Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Shed is Started!!!--July 30, 2010

Woke up at 7:30.  Kind of.  I felt like crap.  I had woken up from a terrifying dream where I (and someone else...sister???) were being chased down a hallway by a bobcat.  I kept saying, "Don't look back!!!  Don't look back!!!" much like the story in the Bible.  Well, we made it to the door where I swung it shut only to find out that the door was a half-door, and the bobcat jumped over the door and into the room with us.  I kid you not.  I woke up instantly (and terrified!), and I never could go back to sleep.  I think it was after 7 or so when I woke up, but still.  What a mess!

Ended up laying in bed until 7:55.  Grabbed some cereal, took a shower, then headed over to the garage sale at my sister's house.  They actually had a decent crowd coming and going.  I downed three cups of coffee in order to wake up.  Sadly, my sister aged quite a bit today.  Her roommate from college fell over dead last night.  She was mowing the yard and just fell over dead.  22 years old.  I knew her, and so it shook me a lil' bit.  She was one funny young woman.  Very vibrant.  I think she even cooked for me one time when I visited my sister at college.  We got the call around 9 o'clock or so.  Mom called me and asked if I was around my sister.  They wanted to make sure she had someone there.  And right about that time, the call came in.  Definitely a shocker.  Instantly sent me back to me burying my best friend at age 23.  Life is...somethin' else.  I thought about her death most of the day.

I stayed there until 11:30 when I came back home for lunch.  I headed back over after eating and basically made the decision to build a shed.  I have been looking at sheds for some time now.  They are just WAY too expensive to buy ($1500-ish for what I am looking for), and it's only logical to build one myself.  I can make it how I want it.  So I bit the proverbial bullet and headed to Menard's around 2 o'clock.  I had the plans in my head, and so I bought a decent list of supplies to get me up through the roof.  It was a PAIN in the butt trying to find the wood at their lumberyard, and it took me close to 45 minutes or an hour to get what I needed.  It was just so hard finding everything!  But I got everything I had purchased.

I ended up spending $410.80.  I am trying to stay below $500.  I would be thrilled if I could that!!!  That would be like saving $1000 over buying a new one!  But it's going to be close.  My truck was nearly dragging the ground with all of the wood, but I brought it back home and started making the floor.  I am going with an 8 x 12 foot structure.  It's so fun!  I loooooooove building stuff.  It took me just over 2 hours to make the floor.  But it's solid.  I actually had rain come through early on in the building, but I pushed through.  I brought the saw inside and kept on going.  It wasn't hard rain at all, but the wood was definitely wet!  Along with me!


I ended up finishing the floor around 6:00.  I headed back over to the garage sale for a bit but didn't stay long.  I came back around 7:00 to eat, then took a shower.  I ended up heading to a bar northwest of Springfield for a free drink!  One of the garage sale guests invited me out to her bar (she owns it) that night, and I agreed to go.  This was this morning!  So as to be a man of my word, I headed out there around 8:30.  But well, surprise surprise, she wasn't there.  So much for uphold integrity.  And I had to pass up on two other people just to be a man of my word!  Hmm.

I left fairly early and got back home at 10:05 where I stayed the rest of the night.  Ended up going to bed at 1:00 A.M.  I am hoping to get the walls and roof up tomorrow.  The frames anyway.  Not sure if I'll have time to side it or not!  But I'm excited.  Hope to be done in 2-3 days more.  And that will give me my Man Cave for real!!!

Ready for a long day of work.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Another (Self-Inflicted!) Unforeseen Expense!!!--July 29, 2010


Woke up at 9:08 A.M.  I was pretty stinkin' tired.  Grabbed some breakfast, took a shower, read an e-mail from my grandparents saying not to come up for lunch today, then headed over to my credit union to deposit some checks...and get some coffee!!!  Came back home and started tackling my Man Cave.  I now had the entire day to focus on this!!!

I headed to Wal-Mart to pick up some clips to hang up my flag I received on my birthday.  I came back and hung that up.  It would have been nicer with two people (what isn't?!), as I ended up getting the flag off-center.  I was going by the package that said 3' x 5'.  Turns out the flag is only 52 inches!!!  Who knew a 5' flag is only 52 inches wide?!  About anyway, it's definitely a bit off-centered.  I also put Cubs clothes on my mannequin.  Monique looks muuuuuuuch better now.  Erica came over to help me hang up another Chicago Cubs old shower curtain!  I kid you not, that's what I did.  And it doesn't look bad at all!  Kind of neat actually!

I threw a pizza in for lunch.  It's so incredibly hard to beat a $3 pizza.  They taste sooooo good!!!  Why do we ever eat out?!

After she left, I pulled nearly everything out of my garage that wasn't for the Man Cave.  And let me tell you, I am loving it!!!  It looks great with all of the other stuff out of the garage.  It's just a beautiful set-up!  But therein lies my problem.  I had to pull a TON of stuff out in order to make it look that way!!!  A four-wheeler (got it running after not running for quite awhile!), a tiller, tomato cages, another non-running tiller, buckets, a power washer, a tool rack with several garden tools, a shelf full of items, truck ramps, two large trash cans, and on and on and on.  I just looked at the stuff outside my garage and realized then and there that I needed a shed.  There was just no way around it.  If I am going to have a decent man-cave, then I absolutely have to get that stuff out of there.  sigh.  Another unforeseen expense!!!  Who knew that a garage collected so much stuff?!  I am learning quickly that EVERY project you start leads to something else.  I had NO intentions of forking out $550 while making this Man Cave!!!  But if I am going to follow through with it, I really have to.  There is not much way around it.  Grr!!!

So I spent much of the afternoon researching sheds.  I called around, and the size I would need is $1530 installed.  Um, yeah, no.  Absolutely not.  So I started looking at kits.  I tried everywhere to find a kit that I liked.  Big R.  Lowe's.  Home Depot.  Farm and Fleet.  Harbor Freight.  Tractor Supply Company.  Farm and Home.  True Value.  Ace Hardware.  I struck out at EVERY place.  Two of the listed companies sell them on their website, but as the Harbor Freight chick said, "We only stock about 20% of what is available on the website."  Oh, the internet.

But about 15 minutes later, I read some more reviews on the parts, and basically, they are just not needed.  It makes it a cinch to build a shed, but proper cutting does the exact same trick.  And would save me about $100.  Cutting it is.

Mom came over after work to check out the lean and clean Man Cave.  It looks so good!  But a shed is just needed.  So we headed to Menards to check out some sheds.  I was basically just going to buy a $300 metal shed and be done with it.  But the problem is it doesn't come with a floor at all.  You have to build that...around $130.  So I could have a (very) short shed for $430 or build my own big one for around $550.  I went with the latter.  If I am going to have it for 15 years, I might as well make it nice.  And big enough to store whatever else I accumulate!

We headed over to Lowe's to check out some more sheds.  Even more expensive!  Up in the $2000 range on some!  It's just 2x4's and plywood!!!  It's ridiculous!  I think I am going to have to take up shed-building after all is said and done.  There is certainly some profit to be made.

I ended up returning a fan I received on my birthday, too, while at Menards and trading it in for a countertop (for the cabinets from yesterday), a push broom, and a pair of loppers.  I also bought a couple of parts for a ceiling fan that was missing some necessary parts.

I came home and had the unwelcome task of putting everything back in the garage.  GRR!!!  It doesn't look as nice with everything in there!  At all!!!  I am so eager to build this shed!  I almost went back to Menards to buy some wood, but I opted to wait.  I was pretty tired, and it was already after 8 o'clock.

Around 9, I headed over to Casey and Erica's to pick up the ceiling fan I had put in the garage sale.  I found Casey in the driveway working on the brakes of his car.  Under his brother's headlights.  There is nothing more manly than working under the lights of another car.  Of course, I lended a hand while there.  I sat out in the very mosquito-infested driveway and helped him bleed his brakes.  I was there about 45 minutes...getting eaten alive the entire time.  I was in shorts and sandals.  Not a good combination with blood-hungry bugs.  But the brakes are fixed.  He had replaced an entire caliper before I got there.  But everything seems good.  He says he has brakes now!!!

Ended up coming back home around 10 o'clock and had high ambitions of putting a ceiling fan in in 30 minutes.  But after I pulled the fixture off the ceiling, I realized that it had two wires going to it, and that I had no idea what color of wire nuts to use!  Or if I even had wire nuts.  So I quit while I was ahead.  I'll tackle it either tomorrow or Saturday.

Ended up going to bed at 12:15.  Tomorrow is the big first day of our garage sale!  It is mostly BIG items!!!  Hopefully most of it disappears!  Will wake up at 7:30 to be over there at 8:00.  I'm sure it's going to be a coffee morning....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Another Two Years--July 28, 2010

Woke up at 8:05 A.M.  I had some crazy vivid dreams last night!  Tried to stay in bed to remember them, but that is so hard!  Grabbed a bowl of cereal, showered, then took my paperwork out to the FSDO building at the airport.  I arrived at 9:10 in a very locked-up and very quiet building.  A gentleman came out, greeted me, and then took me to a side room to look over my paperwork.

It really wasn't too bad.  Kind of dry.  Very little talking.  But I got what I needed.  I received my temporary certificate!!!  I'm certified to teach people how to fly for another two years.  It's good until I receive my hard copy in the mail.  All in all, a fairly simple process.  Sure beats paying the $50 to have the test company do it.  $50?  Seriously?  C'mon.  I learned that the FAA rep was an old airline pilot.  I asked when he would start making the airlines hire again!  He says he has lived through the thick and thin.  He started when they were hardly hiring at all, and he remembers days when they couldn't find any pilots to fill positions.  Just the ebbs and flows.


I headed to Menard's after that to pick up two hooks for my pool table light.  Also checked out the very expensive storage sheds.  yikes.  Dropped by home real quick to pick up water and shoes, and then I headed out to the ranch.  I basically spent the rest of the day there.  I arrived a lil' before 11:00, and my brother and I started on our second hay feeder.  We had a method now, though, and this one actually went a bit easier.  We knew what we were doing.

We broke for lunch around 12:30 and headed to my mom and dad's house down the road to find some food!  ha!  Nothin' like droppin' in when no one is there!  We headed back to the ranch and finished 95% of the feeder.  The only thing left is to install the hardware (we didn't have it) to open and close the door.  It turned out nice.

I left a lil' after 4:00 to meet Mom to pick up a receipt that I needed.  She had found some base cabinets for me, and I needed to go pick them up!  So I headed to that store and picked up my two cabinets.  Pretty good condition.  Should work good.  I also checked out the rest of the store.  It's a nice size (and idea!).  Basically, people donate their unused materials from construction projects OR their used materials taken out from remodel projects.  So if you can think it, it's there.  Everything from kitchen sinks to toilets to cabinets to ceiling fans to paint!  And a truck came in while there.  It's one of those places that you could probably find a decent buy every day.  The inventory just changes that often.  And you never know what is next!

