Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Copper Harbor Lighthouse

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sneak Peek Friday - Clear & Naughty

I've often seen knotty pine referred to as naughty pine. Of course, they're usually talking about the knotty pine that was popular in homes in the 40's and 50's - heavily varnished - and aged to an amber color. Definitely naughty.

Varnish is out nowadays. Good riddance. Some people finish knotty pine with polyurethane; others choose to leave it bare. I'm in the bare camp. Either way, the pine will yellow a bit over time, but it won't turn that dark amber color of aged varnish.

All the walls and ceilings in the new house are done in the knotty pine from our own pine trees. The house is situated in Michigan's (far north) northwoods, and we had to take down a bunch of trees for the buildings and driveway anyway, so why not? It seems quite appropriate for a home in the woods in Keweenaw County. When choosing our interior doors, I could have gone with knotty pine. That's what many people choose to accompany knotty pine walls, but that's knotty pine overload to me (even though our pine isn't the knottiest I've seen). I chose to go with clear pine doors instead, as it gives the eyes some relief from the knots. I have the same philosophy about pairing knotty pine cabinets with knotty pine walls. It's just too much for me. My eyes don't know where to land - what to focus on.

After that lengthy introduction, your sneak peek today is of our clear pine doors with bronze hinges and doorknobs - with and/or without trim in the following photos.

You get an extra close-up of one of the doorknobs.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

224 on 224

224" on 2-24.

We've had 224 inches of snow as of early this morning - February 24, 2015!

Lake Superior is frozen, so our lake effect snow has decreased, but we're still getting some system snow - even today. 

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Friday, February 20, 2015

Sneak Peek Friday - Stainless

We're moving back into the kitchen today. I wanted to give you a peek at the kitchen appliances without revealing too much of the surrounding kitchen yet, so the photos are heavily cropped, and I'll admit to a little soft focus treatment, too.

If you remember, we purchased our appliances when we lived downstate. They've been living safely in their boxes ever since. It's exciting to finally see them in the kitchen even if they aren't hooked up. The only one you don't get a peek at today is the combo microwave/range hood, as we aren't ready for that one yet.

First up, the stove/oven. I can't wait to start cooking with gas again. I'm totally sick of electric ovens and electric burners on my stovetop. I grew up on gas, so I know what I'm missing.

Two extra little features are the special simmer burner and the warming drawer. After I do all that cooking and baking, I'll need to do the dishes. I've lived without a dishwasher for almost 18 years, and I don't consider one a necessity, but it sure will be nice to have one again.

As much as I love my stove/oven and my dishwasher, the appliance I'm most excited about is my new refrigerator/freezer - especially since I've been living with this really tiny one for the last 3-1/2 years here in Calumet.

The new one is going to seem like a dream!

Isn't it gorgeous?! Just looking at it makes me smile. If you'll notice, the refrigerator seems to be smiling, too!

Steve put a bunch of cardboard sheets on the kitchen floor to protect it from "contractor traffic," but I moved a sheet to get a shot of how the refrigerator looks with the flooring.


Meanwhile, we're up to 18 feet of snow for the season and. . . 

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Italics: The Sequel to The Sequel to The Sequel

I finally drummed up enough courage/sanity/emotional health to call AT&T again yesterday.
When we received the most recent bill, they were still billing us for full service at the new house - even though the phone is on "vacation mode" (inactivated) until we move in. That makes a difference of almost $60 in the monthly bill. I was prepared to cancel our service today depending on how I was treated and how frustrated I became. After all, I've been dealing with this company since late September, and they've made error - after error - after error - after error - after error. Oh, and they've made some errors, too.

I was connected to José from Customer Support (in Arizona). I must say this was the shortest phone call I've ever had with AT&T (about 15 minutes total), and he helped me with no argument. When all was said and done, I made sure to thank him and told him how close I was to canceling their service altogether, and I was pleasantly surprised that he was so helpful.

Now. . . maybe. . . just maybe. . .

