Hurricane Gloria


The talk about hurricane Joaquin has me reminiscing about a hurricane that hit my home town. In 1985 hurricane Gloria hit Long Island where I lived. Long Island was a pretty messed up place after it left. You might call it a harrowing experience—living through a hurricane. I'll tell you what I can remember and let you decide for yourself.

The radio was our main source of information before the event since we did not have a television. The radio had hurricane watches, hurricane warnings, and emergency interruptions saying that this was not a test, and predictions of seven-foot-high waves to come up from the nearby shore. Our neighbor across the street joked he was going to stay at home and fish out of his second story window. A state of emergency was declared. Soon officials in bright yellow raincoats and hats came around asking us to leave the area.

With some of our neighbors we went to our friend's house. During the storm the front window of the house we were in shattered. Next I remember it was very calm during the eye of the storm. Only the leaves on the trees moved.

Coming back home was a chore. Huge old trees that had shaded the street for years were down. Another street had a telephone pole blocking it. Finally we parked the van and walked home.

For about a week after the hurricane had passed, the power was out, as well as the telephone. We used candles for light. It's hard to read by candle light, but my brother tried anyway. After a while everything was cleaned up. It was fun playing among the downed trees.

Kayaking on the Saint Joe

Yesterday after I got home from work, Nick and I went kayaking. We had determined where we would start and finish on Friday. Nick had finished up the trailer mount for the kayaks earlier that day. Having them on the trailer makes departing for a kayaking run quicker. It also means that if I ever want to kayak by myself I'd be able to do so. When we had the kayaks mounted on the roof of the car, I was not able to life it up there by myself.

It is still a bit tedious getting all the logistics right. First Nick followed me to our point where we'd end up. I rode the motorcycle there and left it. Then Nick and I in the car took the kayaks to where we'd set off from.

Above you can see the route we would take. As I stayed with the kayaks at the start point, Nick went and took the car and trailer to the end point, and rode the motorcycle back to where we would start from. While I waited for him to come I amused myself by taking some pictures of the local flowers.

I also took some pictures of myself in the kayak.

Then Nick came back and we started down the river.

We saw a Great Blue Heron, but I didn't get a picture of it. I did manage to get a picture of a turtle we saw while on the river.

We I paddled closer it quickly dove into the water. I also tried to get a picture of some ducks, but they walked off the sandbar and swam away. This is where they were though:

I was trying to figure out if those were oyster shells, and if oysters live in fresh water. I guess I don't know much about shellfish. I was surprised to see them. I grew up near the Atlantic ocean and saw many shells and other rements of sea life at the beach there. After moving to Michigan, going to the shores of lake Michigan seemed odd, because the shells looks different, and there were not so many sea gulls.

I also took a video while paddleing. Here is is for your viewing pleasure.

DIY carpet

We decided to install some carpet that came to us free. We unrolled it and found out it was bright white. Some internet searching told us that some had luck gluing carpets in basements, so we tried that.

We got the carpet down, but it has a bubble and a couple of wrinkles. The carpet had been sitting in someone's garage for about a dozen years and wasn't level. I think it might have gotten some creases in it. In hindsight we probably could have let it lay flat for a while before we glued it down, to help get rid of the wrinkles. However, for not having any special carpet laying tools, I think we did okay. We spent 12 dollars on the glue, nothing on the carpet, and just put a few hours in labor.

After we got it glued down, we went to Lowe's and bought baseboards. Hopefully those will all be done by the end of the weekend.

I also did some work on the window, and cut some drywall and plastered that to finish it up. I need to paint it yet. Earlier this week I put up the track lighting. The room is definitely looking much brighter. It was dark wood paneling before.

Here is a short video tour I made of the room:

Dogwood blossoms

Our neighbor's dogwood tree looked pretty in the afternoon sunlight.
It inspired me to take pictures with it as the backdrop. I've always liked dogwoods.
It probably has a lot to do with me adopting one when I was just a young tyke. We had a dogwood tree with pink blossoms in our yard. It was the only tree that had branches low enough for me to climb on. My older brother Ben could climb the maples and evergreen trees in our yard, but the branches were to high for me to reach. Therefore I took possession of the dogwood.
As I looked at the pictures I was taking I noticed that the lighting wasn't quite right.
The colors didn't look right either.
I stuck a shovel in the ground to serve as something that I could focus the camera on. I then put the camera on timer, and ran back to where the shovel was, and held up a white piece of paper to reflect more light on the side of my face. I'll keep working on getting a method of soft lighting for an outdoor portrait.


When I started my 30th year of life, I decided to commorate it by documenting it every day.

I missed the first few days of intentionally taking pictures, but here is an overview:


On May 4th, we went to the Lake Michigan College graduation.

May 9th was a nice day for a motorcycle ride. I am still learning how to ride. I worked on turning consistently, and shifting gears. I still have to concentrate every time I shift gears, to make sure I don't pop the clutch etc. I also did some circle 8's which is one of the manuevers needed for the road test. I ride a Honda Nighthawk 250.


Visiting the Penguins at Brookfield Zoo, on May 10, 2008.

Nothing like a power outage for saving on your electric bill

Yesterday morning we woke up to no power.

We had a very bad wind storm during the night, and good sized chunks of hail hit the house. It woke us up. When I realized the power was out I got up and unplugged our electronics from the wall (DSL router, computers, tv and gaming systems etc.). I didn't want them to get damaged if the power came back on badly.

