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View From the Trail to Mount Colvin

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Productive Summer

Here it is, the last day of August. Harry and I have had a busy summer, and we’ve really made some good progress towards purging “stuff” and fixing up this house in preparation for selling it in about three years.

Since May, these are some of the things that we have accomplished

  • selling the pop-up trailer
  • selling the truck
  • selling our snow blower (although I don’t know that this really counts since we bought a new one – we were still on our 8 year timetable at that point. If we’d been thinking then about getting out of Dodge in 2014, I don’t know if we would have.)
  • selling our canoe
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  • brought an upright freezer and basketball hoop to my sister’s house
  • replaced the kitchen floor
  • completed the upstairs guest bedroom floor and hallway closet floor
  • painted the upstairs guest bedroom

Before and after in the upstairs guest room….

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  • built shelving in the garage
  • got rid of 5-6 bags of clothing by donation
  • got rid of an armchair and hassock through freecycle
  • threw out 12-15 bags of garbage and shredded paper
  • and had our first yard sale, where we sold, among other things, 2 air conditioners

This mess in the garage is all gone now – our pellets are there.

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Whew! Not bad for one summer’s work. It makes me feel better to look at that list and see how much we have accomplished, because sometimes it seems like we have an awful lot to do in a pretty short period of time. Let’s see how much more we can do before the s#@w falls. (I couldn’t bring myself to say it! Winking smile)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quiet Weekend–Almost September

This was a laid back weekend. Yesterday a bit of heat returned, and we went around and closed all the windows as the sun traveled around the house. I’d gotten so used to nice fresh air over the past week or two that I had them all open! Now we have our blinds all shut again so when we go to work it will keep the sun from heating the interior.

Harry started staining and sanding the trim to complete the floors. He finished the upstairs closet, put a couple pieces in the living room, and finished the downstairs hallway. I continued my purge of paperwork. Harry has saved everything! Yesterday, among other things, I threw out purchase agreements, loan paperwork, and maintenance records for a 1999 Toyota Corolla that we don’t even have! He had kept all of his pension statements since 1981! I managed to fill one bag with shredded “stuff” before I had to stop because I had reached the “house” folder and he is worried that I will throw away something IMPORTANT!!! Sarcastic smile So we have to go through that one together.

September is almost here! This is going to be the best month! Smile We have vacation coming up, a long weekend for Labor Day and we are babysitting Schaun for a few days at our house. Also work will be better, because as of Wednesday, our manager comes back to work and everybody’s vacation will be over – except mine! Be right back

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Another Picture Perfect Day and Heating with Pellets

So beautiful out! If this is any indication of our upcoming weather, it will be a gorgeous autumn season. Smile

I had to work this morning, as usual for Saturday am. While I was gone, Harry got busy and finished the upstairs floor in the hallway closet. It looks really great.


It’s hard to get a good sense of the size of the closet, since I have to stand too close to actually get the picture of the floor, but it’s pretty large. One of our next projects is putting some shelving on the side walls, and some shelving in the guest bedroom closet too. And then we are done with everything upstairs except for the bathroom.

I thought I would give a little more information about heating with pellets, since it sounds like some people aren’t too familiar with this system. Here are our pellets in the garage – there are over 3 ton here, and this is enough to heat our home for an entire winter.


These are the pellets we buy. We stick with the same brand and type every year, because each brand burns differently in the stove. There are standard and premium pellets. Premium are made of pure sawdust, while the Standard type are mixed with cardboard. The ones mixed with cardboard give off more ash and less heat.


These are what the pellets look like up close. They are just compressed sawdust.


The bag of pellets gets poured into the top of the pellet stove. This is what’s left in our stove from the spring when we stopped heating. It’s maybe half or a little more of a bag.


Our stove operates with a thermometer system. So it comes on when the room gets below a certain temp, whatever we set it for. The pellets drop down out of that little rectangular area in the back into the little burn pit area. And then it ignites and, voila! a nice, pleasant fire is burning in the pellet stove. Open-mouthed smile


So that’s our heating system. It works very well for us. I am hoping that it will be a feature of our home that will make it more desirable to potential buyers when that time comes.

Friday, August 27, 2010

End of Another Week

Friday, again! The week went by so quickly. I haven’t blogged for the past couple of days because all I’ve done is go to work, and come home! Don’t want anyone to fall asleep reading my post! Be right back

It has been a very autumn-like week. Right now, my windows are open just on principle, but the air coming in this morning definitely feels a little cool. When I walked this morning, I actually was a little cold (for a few minutes). I guess the weather is going to take a turn over the next few days though, and summer will return for an encore.

