Wednesday, June 30, 2010
In the meantime, we're getting quotes from several different contractors, so we can get an idea of what the cost really is. Hopefully they'll match up pretty well, and we can get a check from our insurance company that will cover everything we need to get done, without too much of a fight. You hear too many insurance horror stories about insurance companies that do everything they can to get out of paying. The family in one of the houses behind us is having all kinds of trouble getting their cheap insurance company to pay for what it should.
There are some really good insurance companies, too. I've heard of at least one guy in town who's already gotten a check from his insurance, and they gave him more than it's actually going to cost. I hope our company comes in on the good side. They've always been really good when we've had miscellaneous claims against our auto insurance, but this is the first time we've had to claim anything on the homeowner's insurance. We've been paying our premiums all these years, and they haven't had to pay anything, which I'm sure is the way we both would have liked to keep it - but now that we need it, they need to come through.
We'll know soon enough.
Jeffrey was thinking he'd like to maybe go with French doors, and I think they look nice. I just don't know if that's the way we want to go or not. I'm not sure I like the idea of having an actual door that needs room to swing open. A sliding door doesn't take up any extra room. Also, I like to be able regulate the air flow through the house by how far I open the sliding door. I'm not sure how that can work with the French doors. And, I hadn't thought of this, but a lot of times I'm opening the sliding door with my elbow or foot when I'm carrying things out to the deck or back in. Will I be able to do that with a French door?
It's just hard to decide, so if you have any insights or suggestions I'd love to hear them. All these decisions we're going to have to make - what kind of shingles and what color, what style and color of siding, etc. And before that, which contractor we want to do the work. At least I don't have to worry about spa filters because I think that would just be too much.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Ronnie Dunn is supposed to rest his voice for at least 3 weeks, doctor's orders, so they canceled the concert. We'll get our money back for those concert tickets, but what I really wanted was to see Brooks & Dunn.
Summerfest replaced them with Lynrd Skynrd, .38 Special, and some other bands I'd never heard of, but I didn't really feel like seeing some Louisiana Jones Act replacement - so we didn't buy new tickets, even though they were only $15, and we just stayed home. And if Brooks & Dunn are really serious about this being the last tour, we'll probably never get another chance to see them.
Yes, I know I'll survive, but it's still kind of frustrating, at least for tonight.
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Anyway, it was about time the boy got his license. Last year we just renewed his learner's permit. Partially it was because we didn't have to pay for the insurance. Visit autoinsurancequotes.com and you'll see that paying insurance for a teenage boy isn't cheap. It wasn't just the insurance, though. Unlike his sister Beth, who wanted to drive every chance she got from the minute she got her temps, Cory never seemed to care whether he drove or not. Often he'd just rather sit in the back seat and read whenever we went someplace. And, since he didn't have any real need to drive, he didn't really need to get his license.
Since he's gotten it, it's been pretty nice, though. It seems he's had graduation parties and other events practically non-stop - and we haven't had to drive him to any of those things! So, yes, it's convenient. It was also nice that when he went to Whitewater yesterday for his college orientation and registration I didn't have to take him and then go back later to pick him up. I'm not sure what kind of autoinsurancequotes.com we got from our insurance agent so I don't know how much this is going to cost us, but I guess it's just part of life.
We were going to give Beth the Buick and get her off our insurance when she moved out, but we had some issues with emissions and repairs, and I had already paid for the license plate sticker, which the DOT was not going to refund, so we decided to wait until September when it's time to pay the insurance again. Then she can get her own autoinsurancequotes.com and pay her own expenses, and we'll only have to pay for Cory. Waiting also gives her a chance to get used to paying her own bills like rent and utilities before adding another one.
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Well, as a straight man, i had my... issues with going to see this new twilight film.
"Twilight? isn't that a time of day?"
"no, no, no. It's a MOVIE based off of a book."
"So it's a movie about astronomy?"
See. Vampires. Great.
Now don't get me wrong, I love a good Vampire book. Lots of violence, even more violence, and an ancient feel. Or in the case of Vampire books by Christopher Moore, Hilarity.
But what I don't like are bastardized Vampires. and Oh goodness gracious these Twilight Vampires? Abominations.
First Off, I want my vampires to have Fangs. Two sharp pointy fangs.
do these "twilight" vampires have fangs?
Secondly. I don't want my vampires to Sparkle.
Twilight vampires sparkle. making them... useless.
Thirdly. Honestly I don't really want to go on. So I won't.
Oh yeah, right. the movie.
It starts out with a guy walking in the rain. and then something steals his backpack, and he's all like.
