Category Archives: Carla

More Day 1 Fun

I have not touched any of my cameras since I left the resort in Arizona. Luckily for me Carla and Alexis did a fair amount of documentary photography on the work that was done on the house.

Day 1 consisted mostly of swapping out light fixtures and starting the nightmare that was to become the kitchen project. A project that is almost done.

I hated the kitchen cabinets that were in the kitchen. They had this ugly antiqued finish on them and I wanted a clean white finish. So the plan was to paint all the kitchen cabinets white. Change the hardware to a “chrome” finish. Replace the existing appliances with stainless steel appliances and paint the walls Cranberry Punch.

It sounded simple enough, but the kitchen turned out to be more work than I was expecting. I would not be exaggerating if I told you that I’m guessing that over 300 man hours have been spent on that kitchen.

It all started on Day 1 when we took the kitchen cabinet doors off and began knocking the trim pieces off of them.

Jason working on the new light for the office. This light blast out illumination at the equivalent of 200 watts of incandescent power. Only it isn’t incandescent. It is two ballasted fluorescent bulbs. It is so bright in the office you practically need shades to work in there and I dig it!

Jason and Alexis working on the master bedroom ceiling fan. The master bedroom ceiling fan is a Hunter. It doesn’t include a remote.

Jason and Alexis working on the master bedroom ceiling fan.

The bathroom before the upgrades.

The bathtub, before the shower.

Becky cleaning up a mess underneath the entry way register.

Carla tinkering around in the kitchen. The drawers that she is playing with were eliminated to make room for a dishwasher.

The only definition of Hell that ever made sense to me has been “separation from God”. A close second might be removing the stupid nails in these kitchen cabinet doors. Although Teresa seems to be enjoying it.

Jason knocking the trim of the cabinet doors.

A look at the kitchen before the work began.

A fair amount was accomplished on Day 1.

The Ballad of House Buying: Part 4 – A Closer Examination

On Sunday, January 10, I looked at the House with the Cute Backyard with Jason. I had seen the house with my Mom, Carla and Jay. Plus Teresa had seen it earlier. I wanted Jason’s far more practical perspective.

Jesse also dropped by to look for a lead pipe. A simple lead pipe once cost that man 10,000 large. It has become a personal crusade of his to prevent any of his friends from going through such an ordeal again.

Jason felt that the house was solidly built and didn’t see any major problems.

It was now my time to think about whether or not I wanted to buy this house and what my purchase price goal would be.

I spent Sunday night thinking on whether or not I wanted to buy this house.

Shannon had asked me about the house and so I sent her the following email to both inform her and as a way for me to work out the pros and cons of this house.

SUBJECT: RE: Post-Holiday

This Nostradamus end of the world thing is lamer than anticipated.

Some pictures of this potential house.

The Great House Hunt

Pluses for the kitchen.
1. Tons of cupboard space.
2. Fridge is usable.
3. Kitchen vent.
4. Space for a small table for a place to eat in the kitchen.
5. No dishwasher, but space for a dishwasher.
6. I actually kind of like the antiquing on the cabinet doors, but the handles would have to be replaced.
7. In side of cupboards painted a sweet red color. Would consider painting rest of kitchen that sweet red color.

Minuses for the kitchen.

1. The stove is usable, but I would most likely want to replace it right away.
2. Not a ton of counter space, but probably more than enough for somebody like me.
3. The saloon doors would have to go. This would break Jay’s heart.

The Great House Hunt

Dining Room Pluses

  1. Chandelier is pretty. Only pretty ceiling light fixture in the house.
  2. It is just nice to have a dining area since I would like to be able to entertain.
  3. The Hoosier would most likely go in the dining room. It has always been used as storage. In the future it would most likely be used for serving and storage.
  4. Nice open floor plan
  5. Wall separates entry way from the dining room.