Today is Employee Appreciation Day at the business where I work, so it should be a nice day. We are having lunch brought in from a business in Albany, a barbeque place I understand. So that will be nice and I don’t have to pack a lunch. Smile Also, they will have drawings for prizes throughout the day. There are four big prizes – everyone had to register for the drawing for one of them. I signed up for the drawing for the iPad Touch. I will be very excited if I win that (and so will Harry!).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Another Sign of the Season

It’s hard to believe that it’s this time already, but we came home today to find 2 ton of pellets sitting in our driveway.


Yup, it’s another sign that the seasons are changing. Burning pellets in a pellet stove is our primary form of heating. We do have the capacity for electric heat, but we use it very rarely. The only time last winter that we used anything other than our pellet stove for heating was at Christmas time, to heat the bedroom up for our little guy when he was visiting, and in April when we went away on vacation. Other than that, our electric heat was completely turned off.


Besides adding a pleasant ambiance to the room on a cold winter’s day, using the pellet stove is much more economical. We always start a winter with at least 3 ton of pellets. Last year we had a somewhat mild winter, and it also warmed up earlier than usual. I think by early April, we had already turned the heat off. So we have over a ton left, maybe even close to a ton and a half. If we have another mild winter, we may really luck out and only have to order 1 ton next year. But even at 2 ton, it’s not too bad, considering we use it for our only type of heating. We paid $575 for the two ton. If this is a normal year, we will start using heat sometime in mid-October and we will need to use it until mid-April. That’s an average of about $96/month for heat. And it’s already paid for, so the only impact on our bill will be the electricity that the pellet stove uses, which isn’t bad.

He’s fast! In the time it took me to write this post, Harry has almost half of the pellets moved into the garage.


The other thing that arrived today was our new debit cards. So we are all set to implement our new spending plan come Monday!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday Once Again

That was a fast weekend, even though we really didn’t go anywhere. It rained all day yesterday, sometimes coming down in hard sheets, and at other times just raining lightly. I didn’t care too much, except that I would have liked to go for my walk yesterday, and it didn’t stop long enough for me to do that.

Even with my plan to have a “do nuthin’” day, it was pretty productive. I put on a dvd from one of the sets I have, and sat on the couch sorting through papers and shredding anything we didn’t need to keep. By the end of the afternoon, I had three big bags of shredded paper to go out in the garbage. Our office is starting to look pretty good. Previously there were piles of papers and records etc, but I am really starting to see my progress in there. I also did bake brownies, so I got everything accomplished that was on my list for the day. Be right back

Harry also had a productive day. He finished the floor in the bedroom upstairs, and then we put the bed together. It feels so good to have that done! For two reasons – just because it’s really great to have it finished, and also because the box spring and mattress to the bed have been standing upright in the middle of our bedroom for two months! So now our bedroom looks really big!! I haven’t taken any pictures of the bedroom yet, but as soon as we finish getting it put together, I will.

Unfortunately, Harry is a little under the weather today. Just as we were getting ready to head to bed, he got hit by a stomach bug. And he’s still not feeling well this morning. So I will be the only one heading to work in a little bit. Sad smile (Of course, I would probably rather go to work than be sick with a stomach bug.)

As I was writing this, the weather forecast was being presented on the tv. Our high today is supposed to be 68, and low 70s all week. I think it’s really here……

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Settling in for a Lazy, Do Nuthin’ Sunday

Or at least, not too much. This is going to be a “decompress” day from the busy, hectic week we just finished. And the weather is cooperating. This is the view in both directions from our front step. A light rain is coming down, and it is very still. Notice the flag. Right now it is about 67 degrees, and we’re supposed to be heading for a high of 72.

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So it’s going to be a great day for baking brownies, and doing basically not much of anything. Harry does have a few items on his agenda for the day, but we’ll see how that goes. So far we’ve had a very leisurely morning. It’s almost 10:30, and so far our major accomplishment for the day has been watching CBS Sunday Morning while we enjoyed our coffee. Harry at this moment is in the kitchen cooking some bacon and french toast for breakfast.


