Sunday, December 27, 2009

Catch Up

First off, happy holidays to all. We wish serenity, happiness, and peace to all who read this and even those who don't.

I think I mentioned we went on a whirl wind adventure around Thanksgiving that involved more time in the car than I like these days, but worth it for the people we saw and spent time with.

I finally took some photos of the new house and downloaded them. Here is a shot from the eating area looking at the couch and wood stove area. The couch is a little bigger than we would like, but it folds out into a bed which may be advantageous if we need to keep the fire going on really cold nights. ( Or when we have the house filled with friends and family, it's an extra place to sleep peeps.) It's all still a work in progress anyway.

As you can see, the window seat is far from being done. We threw some lawn furniture cushions there for now. In fact, that is where I am sitting right now to write this. hee hee.

(Jeff, the plant in front of the window is my new olive plant.)

Here is a look at the kitchen. I mentioned the island and there it is. Not finished. I threw the old countertop from the old house on top to make it functional for now. Sorry I didn't clean up much before these photos were taken. Don't tell Better Homes and Gardens. Still needed are the wall cabinets and something around the microwave.

For the week of Christmas we went to Cleveland to see Kent's family. Kara, Ethan and the baby were visiting so we finally got to meet Salix! She is a great baby. Didn't wake me up, so you gotta like that. Seriously, she's super cute and has a killer smile.

We went on several hikes in Northeast Ohio and with the snow on the ground they were true winter hikes. I think we saw 3 waterfalls in all and had lunch next to a bonfire. Dyn-o-mite.

Here's our nephew Kyle. He just turned 3. The cool thing about both our nipoti is that their parents take the kids on hikes and spend a lot of time in nature. These kids are going to have a great sense of the outdoors. I totally respect that and appreciate the values Keith and Pam and Kara and Ethan are instilling in their child.

Now the count down to the new year is here. I just need to get my books for next quarter before the kids come back and I am all set.

PS. The cool thing about moving is that you find things that you haven't seen or used in awhile. My latest thing is cassette tapes. Especially mixed tapes. I made these things like mad in the early to mid nineties. Welcome back Violent Femmes, Depeche Mode, Dead Milkman et. al.

OMG INXS just came on...sometime you kick, sometimes you get kicked.

Friday, December 18, 2009


We have been living in the new house since Thanksgiving and all is going well. The biggest change is that we are heating completely with wood. Kent has been scrounging around Athens for wayward wood for 2 years now and has done 99.9% of the splitting. Plus we have so much scrap around the house from the build, that it's a great way to clean that up too. So far, I cannot complain about the temperature of the house. And I am thermally challenged meaning I am intolerant of cold. But I have to say the house is warm. Even at 60 degrees it feels so much warmer than the old house. We have 4 great south facing windows that collect the heat from the sun on days where we are lucky enough to get it, and the brick wall around the stove holds heat well enough at night that we let the fire burn out through the night.

The routine is to get a nice hot fire going at night. Stock it full before bed and let it burn til' it's done. In the morning it's usually about 60-65. Very tolerable. If it is 65, I won't even start another fire until late afternoon, usually 4ish. Then start the process over. If it's cold enough in the morning to start a fire (and someone is going to be around to enjoy it), I'll start one. But I might let it burn slower, since the daytime temps and/or sun will heat the place up.


We don't even have shades on the windows yet. Once we install those (and we have to trim the windows first) We can lower them at night with the premise that they will help insulate the house some.

So I am optimistic for the winter. I know it's only December. We still have the sub zero days of February to get through. But we shall see. If we have to, we can supplement the heat with baseboards. Otherwise, I expect to save a lot of money by not heating the house with the old furnace.

Merry holidays to all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Living it up...

in the new house.

Even though the house isn't finished it is definitely liveable. New couch makes life cozy sitting by the fire and reading a book or surfing the internet.

Big news is that we had a wind storm on Wednesday and it blew over a tree in our neighbors yard. The tree took out our phone line, so we don't have a landline anymore. So if you have tried to call that number and it just rings, now you know.BUTToday, I changed that number to a cell phone to officially enter the 21st century and I will have my own cell phone. Kent is going to keep the old cell phone until he decides he really wants an Iphone. So you WILL be able to call the old landline number in about a week and reach us. And as always the 591 number still works.