Dining Room Minuses

  1. Stupid saloon doors.
  2. Would need to install a digital thermometer. But that is a cheap and easy fix.
  3. If I would decide to further distinguish the living room from the dining room by leaving one room with carpet and exposing the wood floor in the other room, the carpet seam is in a weird place.

The Great House Hunt

Living Room Pluses

  1. 2 decent sized walls, so a few possible layouts.
  2. Big.
  3. Great window.
  4. Plenty of electrical outlets, but they need to be updated.

Living Room Negatives

  1. Don’t really have any except general electrical updating.

The Great House Hunt
Other half of kitchen

The Great House Hunt

Master Bedroom Pluses

  1. Big.
  2. Two window thing is cool.
  3. Two closets.

Master Bedroom Minuses

  1. Curtains are so ugly they will have to be doused with Holy Water and then burned.
  2. Perhaps the ugliest ceiling light fixture ever.
  3. Master bedroom is in the front of the house, so closest to the street.

The Great House Hunt
Bathroom Pluses

  1. Decent sized tub.
  2. Cool original tile.
  3. Closet behind the tub.
  4. Medicine cabinet.

Bathroom Minuses

  1. Kind of small.
  2. No shower, but there is a closet behind the tub, so it would be an easy add.
  3. Kind of wish the toilet was green to match the tile.

The Great House Hunt
Bedroom Two Pluses

  1. One decent sized closet.
  2. The fact that there are 3 bedrooms.
  3. Beautiful woodwork under ugly carpet.
  4. Newish, Pella windows.

Bedroom Two Minuses

  1. What, only one closet?
  2. Ugly carpet, but who likes carpet? Especially when you have wood floors!

The Great House Hunt
Bedroom Three/Office Pluses

  1. Three bedrooms means: 1 master bedroom, 1 guest bedroom and an office!!
  2. This would make a sweet office.
  3. Two closets.
  4. Sweet built in shelves.
  5. Good sized office.

Bedroom Three/Office Minuses

  1. By far the ugliest carpet in the house, but sweet wood floor underneath, so the carpet could go.
  2. Weird ceiling light fixture.

The Great House Hunt
Basement Bathroom Pluses

  1. There is a bathroom in the basement.
  2. Includes shower, toilet and vanity.
  3. Good sized and walled in.

Basement Bathroom Minuses

  1. Shower is a bit on the short side.

The Great House Hunt
Basement Workspace Pluses

  1. There is a basement workspace.
  2. Could probably be turned into a dark room fairly easily.

The Great House Hunt
Screened in Patio

  1. There is a screened in patio.
  2. It has lighting.
  3. There are two doors.
  4. It lead to an open air brick patio made with Boone Bricks.

The Great House Hunt
The Cute Backyard

  1. This is a good sized yard.
  2. “Fenced” in by a hedge.
  3. Lots of landscaping
  4. 2 small trees. Potentially those pretty trees that flower in the spring.


  1. The white picket fence doesn’t really serve any purpose.
  2. Lots of landscaping could be lots of work to break up.
  3. Not really sure what they were growing back there. I think both grapes and raspberries.

Other Positives

  1. Garage.
  2. Flagpole, where I could fly a Cyclone flag on game days and the US flag on special days or where I could make political statements that would make me unpopular in the neighborhood.
  3. Built by Thorngren, the most widely respected builder in Boone during the 1950s.
  4. Loaded with potential.
  5. Furnace is only 15 years old.
  6. Lamp post in the front yard.
  7. Located in a phenomenal neighborhood. Pretty much a straight shot out of town to get to work.
  8. Only one owner. Ever.


  1. Fuse box. That would have to be replaced.
  2. Garage is narrow. Driveway is long. Lots of potential shoveling. No service door on the garage.
  3. It doesn’t have maintenance free siding. The outside will have to be painted every now and again.
  4. Because of the hedge, I’m not sure what do about a fence.

The Great House Hunt
I do like this window. A lot.

