Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DAY 1 (Thursday, September 24)...

Half of our group met up at the Great Lakes Crossing Mall while the other half met at a Meijer in East Lansing. Then we motored in caravan style from our meet up point to the Doherty Restaurant in Clare, MI.

Once again, we had some issues with the whole "permission" thing. The mall security guard drove up and told us that we could not put up signage. We told him that this was for charity and we'd only be there until 9:30am. He eventually got the green light from management and all was good.

While we were there, the MAW lady came to take some pictures and to give us all our “wish wands”. Supposedly our event will be posted on their website, not sure that it made the cut last year.
We had 11 MINI's at the mall location with 17 peeps (or MINIac's as we like to call ourselves). 9 MINI's showed up at the East Lansing location and then we met up with another 3 MINI's in Clare. 23 MINI's and 41 MINIac's - CRAZY!

While driving to Clare, we decided to introduce some of the newer folks to MINI ballet. We made sure that there were no non-MINI's on the road as we weaved back and forth from right lane to left lane; every other MINI in different lanes. "1-2-3 Switch Lanes!" was told over the walkies. It's a sight to behold!
The Doherty had a nice sign welcoming us. We all ate lunch and before we were on our way, we passed out the games. We had worked hard on the games which were Autograph Bingo, the ABC game and some other puzzles to keep people busy on their trip.

We made a slight detour and went through the Tunnel of Trees over by Cross Village and stopped for some refreshments at the Leg's Inn. Then continued on to the bridge.
Made a photo op stop at the park by the Mighty Mac and then crossed over our first body of water; the Straits of Mackinac.
We then gathered together at The Galley Restaurant in St. Ignace. There we had some raffles and some "secret" auctions. It was a lot of fun. Jerome and I bid on a beautiful bag of...well it turns out we ended up paying $20 for a $3 container of roasted peanuts...but heck, it's for charity.

By the time we were leaving the restaurant and heading to our hotel in Newberry, it was already dark and we had about an hour or so to drive the very dark roads of the UP.

We saw a coyote on the side of the road. I think we woke him up because when I saw him, he was yawning.

As we were getting closer to our motel, we drove right next to a correctional facility that was just down the road a piece. This did nothing to ease our minds as to what kind of motel we were going to be "living" in for the next 3 nights.

Turns out, our committee member that was in charge of finding the motel did a fine job. It was clean and didn't smell. The owners were young and apparently had just done a bunch of work on them to make them look presentable.

We threw up our signs; MichiganMINI.org banner, Make-A-Wish banners, MINI banners and our sponsor signs. Brought out the fire pit and was about to build a fire when most everyone said they were tired. So, we put it off a day.

Then to bed.

mglc4; Sept 24-27...

Again this year, Jerome and I were on the planning committee for the MINI’s Great Lakes Crossing.

This is a charity event that tries to raise money and awareness for some local charities (Project Access & Southwest Solutions) and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It typically lasts for 3-4 days (Thursday-Sunday) and involves our on-line car club.

This year we did the UP, eh?

Everything turned out great; the weather, the attractions and the other events that were planned.

Thanks goes out to all of the committee members:
Larry & Donna (The ZMini's)
Rick & Donna (The wrecker's)
Ron & Gretchen (The quinn48098's)
Greg & Kris (The Maxxes)
Jerome & Yvonne (The Moos)

Planning meetings were always a lot of fun!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

for dynochick...

This is how much was done when we got home from vacation today at 2:30pm. Some vinyl siding and nearly half a roof.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

torch-down...

This is the "torch-down" waterproof membrane that they put on the deck area. This is so that we won't get water in the garage. There will be a wood deck that will be built on top of this, so, they tell me, you won't even see this.

They used a torch to heat this material up so the tar that is underneath would melt into the floor panels. As you can see, they were not very careful with their fire handling skills - the material that the contractor installed on the wood sheeting is now a bit melted. I think that was supposed to be some sort of moisture barrier. The posts were also burnt up a bit (photo to come, once blogger lets me add photos again).

The decking will be "floating" - they can't nail it down because they can't rupture the membrane, so they will be laying 2X4's where you see the strips of membrane and then screwing the decking into those 2X4's. And hopefully, they won't miss. However, we're not too worried about water getting in since the deck area is going to be covered by a steel roof. Unless the rain is coming in sideways, I think we'll be good.

what's going on? not much...

Some of you may be wondering, "what the heck is going on with the garage?". Well, I'm here to tell ya; not much.

