Friday, January 29, 2010

Meeting, Fire Hydrant, Up With People/Youtubes

Cleaned up and out of the condo by 8:00 a.m. Billy is not a coffee drinker so there was no aroma of perking morning coffee in the condo. The convention hotel is down Rt 41. Two miles past the hotel is where I need to pick up the fire hydrant I found on Craigslist. The man selling it is a retired New York City fireman. This hydrant was originally in service in Yonkers, not far from Yankee Stadium. It got knocked over in an accident and became the property of “Charlie”. He moved it to Long Island, then to Ft Myers, Florida: Now it will end up in Alabama!

I can tell he is attached to the thing. I promised him pictures of the final installation/restoration. He was telling Billy and I stories of his service. He had a New York City accent you could cut with a knife. I loved it!!

It was a quick trip to the hotel. We got registered for the meeting. The business agenda was just about to start. I needed some coffee before doing anything. There was a breakfast set up off the lobby. I felt kind of guilty, but I cooked me a waffle and had some other treats. It was like old home week seeing old friends in the lobby heading for the business presentations.

After getting filled up I topped off my coffee and snuck into the meeting room just as a museum presentation was getting underway. It dragged on forever.

Then Steven gave his talk on the restoration and installation of the Wurlitzer theatre organ into his house. Saying “What an undertaking” is putting it mildly. I know more collectors who try to do such a job on their own. It never works. To have it done right you have to bite the bullet, shell out the money and have it done PROPERLY!

The afternoon open house is in Naples. It was really not a long distance to drive; it was the bumper to bumper traffic and stoplights to contend with. I could not put up with that kind of aggravation on a daily basis.

On the way Billy and I stopped at a Panera Bread for a quick lunch. A crock of French Onion soup and half a tuna fish sandwich was just what I needed.

My friends Bill and Norm were hosting the open house. They have a beautiful home and collection. I first met them many years ago through my good friend Gary when they lived in Columbus, OH.

It is so much fun to connect and “dish” with old friends. I’ve been a member of the Musical Box Society since 1971 and have made many lasting friendships over the years.

Billy and I headed back to the condo to get ready for the banquet that was held at The Edison Country Club. I changed into my Utiliklt. Once we left the condo there was no changing back!

Billy and I entered the club and were directed to the back patio. That is where the cash bar was set up for us. The inside “club bar” had all kinds of appetizers that would not have survived long with our group! I could feel the eyes on me as I walked to the table where Cotton was seated at. I had a present for him and Julie… one of my new bricks! That really broke everyone up. Then I had to explain my Utilikilt. They all loved it!

We had a good table for the banquet. Carla and Stephanie were with me and Billy. Before the food was served Carol (one of the “matrons” of the society) joined us for a minute. She had to ask Carla something. Then she asked me if anything was worn under my kilt. It was the perfect set-up. I replied, “There is nothing worn under my Utilikilt, it is all in perfect operating condition!!!” Poor Carol, her face turned so red and she practically ran away!

Our evening entertainment was at Steven’s house. He put together a demonstration of comparing the same roll of music demonstrated on upon different make pianos. I think he has some seven pianos to play with.

The “main room” of Steven’s house.

Then he gave a concert on the Wurlitzer. I was so impressed. I’m always in awe of talented people like Steven.

Bill in the background, Steven and Me.

After the concert we were able to squeeze into the organ chamber to see the workings of the instrument. All is so fresh and clean. What an amazing instrument.

Dale giving the tour of the organ chamber.

After a bunch of the guests left, Steven played some more on the organ. This was totally unstructured. Bill, a very talented pianist played a duet with Steven on the organ. This was one of those magic moments where everything just "jelled". Then from out of nowhere Steven started playing the theme from “Up With People”. OMG!!! Up With People was a movement which I can only describe as Walt Disney reinventing the Hitler Youth. Squeaky clean kids singing about the beauty and truth of “white bread 1950’s America.” There was a local chapter in Lockport I joined for the summer of 1968 because Linda and Mary Jo were involved.

Hearing that theme again I had to do the motions just like our group did at the Up With People concert we attended at Chautauqua that summer.

My friends were howling! Steven repeated the song with me next to the console to be videoed. This masterpiece has made its way to the “Youtubes”. I’m socially destroyed now!!


Thursday, January 28, 2010

Home From the Road, Playing Catch Up..

