28 Jan 2012, 5:34pm

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Our Cottage

Our Cottage,

During breakfast, we could hear the thunder off in the distance and, after my husband had left for work, I sat with a cup of hot, instant orange capuchino listening to the rain approach.      It rustled the trees, pitted the lake, washed the dust from the hosta lilies and settled into a comforting drippetty-drip-drip on our cottage roof. Off in the distance, the Doppler effect turned a trains whistle into a mournful wail.     The peepers syncronized their tempo with the rain and all was copesthetic.      I like to sit in the old spring rocker at our cottage and smell the damp earth and fragrance of the lilies as the birds begin to twitter.  I was feeling thankful that I didn’t have to commute 40-minutes into work–a drive my husband doesn’t seem to mind.  I welcomed the gentle rain because the flora needed the sustenance and usually if it rains before seven, it shines by eleven.  It was going to be a hot, sultry summer day.      We built our cottage in 1977 and enjoy it three out of the four seasons of the year. If we keep the windows closed, we can bask in the early spring and late fall sun, but during the summer, we open all the windows to let the breeze keep us cool.  I’m a relaxed cottage keeper.  As long as I stay ahead of the cobwebs with an occasional vacuuming of the rug and mopping of the cement slab, I don’t worry about dust bunnies.      Through the French doors on the north side of the cottage, we have a small patio with a wooden-slat bench.  After an afternoon of weeding the small salad garden, I like to sweep this patio and then sit on the bench to wait for my husband to return.  Sipping an iced cammomile tea, with a sprig of fresh mint from our garden in it, makes the wait seem short.       On really hot days, we’ll change into our swim suits as soon as he gets home and follow the brick path to the lake.  It is quite refreshing to stand in cool water up to our necks and chat about the day.  Sometimes we’ll float around in inner-tubes until the charcoal fire is perfect for grilling barbecue chicken and roasting the corn on the cob.  Can s’mores be far behind?      After dinner there are the usual maintainance chores and we’re apt to go for another swim before bed.      Sometimes the tree toads’ shrill trills of mating, keep me awake at night.  I’ll get up and sit in my favorite spring chair and soak up the marvelous difference of night and day at the cottage.  Eventually, my husband will come down and we’ll stroll hand-in-hand back to bed.      Oh, did I forget to tell you where our paradise cottage and lake are?  The neighbors might tell you that we never leave home; that we’re always on our porch or in our swimming pool.Now, iif I hadn’t told you, none would be the wiser!    UP-DATE:     In October, 2011, we began to renovate our porch into a truly fabulous cottage.  We added on a 14’x16’ cement pad for a hot tub and enclosed the whole thing to our cottage to be used year ‘round.  There is nothing like our home, sweet home. NOTE:  A version of this first appeared in my column “Cornucopia” September 9, 199 in the Wayne County STAR newspaper.

21 Jan 2012, 8:02am

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Porch Renovation 17

On Saturday, January 14, the foam sprayers worked from 9:00 AM- 1:15 PM to coat most of the cottage with closed cell insulation.  They would come back on Tuesday to fill-in a few missed spots.

The delivery of the powder room fixtures was pushed to the 24th, as the garage space is needed for the drywall delivery.  They were both due on Tuesday, but Dave phoned Lowe’s to wait.  After all,  they can’t install the bathroom things until after the walls are up, which is after the floor tiles are installed.

On Monday, I had the pleasure of John’s company, because it was Martin Luther King Day and there was no school.  Tyler was at a friend’s home for the day.  Tuesday’s pleasure was having CJ for the whole day.  Unfortunately, he had a fever and was rather limp.  He wanted to be held all day and, well, someone had to do it.  I loved every minute of it (except, of course, that he was sick).  Tuesday evening, Marion, Joe, Tyler, John, with Nicki and Paul Tiffany came over for a birthday dinner in honor of CJ’s  first birthday.  He really would have rathered been napping than all the hub-bub of opening birthday presents.


When the Architect came for a visit on Thursday, he was not a happy camper.  The sprayed on insulation does not fill the cavity between the 2”x6” studs.  He says the empty cavity will enable moisture to leak into it from the room and, in time, form mold and mildew.  The research that Dave and the Builder did, does not support this, so we’ve gone ahead with the high-R board and wall board  installation.

