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Creating A Winery for $35K, Part IIIb

March 24, 2011 Leave a comment

You’re in for a treat.  I went to my scrapbook to look for one or more of the cards sent to me anonymously and I found all sorts of goodies.  Do you believe I kept every note (and there was a bunch) that RJ wrote to me during our courtship.  I also have match books, ticket stubs, napkins, you name it from every place we went.  If you start to nod off, let me know and I’ll condense the courtship part and skip to the winery.  Anyway, here are some pictures to go with my last entry:

Sal, as in the Brother of "Vito" who sent me the cards.  No the picture is not of RJ.This is the first card.  Caption goes with "plumber pants"

He must have known I love cats.  Card #2.Didn't pick up on card #2 right away; I am blonde afterall.

Card 3; Isn't he cute?

I did find the note “Do you do lunch” but somehow it didn’t make it in this picture download, but you’ll see it soon.  On the edge of your seat, aren’t you?

So I left off at lunch, which was great by the way.  Our next date (what seemed like months later, but was actually only weeks) was at the Giraffe.  It was the nicest restaurant in the area.  It still exists but has since been renamed Tre Vigne.  I still remember what I was wearing, a black two-piece black and white dress with a narrow belt, and a red bow tie.  Very chic back then and I was told yuppy-ish.  In my research about RJ, I found out he had two Porsche’s in his garage.  On our first real date, of course he would pick me up in one of them.  He also had a car we affectionately named Gumby (from the cartoon).   I don’t remember the model (he does), but it was a big, beat up, olive-green tank.  He always bought a Junker winter car to use in the snow.  It wasn’t snowing and there was no snow on the ground.  Gumby had some serious problems including the fact the passenger’s side door would not open.  I had to crawl (in my black dress) over the driver’s seat and console.  Some might say RJ had ulterior motives.  RJ swears he just didn’t want me to like him for his cars.  Off to Giraffe we went.

It was a lovely, multi-course dinner with wine of course.  We were having dessert and an after dinner drink when RJ said to me, you’re a lot different than I expected, “Sal’s Brother Vito did not expect you to be so sophisticated and demure.”  You could have heard a pin drop and I was speechless.  Doesn’t happen often, but remember I had no idea he was sending me those cards.  The last few months flashed through my head trying to process the fact that he was flirting with me all along.  Not to mention, he found me sophisticated and demure, quite different from the lady in sweatpants who hit his fast pitch.  It was like Holly Hunter in Always, when Richard Dreyfus gave her this gorgeous white dress and shoes to match.  She teared up and said, “It’s not the dress, it’s how you see me in it.”  Sorry while I go blow my nose and wipe the tears off my keyboard.

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Creating A Winery for $35K, Part III

March 18, 2011 Leave a comment

Okay, so I’m back in sequence regarding our story.  I left off at me supposedly snubbing him at the pizza restaurant.  We left that evening both going our separate ways.  But then, the cat and mouse game began.  As it turned out, we both worked in the same building on the same floor but had never run into each other before.  But we had a number of mutual friends and colleagues.  Both RJ and I were asking about the other.  It was driving our friends nuts.  Then I started getting anonymous cards sent to my office.  They were signed, “from Sal’s other brother Vito” and usually had pictures of big guys with plumber’s pants (if you get my drift).  I thought they were from a married guy downstairs who had been putting the make on me.  I was not happy, but not directed at RJ.  Eventually, I took what I thought was the first move.  I left a Post-It on his desk, “Do you do lunch?”  How corny was that?  This was about October or November, nearly 6 months after we had first met.  He responded yes and we went to lunch.  He insisted on paying even though I invited him.  But that wasn’t the end (or the beginning of it).

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Creating A Winery for $35K, Part 37

March 11, 2011 1 comment

Okay, I’m skipping around a bit, but sometimes I have to post what moves me.  (No jokes, please).  So I’m sure you’re all thinking there is no way we created a winery for $35,000 and you’re probably right, but it’s close.  One of the ways we did was by acquiring things that we could reuse.  You will hear more about the bar from Mothersheds later, but for now, I want to tell you about cabinets.  Our first renter in the cottage was tearing down her house and had some fairly new cabinets in the Mother-in-law unit.  She said we could have what we wanted.  RJ was reluctant, “what are we going to do them?”  But me, I will take almost anything free.  I said we’ll find a use.  After the first pick-up, RJ got energized and decided to get the rest.  We used them behind the tasting bar for all sorts of storage and to make a shelf for the wine.

Reused Cabinets

We had to find the 2 narrow end pieces to fill-in the space and these came from a cabinet outlet and were perfect.

The reason I am writing about this now is because just last week (or was it this week, I forget), RJ got some cabinets, complete with granite top at Habitat Restore.  What a find.  These are perfect for his winery lab, with some extras for who knows what.

