Saturday, July 28, 2012

St. Ann's Tower is no more

This morning at 10:00 am, the St. Ann's Tower, a 19 story round building, near the 104 Expressway, was imploded.  It was built the year before I came to Rochester nearly 40 years ago.  It was originally a senior citizen's apartment building and then became an assisted living home.  The building itself had no special meaning to me, in fact, I was never inside it.  It's just sad when something that has been around forever needs to be torn down.  It was one of those things you "expect" to see as you are driving along the expressway.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The AT Thru-hiker

So I pulled into my driveway, as I do every work day, stopped to get the mail - my mailbox is across the road.  I was vaguely aware of a car further down the street coming toward me but as I walked away from my mailbox my mind was on the mail I had received.  I realized the car was speeding up as if to run over me. . . it could only be two scenarios - a drunk driver (I don't think so) or Eric.  It was Eric.

Eric is a 20-something that I watched grow up on my street.  When I first moved in, some 15 years ago, Eric was a pain-in-the-butt kid.  Back then, I tried my hand at rollerblading.  Never being athletically inclined, still I wasn't afraid to try, no matter how awkward I looked on them.

I remember Eric coming along on his rollerblades, weaving in and out around me, showing off his skill and scaring me. . . "ERIC, get away from me!" I screamed one day, sure that he was going to knock me over.

Fast forward many years.  Eric grew up and developed an interest in firearms.  One of the neighbors told him I had a few handguns.  He was eager to get his pistol permit as soon as he turned 21.  If he saw me in the yard, he'd stop and talk handguns.  One day I was walking my dog on a quiet afternoon on our street.  A car pulled up behind me and stopped.  Out jumped Eric waving his new toy - his first handgun - in the air to show off.

"ERIC, would you put that thing away!" . . . Later I gave him the business card of the place where I have taken many firearms classes.  "I want you to go talk to this guy.  You need training, Boy!"

He did.

Everytime he got a new gun, he'd come running to show it to me!  "What?  Are you trying to keep up with me?" I would tease him!

Then I noticed I didn't see him around for several months.  This was maybe May or early June of this year.  One of the neighbors told me he had gone to hike the Appalachian Trail end-to-end.

Although I have never hiked the trail end-to-end, I do know a thing or two about it, having several friends over the years who have done it.  "He started in early March and he will finish in August," I was told by a neighbor.

"No, No!"  I responded.  You don't hike all 2200 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine from March to August.  It is more like March to late September or October.

So today, July 26, here is Eric in the street at the end of my driveway.

My jaw dropped.  Now, I knew once he started the hike, he would finish - never a doubt on that.  But from March to the end of July?

He finished on July 4th, just over 100 days on the trail.  He started out doing 15 to 20 miles per day - a remarkable accomplishment.  Most people don't do more than 8 or 10 per day until they get acclimated to the trail.  But "most people" are not Eric.  It was not unusual for him to do 20 to 30 miles a day.  He said his longest day was 67 miles in 27 hours.

What Eric lacks in maturity and "walking around sense", he more than makes up for in a lust for life and making every minute count.

He will go far in life.

Happy Birthday, John and Michael

My twin sons have a birthday today!  Happy Birthday, Boys.  You've made your mom proud.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shrubs in my backyard

These are pictures of my shrubs in the backyard against the fence.  I just love them when they are in bloom.  They were late blooming this year.  They start out white and gradually turn pink.  They are in the hydrangea family.  I planted them as small bushes, less than 3 feet high.  Now they tower over me!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Love my Keens!

When warm weather comes, all I want on my feet are my Keens. . . well, except for going to work or for more dressier occasions!

I bought the pair on the left for canoeing.  The straps are made of nylon and they are great water shoes.  They offer the benefit of a sneaker and the open air appeal of a sandal.  The soles are rugged and offer great traction.  Then I discovered they are a great all around shoe.  I throw them in the washer with jeans and leave them in the sun to dry and they are as good as new again.

The pair on the right first belonged to one of my daughters-in-law.  She bought them and decided she didn't like them. . . I'm glad she didn't like them, 'cause she gave them to me and I love them!!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We're sweltering up here!

Yesterday the temperature in Rochester reached 97 degrees, the highest for this day in over 100 years.  This morning, at 5:00 am, my outdoor thermometer says it is already more than 75 degrees.

Thank God for air conditioning!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rita!

Today, my "little cousin", Rita is 50 years old!  My how time gets away from us.  It doesn't seem that many years ago that she was a little kid picking fights with me and I was the one that got in trouble, "because you are older and you should know better!"

