2015 – The Year of the Empty Nest & Rain (A Lot of Rain)

2015 is the year that DSH and I became true empty nesters. We no longer have kids living at home. We now only own two cars. We are the only two people on our auto and health insurance. We can no longer claim any children as tax deductions.

Our babies, our twins, graduated from college and commenced their adult lives.

Graduation Katy and Jacci 2015

Thankfully, the two moves out of college housing and two graduations in two different college towns occurred on different weekends. Four different weekends. We spent April and May traveling back and forth across the state moving furniture and attending graduation ceremonies (mostly in the rain).

I distinctly remember thinking, “I’ll never get them all off the breast.” “I’ll never get them all into school.” “I’ll never get them all out of high school.” (We survived 15 straight years of having kids in high school.) And now. Now they are all grown up and gone.


As I like to say to my friends with young families – the days are long, the years are short.

Katy Moves 06_2015

This kid (and her cat) moved back to another university town after she accepted a fellowship to become a graduate student. Smarty pants.

Jacci at Machu Picchu 06_2015

This kid backpacked in South America (here she is looking out over Machu Picchu) for a month after graduation before she returned to start her first career job. Adventurer.

2015 is also the year that rain ruled our lives. Not only did we move a lot of furniture and attend college graduation ceremonies in the rain, but the persistent rain events of 2015 significantly impacted our goals for the year as well as our budget and To Do list.

The Lake 20151

The lake on which on our little lake cottage sits flooded not ONCE but TWICE this past year. In July, our daughter was able to fish off our deck (dEck not dOck). In December, the water level rose AGAIN and reached a record level rising high enough to flow under our deck (again, dEck not dOck). I hope that the large and scary rodent-like critter that lives under the dEck was flooded out of its hidey hole. That’s me. Thinking positively.

The Lake 2015

Our little cottage never flooded, but the rain forced us to address a leaky roof. BEFORE we had a flat roof, and AFTER we had a new and improved pitched roof. Luckily, we were able to get this job completed before the torrential rains of mid-summer which would have definitely flooded the interior.

You know how one project leads to another? Well, the new roof meant that maybe it was time to paint the outside of the cottage.

I have never painted the outside of a house. I never planned on EVER painting the outside of a house. I can now say that I painted the outside of a house. I put it on my bucket list so that I could scratch it off.

The persistent rain throughout the summer also provided me with the opportunity (there I go being all positive again) to spend a LOT of time working on the interior of the cottage. I did a LOT of painting and repairing and replacing which all started with a leak in the ceiling that created a small stain that required repairing and painting.

Painting one ceiling led to painting the walls. Painting one room led to painting the next room and the next one and so on until they were all painted. Painting the rooms led to painting the old wooden furniture and decorating. Painting the rooms meant that I cleaned the floors. We stripped decades old wax off the original linoleum floors and re-waxed them. They look so good that I may not replace them for a while.

Blue feet 07_2015

I spray painted so much furniture and so many decorative accessories that my feet were stained for much of the summer.

We re-worked the kitchen, adding new countertops making the space more compatible for our needs. We upgraded the electric in anticipation of future renovations and replaced the old single-pane aluminum windows with new double-paned energy-efficient ones.

The rain and flood events caused a lot of adjustments to the To Do list.

The flooding not only impacted our lake cottage, but it also affected the To Do list for our quirky old home which was also water-logged much of the year.

See the blue arrow pointing to the stove-pipe? That is a stove-pipe that was disconnected a long, long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away – well, not really). After we removed the tree (which you see at the corner of the house on the advice of the plumber who replaced the old clay pipe from the house to the lateral line – aren’t old houses fun?), the stove-pipe stuck out like a sore thumb. I put its removal on my To Do list where it has resided near the bottom for over a year.

Until it rained enough to leak into the house.

Yes. Two roof jobs on two different houses in the same year.

Aren’t we lucky?

Houston stove pipe outside

Here is the roof now. You can’t even tell that a 12+ foot section of stainless steel pipe was removed from this section.

Houston Renovations 2015_2016

Here is what it looked like on the inside. The outside removal caused the inside section that had been capped off (and where it was leaking) to become loose. DSH spent Thanksgiving removing the cap and ANOTHER 8+ foot section of stainless steel pipe from the inside of the house / attic. Yes, 20 feet of stainless steel pipe (which we did recycle but didn’t get money for because it was just under 300 pounds of metal).

Well. Now we can finally finish painting and decorating the last two rooms. These room renovations were much higher on my To Do list anyway. Just a slight detour there.


Except that our cellar also flooded twice this past year. When we first moved into our quirky old home, we worked on gutters and drainage and tree removal to eliminate water issues in the cellar. They WERE eliminated. At least until we had record-setting torrential rains in July.

DSH cleaned up the mess in July, and we decided to put dry locking and additional work on the cellar to help with torrential rainfall issues on our To Do list. This was on the bottom of the list because really how often can we expect to have record-setting torrential rainfalls? Certainly not twice in less than six months.

That’s what she said.

December arrived. We had torrential rain in amounts greater than the Great Floods of 1993 AND 1982. In less than 3 days.

DSH spent several days (vacation days) over the holidays cleaning drains and bleaching and washing down the cellar walls and floors. We have moved the work on this area up on our To Do list.

My room renovations have been moved lower, yet again, on the To Do list.

I have video of the rain water rushing into our cellar, but it is just too depressing to share.

As we sat down on New Year’s Day, we reflected on the major changes in our lives, and we worked on our goals for 2016 (our To Do list).  We wondered how many changes we would experience this next year, and we wondered what would get added and moved on our To Do list by the end of the year.

Major life events. Goals. To Do lists. All subject to change.

Life. It’s an adventure.

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