This photo was taken probably in early April before the rose bush’s leaves opened.
OMG what a day! I worked from morning till night doing all kinds of things; AND I’m going to tell you about all of them. Why? Well, because if you’re fortunate enough to have a family member or friend who has a cottage and you get an invitation to visit sometime this summer, I want you to know that a lot goes into making La Vie en Rose and every other beach house a great place to stay.
Today, Sunday, has been the nicest day so far this Memorial Day Weekend, considered by all to be the unofficial beginning of summer. Our street was filled with the cars of visitors who parked and went off to the beach. That’s what we used to do when we would go to the Shore for the weekend. But those days are long gone…..
I started off the morning shaking out the throw rugs, then I dust-mopped the kitchen and bathroom floor with my Swifter. Then I washed both floors. Peter had gone to get me coffee and while he was gone, I cleaned the litter box, put last night’s dishes away and made the bed.
When he returned with my Grandé Americano, I made us a breakfast of bacon, eggs and English muffins. That was the last time I sat down!
While Peter washed the breakfast dishes, I decided to vacuum the white area rugs which are here and there though out the cottage and are too light weight to be vacuumed with the Hoover, so I use the Dust Buster to pick up all the pesky little specks. After the third rug, the Dust Buster began to lose power – great! And the day had just begun. Downstairs to recharge the vacuum, I decide we must move the kitchen table so I can use the Hoover vacuum on the radiator where dust and cobwebs left over from the winter are probably residing. Moving the table is a two-man job and now that it is halfway out into the working part of the kitchen and the 4 chairs are scattered about, it’s kind of tight in there to maneuver. My husband agrees he should clean the radiator and I tackle the window. I took the curtains down and shook them out and noticed how dusty the window sill was and how dirty the window was – a lot of rain and snow this winter!
I’ve been harping about repainting the window sills and frames since last year because they are layered with paint, some of which is cracking, some is chipping and basically they just look bad. This ginormous task has been carefully avoided by Peter up to now. I started cleaning that nasty dirty area between the storm windows and the window sill. Let me just remind you all that this cottage was built about 1888! Peter brought out two scrapers and I began trying to smooth out the rough over-painted areas and removing the loose crackled pieces of paint. I’m just going to skip over the fight we had about scraping versus non-scraping and then sanding because let me assure you, the window frames got scraped and sanded as I knew they would!
The scraping/sanding task also included washing the windows inside and out in the living room. To do so, I went outside on the front porch and yuk another job to do. But before I deal with the porch, I vacuumed the living room rug as well as the scrapings and sawdust in each window. I had to move the BIG TV, God is it heavy, to get to window back there. By the way, have I ever told you how much I dislike, bordering on hate, triple track storms and screens. After dripping in WD-40, I finally got one of upper storm windows down so it could be washed inside and out. Peter went upstairs to do the window frames and while he was up there, I thought he should vacuum the back porch which was covered in debris and leaves.
For 2 days the box of the porch candles has sat in the living room and I was determined to get them out on the glass tables (after I washed the tables naturally). But first, back to the yukky porch which was really dirty (it was a long winter). Peter washed the porch which means furniture was all over the place and some of it on the lawn. Yesterday I filled the porch planter (which is like an outdoor window sill planter) with geraniums and petunias but didn’t attach it to the porch BECASUSE the porch wasn’t clean. It gets tied in place to the railing spindles BUT they were dirty and spotted with mildew. So out comes the Tilex and brush and rubber gloves as I tackle spindle after spindle scrubbing the mildew away and discovering that some of them were losing paint and OMG, rotting and will need to be replaced. It’s hard to work on the porch and not notice how black the front of the house is due to the traffic and dirt from the road. More Tilex and more hosing down. By this point I’m pretty wet.
I still had a wicker planter to fill with pink petunias, however that piece was in the garage and Peter had to go get it – “Not now”, he said, “Do something else”. OK, I will transplant the mint. Yes, I know it grows like a weed and because it does, some has already sprouted up in areas other than the patch of lawn I gave it last year. I had bordered that patch of ground with sea shells, some of which did not survive the winter. So, as most of the other jobs have been going so far today, this one wasn’t going to be any different – Stop, get some sea shells from a stash I have in the shed and replace the broken ones before I start to transplant the errant mint into its rightful home. Now that I’m on my hands and knees, I can see that the flagstone walkway is overgrown with grass and needs trimming. I have to do this a couple of times each summer and am always surprised that the damn grass grows on top of the stone but not in the lawn! At this level, I see a lot of areas that need hand trimming and yes, I did that too!
About this time, I realize that there are about 7 jobs in progress and none completely finished. The furniture is still all over the kitchen, the porch furniture is scattered and the porch floor is wet and littered with paint chips. I went back to the front of the house and made the mistake of looking up and saw that the porch ceiling should probably be repainted and certainly it was really dirty, so as I aimed the hose upward, the water came downward and I just got wetter. I asked Peter to go get the wicker planter, PLEASE!
As he filled the bird feeder, I got the Round-UP out to kill the weeds that were popping up on the patio and between the blocks on the sidewalk. That done, it was time to put the petunias in the wicker planter. Uh oh, I don’t have enough dirt! I dug some up where I plan to plant a basil plant but it really wasn’t enough. I think there were 12 plants in the flat, however the flat was a plastic molded affair and it was really difficult to get the plants out. There were a few casualties! I squished them in together and HOPED that their dirt will blend together and I probably better buy some potting soil soon. I just hope they survive till I return next weekend.
Our neighbors strolled over and she noticed how stick like my hydrangeas were and informed me that I needed to cut back those stems because what I thought were buds were not and I should cut them all back to where there was some green growth near the bottom. She offered me the use of her new clipper and now even though it was 6:30pm I tackled the two hydrangeas in the front and the one in the back. Somebody has to tie up all these dead branches for the yard-waste pick-up.
By the time the kitchen table and chairs were put back, the TV was put back, the porch furniture was put back (only to come off again BECAUSE the porch needs to be repainted) and the two vacuum cleaners emptied and put away, as well as the bottles of Tilex, Windex, Awesome, Simple Green and Fantastik, it was after 7pm. I was most definitely NOT making dinner tonight.
After a shower and two Tylenol (for my achey body), we ordered Chinese food!. Tomorrow is another day and after the Parade, I think Peter will repaint the front porch floor….this ole house!