Susanna is out running errands. Tucker and Izzy are napping. Or at least Tucker is. Izzy is working on a nap – or just reading to herself in her crib (she really wanted her “Star Wars” books from Will and Ben today. I finished taking down the plaster and lath in our bedroom this morning and had good left-over pizza lunch. So, now I get to take some time and look ahead to 2018. We are starting the year with a big house project. We are gutting our bedroom and adding a master bath. We will finally have more than one bathroom in a house of 5 – this is a much-needed upgrade.
Over the Christmas break week, Susanna, Ben and I took turns tearing down plaster and lath. I finished the rough demolition today and we are waiting for the dumpster to get changed out tomorrow to throw the last of the waste away (we had to get a small dumpster to fit in the yard below the bedroom window). What an improvement having a dumpster in a place where we could just toss the debris out the window into the dumpster. Or next to it making a mess as Ben did when he overestimated his strength tossing a bag of plaster out the window. What would have been a backbreaking chore of dragging bags of plaster down the stairs turned into a fun game of tossing bags out the window.
Over the break we had a new hot-water heater installed. The hot water coils in the boiler wouldn’t be able to keep up with the demand of two bathrooms (it could barely keep up with the one bathroom). The heater is a hybrid heat-pump electric heater which will also help keep the basement dehumidified in the summer.
We are starting the year off right with a major house improvement, which is my top goal for year: Finish the bathroom!
What else do I want to try to do this upcoming year?
I’d like to get back into writing in the blog. It is always fun to look back on what I have accomplished in a year, and Facebook and Instagram aren’t really designed for that.
I want to take Will’s blog and turn it into a book. He hasn’t been using it much, and he is now in High School – so I’m sure he doesn’t want to keep his blog from when he was in elementary and middle school around online forever. If I get it printed, it will then be a journal for him to keep forever. I’ll do the same for Ben next year.
I want to take a trip somewhere with Will. I took Ben to a wood-turning class in Atlanta and we had a blast.
I want to get Will’s boat in the water (and not sink).
I want to complete a woodworking class (either online or in person).
I want to build a step-stool for Izzy
I want to finish the patio/pool area (electrical power, shade, etc).
I want to do an organized bike ride with the boys (and maybe my Dad) – I’ll have to get Ben onto a road bike for this.
I want to help Susanna throw a joint birthday party for the both of us (she turns 30, I turn 45).
I would like to finally get the workshop insulated enough that I can use it on cold days – or make a winter workshop in the basement for working with hand tools.
I would like to upgrade my dust collection in the shop.
Of course my list is always subject to change. Except finish the bathroom/bedroom. That has to happen.
I almost started this post with “This year was a busy year,” but I realized that I started my reflections on 2016 with the same words, and probably the year before that. It has been a full year, but I haven’t really been posting much on this blog, even though that was one of my goals for this year. It seems that the Internet has turned into a place where one now needs to always watch what personal information we put out in public. It didn’t always seem that way. Of course, the Internet was never a perfectly safe place (one still locks car doors when parking in even nice cities), but when I started writing this blog, it felt like I shouldn’t have a problem if I kept information that was too personal off the website. But this year I was torn. So I didn’t write much.
I posted pictures on Izzy’s blog. I waffled between making the blog private (in which case almost no one ever read it), or making it public so Susanna’s parents could see the pictures. I also posted on Instagram. Of course, on Instagram, that is the place to be this year. I posted here – more pictures than words – but my posts were not very frequent. And the boys posted even less in their blogs.
So, how did I do on my goals for the year? Not very well. My goals (from my post a year ago):
Be more consistent in writing in this blog. I think it helps me to take time to focus on what I have finished. I put more pictures on this blog this year, but fewer words.
Be better about posting pictures of Izzy in her blog. I think I did pretty well with this. I was able to get pictures into Lightroom, and post to the blog directly from Lightroom.
Do another “March Challenge.” This time with Will and Ben. Nope.
Finish the coffee table. This I did finally finish (after too many months of it sitting in the shop).
Make at least two additional pieces of furniture in the workshop. I think I did, though not for the house. I made a water table for Izzy with Dan, and some furniture for the workshop.
Install the pool with Susanna and the boys. This was done, but not the pool we had planned at the start of the year.
Finish the patio updates/outdoor kitchen. Nope. We did a lot of work on the patio, but it is not finished.
Install a new door on the workshop and interior walls/insulation on one wall of the workshop. Nope.
Improve insulation on the workshop and the boy’s play loft. Added on the workhop only.
Host a New Years party with Susanna. Considering that I am writing this on New Year’s Eve…
Go bicycling with the family. I did some, but not as much as I wanted.
Spend a good week with Ben working on his boat this summer. We did some work, but not a full week worth.
But overall it was a good year. Some of my memories from the year (and I’m sure I’ll think of a dozen more as soon as I post this):
Getting a sailboat with Will (and driving half-way across the state to pick it up the day before we left on vacation) and almost sinking the boat when we launched it.
Watching Izzy start walking, talking, and finding her own personality.
Watching Will start at high school.
Watching Ben have a great start to his final year in middle school.
Going on a family vacation to New Hampshire.
Taking a bowl turning class with Ben.
Many weekends at the Mystic Seaport.
Going on a long hike with my Dad.
Saying goodbye to Targa.
Getting a new cat with Ben.
The mess of dealing with removing lead paint in this house.
Having to stop installing windows to drive to the mall to give Susanna the spare keys when Izzy locked her out of the car in the rain.
Being stuck in a dark airport with Ben when the power went out for hours at the Atlanta airport.
My Mom visiting for spring break.
Building a sandbox and water table for Izzy with Susanna’s dad.
I enjoy taking a few hours on Sunday mornings to get away from the house. We needed to get a membership at the Mystic Seaport for Will to volunteer last summer, so why not make it a destination when the weather supports? It is a great place for Izzy to walk around, and the boys don’t mind going on the weeks that they are here. I get lots of pictures while we walk around. The boys don’t like to have their pictures taken, but Izzy isn’t old enough to get a choice yet (and she loves looking through pictures of herself on the computer).
Today I dropped Will off at the Mystic Seaport so he could start his week as a junior volunteer (helping with a summer camp). After dropping him off, I went to the Mystic Art Museum to drop Ben off where he is an assistant during one of their summer camps.
Izzy and I spent a few minutes hanging out by the water by the Museum, then went home to grab stuff that Will had forgotten, and back to the Mystic Seaport until lunch time. Izzy was a very tired girl from the beach yesterday – but she loves the Seaport. Lots to walk around and explore.