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.