Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sanding the Hardwood Floors

Today Phil spoke to Steve, the sanding guy.  Turns out that he is pretty reasonable, so he is going to sand the pine floors in the living room, dining room, upstairs hall and bathroom closet and Katie's bedroom.  Included in the price is putting on the first coat of varnish.  Phil will put on the other 2 coats saving up about $700.  Steve came Jan 5 & 6, 2009.  The first picture is the stairs with carpet.  Photo #2 is Phil taking a break. Photo #3 shows the marks left from Phil pulling stables.

We had to prep, which meant ripping up the carpet and padding, removing the staples and of course before we can do that, removing the furniture.  So my job while Phil was in California wass to clear out the bookcases and everything else I can so when he gets back, we'll work together moving the furniture and doing the above prep work.

We were not sure what to do about the stairs, which Steve says are oak - at least the treads are oak and the risers are probably pine like the floors.  Phil lifted up the carpet on the lower stairs and is currently pulling out the staples.  Mind you, the carpet installers stapled every inch or so. Many staples to pull out.  We are thinking about sanding the stairs lightly and varnishing them ourselves.    As you can tell, this post is out of order, but when I originally wrote, it - couldn't figure out how to add the pictures.  

Putting House up for Sale

Hi everyone,

Phil and I have made the decision to put the house up for sale. I had hoped that my neice and her boyfriend could rent the house while we are away cruising, and if their situation changes and the house isn't sold yet - then they still can, but I think the chance of them being able to do that with the worsening ecomony is lower than we initially thought.

Last night we had a real estate agent, Linda - the same one that Phil had used to sell his last 2 houses - come a look at the house and give us suggestions for getting the house ready to sell. Of course there is a lot to do - clearing aware the clutter - but she also recommended that we finish the hardwood floors under the carpet in the living room and dining room. We had hoped not to have to do that as it's a big job and we usually do this ourselves- but have a call in already to get a quote for the sanding. Phil wants to apply the varnish himself.

Sunday, Phil and I replaced the ripped screens on the back patio door in 44F weather. Not fun, but it's only going to be colder once he gets back. Thankfully, Phil put up reinforced plastic over the screen walls of the patio, so that shielded us from the wind and rain.

Phil is leaving tomorrow to visit his daughter, Vicki, had her husband Nick, sons Henry and Calvin for a couple weeks. While he is gone, I hope that I can get the 2nd floor attic packed up. This is the room that I keep most of my fabric and lesser used sewing/quiltiing books and sewing machines. Maybe I'll take before and after pictures of the rooms. That way I have a way to tell just how much we have done. As Linda said one room at a time.

Our target date to put the house up for sale is beginning of February before the spring rush starts. It's discouraging for me that the pricing for the house is going to be a lot less than I want, but with this market -if I price it too high, it will only sit a long time and then we'll have to decrease the price anyways.


Sunday, November 23, 2008


Hi everyone,
Haven't had a chance to post on the blog as preparations have been slowed while I recover from surgery I had on Nov 11 (Phil's 66th birthday) to remove a tumor on my left ovary a little bigger than the size of a lemon. I was lucky enough that the surgeon was able to use robotics thru slits instead of having a vertical incision down from my bellybutton. Glad to find out that it was non-cancerous - so now I'm recovering and can move on with my life without those worries anyway. I've been hurting more than I expected, as the work inside was more extensive than they originally thought and making a slower recovery, but moving along. I very much appreciate all the support that I have received from my sailing friends and also those at work.

While I have been recuperating, I have been reading this book called "The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South - The Thornless Path to Windward" by Bruce Van Sant. It's given me some good information and will be useful being able to go upwind through the carribean islands the easier and safer way if you follow his rules. The book has started discussions between Phil and I and we are now starting to finalize some of our plans for where we are going for the year. At this time, we want to end up at Conception Island about 80 nm from Georgetown in the Exumas. Also reading "An Embarrasment of Mangos" was good (got it at the Annapolis Boat Show)- I feel like I have more sailing skills at the start of our adventure than the woman did when she and her husband from Toronto started their 2 years cruise through the Caribbean. Makes me feel more confident that I can do this. Also puts a different perspective on living life the cruising way.

So far our tentative plans are leave late August 2009 to get down to Florida by the end of November so that we can cross over to the Bahamas early December 2009. This will entail asking a friend or two to crew with us and sailing straight down the coast of the Atlantic Ocean to Florida from ? port north maybe to Key Biscayne instead of taking the slower ICW. I'm not afraid to be on the boat sailing at night and with enough crew we'll be safe enough with watches taking the right weather window. We also don't want to get caught in the cold especially if winter comes early. I think that we'll take the ICW on our way back in the spring so that I'll have more locations to take a bus or some other means to get back home in early May to help my daughter Katie move out of her dorm at the end of her sophmore year in college. Then Phil will see if another friend can crew with him to get Changes back to Grand River Yacht Club while I set up the home front.

Have a great day! Lorraine

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fun with Pressure Cookers

I finally got my new pressure cookers on Friday and couldn't wait to try them out. Saturday I made some pumpkin custard for the Grand River Sailing Club membership meeting. We voted on officers and also had lots of good food to eat. Unfortunately the custard didn't look so good, so not many were willing to try it. But boy did it taste good. (if I say so myself --- but other said so too :) ) There was so much food that it didn't get eaten up there, but don't worry as Phil and I had it for dessert Sunday and today and now it's gone. Nice thing about this is it's low in calories and fat and makes up 4 services at one time. That would work good on the boat.