"omg, no. my backpack."
and then. he gets bitten.
on the hand.
by something RUNNING past him.
I still don't get how that worked.
But anyways. He turns into a vampire.
then we have the whole. Bella Swan narration.
"my life sucks. I want to sparkle with Edward."
It was really awkward, I mean you had these beautiful shots of mountains and sunrises over the mountains, and it's ruined by. Emo-ness.
And then, Edward and Bella are making out in a field of flowers.
I honestly think at least Half of this film was kissing. and awkward creepy kissing at that.
no thank you.
The whole film is based around this one big upcoming plot point. something about some vampire chick, Victoria, coming to kill Bella.
Something to do with Edward killing the only person she ever loved or something. some shirtless guy named James.
But if i remember correctly. people told me that this vampire named Alice ripped off this Shirtless guys head. so. whatever.
So basically, Victoria wants to kill Bella. so she makes all these new vampires. and they're all.
and this other guys is all. screaming at them and stuff.
and then Dakota Fanning is on the roof.
and then she vanishes.
So all these Newborn vampires walk underwater from Seattle, to Forks. so apparently they're just on opposing sides of a lake or something. Don't ask me. I don't even know.
And then the "werewolves" who are some chubbyesque tan men, decide to help the Cullen Family kill these newborn Vampires.
so they do.
Yeah. that summed up the essential plot.
but then you had the "real plot" as the Twi-hards would call it.
Will Bella Swan pick Jacob?
So Edward and Jacob argue.
Jacob Face rapes Bella with his lips and then she punches him in the face. and breaks her hand.
and we have this big thing going around.
Jacob is convinced that Bella loves him, even though she wont' say it and want's nothing romantic with him.
But apparently she does.
I have no clue. she changes her mind so often it'd just be better for everyone if Edward and Jacob just teamed up and killed her.
so basically, Bella decides to go camping on the top of a mountain, because then she'll be away from the "battle" but it's so cold up there Jacob has to climb into bed with her to keep her warm. while Edward sits and watches.
so that have some man talk while she sleeps, about how they both love her and what not.
The cinematography was crap. the camera shook way too much for my liking. i felt like i was on a boat.
there were also scenes that didn't make sense at all.
like when Bella goes,
"i'm going camping. Jacob, you're shirtless carry me there. that way these newborn vampires wont' be able to follow because your dog stink will cover my sexy smelling blood."
and then he carries her for a bit, like they're going up the mountain.
and then she's back home in her truck.
and then she's back at the battle field smearing her blood everywhere.
and then Jacob AGAIN, carries her to the campsite.
(he's still shirtless mind you. also he didn't change pants throughout the whole film.)
made no sense.
the chick who played Victoria. Was Hot. her face was like. perfect. Deanna agreed. but now i look at pictures of her. and she's not so hot when shes' not a pale redheaded vampire... hmn.
All I know is, I'm on "team I don't care about this stupid fad, but I'm glad I went to this prescreening because I laughed at this movie very hard because it was stupid."
What team are you on?
I've only listened to the first book, and I thought it was pretty dumb, so I didn't read any more. I saw the first movie on the bus to New York, and I thought it was really dumb, too. If I hadn't listened to the book, I would have had no idea what was going on. It was so disjointed and random. But now Beth is reading the books, and Beth is not really a reader, so I'm thinking that I ought to at least give them a try - just because they've gotten Beth to read. This does not make Cory happy.
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Monday, June 28, 2010
Weren't they cute?
And now he's registered for college classes. Somewhere along the line he grew up. I must've blinked or something.
Friday, June 25, 2010
In our neighborhood, the mailboxes are all on one side of the street, two boxes to a pole. Our boxes are on our side of the street, at the end of our driveway. Our mailbox survived intact, while the neighbors' box was blown off the pole. These are the same neighbors who live across the street, who had the end of their house and garage torn off - as well as the gas leak, several broken windows, a broken water line, and I don't know what else. It's almost like adding insult to injury that the mailbox was also blown away! It was found and returned to them the next day, though, and Jeffrey helped him put it back up yesterday - so at least they'll be able to get mail, even if they can't live in the house for the next few months. (It's the little things.)
Some of the other neighbors might not be so lucky. Their mailboxes may never be found, and they'll have to get new residential mailboxes - along with new carpeting, new siding, new roofs, new furniture...
Thursday, June 24, 2010
We’ve been the center of attention this week. All day Tuesday, these guys were circling, at least one for every local station, I think.
The thing about a natural disaster is that even a small town like ours can make the news – but nobody’s got power so we can’t watch! And everyone’s too busy cleaning up to have time to watch anyway, even if we’d known that the best buy we could have made ahead of time was a generator!