We were talking over our coffee about a new budgeting strategy that we are going to be starting in a week. Right now we basically use credit cards for everything. We don’t carry a balance – everything is paid off the following month when the bill comes, but still! When that monthly bill comes, or I check it online, our reaction is always the same. What did we spend so much money on? We have tried various strategies to be more aware of our monthly spending, like writing all of our purchases down as we make them, checking the total daily, etc etc. But still our credit card bill is always way more than we want it to be. SO, this past week, Harry and I went and opened up another account at our credit union. This is going to be our spending account. We ordered debit cards, which hopefully will come this week. One week from tomorrow (assuming our cards have arrived by then) we will make the switch from credit to cash. Each pay period we will transfer over a set amount to our new spending account, and that will be it! Our spending money for the next two weeks. We are both looking forward to our new method of controlling our expenses and spending. I will let you know how it goes!

Well, I’ve just been informed our breakfast is almost ready, so I guess it’s time to wrap this up for now. Ahhh, nothing better than a relaxing Sunday…. Smile

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Yard Sale

We had our first yard sale today and I think it was a success. Neither Harry nor I have ever prepared or taken part in a yard sale, so just getting our feet wet and coming out with a little profit was a good start. Harry left bright and early this morning with another car full of stuff for the sale.

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When they started at 8:30, people were showing up right away, and by 1 pm they were calling it a day. We sold probably three quarters of our stuff, and made $106. So we were happy with that. My sister also had a good day, with a profit of $195. We got rid of quite a bit, including several large items – 2 air conditioners and the wooden lighthouse I mentioned the other day. You can see it at the bottom front of the picture on the right.

In the meantime I was at work – always a fun day of course! We still had a person out on vacation, and another still out sick. So, on the bright side, it was a very, VERY quick day. And now, I am so glad that it is the weekend. I am not planning on doing too much tomorrow – except fun things and some relaxation – right now the only firm thing on my agenda is baking brownies!! Open-mouthed smile

Finally! The Weekend!! :)

I still think of it as the weekend even though in a little over an hour I have to go to work. Last night I couldn’t muster up the energy to write a post. After I got home, we had a quick bite to eat, and then Harry and I headed out into the garage to see what other things we could add to the “get rid of this weekend” pile. We have another car full of stuff to go to my sister’s house this morning – including two air conditioners, and a bunch of things that one or both of us bought for the house at one time or another. Like a wooden lighthouse we purchased a couple years ago that we were going to stain or paint and put in the front yard. Ha! It still has the bubble wrap on it! Smile Guess we don’t need that anymore. So hopefully we will both get rid of stuff and get some funds to add to our savings. Harry is leaving at the same time I leave to head over to the yard sale, and I will go over after work. Update to follow later! (Also, Harry has instructions to take pictures.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stormy Evening

We are sitting here tonight, having finished our dinner, just relaxing. There are thunderstorms in the area – we can hear the thunder in the distance. I tried to take some pictures of the stormy sky, but it doesn’t come across as dark in the picture as it looks here in person!

This is the view from our back door, looking toward our neighbor’s back yard.



It has been such a busy week at work, I don’t even know where the days have gone! Our assistant manager was still out sick today, which left only two of us working at the branch (again!). I am definitely hoping that he feels better and comes back tomorrow.

This Saturday we are having a yard sale at my sister’s house. She lives on the main street in her town, so we are hoping we will have a good turnout. I brought several boxes over to her house yesterday and Harry will bring a few more things on Saturday. Since I have to work on Saturday as usual, Harry will be helping to man the yard sale. I will go over after work to help with the cleanup.

I sure am looking forward to the weekend, and this busy week at work being over!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Vacation Days

But unfortunately, not mine! Last week and this week at the office have been SO busy. We normally have four platform staff at my branch. Those are people who work on the desk side of the branch. Members come in who have issues with their accounts, or questions, or want to apply for a loan or a mortgage, and non-members come in to open accounts. But for the month of August, every single week someone is on vacation. And this week and last, there have been many days that we were down two people on the desk side – just me and one other person! I don’t have any complaints with the days going by too slowly, that’s for sure. I barely walk in the door and it seems like it’s time to be wrapping up the day!

So…I am very glad that today is my day off. Smile I’m going to walk this morning – first time in four days! And then I’m heading over to my sister’s house for a visit. I haven’t done that in a long time. I’m also bringing boxes of stuff to her house because we’re going to have a yard sale there on Saturday. We’ll see how much we can get for all this stuff – no matter what we bring in, the bigger prize will be getting rid of it!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fastest Day on Record!

