Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Funny what you can get accomplished when the sun is out

Yes, we had a beautiful day on Sunday and that is saying alot because it has been a very mild winter. Maybe it was the time change.

Whatever it was, we cleaned out the mud room and gave it a fresh coat of paint. We want to lay tile down and thought we would paint while we didn't have to worry about the floor. While that was drying, we tackled the deck project.

When we built the deck, three years ago, we had the posts in place, but didn't finish the job with any real railings. We did attach lumber on the tops of the posts as a temporary way to keep people over five feet tall from falling off, but that didn't make our friends with children feel any better. We took off the minimal pieces of wood and secured 2x4 pieces of treated lumber to the tops of the posts. These will act as railings. Next, we need to decide on how to finish off the top. I am leaning toward white oak, which is what the floor is made of.

On a side note, a few months ago, my parents replaced their deck with that recycled plastic product. Their contractor took care to save the 2x10 pieces of treated wood so that we could use them. At the time, we didn't have a real purpose laid out for this lumber, but we only have three of the original ten that we garnered. It has turned out to be a good score as we used four of them on this project alone.

We still need to add lower railings in. I think we are going to go for the industrial look and use metal conduit. It is a compromise on what Kent wants and what I want. I won't go into those specifics.

We did need to work out a solution to what we were calling "Rita-proofing". This isn't a slight to our friend Rita, but merely a remembrance to her accident and the need to prevent that from happening. In short, our friends, Rita and Aaron, were working on their house. They have a balcony/deck off the one side. They were trying to lower something over the side of this when the railing collapsed and Rita fell to the ground. Luckily, her she only sustained serious injury to her hand, but it nevertheless, it was quite the scare. It definitely could have been worse, but Rita is quite athletic and tough as nails.

The theme of the story is to make sure all railings are secure. We used deck post anchors (that seriously, were just laying around from our deck off the old house. Sometimes I am glad Kent doesn't throw anything away.) to secure the posts on the deck close to the house. We added an extra measure by securing the post to the house as well with some treated lumber.

As it grew dark, we cleaned up the outside mess, only to finish up the mudroom. We had to put most of it back in order but held off on some. We would just have to move it next weekend when we tile the floor.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


It happened. We finally broke down and had cable installed. The big day was Monday. Kent took the morning off to wait the the cable guy to arrive between 8 and noon. Can't be too specific that would diminish the reputation of the industry that they are reliable. Fortunately, the gentleman did arrive between said time. Of course the thought of putting another hole in our beautifully crafted house is traumatizing to both of us yet compromise was made and as promised I can barely tell there is anything there.

What I noticed was my own thought pattern. When I got home from I couldn't help but think that I needed to get my money's worth and watch tv all night. Is that odd or not? Please tell me. I haven't had cable in seventeen years. Perhaps that is the unintended consequence. I decided to watch tv after dinner but the channels were overwhelming. I watched a half hour of an old Family Guy and fifteen minutes of Friends. Then flipped through, turned the cable off and watched my old stand by PBS.

I had to turn off the cable to watch PBS which seems insane but whatever. I have my go to shows on there and will likely stick to that. Except for a few sporting events I don't know if cable will be worth it, time will tell.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Year in Review

Since we haven’t been consistent this year with blog postings, I will give a summary of each month.

January: We flew to Florida to see our parents. The elder Gromens have been spending winter in the Lake Okeechobee region. They rent a nice trailer in a 55 and over community. The curious thing about this trip is that (just about) everyone we talked to was retired or close to it. That means they have plenty of time to talk, swim, talk, stroll, talk, and talk some more. Everyone loved to complain about the cold northern clime they escaped from to enjoy the sunshine of Florida. Perhaps this will be me someday. The Elder Butlers were in Pompano Beach, FL but also visited Orlando.

February: Uneventful month when I look back at it. I think we had a lot of snow last year, but my favorite snowboarding partner (my neighbor Tony) was busy working and getting his PhD. So we only went out once. But it was a good time. Since I was working at the farm, there is this great hill that is pastured by a donkey, mule and jenny. So, as long as you don’t hit one of their piles, you are good. I fell a lot, but learned some too.

March: Every year an OU Frisbee Alum hosts a reunion in March. This year, it was Tweedle, who lives in Columbus. The Columbus location always brings a good number of people since it is central for most. Kids were everywhere and the weather allowed for throwing disc in the back yard. Look for Reunion 2012 to be in Athens, y’all. Natalie Kruse is hosting the party and Chez Butler/Gromen can host folks if you would like to spend the night.

