Friday, June 27, 2008

It's Raining Again

Ha! That one's for Chrissy.

For the longest time most of my posts had song references in them, if not in the title. And they were often in the title.

But the point here is that this has been the wettest first 6 months of the year on record here. Which hasn't been a problem for us, as we're at least 60' above the nearest creek.

However, we've had some water leak into the basement. Which is finished. So it gets in the carpeting.

It's not huge amounts. But man, it takes forever to dry, even after you suck as much water up as you can with the carpet cleaner vac. Last time (like 2 weeks ago) it took about 5 days to dry completely. The smell's not good. Musty. It really bothers Vicki. I'm not elated about it myself.

This only happens when it rains A LOT. But I think I've figured out what is causing the "pressure" that's findint the weak spot. Could be a combination. The discharge from the sump pump is probably too close to the house. And this morning I found that back gutter full of pine needles. The gutter ends right where the backslope from the front of the house meets the hip that makes up the roof for the back of the house. The gutter runs along that hip. And the leak... the leak in the basement is pretty much right below that junction. Since the gutter isn't taking the water my guess is that it's gushing down that valley and dropping on the ground right below that, leaving a LOT of water that needs to drain away from the house ... but apparently can't do it fast enough.

I must've missed that back gutter when I cleaned them last fall.

So we've got fans going full blast down here drying it out. I'm going to make an underground discharge pipe for the sump pump outside this weekend, and also make a PVC riser... so we don't have to use so much flimsy sump pump hose. It wiggles and vibrates and gets holes in it to easily, and the weight tends to pull the hose back into the area under the house, drawing the end of the hose closer and closer to the house over time. It's been known to get pulled all the way inside. And that's not good.

Trenton Shot!

Vicki bought Trenton a "Baby Einstein" playmat. With animals and a big blinky sun that plays songs and all kinds of things to look at. He's not to the point of actually playing with things yet, but things catch his attention. Hasn't quite figured out the "I can control things outside of myself" yet. Well, other than adults. Who feed and comfort. You get to wish which one he wants at any given time. The women are better at telling the difference. Mommy & Daddy have a different mat that has different stuff. He loves them.

We went out to dinner (adults only!) with Brian and Kristin (Mommy & Daddy) to D. Rowe's last night. Three of us had the fish and chips. I always get the malt vinegar with it. Brian had the cob salad. It's important, I think, for parents to get a few moments of adult time from time to time -- especially moms who are basically with the baby ALL. THE. TIME.

Good dinner. Ok, one more pic. Nice to just talk to them about ... whatever. Norway. Swimming pool management.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer Float 08

The Hard-Core Four went on the summer float last weekend. Left Friday morning for the Alley Spring Campground, and filled Skyler (Molly's replacement -- that's Kristie's car) to the gills with the grammy bags on top. They hold most of the actual camping equipment.

We were there by 1:00 or so in the afternoon, got camp set up, and then went down to sit in the Jack's Fork River in the shade with a few brewskies on a beautiful, hot, sunny afternoon.

By 3:30 or so, a thunderstorm peeked over the ridge and we headed back to the campsite. It started to rain shortly before we got there. The rainfall was moderate, but we were able to avoid most of the raindrops by staying under the larger trees and didn't have to retreat to a tent. The lightning stayed distant.

We started a fire to make a good bed of coals for cooking, and Kristie got busy doing BBQ chicken after the bed developed. We just stuck the cans of beans on the grill, open, to heat up. She had also brought a lovely potato salad. Needless to say, dinner was very good.

We had paid for the canoes when we got in to Eminence, and picked up some ice. I also got a sized pair of river shoes -- the ones I'd gotten back in Columbia were merely "large" and too big.

In the morning we had Kristie's traditional pancakes along with bacon and Vicki's boiled eggs. I boiled water with my Heinekeg alcohol stove for coffee, and we went to get picked up for our river dropoff at 8:30 am -- our earliest pickup since we've been going with them.

We were on the river a little after 9:00 am and headed for "the chute" which is only a half mile down the river. It's a sharp bend with a "chute" of water that starts at the bend that you can float on your noodles and ride the current. Then you get out... and do it again. Kind of like a dog chasing a ball. We'd brought the springfloat floaty things for the girls, but it turned out they preferred the noodles and Ryan and I liked the spring floaty things.
After several runs Ryan noticed a Midland Water Snake sunning on a willow root in the water at the beginning of the chute. They're non-venomous ... but at that point Vicki was done with the chute. She's ... not a snake person. I had to do one more run past the formidible 12" monster just because. We continued down river to a gravel bank with a nice swimming hole on the outside bend and just settled down to be outside on the beautiful river, in the shade ... swim ... whatever.

