If We Were Having Coffee- 2/21/15


If we were having coffee…

You’d find me standing on the front porch enjoying a steaming cup this morning. Our renovation is still in high hear, and with a tight timeline I have spent far too many hours indoors for my liking.

For the past three weeks I have been working nearly non stop till the wee hours of the morning every night. While it is good to see the progress, I miss fresh air and snow under my boots.

Come on in, and see the changes!

If we were having coffee…

I’d offer you a piece of chocolate cake. It’s the first cake I baked that actually turned out! Much thanks to our daughter who was willing to give dear ole dad a baking lesson.

I turns out I had two fatal flaws in making cake.

  1.  Don’t just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and stir until they are perfectly smooth batter.
  2. Don’t shake out the air bubbles once the batter is in the cake pan.


It is  a bit denser than Mama’s so I have some practicing to do, but it’s still a good cake!

If we were having coffee…

I’d be curious of your week. Have you been safe and warm in the frigid blast that seemed to grip the country? Our highs the past few days have been below zero here.

Even my old reliable Jeep didn’t want to start yesterday morning when the thermometer read -22 actual temp. With windchill (according to the weather man) it felt like -37.

If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you how much I miss sharing and mingling here. I have come to find lots of interesting people and made a few friends.

To all of you thanks for your patients while I work diligently on our home and only have enough time to pop in once a week. When I get back on track with life, I will have time to stop in and see everyone much more often.

If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you I can’t believe just how quickly ten weeks go by. I’m in the final count down before returning to work on Tuesday.

It feels like only a week ago I began this vacation. Honestly, I wonder how I had time for a full time job with everything else going on!

If we were having coffee…

I would have to bid farewell about now. I have finished building the counter tops for Mama’s kitchen, now it is time to get that all important sink back where it belongs and slide the appliances back in.

Here’s to a week full of good news, normal temperatures and smiling bosses! Have a good one and I’ll for sure see you  next week.

And don’t forget to stop by the linky for Part Time Monster for more coffee. There are some great people mingling about there.


If We Were Having Coffee 2-15-2015


If we were having coffee…

I’d share the adventure that kept me from having coffee yesterday.

Cold biting wind and blowing snow found me packing the Jeep early yesterday morning for a quick one hour drive out to the middle of no where. (Yes, even the tiny little town in which I reside is closer to somewhere than nowhere!)

My destination was in the heart of farm land south of Lansing to pick up a couple beams from a 175 year old barn that came down. Nothing but two lane roads and miles and miles of fields.

It is usually a pleasant and scenic drive. However with a nearly thirty mile an hour wind driving large fluffy flakes of snow, I could barely see past the nose of my truck.

When I could, large shapely snow drifts filled my vision just before I blasted through them. I had to chuckle thinking my ride must look similar to our young dog bounding in and out of the snow drifts last weekend.

But this was much more serious. I quickly lost count of the cars in ditches, and even one that went into a large drift head first. Only about half the car could be seen protruding out of the snow.

A trip that should have taken only a couple hours turned into a five hour event of nerve wracking magnitude, complete with a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel. But I made it, safe and sound. As much as I wanted to snap a few pictures to share, I could not bring myself to focus on anything except where the road should have been.

And by ten o’clock last night, those ancient beams formed by nothing but hand tools, with markings of an age gone by, had found their new home right down the middle of our living room and one between the kitchen and dining room.

While they may not be for everyone, the rustic touch they add to the house is a pleasant one for both me and Mama.

If we were having coffee…

I’d ask how your week went. I hope this hot cup of Joe finds you healthy and warm with a smile on your face.

If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you just how crazy the week around here really was. Our newly wed daughter received an astounding offer. Our neighbor decided it is time for him to move on and offered his house to the young couple at an amazing price.

After a few days helping them work details and chase a mortgage, it looks like they will soon be moving in right next door!

Even Mama’s comfort cruiser is back on it’s feet again!

And a false alarm with our young St. Bernard had us frantic. This tale is  one for a post all it’s own as we learned something very interesting about large dogs.

She is fine and healthy, but I shall leave that right there until I have time to post a very interesting fact anyone with a large four legged family member should be aware of.

If were were having coffee…

I’d hint at a wonderful idea that thumped me in the head as I careened through snow drifts yesterday. Of course the thought is only in its infancy, and there are a lot of details I have not had the time to think through, but I want to start a my own link party.

The theme is the secret and one I am not quite ready to share. So stay tuned! I need to get through this reno in the next two weeks before I open the doors at work again. Once I have that completed, I should be around here a whole lot more and have the time to focus on the link party.

I’m afraid I am all out of time for this week, so as I finish this cup I’ll remind you that Part Time Monster has their linky HERE should you like to meet up with others for coffee.

Until next week (and I’ll do my best to meet you Saturday morning), may your week be filled with laughter and snowball fights.

