Saturday, November 9, 2013

Chapter 13 - An In-Between Update

First, we would like to inform you that we have lost an important member of our team.  In 2011, Chip rigged up an ad-hoc hummingbird feeder with a Gulden's mustard jar, the bottom of an old feeder and electrical wire.  Sadly, we discovered that it developed a crack that couldn't be salvaged when we visited in July.

We rooted around the property and found another feeder to replace our old friend, so you can breathe a sigh of relief that we are not without entertainment.  We went up in July for a legitimate vacation and wanted to share with you some of the other fun pastimes around town.

Schroon Lake 4th of July Parade and Fireworks

There is nothing better than a small town parade.  Some floats threw candy, others threw beads, but the best floats tossed out Frisbees printed with their business info.  Brilliant!  Later after the parade ended, there were hoards of young folks throwing these Frisbees around the town park while waiting for the fireworks to start.  The fireworks display was a nice show over Schroon Lake.

Ausable Club 4th of July Fireworks (St. Huberts/Keene Valley)

Imagine laying your blanket down on the golf course, sipping your beverage of choice, while watching a fireworks show that knocks your socks off.  The golf course is surrounded by several High Peaks that capture and echo the booming sound of the show, the shells explode so close overhead that you feel like you can reach out and touch them.

Not your average movie (Lake Placid and Schroon Lake)

Want a throw-back movie experience, including throw-back prices?  Take in a flick at The Palace or The Strand before they’re gone.  There are heavy red velvet curtains, gilded gold moldings, glittering marquees and movies on FILM.  The movie industry is changing and these theaters need to convert to the new digital technology or risk going dark.  Read more about their transition here:  Go Digital or Go Dark Campaign

Hiking in North Hudson

Hiking to Moose Mountain Pond was the best hiking experience we’ve had to date.  A waterfall greeted us shortly into the hike and the final destination was absolutely beautiful with creature comforts that would make an overnight stay a little less like camping (outhouse!).  Round trip – 6.4 miles.


This is just a short list of things that we did on our vacation and there is so much more!  We’ll eventually tackle it all and share it with you here.  We hope that you’ll join us someday to experience it for yourself.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chapter 12 - Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

While we are terrible at keeping up with this blog, we have been religiously recording our experience in this little book. 
When we’re in the midst of the episodes we share with you here, it is sometimes hard to find the humor in the situation.  However, re-reading it a year later, after the wounds have healed (both mental and physical), we can laugh.  That’s a good thing.
Now, let’s recap the summer of 2012.  The four of us began the trip full of optimism and hope.  Armed with a plan.  A dry well was not part of our plan.  That took our energy, knocked us down, kicked us a little bit…we wish it would have spit on us too.  That would have been somewhat like a shower that we hoped to take.  Eventually got it licked and began our project in earnest.  One of the first things we did was go to visit Renae’s family.  They were downsizing and offered us the majority of the furniture and odds and ends in their home.  We trucked the goodies back to our place and used the furniture to make our living quarters more comfortable.  There was also a pumpkin bread kit that we made up after a particularly grueling day.  The smell of pumpkin bread baking can fix anything. 

Unfortunately, Dennis was only with us for a week so all he got to work on was the well.  Actually, that’s not completely true, he also had time to improve our household situation.  One night after we discovered that a Damp-Rid container in our pantry would have been a good idea, he helped make garlic bread by sawing the top and bottom off the garlic powder container and grating the brick that it had become back into a powder. You can call us crazy, but you can’t call us quitters.
Chip, Renae and I got to work on finishing the double cabin the second week in.  We insulated the floor and laid a new sub-floor while the three of us were there.  After Renae and I went home, Chip finished the drywall, applied texture to the walls and ceiling, painted, laid the slate in the kitchen and bath, installed and finished the wood flooring, made a vanity and kitchen cabinet.  By himself.

We had a tough row to hoe in the summer of 2012, but when we look back at all that was accomplished in spite of the initial stumbles, it turned out OK.  This upcoming weekend we’re getting together to sketch out our plan for the summer of 2013.  I know what you’re thinking: “We read this blog.  Why bother with a plan?”  The Cynical Sally in us sometimes feels the same way, then we come back to the old adage, “Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail.”  In our case, it should probably be “Make a Plan, Plan to Make Significant Adjustments.” 

