A New Beginning

It has been a long time since I add a new post on my blog. It is not that I didn’t try but between the time I was posting every week and the time I came back to let you know what I was doing things changed on my site and I no longer knew how to add a new post or blog. I just added the one I wrote back on Nov.3 when I first moved to Iowa. At that time the best I could do was write the post and save it as a draft.

I am stubborn if nothing else so today I came back to my dash board and asked for help on entering a new blog and sure enough I found out how to do it and just took the draft I save back in Nov. and posted it. Now I think if I ask when I need help I can get back to blogging each day and let everyone know what is happening here, and there is much to tell.

My whole life has changed again and I am having a ball. Right now it is late in the day so will not talk long. I will post this as a test for myself to see if I am on the right track finally. I will come back tomorrow morning and tell you all about my new home and include some pictures of my house and all my bird friends. I’ll tell you all the things that have gone wrong and those that have gone right. I will not be able to give you anymore information on the family tree as I have sent most of my information on that to my children. I got so involved that I was just loosing myself in it and found I was no longer connected to the living.

I am now started a new phase in my life and will center my attention to the present with all its problems and joys. I need to keep my mind active and practice remembering things that happened this week. I have never had trouble remembering what happened 20 years ago but as I get older I fine it hard to remember what I had for breakfast or even if I had it today and I think some of that is because I was living in the past, so no more. Now I will live today and enjoy it.

Have a good night, talk to you all tomorrow. Love and peace to all!

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The Move

HELLO FROM IOWA

The gypsy in me activated my imagination and here I am in Iowa. I have never been in this part of the country before but it is about the same latitude as New Hampshire so feels very familiar. The trees and plants make me feel right at home as they are the same as the ones I grew up with and loved.

I came here in April to live with my son, Joseph. We sold the house in Melrose and then Holly and the family joined us here in Coralville. Holly bought a home just 8 minutes away from us and now has a good job here in Iowa. Landen also has found a good job that he likes and Luke works with his father. Now that the family is settled Joe and I decided we needed a home instead of an apartment so we have gotten a place just a block away from Holly. This way Joe can spend much of his time with his family and still take care of me. All is working out fine.

This month I turn 90 years old. I never imagined I would live this long but here I am and healthier than I have ever been. Since I found I was gluten sensitive most of my ailments have gone away. Oh, I am getting older and my aching bones remind me of that everyday but they also let me know I have a long life still ahead of me, want them or not so I had best make the best of it. This means I need a point to life again.

My first love, teaching is out of the question so I have gone to my second love, knitting. I got out my books and found patterns form the 40’s and 50’s that I used to make when I was in High School. Back when knitting was first a passion for me. I found the books on Nordic sweaters. At that time I made everyone in the family sweaters or hats from these patterns and decided that was how I wanted to spend my old age – making a Nordic sweater for everyone in the family.

Counting up all the children, grand children, great grand children and their spouses plus a few very special people like god children and adopted children I came to the grand total of 56 sweaters from sizes 3, which is the smallest pattern I have to size men’s 44 +. I have several new ones in the family so will make them a size 3 and they can grow into them and several very large men that I will have to add more to the 44 size. Also I find styles also have changes just a bit so I have to add inches in length to the sweaters and some like the sleeved longer now also. With that said I have started on the sweater and have decided I will take a picture of each sweater and if I can figure out how to get them onto my page I will send you a picture of each one as I finish it. They have changed the format again on this blog so it may take a while for me to learn how to do this so be patient with me. I have about a dozen done already so will start with those. Wish me luck. It is no problem to make the sweater just getting the pictures onto my page.

Now with a new purpose in life I will move forward and be happy. Hope this finds you all the same.

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Another Day in the Life of an Old Lady

Life is pretty good here in Iowa, I just wish it were a little warmer outside. I should not complain since now it is staying nice and warm inside my house. It will be even better when my windows get changed out. Even with the plastic sealed nice and tight on all the windows, on these cold days the glass itself gets all iced up which shows some of my heat is escaping.

Last night it went to -5 degrees and today the high will be 14 degree on my porch and my thermometer is in the sun!! Of course the sun at this time of years does not have a great deal of heat. Some days I wonder if the sun ran out of fuel but I guess it will get warmer as the year marches on. The forecast for the week end is in the low 30s and that will feel like a heat wave after this week of bitter cold. The only saving grace is there is almost no wind in the day time. It still blows hard at night but I low the sound as it howls past my window, it just puts me to sleep. It sounds just like the house I grew up in New Hampshire only here the curtains don’t blow out when the wind blows, on Peanut Row when that wind blew off the lake it made the curtains blow out like a flag in the wind. My mother used to nail blankets over the windows to keep the cold out and they did some good. That was cold! If I took a glass of water to bed with me it would be solid ice come morning so see how lucky I am now even with no storm windows on it is warmer than that.

I have just one more sleeve to finish and I will have sweaters for all of my children and their spouses. So now I am working on the grand children and their family’s plus a few very special people that are like my own children. I want to have a sweater for everyone of them before I die. I got a lot of them done before Christmas and now have the list all picked out to get done before my birthday in Sept. I have Maureen and her five grandchildren. She is my God Child so really like my own family. She has three grand daughters by her son Abe and they are just like my family. I had three girls all about 2 years apart so when Abe’s first child was born I noticed and was interested in watching the family grow. I followed them on Face Book and they didn’t even know it. When the second daughter was born I could identify even more with them and as I watch them grow it brought back very fond memories for me. And the third daughter was the finishing touch. It was history repeating it self. After all the pleasure they have given me by letting me watch their family grow I felt I owed them anything I could do to give them pleasure so I hope a new ski sweater next winter will give them a little pleasure.