I headed home VERY exhausted.  It had been 108 with the heat index, and I had worked outside for most of the day.  I was just tired...and hungry.  I grabbed left-over pizza for supper and drank more water.  But I had work to do.  My yard was getting away from me, so I went ahead and mowed it.  I also tilled up the garden.  At one point I had three rabbits in my backyard with me.  I would call 'em cute, but they eat my tomatoes!!!  They are anything but cute!

Went for a short walk, took a shower, then tried to relax for a bit.  Ended up going over to Jobu's at 9:10 to hang out for a bit.  Came back home VERY tired at 10:30.  But didn't get to bed until 12:30.  Not sure what tomorrow brings.  I may be eating with my grandparents, or I may not!  Not sure!  But I'm hopin' to have much of the day to myself, so that I can continue tackling my Man Cave!!!  I really want it to be done...soon!!!

So tired.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Birthday!!!--July 27, 2010

Woke up at 8:30.  Not goin' to happen.  Hit the snooze button.  Went off at only 8:35.  GRR!!!  Not goin' to happen, either!  Shut the alarm off and went back to bed.  Woke up on my own at 9:10 feeling MUCH better.  Amazing what a lil' bit of sleep can do.

Ate cereal, took a shower, then called my brother.  I was supposed to help him put together another horse feeder today, although I really wasn't feelin' like it!  After all, it was my birthday!!!  Who works on their birthday?!  Well, I do, but still!  I just had no desire really to help out there.  I wanted to finish my projects at home!!!  He said that was fine and that he would come out and help.  So I went and returned three of the four bags (I had already dumped one) of rock I had bought a week and a half ago.  And I asked for a half-ton instead!!!  It's a MUCH better deal anyway.  The guy told me that a half-ton is about 20 bags.  It was $19.  I had purchased 4 bags for $17.  Hmm...yeah, give me the half-ton.

I drove it back home with my tailgate nearly dragging the ground!  Wasn't sure if I would make it back or not!  But I made it, and I started shoveling the rock out.  Jobu showed up about 10 minutes into it, and he helped me spread the rock as I shoveled it.  Sure enough, I needed every last bit of what I had purchased.  But it was about the perfect amount.  And my front landscaping project that I started over a month ago is about 95% complete now!  All I need to do is just plant the final plant.  EASY!!!  It looks so much better, too.  Amazing what the finishing touches do to a look.  I trimmed off the excess plastic weed barrier, and I am just thrilled with the results.  It sure looks a ton better than it did a month ago.  And I am ready to mark that project off of my list.  Let it stay there for 15 years!

We then tackled my fridge I had picked up on Sunday.  We "simply" reversed the doors on the front.  It actually took awhile!!!  There were so many pieces to switch around!  But we finally got it (30-45 minutes?), and it works fine.  It took some tweaking at the end, but it works as it should now.  Good!!!

We ended up going out to eat at Centrum Cafe a little after 1:00.  We were both very hungry!  Rained for a bit while we were out, and I had the windows of my truck down!  Oh well!  Not much I could do!

We came back, and I hopped down in the crawlspace to check out my cable situation.  I am wanting to run cable to my garage.  Kirk was crazy tired, though, so he kind of pooped out on me!  Ended up falling asleep on my couch!  But I was able to get a ton of the old cable from the satellite dish pulled out of the crawlspace, and I was able to run some to my garage.  I switched from a two-end splice to a three-end splice.  Easy enough.  And I had a spare one on hand.  I like free!  So I'll throw some a splice and some ends on the cable in the garage, and I should have cable to two TV's in the Man Cave.  Shouldn't be too hard.

Went for a short walk, then took a shower.  I was meeting my family at 6:30 to celebrate my birthday.  We went out to a Vietnamese restaurant...pretty good though I had one spicy plate!  I went with the curry plate!  Woo wee!  From there, we headed over to Casey and Erica's to pick up the pool table!  Woo hoo!  Another HUGE project that I am glad to get to.  It was a bit of work to get that thing out of there, but we muscled it out.  Dad, Casey, and me.  I drove the big piece over there just straddling the sides of my truck!  Literally!  Never got above 20 MPH.  Casey was in the back making sure it didn't slide off!  ha!  Finally got everything there and in place around 9:30.  Drove Casey back home, then took Dad home.

I needed to go out to their house anyway to print off some papers for the FAA tomorrow.  Grabbed the 8710 Form and my proof that I took the required flight instructor renewal course.  Will meet with him tomorrow morning at 9:00.  Also grabbed some garage sale stuff from Mom and dropped it off at Boogs'.  And I brought so much of my Cubs gear over from the 1990's!  Can't wait to put it all up in the Man Cave.  One of my gifts for my birthday was a Cubs flag...I tried it out, and it looks great in the Cave.  Pretty excited.  It's starting to pull together!

All in all, a decent birthday. my old age it's just another day!  Outside of eating out with the fam, it was just business as usual.  I guess that's not a terrible thing.  But it came and has almost went.  It's 11:25 now.

Goin' to fill out the 8710, then head for bed.  Looking to be in bed at midnight tonight.  Will head to the ranch tomorrow after my meeting to build that feeder.  I reckon it'll take up most of the day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Chippin' Away at the Man Cave--July 26, 2010

Woke up at 7:30.  Felt pretty good!  So nice to get a good night's rest.  Ate breakfast, took a shower, set up a meeting with the FAA for Wednesday, then headed out to the garage.  And that's basically where I spent most of the day.  I hauled out the cabinets I had picked up yesterday and just smashed 'em flat.  They were worthless.  I took those over to a dumpster at my dad's work.  Good riddance.

Came back and just started cleaning more out of the garage!  I tell you, it is just downright difficult to get a garage to look clean!  It seriously takes quite a bit to "hide" everything!  But I kept on hauling stuff OUT of the garage.  And it isn't going back.  My sister came over around 11:00 to help me lift the countertop to take to her house.  She ended up stayin' 'til 12:30 or so when we decided to make a McDonald's run.  I was so hungry!

After eating, we came back towards my house.  But we took a slight detour to check out an industrial park just across from my subdivision.  And you know what happens when you get off the beaten path...loads of fun!!!  We drove around and checked out all of the unknown-about and yet pretty high-name places.  Pease's Candy, Aramark, Bekins Moving, Dept. of Human Services, Caterpillar, and Bemco!  We saw tons more, too.  And we just drove around slowly, having fun checking out all of the various treasures!  A gunsmith here, a shooting range there, a moving company here, a candy company there.  Kind of neat.  We even saw a warehouse full of FANCY high-end cars.  They do custom work on 'em back there (who knew?!).  And from what I could see, there were hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of vehicles in there.  So crazy!!!  After driving by the mattress factory, my sister made the comment that it would be sweet to see how a mattress is made.  So I jumped on that opportunity!

I had her pull in to the parking lot of Bemco Mattress, and I hopped out, went inside, and asked for a tour!  The guy said they never really do that, but I asked if they would be willing!  He agreed.  ha!  So we literally got a personal tour of the entire place.  And I'm not goin' to lie, it was pretty sweet!  They literally do EVERYTHING start to finish...all by hand.  There was a guy in the corner hammering the frames together, women in front of sewing machines putting fabric together, men with fancy side-ways sewing machines putting the trim and pieces together.  There was a couple of men putting the mattresses in plastic.  A guy making the box springs.  It was sooooo interesting!  And just downright fun!  We had to wear safety goggles as we walked through!  ha!

I learned that EVERY mattress made in America is basically put together by a human (or several).  Even the big-name companies like Serta and Sealy have to use people.  They have tried to automate it again and again, but they just can't get it right.  How interesting!  No wonder mattresses are so expensive!  And my sister and I were absolutely shocked when we heard how many mattresses they make a day.  He took us to the very back of the production line...a room just full of mattresses.  And he said they would all be gone my morning.  WHAT?!  Yup, these were made today, and they are all spoken for.  He said that the 30 employees make between 200 and 300 mattresses a day.  I was just blown away.  I couldn't believe it!  But sure enough, the entire time we were there, they just kept working steadily.  I LOVE GOOD, SOLID WORK!!!  A fun day, for sure!

After this excitement, we then went to Pease's Candy factory to try out a tour!  But the door was locked.  :(

After that, Boogs drove me back to my place, and then I drove the countertop over to Boogs' house.  I helped her arrange the garage for the upcoming garage sale, and I priced some of my items over there.  I headed back home, picked up another load, and came right back.  Let's get rid of stuff!!!

Cleaned up my garage some more after I came back.  It is just barely starting to look decent.  I can start to see the shape of the Man Cave, but I still have quite a bit of work to do.  I worked all the way up until about 7:00 when I started cleaning up for a friend coming over tonight.

She showed up around 8:00, and we went and grabbed a pizza, then came back and watched (the very strange, somewhat funny, and just different!) "Madea's Family Reunion."  And then we started ANOTHER movie after that.  We only got about 1/3 of the way through it, though, before Alyssa had to leave around 11:40.  I opted to not continue watching it!  Probably for the better!  Tried to get to bed somewhat early.

Ended up finally making it to bed at 12:45 A.M.  After applying at a flying job.  In Africa.

Might as well throw more applications into black holes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

15 Minutes--July 25, 2010

Woke up at 8:30 A.M.  Grabbed a bowl of cereal, took a shower, then headed to the gas station to pick up a few copies of today's paper.  Sure enough, I was there!  I partially read the article on the way to church...not a bad write-up!  Headed to back into my old Sunday School from last year.  Pretty excited about that.  The teacher just does a phenomenal job.  One of the families recognized me (parents of fellow classmate from high school) and said they had read the article about me.  Kind of neat.

Church was pretty enjoyable today now that I'm back in a good class.  Although I still go to big service without talking to a soul.  It's very weird to me.  I leave church almost immediately because I don't know anyone.  Pretty annoying.

Headed home and read the article in full.  It was a great article, complete with pictures!  I was thrilled.  The writer talked about me and three other guys involved in couch-surfing.  Even mentioned Mom and Dad, too!  I thought it was a good article, though.  Well-done.

Headed to Golden Corral to meet up with the family that I had just seen yesterday!  Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and Wife, and most of my immediate family were there!  Grandpa's treat.  I'll take it!  That place has become interesting to me, though, after talking with my roommate and others about it.  Some pilots in our group will just never eat there.  Basically, they call it a feeding trough.  Understandable.  It's almost gross going in there looking for fat people.  Because, well, it doesn't take long.  It's hard to kick that habit once's all I see when I go in anymore!  An interesting perspective really!  And my family just loves the place!!!  <sigh>  I mean, I enjoy the food, too, but it's just setting me up for a bad future!

Headed back home after eating.  The family came over to see the place, outside of my grandparents who drove off in a tizzy.  Another story there.  It was...awkward.  But the rest came over to see my house...and had nothing but good things to say!  Yup, I agree.  I like the house.

