New Year

For the first time in many years, I did not host a New Year's Eve dinner.  I generally invite 3 couples over, and then fix a really nice dinner on which I spent much time planning and more time preparing.  I do this each year until I decide that I need a break.  This year, I needed a break.  Nevertheless, I did make some homemade spaghetti sauce and tried a new cooking method for pasta (boil then saute) that I saw in Bon Appetit.  It was delicious and easy.  So we spent a quiet evening at home, surrounded by our dogs. I managed to be awake at midnight, but I was in my bed.  Mark came up to give me a hug and a kiss, and then I was off to winkie land.

My daughter is officially moved out.  Last evening she spent her first night in her new home.  (Not closed on it yet, but everything is in order, and we are just waiting to close.)  One out, one to go!  I didn't feel any sense of sadness.  My sense of loss centered on the English Oak table and dining chairs that I promised her.  There went my overflow dining!

As many parents know, when your children cross that line where 'other people' get more of their time (other people being friends/love interests), you don't see them all that much.  So we've had several years of that great divide becoming wider.  There will be many things that she took for granted (food, internet, electricity) that will suddenly need to be acquired and managed.  She asked me the number for Cox Communications. I refused to look it up for her.  "You look it up."  She was a little miffed. I was a great deal more miffed when I saw the condition of the bathroom she was leaving.  The least she could have done was cleaned it.

She was quite thoughtful at Christmas, as she always is.  She was so excited to give me my gift early.  She had purchased a patent leather pair of Dansko's.  "Would you wear these?" she asked excitedly.  Unfortunately, I gave her an answer that immediately deflated her enthusiasm.  "No."  These are expensive shoes, and I felt that I owed her an honest answer.  I already have one pair of clunky clog shoes; I didn't need another pair, and certainly not in black patent leather.  Yes, I instantly and subsequently regretted my honesty.  Lest you think me too harsh, my daughter does not like anything that I pick out for her, so she already knows that there is a chasm of compatibility issues when it comes to personal items.

To be fair, I'm hard to buy for; but I never put anyone through the agony of having to choose anything, because I ask them NOT to get me anything.  If pressed, I ask for an Amazon Gift Card.  Somehow that does not suffice.  With my new tool fetish, Home Depot or Lowe's works too.

However, with all the work that we did on the house, she was desperate to find something.  "Ken Onion Shun knife" I declared.  I bought one for my sister for her 50th birthday and I'm too cheap to buy one for myself.  But if someone is agonizing over a nice gift to give me, I greased the skids.  Now I own one.  It is magnificent.

Another Christmas surprise is a painting that my step mom got for me.  She rode with me on a dog transport for some sweet boy going south.  ON our way back, we stopped in Petersburg and lunch at a tea room.  Adjacent was an antique store.  I was quite taken by a painting.  It is a winter mill pond scene--almost folk art like--in a beautiful frame.  She thoughtfully went back and secured it as a Christmas gift.  I was very surprised.  I'll take a picture of it an post it.  I have the perfect place for it in my office.

Because I did not put any Christmas decorations up, I have none to take down.  I've no resolutions made; so none to break in the New Year.  Having said that, I will plan more social events--simple fare that is delicious and easy to prepare.  I think that some of my meals have been too difficult to execute easily, that I've really let that "standard" become an impediment.  Food should be a venue for enjoyable times, not an impediment to them.

Fayemont is my second rehab.  The first was a smashing success.  Fayemont is close to my parents' home, so when I visit that job, I can see them.  It is in such a beautiful neighborhood.  I have met the neighbors on both sides--charming people. The gentleman to the left built the cabinets almost 30 years ago.  And we learned the builder, whose reputation is excellent.  I could always tell that the house was extremely well-built.  Once the property is restored, it is going to make a beautiful home for someone. The neighbor said, "I'm so glad you bought this house.  We were afraid that someone would buy it on the cheap and not do anything to it."  Their own home is beautiful, and catches your eye as soon as you see it.

My son is helping do some of the demo work (pull up carpet; remove carpet tack strips).  He's strong and a great worker (when not deployed on any duties in HIS HOME).  I had a 30 yard rollback delivered to put all of the construction "stuff" in.  I wished I had done same on the first job.   I also have a 20 yard container for concrete.  There are great chunks of concrete everywhere that need to be removed.  Much cheaper than paying dump fees and gas for a dump truck.

The first floor is random width pine.  The hall and bedrooms were covered with wall to wall berber carpet.  We pulled that up.  Thankfully, there was a very high quality pad underneath the carpet, so the floors underneath are pristine.

My best to you for the New Year--I wish you courage and grace as you face any challenges thrown at/ to you, and I hope that you welcome blessings with a grateful heart.  Though I say that I don't have any resolutions, I believe that is what I wish for and resolve for myself.



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