Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Daisy Investigates: What’s going on here?

DH enjoys being a DIY guy, and one of the projects he loves most is tile work. That skill has saved us a ton of money when we redid both bathrooms and the kitchen backsplash ourselves. And he’s really good at it.

So one of the reasons it’s taking weeks longer to get all our renovations done is that DH is re-flooring the foyer on weekends, which takes more time, especially since we have other, more fun things on the weekend calendar as well.

When he started it after the painting was done, he had to pull up 50-year-old mismatched, poorly repaired slate, scrape up whatever was holding them in place, and chip away at stuff with sharp, ear-splitting noises – it was that last part that was the last straw for Daisy. But instead of running away from the horrendous sound, she ran toward it and growled at it.

Mommy, did you hear this racket?

Mommy, did you hear this racket?

Look, it's coming from over here!

Look, it’s coming from over here!

He put up plastic tarps like temporary walls covering both access points to prevent as much dust as possible from coming into the rest of the house – a bit still got through, of course, and that stuff is murder to clean up. That was another thing Daisy didn’t approve of – being kept out of the area.

 

Hey, what's this big plastic thing doing up here?

Hey, what’s this big plastic thing doing up here?

Is that Daddy in there? Why is he hiding from me?

Is that Daddy in there? Why is he hiding from me?

Come out, Daddy! I see you in there!

Come out, Daddy! I see you in there!

We’re in the Thursday Barks and Bytes blog hop!

2 Brown Dawgs

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The OTHER Big Event

While we’re waiting for something new to report on Daisy (she did finally have a poop after 3 days without one, so we’re happy about that – something only family can appreciate though, I think! 😉 ), I thought I’d tell you why I wasn’t able to blog for the entire month of October. And why we had no Halloween decorations up this year. And no Halloween costume for Daisy (which I’m sure made her happy). Or fall trips. Poo.

Last year's humiliating Halloween skirt. Daisy was mortified!

Last year’s humiliating Halloween skirt. Daisy was mortified!

Well, I was totally consumed by THE MOVE – moving my 90-year-old aunt from her house an hour away from us into an assisted living home in the town next to us. (We’ve been trying to get her to move closer to us for 20-30 years!) She has no one besides us, so the distance was really bad; we couldn’t get up there often. Plus she needs more help with mobility, her house was falling apart (literally), and unscrupulous people were taking advantage of her. It was all so upsetting, especially when I knew she could be living a much better life. And now she is. 🙂

I love antiques, old architecture, and history. So her house, built in 1915 and only having one minor update in the early 1920s to convert gas lighting to electrical, was an endless source of fascination for me. She’s lived there for over 60 years!

It still has the original light fixtures, doorknobs, locks, etc., plus the original wide, beautiful molding strips are still around doorways and along the floors and ceilings.

Look at this old two-stage glass ceiling fixture! Such beautiful craftsmanship.

Look at this old two-stage glass ceiling fixture! Such beautiful craftsmanship.

Metal ceiling fixture with exposed bulbs. No one today would want those bulbs exposed, but still, there's a charm about that old-world styled metal fixture.

Metal ceiling fixture with exposed bulbs. No one today would want those bulbs exposed, but still, there’s a charm about the style of that old-world metal fixture.

Decorative brass doorknobs with backplates....

Decorative brass doorknobs with backplates.

All the floors on the first and second floors are inlaid parquet, which would cost a fortune today and were a major selling point.

Wish I could have transported these to my house!

Wish I could have transported these to my house!

Small bumps protrude from the walls, which are caps over the original gaslight pipes.

One per room, one in the long upstairs hallway - must have been quite dim and hard on the eyes during the gaslight days.

One per room, one in the long upstairs hallway – it must have been quite dim and hard on the eyes during the gaslight years.

The bathroom has the original cast iron claw-foot bathtub and pedestal sink. Closet doors have working locks with keys (!) and heavy glass doorknobs.

Heavy glass doorknobs.

Heavy glass doorknobs.

For heaven’s sake, there were still the original filled fire bombs in the basement surrounding the furnace! You never see those – they’re blown glass globes filled with liquid chemicals and mounted on the ceiling that explode when there’s a fire and help to put the fire out. Still there, still intact!!

