Our Wonderful Followers who come back again and again to read about us...

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Tic-tac-toe 3 in a Row - Plus 1

Tic-tac-toe, three in a row??

Steve put on his "git er done" cap, and decided to go zoom zoom zoom. We got three windows replaced in one day! 

Since both the master bedroom and the bathroom were done the other day, he wanted to tackle the next one because the weather was warm. Unusually warm for Wisconsin, so it's a good time to get these done.

The next two windows on his slate of tasks were for the Grandtots' bedroom. It's really our guest bedroom, but because we have bunk beds in there we call it the Grandtots' bedroom. It's also full of toys and games and puzzles and books and stuffed animals and all that fun stuff.

Again, the crazy wooden configuration storms with the aluminum windows added to the frames were screwed onto the house frames by a bunch of 3 inch long deck screws. He got most of them out, only a few he had to use a pliers and slowly twist them out turn by turn. Deck screws are more brittle and break off easily.  But eventually he got them all off.

I think this is one of the worst windows because the old wooden framework didn't even match up in the center. You couldn't even put a lock on this one. Of course it had air gaps all around and the outside aluminum storm would get all frosted up.  It is not a good situation, and really needed to be changed out. 

When he removed the inside window stops, we noticed the name printed in the interior surface from a Millen Brothers Millwork Company. We are going to have to research that sometime and see about what era they were in business. 

We are thinking this portion of the house is about early 1900s. It was moved here from another location sometime in the 1940s by the Heise family, and joined up to the existing house that was originally built in the late 1800s. That was done a lot in the old days during the housing boom of Oconto.  Not only did it move a house out of the way of some future expansion in the business district, but it doubled the size of this home already located on a rural township lot located up on the far end of town. 

Back to the window work: of course he had to go around with his oscillating tool and cut out gobs of caulking to get the framework loose. Someone sure wanted to make sure that those modified storm windows would never come off?

Once everything was opened up and cleared out of the way, it is easy to put in the new replacement window. He then shims and levels and plums it into place. It makes such a difference.

On the outside he adds a bead of silicone window weather tight sealant all of the way around and on the inside he uses non expanding foam in the spray can.   Then we can put the original wooden stops back into place, add some sealant. Finally I can paint the inside trim.

While we were busy working on the Grandtots' bedroom windows, these two little goof balls made themselves cozy on the bottom bunk. That way they could keep an eye on us and make sure we were doing a good job.

The side window went quickly and we moved right on to the second bedroom window that faces the front of the house. This was even easier to work on, because he could stand right on the front porch to remove the old window.  No more tall ladder work (which is tough on his knees).  It's nice that he could remove that storm window and not even disturb the shutters or trim. 

Mr. Zoom Zoom had that window done in no time at all. I was able to clean up the mess while he moved over to the office window on the other side of the front porch. Boy oh boy, I could barely keep up with him!

In the office, we pulled the steamer trunk out of the way and made a workspace without having to remove it completely from the room. 

That window came off quickly and he was able to finish the third replacement before dinner time.  

So it really was a


Now for the Plus 1 ----

The next morning, while musing over his cup of coffee, he decided it was time to tackle the big front leaded picture window. He knew this one was going to be really heavy and he was debating on how was best to proceed. I can just see his wheels turning in his head, and figuring out what was what. 

The first step was to remove the storm window. This one was rather unique because it was a wooden frame with two big pieces of horizontal plexiglass. He started to cut it out with his little oscillating saw and that just wasn't doing it.

He ended up actually taking his large circular saw while holding it vertically, he buzzed it all the way around while set to the correct depth to not harm the framework underneath. He was able to cut out the huge grooves of caulking that was holding this makeshift plexiglass storm window into place.  It was not fun, to say the least. 

Once that was done, he could use his little oscillating saw again to clean up the edges of the window sill. Look at the color that the house trim used to be for a while?Peach??  I knew at one time the house siding had been painted a deep teal green blue. I wonder if it was both colors at the same time?  Peach trim and teal siding???   It's kind of fun to excavate through the layers to see what changes have been made to the house over the years.

When he was ready to pull out the big leaded picture window, he decided to enlist the help of our neighbor across the street. Ed willingly came over to give Steve a hand. Both were masked up for safety. I pushed from the inside and both guys were on the outside ready to catch the window.

