Friday, July 1, 2016

Before and After: The Cottage in the Cove

The Cottage in the Cove     

My husband and I had spent a lot of time throughout our life at my parent's cottage on Panama City Beach. We thought we knew the Panama City area well. Then my brother, sister and I sold the cottage on the Beach and my husband and I had to find a place to invest our money. I found an ad in the newspaper listing a townhouse in the Cove in Panama City. For those of you who are not aware of the geography of Bay County, there is a big bridge (Hathaway Bridge) connecting Panama City Beach and Panama City. They are two totally separate entities. 

We had heard of "the Cove" through neighbors on the Beach whose daughter had married a young man from a prominent family that lived in the cove. We decided to check the townhouse out and decided immediately to buy it. The location, downtown near the civic center, Martin Theater, Visual Arts Centre and fantastic restaurants coming with a dock on the bayou that runs behind the Bay County courthouse appealed to us. Soon we discovered the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club close by on Bunkers Cove Road and we knew we had found the place to which we could retire happily. 

Our oldest daughter, her husband and our oldest granddaughter already lived in Panama City. Then our son and his family came to live in Panama City. He rented this little cottage half a block from our townhouse. Originally these cottages were the homes of local fishermen. They are nestled among homes of prominent citizens making this a true neighborhood, something my husband and I appreciate having grown up in the Garden District of Dothan, Alabama. The owners from whom our son rented, our dear friends, Joe and Cheryl Budd, had found another home they wanted to buy. Eventually, they decided they were ready to sell and we bought the house. As things go, our son got transferred, moving up to a better job in Mobile and we had a decision to make. 

Our townhouse is three stories. We have friends who cannot manage climbing stairs. My own mother was confined to a wheel chair for her last twenty years, a circumstance one must consider in planning for growing older. Considering these things, we decided to turn this cove cottage into a guest house/entertaining/contingency home. This is the story of that transformation. 

The first thing we did was paint. At first the color I chose was a bit startling, Sherwin Williams Denim, but this is a coastal cottage and I decided to go with it. You see the driveway to the right.    First we concreted the gaps in the driveway. 

It leads to what was originally a garage, but I envisioned it as a wonderful multipurpose room for me and my hobbies from the very beginning. I am a Master Gardener, a genealogist and a writer of historical fiction and cozy mysteries. I needed space. This is what we began with. 

This is the space between the sunroom at the back of the house and the garage. The new siding you see covered the original door that led out to the back yard. 

This is a view of the garage from the far side of the house. As you can see there are only concrete block steps leading into the back room which had an 18inch tile covering the floor. 

The is the side yard opposite the garage. 

 We painted the fence white. I transplanted lilies, amaryllis, lantana and coneflower from our home in Dothan. I bought a couple of Crape Myrtle to shade this sunny area. On each trip to Panama City I brought ornaments I had collected in my yard. Here you see the four seasons and one of the bird houses I plan to line the fence with.

To the right above you see the transformed area between the sunroom and the garage. Next to the house we included a ramp for our friends who have trouble with stairs -- and us! Carrying in groceries and moving furniture is much easier with this ramp!

The back yard only had the fire pit our son had built and the chalk board his wife, Brittany, had added to the back fence, the first thing we had built when our son and his family moved in. They have small children and the neighbor had a pool. They had a very nice children's area there that the chalk board played a part in. I use it now as the back drop for bird bath. The stones that line the beds I hauled from a pile of concrete by the road. 

Remember the view across the back to the garage? This is the way the back yard looks now. The deck wraps around the two big trees with shallow steps leading down to the El Toro Zoysia grass that now carpets the back yard. As you can see, the garage, now dubbed Sharman's She Shack, is now a lovely shade of red. The stones that surround the fountain are the blocks that once formed my son's fire pit. The fountain once graced our front yard in Dothan. My husband and I agree it looks much better here!

