Extremely Long Post – be warned

I was trying to decide whether to do several separate posts or just one.
For now – this is all one.

Let’s start with the house. Click the small pictures to make them bigger.


The kitchen has been the major focus. The floor is down to one layer – with holes to boot.
The house is getting sealed up, even as some areas are more open.
Asbestos – one more vent removed.

Pictures – Starting in the basement

Wiring details, and insulation foam

Lots of insulation work has been moving forward

Some odds and ends

My backyard tracking of progress continues.

Pictures by others sent while I was away. What a difference a day can make.

Finishes – Lots of decisions needed to be made. Laminate for the counters, tile for the backsplash, and flooring (Marmoleum).
This is where we found a true friend that helped by offering constructive input and support. Too cool.

The roof – now here is a (somewhat) unexpected expense.
This is also a finish that I have three more days to figure out.
We just did not have time to get to the roofing supply store before we left.
Between work hours and their store hours, this could be down to the last minute.
I actually considered trying to look at roofing while we were in Tennessee.

Which brings us to our recent adventure.

It started with an early departure care of a not a morning person person providing a ride to the airport. Thankfully the ride and the non-stop flight was uneventful. Once in NYC there was an organized 1/2 hour or so wait for a cab, which whisked us to Times Square and our hotel away from apartment away from home.


I survived a two day training in “How to Stay Focused and Enraged” It was actually a good class, and afforded us an opportunity to visit NYC in the middle of a heat wave. Oh, and to see Ashlan. And a show on Broadway. And a Mets game. And the class was really quite good.

The family selfie

The family selfie

Carl spent his days wandering among Elmos, Spidermans, Iron Mans, and lots of partially clothed tourists. Did I mention it was hot? In the 90’s.

The show was Once. I absolutely loved the movie, and did not want to ruin that feeling. But the writer/composer said is was an adaptation true to his work, so we went. Thirteen actors, 12 over the age of 7, that were all fine musicians and singers, able to dance, sing and play at the same time (even with a cello). The love story was intact. A truly enjoyable evening.

At the Mets game it was hard to see much that let you know the All-Star game had been played at the stadium a scant 3 days before. (And there was no Batting Practice on the first game back after a four day break. This was tempered by a signing by Le Grand Orange, otherwise known as Rusty Staub) I think Safeco Field kept the signs and paraphernalia up the rest of the season after hosting the All-Star game. The Mets lost, early and often. But the most exciting moment was in the ninth inning when a home run landed one row down and three seats left.  On the way home our subway car was serenaded by a fellow playing TV theme songs on a melodica. As he passed us he broke into the Flintstones theme, which left us in stitches. There is a saxophone busker at the Mariner’s games who always plays the Flintstones for Carl in his Fez.

After three days of Times Square living we packed up to move to Ashlan’s new digs.

We got to spend Saturday tooling about looking for good places to eat. Brunch was at the Pates et Traditions, an Authentic French Creperie. Complete with a French waitress who asked what Carl’s Sounders jersey with Bizarrio on the back meant. She said Bizarre meant weird in French and was confused. (This really does fit I guess). Dinner was at a La Forcella, a pizza palace in Williamsburg.

In between eating we visited the Cloisters. My favorite memory from the Cloisters is the doors.
One for Ashlan (who it fits to a tee), and one for our new back door.

And then there was the Annunciation. The triptych I grew up with, by Robert Campin. They had a description of the symbolism in the work – more than I had previously known about. Interestingly, I took a picture of the explanation, but not the painting itself. I guess I thought I could remember it well enough from years of viewing.

Cloisters - Annunciation in stained glass - Not the one I grew up viewing

Cloisters – Annunciation in stained glass – Not the one I grew up viewing

All of this last day was done with straight hair. Something I normally only possess immediately after a soaking. Jump forward a few days and it was curly once again. Wavy really, but certainly not straight.

Straight hair?!

Straight hair?!

Curls return

Curls return

And then it was time to move on to Tennessee. We saw the newest travel phenomena in NYC, but it was not going to get us where we were going.

Citi Bikes

Citi Bikes

Our car rental was amazingly easy and traffic was relatively light. However, the AAA directions were not spot on. We only had to turn around twice. Once out of New Jersey we were fine. The day took us through NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV, VA and finally TN.


The eastern Tennessee summer of 2013 has been defined by afternoon/evening rain.
This may be good for some plants, but it plays havoc with baseball games. The Sunday rain delayed the Tennessee Smokies game and provided us with an opportunity to catch the last two innings and the post-game Southern Drawl set.

