January 12, 2014

Ushering Out the Old

Since it is only the 12th day of the new year, it's not too late to wish you a Happy New Year and all that it entails: peace; health; love; and prosperity. As with the ending of each year, it brings about a time for reflection.  So walk with me through the last year.

January 2013--#44's second inauguration.  I was blessed to be able to return to my hometown and be a part of this event.  Traveled with a fellow Ripley transplant and met up with my brother, as planned.  Boy, did we walk a bit.  Dinner with my son, his significant other, and my grandson, Kevin, Jr. He was a year old when I left  D.C.  He's grown a say the least. 

Met the mayor of Knoxville while waiting to board the Megabus for the return trip. If she could entrust her grandchildren to this transportation, it must be okay.  Outside of Nashville, the trip was marred by an avoidable confrontation between a female passenger and the bus driver, a Hispanic female. Turns out the passenger was the sister of a state delegate from Memphis; their family, including the delegate, had also traveled to the inauguration.  Accusations flying, police called. Wow. The bus driver was completely wrong and the sistah was not standing down.  People were emailing and calling Megabus.  Needless to say, Missy promptly sent a scathing letter to Megabus, about the driver, when she got home.

I became a member of Ripley's DEVCO board thanks to the recommendation of Donna Sanders.  As chair of the Promotions Committee, I saw a complete flight of members, leaving the Executive Director and me to try to pull together events. To be expected but still a disappointment.

Finally got that new stove.  I am so happy. Had to do some unexpected repairs with the fireplace in the kitchen.  Had shelving installed to display my collection of teapots. Pleased with the look. Did away with the dated pink of the kitchen chairs with a little paint and fabric.  Like that look, too.  Putting paid to the kitchen.

February 2013--James and I stepped out to the Delta's red carpet affair as well as attended the Super Bowl party at Vert's, a local restaurant.  I was saddened by the passing of Bill Klutts, my neighbor and the publisher of the Lauderdale County Enterprise.

April 2013--the community was rocked with sexual harassment allegations concerning Fire Chief, Felix Moore, and a female member of the department.  It also peeled away layers of discontent and pure racial discord within the department.  The public hearing was disturbing, to say the least.

A terrific storm came through and took off shingles so roof repairs were needed.  The house leaked like a sieve.

May 2013-- A momentous month!  On May 1st, Katarina, my first granddaughter, made her entrance into the world.  May 11th, my son, Kevin, marked a milestone by turning 40.  And my niece, Teza, graduated from Catholic U's law school.  Had to travel back to D.C., for all of that.  Woo Hoo!

Also took a road trip to Trenton to view the magnificent display of teapots.  Awesome. Roofing repairs seemed to have finally corrected that continuous, mysterious, leak in the front bathroom. Hallelujah!

A family of fox cubs took up residence under the forsythia.  Cute to watch but I was really happy when they moved on. 

June 2013--Tore up the cracked and buckling walkway out front.  Replaced it with a faux brick cement walkway.  Took for-ev-er to be completed.  I understand that independent contractors have to keep a bunch of jobs going at one time but, down here, or at least the contractors whom I've used, treat it more as a hobby or as if they are doing you a favor and working you into their schedule.

July 2013-- Another momentous month.  Traveled to Harrisburg, PA, for my brother's heart surgery and was "held hostage" overnight, in Detroit.  The surgery was underway by the time I arrived the next day.  "Nervous sistah" is an understatement.  Giving God the Praise and the Glory for guiding the surgeon's hands.

And, I was silly enough to retain the services of the same contractor who took for-ev-er with the walkway to paint the exterior trim of the house.  Kick me.

August 2013--"Step Back in Time" is planned for the 3rd week. Scrapers, power-washers, strippers, and my house is totally f'd up.  It looks worse than it did when I moved in. I could scream! Concede defeat, damn it, you bit off more than you could chew. Finally came to my senses and fired him. Two weeks to go and I'm looking for a painter.  The doors are swollen shut and won't open.  Sheesh. 

Obtained the talented services of two fellows who made Serendipity sparkle! Of course, they had to repair a lot of the damage done by the previous contractor.  Working on a very tight time schedule (a week), they were able to get the front and side ready for company.

Pat Mills worked his magic on the bushes and installed more plants to fill in bare spots. "Yard man" almost got fired because he didn't show up on the scheduled day.  He incurred the wrath of James (seldom seen) and showed up within 20 minutes of that fateful phone call. Even did the back slope which he has never touched.

Learned my lesson from last year and conceded that additional help was definitely in order, especially since I wouldn't have the services of my brother and Shopette. Got the help of two teenagers who put up tents, put out table and chairs, did last-minute repairs and touch-ups, helped serve, and came back to disassemble everything...lickety split!  It's party time!

Some new faces this year.  Good food, thanks to Belle, at E.W. James, Brownsville, and my world-famous champagne punch!  Those who imbibed didn't know whether the food was good or bad.  I think that a good time was had by all.  Time to start planning for 2014.

More turmoil as the former fire chief was arrested and charged with theft.  Boy, a blind man can see what's behind this.

September 2013--Painting resumed on the rest of the exterior trim and lattice added to complete the exterior of the "barn-shed-garage."  What a difference taking the lattice to the top made! Why didn't we think of this when we first had it done?

   Patches,a blue heeler mix puppy, showed up one morning trailing the painters. He didn't belong to them and he didn't belong to me. But, for better or worse, he's here to stay.

Saw Lee Daniel's The Butler and had to educate some folks to the fact that the film character did not exist but was based on the life of Eugene Allen, now deceased, a Trustee at my home church in D.C., Greater First Baptist.

Cried throughout, even more so when I saw the interior scenes of Greater First depicted. They absolutely nailed the gorgeous stained glass windows. I know it's immodest and takes away from the focus of the story but the sanctuary is far more impressive than what was shown in the movie.  What can I say? I'm proud of my church.
October 2013--saw the installation of the new exterior storm doors to replace the classic double glass doors damaged in the initial painting debacle.  Was that a costly mistake or what?

 Work started on the master bath, a major undertaking and a badly-needed one.  While it served its purpose, it was greatly outdated, no storage, poor lighting, and the sink had no cutoff valves.  I liked the console sink but couldn't figure out how to salvage the pitted legs. The sea-foam green fixtures had to go.  Looking toward the future and my increasing old age, I wanted a walk-in shower.  And, as with everything around Serendipity, things went wrong.

November 2013--I officially became a senior citizen.  That's right, I turned 65 and am so thankful to be in good health and doing fine. Grateful for friends and family.

Katarina was baptised but I didn't make it home for that occasion. Positively in love with her gorgeous handmade dress.  Hope they put it away.

Work continued on the bathroom but I can truthfully say that it wasn't for lack of trying on the contractor's part.  Nope, put it squarely on my work schedule.  James Spicer, S&S Contracting, worked diligently around my availability.

December 2013--Bathroom FINISHED.  Seems like for-ev-er but not his fault; no procrastination, no promising to show and didn't. He worked around my schedule and did a fabulous job of rebuilding, replacing, right down to installing a new window. Plenty of light, storage, and HEAT!  Thank you, Lord.

How's that for a year of reflection?  Am looking forward to 2014 and what it will bring. Be safe.  Be Blessed!

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