Looking Back

2022 already ?!  My how time flies when you’re having so much fun.

2020 was basically a lost year.  The COVID-19 pandemic changed the way many of us live and do business.  Whoever would have thought that by 2021, a majority of the work force would be operating remotely?  But probably we should have expected that many of us would being doing most of our purchasing online since shopping was already headed that way prior to the pandemic.  And restaurants – so many were unable to weather the pandemic restrictions and simply shut down.  For many of us, family get-togethers were also suspended during 2020 for fear of infection transmission.  Zoom gatherings became a thing, even for those of us who were previously technologically challenged.

And I won’t even discuss the 2020-2021 political chaos.

By mid-2021, a new normal had begun to emerged.  As COVID-19 vaccines were developed and administered, people felt safer going out into public, and the economy started to rebound.  However, remote work which had been instituted as a temporary solution became permanent for many businesses as employers realized it was so much cheaper to have everyone working from home.

So, how were things here in Cordelia’s Mom’s world during those two years?  A brief summary:

◊  During my 3 months of forced unemployment due to the COVID-19 lockdowns in early 2020, I built up my savings significantly.  After all, I did not have to pay for gas to get to and from work, nor did I need to worry about work clothes or lunches.  I spent my time basically just loafing around, sometimes doing photography, and frequently posting on this blog (click on COVID-19 under Categories in the right sidebar to quicklhy find those posts, ’cause I know how much you want to.)

◊  Returning to work after the lockdown was lifted, I realized that 4 days a weeks were simply too much for this old[er] lady, so in September 2020, I cut back to 3 days a week.  Good thing I did, because in October, 2020, I found myself in the hospital due to high blood pressure.  Thankfully, that resulted in addition of a new medication and changes in diet and lifestyle, and I seem to be fine now (but not any younger, unfortunately).

◊  The new schedule freed up an additional weekday for whatever I wished to do.  It was a beautiful autumn and I experienced a renewed enthusiasm for my photography.  But then, winter came and I fell off the steps to my side porch.  Although nothing was seriously injured other than my ego, I found myself going out less and less.  My left knee and leg never did fully recover from that fall, and it didn’t help when I reinjured that leg in Janaury, 2021.

◊  I think that was about when my interest in both blogging and photography began to wane.  I was running out of ideas for posts, and at some point I realized that pretty much everyone in the world with a cell phone could take better photos than I could with my (to me) somewhat pricy Nikon Coolpix A1000.   Although I managed to keep going for awhile, and did, in fact, still take some pretty awesome pictures.

◊  Having at that point determined that neither photography nor blogging was bringing me enough satisfaction, especially in light of the work involved for both, I decided to take up a new (or rather, return to an old) hobby – needlework.  My aghans and hats have become more popular than I ever would have thought, especially my team-themed hats.  Football and hockey season here in Western New York can be COLD, and who doesn’t love a nice, warm hat in their favorite team colors?

◊  Hobbies were suspended briefly in the summer of 2021, when my daughter sold her house and bought a new one, and at the same time I refinanced my own home.  Such stress!  But worth it in both cases.  I saved a lot on my monthly payment through refinancing, but then the house decided it needed every penny of those savings.  The main electric panel failed and had to be replaced, and the sewer line broke, requiring extensive and expensive repairs.

◊  Even before the sewer repairs, I became too tired for either photography or blogging, and decided to give it up take a break.  It was no longer fun, and once something becomes too much like work, it’s time to move on to something else.  Since August, 2021, I’ve posted infrequently and taken even less photos.   But I have blogged and taken photos, so I haven’t totally given up yet and probably will be around for awhile longer.  Hope that makes everyone happy!

I can only hope 2022 turns out to be a good year.   Two weeks in, we’ve already had our share of family crises.  I don’t wish to go into details, but let’s just say that even though I’m not directly involved, being forced to move an elderly relative from independent living into a nursing home is stressful for the entire extended family.  My heart goes out to the patient herself and to her children who are making some very difficult decisions.

Meanwhile, I work on baby afghans.  Apparently, lots of new babies are on the way, and the afghans make great welcoming gifts:

Happy 2022, Everyone.  May your year be healthy, safe, and financially stable.

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in That's Life | 21 Comments

Praise for Ditch Diggers and Plumbers

How many bodies do you think could be buried in this “grave” if placed end to end?