I can throw this away. . .

and my hair will grow back. . .

so I can start using this again.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lost A Week

I know I've said it before, but installing the tongue and groove pine on all the walls and ceilings has been an extremely labor-intensive project. Just to remind you:
  1. The pine trees were taken down on our Keweenaw property.
  2. The trees were made into lumber at a local saw mill.
  3. The lumber was stacked carefully in our barn - given time to dry - turned - given more time to dry - and restacked several times during the years before we started construction.
  4. The boards were loaded onto a trailer and transported to another mill where they were made into the tongue and groove style we needed.
  5. The boards were loaded onto the trailer again, transported back to our property, unloaded and restacked - board by board by board.
  6. Finally, the pine made it onto the walls and ceilings of the new house - board by board by board. 

The high and complicated ceiling in the great room took a lot of time and a lot of man hours. So, imagine how Steve felt when he was in the house at 7:30 on a Monday evening in mid-January and he suddenly heard:

Drip. Drip. Drip.

A wet spot was developing on the floor in the great room - water was dripping from his beautiful T & G ceiling. He was obviously horrified and very upset.

It took 2 days and 3 crews to determine that the problem was most likely caused by a spray foam insulation error. A spot missed by the foam crew led to warm air escaping from one of the valleys on the roof - which led to ice formation - which led to ice melting when we had a brief warm spell in January - which led to the dripping. The spray foam company came out with an infrared light, confirmed the problem and promised to make it right.

One especially smart thing Steve has been doing during construction is documenting the process with lots of photos. I wanted them for this blog, of course, and he took very detailed shots of all the wiring (in case he ever wanted to know where a wire was located behind all that T & G). Those wiring photos have already come in handy 5 or 6 times already. He also took detailed shots of the spray foam insulation, and those turned out to be quite important. We were able to look back at the photos on my computer and discovered an area where spray foam was missing in a tiny gap between trusses. We emailed some of those detailed shots to the owner of the spray foam company, and he was able to study them before they went back out to fix the problem. The crew spent an entire day spraying the tiny gap and respraying every other area they could possibly find a way to reach - removing some boards to reach both valleys in the great room - and double-checking everything with that infrared light.

We lost a week in January working on the drip problem, but we only lost a couple of T & G boards. It looks like the problem has been solved, and the Lord helped Steve to keep his sanity that week. We were especially thankful that the flooring hadn't been installed in that area and the furniture wasn't in place. It would have been a much bigger problem and a much bigger mess if we had been living there at the time. The boards have been replaced, and the ceiling is beautiful again.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015


All is well in the Keweenaw.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sneak Peek Friday - Master Floor

I'm giving you a sneak peek at the flooring in the master bath today. I wanted you to see how it looked with the white shower and the tongue and groove walls. Just ignore the mess in the shower.

Here's the master bath throne area. The linen closet is the space on the left, but the doors aren't on it yet.

This last photo shows the tile that will go around the top of the platform for the air jet tub, and it will also be used for the backsplash. Some of the little tiles are glass; some are stone. The sheet of tile is still covered with cellophane, but you get the general idea.

We aren't going to make Steve's latest goal of moving me in by Valentine's Day, but that's alright. Two weeks is more realistic. We've had lots to do in order to close up the construction loan during the last few weeks, and Steve has done quite a bit of snow removal. That took precious hours away from the job site. It looks like the coming week will be quite cold and snowy, too. I told Steve not to put any extra pressure on himself worrying about the Valentine's Day deadline. We just need a little more time for the flooring and plumbing to make the move happen. Steve will also need to call in some help to move furniture out of the new basement and into place in the master bedroom and great room. We're getting extremely close, however, and have made lots of visual progress in the last few weeks. I'm excited!

We're under a blizzard warning for tonight and into tomorrow!

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Monday, February 9, 2015

No News

We had 15" of snow this weekend. Big. Fat. Fluffy. Flakes!

Life did not stop.

Nobody whined.

School was in session today.

The shelves at the local grocery store had not been stripped clean of milk and bread.

The Weather Channel did not send Jim Cantore to do a live broadcast climbing up our snowbanks.

We had 63" from mid to late November 2014. We didn't see Jim Cantore then either.