It was extremely heavy and they had to take three rest stops during the process to carry it around to store it in the garage!

We think we may cut off the top leaded portion of that window and re-hang it inside the surface of the new picture window. Later we can do that as a winter inside project. We had done that in our house in Chilton to preserve the look of the old leaded glass window but still have a new energy-efficient one in its place.  He secured it on top with trim and the bottom with little brackets.  It is just set on the inside up against the main picture window glass.... to look like it was original. 

But for now, it was important to get the big new window into place. We had turned off the furnace and shut all the doors to the other rooms. During the time they had the old window out and got the new window in place, the house temperature only dropped by 2 degrees. Man, those guys really work quick!

We thanked Ed as he went home ...  and then from the inside we were finishing up the trim work around the edges.  After lunch I could touch it up with matching paint.

By evening the paint was dry and we could hang the valance back up and put the furniture back into place. It sure was different sitting on the couch in front of this new dual pane window. Not only was it quieter from any outside noise, but the room had an even temperature with no cold chills from sitting near a big expanse of single pane glass.


On to our Doggie Dilemma----

In speaking with our local veterinarian, we thought it might be a good thing to send Finnegan's x-rays to an internist abdominal specialist in Port Washington, Wisconsin. He agreed it would be worth it to check it out with an ultrasound and see exactly what was going on in the little guy's belly. We had made an appointment but it wasn't until January 7th.  I hated to wait that long. The very next hour they called us back and said they had a cancellation for the next morning at 9 am! It was 120 miles away but we set the alarm, loaded up the vehicle and headed out.

It was a two-hour long appointment with a curbside drop-off and then pick up when Finnegan's tests were all done. We waited in the sunshine in the parking lot, even in the cold.  It wasn't too bad, and we didn't need to run the engine too much. 

Sadly though, we got the final results when they brought him back out to us.  It showed exactly what the first vet had suspected. He said there were masses growing around the spleen and reaching further into the abdomen. There are also masses on the upper portion of the liver as well as round tumors within the liver. There are also fluids building up in the abdominal cavity around the stomach. None of this is good and it really is not operational. When multiple organs are affected, it means it's cancer, without even having to do an invasive biopsy. If we were to put him through a multi-organ operation plus chemo, it really would not enhance his quality of life. The vet also said it would not buy him that much more time.

So we are facing the reality that we knew was coming and we will do what we can to make him comfortable.

You know, pet ownership is a complicated thing, comprised of a lot of responsibility. 

  • There is always the excitement of having a new puppy, which we did seven years ago with adopting him from the Sheltie Rescue. 
  • Then there is the fun and enjoyment of having a dog throughout his life. Building a relationship of being our companion and partner and little buddy in our life.  He is not a pet, he is a family member.
  • Then there is the grim reality that someday this shall end and we need to be the responsible pet owner and do what is right ... in repayment of all those years of loyalty and companionship that he gave to us.

During the long sad journey home, Steve and I talked about other dogs that we have had. We talked about all the funny stories and the memories. Each dog that we have had in our lives has brought us unique and different experiences. The time passed quickly, as well as the miles, and we were soon back home again.

When we got home, the weather was beautiful and I took a stroll out through the Big Backyard. We always told Finnegan we bought this house just for the Big Backyard, just for him and Binney!  I think I took some of the best photos I've ever taken of him.  

The dogs ran and played together and wrestled and tousled. I took some videos of them romping around. You'd never know by watching this that he was sick.

Finnegan did a lot of important teaching to little Binney when we adopted her 6 years ago.  She was so timid and afraid. She was neglected and tormented at the hoarder/breeder she was rescued from. She needed to learn to be confidant and self assured. She learned how to be a "good girl" and he taught her to "come" and "stay" and "go feed the birds".  It's so funny how many words they recognize and understand. 

When we first adopted her, she only communicated to us through him, and relying on him to tell us when she had to go outside. Finnegan was her mentor.  He was her steady rock to calm her fears during her flashbacks. She would wake up from nightmares, and he would go over and lick her face until she calmed down.   

She has gotten a lot better now, and I think she has only had one or two flashbacks in the last year.  Much more well-adjusted and comfortable than in her first few years.  Thanks to Finnegan, her good buddy. 