All we need is a tombstone or two, right?  Too bad the digging hadn’t been done prior  to Halloween.

Yes, the sewer work has been completed.  While the outside of my house is looking pretty rough right now:

Gotta love that bush that had to be cut in half. Not.

The basement is looking pretty cool:

Since there would be no water nor usable toilets during the sewer work, Puppy Cody and I stayed at our local Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel.  I was impressed by the size of the “room” – it was actually a small apartment with a full sized kitchen and separate bedroom.  It even had a fireplace! (although I never turned that on, so I can only assume it worked).

There were no guest rooms on either side of us nor across the hall, so the hotel was very quiet.  The exit door was a short walk down the hallway, so it was easy getting Cody in and out.  Outside the hotel was plenty of green space, and there were strategically placed bins specifically designated for disposal of pet waste.  Again, I was impressed.

Despite being quite comfortable in our new temporary home, Cody spent a good portion of her time waiting for Dad to come back to take her for walkies:

Eventually, she did settle down:

Meanwhile, hubby hung out at the house because, even though we’ve used Roy’s Plumbing for at least 30 years and they’ve replaced every pipe in the two houses we’ve owned, he wanted to “supervise” the work.  I’m sure the idea of watching a backhoe digging and workmen climbing in and out of a huge ditch to lay pipe factored into his decision not to spend the time with us at the hotel.  He sent me photos of the work in progress so I wouldn’t miss out:

That’s the utility tub from the basement. It had to be replaced along with the sewer lines.

Glad I wasn’t there.

When I was growing up, many adults would encourage white collar careers, claiming that if one weren’t properly educated one could “wind up being a ditch digger.”  I gotta tell you, the guys from Roy’s Plumbing worked their asses off on a fairly cold, damp November day, and as far as I’m concerned they should be (and probably are) paid more than most people working white-collar, cubicle based clerical jobs – and I’m sure that most of the crew were college educated and/or had extensive training.  Plumbing ain’t easy.  Hubby tells me that the crews working both inside the house replacing the pipes and outside the house digging the ditch, connecting pipes and tying into the town sewer line were professional, efficient and courteous.  They got the entire job done in about 7 hours – an incredible feat in my book.

The whole process, from hotel move-in to sewer replacement to hotel move-out took only about 24 hours, but it seemed so much longer.  We were all a little disoriented by the time it was all over.

But at least now when I flush a toilet I don’t hear that horrendous groaning sound which made me think the entire sewer line was about to explode, that horrible sewage smell has dissipated, and now all the interior pipes are above ground so if one ever breaks again, there will be easy access.  I understand that many new homes are being built this way to avoid ground settling and crushing of pipes.

Was it horrendously expensive?  You betcha.  But worth every penny of it.

I can only hope my fingers hold out well enough to complete all those crochet orders coming in so that I can replenish some of my savings account.  My hats have thankfully become quite popular, especially since I’ve added a line of faux spirit hats (colors as close to official team colors as I can get them, and easy to make regardless of what teams my customers support).

We once again are back to more-or-less normal in Cordelia’s Mom’s world.

How are things by you?

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio and/or Cordelia’s Dad

Posted in Household Items, That's Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Head Stitches

Great title, isn’t it?  Guess it caught your interest if you’re still with me.

Not to worry:  I am not injured; I have merely expanded my new hobby to include crocheted hats.  In addition to the model pictured above, I created my own using a herringbone stitch pattern:

Here’s a close-up of the herringbone pattern:

Hey, it keeps me off the street and out of trouble.  Which, for those of you who know me, is a very good thing.

I have completed all of my Christmas afghans (see photo at bottom of this post), and I was hoping to give a few hats to the men in my family.  But hubby has advised that both of the hats I’ve pictured are too girly to be worn by any guy.

Back to the drawing board.  I’m determined to create a masculine looking hat that incorporates the team colors of our local football and hockey teams.  If I can’t do that with crochet, I’ll just have to re-learn knitting.

Once I’ve figured that out, I’ll be starting on the next phase of my hobby:  baby afghans.  I already have several people who love my full-sized afghans so much that they’ve asked if I can created some for my tiniest clients.  Wish me luck.  The baby afghans had better work out, because I’ve already purchased a whole bunch of yarn.

