Monday, October 03, 2011

End of an era?

Tomorrow I (Lori) start a new full time job in the admissions department at Ohio University. A few things may come to mind here.

First, let's look at the full time part. I have never worked full time in my life. I came close with a few summer jobs, but it doesn't count when it only lasts two and half months. And technically, I did work full time at the farm for the past year, but it was 37 1/2 hours a week and that included lunch. This job is 40/week and it doesn't include the hour lunch. So that is nine hours at the site.

Second, the admissions department. Yeah, it has nothing to do with any of my degrees, but that so what. Isn't that typical. Getting a degree is more about the process, right? The Krebs Cycle only has limited applications.

and Third, tomorrow... is... Tuesday. Why would I start on a Tuesday? Because my boss is so cool, when I told him I would be coming back super late from Milwaukee on Sunday night (really it was Monday morning at 3 AM, yeah, that sucked) for an ultimate tournament, he was fine with me starting on Tuesday instead Monday. Yeah, that's what I am talking about.

I am looking forward to getting back into a routine. These past two months were nice and all to get things done, but I am ready for a.) something to do everyday b.) know what day of the week it is, and c.) get a real paycheck.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Deconstructing History

We are now in the deconstructing phase of the kitchen of the old house. This has been a rather interesting period since we are discovering more and more about the house and how it transformed.
For instance, after removing the aluminum siding we found another layer of siding. We anticipated this, but what we didn't expect was to find that a door used to be on the driveway side of the house. You can kind of see where it would have been in the photo to the left. there is a line going down from the window on the left and then a line under the right window. The door would have been there and this siding was added after the fact. This also explains the stoop in front of this side of the house.
Once we tore into the inside of the house, this door was confirmed and also changed the way I thought this addition was added on. I thought that it was added on in full without much changes back in the fifties when water was probably connected to the house. However, there were at least two renditions of this small addition that I can think of.
The first wall we tore into was the wall between the kitchen and bath. It was a standard plaster wall. A hammer and crow bar worked well to pull down the plaster and rip off the wood. We saved the wood for kindling. The picture below shows that wall.

Then we tore into the outside wall. Two things here. One the plaster was put one with a metal screen instead of wood. And two, there was bead board tongue and groove underneath it all. It is actually kind of prettyand in good shape and I would like to save it for use somewhere. And then when I pulled down the wall perpendicular to it, which also used the metal screen, siding from the original house was exposed. The interesting thing here is that the siding is painted the same color as the bead board making me believe that the siding and the bead board served as the interior walls of the new addition. Now think about this.
The bead board forms and straight line from ceiling to floor, right. The siding however, is not going to be a straight line, siding is lapped so that water will run down it and not up into that last board. So what did they do back then to account for this gap between the two walls? They shoved fabric in the space between the two walls and called it a day. Gotta love it.
I then went around to the other walls in the kitchen where we housed the washer and dryer (if you remember tha). The part up against the bathroom was plaster with wood lath. Which is good because that is more kindling. The outside wall that faces our neighbors is metal and then, I am banging along the wall to loosen the plaster and the sledge goes right through it all. Here we find two cavities that have insulation in them and are covered with drywall (hence the easy holes).
What the heck is with this? When did this get put in and why only two cavities. So something must have happened here that required them to bust into these two cavities only. The water heater was located here but I don't know why they would have taken a wall down to install a water heater. I sure didn't need to take the wall down to UNinstall the water heater.
At least I am being entertained with mystery while tearing the house down.
Here is another photo of the laundry area. Still finding the green bead board. No other possible window placements have been found. So if the original addition only had that one door and no windows, then I can see why they decided to add two windows and change the door location.
Other fun facts about the house as we deconstruct. Extensive termite and water damage. Woo Hoo! Actually we knew it had been sprayed for termites when we bought it. But the water damage behind the tub is new news. I don't think the tub leaked while we lived there.
So there you have it. The first report of the deconstruction phase.

Monday, August 29, 2011


In some ways Italians have it figured out. In other ways, not so much.

Take plastic. They put everything in plastic. I don't understand how they got attached to this means of packaging and distribution. When you buy something that is processed in a factory and sold, such as crackers, it is individually wrapped in plastic and then wrapped again as a whole. When you buy something at the store, say cheese, it is wrapped in plastic. Fruit and vegetables bought from the market are put in plastic. Even if you have your own cloth bag, they put it in plastic first. Just put the damn fruit in my bag. (In Italy, you don't handle the fruit at the market, only the vendor can touch it. So you say how many kilos you want, they pick it out and bag it and then you pay.) The first time we bought prosciutto they put it in a plastic container. It was very pretty , but the second time we bought it, they wrapped it in paper. Much better. More of that, per favore.