Here is one of the sweaters I have done. They are all the Nordic style sweater and are from original patterns for the 1940s. I used to make these when I was in Hight School and still think they are the nicest ski sweater there is. The only differences between then and now we always used wool before and that is a pain to launder so now I use a machine washable and dribble yarn to make the sweater, easy to care for and wears much better.

This gives you an idea of what kind of sweater I am doing. Some have deer on them, some have the nordic design like these two. The small children get button down ones as the heavy sweater is hard to put over the head of a little one. The smallest I have a patten for is size 3 so for any one under three I use a smaller needle and they have to role up the sleeves. Then the child can grow into them. Never hand a sweater up in the closet. Fold it up and put it on a shelf or toss it in a corner but hanging it up will make it stretch out of shape. These sweater last for a long long time. I have a couple I made over 50 years ago and they are still good. Some of the life fades out of them after that long a time but I still have people stop me and comment of mine when I wear them.

The other thing I forgot to tell you about was my storage shed.

My work shop and storage shedYY

You may have noticed it in some of the other pictures. The front half we use as a work shop. The back half is a garage. You can see the garage door on the side of the house. The young man who lived here before was an auto mechanic and he needed a place to work on his cars and bikes and he put this in. We use the garage half for storage and it is full! There is no heat in here so we use it mostly in the summer months but a heater can be put in if we want to use it in the winter. We have to run a power cord out there for lights or we could hook up the generator for longer term use. Any ways I think it is a very nice addition to the house.

I think that is enough for today. The birds need more food so I will leave you and give them some attention. Have. a great day>.

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Hello Sunshine!!

A beautiful sunshiny day but even the sun can’t fight this cold front that follows the snow storm. It looks so pretty and peaceful out there. The juncos and a few sparrows were eating on the deck but the dish was almost empty and the feeding station needed filling. I usually do that at night but not when it is snowing as it just gets covered in snow and I have to sweep it off and put new out for the birds so I did not do it last night. Right after I got organized I went out to do that. A squirrel had come up and chased the birds off so I chased him off and swept off the porch and ramp and a small patch of grass at the foot of the ramp for Otis when he gets up and wants out. I had some butter flavored shorting left over from the apartment and it was old even then as I never buy that it contains unhealthy fat and since the birds like the suet cakes so much I thought I would give them this too. Even if the birds won’t eat it I am sure the squirrel will, they loved my peanut butter. As nice as it looks out there the sun does not have much of a chance. It is 9 degrees out there right now and will only warm up to 12 degrees by this afternoon when it starts cooling off again. Tonight it called for a low of 1 degree and tomorrow it is forecasted to be partly cloudy and a high of 6 degrees so it looks like the 7 inches of snow we got will be with us for some time to come.

The birds have not come back yet but they will soon. I was visited last night by the rabbit. I have never seen him but he leaves his foot prints all over the yard and even up onto the deck and on the chairs there. That accounts of the noise I hear of the deck at night because the chairs are rocking chairs and they must rock when the rabbit jumps onto them. The building right behind my house there on the right is the storage/work shed for the park. I like having them there because there is always some one around if I fall and need help. And usually I am the first one to be plowed out after a snow fall but today is Sunday so you see no one is working. Most of the time on Sunday there is some one there and I bet they will come later but being Sunday we have church first.

Looking straight ahead you can see the snow cover next to my house. You also see my empty bird feeder, the birds are just now starting to come back. At first they come in drips and dabs, then the whole flock will come and that food will all be gone by noon when I go out and fill it again for the afternoon crowd.

Looking on down the street you can see who has snow blower. The man on the corner is the only one around here with a snow blower and he always gets right out and clears the sidewalk around his corner lot. It looks like he did the same for the woman across the street. I have not met either of these neighbors as I don’t go out much. I do understand there is a older lady in the house across the street and she seldom comes out. I did see her one day when her daughter came to visit and took her out for a ride. I waved to her but that is as much as I can do.

Now with the birds fed, the dog fed and sleeping again it is time for me to do up my dishes, organize my noon meal and pick out a good movie to watch as I knit. I have started Clair’s sweater

Joe came and had lunch with me and we played a game of Rummikub now he has gone back to work and I can finish this and go knit. As you can see I don’t have time in my day to take on even a part time job so I have scraped that idea and will just keep to my budget to make ends meet, no problem.

Have good day, keep well and be happy. God Bless you all.

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The Last Big Project

When I first saw this house the one thing I noticed was the windows. I knew from the get go that they needed to be changed out. But those other things were more urgent. Now with everything else taken care of I could work on getting the windows replaced.

The windows that are presently here look nice but they are not of any use except to say they are windows. They are single pane and just glass so all the heat inside in the winter goes out and all the heat in the summer comes in. Also who ever put these windows in did not know what they were doing and there was big gaps around many of the windows that let the bugs in. While we were fixing up and painting we were bothered by the potato bug that came in those cracks and they have an awful bite so Joe went around to all the windows and caulked all the windows to keep the bugs out. Then Holly put the plastic sealers on all the windows to act as storm windows for the winter. These helped hold in the heat but it made it hard to see out and you can not open the windows to air out the place until spring when we take those sealers off. Also there are no screens on any of the windows so for most of the year you could not open the windows anyways.