It was a wonderful afternoon to spend outside, then we went in and curled up and took a nice long nap together. Both doggies pressed tight up against me for closeness and comfort. They may very well know what is coming up in their own little doggie way. But it was great to have such a wonderful afternoon, and preserve it in our memories.

After we got home, Steve decided it was a good time to still work on one more dining room window. It was good to keep his mind off things and keep himself busy. 

He had removed the exterior storms on both of the dining room windows and got the framework prepped and ready to get the old one out and the new one in.  Although it was getting dark out, he was mostly working from the inside. 

He got the new one into place just as I was done making dinner. A little bit of trim work and it would soon be ready for me to touch up the paint.

We just have one more window to finish in the dining room. That was our missing window from the order that took a long ride and extra journey up to Marquette, Michigan. The building supply manager at Menards had sent someone up to pick it up and bring it back to the store in Marinette. They called to say the window was finally back to Marinette, so we drove up there early this morning at 6 a.m. to get it. That is today's project --- to replace that window and fix up the trim. Again, it's supposed to be up almost to 50 degrees today. It will be a good time to get it done.

Now all of the windows all the way around the house are done except the two in the kitchen table area. We have those two already here in the garage, but they are not just replacement windows. Those are complete new construction windows with a flange. We will have to alter the framing a little bit to get them to fit. That will be a springtime job.  (Unless Mr. Zoom Zoom gets another bug in his butt to get to them done yet this year?)

But for now, with what we have accomplished so far, it feels very cozy and quiet and soundproofed. The outside sounds are muffled. It has been quite a project to undertake this ourselves, but after getting estimates from a couple window companies, we decided doing this ourselves will save us some money as well as add to the comfort of the winter home heating and summer air conditioning cooling.  With the new insulation we had added in the attic, it will be an added bonus. 

Now that we are done with this stuff, it's time to sit back, prepare for the holidays, and enjoy our time with our little dogs.  And give Finnegan the best love and attention that we can give him.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

They Found Our Missing Window! plus Socially Distant Grandkids Visit

Yayyyyy! Menards called and said they found our eighth missing window!  They found out that it had been accidentally shipped to the Menards store in Marquette, Michigan.

That is 140 miles away from here. 

I suppose, the label reading Marquette, is close to the spelling of Marinette? Anyhow, they apologized over and over. They are sending a separate pick up truck up from the Marinette store tomorrow to get it and bring it back down to Marinette. They said we can come and get it by Tuesday. (too bad they don't deliver for free).  Then early Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. we will drive to the curbside pickup at the special order door and have it placed in the back of our Saturn. We are trying to avoid any physical contact. It's an extra 40 mile round trip for us. That's much better than waiting another six to eight weeks for another custom window to be built for our dimensions.


After coffee this morning, Steve decided maybe we would tackle replacing the next window. He's going to work his way around the house window by window until all eight of them are replaced. This is window number two. Is he going to do one every day?

This is the one in the master bedroom that faces to the South. Again, it has the same problem of moisture build up between the inner window and the outer storm, due to air leakage. The outside temperature during the day is in the 30s and at night down in thet teens and 20s. It will be good to get this done before we hit the Sub-Zero stuff!

Steve started today outside on the ladder, removing the many long 3-inch screws that were driven into the house to hold this crazy storm window creation into place.  This time, none of them were stripped and he was able to remove them all from the frame.

This is a pretty awful situation between the inner window panes and this outer aluminum storm. Not only is the moisture build-up, but it looks pretty rough and rugged too. It will be good to have this cleaned up and nice new windows all around.

Again, the outside storm windows had been caulked into place and had to be cut all the way around to free it from the window frame. Finally Steve was able to remove the stops on the inside (without breaking any) to take out the interior window panes one at a time.  Now he can reuse the original 100 year old wooden stops and not have to create new ones. He thoughtfully laid a spare towel on my handmade quilt to lay out his tools. 

While in the middle of our project, we suddenly got a text message that there was a delivery coming our way! Down the sidewalk, came two of our grandchildren bearing gifts. They walked a mile to get here in the winter cold to give us a socially distant delivery and a little visit at the same time. Awwwww

Clayton had to take a glance in the open window space while Grandpa was getting ready to set the new window into the opening. Of course, what little boy doesn't want to climb up a ladder?