If We Were Having Coffee


If we were having coffee…

This morning I would have asked if we could meet down the road at my favorite little diner for our cup of Joe. I’ll gladly buy, and if you like they have wonderful breakfasts too.

According to Mama (and I must agree) our house is in a state of chaos. The renovation project is in full swing now. Single bulb light fixtures hang from wires just below where the ceiling used to be in both the kitchen and dining rooms. Tools, boards of all sizes, trim and even ceiling tiles are stacked where ever we could find room.

Cabinets and walls have been removed leaving  odd shapes in the carpet, and the drawers are stacked on the table so we can still cook when needed. Yep it’s chaos alright!

If we were having coffee…

You’d be walking past mountains of snow. While Michigan didn’t get pounded quite as hard as some of the east coast, we did add another 24″ or so to our totals this past week.

Just from shoveling our walk, the piles of snow are  chest high to my six foot frame.

Oh and I would have to tell you about our youngest pup. She’s a Saint Bernard just over a year old. I laughed as I watched her explore the most snow she has seen in her lifetime.

With springs still in her feet she bounded through snow drifts bigger than she is! She romped through the yard, snorting as she emerged from another drift. And bit the air in an attempt to crush the still falling snow between her teeth.

If we were having coffee…

I’d ask how you faired this past week. Did you get lots of snow where you are?

There’s a flu bug going around, and I do hope it missed your house.

The bug the struck the Alan household was not one that struck the human race, but rather the fleet of cars that get us around. So my week has been spent shoveling, working on the house and poking my head under the hoods of cars.

Even Mama’s comfort cruiser decided it needed attention. The new ways they have of building cars now days, well, they make me want to slap the snot out of the engineers who designed them!

“Hey Frank, lets design the water pump on this one to be inside the motor.”

“I love the idea Jerry, and the weep hole that tells you when it is going out should drain into the oil pan.”

“Ha perfect man, every back yard do it yourselfer will find antifreeze in their oil and think the motor blew a head gasket.”

So it’s off to the shop with her car. The ole Jeep is still rumbling through the snow happily though. It gets Mama to work and home everyday while the comfort cruiser pretends to be a lawn ornament.

If we were having coffee…

About now I would have to wave off the waitress who stopped by to refill my cup. You can feel free to have another, but I must get back to work on the house.

I’ve got about two weeks left before I return to work, and mountains of renovation work to finished before then.

Next week the house should be together enough for our coffee time. And hopefully I will have cake too! Since the tax season is just winding up, Mama is gone for long hours so it is up to me to cook for the clan.

What I am not though is a baker. But the cake pan is empty, and Mama is too busy to bake.

One of our girls volunteered to stop by and give dear ole dad a baking lesson. This should be interesting to say the least! I don’t get along very well with Mama’s oven.

Till next week, may the sun shine on your world, the breeze be at your back, and I hope all the stars align to give you the best week yet of 2015.

And don’t forget to stop by Part Time Monster’s link site for more coffee. Honestly, can you ever have too much coffee?

If We Were Having Coffee


If we were having coffee…

I’d have to apologize for my absence last week. If you recall, I had mentioned heading out of town to spend some much needed time with my parents.

Well, the week was chocked full of wonderful times. For the first time in a few years Dad and I shared some time on the ice. The fishing was lousy, but I could not have asked for a better chance to get some one on one time with him.

And no, I did not leave out Mom. We meandered around the mall, bounced in and out of a few craft stores (she’s a quilter), and even enjoyed a chilly winter day exploring Shipshewana Indiana.

For those unfamiliar, Shipshewana is in the heart of Amish country. It’s a throw back in time to handcrafted furniture, horse drawn buggy rides, antique malls and even a flea market.

If we were having coffee…

I’d ask how 2015 is treating you so far. I truly hope all is going smooth.

For me, this new year is already filled with to the brim with more to be done than I can find time for! Most of it is good, but I am really wondering how to get my missions accomplished before returning to work in a few short weeks.

If we were having coffee…

You’d notice some walls missing in the house. The idea originated as a modest kitchen remodel, and before we knew it Mama and myself had sketched out a new floor plan for the entire front rooms. Living room, kitchen and dining room are now becoming an open concept floor plan.

The goal of course is that I complete the remodel before returning to my job.

It is a much needed reno. Our home built in 1970 remained original until now so it’s time to bring some modern spark into it. But just a little. We  love the old wood trim and character that comes with it.

If we were having coffee…

About now I would have to excuse myself. While I enjoy our coffee time, if I am to keep on schedule I really need to slip my tool pouches on and get to work.

Please understand I have a lot on my plate so my writing and sharing time has suffered. But I will be sure to have a fresh pot of coffee ready next Saturday morning.

Until next Saturday then. I hope you have a stellar week!