I found an add for windows on line. It was for Anderson Windows. I knew those and like the company as we had used them in The Villas in Port St Lucie. They aren’t cheap, but cheap was not my first priority, quality was and this add was for a very good discount so I answered it. When they called me I found they do not service this area but they gave me a company they recommended that does service this area and does work on Mobile Homes. I called them and that was how I found Mad City to install my windows.

Like the windows we put in in Florida these would be very expensive and at first I planned to just get an idea of price and then save up to buy them. I did not want to use all the savings I had left and I did not want to pay interest on a loan. I turned out that month there was a special promotion to get 75% off the labor cost of putting them in and a 48 month no interest payment plan so the price of $15,000 seemed do able for me and we began the process. Long story short the finance company talked me into doing half of it now and the other half when the first half was paid for. Mad City agreed to lock in the whole job price and do the job in two steps with all the benefits we had agreed on and so I picked the two windows in my bed room, the one in Joe’s bed room and the dinning room window to be done first. There is no penalty for paying it off before the 48 months so I will try and get this first part done and paid off in a year and a half. They did write into the contract that the other windows could be done at this agreed on price as soon as I pay off the first half and if the new deals that come out in the future are better and would save me money, I can opt for those also. I think that is a win win situation. My monthly payments are very low so I should be able to save enough each month to pay this half off early. Joe still wanted to do the windows himself. He has never done them before and he would have to use standard windows and make them fit into the spaces. I would rather have these custom built windows that I know the quality of and have them installed by professionals with a warranty on them. Also Joe would have to take every free moment he has all summer to do the job that this company can do in a week and Joe needs some time off even if he doesn’t think so.

The windows are being built as we speak and will be installed as soon as they are finished and checked for size. The other thing that I liked about this company is, if they find any wood rot or mold when they remove the old windows they will repair that at no additional cost and that was important as the reason I picked Joe’s window to be done first is because we know there is wood rot around that window. I wasn’t hiding anything from the company, I told them and they had already looked at my old windows and noted on the contract that there was wood rot to be replace and there was mold that needed to be taken care of. I have no idea where the mold is but will be glad to have that removed too. I chose my windows in my bedroom because I face the corn field out back and the wind blows across that and howls at night. I don’t mind the sound but I know it is stealing heat from my room and with new windows, double pane, high impact glass the stealing will stop and I can just enjoy the sound if it still can be heard.

Today it started snowing about 4am and will snow all day and night. The snow here in Iowa is very different from any snow I have ever seen before. The snow flakes are so small you almost think it is rain but it not only snow but very light snow almost , no water in this snow so if I keep up with it I can just sweep it off my porch with a broom. It also blows away if there is any wind and the wind does blow a lot here. It blows across the corn fields and then piles up around anything that is in the way. This picture of my back yard will give you an idea of what I am talking about.

I took this picture this morning. If you look at the top of the picture you see the corn field on the other side of the tree line and see there is only a trace of snow there but look at the corner of the house, my back yard and see how much snow has accumulated there already.

This is looking out my front window and you can see how much snow we already have there. This is Norman’d toy that the boys used to love to play with when they came to visit. Now he stands watch over me. Also look under his front foot and you see the plastic storm windows that are on all the windows. It does seal very nicely but the frost that forms on the window when the temperature goes down into the teens lets me know heat does get through this plastic.

My passion now is my birds. I have about 50 sparrows that come here to eat every day between 7 and noon and again in the afternoon between 2 and 4. These are ground feeders so I put seeds on the porch for them and any that is left at the end of the day I sweep off onto the ground under the porch and half of them feed there. It is fun to watch the area when it snows as that area where I sweep the seeds onto is all little bird prints. I also have a whole flock of juncos that come every day, a pair of downy wood peckers, two other kinds of wood peckers, a few chickadees, a couple nut hatches. a blue jay, a dove and a couple others besides my three squirrels

This is my bird feeder when we first put it in. Since then it is joined by a 30 gallon tin bucket that I keep the seeds in as the birds eat 50 pounds or more a month and a pie plate full of seeds that I have to fill three times or more a day. The green pad on the floor is the poop pad I got hoping to train Otis to go in the house when it snowed but he uses it to sleep on not poop. The black thing on the left is my fire pit.

This as taken this morning. I had already been out and cleared all the snow off and this that you see has accumulated since. The birds keep the seeds free of snow. They are very fussy eaters and toss out the ones they don’t like as much. Later they come back and eat the ones they passed up earlier.

The first time it snowed I put the chairs in front of the ramp to try and get Otis to do his business on the porch but he just held it for the whole day instead. The sparrows like the chairs there as they had a place to wait while the squirrel ate out the sunflower seeds. Now they will eat along with the squirrel on the floor. When the squirrel decides he wants the suet cakes on the feeder, he goes and chases the birds away from the feed and I chase him away from the feeder so the birds will come back.

