What We Did During The Holidays

HAPPY 2017!!

I’m a bit late in wishing you a Happy New Year, but my wishes are heartfelt. I hope your holidays were awesome and that this year is one of joy and blessing for you.

EJ returned to work this Monday after enjoying a week off. We had a very enjoyable and satisfying week.

The eighth night of Hanukkah.
The eighth night of Hanukkah.

We really enjoyed lighting the candles each night for Hanukkah. They are so beautiful.

Because of freezing rain, we didn’t go to the theater on Christmas day to see Rogue One, the latest Star Wars movie, as originally planned but we did finally get there a couple of days after Christmas–on Tuesday afternoon (December 27). We were surprised that the popcorn was free that day, which was a gift. I didn’t know anything about the movie until we watched it. JJ told me that some people didn’t enjoy it because it was a bit sad, but we felt that the sad parts were a necessary part of the movie that added realism to the story. As JJ declared, he hates “plot armor” in which nothing bad ever happens to the main characters. We loved the movie–much better than last year’s The Force Awakens, which was too much of a copy of A New Hope, the original Star Wars movie. 

Sometimes when EJ has a vacation, we enjoy going off on fun adventures, but other than going to the Star Wars movie, we preferred this time to stay home and get projects done. EJ got a lot done. He said he crossed off at least 20 tasks from his To-Do list. I’m not sure of everything he did, but I know he worked on the Xterra, he put in a small window in the chicken/duck coop, he put up an additional shelf in our entrance hallway, he worked some more on organizing his garage–there is still a lot to do, but I noticed great improvement. Late last summer he had had to tear open a wall in our master bedroom to repair a leak in the master bathroom shower. Over the months, in between other tasks, he tiled the shower, and then had to put up new wallboard. Last week he finished mudding the drywall and then Sunday he painted the bedroom wall. Yay!

EJ also gave us all haircuts. His method of cutting my hair is a bit unorthodox, but I love the way it turns out. This time he tried to cut it so that it curled inward. He said he might not try it again because the strands of my hair are so fine that he had trouble with it. All the time he was cutting my hair he muttered, “Your hair is so fine. I have never seen anyone with hair as fine with yours. I can’t believe how fine your hair is….”

The brakes on the Suburban were going bad so we took it in to get fixed on Friday morning. I had to drive the Xterra to the auto repair place so we could drop off the Sub and return home–and after the repairs were finished EJ drove the Sub home while I drove the Xterra. I hate going down our long, steep driveway in the winter because I’m afraid of sliding into the snow and getting stuck. Worse, since Christmas day we’ve had days of warm temperatures alternating with days of cooler temps. The warm temperatures melted some of the snow and the cooler temperatures froze the puddles into ice, making our driveway quite slippery. I always pray a “Please don’t let me slide and get stuck” prayer whenever I drive on the driveway. The driveway is not fun to drive on, but it is tons of fun to sled down. I sled down it whenever I go get the mail.

I had hoped to get the kitchen painted last week, but my back ached and I didn’t sleep well so I felt very tired and unmotivated all week. I mostly just did my regular tasks. Downstate JJ had a single bed, but we set up EJ’s great-grandmother’s bed for him when we moved up here and we stored his single mattress in our pantry/storage.  After one particularly back-aching night, we remembered the single mattress and set it on top of our queen-sized box-springs. We sleep better–but only one of us can sleep on it at a time. Last week I slept on the mattress while EJ slept on the floor but since he has to work this week and his back is hurting, this week he is sleeping on the mattress and I’m sleeping on the couch. I am so counting the days for our new mattress to arrive.

My awesome Michigan puzzle
My awesome Michigan puzzle

My friend had bought me a beautiful map of Michigan puzzle for my birthday in October but I didn’t want to begin it until after the new windows were installed. My puzzle table is near the windows and I didn’t want to risk the pieces getting lost or ruined while the windows were being put in. I didn’t expect it to take as long to install the windows as it did. During our vacation, I finally started working on my puzzle. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a puzzle as much as this one. It is filled with locations that I am familiar with and enjoy. I love it! This is a puzzle I will never part with.

Yesterday I went with JJ to the college so he could buy his books. Only he found out that the college isn’t open until today. I did suggest that he call before we went. Oh, well. He was hungry for Chinese food anyway and I needed to stop at the farm store, so the trip wasn’t wasted–and we did have fun.

Last night EJ decided to move the pretty gas/propane fireplace, which had been in our bedroom unhooked up, into the living room where the secretary desk was. EJ plans to hook up the fireplace to the propane so if the power goes out, all we have to do is turn the fireplace on. We moved the secretary desk into our bedroom where the fireplace had been. When I was in high school, I bought the dilapidated secretary desk at a yard sale. It was such a mess that everyone who saw it said it wasn’t worth the $5 I paid for it and they recommended throwing it out or burning it. I refinished it instead and it became a beautiful keepsake. When I married EJ, he said that he “always wanted a secretary” so he named it “Ms. Pennyweather.” Ha ha. The name stuck and we always refer to the secretary as Ms. Pennyweather.

Today I have been happily getting out more of my photos and arranging them on the fireplace, dresser, walls, and Ms. Pennyweather. I was preparing to hang a photo on our bedroom wall when I happened to glance out of the window and spotted a rooster sitting on the gate dividing the chicken pen from the duck pen. I quickly got on my coat and boots and ran outside to shoo him off the gate. Only instead of going back into his pen, the rooster flew up onto the roof of the shed. From there he could easily jump onto the roof of the house. I got him off the shed by standing on a lawn chair and throwing snowballs at him. I never hit him hard, but he wasn’t impressed and swore loudly at me while he flew off the roof into his pen. The escapee was Bat-roo, which I thought was appropriate since Batman always seems to enjoy high places. The chickens and ducks keep my life interesting.

After I got Bat-roo off the roof, I dragged one of the 10′ x 10′ panels of the dog cage into the pen and set it up as the dividing fence/gate. I dismantled the other shorter gate. Hopefully the taller fencing will discourage the chickens from flying to the top. EJ will need to fix the dog panel more permanently so I can swing it open to get from one side to the other.

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We have a winter storm warning out for the next few days. Starting early tomorrow morning, forecasters predict total snow accumulations of 6 to 12 inches with locally higher amounts possible. Gusty winds will lead to blowing snow with significant reductions in visibility at times. Fun. After an enjoyable reprieve, it looks like I will be back to snowblowing our driveway.


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