2014! and Love News

This is a bit of a love letter to 2014. It was a busy year! But a lovely one. And only good things to come in 2015.

Love is Patient, Love is Kind...
Love is Patient, Love is Kind…
Love is a doggie named Thomas!
Love is a doggie named Thomas!

The Church will be open by June. How do we know?
How could we possibly be open in 5! Five! 5! months?
With a punch list a country mile long?
Because we have a wedding to get ready for!
Coming in June: a June Wedding. The daughter of a close friend wants to be wed in the old country Church, and it will be our excitement and pleasure to prepare the aisles.
Hey everyone, grab a tool and let’s get bizzy!

This'll do!
This’ll do!

With the exception of the water tanks going in the floor, most of the very large objectives have been met.

Let’s review: 2014 started out with good cheer and lots of ambition.

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!

It was also one of the most brutal winters I can ever remember.

Frosted window panes.
Frosted window panes.

Sub zero temps, snow snow snow. Six snow days from school, three of them at the end of Christmas break. We hunkered down.

Some members of the household are permanently hunkered down!
Some members of the household are permanently hunkered down!

Luckily the geothermal heating system made the Church snug for comfortable working.
So we did trim work. That meant caulk, and lots of it.

Caulk Love!
Caulk Love!
"I'm in a tight spot"
“I’m in a tight spot”

There was lots for everyone to do.
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We hit it hard almost every weekend.

Painting the ceiling…
Painting the ceiling…
Sanding the floors…
Sanding the floors…

This one about did us in. We didn’t plan it this way, but after the big sanding effort, we took a bit of hiatus. We still worked, but the giant exhausting efforts were put on hold for the rest of the summer…

We'll have her in ship shape, no worries, mateys! (Ignore the mess!) (arrr…)
We’ll have her in ship shape, no worries, mateys! (Ignore the mess!) (arrr…)

We did have visitors and fun. Speaking of the upcoming nuptials, here are the parents of the bride checking out the status of the church.

We also worked on other projects back in our home and our cottage. Projects to make the rest of our life away from the Church a little nicer.
When we bought our house in Royal Oak, the entire place was paneled and featured dropped ceilings. We gutted, drywalled and painted the entire place with one exception: there was one room that didn’t get the treatment. That was 12 years ago.
We kind of dug the panelling, at least enough to keep it for 12 years. Plus it was a spare room, and we used it as a walk in closet.

Groovy, yah?
Groovy, yah?

Not really, so … grab the primer and paint, time to get busy!

Lavendar Love!
Lavendar Love!

“Little” projects like this don’t seem to phase us much after working on the Church. We are a pretty well oiled machine.

Meanwhile, back in Grindstone City, new road was being laid down. What a difference it makes.

Asphalt Love!
Asphalt Love!

Trees were planted as well. Some day they will be mighty. Right now they are mini!

Maple Love
Maple Love

Meanwhile, on the human front, there were patent awards given out.

Number 4  and counting…
Number 4 and counting…

Graduations accomplished.

My cousin, the Vet!
My cousin, the Vet!

And weddings held.

Sweetest couple ever: Uncle Joe and Lori
Sweetest couple ever: Uncle Joe and Lori

Whew! What a year.

Of course there was more, but I’m behind in my posts, so onward, 2015! And we’ll see more such celebrations and renovations, to be sure.

White Church Gallery Love!
White Church Gallery Love!
– The White Church Gallery

Life is Good!

And that covers it all!
And that covers it all!

It’s the weekend and I’m at the church! Can you interpret my mood? I’m ready to roll!

 

The last time we closed the story book, we had a few pages left to go in the chapter on the ceiling.

I see a vase...or the profile of a lady!
I see a vase…or the profile of a lady!

That’s silly. It’s just a good afternoon’s worth of work! So we drove up to Grindstone to get busy!

It’s now the end of March. Spring has officially started, and Earth’s Northern Hemisphere (us!) is now in position to lean toward the Sun.

images

According to my astronomy book, that should mean nicer weather, but here’s what we drove up to this particular young spring weekend…

Are my eyes out of focus or am I snow blind?
Are my eyes out of focus or am I snow blind?

And this!

Looks like a date with Messieur Chauvelin! (That's French for Mr. Shoveling...)
Looks like a date with Messieur Chauvelin! (That’s French for Mr. Shoveling…)

There is really nothing to make you feel better when you get loads of snow in late March. Especially after the brutal winter we’ve experienced. So I put on my “Life is Good” shirt and Mike and I hit the primer!