While we visited out on the front porch, at a 6-foot distance, it was getting a little chilly. They patiently waited while I went inside and managed to surprise them with a couple Christmas mugs of hot cocoa. Complete with mini marshmallows!

While Chelsea and I were talking on the front porch stairs, Clayton decided he was going to do a project for us and remove all of the clumps of crabgrass and weeds from between our squares of sidewalk pavers. Kneeling down on that cold stone, he pulled and tugged and pulled and tugged until he got all of the pieces out of the cracks.  He was so focused on his job. 

Once he was done with that part, now he was able to grab the "Big Boy Toy" leaf blower and take care of blowing all the leftover clumps of dirt off of the sidewalk. He had a lot of energy today and he was looking for things to do. What fun to play with this battery operated blower and take care of making things look nice for us at the same time. We really appreciate that.

Since we had this fine gravel spread on our driveway this past summer, many of the grandkids are obsessed with smoothing it out anytime there are marks on it. Chelsea made a big spiral footprint design. Then Clayton had to get out the wide shop broom to smooth it all out again.

It's kind of like that ancient Chinese art where they do gravel in intricate patterns as a form of meditation. The kids are not happy until everything is smooth again to their liking.

It sure is fun to find things to do while socially distant, and have some interactions with grandkids.  I hope things will change soon, and we can be more in contact.  Again for the upcoming Christmas, their parents will test everyone in advance, isolate themselves, and be able to be together during Christmas vacation and New Years.  Wheeeee! 

After a while, it was time for them to head on back home. They gave us some long-distance socially distanced hugs, through the air. We really appreciate their efforts and then they had to track on home one mile in the cold weather.

p.s. the rug is to keep our mail lady from tripping on the 
cord leading to the little decorated tree behind Clayton.

Here are the treats they brought by. One was a loaf of beer bread and the other one is a loaf of cinnamon bread. Freshly baked! What a wonderful treat.

Steve got back to the work on the bedroom window. He sealed around with non-expanding foam and caulk under the trim. The original trim stops were all put in place and he took care of any little trim and nailing as well. We could immediately feel the difference in the room, as well as the sound muffling from the outdoor noises. This is going to be a great improvement.

Now that all the trim was in place, next would be my job to touch it all up with paint. I decided I would take care of that after lunch.

For a quick lunch, I took some chili out of the freezer. I really like cooking in large portions. One day a few weeks ago, I made up a big pot of chili, I had enough to set aside for a four or five quick lunches. A day like today was perfect for taking out a container and heating it up. Something to warm us up on the inside. We cut a few slices of that wonderful beer bread and had that along with the chili. Yummmm!!!

Oh..... The little dogs came out to spend time with us on the front porch and I snapped this picture of Finnegan, situated perfectly between my little reindeer and my red tree. He's such a handsome little fellow.

Finnegan has been full of pep and energy, and he has been eating well. Today he had a clump of leftover chicken as well as a crust of pizza, in addition to his normal dog food (I am still hand feeding him).   While the grandkids were here, they barked and ran around on the front porch and enjoyed the visit too. 

In the house, the dogs have been chasing around each other and playing, and taking a break every now and then to peek out the window and find something interesting to bark at. I'm glad that they are enjoying themselves together and having fun.

We later took a nice break while the Packer game was on TV. Steve was watching the game, so the dogs and I curled up to take a nap. Good to recharge a little...

After all, we have more windows to work on tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2020

Very Sad Doggie News, Working On The First Window

Well, we have an answer to our sweet little Finnegan's Eating Problem, and it's not good.  

We had x-rays and more bloodwork done.  It seems our little guy has a huge massive tumor in his stomach, and it's probably on the spleen too.  There isn't much room for food anymore. Not a good prospect for surgery. The prognosis is grim. He is only seven years old. It breaks our hearts. 

He is still active, seems normal and has full bodily functions, but he is sleeping more and more. 

We will do what we can to keep him comfortable, and our final act of love will be done at home with a visiting vet. 

The way he runs and and plays with Binney, you would never know.  He can be spurred into active fun, but then he goes to rest afterwards. This was filmed tonight:

That is all I can say 

without bursting into tears

 as I type.


On to other things---

We had a delightful week of time with the grandkids who isolated and tested negative to spend time with us.  I will do a post about that later.... 