Time to rehash the last road trip: Billy talked me into driving down a day earlier, so I locked up my house on 4:15 Wednesday morning January the 20th and hit the road.

I made excellent time stopping at Ozark, AL for my western omlette at 7:45. There were new workers in the restaurant that needed a lot of help. An experienced waitress had to retake my order. All arrived well in the end. My omlette was perfection.

It was a little after two in the afternoon when I arrived at the brick hoard. This is located not far from the intersection of I-10 and I-75. There were three people cleaning and stacking bricks. I paid the head of the operation $150.00 for 150 bricks. The workers offered to load the bricks onto my truck but I declined. One reason was they were not getting paid to do that and more importantly I wanted to hand pick my bricks. The main man had to work on another project so I was able to cherry pick the best marked bricks. It did not take long to get my 150 bricks loaded.

As I was working a dump truck arrived to deposit another load of these “pavers in the raw”. There were stacks of these pavers neatly lined up along with many piles of freshly dumped bricks. What a pretty picture!

It was a fast trip to Bill and Linda’s from here: Only some 30 miles using the back roads.

I was kind of dirty from loading the bricks. Billy just shook his head seeing me all grimy!

Thursday Bill and I loaded up his truck for the Music Box Society meeting. It poured rain all day. It was a good thing I did make the trip a day early. There was no way I would have been able to get bricks in this weather.

We enjoyed a special dinner of rouladen, red cabbage, and fresh kale. Linda is such a good cook. I get so spoiled staying at their house!

Friday morning we got on the road extra early for Orlando. The destination was the Holiday Inn for the phonograph show. Friday was the “outdoor swap” before the main show on Saturday. Bill usually does this show, but we must attend the MBS meeting in Fort Myers on Saturday. The pickings were pretty grim. One of the “big name” restorers showed up with a Multiphone that had been restored to the hilt. I’m not sure if this is the machine he had advertised for $125,000. or not. This machine is a rare bird, but it can keep flying at that price as far as I concerned!

Multiphone “juke box”. This is not the machine I’m describling. This shot was found on the web.

I found a painted horn that will work great with the latest phonograph purchase. It is the perfect size. The painting is still quite intact and not all scratched up. These horns were originally painted without using any primer to keep the costs down. Red especially is prone to flaking off.

The new horn in Alabama. It is propped up using bricks that were sent to me by my good friend Jean in PA. You have to love those flat rate boxes! She fit four bricks into that shipment!

I’m so glad we are not going to stay and do the show Saturday. Last year it was death. From the looks of dealers present, I imagine the cycle will be repeated.

We headed out at 2:00 for Ft Myers. We made good time arriving at Carraba’s right at 5:30. The place was just starting to fill up as we seated ourselves at the bar. Supper was a bowl of mussels. That dinner was such a treat for me. I was in heaven soaking up the garlic butter sauce with bread. I’ll have to do double duty on the Concept 2 when I get back home!

Once we got settled into the condo I contacted Charlie about the fire hydrant pick up. He is located just two miles from the convention hotel. It will be all set to pick up Saturday morning about 8:30.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hide Glue, No Workout, Looking Back

Friday was a glorious warm sunshiny day. (I was playing one of my “horrible music” CD’s yesterday which has the Brady Bunch singing “It’s a Sunshine Day” hence the adjective!) Alison was able to get some of the Alabama Crew guys to crew out with us, so we were on the river with an eight. It was so good to row on the water again.

Unfortunately, the nice weather was not to last: Saturday was a gray, depressing rainy day. I was so pissed in that I messed up my morning workout at the “Y” on the Concept 2 rowing machine. My sweatshirt became untucked and was jamming the seat rollers. I had to stop to take it off. The time I missed knocked off the distance I needed to best my last rating!

Saturday was the day to start a new project. I had ordered new cardboard pegs for the record cabinet which were delivered on Thursday. The reason so many of these specialized cabinets survived the demise of the cylinder record was: the record pegs were easily removed allowing the cabinets to be used for other purposes. The pegs were stripped from my cabinet a long time ago….

The first task was to install the cardboard caps to one end of the tube. This was easily accomplished by first putting a few drops of white glue near the top end of the tube. The cap was inserted into the bottom end of the tube and pushed through with a small individual serving whiskey bottle! It was the perfect size for the task. The "endcaps" were installed in all the 254 pegs working in groups of ten.