Sometimes it’s hard to get started…

Contemplatin'
Contemplatin’

C’mon Grindstone Mike! It’s just a short climb onto the scaffolding…

Not so bad when you keep it in perspective!
Not so bad when you keep it in perspective!

We’ll be done before you know it!

So long, ugly beige!
So long, ugly beige!

I know this looks like a state, but I can’t remember which one…

How about the state of being unfinished...?
How about the state of being unfinished…?

Ooh, we can almost taste it!

Maybe we should keep our mouths closed when we paint?
Maybe we should keep our mouths closed when we paint?

We’re on the homestretch, almost there, but we called the game. We had guests, and we were pooped!

Friends Kevin and Vickie, up for a visit.
Friends Kevin and Vickie, up for a visit.

We’re hoping that they stick around more permanently! They’re contemplating!

Life is Good!
Life is Good!

We love our little corner of the Thumb of Michigan, and the more good people that find this place, the nicer it is for us all! Come on up, y’all! Get some Thumb under your…err… thumb! Or under your skin!

 

– The White Church Gallery

 

Men at Work!

February has fled, leaving nothing but cold and snow in its wake. March is here, bringing cold air and snow. What the what? But that doesn’t slow down progress at the White Church Gallery.

That's why God made boots!
That’s why God made boots!

As predicted, weekend events back home prevented my journey to the Church, but apparently my awesome husband anointed himself court photographer in my absence. He usually shuns the camera, but either he doesn’t think I believe he really works when he’s there alone, or he secretly enjoys taking pictures of progress! I think it’s a little of both…

I do believe he works, because he is very passionate about whatever he does. And he’s a very hard worker. Plus…I knew he wouldn’t be alone. Thanks to “Captain” Ron Picard, the mammoth job of painting the ceiling was nearly accomplished! So let’s see what the boys were up to!

Ron Picard rolling the ceiling with Kilz!
Ron Picard rolling the ceiling with Kilz!
Ahem, court photographer, is this the first one you took? Looks like you’re halfway through! Ha Ha- it’s looking good!
We thought about spraying the paint on, but the first coat needs the attention hand rolling could only give. Hence the circus act these two performed on a system of scaffolding and ladders. Go boys, go!
Check out the scaffolding-ladder system!
Check out the scaffolding-ladder system!
Is he really on his tippy toes?
Is he really on his tippy toes?
Yep, he is! He’s a pro! And so it went.
And just to prove he was rolling too, look what I found on the camera!
I recognize those paint splatters on your glasses! My hero!
I recognize those paint splatters on your glasses! My hero!
And so, here are the results of their hard work.
View to the front door
View to the front door
Wow. What a difference. Now the cracks look fine. When we had finished the ceiling over the “attic” I thought the cracks made it look dirty, but now it looks great!
Nice!
Nice!
Cool- the white ceiling really picks up colors! We were pondering what color we’d paint the ceiling, but we’re in love with the lightness of the ceiling, so we’ll go with something a shade or two creamier and less blinding softer than stark white.
Quittin' time!
Quittin’ time!
Looks like there’s just a little bit left to prime. Then we can spray the color coat on.
The next morning, Grindstone Mike went back for some daylight pix- I love it! Nice job, Reluctant Court Photographer!
Early morning light
Early morning light
Yay Kilz!
Yay Kilz!
Oh ho- Mr. Reluctant Photographer shows his true artist colors. Look what else I found on the camera!
Port Austin, looking at the breakwall.
Port Austin, looking at the breakwall.
Port Austin, with the Lighthouse in the distance
Port Austin, with the Lighthouse in the distance
Port Austin Lighthouse, from Bird Creek Park
Port Austin Lighthouse, from Bird Creek Park
Nice work, Mike. I guess someone just earned himself a new job! (As if he didn’t have enough to do!)
Hopefully I can help out in the next few weeks, if I can break away from other commitments. Meanwhile, thanks Captain Ron for all your hard work, and thanks, Grindstone Mike, for being you!
– The White Church Gallery

The Light Fantastic

It’s been a year…since the last Polka Fest. Hard to believe, but here it is, the end of September, and the red and white lights are up again!

Can't dance without lights!
Can’t dance without lights!

And the usual suspects are up to the usual hijinks.

Three Stooges?
Three Stooges?

I think one of the best parts of this whole church project has been getting to know many of the people of the Tip of the Thumb.

Their blood is red and their skin is white, well, maybe translucent, (they are descended from Poles) but their hearts are true blue! The guy on the left wired the church like it was a WW 2 submarine. Let me show you!

Wires in the bathroom...
Wires in the bathroom…
Wires in the office...
Wires in the office…
Pretty, pretty wires everywhere!
Pretty, pretty wires everywhere!

