The Making of a Man Cave

Last spring we moved into a beautiful condo.  While my husband loves that he does not have to mow the lawn on those hot summer days or shovel the snow when the bitter wind is blowing, he has found himself with more free time.

In our old home we had a beautiful hosta garden with over 200 hostas along with roses, lilies, cone flowers and so much more!  In our new home we do have room for a few flowers and he has enjoyed planting some this summer with plans for more come spring.  However, with the much smaller lawn we have it will never be enough to keep him busy.

 

Giving this free time he has returned to an earlier love – painting.  When he was younger he painted but always ended up giving his paintings to friends who expressed that they liked a particular one.  When I married him he told me about his earlier painting but he had nothing to show me.

I was pleasantly surprised when he began painting again.  In the small house we rented when we first downsized from our home before buying the condo there was little room for him to paint.  With the purchase of our condo I took over the second bedroom and filled it with my books, my music and my computer.  My poor husband still had no room to paint.

He decided to make himself a studio/painting room in our unfinished basement.  Hard at work on the room he has added his favorite “big” chair and a game table so it has become more than just a place to paint.  Every man needs a man cave and he now has one.  While he still has painting and trim work to do, he is almost ready for a game night with friends.

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Game table all ready for a game of checkers with friends

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He has his easy chair and a TV ready to hook up

What is great is that he now has plenty of work for not only painting but can also display some of his work.

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Painting table with a new canvas ready for his next project

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His creation series – I had a hard job getting a good shot of this – but it is based on Genesis 1 and 2

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Here’s a better picture of his Creation Series taken at a showing of his work at the local Clinton County Art Gallery

He also loves maps and has some terrific antique maps of London and Paris that he had no where to display.  Now he can put them up on the walls of his studio/mancave and enjoy.

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I was feeling a little guilty taking the extra room for my space, so now I can better enjoy my area knowing my husband has a space all his own to enjoy.

One of the reasons we bought the condo was to get everything on one floor for me.  I had a knee replacement that did not go well and arthritis in the other knee so stairs are difficult for me.   With this new space I think I may be going up and down stairs again.  As he has completed steps in this decorating I have been called to check it out.  Putting up paneling, painting the floor, putting down rugs, putting up lights – all have required my inspection.  Now he is talking about me coming down stairs to sit in his easy chair and read or blog while he paints.

I have to remind him it is a “man-cave” and women are not allowed.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

800 Games and Still Counting

If you follow my blog you know my husband and I are avid Scrabble players.  Very competitive, we started keeping a record of the scores of our games in 2008.  We laugh that we are actually addicted to the game.

My Addiction has Returned

Thankfully we are evenly matched.  It would be no fun if one of us was much better than the other.  We go back and forth on winning the games.  Usually we are never more than one or two games apart.  A few years ago my husband actually pushed way ahead of me with a seven game lead.  I was so discouraged as I did not know how I would ever catch up with him again.  (Do you think losing too many games of Scrabble to your husband would be good grounds for a divorce?)

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Some of our kids bought us a Super Scrabble board a few years ago.  The board has more squares to play on and twice the number of letter tiles as the regular Scrabble game.  We have used it so much that it is falling apart.  We have it taped together but have agreed for our Christmas gift we will purchase a new one next month.  We also need a good Scrabble dictionary as our present one is falling apart.

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This week we played our 800th game.  After eleven years that is roughly 73 games a year or 6 games a month.  Since I did not retire until 2013 we are actually playing more games each month now.  Winter finds us playing more games as we hate going out in the snow and cold.  Summer finds us making road trips so the games take a back seat for a few weeks.

When we played that 800th game I was two games ahead of my husband and he was really hoping to win the game.  I beat him and that put me three games ahead for the eleven years we have kept score.

He threatened to never play again.  But he was only joking as I often whine when I get behind more than two games that I do not want to play any more.

In the 800 games played we have actually tied three games.  When I told one friend of how close our games are she felt one of us was just being nice and letting the other one win to keep our scores close.  However, she clearly does not know us.  We are very competitive and would never willingly let the other one win.

