Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter Wonderwhat?

Recently, it dawned on me that, despite promises to do so, Justin and I never actually got around to posting pictures of our house. I could make excuses about corn pollen and hating the outdoors between June and October, but the truth is, we just dropped the ball. We didn't even take a picture of our home's exterior until late October, when we were lucky enough to develop a swamp thanks to a rusty water service line (cause, who knew that steel would rust...)

For your enjoyment, the evolution of Justin and Jenny's house...

This is the house the day before having the service line repaired. Though you can't see the moat in this picture, I promise you, it's directly in front of the holly bush. If this picture were extended to show about 15 feet to the right, you'd also see a (pear?) tree that never lost its leaves this year. The next door neighbors say this was the first time that's happened. I blame the evil birds that live in it.

This is the front yard after having the service line replaced. The repairman swore the dirt would settle over time, and even said he'd return to rake it out a bit after it had a chance to dry out. About 15 minutes after this picture was taken, it started raining, and kept raining for 5 days. Then it got really cold, and stayed really cold. Realizing the repair guy was never coming back to "fix" the dirt mound, Justin and I made peace with the fact our front yard would look like Bugs Bunny tunnelled in to visit. We have great plans of fixing it in the spring.

Then came the ice storm.
Thursday night we had freezing rain. (And a thunderstorm around 3 AM!!!) By Friday morning, there was half an inch of ice coating the street, our mailbox, everything. In case you were wondering, when that much ice builds up on a deciduous tree that inexplicably hasn't lost its leaves by mid-December, the tree breaks. Now, our front yard looks like this:

Actually, that's not quite accurate. That's what our yard looked like on Friday morning. Although they were down on the ground, the branches were only mostly snapped from the trunk. Lucky for me, they were still attached enough that the branches couldn't be moved. And even luckier for me, Justin was 700+ miles away. I was content to let it sit until a tree service could come out to deal with it today. Wanting to help (and without even being asked), our next door neighbor cut the branches off the trunk, and moved them to clear the sidewalk. When I went over to ask him if he was the guy who helped me out, he even asked me when Justin would be home to "help cut them up." Nicest. Man. Ever.

At some point, our front yard will look nice again. And I promise, as soon as that happens, we'll let you know. In the meantime, our neighbors are great and we don't live near a methlab, sewage treatment facility or trailer park - so homeownership is still a good thing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blagojevich = Hilarious

I hated, HATED Illinois' governor until very recently. Blagojevich is a hack who cannot get along with anyone, even the other Democrat hacks who run this sorry excuse for a state. He enjoys the lowest approval rating of any governor in the nation, and typifies the arrogant heavy-handed sleaziness of Chicago politics. He also has worse hair than most local TV weathermen.

At this point, however, Blago seems like a hilariously delusional, scheming, and most importantly foul-mouthed entertainer. Most governors are screw-ups, but at least this screw-up spends most of his time practicing his Elvis impersonations and shaking down donors, instead of raising taxes. I must concede that I share his opinion of our President-elect. The transcripts of his profane tirades are chock full of gems, but pale in comparison to the rants of one of my favorite foul-mouthed historical figures: Richard Nixon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

St. Louis: Two Thumbs Up

Sorry for the lack of timeliness in this posting...

We visited St. Louis Nov. 1 & 2 in order to see the Penguins play at the Blues, and to visit the International Bowling Hall of Fame . The Bowling Hall of Fame closed on November 8 and moved to San Antonio. We were fortune to see the overblown (and likely inaccurate) history of bowling in 10-pin Alley. Did you know that "Since the dawn of time, man has bowled?"

The game was great. The Penguins won. We wore Pens shirts and received barely a look of disapproval from the classy St. Louis fans, unlike the treatment we surely would have received by rooting for the visiting team back east. The Scottrade Center was a beautiful arena, and the game kicked off with a great rendition of the Blues' theme song. The organist responded to Penguins goals with a rendition of "That's Why They Call it the Blues." Great experience.

We also saw the St. Louis Zoo, Washington University in St. Louis, and the Gateway Arch. Although beautiful Autumn weather attracted long lines to the Arch and prevented us from going to the top, I (Justin) have had the opportunity in a previous visit. I highly recommended this excursion on a ridiculous conveyor system, which essentially transports you up the arch in a cable-drawn galvanized trash can. Claustrophobes need not apply.

In brief, the rivers, rusty bridges, and (modest) hills enabled us to project our homesickness onto this surprisingly lovely midwestern city.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leona Leiby 1919-2008

Many knew her as "grandma," including her twenty or so grandchildren and their spouses, and some of her children-in-law. Her ten children obviously called her "mom."

I used to catch my bus to school at grandma and grandpa's house. Grandma made fried eggs and buttered toast for us every morning. I hear tale of my stubborn refusal to wipe the egg yolk from around my mouth. I remember fondly the smell of those eggs, and the memory of the off days when grandma forced grandpa to eat oatmeal, instead of eggs. Some choice words were exchanged between them. In PA Dutch, of course.

Grandma hummed without rhyme or meter as she went about her daily tasks. A blissful tic. If I forget everything else (and I WON'T), I will still fight tears as her humming comes to mind.

I love you, Grandma.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Joys of Home Ownership

October is over. Good riddance. While I love October's refreshingly cooler temperatures and changing leaves, this particular October has been a reminder that bad things come in whatever number they happen to come in.

Included among the wonders of this October at the home that--take note--we have owned for four months:

  • Our porch roof needed to be replaced. Its rotting decking and shoddy installation were apparently beyond the building inspector's capability to spot in June.

  • The water service line to our house is leaking. The water pipes were fine for fifty years--until we moved in. We currently have a small moat (or malarial swamp) in our front yard, as seen in this aerial photo. Plumbers are scheduled to dig up our front lawn and replace the pipes on Wednesday of this week.

  • Our 2005 Toyota Corrola's "check engine" came on. It might just be a loosening gas cap, but without diagnostic equipment we can't be sure.

  • We needed to buy a new washing machine. The police warned us to stop washing our clothes with rocks in the Boneyard Creek.

  • We needed to replace an accidently-washed cell phone, in an issue peripheral to the replaced washing machine.

Sorry for complaining. On the bright side, we had a great time in St. Louis this weekend (details to come). It's a really nice city, who knew.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Typical Sunday

First things first - I know it's been a LONG time since we updated. But good things come to those who wait, right? (At least that's what I think about the soon-to-be-released Guns N Roses album, and what Justin thinks about the possible Phillies World Series victory)

So anyway, here we are. Justin and I have lived in our house for almost 4 months now. So far, we've only had to buy a new washing machine, back porch roof, and 2 garage door opener batteries. Though we're not totally unpacked, I think we're completely at home. We're not completely fond of the neighborhood dogs, but we don't share walls with anyone, and I can yell at the TV as loudly as I want without annoying anyone. So we'll take that as a win.

We're planning a trip back to Pennsylvania at Thanksgiving. (Both Kutztown and Pittsburgh) Hopefully we'll be able to see everyone. I just hope we survive the drive.

We'll post again soon - I promise.

<3 Jenny

Monday, June 30, 2008

Today was the day

After signing our names about 54,206 times this morning, it's official - WE'RE HOMEOWNERS!

Pictures to follow in a later post.