It's been since the 4th that the contractor and his workers have been out to work. They have another job that they are working on, so I guess it's down to priorities now. On the 8th, the subcontractors for the waterproof membrane came to lay down the torch-down. But since then, it's been very quiet.

I recently sent the contractor an email with pictures of the completed torch-down, the pile of deck material and the roofing material that have all been delivered.
He replied that he is planning on being done next week. He's hoping for Saturday. Well, unfortunately, he'll have to wait for us to return in order to get paid. As I mentioned to him, we're going on a bit of a vacation with our MINI club to the Upper Peninsula starting next Thursday and we will continue our vacation until the following Tuesday.

Plus, this is what we believe still needs to be done:

Roof installed
Siding installed
Windows and Door installed
Decking installed
Boulders moved
Dirt brought in for grading
Caulking (...ALOT of caulking)
Approach cemented
Electrical completed
Garage Door installed
...and this is if I'm not forgetting anything, then inspections.

I think the contractor is a bit optimistic to say the least. We'll see.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MINIs @ MIS...

This past weekend, one of our MINI friends planned an event for us at the Michigan International Speedway.

25 of us got to do a few laps on the track, in the middle of a lunch break for the Richard Petty Driving School, Nascar type cars.
I let Jerome drive it and I was the passenger.

We get to do so many fun things with our MINI club - I'm so glad we found them.

Afterward, we were all invited back to the house of one of the club members. He and his wife live in Clinton, MI.

The house history was pretty interesting. Apparently nearly the whole area was owned by Henry Ford. He was doing an experimental school for boys and girls and this house was used as the girls Home Economics classroom. According to the owners, Henry Ford had done all the wiring in the house and had placed all the wiring in conduit. There were also these covers with a small handle over all the switches so that they would kind of disappear into the walls. We were told that if you go to his homes and museums in Dearborn, you would see the same thing there.

Much more actual "history" than in our place. Pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

labor day weekend...

We missed another Peach Festival. I think we'll go to the 2011 one because it will be 80 years old by then and I'm sure they will have some amazing things at that one.

When we moved in to this house in 2005, our neighbor told us that Romeo is CRAZY during the Peach Festival - it will be hard to get out of your driveway, etc. Until this year, we haven't had an issue.

Before I get into that, let me do things in order. This Labor Day weekend we had a few things happening. We decided on the fly that we would be painting the rafters that are over the covered porch so that it would seem more airy since we would be keeping it open; as in no ceiling. In order to do this, we'd have to rent a sprayer from The Home Depot and spray it this weekend. We already had things planned for Saturday and Sunday, so the idea was to spray on Monday. We were hoping that the weather would cooperate.
Saturday, we were invited to a friends house for a BBQ. We met these friends through our MINI Cooper club. Prior to leaving the house, we needed desperately to clean the driveway area. One of the things the general contractor told us when bidding for this job was that they clean the area every evening. I'm not sure what he meant by "cleaning", but it's not the same as what we would call cleaning. So, as I went through the trash wood pile and other garbage; separating the plastic, paper, metal and returnables - Jerome was prepping the rafters by sweeping the dust and dirt off the wood.

The BBQ ended around 10:30pm which was good because we needed to get up really early (5am) to get our butts down to the Riverwalk area of Detroit for the "Bike the Bridge" day. "Bike the Bridge" was an effort by a lady cyclist who wanted to bike over the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor. She met with the Detroit people, the Windsor people, Homeland Security, etc. It was a big to-do. Apparently, over 30 years ago, they had a bike lane on the bridge, but no one has been allowed to cross without an automobile since the 70's.

We were invited to this by a guy from our MINI Cooper club; Chris. Jerome was geeked. I was a bit worried. As you may know from previous posts, I am out of shape. I've gained a bunch of weight. Another thing is that for nearly 4 years, I've been having heart palpitations; I call them flutters or a jumpy nerve. Anyway, 2 weeks before my last day of work, I found out that I have a leaky valve in my heart. The doctor said it's nothing to be concerned with, but since I've been laid off, it's been getting more frequent and shows up whenever I do any kind of "exercise", even stretching. I was thinking that the incline was going to bring my heart down for the count.

We got there and met up with Chris. He introduced us to his friends; Troy and Jim. OMG! I worked with Troy at Chrysler back in 1998, and I used to party with him every now and then back in the day. Small world.

There were around 60 cyclists.

So, we started out - my bike is not really a serious "cycling" bike - but everyone commented on how pretty it is.

Right out the gate, my chain popped. Jerome needed to stop and put it back. It popped again. UGH! I was getting worried because Jerome really wanted to do this and I didn't want to hold him back - and the group disappeared around a corner...