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I am thankful that my husband and I share this common love.  Along with giving us hours of enjoyment, we figure at our age (71 and 79) it may very well help keep our minds sharp.  When we get to 1000 games we are going to have a party! (If we continue at this pace, that means we will be 74 and 82.  Who wants to bet me we will still be going strong in three years?)

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Do you and your family play board games?

What games do you like?

Are you addicted to any games?

Are you a good loser?  Good winner?

 

 

How Bad Can It Get?

I have often shared how my husband and I love Scrabble.  For us it is almost an addiction.

For those who follow my blog you have already read about this, but if you are new and interested, here are the links to my stories behind our addiction.

Confessions of a Scrabble Addict!

I Owe My Scrabble Addiction to an Out-of-work Architect

My Addiction has Returned

This past weekend we realized how much we do love Scrabble!

Our power went out this past weekend.  After fifteen hours without any electricity, service finally came on again, only to go out again in three hours.  We had planned to play a game of Scrabble after supper.

When we started the game it was still light out and with the curtains all open we had no problem seeing the board.

Most Scrabble games take anywhere from one to two hours depending on the number of players.

But not for us!

Our games go on forever.

First, we have a “super Scrabble” board.  This board is much larger than the normal game and it has twice as many tiles.

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Second, we are very competitive and not only want to win but want to get as high a score as possible.

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So each play may take minutes as we rearrange our tiles over and over trying to find the right word to get the most points.

We also play defensively so we need to play where our opponent does not have a chance to play on a triple or quadruple spot on the board.

So as the evening proceeded the sun slowly descended in the sky until it was dark both outside and in our house.

Did that stop us?

Not at all!

Out came the candles and the flashlights and we continued on in the dark.  This only slowed our game down more as we could hardly see our tiles.

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Over four hours later we finally finished the game and used our flashlight to find our way to bed.

Oh – by the way – I won!

 

 

My Husband Has a New Love

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My husband and I have been scrabble addicts since 2008.  We have books recording every game we have played for the past ten years.  During the summer we usually play two or three times a week but in the months when Old Man Winter blows his breath around our house, we play every day.

You can check out my original admittance of our addiction in my post:

Confessions of a Scrabble Addict!

We began this year as always playing almost every day in the cold, bitter days in January.  All was fine until April when my husband left me and Scrabble for his new love.

And it’s all my daughter’s fault.

In April my husband had major surgery and was in the hospital for several days.  After coming home he was supposed to remain quiet for six weeks.  In an attempt to give him something to help pass the time my daughter bought him a Sudoku book.

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To be honest I didn’t think he would use it.  He is not the kind to sit still for long and although he does for Scrabble there is interaction with me.  So I thought he would work one or two and then quit.

Boy, was I wrong!

He started on the ones marked “easy.”   Every time I asked if he would play a game of Scrabble, he would say:

Let me just finish this one puzzle.”

But one puzzle led to another.  And another.

I thought when he got to the ones marked ” medium” he would quit.  Not that I doubted my husband is smart, but I thought as they got more difficult to solve, he might get frustrated and quit.

Boy, was I wrong!

He began working five to six puzzles a day which left no time to for me or Scrabble.

I still held out hope that he would surely quit when he got to the ones marked “hard.”  I can never figure those out and I thought he would have trouble also.  That would surely lead to frustration and he would come back to me and Scrabble.

Boy, was I wrong!

He is skipping through the “hard” ones and is almost finished with the book my daughter bought him.  So – now maybe there is hope.

Boy, was I wrong!

Last week, in anticipation of finishing this book of puzzles, he went to Barnes and Noble and brought a GIANT Sudoku book.

I’m going to try one more time today to get him to play a game of Scrabble with me.

If not, maybe divorce court will be in our future.  (Just kidding, of course!)

Guess I need to find a new addiction myself.  My daughter gave me a word search book – maybe that will work.

 

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Last Game of 2017 – Who Will Win?

 

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For those of you who follow my blog you know my husband and I are scrabble addicts.  In the summer we play several times a month, but when Old Man Winter comes we play almost every day.  We are very competitive keeping a record of our games now for 10 years.

In the ten years of playing super scrabble, I have won one more game than my husband.

This year I am currently ahead of him one game.

After church this morning we will play our final game of 2017.  If he wins, that will make us tied for the year and I will remain ahead overall one game.  If I win, I will not only be ahead for this year but will extend my overall lead to two games.

