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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mimi Is In Bali - Watch Out They Steal Little Blondies There


Just 4 years ago Mimi was slugging it out in the trenches in some Georgian Elementary School Library.  Now she is the toast of the Library Science. She won an award from the International Association of School Librarians and she has to go to Bali to pick it up. I had to look on a map to make sure where Bali was.

Mimi's family was really concerned because they heard that little blondies bring a high price in the white slavery market. she would be 12000 miles from home - alone. 
“When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion.” 
― Abraham Lincoln

"There You Go Again" - Said Ronald Reagan - Another Camper

At Camping World - Lulu insisted on banging the sales gong.

At the work site - our "new" 2002 Road Trek at sunset.

It could not have come at a worse time. We were right in the middle of pouring 81 yards of concrete. But when opportunity calls you must respond. He who hesitates is lost. 

Lulu and I love Class B Campers. We have had several. Lulu has spent many snowy nights on the road and campus in one. She felt like a turtle carrying her home on her back - she called it the suitcase you never have to unpack. 

The top of the line of Class B's is a Roadtrek - built by Home and Park Motorhomes in Ontario - Canada. Some people call them conversion vans - others call them camper vans - officially they are called Class B Motorhomes. They are manufactured to the highest standards and weatherized for winter in the Yukon. 

Day 15 - We Poured 81 Yards of Concrete - The Foundation is Complete

6 AM - still dark - Sam Pickenpaugh - General Manager of Vulcan Materials - made sure his concrete delivery was perfect. They say it is a big deal when he comes along.

Sunset came around 8 PM. The slab was done. No one got to carve their name in it. the workmen already removed the forms. I will pressure wash the 2 x 12 from boards this weekend and they will be used to frame the house. They are brand new spruce and we re-cycle them. Note the camper van in the background. That is another story.

Friday was a busy day. We were at the construction site well before 7 AM. It was still a little dark and the crescent moon was bright and directly overhead. Robert Norton's concrete crew was all ready to go in their mud boots with their trowels and shovels. They would do the hard work of moving this mud around to makes sure every cranny was filled.

The weather was perfect - not a cloud in the sky. The sun was still far east - not even in the tops of the pine trees. We were supposed to have rain during the night but not a drop fell. It was predicted that we have a 5 hour window to do the deed.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 14 - Foundation Passes Inspection - Friday We Pour 70 Yards of Concrete

It took us 14 days to tear down the old house - remove the trees - grade the lot - and lay out the foundation. All the pipes - conduits - steel rebar - and forms are in place. The city signed off at 2PM today - and we ordered the concrete.

Gary says he expects to be closed in - in 2 or 3 weeks. 

The inspectors are doing core sampling to make sure the sand fill is compacted enough.

They take the above core samples and do something with them

City Inspector Steve Tabor is posing with Gary Shiver - our builder. Gary is smiling for two reason. First - the foundation prep passed with flying colors - nothing to change. Second - I just gave Gary a check.

If You Have OCD - This is the Machine for You

I love watching a stump grinder perform. About 8 years ago  I even bought one to do the project at 1607 Seminole. But then I found Dwayne. He grinds in one hour - what it would take me a week to do.

Most of the trees we pulled out by the roots. We had 4 stumps that were too close to the border or to other trees' roots. We did not want to damage the other trees. Three stumps were pine trees about 30 inches in diameter. One was a cherry tree maybe 2 feet wide.

This Rattlesnake Slept Every Night within 10 Miles Lulu's Head

Lulu just loves rattlesnakes - dead rattlesnakes that is. 

This has got to be the biggest rattler on record.

Pat Long and his son were in a blind to hunt hogs near Midway when this guy poked his head in! Pat's son shot the snake... it's 9'6" long... with 22 rattles, the head more than five inches wide, the fangs 2.5" long. Anybody going for a walk in the woods this weekend? 

Share with your friends and see who has good snake stories!

Midway is about 10 miles west of Tallahassee.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 13 - Preparing the Foundation

Here is how Gary smiles on pay day.

There were up to 14 people working on the site today at one time. We had the concrete prep men - the electric prep men - the stump grinder man - the termite sprayer man - and the Howdy Potty man.

I was shocked when Gary the builder said that he expects the house to be closed in within 2 to 3 weeks.  They will pour the foundation and floor on Friday if the weather holds. 

Today Lulu was almost complaining it was going too fast - she was being rushed to make decisions. It is a whole lot different than when you get a builder that is trying to juggle several jobs. Here today and gone tomorrow. 