Well, seven of our eight special order replacement windows came in.  The shipping company or the store lost one somewhere along the way. It was one of the two dining room windows.  If they can't find it, they will have to reorder it.  That means another 6-8 weeks.  

We were up at 5:30 a.m. on a frosty cold morning...  and went up to the Marinette Menards at 6 a.m. to pick them up at the special order door before any other people were around. We got 5 on the trailer and 2 in the back of the Saturn.  Then we came home by 7 a.m. and popped back into bed for a while.  Brrrrrrr~! 

We decided the master bathroom window was the first candidate to get replacement.  With all of the air leaks, the moisture builds up between the main window single pane glass and the makeshift aluminum storm window.  When the temps get below 32, this window is all frosted up for the rest of the winter.

The previous owners, sometime over the years, just took cheap aluminum storm windows and fit them over the wooden frame of the old broken storm windows and screwed them right into the house with long 3 inch screws!  So they really weren't a proper storm window on this 100+ year old house. 

The regular inside windows were not in much better shape. In some spots, the glazing was totally missing and you could see the air gap right under the glass!  (by my finger) ACK!   

Steve decided after a few cups of coffee, we should gather up the tools and start on the first window today. Most of the work is done from the inside while the storm is still in place. We can always shut the doors to bathroom and keep the cold air in there once the storm is removed. 

He was able to pry through the many layers of paint on the heads of the old screws that hold the the windows stops in place.  Then he cut through the paint around all of the edges too.  Miraculously, all three pieces of the wooden stops came free without cracking them! Yayyyy that means we can reuse them for the new windows!  Imagine that, the bare wood in this pic has not seen the light of day in 100+ years....

Here are the nice new thermopane windows with UV coating, Low E glass with argon gas and nice latches and they tilt inwards for cleaning.  We had custom ordered them all back in October, and it will be so nice to have them in soon.  We got a few quotes from window installers and decided we would save the money and do them ourselves. 

Of course, the dogs had to be in the middle of everything to see what was going on.  They think they are "helping" and try to find out what each tool does and if it included belly rubs. 

Once he got the inside windows removed, now he needed to get that big makeshift storm thing off the outside.  He got five of the six huge screws out of the wood, but don't ya know, one was stripped and he had to use a pliers to hand turn it out.  All done while balancing on the ladder outside.  Plus, once he came back in, only to find there had been a thick bead of caulk put in all around the frame that he had to cut away in the process. 

For this task, he used his little oscillating tool and a flat blade.  He was able to cut out the caulking and not damage the wood too much. I will touch it up in the spring with fresh paint on the outside. 

When he uses this power tool, the goofy dogs go nuts!  Mainly Binney, but she gets Finnegan all wound up in the process.  So I had to secure them down in the She Shed where they could stay out of mischief and wait until Steve is done. 

While Steve was busy making a mess, I stand by with the tools and wiping rags, and best of all, the shop vac.  I would rather do 5 or 10 little clean-ups as the job progresses, than a big mess at the end.  Then the paint chips and wood shavings are not tracked through the house as he goes in and out to do things on the outside. 

Workspace was at a premium, so I plopped the shop vac in my claw foot tub! (on a towel for padding) so I could just plug it in and take care of the messes as needed.

He finally pried and pounded and got the crazy outside wooden storm frame off the window casing.  Whew!   We will do the touchup work in the spring, but at least he got it out and cleared away.  

The new replacement window fit into place very well.  Steve shimmed it up to be level, plumb and square.  The difference was amazing, and no more frost! 

He made sure it was securely in place, and then went outside to add a layer of silicone to the edge to prevent any future water intrusion.  

From the inside, he filled all the gaps with a non-expanding foam sealant, and then added the original wooden window stops back into place.  There is a slight difference in thicknesses of the old window to the new one. so I will touch up the paint on the trim later. 


I hung some of my Heritage Lace curtains back up for now, but I am thinking I would like to get some nice white wooden plantation shutters in the future.  I looked them up and they are quite pricey, (over $100 a set)  so for now this will be fine.  I might find some at the REstore or on Facebook Marketplace. 

It sure made a difference

and looks much lighter and brighter. 

Tomorrow... the Master Bedroom window, that is the next in order of severity which is needing replacement. It will make a huge difference in our heating and air conditioning costs as well.  

As for tonight, I am going to go and hug my dogs...