Happy Birthday, Kid!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Robert's Birthday, continued

You should read the previous post first and this one will have more meaning.

This is Robert and Nancy's home in the City.  If you look closely, you can see the barn in the back, at the end of the driveway.  I never cease to be amazed at how they transformed this home and barn from a dilapidated, aging place into what it looks like today, inside and out.

The barn has two levels on the left side.  The opening on the right is what used to be the horse stable.  When this home was built in 1902, horse and buggies were the mode of transportation!

And this is what Sara, Robert and Nancy's daughter, did to the stable!  Can you believe it???

And hanging on the wall, among other family photos, is a picture of Bill, who lived in the house from the time he was 2 years old until he moved into an assisted living home in his late 90's.  His parents built the home.

These are the chefs who were up at 2:00 am smoking the pig for the Pig Roast!

The Birthday Boy with his pig!  I have never tasted pulled pork so good.  I rarely eat coleslaw unless I make it myself.  But these guys had the best tasting coleslaw.

Ronan and Liam, two of Renata's three sons and Robert and Nancy's grandsons. Liam is quite a talker and can carry on remarkable conversations with you!

Liam with Sara's dog, Zoey.

Yes, it was a great party.  I just couldn't resist sharing these pictures with you.  

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Robert's 65th birthday

You'll have to wait till my next post for pictures. . . I spent the afternoon and early evening at Robert's 65th birthday.  Now, Robert and Nancy and I go back a long, long way.  I came home and realized I left my camera over there.  Quick, I dial Robert's cell. . . "Did you make it home okay?" he answered.  "Yeah, I did.  But I left my camera on the back porch. . . will you take it inside for me?"

"No problem," he answered.

"See you tomorrow," I said.

Nancy and the kids had a pig roast for his birthday.  That pig had been cooking since 2:00 am this morning - yes, it was catered!  The catering company backed into the driveway, set up shop and I was awed by that HUGE pig in the grill.  I've never tasted pulled pork that good!

Geez, I could write a book on the history of my friendship with Robert and Nancy. We watched each other's kids grow up.

They live in a house in the City. . . they raised their kids in the suburbs.  Back when I was in real estate, Robert called me one day and told me he wanted me to list his Uncle's house.  Now, Bill was a character.  He had lived in that house since the day it was built back in 1902.  Bill was in his late 90's, never married, and had to go live in an assisted living home. He and his brothers had owned and run Lauterbach's Hardware just up the street from the house for decades and decades.  When the four brothers were well into their 90's, they finally closed shop.  A piece of Rochester's fabric was gone.

"Sure, Robert," I said that day.  "Just give me access to the home to take a look at it, we'll discuss a purchase price, and I'll draw up the listing contract."

About the third day the home was on the market, another realtor brought a young man through the home.  He loved the home and was willing to put the exhaustive work into it to bring it back to it's original glory.  "I'm going to make this house my home," the young man boasted to me.

That night Robert called me.  "Sherry, I want to buy my uncle's house."

Dumbfounded, and realizing Robert had a few beers under his belt, I stammered and said, "Well, uh, Robert. . . [long pause] why don't you call me in the morning and if you are still intent on going through with this, we'll talk."

Early the next morning, fortunately after my second cup of coffee, Nancy called me.  "Sherry, he is dead serious.  He isn't going to back down."

Knowing another offer was almost surely coming in, I told her, "Well, we need to get going here.  Meet me for lunch today and I'll have the contract ready to go."

Fast forward several months.  Robert and Nancy's current home sold and they needed to move out.  Only problem, their uncle's house needed major renovation.    I was amazed that they moved in with the kitchen torn up due to renovation!

They transformed that home into a real showcase.  There is nothing like those old City homes with their charm and history.  This home has been in their family over a 100 years now!

Fast forward to today.  I couldn't help thinking, as I enjoyed the party with Robert and Nancy's family and friends gathered, just how much a part of my life they have been.  My gosh, when I first met them, they only had Renata. . . Andrew and Sara weren't even born yet.  My own twin sons were still in diapers!  Now I have three grandchildren and they have six!  Where does time go?

There will be more on this in later posts.  Bottom line, I feel truly blessed to have long time friends like these two people who have stood by me through good times and bad.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Me and my boys!

This is me with my three grandchildren, from left to right, Kevin, Andrew, and Jake.  They were here for dinner today, along with their Mom and Dad, and my other son, Michael, and daughter-in-law Marisa.