Monday, August 31, 2009

"modded" my pretty bike...

New matching fenders and a cool removable basket.

Now I'll be really stylin' as I ride to the local farmer's market.

Friday, August 28, 2009


6th anniversary...

Thursday was our 6th Anniversary. It's amazing how time flies. I've known this dude for nearly nine and a half years! Whoa!

He is still the great guy I met those many years ago and I wouldn't trade him for the world. I really believe I scored quite a nice treasure with him. I count on him for so much and he never fails to deliver. And smart! He is always several steps in his train of thought than anyone else - in a very logical way. I guess that's part of being an engineer.

He makes me laugh as he is usually in a good mood. And he is a great handyman and can pretty much do anything that is set before him. It may take him longer than most; only because he is measuring it one more time.

Did I mention that he does most of the cooking and baking? He is known far and wide for his desserts.

Anyway, anyone that can put up with my many moods has got to be a special person.

Love you Jbo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

we have a floor - sort of...

Things have grinded (or ground) to a halt today because of the weather.

They were going to begin putting the brick on the front of the garage today and possibly put up the walls they made yesterday. But no, nothing - it rained all morning. And even though the rain has stopped, it doesn't look like they will be coming by today. It's 1:45pm and no sign of them.

I'm painting windows today and later this evening we have a committee meeting with our MINI club for our trip in September.

I wish I could actually enjoy this time off that I'm having, but I still feel a knot in my stomach. I wish I was old enough to just say "I'm retiring". But I've got a few good working years left in me.

I've been finding out a few things here and there about my old place of business. I found out that as soon as I left, the rest of the guys received an email stating that they were all being moved "up the hill", and to start packing. It seems that one of the guys had prior knowledge of my layoff and his prophetic words still ring in my ears "no matter what happens today, there are going to be changes", as he was putting his boxes in his car Monday morning. I was also told that it's not looking good for one other engineer; his future is very uncertain.

Anyway, none of that stuff makes me feel very good. The economy sucks and the way people behave in this type of environment does not bode well for them.

Monday, August 24, 2009

another statistic...

Well, it happened as I suspected.

All the guys at work look at our "bosses" calendar all the time and they were alerted to a meeting that showed up on the bosses calendar on Friday - the meeting was for Today (Monday) at 9:30am. Misc. was the meeting title and it was to be held in the conference room at BR2.

We all worried over the weekend as to who might be getting the axe.

The boss showed up and asked me to join him in the conference room. I was assured it was not performance related, just no new Chrysler work coming our way.

I will get 2 weeks of severance which is really nice.

It doesn't matter how "prepared" you are for the inevitable, you are still shocked when it comes.

Filed for unemployment this afternoon after unpacking my boxes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

ready for some new pictures of the garage?...

The walls of the garage portion have been poured...The waterproofing system has been installed. This is called Delta-MS.

The window and floor trusses were delivered Friday and the rest of the lumber was delivered this morning...early.
Can you see why we will need to replace the driveway next year?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Well, apparently my boy is going to be deployed to Afghanistan.

He just checked into his duty station on Sunday and he was told yesterday that he will be headed there in December; before Christmas.

At least he'll have 3 or so months of training before he goes.

Keep him in your thoughts.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

latest update about the garage...

OK, where did I leave off…oh yeah, the watering hole…

Well, seems like all that running around that the contractors did to appease the inspector regarding the footings and the soil were for naught.

Can’t use the existing footings – they are too shallow. Soil is about 60/40 clay/sand, which I guess is good to some and not so good to others. They needed to dig all new footings – and they are DEEP! In some areas, 6 feet deep. Wanna come over during the next nuclear attack? You’ll be safe, I promise.

The footing drawings will have to be redrawn by our architect; hopefully not to our expense. I guess we’ll see about that.

So yeah, because they decided that they would not dig out the old footings, they needed to move the garage over 2 feet to the right (west) and 2 feet back (to the north) – I guess to avoid the current footings and to get into “virgin” soil. This meant that they had to dig away more of our hill.