If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.
To give you an idea of where these houses are in relation to ours, I've tried circling some of them on this map. Our house is circled in yellow.
The house directly across the street from ours: (circled in red)
and then on the street behind that house: (left: turquoise, right: green)
A little ways down our street, looking down the first cross street: (left: orange, right: green)
That last house there (circled in green) was completely moved off the foundation, and right across the street from it, where it says 300 on the map, that house belonged to our fire chief, and it was totally destroyed - no house left, just a basement in the ground and a bunch of debris.
You can see the rest of the pics on Flickr. Start here with the house across the street, and scroll to the left through the photo stream. I did not continue circling houses, but basically we walked down the street just looking at both sides of the street and being totally shocked by what we saw.
The good news is - no one was killed, and there was only one minor injury. Houses can be rebuilt, roofs can be repaired, pond fountains can be replaced, trees will eventually grow again, but people can't be replaced. Journal Sentinel article with some more info about the tornado can be found here.
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Wednesday, June 23, 2010
First things first – assess damage to our house and take pictures.
Drywall inside our bedroom:
Cory’s window, screen ripped and the outer glass broken:
Side of the garage by the front door, missing soffit:
Front of garage, covered with debris. Something hit it and dented it, though it’s hard to see in the pic. Also, the missing soffit allowed debris to get into the garage where it coated the cars and motorcycle, and probably everything else, too.
Our basketball hoop was in the ditch:
Debris all over the front of the house:
Missing soffit and fascia on the other side of the garage:
Broken deck railing. That blue thing in the 2nd pic is not ours. Some of our deck furniture ended up in the yard, but luckily did not go far and did not sustain any damage except for some broken tiles. Also, luckily the wheels on the grill weren’t locked, so it ended up rolling across the deck and lodging against the table, where it stayed without falling over.
Missing shingles in the back of the house:
Downed tree branches and my tomato plants:
Our poor trees:
Both these trees were here when we moved into the house, along with a third one which was destroyed by wind several years ago. Jeffrey has been talking about getting rid of one of them for a while now, because they’re really too close to one another. Now it looks like both of them will be going.
There used to be a plant here, and mulch too:
Some of that mulch ended up all over the house. Also, we don’t know what it was, but something hit the end of our house. This is where the drywall in our bedroom got punched in. There was other damage to the siding all over this wall.
Missing shingles here and there and a bunch of debris in the yard, but it’s still standing, and it still looks like our house:
It could have been so much worse. For a lot of families in the neighborhood, it was, which you will see when we tour part of the neighborhood in my next post.
A little after 9pm on Monday, June 21, a tornado came through our neighborhood. They were telling us on TV that some severe weather was coming, but they say that all the time and often tend to over exaggerate, so we weren’t paying that much attention. We got some amazing lightning and really loud claps of thunder, along with some rain. Cory and I were watching the lightning from the garage and then from the back door. Then it pretty much let up, and we thought it was over – until the wind really starting picking up. Chairs on the deck started falling over, and the grill started rolling the other way. Rain started whipping in the windows, and Cory’s fan blew out of his. So we started running around closing windows, and Jeffrey went to close the garage door. And then the power went out, and he yelled, “Get to the basement!” I grabbed my computer (I have my priorities), and Cory and I went down the pitch-dark stairs to the basement – but Jeffrey didn’t come, because he was still closing the garage door. Finally he came down, and we just listened to the wind whip around outside.
When it was over, we came back upstairs, but couldn’t really see much since it was dark. The neighbors across the street had a gas leak, so they came over to get away from our house, and we tried to flag down a fire truck or somebody to get the gas turned off. There were several emergency vehicles going by and already about a block over. They finally got one stopped, and once they were aware of the leak, the officials told us we had to evacuate the neighborhood. We were supposed to go to the fire station, but we came across downed trees and power lines and couldn’t get there. Finally we found someone who said to go to the Village Hall and that it was safe to walk that direction. There was a tree completely blocking the street, but we could get around it by walking up someone’s driveway and between their vehicles. There were branches and other debris in the streets the rest of the way, but nothing major and no power lines, so we made it safely to the Village Hall where they had a generator set up to run a couple lights. We were there for a little while, until they told us the gas had been turned off, and we could go home. On the way home we found that the tree that had been blocking the street had already been cleared.
