Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan

Chronicling the cleanup and restoration of our house and property in northern Michigan

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Plans are set...

...and August is going to be one busy month!

In just two weeks, the weekend of the 12th, we will be moving the remainder of our belongings up to Shangri La. Fortunately we've been able to use our utility trailer to take a good deal of stuff up, so we're left mostly with just the big ticket items. Mike, Peanut and I will drive down from Shangri La on Thursday, and on that Friday we'll pick up the U-Haul truck...which, thanks to Shelly's family's auto repair shop being a U-Haul rental location, we'll be getting at a discount. Got to love family! Before heading to Ohio Mike and I need to make room at Shangri La by clearing out the old furniture. If we can't find someone to take it we'll be hauling it off to the landfill.

And then...
After getting everything up there Shelly and the boys will spend the next week working on getting things situated, while I have to travel most of the week for work.  The next weekend Shelly, Kyle and I will drive back to Ohio. We're moving Kyle into the dorm at Capital University on the 24th, where he'll embark upon his journey towards becoming a music educator.   :)

And then...
Shelly and I will stay in Ohio in our all but empty house, where we'll "camp out" for a few days. Then, on the 31st we'll be closing on the house...and closing this chapter of our lives. We'll have successfully navigated through six months that turned out to be every bit as hectic as we expected it to be, and then some. We're preparing ourselves for an emotionally draining few weeks, as we move away from all of the dear friends we've made, leave our youngest son at college, and leave our wonderful home of 15 years.

But, then...
On September 1st we open the next chapter, embarking upon our entirely new adventure as retread Michiganders and full time residents of Shangri La.

To be continued...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Most excellent news, and a list of completed stuff...

We have finally made some significant progress on the selling of the house in Ohio.  Someone finally made an offer!  This, after countless showings and two price drops.  Fortunately, the couple making the offer did not request yet another price drop, instead offering our asking price.  We countered only with some minor clarifications, and VOILA!, we are in contract!

The closing won't happen until the end of September, as the buyer has a lease that will not expire until then.  This concerns us some, as we'll be taking the house off the market during a crucial time.  Folks that are going to buy are more likely to move on something now than after school starts.  If the buyer should back out for some reason we will miss out on all of this time.  But, there's nothing to be done for it.  It's the first offer we've had since listing, so there's no way we're going to take a pass on it.

On the Shangri La homefront, we're continuing to whittle away at small projects here and there.  
  • Cleaned and polished the wood stove, removing the rust that had cropped up because of a minor water leak.  
  • Put wood sealer on the door we built for the small barn.
  • Set up my temporary home office.
  • Further organized the small barn.
  • Tested all of the connections in the propane line for leaks, both inside and out.  
  • Pulled three stumps. (Two to go.)
  • Organized the kitchen cupboards and hall closet.
  • Cleared out all unnecessary kitchen utensils and appliances.  These went back to Ohio with Shelly for selling in a garage sale.
  • Cleared out a portion of the basement.  We moved about twenty cans of paint outside, opened them and placed them in the covered area next to the small barn.  The landfill will accept them when the paint hardens.
  • Mowed the lawn and weed whacked.  (I know it's not a project, but I'm taking credit anyway.)
  • Hung the hammock and put up a screen room.  We've got to relax sometime!
Speaking of relaxing, one of our new favorite things to do is to take the quad for a ride in the evening along the many gravel roads all around us.  At the end of a hot summer day with the wind in your face, it's a great way to cool off.  I highly recommend it!  

Shelly came up for a visit last weekend, and with just a few touches she immediately made the place feel more like home.  It was my birthday that weekend, and having Shelly up here was all the gift I needed.  Though, I'm certainly not complaining about the new chainsaw she bought me.  :)

I went down to Ohio this weekend to see Shelly and Kyle, which worked out perfectly with the offer on the house and the signing of the necessary paperwork.  See what I did there, taking you full circle?  ;)  :)

Talk to you all again soon!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Darn Seasonals!

I had a very cool moment the other day that I thought I'd share with y'all.  Mike and I were doing some grocery shopping over at the Wal Mart in Cheboygan.  The store was PACKED with out of town folks gearing up for their up-north holiday weekend.

While walking through the store I overheard two employees complaining about all of the "darn seasonals".  I was immediately offended, thinking to myself, "You likely wouldn't even have a job if it weren't for all of us darn seasonal people!"

That's when it hit me.  They weren't talking about me, because...I live here!  I can't even describe to you the smile that put on my face.  :)

Now, I'm just wondering at what point I'll start complaining about all of these darn seasonals.  ;)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Three Weeks...

I'm throwing a bit of a pity party.  You're invited to read on, but attendance is not mandatory. ;)

Three weeks.  That's how long my son Mike and I have been living at Shangri La.  Mike and are getting things done, which was the primary purpose for our moving up here early.  That, and my job is more easily done from here than from Ohio.  Also, not to be minimized is the high quality father/son time we're spending together.  Yesterday he and I went kayaking, his first time, and by all accounts we had a good time.  This is all good stuff, right?

