Nancy's Notes From Florida

Plumbing Problems

January 22, 2021

We had remodeled our former house to our specifications, including all new comfort-level toilets and bathroom vanities. This current house shows its twenty-year-old age. Two of the toilets needed “rebuilds” as the plumber expressed it. Other plumbing problems included hose-like contraptions in two showers that we had him replace with single-function fixed showerheads. We replaced old-fashioned knob handles with lever handles, redid the tub/shower trim and replaced three sink faucets. It’s amazing how much better this makes things look.

Next the medicine cabinets need replacement. They are missing shelves. I’m waiting for the handyman to tackle that problem. We bought a new mirror at Home Goods for one guest bathroom where we had the old purple one taken down.

The bathrooms have other issues. Our master bathroom faces the front of the house. Its only window has frosted glass and a tree shading it so very little sunlight comes inside. In cold weather, this cavernous space is freezing. The a/c unit is on the other side of the house, and the heat doesn’t reach in here. It’s freezing cold at night. We’ve applied to the HOA for tree removal, but that’s another issue. There’s a lack of shelves to hold room sprays and such, so I’ve ordered a bathroom cabinet. It’s here but has to be assembled and hung. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent searching online for these items.

In addition, the kitchen and bath storage space were poorly designed. We’ve hired a company that can redesign these interior spaces using the same doors and cabinets. For example, they’ll add drawers and pull-outs and other features. Meanwhile, our bathroom items are strewn everywhere as we have no place to put them. It’s one big empty space inside these cabinets.

These are a few of the multitude of things we have to deal with in a new house. It’s also why I can’t concentrate to write. I’m still waiting on a handyman and landscaper. Yesterday we spent getting estimates on new a/c units. And so each day goes, moving us closer to our goal of settling into a routine.

If you read my last post, here are pictures of the creepy attic. Does it stimulate your imagination? More moving adventures next time.


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Electrical Issues

January 19, 2021

The first couple of weeks in our new house brought a parade of workmen through our doors. Most important were the locksmith, electrician and plumber. We had the locksmith change all the locks and add a doorknob on the scary attic door. During our initial house tour, we’d thought this upstairs door to be a closet. Much to our surprise, it wasn’t a closet at all but an opening directly into the attic. You had to turn a key to open this mysterious door as there wasn’t any knob. Subsequently, we had the locksmith add a proper knob. The lock is on the inside so you can’t trap yourself in the attic. This lends itself to one’s imagination, as in The Body in the Attic. Or The Secret in the Attic. I’m sure I’ll use it somewhere in one of my books.

attic door

This door opens from the upstairs loft. Upstairs, you say? What about downsizing at our advanced age? Well, we downsized in terms of price but not in terms of square footage. We didn’t want a pool and this house has a screened patio with no neighbors behind us. But in return, we accepted a house with a second story wing. It was a trade-off. We wanted a one-story ranch house but most of the ones here come with a pool. So we made a choice, plus we liked the layout of this place. On the second level is a loft, two bedrooms, and a full bath. This level will be the grandkids’ play area. The wall in the loft held all kinds of weird outlets with wires sticking out, same as in the family room and master bedroom. We suspected the prior family had elaborate sound systems set up with their media centers.

We tasked the electrician with removing the unsafe wiring in the attic on the other side of the loft wall as well as plating all unneeded outlets in the downstairs rooms. We gave the electrician myriad other tasks, such as separating the ceiling fan light switch from the fan itself, so we could turn on the light without turning on the fans. We had him add new outlets and dimmer switches, and got rid of the florescent lights in the master bedroom closets, putting up our choice of fixtures instead. He was here for two full days, and we still have some more tasks that need to be done. You only find out what makes you comfortable as you live in a house. And this one is still far from finished. More in the next post. I hope I am not boring you with this recital, but it is helpful to me to write about our experiences.

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A New House

January 15, 2021

Moving into a new house is a daunting task. It can be more difficult than leaving your old place. Packing to move involves shoving stuff into cartons and sending it off to your destination. But at the other end, you have many decisions to make. You have to decide not only where everything should go but what you need to do to make the house comfortable for your needs.