There were so many people out in the streets, going from house to house, checking on all the neighbors. The fire department was going through, also going from house to house making sure everyone was accounted for. Several news crews were in town and fire trucks and police cars from every surrounding community. My friend Mary called me about the time we were walking home from the Village Hall and said she’d heard that 6 houses had been destroyed. In the dark, though, it was hard to really assess the damage and get an idea of how bad it was. The neighbors across the street, the ones who’d had the gas leak, had the side of their house and garage ripped off as well as several broken windows. They had to have some friends come pick them up, because they couldn’t even get their cars out of the garage. Our house seemed fine - Cory’s window was broken, but only the outer glass, and something hit the end of the house and punched into the drywall in our bedroom, but not all the way through – so we didn’t have to go anywhere and eventually got to bed.
First thing Tuesday morning, the news helicopters began circling, and it was time to really assess the damage…
Sunday, June 20, 2010
Yeah, I'm good. Luckily there are quite a few videos available on YouTube, from people who actually thought to shoot some video. Just search 'Fremont Street Experience' and you'll find all kinds of them. Here's one of the Queen Tribute:
Starting at 8:30pm each night, there's a different show each hour.
- 8:30pm - Don McLean's American Pie (didn't see)
- 9pm - Doors Strange Days (didn't see)
- 10pm - Queen Tribute
- 11pm - KISS over Vegas
- 12m - Signs of Life - JVH
- 1am - Bad to the Bone (saw this one the last night, liked it the best)
Friday, June 18, 2010
One thing I have to mention - before we went I read all kinds of things online. People said be sure to bring comfortable shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking and be sure to have some sunscreen because Las Vegas is in the desert, and that sun is hot. What they didn't say is to bring some good eye cream that will moisturize and hopefully do something about those under-eye circles - because you will not get enough sleep. Sure, we weren't getting up as early as we normally do, but that's good because we weren't getting to bed until way after our bedtime. In fact, the last night we were there, we didn't sleep at all. The shuttle was picking us up at 4:30am to go to the airport, so we just stayed up. Sometime we are going to have to catch up on that missed night of sleep - the little naps on the airplane didn't do it.
Thankfully, the weekend is almost here.
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Thursday, June 17, 2010
Jeffrey and I just got back from a few days in Las Vegas. We’d never been there, and he’d been wanting to go for a long time. So, we left our almost 18-year-old son home alone and flew off to Vegas. So, of course I have to share a pic or two of the sky over the Vegas Strip. Just a few from the first day:
If you enjoy skies as much as I do, be sure to check out Looking at the Sky on Friday.
Nowadays kids have it so much easier, getting ready for these kinds of tests. There are practice questions online, and good SAT and ACT prep courses that can help them improve their scores. Of course, it's the same as the book - if you don't use it, it can't help you. When Cory was getting ready to take the ACT, I kept telling him he needed to do some studying or some of the practice questions so he'd be ready. Of course he waited until the night before the test to do any of them. Still he did well enough that he could get into any of the University of Wisconsin schools, according to his school counselor.
I wonder how much higher he could have scored if he'd done a little prep.
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Friday, June 11, 2010
The artist wants you to know:
These two pieces are a type of art called Print-making, which is actually one of my LEAST favourite projects out of the year. The type of Print-making we do is relatively simple, we're handed a linoleum tile and we carve away. The Glee stamp, titled "By Definition" is this form of Print-making. I carved all of the whites out leaving a LOT of area. You then put ink on the tile and stick it on a piece of paper. Which leaves you with an image. The other Piece is a style of Print-making I wasn't familiar with. it's called "Reduction Print-making" which is Print-making in layers. I had to carve the stamp in layers, taking the whites out first and then as i went on, I had to carve more and more. I ended up with four layers of ink on this piece, and it requires quite a bit of brain power. But I think it looks quite like a Converse, don't you? This print was named "Canvas". My head actually hurt when working on this. But they both turned out quite well and the art teacher told me to go have them printed on the programs, so I did. Luckily these weren't all Inked by me. Gotta love school copiers. ~Cory
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I'm not saying we never had fun. There were a few times we went to the park for the 4th of July carnival and to watch the fireworks, and we went to the local lake to swim once in a while. However, there were also plenty of times when we would've liked to go do something, but home and garden came first. So, when I had kids I decided that I would make a real effort to do things with my kids. I would take them to the beach on warm summer days, roller blade with them around the neighborhood, take them roller skating, to the library and the park, and just have fun and spend time together.
Did everything always get done? No, but that's OK. The most important thing was to spend that time with the kids, because before you know it they're all grown up and they don't want to do fun things with Mom anymore. The park is a place to hang out with their friends. It's no longer fun to go to the lake. They no longer want to roller blade with mom because she doesn't want to go down the hills, etc. You get the idea.