If you want to light a church, you have to use some wire!  Mr. Shramski is a pro. He and his partner Dale spent many an hour in their “spare time” laying hundreds, nay thousands of feet of wire and conduit in the church, after drilling hole after hole right through the studs. The work is hard and expertise is needed, but luckily this community has great people like them to do this kind of work.

We will be very happy to see the last of the temp lights. They have served us well, but it’s time to have some permanent lighting.

All things Bright, but not Beautiful!
All things Bright, but not Beautiful!

As the wire goes in, the walls must be prepped for the spray foam. Coming soon: insulation! Stay tuned as the church gets an inner hug from a plastic blanket!

a plasket wha?
a plasket wha?

(BTW, the polka fest was FUN!)

he Prills break a leg!
he Prills break a leg!
Dancing in our seats!
Dancing in our seats!
– The White Church Gallery

It Ain’t Easy!

So what’s been going on this week? Let me show you, and you can guess…

??? Is it Art???
??? Is it Art???
Holes and conduit! And shavings!
Holes and conduit! And shavings!

Darn, you guessed it! The Church is being wired. Now that the plaster and lathe is gone, we can wire the walls for electricity before we add insulation and close her up with drywall. Outlets under the windows and in front! The ceiling had already been wired, but now the walls are good to go. Well almost…

Holy Rotted Wood, Batman!
Holy Rotted Wood, Batman!

Of course, in renovation, as in life, nothing is ever easy, and there were disaster areas that needed to be tended to before we can even think “Spray Foam!”

Who better to attend to them? Grindstone Mike, of course!

How'm I going to make this better?
How’m I going to make this better?

With a little help from a friend, of course. Camera-shy ice cream magnate Paul Fisher helped out, but it’s a bigger job than just weekend will allow time and energy for, especially after such a grueling work week and last week’s adventure to NY State for a lovely wedding.

Me, Mike, Dad and Mom
Me, Mike, Dad and Mom

Time spent with the folks is always special, and seeing relatives is always a hoot, but the 10 hours in the car each way was a little hard on the nerves tushie!

I did take a day this week to go hiking in Crescent Beach State Park. Summer has flown by, as is usually does, and for me teaching school starts very soon, both High School and College. So I took a day to “goof off” in this lovely setting, only 15 minutes from Port Austin, MI.

"Let's take a walk!"
“Let’s take a walk!”
Moss mountain!
Moss mountain!
Dunes and waves.
Dunes and waves.
"Look how magical!"
“Look how magical!”
Ahhhhhhh...
Ahhhhhhh…

I’m selfishly posting these so I can look back and remember how wonderful it was and to keep me breathing during the long season ahead of working all week, renovating all weekend. Poor Grindstone Mike has been doing this all along, but that’s why he’s Grindstone Mike. Tough and gritty, but keeps everyone near him sharp too.

"It ain't easy being green!"
“It ain’t easy being green!”

– The White Church Gallery

Workin’ It.

Huff puff scrape scrape...
Huff puff scrape scrape…

The season of summer slid right into fall, and still we are scraping and painting. I personally find scraping to be fairly therapeutic. I guess the boys think I need this therapy because they let me do it! With no interference.

Huff Puff blah blah blah...
Huff Puff blah blah blah…

Now since I am the author of this recorded history, I will not come out and say that I did most of the work this particular day. People might think that I’m biased. Instead, I will let the pictures speak for me.

How's it goin', boys? Just came in for a cool drink...
How’s it goin’, boys? Just came in for a cool drink…
Back at it- me and the empty ladder.
Back at it- me and the empty ladder.

But to be honest, we couldn’t have gotten to the “next level” without the help of the scaffold; planned, gotten and set up by the menfolk. Without it, we couldn’t have done this:

More than halfway! Yay!
More than halfway! Yay!

And then there was the break in the action of the Annual Amazing Kinde Polka Fest.

P1010067

Every year for seven years the families of Kevin Wiley (owner of the Kinde Pasta House)  Paul Fisher (owner of Grindstone’s Rybak’s Ice Cream opening spring of 2013) and Gerald Prill have enlisted the help of lots of local sponsors to put on the Thumb’s most amazing Polka Festival.

After 7 years, Prill and Fisher are still going strong. Ignore the crazy eyes.
After 7 years, Prill and Fisher are still going strong. Ignore the crazy eyes.
It's grueling, but worth it.
It’s grueling, but worth it.
We'll be Polish for the night.
We’ll be Polish for the night.

Everyone’s Polish tonight!