The old house has been converted to a shop for more cutting and painting. Not a great space for it but it works. We'll see what happens after we are done with this house. May keep most of it, may raze it. May add on. Don't really want to think about it right now. Let's get this project done.

Enjoy the holidays everyone.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Goodness

Kent and I trekked to Cincy on Tuesday to visit with the parents and Jeff. We went to IKEA on Wednesday and I think I found my dream couch. If we get it, I'll post a pic and description. We did buy 8 sconces for $5 each. They are simple and light up. What else can you ask for. The CFL's were the same price as the sconces.

Thursday, we made a circuit of Cincinnati. We started for Kent's aunt and uncles around noon and spent most of the afternoon there. Traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, the famous sweet potato casserole, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, and more. So delish. Then we went to my aunt and uncles for more turkey, potatoes, etc, etc. A good day of eating.

Today, Jeff, Kent and I drove to Athens. Kent was invited to watch the OU football game from the president's viewing room. Although, I am not the biggest OU football fan, I did hear there would be food. Plus, if I am going to watch a football game in this weather, it sure as hell better inside where it's warm.

THE best reason to go to an OU football game. The marching 110.

We moved also moved stuff into the house. This includes the fridge, bed, and dressers. The fold out couch is in the Meistersized-bedroom (that means little for those out of the loop) so Jeff will have a cozy place to sleep. (He is right above the fire for crying out loud.) We also put a desk and small dresser in there last week.

After going to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner, we are relaxing by the fire. It's only 9 but feels much later. Maybe I can convince these guys to hit the hay early.

Tomorrow, we are off again to Maryland to see Keith, Pam and Kyle. More driving but worth it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

getting closer

We had a bit of a lull in the way of getting things done on the house, but since I had this week off from school work, progress has resumed.

Last weekend started with the prepping of the floors for the finish. We chose to use a new polyurethane product made from whey, the byproduct of cheese. This lowers the VOC's in the product and no it doesn't smell like cheese in our house. We applied the stuff with a 10" wool cloth and the job went quick. So fast I only got these few pictures of Kent. Well, really it was a two person job. I would pour the stuff on the floor and then Kent would spread it on. We sanded and swept and applied it again for a second coat. We'll apply another coat or two.

Kent, stirring the goo.

Application was easy peasy.

This week, Danny and I installed most of the kitchen. We transferred the IKEA cabinets from the old house into the new after Danny built the base for them. Then it was time to build the support platform for the counter. We are using some old tile that we found at the Habitat store in Lancaster. They are terra cotta tiles made in Italy with an elaborate pattern on them. It's a bit ornate for our humble home, but we like them enough.

Here's the kitchen in progress.

As it stands today.

Now if only the plumber/electrician would show up to hook everything up.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

This one's for you.

I know. You've missed our ramblings and photo documentation of our house building project. I hope this post lives up to the long hiatus.

Yesterday, Kent's parents stopped for a visit on their way home from SC to Cleveland. The visit was short, since they couldn't find a hotel in Athens due to Parents' Weekend at OU. We made the most of it with a home cooked dinner and fireside chats in the new digs. We also had a pumpkin carving fest with the neighbs.

Here is a contemplative Courtney eyeing the possibilities of the empty canvas that is the pumpkin.

Kent and Pops enjoying the fire. It wasn't that cold, but a fire is still novel to us, so we build them all the time. Plus, if you have seen our yard, you would understand why.

Kent with the folks.

Tony made an ode to Pinhead pumpkin. I don't like horror flicks, so I can only imagine that this is a good likeness.

Random bathroom shot. The upstairs john is fully functioning. And to think of it, so is the downstairs (though it doesn't have a door.)

We don't have hot water, but if you are lucky, we will by halloween.

Oh what a fright, when thy pumpkins rule thy night. (Insert your own scary HAHAHA AH AHA HAHAAA.)

Chillaxin' on the couch. This could be you, if you come play Halloween in Athens.

Pumpkin guts. MMMMM good.