There’s a reason why we forget what it was like to move before. Like any traumatic event, we’d prefer not to remember the details. Here we planned ahead to have new carpets installed and the painting started before we moved in. The to-do list kept me up at night as I kept adding items. If your house is brand new, you don’t have many of these issues. If it’s a resale like ours, often the owners will have left window treatments and lighting fixtures that can be desirable. This house is twenty years old and hasn’t seen much in the way of renovations. We know the a/c units need replacement, but since they are working, other things must take priority.

Window treatments are number three after carpets and paint. While we kept the blinds, out went the original valences and drapes. That left us with no coverings on the living room window, family room sliding glass doors, patio door in our bedroom and two guest bathroom windows. At night, we have nowhere to go for privacy except our home offices and the master bedroom, and the latter is thanks to our daughter mounting a temporary blackout drape on the door. We won’t feel comfortable until these openings are covered, among other things. But then at least we’ll be able to go somewhere else to read at night if we can’t sleep.

Blackout Drape

What’s next? Stay tuned for the continuation of our moving adventures. And thank you for listening. It is cathartic for me to relate these details, and it helps me get back into the writing mode.

Moving into a new house takes adjustment #moving #awriterslife Click To Tweet


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The Big Move Begins

January 13, 2021

Greetings, dear friends. These last few months have been tumultuous as we prepared to move from our house of forty years into a new place near where our kids live. As we get older, it becomes evident that we need to be close to family for mutual support, and the pandemic brought home that nothing else really matters. And so we spent the Fall months packing our belongings and missing the friends that we would leave behind. The virus already had isolated us and sent us to virtual or phone visits. In a way, that detachment helped the process of moving.

American Van Lines made everything go smoothly. Alan B., our moving coordinator, answered my calls promptly and stayed as our agent throughout the process. It took three days for the actual move. On the first day, the guys arrived to pack our things. We’d already taken many of our small fragile items to store at our condo in Windermere. They packed everything else, including all our books and art works. They loaded the two vans on the second day, leaving us with an empty house. Afraid to book a hotel room due to the rampaging virus, we slept overnight on the carpeted floor of our daughter’s former room. It had to be one of the most uncomfortable nights we’d ever spent. Don’t our empty rooms look forlorn?

Then came moving day. At dawn, we headed north on Florida’s turnpike. We arrived at the house around 11am, having had the foresight to stop off and buy a quick take-out lunch. Not long afterward, the movers arrived. They unloaded the furniture and placed it where we wanted. All the boxes went into the garage. And that’s where many of them sit now. Alan called us daily to make sure everything was going smoothly and so did Elena, another team member. I was impressed by how carefully this company handled our items and their professional courtesy. I had paid extra for insurance with a high deductible, and while a few small items and an older tv had problems, they weren’t worth a claim. Then began the job of unpacking and deciding where to put everything, but that’s the topic for my next post.

Nancy J. Cohen talks about The Big Move Click To Tweet


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Year-End Goal Review

December 31, 2020

As a writer, it’s important to do a year-end goal review to see what you’ve accomplished and what has yet to be done. This will help you in setting goals for the new year. Aside from moving to a new location, this is what I’ve completed:

Goal Review


Publish Easter Hair Hunt, #16 in the Bad Hair Day Mysteries – DONE.
Published March 10, 2020

Reissue mystery backlist titles and update earlier covers – DONE.
a) Updated mystery covers and/or interior back matter for 14 books
b) Reissued in ebook and paperback:
Shear Murder – April 14, 2020
Hanging by a Hair – May 23, 2020
Peril by Ponytail – June 14, 2020
Facials can Be Fatal – July 14, 2020
c) Added all Bad Hair Day Mysteries to IngramSpark for new trade paperback editions

Revise and reissue romance backlist titles – DONE.
Reissued the Light-Years Series in September and the Drift Lords Series in November – 6 books total.

Put Writing the Cozy Mystery into audiobook – NOT DONE


Bundle books into box sets – NOT DONE.

Schedule Price Promotions – NOT DONE.

Go wide with audiobooks via Findaway Voices – DONE

Year-End Goal Review #writers #writingcommunity Click To Tweet

In conclusion, I published one original title and finished reissuing all my backlist titles. Now I’m ready to move forward once my home office is reorganized and my life is put back together. A vaccine is on the horizon, which hopefully will allow socializing again and in-person events in the not-so-distant future.

How about you? Are you happy with what you’ve gotten done?

Happy New Year and thanks for sticking with me during these tumultuous times!

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