A few groups went by. Nobody was obnoxious. There was a buzzing coming from the woods behind us ... it was a bunch of bees pollinating wild grape vines. And about 11:30 we got a fire going using flint & steel & the vasaline-cottonball method. Got the grilliput out and cooked some dogs about noon. And of course, chips. And cheese cubes.

We headed out again after another dip (we didn't wait an hour, either. shhhhhh!!!!) and found other gravel banks and swimming holes. Float. Swim. Dry. Swim. Float. Later in the afternoon we ran across some paddlefish -- a little unexpected -- in a deep hole maybe 10-15 feet deep. Two of them were about 4-5 feet long, and the other three were 2-3 feet. There were some people jumping off of a large rock by the pool. It didn't seem to bother the fish. We got the noodles and the floaty things out and cruised over the fish and just generally relaxed and talked. Eventually I had to jump off the rock before moving on. I cannonballed in to the 7' hole and we continued to the next inviting gravel bar.

We dragged bottom a few times, but only had to get out once where a tree had completely blocked all but a very shallow portion of the river and it was JUST shallow enough that you couldn't make it through.

I think this was the most fun we've had on the actual float. Part of it was because we got to spend more of the day on it. I think part of it was because we were able to plan the day better. I'd brought the GPS and just left it on the whole time, so we knew where we were on the river at all times. It's only a 7 mile float (6.8, to be more accurate) and our moving time worked out to be 2 and a half hours. Meaning you can basically fiddle-fart around on that float and as long as you've made some progress you're not far from the end if you're really just "done" and want to go back to camp. We stretched the day out well.

Went back to camp and Kristie & Vicki made up the poor boy packs and threw them on the coals of the fire. Dinner was good. Then when it got dark, s'mores. Ryan & Kristie crashed a bit after nine. Vicki and I made it to about 10:00.

Then in the morning the sad breakdown and breakfast at Ruby's T&T. And off to home.

The drive back is always quieter than the drive there. But we talked off and on. And then took the wet stuff out, cleaned the tent footprint tarp. And it was all over.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Praise Mary

I got off work today, got to my bike, and the rear tire was flat. Because this has happened before, I carry a can that has "fix a flat" stuff in it that at least partially inflates the tire. I dug it out, and it worked to some extent. It was pretty messy. The tire wasn't fully inflated. But it was enough to get home.

When I got home, I needed to run to the store. I changed out of my biking clothes and looked for my wallett. It wasn't there. It wasn't in my pants. It wasn't in my bag. I remembered it wasn't in my pocket earlier in the day.

I searched the bedroom, took a cursory glance around the kitchen where my stuff would've been this morning when I was getting ready to go. Down by the computer. On the coffee table. Nothing.

Dang. Did it pop out of my bag on the way home? I didn't zip it back up after I got the fix a flat stuff out. Maybe it came out at work when I was loading the bag.

I drove back to work ... most of the driving route is the same as my riding route. I didn't see it. Looked in my office. Not there.

I drove home through the part of my route that goes through campus. Nada. Vicki called. "Did you find it?"


I got home. We looked fairly thoroughly all over the house. Still no sign of it.

The phone rang.

It was a lady named Mary who had found my wallett by the Newman Center on campus.

Dumb me.

I drove to her place, where she gave me my wallett and I thanked her profusely and handed her a $20 out of it. It didn't seem like enough.

Thank the Lord there are honest people like Mary in the world.

I really need to be more careful.

I went to Walmart to get a few things, including some real anti-flat goo for my tire.

I ran into Gary Godsy. Hadn't seen him in a while. We stood and gabbed for a while. Discussed the midnight fireworks from the Laurie Wedding saturday night (thought that was a bit rude ... couldn't they have done it at 10? Woke us from a dead sleep, and we heard continuous explosions. I didn't know what was going on until I went outside, sans assault rifle, and talked to the neighbors while we saw fireworks over the trees at the end of Bluegrass Ct. Daryl said it was probalby Paige Laurie's wedding. We'd read something about her being registered somewhere in the newspaper so we knew she was getting married sometime soon. Made sense.

I went back to bed and waited for the display of wealth to subside.

We went to Ray & Charlotte's 50th anniversary party Friday evening out at the Elks (I have to wonder how long Paige's marriage will last). There were no pyrotechnics. A few fireworks in their eyes, though. They are a very loved couple. 200 people there. A slideshow of well over 600 photos chronicling their life together played.

The DJ had a mixing board that was made for, and had -- two IPods plugged into it. How times have changed since my Bro Mark used to DJ events with vinyl records.

Saturday we cleaned house a bit ... I applied fungicide to a wet spot on the basement carpet in the basement that got wet due to a sump pump drain malfunction. It's still not dry, and I really sucked it dry with the carpet cleaner and have had a fan on it ever since. It's getting there. Anyway, we went to an annual BBQ picnic/party out at the Coats' place in the evening. It was a very, very pretty evening. They have a nice place out toward the river where they raise and board horses in a large barn (we were also at the barn-raising party) and raise alpacas and make things out of alpaca fur.

The zoysia plugs finally got here. I planted them thursday evening before the last rain. A few of them are starting to wake up. I'm putting it in the area between the sidewalk and the street where nothing will grow. There are a few clumps of grass, some lespedesia, and a lot of dirt. Later in the summer it'll be hard, cracked dirt with clumps of dried grass. In the winter, it's mud.

Hopefully the zoysia will take over and thrive in the heat. If it's brown in the winter, who cares? At least it won't be mud. And it should look nice in the summer from now on.

It's been raining a lot this spring -- it's been the wettest 6 months here on record since January. I have the veggies out in the garden, but they haven't done much yet due to the wet and clouds... and the shade from the trees in the yard.

Went out to dinner at Angelo's with Kristin, Pam, and Trenton Monday evening. Trenton was in a good mood and well behaved. Brian's in Norway with the Marines.

He loves Norway.

Friday, June 13, 2008


It's been a very wet spring.

We have this strip of ... well, supposedly "lawn" between the sidewalk and the curb that gets baked in the afternoon sun. It has a few patchy bits of bluegrass in it, and what looks like some lespedesia. And dirt. Mostly, it's the dirt.

In the wintertime when it's wet and above freezing, it's mud. In the summertime, it's depressing hard baked dirt with a few clumps of dried grass and weeds sticking up from it.

So for a few years I've been threatening to plant zoysia grass there. It digs heat. Sun. Does well in drought. grows to choke out everything in its path, and generally forms a nice carpet of green in the summertime no matter how hot and dry it gets.

From November through early May it's likely to be straw-colored. But big deal. It's mud colored now. How is that any better?

I ordered some back on April 21, and it showed up yesterday. If it had shown up a month ago, it'd be quite well established, as -- and I mentioned this at the beginning -- we've had a wet spring.

Fortunately for me, the forecast for last night and today was for rain, and rain all day today. (It's not so fortunate for farmers who are having trouble getting into their fields this year to plant -- or people who live along the river). Anyway, I planted the strip out front last night with plugs, and the rain has come, as promised. Hopefully, that'll settle it in nicely and it'll start taking off over the next few weeks.

I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Latest Trenton

Just 'cause ... you know... cute and all.

A Short Sprint

Now where was I?

Oh, yes, Aunt Pat and Kaity came to visit ... they got here a couple of Monday nights ago ... so it's been quite some time since I've posted, eh? They stayed for a couple of days and we did a lot of visiting and they went off to Uncle Eddie's.

Usually it's Tom & Betty who put together some ethnic themed dinner for Mothers'/Fathers' day. This time Jeff, Joel, and I put it together. Tom & Betty had their 25th anniversary that week, and Mom thought it would be nice if we did a Hawaii theme for them as they had planned to go there for their 25th but couldn't.

I cooked a pork butt for the Luau party at Mom & Dad's, and a big loin on Friday night. Made pulled pork and a peach/ginger bbq loin. Jeff whipped up Hawaiian fried rice in the wok right out on the porch on saturday. And Joel and Dawn brought a tropical fruit salad and The Margarator™ and made PiƱa Coladas. Uncle Eddie & "Aunt Pat 'Missouri'" came with cousin Cierra, Aunt Pat and Kaity were there, as well as Julie and Guy. Quite a crowd. Jeff and I helped re-attach some flashing that had blown off the side of the house during a storm. I got to shoot Jeff's Mighty .22 and his tiny .22 magnum. We also popped a few rounds off with the Kel-Tek and the Walther .22.

Then we took off Sunday to get the Godchildren Cassie & Q from Kim's mom who was babysitting them until then while Mark & Cami went to get Cami's mom from California to move her to KC.

I took them to the YouZeum on Monday. I thought they might be a little bored. I'd never been there. It just opened. But we got there around 1:30 and they closed it down. We were there until 5:00, and I would have left any time they were ready. It was an interesting place.

Monday night we found out that Mark & Cami had done some long haul driving and gotten back two days earlier than expected. We had originally planned to have the kids until Friday. I took them to the pool on Tuesday. But when they talked tuesday night to Mark & Cami it was clear that Nathanial (Q) missed them terribly and couldn't stand the fact that they were home and he was not and he hadn't seen them in almost a week. Cassie wanted to stay until Friday, but she gave in to her little brother and I took them back today. Mark met me in Concordia, making my drive about two and a half hours shorter. That was nice of him, especially after having driven 4.000 miles in the last week.

And now its back to us two.