The folks again.

Happy Halloween in case we don't see all our lovely friends this year!

(Play Ultimate.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Getting things done

Busy week so far.

We put down pink foam insulation and wood strips in preparation for laying the floor.

Below is a picture of Kenny Meeks, the guy who milled the flooring for us. He also sold us the flooring for the upstairs. Meeks lumber is located on the Athens/Meigs County border. It's a pretty neat setup if you ever want to check out a lumber mill. 

We got the floor down in two days with the help of Piper and his amazing hammer contraption. I can't explain it and if I get a photo I'll post. Let's just say that this floor went down waaaayyyyyy quicker than the upstairs. Now we just need to sand and polyurethane. 

The electricity has been hooked up. Woo hoo! Now we have pick out lighting fixtures. That is a pain. I am growing to hate deciding on design features. Maybe because they all cost money. And I am a cheapskate.

The brick wall behind the woodstove is finished. (Okay, that was done last week.)

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Here are some pics of the house...specifically - 

The pic above is a close up of our new pine-trim around one of the windows upstairs.  Lori and Danny worked on the windows, and they have a coat of water based polyurethane.  It dries quickly, and does not have an odor.  


Kent bringing in bricks.

This pic shows some of the progress of the living room / wood stove and brick work that we have begun.  The walls are have been painted, after the drywall was taped and mud...    The wood stove will be placed on the brick floor in the corner, with good old used Athens Block bricks acting as a heat sink.

Close up of Kent stacking bricks....Athens Block recycled and given a new life.  We love the variation in colors, reds and deep purples.  

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

House and more

Hello to all-

This weekend was filled with nice weather and fun visits from some friends of ours.  

We had visits from Doug, Gina and Owen, who had been vacationing down south, and stopped by to see their friends in Athens, including Beth and Andy and Sophia...we also received a visit from Dennis Miller, mechanic/woodworker/ Triumph motorcycle guru ...Lori's oldest brother Keith and his wife Pam and their son Kyle also stopped by en-route to their home in Maryland after visiting Lori's parents and friends in Cincinnati. 
Included in this email are some pics... and interestingly enough, as I write this email, I am watching a PBS brief on the history of digital media, including a discussion of the KODAK company.  Kodak engineers designed the first digital camera in 1976, and sat on the technology.  ...not wanting to cut into their own profit of film. 

So here are some pics:  

Aaron and his daughter Kylie shortly after Jed and Jen were married....waiting on the photographer and formal picture taking...

Our buddy Jim helping us find a wire that got buried by the drywall, with his metal detector...

 Kent and Lori, with the new couple Jed and the reception which was held downtown Cleveland, The Flats.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ohio Tour

Hello to all!

Lori and I returned safely from our long weekend travels around the state of Ohio.  Our trip was a whirlwind frenzy of visits with family and friends.  

Whenever Lori and I spend time on the road in Ohio, especially when we go from one end of the state to the other, I am reminded of my 7th grade trip, Ohio Tour.  Our school loaded up charter buses and sent us off on a historical trip around Ohio.  We visited president's houses, the state capital - Columbus, OSU campus, Thomas Edison's home, and a historic village or two.  I also recall a wicked sock-ball fight in the hotel room, in which my fellow deviants and I threw smelly balled-up-socks back and forth at each other.  We were big fans of dodgeball in gym class, and had tons of energy to burn off at night, after spending so much time sitting on the bus.   

I digress... Lori and I drove to Cincinnati Thursday after work, and visited with her Brother Jeff, who was in from Italy, and Linda & Barry.  Jeff experienced another mishap with his luggage, which was left in Rome by the airline.  Ridiculous.  Lori, Jeff and I ran an errand or two together, then popped over to her grandma Nonna's house for a short visit.  I think that Jeff should win an award for hooking up a new DVD player to Nonna's TV in record time.  ...and he had the remote figured out too.  Friday night, Lori and I drove up to West Chester, north of Cincy, for my Aunt Peggy and Uncle Sterlin's 50th wedding Anniversary.  I had a good time visiting with extended family and catching up with my cousins, who I had not seen in forever.  The celebration was held at a nice country club, which served a buffet style dinner that included pasta with choices of sauces: pesto, marinara, and alfredo.  There was also a taco station. ?!?  with a big bowl of guac.