George and Joel Were in Washington For "I Have a Dream" Day Today

George and Joel on the Washington Mall Wednesday

George and Joel at the wedding in Bedford Springs taking photos from the sky box.

We had an experience today that was satisfying, frustrating, tiring and exciting.  It I was not so tired I am sure I could come up with other words to describe the day.

Joel was aware that we were going to be in DC on the 50th Anniversary of the "I have a dream" speech.  So we went.  We took by Metro to the mall and ran a gauntlet of t-shirt, badge, poster and food vendors.  Eventually getting in line about half way between the  Washington Monument and east end of the WW II memorial.  There the problems began.  There was a huge crowd standing patiently in line waiting in security but my first stop was a Port-O-Potty.  There were seven, all of which were out of

1963 Cobra Sells for $2 Million

1963 Shelby Cobra

The Pebble Beach Car Show may be the biggest and best in the world. I hope to get there some day.

One of my favorite cars - the 1963 Shelby Cobra - sold at the car show for $2,068,000. A fully restored car - stripped down to the frame renovation - sells for only $1,000,000.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 12 - Plumbing Day - You Know You Are in the New South When Your Plumber's Name is Bubba and He Arrives in a Corvette

Do not forget to click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Robert "Bubba" West Junior is the plumber of record on our new home.

Nixon had his group of "plumbers" and here are mine. Rich - Jamie Elkins - Bubba West - Gary Shiver - and Steven.

This is the master bath with a separate tub and shower. It is a long way from taking my baths in a metal tub in the kitchen in front of the coal stove back in Appalachia in the 1950s. Lulu and I picked out the doors - windows - and bath tub today. 

This plumbing is for the laundry which is connected directly to a walk-in closet and the master suite. That deep ditch going away from you will be the back wall of the house. The blue shirt guy is standing on a 10 x 60 foot back porch.

You know you are in the New South when your plumber named Bubba arrives in his Corvette convertible.

BMF stand for Big Mutha - you finish it. Notice that he graduated from Bubba University.

This is facing south. The foundation is almost ready for pouring. There are three natural gas outlets to install for the fireplace - the stove - and the water heater. There will be gas outside for a fire pit and a grill. Later today - Gary is installing the anchor bolts to tie down the walls and the hurricane straps. The house should be able to stand 150 MPH winds - its the new law. 

The water is temporarily hooked up ready for inspection tomorrow.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 11 - Installing Underground Power Line and Building Foundation

This is Robert Norton of Norton Concrete. He is preparing the foundation and he will pour the concrete. Gary Shiver is the builder and nothing gets done on the site without his supervision. He arrives every day before 7 AM.

Gary is showing Ted Oliver of Oliver Electric where he wants the service panel to be. Ted will put conduit in the foundation so that no wires or boxes will be hanging on the side of the house. They figured a way to put the electric meter far away from the house. Wires will go under the foundation in conduit to the garage - the pool - and the workshop. It is easier to put them in now rather than hang them on the side of the house later.

You can tell I love Monday morning - it is a fresh start after 4 days away at the wedding of my kids - Liz and Keith. Today's weather was excellent for work. 

Mainly we got done two things. First the power company came out and took down an old electricity pole from the middle of the lot. Then- They installed a new pole and a pedestal for an underground power tap. 

Home From Liz and Keith's Wedding - Looking for Pictures

Mr. and Mrs. Everhart

On their balcony at Bedford Springs on their wedding day

What a whirlwind weekend - 4 days at the Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford PA - honoring our son Keith and our daughter in law Liz at their wedding gala event.

We got home on Sunday about midnight. We were tired but so happy. It was easily in the top 10 day times our lives. So many friends and family were there and they were not let down.

We are looking for your favorite pictures of the event from anyone that was there. Send them to me - I want to do a show for my web page - and I will give you a byline for your pictures. Being in the wedding - my camera stayed mostly in my pocket. these 4 pictures were mine.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Keith and Liz's Wedding Weekend Just Started

The groom and his best man. Robin took this picture of Keith and Drew at the rehearsal dinner. These are my beloved sons in whom I am well pleased. Wedding pictures will follow Sunday morning.

It is 7 AM Saturday. Today is the big day of the wedding of my son Keith to Liz. It is such a wonderful time for our family. We are at the Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford - Pennsylvania. It was so nice that so many friends and family have taken all this time to come here to celebrate this happy event with us. 