Larry's Shed Moving on Harrison Avenue worked a miracle in our opinion by moving the playhouse we had built in our back yard in Dothan into the back yard here to our "cove cottage." We found some tiles and old brick and got carried away. This became a small patin that links the playhouse to the walk beside the house and she shack. 

The potting bench beside the door to the She Shack was built as a birthday gift for me by our son, Drew. He has discovered a talent for furniture making and has begun a business on Facebook, Ramsey and Sons Furniture (search for @ramseyandsons to find it on Facebook). He couldn't have found a more special gift!

Larry's Shed Moving also brought us our Gazebo from the Dothan back yard. There is an empty lot across the street from the cottage that backs onto Massalina Bayou. So, we have a water view and great breezes.

Grass gives an amazing transformation to the side yard opposite the She Shack. Hydrangeas will thrive in this environment.

Inside the first thing we did was to tear down the wall that separated the kitchen from the sun porch, removing the sliding glass doors that opened outside and the wall that once simply held a window over the sink. Then came the job of leveling the floors from what was once a porch. We kept the old cabinets from which I removed the doors. I have pretty dishes and some oversized serving trays. A kitchen is supposed to be functional to my way of thinking, so why not be able to see what you have?

I set the bar off center to give more room at the sink and stove just in case a wheel chair must maneuver in that kitchen. 

The table is the conference table that was in my husband's father's first office. The Sampler on the wall was once in my Grandmother Burson's kitchen in Furman, Alabama. The lamp hanging above the table was above the table in our cottage out on the Beach. I and my grandchildren love karaoke so we have a karaoke machine that you can see to the right. 

As you can see the floor between the two rooms is now level. I am pleased with the bamboo flooring I chose for the remodel. It is supposed to be durable. That was one of the goals for this house. I moved the furniture from our townhouse that I had chosen to be totally child friendly. My antiques and breakable stuff are in the townhouse. When our children and their children come to visit, I want them to be comfortable. The shelves around the fireplace we added in the sunroom contain the many videos we have collected, including Disney films that the grandchildren love. (And of course my favorites, The Blue Lagoon, Beaches, Calendar Girls, Don't Tell Her It's Me, Gone with the Wind, etc.)

 Of course, my husband included his favorites -- all war movies! Favorite books and games are also included. 

You enter the house through the living room. The sofa makes into a queen-sized bed as does the sofa in the Sunroom.

The remodel included increasing the width of the doorways considering the possibility of a wheelchair in the future.  The house has two bedrooms and two baths that I'll add later.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

In Defense of Trump

In Defense of Trump

I am a Trump supporter. Inspired by my posting this on my Facebook page, a friend sent me this message.  I decided to answer in depth on this blog. 

"I was stunned to see your post today! Donald Trump is an evil, inexperienced, hateful man. How could you support one who supports keeping all Mexicans out of our country? Mexicans are kind, hardworking and honest. I have known so many as a person who lived in Texas for 30 years. He is proposing keeping all Muslims out of our country. My most competent, caring doctors have been Muslims. He is disrespectful of women. Look at his personal life. He has no foreign affairs knowledge other than business related. You say you are impressed with his heart. How does that match up with his mockery of a disabled man. I, for one, will be voting for the only experienced, qualified candidate."

 1. Trump is evil. 
You know him personally? Jerry Falwell, Jr. vouches for his character citing many instances of individual generosity that don't make it to the donations column for tax exemption. I would be reluctant about accusing someone of being evil on what little I know of him personally. (Perhaps you know more about him.)  

I have known too many Bible thumping preachers that talk the talk but consider themselves above having to walk the walk to make Christian claims the criteria for my political support. I am voting for a president, not a preacher. 
 2. Trump is inexperienced. 
Trump has the experience needed for making better trade deals for our country. Making deals is how he made his own fortune. He has dealt with foreign countries through his own business development and understands the different cultures of business. 

