Catching Up

iamthankfulIt was only a 3-day work week with Thanksgiving holidays on Thursday & Friday so that enabled up to enjoy a Wednesday night at Loco Willy’s with some of our friends who frequent Willy’s on Wednesdays.  We had a grand time, but didn’t stay out too late as we had to be at Debbie’s mother’s by 10:00am the next morning for the annual Thanksgiving Day brunch.  We were both up fairly early and teamed-up to make Debbie’s delicious, spicy chicken won-ton appetizers as our contribution to the annual pot-luck at Debbie’s mother’s house.  Debbie headed off about 15 minutes before I did in her car as she likes to get there early and stay late. It was a beautiful day so I got to enjoy a lovely morning ride on Blue II. By the time I arrived there had to be 30 family members and friends of the family milling about. We had a good time had a chance to see most of Debbie’s family, had a little to eat and watched the kids decorate the tree.  Wesley, Julie and the girls were all on hand as was Charlie & Christie.  It was around noon when I quietly left so I could get home and get to work on cutting and installing the 1/4 round base molding around the refinished flooring, something I really wanted to finish up over the weekend.

I made pretty good progress up and until Debbie returned home around 3:00pm.  We cooked up a turkey at home for what would be a quiet dinner for two at home and then paid a visit to our friends Ryan & Jeanette’s home to see their Griswold-esq exterior illumination display and catch up with them and other friends.  Ryan & Jeanette had spent the better part of three days decorating the home and it’s a sight to behold. A great time to be sure, but having been a long day we headed home around 9:30pm.

Of course, one of the important things about Thanksgiving is it signals the start of the holiday season and, for me, a period of reflection on the past year.  Before the day really got started I wrote and posted the following to Facebook in an attempt to sum-up where my head and heart go each and every Thanksgiving: being thankful for “Family”….

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Job 1 on Friday was making more progress on cutting and installing the 100 linear feet of trim that needed to go around the edge of the flooring and getting ready for the kids to come over for our day-after-Thanksgiving Day lunch.  As I started the flooring project in the morning, Debbie headed off to take care of some shopping and other errands.

It was around 11:30 when the kids came by and we decided that we’d have home-made pizza’s for a change.  I had my assembly line set-up to build our pizza’s but made one omission that was hard to fix: I forgot to put my pizza sauce on the crusts before spreading out the cheese and toppings. In fact, the pies were already in the oven when I went into the fridge and was horrified to see my bowl of home-made sauce still sitting there chilling.  I ended up putting the sauce on top of the pies and they turned out “good enough”.

After loading up Wesley’s truck with a few more things we were storing while they moved into their new home, they headed on their way and I returned to my flooring project. As is the norm on Fridays, we made our weekly trek to Loco’s for dinner where we were treated to a visit from our friends Bobby & Carrie Ann. They joined us, Debbie & David and the other usual suspects for a grand time hanging at the bar with Brian & Christian.

Saturday was more time on my knees working the floor trim and paint while also running a few errands when I needed a break.  The primary focus of our day was attending the Georgia Metropolitan Ballet’s annual Nutcracker where our grand-daughter Charlotte — age 8 — would be featured as one of the gingerbread dancers in the dream sequence.

We grabbed dinner at Loco Willy’s before heading over to the Cobb County Civic Center for the ballet.  Debbie looked stunning in a new black lace & velvet dress she’d picked up on Friday and her fur: shame on me for not getting a picture.  I’ve got to get better at that.  It was also a treat to head off to a dressed-up even where we didn’t have to either climb up into the truck or crawl out of the S2000! It’s amazing that we’ve gone without a sedan for so long.  Anyway, we ran into a few of my co-workers at the ballet whose children were also in the ballet, which was a pleasant surprise.  I think most of them still shake their heads when they see us with grandkids that are about the same age as their children, as Debbie and I don’t look our age by a long stretch. The ballet was cute and it was really quite interesting to see how Charlotte’s maturing both physically and in her dance skills.  She’s really quite good at it and at times it’s hard to believe she’d just 8 years old.  Again, just a great evening.