If nothing else, my hobby will give me something to do when I’m sitting in a hotel with Puppy Cody while the sewer work is being done at my house.  I’m so looking forward to being able to flush the toilet without having to worry that the whole system will suddenly blow up.  I will have the easy part of the project; hubby will be staying at the house to supervise the work.  We both just want it over.

Hope all is well with you.  The world is slowly getting back to [the new] normal; may it continue to do so.

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio

Posted in Household Items, Photography, That's Life | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

When the House Itself Says Trick or Treat

Most of us have been there, many more than once.

You spend months searching for that perfect house, submitting bids and finally winning one.  You do the home inspection, arrange for financing, and eventually close the deal.  You move in, anticipating that some cosmetic updates will be required, such as painting, curtains, maybe floor sanding or new carpeting.  You may even set enough  of your now limited funds aside for replacing the old lead pipes with copper or PVC (depending on the building code in your area).  After all, these  upgrades are what make that house your home.

It isn’t very long, however, before you discover that most of those major updates detailed on  the realtor’s listing were done by the seller on the cheap and others weren’t really done at all.  None of the windows open and all have to be replaced (ok, so this one maybe you knew about before you moved in, and maybe you budgeted accordingly).  The “new” furnace and hot water tank both fail within the first two years and have to be replaced.  Tearing up the ancient, smoke-infused carpeting reveals “original hardwood floors” that are seriously discolored by pet stains and other fluids you prefer not to think about.  In some spots, the hardwood is damaged.  In other spots, the hardwood is covered by asbestos based linoleum which could only be removed by a professional contractor with the proper environmental license.

Fine, so you go with new wall-to-wall or area rugs.  Hardwood floors are cold and noisy anyway, right?

One of the selling points when you purchased was that the roof had been redone within the last 7 years.  But the then-owner hired a fly-by-night roofer.  Long ’bout Year 3 in the house, a sustained windstorm blows half that roof off, and the roofer is no longer in business.  You have to add an entire new roof to your overly stretched budget.  And heck, as long as the contractor is up  there anyway, why not take down the old crumbly chimney?  It’s no longer needed – the furnace and hot water tank which you installed both vent out the back wall of the house.  And you weren’t happy when the town building inspector knocked on your door to tell you he saw birds flying in and out of the top of that chimney, so maybe you want  to do something about that before they get in the house?

Long ’bout Year 4, you think you’ve pretty much done anything that could possibly be needed in the house.

Then the main electric panel goes down and can’t be rebooted.  For safety reasons, it’s advisable to replace the whole thing rather than try to repair individual wires and circuit breakers.  Even the outside wires and the meter are replaced.  The house is 82 years old and that was the original wiring, with the exception that at some point the fuses were replaced by circuit breakers.  But who knows how old those are?  So, the electric gets upgraded.

Surely, you’re done now, right?

Nope.

Within months of the electrical repairs, your area experiences a sustained series of torrential downpours.  The sump pump which you haven’t heard running in four years is now struggling constantly to pump water away from the basement.  You congratulate yourself that you had the foresight to purchase a home that had previously been waterproofed by (hallelujah!) a reputable well-known company which has been in business for many years.

Then, you notice a smell in the basement.  It’s not a damp smell, it’s not a mold smell.  It’s shit.  That’s right: sewage somehow seeping into the ground water.  And now that it’s late October, the heating season is upon you and each time the heat kicks on, that smell gets drawn into the house itself.  The plumber confirms your worst fears – there is a break in the sewer line underneath the house.  It is a pipe under your property, which means you own it and are responsible for maintaining it.  You can’t call the town’s street department and complain, it’s not their problem, it’s yours.  The entire system must be replaced, in the basement, under the yard and out to the town’s sanitary sewers.  The 15-year-old sump pump will also have to be replaced.  The bubbler system installed by the waterproofing company will need to be flushed and possibly repaired in spots. Once the sewer repairs are completed, grading and landscaping will be required.

A good portion of your recently revamped savings account will now disappear.

Houses are fun, aren’t they?

But at least you have  good neighbors and a decent neighborhood.  Even if you wanted to sell at this point, no one would consider a house that  smells of shit as soon as you walk in the door.

And certainly, there’s nothing more that can go wrong, right?

One can only hope.

Happy Halloween, Everyone!  May your own house behave.

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I love to hear from my readers. You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com
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Images by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalieStudio

Posted in Household Items, That's Life | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments