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Good Bye Summer…Hello Fall

Labor Day, also known as the unofficial end to summer has arrived and now begins the push into fall. The weather has actually been very fall like during the past week or so with temperatures mostly in the 70’s and even dropping into the 50’s at night. Of course it is supposed to get back into the 80’s today, so we will get a reminder that summer is still around. The last two days were also rainy as Maryland was visited by Harvey as the former hurricane exited the U.S. Next on the horizon is figuring out the path Hurricane Irma will take as it gets closer. For those of us along the Atlantic coast, we hope that the path stays well south and avoids the U.S. altogether. But, in case things don’t work out that way, and the path brings it up the eastern coast, we will get ready the best we can.

You can tell that the seasons are starting to change as the trees are beginning to thin out their leaves. Before long we will be able to see the homes behind us again. It is nice during the summer when you only see the green of the trees. Or in the case of our Japanese Maple, a beautiful red wine color. The cooler weather also caused some of the leaves to change from vibrant green to lighter green with yellow tones. So it won’t be long before we start seeing the oranges and reds as nature puts on its fall show.

Our maple in April

Our maple now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have started planning short day trips around the area now that the weather is more comfortable. We booked a fall foliage train ride in Pennsylvania in mid-October and are planning a longer trip in early November. We are taking a covered bridge driving tour and another that will tour barns, some which are hundreds of years old. I hope to get plenty of pictures.

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Rainy Day Drive

Saturday was only supposed to be a slight chance of rain, so we decided to take a drive and see the sights. Of course, it rained most of the trip. Here are some pictures. Please ignore the rain drops on the lens.

Rainy day on Chesapeake Bay

Building showing its age

Deer grazing in the rain

First green of spring

 

All photos taken by Lenalee.

The House Gets a Bath

We have lived in many different states and have lived in both apartments and houses. And in all of those states, I have never seen houses in need of a bath before. Oh, I’ve seen houses in various states of disrepair. Some falling down due to neglect. Others being remodeled. But none have been dirty. And then we moved to Maryland. And here, houses need a bath every once in a while. The reason? Apparently the combination between the bay, the river and the ocean all make for an atmosphere where mold and algae grows on houses.

When we lived in Louisiana, where it is wet, humid and downright swampy all year round, the house we lived in didn’t look dirty on the outside. We would later learn that the house was filled with black mold inside, which made my son sick for the four years that we lived there, but the outside looked fine. In Kansas, it was windy and dusty. The combination of the two seemed to act as a sand blaster, so the house always looked clean.

Upon moving to Maryland, there were a plethora of signs offering power washing for your house. At first, I didn’t understand why the need to power wash a house, but when we began looking to buy a house, we quickly noticed the mold that seemed to grow on the houses. And once you notice something, you continue to notice that until that seems to be all that you notice about a house. The house that we bought was apparently power washed by the previous owners prior to putting the house up for sale. After we purchased it, I did wonder how often the house would need to be washed. Apparently it takes about three years for the mold to become noticeable and it was really only on one side of the house. The rest of the house didn’t show anything. The house shown isn’t ours, but shows what the issue is.

So my husband made a few calls and found a company that uses a natural cleaner that doesn’t affect the environment and has a barrier to make it harder for the mold to grow. And the house got a bath. Now, when you leave the house, there is a sort of minty smell, which is the cleaner and will apparently fade over the next few weeks. Of course, the day after the wash, a bird left it’s calling card on one of the shutters. Now if mother nature would help wash it away I would greatly appreciate it.