Cabinets from Restore for RJ's Lab

Speaking of recycle/reuse, wait until you see what he did for his office floor.  It’s a little eclectic (but then, that’s RJ), but it’s for his office and lab after all, not a public facility.  We used every scrap of tile we had, including some I bought at Restore a while ago “just in case.”  Okay, we had to augment it with $10 worth of left over tile our tiler (thank you Tom) found.

Leftover Tile

And lastly, while RJ was at Metro Paint picking up recycled paint (yes, we have used and will continue to use a lot of recycled white paint at the winery), there was an office chair for sale for $15.  We needed another office chair for RJ’s office and this was the ticket.  RJ asked how long it had been sitting there and they said about 5 minutes.  Sometimes we just luck out; actually, lots of times we luck out.

"New" to Us Office Chair

Almost forgot, the desk and credenza came from Restore and the file cabinets from a business owner in Forest Grove who was retired.  (Got lots of office supplies from him, too.)

Why It Takes Me 2 Hours to Get Ready in the Morning

March 8, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m departing from my Building a Winery…series because this is just too funny to wait.  This blog is from RJ, not me.  I have been laughing about this for weeks and asked him to put it in words.  Unfortunately, pictures would be X-rated and not necessarily pleasant, but you have to read on to understand that:

When I worked for pay, I could get a shower, brush my teeth, dress and be out the door in 30 to 45 minutes. Now I’m retired and it takes 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. The difference is when I get up now, I’m escorted to the toilet by the tuxedo cat but on the way I have to stop and turn on the water so she can get a drink, then the black cat joins me to get petted while I’m on the pot. When I’m done the tuxedo cat jumps on the make-up table to be brushed.  Upon completion she then enters my shower for more personal attention; she’s so cute! I complete my 12 minute shower to be joined by the black cat and his mother on the dressing table. (The mom is too old and fat to jump on the table so she sits and cries until I lift her up on the table.)  After I give both of them a good brushing, I go brush my teeth while they get another drink from the faucet. The mom cat now joins me in the bed room while I put on my socks and pants, as I pet her some more. I’m now ready to go to the kitchen, followed by 3 cats. Its cat treats time followed by another faucet turn on for drinks.  While they are drinking, I go say good morning to the dog and take him out for his business. Having been inside all night he has many plants and things to leisurely sniff and smell until he finds the absolutely perfect spot to poo; this could take an unspecified amount of time some mornings. With his business out of the way, it’s time to go back in the house and clean the 4 cat boxes, while the dog sits and begs for a biscuit for each box cleaned.  With that function complete I head to the kitchen to put food in the dog’s dish and make some breakfast that is shared with the dog, including any fruit like bananas. It’s now at least 1 hour and 45 minute since I’ve rolled out of bed and have taken care of MY WIFE’S CAT’S and our dog.  All pets have adopted us; none were shopped for or purchased. They just appeared into our life and my morning routine.

He forgot to mention the frequent cat poo pick-up because one or more cats can’t seem to keep their butt in the cat box.  Oh yes, and there is the occasional cat and/or dog puke.

Our 3 Cats on Their Perches in our Bedroom

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Creating A Winery for $35K, Part II

March 2, 2011 Leave a comment

So RJ was hooked (my words, not his), but was very cautious; a) because I was dating someone else and everyone knew it, b) he had been married 3 times already, and c) he thought I was snubbing him (He got even with me for that.).  Where did the snubbing come in?  After the softball game (our team lost horribly as usual), both teams went for pizza and beer.  I was being the social butterfly as I do when I’m nervous.  He sat across from me and was very annoyed that I kept flitting from table to table.  I did take the time to ask a couple of his staff members about him, namely what level of management he was.  (I did not want to go over my head.)  The evening ended uneventfully.

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Creating A Winery for $35K, Part I

March 1, 2011 Leave a comment

As promised, I am going to post a series giving you all a history of our winery creation.  To start, I need to tell you  how RJ and I got together.  I promise, I won’t go into as much detail on this as the winery, but there were little signs of us taking on this venture from the very start.

Both RJ and I have management backgrounds in the phone company, namely AT&T.  He was a Director and I was a 2nd Level.  Way back when if you wanted to advance you had to do your time (about 3 years) at the labs.  So in 1979-80, RJ went to New Jersey and in 1985, I did the same.  Sometime in 1986, we met on a softball field playing against each other.  He was pitching when it came my term to bat.  I was wearing my black AT&T sweat pants (Yes, I remember and yes, I still have them.).  I had a substantial amount of beer in me and really needed to pee.  But he was being very funny on the mound (as his nature), making me laugh profusely.  I told him, “that was not nice to a woman in my condition,” meaning my bladder condition.  But this became a longstanding joke because he thought I was pregnant.  Even though it was slow-pitch softball, he decided to fast-pitch me.  I hit it and he was in love.  More to follow….