Making the Transition to Civilian Life

     This is the second thing that happens to everyone in the military after they retire ... finding that "perfect" house in a new community that will become yours, and not just a transient location for a few years.

     We had decided we wanted to stay on the East Coast and continue our reenacting hobby, along with all the friends we had made, so it was just a matter of finding that little "small" community we could call home.  After searching many areas in the Counties surrounding the greater Philadelphia area, we settled on Montgomery County, and a little town called Pottstown ... population below 22,000.  This is a lot larger than Bishop's 3,500, but a huge decrease from San Antonio's 1,000,000 plus inhabitants.  It also provided a number of conveniences within a SHORT driving distance, yet still provided that small-town atmosphere.


Click on any picture to enlarge

Finding a new home in Pennsylvania - January 2004

A snowy day for a home inspection

The MLS listing for the house we bid on

More AOL Humor

The side gate

The covered pool from the back patio

The dining room

The in-wall hutch between dining room and kitchen

Living room and front door from dining room

Stairs up to bedrooms and down to family room & basement

Arch over entry to kitchen

Kristy's domain (to be remodeled as $$$ permits

The fireplace in the family room

The master bath - small but cozy

Kristy and Carol (Realtor) learn from the building inspector

From fireplace looking towards stairs

Aerial view of our little corner of the world

Closing Day - February 27, 2004

The All American Home

That means it's OURS!

Remnants of snow still cover the ground

View of the covered pool from the ground

The side fence

Still a cold day

A nice shed for all our gardening/pool goodies

Upstairs bath

Yup ... it needs a new fence ... add another thing to the TO DO list

Backyard panoramic from behind pool to house

From the bedroom window

Downstairs bath

Making the Move - March 2 - 15, 2004

    As most homeowners know (and we had been warned), when something goes wrong it is now YOUR responsibility to get it fixed.  As we started moving in, we noticed many things that needed changing.  Some were put in the "someday" category, while others moved right to the top of the list.  The kitchen was non-functioning, so we ripped out the old cook top and in-wall oven and replaced it with a freestanding range.  That, at least, allows us to cook.  The cabinet layout is still inefficient, so we are having new cabinets ordered to be put in by the new handyman of the house ... James.

     One thing we were not prepared for was the amount of nicotine that coated every surface of the house.  We knew the previous owners were smokers, but we could not believe how the walls and every fixture was just laden with the nasty brown paste.  Most of our first few days (between moving boxes) was spend washing walls, windows, mirrors and other assorted surfaces.

Packing up the trailer with whatever will fit

The family room carpet is cleaned and ready for furniture

The kitchen, with new stove, minus old cook top and in-wall oven

Those smudges aren't shadows.  Kristy made a clean spot through the nicotine

Kristy went to wash the closet doors and they "bled" nicotine

That isn't dirt ... more nicotine in the bathroom

Kristy's arbor goes over the porch walkway

We had a warm day and moved to take care of the yard

Getting up the winter leaves

Ignore the torn knees ... he's growing again

David enjoys a bike ride

Yes ... those are hills way off in the distance

The view from our front door.  We are at the top of a hill

Our front yard and vehicles

Dusty wants to come out and play

Spring Cleaning / Settling In - April/May 2004

    Slowly, but surely, we are getting the boxes squared away and things put where they need to be.  Every now and then, the weather will clear and warm up enough for us to venture outside and get some things done.  The first task is to rake and remove years of leaves and undergrowth that seem to infest every corner of the yard.  The outside pool lights got repaired, so at least there is light around the area at night.

     We pulled back the pool cover at various corners to get our first real glimpse of its condition.  Knowing how the previous owners didn't take the best care of the house, it was no surprise that the pool suffered from neglect.  It seems they knew they would never swim in it again when they closed it up last fall, so why take the effort to do it properly.  Once the cover comes off for the summer, we have a LARGE amount of debris and junk to remove before we turn on the pump and start the system.

     On a happier note, many of the nit-noid electrical and plumbing problems are being solved one by one.  I just wish each job didn't take half a day to complete, but it's best to get them done now while I have the time.

The back of the house ... starting to get green

Our first real look at the pool, pulling back the cover

Someone didn't clean the pool before closing it for winter

This isn't pretty

"Rucy ... you've got some 'splainin to do!"

The side steps aren't much better

Yes ... David is taller than Kristy ... by three inches now

Looking at the deep end


This is going to be work !!!

The owners lied when they said the pool was 12 feet deep

Straight down through 8 feet of green water to the deep end

Before & after ... leaves on the side of the house

The living room from the stairway

See David in the downstairs family room?

Entry and stairway from the living room

The dining room from the living room

Dusty finally gets to come out and play

... sequential numbers, no less

Goodbye old plates, hello Pennsylvania plates

We have a LOT of work ahead of us

The pool cover is finally removed on May 9

Major debris is gone, pump is running and initial chemicals added ... transformation taking place

Finally getting better almost a week later

Kristy has a new arbor

A night shot ... no enhancements made

Hey ... this actually looks GOOD

First official swimming day - May 16, 2004

... you HAVE to have a rubber ducky

Not a great shot, but she loves to swim

... doing laps

At night during a thunderstorm

You can actually see the main drain at the bottom of the deep end

It's not murky ... it's clean and clear

Cleaning the last bit of the original crud out

Add some patio furniture

... our little niche in the corner of the world

The pool is finally clear and clean of algae

Now THAT'S nice


Panoramic of the transition


Side steps ... what a difference a little TLC does




The Kitchen Transformation - April 2004


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