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.
P1010039
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

Confidence

I recently had a conversation with a lovely woman I met while out shopping for mid-century furniture in Berkley, MI. Somehow we got on the conversation of renovation and we quickly connected about our feelings of confidence when it came to approaching a project. She had painted a brownstone. I had painted a church. The bottom line was that after doing a large project, we felt able to snap our fingers at the small stuff. Like scraping and painting the garage, for example.

Snap!
Snap!

During the week, I stay downstate to keep Mike company and to take care of issues around the house. And he “lets” me. He’s very supportive in this! A few years ago (pre-church, namely!) he might not have felt comfortable leaving me alone with a power washer, a scraper and gallons of primer and paint. Anything could go wrong in the hands of a rookie. Now, he dashes off to work with barely a twitch when I tell him I’ll be re-landscaping the yard and painting the garage this week.

Ain't no big thang!
Ain’t no big thang!

Now, the landscaping did cause a few scrapes, especially when I got my finger literally caught between a rock and a hard place (cement!) That brought a little mist to my eyes, but I walked it off and carried on like a big girl.

Mother Nature at work.
Mother Nature at work.
he battle ensues.
he battle ensues.

Casualty: one purple fingernail that will probably not realize old age.

But totally worth it!

Who's in charge? Me!
Who’s in charge? Me!

OK, maybe I’m feeling a little over-confident, but it’s better than sitting on my butt afraid to dig in. BTW, that green thing is a rain barrel. It’s not the most attractive thing but it sure is handy if you have flowers and a garden.

So what has all this to do with the church? Well, it’s been over two and a half years of work, and there’s more to go.

Lemme get the wonder bar…
Lemme get the wonder bar…

Every Friday, with few exceptions, we hop in our cars and head north. We get there with some project in mind. Most of the projects are things that neither of us had done before, at least on this scale. Mike owned a former department store turned studio/living space in Flint so he had some experience with heavy renovation, but I had none. The only thing I had going for me was ignorance and a sense of adventure…and the fact that both Mike and I have lifted weights and done yoga since we were young. Keeping our bodies strong certainly has helped, though age and gravity have taken a toll on our comfort levels.

No mount of yoga can prepare you for awkward repetitive motions!
No mount of yoga can prepare you for awkward repetitive motions!

So here I am, glazing a window in situ. I had spent a few hours scraping the window with a brush and a metal scraper, and I had painted the window frame and the outside frame white. Mike had calculated that we spent over 60 HPW (hours per window!) on the front windows by taking them out, sanding them to remove the paint, carefully picking out all the hardened brittle glazing, gingerly taking out the glass, painting, reinstalling the glass and re-pointing it, re-glazing and painting more coats. Meanwhile Mike had to cut out plywood “windows” to install over the hole while the real windows were out, and they had to be screwed in and caulked, and then deinstalled, etc. It was VERY time consuming.

Glazing a window!
Glazing a window!

That’s a lot of HPW! So we decided to do the windows a different way. I was able to scrape, paint and reglaze this window in one afternoon. An hour into the scraping, I was doubtful, mainly because my shoulders were sassing me about the fact that I had been scraping paint all week at the garage and they could use a break from awkward repetitive motions. But after a spell of listening to Jimmie Rogers (think cowboy yodeling!) I gave my body a stern talking to and it settled down into a more peaceful place. I actually was able to enjoy the process, and my doubts vanished. Meanwhile, Mike was working inside and had sanded, filled holes and painted TWO windows in the same amount of time. He had no doubts!

I know - it's hard to tell.
I know – it’s hard to tell.

Mike did a beautiful job, but it’s really hard to see, both in photography and in person, since there is so much light coming in through the windows. I should have gotten an evening shot, but we were too pooped by then!

Our in situ methods saved us approximately 50 hpw, since we both spent about five hours on our respective projects. Sure, it’s not quite as thorough as the other method, but there are seven more windows to do, and other projects that are a-waiting. I think it’s a great trade off, since the windows are weather-tight and look great.

So what’s the moral of the story? I guess I’m trying to convey a little of what I’ve learned from this adventure; mainly that there’s no sense in being afraid to try things. This church had gone back to nature when we found it. It’s amazing how one little hole in a roof can open the door to nature’s full fury in the guise of rotted wood, raccoon shanty towns, cracked and crumbling plaster and more. We really couldn’t have harmed it more than neglect had already done. Step by step, with a lot of help, but also with a lot of work ethic, we have gutted and scraped and sanded and painted and installed our way into a sense of confidence. Perhaps it comes naturally for men; how else could the Brooklyn Bridge and the Pyramids have been built? But for me, it’s been a great learning experience and a great confidence builder. I didn’t foresee this aspect of our adventure, but I’m very grateful for it. I think Mike is too, especially when he sees the fruits of my labor!

I’m good with it!

He's twice as strong, but I eat 1/3 less!
He’s twice as strong, but I eat 1/3 less!
– The White Church Gallery