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Today is Friday February 24, 2012 and I do not have anything prepared for my blog.  Normally I write for my blog as close to the event as possible. But by the time I proof (Yes Jenny I do proof my work) my work and schedule it for my blog, time has moved forward.  So what you read in my blog normally is something that has happened some time ago.

I am writing today’s blog today because I have not finished proofing some of my work that I scheduled for today.  The reason I am late is a happy one for me.  Both of my daughters, Deb and Sue stopped by Marti and my home in Aptos for a visit.  Deb brought two of her children, Abby and Braylin along with her friend John.  John retired from the Air Force and he is a really nice guy.  Susan brought little Monica with her.  Susan’s soon to be husband Bruce was at home sleeping because he works nights and needs to rest during the day.  Bruce is a nice guy who works hard and has become a great father for little Monica.  He is also very happy to become a loving husband to my daughter Susan.

My granddaughters Braylin and Monica are close cousins and enjoy each other’s company.  They are close in age and have played together from very early infancy.  I am sure that they will always be friends.  Abby is my middle grandchild and she is a wonderful young lady.  She loves the theater and wants to be an actress when older.  She has already been in school plays and is very good.

Both families arrived early this week and the day was spent talking and enjoying each other.  Of course we talked about the upcoming wedding of Susan and Bruce this June.  The ladies talked about dresses the wine and even tasted the Champagne for the toast at the wedding. Marti arrived home from work and after talking we made a wonderful dinner of two types of chicken, potato salad, Cole slaw, green salad and great French bread.  We enjoyed our dinner and after dinner Susan and Monica departed for their home.  Sue needed to return home as she needed to work the next day.

Deb and family stayed and spent the night at our home in Aptos. The next day we awoke and based on a request from Braylin had bacon and French toast.  The family enjoyed breakfast and after breakfast headed to Monterey.  They had plans to see the Monterey Bay Aquarium today.  I wished them well and started to plan our dinner. Gosh it sure is fun to be a grandfather!

Next it is Chris’s Birthday!

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We were all hungry so Jessica prepared dinner for all of us.  We had a dinner of peppers and sausage sandwiches with a special homemade salad.  The peppers and sausage was excellent and it reminded me of my mother’s peppers and sausage dish.  Jessica prepared the buns with a butter and garlic spread followed by toasting the buns.  The buns by themselves were delicious but stuffed with the peppers and sausage they moved to outstanding.  The salad was refreshing and went well with the sandwiches.  The dressing on the salad was excellent; it brought out the crisp fresh flavors of the leafs and other items within the tossed salad.  We finished dinner and continued talking and telling stories.  After dinner and talking, Jenny and David left the house with their families.  Marti and I went upstairs for a good night sleep.

I awoke Sunday morning and after checking to see if Marti was awake I decided to wait for Marti to wake up.  She was awake about thirty minutes after I had gotten up.  We bathed straighten out the room and headed downstairs.  Jessica and David greeted us as we entered the kitchen.  We were ready to start the last leg of our weekend trip.  Today, we will be driving to San Francisco California.  Our son Chris is celebrating his 19th birthday today.  After saying goodbye to my sister and brother-in-law, Marti and I started the drive to THE CITY.  Our driving plan was simple once we enter the US 80 heading west we will continue until arriving in San Francisco.

This was to be Chris’s first birthday away from home.  Chris had moved to San Francisco almost six months ago.  Marti and I miss Chris a lot but we understand that children need to fly from the nest.  We were bringing some basic items to Chris for his use.  The car trunk was full of microwaveable food items.  In addition to the food items there were two boxes of cupcakes, paper towels, toilet paper, and a piggy bank with lots of quarters.  I guess all parents worry after their child leaves the nest.  This worrying motivates parents to bring basic items for their child to use.  This also lessens the guilt felt by parents as we see our child start to mature.

After clearing out the trunk we headed to a nice Mexican restaurant for Sunday brunch.  We were all happy because the brunch menu was very good.  The restaurant served hot homemade corn tortillas that were delicious.  I do not think that fresh hot homemade corn tortillas compare to any other type of tortillas.  We talked, laughed, and had a great time as we enjoyed our brunch.  Much too soon, our brunch was over and it was time for Marti and I to return home.  We drove Chris back to his apartment and said our goodbyes.  Now it was time to start our drive home to Aptos California.