Oh, and all of this (not including if we need to pay more to the architect) is an additional $1200.00. But no worries, we have been informed that the contractor and the cement guy are “eating” a ton of costs.

So, last week they dug and Friday they poured the new footings. Yesterday they poured the walls.

A lot of people, equipment and trucks were in our yard yesterday. One cool thing is that we’ve set up the webcam to record all of this. On an overcast day, we get a really clear picture – but on a nice sunny day, there is about 3-4 hours that we just can’t see anything; it’s bleached out.

We got a good amount of footage yesterday – with the crane bringing in the forms and the guys building the forms for the walls and then bringing in a cement pump truck. Really cool.
We were told yesterday that the project should be completed in 5 weeks.
The property is a disaster. There are stones and cement, piles of dirt, piles of old shingles, piles of boulders, displaced bushes and plants, a tarp covered tent and a tarp covered pile of crap we couldn’t fit in the tent, ladders leaning up against the house, rebar, chains, material…our driveway is WAY more cracked up than it was before (no surprise). There are random old nails all over our driveway just asking to be placed in a car tire (please, please!). Our neighbors are allowing us to park in their driveway for the time – Thanks neighbors!

Then there are the plants that were “safe”…they’ve walked all over my peonies, the greens to my Siberian irises and they totally trampled 2 of my Chicago Peace roses. WTF!!! They’re moving sh!t around, like my container plants – but there’s no real good place to move them – they will always be in the way. I can only hope that next year, these plants will come back. Other than the roses, I’m sure they will. The roses are flat.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


Mom's back in the hospital. It may have been food poisoning. She had eaten something 20 minutes before the pain started. She's been there since Friday evening and probably will be getting out on Monday evening.

So, I spent the night at their house so dad would have someone there.

My dad is an artist and we've been talking about different ways to show his art and the thought popped into my mind - I can get him an etsy account. Etsy is a website that deals in handmade items for sale. I have a couple of friends who have their wares on Etsy; one has jewelry and the other has photography.
My dad paints everyday. He really enjoys it. He paints with acrylics which are water-based. Easier for clean-up and doesn't have a strong smell like oils.

Dad likes to paint still-lifes, barns and other buildings and outdoor scenes. His paintings are always VERY colorful. I have several on my walls at home.

What I find pretty cool about my dad is that he has Multiple Sclerosis and still paints everyday.
Please visit his "shop" at EugenesWorld and check out some of his pieces.

And more scans of his paintings here.

Friday, August 14, 2009

life in general...

I know that I’ve been writing about pretty boring stuff lately, but the garage project is the dominant thing that is going on in our lives as of late.

At work, our project officially ended last week Friday (8/7). We needed to give Chrysler all of our deliverables by COB. Then the “team” was dispersed. 2 were put on a project in-house at Chrysler. 3 were asked to move to the building “up the hill” from where we work to be placed on other projects and the rest of us were told nothing…we’re just here waiting to see what is going to happen.

Today some boxes were delivered to our Program Manager. We were told a couple weeks back that he would be staying in this building until December, when the lease is up…well, the boxes are for him - he's also moving up the hill. Now there are 5 of us left, unsupervised.

As an outsider looking in, what do you think this could mean?

. . .

Jerome and I are working on the new lease for our tenant on Riverside. There will be some changes. Her husband is now living in the house rather than living in Las Vegas. They would like to go month to month and we’ve dropped the rent a little. It is better to have them in the house than to try and find new tenants. Plus, we like her.

Other than that, we’ve got a MINI thing happening tonight – Jerome is going to try to do some promoting of the raffle items; MINI steering wheel desk clock and a 6 point racing harness donated by Takata.

Justin is still in Virginia on leave. He has to report to Ft. Bragg, NC by midnight Sunday. I hope he makes it. He didn’t come to see us during this leave time. He is enjoying spending time with his old friends – hanging out, going to clubs and general partying.

This weekend is the Woodward Dream Cruise. We usually go, but I don’t think we have plans to do that this year. Usually Jerome’s employer is one of the sponsors, but not this year. Usually the President of my company throws a party at his place, but not this year.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

garage update...