It’s That Time Again

A Change In Vacation Plans

There is a commercial that runs during the summer asking what you use your vacation days for. The ad is to encourage you to use your vacation to visit Ocean City, Maryland and its beaches (just named one of the top 10 beaches in the US). Apparently I don’t use them as much as I should. Last week I actually took three days of vacation. When my husband and I requested the time off back in November, our plan was to take a two or three-day getaway. We didn’t know where and the plan was to see what the weather would be like and maybe make plans a little closer to home. Unfortunately, my husband ended up needing emergency dental surgery, so while I still took the days off, we ended up staying at home. He was on several different medications, not to mention in pain, so we just did things around the house.

spring-cleaningOf course, for my husband, pain or not, he wants to feel like he actually accomplished something while he was off. So he made a list of things that needed to be done around the house and decided that we would tackle those listed. You’ll notice the “we” in the last sentence. While my husband is all about making lists and checking things off of them, even when you are on vacation, I am not so inclined. I do not have a problem relaxing with a good book or trying my hand at crocheting. Relaxing is good. Chores, not so much. So what did my husband want to accomplish while he was on pain meds and antibiotics? Spring cleaning of course.

We started with the downstairs and moved the furniture out of the family room. Nothing like having a couch in your kitchen. First up was steam cleaning the carpets. My husband tends to go overboard with this. The carpets were still damp the next morning, so the couch stayed in the kitchen for a second day. Did I mention that we ate out a few times during all of this? Cooking with a couch in the kitchen was a little crowded. We also started working down in the Man Cave/Media Room since the upstairs was off-limits. The previous owners had a game room set up downstairs and they smoked pipes and cigars. On a humid day, you could smell the smoke still lingering and after 3 years it was time to start removing ceiling tiles and picking out paint samples. A lot of bending and reaching and body aches happened. We were too sore to start steam cleaning the bedrooms so we gave ourselves a day of rest.

Of course, that didn’t mean resting to my husband. It meant it was time to go couch shopping. That involved a lot of sitting and up and down while you tested out the couches for maximum comfort. After three stores whereI didn’t find any that I wanted, we returned home to find the family room carpets dry, so the couch finally was able to be moved out of the kitchen and I was able to steam mop the rest of the floors. Dinner time found me tired and I made the decision of ordering pizza while watching my husband cross items off his list that we had completed. I now need to put in for another vacation where I might actually do some lounging around and just relaxing. That might not happen anytime soon. Today it was picking out paint samples for the Man cave/Media room. The good news…the paint that we chose looks good on the walls and trim. The bad news….painting is definitely in my future. Maybe I should write “relax for the weekend” on my husband’s list. We just might get to it sometime this summer.

And The Holiday Craziness Has Begun

holidayshoppingmgn1This weekend, while running errands, my husband decided to zip down to the mall to pick up a few dress shirts that were on sale where he normally shops. Yes, I said mall. I do not like shopping in malls anymore. There are too many people pushing and shoving their way as if they are taking part in the Shopping Olympics. The store that my husband goes to has its own entrance, so we can get in and out easily and we don’t need to go into the actual mall. That makes me happy.

We headed into the store and were met with absolute crazed shoppers, all apparently starting their holiday shopping early. I know that many stores were putting up their holiday displays before Halloween, but I really didn’t see anything special on sale yet. Apparently the shoppers out last weekend didn’t feel the same way. It was literally wall to wall people, pushing and shoving their way through the aisles. And if they couldn’t get through, they shoved displays out of their way and made their own aisle. After being shoved for the third time into the men’s winter coat display, I told my husband I’d wait for him in the car. He came out a few minutes later mumbling something about checking online for the shirts he liked.

As we drove away, I knew that was the last mall visit for us until sometime in next year. Maybe in the spring, when the winter clothes are discounted and there are a few less pushy shoppers. If anyone wonders why online shopping is so popular, they only have to spend a few minutes in a real mall for the answer.

Hot, Humid and Steamy

Hot Humid

Well summer has finally arrived in Maryland. It would have been just fine with me if the spring-like weather stayed around a little longer. The weather in Maryland is rather unique. Sometimes in the spring we hardly get any rain and then whammy, we get days and days of rain like the month of May. So much rain we thought we would have to build an ark. We actually had rain 15 days straight, starting in late April. Then it stopped for 1 day and started to rain again the following day. The record was 17 days, so we fell short by two days. It seems that in the summer, we tend to get fast-moving storms that pop up, drop and few drops of rain and then move out, leaving behind even hotter, more humid weather. That is what we have been having lately. The grass is starting to look dry and brittle. It will green back up after some rain and a few nights with temperatures in the 60’s, but we haven’t had many nights in the 60’s lately.