Remember this little beauty? One nigh when we were getting ready to go to bed Otis went to the door to go out before we went to our room. I didn’t look out before I opened the door for Otis and as soon as he went out he stood at the top of the ramp and barked. I looked out to see him in his defensive stand ready to fight and looked over behind the fire pit was this little guy ready to fight. It took me a second to decide what it was. An opossum ! They are not aggressive but can fight and do a lot of damage with those sharp teeth when cornered. And that night he was cornered as the only route of escape for him was down the ramp and Otis stood infant of the ramp. I grabbed my broom ready to jump in and fight if Otis and he got into it. Before I moved I remembered in Spanish Lakes we had three farrow cats that would not run when Otis tried to chase them, They just stood their ground and were going to fight. Otis is a lover not a fighter so I would tell him “You better leave them alone. They will knock you block off” and Otis would just go on his way and leave them. So I tried it here. I said, “Otis, leave him alone, it’s alright. Don’t mess with him, he’ll knock your block off “

Otis turned and looked at me. Looked back at the opossum, turned and went down the ramp. When he finished his business and started back up the ramp, I went out and met him at the top and picked him up and took him into the house. The opossum had come up for the corn. He left and has never been back up on the porch. He does come and get the corn on the ground under the porch as I see his foot prints in the snow. I have never let Otis out again without first looking to see what is out there.

Time for lunch so I must go. I will get some more pictures of my birds to show you another day. From now on my blogs will just be to let you know what is happening each day. They won’t be so long but may be more boring I hope not but I really don’t want any excitement here. I like the quiet and peace but do want to let all my children know what is happening. Love to all and God Bless.

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Everything Went Wrong

We thought everything was set for the winter and began looking at the windows as our next big project. Then decided, no, leveling this house was the immediate worry. When the water heater began leaking it dripped under the house and into the ground, turning the sand into mud and the posts that were holding the house up began to sink on that corner of the house so my bedroom and the bath were tipping seriously.

I started looking into who could help fix my house and keep it from tipping and got the name of the contractor that does this but before I could reach him the cold front came though and our temperature went down to the negative numbers and the wind chill was -30 to -40 degrees and we woke up one morning to NO Water! The only reason for this would be frozen pipes. There was no bust pipes or leaks we could find so guessed it was the water heater. I called James and he could not come as his company already had over 20 people on his list to help with burst pipes and they do have to service hospitals, and business first so it would be a day or so before he could come and since there was no burst pipes he just told us what to do to thaw them out and a handyman to call to cut a door into the water tank cubby.

We took his advice, opened the doors under the sinks and turned the furnace way up and got it over 80 degrees in here and stood it as long as we could. It did work in about 2 hours our water was flowing again and there was no damage to the water tank. I had an indoor/out door thermometer so we took the out door part of it and put it in with the water tank to see just how cold it got in there and called Jason from Above and Beyond to come cut a door into the cubby for us.

Jason like everyone else was busy with places that needed help NOW and when I told him what we had done he asked me to keep track of the temperature in there and when he came the next week he would be able to advise us as to how to proceed.

We were surprised with the results. The temperature in the cubby never went down below freezing True it was warming up out side but not above freezing at night yet the temperature in there stayed above 32. When Jason came the next week he said he didn’t think it was the water heater that froze, it must have been the pipes under the house but if I would feel more comfortable he would put in a register from my room into the cubby and the warm air from my room would go into the cubby and keep it up enough. So that is what we did and everything is great. Most of the time the temperature in there is above 40 degrees and when it goes down to the negative numbers at night it states above 32 in there. Once this last cold spell we had and it went to -10 outside it did go down to 29 in there but the jacket that Joe put on the heater kept the heater safe and now we are sure it was the pipes under the house that froze that day.

After the water was restored we turned the furnace back to 72 degrees and for two days everything went along smoothly. I again began looking to Cody Knapp and the Knapp Construction Company to set up a time when he could come and give me a quote on leveling my house. However before he could come my furnace stopped working. It would light but turn off before it started to blow hot air. It wa getting colder and colder in here so I had to call Oehl Plumbing and Heating Inc. These are the people who sold the new furnace to the owns we bought this house from. They came and after three different visits they got the furnace working again. The warranty covered the part they had to replace $274+ but I had to pay the labor for three visits $404+ and after two months that got all straightened out and paid for. Just a minor hick-cup along the road. Back to the Knapp company. Cody came with his truck and crew and looked at the job. He said he was not surprised at the sinking of the corner. This whole development is built on sand and after a year they all settle and most settle unevenly. While he was in side with me telling me about his company and what he could do for me his crew were going under the house to see what was wrong and what it would cost to fix it. I heard one of them yell “My God! there is nothing under there”. This really surprised me and I asked what he meant by that as I know there was a lot of junk under there and I wanted it all removed while they were there. So Cody when out to see and came back to report to me.

What he reported knocked me for a loop! Under the house should be a membrane sealing the under parts of the house. Usually this was made with a heavy type of paper so often was ripped or torn and needed to be replace to hold the insolation up but in this case all of that was gone- no membrane and no insolation at all. The duck work for the old AC was only half there and broken, the pipes were there but not wrapped and as far as they could see there was no heat tape around them. There was a big hole in the middle where something from the house drained into they were not sure if the was the toilet or one of the sinks or the washing machine but it had caused a large hole to form where the connection from the house to the public septic system was not connected. Yes there was a lot of junk old boards, siding, tires etc were under there and nests of some large animals that were living there. So we discussed the cost of correcting all of this plus reskirting the house.

Long story short it would cost about $15000 to do the job. He then looked to see where he could cut the cost for me and found several places such as the heat tapes, he had some in his ware house left from another job and he would do that at no cost to me. There were several other such things and in the end I had to pay $10,500. That I could handle and we agreed.

