Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Floors! (part 1)

Let me back up. When we bought the house in the country it had a few issues. However, the secluded drive, the pond, the turkeys and deer, the timber, and the isolation is awesome. I believe my quote to Wife went along the lines of, “I don’t care if it is a tent on the hill, I am going to live there ‘til I die.” And I still intend to.
So we bought the property and it came with a house. A used house with issues. (log home issues aren’t for the faint of heart)
One of the issues was that the owners were irresponsible in many ways. One way was in maintaining their CATS. The house reeked of cats. So before we moved in (previous house hadn’t sold) we pulled up every inch of carpet. And there was a LOT of inches of carpet. With the exception of the Kitchen, Bathrooms, and utility room, every inch of the 1600’ house was carpeted in purple. Purple stained with cat pee and hair. So we opened the sliding glass doors and the windows and pulled up the entire carpet and pitched it into a truck and took it to a landfill.
Another conversation that Wife and I had was about her having a garden. I told her that we had time for one or the other; fix up the house the way she wanted it or put in the most awesome garden she had always wanted. Wife chose garden. (Putting in the garden is another story but picture a 12 row, raised bed garden with each row 50 feet long with a 4 foot path between each bed. On a southwest sloping hill side for maximum sunlight) As a result of the garden choice, we never replaced the flooring. That is right, picture plywood floors.
Due to the cats, the floors had been aggressively sanded to get out the stains (since the cats had soaked through the pad into the wood) and painted with KILZ. Over the years, Wife has painted the floors each year in white. Fast forward to this Thanksgiving.
This year, on Black Friday, Wife surprised me by buying laminate flooring. 77 cents per sq.ft., What A DEAL. (Surprised me because sure, we had talked about it but we had talked about a lot of things. Like going to Italy, or France. You don’t see me buying tickets on Black Friday, do you? Not yet, anyway.)
Anyway, with a new baby coming by new year (hopefully) that left me five weekends to get that floor laid in. I, of course wait until the weekend before new years.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Merry Christmas!
As I talk to friends and read various blogs, people talk about their Christmas memories and traditions.
I have been trying to remember if our family had a tradition. We didn’t attend a Christmas church service religiously. I don’t remember a specific Christmas breakfast, followed by opening gifts. We didn’t always visit this relative or that one. We did usually have a decorated tree. And I seem to recall that each year Mom got an ornament that had the date on it.
What I remember about Christmas is family. We weren’t always in a good mood and we still aren’t very close. But on Christmas, we were all together. When I was younger I was oblivious to every one else. What did I get, that was the important question.
As I grew older that was still a pretty important question.
I do remember trying to create a tradition that I would make breakfast of ‘messy’ eggs for Mom and Dad before we opened gifts. I remember being so desperate to please them with what I made. Looking back, I think I could have made anything in the world and burned it and Mom would have been happy with me. Looking back, I wanted desperately to please Dad. I remember always wanting his approval and for him to be proud of me.
I suppose that in his way he was pleased and proud. Born in ’38 in Kansas, raised by conservatives at the tail end of the depression, he was not and is still not a demonstrative man. (I am the opposite, hardly an emotion I feel doesn’t get telegraphed across my face or spoken)
I never felt secure that he was happy with me except on rare occasions. My security relied upon him expressing himself. I didn’t understand that what I needed was not in his nature, therefore I didn’t think it existed.
I understand better now, years after I have left the house. We live quite a ways apart from each other these days. But I understand that while he may not have shown his feelings, he most likely was proud of my brother and I just the same. I am sure that he went through the same trials and ordeals of parenting that I am starting to experience. There is no manual, no book of instructions. People tend to parent the same as their parents did raising them.
I guess what I am trying to say (badly, it seems) is that my memory of Christmas is of family, being together. As such, whether I was aware of it or not, Dad was part of that and in his (our) own way, we were all happy together.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kat's busy weekend

Our little Kat had a very busy weekend. First, we had gift exchange with the cousins and aunts and uncles. As soon as we got to MIL, Kat had to get re acquainted with her cousins. Two are BOYS (eww, bully) but she has cousin MJ that dotes on her. Lets brush your hair and paint your nails, or would you rather just sit and tell stories.
When it came to gifts, little Kat made out like a bandit! She got toys and toys and attention and sweet potatoes and more toys. AND A REAL SLED!
She played and ran around so hard and long that she was asleep before we got turned around in the drive at MIL farm. Then again, Wife fell asleep about the same time.
(Pictures to be added when my computer cooperates)

Monday, December 15, 2008

financial thinking

Over the weekend, Dogbert explained the reasoning behind the mortgage problems we have been having for the last couple of years.
Then, today I saw even further explanations of the market. *Giving Credit where credit is due
“Think of financial theory as a stool. The stool is supported by three legs, or truisms.
• History always repeats.
• Past performance is no indication of future returns.
• Asshats are trying to steal your money.
These three truisms can explain any financial phenomenon. For example, if your financial advisor suggests that you invest in a market bubble that is about to burst, he will explain that the past is no indication of future results. Just because a Price/Earnings ratio of 45 has never been sustainable in the past doesn't mean it won't be perfectly safe in the future.