If he wins the game, that will conclude our 2017 games.  I have an idea if I win, we may be playing more than one game today because he does not want to end up a loser for 2017.

We could be up all night until he ties me.  Could be a long New Year’s Eve for these old folks.

Party on young people – but there’s no better party than two old folks playing scrabble.

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My Addiction has Returned

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According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.

Well – my husband and I seem to be addicted to the game “Scrabble.”  I have confessed my addiction in the past hoping that being totally honest would free me from this obsession with the game.  Confessions of a Scrabble Addict!

This summer we spent a lot of time in our hosta garden.  That is another area where we seem to seek some kind of “brain reward” by seeing how many hostas we can plant in our back yard. Our entire back garden is full of hostas!  We have close to 200 different varieties. That  sounds like a lot – but there are over 3000 different varieties registered so it is really not that large a collection.  We would try to get more varieties, but we have run out of yard space.

While working in the garden (we also have roses, columbine and lots of day lilies) kept us busy this summer, it appeared we had conquered our game addiction.  Instead of playing 15 to 20 to 30 games a month, we actually only played five to six games and there were even months we did not play at all.

Then came the cold snap!

We thought we were free!  Then Old Man Winter arrived with bitter temperatures dipping below zero and wind chills readings 20 to 30 below.  Since my husband has a heart condition and his doctor has told him not to go out in these bitter cold temps, we were stuck in the house.

You can only watch so many movies!

I baked an apple pie and we watched some old movies.  But you can only watch so many movies before your brain dies.  So out came the scrabble game.

And we are hooked again!

The month is not over and we have already started out 25th game!  My husband loves to be able to play all his letters in one turn.  In these 25 games, he has played all his letters 22 times.  No matter how hard I try, I cannot keep up with him on this great feat.  However, I am getting better as I have played all my letters 13 times this month.

Do we sound crazy?  Our kids insist when we die they will not have a visitation.  Instead, in our honor, they will hold a scrabble tournament.

Anyone else out there love scrabble?  Are we the only nuts in the world?

Spring will come!

Hopefully with the arrival of spring, we will be able to shake free once again of this addiction.  At least until winter returns in 2017.

 

 

 

I Owe My Scrabble Addiction to an Out-of-work Architect

No relief in our addiction!

My husband and I continue our Scrabble addiction (Confessions of a Scrabble Addict). We played 26 games in January and ended in a tie – 13 games each.  For February we have played a game every day (it’s been bitter cold outside – so what can you do?) and we are still tied at 14 games each.  Guess this means we are both equally smart — or equally dull-witted.

Thank you Mr. Butts!

It’s interesting to me to learn that the game of Scrabble was invented during the Great Depression.  With no work and time on his hands, architect Alfred Mosher Butts decided to do something productive – and he invented the board game of Scrabble.  His goal was to combine the word skills of crossword puzzles (in fact, he first named the game Criss-Cross Words) with the element of chance.

To determine how many of each letter to use in the game and what point value to give them, he studied the front page of The New York Times.  His study found that we use vowels more than consonants, and the vowel “E” is the most frequently used vowel.

Mr. Butt originally made the board and tiles himself and gave them to family and friends for their entertainment.  His attempts to interest games manufacturers led nowhere.  In 1948 one of the couples who had the Criss-Cross Words game convinced Mr. Butts to let them manufacture and market the game – changing the name to Scrabble.

Mr. and Mrs. Brunot received a trademark for the name “Scrabble” in 1948 and, like many new ventures, lost money in 1949 – the first year of production.

The story is (not able to confirm if true) that the president of Macy’s came across the game while on vacation in the early 1950’s and ordered some for his store.  Soon, it was a hit with everyone.

Today it is estimated that over 35 million people play Scrabble.  It is one of the favorite on-line games.

So – after researching the game, I find that I do not have to be ashamed of my addition.  Seems I’m not alone!

So – on we go to March.  Questions remain:

  1. How many games will we play in the month of March?
  2. As warm weather returns, will our addiction ease up – or will our rose and hosta garden suffer from neglect as we continue our obsession with the game?
  3. Will we be able to leave it behind when we go on vacation this summer?