Once that happens, there will be plenty of time to clean the house.
Jeffrey and I have always loved roller coasters. Our kids, on the other hand, have always hated them - or, as Cory said, he was 'frightened' of them. It's been several years since we've even tried to get them on a roller coaster. We just figured it wasn't worth the price of admission to take them to an amusement park if they weren't going to ride anything.
Then, the band and choir went to Six Flags at the end of last month. Cory wasn't really looking forward to it, but part of the trip involved performing, and he couldn't let the band and choir down. Luckily, through fund raising and Band Booster contributions, the trip didn't really cost much. Cory was just going to spend the day with his friends. He was originally hoping to be able to spend the day in the water park, but it was a cool day, and that part of the park wasn't even open yet.
He spent the first part of the day walking around with his friends and holding their stuff while they went on the rides. But then they started feeling bad because he wasn't riding anything and finally got him on a ride. After that he rode several, more than once. He called me as they were boarding the bus to leave the park - to tell me that he rode roller coasters and it was AWESOME. It turns out that once he actually let himself try it and got on a roller coaster, he loved it. He just might be our son after all!
and now I really want to go ride some roller coasters.
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Wednesday, June 09, 2010
I have twitter. I have facebook. I have PayPal. What I don't have is an iPhone. Why is that important? Until now it really wasn't. Sure, the iPhone is supposed to be really cool with all the apps and everything, and the people who have them really seem to love them. But that's not why. It's because now, having an iPhone means you can get paid for doing things you're probably already doing.
IZEA, the company behind SocialSpark and Sponsored Tweets, has launched a new site called WeReward.com that pays iPhone users for check ins and tasks they complete in the real world. It integrates with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, so you can still get your badges and share the way you always have. (If you're an iPhone user, I'm sure you understand what that means)
Me, I don't have an iPhone, so I'll just watch this video to see how WeReward works. Feel free to watch it with me.
It looks easy and fun, doesn't it? If you've got an iPhone, go ahead and Download the App and give it a try. Me? Maybe I'll just watch the video again - and be just a little jealous of all those rewards you can earn for checking in.
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The difference between Matt and Cory is that Matt knows how to tie his ties. Cory, on the other hand, always has to have help from his dad - who rarely wears a tie any more. We're wondering what he's going to do next year when he's away at college. Cory says he's going to find a girl to help him. While I don't doubt he'll have no trouble finding a girl or two who will love to help him, it won't hurt him to bookmark tiepedia. Matt explains how to tie a tie - complete with video, pictures, and detailed instructions - not just your basic Half Windsor Knot, but several others as well.
I think tiepedia looks like a great site for all things tie-related. There's also a fun post full of ties Dad will love to get for Father's Day - tie cakes like the one in the picture. See more - Not Your Ordinary Father's Day Ties.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Jeffrey keeps saying that we need to paint our house. When we built it, we painted all the walls white, and I've been perfectly happy with white walls. However, it's been more than 10 years, and the walls could use a fresh coat of paint. While we're at it, we're thinking we should add some color, instead of just going with the white.
Picking out the white was hard enough. You'd never think that picking a white paint would be hard, but there are a whole lot of whites. I'm afraid picking out the right color is going to be even harder. I'm really hoping the Room Painter at Glidden.com will be a big help. Check it out, it's really cool. They give you three easy ways to pick a color and then let you 'paint' a room to see how it looks. Glidden even suggests some nice coordinating colors once you pick a main color.
Still, it's hard to know what it will look like until you actually put some paint on the walls. That's why Glidden offers Paint Testers. They're unique little jars of paint with a brush in the lid. Each tester has enough paint to cover three square feet, so you can get a really good idea what the color will look like on your walls before buying all those big cans of paint. I have a hard time picturing things I can't actually see, so I think these will be perfect for me.
I signed up for the Get Color, Give Color giveaway on June 1st - so I will be getting two free testers to try out. I hope we like at least one of the colors. The giveaway has ended now, so if you weren't lucky enough to get your free testers, you can always get them at your local Home Depot store. Or, if we don't like the colors I picked online, we can get more at Home Depot. They have paint testers in every color, XL color chips with coordinating color ideas, pictures for inspiration, and of course quality Glidden paint for the entire project.
I'm kind of getting excited about the whole painting thing now. Of course, my part is just helping to pick the colors and make decisions about what goes where. Someone else is going to have to do the actual painting, because I won't be able to handle the paint fumes. Glidden paint is supposed to last for years and be easy to clean, so at least we won't have to paint again for a long time - unless we want to try some different colors.