Saturday morning we drove like mad up I-71 from Cincy to Cleveland for Jen and Jed Thomas' wedding.  The wedding was in Broadview Heights, and the reception was down town at Windows on the River, which is in the same building as the Improv and Rock Bottom Brewery.  Again, it was great to catch up with friends, dance, and eat yummy food.  I had not been down town in a long time and I enjoyed seeing the flats, the Cuyahoga river, the bridges, and Cleveland skyline.  Years ago, when I was in high school, we would take fieldtrips down town with our Art Club.  Cliff Novak, my art teacher, loved down town, and relished taking us there for photography, painting and drawing.  

Sunday, we spent some time with Bill and Pat in their Fairport Harbor home.  Lori and I entertained the idea of sneaking in a quick swim at the beach on Lake Erie, but it was too too too cold.  Surprising for August.  We caught up with my folks, read the Sunday Cleveland Plain Dealer (always a treat to read a big-city paper).... and then hit the road back to Athens.

Safe travels.  No hiccups.  Photos soon.     

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mid-August update

Hello - Kent here...

We continue to tackle the building process, one board at a time.  Sometimes, it is one nail at a time, or one cut at a time.  

I think about the house project often, and want to tackle new, daily projects....however, life often dictates the tempo.  I am not always able to give the house the attention I would like too.... For example,  today, I had good intentions to leave work a little early, and jump into finishing up the drywall.  We  are preparing for Brian, the dry-wall finisher, to work on the upstairs bedrooms tomorrow.  However, at work A few things were out of my hands today, of which I had to address.  Thus postponing my departure from work.   I did manage to get home in time to work for a couple of hours before my 5:30 meeting of the Athens Municipal Arts Commission (AMAC) meeting.  

The house is looking more and more like a house, as my neighbor Jim C. has been known to say recently.  

Here are some more pics of the place.  In this picture you can see that we have introduced some organic curves to the place, to help break up the linear aspect.  We installed or cut out an arched doorway, along with an arched inset, which will either be a bookshelf / art display.

ps Lori had a new idea for a blog...titled "You always do this to me..."

Here are a few examples of this mythical blog:
A) You always forget to re-insert the flash-card into the camera after you are done downloading the I helplessly and ineffectively attempt to take pictures.

B) You always lose your wallet or keys and I have to help you retrace your steps to find them.

C) You always move by stuff...around the house,  and I can't find it.

Friday, August 07, 2009


With the insulation done the next step is hanging drywall. To me, this isn't so bad. Remember when your geometry teacher said you would need geometry. Well, this is it. Squares and rectangles are nothing until you get to the stairway and angles enter the picture. But I liked it! Not that I was great at it, but it sure beats slinging a hammer. Of course, I hear the mudding and taping is the nasty part of drywall. Good thing we're going to farm that out!

Here I am making a skilled cut with the saw.

Too bad Kent's bicep is covered as he flexes it to insert a drywall screw.

This shot is a close up of the insulation. I love how it just packs right in there. And stays. This beautiful gray stuff is going to keep us toasty warm this winter.

If you're in the neighborhood, stop by and we'll let you help out on the latest project!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Insulation? Done.

So glad this is done. It was a big step to get here. We had to be sure every electrical accessory was installed as well as anything that would be drilled, placed, or replaced in an outside wall because once the insulation is in, it is a pain in the arse to get in to it.

We had insulation blown in the attic and walls. The celloluse insulation is blown into the empty cavities with a little adhesive and moisture. Then, they shave it with a special tool to make it flush with the studs. It dries, or sets, to become a solid mass. Then drywall can be put in place.

It's a real mess. Cellulose is blowing everywhere, but they vacuum up the excess at the same time and shoot it out again. Ingenious.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Food for thought

This is one of my favorite meals lately. I raid the garden for whatever is up and edible. In this case it was kale, garlic and onions.                                                  

I saute that with cooked mild italian sausage that I get from a local pig farmer. Then voila! Instant meal. 