The Realtor we hired (who was FANTASTIC and worked a not-so-minor miracle in selling this place) was fascinated when he walked around the house – it was like stepping back in time.

If I could have salvaged the architecture in this house, I would have done it in a second. I know the new owner will just strip everything out and junk it all. What a shame.

It’s rare to see those things still intact, and if the house had been well maintained, it could have been a showplace – a wonderful fusion of yesterday and today.

That’s the positive side. Here’s the flip side of the coin, the side that kept us working there 8-10 hours a day every Saturday and Sunday from the end of September through October – she has never bothered to maintain the house one bit over the past 30 years. Unfortunately she’s just that kind of person – if no one pushes her hard to keep herself or the things around her up, she just lets everything go. My grandmother (her mother) was meticulous and used to constantly push my aunt to maintain herself and help with the house, but she’s been gone for a long time. So as a result, time froze after she passed – carpeting and drapes in this 4-bedroom house were all from the 1960s, I kid you not. It’s not that she couldn’t do anything in all those decades, it’s that she just didn’t want to be bothered. She’s the extreme opposite of my grandmother.

Horrible 50-year-old kelly green wall-to-wall carpeting on the first floor and stairs was torn and tattered as were draperies with orange and green designs. She didn’t care; in fact, she didn’t even seem to notice. Hardwood floors underneath a large area rug in the dining room was many, many shades lighter and brighter than the exposed flooring surrounding the rug. The kitchen still has old metal cabinets and an old sticky linoleum floor. It’s all this and so much more unimaginable filth, broken down furnishings, and accumulations in areas of the house where we never went that shocked us so much and took all month for us to clean up and clear out. We spent every weekend up there working 8-10 hours – I had to wear a surgical mask and use surgical gloves to keep from repeating our first “day of discovery” there, when all that uncleanliness actually affected my lungs and sinuses for 24 hours afterwards.

Still though, the most important thing is that the house has miraculously sold and my aunt is happy in her new surroundings. Not only is the assisted living home she’s in bright and clean, but she gets three beautiful meals a day plus there’s a Happy Hour with hors d’oeuvres, wine, and cocktails. (I think maybe I’ll stop by around then….) She’s no longer isolated and has lots of other people to socialize with, as well as activities, trips, and beautiful scenery around the place. No comparison to the dark, dingy, dirty house in an economically depressed town she was in. It’s like she was reborn. She rarely used to leave her old house except when we drove her down here, so she’s amazed by the huge supermarkets like Wegman’s, the strip malls, and everything else that’s happened in the real world over the past 40 years! Every time I take her out, it’s like watching a child on Christmas. 🙂

I’m still struggling with her paperwork and financial issues and I suspect I will be for a while (nothing was maintained – bills and financials were scattered about in their original envelopes!), but it was definitely all worth it.  🙂

24 Comments »

Daisy’s New Outlook On The World

I’m in the throes of arranging to move my 90-year-old aunt into an assisted living home, and the process is daunting in every way. We’ve been trying to get her to at least move into a smaller place closer to us (she’s AN HOUR AWAY) for the past 30 years – she’s living on her own in a 3-level home with steep stairs AND she has mobility problems – with no luck until now. Finally, after a second-floor pipe ruptured in her 1915 house resulting in costly repairs, she became convinced that the high cost of maintaining an old house isn’t worth the headaches – or the cost at this point in her life. She’s got very little to live on as it is.

That was the turning point that convinced her to move, and it was a blessing in disguise, because she’s become unstable walking and I really wanted her near me as well as in a nice place where there would be people around who could help her. Plus her neighborhood has changed a lot, and she no longer knows anyone there, so she’s become isolated. All together, these and other issues are recipes for disaster and unhappiness.

FINALLY, she agreed to let us bring her down to look at some nice assisted living homes. Her eyes opened WIDE and she fell in love with the places, the people, the friendly aides, the food – it was wonderful! She’ll be catered to for the rest of her life, she’ll have friends aplenty, and she’ll have a sense of purpose. I’m so happy!

