March 2017

March 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Basement Redo

For Rupert's last five years, he lived in our lower level, mainly because he had problems consistently hitting the litter box. In the last few years, it also became difficult for him to climb the stairs to the main level. It wasn't a bad life. Half of our basement is finished with a sliding glass door to a nice patio and large backyard. Rupert's "pad" was comfortable with a great view.

But after Rupert's passing on March 11, we were eager to regain our lower level. It was also immediately necessary to do a deep cleaning since, during Rupert's last week, he no longer used the litter box at all.

After a lot of scrubbing, scouring, cleaning, and purging, we now have a beautiful lower level again. I didn't have this space when I watched Elliott as a baby and toddler. But it was wonderful when I did the same for Elliott's little brother, Jonah. Since it's a basement, the space is less fussy and precious than our main living area. It's a kid-friendly space that I'm now looking forward to using with our granddaughter, Reya, when she's more mobile.

Eventually we'll redo the attached room, which used to be a guest bedroom. The grandsons are already looking forward to using that room for sleepovers, which makes me so happy.

The biggest perk to regaining our basement, however, was purging roughly two-thirds of our storage. Less stuff makes for easier cleaning. Of course, the "Massive 2017 Purge" could have happened years ago, but we just weren't ready. 

Now half of our basement is clean, finished and newly decorated, and the other half is clean, decluttered and organized. Now that's what I call Spring Cleaning!

The chairs are new from Target.
I had decided on patio furniture because
of size and durability. But I was thrilled
when I found patio chairs that recline!
The carpet tiles are from iCarpet.
We purchased this sideboard from my
folks shortly after we moved into our
new home 30+ years ago. It started in the
dining room but was quickly replaced when
I found a complete pre-loved dining room set.
A thorough polishing with Old English and
the sideboard has new life.
That short hall leads to the bathroom
on the left. The door you see is to the
bedroom space. The small table and
chairs I bought at a resale shop nearly
30 years ago. There's a checker-board
pattern painted on top that Jonah's
already enjoying.
The TV cabinet is also an electric
fireplace. The space it sits in was meant
to be a real fireplace. And that's the
sliding-class door that leads to the patio
and backyard.
Taken from the small hallway, this
view shows the door to the unfinished
basement area. When we drywalled
roughly 20 years ago, we built in the
large "window" to provide natural light
to the other half of the basement.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Beauty and the Beast

Yesterday, hubby and I saw Beauty and the Beast on an IMAX screen. I absolutely loved Disney's adaptation of Cinderella with real people in 2015, and remember being awestruck by it's beauty. I was hoping for a similar experience with Beauty and the Beast.

Unfortunately, Beauty and the Beast isn't as breathtaking as Cinderella although there is still plenty of beauty, and CGI. In fact, the CGI is what makes Beauty and the Beast a must see in my mind. New technology was created to make the Beast as believable as possible and the result is mind boggling. I'm looking foward to seeing it again just to watch the scene where Belle and the Beast dance. Amazing!

Of course, being a huge Harry Potter fan, I loved that Emma Watson played Belle. Who knew she could sing and dance? Well, obviously the director did. I will now not only think of Watson as Hermione. She is also Belle.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Basement Cleaning and Purging

The day after Rupert's passing, hubby started tackling the basement. In his final weeks, Rupert rarely used the litter box. No matter that hubby cleaned the concrete floor in the unfinished area daily, and shampooed the carpet in the finished area almost every weekend, there was always a smell.

The first step to improving the situation was to remove the carpet tiles. That's when hubby discovered Rupert's numerous accidents hidden by the shaggy pile. If you've ever had a cat, you know the smell of cat urine is nearly impossible to get rid of. Thankfully, as soon as the tiles were tossed the smell was gone.

This weekend hubby will remove the sticky residue left from the carpet tiles and paint the floor with an odor-eliminator sealer. I ordered carpet tile samples that should arrive early next week. Hopefully we'll find something we like and be able to place an order for delivery the following week.

In the meantime, I've been purging and cleaning every inch of the basement, including the storage room. The timing is perfect because our daughter's annual MS Garage Sale is April 15 and our donation pile is growing nicely. It's interesting how things I couldn't part with last year I'm having no problem getting rid of this year. I'm feeling a strong need for change and an urge to move forward.