I actually looked at 5 other houses. There is another one that I kind of liked. It had a much bigger kitchen. It had 2 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, but it doesn’t have much of a yard. But one of the bathrooms had a sweet pink tub and sink.

I have no doubt that you are sufficiently bored now.

The Ballad of House Buying: Part 1 The Surrogates

So I think I can be a little freer with the experience of house buying that I have been enduring.

I guess the most important news is that I am officially going through the process of buying a house now. I would like to at least go through the process of how I came to where I am today to update people that may have very unintentionally fallen out of the loop. I have gotten very busy with the process, work and Jaycee functions. Plus, there was Symposium and helping Derrick and Jen move. You could say that my plate has been more than full. It has been overflowing with crawdads, honey.

To start at the beginning of finding this house you have to go back to December 30 or 31. I can’t remember which.

I joined my Mom, Teresa and Ernie for lunch. When I got back to the office my phone rang and it was my Aunt/Realtor Lori. One of the great parts about this process is that now I can recommend Lori as a Realtor to anybody and include the phrase, “And not just because she is my Aunt.”

Lori was going to look at a new listing that had just went on the market. It was on Garst, which is to say that it is in a good neighborhood. She told me that the house was a foreclosure and I know from the time that Carla spent as a Realtor that meant two things. You could buy the house cheap and that is was probably trashed.

I work for a living, which is to say that I haven’t figured out a way for the Computer Mine to pay me for not being here yet, so I had to decline checking out this house on Garst. I did mention that there was a house on Union and a house on Aldrich that I was interested in seeing. We set up an appointment to see those houses on Saturday.

Then I remembered that somebody that has so many crawdads on their plate should use a surrogate. So I called Teresa and asked if she and Mom could swing by and check out the house on Garst to see if it was even worth viewing.

She agreed to do just such a thing.

About 45 minutes later I got a text message that said, “Garst house is disgusting.”

I called her back to find out what disgusting might mean. Did it mean saloon doors between the dining room and the kitchen? I can change ugly.

Disgusting ended up meaning covered in mold.

Well you can’t just take mold down and store it in the basement, so the house on Garst was eliminated from contention.

But Teresa told me that they had went over and checked out the house on Union that I wanted to see.

Earlier that week I had told my Mom about how I had high hopes about a house on Union, but last time I had gotten my hopes up real high for a house they were dashed by bulging basement walls.

She had mentioned the house to Lori and they had went over and checked out the house.

Teresa recommended that I check out this house on Union.


I started Thanksgiving by helping serve the free Thanksgiving dinner with my Mom, Teresa and Logan. I was given the extremely important duty of collecting trays.

After my shift concluded I talked dogs with Karma’s former vet Jordan and his family. Even though I know when I get a dog again it will be a Golden Retriever, I was told by one of Jordan’s daughters to look into Bulgarian Mountain Dogs.

I really had no intention of doing this, but I was told (incorrectly) that I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t do such a thing.

So enjoy this little tidbit from Wikipedia about Bulgarian Mountain Dogs (AKA Caucasian Shepherd Dog):

Powerful and massive, the Caucasian Ovcharka can be a difficult breed for an inexperienced owner, because it respects and obeys only those that it deems superior to itself. They are good with children, but will not see them as their masters. The dog develops a strong bond with its owner but will rarely be submissive; this is truly a thinking dog which relies on its own instincts, sometimes even disregarding its master’s directions. A breed with a very quick reaction time and fast protection reflexes, it has even been unfairly described by some as somewhat of a “loose cannon”. With proper care, handling and training, this is a well-behaved and obedient family companion.

I have no doubt that such a dog would see me as being superior, but Golden Retrievers are where it is at.

I concluded my Thanksgiving by eating a wonderful dinner and dominating my family in Rack Rummy.

Here are some pictures from the day.

If you break it down, I had 6 Thanksgiving to attend this week. That is a lot of good and unhealthy eating.

Too Crafty?