The new pegs must be installed into the cabinet with hide glue. This animal glue has been used for centuries. The beauty of it is: it holds strong, but if need be, it can be reversed. I had just a little bit of this glue left. The stuff I use is in crystal form. You add water and then heat. I mix the glue and water in a heavy glass jar and then use a hot water bath to melt it all together. I had just enough glue to repeg two of the six shelves of my cabinet.

This Sunday morning I got to the “Y” for an early workout at 7:40. They are open till 9:00 a.m. For whatever reason it was closed. Nobody was there: DAMN! I figured I’d check Blowe’s to see if they had any hide glue in the squeeze bottle. I know it is sold in that fashion. Naturally it is not available and the people I talked to did not have a clue to what it even was.

The internet to the rescue again: A pound of animal hide glue crystals will be sent to me next week. This is good as the glue in dry crystal form can be stored forever. The bottled stuff has a short shelf life. That glue I had was in my possession for over 30 years!

It was a sad afternoon. I put my elbow on the computer desk and felt cold. Looking at the right sleeve of my shirt, I realized the elbow had ripped through on my Pendleton wool shirt. Not just any shirt, but the shirt I bought with Christmas money my dad gave me in 1984. It was his last Christmas. You can’t keep everything forever, but I sure try!

I knew I had some old pictures of me in that shirt so I was on a quest going through photo albums. Not a good thing to do on a gloomy day. Talk about bringing on a feeling of melancholy when the weather already had me vulnerable. I was just blown away thinking I was sorting through pictures of me from 20+ years ago…….

Wilmington, PA January 1989. I still have the vest. I wore it rowing Friday. I sewed it from a Frostline Kit in January 1982.

My shirt some twenty + years later!

Installing the new cardboard pegs in the cylinder record cabinet.

With my good friend Diane at Toni’s wedding wearing my glow in the dark eyes! That jacket was horrible. I don't remember who gave it to me. I still have that dress shirt. It is a pale blue with a white collar and white french cuffs. I bought it for the "summer of weddings" in 1974. That shirt outlasted most of the weddings it attended!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Laundry and Workouts

This morning my underwear drawer was nearly empty. That was the signal I needed to do a load of whites. The washing machine was cranked up before daybreak. The east was just coming to life as I hung my “tighty whiteys” up on the clothes line to dry.

I met with Laurie, Alison and Jason at the aquatic center to erg on the Concept 2’s at 8:00 a.m. I was layered up as I’m so used to freezing at the “Y”. I had to peel off my thermal shirt I was wearing under my tee shirt after just warming up! What a nice change from the chilly work out room at the “Y”. We rowed at a steady 22 strokes per minute for 30 minutes. I tried to do intervals every five minutes of intensifying my stroke to bring down the split rate while keeping the stroke rate steady at the 22 rate for a minute. There is such a tendency for me to speed up doing this drill. My split rate goes from about 2:09 to 1:55 doing this. Keeping the rate at 1:55 has me gasping for air after 30 seconds.

This burst of exertion switches my body into “anaerobic mode”. This is when your body can’t get enough oxygen from the lungs. It switches to getting the needed oxygen from carbohydrates in the body. This form of intensity training takes some dedication as it is not pleasurable.

Back in fall of1984 the Nautilus Fitness Center I worked out at began offering personal trainers to members. This was such a new concept at the time. I lucked into a special introductory rate for a year if I paid in one lump sum. I was in a good way financially so decided to try it out. I swear those trainers were sadistic; they used to love to see me suffer!! Months into the program, one of my trainers confided to me that I was about the only person who signed on who stayed with a routine. I told him that if I paid for something, I was going to get my moneys worth if it killed me!!

That is pretty much how I look at my workouts on the rowing machine. If I’m spending the time on them I want to see the results. If it causes some discomfort, that goes with the territory.

It is supposed to warm up to the low 60’s today. Hopefully enough people will sign on to row and we can get an eight on the river this afternoon. It has been a month since I’ve rowed on the water.

My good friend Buck just called to let me know of a fire hydrant that was at a yard sale he stopped at about six miles south of town. I need to check that out and have the oil changed in the truck. The Florida trip is next Thursday. I’m hoping to return with another fire hydrant and a load of bricks. That poor truck should have some fresh oil… I don’t need it to go into “anaerobic mode”!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Technology Overload

It never fails. Just as I sat at the computer to start a journal entry, my little Daggy decided she needed loving. In her normal fashion she waddled over and screamed in her aggressive “meow” to be lifted onto my lap. She is a bit to plump to jump as she used to do in her thin days. Instead she stands on her back legs and digs her front claws into my left thigh. That is my cue to put my left hand under her stomach and back legs and hoist her up. It is like doing a curl with a 20 pound barbell. Now I’m trying to type with 20 pounds of purring cat on my left arm and lap.