The one catch is —– we need to move her by the end of the month. There’s only one apartment open, which is perfect for her, and they’ll only hold it until the end of September, and that’s doing us a favor – normally they only hold them for 1-2 weeks.  SOOOO, I’m arranging everything to make this happen in triple-time: selling her house (which won’t be easy, it’s incredibly rundown), moving her bank accounts, getting her medical assessments done, filling out a TON of forms (seriously, together they look like a book!), moving the things she’ll be taking with her, packing 81 years of stuff and selling what she’s not taking, getting financial Power of Attorney because she no longer wants to handle her own finances, so I’ll be doing that for her…that’s just the beginning. The list is endless and the timing has to be just right. But it’ll be SO worth it in the long run!

All this has created a mess in our house AGAIN – this seems to be a theme for us this year – The Year Of Messes. I’ve been moving boxes of things from her house to mine until we can move them into her new place or sell them at auction in October and November. The boxes have taken over my computer room and part of my living room (I swear they multiply at night!), so I’ve been working in the dining room.

This chaos has been a dream for Daisy, though. She’s got all this new stuff to sniff and investigate, plus she now gets to sit at the dining room table with me while I’m working (yeah, I know, I’m weak; her sweetness and cuteness win me over every time). There’s a double window near the table, and some days have been so cool and beautiful out that I was able to open windows in the house (finally, after that brutal summer! Though two days ago it was 100 degrees and humid again….) and I noticed Daisy trying to sniff the air. So I covered the chair seats with blankets and rearranged things a bit for her. This is now her new favorite spot – on sunny days, the sunlight streams in, so she gets to sit on a chair, sniff the air coming in the window, AND bask in a puddle of sunshine all at the same time – a Havachon dream come true!

Daisy window peek 2

Hey this is great! I may be small, but now I’ve got a higher perspective on the world!

Oh yeah, this is sweet!

Oh yeah, this is sweet!

If we’ve been a bit scarce lately, all this extra work is the reason why. I can’t wait until it’s all done and settled and I can have a normal weekend again!

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Waiting……

Daisy is a true family dog. And she wants the whole family to be together at all times.

We noticed this at first when she was very young and would wait by the door for whoever left to return. She looked pretty sad with her back all hunched, until she finally realized they would eventually come back!

Daisy waiting

A very young Daisy waiting by the garage door. Yes, DD will be back soon, little one!

If one of us takes a nap or sleeps later than the others, this still really bugs Daisy.

If you, as the sleeping beauty, want to keep on sleeping, you better make sure your door is closed – tightly. Because Daisy will push her way in and grumble and whine until you get up just to silence her.

Last December, DD had a really nasty cold and stayed home from work. She slept nice and late, much to Daisy’s dismay:

Daisy at 7 AM.... "Where are you, DD?"

Daisy at 7 AM…. “Where are you, DD?”

Daisy at 8 AM - Seriously, this photo was taken an HOUR later! She hadn't moved a muscle.

Daisy at 8 AM – Seriously, this photo was taken an HOUR later! She hadn’t moved a muscle.

And this is what happened when DH took a rare nap one Sunday afternoon:

Daddy? Why are you napping? When are you coming out to play with me?

Daddy? Why are you napping? When are you coming out to play with me?

Notice a pattern here? 🙂

36 Comments »

Daisy’s Favorite Work Station

Daisy loves work. She loves computers. She loves them because when DD works from home once a week, Daisy has an easy time mushying her way into DD’s lap. All she has to do is put that teddy bear face on, and DD’s a goner.

Look! There's a new email!

Look! There’s a new email!

Daisy can get a couple of hours of lap time on a particularly good day (ie, a day when DD is particularly susceptible to Daisy’s charms).

You dictate, I'll type.

You dictate, I’ll type.

And other times it’s all about the cuddling, which can make any Havachon nice and sleepy.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I don’t know who’s happier, Daisy or DD! 😀

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Removing the Threat

Well it’s done. The dreaded deed of removing four beautiful old trees from our property that were threatening our house during storms is over.

Not really something you want to see in your backyard....

