Monday, April 30, 2007

Cheap and free equals fun!

Sat morning we went to Milton (about 10 miles away) to a multi-family yard sale we'd heard about from our neighbors Jim & Barb. We bought a beautiful wood end table (circa early 1960s) with harp-shaped legs and leather top for only $35. It was a little dusty and had a few scratches, so later that day I dusted it off and used some Old English scratch cover (which I already had) on the scratches, then gave the entire piece a light coat of Old English, buffed it up, and it came out gorgeous. You'd NEVER believe we got it at a yard sale for $35. It is next to the sofa in the living room now.

After the Milton yard sale we drove around looking for more yard sales. We were really hoping to find 2 men's bikes since the arrival of summer has heighten mine & Spouses desire to start bike riding. We did see several more yard sales, but none with bikes, so we didn't get out of the car. We have a patented "drive-by" yard sale technique which we often implement when we're looking for something specific.

It was a little overcast when we started yard saling, but by the time we were done the sun was out and it was about 75 degrees. So we drove into Rehoboth and went for a 2-mile walk on the boardwalk. There were lots of boardwalkers and even people on the beach in their swimsuits.

Then we decided to look for a 'cheap eats' restaurant we'd heard about called Whitecaps Cafe, which literally sits on the bank of the Indian River. The drive out Rt 24 was lovely and we found the place easily. Its not fancy at all, and very out-of-the-way, so that combined with the spectacular water views makes this a place I think we will escape to when we want to eat out in the heart of the summer season and all of the Rehoboth and Lewes restaurants are packed. We had a very inexpensive and tasty lunch: Joe had the fried fish basket with french fries and I had a fried oyster sandwich, each of which was under $7. Then walked out onto the pier. Lovely!

That afternoon I decided to finally tackle a project I meant to do several times in the last 6 years: prime and paint a set of two matching 2-tiered end tables that Joe picked up at a yard sale for $10. each about 6 years ago. One of them was a little banged up, the other was a lot banged up. We used them along with our 50s furniture in the basement of our VA house for a few years until we got a fab set of vintage 'blonde' tables to replace them. At that point, we used the end tables as night stands in the guest bedroom. They looked so ratty I told myself I should prime and paint them, but I never did. Then we brought them up to the beach house and put 1 in a guest bedroom and 1 in the bedroom Spouse & I used as nightstands. Again I told myself I should prime and paint them, but I never did. Then we moved them to our current house and put them in a guest bedroom. They still looked ratty so on Sat afternoon I told myself I would procrastinate no more. After all, I already had the primer, which we had bought and used on the Victrola stand, and I found some left-over white semi-gloss paint the builder had left behind, so my only expense to transform the ratty tables into chic night stands was a paint brush, which I bought at the dollar store. So I primed the tables on Sat afternoon and let them dry/cure overnight.

Sun after breakfast we did a whole-house cleaning, which is always lots of fun. (Insert heavy sarcasm here.) But with both of us working hard, we were done in a little over 2 hours. Then we showered, had a bite to eat, and I changed the bathroom towels and the bed sheets while Joe walked Jordan. Then we switched out our wicker love seats. The one the movers put in our bedroom is part of a set. The two matching chairs were placed on the screened porch. The love seat the movers placed on the porch with the chairs is the one that should have gone up to our bedroom, so we switched them so that the 3 matching pieces were back together again.

Then we drove into Rehoboth and went for a walk on the boardwalk again. It was 82 degrees and there were TONS of people at the beach. When we came back home I painted the top coat on the 2 night stands and talked with our neighbor Barb. Spouse & I had dinner and watched TV the rest of the night.

Today I did a little touch-up on the night stands before returning them to the bedroom. They look great! I was really impressed that we got a beautiful wood end table for our living room for $35. and I transformed those 2 old yard sale end tables by painting them white for $0. Cheap and free equals fun!

