Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fresh off the boat

They Come into America, today

Sunday morning we went to church in the grade school gym and it brought back memories of the rec center in Lompton. After the service I got a tour of all of Kate's old classes and some of her old friends. A number of people came up to say hi to a girl who hadn't much changes in 14 years. She was still little Katie McGrail to all those at church and it was mentioned to me once or twice "So your the guy that married little Katie McGrail" It was more of an accusation then a question as you could see that Katie was well loved in these parts.

After Church we headed out to Liberty Park to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. As we pulled into the park and I could see the statue for the the first time a wave emotion came over me. I'm not sure why but the whole time there was deeply moving and significant to me. We were too late to see both islands so we decided on Ellis Island, got an Italian Ice and waited for ferry. There were so many nationalities and languages represented on our ferry that one would think Ellis Island was still open and operating. We toured the building and the grounds, found Kate's great-great grandfather's name and one Rohl, Alfred F. Rohl, that we aren't sure is related. We were right across the Hudson from the greatest city in the world but we weren't going to be making that trip today. We stayed on the Island until they kicked us off and then made are way back to Sparta on some back roads.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Travelers in the mist

Friday afternoon at about 4:30 we set off for a weeks vacation on the east coast. Em and Logan are getting married in Cape May New Jersey next weekend so Kate and I thought we should make a trip out of it. We had a loaded Rav4 courtesy of Kris, a full tank of gas courtesy of Tom, and no CDs to make the trip courtesy of the Franciscan monks that were trying to teach simplicity in our neighborhood. We entertained our selves by quiz questions. Kate asked me State capitols, as is tradition in her family on long trips. I did very badly, as is tradition in my family all the time. I then quizzed Kate on major interstates and which ones you would take to get from point A to point B. She did incredibly well. Friday night we drove up into Pennsylvania and stopped at a cheap hotel for the night. While laying in bed I quizzed Kate one more time. This time I gave her a City and a sport and asked her for the mascot. Something like Chicago and Baseball and she would say " Cubs and Whitesox" She did amazingly well! Outstanding when you think about it. I was so proud of her each time she would pull the team out of the air. Capitals and interstates is one thing but knowing your sports teams just might be the single greatest skill a young woman can have these days.

The next morning we got an early start and drove through the morning fog and piercing sun as it peaked in and out of the mist. Our first stop is Sparta, NJ and Kate has spent most of the morning telling me all about her time growing up there. When we arrived at around noon I got a tour of her old house, all of her neighbors houses, including Parker Seifert whom she was madly in love with, and all the hot spots around town. We had diner with the Schubert family and I got a chance to watch a Mets game with a Mets fan and a Yankees fan. There is comedy, there is high comedy, and then there is a Mets and Yankees fan trying to get along during a baseball game.. We have had a good time so far and we are only one day into the vacation, tomorrow is Ellis Island, and Monday the City, I can't wait.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The one about the floors

As you must know by now my project for the last month has been turning the floors in our house from wall to wall carpet to wall to wall wood. You have read about the process no here it is in pictures Carpet to linoleum to tar to wood. Poplar to be specific, there is a green hue to it. The floors haven't been finished yet but what a change huh?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Sometimes she's too cute

Around 5 AM this morning I woke up just before falling out of bed. I had napped on and off from 6:30 to 10:30 last night before going to bed for good so I felt pretty good at 5. When I tried to get back in bed I found what, or who as it were, kicked me out to begin with. Kate normally takes her half of the bed out of the middle but at this point she way over on my side. When I tried to physically push her over she let out a drawn out whine/moan but didn't budge. I then asked her to move over so I could get back in bed and she whine/moaned again. When I asked her again she said "ooooohhh kaaaayy" and moved over. I asked what she was doing and she said "I'm just sleeping" in this little girl, too cute for words voice that made me crack up laughing. When I talked to her about it a little later after she got up to make me coffee at 6:15 she didn't remember it at all.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

By the way have you seen my brother lately

I was pulling into Corner Coffee last week when I should have been at home getting dinner ready and I was really missing my family. I was going to check the email drop a post or two and then get on my way when I saw that Mark was online. We got on Hello and sent some pics back and forth including this one with The Jackson and his wife Melissa. Good lord he's looking good. The stripes are slimming I'm sure but that only counter acts the 20 that the camera adds. When all the math is done we are still looking at one good lookin young man. Well done young lad, you almost look like you fit in with a wife that hot, almost.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I missed Fiesta in Santa Barbara this weekend and this is how I feel about it.

iTune Musings

I spent most of this weekend hunched over a sander with headphones I stole from Mark connected to the iPod that I stole from my mom thinking about music. I was trying to decide what playlist would best help me forget about my aching back. I had a couple of thoughts during that time, here they are in no particular order:

* Tar comes up much easier when any song from Beck's album Guero comes on. It was erie how much of a difference Missing or Girl had on the floor. While anything by Bright Eyes made the process slow going.

*A worship tune seemed to always come up when I was changing the paper. As if it was time for quiet contemplation, or as quiet as headphones turned up to eleven will allow, while pulling the scalding hot, tar covered paper off and scratching my fingers trying to tighten the fresh one down.