Last night we had the wedding rehearsal and dinner outside. About 80 people spent the night under the stars viewing Lulu and Laurin's media show - having refreshments - greeting old and new friends - and celebrating with the wedding couple. Some stayed on for a very late night swim with Jack and Kate.

Things were so busy - and lots of pictures were taken - but few by me.  But the one above sums up the evening for me. Lulu and I always say - one of the best things that came from our marriage is the love and friendship of Drew and Keith for each other. More pictures will follow tomorrow from the wedding featuring Liz. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

We Will be at Bedford Springs PA for the Next 4 Days - Keith and Liz to Marry on Saturday

We had an uneventful trip from Tallahassee this morning. We drove the final segment on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Bedford. The Bedford Springs Resort is just 2 miles south of the turnpike exit on Route 220.

One problem - Apple Maps - the program on the iphone was directing people to a site 22 miles away.

Pictures will follow.

At TLH Airport - On Way to Bedford Springs PA for a Wedding

We left home at 7 AM - and  drove by the building site on the way to the airport. To my surprise - Gary  Shiver - the builder - was already on the site.

We are flying to Bedford Springs PA to attend the wedding of Keith and Liz - my youngest son and my newest daughter-in-law to be. It is very exciting to Lulu and me.

We will fly from Tallahassee to Atlanta to Pittsburgh. At the triangle city - we will take a rental car east on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Bedford Springs.

We do not get to see the folks from back home as much as we like - so it will be a time to catch up on all the family and hometown news.

The weather is predicted to be good for the 4 days. It will be an outdoor wedding if the weather holds. In Tallahassee - we have been getting rain every day for most of the summer. Usually sun - then downpour - then sun.

At Tallahassee - I do not have an assigned seat. I think the plane is overbooked - wish me luck on getting a bump.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 8 - Laying Out the Foundation

It is fun watching others work - especially if they are using big machines. 

Day 8 - Today was a busy day at the work site. First - the bull dozer was moving dirt around to make a flat spot for the house. We wanted to keep the porch floors lower than 2 feet - so they do not require a hand rail. 

Next - we laid out the corners of the foundation. We established a plane with cross strings.  It is simply a big 60 x 60 square. The front porch will be about 20 inches off the ground - the back porch will be about 10 inches above the ground. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 7 - Grading the Building Lot

The old pine logs will be picked up tomorrow by the saw mill.

This picture shows the lot looking west from Seminole Drive.

Day 7 - Today a bulldozer worked all day grading the lot. The lot is 210 feet wide and 250 feet deep. It has the area of a football field - about 1.4 acres. It is taking longer than we expected for site preparation.   Several things held us up especially lots of rain. 

The house will be toward the back of the lot and toward the south side. Since the lot drops about 10 feet from back to front - we wanted to make that drop very gradual and also create level spots for the house - the new garage - the gardens - and the pool. 

One of the things I like is that my builder - Gary Shiver - is at the site every day. As soon as the site prep is done - we will lay out the foundation. There will be no delay. Grading the lot - I would give it an A.

This picture is look southwest - directly at the house site.

The bulldozer is creating a very gentle grade while trying to keep a large flat spot for the house. We want the porches low enough so that no hand rails are required. 

The new driveway will split those trees. The bulldozer is sitting right about where the front door will be. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Planes - Millers - Jobs - Butler - Film Festival in Tallahassee - 4 Movies in 4 Days

4 Movies in 4 Days. It didn't start out that way. But when is the last time 4 films that I thought I would like came out in the same week? And all of them were just a couple blocks away A friend gave us some gift cards to the local theater. With all the rain we have been having - Lulu and I decided to be movie critics.

America does a lot of things well. Recently people have question whether the USA is number 1 in anything anymore. One thing for sure - no one make movies like Hollywood. I am such a sucker for movies about the little guy winning out. And these films had me laughing and crying within minutes of each other. Lulu thinks Oprah will be nominated for an Oscar.

Planes -  is a Disney film - not to be confused with a Pixar film. This one hangs on the coattail of the Pixar film cars. I loved them both. If you are a hobbyist airplane nut - you will love all the references to different familiar plane models - lots of plane jargon - and Disney's talent of making non-living things live. I liked the movie - but can't imagine little kids sitting through 90 minutes of this. But parents will make them.  ***

Day 6 - The Last Tree To Go

A policeman dropped by to watch the big pine tree along the road go down. He never saw a loader drop one like that. The officer said he just had 6 trees removed from his yard - he said it took forever - made lots of noise - and he still has stumps. He liked our way better.

