Musical Chairs

There’s been a lot of furniture shuffling going on at Boweryville. It started with the fact that Little Sister bought our parents’ home, and our Mother is moving to a new, smaller, lower maintenance abode. This means she has too much furniture.

At the same time, The Big Guy’s aunt is revamping her home, and wanted to move some older family pieces. It’s times like this that I’m glad we have a big house.

Now, some people like buying new, and we do have some newer pieces in our home, but there’s nothing like a well-made piece of furniture that has been used and loved by your ancestors. This first one has a special place in my heart.

Yes, I have two external drives. I'm a pessimist when it comes to technology.

Yes, I have two external drives. I’m a pessimist when it comes to technology.

This desk was where my paternal grandfather conducted his business when he ran a mechanic shop. After that, my father used it. It became the place where I did my homework as a teen and then my father took it back for his office once I was in college. Having it back not only means I get to hold on a piece of history (mine, and my patriarchs) but I also have a decent spot to work on my laptop. It should be noted that most Bowery Girl entries are crafted in the semi-prone position of the couch with my feet elevated. It’s all about blood flow to keep the creativity going folks!

Next were the matched set of wooden plant stands.

Spider plant is VERY happy!

Spider plant is VERY happy!

While one of the planters is rather water damaged, I’m hoping it can be salvaged. These belonged to my maternal grandfather. I don’t have much from that side of the family, so it’s nice to have such a nice pair of pieces.

Then came the pieces from The Big Guy’s aunt.

Table and Buffet

Table and Buffet

This table, matching buffet and four chairs (not shown) were purchased by TBG’s grandparents after they married in the early 1930s. Two of the chairs are gone, but the remaining seats need some TLC and will be as good as new.

2016-08-18 19.28.37Ignore the flooring! The buffet is the perfect height for out TV, has storage for our clutter and fits beautifully with our decor…flooring notwithstanding.  I love the mirrored back.

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I am fascinated by the grain of the table. Although it’s not a collector piece, knowing that TBG’s family had this table for formal events in their dining room, just makes it priceless.

We have been fortunate to have another family piece from TBG’s clan. A small 2x3x4 ft wooden trunk, one of two his ancestors used when relocating their family from Scotland to North America, is being used as our coffee table in our living room. I cannot imagine anyone from this era being able to whittle down their belongings to share one trunk with their kin, so this is truly a conversation piece!

While it may seem sappy, I do feel that we each have a valuable family story. A lot of these stories are lost over time. These pieces are built better than most furniture being sold today, so I have no problem collecting “old” stuff. It will outlast any of my “new” stuff.

Murphy’s Law in Full Effect!

I’m not a tease. I promise.

I will post a photo of the bathroom, once we get it pulled together. In fairness, it was “together” for about 24 hours: everything installed and cleaned. The next morning, I was putting on my war paint, and stepped away from the mirror for a moment when one of the lights above the vanity exploded. As in, I was about 5 seconds from my face – specifically my eye – catching shards of glass shade.

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So after taking the light down, returning it to Home Depot (shout out to Home Depot who handled this promptly with professionalism), getting a new light and just installing it after the ceiling was touched up, we may have it finessed sometime THIS weekend.

But in case you thought we were just loafing about, you should know that we were on to the next project…the roof. This is allegedly where the water issue that surfaced in the bathroom, originated.

The Big Guy and I looked at every option, from asphalt to shakes to metal roofing. We had numerous quotes, and finally decided on a hybrid metal roof (steel, zinc & aluminum). While the investment in the house played a large role, one of the deciding factors in which company to go with, was professionalism. One company’s reps spent more than an hour in our kitchen trashing the competition; even showing us a binder full of photos depicting faulty roofs. The stories were endless. I’m sure he was shocked when we advised him that we would get back in touch; his binder alone should have been a slam-dunk.

The second supplier was much more gentile. He explained how his product worked, why he thought it was the best and how solid their track record was. When I asked him what would happen when/if we had an issue with his product, he gave us a detailed, straightforward answer. We signed with him, after advising him part of the decision was based on his lack of competition bashing. After all, if the only way you can promote your product is to trash someone else’s, you have a problem!

