Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Big Blue

I have really enjoyed my Dell laptop for the last several years. It's a good workhorse, and I've logged many, many hours on it without any problems. The only complaint I've had is with the lid hinge, and that's mostly my own fault. I confess that I've accidentally knocked it off the coffee table a few times when the lid was open. That certainly wasn't good. It finally got to the point last fall where the lid suddenly refused to stay up by itself. It would either fall shut or flop all the way open. Well, that makes it pretty impossible to use, so my hubby went to the basement that evening and slapped together a quick fix for me.

Nothing fancy and quite heavy, but it worked OK. Since the hinge was snapped (and the plastic was broken) on both sides, I was worried about how long this was going to work without affecting the screen. The laptop is 3 years old, so it's at the age when other things could go wrong, too (including the motherboard).

Steve bought me an inexpensive 10" android tablet for Christmas. I really like it for my daily web reading, checking emails and traveling, and I know it has saved a lot of additional hours on my laptop. However, my laptop and keyboard is really a necessity for blogging, longer replies to emails, better photo editing and our church accounting. Steve has been telling me to find a good deal on a new laptop since before Christmas, but I'm a notorious tightwad (especially when it comes to spending money on myself). The fear of having no laptop at all eventually won me over. I looked and looked and studied and studied, and I finally found a deal I couldn't pass up. (I also made Steve promise to make this my early birthday present.)

I'm calling it Big Blue, as it has more system RAM and a larger hard drive than my old Dell, but it's actually thinner and lighter. The lid hinges also appear to have an improved design. I like a 15.6" laptop with a 10-key number pad on the keyboard to make entering numbers in accounting programs much faster. I just got Big Blue on Thursday afternoon and made a factory reinstall/system repair disk yesterday afternoon, so I'm still setting things up the way I want them and transferring files. I was used to Windows 7 on my old Dell, but I haven't found Windows 8.1 to be a problem at all. (Don't let it scare you. If you've ever used a tablet or smartphone, it's not difficult to figure out Windows 8.1.) My new toy is working great, and I'm looking forward to logging many blogging hours on Big Blue. 

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


We have more snow in the forecast, but even the Yoopers admit they're getting a little tired of winter.

Steve snapped the next 2 photos along Hwy 41 here in Calumet this morning.

At least they're keeping their sense of humor.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Trip Up

March 15th was my first TRIP UP - my first trip upstairs, that is!

I had two purposes for visiting the new house that day. (1) To see the upstairs for the first time. (2) To make the decision on the proper location for the tub in the master bathroom that I wrote about in a previous post.

You may be wondering why I hadn't been upstairs yet. Well, the crew just completed both runs (of steps) and the landing between them. For most of this time, we had only the second run installed because we needed to have it checked by the building inspector before spending any more time on it. To get to that second run, you had to climb a ladder to reach the landing. (Yes, I can climb a ladder, but chose not to! Not getting any younger, you know.) When I visited the house on March 10th, the first run was installed, but the second run was not, so I could go no higher than the landing. Thus, my first trip UP the full set of steps was on the 15th.

We had some new snow the night before, so we made fresh tracks on the driveway when we arrived.

The snowfall we've received this season convinced Steve to take down some more trees along part of the driveway. He told the crew they could have the wood if they took down the trees, and they agreed. They hadn't finished cutting it all up when these photos were snapped. 

Steve had taken lots of photos of the upstairs for me, but it was really exciting to finally see it in person. I'm very pleased with the size of the guest bedrooms and guest bath. Here's a shot of the guest bathroom. The toilet will be on the right (near the location of that pink sticker).

Here's a shot through the doorway of the other side of the bath. The vanity will be immediately on your left. . .

and the shower will sit in the left rear corner of the room. 

It's not a huge bathroom, but it's larger than either bath we have in our Calumet house. Here's a peek into one of the guest bedrooms. . .

and a shot taken through one of the windows in that room. 

The windows still have a protective film on them, so that affects the picture quality a bit. Here's a shot into the other guest bedroom. . .

and the view through one of those windows.

That's not a spot where our Traverse will normally be parked when we're actually living there, so don't let that influence your decision on which guest bedroom you'll choose when you visit us!

I know I repeated the following sentence several times that day:  "I love, love, love the upstairs!" I was very happy to see the space our guests will occupy some day. You should be quite comfortable!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mr. Bubble

Building a house is a series of compromises. Thankfully, we knew that before we even started construction. Maybe you run into a huge mass of solid rock when digging your foundation, so the house can't be positioned in the exact spot you first envisioned. Maybe your budget caused you to rethink your original siding choice. Maybe the small alcove in the loft where you thought you would put a small desk made better sense as a linen closet. Maybe your washer and dryer need to switch positions in order to have that pocket door on the laundry room. Those things can (and did) happen, so you just go with the flow. When Steve came home and said there may be a problem with the tub in the master bath, you look at the photos, make a trip to the property with him, and make some new decisions.

Let me preface this by explaining that our blueprints called for a corner tub, but I've been rethinking that corner tub for a long time. My bad back isn't getting better with age, and I was concerned about all the reaching and stretching necessary to keep it clean. I had pretty much made up my mind to go with a rectangular tub with air jets by the time we went shopping for our showers and tub last fall. When we found a screamin' deal on a jetted tub, it was too good to pass up. Decision made.  