I also tried the pressure fryer feature - used tempura batter to fry boneless chicken thighs, thick cut potato strips and also a few brussel sprouts. Tasted good, but I wonder if I filled the cooker too full. Made WAY too much food - not an uncommon occurrance of mine - so we will have it for supper on Wednesday or Thursday. Even thought the guy who demonstrated it said that it wouldn't absorb too much oil if you have the oil at 390F - when putting it back in the bottles, a third of a bottle was used up - so guess we had way too many calories. I'll try it again w/o the batter coating and see how it turns out. If it isn't much better - than guess I won't be using this feature again as both of us don't need so much extra calories.

Today I made pinto beans, brown rice and smoked sausage all in one pot. Had some leftover salsa from GRSC meeting on Friday, so tossed that in with some tomato paste, onions and garlic. At first I thought that I had put in too much water - but then as it sat while we ate - it seemed to soak it up so now I think that I won't decrease the amount of water as much as I thought I would. Of course made way too much - so now have another meal for later in the week and froze 3 more. Another thing, is I'll have to increase the time that I cook it as the beans were too crunchy. Live and learn. Good thing that Phil not only will eat my experiments, but usually likes them.

This is part of my plan to try new foods with the cookware I bought - I'll have to decrease the amounts when I make this recipe on the boat, as we don't have much of a freezer (unlike now though it is very full) and even though Phil can tolerate eating the same food every day - I for one cannot!

Phil is still working on his plans for installing the autohelm. He's still thinking how to mount it.

BTW, we are having either sleet or hail this evening - as it was very loud coming down on our skylight in our back room. We are expecting to get some snow - hard to tell if the ground is cold enough for it to stick though have some predictions in the snow belt (where we live) of 1-2 inches. Just think - next year if everything goes well, we'll be down south enough not to deal with this.

Stay warm!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Annapolis Boat Show

Hi everyone,  
Phil and I decided to start a blog to talk about our preparations for getting ready to go cruising. Oct 9 - 12 we visited the Annapolis Boat Show staying up in Glen Burnie, MD.  Had a great time, found the next boat we want to buy if we love the cruising lifestyle (Bavaria 50) and bought items for the boat for both of us.  Phil bought me a 21 piece set of stainless steel nesting cookware, as I intent to cook on board. (Thank you!!)  This cookware has both metal lids and tupperware type lids so that you can also store food in the pan.  I bought for myself a set of Fagou Pressure cookers (8 quart and 4 quart) that came with a pasta pot, a steamed pan, and a couple racks.  Check out "Show Me Products" web site to see what they look like.  My plan is to nest most of the cookware inside the pressure cookers and store the 8qt on the stove and the 4qt in the oven.   For now I get to play with my new pressure cookers!  I'm looking forward to cooking the bean and split peas and rice in them that I usually can't cook in a pressure cooker.  My plan is to also to try recipes from some of the cookbooks I got with the above purchases at the boat show and try them at home to make sure we like them.  

Phil bought an under the deck autohelm. (sorry I don't remember the name of it) He is now currently trying to decide about making the tiller arm for this to rest on.  They sure are expensive (isn't most boat items??) and I'm sure that he'll be able to make if he thinks he can.  He also bought a Garmin 425 GPS - has all the charts of the US and Bahamas already in it and is HD.  I'll work on learning how to use it later this winter.  Too many other things to do right now.  We also bought some fishing gear - a cuban reel with 80# monofilament cord w/lure and hook included.  We also bought 4 additional lures.  The gentleman that sold them to us said that this lure will help the tail biters not cut thru the line - so hopefully we'll be catching some tuna, grooper and mahi mahi as we're sailing.

Phil has finished putting the boat away as of yesterday.  What a relief!  He's been working very hard trying to get this done before the temperatures were below 50F permanently.  He did extra this fall sanding the Trinidan SR off the keel (too soft), the fresh water bottom paint off the rest of bottom and putting 2 coats of interprotect on the keel.  He's going to be putting Vivid paint on the bottom in the spring, which is good in salt water.  You should see his hands!  Stained from the blue paint.   He also bought a new tarp and cut wood so that he can attach the tarp to the boat at the toe rail so the tarp doesn't scratch the new red paint job we got a couple years ago as a result of the big Grand River Flood.

While we were in Annapolis, we were hoping to meet some of the cruising group from Port Stanley Sailing Squadron, but as I had lost their contact information, we couldn't tell if any were there or not.  Phil and I had visited Port Stanley in July during our 2 week sailing vacation and had a great time talking with the members that are cruising down to the Bahamas this fall.  Two of their members have blogs which can be accessed from the Port Stanley Sailng Squadron web site for anyone interested.  I was so excited to be able to contact them on their travels and really upset that I can't find the information.  If any of this group reads my blog, please try to contact me at memryqlts@aol.com if you could.  

Well I have talked you ear off and have plenty to do here at home - digging up the rest of the rutabaga that I have planted, picking lettuce, going to vote and cleaning the house.  Phil is helping with the Grand River Yacht Club work day and also helping a couple sailors take their masts off the boats.  He'll help me clean later this weekend.   Have a nice day.