April: Wedding number 1. Natalie and Nigel in Athens. Very convenient. Had a joyous time with a good mix of people, Frisbee nerds along with profs from the university. My garden project was gearing up too. Not just at work on the farm but at home. I started tomatoes, zucchini, peas, cukes, and peppers all from seed. I kept them (expect the peas) inside until transplanting time in May. So my house was a mini green house for a while. Also, my lemon tree bloomed and I ended up getting 5 fruits growing. However, I pulled all but two off because I didn’t think the little guy could handle producing 5 fruits. (Both lemons ended up doing very well and we picked them in October.)

May: Yeah for May. It is the best month you know…Kent had an opponent for the May primary so he was hard at work, walking around the neighborhood talking to people. He ended up winning and since there was no republican running, the fall race was a cinch. Once the election was over we could use the free time and good weather to our advantage. We still hadn’t finished all of the siding on the house. We were able to start up again and work on weekends. Highlight of the month, besides my birthday, was the visit from Kara and Ethan and Salix. They came for a weekend and we walked to the farm, shopped the farmers market, and hiked Hocking Hills.

June: Wedding number 2. This one, I officiated for Patrick and Adrienne. This wedding was on the beach in North Carolina and we rented a beach house with a bunch of other Frisbee alums. I think I did blog about this, but I will reiterate that it was a blast. I forget how much I love water and the ocean. As the month drew on, I started looking for another job. My Americorps position at the farm was coming to a close at the end of July. I got really proficient at catering my resume and cover letter to conform to certain jobs. I was also looking at many state and federal jobs. Being an Americorps alums allows you to apply for internal federal jobs. (Not that that ended up helping, but oh well)

July: Wedding number 3. I also performed this marriage ceremony of Michael and Melissa. Again at the beach, this time in Florida. (I have great friends, that pick awesome places to get married) The rain failed to dampen the spirits and we had a great time once again. Hopefully we will visit Mike and Melissa in Germany sometime. Also in July, Kent and I embarked on a new adventure in our Ultimate careers. USA Ultimate hosts a Women’s Masters National Championship and a Men’s GRAND Masters NC. Grand Masters is 40 and over so Kent was one of the young punks out there playing. He got a lay out D on his first point in. Overall, though, our teams played average, as it was more about having a good time than winning it all. The tournament was in Cincinnati which made it easy for travel (for once). This is also my last month at the Good Earth Farm. It was such a fun year. I learned a lot, and taught a lot, and I was glad I had that experience.

August: Unemployed, woo hoo!! Job searching and traveling. We went to Italy to visit Jeff since I had time off. We had a low key visit and kept it simple. We enjoyed the area and the connections that Jeff and Alberta have. We went sailing in the Adriatic, snorkeling in my favorite city ever (Polignano al mare) and ate lots and lots of gelato. August is also a gearing up month for Ultimate. Tournaments and workouts predominated.

September: I got a job, but I didn’t start until October. That means that I have one month to get stuff done around the house. I preserved a ton of stuff this month. Some from my garden, but mostly from the produce auction. I buy in with friends on large amounts of produce. I then can it or freeze it. I keep track of it all and I did about the same as last year except less zucchini. I also spent time putting art up on our walls. They have been bare for two years and it was about time. We also had our friends Annah and Jim staying with us. Annah is teaching English in Saudi Arabia but they were back for a break.

October: Start job. Yeah! Kent went to USA Ultimate Nationals with a masters team, Real Huck. They did pretty well, finishing in the top half of the field. And he got to go to Florida for the third time in 2011. Lori stayed home and played the Halloween Ultimate tournament. Adrienne and Patrick came through town on Halloween and spent the weekend with us. They gave me an excuse to go uptown and see the crowd.

November: Wedding number 4! Kent’s childhood friend, Kevin, got married in a beautiful ceremony up north. It was excellent to catch up with his Kirtland buddies. Frisbee is still keeping Kent busy coaching the college men’s Ultimate team.

December: Students are gone, making the town and campus quiet again. The mild weather let us finish our woodshed. Now our wood is protective from all sorts of weather and very accessible. The holidays went well with lots of time with family and friends.

Thanks for all of the memories.