Our Retro Bungalow

Our Retro Bungalow
The journal of the making of an old house into a lovely new home.

Monday, November 16, 2015


That's it.
As simple as can be.
Cuz I'm tired, but I'll be darned if this to-do
doesn't get crossed of today's to-do list.

Actually, I spent most of Saturday and a good majority
of Sunday in a Benadryl induced fog.
We went out to dinner Friday night.
Nothing fancy, just Chick-fil-A.
I had the Asian chicken salad.
That was at about 7 p.m.
I awoke at approx 1 a.m. from a dream
that I was drowning.
It wasn't a dream.
My soft palate and uvula were so swollen 
it took concerted effort to breath.
My chest felt heavy. 
My pulse raced.
And I panicked, which only exacerbated the symptoms.
I knew we had Benadryl tablets somewhere
and after fumbling around for what seemed like forever,
I was able to swallow one.
Just one.
I should've taken two.
Just over 30 minutes later I began to feel some relief,
but never was able to get back to sleep.
I knew my eyes were swollen, but didn't get a good
look at them til daylight.
is basically what I saw looking back at me in the mirror,
expression and all.
This was the third episode I've had like this.
So, I guess it's time to do some ingredient investigating.
I'm still not feeling quite up to snuff, 
*cue the tiny violins*
but despite all that, we were able to get some work done on Saturday.
Well, Mr worked and I kind of just, you know...
drug around behind him and tried to contribute as best I could
by doing little things like taking pictures.
That's helping, right? 

Let's cut to the chase with just a few of those pics now, shall we?


He cut two cedar trees down.
One was half dead, the other pretty healthy,
but they had to go mainly because they're in the 
way of the shop that will be built next year.
I think, too, that the walnut tree will appreciate 
having more breathing room.

he dug a nice deep, long trench with his 
grown-up Tonka Toy for drainage from
the SE downspout to keep the rainwater away from the house.
He installed the pipe tonight
and will probably (hopefully) get it buried tomorrow.

I'm gonna hit "publish",
cross this off my to-do list,
and hit the hay, as they say.

Thanks for stoppin' by.
We do appreciate y'all.
G'night and God Bless.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

October Part IV - Haunted Woods

This is the October post I've really been wanting to put together.
It's also the last October post.
I can hardly believe we're a third of the way through November already!

Mr & Me began a FUN and SPOOKY tradition back in October 2013,
witch which was our first Halloween here at 1920 Fruitland Drive.
We like to call it
*cue the spooky ghost sounds*

It's as simple as simmering a pot of homemade Red Toad Stew (chili) for a few hours.
Baking a batch of homemade corn muffins
made from real corns from real witch's corny toes
(thank you, Jossimo),
(for baking the muffins, not the corns!)
and brewing a cooler-full of secret, homemade witch's potion
(root-beer, of course)
(thank you, Mr & Mrs Brunty).
Throw in a glut of delicious cookies and
peanut butter fudge shaped like tiny pumpkins
(thank you, Mrs Mossi-the-youngest and Mrs Sadler)

I nearly forgot to mention inviting our
After all, it just wouldn't be
without them.

Cautiously, I retrieved their coffins  storage boxes out from under
the staircase where the spiders live and,
even more cautiously,
opened the lids that had kept
them imprisoned since their last haunting adventure.
Without so much as a "thank you, ma'am", off they flew to their posts in the
(If only it were really that easy)

Soon after all the eerie bit players were in their places
(with my iHome hidden in the tall grass among the trees, looping haunted woods sound effects)
our guests of honor arrived...

We were charmed beyond words by our clever 
beautiful cowgirl-boot-wearin' 
pretty little 
(wearing her daddy's  costume from his little-boy days),
and precious 
And I thought Halloween was fun when their mommas and daddies were little!

Before anyone was allowed to hike up and brave the treacherous hauntings,
Poppo took all our special guests for a 'redneck hayride' 'round and 'round the back yards
in the lawn tractor wagon...
or on his lap because our adorable scarecrow insisted on driving.
And then Nonna, 
who has a particular talent for pulling off the perfect witch impersonation,
obliged the costumed little darlings to
before trekking up and into peril.
A body's gotta have some sustenance to survive 
the kind of terror they were about to bravely embark upon!   