No power meant no lights, no TV, no hot water for showers, no internet, and probably most importantly no heat. When we went to bed it had been 50 degrees and raining. yesterday morning it was 30 degrees and getting colder. Nick was very disappointed. He had been planning on watching football all day long.

We had had a fire going in the fireplace the night before so we rounded up some more firewood and started the embers going. It soon warmed up, but I was starting to get bored. I had had big plans for my days off, and unfortunately they all involved power.

So I did something I haven't done in long time. I got out my Legos and played with them.

This is the house that I built. I didn't have enough bricks of the same
color to make it all the same. To try and make it somewhat
aesthetically pleasing I tried to be symmetrical in the way I placed
the bricks.

This is the inside of the house. Notice the skylight on the left.

This guy is watching Shell's stock prices go up on his large screen TV. Next to the TV is his fireplace with the multi-colored brick chiminy going up the wall. In the corner is the Christmas tree. Behind him is his motercycle trophy.

This person is sitting at a computer. Behind him is the kitchen, featuring a stove and black and white kitchen tile. I was missing one black tile though. In front is the barbeque, with a hot orange grate.

This happy lego thanks you for taking a tour of his house. 🙂

Later on that day our trailer load of wood we had ordered came. Which was very fortunate. Our fireplace isn't very efficient, and goes through wood very fast. Plus the stuff we had been burning, was here when we bought the house, and was very wet and full of bugs. The new wood burns really well.

Nick called the local power company at about nine in the morning. They told him that they thought the power might be back on by six p.m. We had made plans to see some friends, David and Emily, visiting from Colorado. We drove around the neighborhood to see if we could discover what had caused the power to go out, and how widespread it was. We found that around the corner from us a tree had come down across some power lines. It only affected houses on our side of the street. Probably less than a dozen. We didn't see anyone working on it. We later found out that most of a town a little south of us was out of power, so we were probably far down on the totem pole.

Nick's parents own a generator, and we were able to borrow that as well as another generator from a friend of ours. However the 2nd generator took oil we didn't have in our garage. So Nick started on getting his parent's generator working. I would pull the starter and nick would spray starter fluid on the carburetor but it didn't stay going. In fact milky white stuff started foaming out the carbs. Nick determined it was oil. He called up a mechanic friend of ours, Ryan, and asked "What does it mean when your oil looks milky white?" Ryan responded "want me to come over?" We drained the oil, and replaced it. Drained off some of the fuel in there was water in the tank. Still no luck.

When we called up David and Emily and told them we didn't have any power, they decided to come over anyway, and join us for S'mores around the fire. After a little while we went out to eat and Outback (we originally intended to go to the Thai restaurant, but it was closed). When we got back we got the fire going again. Nick and Ryan worked on the generator some more. A blockage in main jets of one of the Carburetors was sniffed out. Thanks Ryan!

We had a funny few minutes as they started hooking things up to the generator. First was the Christmas tree. It was funny to hear the generator and see it on the tree as the lights brightened and dimmed. The generator needed more load, so we plugged in two more lights, ... but it was the refrigerator that did the trick.

Now that we had power spent several minutes introducing David and Emily to the Wii. Emily declared that playing Wii Sports just made her want to go out and play the real sport. David decided he needed to buy a Wii.

After everyone went home, we unplugged the TV and plugged in our electric mattress pad instead. We added an extra down comforter to the bed and went to sleep.

So how long can someone put up with a demonlished Bathroom?

On May 11, 2006 we began to demolish our upstairs bathroom. We had noticed a soft spot in the wall near the tub faucet.

So we decided it was time to investigate further. We knocked off some of the tiles, and discovered very bad things were happening behind there.

It was time to redo the bathroom. We decided to start on it ourselves. The demolition was quite hard work, and stretched out over several days.

We discovered that the board behind the tiles had to come out too. So we took that all off and dumped the rubbish in five gallon paint buckets we had left over from painting our house. We then hauled the paint buckets to the trash. After the board was all taken off, Nick sprayed the four-by-fours with a bleach solution. After spraying everything down a few times with the bleach solution, the black mold disappeared.

Don't worry, we had a shower in another bathroom, downstairs, so we weren't going out offending everyone. At least not in that way. 🙂

When we first moved into the house, there was a lot of wallpaper. The bathroom was not exception. The wallpaper had started to peel so we decided to take it off and paint.

Now that we had the bathroom somewhat demolished, we toyed with several ideas of how to improve it. We considered knocking down walls and enlarging it. An enlarged bathroom would have enough room for a whirlpool tub. A whirlpool tub would be very nice. Back and forth we tossed ideas. In fact we tossed ideas around for about a year. Then we both started to get really tired of walking down to the basement to take a shower every day. And if it came down to it, we couldn't sell the house with a bathroom in that condition. Selling the house, is an option we always keep at the back of minds, because we would both love to move somewhere with more land.

So Nick, upon looking at the plumbing that needed to be fixed, decided to call up a handyman that had done some work for his mom. We had the good fortune, (or bad fortune, however you want to look at it) to have a house that had all copper piping. Even the drain pipe to the city sewage system was copper. Nick didn't want to mess with the copper pipes for fear of burning the house down. Turns out, the handyman we hired, John, came it and cut them off and installed PVC.

One of the first things John did was install a new shower liner.

He did a great job, I especially like the paint job he did on wall with the sponging effect.

Filo kindly agreed to help show off the new look of the bathroom.