Drag Queen name of the day: Vera Cruise

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Neighbors' blossoms

Since the neighborhood is bursting with beautiful spring blossoms I decided to bring the good ol' $139. digital camera with me when I walked Jordan today. The following were taken at neighbors' houses. Unfortunately none of these are in our yard.
I thought these purple tulips were gorgeous. You see lots of red, yellow and pink tulips, but you rarely see purple ones. I love tulips. My mother grew them in our front yard and the sight of tulips still congers up memories of early spring.
These lavendar-colored phlox are one of my favorites, too. We had phlox in several colors in our front yard when I was growing up. Lavendar, purple, magenta, pink, and white. Creeping phlox are great because they spread. Each spring they're larger and fuller.
This is a Bradford pear tree in full bloom. Beautiful!
These are super-sized yellow tulips. The yellow is so deep yet bright at the same time.

Drag Queen name of the day: Dinah Sore

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

From functional to decorative

You likely remember all the 'drama' we had over our mailbox installation. If not, check out my blog entry on Feb 13, 2007.

Last Wed our neighbor across the street Jim (whose mailbox post we attached our mailbox to) was approached by our neighbors 2 doors down, Barbara & Ann, about adding their mailbox to his post, too. Apparently they had just been picking up their mail at the post office periodically but now want to have it delivered at home. Jim loves Barbara & Ann so of course he said yes. He was going to take his mailbox off the top and ours off the side, attach a long board to the top, and mount all 3 to the long board. But then the wheels of creativity started churning.

Jim & his wife Barb are weekenders. They live in PA and come here to their Lewes home every weekend. In Feb Jim had back surgery and was given a note from his doctor to take 6 weeks off to recover. He decided to spend the 6 weeks recovering here in Lewes. Barb comes down on the weekends since she is still working. At the end of the 6 weeks the doctor gave him another 6 weeks, so Jim is still here in Lewes and has been loving all the free time to work on house projects, hence what follows.

So Jim, an engineer who always likes to have a project going on, decided to construct (not purchase) an 8-foot long section of white picket fence to which he would attach the 3 mailboxes, for a more decorative look. As he was working on the fence/mailbox holder, our next door neighbors John & LaVon who just returned from wintering in FL asked if they could add their mailbox to the fence/mailbox holder too. They had a separate post for their mailbox, but it kind of cluttered that side of the street. Since our street is a 'driving route' the mailman doesn't get out of the Jeep to delivered the mail, so all the mailboxes must be on the same side of the street.
Jim loves John & LaVon too, so he agreed to add their mailbox to the fence/mailbox holder.

I'm not sure why Jim didn't simply buy a section of fence. Maybe he thought it would be "fun" to build it himself since he's got every tool in the world in his shed. But I think the project became a bit more involved that he thought, since it took him about 5 days, working practically 8 hours a day, to finish the fence/mailbox holder.

When it came time to attach the pickets, Jim cut about 6 different tops so we could select the one we liked best. We all decided on the rounded top with the hole in it. Jim cut all the pickets to match, primed and painted them, and finally attached them on Sun. So now we have a section of white picket fence with 4 mailboxes attached. I think it looks really cute.

When I mentioned in front of Jim's wife Barb that I thought it was a funny coincidence that we all have the same metal mailbox, but in 4 different colors, she suggested that the fence/mailbox holder would probably look even better if we eventually replaced the metal mailboxes with wooden ones that look like houses. Then Jim suggested that she shop online to find 4 of the same kind so they'd all be the same size. Then I suggested that if they're all the same mailbox, maybe we should get some craft paints and paint the house-looking mailboxes the same colors as our houses. We 4 home owners could do this together and bring a dish, making it a party! They chuckled and said something about it being a great idea, but when I mentioned that last party (bring a dish, making it a party) Joe said "Leave it to the gay neighbor to turn a conversation about mailboxes into a party." I just rolled my eyes and defended my idea.

Drag Queen name of the day: June Bride

Monday, April 23, 2007

Promise kept

Mother Nature kept her promise: spring finally arrived. (These beautiful, huge tulips belong to a neighbor.)

