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Sunday, August 10, 2014

I read two books and gained two pounds


A wonderful week in Ann’s old German farmhouse. Sifting through my pictures I find I still have none of the length of the house, so here is a Google image to explain. I used this one before; it is her house sans front porch and the farm help quarters. My old guest room was behind the two upper front brick windows. Ann’s house has a “mirror” addition at the back that housed the farm hands, with a separate entrance, and accessible from the main house.



Ann’s house has been a work in process for twenty years, waiting for her husband, Pat, to put his hammer where his mouth is and start a restoration project. I've known and loved Pat for longer than I've known Ann. If she can put up with him, so can I.

When I visited, maybe three years ago, Ann met me at the door. There no longer was a downstairs washroom; Pat had torn it out to replace the toilet. Six months previously. When I left I mentioned to Pat I would see him again when there were no longer fifteen steps between me and a midmorning pee.

Toward Thanksgiving that year Ann said she was expecting twelve guests for Thanksgiving and still had one bathroom available. “What will you do?” I heard the smile in her voice. “I've found Joe.” She and Joe listen to Pat, and then go ahead. When I visited two years ago the downstairs washroom door opened to a country cottage loo; the window looking out on a meadow (the new septic—the new standards are a marvel to behold!). The guest quarters in the hired hands area was framed in.

This year I occupied the guest suite. Yes, my own bathroom. Beyond a doubt, I love Joe, too. He builds houses, goes hunting most of the winter, and is working his way though Ann’s house a section at a time. He has restored the balustrades up the back staircase, plastered the hall down to “the master’s room,” a large sitting area upstairs in the brick house. Oh, yes, and built the guest suite. Ann has worked behind him, painting, painting, painting.

I took two of my sister’s quilts to Ann. They never go amiss in her house. She immediately threw the yellow quilt over the bed in “my” old room. Its ante room, that she formerly used for guest overflow, has become “the library.” Two walls of books, a reading table between the windows, an old rocker, one of Linda’s rugs on the floor Ann painted last fall. When I looked in again, to return one book and select another, she had the other quilt on the reading table. Cozier and cozier.







Back in the new suite, the bathroom is behind this hall wall. The room beyond has windows on three walls, but the bath has no exterior light. Ann saved this leaded window from the front room. She watched the window shift and begin to fall two years ago. Pat wanted to wait and restore it. That’s when Ann found Joe, who installed a new window and quietly set the leaded panel aside.

Somehow I gained only two pounds (“there is little that is not improved by butter or cheese.” Or, butter and cheese.). I read The Mystery of Grace, a YA that another guest left for Ann to read. A trifle heavier than a bit of fluff.

Running my finger along the library’s book spines I found an old Of Human Bondage, and realized I've never read it. Phillip was trying through much of the book, but made his journey to the end. I do recommend him to you.

24 comments:

  1. Wow! That sounds like you had an actual vacation. You've certainly earned some relaxation with all the driving, planting, and bookkeeping stuff!

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  2. It sounds a wonderful, restorative week away. And more than overdue. Beautiful surroundings, wonderful people, good food and books. It is hard to ask for much more.
    Drat you, I haven't read Of Human Bondage either. And probably will now.

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  3. Always lots of work in an old house.

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  4. Hari OM
    Welcome back Joanne! Those rooms look delightful - I quite possibly would commit sin for a library room like that!!! The lead-light is a fab. Trust you are refreshed... YAM xx

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  5. Wow! What a fabulous place to relax and restore oneself. No wonder you managed to read two books and gain two pounds!

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  6. That's a beautiful place. Joe is quite a find. I read Of Human Bondage quite some time ago, and I've seen the movie version with Bette Davis. It's sad, but it's good sad.

    Love,
    Janie

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  7. I have my very own Pat. Her name is Bing. She once tore out the flooring in our downstairs bathroom and said that she would replace it as soon as she found the perfect tile. I kid you not...that floor sat for nearly 2 years. Finally, I hired someone to put simple white subway flooring in and now it is finished. She was furious with me, said she had just about been ready to move on this. Uh huh.

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  8. Looks like a great place to spend a week; you sound like you are refreshed upon your return!

    betty

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  9. I have a soft spot for stained glass windows i think they are beautiful and those quilts look cosy and the rocking chair.
    A holiday is not a success if you don't put on a couple of pounds.
    Merle...........

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  10. Everyone with an old house needs a Joe.

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  11. You restore me.... it's been a rough summer up here in Maine.... just reading about the quilts, the library and your "vacation" (oh.. that word sounds trivial when I read what you say).... makes me just know that all can be right with the world.

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  12. Love the quilt as table cover, cozy and sweet.

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  13. must have been relaxing then, good for you, love that house

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  14. What perfect gifts your quilts were for that house. Your friend has an expert eye. It looks as though she knows just how to keep the integrity of an old house while making it look new again.
    But two books/two pounds? I think I see a correlation - so that's how those extra pounds have been finding me!

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  15. Sounds like a perfect week. Too bad you couldn't have found a way to extend your stay!

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  16. Ann's home is so elegant, so spacious, yet welcoming at the same time. I do love a house with a library.
    I have Of Human Bondage on my kindle, but haven't got to reading it yet.

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  17. What's two pounds between friends? Glad you hae a lovely stay. Years since I read Of Human Bondage - might read it again. A good book never comes amiss does it?

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  18. I have a Pat, but my daughter married a Joe. It is so nice to have a Joe around the house. Right now he is redoing my bathroom.

    I loved reading 'Of Human Bondage' years ago.

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  19. Oh, Ann and her house sound totally wonderful. Just the kind of place I would like to go. I am glad you have had such a good time.

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  20. Joe is an absolute treasure

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  21. Your title sounds like a typical month in my life! Her house is so charming. Looks like a great place to read.

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  22. That is such a beautiful home. I need Joe at our house. We have a ton of projects that need to get done.

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