But...I keep thinking I should be far more excited, living "up north" like I always dreamed of ever since I was a kid.  Oh, I know the reason for the lack of enthusiasm, and it's no big mystery.  Shelly isn't here with us.  She and Kyle are coming up on Friday and are staying for a week, but Shelly won't be up here full time until late August.  In our nearly twenty-five years of marriage these three weeks are the longest we've ever been separated from each other.  I don't like it...not one damn bit.

I'm sure for some couples three weeks may not seem like all that long, and to these folks I may be coming across as a bit whiny.  To these people I would politely say, "Tough's how I feel."  :)  Shelly and I have always gotten along better the more we're together, and I love that about us.

From the time we found out we were moving up here until Mike and I actually moved it was seventeen months.  I have been extremely impatient over the course of those months, to the point of being annoying.  Just ask Shelly...she will tell you.  But, these past three weeks have affected me far more more than all the months prior.  It'll be that and then some again before Shelly is able to get her butt up here to stay.  Oh, we'll get through it.  I'm sure some day we'll look back at this year as the major milestone that it is, and we'll marvel at how strong we were to have actually pulled it all off.  In the middle of it, though, it is some big time major suckage.

So, Mike and I will keep working up here, completing project after project after project.  It all will make it more livable and more enjoyable, but for all of it we'll know that only Shelly can make it a home.

I was hoping that by writing this I would feel better...that maybe it would be some kind of cathartic experience to lighten my soul of this depressive state.  Meh...not so much.  I wonder if there's any beer left in the fridge. ;)  :)

Back to our regularly scheduled, and mostly upbeat programming.  :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Catching up...yet again...

I can't tell you how many times I've said to myself, "I"m going to update the blog today."  Apparently, just saying it doesn't make it happen.  The proof?  That would be the lack of an update since the beginning of May, despite numerous trips to the house. *facepalm*

So, let me catch you up.  Our house in Ohio is for sale, I'm still learning the new MI job, our youngest son graduated and was accepted into the music conservatory at Capital University, we held two graduation each in OH and MI, and I and my oldest son have moved to Shangri La while Shelly and our youngest son are still in Ohio.  The last is brutal in the extreme, but necessary.  The new job is difficult to manage from Ohio, and we really need to start getting some things done on Shangri La.  Shelly will be moving up after we get settled Kyle settled in at college, at the end of August.

Now, let's get you caught up on what this blog is supposed to be about...restoring Shangri La.  I made a few solo trips up before our oldest son Mike and I moved up here, which was two weeks ago.  During those trips I cleared out the small barn of its remaining "stuff", and changed the tractor over from winter to summer mode.

The small barn had quite a bit of junk still left in it from the previous owner.  I was able to get it all cleared out, load it in the trailer, and haul it off to the landfill.  This freed up space for parking the quad, and for the gear I would be moving up from the garage in Ohio.  The tractor, I removed the snow thrower and tire chains, and after sharpening the blades I installed the mowing deck and changed the oil.

As I mentioned above, Mike and I are now living up here full time, along with our boxer mix mut...Peanut.  We've been trying to get into something of a routine, but it's tough with so much in transition.  We have had some success in knocking down a few projects.  The first project, Mike created a list of projects.  :)

One of the big things we've been missing to make this truly feel like a home...A MAIL BOX!  There was a pole already in the ground, so Mike and I headed up to ACE to buy the mail box.  It's official, folks!  We're on the grid at Shangri La!

Some of you might recall a previous post regarding our considering the purchase of an outdoor wood boiler.  (A Heated Topic)  Back in May we made the purchase, and last week the boiler arrived at the dealer.  They're going to store it for us until we get the pad poured, likely delivering it in August.  Here she is, and yes...we went with red!

We're rural enough that high speed internet via cable or DSL are not an option.  That left either satellite or Verizon.  Satellite won't do for work because of the latency, and Verizon's signal is fairly weak.  We can't fix the satellite issue, but the cellular booster has us up and running with pretty good indoor coverage for voice and data.

The house is equipped with a mix of vintage wood windows and vinyl replacements.  The screens on the vintage windows are in pretty rough shape.  There is a good amount of new screen material in the barn, left there by the previous owner, and I had some screen spline from a previous project.  Mike and I were able to replace the screens for two windows, one in his bedroom and one in my and Shelly's.  The cross breeze in the house was immediately noticeable!

Lastly knocked off the to-do list, the spraying of insecticide outside around the foundation and inside around the baseboards both on the main floor and in the basement.  We've been having an ant problem, and while working the other day a big, juicy wolf spider ran across my notepad. (((shudder)))

Shelly and our youngest son Kyle will be heading up on Friday, and will be staying for a week.  I know that my productivity today has a lot to do with knowing they're heading up.  All of these major life changes we've taken on all at once, and then right in the middle of it we make the decision to split the family in half.  It's fair to say that it's been a bit overwhelming, and staying motivated can be difficult.  Just knowing they're coming up has put a spring in my step.  Can't wait to have the family all together!

Mike and are planning to tackle one or a few items on the list tomorrow, but we're also planning on taking the kayaks out for a paddle.  Mike has never been kayaking, and we're planning to head over to Ocqueoc Lake for his first run.

More coming soon!