Steve was in the barn when the boys put the tub in place near the end of the day on March 14. When he went to close up the house after they left, he didn't think the tub looked right in that position, so he snapped some photos for me.

Nope, that's not going to work. I saw several problems. (1) The faucets I purchased years ago call for a deck mount installation, not a wall mount, and there was no room to build a shallow deck around the tub. (2) The backrest was on the window wall. Does Steve (aka Mr. Bubble) want to stare at a blank wall when he's soaking? No, he wants to stare at the woods. (No Neighbors = No Curtains.)

(3) And, speaking of the window - we all want the tub centered under the window, don't we? Yes, yes, we do. 

So, two walls were moved a bit to make the necessary changes, but that gives us an even larger master bedroom closet. No problem. I'll have photos of the changes made to this area in an upcoming post.

Mr. Bubble is really looking forward to resting his aging bones in a jetted tub - percolating while he's gazing at his trees!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cleaning Up

The crew has been busy at the house, but progress sure is messy.

Here's a newer shot of the steps.

Even Cocoa thought the place was a mess. Yes, Steve took her out there for the day on March 11th. More on that later.

Thankfully, I married a tidy husband, and he cleans up after the guys.

He even hangs up their tool belts!

They've turned the master bedroom into a temporary "warm room" where they take breaks. You'll notice the LP tank hooked to a temporary furnace (vented out the window) in the next photo.

They've even installed some temporary insulation in the walls in that room. It will be replaced later with spray foam insulation. Next is a shot of the golf cart. Yes, Steve drives it around the property at this time of year, too.

Cocoa spent the whole afternoon with Steve while he cleaned up.

She would disappear every now and then to explore the property, and she spent some time looking through the patio doors when she was inside (probably daydreaming about living there).

Did she have fun? Well, here's how she looked on the way to the property.

And, here's how she looked on the way home from the property.

She had a blast, and she was exhausted.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Movin' Snow

We're above average:  280.5 inches and counting.

If you look at February and March on my Snowfall Chart page, it's easy to see how the ice on Lake Superior has affected us by lessening our lake effect snows. Again, that's the biggest benefit of the frigid temperatures we've been experiencing since early January. We have had some warmer temperatures for a day or so at a time lately, so we've had a bit of melting. However, we haven't had enough melting to take Cocoa off the chain gang yet. She can still get over the stockade fencing (and she has somehow managed to wriggle her way out of her collar 3 times while on the chain gang). 

Speaking of snow, the forecast calls for some significant accumulations beginning tomorrow morning through Wednesday night - not a short burst of heavy snow, but moderate snow over 36 hours. That reminded me of a YouTube video featuring our local weather guru, John Dee, and a local snow plow driver. I think it would be interesting to see a county driver tackle the roads in one of our huge snow plows, but this guy does residential and commercial work in a pickup truck. The video was shot last year, but you might enjoy it. Click on the following link:

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hand-Split Shakes

We both had to visit the Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital here on Monday afternoon. Steve had an x-ray to see if he had any metal in his eyes from working in the factory all those years. That was a prerequisite to the Wednesday MRI of his spine. I had a CT scan on my head. Our new doctor is just being very thorough when it comes to treating my migraines. She wants to see if there's anything unusual going on in my head. Don't worry. They won't find anything - except a larger than average brain!

I'm still barking like a seal from this sinus infection, but Steve told me the guys had started the siding on the new house earlier that afternoon - the hand-split shakes! So, we HAD to take a drive after our tests. Once again, it was a beautiful day with our Keweenaw Blue sky. Here's a photo of the back of the house with Steve.

You can see a tiny bit of the siding, but I'll save the close-up for later in this post.

The crew was gone for the day by the time we arrived, but they had also been working on the stairs. We had some temporary steps in already, but we wanted to make sure they passed inspection before continuing. When the building inspector was there a couple of weeks ago, he gave us the green light on everything. So, the temporary set was pulled down, and the permanent set was started.

Here's a shot I took from the landing on the stairs.

Looking from the laundry room door through the kitchen into the great room:

Looking from the laundry room door through the kitchen into the dining area:

Yes, it's messy. Steve took care of that the next day. Looking through one of the windows in the master bedroom:

I really like the bronze window crank. It's "up" in the following photo, but the handle folds down out of the way.

I like the hardware on the sliding doors in the great room, too.

Looking from the great room up into the loft area. You can see the opening for the second floor bathroom door.

I turned around and snapped another shot of the trapezoids and sliding doors.

Another exterior shot:

The siding is vinyl - no upkeep - with the look of hand-split shakes. There will be another piece of trim around the windows (which hasn't arrived yet), so the guys didn't install the siding all the way to the windows. Here's a better shot.

When I was taking the exterior shots, I noticed the moon above our house - up in the Keweenaw Blue sky.

The rough plumbing is beginning today! Some of these latest photos will make it onto the Construction Page soon, but I wanted to share them with you here, too.

All is well in the Keweenaw.