After they left, Mom went at the second coat of paint.  I (gladly!) went with Dad to check out some cabinets for my garage on the north side of town.  The cabinets were...hmm...fair.  Not in great shape.  Not worthless.  The countertop was in excellent condition.  I went ahead and took them, though admittedly, I wasn't exactly sold on them from the first glance (and that is usually how I know if I'll like something).  But I took 'em.  Ended up gettin' back home right at the time Mom was finishing the second coat.  GOOD!!!

We cleaned up the floor from the mud and paint, and then Dad helped me install the first of two ceiling fans.  It wasn't too hard, but it just doesn't blow much air!  I was kind of disappointed!  I tried tweaking the blades, and it's better, but something is just not right.  I am going to need more air than that moving in that hot garage!  We started arranging everything, too...what we could anyway.  Now comes the fun part!  We moved the vanity I bought yesterday back to the back along with the large and small fridge.  It's going to be pretty sweet, I think, though it's hard to picture the end result right now.  I just have too much stuff in there!

Ended up cleaning up more stuff this evening after Mom and Dad left.  I was going to install the second ceiling fan, but it is missing the mounting brackets.  So it looks like I'm out of luck on that one!  So I cleaned up some more and took several items over to my sister's house for Saturday's garage sale.  Now, oddly enough, I just need to get rid of the very cabinets I picked up today!  Oh, Andy.  Sometimes I wonder why I do what I do.  But they definitely have to go.  I don't want 'em!

Tomorrow I'm plannin' on cleaning up even more.  I'm hoping to have this garage done by Wednesday!  Ready to start making it look sweet!  But, boy oh boy, do I have a lot of stuff to get out of there.  In due time, though.

Went to bed at a very nice 11:15.  Alarm is set for 7:30.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

More Progress and Almost Famous?!--July 24, 2010

Woke up at 7:00 A.M.  I was on a mission!!!  Grabbed a bowl of cereal, then brushed my teeth, and waited for Mom to show up.  I went ahead and watered my tomatoes, and Mom was there by the time I was finished with that.  So we made a bee-line path for the garage sale!  We arrived at 7:35, and we were the only ones there, though everything was already out in the driveway, including the vanity!  We walked up, checked out everything else while we were there, and then I finally asked what he wanted for the vanity.  $30, he said!!!  I seriously couldn't believe it!  I was coming with the mindset of spending up to $100 for the thing.  So needless to say, I was thrilled!  SOLD.  I also bought a Washers game while there for $1.

We went to a couple more garage sales, including the one that I went to yesterday.  I ended up buying a coffee table from there to hold my big 36-inch TV.  $10.  I'll take it.  So I basically have all of the big items for my Man Cave now.  And this vanity/cabinet was one of the biggest desires!  We stopped at Menard's on the way back to look at countertops, and I was shocked out of my mind to see how CHEAP these countertops were!  I VERY gladly paid the $14.99 for a countertop for the cabinets.  I even tried it out once I got to the truck.  A perfect fit!  So I just picked up my cabinets and countertop for behind the bar for $45!  I was thrilled!

Headed back home, then waited to get picked up at 10:30 to head for the farm.  Ended up makin' a few quick stops at Golden Corral for a gift certificate, Wal-Mart for food to take, and Casey and Erica's to pick 'em up.  Then we headed north.  Most of the family was there today, so I loved that.  It's pretty nice having most everyone local.  We had a huge crowd there to celebrate Grandma's 85th birthday.  I had a great time visitin' with everyone.  I also installed a new battery into the 3020 for Grandpa, and much to my surprise (though not really!), the lil' girl started right up after TWO YEARS of sitting!!!  She is a beaut.  I have so many fond memories on that tractor.

Ended up staying at the farm until around 3 o'clock.  Then headed to Uncle Bob's to pick up some more free stuff!!!  I picked up a full-size refrigerator and freezer, a grill, and a shop vac.  I love free stuff!  Then came back home in my uncle's truck (with Casey) and drove through a VERY wet thunderstorm.  It was incredibly hard to see on the interstate, and it didn't help that several people had pulled off to the side of the road!  It was seriously nuts how hard and fast it was raining!!!  Certainly got the fridge wet!

Back at home, I had high ambitions of painting my garage wall.  But I had a problem!  I was locked out for about 30 minutes.  I had left my garage door opener in the van with Mom and Dad!  So I had to wait for Mom to come back to help paint.  My roommate Dug swung by to pick up some stuff, so we chatted for a bit as we waited to get inside.  He'll be moving back in next week.  I finally got in, and I started sanding the third coat of mud.  It didn't take too long.  Mom came back with paint, and we went at it.  Man, I forgot how much I hate painting.  What a pain!!!

But after about 45 minutes, we had the wall done with the first coat.  Frankly, it looks awful blah right now!  It's just white!!!  But I have to remember what it looked like before!  And what it's going to look like this next week!  I'm pretty excited.  At first, it just didn't look very good.  But I looked at it later tonight, and I think I'm going to like it.  I can certainly get used to it.  I just need to do my ceiling, too!!!  But I have no desire!!!  We'll see.

Went for a walk before a thunderstorm moved in, then chilled at the house for a bit.  My friend Schneider called me and wanted to hang out, and contrary to what I should have done, I agreed.  I was seriously beat.  But we ended up going over to Crazy's house around 9:00.  I'm not goin' to lie, I fell asleep on his couch.  I was just totally exhausted.  They woke me up at 11:00, and Schneider dropped me back off at home.  It was at least good to see him.

Ended up going to bed at 12:15 A.M.  Alarm is set for 8:30 for church.

I'm excited about tomorrow for several reasons.  First, I get to get back into the Sunday School class that I loved so much last year.  Then I get to eat with the family again (G'ma and G'pa are takin' us out to Golden Corral), then I get to add the final coat of paint to my wall and start arranging everything, AND I'll be featured in the local newspaper tomorrow on a story about couch-surfing!!! Eager to see how it all turns out!

It's fun having things to look forward to!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Little Progress!!!--July 23, 2010

Woke up at 9:15 to my alarm.  Was pretty tired, so shut my eyes again.  Literally thought I was out for about 15 more minutes when I looked at my phone.  I had a missed phone call from my sister.  AT 10:25 A.M.!!!  Agh, NO!!!  I had slept in again!  It was 10:30.  I hopped out of bed, grabbed cereal, and took a shower.  I HATE sleeping in!  I wasted good time!  So much for getting my garage sanded and mudded before noon!

I called my sis, and Casey needed to borrow my truck.  So I took a little time to do Course #7, then headed over there to help him out.  We had to drop some garbage off at the dumpster at my dad's work, then headed out to Mom and Dad's house to pick up tables for their garage sale next week.  I was done around 12:30.  I headed to a garage sale where I spent $4 (tool belt, two crowbars, a cup holder for my truck, AND a free rug!).  Not a bad find.  I then headed to McDonald's for lunch.  Two cheeseburgers and a building full of loud teens singing Christian music.  Kind of crazy.

I then headed home but had to leave shortly thereafter to check out a craigslist find.  It was a storage cabinet that I would use for my garage.  Only $20.  But once I arrived, I immediately saw a water stain going up the side.  I  was pretty disappointed at the lack of information about that!!!  I said no thanks.  A wasted 30 minutes of my time.  Headed back home, then started sanding my walls.  Wow, it was HOT!!!  It was around 105 degrees with the head index, and my garage was just holding all of the heat.  I had to take numerous breaks!  But I got the second coat done.

Got a phone call about a guy wanting to come down from Peoria to pick up some small engines.  I more than welcomed him.  I am just eager to count my losses with those (probably $30-$40).  I took a gamble and lost.  Oh well.  It happens.  I just want them out of my garage.  He came down just like he said he would and gave me $50 for a non-working mini-tiller, a working weed trimmer without a head, and a basically non-working weed trimmer.  Just glad to see 'em go.

I also finished Course 8 for my Flight Instructor Renewal.  That means I am completely and totally DONE with the work!!!  Couldn't be more excited.  It only took me 2 1/2 days to do.  I'm thrilled.  I tried calling the FSDO at 4:15, but they had closed already.  Will have to pay them a visit next week to get all of the paperwork completed.  But I'm done!!!  Good for another two years!

Cooked some tilapia and corn-on-the-cob for supper.  Pretty tasty.  Then headed into town for another craigslist find.  A pool table light.  I paid $25 for it.  Hope it works!  Came back home, then went for a run around 8:00.  It was so hot.  So ridiculously hot still!  I was soaked.  Came back and spent the rest of the night inside.  Had ambitions of goin' out, but opted to stay in.  Applied for a corporate flying job and another airline.  Haven't heard back from any of the previous ones.  What a never-ending black-hole of gloom.

Mom and I are going garage-saling EARLY tomorrow, so I headed to bed at 11:30.  I want to be fresh.  We also have Grandma's birthday party, and I'm hopin' to sand AND paint my garage wall!  I'm ready to get this Man Cave goin'!  Lookin' to be a busy day.  It all starts with a good night's rest.

Oh, one more thing!!!  I went out to water my tomato plants this afternoon, and one was missing entirely!!!  I mean gone!  Nipped off right at the ground-level.  It stinks, too, because that one already had two yellow flowers on it!!!  GRR!!!  I'm guessin' a rabit.  You better watch out, lil' don't know who you're messin' with!  He works by the cover of darkness, though!  Lil' booger!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Projects...Quizzes...They Never End!!!--July 22, 2010

Woke up at 9:10 A.M.  Sooooo much better than noon!!!  I ended up going to sleep on the floor last night (on purpose) to try to help with my back.  But I woke up several times, so I went to the bed around 6:30-ish, I think.  It is still killing me.  Grabbed a bowl of cereal, then took a shower.  I went ahead and started Course #5 out of 8 for my Flight Instructor Renewal.  I passed another one!  Woo hoo!  Then I headed out to the garage to put on a second coat of mud.  It wasn't too hard, but it's just a project that I don't overly love.  It didn't take too long, but it's just not the most fun work I've ever done!

I went ahead and mowed the grass while I was out there.  I was already dripping sweat being in my garage, so I figured I might as well stay gross and dirty.  And boy, was it heating up.  I finished the yard around 11:15, but it was already another scorcher.  One of the hottest July's I can ever remember.  We were up in the triple digits with the heat index again.  Crazy.

I also worked on the tiller that I purchased last Saturday.  I still can't figure out what is going on here.  And that's what I spent most of the afternoon doing.  It was crazy hot.  I mean, dangerously hot.  So I tried working in the shade, but I still had to take breaks!  But I still couldn't get the engine to even try to fire.  I checked the spark.  Weak but there.  I checked the gas.  There.  The spark plug gets wet.  I even took an identical carburetor from a perfectly-running weed trimmer (given for free with the tiller) and tried that.  NOTHING.  I didn't get it.  I have spark.  I have a good carburetor.  Could it be compression?  GRR.  I was not too happy!  But I tried and tried and tried.  I took the engine apart even more.  I found a wire that was not connected that went to the shut-off switch, so I put a new connector on.  I cleaned up the magnets and magneto.  I put it back together.  NOTHING.  GRR!!!