Today was one of those days when I was “overwhelmed”. Listening to the Dianne Rhem Show this morning on WBHM one of her guests was talking about how all changes happening in the world are overwhelming people. I only heard a few minutes of the show. But, it made quite an impression.

I look at my own life and realize how the internet and technology has turned it around. I’m always proud to say how I’ve lived without a television for nearly 35 years.

Back in the early 1980’s I worked on a “blue line”. This assembly line was where the air conditioning and heating units were assembled for the “A” body GM cars. It was light assembly work with about 100 people working on the line. This was a situation where you learned coping skills as you were face to face with your coworkers. The TV show “Taxi” was the hit show at the time. The people I worked with loved this show and would spend days picking the latest episode apart. I learned the plots of God knows how many shows from them. What did I need a TV for??
Fast forward to 2010: Today, January 13, 2010 through the internets I was able to watch segments of Jon Stewart, Rachel Maddow, and as much of Sara Palin’s Fox New debut as I could stand. (About three minutes) As I type this out I’m listening to the podcast of the Diane Rehm Show I heard earlier. A Google search took me to her website which contained all the information I needed. The author I listened to earlier was: Gregg Easterbrook: author of the book "Sonic Boom". *Many economists predict a slow recovery from the worst economic recession in seventy years. But Gregg Easterbrook sees a global economic boom not far into the future. He offers examples of how global forces will affect our daily lives.* (This is a copy and paste from the Diane Rehm Show website.)

This morning we were not able to row on the machines at the AquaticCenter due to classes being held in the room they are located in. I backtracked to the “Y” to get my time in there. The day was warming up, but the “Y” was still chilly from the ancient heating system not being able to cope with the cold. I warmed up doing stretches of my calves and shoulders.

Yesterday I did a 2,000 meter workout in about 8.5 minutes. I was able to rank this workout on my on-line log book at the Concept 2 site. This gave me a chance to see how other rowers of my age and weight class are doing. I was wound up today, and was all set to try and break the eight minute mark.

I set my workout program to a 2,000 meter distance; the damper was set to 4. I readied for a racing start at ½ slide. I took some deep breaths and then pushed off: ½, ½, ¾ “reach” and finally full stroke. The stroke rate was in the 40’s and my split rate was in the 1:40’s range for the first 30 seconds or so. As I progressed I tried every 500 meters to have my stroke rate in the low 30’s and the split rate in the 1:50’s.

My lungs were bursting when I reached the 2,000 meter mark. I checked my time and I DID IT!!! The 2,000 meter row was accomplished in 7.57.03 minutes. When I got home I entered the results to my log book. I ranked this workout and I came in at 77 of 153 for my age and weight class.

Talk about a technology overload. Being able to do what is now normal in my daily life would have been impossible just ten years ago. I can’t take this for granted, and I’m trying my best to not get overwhelmed. The constant news of the earthquake in Haiti was the final straw. I turned off the radio and put on some music. That was when I first began this entry and had Daggy on my lap. I was listening to Broadway cast recording of “A Chorus Line”.

After a half hour I had to move my “little girl” as I had to turn over the LP. Yup, here I am raving about all this modern technology as I was listening to a 30+ year old vinyl record!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Still Cold!!

This cold spell refuses to break. The snow never materialized yesterday. It was supposed to warm up a bit today, but now the temperature stands at 17° at 8:30 a.m. The projected high is only at 29°. So much for “projected warming up”! We were trying to get people out to row this afternoon, but with this cold that is not going to happen. Hopefully we will be able to get on the water Sunday afternoon.

One of the life skills learned from living in Western New York was to only heat the living areas of the house actively in use. My back study is closed off…it is 56°. The second floor temperature is 44°. The heat is turned off in the front rooms which are cool. The thermostat is located in the central hallway is set to 60° for daytime and the low 50’s at night.

Fortunately my tankless water heater is mounted on the house in a secluded spot. It has so far survived the cold.

My bungalow home was built back in 1922. The construction of this house is vastly inferior to that of my old house in Lockport which was built in the late 1870’s. This home of mine was not designed for this type of prolonged sub cold weather. All I can do is dress in layers.