126.5" fell during the month of December 2013. Nope, no Jim Cantore in the Keweenaw! 

Just sayin'. . . .

Oh, I just remembered. Brian Williams (NBC News) did make it up here in December 2013. I heard he personally shoveled out everyone in the Keweenaw. What a hero.

The snow we had this weekend brought our seasonal total up to 191". That's about 3-1/2 feet below last year on this same date. 

The students at Michigan Technological University in Houghton considered this a perfect week for their annual Winter Carnival. Here's the winner of the snow sculpture competition.

Look for the darkly-clad individual who happened to be walking nearby when the photo was taken. He's at the far left in the photo. That'll give you some idea as to the size of this sculpture. (The sculptures were supposed to follow a vacation theme this year. This winning sculpture portrayed a vacation in London.)

All is well and beautiful in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Friday, February 6, 2015

Sneak Peek Friday - Floored!

I told you last Friday that your sneak peek this week would probably be of the flooring in the kitchen and laundry room. Oops! The next 2 photos are the most recent photos I have of those 2 areas.

Yep, that's still the underlayment. Although they obviously did a bit more work in those areas, the flooring had not yet been installed by the time Steve came home with the camera on Saturday night. 

But. . . 

they did install the flooring in the foyer and powder room. Here's the foyer with a glimpse into the powder room.

You can see that the pocket door wall wasn't finished yet. The next photo is a bit better.

Here's a shot of the flooring in the throne area of the powder room.

You'll probably get a peek at the kitchen flooring or the master bath flooring next week.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Italics: The Sequel to The Sequel

I just got today's mail.

The latest bill from AT&T arrived.

It's STILL not right. Time for another one of these.

Pray for me.

All else is well in the Keweenaw.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Life & Loss

"What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch. We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say goodbye; but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget." - Author Unknown

I'm thinking of 4 lives and 4 losses today.
  1. We received word last Thursday that Bob passed away suddenly early Thursday morning. Bob visits this area with his family from Florida every summer and attends our church when they're here. He's about my age. His daughter got married less than 2 years ago, and I believe his youngest son graduated from high school that same year. Bob's wife, Carla, teaches K-4 at a Christian school in Florida. They were on a cruise when he suddenly fell ill. His last spoken words were words of love to his wife. Now, she's a widow, and my heart breaks for her. 
  2. I read on an Internet Blog today that Dennis died. I never met Dennis, but I knew of his wife, Ellen, from my days at Maranatha Baptist Bible College. Ellen and I weren't friends, but I've been following her blog about Dennis' battle with brain cancer. This is what she wrote this morning: "At 10:45 today Dennis left his cancer stricken body and was fully healed and in the presence of his Savior. As he left his body, the hymn 'It is Well with My Soul' was playing. It is indeed well with all of our souls. Dennis' soul is in the presence of his Savior whom he has longed to see. I said to him moments after he had left, 'I so wish I could see what your eyes are seeing.' Amazing. He can walk, run, jump and speak."
  3. Today would have been Cliff's 62nd birthday. Cliff was Mom's youngest brother. She was 11 when he was born and she spent a lot of her time mothering him. My brothers and I never called him "Uncle Cliff," as he always seemed more like a brother to us than an uncle. He was our favorite babysitter. Every conversation with him was an education. He was brilliant. His sudden passing back in 2008 left a huge hole in our family, and a day rarely goes by when we don't think of him.
  4. Last, but certainly not least - Daddy Dave, Steve's beloved stepfather. The 2-year anniversary of his passing is coming up in the middle of this month. We speak of him so often. Steve will be forever grateful for Daddy Dave's presence in his life. Even though there were times as a teenager that Steve may not have appreciated Daddy Dave's authority, he has looked back at those times with tremendous thankfulness. Daddy Dave changed his life for the better, and we look forward to our reunion with him in heaven one day.
So, I'm thinking of 4 lives. . . 

and 4 vacant chairs. . .

4 lives that were meaningful. . .

to so many loved ones left behind.

All is well in the Keweenaw.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Reflections

Great Sand Bay, Lake Superior

All is well in the Keweenaw.