A wasted $60.  I'm pretty tired of working on it!  I just don't know what to do!  And I have a few projects like this.  I just want them out of my garage so I can focus on the Man Cave!!!  I called a local repair guy to see if he wanted to trade.  He said not this late in the season! Agh!  I was almost certain I could fall back on him!  Now what?!  I went ahead and listed the on craigslist.  I just want them gone.  Take them all.  Get them out of my garage!

It was a gamble last week (I thought a good one), but it was certainly a wasted $60.  Plus gas.  If only I can recoup some of it back, I think I would be happy.  I am just done with 'em!

Dad came over after work to continue working on the electrical outlet from two days ago.  This time we had tools.  The hole was made, and the wire was fed.  Sort of.  It took probably 20-30 minutes just to feed the guide wire through!  A pain in the butt!  As I said to Dad, "Always somethin'."  But we FINALLY got it, and that project is complete.  Wrapped up around 6 o'clock.  Mom came by and went and got us some McDonald's.  A nice treat.

They left, and I took a breather.  For a bit.  But then I decided to go for a run.  It was so hot.  I also decided on something else...the theme for my Man Cave.  I am going to go with the Chicago Cubs.  It's easy, it's me, and it will be quite enjoyable for conversation and others, I believe.  I am already picturing the set-up in my head.  Kind of excited about it!

Erica and Casey surprised me with a visit around 8 o'clock, so I took a shower, and we all headed to Steak 'n Shake.  Went to Meijer after that to pick up some toothpaste, then came back to my house to watch "The Book of Eli."  An ok flick.  Ended up going to bed TOO late at 2:15.  Grr!

I think tomorrow is going to be crazy busy!  Sand drywall, mud drywall, get rid of engines (hopefully!), help out at the ranch, and on and on!

Ended up sellin' some stocks today, too.  Not thrilled about that, but without a job this summer, I just need some moolah.  Grr, though!  I HATE selling!  Especially when I think a GOOD report is coming in just 5 days!  I think the stock will go higher.  Oh well...gotta have money to pay the bills...

I need sleep.

Jumpin' Through the Hoops--July 21, 2010

Woke up at 12:01.  Yes, the afternoon.  Wasn't too thrilled about that.  But I had to pay the penalty for staying up so late last night.  Grr!  So much for having two tests done by noon!  Grabbed a bowl of cereal and headed back to my bed to get started on this Flight Instructor Renewal Course.  And that is what I focused on.  I literally spent much of the day in bed, going through the 100-minute study courses and taking the following quiz.  I was able to knock out the first two early on in the afternoon.  I just lay in my bed and went through the courses.  Pretty dry!  They are fairly long.  Basically, I read 10-20 pages (takes about 30 minutes usually), then have to wait until the 100-minute-mark passes!  Then and only then can I take the quiz.

A PAIN IN THE BUTT!!!  But I have a nice system down now.  Basically, I read the material, then just leave the browser open while I do other things on the internet.  It's really the only way to do it.  100 minutes is just waaaaaaay too long.  I knocked out a third one later in the afternoon around 3:30-ish.  Agh, what a pain it is!  Too much waiting around.

But I was feeling better about the whole thing.  I wanted to knock out half of 'em today.  So I studied for the fourth one but didn't have time to take the quiz before I had to run some errands. So around 5:15, I headed into town to pick up a gift certificate for Mom for her birthday, then grabbed some gas, then picked up a pizza for the party tonight, then headed over to Mom and Dad's house.   I spent the rest of the evening there.

I even took my fourth quiz while there!  So I am officially halfway done!  Woo hoo!!!  Several of us were over for Mom's birthday party...Casey, Boogs, Baby, Jobu, Kristin, Ma, Pa, myself, and then Crazy showed up later.  A good crew.  Nice to have everyone around.

Out of curiosity, I had checked out the house that we have been waiting on for over a year now on the internet before I came.  Sure enough, it was listed for sale!!!  So much for the two companies calling me that I had asked to call me the day it went for sale.  I just KNEW I would have to do it on my own.  So I called up a realtor and asked to see it.  He said tonight would work best, so we set up the time for 7:30!  I was pretty excited!  The asking price was $89,900.  It might be a decent bargain!

So we headed over to the house around 7:30 and walked in.  It's a huge house...1664 square feet.  And it has a decent lay-out.  But as a whole, I was pretty disappointed.  It had just been neglected for too long.  The walls had some cracks from shifting, the carpet would need replaced, and virtually all of the windows would need replaced.  The roof needed replaced and probably the wood underneath the roof.  The back patio area should probably just be pulled off altogether.  And there were just minor things here and there, but it spoke of a pattern of the owner on a grander scale.  A cabinet was missing here, a contraption built there.  It was probably functional for the owner at the time, but it just didn't have much appeal to a buyer.

Agh, I was disappointed!  I mean, seriously, this house COULD look great with $50,000 thrown into it.  But it's probably only worth $120,000 in tip-top condition.  It's just not worth it.  It would actually be a decent house to live in while you did the work (if you could keep motivated!), as you could get a fairly large house for a relatively low price all while having a place to stay.  It's a win-win.  But that is not what I wanted or need.  I am looking for an investment property or a house to flip for profit.  This just didn't meet the ticket.

My realtor says I am spoiled from my house!  ha!  He's probably right.  I had a heck of a bargain there.  It took two years of searching, but she is a gem.  He keeps reminding me of that!  You just have to be patient!  VERY patient!  But with this other house, we WERE!  We had literally waited for over a year!  Oh well.  As the realtor said, a good bargain happens maybe 1% or 10% of the time.  It's pretty rare, especially in this easy-to-sell market in Springfield.  Touche.

We all headed back over to Mom and Dad's house around 8:30 where I enjoyed two bowls of homemade ice cream.  Ended up stayin' over there until about 10:20 or so, but then headed home as I was VERY tired.

Came back home and ended up going to bed around midnight.  Alarm is set for 9:10 A.M.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Feeder is Done...Pilot Training is Not!!!--July 20, 2010


Woke up at 9:10.  Actually, I was in and out of sleep for the previous couple of hours.  The thunder was just ridiculous!  I had the sound of rain, repeated thunder, and the constant noise of my sump pump just a few feet DIRECTLY below my head.  But I finally got up to my alarm at 9:10.  I still didn't have any milk, so breakfast consisted of Grandma's left-over apple pie from last Thursday and water.  Honestly, not a bad breakfast, but I'm eager to get back to my milk and cereal routine!

I headed out to the ranch after taking a shower.  Jobu and I planned to finish the hay feeder today.  And my oh my the rain!!!  Before I left, the estimate for Springfield at 9:30 was 4.1 inches in the past 24 hours!  We went from 2 weeks without ANY rain to 4 inches in a day!  What a state.  So anyway, I arrived at the ranch, grabbed a coffee, then checked out the latches that Jobu had bought last night.  They weren't going to work.  So we headed to the lumber store in Pawnee.  What a store!  It's the first time I've ever been there.  It was basically three stores' worth of goods crammed into one.  Reminded me of an OLD hardware store where the items are floor to ceiling, and you have to ask for help!  The offices were right there in the store, too!  Out in the open!  Kind of neat, kind of crazy!  Receipts were all done by hand, too!

We grabbed the parts and headed back to the ranch.  We ended up finishing the hay feeder today.  I'm impressed!  The final details were pretty time-consuming (the latches, cutting exposed nails, etc.), but we took it out to the paddock to test it out.  And the horses were all over it!!!  It was instant gratification.  They acted like they knew exactly what they were doing.  It seemed to work well, too.  We'll probably tweak the next one to catch more hay, but they were eating out of it just like they should!  It was pretty sweet fulfillment.

I headed home at 3:00 to work on my house!  I started sanding the mud from yesterday.  What a pain in the butt!!!  It's a fairly simple process, but it's kind of annoying!  I had quite a mess, too.  I was in the back of my garage where it was ridiculously hot, and the dust just hovered in the air.  I tried to cover up my mouth and nose with my shirt, but it was just too hot!  Dad came by after work around 4:35 to help me relocate an outlet.  The previous owner literally just sent a wire down the outside wall and installed an outlet outside the wall.  Pretty tacky.  So I wanted it in the wall.  Well, what I thought would literally take 20 minutes ended up being much longer.  I had to go up in the attic to feed him the wire, but I had lots of wood in the way, it was difficult to get to, it was around 115 degrees up there, and I didn't have a long-enough drill bit.  All that made for some pretty frustrating minutes.  I was on my side trying to drill a hole into a place I couldn't see, and I was never getting all the way through.  We had to scrub the mission.  So he left around 5:30.  This should have been soooooooooo simple.  Nothing is ever easy.

I finished sanding the wall.  What a pain!  I then took a shower and cleaned my house for a guest that night.  Alyssa was coming over at 7 o'clock.  I was pretty hungry, though, and I didn't really have much food, so I made a quick run to McDonald's.  A hamburger and a sweet tea did the trick.  I came back and watched "The Ultimate Gift" with Alyssa.  Decent flick.  We then talked and caught up with each other.  Pretty enjoyable.  She left around 11:00.

I then hopped on the internet where I learned fairly late that I needed to get some work done!!!  Frankly, it wasn't necessarily "learned" as much as "Holy crap, I've been puttin' this off, and the date is almost here!!!"  In order to keep my flight instructor certificate, I have to have recurrent training every two years.  I can either take a week-end course (expensive) or take the courses online (cheaper).  I opted to take the online course.  But my certificate expires July 31!!!  So I really don't have much time.

I went ahead and forked over the $125 for the course and started Lesson 1.  I checked it out, and I have to take 8 quizzes in order to pass.  But before I'm allowed to take each quiz, I have to read several pages worth of material...AND the kicker is I have to have the browser open for 100 minutes before I take that quiz.  What a pain in the butt!!!  So I have to have 800 minutes worth of "studying" over the next few days.  I'm not too thrilled about it.  It's just a hoop I have to jump through.  But it's FOOLISH to ever let me instructor certificates expire.  That would just be devastating...and stupid!!!