When bellies were full and the dark of night had come, 
all entered in, masked with confidence and courage
despite their unspoken tremulous fear.
They crossed the little footbridge, climbed the grassy trail and navigated through
ghosts and graveyards, a cackling witch on her broom, bats and giant spiders,
glowing eyes, a screeching black cat and demented pumpkin-headed beasts.
There was even a werewolf skulking around and 
a masked chain-saw creeper
(that couldn't get his chainless chainsaw to start up) 
who sprang from behind some trees groaning and growling! 

I was relieved and am happy to report that 
the Robot, the Butterfly, the Scarecrow, the Pirate and the Lion
all survived, mostly unscathed, the frightfully spooky experience.
Makes a Poppo and Nonna so very proud!
We were also pleased as punch that the whole effort was such a hit that 
those sweet grandchildren ran in and through our
 several more times
until they were all plumb tuckered out.
Cowboy and Cupcake coaxed me up once with just the two of them
and, oddly, Cowboy disappeared shortly after 
Cupcake and I passed the witch on her broom.
Suddenly I see something aweful coming t'ward me!
It was the big blow-up cat with the angry eyes!
It was marching right onto me and I was sure
I was going to be eaten alive right then and there. 
Surprise, surprise...
It was just Cowboy pulling a prank on his Strega Nonna!
When I'd recovered, 
we went back to join the rest of the family
in the telling of not-too-scary ghost stories while we sat around the bonfire.


The Robot, the Butterfly and the Scarecrow's momma 
soon informed them that it was getting late and time to go home.
Cupcake approached Aunt Jossi and asked if she would
go through the 
with her once last time.
Aunt Jossi took her by the hand as they headed off to cross the 
little footbridge at the entrance.
Later that night, Aunt Jossi reported that when she and Cupcake were 
alone, walking toward the footbridge, 
Cupcake confided in her, saying...
"Jossi, I think Poppo and Nonna set this whole thing up."
"And I think that chainsaw guy was Uncle Joe." 

We still crack up laughing when we talk about that!
And we probably will for a lot of years to come.

Monday, November 9, 2015

October Part III - Stumps, Holes and Painted Skirts

As far as work around here goes,
we actually got a little of that done 
in October.
I gotta say, though, that
we certainly are enjoying the slower pace
this autumn season has gifted us with.

Not long after returning home from our road trip,
Dean cut down the last two trees in the front yard.
The man sure does love his chainsaws.
He cut those old and ragged Quaking Aspens up, stacked the logs on
the side of the road in front of the house and in two days
they'd been carried off by some unknown someone,
presumably for firewood.
That's exactly what we had in mind.

Not long after we bought the tractor,
he dug out all the stumps in the front yard
(five, I think)
and a few others up t'ward the top of our property.

I can't really say that he's been "working" when
 he's out on the tractor digging up stumps.
The other night when Mr & Mrs Brunty stopped by,
I heard him say to Joe,
"Man, diggin' holes is SO MUCH FUN on that thing!"
He and I were talking later about the future retaining wall that needs
to be built out front and how we got a bid from a contractor to excavate
and form it for us for what we thought was an outrageous price.
That conversation ended with Dean saying...
"With the tractor, we don't have to hire anyone. I can do all of it myself.
AND I get to have fun!"
Like I said...
It's a tool for the man and it's a toy for the boy that lives inside him.

He got the skirting on the front porches put up.
I got 'em caulked and painted.

The house feels so cozy and homey inside what-with all the Autumn decor.
Sure wish y'all could come on by.
I've even got ginger-molasses cookies in the cookie jar!
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to check in.
As always, we appreciate your support and encouragement.
Goodnight and God Bless.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

October Part II - Duality

It's a tool for the man to get some heavy-duty work done.
It's a toy for the immortal boy that lives inside that man.

Yes, we bought a tractor in October.

October Part I - Our October Odyssey

I started thinking about this post in the wee morning hours
while laying in bed listening to the cadence of early November rain
on the old walnut tree's wide, yellowing leaves.
(that was yesterday)
My head is swimming with all the things I could go on about
in just this one post.
I'm considering breaking it all up into a few posts,
but I'm also thinking that if I just come back to this one post, 
here and there throughout the day while I'm working on other things,
 perhaps it'll just be all right here.
(that didn't happen)
So, I'll get started and we'll see...