Braylin’s “Willa” and My sisters

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After visiting and catching up with the family, the seven of us started to head out to a restaurant in order to celebrate Braylin’s birthday.  Before departing Braylin wanted to show me her birthday gift Willa.  Willa is an Interactive Toy.  It is soft, mild, and a funny toy.  I could see that it was becoming Braylin’s best friend.  Willa is a robotic friend for little girls.  The toy is cute because it has a high quality voice recognition system.  Another thing that I liked about Willa is that it is safe for children. It is a very smooth and soft toy.  After spending some time with Willa we departed Deborah’s home and headed to the restaurant for lunch.  We had a good time at lunch and everybody left the table full and laughing.  I think Braylin enjoyed her special birthday lunch with all of us.

We were now on our way to Auburn California, home to my sister Maryanne and her husband Bill.  My sister Maryanne is the oldest sibling in our family.  She was born before my Dad was assigned to a Naval Base located in the Pacific Ocean.  She was blessed with three boys who have grown into fine men.  Each of her three men has children of their own and a few grandchildren. Our visit was very pleasant as we talked and discussed various subjects.  Brian and his son stopped by to visit his mother while we were still visiting.  Brian is the youngest man of Maryanne’s three children.  His visit was a pleasant surprise for Marti and me.  We continued talking about various subjects and you could see that everyone was enjoying the visit.  Time passed and soon Brian had to depart and return home.  Marti and I took this opportunity to end our visit as well.  We were still a little ahead of our planned schedule so we did not have to rush

We said our goodbye’s and started our drive to Lincoln California, home to my other sister Jessica and her husband David.  Jessica is the youngest child in our family.  She was born after my mom and dad moved into their home just after the end of World War II.  Jessica and David had three children two boys and a daughter.  All three have families of their own as well as children.  Our visit with Jessica and David went well as we found ourselves again talking and covering various subjects.  We have been invited up to Jessica and David’s cabin located in the Serra Nevada Mountains.  The cabin is very special as it was a joint venture by Jessica and David and my mom and dad.  We talked about some things we could enjoy during our trip to the cabin.  During the visit two of Jessica and David’s children along with their families stopped by and joined the get together.  I enjoyed seeing David, Dayan, and the baby.  Jenny and her family joined the visit and we continued talking.  Jenny brought up the need for me to have a proof reader for my blog.  Jenny went on to ask me if I just published whatever I wrote or if I proofed it myself.  I thanked her for reading my blog, explained that I proof read my writing twice.  Jenny just smiled at my response. I just love Jenny so much.  She and her family spent time at our house in Aptos California and they are planning to return.  David and Dayan are planning to stop by our home on their way to Monterey California.  I will have a chance to enjoy their company again.

Braylin’s Birthday Party

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Braylin’s Birthday Party & Visit to my Sisters

I always try to see my grandchildren on their birthday at least during their young years.  If it is not possible for me to see my grandchild then I like to visit them as soon as possible.  This weekend Marti and I planned to not only see my granddaughter for her birthday; we were going to see our son Chris who was celebrating his birthday as well.  This was going to be one great weekend.  I developed a draft agenda for the weekend and sent it to Marti at her job for her approval.  She approved the draft and our weekend was planned. We would start at 6:00 am on Saturday and end almost 500 miles later, around 3:00 pm on Sunday.

I awoke Saturday a little before 6:00 am and prepared to start my visiting weekend.  We left the house around 7:00 am and were on our way to Citrus Heights, California.  Approaching the city of Elk Grove, California I called my cousin Anna Jean to see if it might be possible to visit my Aunt Grace and Uncle Jim.  I soon learned that today was not a good idea for a morning visit.  I understand that visiting my Aunt Grace and Uncle Jim is dependent on how they feel and other variables so I just try as often as possible and understand when it is not possible.  With that visit being cancelled I continued north on Highway 5 to Highway 80 heading east.  We were now heading to my granddaughter Caitlin’s new apartment.  She had just moved out of her mother’s home and was starting her adult life.

