Friday, November 29, 2013

Mother/Daughter banquet spotlights jello exotica

Marcia in her milleu. She spends week days with Mom.

There was, of course, the traditional quintet: turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and green bean casserole. But that was just for the base.
Mom's magnificent Thanksgiving table groaned with a variety of other dishes, eagerly shared by the gathering. But the really big star? Jello! No, really, jello.
Not that Cher's yam bake wasn't wonderfully sweet and crunchy, nutty too. But the dish her mother, Marcia, referred to simply as "Jello" was the pièce de résistance.  And Marcia said it wasn't there for dessert, we could just eat it along with everything else. There were, after all, pies for dessert.
Show stealer on a plate
So we eagerly dipped into this cool molded surprise that had been mined with clumps of whole raspberries and mounted comfortably on a white fluffy bed, chock-a-block with salted pretzel bits -- a truly exotic adventure in ordinary ingredients.
Marcia's family joined in with the regular Kell Avenue gang, making it a warm and traditional dinner among caring loved ones. Marcia's husband, Mike, offered a Thanksgiving prayer, reminding us of the many blessings we have received during the past year.
Right up there on that lengthy list has to be Mom's every day caregivers.

Cher looks over her Mom's shoulder; she owns the Kell Avenue Welcome Home along with her husband, Chris, left, who knows enough to stay in the background at times like this.   :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Today's Main Events

Turkey I
Turkey One, Table One: Lillian, Marcia, Mom, Stan, Mike (Marcia's husband) and Lionel. In the other
room at the kid's table: Cher, Chris and Jill.
Turkey II
Kathleen, Jennifer, Emily, LeeAnn, Stan (again), Marcy, Ivana and Dan.
LeeAnn is a long-time, family friend, Ivana is here from the Czech Republic, studying at UND. Hai took the
picture and brought pies.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Handing down historical details from the Christmas ornament treasury

We got her to take a bath and shampoo, eat her green beans, and play quietly while we watched the news. . . simply by promising that later we could start decorating the Christmas tree. Then put the leaves in and set the Thanksgiving table. Hey, whatever works.

Kentucky snowfall

Zachary enjoyed his morning coffee amidst a fresh Kentucky snowfall
Stan's California sister Sosie is in the midst of organizing the estate of her husband Bill's late aunt in Ohio. For Thanksgiving week, they've been joined by their son Zach and his wife Jennifer and have taken the opportunity to seek amusement in the area, including a trip to the Maker's Mark bourbon distillery in Kentucky. Last night was spent in a bed and breakfast which featured (wow) an actual snowfall, perhaps an oddity for these West Coast pilgrims. Sosie writes:
Peace to you from your very grateful sister. We stayed last night in the Old Stone Shop, 1811, a three-story original dormitory at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
Downstairs we have a kitchen. Bill and Zach built a fire in the large fireplace and we had a Rosenblum Zinfandel. Upstairs, we had comfy beds and instant hot showers. Everything we needed or wanted.
This is the morning view from our front stoop. Sorry I can't send the soothing sound of the snow fluff blowing in a light breeze.
After breakfast in the Trustees' Office, we will take a looksee thru the largest restored Shaker village in America, something I've wanted to do since 1971 when I was lucky enough to see Sabbathday Lake in Maine and the round barn in Massachusetts.
Happy in the snowfall,
Wikipedia image
Here are her notes from Monday's Kentucky bourbon tour:
The mash is fermenting in a 100-yr-old cypress 12 foot by 12 foot barrel. All is well on the Maker's Mark Distillery tour and bourbon tasting. So well, that they are three years behind in production. My favorite part was the 1940s kitchen where Marjorie Samuels developed the marketing for her husband's new bourbon recipe and baked bread of various grains to find just the right, milder combination of grains for a smoother blend than the existing family bourbon recipe.
In the photo [above], Marjorie experimented and developed the shape of the bottle, name branding, and signature red wax seal. Zoom in on the tabletop to see a familiar countertop/tabletop design.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Captured without a struggle . . .