Most of the material he needed to order but a lot of the work could start right away. He and his crew spent the rest of that day and well into the evening cleaning out under the house, repairing the broken duck work so I was no longer just blowing hot air out or as he said, “trying to heat all out doors”, repaired the connection to the sewer system so the waste water no longer went into the ground under the house causing the sand to turn to mud like quick sand. They wrapped all the pipes and put on heat tapes so we would never have a frozen water pipe again. He removed the old duct pipes that were not used and disconnected the old AC unit. He could not disconnect it completely as that took a licensed electrician to do but when I want that removed all I have to do is get one out here to make the final break and we can haul the old unit out of here. He sealed off the old floor register so I will no longer get a cold draft out of that every time the furnace turned on. He insulated and sealed the whole under side of the house so my floors would not be so cold in the winter. Then they cleaned up all the trash from under the house and hauled that away. The only thing left to do the second visit was to put up new skirting and the under side of the house would be tight and secure. It took a week for the new skirting to arrive and as soon as it came they came back and finished it up. Usually the skirting is just hung all around the house but not this. A wooden frame was made all around the house, the skirting was hung and fastened to this frame so that no animals, large or small could get under the house and nothing could blow the skirting in or crack it. This stopped all the large animals from getting under the house and in doing it this way, it got rid of all the mice that were coming into the house. Joe had set traps out for the mice as we had all kinds of sign of them such as building a nest under the bathroom sink using a half roll of toilet paper to make the nest with. After that skirting was put on we never saw a sign of the mice and no trap caught one. Oh and they did jack up the house and put new footings under there to keep it level and if it sags at all for a year they will come back and fix it at no cost. They never promise more than one year here so at the end of the year now I will have them come back and check it out. If it has settled at all they will fix it again at very little cost and it will be good for another year. I learned long ago any thing this big should be checked once a year and fixed if need be and in the long run you save a lot of money and keep everything working as it should. So next fall I will call Cody to just adjust things if need be and I will do the same thing with my furnace. No more big bills like this again.

Before I go lets tie up a couple loose ends. Remember this vet or what ever you call it. This is the one Jason put in to get heat into the water tank cubby which is just behind this wall and insolation. When it got so very cold I tried pointing a heater to it and that didn’t change the temperature any and I tried pointing a fan at it but that too was unnecessary. This vent was all that was needed to keep the heater and its pipes from freezing.

As to this cubby, it is still a mystery. It is a small cubby with two electrical outlets in it, the one you see here and another just below it. In the ceiling are cut two round holes larger than a silver dollar that just seem to go into nothing land. Joe though that maybe this was put in to blow hot air into the water tank cubby but the night when it got so cold we tried putting a small cube heater in here and it never effected the temperature in the water tank area ,all it did was shock the electrican. He made me promise Neve to put a heater in a small space like that as it was a sure fire to do so, and we had proved it had nothing to do with that, what it was made for only God knows. I am sure we will never find out.

So with this said I will say good bye for today. Tomorrow I will tell you about the windows and the home warranty and I think that will take care of all the big expenses and all of my savings. Now I will get back to my knitting. The sweater you see in this last picture is Myiah’s sweater and I am finishing up her husbands sweater. When that is done I will send them both to them in OR.. I have Tina’s sweater ready to go also. And I am working on Maureen’s and her grand children, it will be quite a while before I get all six of those done and ready to send out. Have a good day and God Bless you all.

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Weeks Of Hard Work

Once the sale for the house was completed the hard work of turning an old mobil house into a home began. It was all hands on deck. The first week we all toured the house, inside and out and decided what was to be done before I could move in. The first thing was to get that fuse box changed out and to this end I found Brian with RJF Company. He answered my call and come right away to change out the fuse box and I asked him to do two other jobs at the same time. 1 put in an electric line to the outside cubby where the new water heater would be installed. The gas line needed to capped and electric line installed and 2 the Wall unit AC at present ran on an extension cord that ran along the floor in the hall. I felt that was a tripping hazard for me so I wanted an outlet there in the hall for the AC. I called him on Friday and he was there on Monday and did all I asked for: Replace existing breaker panel, install dedicated circuit for window AC. He sent the bill and again I was so pleased as this bill was lower than either Lori or I had paid for the change out of the panel before in Florida.

With my electric all taken care of and working I could call James at English River Plumbing to come and put in my new water heater. The old one that was leaking so badly was taken out and a new electric one installed. This presented a problem as the only access to the heater was from the outside. I was not surprised as in Florida that is the way they always are. Not here in Iowa, here the temperature can go as low as 30 below zero and at that temperature the pipes would freeze unless there was a way to heat the cubby that contained the heater. James said he could install the water tank but he was not a carpenter and that was what I needed to take out a wall in the bed room and install a door to access the heater. He gave me the name of someone that could do this for me. Joe thought he had a better solution and he took care of keeping the area warm enough. So he got a jacket for the heater and insulated the cubby.

Here is my beautiful new heater, Joe got the insulated jacket for it and insulated the pipes and closed up the cubby.

The only project I could help much on was the planting I wanted done. I found this on line and had ordered it back when I first started talking about the house so it was already here waiting to be put up. Joe and Luke put it up near the front of the house. I also had fencing waiting to install so when there was time the fence would go on either side of this arbor and down the side lawn and tie into the shed so the dog could go out without a leach

As soon as Joe and Luke put the arbor up, Patty and I planted a grape vine on either side of the arbor to grow up it in the future and help to hold it in place.

