Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

The renovation of my craft room has gone fairly slowly.   It's really a winter project, but I am anxious to get it done so I can use the room.  Summer is such a busy time, and if the weather is nice we'd rather be doing stuff outside.   So a project that could have been done in a weekend is being stretched for many weeks.  

We've both agreed that we don't intend to do all our renovations at once.  We know it's going to take us years to "complete".....although we've been assured by everyone who owns a house that it's never complete!

But, as I said, I'd really like to get it finished so I can move my new sewing machine in, and set up a scrapbooking table.

The point I'm stuck on right now is the floor.   I've painted the walls a very pretty lilac, and the woodwork looks great painted bright white.   Right now, the floor had been painted a brick red.  Obviously, it needs to be painted over.  

And that's my sticking point.  I'm terrible with colors.  I'm not good at envisioning what will look nice.  Even with scrapbooking, I can't picture a page completed.  I have to build it one element at a time.

At first, I wanted to paint the floor either dark green or dark purple.  I put the choices out on Facebook, and everyone said dark purple.  I got some purple color swatches and mused about it for much too long.  

When I announced to the girls at work yesterday that I was finally buying my floor paint, and showed them the swatch, they were all appalled.   Much too purple!! was the consensus.

So now they had me second-guessing myself.   And I can't of admitted that I hadn't been sure about the purple all along - they yea, it was probably going to be "too purple".

They suggested Taupe.   I wasn't sure exactly what Taupe was, and after going to the paint store, I'm still not sure.   The young man hovering over me at Home Depot couldn't really help me either.

So I pulled a whole mess of swatches and brought them back to work with me to show the girls.   I'm not sure if they were happy with my selections, but I seriously pulled every swatch that was even close to what I thought Taupe might be.

These swatches look much greener than they did in the store.   The hard thing about colors is that they look different no matter which way you turn them.  Sometimes more green, sometimes more brown. 

Hubby suggested buying those little "samples" of several different colors and painting them on the floor.   I hate the fact that they charge you for those paint samples and I really hate to give in to spending useless money like that.

Bottom line is.....I am bound and determined to paint that floor on Saturday.  Given that, I guess I have a decision to make!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Beauty of Fall

Despite the "Hot and Muggys" we've had the past few days, fall has hit New England as far as decorating goes.   We haven't seen very many colored leaves yet, but everyone seems to have started putting out fall flowers and Halloween decorations.    For the first time in many years, I'm able to join in the fun of making my house look pretty.

Hubby has been hauling rocks all summer to create a stone wall for me.   I love the look of a stone wall.   He's going to take the fence down when the wall is ready to stand on its own.
(Notice the propane tank on the side of the house waiting to be picked up)

We still have Impatiens, but I got some beautiful bright yellow Mums.

Eventually, I want to have an English Garden in the front of the house so it will be bursting with color.  Right now, I'm so grateful that I get to make my house look pretty with these gorgeous flowers.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apple Picking

For the third year, we took Emily apple-picking.  It's a tradition we love and hope to continue for many years.

We walked around looking for nice red apples close enough to the ground for Emily to reach. 

Memere likes teaching her to "shine it up" on her shirt.   This year, she commented that  a couple of apples on the tree were already shiny, and we decided it was squirrels and their fluffy tails that shined them up for us.

I had to laugh because Emily would eat one side of the apple until she got to the core, and then that apple was done.  Nothing  I said could convince her to turn it around and eat the other side of the apple.

Pepere enjoyed the apples too.

Emily thought it was pretty funny to sit on a pumpkin for a photo op.

The "bumpy" pumpkins made Emily sad.

Memere enjoying her favorite part - the hot cider donuts and cold apple cider.  Emily didn't want to try the donuts (WHAT?  She can't be MY grand-daughter!) but she did like eating popcorn.

A beautiful girl.....inside AND out!

Sometimes you just have to be silly.

Then it was time to go to Memere and Pepere's house to make pies with our newly picked apples.

Pepere shows Emily how to make the dough.

And how to put the apples into the pie. 

There may have been a few too many apples in this pie.