Teresa’s latest project was too make individualized Christmas booklets for all the members of the family. Well, not for me, but for the other members of the family.

I spent a fair amount of Thanksgiving trying to explain that I don’t really care what I get for Christmas. I’m the easiest person in the world to shop for because I like everything and I get too much as it is.

But the actual truth is that what I would really like for Christmas is to find somebody that can challenge me at the game of Rack Rummy.

The Shannon After

Shannon had over a foot of hair cut off her head last Thursday. On Sunday I was able to document this joyous hair loss, but the day was not completely happy.

Shannon After

In the picture above you should try to look past Shannon. You may notice something. Shannon appears to be standing on an abandoned railroad bridge.

My favorite park in Ames is Brookside Park. I don’t believe I would be talking out of turn if I were to guess that it is also Shannon’s favorite park. We met at the park and walked to this bridge despite the cold temperatures.

The previous Saturday we met there to take her before pictures. We talked about going to this bridge on that day because she was curious about it. She had heard a wildly inaccurate characterization of the bridge from Becky. Becky and I had walked across the bridge one night after a Jaycees meeting.

On that Saturday there must have been about 20 people just hanging out on the bridge. I thought we should give the bridge another try, but it did not end up to be one of my better ideas.

Shannon After

If you take you gaze downward you might notice a few things about Shannon. I mentioned it was cold. The proof can be found in the coat/scarf combination that she was wearing. Although it is stylish, the gloves she is wearing are not for fashion purposes. Shannon was cold.

The particularly observant might notice a couple of other things. In her gloved hands Shannon appears to be holding a bag. The bag contains the hair that Shannon parted with so that she could make a donation to Locks of Love.

If you know this bridge very well, you might be able to gather from the trees behind Shannon, she is standing over water.

I’m sure you can see what is coming, but on this day I did not. When Shannon reached into the bag to pull out her former hair to pose for a picture with it, one of the 8 braids (I have no clue if that is the right word) escaped her stylishly gloved, but frozen hands.

It fell between two railroad ties and into the ice cold stream below.

Shannon After
The lost hair.

It was a heart breaker. I didn’t think Shannon would want this to be documented, but she insisted that it be documented.

We managed to get the rest of her former hair put away and left that cursed bridge.

Once we got to dryish land we took some pictures of the her and her former hair.

Shannon After
That is lots of hair.

Shannon After
I repeat. That is lots of hair.

The lost hair didn’t take off down the stream immediately. There was some time where it seemed like it might possibly wash near enough to the bank that we could get to it with out descending deep into the near freezing water.

Shannon After
Shannon watching the hair float away.

But it was not to be.

The day was not a complete loss though. There are still 7 locks to be sent to Locks of Love. A wonderful donation.

Shannon After
Plus, Shannon does have a great new hair cut!

I also gave this beanie to Shannon. I hate to part with anything that Teresa makes, but I don’t think the colors are for me. Everybody seems to say that the hat looks better on her than me any way. It is probably because it is hard for me to give the badass vibe that I normally emanate when I’m wearing that beanie.

After the photo shoot Shannon helped me to write a CPG for the Ames Jaycee website that I redesigned. I won’t bore you with the details, if you aren’t a Jaycee you really wouldn’t be that interested.

Then we joined my Mom, Carla and Teresa for supper at Jeff’s Pizza. If I haven’t written about it before, I love Jeff’s Pizza. I’m a particularly large fan of their Gyro Guy pizza and their Clones. Clones are pizza rolls and they are fantastic. Better than Gumby’s used to make before Gumby’s went terribly downhill.

The meal was pleasant despite the fact that the large amount of females at the table insisted on ordering a Chicken Alfredo pizza. I’m going to tell you flat out, chicken does not belong on a pizza. Even the gourmet pizza wizards at Jeff’s Pizza could not sway my opinion. I will freely confess that their Chicken Alfredo pizza was the best chicken pizza I have had to date, but it still wasn’t a pizza I would want to sit down and take to town.

