March 10, 2014

Cat Tales: Two steps forward, one back

By Carol Mills

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Hi folks.

It’s been five months since I retired from being a news writer at the paper and I wanted to fill you in on what I’ve been doing with all my spare time.

Before I left, I had a walk-in bathtub installed in the guest bedroom for my mother. We decided to make the room into a laundry room and cleared everything out of it, storing most of it in the basement. I had already given the bed to my sister in order to make room for the walk-in tub.

I decided it was better to use the guest bedroom to make our lives more comfortable because we rarely have guests anyway and when we do, they stay in a motel because it’s more convenient for them.

I decided to buy a new washer and dryer to put in the laundry room because the ones in the basement were old and didn’t match. By putting a washer and dryer in the laundry room upstairs my mother can now wash her own clothes. It was a lot of work for the plumber/electrician because of all the pipes involved and the installation of another smaller switch box for safety reasons. Come to find out there were two wires in the old switch box that were “narking.” The electrician said the house could have burned down.  If I hadn’t wanted to install a new dryer in the laundry room, I wouldn’t have known this until the house caught on fire. Everyone needs to have their electrical boxes checked yearly.

Next, the blue laundry room needed a new coat of paint. I chose a semi-gloss acrylic latex paint called ambrosia, which is a pretty, light bluegreen. Since there was some paint leftover out of the two gallons I bought, I also painted the stairway to the basement. For safety I painted the stair steps with a gray, non-skid formula. I then painted my blue bedroom a sassy lilac mainly because I liked the name. My sister bought me a lilac quilted bedspread for Christmas which completed the room except for all the boxes of paperwork I will have to go through and throw out. Everything except the important papers.

My next plan of attack was the kitchen/dining room. I had it painted several years ago with a medium blue to match the Pillsbury Dough Boy pattern in my curtains. The room was too dark. I was sick of looking at Dough Boy for more than 10 years. He had to go with the blue paint. I learned my lesson to paint the walls first and then buy curtains to match.

This time I chose a beautiful light creamy yellow paint called zest. To match the walls I bought curtains with yellow sunflowers, rose buds, and daffodils on them with a green lattice hem. They match perfectly with the yellow walls.

Since the kitchen cabinets were in pretty good shape, I cleaned them with Old English polish and stained the worn spots a golden oak.

I also replaced the old kitchen sink that was a brown cast iron with a stainless steel one and put in a new tile countertop. The countertop has 50 shades of gray running through it. It matches the new sink, the stainless steel top of the kitchen stove, and the silver backsplash behind it.

After I finished the laundry room, the stairway, my room, and the “wow” kitchen, the unbelievable happened. On January 7 my road was ice and snow covered but the night was clear. Around 11:30 p.m. I saw flashing lights through the front room curtains. I went to the side door, looked out, and there was a big white pickup in the middle of my front yard. A 17 year old who allegedly was speeding ran off the road where it was straight, knocking down a fence and two posts, one of my clematis trellises, two red bud trees, a pine tree, and a bird house before he was stopped my a big maple tree in my front yard. Two limbs on that tree were  broken and had to be sawed off. He was lucky the two posts didn’t go through his windshield. He was shaken up but not hurt.

I was the one hurting. I raised the two red bud trees from saplings and last year was the first time they bloomed. It takes five to six years for them to bloom and I had had them for six years. Some of the clematis vines were 30 years old and had been planted by my mother when she moved into the home long ago. I planted some more vines about 15 years ago. A few of the vines weren’t completely pulled out of the ground but most of them were and some were completely broken. I’ll have to wait until summer to see how much damage was done. The teen also made ruts in my driveway and lawn. I will be picking up pieces of plastic, glass, and asphalt for years to come.

The damage was $3,500 to my property alone and the teen wasn’t even given a speeding ticket. The police report only said he was driving too fast for road conditions. I called Sheriff Root and asked him why he wasn’t given a ticket. He said the teen’s speed had to be ticketed. The end post that was pulled out of the ground was a foot in diameter and the hole in the ground was three feet. You don’t have to be ticketed to know that speed was the culprit, not the icy conditions. The speed limit on my road is 35 miles. If he hadn’t been stopped by my big maple tree, he would have landed in Reed Valley Estates where he lives and belongs.

Two fence posts were knocked out into my yard while the wire fence was wrapped around my trellises. He went through a flower garden where I have crocus, daffodil, and tulip bulbs planted. I’ll have to wait until spring to see if he smashed them down so far they won’t come up.

After cleaning up and repairing what I could outside until this cold weather is over, and after my blood pressure came back down to normal, I resumed  redecorating my home.

I had floating floors put down over the linoleum in the kitchen and the bathroom. The kitchen floor is now several shades of light brown and the bathroom is a little darker with shades of gray and brown mixed together. The flooring comes in sections and is fitted together without having to put down any glue. This type of flooring I found out is only about three years old.

My next projects, providing any more catastrophies happening, is to varnish the hardwood floors this spring when I can open the windows and let in fresh air.

The best thing about retiring is being able to do the things you never had time for.

Happy trails until we meet again.