There is definitely a sense of disposability within this country. Recycling is available but I am not sure how much of it is used. I see plenty of metal, plastic and cardboard in the trash. I wonder if it is because Italy has been plundered for a very long time and there are very little places of natural wonder. Kids do not go and play in the woods because there aren't any woods. Every inch, just about, has been planted or developed. Their beaches are about the only thing that are still somewhat natural. And let me tell you, they take care of the beaches.

Maybe that is the key. Tell them plastic will ruin their sea if they don't curtail their use of it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


With out a job, I tend to putter around the house. Which is good because there are many things to still get done.

This past weekend, Kent was at a frisbee tournament. My team didn't go, so I was home alone. This scares Kent sometimes because he never knows what he is going to come home to. Tee hee.

I decided to spruce up the walls and put art and photos up. I have to admit that this is scary. That first hole in the wall is treacherous when you were the one installing it, painting it and the like. We worked so hard to make it perfect. (Well, not really, by now there are marks all over from moving in and life. That's probably why it has taken almost two years to do this.) Once, I got over that first hole, the rest was easy. Kind of like killing your first chicken. (I can blog about that some other time.)

In the stairway, I used the time honored tradition of hanging photos of the family there. I had a few collages from the old house, but got creative and resourceful and was able to fill the space quite well. I am happy with it and now I can see my friends and family every time I go up and down the stairs.

I also put up art in the guest bedroom. I don't have a picture of it, but it is big. I don't know if it will stay but for now it is taking up a lot of real estate. In the smaller office room, I hung some art that we have had for years. It was hanging in the old house. One is a serial piece from an art school friend and the other is a large painting by this guy who used to have an art shop uptown. I think we paid 60 bucks for this piece and at the time I thought it was exorbitant. Now, I can't believe we paid that, not because it is so awesome but because it is a large piece of art and materials cost more than that.

Downstairs is the hardest room to outfit. There are so many windows and distractions that there really isn't that much room for art. A photographer friend gave us a panoramic photo last year of McKees junkyard and that has been hanging since then, but this weekend I put up this series of fish sketches done by Kent many years ago. The photo doesn't show it very well, but the drawings are colorful fish that exist only in Kent's mind (and now on paper). They are fun and I like them.

My ultimate goal is to get photos from our various trips up on the wall. Websites like Snapfish and Shutterfly (and others I presume) can put you photo on canvas for an excellent presentation. We did this years ago for friends that went to Italy with us. It is still a bit expensive, but still cheaper than most art.

It is still a work in progress and could change at any time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


*First of all, I want to apologize for some of the details of this blog. I am going to use it for reference later in the year.

Well, I finished my year of Americorps VISTA, and now I join the ranks of the unemployed. But don't worry, I can't take any of your hard earned tax dollars since I am not even able to file for unemployment. (Part of the VISTA credo, we pay you shit ((10K/year) and then leave you to the wolves) But alas, I have been applying everywhere, telling everyone, and hoping something comes up.

However, this has given me ample opportunity to get stuff done at the house. When people ask if the house is done, I want to say, will it ever be done? We did finish the siding on July 4th, so at least it looks done from the outside. We still want to put a porch on the second st. side (is that the front or the back? I don't know) but first we have to tear off the kitchen of the old house. That means shifting what is in that house. So that is one project.

In the house, I finished the floor to the pantry. It was just various sized plywood that I fit together so that I could put the freezer in there. Since the freezer was empty (was being the operative word) I moved it out, bought some pine tongue and groove at our new Habitat Restore for cheap, installed it, and gave 2 coats of poly. Then I promptly moved the freezer back in and turned it on. Which leads me to my second big project of the past week.

Preservation of food. I can and I freeze depending on what it is. Canning tomatoes is easy and tasty when they come out of the jar. Other vegetables I like to freeze, i.e. broccoli, beets, beans, corn, peaches and berries. I have been going to the market and produce auction to buy large quantities of produce to put up for the winter months. Yesterday and today I canned 42 quarts of tomatoes. That was from 3 bushels that I bought at the auction. The tomatoes were $30 and I only needed to buy one more pack of 12 jars for $10, so my total cost was $1/quart. That doesn't include energy costs, but if I were to purchase the tomatoes over the coarse of winter, I wouldn't include gas costs, so we'll call it even there.

I also froze 3 pecks of peaches. These will be awesome in the winter when the only fresh fruit I can get locally are apples. I also froze some peach sauce, which is a first for me. I usually just freeze slices. We'll see how that goes. I froze a bunch of berries too earlier in the summer, and canned some strawberry jam (sugar free, wahoo).

Kent and I have been hard at work gathering wood for the winter. After two seasons of heating with wood, we are still trying to get a handle on how much wood we need. I will say that I like burning certain types of wood at certain times of the year. There is nothing like a oak and locust fire in the middle of winter.

This is the boring part of the post where I am going to describe where wood is stacked so that I can come back to it later in winter and know what piles of wood are.

