Category Archives: home improvements

Hope Springs – –

Jack’s Wednesday guest post is on Thursday again – – –

I was thinking about this blog post yesterday and going to do it about various hopeful small building projects we had planned on doing until Covid 19 hit. We had planned to have the bathroom remodeled and create a small laundry room and even had thoughts of an added room. But all that has had to wait!

Now that Wendy and I have had our two vaccine shots we can look forward to being less nervous about socializing and that means we can call on more expert friends to help, as they did when we erected the pergola on our back deck. They can also sit under the pergola now!

Two of them were able to visit yesterday and, socially distanced, added their knowledge and brain cells to our general thinking going forward. The idea of the extra room was dumped when they pointed out that our log cabin jail in the back yard IS our extra room. So what would have been the laundry room will be built, but to house the freezers that are currently in the jail. That will create room there where we can also house a wood burning stove in case it’s needed in winter. Once the freezers have moved out we can put a bed in there and it can become again Wendy’s writing studio combined with an extra guest room. The washing machine can stay where it is in the corner of the kitchen and we got rid of the dryer a while ago. We even have a composting toilet waiting to be installed in the jail too – en suite!

But in the process of composing this a certain phrase crossed my mind – one of the reasons for delay was ‘a shortage of lumber’. Now, for Scotsmen of my age that has a completely different meaning than here in the US. On a Saturday night, back in the 1950s and 60s young men would go to the local dance hall in hopes of ‘getting a lumber’ – engaging with a young woman in hopes of finding a secluded corner for some ‘slap and tickle’. There was rarely much tickle and a great many slaps.

I’m continually finding yet more differences between British English, Scots English and American English!

But, back to the subject – although I was head of the construction trades department at a college in Scotland for a number of years, my own specialty is painting and decorating. So I’m not comfortable with anything else, and particularly with plumbing or electrical. The area where the freezer room is going already has a double electrical outlet and they won’t need water or a drain, so easy. The first job I tackled when we had our bookstore was to convert a carport into an enclosed garage, and this is similar but smaller. An area with an existing concrete floor and a small deck above supported by pillars. Make the deck into a roof, create insulated walls and add a door. What could possibly go wrong – – –

Shift the freezers then get the wood burning stove and install it. What could possibly go wrong – – –

Create a toilet suite in the jail. What could possibly go wrong – – –

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Filed under between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

The Monday Funny Story

The Monday Book will return, but today I have to tell you a funny story.

My friend Sarah has been trying to get moved into an assisted living apartment complex for some time, and today was her day. We went over this morning to get her settled in, and Jack parked our Prius outside her cozy little attached row house so we could lift out a couple of pieces of furniture.

As we exited the Prius a big man got out of a small car parked on the street beside us.

“Y’all are in my parking space,” he said, ambling up with the shuffle of a confused bear.

We looked at the small cul-de-sac and its spaces. They were not assigned. The cars didn’t have stickers.

“Our friend is moving in here, so we’re giving her a hand with this chest,” I said cheerfully, pointing first to the apartment 20 feet away, and then at the heavy piece of furniture in the back of our car.

He considered a moment, then said, “This is my space.”

“How are they assigned?” asked my patient husband, as I decided to ignore the guy and get positioned for this five-minute job. Once the bear man realized we were just dropping something off, I figured, he’d quit.

The man stood a moment in thought, and then gave his answer. “I’ve always parked there.”

I was warming to the guy. Apparently, so was Jack. He said, “So my name is Jack, what’s yours?” And we began shoving at the massive piece of furniture with our collective 140-pound frames.


“Hi Jim. I’d shake hands but mine are full,” said my husband. “With this big trunk. Which we have to get out of the car before we can move out of your spot.”

My husband is subtle. Bu Jim was a big guy, standing there watching us take up time in his parking space trying to get this monstrosity out of our little red car that was parked in what was clearly his most valued possession.

Jim looked at my husband, then at the trunk. “Will y’all be done soon?” he asked.

I couldn’t help it. I laughed out loud. “Well, we’re weak and puny, so it would go faster if someone big and strong would help us, but yeah, we should be done in about five minutes.” The chest had started to move and I could barely hold it for breathless laughter.

“OK,” said Jim, and went into his apartment, presumably to wait us out. Jack and I, both breathless from giggles, moved the chest, and then Jack moved the Prius out of the space. (I was staying in our black jeep Angus to help Sarah move a few more things.) Jim came out of his apartment and moved his car into it. Jack gave a cheery wave as he drove off. Jim waved back.

Nawt strange as folk, I tell you.

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Filed under home improvements, humor