Southern Drawl

Southern Drawl

Monday’s game was similarly delayed, but we got to see the tarp crew remove the cover and the entire game.
(Rey has been excused from tarp duty this year due to his recent shoulder surgery.)

Tarp Crew - Smokies Park

Tarp Crew – Smokies Park

These rains are not drizzle or showers. They are hard driving rain that seems to last more than 30 minutes, but can soak you in 30 seconds.

We ditched the rental for our Tennessee time and got reacquainted with Vinnie Wydown. We are sorry to report that at 220,000 plus miles, Vinnie is showing his age. It may be time to retire.

On Tuesday, while Rey slaved, Carl and I went into the Smokie Mountains, up to Clingmans Dome (and added NC to our states visited). The views were fine, but long distance viewing was obscured by clouds. (How Seattle)

The flora along the trail was intriguing.

Red flowers

Red flowers

The same plant had many different presentations.

The drive included the road with my favorite curve sign of all time.

The Loop

The Loop

Even though the day had no game, the evening rain persisted. This was our reward for a soaking run from the car to Rey’s apartment.

Rey's Rainbow

Rey’s Rainbow

Wednesday we spent time in Knoxville. Carl & I visited the East Tennessee History Museum while Rey was tested for his ability to go back to school. Carl wanted a cup of coffee before we picked up the boy, but yet another downpour put us into Soccer Taco where we enjoyed dinner instead. Once we gathered Rey we went out to see Monster’s University. A fun film. This was followed by an unintended hike as they closed the mall and we had to circumnavigate the building until Vinnie reappeared.

Thursday saw us on the road to Chattanooga and Lookout Mountain, and took us into GA – the ninth state of the trip.
Rock City was very intriguing (if a little kitschy).

Ruby Falls in an underground trek. It is a cavern tour

ending at the falls.

The sights were worth the trip, but I felt like I had been mall walking all day.

We thought our last adventure of the day would be the Chattanooga Lookouts playing the Jackson Generals (AA Mariners). The game started with paratroopers.

The Mariners Generals won the game and we were off again.

Jackson Generals vs Chattanooga Lookouts - the only TN game without rain

Jackson Generals vs Chattanooga Lookouts – the only TN game without rain

As it turns out, our adventures were not done.
As we approached the I-75 split (Knoxville or Atlanta) our left front tire blew out. We were able to pilot the car to the right shoulder (Atlanta side) and up against the guard rail. Carl exited (carefully) and ascertained my guess at the flat. We called AAA as the semis whizzed by at 60+ mph. The waiting was nerve-wracking, but the nerves only increased as the AAA dude changed the tire on the whizzing traffic side. Needless to say I tipped the man well for risking his life. We then headed towards Atlanta until we could get gas and turned around.

Friday our baseball bent continued (surprised?) with a trip to Greeneville to watch the Greeneville Astros against the Pulaski Mariners (Rookie League).

The game was off to a fine start – and then the rains arrived. We waited for about 45 minutes before deciding the rain had slackened enough to drive safely. The game might still have been played at that point, but the promise of a good nights sleep triumphed over a late game.

Greeneville Tarp Crew

Greeneville Tarp Crew

Our last day we got to hang around with Rey a bit more – a good thing.

Now the jarring return to reality.
And we can give a further report on the house progress from this morning’s visit.

4 Responses to “Extremely Long Post – be warned”

  1. Margaret Says:

    No wonder you haven’t blogged for a while; you’ve been having adventures in travel. 🙂 I’d read about the NYC heat wave and was thankful that I wasn’t visiting. I do miss the city, but don’t do well at those temps in that humidity! Much progress on the house,although every time I click to enlarge a photo,I can’t get back to where I was. Grrrr. LOVE the Cloisters and the curve sign. Hate the driving rain. We haven’t had any of it recently. 🙂

  2. RegenAxe Says:

    Great Post(s)!
    I would have strung it out, but that’s just me.
    The place looks great.
    I’ll be in town the week of the 18th.
    I’ll get my own hotel room thank you very much. 😉

  3. RegenAxe Says:

    Is Ashlan taller then you now?
    See ‘Straight Hair’.

  4. jane Says:

    re: the rainbow photo. you shoudl google ‘double rainbow’ if you haven’t seen that video before. guy totally freaking out at the double rainbow. I’m not saying he was high, but I think he was high. 😉 and then find the re-mix video — excellent!

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