"Our October Odyssey" 
was just what the doctor ordered after nearly three years
of ceaseless work here at 
1920 Fruitland Drive.
Honestly, it's been hard.
I've worried a lot about my husband.
He's healthy and tough and strong as an ox 
-more so than many men ten years younger-
but even the most rugged guys need a break once in a while.
I did everything I was capable of doing to help 
and even learned to do some things I never thought I would;
things like pulling electrical lines and plumbing lines 
and nailing up siding and bolting down sill plates
and laying hardwood flooring and tiling a shower 
and several other construction-type particulars.
Like a lot o' folks, I have a personal 'bucket list',
but my list hasn't ever had 'paint the whole outside of a house' written on it.
Every time I'd toss an empty paint bucket into the garbage, I'd think to myself, 
"I'm gonna add 'paint the whole outside of a house' to my bucket list when I'm done 
and then turn right around and check it off."

Getting in our new truck
(which was a dream to travel in)
and hittin' the road with no particular route in mind
was a wonderful respite.
We had an ultimate destination, but planned our route a day at a time.
We saw a whole lot of beautiful country.
And I must say that October is thee most beautiful month for a road trip,
especially under a low-lying blanket of clouds,
which always seems to make
the autumn reds, golds, yellows and oranges glow.

We traveled from Utah and through Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois,
Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky again, Indiana,
Missouri again,Iowa,Nebraska, Wyoming and back to Utah.
So as not to go into a long, tedious travelogue,
here are only a few highlights...

 We paid a visit to Granny at the cemetery in Madisonville, Tennessee.

Aunt Sharon passed away the year before Granny and is buried next to her.
My Granny buried three of her five children, all taken by cancer,
before her own passing due to old age.
My mother and Aunt Joyce are lonely for their younger sibling's company.
A person expects to lose their age-ed parents,
but two sisters and a brother before their time...
well, that's just down-right sorrowful.

We stayed in the neighboring town of Sweetwater at my Aunt Joyce's place
and left with a few things from my great-grandparent's old farmhouse in Arkansas... 

Great-Granny Burke's rocking chair 
and the little six-legged table she kept in the front room.

And this sweet little "straight-back" chair".
I made the pillow from an old quilt Granny had made.
We wore it out with good, honest use, but I couldn't bear to part with the whole of it, 
so I saved the best square and fashioned a pillow cover out of it. 
That was quite a while ago, though.

This is a 1964 photo of me sitting in Granny Burke's lap, out back 
between the house and chicken coop, in that very chair. 

I've long been a fan of Mark Twain, so a stay-over in Hannibal, Missouri was especially fun.
I'd downloaded "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" to my iTunes account and
Dean and I listened to it on our way out of Tennessee and on our way to
Mark Twain's sleepy little boyhood town on the Mississippi River.
"Barley-corn, barley-corn, injun-meal shorts, Spunk-water, spunk-water, swaller these warts."
I think I enjoyed listening to it this time as much as I loved listening
to Mrs Love read it to me and my 6th grad classmates
after lunch recess way back when.
Do you happen to know why Sam Clemens chose the pen name 'Mark Twain'?
The leadsmen on a riverboat was responsible for measuring the depth of the river
for safe passage. If the depth happened to be two fathoms, he would call out
"by the mark twain" to the riverboat pilot,
meaning the depth had been marked at two fathoms and instead of saying
"two", he said "twain", which is a more traditional way of sayin' "two".
Samuel Clemens was a riverboat pilot for a couple of years before
the Civil War.
There ya go and now ya know.

Last, but not least, was our trip to Nauvoo, which was just over the river from Hannibal.

