Tasks in the Pink Bathroom

We’ve been working on a remodel of the little pink bathroom for about a year. If you think I’m kidding just do a blog search of “pink tile”.

I believe tile should be installed before wallpaper.

It just goes on and on.

Anthropologie wallpaper for our pink bathroom.

Hopeful to finish sooner rather than later, I have ordered 2 rolls of wallpaper.

The ceiling is painted white and the walls are ready for wallpaper.

Sug painted the ceiling and peeled off the old wallpaper while we were in Cuba.

Some tiles go over the sink.

Charlie needs to replace the pink tiles.

This shelf might still be useful in the bathroom.

Then I will hang wallpaper and perhaps rehang the glass shelf over the sink and put in a new mirror.

The old mirror was 30″ by 48″ and a little big for the space.

All of this will take time but I’m convinced we can have it finished by July 4.

What means “independence” to you?


Trip to Cuba: Money

Cuban money can be confusing especially for Americans since American credit and debit cards are not accepted at the very few ATM machines on the island.

When traveling to Cuba Americans have to carry a lot of cash.

Cuban money can only be exchanged in Cuba and U.S. dollars are charged an extra 10% surcharge to exchange.

Pounds and Euros.

So we took with us on our recent trip to Cuba both Euros and British pounds.

Terminal 2 viewed from the tarmac. Arrivals on the left; departures o the right.

Having traveled on Southwest Airlines we flew into Terminal 2.  Upon arrival, after going through immigration and customs, we walked next door to the departures area where the foreign currency exchange booth or CADECA was located. (Previous research told us there would not be a currency exchange booth in Terminal 2 but that was not true.  We used it upon arrival and departure.) We were given a receipt telling how many of each denomination would be in the pile of money.  We had been warned of being cheated on these transactions and so counted the money at the window. We had been shorted 10 CUC which was corrected by the teller without much persuasion.

Some currency exchanges have a sign like this one.

We exchanged only Euros for Cuban Convertible dollars or CUC.  For about 800 Euros we received about 1000 CUC give or take which was more than sufficient for a 5-day stay since our accommodations had already been paid for.

Three dollar bill — so strange but legitimate.

Cuba has $3 bills which at first took Charlie and me by surprise.  The phrase “phony as a $3 bill” came immediately to mind but it was perfectly legitimate.

CUPs on the left; CUCs on the right.

There is a second type of paper money in Cuba called a CUP which is worth about 1/24th of a CUC; one bill is worth a little more than 4 cents. The way to quickly tell a CUC from a CUP is that CUCs have monuments on them and CUPs have people’s faces.

Breakfast at a casa particulare was 5 CUC per person.

When Charlie went out to buy a morning coffee at a ventanilla it cost him a nickel or 1 CUP which he had been given by one of our hosts. Coffee in a restaurant was usually between 1 and 1.5 CUCs.

This CADECA was never open during the 5 hours we spent in the departure area. We used the one prior to immigration when leaving.

We exchanged our left over Cuban money, CUCs only, again at the CADECA in Terminal 2 at departure. This time we asked for British pounds since we have a future trip planned there. Unfortunately our only choices were Euros and American dollars; we took the Euros.

Charlie spent his leftover money at the shops in the airport.

While I was in line waiting to exchange Cuban money an airport employee asked me if I wanted to exchange 100 CUC for $100 US — one to one — I agreed.

Does foreign exchange confuse you when you travel?

A Quick Curtain

While we were in Cuba some window trim was finished in the master bedroom.

The window in the master closet has been trimmed and painted.

The window in the walk-in closet faces the street.

I threaded the the curtain onto a wooden rod then ironed it.

I pulled out a voile curtain that used to hang in the master bedroom before the renovation.

The screws went through wallboard into wood framing.

I marked the wall above the window and installed two screws on each side over the window frame.  The brackets fit snugly over the screws.

The curtains are sheer but not see-through.

These brackets are open at the top and the rod just sits on them. Easy to hang.

A wooden floor vent is a safe choice.

Before sliding the cedar chest back into place I added a vent cover to the floor heating duct.

Curtains make the master closet more useful.

Finally I moved the cedar chest back into place.

A little bling in the closet.

We have some more tasks to complete in the closet:

  • Face frame the closet boxes.
  • Put in baseboard.
  • Find finials for the curtain rods that match the door knobs.

What are you working on?

Looming Over The Cottage

Glade Cottage is set in the woods.  There are large trees all around.

The large tree at the center of the picture leaning toward the Cottage was removed in 2016.

Almost 2 years ago we had one removed that was dead because it looked like it would take out both the Cottage and the house if it fell.

The bare-limbed tree directly behind the Cottage is coming down before it does damage.