Speaking of gardens, here is the tops of my tomato plants after a visit from Bambi. This is war. Prepare to fight.

Friday, July 03, 2009


We have been installing electrical wiring and other electrically miscellany that isn't very exciting nor picture friendly.  So please excuse our lack of photos in that area. 

But this week we was spent hanging drywall. Now that's exciting stuff. Very photo friendly and it also makes you feel like you did something. Wires everywhere don't give you the same sense of accomplishment as drywall. Drywall says the walls are done. Time to move in. We also installed most of the wood ceiling in one of the bedrooms. We should be able to finish that this weekend.

Here's PJ moving the heavy stuff. 

Jim is cutting a hole for the outlet. Precision is very important. 

Drill baby drill!

The weather cooperated too, with temperatures in the 70's. This is the coolest July I can remember.  Tomorrow is free day at the pool, and it's way to cold for that. Shameful.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


To our home. We installed a real door on our house. Nothing exciting but it's better than the plywood door we had. Also, on the home front, we've been working on electricity. Wiring the house for every light bulb, outlet and appliance is more work than one might think. We have to decide the location of everything now. 

This weekend was spent on the yard. I spent the afternoon with the chipper and I finished the pile of limbs and brush from the ice storm 4 months ago. I don't know if I blogged about this, but we lost a lot of limbs off the pines when we had that ice storm last winter. In April I began the chipping process but was interrupted when the chipper broke. It spit out a few metal pieces and wouldn't start again. Not good. Our neighbor Jim fixed it and we can finally finish the chipping job. 

Kent split wood in anticipation of the frigid winter temperatures. I suppose thinking about frigid winter temperatures is one way to keep cool, but I don't suppose it works.

We also spent about an hour or more on Skype this morning. So if you have Skype look us up. loriandkent is our name. Our neighbor Tony just bought a new Mac and we skyped Jeff in Italy. We introduced Tony's cat and dog to Jeff's cats. I don't think they noticed each other, but what other cats and dogs have international friends?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things I Like

Oprah does something like this in her magazine, but I don't think she has a patent on the idea. 

Things I am enjoying right now:

Homemade Granola: Thanks Mike for this lovely idea. I throw some in the oven when I am making something else. Using the energy to the max. Plus it's cheap and easy and delish.

Gocce vinegar: Jeff brought this back from Brindisi and it is divine. I never thought a vinegar would make an impact on me, but let's just say this is one more reason the Italians are the best in the world when it comes to food. (Sorry, France, India, and anyone else who may disagree)

A handful of raspberries fresh from my yard: These vines are compliments of Molly and Jason. They gave me the canes last year and already this year they are out of control. I may need to move them once the house is done, though, I didn't know that they would get so tall and gangly. 

To add to the berry frenzy, I have also been picking mulberries from various trees in the city. I made a cobbler and mulberry scones last week. 

I just realized that all my favorites things are food, so let's add a non food item. 

Weeding and mulching the ArtsWest flower garden. I normally don't weed my own garden but when a neighbor asked if I wanted to help, I said yes. ArtsWest is a city run arts center that is on the west side. The city dug up a space last year and planted a bunch of perennials, but there hasn't been much else done to it. So we picked up the slack, pulled the weeds and began mulching. I even planted a few of my own ground cover plants to hopefully prevent weeds in the future. 

Monday, June 15, 2009

Another Poultry Days

Kent and I went to Versailles for the annual chicken festival with a frisbee problem. We only played one day so that we could work on the house on Sunday. Despite going 0-fer on Saturday it was great to hang out with fellow alumni that I only see this time of year. 

Daron, Sean, Kent, Rick, and Tim enjoying a moment after the USA-Canada game. The quintessential OU alumni. These guys are legends. 

A team picture. We won the "Terra chip" award that Ryan is holding.

After playing the golf team from Grand Haven, MI, they made us play a wacky game of hit the golf ball in a basket attached to a bike helmet. They picked Ryan to hit the golf balls and me to wear the helmet. Unfortunately they wouldn't let Sutee (the golf pro) play this game. Otherwise we would have dominated!!

until next year...