Monday, December 24, 2012

One of those dreaded Christmas letters

Merry Christmas from our house to your house
I will eventually mail a few Christmas cards. but since it is Christmas Eve and I have not started, here's a report on our year.

It has been quite a year. I won’t try to cover it all in one letter. You’ll have to come visit us to get a fuller version of the story.

We started 2012 in our cabin in Camp Connell where we have been living for the past six years or so. While we were staying in a rental unit below the snow, our Realtor and friend called to say she had an unusual house for us to look at down the mountain in Murphys, Ca. It turned out to be two 80-year-old houses, on one piece of property, both needing work. So, of course, we bought them.

We moved into our new/old home at 340 Bret Harte Drive in late March as soon as we had three feet of water pumped out of the basement, and then started to work. The months since then have been  near-endless chores, repairs, renovations and contractors.

Fortunately, the larger house was in reasonable shape, though stripped clean, and Pat and I started making the changes we wanted or needed. The biggest initial challenge was furnishing a large house after living in a small cabin. The first of many miracles happened when friends, both old and new, discovered they had furniture they no longer needed, or did not have room for. We can never repay the kindnesses we were granted, but we will surely spend years paying it forward.

The smaller house next door was a disaster, but after  seven months of hard work and buckets of money our son Zack and Granddaughter Katie (and Rusty the dog) moved in, and are now our next door neighbors.
And our new/old home is very near daughter Ruth, her husband Brian, and fast-growing grandchildren Delaney and Connor.

Both houses still need some work, but thanks to many kind friends and workers we are in, and happy.

We are near our church, good friends, poker buddies and best bakery in California.

God has blessed us every one. Come see us.

Sanders & Pat

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Progress Report

Murphys, Ca --  This blog is back from the dead -- or at least inactive -- for the past six months.
We've been a little busy.
At last report we had bought two 80-year-old houses in Murphys, in need of work and furnishings.
The living room was ripped up as the floors were being worked on. The bathroom had no working sink.
The plumbing was doubtful.
We had few lights, as everything had been stripped.
The smaller house was uninhabitable, and we had to consider demolishing it.
And we had almost no furniture.

Well, that has changed a lot, thanks to the incredible help, work and contributions from a village full of friends.
The Family Room seen from the kitchen. 
The Dining Room is in the background, table covered with Christmas stuff.

From the counter looking at the former breakfast nook, now a spot for dishes and local wines.

                           The Living Room, with restored hardwood floors, places to sit,
                                     and stocking hung by the chimney with care.

 The downstairs bathroom, now including a re-plumbed working sink, mirror, lights etc.
 An office in work. That's a poster of my friend the late Bob Maynard on the wall.
And across our shared drivway, Zack happily working on his Subaru by his new/old home. New fences are in place for the dog, just lacking gates.

Our master bedroom is essentially done, except for pictures on the wall and the guest bedroom is sparse but useable. The spare bedroom has become Pat's exercise and music room.

Some other things have changed since the last report:
The heat works, and we have air conditioning.
The toilets flush, and they actually connect to the sewer.
The asbestos roof is replaced, and gutters installed.
The stucco is repaired, and the one-story house painted inside and out.
We have lights in ever room, and appliances cabinetry in the kitchen, and washer/dryer in the utility room.
The basements in both houses stay dry, most of the time, thanks to brand new sump pumps.
 We have planted five trees and numerous bushes and ornamental plants, and hundreds of bulbs.

Credit for all the contributions of furnishings and labor will come later. We are considering setting up a plaque in bronze to honor the wonderful sharing we have experienced.

And we still are finding some surprises, like circuit breakers that pop regularly, slow drains, still-leaking basements, and places that flood when it rains hard.

But you get the idea.

We are home for Christmas.