Fri was a pretty day: sunny and temperatures in the upper 60s. Sat was a gorgeous day: sunny and temperatures in the mid-70s. Sun was another spectacular day: sunny and a high temperature of 79. Today it is sunny with a current temperature of 81. I love it!

Fri when Joe came home from work we went for a walk before dinner. We walked the 2 blocks to the 'main' street of Lewes, crossed the canal bridge, and walked the 1/2 mile to the bay. We sat on a bench and looked out at the water, gulls, and the ferry approaching the depot. Then we walked back home. It was about 1 1/2 miles round trip. After dinner we went to the grocery store and did our weekly shopping. Then Joe made banana nut muffins for our neighbors across the street, since Barb's mother was visiting and Jim had been working on a new picket fence mailbox center to include our mailbox. More about that including a photo tomorrow.

Sat morning we drove around checking out yard sales. Lord knows we don't need any more furniture or household items! We just find it fun to look. Also, since we really want to get bikes we thought we might find some at yard sales, but not that day. Then we drove into Rehoboth and walked down to the boardwalk. It was such a beautiful day there were a lot of folks on the boardwalk. As we walked the entire length of it and back we saw several people on the beach with their chairs and books and magazines. Including the walk to and from car/boardwalk, that walk about about 2 1/2 miles. On the way home we stopped at KMart to look at bikes and the dollar store to pick up a few essentials. When we returned home we ate lunch on the screened porch. Jordan and Pouncer were on the porch with us and we chuckled as we watched Pouncer's reactions to all the unusual sounds. Since his front claws were removed he never goes outdoors. Being on the screened porch is the closest thing he gets to being 'outside'. After lunch we took Jordan for a walk around the pond in the park near our house. That walk is probably 1/2 a mile. Later that afternoon we walked the 2 blocks to the 'main' street in Lewes again, where Joe got a piece of chocolate from the chocolate shop and we strolled up and down some of the streets looking at homes and yards. We had dinner on the screened porch, watched some TV, and then got ready to go out.

Our friends Doug & Jim from VA had called earlier and we'd accepted an invitation to meet them at Cloud 9 in Rehoboth at 9pm for drinks. Shortly after we arrived a group vacated a table with 4 stools so we promptly took over the table. We hadn't seen Doug & Jim in several months so it was great to see them and get caught up. We had a great time and stayed until almost 12:30.

Sun we went back to Rehoboth to walk the boardwalk again. Since it was even warmer than the day before, we saw lots of folks on the beach in the swimsuits! Nobody was in the water though, so I'm sure it was just too cold. Upon returning home we had lunch on the screened porch, then decided to clean the white wooden rockers on the front porch. Armed with paper towels and a spray bottle, we sprayed and wiped down all 4 chairs, then sat in them and rocked in the shade. A dog walker passing by looked at us and said "You look like you could be selling porches." Joe took Jordan for a walk around the pond while I picked up sticks that had fallen from the trees during last week's Nor'easter. We had dinner in front of the TV.

It was such a beautiful weekend, and I had been looking forward to spring's arrival for so long that we really tried to spend as much time outdoors as possible. In doing so we both got a little too much sun, despite having put on sunscreen. But it was worth it!

Drag Queen name of the day: Ginger Bread

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Promise of spring

Regardless of your location on the planet, you've probably heard me whining about the tardiness of spring. I am really, REALLY ready for spring.

Then I read Tornwordo's blog citing a recent dumping of snow, mid-April, and I tell myself I should count my blessings. At least we haven't had snow in a few weeks; just these annoying overcast skies and mid-40s temperatures that make me agitated at Mother Nature for delaying my hay day.

I love warm weather. I love taking an enjoyable after dinner walk around town, on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean, anywhere really. I'm a convertible owner, the kind that puts their top down as long as the temperature is above 55 and its not raining. I love the blasts of color from springtime trees and flowers that accompany spring's arrival. I sometimes get a little blue in the gloomy, grey doldrums of winter. I am really, REALLY ready for spring.