And that’s OK too.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chapter 11 - Long Time, No See

Long time, no blog. Sorry about that.

At last update, we were back at Square One with funding. In the meantime, 2011 was a very good year for us and that meant we were able to put some funds into the project and keep moving. With these funds, we decided to concentrate on one of the six cabins and try to get it done. Soup to nuts--all of it.

The “double cabin” was our victim last summer. We gutted it all the way down to the studs and found quite a few wasp nests tucked away. Active ones. Nice.

Here's a list of what we accomplished last summer:

-:- Rewired the entire cabin.
-:- Insulated the walls and ceiling (underneath the cabin will be done in Summer 2012)
-:- Installed new windows and doors.
-:- Kayaked
-:- Rebuilt the front porch
-:- Started a small deck/sitting area on the back.
-:- Kayaked

It's a good list for only being up there six weeks, and for half of that time, Chip was working on his own. Renae and I could only join him for two weeks.

We also made sure to clear out an area by the river where we could relax and get down to the water easily. One day, after a particularly grueling and filthy day of work, we grabbed some drinks from the fridge and headed down to the water in our clothes. Yup, we went into the water fully dressed. It was glorious, refreshing, restorative. Ahhhh!

This year, we want to finish that cabin totally. It's very important to us to continue to see progress. Although it isn't happening as quickly as we'd hoped, there is movement and we love it.

Stay tuned, more updates to come as we progress this summer.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chapter 10 - What's A Girl Gotta Do To Get A Dollar?

Early last week Chip, Dennis and I flew up to the property to button up for the winter. We were told that the NCA meeting was going to be on Thursday afternoon. Just in case we didn't get the last bit of funding we needed, we wanted to make sure the property could handle the cold without sacrificing another well pump to the winter gods. The weather was not so great, but it was nice to get out of the Florida heat for a few days.

Monday was a throw-away travel day. Got into Plattsburgh at around 7pm (our flight was late due to the weather). Thankfully, Dolores from Priceless Rent-A-Car was there to meet us. They're our new favorite rental car company. On Tuesday, we drove into Ticonderoga, then through Crown Point, Port Henry and Moriah. We had to stop to get apple cider and apple cider donuts, of course. I think it's mandatory. Dinner Tuesday was a birthday celebration with the family.  Great food, great company AND birthday cake. Can't go wrong!

Wednesday, we took a Sunday drive. All around Keene, Keene Valley, Jay, Wilmington, Lake Placid and up Veterans Memorial Highway. Although it was overcast, rainy and cold, we spent the $22 to drive to the top of Whiteface in zero visibility. What a great experience that was! We stopped at a couple of lookouts along the way and the mist had a great effect on the view. Gave it a completely different look and feel than full on sun, very pleasant change. The stone stairs were closed to take you to the top of the mountain, too slippery in that weather. I've been down those stairs in good weather and had a little trouble. But that's just me (graceful ballerina, I am not). I can imagine that they're slick as ____ (fill in your own colorful adjective here) in the rain.

Up the elevator we went, into the castle and out onto the rocks. Little nippy up there. I didn't venture out as far as Chip and Dennis until Chip told me to go out onto the deck. Standing back in the middle of the rocks the wind was blowing, but not unbearably hard. Once I got out near the edge of the deck, the wind was swirling, whirling and rushing up so hard that I bet it could have held me up if I leaned over the edge. Note: This is not an experiment I would actually try. I had had enough and headed back to the elevator after that.

Dinner was in Schroon Lake, then Thursday we took care of the water lines and well pump, prepped for our next visit. Nice trip--short and sweet. No campfires and marshmallows this time. Too wet. No sunshine and lollipops either. NCA turned our funding application down.

Sheesh! What's a girl gotta do to get a dollar?

Don't answer that.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chapter 9 - *&^%$#@!

The Telephone Call

(ring, ring)
Me:  "Hello, is this Square One?"
Square One:  "Yes, this is Square One."
Me: "I just wanted to let you know we'd be dropping back by for a visit."
Square One: "Oh--Should we make up the bed in the guest room?"
Me:  "No, there's no need for that.  We won't be staying long."
Square One: "Do you need directions on how to get here?"
Me: "No, we were just there a few months ago. We remember how to get there."

