Random 5 for December 26 – Strange times, Trek*, friends, phone, projects

The fireplace wall with cardboard where the wooden surround and mantel will go.

It was another weird week – Or maybe that’s the new norm. I’ll start with the bad news and go on from there.

Saying goodbye to a blogger – If any of you follow Trek*, the American living in Austria, she died recently. (This is her last post.) One of her friends reached out to me. The weird thing about bloggers is that you feel connected even though you’ve never met. She lived ten miles from where all four of my grandparents were born and raised before they emigrated. Until recently she taught at a Montessori school which provided a load of posts. She blogged about her life and it was an unusual one. She lived in a rural area but her stories of life in a sort of “farm” area were hilarious. Her chickens died and her native neighbor was judgy and suspicious of this American living next door. Her stories about adopting her daughters from Africa warmed your hear. Goodbye Trek (Circumstance 227), you gave us so much.

Do you remember my walking partner? Yes, the one that talked so much. Her husband died before the holidays. I’ve reached out but she’s not ready for walking yet. I’m hopeful I can provide a distraction from all the upheaval and heartache that comes with losing a long time spouse.

Now for happy – Remember my whining about my new phone? I think I like it. Much like my new car, it has features I don’t use but I’m learning. With our renovation coming along, it has been so easy to track supplies and text contractors. I almost always have it with me and I never thought I’d say that about any phone.

Planning for the next project – With the kitchen (possibly) nearing completion (so they say), we started to plan out our next project. This one will be much easier as we are doing it ourselves. That gives us complete control (and all the work!). We only need wood which is easier to find than sinks and appliances. Because the fireplace is oddly placed (not centered) on a wall, we have to be creative and find ways to balance the room. The picture shows the card board taped to the wall to get dimension ideas. We will soon be on our way with that one.

So how was your week?

53 thoughts on “Random 5 for December 26 – Strange times, Trek*, friends, phone, projects

  1. I’m so sorry to hear about your blogger friend and your walking buddy’s husband. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do with the fireplace. They say if you stop working on a house, that’s when you stop loving it.

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  2. So sorry about your blog friend! We do really get to know people online, and it’s always sad when they fall away. So often people just stop posting, so we’re left to wonder. It is so nice that her friend reached out to you.
    You are very brave to be thinking about tackling another house project! But it’s good that you guys will be handling it yourselves. That should eliminate most of the hassles, other than supply chain ones.

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  3. I’m sorry about your friend at *Trek. I read some of her posts and wished I had discovered her earlier. Very entertaining.

    I’m embarrassed to ask this, but I need to know if I’m losing my mind. All these projects you’re doing. Is this the new house you just moved into? or another house? : )

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  4. It was good of you to contact your old walking pal. Even though she’s not ready yet, I’m sure she appreciated it. After my husband died, it was hard for me to gather the mental energy to initiate activities. I was grateful to anyone who took the initiative–after a bit of time passed.

    I’ve always enjoyed sending out Christmas cards and hearing back from people I hadn’t heard from for a while. Sometimes, though, the note that comes back is not a good one. One day last week, I received two such notes. An old friend died during the year, and his daughter sent me a lovely note to inform me. Another old friend’s wife let me know that he had alzheimers. Fortunately, the following day I received cards with only good news. You take the bad with the good, I guess.

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  5. Sorry to hear about your blogging pal and her blog sounds like it would have been of interest to me. I visited Austria twice, once with my father, once both parents – it’s very beautiful.

    It is easy to get close to bloggers … one of mine has gone missing and she was only in her early 50s, but had MS and also a bout with breast cancer two years ago. She also had a teenage daughter with Borderline Personality Disorder and created a separate blog with regard to that. Her daughter was institutionalized and asked to be released to her grandfather, not parents. She hated her mother.

    This blogged infrequently so I’d e-mail her and ask if everything was okay? She’d be upbeat and cheery and say “just busy and not blogging” but would chitchat and always thank me for worrying about her. I reached out a few times this Fall by e-mail with no response (and no failed mail). I feel maybe something bad happened to her.

    Another fellow blogger posted on Christmas Eve that its curtains for him and his cancer was incurable. It was blunt and brief. I just read a post that said “Tired and in pain. Wonder how long I’ll last…” Very sad.