It is becoming the local watering hole...I'm pretty sure this is opossum.Not a heck of a lot happening around here. We got a call from Chad, our contractor on Sunday saying that the Village inspector wanted the soil tested by a civil engineer. So, they called a company out to take some samples.

The samples came back on Monday and the test was good; they will be able to use 2 of the current footings and tie into the other two, rather than digging them out and pouring new footings.

Then a new drawing was required, but this time it's from the civil engineer and not Robert our Architect. The drawing will encompass the footings, rebar and garage floor. Possibly the poured concrete walls as well, but we have yet to see these new drawings, so I really don't know.

Yes, all of these extras: Soil test, new drawings, civil engineer is going to cost US money. However, Chad believes that this will be offset by the savings from using less concrete and rebar.

Personally I think it should MORE than offset the cost and the project should become cheaper - but that's just me.

We were told that they would be digging for the footings today and they would pour the footings tomorrow.

We got home and NOTHING had been done.

Contractors; even in hard times, what did I expect?
King of the Hill

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This ad for cigarettes was in one of the newspapers that I retrieved from the garage. Click on it to make it larger and check it out - even doctor's recommend Camels...WOW! The "T" zone...T is for taste and T is for throat (cancer).
After all the rain yesterday, we now have the beginnings of a swimming pool in our backyard.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

raining today; no work...

Well, work from the contractors. We have work, however. The rain is making the cellar leak and we've had to remove all of the stuff from inside. Soak up the water. Bring in the dehumidifier. Roll up a towel at the door and hope for the best.

If it's dry by tomorrow, Jerome knows what he'll be doing; painting another coat or two of Drylock. We've already paid a guy over $4000 to dig all around the cellar, tar, rebuild the brick porch top - but after all of that, it leaked again right away.

We just don't have much luck with water.

slow progress...

Yesterday they dug out the old footing a little more, snapped some chalk lines and spray painted the corners.

They also cleaned up a little by removing the pile of wood.

Friday, August 7, 2009

frenchies came for a visit...

Jerome's brother Herve and his girlfriend Nadia arrived two weeks ago Sunday at DTW. It was her first trip to the U.S.
They spent Monday visiting the Village of Romeo, where Nadia discovered that nearly all the houses had an American flag flying.

Tuesday they went to Niagara Falls for the day and on Wednesday they visited The Henry Ford.

Thursday, Jerome took the day off and they visited Detroit.

I met up with them after work at the Cadieux Cafe in Detroit.

And we played a round or two of Belgian Feather Bowling.

On Friday we journeyed to spend a nice weekend on Mackinac Island. We stayed at the Small Point B&B on the island.

They left last Sunday. It was a really quick trip.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

not much happening around here today...

Today it seems they just excavated a little around the original footings...and then took their excavator home.
The kitties are very happy to be outside again this evening. We keep them in all day right now because we don't want them to get hurt by all the commotion going on in the backyard. They are NOT very happy with us in the morning when we are leaving for work and they aren't being let out. They give us a low growl.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

it's GONE!!!

Mounds of dirt...everywhere!
Jerome checking it out.
They moved the boulders to the side.
Next they will dig for the footings.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

a real find...

After the first wall came down, I noticed some newspapers stuffed into some of the cinder blocks. I grabbed as much as I could see. Luckily, some were still whole, while others were torn in half before they stuffed them in the walls.

Anyway, I think it's a really good indication as to around when they built the first garage. All the newspapers are from either June 8 or June 9, 1952! Older than my oldest siblings!! Just over a year after my parents were married. Pretty cool.

This means that the garage was built during the time that Ed and Mae Nordman lived in the house as opposed to when Byron and Betty Scott lived in the house.

I'm in the process of ironing them all out. I've already cleaned all the spider webs and wasp nests out of them.

no working today, but they dropped off this!...

Monday, August 3, 2009

foreign visitors...

AND...Herve and Nadia came and visited us for a week - more on that later...gotta run to a committee meeting in Brighton.

it's finally started...

I hope all goes well and we'll be done soon so that the yard can stop looking like an abandoned home.