We have almost completed site preparation. Today we took down the last tree that we are going to remove. It was a pine tree about 100 feet tall and about 20 inches around. It was right next to the street so we had to be careful.

FSU Volleyball Starts the Season Ranked 12th

Many folks in Tallahassee look forward to September for football. Yes those Seminoles bring in crowds of 80,000 people - but my favorite Seminoles play in front of crowds counted in the hundreds.

Volleyball. Last season - the Lady Seminoles advanced all the way to the final four in the NCAA Tournament. This year they start out Number 12 - and will rise from there. 

A crowd of 1000 - mostly senior citizens - means the Noles are in town. They play in Tully Gym - right in the middle of campus. Since there is no admission - games are very attractive to old people. In a way - kids do not appreciate volleyball games because they are free. 

If you sit right up front - you can almost touch the athletes. Since they do not wear helmets - you can see their facial expressions. You feel like you know each player - and yes they recognize you on the street and thank you for coming to the matches.

Thanks to Title IX - the federal laws require schools to give out as many scholarships to women as they do to men. It has opened a whole new door for women to go to college. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Last VW Combi Van Rolled of the Line in Sao Paulo BRAZIL Today

1960s VW Van

2013 Volkswagen Combi

Volkswagen is to end production of its Kombi transporter, made only in Brazil, with the iconic van bowing out in a special 600-unit manufacturing run,
The German carmaker said on Thursday about 1.5 million Kombis had rolled off the lines of Volkswagen's assembly plant in the Sao Paulo suburb of Sao Bernardo do Campo between 1957 and July 2013.
According to VW the Kombi, launched in Germany in 1950, has enjoyed the longest production run in automotive history; it added that the “Last Edition Kombi” would be sold at a suggested price of $38 000.
Kombi models assembled in Brazil have since 1970 been exported to countries around the world, including Algeria, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, South Africa, Venezuela and Uruguay. From IOL Motoring.

Friday, August 16, 2013

House Project - Rain Slowed Us Down - Made Things Muddy

One guy pushes them over - the other guy saws them in sections - then the first guy loads them onto the trucks. 

DAY 5 SEMINOLE DRIVE - It rained quite a bit today but work trudged on. The brick house is completely gone. All of the concrete is gone from the sidewalks and some of the driveway. We kept a section of the old driveway to service the garden.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tamaqua History - "Check Out" The Librarian on the Right

House Project - The Brick House Is Gone - Today Was Pine Tree Day

Oops there goes another pine tree plant.

DAY 4 SEMINOLE DRIVE - It just started to rain - we are expecting 5 to 10  inches of rain in the next 4 days. It will slow our project down. We need one more day to finish the trees and grade the land.

We also got the good news that our building permit is approved by the city and hanging in our permit box on the site. The city approved everything without a change. They also agree to give us an underground electrical service free of charge.

We are pulling out the root balls along with the trees - just like a thunder storm does when it blows them over onto your house. They really make a big thud when they hit.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Third Day of Demolition

Eve of Destruction at 1816 Seminole Drive

DAY 3 SEMINOLE DRIVE - The house is completely down and in a pile. I can't believe how many truckloads it is taking to haul it away. I am glad we are working on a fixed price - I can enjoy all the action and see that I am getting my moneysworth.

We have 2 trucks - if we had more everything would be gone.

After the house is gone - there are some big sections of pavement to remove. Next we are removing some pine trees - finally the lot will be graded so that the house has a large level area. A major job is removing the root balls of some of the present trees and roots from trees taken out before. A large propane tank was removed from the ground - also an old septic tank that was not used in about 40 years.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

George and Joel Dawson on the Blue Ridge Parkway

View from the Blue Ridge Parkway
Thursday George and Joel left town for a one month trip up north. Right now they are in the Blue Ridge Mountains. During the month they will visit friends and family. They will also be in Bedford Springs PA on August 24th for Keith and Liz's wedding. 

The road will go as far north as Vermont and as far west as Louisville KY. They are touring in their silver Volvo.

Double Feature Tonight - We're the Millers - Planes

Cellphone picture of the opening of Planes this evening at 7 PM
Lulu and I had an early supper then we went to the movies to see the 5:20 show - We're the Millers. It is a movie about a family using a motor home to smuggle marijuana from Mexico. With the previews - the movie did not start until 5:40. 

After that - we were still awake - we had our second wind - so we went to see the Disney feature - Planes. I loved Pixar's Cars series and I did like this film - but I think it will have a hard time holding young kids' attention even for only 90 minutes. The planes are authentic but most of the references will fly right over even middle schoolers' heads. 