Not really something you want to see in your backyard….

I loved those trees. I’m more of a cabin-in-the-woods kind of gal than a toes-in-the-sand beach person, so these huge trees were things of beauty to me.

They brought wonderful songbirds right up to my back windows.

They gave us a lot of shade to cool the house and sit under during the summer.

They dropped vibrant yellow leaves in the fall that floated to the ground like lightweight snowflakes.

They formed a gorgeous white canopy during snowfalls.

But over the past few years, I noticed peeling bark and more bare branches appearing. The arborist said their type only lives for a certain number of decades, then they start dying and pose a real threat to anything around them. So it was time.

But it still wasn’t easy. Although there was a certain amount of entertainment in the process….

Look at this crazy guy! He stretched himself out into an inverted cross shape while being pulled to the top of the tree!

Look at this crazy guy! He stretched himself out into a full inverted cross shape while being pulled to the top of the tree!

Daisy, however, had a field day with all the activity out there. Though I must say, she wasn’t half as noisy as she used to be just a year ago! She was actually a very good girl.

Oh, she was curious….

What's going on out there? Who are all those men? And what are all those noisy metal monsters doing in my backyard??

What’s going on out there? Who are all those men? And what are all those noisy metal monsters doing in my backyard??

But she got used to the noise pretty quickly and only barked, bfff’d, and growled occasionally. I think keeping the back blinds closed helped because she couldn’t see all the constant movement.

So now the front half of our yard is wide open. No more birdies chirping by the house, but the trade-off is that during a harsh rain/wind storm yesterday, I had no reason to fear anymore. 🙂 But it did come at a dear cost. At least the back half still has some nice trees, and I’m hanging on to them as long as possible.

 

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Returning to Normal….Hopefully….

Hello to all our wonderful blog friends! I know we’ve been MIA quite a long time, and Daisy and I have missed all of you

Hello again! I missed you!

Hello again! I missed you!

so much. I can’t tell you how much I’ve appreciated the emails and comments from those of you who were concerned about our sudden and lengthy absence – it softened a difficult time for me. This community is such a blessing in our lives.

Our absence was the result of a crazy series of events. At first, it was for good things that were happening – my freelance writing career went into overdrive (always a good thing!), and my daughter started her own editing/proofreading/beta reading business that started off with a very positive bang. I was helping her with the business end of things and with her great writing/editing abilities, she’s gotten off to a nice strong start. But it sure was time consuming.

Just as things got under control and I thought I’d get back to blogging again (did I mention how much I missed you all??), things went south. My husband was told he possibly had a very serious illness, for which he had to undergo extensive testing and some nasty biopsies. The doctor was so concerned that he made sure everything got done as quickly as possible, but it was still three weeks of hell not knowing how the tests would come back. I was in tears almost every day, preparing for the worst while praying for the best.

I’m happy to say that in the end, the best won out. All of the tests and biopsies came back “clean”, as the doctor said, and what he thought was most probably a latter-stage cancer turned out to be nothing more than an irritation of the prostate that carried with it all the same symptoms of stage 3-4 prostate cancer. I owe God a lot, I can tell  you!

After my heart rate finally returned to normal, I got a phone call that a friend of mine, who’s like a sister to me, passed away at only 47 years of age. She was extremely disabled with a progressive disease and had taken a serious turn for the worse several weeks earlier. She was in such a severely debilitated state that she was praying for God to either heal her or take her. We knew it would be the latter, and last week, her final prayer was answered quite suddenly.

Her parents, who consider me their “adopted daughter”, honored me by asking me to deliver a eulogy at her wake this week. I’ve never done this before, and I’m not a public speaker. I don’t like being in the spotlight, but I’m going to push through that dread and do what I feel is right as a final way to honor this truly amazing woman, who never let her disabilities stand in the way of living her life. She was truly an inspiration and the person I always think of when I’m groaning over some stupid little inconvenience or minor catastrophe that will pass. What she went through during the course of her life, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Yet she always carried a smile.