There were already hosts growing along the side of the deck so we just enlarged this garden area and planted spring bulbs all along there, around the tree a little and in the two other garden area. I should have a beautiful array of spring flowers come spring

Here you can see some of the garden area we planted. Around the tree there on the right I didn’t put in many bulbs as I have Lilly of the Valley and a bleeding heart coming in the spring to go in there. The area is waiting for the fence to stand on either side. This gives a way into the back yard from the front so you don’t have to go up onto the deck and down the ramp to get to the back yard and the shed.

Then Joe and Holly began inside. Holly painted my bedroom a lighter color and changed out those awful black curtains for some very nice white one. Remember the awful green and black in that room? We’ll look at it now.

This is the same corner I showed you before that is my closet to the left. I will tell you about the register on the wall in a minute and that cubby on the other wall I’ll also explain at that time. It may be tomorrow for that as it is getting rather long now.

While Holly worked on this Joe put in a new ceiling in the kitchen. Remember I showed you a small mess over the refrigerator and a worse one over the door. Well this is what that ceiling looks like now.

Everyone who sees it thinks this is a tin ceiling and wonders how a mobil home can support a tin ceiling. Well it is really a foam ceiling and they always have to touch it to believe it. Holly found them for me on Amazon. Isn’t it beautiful?

This is the living room with its black curtains and sagging ceiling. Holly took care of the windows and Joe fixed the ceiling.

No more sagging ceiling. Note the dark left hand corner there are live wires hanging out of that hole. But no more, Joe took care of that too.

He found just the right light for this corner and now I have light over my desk when I wish to use it. Later after I moved in Joe put up all y pictures that I had made back in Spanish Lakes. Those are my feet you see in the foreground. I can sit in my recliner and watch everyone else work now.

Then Holly cleaned the whole place for me. It had looked clean but deep down it wasn’t, now it is. Holly scrubbed the shower so it looks brand new. Now it is up to me to keep it that way. She scrubbed in side and out of all the cabinets and closets. It will never get a scrubbing like that again I am sure. But it was nice moving in knowing everything was so clean now.

While they worked inside Luke worked outside.

From the front it didn’t look as if it needed a power wash but you can see here in the back it sure did. Also note the shirting. you can see how crappy that is and there were several big holes in it so some animal is living under my house. I will tell you that story on a later post also.

When all this work was done Joe and Holly had to make a trip to OK to get my furniture that was in storage there and Joe and I moved in. Once we moved I there were other things that we found needed correcting but that will be the subject of the next blog. Before we leave here lets take a look at the ramp Joe and Luke built for me and the fence they put up.

It is a very sturdy well built ramp. It is not as long as is needed for a wheel chair ramp but I have no intention of going down any ramp in a wheel chair. This one is that long because he needed to anchor it onto the pavers that were there. This whole park is built on sand and on sand things settle just as the house was doing and that is another project that needed tending to.

All stained and ready to use but as the snow and ice began to arrive treads were needed to keep from slipping. Then I had Joe stew slats on top of the tread so Otis could grab hold going back up when it was wet or frosty and I could go from slat to slat and no slip. Joe could not have made it only longer without blocking my built in planter there at the foot I have already planted peonies and daffodils in there. Also look back at the deck. On the front side there is an opening to go down five steps to get to the drive way and Otis can go down but can’t come up without being carried so there was a gate in the kitchen to keep their dogs out of the bedrooms. Joe took that out and put it there so I can let Otis out on the porch and he can’t run away from me. You can also see I need to do some lawn care come spring also.

Otis fence

From here you can see the fence they put up for me. There is another gate in the back so I can get outside the gate to work on the gardens when I need to. In the back it is anchored to the shed.

My work shop and storage shed

This was taken before the fence went up. Now the fence butts up to the shed just in front to the. tree and a short fence on the other side so Otis and Holly don’t go out that way. This front part of this building is a workshop and the back half is full of Holly’s boxes from her moves. Going from a large house like Melrose into a Mobil home requires a lot of storage room to save all the things you don’t have room for.

I am not going to proof read this right now as I am very tired and you must be too. Have a wonderful day. God Bless you all.

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First Impressions

Katie, my real estate agent made an appointment with the owner of the house I liked and we met at the house. I loved the outside and I had seen it several times so I wanted to just go inside and see if I still liked it.

As my daughter, Patty can tell you when I look at a place like this, I don’t really see what is there. I see what could be there in time. And this preview was no different. As you enter the house and look left this is what you see. I saw a net clean kitchen that I could work with very nicely. It was a much better first impression than the one I had in Spanish Lakes but of course much smaller as this one is a single wide and the one in Spanish Lakes was an over sized double wide.

The kitchen when we first saw it. Note the ceiling over the fridge. There was a worse mess over the door as you came in.

Katie was not as visionary as I was and she noticed the ceiling over the refrigerator and the ceiling over the door we had just entered and that was a total mess and would need to be fixed. I didn’t mind that as I knew I would be fixing many things in a $20,000 home. She noticed the cabinets were rather cheap but I saw that they were neat and clean and were not broken as in most mobile homes of this age.

If you looked right you saw the living room again Katie saw the ceiling with sagging tiles. I only saw black curtains covering all three windows causing the whole area to look like a dark cave. The indirect lighting set off the room very nicely but in the far corner was a hole in the ceiling with wires hanging out of it. I liked the size of the room, the fact that it had three windows and if those curtains were removed so the light could come in. I could see that was all this room needed. I did notice the rugs and do not like rugs as I find they are dirty but that too can be fixed.

