Category Archives: Home Improvements

Everything in Threes

Why does everything seem to come in threes? Is it magic number? We have the Three Stooges; plants should be grouped in threes; the Holy Trinity; the three wise men, traffic lights – red, amber, green; clothes, especially for babies: one on, one off and one in the wash; pre-packed meat in supermarkets, chops always seem to be in threes, not one or two or even four; three primary colours: red, blue and yellow; the three little pigs; three blind mice; no buses for an hour then three come along at once; three teaspoonsful equal one tablespoon… I could go on but it does seem odd (excuse the pun) that life and nature frequently have this triplet number. I’ve often wondered why or if there is any significance. Are these things simply a pattern? A lucky number, perhaps? No, I don’t think so for trouble always seems to come in threes too? At least it does in my house. I’ll elaborate…

Dave’s been retired now a month. It’s been brilliant. We’ve had a lot of fun, more laughs than I can remember us having and he and I have enjoyed every moment of this new phase in our long marriage. Except this month has also brought unwelcome and unexpected expense. Picture the scene: a beautiful Sunday, guests joining us for lunch, a roast merrily cooking its way, then bang! All the power in the house goes down. Trip switch flicked on again and again. Bang! Yes, you’ve guessed it, the cooker decided to burn out one of the heating elements in the oven. Oven turned off, meal resumed in the jet stream and microwave. Engineer summoned Monday morning. New element ordered, fitted on Wednesday.

Thursday, pouring with rain. Never mind, have washing to do. Thank goodness for tumble drier as we don’t have room for a washing line in the garden. Load machine with sheets. Drum turns a few times as it fills with cold water. Then bang! Trip switch shuts power off. Dave blames pump in koi pond and goes off to sort. I turn washing machine back on. Off power goes again. Kicks machine. Okay, it’s nearly 14 years old, never broken down so I can’t complain. Suspect pump has given up. Removes wet, soaking bedding from drum. Scratches head. What to do with dripping washing. Engineer summoned again in hope he can fix it. Yes he can. Heater element blown. New one ordered and fitted following Monday morning.

Now have larger washing mountain to climb. First load in: several large towels. Washing machine works a treat and an hour later they are dying in tumble drier. Well… I thought they were. All lights flashing on machine, washing still damp after two hours. Drier defunct. Research problem on internet: Common fault. Terminal. Still pouring with rain so can’t even rig up temporary line. New tumbler on order for next day delivery.

So, that is our three bad things done. Hopefully. Please no more. Dave reckons the dishwasher will be next as it’s over 10 years old. I’ve told him if it does break down, he will be doing all the washing up for wishing it upon us.

It’s still raining, and blowing a gale, but at least the garden is thriving, even if we can’t get out there and enjoy it today.

Kit’s Website and Blog  and Kit’s Art  Site

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What Happened to February?

Well, what happened to February? It’s gone by in a flashier flash than even January did! 20170226_111643Maybe it’s because Chez Jones has been inundated with workmen since the beginning of the year with a bathroom remodel and copious other little jobs that spun from that one big one. I’m sure you know the sort of thing I mean: the leak from the newly installed toilet that produced a waterfall through the kitchen ceiling which consequently required repainting, the drip from the mains water tap discovered when they turned off the water supply to start the work, and which had resulted in an annual water bill which was basically double the norm (since been sorted, thankfully – both the leak and the bill!), and the new bathroom spotlights and extractor fan which resulted in discovering that the whole house needing re-wiring!! Suffice to say, we are doing the re-wiring thing in stages. Our nerves (and bank account) need time to settle down 😉 But that said, we absolutely love the new bathroom and said workmen did a fab job with everything. Such a great group of chaps – artisans, all of them.

20170218_113500In other news, Vivvy is doing really well with her training. She now has her bronze and silver awards and we are currently working on her gold (although Daddy says she’s already his golden girl *eye roll*). She picks up things really fast, especially if there’s a treat at the end of it, and seems to love scent work and hide & seek games the best. I’m trying to teach her to put her toys back in the box at the moment, but that’s a work in progress. I think she wonders why her minions can’t do that sort of menial task, thank you very much. I’m also attempting to teach her the cup game, but she just knocks all the cups over until she finds the treat underneath. Something to keep working on, I think, and maybe one day she’ll be as good at the task as Snow the cat in the following video:

 

 

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Lots of Things Afoot at Chez Chantal

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Jillian here!  It’s been a busy time here at Chez Chantal. One of my staff had a stroke on Christmas Eve and, even though she is on the road to recovery, it’s been pretty stressful at the office since things … Continue reading

Last 2016 Project

I seem to do the same thing with time and accomplishments as I do with money. That is, at the end of the year I think where did it go. At one point when I was down about not getting anything done, Laurie suggested I do a ‘did it list’ to go along with my always ‘to do list’. Does it sound like I’m a list maker? Big time, sometimes I think I have lists for lists. 🙂

Okay I’m regressing here.   I do make daily lists, but a few years ago I put the major things down for the year. Looking back on 2016 I didn’t do so bad. I even got in 3 really great trips. Now, just to make it clear I’m not talking about ‘making this world a better place’ type of accomplishments though I hope I leave it a little better than if I hadn’t been here. This is secular type things, (ie. Trips, new furniture, etc. ).   So this fall I got the itch to do one last project for the year. As many of you know I moved into this place in January 2013 and it was pre-owned. Even though it had some nice upgrades I wanted to changes some things.