So I started one of the lessons just after midnight.  I didn't fully finish it, as I ended up talking to someone and wasting time.  A lot of time.  I ended up going to bed at 3:45...about 3 hours later than expected.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Manly Day--July 19, 2010


Woke up at 9:15 A.M.  Wasn't movin' too fast.  Went out to grab some breakfast but didn't have any milk.  So I ate a cookie from the couch-surfer I had this past week.  That would have to do.  I showered, watered my tomato plants, then headed to Dad's work.  I had planned on picking up some moolah and drivin' down to Hillsboro in order to deposit it into my bank.  I had a credit card payment due today, but I didn't have all the funds in my bank to cover it.  It stinks not having a bank in town!!!  But after some researching, I figured out that it would be much cheaper for me to just take a small interest rate charge for one day rather than drive all the way there and back.  So I deposited it into my account here and transferred it over to the bank in Hillsboro.  Way too complex.

But it DID give me an extra couple of hours that I hadn't planned on!

So I headed out to the ranch to help Jobu build a hay feeder.  He had already started, but we decided to tweak it a little.  I ended up spending the entire day there!  From about 11 o'clock on to 4 o'clock!  It was nothing short of fantastic.  We watched a VERY strong storm roll in from the northwest...I just ate that up.  I am madly in love with storms!  We had everything, too.  A wall cloud, a VERY visible inflow, lots and lots of lightning, and rotating clouds!  It was eery and awesome all at the same time!

We ended up getting all that we could done on the hay feeder.  I'm not goin' to lie, I think we surprised even myself!  The feeder looks great!!!  We need latches for a door we're puttin' on it, but other than that, it's done.  We'll be able to finish that up tomorrow morning.  I'm eager to see if the horses actually use it!  A job well-done.  It's just so fun working with my hands.  I love it!

From there, I hurried out to the west side of Springfield.  But not before grabbing my camera at my house.  The weather was AWESOME.  We had another storm rolling in, and we had an absolutely spectacular look at it as it came in.  The "curve" went as far as the eye could see side-to-side.  Magnificent.  It was completely white against a vibrant blue and purple background.  Wish I could've pulled off to a road (I contemplated it) and just snap pictures.  But I was running late!

I had a 4:30 appointment with a guy from craigslist.  I was pretty excited about this one.  He was giving away FIVE TV's and a small refrigerator.  WHAT?!  Yeah, I couldn't believe it.  I was a bit nervous goin' there, as I thought it sounded too good to be true.  But he didn't disappoint!!!  I picked up SIX TV's and a fridge!  He was simply upgrading his tube TV's to flat-screens.  Shoot, I'll take 'em!  I was mostly excited about a free fridge (need one for the upcoming Man Cave!), but the TV's were just icing on the cake!  One of them is 36 inches!!!  What a find!  Might be my best craigslist find to date!  So excited to put them to good use.

Mom had met me over at this guy's house in order to help load the big one.  But what a chore that was.  We literally had to DRAG it across the entire length of the yard.  There was just no way we could have carried it that far between us.  But it all worked out!  I was in a hurry to beat the storm coming in (it spit on us and the TV's a bit), but I was runnin' on low!  I hadn't eaten breakfast OR lunch!  And it was 5 o'clock!

We headed back to my house and unloaded them all.  What a bunch of TV's!!!  Crazy.  I showed Ma several pictures of other Man Caves on the internet to show her what I was scheming.  I still don't have a definite theme yet, and that's the hard part!  Once I have that, I'll be able to run forward with my design!  I grabbed a MUCH-needed microwavable meal out of my freezer and cooked that.

I then went to work on my garage!  I am seriously so excited about this project.  I learned today that I'll be getting a free pool table, too!  Perfect!  I can sure get used to this free stuff!  Keep it coming!!!  I went ahead and mud and taped my one unfinished wall.  I'm going to paint it, and I might as well do it soon!  Like this week!  I had never done a full wall before, but I went ahead and tried it out.  I had watched videos on YouTube last night, and I figured I would learn as I go!  It wasn't too bad, although there is certainly an art to it.  I won't call my job professional by any means, but I think it will be functional.  The wall already looks different.  It should give my garage a totally different feel.  I haven't decided if I am going to paint the other walls yet...we'll see.  And I'm debatin' on the ceiling.  It needs mud and taped, too!  That will be a lot of work!!!  But I think it will pay off in the future.  Might as well have a finished garage, right?!  I mean, it's going to be a Man Cave!  Might as well make it awesome.

Finished mudding around 9:15 P.M.  Came in and took a break.  Ended up bein' on the internet most of the night, just talkin' with some folks.  Cooked two ears of corn a lil' after 10:00 and ate 'em at 10:20.  Nothin' like corn on the cob late at night!  Ended up goin' to bed pretty tired at 12:30 A.M.  But what a day!  A hay feeder that should get used for years to come, and a Man Cave that is starting to materialize.

I can get used to this productivity side of life.  Nothing better than having a long, productive day.  Definitely need a whole lot more of 'em!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Man Cave Time!!!--July 18, 2010

Woke up at 8:30.  Sooooooo tired.  Didn't know it but ended up falling back asleep.  Woke up at 9:05.  Agh!  I had church in just 10 minutes.  Knew I wasn't goin' to be makin' that, but I was happy to hear some wind outside.  Aggressive wind.  I looked outside, and it looked like it could storm!  I checked the radar, and we had a nasty storm just 10 miles to the west!!!  Woo hoo!  It was solid red with a ton of green behind it.  "There is no way this could miss us," I remember saying in my head.  It was solid top to bottom.  We were under a "Severe Thunderstorm Warning" with gusts to 60 MPH and hail with this particular storm.  Woo hoo!

I grabbed a bowl of cereal and went outside in my driveway and ate it.  I could see the nasty clouds to the south, and I could hear the rumbles of thunder after an occasional lightning strike.  Perfect!  I went back inside to take a quick shower and hopefully get to church right before it arrived.  I wanted to see it!

I hopped out of the shower and checked the radar.  It showed no rain.  Website error.  I refreshed it.  Still nothin'.  The only rain was now 45 miles west.  Hmm.  I went to read the warning, and it was gone!!!  We were now only under a watch.  WHAT?!  I literally wondered if I had just seen the future...almost like a deja-vu thing.  I read the watch.  Hmm.  It listed different cities but the same material.  Agh, I HAD to have read it correctly earlier.  But the screen showed NO rain.  I was so confused.  This storm was massive!

I headed outside and off to church.  Sure enough, the clouds were quite different.  Still there, still neat, but the west was pretty clear.  I could see a bit of sun on the horizon.  What was going on?  Got to church around 9:40.  A bit late but no worries.  Was glad to walk in at the start of the sermon.  Not too big on the singing stuff.

Went to Sunday School after the service, and that was interesting.  Actually, I hated it.  I was greeted by more people again, asking if this was my first time.  I have been coming off and on (summers only) for two years now (three?), and I am still a visitor.  Pretty frustrating.  As such, I sat at a table by myself.  No surprise there.  And the teacher was unbelievably boring.  Like...terrible.  The one place I came/come to get interaction with others, and I was waaaaaaaaaaay off dreaming about something.  Literally counting down the minutes.  I never do that.  It was like school all over again with a bad lecture.  Ugh, I was so frustrated.  I was so eager to get out of there.  Don't think I'll be hitting this class up again.  I was bummed, too, as I realized that the class I wanted to go to was at 9:15 when I went to the service.  Oops.  Next week, for sure.

Headed to Mom and Dad's for lunch where I stayed until about 3:00.  Headed back home, then got a phone call about a bar I had inquired about from craiglist.  It was a bit of a drive, but I have been lookin' for some time now!  And I liked this one!  So I quickly headed back to pick up straps from Mom and Dad's house, then hit the road.  It was about an hour and a half drive after my 14-mile detour.  I lost the directions somewhere between my house and the road!  Grr!

But I liked what I saw, so I bought it.  This is the centerpiece of the man cave I have been waiting for!  Now that I have this, I can start plannin' out the rest of it!  I am so excited!  The drive was a bit more than I wanted to do, but it's done.  I have what I need.  Should last for years, too.  So I'm excited.

Mom, Dad, and Debbie came over to help unload the bar.  I was pleased that it survived the trip without so much as a scratch!  We put it in my garage, then I took Ma and Pa out for ice cream at McDonald's.  We talked finances pretty much the entire time.  Their finances.  Retirement is getting pretty close!

Came back home aroun 9:00 and spent the night inside.  Got a crazy idea for a theme for my man cave, so I started workin' out the details on how it's goin' to look.  This is fun!  A LOT of work to do, though.

Ended up going to bed at 12:45.  Alarm is set for 9:30.  I just want to sleep.  So tired.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Much Money Out, Little Money In!!!--July 17, 2010


Woke up at 8:05 A.M.  Grabbed breakfast, took a shower, then headed for a closed garage sale from last night.  It was closed again!  I guess it was an old sign.  Grr!  I was holdin' out hope on that one.  I then hit the highway for about a 25-mile trip to look at a tiller.  I loved the trip.  I was just enjoying the windows down, the beautiful wind, the freedom of it all, and the lovely corn and bean fields.  It kind of felt like a motorcycle trip...just in a truck!  I was havin' the time of my life.

I ended up buyin' the non-running tiller.  $60.  I'm hopin' to fix it and sell it for over $100.  We'll see!  I talked to the seller for about 20 minutes about motorcycle trips, small engines, and the like.  He was a nice guy.  On the way back to Springfield, I stopped at four more garage sales.  Worthless.  Seriously worthless.  Junk, junk, junk.  America would be one rich nation if we didn't spend our money on crap!

I called up Mom and requested chili, and she obliged.  So I headed out to their house, getting their about 11:00.  I ended up stayin' there for a couple of hours.  My aunt showed up, and I gave her the weed trimmer that I had fixed.  A nice $30 back in my pocket.  I need some cash!  I'm runnin' low!

I headed back to my house around 2:00-ish and started working on the tiller I had purchased this morning.  It had old oil just sitting in the tank and in the carburetor (the gas evaporated, the oil did not), so I cleaned both of those up.  I was eager to try it out, but I didn't have any two-stroke oil, so I had to make a run to the gas station.  But it was $6/quart there, so I passed.  I went to another one.  Same story.  Bah.  So I headed to Wal-Mart.  $1.32 for a small container that will probably last me all season.  I came back and poured the fuel and oil in.  And, boy, did I have a leak.  Once I primed the primer bulb, I had fuel shooting everywhere out of the old gas lines.  So I replaced those!

Mom and Debbie had come over, and we installed new line they had just purchased into Debbie's weed trimmer.  They left, and I continued working on the tiller.  I never could get it to fire, though.  Somethin' is just not right.  It doesn't even act like it's trying to fire.  The spark plug is often wet.  Hmm.  I tried a new plug, but same ol', same ol'.  I checked spark.  It's small but there.  Hmm.  But I was at my wit's end, so I put it away.