Thankfully, the rep advised that we could have the roof installed within a month. The Big Guy used the fabulous weather last weekend to remove the problematic chimney that was slowly succumbing to gravity.

It was always a contest to see how many brick chips were on the back deck.

It was always a contest to see how many brick chips were on the back deck.

TBG enjoyed this job a little too much, and was impressed to see how the chimney was still standing, given how easy the bricks were chunking off!

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Honestly, with the wind we get up here, it’s a miracle that thing was still standing.

This chimney was for our old oil furnace, which has been updated. Then the conversation turned to the second chimney…

That that one on the left...

That thar one on the left…

It’s connected to the wood fireplace in the basement. During the Furnace Incident of 2012, this was the only way to heat our house. It also proved to be the last time we would use it. Let’s leave it at the entire house was nicely smoked after an hour.

Eventually, we’d like to convert to a gas insert. But, since we’ve already had our visit to Santa Claus the loan officer for this year, the insert will have to wait.

Murphy needs to stay away from this place!


To Gramma’s House We Go – aka – Back to the Forest, aka – Yes, We Wanted a Real Tree, Again…

Much like gathering the family around the telly for the annual viewing of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Miracle on 34th Street, or even National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,



…it isn’t really and truly Christmas until The Bowery Girl posts her now annual Christmas Tree post. Last year’s went over so well, we just had to give it another go.

Our search party was smaller this year, as First Born Son was scheduled to work, and I choose to believe that Dad was with us in spirit. With my Mother’s blessing (but not participation- she had heard about last year’s antics), Second Born Son, The Big Guy, and I headed out into the great green yonder.

The Big Guy is making sure we have no issues with area hunters.

The Big Guy is making sure we have no issues with area hunters.

We passed the area where we found last year’s tree, certain that there were no suitable specimens from last year. We walked and walked. Eventually SBS was feeling the strain of the trek.

Piggy back ride anyone?

Piggy back ride anyone?

After all, it had been a solid 10 minute walk!

We cut across open spaces, since that is where the most evenly developed trees can be found,

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…and SBS thought he’d found the perfect tree, but we thought it was a little on the small side.

Not bad, not bad at all!

Not bad, not bad at all!

Then The Big Guy thought he’d found the perfect tree!

Um, little full, lots of sap!

Um, little full, lots of sap!

Then he suggested the one I was standing beside, but I quickly advised him I was not a “Scotch Pine” kinda gal.



Finally, there was a choir of angels singing, a beam of light shone down and THERE IT WAS!!!!!



Unfortunately, The Big Guy thought we were pointing at the tree BESIDE the one that SBS found!

Um, no.

Um, no.

Finally the confusion was clarified, and we decided we had our tree, thanks to SBS. Now, it was time to cut that bad boy down and haul it back. SBS was a little slow to volunteer, after what had happened to him last year, but his father convinced him that would never happen TWICE! SBS stood his ground, so it was The Big Guy who had to cut the tree.



We waited.

SBS taking the "supervisor" role.

SBS taking the “supervisor” role.

You don’t realize how big the trunk of these darn trees are until you start sawing them!

Losin' daylight here bud!

Losin’ daylight here bud!

And then it happened!!

And he tells me he's on the Health and Safety Committee at work!

And he tells me he’s on the Health and Safety Committee at work!

The tree jigged when it should have jagged and SBS misjudged how tall he was in relation to the tree and it GOT HIM!

He might just make it doctor!

He might just make it doctor!

Once we realized there was no long-term damage, we propped him up and told him to drag the tree out of the bush. We’re awesome parents like that.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

So like the trouper that he is, he agreed to pull the tree out of the bush. But he forgot how far we had walked to get into this little clearing.

No child labor laws were impacted by the removal of this tree!

No child labor laws were impacted by the removal of this tree!

The Big Guy is now supervising!

The Big Guy is now supervising!

We told him it would put hair on his chest!

We told him it would put hair on his chest!

And before you know it – it was all trimmed up and decorated! Made all the blood, sweat and tears worthwhile! (Almost – right SBS?)

