Sunday, January 1, 2012

What the New Year Brings

Hello and welcome to 2012! Here in the R family, we have high hopes for this year! Lots and lots of plans and improvements and changes and we are excited about each and every one of them. I'm not even sure where to start to catch you up!

Maybe to whet your curiousity, a postcard from my parents in mid-November from the beautiful island of St. Martin: "I Rode A Rhino On St. Maarten" Hi there! We are having a great time! Your news* couldn't have come at a better time - We are so happy! Love, Love, Mom & Dad. *I have NO IDEA what that was about, but am delighted that my parents had such an awesome vaction.

I made a rather important decision in late 2011 that is of note: I will not be attending ESU's School of Library and Information Management this spring. I was under the impression that I had written about the possibility of a second (useful?) master's degree program earlier this year, but can't find anything like that on the blog. The short story is that initially, the SLIM program seemed like a great idea - I would LOVE to be a librarian and almost every one of them these days has a very specific MLS degree (master of library science). ESU offers this degree, has a great program, offers classes here in KC, online and in E town (which I have dear freinds in - one of which has her MLS from this exact program). So I geared up, sent in all of my transcripts, got my letters of recommendation together (watching physical/occupational therapists write letters of recommendation to librarian school was quite humourous, but they were wonderful) and finally wrote my statement of objectives. I was awarded admissions in August or September, signed the paperwork that I would attend in spring 2012, started a pre-requisite class and then recinded all of that a week later. What changed? A little reality check. Yes, I want to be a librarian, but . . . is it worth becoming my third degree with student loans? do I want to jump back into two years of intense studying (turning down all sorts of fun activities so I can accomplish homework?)? what is "being a librarian" really going to look like in 5-10 years? all technology based? is that what I want? And honestly, it comes back to the time and money. I need to be a responsible steward of both the time/energy and finances given to me. There are changes coming in 2012 that I want to spend time and finances on that do not involve school at all. And I'd still like to quilt and read. So no librarian school for me right now.

Something VERY exciting for us is happenning in a few days: we are bringing new furniture home! Anyone who has visited the house knows that it is about time. We've always been blessed with friends' and families' no-longer-used sofas, chairs, loveseats, lamps, recliners and TVs (very blessed!). And we have a high activity (destruction) house due to C and the three dogs, so these somewhat disposable furniture options have been very loved, used and then tossed. Our last recliner was being held together by over three dozen C-applied screws when it finally collapsed. In just a day or two, a very nice leather couch (two recliners at each end) and a lovely reclining/rocking leather chair are going to come home to live with us. What we have learned is that when there isn't comfortable seating in the living room, it make it that much more difficult to have friends over or even spend the evening together with a movie, so we are looking forward to spending more time with friends and each other! It will be an uphill battle to keep the dogs off the furniture, but we have some stellar ideas and a renewed resolve to train them to stay off and definitley encourage that obedience in the next dogs as well. Can I just say that I'm already in love with that chair? The additional rocking feature is amazing and this type of purchase makes us feel a little more like adults choosing what goes in their home.

Speaking of houses, we have a lot planned for updates to ours, but more recently, C's parents tore out their whole kitchen/dining room/entryway. It began small (of course), with intentions to expand the dining area into the entryways. Then the dishwasher was moved and water damage was found (a little more than everyone thought). Right now, there is a cavernous pit where most of the kitchen/dining area used to be. C went out for the week of Thanksgiving to help his parents and there is still a bit of jackhammering going on (and concrete rubble), but I think they are nearing the point where a little more clearing happens and then building! The plans look great - more room and accessibility, and I can't wait until L has this new open space! It's going to be wonderful!

Compared to what I've seen done at C's parents' house, our plans are small scale (no jackhammers!). C and my dad have been in conversation about the best way to re-do our 450 square-ft wrap-around porch. Yes, that is a very big porch and yes, we have to re-do all of it. Tongue and groove planks are a little out of our budget for a project that large, so we've been looking at creative, functional, (hopefully still) attractive alternatives. Since it is not a deck, we definitely need a way to seal whatever type of wood we use - that's where Dad is especially helpful - he knows things being in the paint business that we just don't know. We think we're going to use treated lumber and good plywood - treat it all very well (awesome deck & dock product), include footers and call it good. I can actually see this finished porch as more functional than the current tongue and groove because of fewer seams, a high quality covering (which we can add a bit of texture to if I think it is too slick), and our eventual plan to screen part of the porch in. I can admit that it won't have the up-close charm, but that was part of the problem - we bought this house just over five years ago and the porch has just been painted (bad idea) and wasn't that old. It has gaping holes and there is a risk of falling through right now - that shouldn't have happened. What did happen is that that the paint was not a proper coating - it still allowed moisture in every seam AND there was no footer, so the raw ends of each board face the outside of the porch, again allowing moisture into the core of each board. We're hoping to not make the same mistakes, even if we sacrifice a little cutesy-old-home look in the process.

Also in our plans are to add a mud room/laundry room on the back of the house and extend the bedroom on the northeast side onto the porch. Kind of huge, but we think doable. We'll see. There are always the little things to keep us busy: finish painting the kitchen (began in 2007), replacing light fixtures, updating all of the electrical outlets, (eventually) refinishing floors & repairing window sills (thanks, dogs), getting rid of the blue color on the house, fixing the porch ceiling and roof, moving the driveway a bit, landscaping, etc. No shortage of home improvement tasks here. Which begs the question, why all of the home improvement projects?

Well, the plan always was to live in KC for a few years and then move back to M town, to live and build on a piece of land that C's uncle owns. That time has come and we are looking into paving the way to try and sell our house in a year or two, while also planning a new home in M town. We're going to do what we need to to make the transition smooth and (hopefully) painless.