One thing was to re do the master bath. Take out the white, poorly laid tile shower, and put in granite or quartz bathroom counters. Now this is a small room so I thought hey how big a job can it be.   “Silly me.”

#1. It was expensive. I wanted a solid material to replace the tile and a pony type wall so I don’t need to clean water spots off glass. I settled on a material called Piedrafina. It pretty much is to marble what quartz is to granite. The main thing is the ease of maintenance (cleaning).

#2. It isn’t a fast job. They scheduled two weeks. At the end of three everything was still a mess.

#3. It was messy. They should have put up plastic for shields. They didn’t and I had a layer of dust over everything. They cut material in the garage, what a mess.

#4. There was missed communication.   The model shower in their showroom had a pony wall with wrap around Piedrafina. It turned out they designed mine with a sheetrock wall on the one side. And, they didn’t allow for it to be finished. When the job was done I had an exposed sheetrock wall open at the bottom showing the studs. I hadn’t intended to paint until next year but that changed. Thankfully I hired a separate painter who is fantastic. He not only painted the bath and bedroom he cleaned and painted the garage.    🙂 🙂

The last project of the year, that started out to be a medium sized one, turned into a major headache.   It will take a few months before I’m ready to even think of the next one. Well that is except for our trip to Jamaica that’s different.   Maybe I should just plan a year of travel and let house projects sit for awhile.

The pictures don’t do it justice. But it gives an idea of what it looks like.

 

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Better late than never…

During our married life, AJ and I have moved ten times within six different counties here in the UK. We’ve loved our travels, especially living in new places and meeting new people, but when we moved into our current house almost twenty years ago now, we both sensed it was home.

I’d always been pretty happy to live a kind of nomadic existence, not really putting down roots anywhere because I knew AJ would likely come home and tell me he’d been promoted in his career and we were off to pastures new. They were exciting and adventurous times, but I’m happy to have those roots down now.

20160523_075020When we moved in here, one of the first things I wanted to do was redesign the garden. It was a good sized space, but the patio and paths were beginning to crumble and looking worse for wear. But there always seemed to be something else in the house that needed attention first, so the garden was put on the back burner. We travelled a lot too, so that took up a lot of available funds 🙂 🙂

20160527_111232Anyway, after we adopted Vivvy last year and following a winter of waterlogged lawns, almost non-existent pathways, and the resultant muddy paws, we decided to take the plunge and hire a landscaper to get to grips with the garden. Poor Vivvy wondered what on earth was happening as over ten ton of concrete was broken up and disposed of in what she thinks of as her domain. When the way was prepared for the new landscaping, she decided to put her mark on proceedings and promptly stepped in the newly-laid concrete bed, much to the chagrin (and consequent laughter) of the landscapers.

20160604_185656Soon the garden of my twenty-year dreams began to take shape and I have to admit to being absolutely thrilled with the result. I’ve gained a gorgeous new patio, another area for planting, and a path that I can actually walk on rather than simply negotiate pot holes.20160615_154819

Okay, so it took almost two decades but then everything worth having is worth waiting for. Now I’m enjoying researching plants to go along the wall edge of the patio, for which I’ll be needing help. So, does anyone have any ideas for plants that will provide year-round foliage, while growing tallish, but not too wide, and offering some colour in the spring/summer months? Any suggestions gratefully received.

 

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More Remodeling

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Maybe this time it’s more like redecorating. The good thing about purchasing a pre-owned house is that you can redecorate and remodel it to your taste. The bad thing about purchasing a pre-owned house is you might have to redecorate … Continue reading

Not a Rosie Yet

JetsonsI remember when the Jetson’s introduced Rosie. What a great maid and no, we are not there yet, but it could well be in our future. In the meantime we do have robot vacuums.

I’ve been looking at them since they first came out and finally broke down the other day and got one. But first I did some research, as there are now a number of different manufacturers.

I ended up with an iRobot by Roomba from Costco. Still not convinced I decided on this one primarily because I could get it from Costco and if it didn’t measure up it would be easy to return. Not going to happen, as it’s a keeper.

I have a perfect layout for it with the hardwood floors. It has no trouble image-38going from the area rug to the hardwood and then on to the carpet in the bedrooms. It does have trouble finding it’s way back to its docking station to recharge but that hasn’t been a problem. When it needs to go back it stops and tells me to relocate. I just take it to where it can ‘see’ the station and hit dock and it does its thing.

I can schedule cleaning but since I’m here it’s easier to just hit the clean when I’m leaving the house and let it do its thing. So far it’s needed its dust bin cleaned after each use. Does that mean I have a dirty house? ☺

I love the age we live in and I’ve been around long enough to see wringer washers, wood cook stoves, no microwave and to much more to mention. I can say by experience that “We’ve come a long ways.” And, I love the journey.