The last time we were in Nauvoo the temple was under construction.
It was a treat to participate in an endowment session.
Since it was the beginning of the "off season",
we went through that session with only 4 other sisters and 5 other brethren,
most of those sisters and brethren were serving missions in Nauvoo.
I couldn't help but reflect on all that the saints went through in the early
years of the church in there.
I am thankful for those rock-solid saints
who went through trials I can scarcely imagine
and whose souls were woven tightly with 
an indestructible tread of faith.
After leaving the sublime beauty of the Celestial room
on the fourth floor, I was directed back to the squared spiral staircase
and reminded that the sister's dressing room was one flight down.
I descended two steps, stopped and leaned sightly over the stair rail 
to look upward toward the fifth floor - the top of the temple.
The downward view was a sight to behold as well!
I stood there marveling and debating for at least a couple of minutes
and then turned right back around and quietly ascended every last stair to the top.
A sister temple worker spotted me, smiled, and asked if I was lost.
"No. I just couldn't help myself. I wanted to see as much as I can before we leave."
That resulted in a thorough tour of sealing rooms, the bride's room, 
 views from many of the fifth floor windows and finally my descent down the 
stunning true-spiral staircase on the other end of that magnificent temple.
What a memorable gift!
Dean was patiently waiting for me in the lobby downstairs,
but was also wondering what on Earth was taking me so long.
"Oh, nothing but a little tour of Heaven, is all."

Friday, October 2, 2015

Knock, Knock

Whoo, whoo, whoo's there?

It was love at first sight  for me with this here charming, wonderful door knocker.
I ordered it shortly after we moved into the trailer and started the
demolition of the original house.
After quite a wait, it was finally perched in its proper place this week.

 The raw lumber you see here will be 'skirted' soon.
Our to-do list has been  whittled down dramatically
and this is one of the remaining tasks.
We'll get to it before long.

Back to the subject of knocking...
if you do happen to come knocking,
neither one of us will be answering the door.
Mr & Me are headed out on a road trip in the morning.
He told me to plan on a journey and not a destination.
We have a main destination in mind, 
but no hard and fast plans or itinerary for our way there or back.
The last get-a-way we had was three years ago.
We need this.
But Our Retro Bungalow will not be vacant!
Mr & Mrs Brunty have moved in.
They just bought their very first house!
 We are thrilled for these terrific kids of ours, but 
their new home won't be ready until the end of this month.
It's all worked out so well for them
and the timing is a blessing for us.

So, here's to Happy Trails!
Thanks for stoppin' by.
We do appreciate all the support and encouragement y'all have 
given us throughout this adventure.
Goodnight and God Bless.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


It's scarcely believable to me, but seven weeks have passed since I last posted.
The swiftness of time, I'm convinced, is the result of three factors:
1) Age. Our age, to be precise. The older Mr & Me get, the more time seems to quicken.
2) Busyness. We've been busy. A busyness that is
quite different from the crazy-busy of our younger years when
we were caught up in the day-to-day duties of  bringing up our six young children.
3) We're living in the last days. The prophesied return of Jesus the Christ and
the beginning of His millennial reign is at its threshold. Now, don't go quotin' me on that one,
because I can't give you a specific scripture or citation from one of our latter-day
prophet's addresses stating that the passing of time is speeding up because
He will return ere long. This particular theory is my own, based on personal scripture study,
listening to general conference addresses, and podcasts by various religious scholars.
Combined, these reliable sources instill in me a feeling, perhaps even an instinct,
that His imminent return is hastening time. Or maybe it is merely anticipation;
much like an exam that you worry you may not be fully prepared for as it approaches
seemingly much sooner later. I used to fear the last days. Not any more.
And that, right there, is one of thee most beautiful aspects of leaving youth behind.
Courage is a priceless byproduct of age and wisdom.

Now, then.
If you'll kindly pardon my digression, I'll attempt to carry forth, in no particular (chronological)
order with some of the most recent happenings around here.
It will be, I'm afraid, a bit of a hit-n-miss attempt
as I am certain there are several things I will either forget to include
or choose to pass over altogether in the interest of time.

We've started applying the second coat of "Tate Olive" on the exterior
and we are both still smitten with the color.
The second coat seems to take less time than the first, but still I haven't made
a whole lot of progress as there are so many other things vying for my attention.

We finally ordered our rain chains and got them hung.
And we LOVE them.
Before clicking "submit order", Dean asked me if I was sure I wanted the
double ring design in copper.
"I'm positive!"
So, he bought them.
They arrived a few days later and as I watched him up on the ladder getting them hung
 in their reserved spots on the rain gutter, I was struck with the reality of my choice.
WHAT was I thinking?!
Copper fetches a hefty pocketful of cash at the local recycling yards.
Will these somewhat spendy ornamentations disappear from the front
 of Retro Bungalow one day when we aren't looking.
There's no sense in losing sleep over it now.
We can only hope for the best.