Planes was filmed in 3D and I honestly can say - even with only one eye - I enjoyed the 3D effects. It wasn't necessary to wear 3D glasses. 

Disney originally was not going to release this movie in theaters - it was planned to go right to DVD. I guess - the desire to sell lots of toys - video games - clothes - etc - was too much of an attraction to the Disney Studios. It looks like it will be easily adaptable to video games. 

There were only about 10 people there at 5:20 to see We're the Millers. Maybe 25 were there at 7 PM for Planes. The film did not hold the attention of the little kids - but pop corn - candy - and ice cream did.

Someone had given us a gift card for the movies so it was a free night out. The senior discount made the price $6.50 a head. All of this followed a 4:30 supper of ribs - corn on the cob - and watermelon -prepared by Lulu. This is the life on the Southside.

Tuesday Noon - There Goes The Porch

Two old geezers love to be sidewalk superintendents.


FSU Volleyball Poster and Schedule

More Pictures From Monday's Demolition

DAY 1 SEMINOLE DRIVE - We had a very nice demolition day. It may have been the hottest day of the year - but a clear blue sky - no wind - and low relative humidity made it a nice day to watch work. Lulu had a busy day on campus - so she took her Vespa. She can park right by her door with that - secretly I think she was afraid of what came next.

At 10 AM the loader arrived on a flat bed. One man drove the truck - one man operated the loader. The slowest part was waiting for the truck to return for another load. 

I am writing this at 9 AM Tuesday - already they took another load to debris away. I am guessing we will have a clear lot by the end of the day. 

Goldilocks had to go to work at 9 AM

One man and one machine

At 10 AM - it was all peaceful at 1816 Seminole Drive

Then it started taking big bites

Monday, August 12, 2013

First Day of Action on the Project - and the Walls Came Tumbling Down

At 11 AM all was quiet on Seminole Drive
By 2 PM - 75% of the house was gone. 
DAY 1 SEMINOLE DRIVE - I love Monday mornings - and today was no exception. At 11 AM - things were quiet at 1816 Seminole Drive. Then one man and one loader arrived. By noon the brick house was almost history.

The loader was using the south side of the house like a coal bin. He kept piling the debris from the rest of the house into the two south bedrooms. A big truck arrived at 1 PM and they started loading the debris in the truck. Debris was separated into clean fill and dirty fill. The clean fill was mostly brick and concrete. The dirty fill was mostly wood - windows - and shingles.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

My Third Car - A 1961 MGA Twin Cam

1961 MGA Twin Cam - the beauty of youth

It was the summer of 1968 - I had just completed a job in the Poconos - working as a camp counselor. My job was to take kids on overnight canoe trips down the Delaware River. It was one of those jobs that they paid you at the end of the season - my share was $700. To put it in perspective - 2 years later Panther Valley would hire me as a science teacher for a whopping salary of $6500 a year.

A fella on East Broad Street in Tamaqua by the name of Bob Clay had the sports car of my dreams. It was a 1961 MGA Twin Cam. I was fascinated by little British cars even then. It was 7 years old - back then that was pretty old for a car. Today the average car on the road is 12 years old.

The Story of Nick Beef - Buried Next to Lee Harvey Oswald

This Story is from today's New York Times

FORT WORTH — In a corner of the Shannon Rose Hill Cemetery, close to a chain-link fence that separates the living and the dead, a patch of ground has been worn free of grass by all who come to stare at one particular gravestone. With just a surname, the marker says it all: OSWALD.
But in the half-century since a slight, sallow man named Lee Harvey Oswald killed President John F. Kennedy, so much continues to be said about the assassination that the various conspiracy devices and theories are nearly as familiar as the tragic event itself. The Magic Bullet theory. The Zapruder film. The Umbrella Man. The Mafia. Jack Ruby. Fidel Castro.
And, of course, Nick Beef. Or, more accurately, NICK BEEF.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Organic Transit - Durham - Electric Car

Downtown Durham - Elf Electric Car
Near Duke University, a small group of people are building innovative solar/pedal powered velomobile trikes  in a former furniture warehouse in downtown Durham, North Carolina. I have been meaning to discuss the Organic Transit ELF for a while now, but it is one of the many posts that I just never got around to writing. Now is as good a time as any to mention it though. They have a campaign on Kickstarter that ends in a couple of days, and the page is full of great information about the vehicles, their design and development, and how they are made (also check out the video on the page for an overview of the ELF).