I ended up goin' for a run around 5:30.  It was pretty warm, but I just love to sweat when I'm productive in somethin' like that.  Three days in a row now.  It's VERY minor running, but I'm doin' it.  Came back and ate two slices of left-over pizza :) from last night.  I then hopped in my truck and headed to Menard's to pick up tomato cages.  They were on sale for 75 cents apiece, so I bought 15 of 'em.  This garden is costin' me money!!!  Tomatoes, a tiller, and now cages!  I think this should do it, though.  I came back and installed the cages.  The plants look sooooooooooo much better now.  I have high hopes for them!

I took a shower, then spent the rest of the night inside.  I had originally planned on going to the Sweetcorn Festival, but I decided against it without someone to go with.  I then figured I would just head to a local bar just to get out of the house, but the thought of spending money and sittin' there by myself didn't sound too appealing, either!  So I loafed around at home.

My roommate had a friend come in tonight, so I was able to get out and talk to her/them for about 45 minutes.  That was nice.  But they were off to bed around 11:30.  She's sleepin' on my couch!!!

Ended up goin' to bed myself at 12:49 A.M.  Alarm is set for 8:30.  Got church in the morning.  Ready to get back into that.  Haven't had a dose of Sunday School in weeks.

And I'm hopin' for some storms these next couple of days.  They keep changing the forecast (surprise, surprise), but I'm hopin'.  We need it BAD.  Plus I want to see it rain!!!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Cuttin' Pipe--July 16, 2010

Woke up at 9:17 A.M.  My body WAS tired!  But I felt good.  I love getting a good night's sleep.  Grabbed some breakfast, showered, then headed to the credit union to get some cash.  Last night, I had set up a time to look at a tiller this morning.  And I was a bit pressed for time as I needed to be 25 miles north by 10:15!  I grabbed $50 and headed out the door.

I ended up buyin' the mini tiller for $70.  It came with another non-working tiller that he threw in for free.  I figured I would just take it for extra tines.  From there, I drove out to the horse ranch in order to cut out copper pipe for the owners.  I had been asked to do it this week, and here it was Friday already, and I hadn't done it!  So I made that my goal for today.  I arrived around 11:15 and ended up talking with Jobu and Chris for an hour or so.  I finally hopped down in the crawlspace somewhere after noon.  And I spent the next few hours literally just cutting pipe.

It was pretty dark down there, very damp, and a tad bit confusing.  I just started with one pipe and tried to follow it all around the house.  But it wasn't always that easy.  The pipes would just end all of a sudden, so I would have to look for a new one, hoping (and figuring out) that it wasn't a currently-used water pipe.  It wasn't necessarily hard work, but it was a bit monotonous.  After a few hours of bein' down there, I was definitely ready to get out.

I put all of the pipe (80-100 feet?) in the garage, grabbed a load of manure compost, then headed home.  I called Dad to see if he would be interested in goin' garage-saling, and he obliged.  I arrived home around 4 o'clock, threw the manure on my garden, tried out my new tiller, sold the mower I had bought last week ($50 profit), and then waited for Dad to come over.  We headed to Chatham for some garage sales, but they were all new "rich" houses...the people didn't own anything worthwhile!  I hate new-house garage sales!  I ended up buyin' a 50-cent winter face-protector and a 50-cent gas tank.  Worthless sales.

We headed to Pizza Hut for supper, then came back home.  I watered my garden again, watered my front grass, and then worked on the 4-cycle weed trimmer from last week since I was already dirty.  I am able to get it running, but it won't run full-speed, and I can't figure out why!  I am ready to get that contraption out of my garage!!!  It's taking up too much space!

I went for another run, then took a shower, and spent the rest of the night inside.  I was excited to hear rain drops around 10:00 P.M., but it only amounted to about 100 of 'em.  Not even enough to make the entire sidewalk wet.  Grr!  But the north side of Springfield picked up a thunderstorm, and I could hear the thunder in the distance!  But no rain here.

Definitely a drought comin' on.

Ended up going to bed at 1:15 A.M., about two hours later than I had planned.  Gotta wake up at 8 o'clock to go check out another tiller!  It's one that needs fixed, but I'll plan on doin' that soon!  And depending upon which one is in better shape, I'll end up selling one of 'em!  I might as well keep the good one!

We'll see.  I'm so ready for bed.

A Nap?! I Never Take Naps!!!--July 15, 2010

Woke up at 7:35 A.M.  Went out and grabbed some breakfast.  Talked with the couch-surfer for awhile.  He ended up leaving at 9:00 A.M., so I went outside and watered the new garden!  Came back inside, took a shower, then headed downtown to drop off my picture CD at the local newspaper.  I made a couple of phone calls and found out we were meeting at my sister's house to carpool up to Grandma and Grandpa's.  I stopped at Wal-Mart to see if they had any tomato plants, but they were out.  They were also out of tomato cages!  That was an "in and out" trip!

I headed over to Boogs' house and waited for Jobu to show up.  He showed up around 10:00, and I hurried us out the door, as we were going to have a quick trip today.  I had just learned that Jobu needed to be back at 1:15 for an appointment, so we would only get to be up at Grandma and Grandpa's house for an hour.  I wasn't too thrilled about that, but my hands were tied.  I was in a good deal of pain, too.  For whatever reason, my lower back was absolutely killing me.  I couldn't even sit in the same position for long periods.  It was anything but pleasant.

We arrived at the farm at 11:00, then had the much-loved time to visit and eat.  I simply cherish these moments.  There is no better way of saying it.  We stayed until just after noon, but then had to skedaddle.  It was a good visit, though, and we had Uncle Bob and Beth Ann there, too.  So that was enjoyable.

We came back home, and I drove home where I didn't do a whole lot.  It was sooooooooooo unbearably hot.  I checked the weather, and it was a whopping 107 degrees with the head index.  NO THANKS.  I seriously had NO desire to be outside today.  It was just too muggy.  I ended up laying on my bed and fell asleep out of boredom and lack of desire.  I just wasn't feeling all too great, either.  Just weak.  I slept from roughly 2:30 until 4:00 P.M.  But I was in a bit of a fog and couldn't really get out of it, either.  I was pretty lazy until 5:00.

I thought about headin' to Barnes and Noble for the evening but decided against it.  Instead, I ended up goin' for a run after the sun went low.  Frankly, after 7:00 o'clock, it was simply perfect weather again!  Very warm, yes, but a nice summer evening.  I took a shower, then debated on goin' to Barnes again.  I decided against it.  I made a phone call to Lowe's to check on tomato plants.  I just wanted to gobble up the remaining ones in Springfield!  I had originally planned on goin' to an actual plant shop before 5 o'clock, but my nap negated that.  So I headed to Lowe's.  Once there, though, the outdoor plant guy told me that they didn't have any tomato plants.  I wasn't too happy about that.  I went ahead and returned a fountain pump I had bought over a week ago, then just browsed the plants.

And lo and behold, in the very back, on the CLEARANCE rack were TONS of tomato plants!  I was all of a sudden giddy!  Seriously, I was so excited!  So I started goin' through all of the plants.  I probably stood back there for 15-20 minutes looking for the best ones.  They probably had around 30 plants, but most were struggling.  Frankly, they were all pretty bad in one way or another.  Most were missing several branches off of the main stem.  But I found some that I thought I could nurse back to health!  I think these were all going to die in another few days here at Lowe's.  They are definitely the runts of the season.  I tried to find some other vegetables, but it was just thin pickin's.

But the best part?  These plants were only 50 cents!!!  Three of the bigger ones (with actual tomatoes on them) were 65 cents, but I felt like splurging!  I ended up paying $6.97 for a dozen plants.  I'll take that any day!  I rushed home to plant was already getting dark.

I arrived home around 8:50 and headed out back to put 'em in the ground.  It was pretty dark by now.  I ended up getting the last plant in at 9:20.  I probably didn't need all of those plants, but I couldn't say no to such a great deal!  Plus I hate the fact of a plant going to waste!  These tomato plants were MADE to produce tomatoes!  So I'll gladly give them 50 cents to let them fulfill their life's calling!  Screw dying!

I came in and spent the rest of the night inside.  Went to bed at an early 11 o'clock but had the hardest time falling asleep.  Didn't end up actually getting to bed until midnight.  Ugh.  I did NOT set my alarm.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Garden on a Whim!!!--July 14, 2010




Woke up at 7:30.  Grabbed some cereal, then took a shower.  I headed out to my garage with the intentions of having a very productive day.  I decided to tackle the weed trimmer I bought last Friday.  I needed a fuel primer bulb and a filter for it, so I had to take a drive.  I stopped by the credit union to cash a $40 check and ended up talkin' to Dad for about a half hour.  From there I headed to True Value and picked up some fuel line.  Then I headed to Big R and picked up a fuel filter and primer bulb.  I was disgusted to learn that they sold the fuel filter as a kit!  It ended up costing me $9 just for that thing!  Grr!!!  I debated long and hard about gettin' it.  The frustrating part was that I broke the old one!  This was a fix that didn't need to happen!

I ended up getting it.  So I paid more in parts ($10.67) than I had purchased the entire trimmer for ($1o).  That's how it goes.  I headed to Wal-Mart to check out some tomato plants, but they didn't have any left.  So I walked over to Lowe's.  That's where I found some VERY beaten-up ones.  I mean, yikes.  They were so bad that the manager lady offered them to me for 25 cents apiece.  They were already out on a clearance rack for 99 cents, but even that was too much!  ha!  So I bought 7 of 'em.  It's pretty late in the season, but I figured I couldn't go wrong for the price.  I ended up getting charged 50 cents for one of 'em (uh oh!), so I paid $2.15 for seven tomato plants.  I'll take it.

I came back home and started work on the weed trimmer.  The lil' girl runs perfectly with the new fixes.  That's all it took.  Good.  I'll be sellin' that one to my aunt.  I then dumped some of the rock I had just purchased into my landscaping area.  And wow, were these rocks NOT what I had seen advertised.  The bags were so dirty it was nearly impossible to see the size of the rocks inside, but they had a display of them at the store that looked very much like mine.  Needless to say, these rocks were NOT a match.  So I had the very unwelcome duty of picking up the rocks by hand out of my landscaping.  GRR!!!

I then headed out to Mom and Dad's house, picked up both tillers, then headed back to True Value to return the rocks.  From there I headed to a stone center in town and picked up four bags of what looks to be my rock.  I got back home, though, and dumped one of those bags on, and I'm still not sure I have found a match!  This is getting annoying!  I just want the same rock!  Where are you?!  I think I might have to take the other bags frustrating!

I then started on my spontaneous lil' garden!  I used the Troy-Bilt for breaking up the ground.  But, boy, what a chore that was.  I mean, that was work!  The ground was like a rock.  We haven't had rain in 10 days now, and the earth is solid.  I was kicking up dust, but my biggest problem was holding the tiller back.  It just wanted to run once those tines hit that solid ground.  I had to take so many breaks!  It was well over 100 degrees, there was no wind, and I was working hard holding that tiller.  I was quite simply exhausted.  But I pressed on.