Believe it or not, that was the abridged version of what went on during our absence! I can see that I’ve missed so much around here, and I’ll try to play catch-up as I can once the funeral is over on Thursday. I’m sure by Friday, I’ll be in recovery mode – probably an exhausted pile of soggy mush. But that’s the first step in the road back to normalcy.

Thanks again for sticking around and checking on us. You guys are the absolute best!

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This ‘N That Thursday

We’re joining the brown dawgs this week with our first This ‘N That Thursday post. I’ve left a couple of strings dangling in previous posts and so much has gone on all at once, I thought I’d bring you up to speed.

This ‘N That Thursday is for those times when you want to post about unrelated topics or each topic isn’t quite long enough to make up a whole post.  It can be anything you want, so feel free to grab the button and join us!

This 'N That 3

First and most important, I’m SO happy to report that DH got a job offer from the first company he interviewed with a couple of weeks ago. This was the job he was most interested in, so it worked out well. ::WHEW!:: Turns out they already knew they were going to hire him before they even interviewed him based on his business reputation alone. Now I can take my worry wart hat off….or rather, switch hats from worried-about-unemployment to worried-about-his-working-in-NYC. This wouldn’t have been a worry for me before 9/11 and all the foiled (thank God) terrorist plots since then, but now I see him working in a big target city and that scares me. It also scares me that random daytime shootings are becoming far more prevalent than ever before. (Hey – my grandmother was a Class 1 Worry Wart; she got a triple gold star in that field, so I blame my Worry Wart genetics on her. It’s the one thing I didn’t want to inherit!) He’ll be working from home a few days a week eventually, but of course for the first few weeks he has to go into the office to become acclimated to the company and meet his new colleagues. It’s an exciting new start for him and he’s really looking forward to it. 🙂

Second, he’s been using his time well during his unemployment. The kitchen is close to completion, and it would have been done by now except we ran into some  issues with the backsplash tiling. This is so typical in this house – no project goes smoothly – either measurements, plumbing, or electrical doesn’t conform with today’s standards (our house is 50 years old). So we came up with a good solution to the problem that will look like a design treatment rather than a solution to a problem. But that meant searching for another type of tile and ordering it, which is holding up the entire process. DH has a couple more weeks before he starts his new job, so he’ll have plenty of time to finish everything once the new tiles come in next week. Right now he’s painting the final window frame. 🙂

Last but certainly not least, THE ROOF IS FINALLY GETTING FIXED!! WOOHOO!!! It’s going to be great to get literally half the bedroom furniture OUT of the living room, back where it belongs, and stop living with tarps and buckets on the floor!

This is just a small portion of the damage - you can see broken tresses, boards, and sunlight coming in through one of the holes.

This is just a small portion of the damage – you can see broken tresses, boards, and sunlight coming in through one of the holes.

As you probably remember, the roof and ceiling have been damaged since Hurricane Sandy back in October; we’ve been waiting since we signed the contract three months ago for the roofers to fit us into their schedule.

hurricane damage tree on house

Roofers and tree services have been at a premium since the hurricane – everyone needs them, and they’re making more money than they ever dreamed. What’s awful is that the tree services are gouging everyone – they raised their prices phenomenally and they know people will pay what they ask because everyone’s either got trees that were damaged and need to be removed or they’ve learned from what happened to homes like ours and are having trees that threaten their own homes removed before the next “Big One”. Weather experts say Sandy was just the first of at least another decade of unusually strong storms that will hit our area, and we’ve seen that starting to prove out already. We get strong wind storms on a regular basis now that we never had before – gusts up to 60 mph and high sustained winds.

During summer, these huge trees form a shady canopy in the front half of our back yard. In fall their yellow leaves cascade down like a gentle snowfall. I will miss them dearly.

During summer, these huge trees form a shady canopy in the front half of our back yard. In fall their yellow leaves cascade down like a gentle snowfall. I will miss them dearly.

I’ll never forget that horrible sound when the tree crashed through our roof that night, and how one entire side of our home was cloaked in darkness even during daylight hours until the tree was removed. The whole experience made me very jittery about high winds, and I’ve realized that we need to have four large trees that are very close to our home taken down. I can’t tell you how upsetting that is to me because (a) I love nature and never destroy it – I don’t even pick flowers because I want their beauty to last as long as possible, and (b) a LOT of birds flit in and out of these trees, and one of them is home to a red-bellied woodpecker family for years.