But today it is not spring. Its 46 degrees, cloudy, with a stray sprinkle now and then. Even the dog is 'hunkered down', asleep on her bed the way she does on the coldest of winter days.

But according to spring will arrive this weekend! On Sat it will be sunny and 64; on Sun it will be sunny and 71. Next week is looking pretty darn good, too. On Mon it will be sunny and 74; on Tues it will be sunny and 72. This is the kind of weather we should have had 2 or 3 weeks ago. But I will enjoy it when it arrives, and forgive Mother Nature for her torment.

Drag Queen name of the day: F. Ida Hammer

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Newlywed's visit

I was super-excited all last week in anticipation of the Newlywed's visit!

Michael & Jamie (aka: the Newlyweds) arrived shortly after 10:00 Fri night. We showed them around the house and then sat in the living room and talked until almost 2am. They told us all about their vacation/scouting trip to Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. They really 'clicked' in Portland and feel that is where they will relocate later this year.

Sat morning after a light breakfast we went to a flea market at the Seaside Nature Center inside Cape Henlopen Park. I'd been seeing signs for it for all over town for about 2 weeks, so I thought it was going to be really good. The Newlyweds love flea markets too, but it turned out to be quite disappointing; only about 4 tables with mostly junk on them. Not that we were looking to buy anything anyway, but we were hoping for something bigger and better considering all the advertising.

Afterward we drove through the park a little, then got out and walked on the beach a little. It was bright and sunny, although chilly. Michael & Jamie had brought their kites so they quickly put them together and we tried flying their kites for a while. The wind was great, but our kite navigation abilities were limited. It was fun anyway.

Then we had lunch in Rehoboth, browsed a few of the shops, walked on the boardwalk, and returned home. We talked in the living room until almost 8, then went to the Miltonian Pizzeria & Wing House for dinner. We watched the comedy show 'Wisecrack' on the Logo channel from 10-11 and then went to bed.

Sun morning it was raining and very windy as we began feeling the effects of the Nor'easter, so it was great to have a leisurely breakfast of pancakes, bacon, juice, and coffee. We all showered and then just before noon we went to some of the outlet stores. Michael was looking for a rain jacket in anticipation of moving to Portland. All that shopping worked up our appetites so we had lunch at La Tolteca followed by ice cream from Dairy Queen, which we ate in the car looking out at the bay.

When we returned home they packed up and left shortly before 5. It was really great to visit and catch up with them. I'll really miss seeing them when they move to Portland. Joe & I will visit them, but not as often as we're used to seeing each other.

Joe talked to his mom and sister on the phone and surfed the internet while I watched TV. I watched a DVD from Netflix of a PBS show about the creation of the Tupperware company. (Joe had seen it already.) It was really interesting and had lots of vintage footage. We watched the Sopranos, Mind of Mencia, and the new episode of Reno 911, then went to bed.

As I sit here typing I can hear the wind still whipping around outside, and our dog Jordan is snoring. Don't you wish your life was hot like mine?

Drag Queen name of the day: Rhoda Letter

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sick weekend

Joe & I both had off work last Fri for 'Good Friday'. But rather than leave Thurs night for DC, we decided to leave Fri morning. That way he could give Jordan a bath and we could drive in the daylight. Plus, I didn't want to sit around with nothing to do all day Fri while Joe's family was in church.

So we left at 9:30 am on Fri and arrived just before noon at Joe's mom's house. We brought our things inside, got the dog settled, and had a little visit with her. Then I left Joe with his mom and I picked up my aunt Mary. We went to lunch at a new place (new for us, anyway) called Cafe Deluxe and had a delicious lunch. She had the tilapia sandwich, I had the grilled chicken with avocado sandwich, and we split the Gruyere mac 'n cheese. Mmm mmm good! But all morning I'd been having post-nasal drip and a bit of a sore throat.