She stood in line for us.

Our daughter Jennifer works at the Just Food Co-op in Northfield. She picked up our Thanksgiving turkey yesterday, standing in a long line outdoors to claim her bird. (No favoritism for employees.) She signed up for one last week, guaranteeing us a bird, but the choice of weight is done on a first come, first served basis. Hence the wait line.
It may not have had the intensity of a Black Friday door busting, but Jennifer said there was nonetheless plenty of excitement and anticipation all along the polite and lengthy customer queue. We can happily report now that the line kept good order. No one tried to rush the turkey truck.
Jennifer proudly delivered the prize to our basement beer fridge last night and we then learned that it is a: (deep breath now) fresh, never frozen, free range, all natural, no antibiotics, no artificial ingredients, minimally-processed bird, from a local farm about 20 minutes from the store, a healthy 16-pounder.
Just so you know.
Further, we believe that our bird lived a happy, productive life scratching about on a peaceful farm in the rolling hills near Cannon Falls, immediately before experiencing sudden trauma to the neck area.

It was a chilly day, but spirits were high as free range turkey lovers awaited release of their birds.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dog Show Diva

Photos by Stan Rolfsrud
This Mexican Chihuahua got a new knit hoodie at the dog show in Shakopee today,  just the thing for 
the biting cold Minnesota weather this November.  Windy, nasty, high of just 30 today. Plenty to bark about.
She's golden. And relaxed. A heartwarming companion.
We stopped by the Minneapolis Kennel Club dog show today. That's where we were captivated by Brooke, at right, a beautiful female Golden Retriever. She's probably not going to be Best in Show, but we did watch as she won her junior division trial, paraded about by her young trainer.

We looked at many of the other breeds, petting some, bringing home fresh scents for Birdie, who will never win anything, to enjoy.

Annually, the Minneapolis Kennel Club sponsors two shows: an all-breed dog show and obedience trial/rally. The all-breed show is a two-day event generally held in November. It attracts over 1200 dogs in all-breed conformation competition and junior showmanship. Participating dogs come from all AKC-recognized groups: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting, herding and miscellaneous.

Katie's NFL picks. . .$3,000 pot

It's another cold day in November, 
but we're feeling lucky. Maybe 
we'll pick some ponies at Canterbury 
after breakfast today.
Noon kickoffs:
The Packers will beat the Vikings in Green Bay :(
Houston beats Jacksonville
Kansas City wins
Detroit (We love the Lions)

Perfection splits $3,000.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Just listed in Ft. Myers

Here's a look at the house on the Orange River, upstream from Manatee Park, where Stan stayed as his brother's guest last spring. Virg has now put it up for sale and here is the sales video that his agency ordered for presentation to potential buyers. Have a look at this handsome property . . . better yet, make an offer.

Here's a link for additional property details and other information.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Day Kennedy Died

