Category Archives: Becky

Primary Painting Day

Although Carla and Alexis did a wonderful job of taking pictures, one of the downsides of not having taken any pictures myself is that I didn’t get pictures of everybody that helped.

So thanks to my incredible painting crew on Primary Painting Day:

Jason Stensland
Carla Stensland
Alexis Stensland
Jason Baier
Jeff Daniel
Amy Yin
Jen Gorshe
Derrick Gorshe
Sara Junck
Teresa Kahler
Monica Henning
Nader Parsaei
Jay Janson
Jesse Howard
Shannon Bardole
Becky Perkovich
James Strachota

I’m sure I’m forgetting somebody. They all did a wonderful job and if it wasn’t for the stupid moisture, I’m sure we would have been completely done on that day. With everything except the kitchen cabinets.

My mom also cooked up a wonderful lunch and supper. I think a good time was had by most.

Some pictures from that day in no particular order:

The Master Bedroom

The Office

Roger taking the tile out to make room for a shower.

Shannon painting the entry way.

Jen working in the kitchen. Notice the swanky green color that kitchen cabinets used to be before the horrible antiquing.

Jesse doing some work on the first official piece of furniture to make it to the house, the Hoosier. Shannon’s dad restored it to working order.

Jesse, possibly high on something, working in the kitchen.

Jesse doing some primer work in the kitchen.

Sara and Alexis toiling in the kitchen. I do not know what I am doing.

Alexis and I painting the living room wall. It might be the accent wall, but I’m not sure if it is still considered an accent wall if you paint two walls that color.

Carla painting in the master bedroom. To the left of her is the family heirloom, our Grandpa Bennett’s painting stool.

Painting the living room. Jesse, Alexis, Me and James.

The guest bedroom.

Jason painting the living room.

Jason and Carla came over on Sunday to do some more painting.

Jen came over and did quite a bit more work in the kitchen as well. I just don’t have any pictures of that.

Friday Night Paint Prep Club – Part B

More pictures from paint prep night.

I got those green chairs from my Aunt Linda to with a sweet white table she was throwing away. Those chairs are surprisingly popular. That is also Shannon showing off her taping skills.

Carla painting the bathroom.

Life Lesson: When working on a ceiling fan, don’t ask for the fan to be turned on when your heads are still in the blades.

Eric dumping out a bucket.

Eric taping it up.

Willy, Jay, Me, Becky, Shannon and Alexis.

Alexis and Teresa washing walls.

Becky and Teresa in the basement.

Teresa and Becky priming the cupboard doors.

Becky on curtain duty.

A stack of cupboard doors.

Another health amount of work had been accomplished. The house was ready for painting day.

Friday Night Paint Prep Club – Part A

Day 3 of home ownership consisted of paint prep and lots of it. Her are some pictures in no particular order from that night.

Teresa eating.

Shannon would want me to point out one thing in this picture. Well maybe two things. One she is a master taper. Two she did an incredible job taping around the rounded corner of this wall.

Suzie showing off her taping skills.

Taking down curtains in my bowling shirt.

A good supervisor/leader takes time out from ruling with an iron fist to get to know the people on their staff. As opposed to this looks like I’m not doing any work.

Jesse working on the living room ceiling fan. This ceiling fan did come with a remote.

Shannon, Becky, Teresa, Jesse, Yours Truly, Suzie and Scott.

Jesse and Scott got shocked on more than one occasion. I noted their ability to take a shock, in case I ever need somebody to jump in front of a taser for me. I think I have a couple of candidates.

Jesse and Scott hanging plastic.

I was blessed with a phenomenal prep team.

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.

Matthew 25:40

I began this Saturday morning (12-20-2008) by rising out of bed around 5:45 in the morning. I often don’t sleep that well, but on this night I purposely slept on the couch so that I wouldn’t sleep well and I would get up in time.

I was getting up at this awful time of day because I had to be at the Senior Citizen’s Center in Ames by 6:30 to participate in the Jaycee project known as Holiday Food Baskets.

Despite my body’s best effort to stop me from getting up, I did manage to fall out off the couch and stumble to the basement and take a shower. I hit the road and made it to Ames at nearly the right time.

The process of Holiday Food Baskets isn’t really worth mentioning, but there are aspects of the day that are worth noting.

But before getting to those aspects I should make a confession. Deflation and the rapid falling of gas prices has put more coin in this guy’s bank account. I have often noted that deflation is great, if you still have a job.

It is a poor joke and I do have more than a basic understanding of economics to know that deflation and hard economic times for other people could eventually lead to my not having a job. I do work in what is essentially a luxury industry. Nobody’s job is safe, especially people that work’s for a company thats services are hardly essential.

The Pastors at my church have made doing something about the homeless situation in Boone a priority for our church. As hard is it may seem to believe, Boone County has the 5th highest rate of homelessness in the state of Iowa. What makes the situation worse is that Boone does not have a homeless shelter.

There was one briefly, but the finances were mismanaged and it is no longer in existence. Now the best that Boone has to help its homeless is the Boone Biblical College, but they only take men.

I write these things because these are things that I think about lately and it can really happen to almost anybody.

