Around the House

Little Helping Hands

She’s not potty trained, but at least she cleans up after herself.

Christmas Lights!

When it comes to Christmas decorations, our neighbors across the street always do way more than we do. However, I am happy to report that we actually put up some lights this year. I was going to do it in 2010, but Eliana showed up early, and then it was too darn cold.

Anyway, a big thanks to Jenelle’s dad, Dave, who had the courage and the know-how to set up and climb a big extension ladder multiple times to get those icicle lights up on the roof. Now I’m just waiting for Jenelle’s parents to come back and visit so that we can take them down. 🙂 (Reminder: When taking down the lights, also get the wire that’s hanging from the satellite dish that the previous owners installed.)

The Great Groundhog Day Blizzard

We’ve been spoiled by the amazing weather this winter. I still haven’t forgotten the first time I can ever remember WORK being closed due to snow. It was a year ago today. You can call it Snowmageddon or Snowpocalypse or whatever you like. That’s right, woodchuck-chuckers – it happened on Groundhog Day. This is my adventure in digging out of it.

Chair. Chair. Chair.

My parents gave Eliana a Pottery Barn Kids table & chair set for an early birthday present. They let Jenelle and me handle ordering it. The set includes a table and two chairs. Here’s a simplified version of what happened with the order.

Me: “I’d like to order the table & chair set.”
Pottery Barn Kids: “Okay, we’ll send it to you.”

Me: “One of the chairs is cracked.”
PBK: “Sorry. Send it back to us, and we’ll send you a replacement.”
Me: “Okay. Thanks.”

Me: “Hey, our table & chair set went on sale. Can you do a price adjustment?”
PBK: “Sure, here’s twenty bucks.”

Me: “Um, I sent you back the one broken chair, and you sent me two in return.”
PBK: “Yeah, we can’t send just one. You can keep the other one.”

And that’s how it’s done.

Cleaning and Organizing

Jenelle and I are going through every nook and cranny in the house to get rid of old things and stay organized. Our plan is to visit one area of the house each day over a 40-day period. So far, it’s going well, but we haven’t got to the really cluttered places yet.

Today, I went through the closet in the bedroom that has become “Ben’s room”, as it has running stuff, music stuff, and lots of other stuff that is used almost exclusively by me. We also have a file cabinet in there with a bunch of paperwork.

Anyway, inside the closet were multiple items from high school. I am keeping my letter jacket and a tennis sweatshirt, but these other items have to go. The shirts are really dingy, and the blue warm-up suit is, in a bit of a surprise, too BIG. I’ll always have the pictures and the memories. The stuff can go.

Awesome Family, Plumber Edition

Let’s hear it for my dad! He’s one of these guys who will do what it takes to get things done. In the past week, two of the three toilets in our house developed issues. The flush valve got stuck on one of them, and the fill valve starting leaking on the other. Thanks to about $20 worth of parts and a few hours of elbow grease, we once again have three operational facilities. The new fill valve on the downstairs toilet is both faster and quieter than the old one, that I’m wondering if it would be good to replace the other two noisy ones.

Grandpa Milt, my dad’s dad, who had an amazing work ethic, once said, “If you have a job to do, you do it.” My dad has clearly inherited that, and it is a blessing that he uses his skills and expertise to give me and my family some much needed help.

Weathering the Storm

A thunderstorm early this evening generated a “downburst” near I-94 and highway 50. This led to the tornado sirens sounding. We spent about ten minutes in the basement before realizing the storm was far enough south that it wouldn’t threaten us.

When another big storm hit earlier this summer (on June 8), we pulled Eliana out of her crib just after her usual bedtime, and the three of us gathered in the basement. I am sharing two videos from that night. The first is the three of us hanging out in the basement, and the second is some of the lightning outside our window, which Jenelle recorded after the worst of the storm was past us.

Birthday Fun Times

I’m 33 years old. Wow, I’m getting up there.

Anyway, here are a couple of videos. The first is from our party last night, and the second is from earlier this afternoon. Enjoy!

Singing and Swinging

While I don’t belong on American Idol, I can bring a smile to my daughter’s face with a song.

The song is “Hosanna” by Paul Baloche, which I am playing at church with the worship band tomorrow.

Getting Clean in Style

We just finished an update to our master bathroom. The shower, which used to be a fiberglass stall, is now done with tile and a clear glass enclosure. There’s a lot more room, and it looks way better than it did before.

We were originally planning to start this project on December 8th — which turned out to be the day after Eliana was born. We ended up starting the project in early January. It took about a week and a half for the main portion of the work to be done, which consisted of demolition, moving the shower head to the left side, carpentry, and tile work. Then we just had to wait a week or so for the custom glass to arrive. We also painted the ceiling and a couple of the walls.

Below are the before and after pictures. Check out the full photo album to watch things progress day by day.