Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fun with Sewage

A little present from the City of New Albin:

They're flushing our sewers this month. The truck finally got around to my street. Barry told me to keep checking the basement floor drain, and it seems to be okay, but the main floor toilet keeps delivering special little high-velocity surprises. I don't think I want to go into too much detail, and I don't think YOU want me to, either. But it's not a great day to be a work-at-home mom.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Trying to Live with my Kitchen

Our kitchen needs to be gutted and rebuilt from scratch, but that's years and years down the road for us, so I am trying to live with what I have, which is

a) horrible 1970s patterned vinyl floor covering that just about blinds you, and if it doesn't, slowly drives you insane, a la Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper crossed with the patterned carpet at the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's The Shining

b) crumbling plaster and a hole where a doorway used to be (it's only closed permanently on the other side, the kitchen side has studs)

c) the ugliest cabinets you ever did see, made of warping particle board frames and PLASTIC (yes, you read that right) drawers that are falling apart.

There is nothing I can do about a) and b) for now, but I have been battling c) for quite awhile. I've been mending the drawers every time they crack but still some have disintegrated completely. The cabinets were an ucky dark woodgrain fake color until I painted them white a couple of years ago; I painted the doors and drawer fronts (those that had survived) yellow, added strawberry decals to the doors and put on drawer pulls in crystal glass. That looked okay for about 4 months, then they got grubby too, plus I didn't do a very good job of getting the doors back on the cabinets and they were sagging and wouldn't stay closed.

So last weekend I lost my temper with my kitchen and ripped all the doors and hardware off, painted all the drawer fronts a bright cherry gloss red and instead of cabinet doors I made curtains out of a couple of red and white gingham check bedsheets I'd bought at the Salvation Army (The Company Store donates lots of returns/irregulars to the SA and Goodwill stores here and you can get some real deals). I can now live with my kitchen for awhile longer! Barry said he'd make me some fake drawer fronts to stick in the holes where the deceased drawers used to be.

I'm thinking of watching the Salvation Army store for more of those sheets and adding more curtains to the butcherblock counter (8 feet long, mounted on a commercial steel frame, came out of a deli that was going out of business).

Of course everything clashes with my horrible vinyl floor, but I pretend not to notice, and just hand out Dramamine tablets to people as they enter the room for the first time.

Miss B's New Job

Miss B had her dream job fall into her lap last week. Our little city library has hired two college students to work this summer. One of them was on vacation, so our friend Lisa, who is also chairwoman of the library board, asked Miss B if she would like to temp there, and possibly pick up more hours later too. Miss B had a wonderful time and by all reports did a good job, too. The only problem I see is that she is so young that some of the noisier, rowdier patrons don't feel she has a right to tell them to be quiet or to kick them out of the library for sheer orneriness, but other than that, it went well. She will probably be able to continue to fill in for the college students here and there throughout the summer and then in the fall when they go back to school she can apply for regular work. Our library is only open from 4:00-7:00 p.m. on weekdays. How perfect is that for a student? She can go there straight from the schoolbus when school is in session.

I'm very happy for her, and thankful that Lisa thought of her. We wouldn't have even thought of having her apply on her own.

Father's Day

We celebrated Father's Day a day early by going canoeing on the Upper Iowa River, a stretch that we hadn't gone down before. We went with The Other Barry and Lisa and 3 of their kids. It was really a gorgeous day out there on the river, and we only saw one other party until we came to our landing. About 10 minutes after landing the canoes, we got a quick drencher of a thunderstorm; we helped some other parties who were dashing for cover to get their boats up out of the river before they got struck by lightning. Then the sun came back out and that was that.

Barry took a nap after we got home, then got up and watched his Saturday night sci-fi shows. He said it was a perfect day.

As for Father's Day presents, he said he wanted Romex wire to wire his study. Not an exciting gift, but after I priced it, I realized it was a substantial one. Eek! That stuff has trebled in price in about a year! Evidently commodities prices are up so high that it's hitting everything, and after all, Romex is about half copper and the other half insulation. Anyway, he got his wish. He's making a study in the basement that will be his own place where nobody can go without an invitation, nobody can steal his stapler and forget to return it, nobody can start a project and not finish it, nobody can leave dirty snack dishes (nobody but him, that is). He's never had a space like that before.


There is a lot of animal life out and about right now: Lots of mothers feeding their babies, lots of young animals that aren't experienced with traffic. So we are trying to be careful and not hit anyone. Friday evening we were out driving in the country and within a mile stretch we saw first one mama raccoon and two rather large fat babies trying to cross the highway, and then a second mama with three babies of her own, somewhat smaller than the first two. So adorable.

Then Saturday morning on the street near our house we found a sad sight: A female slider turtle with a shell the size of a platter that someone had driven over. She was trying to find a place to lay her eggs when she died. That's as specific as I want to get. I cleaned her up with a shovel. That had to be deliberate; as my friend Al commented, you have to try to hit a turtle. It's not like they scamper out in front of your car.

Demolition in Progress

The Evangelical Free brethren began tearing down Loretta's house this weekend. They are doing a very careful job, not just knocking it down with a backhoe or something. They're taking it down board by board. First came the asbestos shingles, then all the windows. It's now wide open to the weather. From what I understand, they don't actually own the property yet, as there is some law that says you can only tear down one house per year, so they are tearing down this house while the property still belongs to the Yeomans, and tearing down the other house as their own property.

Since Darlene and Gene Yeoman had already given us permission to be on the property and to take anything that we could use before the house came down, we went over there yesterday afternoon and saw the basement of the house for the first time. It's a wonderful basement, very deep, nice high ceiling - and poured concrete! The beams look good, too. We feel kind of sick about it. Had we known the foundation was so solid, we might have been willing to pay more for the property. Too late now. Now it'll just be filled in and eventually will be a parking lot.

Oh well.

Loretta is not very pleased with us. She wanted us to buy the house and we disappointed her when we did not try harder to do so. But this really is going to be ideal for everybody involved (everybody but us, that is) - Darlene and Gene get more money than they would from us, Loretta has her nice safe apartment, and the church will have a permanent home. And we'll end up with some pretty nice neighbors, so we're not doing too badly either. It's just... well, I hate to see old houses torn down, and I had such hopes that we could buy the property dating back to before we ever bought our place. Plus the church is taking down trees. They had mercy on a couple of them when I looked stricken at the thought, but now they are murmuring that the rest will have to come down, too.

What's a churchyard without shade trees?


Oh well. Again.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Keehawks Shirt on CafePress.com

Lil Miss A designed a Keehawks logo one day last fall. I uploaded the design to CafePress and we just had a kids' hoodie sweatshirt made up with her drawing. It arrived today and it is so cute!

The shirt can be found here.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Last Day of School

Remember this?

Well, here they are today, several inches taller, it seems: