Monday, March 28, 2011

The Drywallers are Here

Now that the basement is all framed and wired, the drywallers have arrived. It is amazing to think two men can hang 100 sheets of drywall in a day! But they are well on their way! The picture has spots all over from the dust in the air. You can't see it, but the camera  flash reflects off it!

One of the men did his work on stilts all day. It gives him sort of an ominous look. (Don't mess with a drywall man!) The regular contractors will return on Wednesday to start tiling the bathroom!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Car and Coda

Ed and John worked on the Pinewood Derby car again yesterday. It weighed in at 4.8 ounces.

Celeste came along for the fun of it, and enjoyed getting out into nature and helping me pick up more rocks for my stream bed. Isaiah couldn't really get into the spirit of rock collecting two weeks in a row.

Coda chased some deer into the forest and we lost her for about 45 minutes. She was walking with Ed and John, when 7 deer jumped across the street. She strained so hard at her leash that she broke it!

Fortunately, some nice neighbors found her when she tired out, and they called us. We were glad to get her back. We've gotten pretty attached to her.

The car turned out great, and is ready for the big race on Tuesday!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stream Bed and Dog Wire

I was pretty proud of my new stream bed, which I worked on this afternoon. I lined it with the rocks we picked up last weekend. It looked so nice, and I decided to make one more small change at the beginning of the bed. 

Oops! That was where the wire for the invisible fence was. If you look carefully you can see the cut wire in the front of this picture. Ed has a little repair job for the weekend now! The trick is to get it fixed before Coda realizes the world is her playground!

The Worth of Souls

We had a Relief Society dinner and activity last night. Kaylene was in charge of the food (taco salad). She made 50 taco bowls!

The Committee was so efficient that we had time to sit around while we waited for the party to begin. I was in charge of the table decorations. We had pictures of shoes (many of them by Van Gogh) and as well vases with daisies.

Ed was nice and volunteered for the nursery. He gave a lesson, drew pictures on the whiteboard and sang a lot of songs. Here he is singing Bingo was a Dog! Bishop Sheppard brought the treats and hid kids in the closet which seemed to really entertain them! Ed had fun the first hour, but seemed to be ready for the ladies to wrap things up long before we actually did!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brickin' in the Rain

The work goes on, despite some intermittent drizzle today. We have added another worker, Santos (front). He is also from El Salvador, and ALSO plays the guitar and sings! How lucky can we get? Alex and Roberto also worked on the bricks today.

Henry worked on the wiring inside. Here he is putting in the light over the pool table.

Michael finished up the framing and ran some wires for the cable TV.

Here are our pretty new arches, one in the front, and one behind it. We're hoping to be ready for the dry wall by Friday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Skyping with Lissy

I Skyped Lissy this afternoon. Ed calls her my Skype pen-pal. She is my German friend that I met through my friend Coreen, who is living in Germany. Lissy is so patient with me and speaks German to me very slowly so I can understand her well. She is fluent in English, so she can translate words that I haven't learned (or just can't remember).
Lissy might not like these fuzzy Skype pictures, but I think she looks great even with blurry edges. You can see the enthusiasm in her face, can't you?

Last time I had a German tutor, I chose a name from a list of German teachers at the University of Colorado. The teacher's name was Jan. When we met in person, I was surprised to find out Jan was a boy. I hadn't accounted for the fact that Jan is a boy's name in German!

Jan was a good teacher and a very nice boy, but I'm feeling extra lucky to have my new friend Lissy. When we finish talking about ourselves, our husbands and our daughters we can move on and talk about Coreen and her family. There is plenty of fodder for conversation!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Nigerian Memorial Service

Ed now has something in common with Brittany. He got to speak at an African memorial service!

Brother Iroanya passed away a year ago, and as is the tradition in Nigeria, the family had a memorial service for him today. Ed was asked to speak at it, and I played the organ. It was very touching, and we got to hear a lot of the family friends speak. We felt bad that we never met Brother Iroanya before he passed away. We got our picture taken with Iffy in her festive outfit. I want a party hat like that! They are so colorful and beautiful!

Rocks,Sticks, Wood and Ice Cream

Ed and I had a very full Saturday.  Ed got out his tractor and spread weed and feed on the lawn while I picked up sticks in the copse. Then, Ed broke out his chain saw and cut some of the dead wood, which we added to our stick pile.

In the afternoon I went rock collecting to get some nice big rocks for my second stream bed (drainage). Ed brought John Iroanya over to the house to work with him on John's Pinewood Derby car. John's brother Isaiah and friend Justin tagged along. This was great for me, as I ended up getting two great helpers to load and unload rocks from the car.

We rolled and dragged the rocks to the bottom of the hill (on the right). You can see the giant pile of sticks and wood on the left.

Ed and John finished cutting out the car, and John took some sandpaper home to smooth out the car during the week.

Coda enjoyed (?) having some boys to play with in the afternoon.

After all that hard work we rewarded the boys with a trip to Dairy Queen before we took them home. Ed and I were pretty sore the next day. I wonder if Isaiah and Justin were feeling it!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Jersey Family History Trip

Ed and I went to New Jersey to do a little family history yesterday. Our purpose was to get obituaries for his great-grandparents and find their hometowns in Germany. Our secondary purpose was to take Ed's new car for a spin and see how it did.

We stopped the New Cemetery in Somerville and visited the graves of all four of his great-grandparents. Ed was named for his grandfather, Edward Haring (flat stone to the right and rear of great-grandfather Balthazar).

 We then moved on to the Bridgewater Library to look at microfilm of obituaries. We were successful in finding obituaries for Balthazar Haring, Francis Haring and Wilhelmina Wiedemer.

We knew Ed's grandfather was a barber, but we found out through Balthazar's obit, that Edward Haring was a "tonsorial artist." That must have been the kind of barber that also removed tonsils! We like to think he was really a sort of primitive doctor!

On the way home we stopped to eat at Mastori's in Bordentown, NJ. The Halsey's had recommended we have dinner there. They won me over the minute they brought out the cinammon and cheese breads! It was a great way to wind up the day!

Although we got more information through the obituaries (accurate death dates), we are still left wondering where these three ancestors lived in Germany. Our secondary purpose was more successful. Ed's new Audi averaged 33 MPG, despite spending an hour of the trip crawling on the freeway on the way home!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Alex And Roberto Sing Again

It's good having the crew from One Source Contracting (for all your construction and musical needs) back again. My band (the Black Eyed Susans) wanted to hear Alex and Roberto sing today, and we were lucky they were able to play a few songs for us.

This is a song Roberto (on the right) wrote. He originally wrote it in Spanish, but translated it into English. This is the English version of the song, titled, "I Give You My All." The crowd loved it!

In this video Alex sings "La Carcel." The crowd goes wild afterwards!

This is a reprise of the first song, but in Spanish. It is titled, "Todo Te lo Di." It's so much fun to watch Alex and Roberto perform. When we're finished with the basement we're going to have a big concert and invite them to perform with their band. Maybe by then they'll have chosen a name for their band!

Lynsey and Megan were such fans that they wanted their pictures taken with Alex and Roberto: their first groupies!

You Gotta Have a Fiddler in the Band

The Black Eyed Susans raised their musical abilities exponentially today when they added Helen Stanger to the band. She's not really a fiddler, as she plays the viola! Just like the rest of the band she has to learn a new instrument. Fortunately, she's touched a violin before, and she sounded great! We were cooking today! We had an especially great time on Soldier's Joy! 
We were also lucky to have Lynsey (Kaylene's daughter) and her friend Megan come by for band practice today. We gave them a couple of ukuleles and they fit right in.

Kaylene was so happy to be back on the bodhran. She willingly surrendered her uke for the chance to drum again. We found out that Cindy's special way with Coda may not all be personal charm. She's been slipping her (inadvertently or advertently, I don't know) a life saver now and then! Our dog's affections can apparently be bought!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Walking with Bev

Another perfect day for a spin around the fire road! Bev Gams came with me today, and we had a nice visit as we walked. We even let Coda (who behaved herself occasionally) come with us.

Bev is training for a half marathon, so this wasn't a strenuous walk for her, but it was possibly more attractive than her treadmill. And, then of course you can't beat the conversation!

I See the Light!

The boys finally cut through the window! This window took so long to cut open! It almost made me think I'm underpaying my contractor! Iit makes a huge difference in the basement. We now have light! I love it!

It will be nice not to have all that pounding underneath me when I'm working in the study. I had my first Skype date with my new German friend, Lissy, yesterday. If it wasn't hard enough having a meaningful conversation in German, add a sledge hammer to the mix! I had to go in the dining room and use my netbook! Lissy was so nice to talk to me in German for an entire hour. It made me realize just how miserable Amanda is going to be in a week. I understood most of the conversation. I had so much I wanted to say, but it took me so long to form sentences, that many of my scintillating ideas went unexpressed! 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Roberto Saws the Window

It was too wet to work outside yesterday, but today Roberto (with the saw) and Alex (with the hose) are back outside cutting the second (and bigger) of the two windows. The jackhammer they used on the first window proved to be a slow process, so this time they're going with just the saw. It looks like Alex finally got the easy job!

That's a Lot of Water

It rained about 3 inches yesterday. That was a lot of water, but fortunately, none of it came in the house. Ed was home sick, but still took a few minutes to dig around the septic garden to make sure none of the water pooled on top of it.

The platform for the air conditioners proved to be out of the path of the water as it wended its way into the back yard.

The water came precariously close to the basement door, then took a turn to the left, where it joined the stream from the culvert at the top of the yard.

Then, it went off into the forest, making my little dry stream bed into a raging rivulet. As night set, we sent the dog outside occasionally to see if it was letting up. When she finally came back dry, we knew the worst was over. We felt like Noah in the ark. Coda was our dove.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stardust Poster

I'm on the committee for the Columbia Stake Rose Ball, which is the end of April. I spent this afternoon gluing rhinestones to 7 posters I made for the church lobbies. I really don't think this picture does it justice, as the stones add such a sparkle to the artwork! I was very pleased!

The gluing was a little tedious, so I watched German TV on the Internet as I pasted. I learned the word "schnabel," which is the beak of a bird. I learned this as I watched the Munich zoo veterinarians polishing a bird's beak or teeth. I don't know which, as my German has some severe limits! Apparently, so does my biology. I wonder if birds have teeth...

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Coda Jumps

We've been working on getting Coda to leap into our arms. It hadn't been going well till yesterday when I discovered that if we put one leg forward and bent it a little, she'd be willing to give it a go! 

So, when Ed came home from work we tried to see if she would do it for him, and sure enough, she was game! Here she is taking a flying leap!

She's just a flying ball of fur! I think she likes to be in our arms because she's up high and can see lots of new things. Plus, we give her a lot of cuddles and loving.

Amanda was afraid we'd ignore the dog and she'd forget all her tricks while she (Amanda, not Coda) is on her mission. This would be sad, as Amanda went to a lot of work to teach Coda quite a few tricks. We're practicing the old ones regularly, and intend to have a few new tricks to show Amanda in the summer of 2012. JUMP is one that we're pretty proud of!

Spring Has Not Yet Sprung

Mary and I went for a walk this morning along the Liberty Reservoir fire road. It was just dry enough to walk on, and we're expecting more heavy rains this afternoon, so we timed it perfectly. It's quite cool out, but we worked up a sweat by the time we finished the loop. More importantly, we solved the world's problems as we visited. Okay, maybe we talked about things closer to home. We'll work on World Peace next week!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Air Conditioners Moved

One of the big jobs was done today, moving the air conditioner units to the side of the house. They were right in the back, where we'd like to put a patio. So, our friends at One Source built a little platform on the side of the house and moved them!

You can see they are now free to finish punching another hole in the back of the house for the second set of windows. On the right is Alex with his shovel, and Roberto inside the windowless hole.

Roberto put in the new windows for the guest room. But, don't pack your bags to come see us yet. We still have a lot of work left to make that room habitable!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Which of these Bridges is Stone?

Ed and I drove out to Frederick today, about 45 minutes west of us. We checked out some bathroom vanities for our basement bathroom, and while we were we stopped to see the painted bridge. The town has a cute riverfront with brick walkways on both sides. Several bridges cross the river. One is painted to look like stone, and one is stone. Which is which?

It's really hard to tell the difference! After we get the basement finished we should hire an artist to paint the cement culvert on our property to look just like the fake rock bridge.I wonder if the Frederick bridge painter is available...