Sunday was mostly about getting the downstairs floor project to the 95% complete point for the holidays.  Having gotten the kitchen area trim painted on Saturday and the rest of the hallway and powder room trim cut and read for nailing, victory was within sight.  In fact, I had the trim installed and painted by 10:o0am and was headed off to find rugs. In the past, Costco has always had some very nice wool rugs but, sadly, they no longer seem to carry them on a regular basis. My alternate go-to location for “working rugs” has become Lowes, where I found the rugs I put down in our bathroom and closet.  While not perfect, the rugs I was able to find —  noting there were about four trips to and from Lowes as I purchased and returned several rugs that didn’t quite look right — have really warmed-up the look and feel of the downstairs and that’s what we’ve always been missing with the mix of wood and carpet that has been replaced by all hardwood with rugs.  I still need to install some trim pieces in the living room and around the fireplace hearth, but that’s about it.

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Debbie’s mother, sister Andrea and sister-in-law Vicky came over around 12:30pm to meet up for their trip down to the Cobb County Civic Center for the Nutcracker Sunday matinee, so Debbie wasn’t around as I did my carpet kabuki dance.  She was very happy with the final look, so that was good.

20161123_172815Shortly after she returned home our friends Monica and Arne showed up to take a look at my 2011 Wide Glide.  Arne had just moved from his Honda VTX cruiser to a Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special touring bike and Monica was also looking to move to a Harley from her Honda VTX.  “Black Betty” was looking good, but was actually a bit too long for Monica’s somewhat short legs.  We were able to get her comfortable enough with a riding position so that she could head off for a test ride.  Of course, what started out as an up and down the street on a cold day turned into a 15 minute tour of the local area, so it’s fair to say she was enjoying Betty’s ride.  I let her take Betty home for a while so that she could ride it a bit more and possibly demo a short-reach saddle at the local Harley dealer to see if that might correct her riding position.  So, we’ll see what comes of that.  As much as I’d love to hang on to Betty, I really don’t ride her enough to justify the expense of keeping her or dealing with the loss of garage space. That said, it sure would be nice to keep the bike “in the family” where I’d get visitation rights and first refusal on a buy-back if she ever decided to sell it!

That was about it for last weekend, aside from a quiet evening at home. As for this most recent weekend, it went by awfully fast for some reason and I don’t feel like I accomplished as much as I needed or wanted to.  It started off pretty well in that I received a set of 10 replacement bulbs for the Honda S2000’s instrument panels on Thursday and was able to install those on Friday morning in under an hour: the entire process is outlined in another blog entry that you can find here. The rest of Friday was spent working sporadically while also picking up a new all-in-one printer/copier/scanner for the house and a few other house ware items.  Amazingly, I also spent about 50 minutes riding a solo bicycle on the stationary trainer and getting a short work-out in before Debbie arrived home at 5:30.  As for the evening, as with all Friday’s we headed over to Loco Willy’s where we met up with David & Deb, Stuart & Teresa & Billy & Dava for a little socializing and dinner.  It was a grand time, as always.

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After Loco’s six of us headed over to SuBourbon’s where we expected to find 3 Left Standing playing some really good dance music.  However, apparently the lead singer had laryngitis and another band — Men in Blues — was asked to come and fill-in.  They did a good job and our evening out was salvaged quite nicely.  And, yes, I was once again rocking the kilt for our evening out.  We stayed through their 1st set and also snacked on some pizza before heading home around 11:15; not too late.

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_1After sleeping in a bit on Saturday morning, Debbie and I headed off to Atlanta Kilts in Suwanee, Georgia, so I could get fitted for a Prince Charlie jacket and waistcoat to go with my wool kilts.  Kathy was thrilled to see me wearing my utility kilt when I walked-in and we spent a good 45 minutes or so trying on different jackets, etc., so she could spec-out how my jacket and waistcoat would be made: yes, it will be a very custom-fit.  We also spec’d out a new kilt made from of our family’s Wallace tartan and a matching fly plaid.  We have an events coming up that should give me a chance to debut the outfit (rather than wearing a tuxedo) and we’re very excited about that. Note that I’ve got a black rabbit sporran instead of the white one as shown in the photo at right.  But, everything else is about spot-on matched up with black kilt hose and black shoes.