I FINALLY got the top layer broke, then set the depth a lil' bit deeper.  It was just about as painful!  But I kept on going.  I finally got it worked up pretty softly.  So I started using the little tiller on the edges by the fence.  But the earth was just about too hard for that lil' thing.  It's more of a cultivator than a breaker-upper!  So I aborted that.  I tried to use The Claw on it, but I couldn't even push through the top layer.  It was literally like hitting concrete.  I aborted that REAL quickly.

I just went ahead and planted my tomato plants.  I was kind of excited about them.  I have high hopes (and just as many doubts) for them, and I'm eager to see how they progress/recover.  They are seriously struggling right now.  Would be dead rather quickly if kept at the store!  But I was so disappointed while finishing up my last plant.  It's the biggest of them by far...the one I was the most hopeful for.  But while planting it, I lifted up the stem, and it cracked nearly all the way through.  Grr, I was disappointed!  I don't think that one is going to make it.  And it was the biggest!!!

Always somethin'.

I loaded up the tillers and took them back to Mom and Dad's house.  I didn't stay long, though, as I had a guest coming tonight.  But before I came back, I headed out to the horse ranch and picked up a load of manure compost.  I brought it back home and coated my entire garden with it.  C'mon, tomato plants!  Not goin' to lie, I'm really excited about having a garden!  A man needs to grow things.

I took a much-needed shower, then waited for my first couch-surfer to arrive.  He rolled in about 7:30.  We headed to Dublin Pub for a horseshoe, then came back home around 9:00.  We talked about our jobs, our lives, racism, and mathematics (his passion/major/job) until 10:30.  I asked him why .999999 repeating isn't a real number.  He responded with a quick reason as to how it is.  Oh boy.  I had some other questions/insights, and he always had a reasoning or response to them.  Pretty smart ones, too!  I was impressed.  But I had to retire at 10:30.  I am just soooooooooooooooo exhausted.  My legs are just spent.

Tomorrow is lookin' like another scorcher, too.  Heat index over 100 degrees again.  Here we go.

Finally hit the sack at 11:30.  A fairly productive day.  Fairly.  Alarm is set for 7:30.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finally a Brake!!!--July 13, 2010

Woke up at 7:40.  Headed to the gas station to get some milk, then came back and ate some cereal.  Took a shower, then began the task of checking the prices for brake parts.  I was looking at $150 in parts and labor.  I'm not goin' to lie, I was pretty OK with that price.  I thought it would be much worse.

I headed outside at one point, though, and I looked at my truck in my driveway.  And this time I noticed something different!  My RIGHT FRONT brake was just spewing out drops of brake fluid!  Agh!  My garage floor told the tale, too.  Along my left frame I had the drips of brake fluid from the left rear brake line from being parked overnight.  But sure enough, there was a mark where the right front tire sat, too.  It was also leaking.

And my driveway was even worse after coming back from the gas station!  I literally had drops coming out of the rubber brake hose at my right front tire!  So I started calling around repair shops to see how much THAT would cost!  Basically, I was looking at the same price for both at Midas.  But in order to get that down a bit, I decided to fix the front hose myself.  It's a pretty simple fix (in theory).  So I headed over to my sister's house, grabbed the jackstands, then headed to AutoZone (with VERY poor brakes, mind you), picked up a hose for $10.79, then headed to Wal-Mart for some deodorant (mine wasn't working!), then headed home.

I jacked up the truck, took off the wheel and tried to get the old rubber hose off.  I just couldn't get it.  The parts were too rusty, and I couldn't turn the bolt head.  GRR!!!  After about 10 minutes of trying, I just decided to let the professionals do it.  I didn't want to spend the time it was going to take and possibly end up breaking something.  So I set up an appointment for noon.

Boogs came over with Baby, and she ended up driving her car as I drove my truck to Midas.  And what a treat that was.  I basically had lost my front brakes due to the cut hose.  And I didn't really have much on my back brakes due to the hole in the steel line.  So let's just say I had a hairy situation to get through during lunch-hour traffic.  I had a couple of pretty bad moments...I had to make a tire-screeching U-turn at one point to avoid going into the back of a car at a stoplight, and I also had to coast through a stoplight while making a turn hoping that no one was coming.  It was...interesting.  Not too fun!!!  But I finally made it..."safely."

I dropped the truck off, then headed across town with Boogs to eat with Mom for lunch.  I was so nervous about my phone ringing, and sure enough, it did.  The mechanic was calling to say that I should replace the other lines, too.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  AND I should replace my U-joints.  Yeah, yeah, I'm sure of that, too.  But contrary to his recommendations (they always do this), I said just do the two brake lines.  Phew!  At least it wasn't a big problem they found.  From there we headed back to Midas (I was given an hour and a half estimate), but they still weren't done.  I was told it would be another 45 minutes.  So we headed back to my house.  We played with Baby, and I made a photo CD for the local newspaper for an upcoming story I'll be featured in.  Well, around 3:00, Boogs decided she was going to head home.  No worries.  I still had no word on my truck.

I decided to be productive, so I headed outside to find something to do.  I ended up making a birdhouse!  I had some scrap wood in the garage, and I was tired of looking at it, so I made a wren house.  It turned out lookin' pretty good!  I think I have enough wood to make another couple.  There is just something about MAKING something that is good for a man's soul.

I called Midas, they he said the truck would be ready at 4:30.  Hmm.  Well, they still never called me, so at 5:30 I called them yet again!  The receptionist told me my truck was done, so I made three phone calls before I found a ride to pick it up.  Dad swung by to take me downtown.  He dropped me off, but I noticed that my truck was very-much tire-less in the bay.  So I waited.  I went ahead and paid the $157.50 (I'm still very happy with that).  And I sat there and just talked with the VERY attractive (and easy to talk to!) receptionist.  Here's to hoping she is single!

Well, I was dropped off at 5:45, but my truck wasn't done until 6:25.  They stayed late to work on something else.  I guess when they bled the brake lines, I had another line burst due to the pressure.  The manager told the mechanic to make a patch for it, so I waited for that.  Always somethin'!

So at 6:30, I finally left with my truck!!!  And I'm not goin' to lie, I was pretty nervous about the lines!  I mean, they are "fixed," but I still have a very rusty under-belly!  Anything can happen.  So I took it pretty easy on the driving and braking.  But when I hit the brakes, man, did they catch!!!  It makes me wonder if I had had a leak the entire time even after installing my front pads.  I mean, these brakes were all of a sudden GOOD!!!  I stopped so quickly that my tires would squeak!  I had to completely alter my former level of pressure that I was used to putting on the brake pedal.  But I had a very successful trip back home, so that was good.

Here's to hoping these brakes last me for the rest of the life of this truck!!!  I don't want to put any more money into her!  Buuuuuuuuuuuut, with that said, I still only have $1500 TOTAL in this thing, gas, insurance, tax, title, license, and purchase price included!!!  That's simply hard to beat.  She's given me a nice 1250 miles so far.

I came back home, showered, then headed to Jobu's house to watch the All-Star game.  Ended up getting there at 7:30 and staying until about 10:30.  Came back home and ended up headin' to bed at 12:30.

Got a couple of e-mails today.  One asking if she can buy the mower for $75 (that would be a $40 profit for me after $10 in gas), and one asking if he can couch-surf with me tomorrow night.  I guess we'll see what happens with both of those!

C'mon, TRUCK!!!  I need you to last me a long time!  Behave already!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I Need a Brake--July 12, 2010

Woke up at 11:07 A.M.  Aha!  So that's how much sleep my body needed!  It was a good sleep, though.  I HATE sleeping in, but there are times when I just absolutely need it.

I grabbed a microwavable lunch for breakfast (out of milk).  I tell you, there is nothing like eating shrimp and pasta for breakfast.  I think I'll take cereal any day.

Took a shower and came out to Boogs in my house!  I was still in the bathroom, but man, it REALLY throws you for a loop when you hear a woman in your house that you hadn't planned on!  Crazy!  She had Baby, and they stayed for about an hour.  She needed me to make a picture CD for her, so I did that.  Boy, she takes a lot of pictures.  Typical first-time Mommy.

After she left, I headed outside to be productive.  I needed to do something.  But I stood outside pretty purpose-less for the longest time.  I finally concluded that I needed to mow my yard, so I took the time to do that.  I also sprayed it for the second time this season.  I'm confident that the first time was a wash (literally) due to heavy rains that came the very same day, so I'm hoping that what I did today actually makes a difference.  My yard is literally 70% weeds.  I want to see some grass!

And then I did something that surprised even me!  I ended up cooking tonight!  Around 4:45 I started a meal.  I cooked some tilapia, cut a fresh tomato, and boiled some fresh sweet corn!  It was a very good meal if I do say so myself!  So after a month of being home, I finally used my oven for the first time.  That sounds about right.

I loaded up some tools to return to Dad and then headed that way around 6:00 o'clock.  About 1/4 mile away from their house, I hit my brakes, but they went straight to the floor!  I had nothing!!!  I let go, then pumped them again, and my truck jerked, but they were just empty.  Crap.  It was a repeat of what happened on Saturday evening with Angie.  Not good.

Another fix on my truck!  Grr.  Well, I made it to his house after literally driving right by it!  I tried to stop in time, but I just cruised right on by.  Good to know.  While there, I helped him put an ice cream freezer motor back together, dropped off my yard clippings, picked up some tools for the mower, then headed to Jobu's house.  They weren't home, so I took a tool, then headed out.  I ended up seeing him about 1/2 mile away, though, coming back from a motorcycle ride.  So I headed on back.

I stayed there about 45 minutes.  I grabbed a couple more tools, then went to leave, but I noticed a leak under my truck.  So Jobu and I got underneath it and found out that I had a hole in my left rear brake line.  Dang it!  It's going to be a bear to fix as my truck is VERY rusty underneath there.  Do I pay someone to do it or do it myself?  What to do, what to do.

I ended up leaving there and coming back home.  I stayed a good distance behind cars, started braking early, and used 2nd gear as an extra brake!  It worked out fine, but this problem really needs to be fixed soon.  I came back home and started working on the push mower right away.  Frankly, I am about out of cash, and I could use some money soon!  I took the flywheel off, and I was pleasantly surprised to find a flywheel key sheared in half.  Perfect.  I replaced it, put it all back together, and tried her out.  She started first pull.  Another one fixed.

I listed it on craigslist.  We'll see what happens!

I spent the rest of the night inside.

Ended up going to bed at 11:15.  I'm eager to get back into a healthy early-night, early-morning routine!

Alarm is set for 7:30.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Runnin' on Empty--July 11, 2010

Woke up off and on all morning.  I heard moving and people talking early but didn't have a clue on the time.  I didn't even care about the time.  I just knew I was unbelievably tired.  So I took the blanket and threw it over my head.  I NEEDED to sleep.  I seriously had one of the worst nights of sleep of my life.  I never really felt like I went way under.  It was just a very light "sleep."  Agh, it was painful.  I bobbed back and forth for awhile, with my thoughts seeming like dreams.  It was...interesting to say the least.  I honestly wasn't sure if I was thinking or dreaming.