With a degree from the Wharton School of Economics and years of business experience, Trump understands economics, trade, and currency manipulation much better than any of the other candidates. He will not hesitate to say, "You're fired," to the incompetents in government, stifle the graft and corruption in the VA, road and bridge building, government contracts, etc. That is what he does!

He is only inexperienced in the political arena and that is one of his greatest qualification. He hasn't been bought and paid for. 
 3. He is hateful. 
Once again, you know him? Filled with hate? 

The accusation of being a racist came about as the result of a hesitation when asked to repudiate someone the questioner connected with the KKK. His hesitation came as the result of faulty technical equipment. Of course, the establishment media mouthpieces repudiated his repudiation because if fit their agenda and that of their bosses. Looks to me like the hate is coming from an Establishment reluctant to give up their gravy train. 
 4. He supports keeping all Mexicans out of our country. 
That is a misrepresentation of his words. He wants to keep ILLEGAL immigrants out of our country. So you dispute that many illegal immigrants are rapists, murderers, drug dealers? Have you ever heard of the Mexican Mafia? What about El Chappo Guzman who tunneled his way out of a Mexican jail and made his way back and forth across the border to visit with his family in the U. S.. I only hope Trump adds enough technology to the wall to sense activity underground.

Perhaps if we lived in Arizona and had illegals traipsing through our back yards we might appreciate someone supporting the border patrol and enforcing our laws. Even here, in South Alabama and North Florida, we are not immune to the illegal drugs that ravage our young. As a grandmother I feel compelled to try at least through my vote to support someone with the gumption to do something about it!

By the way, Trump supports LEGAL immigration from Mexico. 

5. He is proposing keeping all Muslims out of the country.
Several of my doctors are Muslim as well. I have a very good friend who is Muslim. I have great respect for them. Trump's stand on putting a temporary time out on Muslim immigration/visas until we get a handle on vetting the immigrants protects ALL Americans, including those who happen to be Muslim. Muslims have been among those killed in these terrorist activities. Aren't we all foremost Americans and only secondarily a hyphenation of some sort? It is our success with assimilating our immigrant population that has brought us the unity we are so proud of and the success of our immigrant population. That is why it must be controlled.
 6. I will be voting for the only qualified man. 
Who might that be? I assume you mean on the Republican ticket.

John Kasich voted for NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO giving away American sovereignty and endorsing corporate welfare. We now pay American businesses to relocate to foreign countries. Kasich then took the golden parachute and went to work as a managing director for Lehman 
Brothers making more than $1Million the year Lehman Brothers went belly up. 

Or do you mean Ted Cruz? Cruz now embraces the Establishment with the fervor of the outcast on the playground who suddenly gets courted by the IN crowd. Chief among the "IN CROWD" is the Bush clan. 

Considering their track record, I have absolutely no faith in them.

Jeb Bush, George Bush Sr., and his son Neil Bush have all been implicated in the Savings and Loan Scandal, which cost American tax payers over $1.4 TRILLION dollars (note that this at that time that was about one quarter of our national debt. Interest has accrued since then!).

Between 1981 and 1989, when George Bush finally announced that there was a Savings and Loan Crisis to the world, the Reagan/Bush administration worked to cover up Savings and Loan problems by reducing the number and depth of examinations required of S&Ls as well as attacking political opponents who were sounding early alarms about the S&L industry.  Industry insiders were aware of significant S&L problems as early 1986 that they felt would require a bailout.  This information was kept from the media until after Bush had won the 1988 elections.

Jeb Bush defaulted on a $4.56 million loan from Broward Federal Savings in Sunrise, Florida. After federal regulators closed the S&L, the office building that Jeb used the $4.56 million to finance was reappraised by the regulators at  $500,000, which Bush and his partners paid. The taxpayers had to pay back the remaining 4 million plus dollars.

Neil Bush was the most widely targeted member of the Bush family by the press in the S&L scandal.  Neil became director of Silverado Savings and Loan at the age of 30 in 1985. Neil Bush now heads up Cruz's financial team. 