Another large and threatening tree growing behind the Cottage on our neighbor’s property had succumbed to fungus.

The boom truck was parked in our driveway.(That’s a man dangling from the wire.)

Our neighbor emailed to tell us she planned to take it down to about 20 feet of stump so it would not damage any structures, including ours, if it fell.  In order to access the tree, the tree service’s boom truck needed to park in our driveway.

A lumberman is waving from the tree in the center of the picture.

The lumbermen carefully cut down and lowered the branches.

Large limbs were lowered to ground carefully by the crane on the truck.

In a few hours only the stub of a truck remained.

This enormous truck stayed in our driveway all night.

Unfortunately their bucket truck broke down in front of the Cottage and had to say put overnight until repair parts could be had.

The remaining tree truck may become a home for birds and small animals but it won’t fall on the Cottage.
When the other trees leaf out in spring we won’t notice this bare trunk (near the center of the picture).

We still have plenty of trees but the Cottage and its tenant are a little safer now.

Are you bothered by unsafe plants?

A Hole in the Wall

After the main hall on the second floor was totally painted and finished, Charlie knocked a hole, a major hole, in the wall.

A new piece of drywall was installed near the entrance to the laundry.

It was so bad that almost the entire wall had to be replaced which lies behind the bathroom door when it is open. The seam tape needs a couple more coats of mud then we’ll paint the area again with Benjamin Moore’s Moonshine.

The wall also has a plumbing access panel on the bottom.

We had repaired it once before because the glass door knob had poked a hole in the wall. Now that it is repaired again we’ll try to be more careful.

Are you frustrated by repeated repairs?

Trip to Cuba: La Lección del Piano Cubano

Don’t worry, my 54% fluent (that is to say not at all fluent) Spanish does not allow me to write anything except titles in Spanish.

The practice room held many rhythm instruments which are used for group lessons at The Havana School. Music

Charlie took a piano lesson at the Havana Music School on the first full day of our trip to Cuba.

Our classic taxi in Havana.

We asked our host at the casa particulare where we were staying to arrange a taxi to the music school which we had researched on the internet before traveling to Cuba.  Valentine picked us up in a blue ’52 Chevy and took us to the school for 10 CUC ($10).  He offered to wait for us for $10 per hour (Charlie had a 2-hour lesson planned), instead we asked him to pick us up at 1 p.m.

Coffee was served at the piano.

We were greeted at a very unassuming building by Adalberto, a non-musician who spoke great English and was teaching at the local university.  First on the agenda was 2 cups of coffee for Charlie.

Adalberto and Charlie exchanged personal details in English.

Then we were shown to the rehearsal room where Charlie warmed up on the piano with a some classics from the Great American Songbook.  Adalberto sang a few lines of Summertime from Porgy and Bess.

MiguelAngel was experienced in Cuban music and music theory in general.

The young musician who was to be Charlie’s instructor, MiguelAngel, showed up and asked Charlie to play something. MiguelAngel immediately recognized Charlie’s “stride” style.  We explained that he was here to add the Cuban beat to his repertoire.

MiguelAngel wrote out the melody to Quizas, Quizas, Quizas for Charlie to work on. They played together.

For the next two hours MiguelAngel pounded out latin beats — timba and chachacha.

Music is the universal language with a changing accent.

I filmed videos so Charlie could remember the rhythms when we get back home. For an experienced player like Charlie this lesson was a challenge but he is encouraged to incorporate Cuban rhythms into his repertoire.

Do you play an instrument? Or sing?

Painted Trim and Touch Ups

While I was away Good Ole Sug let herself into my house to paint the downstairs baseboard trim.

Newly painted white trim outlines the details of the room.

She totally finished the conservatory.

I decided that the thin wall between the kitchen and dining room should be the kitchen color, Waterbury Cream.

Then she moved into the kitchen also touching up scuffs on the wall and painting areas that had never been painted like the reveals between the kitchen and dining room.

The white paneling brightens the dining room which has minimal light.

The dining room has quite a bit of knotty pine paneling which I painted white just after the renovation.  It still needed another coat so Sug painted that as well.

The mantel is ready for a change — something Irish perhaps.

After the dining room she painted all the trim in the living room including the fireplace surround and mantel.

Before — The kneewall right after installation.
After — The kneewall cap between the kitchen and dining room is finally painted.

She supervised the installation of the final window trim and even painted that.

Sug and Charlie built the greenhouse under my supervision. That’s how the team usually works.

I know I’m blessed to have a friend like Sug. When she returns from a Central American mission trip the three of us — Sug, Charlie, and I, — are going to work on some local projects. As anyone who reads the blog regularly knows, Sug and Charlie actually do most of the work.  I am so grateful to be part of the trio.

What project would you like to have a team complete at your house?