Memere and Emily peel the apples. I love what she says at the end of this video.

She gets pretty good on the apple peeler towards the end.

Emily has her own method for filling the pie shell.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hurray for the "Soft Touch"

After fussing all night long over my Propane Problem (see previous post), I decided to take the soft touch approach to the problem.  Rather than jump right in with threats of lawyers, etc, I would try to sweet-talk them.   And it worked.

I spoke with the supervisor of the Customer Service Dept, Jessica, and explained to her my "predicament".   That I thought one  propane tank was the same as another and didn't realize that each company had their own tanks until the night before our closing, when it became imperitive for me to have my propane turned on.  (so far, all true)

And that when I called her company they told me I had to wait until the propane tank was empty before they could retrieve it (true) and that I would have to sign up with an account in order to hold onto the tank until it was empty.  (all true).    They never, ever indicated that signing up for that account would lock me into being their customer for a year.

When she asked why I'd gone with Haffners, I said it was because they were in-town, and that I knew some people who worked for Haffners (a small fib) and that it was no reflection on their company and that "I just know your company is excellent as well."

And now I was between a rock and a hard place, because Haffners had already put their own tank in and put propane in it and now it can't be moved and now I have a propane tank from Energy North sitting in my driveway, and GOSH....."I just don't know what to do now".   (I might have sniffed back an imaginary tear.)  

Jessica's listened to my story, and said she'd have to "look into it" and get back to me.  Two hours later, Melanie (?) called and said that since it was such a new account, they could waive the fee for me and there would be no repurcussions.   AND, if things didn't work out with Haffners they would be happy to have me back!   I checked to be sure they'd still be picking the tank up - which they will.

And once again, you catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Damn the Propane Bastards

Even though we've been living in our new house for almost three months, the surprises keep on coming.  (See previous post)

Our house is heated with oil.   I successfully had our first tank of oil delivered - ouch!  But it was something I expected, so no big deal.   I was surprised, however, to find out it will be the end of October before they can come clean our furnace.   Hubby and I are kind of hesitant about turning on the heat without a professional checking out the furnace first, so we're just praying for warm-ish weather until October 24th.

We also have a propane tank which is used for our stove and hot water heater.  Before we moved in, I called the fuel places in the area, and determined that Haffner's had the best prices.   The company the old owners had was Energy North.

When I called to find out about switching companies, I was told by both companies that we would have to keep the propane tank from Energy North until the propane was used up, as they do not want to move tanks with propane in them.   Makes sense.

The night before we moved in, I called Energy North to find out about having the propane turned back on and having someone come and see if there were pilot lights to be lit, and make sure everything was working okay.   Unfortunately, they knew at that point that I was switching to another company.  They did send someone, and everything worked out so we could move in.

Yesterday, I was finally able to have Haffner's come and switch tanks.   When I told the guy that the old company was Energy North, he said to be careful, that they don't take kindly to having customers leave them, that they'd probably say there'd be a charge to come get their tank, and that if they refused to come get it, I should threaten them with calling the Fire Dept., who would force them to come get the tank.

I called and the lady put me on hold for 5 minutes or so, and then came back and told me I can't leave them because I signed a 1-year contract!!   I said, no, I did not and she insisted she had it with my signature on it.  I said I had no copy of that contract, that I never had any intention of being their customer and that I was not honoring any 1-year agreement.  She then proceeded to tell me that if I broke the contract I would have to pay a $300 fee!

At this point, boiling mad, I told her there was no way I was paying a fee, that they should come get their tank and that she should send me a copy of the contract before I decided what to do.

And that's where it stands.   I will definitely fight with them tooth and nail over this.  If I signed anything, it was an agreement to let them come on my property and turn my propane on.

If a threat of getting my lawyer involved (anyone know a good lawyer?) doesn't work, I will tell them to leave the tank here in the backyard for a year, I won't buy any propane from them and that will fulfill my contract.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let's do it right

One of the scariest things about buying a new house was the mortgage payment.   Of course it was quite a bit more than our condo mortgage.   And I'm not new at this, so I made sure  to figure into the budget things like oil, propane and water bills.  