We all remember where we were when Kennedy was shot. I was in Miss Hokanson's Geometry class as a junior. She kept teaching about postulates despite the bulletins on the intercom radio, but gave up when some girls started crying.
What were you doing?
Today I was thinking about the boys on the St. Louis Park basketball team. Never really thought about them at all until now as I chatted over lunch with Kathleen about our enduring memories of that day.
In 1962, St. Louis Park won the Minnesota State Basketball Championship. The Alexandria varsity basketball coach for 1963-64, Tom Connor, thought he had an excellent chance at the State Championship that season because he had five great players.  The best was a skilled 6 foot 5 senior who could dominate any player in the state. So Coach Connor invited the St. Louis Park team to drive to Alexandria to play our 1963 opener, thus giving his potential championship team some good experience with a premium program.
Because it is a 130-mile drive to Alexandria, the St. Louis Park team must have started out early that Friday afternoon, driving in cars up old Highway 52 with plans to stop somewhere for a meal. The B squad stayed home.
So about the time Lee Harvey Oswald was loading his rifle, the boys were headed to Alexandria for a ball game, probably smug about missing some afternoon classes. Somewhere on the way, they must have heard the report on the radio. That has to be their permanent memory of that fateful day.
By the time they finally got to Alexandria, the country was in shock, no one knew what to do next, no one knew what was appropriate. They decided to play the game. It was an odd experience. Few fans filled what was ordinarily a packed gymnasium. Fewer joined the cheerleaders going through a minimum of mandatory chants. You could hear the ball bouncing sometimes in the quiet as it was brought up the floor, all making for an eerie night, oddly uncomfortable and distant.
I was a member of that potential State Championship team for which the town had such high hopes. I watched that entire evening from the bench as mostly the starting five defeated the St. Louis Park defending champs by a score of 61-58. I was in the locker room for the singing of the national anthem and for any remarks that P.A. announcer Marlin Madson may have made, but those stirring moments must be burned in his memories of the day.
It must have been a very long drive home for that St. Louis Park team. Fifty years later, it would be interesting to talk to a player to hear his enduring impressions of the day from his point of view.
For my part, it was one of the last games I watched from the bench. Shortly it was revealed that Alexandria's Greatest Hope got a classmate pregnant and the ensuing scandal resulted in a skinny junior class substitute replacing him in the starting lineup.

We've got your buck, Wayne

A note has arrived from the northern wilderness where retired International Falls Daily Journal publisher Wayne Kasich has spent the last week up a tree, to no avail. Normally, at this time of the year we would be featuring a photograph of a fine buck harvested by our intrepid friend and outdoorsman.
So far, no deer, no photo. . . just an explanation of sorts. Read on:

Hey Stan,
Three years ago Wayne produced this
record-setting specimen. So far this year, nothing.
Just returned on Tuesday from ten days deer hunting [with friends]. MaryAnn and I are now going to our shack which is a couple miles down the same road. She spent some time there with a friend while I was hunting.
[Our group] managed to bag six deer in spite of the deer count being down with the nasty spring.
I spent over 50 hours in my stand without seeing one this year. I have been on a streak of scoring a buck each year since being retired. But it ain't over. I will hunt a few hours a day on this trip also. My stand is the same distance from either shack.
Was looking at your blog to get caught up. Very cool timbers and workmanship in those old buildings.
I finished all major projects: decks, sauna, ramps etc at our shack and MaryAnn has photos but has to figure out ICloud to retrieve and send them to me.
How about those football Gophers!

Dear Wayne,
I may have an explanation.
I just heard tonight that Jim, the long-time newspaper controller we worked with for many years, was driving up to International Falls on business yesterday when he had an unfortunate mishap on the long Highway through the woods, which seriously damaged his beautiful new car. Fortunately, Jim wasn't injured.
I don't know how to tell you this, Wayne, but I think Jim got your buck.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A little something for his Mom

Happily, she recovered very quickly from gall bladder surgery.

Hai Dang flew out to Los Angeles last week to be with his mother during a brief procedure that surprised both of them with its simplicity and subsequent absence of discomfort.
Two days after the operation, Hai and his Mom went out for a walk in the sunshine and did some shopping. He snapped the picture, right, as she confidently walked home with their purchase.
They had picked out a tender hibiscus plant that had just the right blossom. They carried it home together, then he made its picture, and now she has it copied into her cellphone as background wallpaper. . . and a sweet memory of their time together.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'tis the season

The season of celebration officially got under way today when Joe and Mina hung out their icicles on the eaves. Taking advantage of somewhat balmy weather, the ambitious couple joined other neighbors in putting out decorations, wisely getting the early work done in as pleasant a situation as possible. That said, Stan and Dick chose to hit the links today in what may be their season finale.

