MONDAY, APRIL 10, 2006

This week

Except for Thursday, this has been a very productive week:

  • We filed our taxes, and I was actually disappointed at how much we owed, since we’re going to be filing for a refund of all of it with the historic tax credits.
  • We visited the furniture, and I’m always amazed at how beautiful each piece is. My cousin spent two hours there, arranged all of the furniture by room, and picked out fabrics for four items, which was more than Dawn and I had accomplished in a year and a half!
  • We met with a landscape architect, sort of. Let’s just say she was on the property, and we weren’t*. In any case, it became obvious that we couldn’t do anything besides plant grass this year, and hope to work on the landscape next year.
  • We met with the contractor and started drawing up plans for the kitchen island and refrigerator cupboard. However, he needs us to choose a dishwasher and a refrigerator first. We also decided to go with a granite countertop instead of the engineered stone–even though it needs to be sealed regularly, Dawn prefers the look.
  • I also walked the house with contractor, and the opening date now looks like end of June. That was actually a relief, because there’s so much to be done besides the restoration, I wasn’t sure how I’d get it done by May. Channel 11 news also called to see if we were open yet, and I had to tell them it was going to be a while longer, but they’re definitely interested in a follow-up.
  • We bought a chandelier for Kathryn’s room at an antique shop in Adamstown (“antique capital of the USA”). This had been a problem because we’re putting a canopy bed in that room, and even though it has high ceilings, there still wasn’t room for a chandelier. But we found a flush-mount, five-layer, wedding cake crystal chandelier that looks very similar to the other two chandeliers, so it’s perfect.
  • We also found an old print of Elizabeth township from 1876, which we’ll have mounted and framed. It clearly shows “Speedwell Forge” which is cool beyond words. I hope someday we can find an even older map.
  • In a bit of whimsy, Dawn bought a cast iron horse stand (for tying horses to). I’m not sure how many guests will arrive by horseback, but it’s kind of fun. We found it at Don and Ann’s Antique Roe, which is the scariest place in the universe. (They don’t have a web site, but I found some pictures here and here.)
  • I met with the PA Dutch Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. I’m trying to get my mother-in-law to advertise the wolf sanctuary so she gets more visitors, which brings in more revenue, which makes it self-sufficient, which means I won’t end up supporting it, but so far she is very resistant. (And I know she’s reading this. 😉
  • I gave a tour of the building, my first in three months. We even had some repeat visitors, who were impressed at how much had been accomplished. (Actually, the only major accomplishments were finishing the windows and putting up the plaster, which only took a couple of weeks.)
  • We picked up some wine from Chaddsford winery. (Well, actually, we picked it up from the Springfield Mall, because we didn’t have time to drive to the winery.) I have asked my friends in California to try it, but they are such wine snobs, I’m sure they’ll turn their nose up at this just like they have the other Pennsylvanian wines.
  • I contacted the local YMCA about the labor day triathlon they sponsor, which passes right by our property. Unfortunately, they put it back on me to figure out what I wanted to do about a sponsorship, and I have no idea. Someone suggested putting our logo on hand towels or sports bottles, but that just seems too commercial.

*I had to pick up my cousin at the Philadelphia airport at 8:15am. I left late, then I got lost when trying to transition from the 76 to the 476, and I ended up on the 202. A quick glance at a map shows the 202 goes in the wrong direction, then goes into Delaware, and is a good hour out of the way. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a map, so I called Dawn, who can’t read a map to save her life. She told me I was “three inches” from the 95, so I just stayed on the 202.

Then my car died. Or more specifically, my mother-in-law’s car died. Worse, my mother-in-law was in the car at the time. We happened to be in front of a diner, so first I called Dawn, then I called a tow truck, then I had breakfast. That’s when the landscape architect called, wondering where I was.

Dawn was not happy about having to drive to the airport, so imagine her reaction when she got to the 76/476 transition and found the entire freeway was closed. (Apparently a pedestrian had been killed on the turnpike, though what a pedestrian was doing on the turnpike is beyond me.) She was forced to take the 202, and she drove right by us without ever realizing it.

Needless to say, she didn’t arrive at the airport until 1:15 pm, five hours after my cousin had landed. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law had been sitting in the diner for over three hours, so I called Enterprise rent-a-car and they came and collected us. I drove the rental back to the farm (an hour and a half away), dropped off my mother-in-law, picked up my cousin, and drove back to Delaware, to pick up my car. (I needed my cousin because the car rental was now closed, and the auto shop was four miles away.)

I actually calculated that between the four of us, we spent 36 hours driving and waiting that day. At the end of the week, my cousin’s flight home was at noon but she was ready to go at 5am, because she really thought we were five hours from the airport. (On the bright side, I got to check off “Delaware” from my list of states visited, which pushed me over the half-way mark.)