The wall board crew have left quite a mess and need to return to finish the garage walls.  Hopefully, they will then ‘broom clean’ their mess.

Having the wall board up really makes it look like a real room, albeit, a smaller room.



14 Jan 2012, 6:34am

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Porch Renovation 16

Porch Renovation 16    Imagine our surprise to hear our garage door open while we were having a late  lunch on Saturday, January 7.  The electrician had come to re-do the outlet near the future gas stove and to install an outlet in the garage ceiling for the garage door opener.  Dave said it might mean that the insulation would, indeed, be sprayed on Monday and Tuesday.    Sunday afternoon, the architect phoned to express his displeasure that the ceiling in the new room was going to be fiber glass bats surrounding the recessed canister lights.  After much discussion and the builder’s research on the inter-net,  we decided to go with closed cell foam spray on the ceiling and the walls.  Apparently, this technique is air and vapor-proofed.  It will not allow moisture to seep into the ceiling area, inside or outside.  Everyone seemed happy about this decision, except that the insulation will not be installed until  Monday, the 16th; which in turn, meant that the drywall, due to be delivered on Wednesday the 11th and installed on the 12 and 13th, would be delayed a  week.    To add insult to injury, my laptop that was just repaired for $90  doesn’t work and will be returned to Lytespeed for further work.  It has taken me years to get  people to depend on me  to broadcast messages, media releases, and minutes of various organizations.  Now, without an accessible computer, I’m up the proverbial creek without a paddle.      On Wednesday, the builder sent us an e-mail advising us that the insulation would begin on Friday, possibly Thursday.  At the time I wondered:  Did he mean this Thursday/Friday  or next week or, possibly, next spring.     Yesterday, the builder was here for a short while.  He completed the east wall, so it now goes all the way up to the ceiling, covering up the part of the roof beam that connects to the original garage ridge beam.  He also installed a  tube for the big ceiling exhaust fan to exit room moisture.  I think our project must be a  part-time or hobby  for him.  I realize that as long as he has our project to work on, he has money coming in and something to do.  To me, it is a job to get done and get on with my life, enjoying our comfortable cottage.    Late Friday morning (Yes, it is Friday the 13th).  JAB Construction arrived to start spraying closed cell foam on the walls and ceiling of our cottage, as well as the garage side of the cottage’s east wall.     On paper, January 13th is when the whole project was to be completed, but,  guess what!  We’re having a  cold spell complete with lots of snow.  Fortunately, the plastic cover the builder put across the 9’ sliding door opening is holding up well.

6 Jan 2012, 4:55pm

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Porch Renovation 15


Saturday, December 31, 2011  is upon us.  As I’ve often told our children:  This day will never happen again, so make the most of it.  With this in mind, Dave and I decided to do something different to end the year.  We had lettuce, bacon and tomato sandwiches and sipped champagne  for breakfast.  For our late lunch, Dave whipped up a Seafood Grek.  A  delicious combination of scallops, shrimp, black olives, feta cheese, and garlic served over whole grain wild rice and sipped champagne.  Mid-evening, we had caramelized flan with our sips of champagne.  We watched the ball drop in Times Square, NYC,  tucked snuggly in our bed munching on strawberries as we sipped the last of our champagne.  Earlier in the day, we’d phoned all our children to wish them a Happy New Year.  They, too, were staying close to their respective homes to welcome in 2012.

Sunday, January 1, 2012, found us at our little Anglican Church in America on the corner of Bay Road and Bacchus in Webster.  Our elderly priest had died on December 21st, so we all wanted to know what was to transpire in the immediate future.

Dave went to work on Monday and there was no progress on our porch project.  We actually have two inches of snow on the ground now.  We were a bit concerned about the plastic covering the 9’ sliding door opening, as there were also high wind warnings.  The builder had done a good job of securing the plastic properly, so all is well that ends well.

On Tuesday, the builder and town Building Inspector held a pow-wow in the porch.   The Electrician needs to move one outlet and add one in the Garage cieling, before the Electrical Inspection.

Friday, January 6  – Epiphany.  The temperatures rose to 50-degrees, the snow melted, and the builder showed up.  He re-inforced the horizontal garage rafter that goes east to west, made another roof ridge support and ran a 2’x4’ on the north side to attach the ceiling sheets securely.

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