One of the things I thought about was electricity.  The bill at our condo was usually anywhere from $30/month to $40, depending on how much we ran the air conditioners.   I knew when we bought the new house, the bill would go up.  We do have an electric dryer, and Hubby runs a de-humidifier in the basement, but otherwise, I figured we wouldn't really be using much more than at the condo.   So I decided to use $50 as an average for our electric bill.

The first bill we got was a partial bill for $38.    Then, the second month, we got a bill for $93!   I almost had a heart attack.  Unfortunately, I somehow got onto "paperless billing" and all they send you in the email is the amount.   If you want to see the whole bill, you have to go online and look at it.  And since I didn't have a paper bill, and didn't know the account number, I couldn't see how much electricity they were saying we'd been using.   I pay my bills online through the bank, and the account number is *****'d out, apparently so no one will steal it.

I grudgingly paid the bill, whilst discussing with Hubby ways of saving on energy, ie, not leaving the computer on 24/7.

This month I got a bill for $134!!!   WHAT???   Now I'm figuring something's wrong.  They must be reading the meter wrong, or not reading the meter at all and just guessing.  Or perhaps our resident mouse is having wild parties during the day while we're gone.

I finally called the electric company and explained the dilemna.  She looked up my account by my address and gave me the account number.   I told her I was quite appalled at how much my bill was.   And she says, "Well, your last month bill was only $50."    HUH?    "No, my last bill was $93."   She says, "That was a double bill, because  you didn't pay the month before."    Hmmmmm......"Yes, I did."

"Oh wait a moment here," she says.  "Let me check something.   It looks like your payments have been going into your OLD account."   (aka our condo)  

I had no idea that when you have a new residence, you get a new account number.  I thought your account number would follow you wherever you went.   I don't know how they were applying that money to our old account, since I'd closed it.   However, the nice lady quickly moved the money from the old account to the new one.

And now, instead of having to pay $134 this month, I have a credit of $5.

I wonder how long it would have gone on before they shut off my electricity for non-payment?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Noah's Third Birthday

For the finale of our marathon party weekend, we celebrated our grandson Noah's third birthday.   In typical boy fashion, he adores anything with wheels.   He was pretty happy with his gifts.

The Lightening McQueen cake his Mom and Dad made for him.

He and his cousin Dylan had a wonderful time playing with his new toys and chasing each other around the yard.

His other passion is music, just like his Grandpa (aka my Hubby).    In fact, he was very happy with Hubby's gift of a couple of Beatles CDs.   

And for the piece de resistance, he received this gift from his Mom and Dad.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Wedding!

My son Nick was married today.   He and his new wife Kelly created their own wedding at Bear Brook State Park.  The decorations, table decor, and centerpieces were all made by hand with scrapbooking paper.

They rented a beautiful pavilion.

My daughter Jamie and Nick's friend Greg went early to help set things up.

The flowers in the centerpieces, as well as Kelly's bouquet, were hand-made from the scrapbooking paper as well.

Nick and I spent a few minutes before the wedding waiting for the bride to arrive.

Kelly's hand-made paper flower bouquet.

The Bride and Groom say their "I do's"

The exchange of rings

The happy couple are now married!

Nick and Kelly with my Dad

Waiting for the professional photographer

My three children, Doug, Nick and Jamie

Doug, Nick, Jamie with Kara and Emily

And now ALL my children
Doug, Kara and Emily
Nick and Kelly and

And the family including Hubby and I and my Dad.

Nick's new in-laws
Kelly's Mom and Dad, Bob and Gayle
and her sister Lorie

The bouquet was unbelievable

Jamie used some of her football skills to make off with the mailbox full of wedding cards.

First Dance

Aunt Izzy was looking for a dance partner so Jamie obliged

The new couple had a dessert bar of home-made pastries, so they chose to have a small single layer wedding cake.

They were very  nice to each other during the cake-feeding time.

I'm so proud of them for the beautiful job they did.  The wedding was beautiful, the food was great, and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.  

I wish them lots of love in the years to come.