Friday, November 30, 2012

We Gather Together

We spent November working LONG hours in the addition, caulking, sanding, touch-up painting trim, etc.  We worked until 4 and 5 in the morning after working full days. And on Thanksgiving day, we rejoiced, for we had accomplished one of our milestones.  We were able to host my children, their spouses and my granddaughter, for our first Thanksgiving in our brand new dining room.  My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter were able to spend a couple of nights in our multi-functional family room and office.

Family Room

Dining Room

From Living Room

Living Room

Cooking was a lot of fun.  It was literally the FIRST time the new range had been used.  Jenn, Ben and Eloise arrived the night before Thanksgiving and Jenn gave the range her first trial, making fried egg sandwiches for all of us.  Besides a bit of a "new" (burning?) smell from the oven when she turned it on to keep the sandwiches warm, everything worked fine.

One of the "features" of our restoration project is the trap door.  We have several of them.  Each trap door is tucked away in a closet.  We have these trap doors to facilitate access to the "crawlspace" under the house, as the house is very low to the ground making access to the crawlspace a challenge.  We have installed sliding mirror doors on these trap-door-concealing closets.  There are four of them, one in the living room (under the staircase), one in the kitchen (to be used as a pantry), one in the bathroom, and one in the family room.  We chose to use mirror sliders, to help bounce light and to add to the feeling of openness.  We did not consider their entertainment value.

My granddaughter, Eloise, found the mirrors quite entertaining.  The living room has no furniture yet as we are still working on trim and touch up paint etc. Still, this did not seem to bother Eloise, as she stood at the mirror door, enthralled with the "mirror Eloise."  It was a lot of fun watching her discover that everything she did, her mirror twin did.  At one point, she was so engrossed with her mirror self that she let go of the door, lost her balance and fell to her knees.  As she cried to express her dissatisfaction with the interruption in mirror play, Joe consoled her, assuring her that he "saw the other one (the mirror twin) push her down!"

A minute later she was up at the mirror again, curiosity trumping hurt feelings.  The mirror doors continued to captivate her interest for their entire visit.


Thanksgiving day we cooked the turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes from the garden, broccoli and cauliflower casserole, cranberry relish, seafood casserole, fresh baked bread, gravy and blueberry torte.  Once all of the food was in the oven, while I was piddling over the stove, Jenn, Steve and Joe retired with the others to the newly completed family room. Before long I was treated to the wonderful harmonies of home-made music.

Steve has taken up a new instrument -- the ukulele, and together with Jenn on the guitar and Joe on the accordion, they created a lovely sound.  Jenn and Steve both have delightful singing voices and harmonize easily together.  This is something we've done for years as they were growing up.  It always makes me happy to hear them playing and singing together. Kristen's beautiful singing voice adds to the fullness of the harmony. Even Eloise got into the music, "playing" the tambourines...I believe she has inherited her mother's musical talent.

When the food was ready, we gathered at the table.  Before we ate, we took turns sharing with each other something for which we were thankful.  Joe and I were both thankful to have reached the milestone of a completed addition with a functioning kitchen, just in time to host a family Thanksgiving.

After dinner, we all went into the family room and this time I joined the others, with my guitar, playing and singing songs for a while, before Stephen and Kristen had to leave to return home.

After cleaning the dishes,  Jenn, Ben, Joe and I returned to the family room to play and sing a little more before heading to bed.  One of the best songs of the evening was Joe playing, "House of the Rising Sun" on the accordion, while Jenn played the guitar, and  sang, with a truly beautiful, bluesy style.  I just sat and listened, monitoring Eloise as she played with the batteries of the camcorder.  The video we have of this particular song is humorous, because it is punctuated by the sound of Eloise's continuous dropping of "blocks" (the batteries) into the plastic box.  Nevertheless, the song was beautiful.

As engrossed as Eloise was in her battery block dropping game, when Jenn started playing a little French children's song, and she and Benoit started singing, Eloise immediately dropped her blocks and crawled to the couch, stood up and "sang" with mama and papa.  It was really a sweet scene. And, I discovered, my son-in-law CAN sing!

We spent November working LONG hours on trim, caulking, touch-up painting, etc. before Thanksgiving, and spent more LONG hours doing the same for the upstairs of the old farmhouse after Thanksgiving.  But all of those long hours were well worth the effort.  For on that one day in November, 2012, we were able to gather together with family, and really enjoy the old farmhouse as she should be enjoyed.  I look forward to many more!