    On a brighter note, I admire you getting acclimated so quickly to the car and phone. I have not read the manual and today was driving and glanced at the clock “an hour fast, ten minutes slow … just deduct 50 minutes Linda – must. read. the. manual!” Just pitiful! I admire as well you’re going to take on more renovation, whether DIY or not!!

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      • I’ve yet to make my cheat sheet like I had for the Regal … this car is 11 years old. Details, details. Yes, it is sad and right now I have two blogging friends dealing with COVID in their immediately families. Pretty scary.

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          • I almost made a cheat sheet today. We’ve had three days of freezing rain and light snow – ugh. Yesterday I ran the car and while running it I got a message in my information window “Stabilitrack and Brake System – check now!” The icon was flashing. Oh no! That’s first and drove it 26 miles Sunday was fine, ran it in the garage Monday – fine. I wasn’t going anywhere and decided to contact OnStar for a diagnosis today if it happened again. I got the manual out on my knee in case she gave me instructions, ran the car twice – no flashing. Called OnStar – diagnostic said 100% okay. The customer service rep said “it was a blip, no worries, it happens sometimes.” Whew! I put the manual back into its case, into the glove box, came in the house and said “why didn’t I fix that clock?”

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  6. I have left a note with my final papers and stuff that there should be a post that I am no longer around to blog. Maybe that is weird but that’s what I have done.
    Hope your friend gets in touch to walk. I think walking is great medicine for whatever needs to be dealt with.
    I will be needing a new phone soon and I dread it. They are so expensive! And complicated!
    Looking forward to the after picture of the fireplace.

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    • I think that is an excellent idea. I checked her blog and nothing was posted. She posted a cheery note mid-November that didn’t give a clue how dire the circumstances were. Since she wasn’t a frequent poster, I wasn’t triggered to wonder what happened yet.

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    • Only one that we can control ourselves. We are hoping to rework the deck in the spring but our heartbroken contractor was going to do it. In any case that’s all outdoor work. We have pushed the bathroom renovation off a few years.

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  7. Loss is always hard, and we do get the feeling we ‘know’ the bloggers we follow. For instance, I ‘know’ you will be doing a happy dance the day the sink and countertops are set and the construction guys walk out the door for the last time. You might even go to Starbucks twice that day. 🙂 Interesting about the fireplace not being centered, but I like your cardboard template. I’m visual too so I do that a lot when I’m planning a project. Phones really are mini laptops, I just wish they didn’t update quite as often for new bells and whistles I don’t use and at the same time change stuff that I have to research how to change back. Yep, once I get it set up I wish it would stay that way. Happy week!

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  8. You just have to really wonder what peeps who build are thinking of sometimes. I bet the fireplace will look great when it is done. I hope your walking partner gets in touch with you when she is ready. I would certainly appreciate a walking pal like you. Great news about you bonding with your phone… Ha! We are already having issues with the sinks for the bathrooms… somebody save me!

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  9. Oh boy, I am with you about balancing the room. What are people thinking, when they ignore symmetry?!?! I think your fireplace surround will be just the ticket, when finished.

    Deb

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  10. I know what you mean about bloggers. One of the cat bloggers, Pete of Timmy Tomcat passed away right before Thanksgiving and I was devastated- even though we never spoke or met in person. Many cat bloggers felt the same.

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    • At least I found out. So many bloggers ride off into the sunset and you don’t know. I was following a very perky and active woman of 87. I was with her through her husband’s death and moving to a smaller condo. Then she disappeared. I think about her once in a while.

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  11. RIP Trek. I just read a few of her posts ~ she must have been quite young as she was writing about her 7 year old daughter just 5 years ago. Glad she had a chance to spend time with her sister, dissolved in giggles, before passing.

    Happy to hear you’re upbeat enough about the kitchen to start planning your next project.

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    • It’s not centered under the peak of the cathedral ceiling. Dumb, dumb, dumb. I like to place the furniture so it’s symmetrical with the fireplace but then the room is off. I didn’t notice before we bought it but the former owner did not have much furniture in the house.

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  12. I was baffled by the phone I bought a year or so ago at first as well, but now I’m hardly ever without it. That’s probably not a good thing, but I guess it is modern life. Marley and I will have to make another trip to see all these renovations sometime. We have decided to cancel Alaska in May since Bodhi’s health is unpredictable and so is Covid stuff. We will go to Massachusetts (as long as Bodhi isn’t in bad shape) instead, the trip we cancelled last October, and one where we can quickly drive home if needed. So perhaps we can stop on the way there or back!

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