Thursday, November 05, 2009


Of late, I have been somewhat remiss making the rounds of my blog friends. I am sorry. I have been a bit distracted.

There was the wedding--already noted here. And then there is the kitchen redo--currently ongoing.

Now, I admit, I am doing NONE of the work on the redo. We have two brothers who have come in--they are custom builders, meaning simply they do work when contracted to so do; they no longer work on speculation. So, while they still build entire houses, they only do that when someone contracts with them to do that. As you might expect, business has been a bit slow for them.

So when we went looking for a builder to redo the kitchen, we came upon their names, by way of referral. What a great job they are doing. A future post will detail the project a bit more, complete with photos.

Here's why I am exhausted--I have too many balls in the air. This business of being retired is crazy. People have always told me that--and, truth be told, at first it was NOT so. I officially "retired" in 2002. I had not planned to retire exactly when I did, but the company I worked for thought it was a good idea.

So, when I first began time at home--and before I started teaching in my adjunct capacity--I had time on my hands. Days crawled by. I always thank our dog for keeping me on an even keel. She was thrilled to have me home, and thought 4 or 5 walks a day were a grand idea.

Well, those days of little on my hands are gone. I have responded positively to various requests to help out here and there--mostly with the Presbyterians. I am now finding I need to pull back.

OK--where am I going with this post.

These last several days--of watching workers rebuild a kitchen--have got me to thinking about my paternal grandfather. I have written about him several times before here, and here.

As he approached retirement age, he and my grandmother were teaching at a small college in Pennsylvania. With a bit of land on the college campus available, he decided to build the house in which they would live out their final years. Now, when I think of my grandfather, I do NOT think builder. As a young man, he had done many things with his hands--including homesteading in Saskatchewan--but he was much more a thinker than a builder. But he doggedly set about to build a small two story house.

It was during that project that he discovered he was going blind. He went to sight up part of the building to see if it was level, and realized he could not see with enough acuity to level the project. So, my aunt helped him do that.

When the house was finished, it was perfectly adequate--not elegant, but livable. My parents, brother and I even lived in the upstairs, which was made into a small apartment, for a brief time in the mid 1950s.

Now, these days, watching the workmen, I think about my grandfather. How did he do it? He was an old man when he began that project.

And I think I am exhausted?


Beverly said...

My husband was a man like these workers. He was an electrician "par excellence," always in demand, and he never did spec work either. You have found jewels, I'm sure in these two men. You will indeed love that kitchen when it's finished.

Thanks for the story about your grandfather. Men like that are hard to find these days.

Anvilcloud said...

I don't imagine that he was distracted by blogging, eh? :)

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

It is lovely to hear from you finally. My insecurities had me thinking I must have done something to offend you. (I have been know to occasionally speak before I think and say something outlandish). My rational self assured me you were just busy, as you confirmed.

I had just mentioned to your bother that I had not heard from you and that you had missed the reference to you in my blog entry.

I tried to build my kitchen cabinets 10 years ago for my son's wedding. They are still unfinished (You can do that when you have no woman of the house to please) I am glad you found a couple of good tradesmen. Having been a tradesman myself at one time I know the satisfaction of doing a good job, leaving a happy customer and getting a little praise. Even with all that I sometimes have people who refused to pay me. Collections was not a part of the business I was good at. I guess I am trying to gently say, "Pay them and praise them, promptly."

Climenheise said...

I think grandfather would have been an interesting blogger, if a bit curmudgeonly. I didn't realize that he built that house. We have an etching on a silver tray of that house. I think that mother did the etching, probably with grandma guiding.

Jayne said...

LOL @ Anvilcloud.... indeed, we fill up our brains with a good bit more information these days. Can't wait to see the new kitchen.

NCmountainwoman said...

Our grandparents weren't so distracted by all the things that we think are necessary parts of our lives.

We once added a room as well as remodeling the kitchen. I understand how this makes you out of kilter even if you are not doing any of the work. Just grab the dog and take her for another walk so you can get out and think.

I was a little fearful of retirement but I have learned and grown so much during these past three years. So many things to see and learn, and time to actually read whenever you want.

Unfortunately, until the remodel is complete your life will be topsy-turvy. But you'll make it through and then enjoy the wonderful new kitchen.

Ginnie said...

I often look back at my grandparents and even my own folks and wonder how they did it. We weren't poor but neither did we have enough to hire people...all those things they did on their own!

Ruth said...

We are in the midst of a renovation and I am exhausted by the clutter and disorganization in the house. Home renovation business is booming in Canada right now as there is a substantial tax credit for contracted work completed by Dec 31st.

RuthieJ said...

don't you think Donna that it's a good thing to keep busy -- even as you grow older? I too think retirement would be ideal, but it will probably turn out that I'm as busy as ever with other more enjoyable things than going to work every day (at least that's how it's turning out with me working part-time)

LauraO said...

Enjoyed reading the comments as much as the post. I sometimes wonder what we DID all day when we were kids, without a computer to keep us busy. I'm sure your Grandfather would have a few suggestions! We're going to start renovating in the spring. Oh dear...

troutbirder said...

Balance in all things as the Greeks said. I think your finding it. Helping others. Enjoying life. Help yourself. :)

Donna Henderson said...

I like your blog a lot. I am still new at this. Yours is fun and inspiring. Thanks!