Thankfully, we ordered a Gyro Guy pizza as well, so I didn’t wither away.

The conversation was relatively polite until it inevitably turned into gossip hour about my friends. I was able to put the smack down on that though. We gossiped about Teresa’s friends instead.

Truth be known, I don’t gossip.

After dinner Shannon and I went to Stephens to see the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. It was the first professional symphony orchestra concert I have ever attended. They played 3 pieces of music including a piece by Bernstein and a piece by Copland.

The lights never fully dimmed. This was something I wasn’t expecting. Another thing I found odd was that they opened the show by playing the Star Spangled Banner. I’ve gotten to the point where I only hear the National Anthem at sporting events, so that was a nice little surprise. They followed the Star Spangled Banner with the playing of what I’m going to assume was the Israeli National Anthem.

They concluded the show by playing two encores. Before the encores the conductor of the Symphony Orchestra spoke to the crowd and praised people from Iowa. I guess that was the classical music equivalent of “You rock Ames, Iowa! We wish we could take you with us.”

It was a very enjoyable show. I will gladly go see a Symphony Orchestra concert again in the future.

So the night ended on a high after the low of losing the hair. An excellent day at the aggregate level!

Happy Birthday Mom!

I thought I would celebrate my Mom’s birthday by posting some pictures of her from the 1970s.

I think that might be our old milk truck in the background!

With the best child.

With the middle child.

Out at McHose Park.

Out at the old house on W. 15th Street.

On King.

Doing something to a bird.

On a tractor.

On W. 15th Street.

Swanky lawn ornaments, At least I don’t think that is really Quakers.

Doing Dishes.

With Grandma Bennett. Perhaps the only known picture in existence of Mom drinking.*

Christmas with Dad, Carla and Teresa

With the eldest child.

While I was going through this album I found a picture of our crazy old neighbor lady that wanted to push me down a well. I’ll have to post her picture in the future.

* I also considered: “I’m Teresa – Look at me! I have to force my way into the picture!”

The Eldest Sister

Happy Birthday to my eldest sister, albeit a couple days late!

Teresa Birthday - 2008
The old Bennett Antique Shop in the background.

Teresa Birthday - 2008
Teresa and Carla

Teresa Birthday - 2008

Teresa Birthday - 2008
Teresa and Mom

Teresa Birthday - 2008
Teresa and Dad

Teresa Birthday - 2008

Teresa Birthday - 2008
Teresa and Dad

Teresa Birthday - 2008

Now by looking at some of those pictures you would guess that Teresa must be like a million years old now. Her friend Rob assures me that she is only 45.*

* I should state that because women are sensitive about their age, Teresa isn’t actually 45 either.

Albia, Iowa

I drove to Albia on Sunday to watch Elainie play softball in the Little League State Tournament. I was honestly expecting to only watch one game because they were playing Grand View. I can never recall a Boone team beating a Grand View team. But it happened. Boone beat Grand View 9-6. They played Monroe County in the title game and fell 7-1.

Here are some pictures from the day.

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia
Not going to make a play on Elainie’s monster smash!

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

Albia Rose

Albia Rose


Albia Rose

Great Raspberry Shakes!

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

State Tournament - Albia

There is one other thing. It is traditional to paint your vehicle to support your kid’s team when they go to tournaments. I understand that. However, there needs to be some common sense exercised.

For example. Say you have a daughter. Say that daughter is a pitcher. Say that daughter strikes people out. A reasonable thing to do would be to paint a couple “K”s on your van because the “K” is the symbol for strikeout in score keeping.

Now think about it. Just off the top of your head, what amount of “K”s would you not want to paint on your van.

Has it come to you yet?

Figured it out yet?

Have that answer yet?

State Tournament - Albia

Yeah, that seems like a bad idea to me. Even if there are 3 outs in an inning.

For the record, this van was from Wisconsin and not Boone.