JEB Bush has endorsed Cruz. JEB would have used his brother's foreign policy advisors and where did they get us? Why did we invade Iraq when those who flew the planes into the World Trade Center on 9/01/01were Saudi Arabian? 

George W. Bush brought us the never-ending war in the Middle East that destabilized the area and empowered ISIS. The economic collapse of 2008 was the result of his policies. 
You think these folks are helping Cruz because they believe in him. For altruistic reasons?

 7. I almost forgot....He is disrespectful of women. 
Personally, I am offended by feminists demanding that they be treated equally and when they are they whine and pull the woman card. If you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. Being a woman should not give you an advantage or an excuse for bad manners. Michelle Fields should be ashamed of herself for filing charges for such a minor event. I admire Donald Trump for not giving in to the pressures of political correctness gone amok.

I respect your right to support whomever you support. That is what is so great about our country. But, I am fed up with the  dismissal of those who support Trump as uneducated backcountry lowlifes. As the result, we see free speech challenged with mob violence financed by the puppet masters who benefit by controlling the politicians. A young person serves a sentence for possession of an ounce of marijuana while the Wall Street bankers who brought America to her knees with their greed were never punished! We see Americans lose their retirement and their healthcare because legislators with their golden parachutes "sent those low paying jobs overseas." And we want to vote those with ties to the past back into office/power? 

I agree with Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a leading voice on trade, immigration and executive powers. He urges Americans to choose their next president carefully because 2016 "is the last chance for the American people to take back control of their government."

Friday, March 25, 2016

Trump and Misogyny?

Misogynist seems to be Trump's enemies' favored word of the week.

Melania Trump says her husband treats women just like he treats men. Does that make him a misogynist or are feminists reaping what they have sown? Feminists protest that they want equality. Then a man treats them with the same blunt treatment with which he would treat a man and the whining begins. How dare he speak thus to a woman?

Feminists proclaim that in order to succeed a woman must do everything a man can do only walking backwards and wearing high heels. But why is she wearing high heels? They are certainly not comfortable. Why does she wear short skirts, false eyelashes and flip her lovely long hair when she wants to be treated like a man?

I suggest she expects to use her femininity and be treated like a lady, using sex appeal plus cultural expectations to elicit expected gentleman's behavior while proclaiming she wants equal treatment.

Hillary attempts to capitalize on her supposed feminist credentials. She proclaims to abused women, “You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We’re with you,” Clinton said in the video, which she addressed to “every survivor of sexual assault.”

Juanita Brodderick who claims to have been raped by Bill Clinton says Hillary confronted her and said, ‘I just want you to know how much Bill and I appreciate the things you do for him.’ “And she said, ‘Do you understand? Everything you do.’’’  
"What really went through my mind at that time is ‘She knows. She knew. She’s covering it up and she expects me to do the very same thing.’” 

Kathleen Willey states that Hillary ‘wrote the book on terrorizing women.’ Gennifer Flowers, Bill Clinton's 12 year mistress, accused Hillary of being “an enabler that has encouraged him (Bill) to go out and do whatever he does with women.” 

So, perhaps women can be misogynists as well. Perhaps Hillary simply has contempt for women who are so gullible as to vote for a woman simply because of her gender. Equality can and should go both ways.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Voting for President not Preacher

I have been long concerned about our perceived qualifications for our President in this 2016 election year. We need a leader with strength and ability. We are not voting for a preacher.

1. We need a President who will enforce our laws. That includes defending our borders. Trump realizes that illegal means illegal. Trump was the first to make this an issue.

2. We need a President who will make the very best trade deals for our country and will bring manufacturing back to America.

3. We need a President who will put America first and will invest in the infrastructure of our country. Other wealthy men who became President, Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, did so in the past building roads, bridges, a park system, and public buildings that make us all proud. In the process, millions of people were employed. Trump is the only one to mention this.

