Our 2003 Christmas Homes Tour

Many years ago, Dave and I opened our partially renovated home for public viewing.  Ours was among the home featured on our neighborhood’s annual Christmas Homes Tour.  We were included as a “work in progress.”

And we’re still in progress!  Although we did a major overhaul, we still have details to complete.

In any case, I thought you might like to see our home the last time it was decorated for Christmas, way back in 2003.

Chili with Duane and Kitty Kat

Chili with Dave and Duane last Sunday.

Chili with Dave and Duane last Sunday.

Duane Wilson has been feeding Dave and me for the past 13+ years.  Duane was president of the Port Norfolk Civic League when we move to the neighborhood.  There weren’t many others willing to take office at that time; he clearly needed some help.

I was immediately drafted to serve as recording secretary and corresponding secretary (little did I know, these were two distinct and labor-intensive jobs). Duane was thrilled to have help and he has thanked us hundredfold over the years.

He lives just three blocks from our home and he phones us at least once a week with an invitation to head to his house for dinner.  Dave and I have learned to anticipate a call on Sunday night, when Duane is prone to be “cleaning out” his refrigerator.  He didn’t call this week, so we rang him and asked if he had any leftovers on… and by golly, he did!

He’s such a generous person that, in addition to feeding us, he has also:

  • Installed (with Dave and sometimes me) all four copper roofs on our house.
  • Let Dave paint the porch flooring in his garage.
  • Hosted our wedding shower at his house.
  • Taken us along to his daughter’s wedding (as his date — hee, hee!)
  • Thrown my 40th birthday party at his house.
  • Introduced us to dozens of his friends over the years.

Duane and I have learned yoga and opera-appreciation together. Our attendance at the opera is due to his girlfriend Julie; we all enjoy our time with the opera crowd.

It’s wonderful to have Duane, Julie, his Kitty Kat — and others from his group like Ann, Clara and Jimmy, Ken and Sally, Eric and Ann — to count among our friends.

Fetching Zeke

Dave and Zeke at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Detroit... home of the lovely Port Norfolk Church building.

Dave and Zeke at the intersection of Mount Vernon and Detroit… home of the lovely Port Norfolk Church building.

We have some fantastic neighbors here in Port Norfolk, particularly the ones who live next door.  Thom’s an architect and Beth teaches school.  We’ve known them since our college days at Virginia Tech.

This past weekend, Dave had responsibility for walking Thom and Beth’s little dog, Zeke, and feeding all their pets.

Pinot is one of the only cats I’ve ever met who doesn’t like Dave.  At all.  (In an unusual twist of fate, he tolerates me fine.)

The two chickens are partial to Dave, as they seem to love any hand that feeds them.

And then there’s the scruffy little bundle of energy, Zeke, who needs to walk at least twice a day.  He’s a cute and friendly little dog.  But he goes completely ballistic when anyone walks or rides past — which can make for some truly embarrassing moments!

Playing ball with Zeke.

Playing ball with Zeke.

Beaming Across the Table

An image Dave texted me last week -- from one of my favorite seats in Norfolk, sitting across from Wayne Ringer at D'Egg diner.

An image Dave texted me last week — from one of my favorite seats in Norfolk, sitting across from Wayne Ringer at D’Egg diner.

I haven’t been eating out much these past few months.  It’s just not as delightful when the seat across from me is empty.

I’m lucky to have many memories of meals with loved ones to keep me company, but it’s still not quite the same.

I particularly miss breakfast time with Wayne Ringer.  Dave and I meet Wayne for breakfast a couple of times each week when I’m in Hampton Roads.  When I’m away, Dave often texts me pictures so I can feel included.  Here’s a shot of Wayne that Dave sent me last week.  I haven’t seen Wayne yet, but hope to “real soon.”  I know he’ll be happy I’ve been able to “tell everyone in Dublin ‘hey.'”  (That’s his normal directive when we part.)

Wayne and I originally met at a little coffee shop in our Port Norfolk neighborhood.  That was way back in 2000.  Even though that shop closed and Wayne moved across the river to Norfolk, we still find time to meet for breakfast.

These days, Dave’s schedule permits him to join us (he typically rises before the sun, to photograph buildings in the light of the rising sun, and joins us after his photo shoot).

Here’s a view I typically have in Dublin:

Empty chair across from me in Dublin, at Nandos.

Empty chair across from me in Dublin, at Nandos.

Home with Dave for the Holidays

There’s so much going on that I want to tell you about.  For now, I’ll just say how wonderful it is to be back at home in Portsmouth, Virginia with my Dave.  I’ll show you what life is like here–very soon!

The home of Dave and Shannon Chance in Portsmouth's Port Norfolk Historic District.

The home of Dave and Shannon Chance in Portsmouth’s Port Norfolk Historic District.

Shannon and Dave visiting friends on the way home from the airport.

Shannon and Dave visiting friends on the way home from the airport.


Dave’s Handiwork

Our new porch floor!

Dave has made a lot of progress installing a new floor for our porch back home.  What a wonderful gift it will be to return to this at Christmas!

This is the most recent phase in our very extended porch renovation project.

Previously, Dave installed a new foundation and then hired bricklayers to install an entirely new brick foundation and new brick pillars.  He placed new limestone steps and limestone caps for the piers.  Then he framed in a new structural system for the porch floor, and primed, painted, and installed the tongue-and-groove floorboards.

Much earlier in the renovation process, we replaced the dilapidated front door with one we bought at Caravati’s Architectural Salvage in Richmond. It got a new limestone threshold. And someday, we may actually install a window in the transom opening.

The green wood siding and the yellow wood columns are original. At this point, they need quite a bit of scraping and painting.  I was in charge of the scraping the first time and I did much of the painting as well.  This go around should be much easier.  The last time we had 100 years worth of paint to remove!

Under the porch roof, we found a piece of lumber signed by the builder and dated 1896.  That’s quite old for a house in the USA.