Forgotten Coast Holidays and House Projects

I haven’t blogged in a while, but even though we are at home in the Florida Panhandle we are still busy. Much of that activity is supremely boring and not blog-worthy — think appointments for maintaining the truck and various parts of our bodies. But we surprised ourselves by starting to tackle a few house projects, too. I suppose that means for some readers this is the long-awaited return of the construction blog, after a strange interlude filled with summertime RV travel posts. Faithful readers may recall that we received the Certificate of Occupancy on our home in June 2021, after nearly a full year under construction, and then it took many more painful months to get enough furniture for the house to be essentially complete and functional. Thanks, supply chain disruptions! After the seemingly-endless stretch of making decisions, choosing finishes, shopping, scheduling, and dealing with delays and other frustrations, I was completely over it.

Relieved to finally have a mostly complete house, I declared it “done” and vowed never to visit again. There would be no more measuring, no more sketching, no more shopping, no more debating the merits of various alternatives. The house was D-O-N-E!

Then we spent an engaging summer on the road, exploring the Upper Midwest and not thinking about house projects for a single second. When we returned, it turns out that we had revitalized our interest in home improvement projects, and we finally had the energy to start thinking about finishing up a few loose ends around the place. Soon enough, we were back to planning projects. We measured, we shopped, we debated, and we laid out sample outlines to develop plans for a few different projects. I even spent some time on again. But before we could get too far along on these efforts, the holidays — also known as “the time no projects get done” — were upon us.

Local Holiday Flavor

We started off the holiday season by celebrating a milestone birthday for Ken in early November. Our celebrations mostly consisted of indulging in all of his favorite foods, especially the seafood that we really missed during our summer travels around the Great Lakes. Later in the month we made a trip down to South Florida to visit my mom for Thanksgiving. Mom and I shared a fun field trip to the lovely Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach, and we were grateful to spend quality time with family and friends. As befits the holiday, we also ate mountains of delicious food.



The calendar of local holiday events and offerings this year looked very similar to last year, which I wrote about here. We once again helped install the community holiday decorations that brighten the central boulevard of the island, and later attended the annual holiday carnival sponsored by the business association to see the fruits of our labors. The whole affair was charming, from Santa arriving via fire truck to the parade of cleverly-decorated golf carts to the array of games and activities for kids.



We are HGTV Wanna-bes

Visiting South Florida also helped launch a few of our house projects. Now that we are more settled in, we have a far better idea of what spaces remain to be filled. Some additional artwork has now emerged from storage (AKA the closet of my mother’s spare room) and been installed in the house. We also realized that we had a great situation for some of our favorite succulents, which for the last several years have been enjoying the plant spa that is my mom’s patio.

When we designed our home we envisioned our screened porch as an extension of the main living space, and merely having two lonely patio chairs floating around in the large space just wasn’t cutting it. Adding a new outdoor coffee table and plant shelves helped furnish the space and make it feel more inviting. Also, since my mom has the greenest thumb around, the plants she was babysitting for us had grown tremendously. This presented a perfect opportunity to shop at the local pottery place (Frost Pottery Garden), which is chock full of colorful delights, and then repot and reorganize the whole collection. We’re pretty happy with how it all came out.



The most ambitious house project we are tackling is finishing off the yard. But that project — which is still very much in the initial stages — merits its own post. In the meantime, we send our best wishes out to all our readers for happiness and good health in the holiday season and throughout the new year.



7 thoughts on “Forgotten Coast Holidays and House Projects”

  1. Too much of anything creates the need for a break, and after all the trials and tribulations of your build-during-Covid, I can see why you needed to think about other things for a while. But it’s good to get back to it refreshed and start seeing all the potential ways to better your space. Trust me, I’m taking notes since, some day soon, we’ll be furnishing an apartment from scratch and I’d already been thinking about buying some plants and possibly creating a small herb garden.

    Your Thanksgiving Day meal looked great and it’s nice to hear you had a good visit with your mom. Warm and sunny Florida is definitely the best place to spend the holidays IMHO. Happy to see you guys are making the most of it and enjoying the end of the year.

    • Potted plants and window boxes are one of the great joys of apartment living — they can really brighten a space but are very little trouble. It’s so much less daunting and more rewarding on net than dealing with an entire outdoor landscape. Herbs are even better because you can eat them! I know that little touches that like will really help make your new place feel like a home once you are finally moved in.

      I agree about the holidays being the best time to be in Florida. Some people find it weird to wear shorts in December but we always appreciate having our best weather of the year in the winter. It means that we actually like celebrating, going out, enjoying patio dining, and doing other special events during the holiday season.

  2. It’s endless, just endless. The light at the end of the tunnel is a train. Well, that’s how it feels here, but it’s good to see someone further along in the process to provide a ray of hope.

    You’re so right about the holiday slow-down season. So glad you had lots of good eats and time with your Mama. I love your succulents, and as you now know, I’m planning and scheming for a succulent area of our own. Isn’t it delightful that so many grow in both our climates? If you ever need a travel-work combo trip, come on out, and we can garden together! (but we’re not making that creepy terra cotta woman-face thing!)

    • I know it feels endless, but you truly are close to the finish line. Hang in there! And also keep in mind that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with postponing some projects until an indefinite “later.” We survived just fine for a year with lame/nonexistent patio decorations. We’re currently plotting to visit your neck of the woods in 2024, so maybe we can hep you finish off some projects in a few years! 🙂 By then we should finally be done with all the things we want to do on this house and yard. Succulents are high on our list for both potted plants and outdoor landscaping. We definitely can offer them some “well-drained soil.”

  3. There is no escaping Wayfair. Ever. I’m steeling myself for many more hours of online shopping for our tiny house. If we ever sell this house.

    Your screened porch is fantastic, and it was absolutely delightful to sit outdoors and enjoy happy hour with you guys last week. It’s a perfect place for your succulents! I love succulents, too, but the basket of mixed succulents I brought home two weeks ago has started dropping leaves. I need to consult with you.

    It’s fun to come back from a trip with renewed energy for home projects, isn’t it? I felt the same way, but I wanted to create the gardens we saw in Madison on our property. Somehow I don’t think that’s possible. 😂

    • I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Wayfair. They have good search filters to help sort through the millions of options, but then again there are millions of options to deal with.

      We’re definitely pleased to have the energy to be working on house projects again…. I enjoy them when not overwhelmed. The only problem now, as you know, is finding reliable contractors for things we can’t handle ourselves. It’s so challenging here.


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