If we were having coffee…

You’d notice a bright twinkle in my eye this morning as I met you at the door. Our recently married daughter came to me with a request that I just have to share.

The newly weds are ready to begin a family of their own, and she has asked me to build a baby crib. While that alone is more than enough to get me excited, her words put the idea way over the top.

“Dad I want something special built by you that will become a family heirloom.”

I find it a great honor to be asked to build something that will be passed through the family long after I am gone.

My mind is racing through ideas, and I can hardly focus on projects I already have going.

Such exciting news!

If we were having coffee…

I’d ask how your past week went. Terrific I hope, but please do share.

If we were having coffee…

I’d have to apologize for the chaos in our dining room. I am packing for a week long trip, and have turned our table into my staging area.

I am traveling back to my childhood home for a week of fishing with my dad and wandering around town with mom.

It’s not often I have the opportunity anymore to spend a week with them, and I am looking forward to it.

Ice fishing gear and tackle temporarily rest at the base of a mountain of clothes. No, I don’t need matching outfits and accessories, but rather extra’s of sweat shirts, gloves and cold weather gear.

My laptop and writing notes are going as well, just in case I have a bit of down time to write.

Not to worry, there’s still plenty of room to sit and chat!

If we were having coffee…

I’d show you pictures of a most gorgeous sunrise.


The Michigan winter wonderland is finally in full swing. That means our frozen lakes are safe enough to travel across in the dark.


One of our daughters and I made it out to take in this spectacular sky as the sun rose over ice as far as we could see.


We both stood in a silent reverence as the scene unfold before our eyes.


As the colors of the sky dissolved into day light, the time to turn our attention to fishing was at hand. This was our home for the day.


We were warm and toasty as we watched the underwater world through a small port hole drilled into the ice.

One of these days, I’ll share some pictures of the what we see looking down into the lake, but for now I must excuse myself.

I still have final preparations to make, gear to pack, and a few hours of driving lay ahead of me.

May your week be stellar and full of good things.

Next week if my jeep is not yet back in it’s place next to Mama’s comfort cruiser when you stop by for coffee, please excuse me.

I plan to make the most of my trip out of town and just might not make it back in time for our weekly coffee. This time of year, even the weather plays a big part in travels around the beautiful state of Michigan.

It would not be the first time I asked my beloved Jeep to eat snow drifts for breakfast! She’s always more than willing to take up the task, but it does slow my roll a bit.


They Will Not Fit Behind My Ear!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”


In my world, pens and pencils are still more common than a keyboard.

Very often you’ll find me with my trusty mechanical pencil in hand sketching out a project that is in my head and ready to come to life.


Inside my workshop, pencils are used for notes, dimensions and layout of whatever I am working on.

Once completed, a project and all it’s notes are filed away ready to be pulled out at a moments notice should I need to replicate the piece.

I often build unique items, such as the small plywood boat that takes center stage in my book Desperation Floats.

Projects like that are always subject to change. Planned shapes and angles need modification in order properly come to fruition.

Computers can never replace a pencil in the hand of a carpenter. They are just not job site friendly.

And most of all they will not fit behind my ear!


Share Your World – 2015 Week #2

This sounds like fun so I thought I’d give it a shot. Although I am on a serious time crunch this morning, so unfortunately I don’t have time to add pics.

Are you a hugger or a non-hugger?

I am a hugger. Nothing beats a warm hug- after we get to know each other a bit anyway!

What’s your favorite ice-cream flavor?

Chocolate, hands down. Ice cream makes the perfect just before bed snack!

Do you prefer exercising your mind or your body? How frequently do you do either?

I prefer excising both. With a hands on physical job and a desire to be in the great outdoors, I get plenty of physical exercise. As far as my mind goes, I have a workshop full of curiosities to keep the mind sharp.

I am a tinkerer at heart. If it breaks around here, I just have to know what makes it tick, what broke, and if I can fix it. I am always learning something new, and keeping those problem solving skills honed to a razors edge.

Are you more of a dog person or a cat person? Why?

Dogs, no contest here and for many reasons. They are part of my physical exercise since they love a good game of fetch or chasing me around the yard. Dogs offer unconditional love. Always happy to greet me home from…well.. anywhere!

We have two large breed dogs who don’t know they are dogs. We see them as family members, and they are just as big a part of our lives as the children.

 What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I had the honor of spending two days last week ice fishing with one of our clan. She is grown and married now, so that Dad and Daughter time can be hard to come by. To get two days in a row of time with her did my heart good.

As for this week, she has already let me know she is game for another day on a frozen lake. It feels like I just won the Super Bowl!

Next week, I’ll get some pictures and make a proper “Share your world” Post. When I discovered this challenge this morning, I was nearly ready to run out the door. Oops- I guess I will be behind schedule from the get go today!

Have a great day everyone!