From here we went through the kitchen and down the hall to the bed rooms. We both noticed the wall unit AC in the hall and asked about that. I turned out the central AC/heating unit broke long ago and they used this wall unit. They found it kept the place very cool and that was true enough as on this very warm day it was very nicely cooled inside. Again I did not see this as a big problem it was just one more thing I would have to have fixed and that was not uncommon in older mobil homes. Both Johnny Mac and Amy my neighbors in Spanish Lakes had to replace their AC units, however when I said this our hostess said “No, her husband had removed most of the duct work in order to put in the duct work for the new furnace they had installed. There in the hall we saw the new furnace so I figured I could live with the wall unit for summers and the new furnace for winters. Again no big deal.

There in the hall right after the furnace was my new laundry room with washer and dryer and shelves above. Very nice, everything worked and the fact the shelves were much to high for me didn’t matter as Joe could put his things up there.

Next on the left was the bathroom. This is one area they had done all over and it looked very nice. I didn’t notice the small things like some of the molding was not finished, I just saw that it was a walk in shower so I could use this bathroom and I was thrilled. It didn’t shock me that the shower was small and the fixtures were not the latest with rain shower head etc. I don’t want that anyways. With a small shower I can use it without feeling dizzy and losing my balance. When I wash my hair I can lean against the far wall for support. This fit me perfectly.

Opps, I forgot Joes room that came after the furnace and before the laundry. That room was the only room with a ceiling fan. The ceilings aren’t really high enough to have fans anyways as you would be hit in the head if you were any taller than I am. So that didn’t bother me.

Back to the tour. The last room was the master bedroom, my bedroom. This did disappoint me some as it was a dark cave of a room. It was nice and big and had two windows but the windows were again covered with black curtains and was painted an awful darkish green with black trim. All the wood work was black. That would have to be fixed before I would move in here!! But it could easily be fixed.

This is my closet. That didn’t bother me too much, I could live with that if I could just get some light into the room . The water heater is in that corner of the room but there is no access to it from inside the house. The fuse box is behind the door and when she showed us that Katie was shocked. That box had been recalled years ago as it was a fire hazard. I agreed with her that had to be replaced. I had the same problem in Spanish Lakes and had to have it replaced before I could get insurance on my house, so I knew I would have to do the same here and that is an expensive deal.

All in all I like the place and Katie wasn’t too sure. Joe knew it meant a lot of work on his part and wanted to offer 18 for the place and Katie said no offer her 15, there was so much work that was needed. Long story short Katie offered $15,000 for the house and they took it, almost too gladly but I knew what the driving force was – The lot rent in this park is $700+ a month and every month they owned the house was costing them $700 plus heat, AC, and electric and gas and they had only one other person to even come look at it. So when I made an offer they grabbed it in a heart beat. But Katie put right in the contract that I must replace the water heater and the fuse box before I moved anything into the house. I agreed with that and I owned a house again.

The next month was all on Joe and Holly’s back. Holly painted my room and touched up Joe’s room, the bathroom and the kitchen. Joe put in a new ceiling in the kitchen and fixed the living room ceiling. He built a ramp for me so I could get out to walk Otis and Otis could get to the ground as he can’t go up and down stairs. Joe and Luke fenced in a yard for Otis and Luke power washed the house. At the same time James came and put in a new water heater for me and changed it over to electric as he didn’t think gas water heaters were very safe, I didn’t care much either way but do like the one we got. Tomorrow I will tell you all about the fixing up we did. I’ll show you pictures of the finished product and tell you about the other things we found needed fixing !! WOW

For now I am tired and my birds need more food. I love my birds and there are many many here for me About 50 sparrow, dozen Juncos, half a dozen different kinds of wood peckers, cardinals, nut hatches and more along with 3 squirrels and this

I’ll tell you the story of our encounter with this pretty little guy one day soon. Have a wonderful day. Thanks for spending some time with me. God Bless you one and all.

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The Very beginning

When we sold the Melrose house I think everyone was sad. That was a beautiful home and we all would have loved to stay there forever but it had one fault that could not be corrected. That fault was that Joe could never join us there. There just was not a Taco Bell store there that paid enough for Joe to transfer there and still be able to make the payments on that house. Holly had a good job that she liked very much but it didn’t pay enough to support a house as large and beautiful as that and there were still things that needed to be fixed so the choice was made that we should sell the house and move. I came to Iowa to live with Joe while Holly stayed behind and got the house ready to sell.

Once Holly finished getting the place fixed up she put the house on the market and even though the market was no longer as hot as before she found a buy for the house. The sale did not cover the cost of the house and all the repairs we had put into it but each month that we did not have to make that big mortgage payment was a reason to sell to the first buyer that was interested.

Once Holly had packed up all of our things she began moving the family. The first load with the U-Haul went to OK into storage as Holly had decided she would move there and take care of her parents now. The second load was ready to go and Holly found she was not needed in OK so she could come to Iowa and join Joe and myself. But again there was a problem. Joe and I lived in a two bedroom apartment . There was another large bedroom in the basement but that was being rented to a co-worker of Joe’s and we needed his share of the rent to make ends meet so Holly get onto the internet and found a place that was nice and we could afford.

That was our introduction to Western Hills. A very nice Mobil Home Park. I liked it as it was very much like Spanish Lakes where I had been living for three years only this Park was friendlier in many ways. Holly and the two boys, Luke and Landen moved in and settled in very quickly. Sally, their little dog liked the place but had to walk on a leash at first so she didn’t wander off. Each day after work Holly would take Sally for a walk up the hill and around the neighborhood.