Mina fastens the wires and lights while Joe anchors her position.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

My High School History Teacher David Dziuk

Photo by Dave Dziuk
By Stan Rolfsrud
He was just about as controversial as you could get in a small town. What he was trying to do was to make you think for yourself, but not everybody understood that, so you'd hear some things around town about that "communist" Dave Dziuk with unnatural views that definitely needed to be examined. He was also a known Democrat, which gave rise to even more suspicion in our household.
That would have delighted him.
Click to enlarge and read this.
Thanks to Tom Obert for making the
pictures from the Memorial materials.
He once stood before his history class and proposed that women must be inferior to men, because you can't name a single famous female composer or painter, "can you, . . . and Grandma Moses doesn't count." This statement visibly angered many of his students, but he just wanted them to think and understand about how important expectation and opportunity are to achievement. (He was an honorary member of the Alexandria League of Women Voters.)
Everyone should be able to use the expensive new gymnasium whenever they want, he proclaimed, because everybody has to pay for it through taxes. "It's not exclusively for just 10 athletes in shorts to run around. You can just go play there any time you wish, after all, it's public property, right?"
These statements were doubtless retold that evening by students at the family dinner table, lending ever more support to the Dziuk mythology.
He was my Sunday School teacher too, in about tenth grade. We sat in the basement of First Lutheran and studied a lot more than the 23rd Psalm. He was more interested in the meaning of life and what other people thought about it. My favorite moment, of course, came after I had made some comment and he responded boldly, "You know, Rolfsrud, that was pretty good. You're not as dumb as you look."
He died at 90, a member of the greatest generation. I had no idea that he had served early on in the Pacific when the going was very rough. He emerged as a staff sergeant, a true freedom fighter, protecting the right to free thought and assembly the hard way for himself and for the rest of us.
He taught thousands of Alexandria children over the years, until his multiple sclerosis stopped him in 1974. But he continued to inspire his students, many would come by his rest home for a chat and a challenge. He loved to talk politics and he wanted to know yours.
He wasn't going to let MS beat him, I remember waiting at the end of the hall at the Bethany Home a few years back as he huffed and struggled through a difficult exercise regimen up and down the hall, twice.
A memorial service was held for Mr. Dziuk in Alexandria this week. Here are some comments from students:

Paul Donley writes:
I attended the Dave Dziuk funeral at First Lutheran today. It was a beautiful service and a nice tribute to Dave. His oldest son gave a lengthy but very interesting eulogy. Dave was from a family of 14 children. They were a very poor farm family living near Foley. Six of the children became teachers, two became pharmacists, one a writer for the Mpls Tribune. I'd call that a pretty high achieving family. Dave's son told many stories about the family and their parents. The luncheon after the service was catered by Rudy's Red Eye Grill and featured some of Dave's favorite foods. I would guess there were maybe 75 to 80 people attending. I'm glad I had the opportunity to go as Mr. Dziuk is one of my all time favorite teachers…

Sara Stone Johnson writes:

Thanks, Paul for your tribute to Dave and the description of his service. Dave was the only teacher in my career who gave me a C. I asked him about it at our 40th (?) high school reunion, and he said, "did you deserve it?". I said, "yes, I guess so". I did better the next semester. Guess he knew I could do better. My dad really enjoyed visiting with Dave. They both loved history!
Very interesting to hear of his early years. You never wonder about things like that when you're in school with them.
Thanks everyone for sharing. A great man has left us with only our memories.

Kathy Aga Lee writes:
I, too, want to thank everyone for commenting on Mr Dziuk and his service. When a man like Dave Dziuk dies it's like a library burning to the group. Also want to add that Sara Stone getting a "C" makes me feel better about myself.