Marti and I stopped at a local super market and picked up some cookies and three gallons of milk as a welcome to her new apartment.  After calling Caitlin a few times we were able to locate the apartment and together with the gifts went to see her apartment.  Seeing her apartment brought back memories of the time, a very long time ago, when Monica and I moved into our first apartment.  The apartment was cute and just like all first apartments a little sparse on furniture.  I was very happy to see how proud Caitlin was about her new home.  She spoke about her plans to decorate and furnish her new home.  We also talked about her continuing school and following her dream of becoming a police officer.  I was so happy to hear her say that she was still reaching to complete her dream.  I cannot wait until I attend her induction into a police department.

Next stop was my daughter’s home in Citrus Heights, California where the birthday girl Braylin lives.  We arrived well before lunch time so we could visit with my daughter Deb, her two children Abby and Braylin, and Deb’s boyfriend John.  Abby and Braylin are Deb’s youngest children; her two oldest children Jordan and Caitlin have left the home of their youth to start their own home.  It is always a joy to see my daughter and her children.  The birthday girl, Braylin, is in first grade and doing well in school.  She is the youngest child in the family and always has a smile on her face for me.  Her sister, Abby, wants to be an actress in the theater when grown.  She has participated in her school plays, and attended summer theater workshops.  As I stated their oldest sister is Caitlin, she hopes to become a police officer.  Their brother, Jordan, was unable to attend because he was needed to take his girlfriend to the dentist.

Photos of the completed Bathroom


Bathroom – completed


After short discussions between Marti and I that it was soon decided that we were going to hire a professional person to handle the installation. She assured me that she knew I was capable to install it myself but it was heavy work and she did not want me to hurt myself. So we hired a skilled local individual named Mathew. It was another good decision because his professional skills enabled him to handle the normal challenges that always occur with home projects. Removing the wall, resetting the pocket door, modification of the marble splash guards, and modifying the plumbing to fit the new vanity were a few of the challenges. After watching Mathew deal with the challenges my feelings did not hurt and I was happy Marti insisted that we hire a professional.

With the completion of the bathroom vanity, and marble counter top I was to be moved from my “cute” plastic container, to three drawers. What luck it only took months of discussion, months of looking for just the right cabinet, months to secure a real marble counter top at a fair price, and a skilled professional individual to install it all. Now I could move from my “cute” plastic container to a set of three drawers. Oh no I was only able to fill one drawer and a small part of another drawer. Again Marti came to my rescue and filled my empty drawer. Well I am sure that I do not need more than one and one half drawers in the bathroom.

Should you need the help or assistance of a professional – give Mathew a call I am sure you will be pleased. Call him at 1 (831) 212-8930

Remodel the Bathroom

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Lucky for me I found a young lady who helped me to purchase a marble counter top for a fair price. She was working for a stone company that I had not yet visited. I drove over to the stone company expecting to get the same treatment as before but instead I was surprised by this honest young girl. Instead of insisting that I must purchase a full slab of marble she offered me a remnant at less than half the price of a full slab. My measurements for the counter top and splash guards were estimated to use a little more than half of a full slab. She had just offered to locate me a marble remnant and sell it to me for a fair price. She did charge me to cut the stone but explained why it was not necessary to polish all cuts. This reduced the cost of labor by one-third. As for the delivery of the marble the manager said that he would delivery it for no additional cost. I was happy I had found a fair store. I put half down and awaited the delivery of my marble counter top.

The young lady informed me once she had located a marble remnant large enough to complete my order. The store manager instructed me how to make a template thereby reducing the cost to zero for professional measurements. I completed the template as well as providing the template for the undermount sink, and the template for the facet. The counter top was scheduled to be completed and we were soon to have a remodeled bathroom. Marti had found the vanity she wanted. The color was perfect with a simple shaker style. It had a total of six drawers with three on each side. It included a large central storage area and just needed some minor modification to improve the use of this large area. Marti was so happy to have found a vanity cabinet in a style that meet her taste and the dark wood stain that went great with her light wood floors. This cabinet along with the marble counter were ready to be installed.

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