Friday, November 30, 2007

My parents future home Part Deux

Doesn't this remind you of Little House on the Prairie???? Where's Laura Ingalls and Pa Ingalls??? I hope Pa isn't buried in a snow bank somewhere. How about Merlin Olsen???? Not the Olsons twins dad and not Nellie Oleson's dad, but the retired football player and original member of the Fearsome Foursome, Jonathan Garvey on Little House, and FTD huckster Olsen.

We removed the overhang that was severely rotted and that was a big improvement. My parents stopped by to look at the progress of their next little love nest. I think they are going to be difficult tenants. They were already making demands. My mother wants a canvas awning and my dad had the nerve to ask me if it had power. POWER!!! This is exactly way you don't rent to relatives!!!

Speaking of power, that reminded me of when we went to Jamaica. The electricity quits all the time. We were in town, not the touristy part of town, but the locals part of town. I asked a Jamaican fellow "when was the power coming back on?" He looked at me rather strange and then said, "Ooooh, you mean the current. No problem, Mon." He then walked away.

So I think I'll say to my parents when they begin making demands like "I want an awning." and "I want power."

"No problem, Mon."

Disclaimer....For those of you who don't know us, this is all in fun. I'm not going all Brooke Astor on my parents.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

If a tree falls when the Detroit Lions are playing, will they still lose???

The Detroit Lions have broken more hearts than Carter has little pills. Some years they just plain suck from the very beginning. Then there are other years where they win their first game of the season and you have that fleeting thought..."could this be the year?" Then they win a second game and you think, "do I dare get my hopes up?"

But were optimists here in Michigan when it comes to our sports teams. We have the Red Wings that NEVER fail to deliver. They have spoiled us and anything less than a Division title and we're unhappy. We have the Pistons, who have consistently given us good teams since the late 80's and early 90's. The Detroit Tigers made us suffer for 2 decades before giving us that spectacular year last year. But the Lions are another story. They just keep on breaking our hearts. I can't imagine how Michigan would celebrate if they ever made it to the Super Bowl. We're not fair weather fans either. Week after week they sold out the Pontiac Silverdome (80,368). The Lions then moved to Ford Field (65,000) and continued to sell out every game. The fans are doing their part.

Last Sunday in between listening to the Lions on the radio, inching a hood riding boulder up a hill in our backyard, and periodically listening to the NASCAR race, we managed to cut down a leaning and half dead Box elder tree.

We have a very old, unused concrete swimming pool in our backyard. Our plan is to remove the pool and eventually replace it with a smaller fiberglass pool. But until that time comes, the pool is a perfect burning pit.

Fire in the hole!!!

After accessing the situation, we decided that the best plan was to drop the tree directly into the pool. That plan eliminated having to carry, drag, and haul the wood unsuitable for fireplace burning to the fire pit (swimming pool). The tree was leaning to the northwest. The pool was directly to the west and the majority of the tree limbs were on the south side of the tree. We talked about where we thought Roger should cut out the wedge and how far above the wedge cut should he make the back cut. Roger placed himself on the south side which we felt was the direction that the tree would least likely fall. I stood far enough back, that no matter which way it fell, I was safe. No need for both of us to get hurt, someone needs to call 911. I watched the very top of the tree for movement and yelled to Roger when it started to move. The tree slowly fell directly to the west and the Lions lost. Again.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rock on.....

The rock (not Dwayne Johnson) is almost at it's final destination. Can ya smell what we're cooking?? Unless you are a wrestling fan, you won't understand that.

It was slow going and only moved a couple of inches with each ratcheting action of the 1 1/2 ton come along. In the end, we utilized a used car part and a car tool to complete the task.

Roger was able to get a Ford truck hood from the junk yard....I mean salvage yard. Truck hoods work best since they have a inner hood. Some of the small car hoods are just two hoods pressed together and are not as rigid as one with an inner hood. Two eye bolts were installed and our little skid was ready to haul. But first we needed to support one corner of the hood until it was free of the hole. We tried cement blocks and logs, but what worked the best was a floor jack. Unfortunately, we didn't have the all aluminum jack available (in the race car trailer) and had to lift the heavy jack to put it in the hole.
Once the rock was pulled onto the truck hood, Roger attached chains to the eye bolts and hooked everything to the trailer hitch of the cube van (race hauler truck). Slowly he pulled it up the hill. Thank God the cube van has a big block. As the saying goes....there's no replacement for displacement. Unless you are a gear head you won't understand that. When he couldn't get the rock any closer he disconnected the chain from the trailer hitch and moved the cube van out of the way.

Logs were placed around the trunk of a large pine tree to protect it from the chain that was attached to the come along. He then attached another length of chain to the eye bolts and slowly ratcheted the hood up the hill.

Inch by inch the hood riding rock made it's way up the hill. We called it quits for the day when Roger's arm and shoulder were completely exhausted.

The rock still needs to come off the hood. The way that it is resting right now is not how we (actually Roger) want it sitting. He thinks it would look better standing up. The plan to make that happen, involves the utility pole and another 1 1/2 ton come along. That should be interesting, I can't wait to see how he pulls that off.

All of this rock moving has made me realize that there is a strong possibility that the pyramids were not built by Egyptian slaves nor aided by aliens from a far away planet. They were built by little Hungarians with a come along and a truck hood. Archaeologists just haven't found the truck hood yet. "absence of evidence is not proof of absence" When they do.....they will have to rewrite all the history books. You can tell everybody you read it here first.