Barbara Kloehn Pyle writes:
Sad to hear of “Mr. Dziuk’s” passing, but I celebrate the gifts of knowledge and wisdom which he shared with so many of us. Don’t laugh, but – after all the Dynasty history - I actually remember his lectures on the Kuomintang (or Nat’l People’s Party – in China) . . . and with the modern rise of Chinese power today, I often wondered what Mr. Dziuk’s ‘take’ on that was. I considered him to be a virtual Chinese expert . . I also thought that he honored his high school classes by using a college-seminar-style of teaching.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Glued and screwed. You could dance on it. But we're too tired.
Stan's brother Steve, frustrated by the Google comment raz-ma-taz, comments via email instead:
Stan, I'm enjoying the scenes of all of your hard, very hard, labor, to say nothing of the skill.  Keep up the good work.  You deserve a nice Manhattan--or three--about now.  Steve
Stan says: Thanks, brother, I am enjoying No. 3 as we speak.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

First floor, open concept

The big first floor weekend came to a close tonight, the joists have been screwed into the joist hangers, water pipes have been redirected, some of the subfloor sheets glued and screwed. Above, Jen and Joe admired their day's labor, standing on a new level floor. Stan enjoyed the first lunch ever in the new dining room (right), dangling his legs through the joists and eating off the new floor. He'll return to Dundas later this week to glue down the rest of the subfloor. Joe heads home and Jennifer goes back to work after a very productive 10 days on her fixer-upper.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Something to show for it

Photo by Joe the Photographer
Yes, it is absolutely level. Something new in this old house.
It took a full day of drilling holes and then bolting 36 stubborn tie rods into place, but the micro lams (green board in the photo above) are finally secured to the founding walls so at close of business today, the first floor joist was hoisted into place, just because everyone wanted to see something new in exchange for a day of hard labor.
Tomorrow morning the rest of the joists will go up quickly, and then the subfloor. Stan's so tired he can't raise his arms over his head without assistance, Advil tonight. Emily's here for an overnight but Grandpa just isn't that much fun, he'll be in bed before she is. Grandma will stay up "late."
She had a plate of ribs and fixin's ready for the old man when he got home.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Turning a corner in Dundas

Wayne ground off dozens of bolts
and nails accumulated over the years. He's
making it smooth to accept the micro lam.
At about 3 p.m. today, they turned the corner. Up until now, they've been hauling stuff out of the house: plaster, lath, paneling, floorboards. . . and the massive timbers that held up the main floor. But this afternoon they brought the first new material in to the house, a nifty pair of 24 foot micro lams, sized for bolting onto the founding sill plate and used to support the metal joist hangers that will receive the butts of the 16-foot engineered floor trusses.
Jennifer with co-worker James.
He helped remove beams and
much more.
It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood; a half-dozen friends joined Jennifer throughout the day to move the project forward.
By the time the evening bonfire had been lit, the beer opened and the pizza delivered, the team had progressed enough today to expect to complete the subfloor by Sunday. That's saying a lot, given that in a century-old home there are plenty of surprises and detours along the way. Today was no exception, as they cleared out the basement and smoothed the old bolts, nails and other accumulated detritus off beams, trying to prepare a reasonably smooth surface for the marriage to the micro lam.
Joe the Plumber
Tonight's trial fit of the new lams proved that the old foundation is still right on the money, the bubble lined up perfectly between the marks on the level. The new lams are flush with the old foundation timbers.
Electricity was rerouted and water pipes capped.
There's much more to tell, but it will have to wait when there's more time.
The boss says to be back to the job site promptly at 8 a.m. tomorrow.

Jennifer backed Todd's pickup and trailer into her yard. Quite an achievement. Those are 24 foot micro lams.
The trailer provided a sunny spot for Stan's noon lunch. That's a new water heater in the cardboard box.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Timber joinery exposed

Butt cog joint
Last time we saw one of these we were
watching the Amish barn-raising in "Witness."
110 years ago this joint was probably tighter.
There are also a few dove-tail joints to keep the
building from spreading apart.