I began this entry two days ago. The temperatures have not warmed up any since then. My Google home page had the outside temperature at 16° when I got up this morning. It is currently 21° (at 10:00 a.m.) with a high projected of 34°. There is no way we will be rowing this afternoon.

The heating system at the “Y” has been unable to cope with the cold. It is colder in workout rooms than in my house! This morning I erged on the Concept 2 wearing my full sweats, scarf, and wool cap!

The phonograph I sold on E-Bay made its way safely to France. I’ve just heard from the purchaser that in cleaning the machine up he needs a screw. (I could really make a comment here but will refrain!) Everything he has access to is metric. I have a pretty good idea of what he needs. I have a spare screw in the right thread pitch, but I have to turn down the head in my watchmakers lathe for a good fit and have it look right. The workshop on the second floor is freezing. I’m hoping it will warm up a bit from the sun shining in through the skylights and windows to allow me to work up there for an hour or two.

I got a good price for this phonograph, so I want to help him out. It is a very rare machine that has such a good look to it. Sadly, the upper works were poorly designed and cheaply made. Performance wise it is disappointing.

I meant to hang on to this machine because of its rarity. But, I became a victim of the “mushroom effect”. A record cabinet I purchased at the phonograph show in June had a very special feature. The bottom drawer was six inches tall, meaning it was designed and sold for the storage of the now extremely rare 6” long 20th Century cylinder records. These were produced by the Columbia Graphophone Co for a short period of time.

This cabinet was made with fantastic scallops that coincide with the base of a Columbia Graphophone model BF. This Graphophone had an extra long mandrel to play these “new improved” cylinders. Once I acquired a BF there was no need to keep this other model known as a "BKT". Mechanically the BF is much superior over my other machine. The rule I’m trying to live by is: When something new comes in, something goes out.

Columbia BF on top of the cylinder record cabinet with a rare 6" Cylinder record.

Ebay listing picture of the BKT taken in my backyard in November....

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

More Cold in the South

This cold spell brings back such memories of my winters spent in WesternNew York State. At first the cold is invigorating but it really wears you down. One of my most vivid “cold” recollections is of walking through the Harrison Radiator parking lot. I had to park in the lot for buildings 8 & 9. This took place in the early morning when I was working day shift. The sky was clear with a wind blowing making the “chill factor” much lower that the minus whatever degrees the thermometer registered. The only sound to be heard on that lonely pre-dawn walk was the frozen rope banging against the tall flagpole…clang, clang, clang. It was an eerie, lonely, desolate sound which made me hurry to the warmth of the factory. It is funny the things that stick in your mind….

It has been quite a while since I took a “real” trip. I made the mistake over the weekend of checking out airfare specials. I got a killer rate on Southwest to San Francisco. Using different searches I also landed a super cheap hotel rate. Early next month I’ll be off for a 5 night stay. I joking with everyone that I’ll fly wearing my Utilikilt so there will not be any questions about hiding things in my underwear!

My supply of cat food was getting low. That was my signal to go food shopping. My gas tank was on fumes so filled up on the way to Hell-mart. First I checked out the thrift store. I wanted to get another pair of sweat pants to supplement the three pair I use all the time. They had nothing! There were lots of empty racks that normally would have been full of clothes. That could be a sign that people are either shopping there more, or they are not donating as much.

The traffic seemed unusually heavy going to Wally world. The parking lot was packed. The inside of the store was mobbed, lots of empty shelves. This was Tuesday afternoon at 2:30. What was going on?

Then it dawned on me…. There was SNOW forecast for Thursday. Any mention of snow in the south elicits panic. Trust me there is no way I want to be driving on snow here. I now have enough eggs, milk, and most important of all, Fancy Feast to survive for the next two weeks!

The lines were pretty long. I settled in a decent looking line and read the National Enquirer. I love to read that trash in line and then put it back on the shelf when the time comes to load up the belt. It is so much fun to get the dirt on the celebrities. They had the most horrible picture of Brad Pitt and a worse one of Christie Alley.

The lady ahead of me let me know there was a spot in the adjacent lane where I could be next. It never fails if I switch lanes I’ll get screwed. I stayed put and told the guy behind me that other line might be faster. As it turned out this dizzy woman held up that line. I was checked out and gave my apologies to that guy who switched lanes and still waiting in line.