I'm delighted that they've already begun to take on a patina.
Also in this photo, notice the front porch ceiling -
it's different from the rest of the board-and-bat ceiling of  the rest of the porch that
runs along the front of the south end of the house.
That's because the front porch ceiling is salvaged tongue and groove from
the original front porch of the original house!
I don't know about you, but we think that's pretty special.

I took advantage of a great sale at Lomond View Nursery
and bought the first two of several trees we have in mind to
welcome to our landscaping plans.
Fall planting is best and 30% off saved us a nice little sum.
A Bosnian Pine at the SW corner of the garage and
 a Bloodgood Japanese Maple next to the newly poured party patio.
These varieties are ones we'd chosen and planted at Casa di Mossi.
We liked them so much that we've been planning all along to incorporate them here.
It was a happy thing to not only get them on sale, but to actually find them
among their inventory so late in the year.

Speaking of the new party patio...

we hosted our first official party on it yesterday afternoon to
celebrate our son-in-law, Joe's, 30th birthday!
His lovely wife, Mrs Brunty, planned and organized it.
And, just like her mother, she fretted about there being enough eats
for all the guests that were invited. There was a nice turnout and we ended up with
lots of  left overs. No complaints, though, because ain't none of us gonna need to do
any shopping or cooking for the next week.

And speaking of leftovers...
the leftover balloons are the perfect representation of how spent, tired, and done
Mr & Me felt last night when we finally crawled into bed after an exhausting week.
We're still recovering today.
In fact, we got a text a little while ago from Mr & Mrs Mossi-the-youngest
asking if we'd like to go to their place for games and cookies tonight.
Another night, kids.
Despite being so drained, we didn't exactly have a sound sleep because
plastic on our front entry
and plastic on our back entry
was the only thing between us and the outdoors all through the night.

In addition to partying and preparing to party,
we painted our exterior doors.
The ionization process for deep red paint takes 24 hours,
so we had to wait til today to rehang them.
The good news is my color choice,
Ben Moore's "Country Redwood" turned out
to be FANTASTIC, if I do say so myself.

We also hauled our crown molding out, set it up on saw horses and
got it primed and painted yesterday.

It's neatly stacked in the garage now with layers of tarp in between so it
won't stick together while it waits to be installed in a few weeks.

I've been busy in the kitchen puttin' up summer's bounty.

All my efforts, along with the steam and pressure canners, are still
on display atop the counters. We've been cutting, painting, building and installing
storage shelves in the utility room downstairs. We'll get that finished up in the next couple of days.
I can hardly wait because the basement looks as if a cyclone hit
what with all our storage items stacked everywhere down there.

One last thing...
Meaningful decor:
For quite some time I'd had the thought that I wanted to display photos of
our beloved grandparents homes.
We have so many deeply cherished memories
of those old places.
I guess you could say that they are sacred to us in a very personal way.
I found a window type frame that, with a few minor adjustments, I thought would be perfect.
 I bought the frame and set about creating a memorial of sorts.
What I ended up concocting was a hideous monster!
every time I walked by it I winced.
It was that bad.
I'll never, ever pretend to be a crafter again.
It had to be put out of my misery.
One afternoon, when I just knew I couldn't not deal with the grotesqueness
 of my Frankenstein any longer,
I swiped it from its place on the wall just inside the back door.
As I did so, the thought popped into my crazy brain that I should call 911 and
have the beast rushed to the nearest trauma center for help.
Or there was always our old shotgun.
Putting it out of my misery would've made our eldest son proud.
And he'd have gotten a good laugh out of it too.
Reason took the reigns and I drove it to the frame shoppe at
Bennion Crafts. With great trepidation, I sheepishly presented the atrocity to a new employee,
a young woman I hadn't worked with previously, and asked to see the mat samples.
I chose a gray-green mat and left her to work a miracle.
She phoned only a few hours later to tell me it was already ready to be picked up.
I was relieved and delighted with the result.
It's now hanging much more proudly in its spot on the wall just inside the back door.
It was only this afternoon that I asked Dean to attach the old glass knobs
from my Great-Granny Burke's farmhouse kitchen onto it.
It's wonderful, isn't it!
That's it for now.
Thank you for stoppin' in.
Good night and God bless.