The purdiest tree you ever dun seen!

The purdiest tree you ever dun seen!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Roughing It

I know, I know. It’s been so long, it’s like we broke up.

A lot of life hit all at once and instead of throwing out a half-baked blog, I thought I would “take in” everything that was going on; process it, and then share.

To keep it manageable, I will offer the happenings in chronological order, so you can appreciate the “AWESOME” that has been going on.


When we bought this house, we knew there were things we would have to replace and update. We started right away with the decor and then set our sights on windows and insulation. The furnace was 30 years old, but seemed to work well. We knew at some point we would have to look at updating it as well.

Last year was our second year with oil-fired hot water and we didn’t have a single problem. This fall, The Big Guy arranged to have system  serviced, and the company we purchased oil from (the same company the previous owners used) was contacted for the service. He called before we needed the system turned on. They said they would come as soon as they could, but since a service isn’t as important as a “No Heat” call, they had to handle those customers first.

Completely understandable.

Two weeks later, it’s getting chilly and we’ve had a dusting of snow, and still no service. We contacted another company who not only agreed to be out within two days, but offered an incentive to switch with discount oil rates (you had me at ‘I’ll be there in two days.’). On the designated date the reps were in the basement creating the appropriate amount of noise required to service this beast.

Then. It stopped.

Then – I heard “Oooooh”.

Then. I went downstairs.

The two men were standing in the furnace room with their hands on their hips gazing into the furnace. Being the joker I am, I said, “Hey there, how’s it going?”

“Well. Not so good.”

“As long as you don’t tell me the furnace is done! Ha!”

** crickets **

Apparently we were heating a house with little more than a fire pit in the basement. I wish I was exaggerating right now. I had to sign off that the furnace was condemned and that I would not try to start it. (Death wish??)

After sharing this development with The Big Guy, I promptly started calling the natural gas provider, as we decided this was the time to convert to a more reliable and consistently priced fuel.


Allow me to take the opportunity to marvel at the power a monopoly has. We will not be hooked up to natural gas until January 31 2013. No urgency. No way to fast track. No interest in accommodating a new customers. WE ARE NATURAL GAS – SECOND ONLY TO GOD – UNLESS YOU ARE A NO HEAT CALL AND THEN YOU’D LIKE US TO BE GOD!!!!! MMWAAAAHAAA!!


I also called three local heating companies to see how soon we could get quotes on a new system. I KNEW we would hear back quickly, since my initial experience with our original oil provider was that a No Heat call was a priority, right?!


Out of the three companies contacted, only one got back to us right away. When the owner understood that we were without heat and noted that the temperature was due to fall as the week progressed, he was at our house within 7 hours. We had a quote within 24 hours.

I don’t want to say anything overly negative about the other two companies we contacted, but suffice it to say this column is still in full effect and that when it comes to supporting our Neighbors, our Neighbors would have us freeze!

We waited three days to give the other companies a chance to come through. We were a No Heat call and I couldn’t find too many companies that could give a hoot! The temperature got lower. We sent the boys to my parents for a couple of days, because falling asleep in a freezing house (10 degrees one morning!!!) isn’t pleasant. My parents offered that we stay there too, but we were as stubborn as an old couple in Florida – we were not leaving even if the hurricane is a comin’. (Truthfully, we needed the internet service.) We fired up the fireplace, but due to the multi level layout of the house, it took days to get the heat up to the main level, never mind the bedrooms. The odor, however, is still evident two weeks later!

My father-in-law walked into the house to check on us and promptly walked out. He drove 20 minutes back to his home to bring back two large space heaters. Let’s hear it for family!!!

In short, we went with the first company, which was the right move both in price and in service. The furnace was installed with the required amount of dust, noise and intrusion that is necessary for a major renovation. The entire process was completed at 8 p.m. the night before we were to fly out. Nothing like drama!!

Fly out?

Yup! STAY TUNED! Unless of course the Mayans were right – in which case, this is the ultimate cliff hanger!!!!


Letters that Need to be Written – Part I

Dear 2011,

I thought this letter would be really hard to send you, but I think this is really going to be the best thing for the both of us.