It was another bitter cold morning today. I’ve been trying to keep the feeder full for the poor birds. The birdbath was pretty much totally frozen over. Using a brick I was able to break up the ice to expose some water so the birds can get a drink. Hopefully the sun will melt down some of the ice so there will be more water available during the day at least.

It is so hard to get a close up of these birds. I took this shot from the bathroom window that is just above my outside shower. Soon as I snapped this Stumpy jumped up to get back into the house which caused the birds to scatter! The drama of my life!

Hopefully this cold will break after the weekend. I doubt we will be rowing at all in this…..

Monday, January 4, 2010

Too Cold: Back to September 1990

Make this cold weather go away. Hard freeze warnings are out for the rest of the week. There were snowflakes on my truck this morning when I took out the garbage. I feel like a “wuss” complaining about a few flakes after reading journal entries of my friends who have been bombasted by REAL snow!

This time of year is always reflective for me. As my paperwork arrives for January, I try to tie up the loose ends of 2009. I always keep one year of utility receipts on file. With the start of 2010, I’m safe to shred the paperwork from 2008. It makes no sense, but at least I shred the stuff now. When I sold my house in Lockport in 1997 I had boxes of paperwork going back to when I bought the place in 1978!

I was going through my old paper journal to pin down when Joe and I made the trip to Buffalo to buy a Victrola from a friend. I have forgotten so much of all we did. There could be the makings of a movie in those paper diaries I have squirreled away.

I’ve said “ad nausium” everything I own has a story behind it. Here is the story of my stove as it was recorded back on September 1 & 2, 1990. I’ll transcribe the entry exactly as I wrote it at the time and add the clarifications in italics and bold.

Saturday, September 1, 1990:

Ride up to Buffalo with Gary to see Chris. The house was beautiful. His ex had broken in and striped the place. Chris was a good friend from Gary’s “Ohio days”. Chris and his boyfriend had split and Chris was moving back to Ohio. He had to sell the house. His ex broke into the place and stripped all the wallpaper from the walls! It was an ugly divorce! He wanted Gary to store some stuff for him. Touring the house I fell in love with the Tappan stove in the basement. Chris said I could have it, but Sunday would be the only day I could have to move it out. Ended up moving a fountain and two plants in large clay pots. Stopped over to Harrys. Ralph was over. Had to borrow some moving straps. Harry was a good friend at the time who lived near-by. Drive back to Lockport – go to the Union Hall for a beef on weck. Was starving. The Nylons were at Artpark. For many years I was a volunteer usher at Artpark in Lewiston, NY. This was a state park for the arts, originally planned to make culture accessible to everyone. Lawn was mobbed. Margo was there. Ushered on the second tier. Good crowd. Demonstration going on in front. We really had to check tickets – no trouble. Great show-still kind of loud-wore earplugs. Stopped by Joe’s. Joe had the best front porch on Niagara St. It was a gathering spot for the crew. Rula had his truck on the lawn. Rula’s real name was Randy. We called him Rula after the Russian model Rula-Lenska- “I was not always this beautiful, I use oil of Olay” fame. Doug over and Noreen. New Rap song out, “I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get up!” Noreen can do it perfectly. The fire trucks go to the group home down the street. We all had to go investigate. Gary (another Gary from the morning trip) was chasing Doug all over. As the trucks pulled away, Rula laid down on the sidewalk and kept saying, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!’ sick crew!

Sunday, September 2, 1990:

Up early and splurge on the Southern Slam at Dennys. Service horrible. Joe calls – head over there for late brunch. There is no getting Christopher on the phone. Go to peek in the windows of Gary’s house on Waterman St. Someone is working on it. The poor place is a shambles. This crazy Russian took us through. He was saying how he would rip out all the woodwork, etc, etc, etc. God that must have been a beautiful house. This mad Russian was saying how he was going to paint the peaks of the house using a 20 ft pole with a brush tied to the end of it. Good grief. Scared of that. This Waterman St house was a huge beautiful old place that had been carved into apartments. Gary had the chance to buy it when he bought “Eleanor’s house” on East Ave. This house had been trashed. Mold was growing on the walls from tubs and sinks that had been purposely let to run over. The woodwork was beautiful oak. The church next door bought the property and demolished it for a parking lot. Head up to Christopher’s. Find the monitor top to a GE refrigerator so have to get it for Gary. The neighbor’s can’t believe it! The Woman of the house said someone already took the bottom half! Monitor top refrigerators are notoriously heavy. The top compressor unit just lifts off. We figured whoever took the bottom part was going to return for the top. Gary had a monitor top refrigerator and wanted to have a spare top!