Meanwhile Joe and I were looking for a place to move to. We needed something smaller and less expensive as now he would have two places to pay for and renting a smaller apartment seemed the best choice. However one day on Holly’s walk she saw a place for sale that was smaller, a single wide and very cute. It seemed to be in pretty good condition and when she inquired about the cost found it was only $20,000. So she showed the place to Joe and he told me of it and when we went over the figures we decided we could afford that. When I went to see the place I found it wasn’t half bad and I could afford that myself, then Joe could live with his family and still take care of me as we would be only half a block away from each other. And thus began the newest adventure for me. I do hope this is my last as now I want to spend my last days right here – no more moving.

There were no promises made but that was alright and we went ahead with a real estate agent, Katie to look into buying it. When we went into the home we found several things that needed fixing even before we could move in. First I had to pay cash for the place as here it is impossible to get a mortgage on a mobil home older than 25 years old and this one was built in 1980. Also there were two things that had to be fixed before moving in. One was the water heater. The one in the house had a serious leak and was dripping water into the ground under the house. That had to be replaced. Also the fuse box was an old one, one that had been recalled years ago. I knew that as soon as Katie pointed it out to me as I had the same problem in Spanish Lakes and the insurance company would not insure the house until I replaced that. Which I did at a cost of $1000 which was a special price for me as I had just had the walk in tub installed by the same person and he cut me a very good deal compared to the price Lori had to pay for hers to be done. There was also quite a few things that needed upgrading and fixed so we settled on a price of $15,000 for the house which was agreed on by both parties with the agreement right in the contract that I would replace the water heater and the fuse box before I move into the house.

That being done I set about the sale of the place and getting it insured while Holly and Joe set to work doing all the little things that needed doing before moving in such as replacing the ceiling in the kitchen, fixing the ceiling the living room, finishing the molding and mop boards that were started but never quite finished, cleaning every inch of the house as only a professional like Holly can do, painting the bedrooms to bring in more light and get rid of the black woodwork. We saved the rest to do after I moved in such as fence in the yard so Otis could go out without me taking him on a leash as I could not do that all winter, and plant all the spring bulbs I wanted to get in before winter just to name a few things.

Thus began the new adventure. I will now go and study how to add pictures to my blog and tomorrow I will take you though the improving of my home and moving in. I am still making repairs and will not be done paying for these for a few years yet but already it is a snug little place, just perfect for me and room for Joe to stay any time he needs to come. Whenever any of my children find they can come to visit I have his room for them to stay in. Have a good day I’ll see you again tomorrow.

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Garden Update

so cold I could not see how plants could grow and bare fruit in this cold weather and my plants all agreed with me. Shirley came over and helped me stir up the plants a little to see if that would help and I guess it did. That and time seems to have made a big difference. This morning when I went out side with Otis I took some pictures so you could see how things have changed.

The first thing I noticed was the camelas. they really love this cold weather.

Red bushes,

These are the red ones and there are many buds still to open. The pink bush is almost done blooming and the white ones ate just loaded.

I took this picture from the screened porch as it was cold out there at 7am and I didn’t want to be out there too long..

This is Otis, he took this time while I was out with him to explore the whole yard. He is such a chicken he will not go that far from the back door unless Sally is out with him or I stay out with him. You can see how big their fenced in yard really is. While he explored I took some pictures of my gardens.

Some things have really grown such as the yellow beans. I have gotten one meal off them and now others are coming.

See how strong these plants are. Some like the spinach never did a thing. Usually spinach loves the cold weather but this time they came up and grow to about two inches and then just died. I don’t think they liked the covering that I had on each box and they died before I got to take that covering off. The cucumbers did well at first and then died and I am not sure if it was the cold weather or some bugs that ate the plants.

It makes no difference why but you can see they are dead. So next fall I will not put in cucumbers. I will put in the beans and probably three boxes of those since they do well. Broccoli is another one that seems to like the cold weather.

These plants are still strong and growing well but no heads on them yet. I still have hope they will make me a meal before they die. The beets have not done anything. They are alive but have not grown an inch.

These are the tomatoes and finally they seem to be growing. There are even a few blossoms and with a warming spell with us now maybe I will get some tomatoes, we will see. the peas have grown well from the start but it wasn’t until this last week that a blossom finally came and since then three more flowers have opened. I didn’t see how they could get fertilized as I don’t see any bees but sure enough this morning this is what I found.

Do you see the small pea on the right hand side? you can see how nice and strong the plants are.

Here he is. It will be a while before he is big enough to eat but at least he is there. It doesn’t take much to make me happy when I can get so excited over one small pea!!

Back when we moved in Mark laughed at me because there was a flower pot with a vine in it on the stone wall out front. I had asked him to pull out all the vines in the front of the house and yet I had a vine in a pot?? It took me a while to remember why I had that vine and then I remembered that was the one that was in my Florida room at Spanish Lakes. It is one that Colette had given me and it was growing so well I just had to bring it. I did cut it way back and gave Jane the cuttings from the plant so she could start one for her front room. I put mine out on the screened in porch. I knew the ivy did not like the full sun but I had no idea how it would react to the cold but here he is now.

wrong picture had trouble changing it so left it look below and see the ivy.

This is my other indoor plant. Shirley gave me this Christmas cactus. It is just loaded with buds. I have never seen one so full. I have had one with a flower at the end of each branch but this one has two and three buds at the ends of several branches.

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