We walked next door to the Crate & Barrel store. My aunt has been oogling several pieces of furniture for what seems like years now, and wanted my opinion on the pieces. (Side story: my aunt has always had very traditional furniture and now at the age of 63 she wants to trade it all in on more contemporary stuff. Lucky for me, I got her English tea cart and set of 3 nesting tables.) I liked almost all of the items she showed me, but I believe I audibly gasped at the high prices. My aunt likes the store because most of the furniture is solid wood and made in America or Europe. Apparently there is quite a premium to be paid for that. I think I'll stick to furniture that is partially made of wood-like products in China. Then we stopped at Trader Joe's (there are none in DE) and the regular grocery store before I took her home.

I met up with Joe at his mom's house to find that he had accompanied her and his sister and niece to the Catholic church for confession. Joe said he "sat in quiet, contemplative prayer" as his relatives confessed their lying, cursing, and cheating ways to the priest in exchange for a few Hail Mary's. His mother was returning to church at 7pm for another ritual so Joe & I met up with Kerry & Hugh for dinner. We had a great time chatting and catching up.

Sat morning I woke up a little more congested and snotty, so I took some over-the-counter pseudophedrine-something-or-other before Joe, Ev, and I went to breakfast at the Silver Diner. Later we went to Joe's sister Mary's house to visit. The kids wanted to dye Easter eggs and Joe and Mary wanted to make pizelles using the pizelle iron their grandmother received as a 50th wedding anniversary gift in 1955. They were delicious! Mary ordered pizzas for dinner.

At 9pm I met some friends at Freddie's in Arlington to sing karaoke. It was pretty crowded and there were a lot of singers, but I had a good time. My friend Kelly and I sang the Sonny & Cher classic 'I Got You, Babe' - only Kelly sang Sonny's part and I did an impersonation of Cher! (I know, how gay, right?) But the crowd loved it and we had fun.

Sun morning I was REALLY congested and felt a lot of pain and pressure in my sinuses. On a scale of 1-10, my energy level was about 2. I took more of the fake sinus decongestant along with some ibuprofen and muddled through the morning. After showering and dressing we sat in the living room and talked with Joe's mom who had just returned from Easter service. A few minutes later Mary, Eric, and the kids came in and they took Easter pictures. Joe left with them and went to the store with his sister Mary. I picked up my aunt Mary and brought her back to Evelyn's house. (Later I noted that it was the 2nd time that weekend that we'd separated in order to "be with our respective Marys".) At 4pm we went to Joe's brother Louis' house for Easter dinner. I really felt like crap, and took another dose of ibuprofen. The food was good and we enjoyed the time together.

We left Louis' at 7pm, dropped of my aunt Mary, went back to Evelyn's to get our bags and Jordan, and left at 8:15. We got stuck in a bad traffic jam on the Beltway between Eisenhower Ave and the Woodrow Wilson bridge. It took us 45 minutes to make that part of the journey. We got home at 11:15. Fortunately Joe drove home since I was feeling so poorly.

Mon I struggled to make it threw the day. Fortunately it was not a busy or hectic day, and since I work at home, it was nice to be able to go and lie down for a while between tasks. Although I showered, I never got dressed; I wore my flannel pajamas all day. Joe stopped at the drug store on the way home from work and got me the generic of Clariton-D, which had been recommended to me by Kerry who was also suffering with sinus trouble. I took it Mon evening and within an hour I could feel the difference. It really helped with the congestion and allowed me to be able to breathe with my mouth closed. I continued to take ibuprofen for the pain and pressure. Tues I did the same 'part-time' work from home, with rest periods. Again I stayed in my pajamas all day.

Today my energy level was much higher and I worked a full day. I showered, dressed, and even took the dog for a walk and took the recycling to the recycling center. That (generic) Clariton-D really works! Then I remembered having a similar serious sinus problem about this time last year, so I checked my blog. Sure enough, this exact week in April 2006 I missed 3 days of work due to acute sinusitis. (Check the April 2006 archive, entry dated April 17.)