I finally stood up around 10:15.  I welcomed a cup of coffee, and I chatted a bit with Angie.  I had really wanted to get home for church since I didn't have Sunday School last week (I like the small stuff more than the big stuff), but it just wasn't goin' to happen.  I munched on chips for breakfast and downed two cups of coffee.  I think she wanted me to stay, but I was eager to get on back home.  But we talked for a bit more, but I finally pushed off.

I left around 11:30.  I ended up taking some back way not on purpose, but I ended up exactly where I needed to be in Bloomington!  I hit the highway and started the 70-mile trek.  The interstate driving was fine, but once I hit a local road, I had some brake problems.  Basically, coming off of a stoplight, the brakes were still on!  I couldn't get above 30 MPH!  So I turned off on a side road, pumped the brakes, and they were perfect again.  Hmm.  I ended up rolling into Mom and Dad's house at 12:40.  They were just starting to eat.  I eagerly joined!

I stayed there for a bit but then headed back for my house around 2:00.  I was so tired, though.  I watched the World Cup final with Sean, but once it went past regulation, I headed out to the garage.  I cleaned up Mom and Dad's fountain for someone to check out around 3:00.  They didn't show up until 4:00!  But it sold!  That thing has been in the family for nearly 50 years!  I think we got our use out of it!

I started working on the push mower I had purchased on Friday.  I tore it all apart, but I didn't have any sockets big enough to take off the flywheel.  So I worked on the weedeater I had purchased on Friday!  I was able to get it to run, and it runs good, but that was only with me covering up the large crack in the primer bulb.  Basically, it needs all new fuel lines and a new primer bulb.  So much for "Yes, it runs perfectly.  I wouldn't lie to you!"  Hmm.  To her credit, maybe it did run perfectly when she put it away (??????????), but she really made it seem like it ran great last week.  Oh well.  I replaced most of the hose with some I had purchased recently, but I ended up breaking the fuel filter in the process.  Grr.  Looks like this project is goin' to have to wait.  Always somethin'.

I ended up taking a nap from 6:00-7:00 this evening.  And man, was it a deep one.  I woke up and had to force myself out of bed.  I was pretty confident I could sleep through tomorrow morning.  I ended up having a lil' "date," but it was one of the most worthless nights of my life.  We grabbed a movie from RedBox, but that was about the most excitement of the night.  She was old, the movie was terrible, and she even fell asleep during the movie.  Easier for me that way, though.  I was pretty much ready for it to be over from the get-go!  Oh well.  We'll chalk that one up as an embarrassing one.

Ended up going to bed at 1:28 A.M.  I was pretty tired.  I opted not to set my alarm.  I'm goin' to try to let my body take as much sleep as it needs in order to rebound from last night.  We'll see what happens!

Hay, It's a Wedding!!!--July 10, 2010

Woke up at 7:10 A.M.  Grabbed a bowl of cereal, but I was almost out of milk!!!  It was a pretty dry bowl!  Threw some coffee on the pot as I knew this was going to be a rough morning for me.  Took a shower, then headed out the door.  I ended up stopping at a garage sale on the way out to the ranch.  I also had to stop and get some gas.  No need to get stranded again!

I was at the ranch at 8:15, and we made the 45-minute drive out to pick up some hay.  I'm not goin' to lie, I really enjoy physical labor.  I was the man on top of the hay stack, just throwing the bales down to the trailer.  It wouldn't take long to get a pretty chiseled body doing this type of work!  It IS work!!!  I imagine the bales are around 60 pounds or so, and between two of us, we ended up throwing 143 bales down to the trailer.

We hauled all of the bales back, losing two out of the truck along the way.  They just weren't strapped down very well.  Both were actually in good condition, one having landed on the trailer and the other one having skidded across the road at 45 MPH.  No rolling end over end which causes instant destruction.  The conversation was fun and lively, though, talking about everything from small engines to the "Barefoot Bandit."  We had five guys in that truck.

We arrived back at the ranch around 11:00 and unloaded the bales.  I also had Jobu load up some manure compost into my truck as I crawled through the crawlspace to figure out what copper pipe I will be removing next week.  We had called Mom about lunch, and she made some for us, so we headed there just after noon.  We unloaded the compost into a low spot in Dad's yard, then ate.

I stayed there about an hour and a half, but then I had to leave to get ready for the wedding.  My plan was to drive to Decatur, pick up a bar for my man cave, drive up to Bloomington, pick up tickets for Mom's birthday, then drive to pick up my friend and then head to the wedding.  Well, I found out that the bar had been sold since she hadn't heard from me.  I was pretty disappointed in that...I had told her I really wanted it!  GRR!!!  But I now had an extra hour on my hands, so I just relaxed at home.

I finally got ready for the wedding but realized that I didn't have any dress pants at my house.  I had not worn dress pants in two years.  So I had to drive out of my way to Mom and Dad's house in order to pick up some pants!  That made me a little late, but I had to do it.  I was asked to wear pants!!!

I made the hour-drive up to Bloomington but had to stop for fuel again.  Another 7-minute delay.  I bought the tickets on the east side of town, the whole transaction taking about 24 seconds.  I had to go!  I then hurried to pick up Angie, but I knew I was going to be late.  It just wasn't going to happen.  I finally made it to her apartment at 4:46, just 14 minutes before the wedding.  I hurried out the door, and we started to head that way, but she forgot her camera, so we had to go back anyway.

We ended up pulling into the wedding at 5:10.  I was shocked to see that it was outside!  And even more shocked to see people just standing around!  The wedding hadn't started yet!!!  Woo hoo!!!  It actually didn't start for another 10 minutes, so we had plenty of time!  The wedding itself was pretty brutal...archaic language spoken by the preacher, sometimes words that I didn't even know the meaning of.  And it was hot.  Booty hot.  People were sweating all over, myself included.  I couldn't lean back in my chair as that was instant sweat.  So I sat on the front half of the chair the entire time.  It was a muggy 94-degree central Illinois July day.  And we were in the middle of it.  No shade anywhere.  It was HOT.

We headed to the reception after that.  It was in Stanford, and I was surprised to see that an old church building had been converted into a reception hall.  Hmm...that is probably a sign of the times in more ways than one.  I ended up going to town on the food and drinks.  This wedding had a coffee shop do the catering, so I pretty much melted when I saw that.  I had two iced caramel lattes and two peach boba teas.  Man, that was so good.  I wish every wedding did this!  I ate the munchies, grabbed a very small helping of the main course, and just sat around and let the time pass.  I didn't really know anyone there (two out of 150 people), but I met a couple of Angie's friends.  It was pretty enjoyable.  It gave us a lot of time to talk.

We left there at 10:00 P.M. and headed back to her apartment.  We talked about Africa quite a bit and then went on a walk.  And as you have probably figured out by now, nothing is ever easy in my life.  We were walking around a very beautiful older neighborhood.  The ones where the houses are built with solid oak, the ones with hardwood floors throughout, the ones that cost an arm and a leg.  Well, we were walking along the cobblestone streets, and we came to a four-way stop.  As we crossed the road, a car was to our left making a left turn onto the same street that we were walking on.  The streets are wide, and there is plenty of room, so there was no problem.  But out of fun, I kind of nudged Angie over to the grass, then striked a classic Heisman Trophy pose as the car passed, saving her from sure destruction.

Something silly.

Well, the car ended up pulling into a driveway about six houses ahead of us.  The passenger got out and headed inside.  Then the car started pulling back out of the driveway as we were nearing it.  Obviously, it was very dark at this point, but we had no problem seeing the car.  Angie stopped quite a bit back, but I just kept our normal walking pace.  We weren't going to hit or anything.  Nowhere close.  It was actually going to be nothing short of perfect timing!  The car backs out, and we just walk right behind it as it pulls away.

Well, it backed out into the street right next to me (I'm still on the side of the road), and the man leans over and says to me, "Get out of the street, you dumb shit."

I was utterly and totally appalled.  I was seriously floored.  What in the world?

The car then pulled away, and I swung around to look at Angie.  She had seen the guy talk to me, and she literally said, "See, isn't he nice?!"  She had absolutely no idea.  Well, I turned back around, and that's when I noticed the car's brake lights on.  You see, the cobblestone street is split up into two parts.  It's one-way traffic on one side, a large grass median in the middle, and one way-traffic on the other side.  Well, I saw him start to make the U-turn.

And I just ran right across those bricks, breezed across that grass, and then stood like a pillar on the other road of bricks.  I heard Angie as I bolted, "Andy, what are you doing?!"  But there was just no time to explain.

The car had made the full U-turn by now, and that's when I had a huge decision to make.  It was nothing short of something out of the movies.  I literally had two headlights in front of me, coming right at me.  I was standing firm in the middle of the road.  But you better believe every cell in my ear was listening for that engine.  Was it staying constant, revving up, or dying down?  I honestly believed that this man could possibly run me over.

But I stayed firm.

And to my relief and amazement, the car pulled right up to me and stopped right in front of me.

"I'm sorry, WHAT DID YOU SAY"?  The tone of my voice was pretty forceful but sarcastic.

There was silence.  The man was obviously shocked.

He finally responded.  He flipped open his cellphone, started dialing, and said, "I said how about I call the police."

What a schmuck.  Really?  THAT is your answer?  I was disappointed.  But without missing a beat, I said, "Oooooooooooooh, that's a good idea!!!  Tell them I say HI!"  He had no idea who he was dealing with.  And frankly, a police officer could be kind of fun out here!  I had nothing to hide.  I don't think the man knew what to do.

But then he started to take off his seatbelt.  I don't even know how to describe it, but it wasn't a surprise.  I was 100% in this situation.  I wasn't backing down for anything.  I honestly just felt like this was the normal "next scene."  So I walked over to his window, my adrenaline flowing!  That's when he muttered something I couldn't hear, and then sped off.  I hit the rear driver's side door with a pretty hard hit.  He yelled something from down the street.

I HATE PEOPLE.  Seriously, I am just unbelievably disappointed in the human race.  I could go on, but I'll just leave it at that.  I just don't have much good to say.

Angie was obviously confused and surprised about the ENTIRE situation, still thinking that the man had said something nice to me.  So I had to explain all of that.  I can still hear my "different" voice as I talked with all of that adrenaline.  I was so pumped up.  She didn't understand, nor did I expect her to.  I did what I had to do.  As simple as that.

We headed back to her apartment, having taken a very long hour walk.  I was ready to be back.  We stayed up for a bit more, talking airplanes, Africa, and life.  I finally ended up going to bed at 2:22.  She gave me her couch, although I'm pretty sure I could've slept on a brick floor with no problems.  I was totally beat.