Jennifer's subfloor was pulled off today, revealing century-old main floor timbers, 
with their custom hand-hewn joints binding the grid together. The massive interlocking beams are still in reasonable condition, no rot, but they have warped somewhat over the years, making them less than ideal for supporting a new floor. Square nails held the tongue-in-groove floor boards in place. . . the supporting beams rely on gravity and ingenious joinery.
Square or "cut" nails  gave way to round nails before World War I, according to Wikipedia.
Progress continues on Friday with a small gang of volunteers expected on the job site.
Read all about Historic American Timber Joinery at this link. You'll find techniques described there that we found in Jennifer's floor. Very cool.

Midway through the removal of the subfloor. The ladder protrudes where the floor mounted furnace once hung.
To save labor, it was common to hew only one side of the timber when it was to be used as a floor joist.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Oral History

In 1978 Stan walked across the street from the newspaper office in Chaska and got his first gold crown, $168, including installation.
Stan's All-Star dental team. Still practicing.
The dentist office is still there, and so is the dentist. . . the crown hasn't moved either. Gold, however, has gone up considerably, and so has the price of painless dentistry.
This morning Mary cleaned Stan's teeth for the fortieth time since she started there in 1993; Over the years, they've shared pictures and stories of children and now grandchildren. "Peppermint or Wintergreen today?" she asked cheerfully, revving up her polisher. Stan chided her for the limited selection, said he didn't know the difference. He remembers the good old days with flavors like cherry, blackberry and bubblegum.
Stan has been supporting this brave Chaska practice for so long now that when Dr. Mayerle looked inside today and then reported that there was no work to be done, Stan apologized. The doc just snorted and allowed that they'd still make payroll somehow.
The topic turned to Jennifer's construction project in Northfield, with Stan complaining that sometimes it is a choice between wearing safety goggles or a dust mask at the busy job site. "If you're wearing a mask, your breath fogs the safety glasses and you can't see what you're doing. If you don't wear a mask, you're choking on dust."
"What kind of mask are you using?" the good dentist queried helpfully.
"The blue kind that you steal while you wait in the doctor's exam room," Stan laughed.
"Oh, these are better," he said, gesturing to the fancy one he had been using. "They bend around your nose real nice so the air doesn't flow up."
Today's parting gifts: a green toothbrush, a pack of dental floss . . . and a pair of All Star professional dental masks.
Loyalty has its dividends.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Two by fours and celery sticks

The temporary header (new wood) will allow the stairs and the old studs to be removed, along with the main floor.
 I-35 South was a parking lot this morning, it was totally closed off at the Dundas exit, which is where Stan was going anyway, but this was ridiculous. Apparently ice on the road caused some major accident down by Faribault or something. So Stan was plenty grumpy by the time he finally showed up for work at Jennifer's house. By now, Jen was at her job so Stan was on his own.
This floor will go away. You're looking through a hole
to the basement floor, which is now supporting part of the
second floor. . . for the time being.
Today's assignment was a temporary header to carry the load from the second story down to the basement. This will make it possible to remove all the wall partitions and the main floor. This weekend trusses will be installed and a new floor laid. (God willing)
Despite the freezing weather, the work went well in the unheated project area. No wind, sunshine through the window and a double pair of jeans did the trick.
Kathleen had packed a lunch for her man to go with the hot coffee in the rugged Stanley thermos. The surprise brown bag highlight, in a humorous nod to nostalgia, was a bundle of individually wrapped celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter.
To make it really nostalgic, Kathleen had wound each one, around and around, in old-fashioned waxed paper.
The grumpy old workman couldn't help but laugh.

All Dressed Up for Veterans' Day

Stan's old Army buddy, Mr. "Good Morning, Vietnam" Bob Morecock, now serves with the Texas Nasty Guard. Just this year he received an overseas badge for his service with the Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV). Shortly after parting company with Stan at their Fort Hood public information office in 1972, Bob did a tour in Vietnam with Armed Forces Television, reading the news on air for the troops. (You may remember our YouTube link to an historic video that showed him announcing the end of hostilities in Vietnam).
Bob lives in Houston now, a good guy who dropped a note to us today.
And the new ribbon looks great too.
Congratulations and thanks for your service, Bob!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

California dreamin'

Just as the cold snap is beginning to get serious, Hai is heading for sunny Los Angeles. Like any good son would, he'll support his mother while she undergoes some minor surgery. He'll be back when it warms this weekend.