4. We need a President who looks at the world as it is and not as how we want it to be. Other countries do not have a positive perception of our country though we want to think everyone loves us.  Of the last four Secretaries of State three have been women. While we might want to force our ideas of equality on other cultures, Middle Eastern countries do not have the same respect for women that Western cultures have. One of those Secretaries of State, Hillary Clinton, underestimated the animosity of Libyans against our presence there and cost the lives of an ambassador and three other Americans in addition to the lives of soldiers, sailors and airmen put into harms way.

5. We need a president who realizes it is not America's roll in the world to nation build. Such actions  have produced the current instability in the Middle East. Continuing on with the same actions will merely produce the same results. The Hawks and Neocons in the Republican Party who have ridden the militaristic gravy train sacrificing American men and women in the service to their agenda are now instigating war within the Republican party to deny an honest participant in the election process the right to represent the party.

6. We need a President who will put American workers before Wall Street Bankers and corporations. John Kasich promoted NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO. He took the Golden Parachute and worked with Lehman Brothers making $1.4 the year Lehman went bell up. And then he ran for governor and now runs as president promising to bring jobs in after giving them away.

7. We need an independent man as president, one not bought and paid for by special interests. Cruz and his wife Heidi both worked for George Bush when they met. The establishment, governors, senators, representatives and journalists including Bill Kristol's Weekly Standard, are now flocking to his side. Neil Bush who at 30 led Silverado Bank to become one of the S & L failures costing American taxpayers millions. He is now on Cruz' financial team. Donald Trump is funding his own campaign and is his own man.

8. We need a President who will say "you're fired" to those irrelevant governmental agencies and departments, can bring projects in on time and under budget, can read a bottom line and create a budget that fits our ability and not our aspiration. Trump is the only candidate who has created jobs, hired people and built beautiful projects throughout the world.

9. We need a President who sees ISIS and Muslim extremists as the threat they truly are to our people. We need to arm our soldiers with the best equipment, not that produced to answer a politically correct demand made by a politician with a self-interest. We need to take care of our veterans.

10. We need a President who realizes that the Department of Education is run by political hacks producing a politically correct product and not educated citizens. Common Core was co-opted by those hacks and now works to the detriment of our children Trump realizes that the government that works best is closer to the individual. Schools that work best must be answerable to the parents, not the politicians.

11. We need a President who cares about the people of this country and wants to make health care available and affordable with sensible health care reform.

12. We need a President who knows how to hire competent people who are the best at what they do, not simply reappoint those who got us into this fix. 

That man is Donald Trump.

Monday, March 14, 2016

HR 347 protects candidates with Secret Service at official functions from disrupters

Shouldn’t political candidates protected by the Secret Service be defended from those who violate HR 347? Shouldn't violators be jailed and prosecuted? Why does the press justify their disruptions? Does free speech not apply to those the press presumes to dismiss and deride just those who seek to disrupt? The media does not report the news any longer. Their "analysts" spout their bias and judgmental vituperation with no challenge. 

An Act
To correct and simplify the drafting of section 1752 (relating to restricted buildings or grounds) of title 18, United States Code.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011’’.
Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
‘‘§ 1752. Restricted building or grounds
‘‘(a) Whoever—
‘‘(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building
or grounds without lawful authority to do so;
‘‘(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the
orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;
‘‘(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or
‘‘(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;
or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
‘‘(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is—
‘‘(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than 10 years, or both, if—
‘‘(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense,
uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or
‘‘(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
‘‘(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both, in any other case. ‘‘(c) In this section—

H. R. 347—2
‘‘(1) the term ‘restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area—
‘‘(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President’s official residence or its grounds;
‘‘(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or
‘‘(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunc- tion with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and
‘‘(2) the term ‘other person protected by the Secret Service’
means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.’’.
Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and President of the Senate.