We’re done.

We started a year ago with a lot of promise. I was hopefully for what you had in store for me and excited with what lay ahead. When January finally arrived and I was laid off my job, I was disappointed, but chose to take the high road and make lemonade out of lemons. The Big Guy was happy with his new job, and I figured, it was time for me to re-evaluated some things. Everyone around me was so supportive – “It’s just a matter of time,” they said, “You’ll be back to work before you know it.”

But I wasn’t.

I worked my butt off. No job. I stuck with you because it was early in our relationship. How bad could it be?

Silly me.

In February we found out The Farm was sold. A part of my heart died and my soul has ached ever since. We had two months to get used to the idea but with each passing day it was just more painful. Next my father was given scary news. The Big C had come to his little world and surgery was needed.

Easter came and we received more bad news – The Big Guy’s mom was very ill and it wasn’t going to get better. The following week we said our first good bye to The Farm. The next week, my father went under the knife. Four hours later, he was conscious and as sarcastic as ever, and I went home to pass out after the stress of  the day. Within three days, my sons buried their granny.

In the summer, Samson failed and we were faced with the incredibly difficult choice of letting him go. At this point there was so much snot and tears that I started getting the feeling that you and I might not be the best fit.

I gave you some slack when we found Roman. There was a glimmer of hope there. I was willing to give you another chance.

I was so distracted with freelancing and looking for work that the weeks flew by. We found ourselves wrapping up our long goodbye to The Farm. The pain of this was eased somewhat by the fact that I now had a freakin’ job. While the training for the new position had me questioning my sanity, intelligence level and the ulterior motive of my new employer, I was successful.

I was ready to be positive, honestly, I was, but for some reason it was too hard. My Dad, who appeared to be doing well over the summer, started to fail. It was getting very scary and by October, he was in emerg almost as much as he was at home. I knew I had it with you when November rolled around. The scare we had with him was profound and life altering. We nearly lost him. I decided I couldn’t find a glimmer of hope in our relationship, 2011. You and I needed to take a break.

I know you were trying to extend an olive branch to me last week, when doctors gave  Dad the news that he was Cancer free. However, he is far from healthy and we are doing everything we can to get him stronger.

I will look back on the afternoons under the trees with family and friends. I will cherish the warm weather we had while I worked outside. I would have liked a day or two at the beach, but I think I’m going to try that next year.

That’s right. I’ve found someone new. I’m excited about the opportunities that are presenting themselves again. I’ve learned a lot in the time you and I spent together. I will not ask myself “How much worse can it get?” because the answer is chilling. I will take it one day at a time. I look forward to feeling positive again. The next 12 months have made no promises to me, and I’m okay with that.

So, I hope you can let me go and allow me to move one. In time I’m sure I’ll recall more fond memories, but for now, I need time.

And his name is 2012.


I hate to say “I Told You So”

When we bought this house, we knew there were things that needed work.

Specifically, windows.

After last winter, when The Big Guy draft wrapped just about every window and duct taped the sliding glass door in the kitchen, we knew we would have to do something about the windows here. We are oil-fired water for heat – and suffice it to say, the Oil Truck was in the driveway almost as often as we were.

Once I had employment secured, we decided to go ahead. Being prudent home owners, we wanted three quotes. I found myself hounding two of the contractors, because while the quoting was in July, I had visions of windows being installed in the bitterness of the fall. Ideally, we would have new windows in before we had to start the furnace again for the winter.

TBG thought I was a bit of a stalker when I started following up with the companies for the SECOND time. My thought – “They don’t want the business – let’s go with the first quote!” I was told to be patient, much like an impulsive child – which went over VERY WELL….

Finally, with three prices in hand, we decided to go ahead with the FIRST quote. At this point, it’s been a month since that first contractor handed me the quote. He’s got other jobs in the qeue and we now have to wait until he has a three-day break.

Which leads us to today.

Might I advise, it is a strong wind from the East, threatening rain and FREAKIN’ cold?

You can't see it, but this poor schmuck has four layers on.

Don’t like to brag, but sometimes I hate it when I’m right…..