Today's NFL picks

Noon kickoffs
A Stinkeroo
Katie gets just three right. It didn't help that Jacksonville won its first game of the season.

Detroit beats Chicago at Soldier Field (correct)
Philadelphia wins in Green Bay (Mr. Rodgers is out) (correct)
Tennessee beats visiting Jacksonville (wrong)
Cincinnati wins in Baltimore (wrong)
Indianapolis beats St. Louis at home, close call (wrong)
Seattle goes to the East Coast and beats Atlanta to reward early risers (correct)
Oakland wins at NY Giants (wrong)
Buffalo wins at Pittsburgh (wrong)

I am safe in Budapest

I am safe in Budapest. I arrived yesterday. I will be leaving late tonight to go to Graz, Austria.
We all stayed up late dancing last night, so I am very tired.

Much love,

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Meanwhile, in Dundas, Minnesota

Here's the old furnace, exposed. The wood flooring surrounding it was removed earlier. Shortly,
Greg will go down into the basement to disconnect the gas and pull off some heavy attachments to lighten it.
This flooring will reappear someday.
Exactly where, we don't know.
(Pull the nails from the underside to
preserve the finished side.)
Big day in Dundas.
Jennifer and her team tore into the living room floor today, yanking up dusty, brittle floorboards and revealing an old wavy subfloor, readying the site for next weekend. . . when a modern engineered truss system will be bolted onto the century-old foundation. A new leveled subfloor will lay atop it.
Over there in the old kitchen, 150 square feet of spruce (or similar) tongue-in-groove flooring was salvaged today and set aside in the big garage for later use.
In the midst of the project, an ancient and inefficient heating plant waited its turn, as ever, firmly planted, flush to the floor. It has performed faithfully for generations, children stood on it cold mornings and felt the glorious heat wafting through their clothes. Today it was time for it to be retired, disconnected and removed. . . and perhaps offered for sale.
It will soon be replaced with an efficient in-floor heating system, powered by hot water circulating back and forth under the new floor, radiating warmth from the bottom up.
There was nothing cozy about the construction area today, when Stan and Greg reported for duty, ready to take directions from the project superintendent.
Eventually they performed the coup de grace… after a few screws were turned and the gas shut off in the basement, they hoisted the old furnace from its moorings, making a big hole in the floor.
There's just no turning back now. Onward. . . .

Photo by Greg
Two young urban pioneers and an old retired guy yanked this mid-century behemoth out of the floor today.
Thank goodness for Medicare … and Advil.

Friday, November 08, 2013

So what else is new?

 Photo by Katie
Work clothes snobs will recognize this logo.

New gloves from the new Duluth Trading Co. store in Bloomington will be just the thing for scooping the poop on chilly morning dog walks on the frozen tundra. These sturdy work gloves are toasty, but remarkably light and comfortable too. Perfect for the walk-about-retiree with chronic cold hands syndrome.
Also, the brand new beard is a Movember "Prostate Cancer Awareness" nod.  We've joined the boys on the Today Show in encouraging men to get this important test.  (Stan had the 30 second checkup last week. He's good.)
So. . . Look again. What else is new?

Red sky at the morning. . .

Sailors take warning.
As you can see, the snow has pretty much burned off, it's still sticking to the north side of rooftops, but there's not a lot of cheer in the next few days with more cold air coming in from the Dakotas.
Vikings had a nice win last night, a see-saw affair that occasionally reminded us of the good old days when they won more than they lost.

Like a red morn that ever yet betokened,
Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field,
Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds,
Gusts and foul flaws to herdmen and to herds.”
Wm. Shakespeare