I helped hang the red lights. They stayed up the whole time!~ whew~
I helped hang the red lights. They stayed up the whole time!~ whew~

This awesome band played at Paul Fisher’s daughter’s wedding this summer, and they were back even more energetic, if that’s possible. Three daughters on the fiddle, Dad and young son on the accordian, and other family members rounding out the group. So much fun!

Who stole the Kishka?
Who stole the Kishka?

I didn’t steal the Kishka, cause I’m not even sure what it is, but I did steal a kiss from my Polish hubby!

Mmm wahhh!
Mmm wahhh!

Whether we’re working on the church

steady there...
steady there…

or Polka-ing our butts off,

dang my arm is getting tired...
dang my arm is getting tired…

We’re a great team, and surrounded by a community of hard working, hard playing folks. What more could you ask for?

The 2012 Kinde Polka Fest
The 2012 Kinde Polka Fest

– The White Church Gallery

Board, but not Bored

P1010115

So besides the furnace ouster last weekend, we also kept ourselves from being “board”…

Using old electric cords to bundle ceiling planks
Using old electric cords to bundle ceiling planks

by cleaning up the sanctuary, but not before trying out the art in the new venue.

This is gonna be good...
This is gonna be good…

Off with the carpet!

P1010100

Well those wires are a hot mess...
Well those wires are a hot mess…
Sharing the vision with daughter Eva...
Sharing the vision with daughter Eva…
....pretty sure these aren't "hot"...
….pretty sure these aren’t “hot”…
...pretty sure this piano's dead...
…pretty sure this piano’s dead…
...pretty sure this church is going to be awesome...
…pretty sure this church is going to be awesome…

Friend Duane was up with more freshly turned bowls and a check for the barn…

Coming soon to Grindstone City...Duane's Wood Shop!
Coming soon to Grindstone City…Duane’s Wood Shop!
The Ascetic
The Ascetic
The art looks great, with or without the finished gallery. I’m so lucky to have such beautiful art  hanging up around my house. I think some people shy away from art because they are unsure of how to react- or how to think or what to say about it. But painting, like music, dance, and other arts, can touch something in you that doesn’t need thoughts or words. This hand of an Indian ascetic, holding the prayer beads, buried in the sand, is such a vision of hope and devotion to me that it just touches me every time I look at it.
I’m sure that’s what these two were discussing…
...furnace needs to go...
…furnace needs to go…
So that’s the other part of the weekend. Family fun with Eva and Jack her boyfriend, Pat and Duane, and of course, the Don, Paul Fisher.
The Don poses...
The Don poses…
St. Michael and his seraphim
St. Michael and his seraphim

– The White Church Gallery

Friends and Neighbors

P1010012

Who’s that sneaking around back, hooking up… ELECTRICITY???  Power? Lights? All that comes with the modern age?

Far out! Electricity is surely on the checklist. Light, heat, and TUNES!

P1010022   P1010020

But nature is still in charge. Look at the beautiful art it makes on the INSIDE of the window!

P1010008

Friends and soon to be neighbors were up to help with demolition. Thanks so much, Duane and Pat. They will be Grindstone Corners neighbors soon!

Pat taking off molding
Pat taking off molding
Duane helping to de-nail lumber
Duane helping to de-nail lumber

 

Another building that needs love!
Another building that needs love!

The Barn Door is …closed for now! But not for ever…Pat and Duane are going to bring it back to life. A Wood Shop. Wood, metal, stone.

Can cute get any, gosh, cuter?

P1010052

So work progresses, even at night now. The ceiling tiles were held up by piles and piles of very nice, very expensive lumber!

$5-$6 a piece! American!
$5-$6 a piece! American!
Wood chair!
Wood chair!

P1010032

Happy Church!

New Friends and Neighbors across the street are renovating Captain Peer’s place, but it’s not mine to reveal:

The Old Peer Building
The Old Peer Building

It’s going to be awesome, though, and I can’t wait till it opens! Ice Cream, candy, and toys! Just for starters…

Meanwhile,  back to work..

I know how to use a hammer.
I know how to use a hammer.
– The White Church Gallery

The Pursuit of Happiness

This is a man inspired.

We need a dumpster.
We need a dumpster.
Hey, when the ceiling came down,
Hey, when the ceiling came down,
...the Bible got a ding!
…the Bible got a ding!

He heard a voice and found a church.

Fix walls, sand the floors, electricity, furnace, paint inside and out...
Fix walls, sand the floors, electricity, furnace, paint inside and out…

Tile pile:

P1010005

P1010001

A man walks his own path…

Where the HECK is my pry bar?
Where the HECK is my pry bar?

– The White Church Gallery