In case you haven't guessed, the AEDC funding didn't exactly go as planned.  I think they love us, they really do.  But the well is dry.  They don't have the amount of funds in the pot that we need.  So, we're back to Square One.  We haven't lost hope.  Don't think that.

I'm just really tired of Square One.  The decor there is dreadful, mid-80's mauve and it's just so, well, square.  That's what I get for asking for a verdict on Friday the 13th.  Monday, we're going to work on another option.  Plugging away.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Chapter 8 - Stressful Trip, was the outcome worth it?

Hell YES!

Driving 24 Hours Straight Never Gets Old (I’m lying).

The July Board Meeting of the Essex County Industrial Development Agency was on Tuesday, July 20th. Standard practice is for the applicants to make a brief presentation at the meeting. We left for New York after work on Friday, July 16th and drove straight through, rotating drivers every couple hours. Those that weren’t driving were sawing some serious logs in the back seat. Very sorry we don’t have video.

We arrived at the property on Saturday night around 11:30 and thought we would try to get the well started after being gone all winter. As Dennis was pouring the water into the pump to prime it, it began gushing out from a big crack in the case. All the safeguards we took before we left were for nothing, it froze anyway. So, that meant we were buying a new pump in the morning. Can we say “unexpected cost”, boys and girls?

We got up in the morning, piled in the car and headed to Lowe’s in Ticonderoga. We said hello to our favorite Lowe’s employee, Erin Burke (the best commercial sales rep EVER) and picked out a good pump from the plumbing department.

After getting the pump installed, Dennis spent the day getting the well working. Chip, Renae and I spent the day moving tires out off the front of the property. The day was long and we were sweaty, but at least we could take a hot shower.

Monday morning, Carol Calabrese stopped by the property for a site inspection. We passed with flying colors. That afternoon we had pictures printed for handouts at the meeting. While Chip was making dinner that night, Dennis, Renae and I pasted the pictures into a notebook to hand out for each Board member. Another project I wish we had video of.

Our time slot at the meeting was 9:20, one of the first of the day. We did our presentation, answered questions and waited anxiously for Carol’s phone call to give us the decision. Thankfully it was a yes!

We are very grateful to the Essex County IDA Board, Carol Calabrese and Karen Stehlin for helping to make our dream a reality. The next step is approval for the construction portion of the loan from the Adirondack Economic Development Corporation. August 10th is their meeting.

Wish us luck!

After getting the good news, we were able to relax a little bit. We spent the rest of our time gorging ourselves on ice cream, swimming in the river (brrr!), chilling by the camp fire, and roasting marshmallows which reminded us why we love this place so much.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Chapter 7 - Tire Debacle and Funding Hide 'n Seek

Whoever Said This Would Be Easy?

After the gents came home, we worked steadily on getting funding. As a last resort, we decided that we would try applying through the Essex County Industrial Development Agency. They specialize in offering funding to businesses when they cannot get funding through traditional sources.

The application itself is only six pages, but the supporting documentation killed several trees. The business plan alone was about 20 pages. We drafted and researched and drafted some more through the holidays. The process was coming along quite nicely.

And then…disaster struck on December 27. Chip got three phone calls within minutes of each other telling us that the dumpster company had finally come to pick up the last of the scrap metal and in the process, dumped two loads of tires at the front of our property. Holy cow, they’re back. The tires were back. After days of getting those suckers in dumpsters, they brought them back. We didn’t understand why 1) they took so long to collect the last dumpster for credit and 2) why they didn’t credit the metal to our balance before deciding we owed them money and returning the tires.

We tried on our own and through our lawyer to resolve the issue with absolutely no response. At this point, we’ve decided to just let it go. It’s frustrating that they undid days of work and took our scrap metal, but we’re experts at taking lemons and making lemonade. This project has taught us valuable lessons and we’re chalking it all up to experience.

On April 29th, we submitted our application package to Carol Calabrese at IDA. She asked that Karen Stehlin with the North Country Small Business Development Center review it and offer her input. We revised it based on Karen’s observations and submitted the final in late May, too late to make the June board meeting cut off. But we made the July meeting…

Details to follow in the next post.