*I really enjoyed listening to the top rated playlist, as one would expect since I rated the songs, but it felt a little predetermined. Part of the beauty of the iPod is playing all your tunes on shuffle and getting that cheesy song you downloaded for the wedding. I contemplated pre-destination vs. Free will as it related to Playlists and the entire library in iTunes for much of Sunday afternoon.

*There are some songs in the top rated that were no brainers like Jesus Etc. or Last Goodbye but then there were others that surprised me. White houses by Vanessa Carlton? Where did that come from? Just a little bit by 50 was a nice change from the pop rock as well. Does anyone else have Son of a sailor in the their top rated?

*Is it wrong that I think Joss Stone's Fell in love with a boy is better then The White Stripes original? I need a ruling on this.

Jamie please tell this story! Posted by Picasa

After years of use the boards are still green

At 6:01 am Saturday morning we rolled out of bed and into the mini-van to pick up a belt sander and edger from Tony at Home Depot. We had grand plans to sand six rooms, four with thick black tar, down to the original wood. With an array of sand paper grits and tools we got started, paper to floor, at 7:30.

Kate went to work from 1-6 at the Banana and I had a two hour break as well during that time, but other then that I worked straight through to 11:30 pm. Kate, having gone to bed earlier the night before, got up at 7 and made pancakes and then got started on the floors at 8:30 while I slept in till 10:30. We worked until 10 that night when my body shut down. After over 25 hours of work hunched over an edger and pushing the sander we had finished 3 rooms, got a good start on two others, and left the other one for another day.

Kate and I laid in bed Sunday night, unable to sleep despite the intense physical exhaustion and giggled at how naive we are. It was hard to see how much work we did because we thought we would get it finished and we didn't. The disappointment was stronger Monday morning as sore muscles made even small walks tough. We also woke to find that someone had broken into our car and stolen the radio and the good batch of CDs. By Monday evening we had taken stock of the tremendous job we had done during the weekend and made plans to finish this coming weekend. We made a good run at it and the sanded floors looked amazing. The wood is poplar and has a green hue to it in parts. We are debating staining it or just covering it with a clear coat, but either way the whole feel of the house changed in one weekend. Like Frederick Jackson Turner's Frontier it was those floors meeting our sweat that made that house truly ours.

Friday, August 05, 2005

B-Ball in the hood

I have had the opportunity to play some ball with the neighborhood kids the last couple of days. A gaggle of 12 year olds playing in the front lawn of the house across the street was too tempting a sight for me to let it go. I dropped the shudder I was meant to be hanging and made my way over to the familiar mix of trash talking and rhythmic ball bouncing. The basket is on the sidewalk step leading up to the house and is about 8 feet from the fence that borders the yard. The street is worth 3, everything else is 2 and its make-it take-it. We split up into teams of 4 and played to 21. It was a frenetic scene on the half grass-half concrete court and I soon found that my team was the left overs and rejects, just my kind of kids.

There is one kid that is noticeably better then everyone else and it is his house that we are playing at. With ball in hand, outside the fence, 10 feet from the basket this kid dares me to shoot. I smile at him and tell him he doesn't want me to shoot as a jab step and pull back for what amounts to a free throw, nothing but net. I get the ball back and he says "bet you can't do that again" "How much money you got son?" I say as I nail another jumper. My team of rejects are hooting and hollering as they are beating the good kids for the first time ever.

I passed the ball around and tried to get all my little team mates to shot, but they made no baskets. We ended up losing after all Good kids 22 - Rejects 19. I scored 19 points for my team but couldn't even get a tip in from one of the other cats. Kate and I had to go study and the rest of the kids had to head home so we made plans for more games this weekend and spread out in the humid dusk air.

Man I love this game.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

My news

With no TV in our house for the first three weeks and no internet access as well I was suffering from a peculiar news issue. All of my news comes from Clare Baldersen from the BBC care of WFYI Indy's NPR affiliate. I was all caught up on the London bombings but not really sure what was going on state side. It is interesting how your conversations are tailored by where you get your news.

Last Saturday night I walked over to the Diner to capitalize on their wireless connection and I ran into Matt, Tina, Nora, and Josie. I was telling Matt about my BBC problems and he told me not to worry. Tom and Katie were still together. I laughed but felt a little bummed that I knew exactly who he was talking about. You can take the boy out of the trailer but you can't take the trailer out of the boy!

Coming Storm

With all the floors cleared of linoleum Kate and I prepare for a weekend of sanders and dust. My apprehension is palpable enough for others to notice and re-assure me. Thank you Allen, Ron, and Jerry, your soothing words have helped.

Speaking of words, anyone who comes in our house has advice on how we should do things. From friends, family, and neighbors we have been told to knock out this wall or that, paint one room this color or another a different. We have been given advice on how to do the floors, how not to do them. Some have given us rough sketches on scratch paper of the best way to lay out the Bedroom-bathroom-laundry area. Kate and I smile and nod. We listen and engage and are always appreciative. Kate's cousin Adam said on the way to HomeDepot that we take unsolicited advice very well.

Here is the thing: We love hearing it. When people walk in our house and their minds start racing about what can be done we know that they get it. They can see the beauty of what is and what could be and their creative juices start flowing. It is fun for me to sit back and see that look in the eyes of the advisors as they plot and plan how to do this or that. Keep the advice coming, because your advice tells me that you too have fallen under the spell of 1230 Woodlawn Ave.