Image via Wikipedia.

I love birds and the thought of taking these trees away and having fewer of them near the house really hurts. The other trees on the property are too far back for me to enjoy any bird life there. But I can’t go through that again, and these trees would cause even more damage. So I have to shove my practical side over my emotional side. Ugh.

One of many beautiful bird scenes I'll miss tremendously when these trees are gone.

One of many beautiful bird scenes I’ll miss tremendously when these trees are gone.

And Daisy? Well, she’s not happy that the roofers are here at all. She’s on constant alert. Yesterday they were working in the master bedroom taking down a huge area of the damaged ceiling, so Daisy was on a shriek-barking kick all day. My ears may never be the same. 😉

I don't like this at all. I can't get my daytime beauty naps!

I don’t like this at all. I can’t get my daytime beauty naps!

Thanks for reading my ramblings – back to happy Daisy posts next time!

25 Comments »

Monday Mischief: It’s Daddy This Time!

Hi friends! Daisy here. Mommy refused to tattle on Daddy (in fact I think she agreed with him!), so I’m hijacking the blog again today.

Our kitchen project got put on hold halfway through – the cabinets and countertop were finally finished (after a LOT of problems with the kitchen cabinet company that dragged the job out for WEEKS), but then came Hurricane Sandy that caused that nasty ol’ tree to fall through our roof (which still isn’t fixed, we’re still waiting for the roofers), and so many other things happened at the end of last year that Daddy couldn’t paint the kitchen walls or tile the backsplash on weekends like he’d planned.  (Whew! That was a BIG sentence for a little pup!)

Anyway, now Daddy’s company went through a restructuring, and his division was among many cuts. From the VP all the way down – gone. So Daddy’s between jobs right now for the first time ever. Mommy’s nervous about it, but Daddy’s confident that he’ll find something soon. And me? I’m loving having company every day, even when Mommy goes out!

So Daddy’s using this time between jobs to finish the kitchen. The first thing he did was to paint the walls and trim, and that’s where his mischief came in.

First everything was fine. He introduced me to the new painting thingies that I’ve never seen before.

Hmmmm....well you're a curious little thing, aren't you?

Hmmmm….well you’re a curious little thing, aren’t you?

But when he filled a tray with paint and put it on the tarp-covered floor, he banned me from the room!

HEY! What's this blocking the doorway?! What do you mean I can't come in to supervise???

HEY! What’s this blocking the doorway?! What do you mean I can’t come in to supervise???

Now, Daddy knows I love to walk around on that green tarp, it makes a crunchy, crinkly sound that I just love. But he put those big steps in my way and told me to “stay” – what’s that all about? How will I know if he’s doing the job right??

Finally I gave up and decided to retaliate….um, I mean find some fun elsewhere in the house.

::sigh:: Oh forget it. I'll find some mischief to do in here.

::sigh:: Oh forget it. I’ll find some mischief to do in here.

Mommy says she’ll post a picture when the kitchen is done. She says she’s going to celebrate when this project is finally over!

We’re part of the Monday Mischief Blog Hop! Follow the link, grab the button, and join the furry fun!

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Monday Mischief: Headless Daisy (Don’t Panic!) ;)

Back from our week-long absence – we sure did miss our blogging buddies!

For the sake of keeping in theme with Mischief Monday, we could say that Daisy is either doing her impression of the Headless Horseman or playing a late April Fool joke on us by making her head “disappear”.  But in fact, this is just silly little Daisy being silly little Daisy. 🙂

DH took a cell phone picture of our silly little girl in her favorite “headless” pose – stretched the length of his lap, arms stiff in her “hands-up-or-I’ll-shoot” pose, and her head dangling past his knees, out of sight (and he’s TALL!).

Mind you, she’s so comfortable like this, that she’s actually ASLEEP!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

We’re in the Monday Mischief Blog Hop! You can be too – grab the button and click on the link to join!

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