Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Journey With A Leaky Basement Part I

Houses are funny things, containing so much of our lives and yet so temporary and odd in their own way. We buy them and work hard to make them reflect who we are...but they, or we, can be gone or partially destroyed in the wink of an eye. They are also curious in how they can look so different when empty or when things are moved around and "out of place". And the longer someone resides in a home the more settled in things are, and the more shocking it looks when a room is emptied, or the house is changed in some way.

I write all this as a crew is turning part of our home into what looks like a scene from Breaking Bad. They are creating a "negative air" environment in our basement, to prevent mold spores and foul air from escaping and entering the rest of our home. Heavy plastic is going up, effectively sealing 1/3 of our basement off from the rest of the house. Zipper doors are included with this plastic blanket and they make this odd sound that really does feel eerie. Of course, it happens to be an important 1/3 of our basement, housing two bedrooms and a bathroom. We've been scurrying to get clothes and furniture and knick knacks moved out of the rooms and it seems to multiply like rabbits as we are moving it! What was once tidy belongings in a 12 year-old girls room are now piles upon piles of things I'm not sure I've ever even seen!

On Christmas morning we discovered standing water in the downstairs bathroom. We thought it was possibly a line backup or a leaking toilet.  We'd been smelling musty air off and on but couldn't find the source and it seemed like it was just perhaps another benefit of living in an old home.  But after cleaning up the water and watching more water seep in from under the wall, we knew something else must be happening, something much worse than a clogged sewer line. I immediately called our Homeowners insurance company and the young lady on the other end was surprisingly pleasant and helpful for someone having to work on Christmas, but issued a warning that almost slipped my consciousness, "just know that we cannot accept any liability until it is determined where the water is coming from". It took until Monday to get the restoration crew in and permission from our adjuster for them to pop some access holes into the walls to try and determine the source of the leak.  Much to all of our consternation, we can't figure out where the water is coming from.  Although highly unlikely for this time of year, it could be groundwater seeping into the foundation (it is about 5 degrees F outside and the ground is frozen like a brick).  It could be a slow leak form a pipe somewhere with water gathering at a low point in the foundation. It could be  aleak around a window, again unlikely.  Adding to the mess is the fact our basement was finished around 1980 originally and so everything has to be tested for asbestos before any removal or other work can begin.

So begins our dinner of eating an elephant...one bite at a time.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Supporters, critics weigh in on $42M Missoula County parks, trails bond

Good coverage. A few inaccuracies but overall very pleased with the article. There seems to be some confusion on the bond...the bond has something for everyone and will improve our quality of life, provide additional play opportunities (of the most important type) by replacing 10 playgrounds in Missoula, create a new County Trails program to leverage funds to better connect communities and provide more access to public land, and fully build Fort Missoula Regional Park with its trails, pavilions, dog park, new softball complex, and new multi-use sports fields which will allow us to host sporting events we can't now and provide an economic driver for our community. Vote YES for Parks & Trails!