When we're finished, the basement will be clean and clutter free. And, although we miss Rupert terribly, we'll be glad to have that space again.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Happy 7 Birthday, Jonah!

Jonah (7) and Elliott (11)
Our grandson, Jonah, turned seven today. And, as usual, it seems he should be at least a year older. The gap between him and his older brother, Elliott, is four years, but seems and appears much closer.

Jonah is above average in intelligence with an astounding vocabulary. He's also a "sponge," retaining everything he learns.  Plus he's tall, expecting to be at least two inches taller than his big brother when fully grown.

Jonah's birthday always lands during spring break, which means Jonah has spent nearly every birthday in Walt Disney World. What a lucky kid!

(On a sad note, we lost our ~17.5 year old street-rescued pet March 11. Everyone who knew Rupert recognized him as a special cat. Unfortunately, Rupert didn't age well and, while extremely sad, we're glad he's now at peace. Rupert was the best pet we ever had. He was also our last pet. Watching another pet age, suffer, and die is more than we could take. So with Rupert's passing another chapter in our married lives ended as well.)


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Silver Linings

Recently I finally tried two things that have been trends for awhile now – adult coloring and avocado toast.

My favorite colored
page so far.
Because my new progressive lenses make near-sighted activities extremely challenging, I've given up cross-stitching for awhile. I could wear my old bifocals because my reading prescription didn't change, but then my view of the television would be blurred. And since I can't just sit and watch television, I desperately needed something to do at the same time besides being on my laptop. Adult coloring to the rescue!

I recently scored a coloring journal at Aldi for $2.50 and decided that would be a good start. Now I'm having so much fun coloring I'm budgeting for a set of 48 Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils because I want more color options. And I'm loving using a journal for various note keeping such as logging my daily carb intake. Win win!

The second new for me is avocado on toast. I've always known avocado is a healthy food, but rarely ate it because of its high calorie count. Well one of the big positives of eating low-carb is the ability to eat more low-carb foods. So yesterday I sliced avocado on buttered whole-wheat bread and now understand the obsession. Yum!

I consider adult coloring and avocado toast silver-linings to two recent frustratng challenges, adjusting to progressive lenses and losing weight. And just when I was ready for some newness in my life :)


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Aging is a Lot of Work!

Over the last few months I've been doing the responsible thing, as usual, with regard to my health. But this go around has presented one problem after another. All of which I attribute to now being 65.

First, at the end of last year, I had a mole check and eye exam. Those two check-ups resulted in the need to have three moles removed and the discovery of a cataract in my right eye. The moles were removed in January and, thankfully, had clear biopsies. I elected to deal with the cataract at my next annual eye exam. But, unfortunately, my new eye prescription pushed me to get progressive lenses which I love and hate. I love that they're thinner than my old lenses and have no bifocal line. But I hate that the reading area is half the size of what I'm used to. Nearly two months later and I'm still adjusting. To the point I'm now almost looking forward to cataract surgery.

Next up was my yearly physical. Because I'm now 65 my doctor recommended an EKG. Well, don't you know that came out "irregular." Although she was challenged to see what the problem was, she had to recommend I see a cardiologist.

Yesterday was my first (and hopefully last) visit. The cardiologist heard a faint murmur, which is just what she needed to get my insurance plan to pay for further testing. But she's not terribly concerned either. Nevertheless, given my family history, we agreed a closer look is a good idea. So, in two weeks, I'll have an echocardiogram and stress test. And, in the meantime, I'll be praying for the best results and that nothing prevents us from going to Italy in May as planned.

I also had my teeth cleaned last month, which is normally a simple procedure. Not this time. It was determined I should no longer put off having my old crown replaced, especially since I'm leaving the country in a few months. That unpleasant procedure happens the day after my heart tests.

Throughout all of the above, I've also been extremely frustrated with changes in my body. Since turning 65, I've noticed my mid section has expanded despite maintaining my weight and upping my fitness regimen. It's not a huge difference, but enough to make a lot of my bottoms uncomfortable to wear.

After some research, I decided to make several changes to my diet. In the last week, I removed sugar, started drinking green tea, and began a low-carb eating plan. As of this morning I've lost 3.2 pounds, so I'm motivated to stick with this new way of eating despite the challenges of minimizing carbs.

Yep, not only is aging not fun, it's also a lot of work!