Stack on Karen's wall: Locust that we got in early spring when they put the sidewalk in behind our house.
Stack near telephone pole: Trees that went down in last September's tornado and sat until late July when we cut it up, took it home and split it. (About 1 1/2 cords)
Stack on our wall: First layer is the cherry tree that went down in our extra lot. Don't know when it fell, but we cut it up in the beginning of August. On top of that is the wood we got from B. on N. Congress. It was cut in April, not sure what the wood it. In front of that is the groovy wood that we got from the guy on the corner. Not sure what the wood is, but was cut early in the year.

Okay, thanks for reading all the way through.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

One down, one to go.

This is another summer of weddings and I, Lori, have been asked to officiate two, both of which are on the beach. One of which I completed this past weekend, the other will be in a month in Florida.

We went to Ocean Isle Beach in North Carolina where the water was glorious and the house was kick ass. Staying on the beach was awesome. The wedding was right outside our door, the reception at the beach house next door and we shared the place with a crew of OU frisbee alums which made it for fantastic times and nonstop laughs.

We cruised into town late Wednesday night after hitching a ride with Meister. Waking up Thursday called for a run to stretch the tight legs, but then it was all beach, all day. It has been a long time since I have been able to spend quality time at the ocean and I milked every minute of it. Thursday night meant rehearsal and dinner. This was my first time working with a wedding planner and I have to say I liked it. In the past, I have had to run that part of the show, but this let me off. I just followed orders. Easy peasy.

Friday was more fun in the ocean and hanging out with friends, but confusion over the start time made for interesting planning for the day. Also I was mic'ed for the ceremony which saved me from shouting over the roaring waves to be heard. Wedding and reception went well, food was delicious. Plus if we got tired, or wanted to change, we could go to our beach house next door and get comfortable. Then go out again for dancing and merrimaking. Truly convenient.

As if we didn't get enough of each other the whole mess of us (Mahoneys, Breglias, Prudiches, and Meister) drove to the Prudich's for more socializing where we were met by the Halsmers. (It was also a way to split of the driving back to Ohio.)

Here are a few phots from the weekend. Kent has more on his iphone and maybe I will get those some day.

Tim and Connor on the beach.

Adrienne before the wedding.

The ladies of the wedding party

The ceremony

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Another weekend of work, but that's good.

Sunday night. 7:45 PM. And I am bushed.

Came home from work on Friday to find Kent on the ladder putting up siding. I helped him with the last few pieces before our neighbor came over and convinced us to go to the nearby elementary school playground. It was 60 degrees and about an hour of daylight left. He convinced us that we needed some play time.

So we grabbed the frisbee, he brought his skateboard, and off to the school we went. It's just down the street a bit and we relished the ability to walk in sneakers instead of boots and not wear a heavy coat.

Tony took to the smooth concrete on the skateboard, and we started throwing on the field before we decided to up the stakes a bit. We tried to throw the disc between various metal bars on the monkey bars but turned out to be a bad idea. After a few hard hits on the metal bars, the frisbee decided it had had enough. It split. Okay, on to the next game.

Someone left a soccer ball on the field, so we started kicking that around. Man, I haven't done that in a while. Surprised I didn't pull a muscle, but all came out fine. Tony joined us, too, and we just kept it simple. Short, soft passes to each other. After enough of that we used the playground items properly and climbed around like we were nine again. But I'm not, and my hands couldn't take the hanging from those tiny bars. Yowzers, I remember getting callouses right where my hands now hurt. Eh, it was fun anyway.

Getting dark and time to head home. The neighbors were coming over for pizza and midnight madness, so I needed to prepare. It was a fun night with everyone, though low key.

Kent went to work for a bit on Saturday and I took the opportunity to clean the house somewhat thoroughly. Somewhat, because I didn't do the bathrooms. I had meant to but I forgot and then noticed when I brushed my teeth that night. Oh well, it will have to wait. I also got into putting up shelves in the closet downstairs. The framing is open inside the closet so I installed some pieces of wood to make shelves for my canning projects. I canned 27 jars of tomatoes this year and now I have a handy place to store them. The chest freezer, that is full of other veggies I preserved from the fall, is also in this closet so it is my handy place to store my preserved produce. I also put up a bunch of hooks in there too, for hanging our (mostly my) bags.

This is the closet under the steps. I put in shelves between the stud framing. Not unique, I know, but helpful nonetheless.

Sunday was siding again. And boy did we make use of the sunshine. We got out there before 10 AM and continued straight through to sunset. We took a short break for food around 1:30, but the good news is that the whole west side is now done. That was the toughest side because the peak is probably 25-30 feet in the air and we don't really have the best ladders for the job and the ground on that side is super uneven. I don't even want to go into our getups for this because our mothers read this and they don't need to know. Just know that all went well!

That's Kent. Waaaaayyyyy up there on the ladder.

So close.

So only the north-side of the house left to side. Should be done by 2012, right?!