Yes, I know there are those people who say they love warm weather, but they aren’t loving things right now. Apparently we are under something that the meteorologists call a Heat Dome. And of course Maryland is under the dome. I find it ironic that the same weather people who aren’t afraid to call for a blizzard with several feet of snow in the winter are afraid to say that the temperature might reach 100 degrees (or 37.7778 degrees C for JP). All week they were forecasting the weekend to be 96-98 degrees. Really? When it is 9:00 in the morning and already 92 degrees outside, you know it is going to be 100, so just say so. The humidity brings the heat index to 108 degrees, which is just uncomfortable.

We had the usual weekend errands to run and it was impossible to do so without sweating. Thank goodness the new car has great air conditioning. Today, we are staying inside, catching up on reading, maybe napping. In other words, doing as little as possible. The forecasters are calling for a break in the weather on Wednesday…the high is supposed to be 88 degrees. I’m not sure when 88 became cool, but by then I think I will be ready for it. I might have to break out the sweater 🙂 Until then it is ice tea with plenty of ice and maybe some ice cream later. Hmm that sounds good. Is it later yet?

I hope the weather is better where ever you are in the world.

 

Rainy and Not Much to Do

It is still rainy here and has been for the last several weeks. Oh, we do get a day here and there where the rain stops for a little while, but really not long enough to get outside and cut the grass or weed the flowers. The grass is definitely growing, which would normally be a good thing. My husband made sure to weed and feed the lawn earlier in the spring and he hoped the grass would fill in and look healthy this year. Well, with all the rain, the grass has definitely filled in and is looking rather bushy right now. He keeps looking out the window and will mutter that the grass is growing too tall and it will “have to be baled like hay.” Of course, my smart mouth wants to reply that maybe he shouldn’t have fed it all the stuff he did to make it grow. The neighbors didn’t and their grass isn’t growing as much as ours despite getting the same amount of rain,  but I keep the comments to myself.

CardinalsThe rain has been good for all the bushes and plants that we put in after our deck was finished. They are starting to fill out and they are all looking healthy. The Japanese Red Maple trees in the backyard are exceptionally red and bright this year compared to last year. It seems they have also blossomed out more due to the rain. We have been seeing several cardinals popping in and out of the trees, so I think they have made a home there since it provides such good camouflage for them. The yard is finally getting to the point where all that has to be done is pruning them back in the fall and freshening up the mulch in the spring.

And speaking of the deck, with all of the rain, we really haven’t been able to spend much time out there yet. Occasionally the wind will be strong enough to cause the gliders to move back and forth. At night it seems rather eerie. This week the temperatures are supposed to warm up into the low 80’s so our cool spring may be coming to an end. Regardless of the weather, I am looking forward to a nice, extra long weekend. I have 5 days off starting Thursday and my husband will be off Friday. We will go back to work after the Memorial Day holiday. We are trying to figure out where we should day trip next.

The Weather Isn’t Cooperating

When we decided it was time to redo our deck, I was hoping that it would prove to be a relaxing way to end the day after work or in other words, help with the stress that comes with everyday life. The deck is finished, we have chairs and the weather has not cooperated at all in terms of being able to enjoy the deck.

Last Saturday morning, we picked up our gliders and even though the temperature was in the 50’s, I couldn’t wait and sat on the deck, bundled up with a fleece throw and watched my husband and son work in the yard. Since then, the weather has turned to either rainy or too cold. Last night, we had rain, then the wind picked up and there were strong thunderstorms. They were strong enough to set off car alarms and break off branches and flowers. During the night, the temperatures continued to drop and when I went to let our pug out this morning, there were snow pellets on the deck and chairs. The day looks beautiful now, but the temperature is in the 30’s and the wind chill is in the 20’s.

This week is supposed to be cooler and they have a chance of snow flurries in the forecast for several days. That means no relaxing on the deck just yet. It’s coming…soon…fingers crossed.

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