Today was the kind of day where, at the end of it, one just looks at the clock in amazement that the whole day has gone by already. When I went out to open the branch doors at 8:30, there were members outside waiting to come in, and it just never stopped after that. I think the longest time I had without someone at my desk was maybe 15 or 20 minutes, and it only happened once or twice. I can never decide whether I like days like that. It sure did go by fast, but now I have a pile of stuff to make my way through tomorrow morning. Harry had a similar sort of day, so when I got home and we considered where dinner was coming from, we both pooled our cash and headed out to a local Chinese food joint. For only $29, we have enough food for another dinner and probably a lunch as well.

Yesterday was a good visiting day. Although there were still a couple crazy drivers out as we negotiated the main thoroughfare on our way to Gretchen’s house, it came nowhere near our scare of the day before. We had a fun day playing with our little guy. I took an awful lot of pictures (of course) but I will only post a couple of my favorites.



All too soon, it was time to head for home once again. Our trip home was about 45 minutes to an hour longer than usual because of…IMG_2878 21 miles of stop and go traffic!

And, guess what else I saw on the trip home?



I didn’t get a great picture of them because it was through the windshield of a moving car and it was raining on top of it, but yes! those are leaves that are starting to turn!! There were more trees than that with red, gold and orange leaves appearing, but I just couldn’t get a good picture of them. The motto is…enjoy the summer while it is still here!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Our Angel’s On Duty!

Today was a good day sandwiched on either side of a very scary couple of minutes.

Our morning started out with a pretty leisurely cup of coffee. Even though I had to go to work, I didn’t have to be there until about quarter of nine. So that gave us a good amount of time to relax and wake up, while reading our blogs, forums and anything else that caught our attention! I eventually decided I had to get moving, dressed and headed out to the branch for the morning. Work was good – pretty busy so the day went by fast and before I knew it, it was time to head home for the rest of the weekend.

Harry had been busy all morning, getting everything ready for our quick trip to Gretchen’s. We planned to leave as soon as I got home from work. By the time we got my car packed and headed out, it was a little before 3 o’clock. The trip takes a little over 2 hours, about 2 and a half actually because we usually stop for a stretch break at one of the stops on the Mass turnpike. Most of our trip was uneventful. Most of the traffic seemed to be on the other side, which was backed up for miles before the exit off the turnpike which heads toward New York City.

We got off the Mass. turnpike onto 95, and had about 10 more miles to go before we exited the highway. Here is where today’s trip got very dicey! We were at the exit before ours, and had 1 more mile to travel for our exit. We were in the far right hand lane, since we were preparing to get off the highway, and right in front of us, there was a person getting off the exit before ours. So we were probably already traveling a little slower than we would have been normally, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. As the car in front of us moved onto their exit, we continued on in the right hand lane. Harry wasn’t really accelerating at all, because we were just about to get off anyway. All of a sudden, I could see flashing lights, and I looked ahead to see a MA state police car, traveling on the shoulder, on our side, coming right toward us. My first thought was, there must be an accident behind us….and my second was, wow, he’s going really fast. These thoughts came to me in a split second; really, my most vivid impression was of how fast he was moving. He had to be going 55 – 60 mph. So Harry is braking at this point, but there’s nowhere to go – there’s a car right next to us in the next lane, and we couldn’t move onto the shoulder, because that was right in the path of the police car. And then, all of a sudden! we look over to the left, and there is another car way over on the left side of the highway, going the wrong way on the highway (VERY FAST) and just as we became aware of him, he turned and cut right across the highway (4 Lanes!!!) and right in front of us!!!!! Harry just yelled, Holy $%^#, and slammed on the brakes and the horn. It happened so fast that I didn’t really have time to react at all. I don’t even know what went through my head – I just watched, and prayed that he didn’t hit anything and that we didn’t hit him. Thank God we didn’t, and the guy went right across the grass median and up the exit, with the police car right behind him. Even now, as I write this, over four hours later, I still have such a feeling of shocked thankfulness that we weren’t hurt (or worse) and that nobody was hit by this idiot as he crossed four lanes of traffic going the wrong way on a major highway. I don’t know the end of the story – we have the news on but we haven’t yet heard any of the story behind this police chase. If I find out anything further, I will pass it on another day.

After that very scary episode, the second half of our day was also very nice – a great visit with Gretchen and Schaun. He is almost 18 months old now, and running all over. We had a great meal of lasagna (the picky eater loved papa’s lasagna) and played with our little guy for the remainder of the evening. Now we are in the hotel decompressing after a good day with a few extremely stressful moments.