Once we finished up with Kathy at Atlanta Kilts we headed north to the Georgia Mountains were we’d spend the cloudy and soon to be rainy afternoon watching the SEC, ACC & Big 10 championship football games at a small private club. After  dinner we changed into evening attire and returned to the club for a little dancing: hey, we even did a little bit of the box step!  We had a good time chatting with the interesting mix of folks who, like us, use their weekend getaways to change up their routines and decompress.

We woke up to a very rainy and cold day on Sunday. After grabbing a little breakfast back at the club we headed home where our routines awaited us, i.e., weekend chores and the like.  Given it was cold and wet for the entire day, we never left the house until the late afternoon when headed over to Loco Willy’s to split a burger and to make a stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things. Back at home we spent the evening cooking up steak and chicken for my lunches, finishing up laundry, talking with my folks and sister on the phone, and watched a little pro football before calling it a weekend and wrapping our heads around the return to work in the morning.

With regard to the recent addition of our escapes to the mountains, just getting one or two Saturdays a month away has been about right.  It still gives us our Friday nights with friends at Loco Willy’s and Sunday afternoons for chores and if the weather cooperates a tandem or motorcycle ride. One of our to-dos for 2017 will be looking to achieve the right balance for how we spend our free time with family and friends as well as cycling, motorcycling, home care and other activities. Our goal is to ensure we’re pursuing a wide variety and activities that are filled with positive experiences and memories.  It’s not that we’re going to give up some of our routines because we love being with our friends and the family-feeling we get at places like Loco Willy’s where we spend time with our friends, we just need to guard against taking it for granted.

Other Vehicle Stuff

So, the weekend before last was dominated by the acquisition of Debbie’s new Honda Accord Sport SE and, yes, she’s still loving the new car.  It’s easy to get in and out of, quiet, smooth, soothing and takes no effort to drive.  Everything the Honda S2000 and our truck aren’t.  Photos just don’t do it justice and loving the simplicity of the basic Accord with the sporty appearance package. Feeling very pleased for not getting sucked into the top of the line Touring V6 with all of the bells and whistles for a 26% / $9k bump up in cost.

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As for the other vehicles…

  • 20161120_163522The Honda S2000 went into the shop for a normal service and a pre-sale inspection. There were a few more things that needed attention on this service visit than previous ones, but the car was finished on Wednesday and is back at home.  Interestingly enough, Jeremy — the master mechanic who works on the S2000’s — thinks the car should bring $17k or so given its condition and the care we’ve given it.  Moreover, he’s also encouraging us to hold onto it he’s seeing their value headed up, not down going forward.  Now, if we just had a place to keep it.
  • 20160424_173511The Toyota Tundra had a bad week.  Last week the right-rear wheel bearing and seals had to be replaced: those were the source of some new road noise.  Following on to that, it got sandwiched between two cars on the drive home last evening when a motorist two cars up decided to panic stop and caused a chain-reaction accident between the truck and two cars: one in front and one in back.  The front-end collision did nearly no damage to either vehicle aside from some additional blemishes to the paint. The back of the truck actually looks normal whereas the car that hit it had to be towed away with extensive / expensive front-end damage.  Yeah, well… stuff happens so I’ll be dealing with two accident claims and what-not for several weeks.  However, the icing on the cake is, I put it in the shop for periodic maintenance as the Honda S2000 came out and also reported a couple of issues with the handling. After the initial look-see they suspect the truck needs a new rack & pinion to eliminate the handling issues I’ve been having for the last six months; yeah… about another $1k.  On the bright side, I’m thinking that another “sound” we’ve just started to hear from the front end is probably tied to the rack and pinion, so hopefully we’ll kill two birds with one stone.
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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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