Since coming home to the new place

October 24, 2015 -- So much has changed for us since June 6, when I wrote "Finding the Unexpected" in this blog.  We sold our house on Old Banyan Way on July 3, and moved into the house on Coconut drive during the first five days of July.  On July 5, we left for Paris.

When we returned from Paris on September 27, it was well after nightfall.  We could not see much of our "new" house until the next morning.  And oh what a glorious morning it was.  The sunrise was dramatic.  Most of the windows in our house face the sunrise.

The six-hour time difference between Paris and Sanibel made it easy for us to rise in time for the show.  What a show it was!

Sunrise on Dinkins Bayou on September 28.
In the four weeks since then, we've been plugging away at working on the house, and having work done to the house.  Yesterday, the pool cage had 25 sections of screen as well as 48 bolts replaced. This work was miraculously completed just as the weather changed from summer to fall.  We opened up the house, discovering that the cross ventilation is excellent and the repaired pool cage adds to the romantic sense of space in the house, with all of its French doors, balconies, and such.

I sit here at my computer and watch the boats go up and down Dinkins Bayou.  Most of them are familiar; they belong to others in this neck of the island who live on the bayou or on one of the adjacent canals.

I listen to the tiny waterfall between the spa and the pool.  I have swum 2 kilometers in that pool daily since we returned.  The pool is not large, but it is perfect for my lap swimming; it is 4.5 feet longer than the community pool I used in Gulf Pines (our former neighborhood).

I also hear the occasional sound of my brother Bill working.  He's an artist when it comes to tile work.  He is installing beautiful Scabos travertine stone flooring in the foyer of the house, at the base of the stairs.  His work is stunningly beautiful.

There have been a couple of misadventures.
Sunset on Turner Beach on June 6.
While we were away, we had the old Culligan water softener system removed from the front of the house.  It was ugly, and Scott, my friend at Island Water Association, assured me that we were correct in our belief that the system absolutely was not needed.  Also, he said, we'd have better water pressure after it was removed.

So we asked Matty, our house checker, to have his favorite plumber remove the eyesore, re-do the plumbing where it had been, and install a new main water shut-off valve for the house.

Of course, the water supply to the house was shut off while we were away.  We turned it on, in the dark, when we arrived home on four weeks ago.

Two days later, as we sat in the living room one evening, we sensed that something was wrong in the kitchen.  Tom walked into that room, only to find himself standing in a big puddle of water.  He thought the roof was leeking; after all, it was raining at the time.

I walked into the kitchen.  I opened the cabinet doors under the sink.  Water poured out.  I said, "No, the problem is under this sink."

Tom shut off the water under the sink and determined that one of two more totally unnecessary water softening filters under the sink was the source of the leak.

One half of the very thick oriental rug in the middle of the kitchen was soaked.  I worked on getting that to drain and mopped up water while Tom did the plumbing trouble-shooting.  The water filters were removed.

I later decided that the increase in water pressure had caused the tubing on one of those filters to pop loose.

Then yesterday Bill found that the ceiling of the space under the house was leaking in one place.  It was near where the main water line enters the house.  Tom and Bill tore into the wet wallboard of the ceiling and found the leak.  It was in a section of thick main water line in a flexible pipe where that pipe went through a hole in a joist.  Someone used a saw to make the hole bigger while the pipe was it place.  The result was an area of deep scarring in the pipe; a place where the pipe's wall was dangerously thin.  Who's responsible?  The builder?  The plumber?  Who knows.

This misdeed was done when the house was built 15 years ago.  The scarred pipe only started leaking now.  Again, I think that is because of the increased water pressure brought on by the removal of the unnecessary water softening system.  [Note to island residents:  we have reverse osmosis water; you do not need any kind of water softening system!]

Tom temporarily patched the pipe last night, and then at the crack of dawn this morning, he was off to Home Depot to buy the right plumbing fittings to fix the water line properly.  Now that's done, and his repair job looks extremely convincing.

The previous owner's water bills were high, according to Scott.  Our bills have been normal.  The old softener system may have been leaking, Scott thinks.  Also, one of the first things we did this past summer was to shut off the irrigation/sprinkler system and kill the grass.  We'll plant all native plants where the dead grass is now.

We have other projects under way -- fun stuff! -- that I'll tell you about later.  Life here on the bayou is an adventure, inside and out.


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