Still no Christopher. Go “curb shopping" and come back. I’m really upset, I want that stove. Only one thing to do. Break into the house through the basement window like Mike did. When Gary and I were up Saturday, Christopher showed us the window his ex, Mike used to break into the house. I noticed at the time there was only a bent nail holding it shut from the inside. I got “that look” that scares all those who know me. My mind was made up, nothing can change it. There were families all around this house having picnics and generally enjoying life, and here I am breaking and entering! Very easy to do. Unlock the back door move out the stove. What a heavy mother. My back is killing me! Get it all strapped down. Go to Anderson’s on Sheridan Drive. B-B-Q, curly fries, and Vernors. Top it off with an Arctic Whip. Feel really fat. We got lots of looks.. Gary’s truck looked like a delivery truck from 1930 with a monitor top and 1927 TappanRange! Unload the stove into garage. Then over to Gary’s to move the monitor top. Ralph was there. What a slug. Ralph was living at Gary’s at this time. I’m just going to say he was/is NOT a nice person. Gary was fuming – Ralph went through one box of wine and ½ through the fresh box! Then he was filling an empty beer can with vodka. Didn’t fool us! Christopher called about 11:00 p.m.-was not upset we had broken in!! Would have never known had we not told him. I sent Christopher a check for the stove, so it is mine fair and square!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Entry of 2010

It was a quiet New Years Eve for me and the cats. As I expected, we were in bed early and the fireworks woke us up shortly after midnight. I think back to the frenzied New Years Eves parties at Joe’s house in past years. I like to think I’ve accepted the fact: those party days are gone. I’m glad to have enjoyed myself as I did and realized when it was time to move on and not dwell on the past.

I FINALLY got the last vestiges of the holidays taken care of. My house is pretty much back to normal. I finished up the last of the correspondence I never got out before Christmas. I used the note cards made by my rowing coach showing college rowers…. Forget about even trying to sneak a holiday card in!!

In organizing my cards I found an old picture of Billy me and Chloe from 1996. We were standing on the deck I built off my Lockport house in 1995. That was the last project before I decided to move. I remember that project well….

A deck off my dining room was a project I had envisioned from the time I bought my house in 1978. I opened the solid wall for the doorway in the early 1980’s. Gary was building a deck off his house in Buffalo. I have to admit he was my inspiration to finally tackle that project. The summer of 1995 was brutally hot. I had stopped my journaling at that point in time. But, I remember how Gary tried to belittle me because I arranged for Chase Pitkin to build the basic deck and stairs for $400.00. I did the rest of the finish work myself. Gary was building his deck on his own.

The contractors had my deck built in about two days. That really pissed Gary off as my deck was done long before his! Of course I had to rub in how that $400.00 was some of the best money I ever spent!

Where the flowers and crushed stone are is where I had my patio of patterned brick. It had been moved to Tuscaloosa by the time this picture was taken.

I’ve been so itchy to really get away. This is a dangerous mood for me to be in. I went to the Southwest site and played around with fares and destinations. There were some dirt cheap fares to San Francisco. I’ll be flying out for five days in early February for $322.00 total airfare cost! Louis is not going to MacWorld, so I can’t use that for an excuse!

Now I’m in the process of contacting friends and checking out cheap accommodations. The Best Western I normally stay at has been remodeled and the price has really increased. There is a place right down the street that is a lot cheaper. I’ll turn something up!!

We were not able to get enough people to row this afternoon. It was in the low 30’s so I’m thinking it was just as well. This cold weather is getting me down. Usually we get a few warm days to offset the cold. That has not really happened much this winter. I guess it goes with last year being the 3rd wettest on record. The good news was it was a clear day with brilliant sunshine. Stumpy spent much of his day out in the back following the sun which warmed his black coat. Once it began to set, he let me know he wanted back into the house. He is sacked out on the bed enjoying a nap as only a contented cat can……


About Me

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Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
Retired auto worker who can now spend too much time restoring his 1922 Bungalow Home. I'm involved in a number of varied activities from collecting bricks to rowing with a masters rowing group. This blog is to share different aspects of my life on my Facebook page. I've kept an on-line journal for eight years.