And when the bubble bursts and you lose half of your money, your advisor will explain it's because history always repeats. In other words, he's an asshat trying to steal your money. “
Last week an asshat (shouldn’t that be two words?) was arrested after his sons turned him in for being a common thief.
Ok, maybe $50 BILLIION dollars in theft isn’t a common thief, but he is still a thief. **
Over the weekend I heard a rumor that the US Govt. loaned $3Trill just before the market collapsed and they proposed the TARP to cover the mess. BUT the Govt isn’t saying to whom they loaned the $$.
Does Wall Street, or the Govt, really wonder why there is a confidence problem in the market?
I sincerely hope that the Obama administration can solve our problems. The current thieves in congress and Wall Street sure aren’t.
*Scott Adams espouses these ideas, I shamelessly borrow from them for my posts.
** so is a $2,000 hooker a common prostitute?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

hard days work

Last Sunday my MIL worked me like a hired hand. Today I worked me like a hired butcher. Since about 9 am I have been cutting up the two deer that I shot last weekend. And canning them. So far I have 40 pounds cut and put in jars and before I go to bed, I will have 24 jars canned. Sitting/Standing at a table all day with fillet knives pulling out stray hair, cutting out fat and sinew and cubing the meat for canning. All day long. With the stench of blood and meat up to my wrists. I bet I stink at work Monday.
Still, I will enjoy the convenience of being able to pop open a jar and have wonderful tasting roast for the rest of the year.
And I just realized I haven't done my ironing for the week.

one year older and cuter

The picture of Kat in red is from last December.
The picture of the Kat chipmonk in pink is from yesterday.
It is hard to believe how much she has changed in a year
Yesterday was her first time on a sled. Mom came up to play with her and I improvised a sled because I am too cheap to spend $11 for a plastic sled.
Kat didn't care, she obviously had fun.

Postscript - I don't know what it means, but this is the second day that Kat has slept past 8am after going to bed at 8pm. I don't know enough to be concerned but I do know that Wife is jealous. She was up every 2 hours to pee.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A sense of accomplishment

Today was a great day. Not a great day like yesterday where I was with friends, hunting down the biggest nuisance pest in the great state of Iowa, white tail deer.
But a productive great day. I had borrowed my monster-in-law’s truck and needed to return it to her. So when I got down to the farm she had a list of things that she wanted me to do for her. Chores, so to speak.
First, I had loaded up her truck with wood to weight it down. Her truck is a two wheel drive farm truck and I am more comfortable driving it on snow when I have 500 pounds of weight in the back. So the first thing I needed to do was unload it. Some of that wood needed to be split, so I backed the truck up to the splitter and I split some wood.
Then I plugged in her loader tractor so that it could be started so we could put on chains. With winter and snow here she needs trains on for traction. Then I went and found her chainsaw and brought it into the house to warm up so I could cut up some trunks that were in the way.
About this time Wife showed up with my truck so that she could give me a ride home. Since Wife is pretty smart she had brought her homework just in case I wasn’t ready to go. So while she hunkered down to study I took my truck over to the splitter since I needed to move the split wood from MIL truck over to my truck and I needed to split some of the wood in the back of my truck.
Lunch. Pizza, steamed vegetables, apples.
After lunch we took the loader tractor to the machine shed and jacked up the rear end so that we could put on the chains. If you haven’t put chains on a tractor all I can say is that it is a serious full body work out. Not much cardio but you will use every major muscle group excepting maybe your jaw muscles. After the chains were put on MIL tried to torture me by telling me she thought they could be tightened one more link. I tried, I really did. Pulling on 100 pounds of chain stretched across a 5 foot tractor tire is an experience everyone should try. Especially while the tractor is jacked up and the wheels are free spinning. Suffice to say they were as tight as I could get them.
After that I took the chainsaw and quartered the stumps, fired up the splitter one last time and split another couple hundred pounds of aged oak. Then loaded it all up into my truck. As I type this out almost all of my muscles ache. I sprained my wrist trying to tighten the tractor chains. I froze my legs while splitting, loading then unloading the wood in the truck. (12 degrees F outside, thank GOD I filled my tags yesterday)
However, I feel like I worked hard and accomplished quite a lot today. This is the kind of tired that says you worked really hard and you will sleep very well tonight. This is a great feeling.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Deer Season - Happy Holidays!!

Today has been an outstanding day.
Jill woke me up at o'Dark:05 so that I could get ready to go hunting today. I got ready, warmed up the truck and put Kat in so that I could meet the guys at the truck stop.
We made our way to the MIL farm where we saw a trio of deer as we pulled into the lane. This was a good omen for the day to come.
While we geared up we discussed who would go sit where. Bill wanted to go back and chase the first three while Ben and I decided to go sit on the bluffs and wait for the unsuspecting helpless corn crop destroying pests to walk by so that we could quickly and painlessly harvest them.
Well, two out of three isn't bad. Bill got his deer after about 30 minutes. I got my deer after about an hour. Ben got cold.
After we dressed our deer, we put Ben in the spot I had been all morning. After another hour we went back into town to get brunch and talk strategy. We decided to put Ben and his hand cannon in my favorite spot while Bill and I walked the perimeter of the farm to gently encourage the deer to move around and hopefully wander within range of S&W .460.
Alas, it was not to be. While Bill was walking he reluctantly harvested another buck. I reluctantly harvest another doe. Ben reluctantly got colder.
Ben did see a small doe that he could have harvested. However, since he has a dog a home that looks bigger than the deer that walked by he decided to let it grow some more. The hunting version of 'catch and release'.
During the hunting breaks the three of us shared some laughs and told some stories. The sun was shining for the afternoon and the farm was as beautiful as it has ever been. There were alot more deer seen than shot so it appears there is a healthy population on the farm. All in all, a wonderful day with some great memories made to share.*
Now it is evening, I have filled all of my tags for this season and I am exhausted. I will have a celebration drink, smoke my cigar in the garage, take a LONG hot bath and pass out for the night.
I wish all of you a wonderful weekend as well.
*No dogs or horses were injured during the making of these memories.