Drag Queen name of the day: Callie Flower

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I know its been a little while since my last post. We were back in VA last Fri, Sat, and Sun to be with the family for Easter. While gone I began having sinus congestion, post-nasal drip, sore throat, sneezing, and runny nose. Yesterday and today I have really been suffering with full-on sinusitus. Fortunately Joe bought me Clariton-D 24 hour decongestant pills and they are really starting to help. Hopefully I'll feel more like writing soon.

Drag Queen name of the day: June Bug

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Last year about this time the Newlyweds gave us a Victrola stand they'd gotten at a yard sale. They were trying to simply their furnishings and thought we might want to use it at our beach house as a bedside table. They were right. The curvy lines of the Victrola stand appealed to our 'glam' sensibilities.

One problem: it was a hideous shade of green with a dark faux wood treatment done with glaze. Green is my favorite color and there aren't many shades of it I don't like, but this was one of them. But we decided to use it in our bedroom at the beach house, which had a bright color pallet of orange, yellow, pink, green, and blue so we decided we'd paint the different sides and top of the piece with those colors, giving it a funky updated look.

We tried spray painting the top first with bright pink spray paint, but after using the entire can we just couldn't get good coverage. So the next time we were at the beach house I bought a can of primer and primed the entire piece. That should allow us to get a good, solid coat. But the spring turned into summer, the summer turned into fall, and the unfinished Victrola stand remained in the garage at the beach house until we vacated it in late Jan.

In the new house we decided not to use the bright color scheme in any of the rooms so I was a little relieved we hadn't spent much more time painting the Victrola stand all those bright colors. Instead, we decided to use the piece as a stand for Joe's briefcase, near the door. A new color scheme was chosen.

We decided to paint the Victrola stand matte black, then apply a crackle medium, then paint a metallic gold top coat. When the gold top coat crackled, it would reveal the black underneath. I was psyched! So we bought the paints and applied the black base and then the crackle medium.

The crackle medium said to allow 24 hours to dry, but after about 2 hours it was dry to the touch so we tried a little of the gold on the back as a test patch. Nothing happened so we decided it must need to dry the full 24 hours. Unfortunately we got busy and weren't able to get back to working on the piece for a few days. We figured it surely was dry now, so we tried another test patch on the back but nothing happened.

Thinking that we must have waited too long, we applied another coat of the crackle medium, let it dry for 24 hours, and tried another test patch. Still nothing. Frustrated, Joe decided to paint the entire piece in the metallic gold. It was... a bit much.

Now that the entire piece was metallic gold we needed to modify the plan. We decided to leave the metallic gold as the new base coat, apply a different kind of crackle medium, and then apply a top coat of rich barn red.

After applying the new crackle medium and allowing it to dry we tried a test patch of the barn red on the back. There was only minimal crackling, so according to the directions, to achieve more crackling we gave it a 2nd coat of crackle medium, allowed it to dry, and then gave the entire piece a coat of the barn red.

Once again, the crackling affect was minimal; only visible up close. From 5 feet away it just looked burgundy. Even more frustrated, Joe decided to use the left over metallic gold paint to 'enhance' the crackle. I warned him not to do it. I could visualize unnatural-looking streaks of gold paint along with the gold crackle, but he didn't listen.

I'm not exactly sure how he confused 'streaks' with 'blobs', but when I saw what he'd done I told him it looked as if a flock of golden geese had pooped on the Victrola stand. It looked horrible.

So after 3 coats of paint and 4 applications of crackle medium, I am now tempted to simply sand the piece down and re-apply the black matte finish paint and call it a day. I really liked the look of the piece in the black matte finish paint when I was painting the original base coat. It seemed to accent the curves but still remain understated. So that will be my last attempt to transform this free piece of furniture. Check back later for a progress update.

Drag Queen name of the day: Dinah Might