The need in Story County for Holiday Food Baskets tripled from 2007 to 2008.

Andrea told us a story about a family that seemed financially secure. In 2007 they were teaching their children to buy presents for other children through the Angel Tree program. In 2008, their children were on the Angel Tree.

The first 2-3 hours of Holiday Food Baskets is basically grunt work. It is essential, but hardly rewarding. You do a lot of moving food from place A to place B to place C. After everything is organized, then people start coming in to pick up their Food Baskets.

This is the part of the project that is rewarding and I think it is slightly unfortunate that only a handful of us that participated got to take part in this one aspect of the project.

This aspect was carrying the basket of food from the Senior Center to the person’s car. It is important to put a bag or rolls or some apples in a cardboard box, but I don’t think you get a sense of what all of this really means or amounts to and why it is important unless you get a chance to interact with the people that are getting the food.

It can also break your heart.

While I was carrying a cardboard box of food across a street to an SUV for a young woman she told me that this box of food was really going to help her family. They had 8 people living in the same house.

It made me feel completely inadequate and helpless at the same time. I couldn’t help but look into the cardboard box. Just a few moments ago it seemed like a lot of food.

A handful of apples and oranges.
A bag of celery.
A bag of potatoes.
A bag of carrots.
A ham.
2 cans of something.
A bag of rolls.

All of a sudden I felt that I should have run in and gotten them a second box. I should have gotten them a third box. The ham was nothing to sniff at, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the ham that we had on our Christmas table that fed 9 people was at least 4 times larger than the ham we gave out. I didn’t do this though. The bureaucracy of such things precluded that people had to sign in with MICA and people were designated so much food.

I just wished the young woman a “Merry Christmas” and walked back inside. It is my regret that I didn’t just go grab another box for this family. It was a regret that would be doubled and then doubled again.

We had made up 200 Holiday Food Baskets. At the end of the event around 50 remained. Here is where my regret doubled the first time.

We loaded up the excess food and took it to MICA. As it turns out, MICA doesn’t really have that much capacity for storing frozen hams. Their freezer was already full and they needed to make room. To do this they gave each of us a turkey.

My regret doubled again.

So now I have this turkey weighing on my conscience, but I throw it in the trunk of my car and drive off.

My first stop is Becky’s. I’m supposed to stop at her place to pick up some Christmas gifts. Some for me and some for Teresa. What I learn on this stop is that Becky thinks I’m going to end up in a ditch some time in the near future.

I know she has had this fear for quite some time. When Shannon and I went up to Cedar Falls she gave me an extensive quiz on what kind of safety equipment I had in the car in case we went in a ditch. It basically boiled down to a thermos of hot chocolate. This didn’t seem to satisfy her.

She packed a gift bag full of food. Every time I would pull a new tin of food out she would tell me to “keep that in my car in case you go in a ditch.”

I do not discount the possibility that I might someday go in a ditch, but the closest I’ve ever come to going into a ditch was in the middle of the summer and the reason why is because I was reading the newspaper while I was driving to work.*

If the weather is bad, I don’t read the newspaper.

After I left Becky’s I stopped at Shannon’s to watch her make Christmas candy. She also bound my calendars for me.

Somewhere in between the “pink stuff” and the experimental caramel (which involved the use of a candy thermometer – who invented the candy thermometer??) the lack of quality sleep on the couch began to catch up to me in a massive way.

I bid my adieu since I was going to Des Moines for supper with Jeff and Yin and I was hoping to get a nap of Wentworthian proportions in before I hit the road.

Then on Sunday morning in church, Phil announced that a new family in Boone was homeless.

And I still have this turkey on my conscience.

*Not counting the skunk story.

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 Becky!

While I was going through the long process of changing this website over to a different server, I fell behind in my duties.

That isn’t too big of a deal, except one of the days that I missed a post on was Thursday, October 16, 2008. So I beseech you to read this posting as if today was that day.

Happy Birthday Becky!

Family Night - 06-06-08

If you don’t know Becky, she is the one not drinking from the cup.


Friday was an interesting day.

Of course there was the high of it being Free Gyro Day, but the rest of the work day went rather uneventful.

It was near 5:30, the time I was going to run out of hours and check out for the week, when my phone rang. This was a bit of a surprise and it caused my dart throw to completely miss the paper with the raccoon on it that has been put up as a makeshift dartboard in the hardware area.

I answered the phone and it was Shannon.

She asked if I was interested in taking a ride in the Ames Party Bus.

This was an interesting development because I had engaged in a few conversations with Becky earlier in the day about how she could put the rebuilt starter in the bus by herself. She had asked me what she should use as a jack to hold the starter in place while she tightened the bolts.

My answer had been simple: “Shannon.”


“She tells me how tough she is all the time.”

I don’t know if it was really my advice that she followed, but after Shannon got off work they managed to put the starter in and the bus started.

Below are some pictures of the adventure.

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

After the cruise around town, I headed to a special FNSC. It was special because Jay had made caramel apples.


It was also special because it was a perfect night for sitting around the fire bowl until 1:30 in the morning.


Unfortunately that left me a bit tired for the trip to Kalona the next day.