The Chase is over and Tony Stewart came in sixth overall for the season. The last several races were rather uneventful since the overall winner, Jimmy Johnson (Lowe's), essentially had a lock on the championship unless he broke or crashed. That was not to be. Maybe we will catch Tony at The Rumble in Fort
Wayne on December 28th and 29th.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Let's rock!!!

This past weekend while moving this......

We found this....

I'm sure more pieces will show up after it rains. From what I can tell, it appears to be several broken milk bottles (1 round, 1 square), a small tonic bottle, and a lot of miscellaneous pieces ranging from white to dark green.

No, we did not get the hostas planted BUT we did a lot of dirt moving and moved another large rock out to the hosta garden. Roger informed me that the rock he is currently ratcheting out of the ground must be placed somewhere close by "because it is #$%@*&# heavy to move very far". So I decided to take pity on him and we are only moving it about 30 feet...........uphill. This rock is in the lowest part of the property, so even if we moved it 30 inches, it would still be 30 inches uphill. Notice how I say "we"? See I figure if I include him when I say "we" planted roses etc., then I can be included when he moves rocks. It's only fair...right????

The weather is really starting to turn cold here. Today was a rather mild day but misty. I think we will be lucky to get a couple more outdoor days before we move indoors for the winter. I have been slowing working on stripping the sashes, re glazing, priming and painting. I am looking into replacing the current wooden storms with new wooden storms. Adam Architectural have wooden storms but the bottom portion has the screen permanently installed. I really want storm windows where the bottom portion is changeable between a screen and glass. This month's issue of Old House Journal has a article about wooden storms and lists several other sources for wooden storms. When you own a 2 story house, changing out wooden storms twice a year is not practical or safe. I know you bungalow people would be aghast but from a practical standpoint it's a no go. When maintaining a nearly 4000 sq ft home, you have to decide between practical and being historically correct. Some things weren't practical and that's is why we are now repairing and replacing rotted, painted shut, and non functioning windows. I'm trying to break that cycle and find a happy median between the two. Plus, I live in an area of high end homes. Certain things are expected of a home in this area. I am always amused by people who are anal about being historically correct but their 1850's farm house has heat, central air, 2+ fully functional bathrooms, and a laundry room with washer and dryer. One can't have it both ways. You're either historically correct or you are remodeling your home in an historic style. These homes fell into disarray for a reason. They were hard to maintain. Historically, old homes had knob and tube wiring and lead paint, are we suppose to use these also? Of course not. In today's fast pace lifestyle there is little time to maintain your home, let alone change out your home's storm windows twice a year. I work 6 days a week, minimum 10 hours a day with an hour commute both ways and my husband has the same schedule just different times. Changing out storm windows twice a year is not going to happen, especially since it is a two person job and we are only in the same place 1 day a week. And on that day....we move rocks. LOL

When we move back inside for the winter the first project is a return to the kitchen ceiling. We are half way through removing 1 layer of drywall, 1 inch thick plaster and wire mesh, and in some places old insulation and just plain grossness. We have encountered some old knob and tube which we are keeping our fingers cross is nonfunctional and just remnants left over from the PO rewiring. Then we'll rewire and add extra lighting. Over the years I have purchased some vintage light fixtures to use in the kitchen. Currently there is only 1 ceiling light. I plan to add 2 more and if I can find the correct light maybe one over the sink. Just the thought of all that dust gives me a sinus headache.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Realization is a bite in the asterik **

Well, yesterday I came to the stark realization that it is far easier to BUY 184 varieties of hostas, than it is is PLANT 184 varieties of hostas.

Roger and I spent at least an hour taking hosta after hosta out to the new "as of yet unnamed" hosta garden. Blaire, didn't you have a suggestion for a name??? I can't remember what it was "cuz I was sick."

I said I wasn't going to make anymore predictions about time frames for completing tasks at "The Gear" but I feel a Gone with the Wind moment coming on.

Here is a photo of me saying "as God is my witness, I'll have those hostas planted by Monday." **

And here is another photo of me running out to the mailbox. I look like I am in a hurry. Hmmmm, I must be expecting a package from eBay or maybe my next issue of Old House Journal.

** notice I didn't say which Monday.

My parents future home......

Several weeks after purchasing "The Gear", my Aunt Rosie, Uncle Carl and my parents took a tour of the property. When we arrived at the former pool bath house they speculated that with a little paint, flower boxes, and curtains it would make a perfect retirement home for my parents once they decided to down size. They also suggested a intercom system so they could buzz the "big house" when they needed a glass of water......"Jan Marie can you bring me a glass of water???"

Here are some photos from 2006.

This has lead to many questions, such as "when are you going to start working on "our" house?" Which is usually answered with, "I might have to raise your rent because I found that "your" house has a stone terrace." or "You know it's a duplex (has two rooms and two entry doors) and that will cost you extra." But they have informed me that is a good thing because they can each have their own room. I wonder if that means separate intercoms?????? Egads...they could both be buzzing me at the same time!!!!! "Bring me a glass of water, I dropped the remote, I need my medication, when is dinner????" Dinner??????

Well....Mom and Dad....mark your calender. Work has begun on your retirement home. Roger started cutting all the large junipers that were surrounding your future home. I've decided, because I am the decider, that I am taking down the center wall and creating a more open floor plan. I feel that this will make the 10 ft by 10 ft space feel like at least 12 ft by 12 ft. Nothing but the best for you guys.

Here's a little sneak peek at what it looked like this afternoon.

Don't pack your bags just yet.