We are very very grateful to whomever was watching out for us today.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Almost There

Well, one more day left to go this week! I wonder how many times tomorrow someone is going to mention the fact that it’s Friday the 13th? Glad I’m not the superstitious sort.

Today the rain held off long enough that I was able to get my walk in this morning. I’ve been so pleased with myself that I have kept up my schedule of walking daily for the past three weeks. My sister and I are actually in the 18th week of our exercise contest, but for many of those weeks my progress was up and down. Some weeks I did well, and other weeks I didn’t make it to our goal. But, like I said, I’ve been on a roll these past few weeks. Some of my momentum is also coming from the fact that I’m actually starting to see a difference. Today I wore a top to work that I have not been able to wear in months! Open-mouthed smile I was so excited this morning to discover that it fit again! Hopefully this momentum will carry me through the change of having to travel to a local gym. We plan to join when the weather starts getting too cool to enjoy our morning and evening walks. So we will probably make it through October before we have to make other arrangements.

Tonight I’ve been trying to find the office! I don’t know where all this stuff comes from. Magazines, catalogs, old mail – it multiplies!! But since we have someone coming to check out the elliptical tomorrow, I wanted to make the room presentable. Hopefully we will have another sale coming and another large item making its way out the door!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Busy Day Off

This will be a short entry for today because, even though it was a day off, I was very busy, and have just landed at home. I did have my hair appointment this morning and she did highlights of my usual color, so that it will blend in with my gray hair coming in! I would take a picture but I don’t really look that different. Harry says it looks like I have silver highlights, but that’s actually my real hair color!! Sarcastic smile

Other than that, it was just a busy day around the house, getting normal stuff done, like laundry – nothing exciting! The one somewhat exciting thing is that I had an email for someone interested in the elliptical. She wants to come see it on Friday. The only thing is I had to write back and let her know the elliptical is too big to fit in a car, so she would have to use a truck to move it. So we will see tomorrow if she is still interested in coming to look at it.

Tonight we went out to an Italian restaurant with 3 other couples from Harry’s office, and after two glasses of wine and a delicious pasta dish, I am half asleep! So until tomorrow….

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to Work

After a profitable weekend, it was back to work yesterday. Yesterday was a BUSY day at work, and then Harry and I had a meeting to go to after work, and by the time I landed at home last night, my brain was completely wiped. There was NO chance of me coming up with any kind of an entry at that time!

Today wasn’t so crazy, and so I am back again after my one day hiatus. Before I forget (again!), I want to welcome Sue and Doug as my latest readers. I appreciate you coming along for the ride!

So tonight I am going back and forth with a decision – I think I have made the final decision, but I won’t know for sure I guess until tomorrow. For all you guys out there – I apologize in advance – you might want to just skip tonight’s entry and come back tomorrow! Sarcastic smile For the past, oh probably five years, I have been going for periodic hair coloring appointments. Thanks to my dad’s great genes, I started seeing gray hairs popping out when I was maybe about 25 years old. And by the time I was 30 something, I had A LOT of gray hair. So one year, for my birthday, I decided to go and have it colored. And I’ve been getting it done ever since. Well, now I’m sick of the whole process…I don’t like making this every five week trek to the hair salon, and also I don’t want to spend the money anymore. SO….I think I’m going to do something different when I go to my hair appointment tomorrow. Stay tuned!! Be right back

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Productive Weekend!

Today was a most productive day. Open-mouthed smile We started out this morning with an early morning walk and a nice breakfast. Because it was another relatively cool day, we didn’t have to be too concerned about getting started right away. So we had a nice leisurely start to the day.

Then Harry got back to working on the upstairs floor.


He was almost up to where we had moved all the stuff from the room.


He is so excited to be getting this floor done. (By the way, anyone need a dresser? Both of those dressers in the picture are going!)


In the meantime, I was back to sorting out clothes and other items in our closet and my bedroom dresser. I tried not to keep anything that I haven’t worn in years! Usually I succumb to a lot of thoughts like, well, I might want to wear this sometime. But this time I was much better, and filled up another three bags! Then we loaded up the car, and took them to the clothes drop down the road.


This is Harry very glad that all this stuff is leaving our house. Smile


It’s been such a great work weekend! And now, tomorrow, it’s back to….Crying face