Nailed it!

nails The response to my male shopping blog last week was so overwhelming, I have decided to do a short series of blogs about shopping habits of myself and my long-suffering wife, Lisa. A few decades ago, we purchased an abandoned stone house in the country in western North Carolina, and set about transforming the place. One thing it needed was nails so we could proceed with some basic carpentry, so I took the truck and drove into Morganton to the Lowe's. I bought the nails, and also a stove, which we also needed.

Imagine Lisa's surprised when I came home with a stove instead of just nails! Talk about a smart shopper. I don't think she expected me to return with nails AND a stove, but, hey, we needed one, and I'm pretty sure they were on sale. It was beautiful. White. And it worked right away.

I think that was the first of our Carenen family shopping saga, and a story that refuses to go away, appearing and reappearing in small gatherings of family and friends. And, heck, why should it go away? I'm proud of it.

Anyway, I hope you, dear reader, are impressed with my shopping acumen and overall wisdom when it comes to participating in our capitalistic, consumeristic society in which we live so comfortably.

Next blog? Well, I want to surprise you, but it has something to do with arrowroot. Stay tuned.

Smell Ya Later....

When one loses something they have been attached to, when something is taken away forever, it can be painful. When the Colts left Baltimore, loyal Baltimoreans wept and wailed and cursed. They threatened and pounded fists in the ground out of frustration and loss. To no avail.
When my dad took my basketball away from me when I was twelve because I had been slack in my chores (mowing the yard, cleaning the furnace, shoveling snow), I thought I would expire considering how much I loved shooting hoops. I eventually got the ball back, but I was by 32 then and pretty much out of the sport.
Recently, at the Carenen Cottage, something was taken away that had found its way into our hearts. We came to think of it as a permanent yard ornament because it had been there for weeks, even months. We grew to like it. The bright orange port-a-potty had become a source of relief for our visiting Clemson friends, a backup for me in times of urgent need when our indoor biffy was occupied by a female, and a beacon visible to aircraft 30,000 feet up to lead us home at the end of the day. It also served as a benefit to the various men working to build the addition to our cottage, much better than hunkering down in the woods and watching out for copperheads and fire ants.
The positive that comes out of this loss is a bit difficult to identify. Oh, sure, it means we now have a functioning second bathroom. And certainly, it means the construction is coming to a close. Good things. But now I'm wondering, how are we going to find our way home?

Carnage at the Carenen Cottage

And so it begins. The systematic renovation to the Carenen Cottage has launched with serious purpose. I took off the back deck, then the grader did his thing, footers were poured, cinderblock secured, temporary electrical hookup installed. This morning three men showed up to rip off the back of the cottage and prepare to do framing for the new. That meant we had to get everything out of the old laundry room and pantry this morning, something we thought would not be necessary for a couple of weeks.
But we are nothing if not flexible. I'm glad they're going at it. The additional space will be luxurious, at least to us, and the flexibility in hospitality will be wonderful. So the hammering, the ripping, the tearing, and the demolishing is going on, perfect background for my writing.
Oh, and the workers have deposited an orange port-a-potty out front, by the blueberry bushes. We're going to tell our friends that it's the second bathroom we always wanted. Beats the woods. Stay tuned for a brief report on how our two cats and puppy (Lily the Wonder Dog) are adapting. This might get ugly.

Bruised and Broken (deck)

I am proud to report that I have finished completely tearing down our 2,564 square foot back deck. At least it seemed to be about that size. It took me a week or so, maybe it was a month, I get mixed up. Anyway, it's done, the deconstruction slowed by a couple of rainy days that just broke my heart and allowed me to recover flat on my back with a handful of Advil and a cold beer. But it's gone now, a memory fading about as slowly as the multiple bruises I incurred in the process that was done solo.
I'm a very delicate guy, so I am used to having bruises show up and not know how I got them. Lisa will say, "Jeez, John, how did you get that awful bruise?" And I'll have to say I have no idea. Most of the time. But the ones from the deck-clearing can all be traced to, well, the deck-clearing. Hard to say where they all came from, but the one on my left shoulder was a direct result of my experience with gravity when one of the railings I was leaning on decided to give way. Fortunately, a 2 x 8 anchored in concrete broke my fall.
It's important to be able to say I took down the deck with my little hammer. Partly true. In addition to my little hammer, I used a  claw hammer, a pinch bar, a 4-lb. sledge hammer, a 10-lb. sledge, a five-foot crowbar, several vivid Anglo-Saxon expletives, and a banana (just kidding about the banana). I also used a hand towel to wipe down the wet stuff that accumulated on my skin while working in the 90-degree sun. Whatever that was. Slimy. Ick. Never felt that before. Creepy.
Now that the back is cleared of deck, the contractors will be showing up on the 1st. I believe I'll enjoy watching them work. Might be worth writing about.