post Office and considered going to Starbucks.  The day was cold, raw and rainy and we’re both just so over winter! Hell, it’s actually spring according to the calendar but the temperature is hovering 9 degrees above freezing. “Do you want to go and check out Antique-A-Rama”? my husband asked. “Antique-A-Rama? Is that where the rug place used to be, Rug-A- Rama? I think it’s just used furniture and junk and besides we have so much stuff”, I replied. “Let’s just go mill around, you never know”, he said enthusiastically.

MORE STUFF

MORE STUFF

This week’s Velvet Verbosity challenge is to write a 100-word story based on the word “Mill.” Visit the site to meet the creator and host of the challenge and learn the rules.

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A Matter Of Taste

He loved it, she hated it. Things were going to change around here she thought.  No more college dorm room décor. Perhaps some nice yellow curtains would brighten up the den.  Moving some furniture around wouldn’t be a bad idea either.  Gathering up the piles of discarded newspapers, she hauled them out to the trash barrel.  After polishing the furniture and sweeping up the dust bunnies, things looked better already. But, something was still not quite right

Pulling into the driveway, his heart sank; there was his favorite leather chair!  The honeymoon’s over, he thought.

Goodbye Old Friend

Goodbye Old Friend

This is a blog hop – 

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A cooked rasher. Raw bacon rashers are an esse...

Bring On The Bacon

It’s FAT TUESDAY and I for one am planning on indulging…for tomorrow brings on a more than a month of deprivation.      For years I had the habit of NOT giving up any food that I particularly loved but rather DOING something(s) good for others.  Now I’m back to giving up sweets because, well for my own health and well-being and vanity the mirror and my jeans are yelling at me to say no to chocolate, ice cream, cookies and maybe almost everything white.  OK, so for selfish reasons I will deprive myself with an eye to a slimmer me by Easter Sunday.

BUT today is a very different story…tonight I’ve been invited to be a guest at the Annual Tasting Event sponsored  by    C-CAP-Careers through Culinary Arts Program.  WOW!! New York’s Top Chefs will be gathered at Pier 60 tonight offering up tasty tidbits so tonight I feast and tomorrow I fast!

Here’s a tasty tidbit you can make yourself and feel like a million bucks.

BILLIONAIRE’S BACON

1 lb thick cut bacon

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup brown sugar

coarse ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with a roasting rack.  Spray the rack with a non-stick spray.  Place the bacon in strips on the rack.  Brush the bacon with the maple syrup.  Sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and then grind some black pepper.

Bake in oven till sugar begins to melt, about 15-17 minutes.  Let cool 5 minutes.

 

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