Supporters, critics weigh in on $42M Missoula County parks, trails bond

Friday, October 10, 2014

I have a confession to make...I am in Indianapolis and I didn't really tell anyone I was coming. Sorry, Joe & Brian & Steve and all my other beloved Indy friends, this is a quick trip and I am being selfish. And yes, I told Pete we should arrange a Purdue reunion this year and am going sans my old roomie; had to do it braaaaaa!
I came home to visit my folks, my brother, sister, and their families and to catch the #Purdue - Michigan State football game tomorrow. I'm sorry I didn't make plans and try to arrange visits. Simply put, I'm exhausted and need a break and this weekend is just what the doctor ordered.
It's been 14 months since my last visit, the longest time I've ever been away from my home town and family. Today we drove through Broad Ripple and I got to see one of my most favorite people, Karen Van der Walle at her studio, The Potter's House. We drove downtown and had lunch at Shapiro's.
Then headed over to Mass Avenue and shopped (after surprising my niece Tara at work). I then got to pop into Curt Churchman's Fine Estate Rugs & Gallery at Kessler and College. He's done an amazing job with that space and his ode to TC Steele gallery is top notch.
Every time I come home I get a little anxiety the first few days. I recognize things less, I know less people (or see less of the people I know), and I feel sad at not living here or being closer to people I love. This time the anxiety is a little stronger and can't quite figure out why. Maybe because it has been 14 months, or maybe I am just getting older in a city that feels like it is finally getting cooler. Whatever the reason, Indianapolis seems different to me...some observations:
- It's huge. Okay, I know I've adjusted to life in a small town of 60,000 but my goodness this town seems to have exploded with growth. Not just new stuff being built but old things being refurbished and entire neighborhoods coming back to life in all their glory. There are people and cool places in every direction.
- It's much more hip. Wow, cool restaurants, shops, and even BIKE LANES abound.  While I'm not ready to take my life in my hands and ride down Keystone Avenue, I am really stoked by the realization by City leaders and community activists that vibrant cities are ones that address and respect bike-ped transportation and allow for greater connectivity in their communities by adding bike lanes and trails. Also, parks add so much to the quality of life and it is nice to see some revitalization of these really important places where people connect and children get some of the most important type of play opportunities.
- People drive fast as $hit. Again, I get that after 12 years of living in Missoula I have slowed my pace quite a bit (I love that about Missoula by the way), but driving 55mph on Allisonville and 80 on 1-465 seems silly to me, but that is pretty much the norm. I don't really like that (but my 16 - 20 year old self would have loved it for sure).
- Carmel, Fishers, and Westfield are all grown up. Tonight I went to watch my 13yo niece's choral presentation in Carmel. We drove up north on the Keystone corridor with all it's roundabouts and above/below grade crossings and inward growth down town. Super cool. And it doesn't look like the Carmel of 1981...I saw people from all races and walks of life on the stage and in the audience; it was super impressive (as was the singing. Absolutely great performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"
by the #Carmel boys choir). We drove by the Center for Performing Arts and I felt like I was in DC or something.
- Fall in Indiana is still breath taking. I think I am about 8 days early to get the trees in all their most brilliant colors but it is still so so beautiful. I can't wait for the drive up to West Lafayette tomorrow to see all the colors along the Wabash River corridor. Maybe I can convince my Dad to take HWY 52 tomorrow so we can drive by some of the small towns and cornfields. This time of year always reminds me of warm days and the smell of leaves burning and cold nights and the smell of bonfires.
- Downtown is a vibrant, busy place and people really live and play there. Indianapolis struggled for decades to create a downtown that was more than a place people came to work or watch professional sports. Over the past 10 years, downtown has changed so much I hardly recognize it anymore. Coffees shops, brew-houses, condos, high rises, incredible restaurants and shopping opportunities. No wonder so many conventions are held in this city. Totally impressed
- People are still friendly (Hoosier hospitality is alive and well). So glad to see that despite my home town growing so, people are still nice an courteous.

Looking forward to visiting Purdue tomorrow and to strolling through campus. I am quite certain a flood of memories will be unleashed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Heaven 17 - Penthouse and Pavement 1981

North Central High School 1981...yes, this was popular. Much to my kids horror, I danced to this song tonight in Old Navy. Why not, they already think I am totally uncool.  Luckily I was gravitating towards The Replacements, New Order and others and escaped pop music for several decades!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Johnny O's Army of Good RATPOD 2014 Page

Johnny O's Army of Good RATPOD 2014 Page

Every year I ask my friends to dig into their pockets to support Camp Mak-A-Dream. Camp is a very special place, where kids and young adults with cancer get a cost-free Montana camping experience that is so much more than camping. They come from all across the country and all walks of life and for many this will be their first (and maybe only) time seeing the mountains and being around others fighting the same battle.

Every donation, whether $10 or $1000 helps. My goal is to raise $6,000 and so far we are at $1,000

Please consider a donation today.

Thanks friends (my chicken legs and boney butt don't say thanks, but the pain is worht the gain!!!!)

Big News for Ultimate

USA Ultimate Officially Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee Exciting news for our sport!