He figured it out, the rear fender's screws were making it so that I couldn't shift into the higher number lower gears. Since we got the fenders last weekend, I hadn't tried them out. So, the gears I could use were 1-4, and that's it. We took off and caught up with the other riders. Whew! From the moment we got there, my heart was going nuts. I was really getting worried.

Finally, we were flagged to go to the bridge and started our assent. I was determined not to walk the bike up the incline like I do when we ride around Romeo. As we were going, one cyclist started walking her bike up. I felt better because I was worried they weren't going to let us do that; Sue (the organizer) had said that there would be no stopping allowed on the bridge and we only had 30 minutes to cross. (Note in picture below: I'm in the middle, lady on my left is around my mother age and the lady on the right of me is walking.) So, after seeing the lady walking her bike, I gained some confidence and not once felt like walking it. I made it to the top and the other side was a piece of cake. In fact, I think the incline was not even compared to the incline of our street. The great thing is that since I started up the bridge, the palpitations stopped and I have yet to have one like those that I was having for the two weeks that I've been laid off.
The rest of the day was spent in Windsor doing a little tour of Sandwich Town and having a little meal and then watching the bike races that were going on in Little Italy. (This mans alligator shoes matched my bike...ah, Little Itlay)They then loaded all our bikes in a Ryder truck and us in a bus and took us back to Detroit. Unfortunately, my pretty bike ended up with a few scuffs on the truck ride back. Jerome says he'll buff them out.

Now the idea was to get home, drop off the bikes and head to The Home Depot to rent a paint sprayer, get home and put the first coat on the rafters before dark. HA!

Jerome and I like to watch this show on HGTV called "Renovation Realities". We giggle at the people going through their issues with their home renovations that are supposed to happen in a short period of time and what their budget is. It never gets done in the time allotted and the budget always rises. So, if we were going to be on this show for the painting of the rafters, it would go something like this:

Problem: Rafters need to be painted before roof is installed
Solution: Rent a paint sprayer and Jerome sprays rafters
Budget: $50 for the sprayer (rent for 4 hours); $100 paint (2 gallons we already had for our windows); $200 for the contractor to put plywood on front inside rafter.
Time frame/Goal: 9am Monday

Well, we didn't get much in the way of instructions from the guy at the tool rental. But we did find out that he is a school teacher and that this is a part time job for him. Why people feel they have to explain themselves to complete strangers, I'll never know.

Jerome ran into issues immediately. The sprayer continued to get clogged. He was forever stopping to clean it. The over spray was tremendous. Our tree and ground below is now all set for winter; it looks like there is snow on the leaves, branches and dirt. We worked until the wee hours of the night - with flood lights and bug spray. Jerome losing more and more patience. It seemed that if we didn't have a full bucket, the sprayer wouldn't work. As soon as the primer tube was out of the paint, it stopped spraying.

This morning (Monday), Jerome went back to The Home Depot to get some 5 gallon buckets of outdoor paint. This cost us $300. And on his way home; alone with his thoughts - he thought that we had made a mistake and we should just make a bead board ceiling and be done with it. When he got home, he proposed this to me. After watching him struggle last night, I agreed to his suggestion. But still needed to get the ends painted because they will still be exposed under the metal roof. He cleaned the sprayer and returned it and the 10 gallons of paint to The Home Depot. He was going to stop at McDonald's to get us a breakfast sandwich, but when he got there, breakfast was over. So he decided he was going to go to Sheena's (our Spartan store) to pick up English muffins, but the roads were barricaded for the parade. He asked the officer if he could go through and head to Sheena's and come back and was told no. So, he came home and made us a breakfast sandwich on bread. First time the Parade made it inconvenient for us to live here.

We worked on the painting from 8:30am to around 7pm this evening.

So...
Project changed: Painting only the outside rafters that will be exposed under the metal roof
Over budget and changed: $30 sprayer (Jerome got a discount after talking with the tool rental guy); $200 for the sheeting by the contractor (money spent for no reason); $50 for another gallon of outdoor paint; $? for bead board (we're thinking around $200-$300)...
Didn't make original deadline: 7pm Monday + extra wood was added to rafters on Tuesday that will also need to be painted
We are exhausted. It didn't rain on us like it had predicted...it's raining now. I think we were really lucky and I think the bead board is going to frickin' look great.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

closer...

This was from yesterday at the end of the day. Today we have a newly poured cement slab. I couldn't take pictures today because the cement guys were here until dark. I'll get some tomorrow.

You can read about what happened today by clicking here.