The Basement Project – Day 3

Day 2 left us with the epoxy curing in the cracks and around the carbon fiber straps.

Bsmnt - Day 2 - Carbon Fiber Braces

What would Day 3 hold in store for us??

Bsmnt - Day 3 - South Wall

The drainage pipe had been laid, the stone added, the holes drilled in the bottom of the concrete block, and the finishing product installed. Again, I know that it’s just a basement, but I was really disappointed in the look of the stuff they put on the walls.

Bsmnt - Day 3 - West Wall

It’s a plastic sheeting that is tacked to the wall so that water can flow out of the drilled holes behind it and into the drainage ditch below. Which, I understand that it’s functional. But it doesn’t look as ‘finished’ as I’d hoped it would.

Bsmnt - Day 3 - Northish Wall

Jay is trying to figure out the best way to mount some kind of covering for it so that the dust doesn’t make its way in through the top and then start closing up the holes behind it. He’s got some ideas rolling around so I’ll have to wait and see which ones actually take root. It was nice to see the stone in the trench, though, instead of standing water.

Bsmnt - Day 3 - Pump Corner

They cleaned up the sump pump area a little better, but that hose was still bothering me. Jay insisted they would fix it.

A look inside the sump pump pit:

Bsmnt - Day 3 - Sump Pump

Keep your fingers crossed that it works as advertised!

All that’s left is to pour the concrete and fix how the hose hangs from the wall.

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The Basement Project – Day 2

Bsmnt - Day 1 - South Wall

This is how the basement looked at the end of the first day. It was a little scary because now we were committed. Yikes!

Day 2 found us looking like this:

Bsmnt - Day 2 - South Wall

The guys had installed the expensive carbon fiber straps that will now keep the wall from continuing to move, and they filled in the cracks with their epoxy filler.

Bsmnt - Day 2 - Carbon Fiber Braces

Look at these lovely cracks that we had over in the corner.

Bsmnt - Day 2 - Pipes

They managed to clean up a little more of the concrete around the pipes, but you can see that there was still standing water.

Bsmnt - Day 2 - West Wall

The other corner was still a bit messy.

Bsmnt - Day 2 - Sump Pump

They dug the hole for the basket in which the sump pump sits, and added a bunch of pipe to this area. To be completely honest, I was a little concerned with this corner.

Bsmnt - Day 2 - Sump Pump Exit

I mean, look how far away from the wall that hose hangs! Usually I’m not too worried about how the basement looks, but that is just unsightly. I don’t care that the spot where they placed the air vent for it in the yard is a bit ugly. That will eventually be covered up with grass. But this hose sticking so far out was just ugly. Jay reassured me they would take care of it. They had better!

Thus ended the second day of the project.

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Spring Cross Update – 5-30-18

The last time you saw the Spring Cross I believe it looked like this:

Spring Cross 4-13-18

I had finished all of the regular cross stitching and was going to start working on the words in the background. About a week later this much was done:

Spring Cross 4-25-18

All of the words for this section were complete so I could start working to outline the flowers and branches. This is a very tedious part of the project, and there were so many different colors that I had to use on it. Finally, I put the last back stitch in on May 30th:

Spring Cross 5-30-18

Isn’t it looking great?!

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The Basement Project – Day 1

Every year Jay and I pick one large project to complete in the summer. We have redone the roof, updated our furnace and AC unit, put in a concrete driveway, improved our shed and replaced some large windows. This year we knew that the basement would be next to get our attention. When we first moved in the basement looked gorgeous.


Except, do you spot the problem in the picture? Do you see the spots where water is running across the floor? This picture was taken in December when we are getting snow and freezing temperatures. You can imagine how bad it looked after a really big storm.

Not only did we have a problem with leakages, but we were also noticing a very prominent crack in the wall. This worried us as we knew that foundation repairs can be very expensive. We called a local company who came in and gave us a quote to put in some new drainage, add a sump pump that actually works, and brace up the wall with carbon fiber straps. It wasn’t cheap, but it was necessary.

The first day of basement work happened to be the day that I came home from my Atlanta trip. I had left some very specific instructions with Jay regarding the cats and what should be done to maximize their comfort while this work was going on. As you can guess, he was thrilled to do it.

Bsmnt - Day 1 - South Wall

Day one started with jackhammers and buckets to haul the broken concrete out of the basement. Luckily we have an outside entrance that they were able to use so none of the dirt and dust had to be tracked through the house (thought it still managed to make its way up the stairs). Apparently the guys initially thought this project would be a piece of cake and they would easily have it done in three days instead of the four we had been quoted. Then they started breaking apart the concrete…

Bsmnt - Day 1 - Pipes

According to what they told Jay, there were two different layers of concrete for the floor. The first one was thin and easy to get through. The second one was not.

Bsmnt - Day 1 - Northish Wall

In fact, the second layer was so thick and hard to break that they weren’t able to make smooth cuts along the wall. The owner of the company was called in to discuss this and it was decided that they would have to use a different finishing product than what we had originally been quoted. It wouldn’t look as pretty, but since they couldn’t clean the walls perfectly it was really our only option. Otherwise the guys would have to spend another two days just trying to clean up the edges if we insisted on using what we were originally quoted. This would have been a problem because Jay wasn’t able to take the additional time off of work, so we agreed to go with the less-than-beautiful finishing product. The owner was really great, though, and took off a decent amount from our bill.

Bsmnt - Day 1 - Sump Pump

This picture shows the standing water that filled the trenches after the guys started busting up the concrete. This was coming up from under the house. It’s no wonder we have water issues! The sump pump is now located in this corner of the basement, which makes a lot more sense than having it in the highest corner like it was before.

Bsmnt - Day 1 - West Wall

I have to say that I was really impressed with the lack of dust that seemed to be created. I had expected a horrendous mess, but they were very good at cleaning things up during the entire project. And yes, they were using an electric jackhammer.

Bsmnt - Day 1 - Trench

Not bad for the first day.

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Atlanta Trip – 2018

Did you think I had become bored with my own blog? Nope, I didn’t. What happened is I had a LOT to do before I left on a week long trip to Atlanta. Why did I go to Atlanta? To watch the Braves play, of course! Well, mostly because Sarah asked me to go with her.

Sarah on the Ferris Wheel - 5-26-16

This is Sarah. She is a HUGE Braves fan so she and her dad used to travel to Atlanta every May to take in a few home games. Two years ago her dad had to have surgery because he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He wasn’t well enough to travel, so I went with her. Last year, unfortunately, her dad passed away a few weeks after getting back from their Atlanta trip. I didn’t think she would want to go back this year, but she did.

It was only my second trip where I’ve flown. I’m not a world traveler and I prefer to drive when I do travel. The day we left the weather was not nice here or in Atlanta.

Airplane Departure - Atlanta

We were lucky that it cleared up by game time, but it looked a bit iffy for a bit.

The Braves have built a new stadium that is a bit north of the city. Last year was the first year that they were open so Sarah didn’t have a good lay of the land. This year when booking the hotel she decided that she wanted to stay as close as possible. That’s how we ended up at the Omni.

Outside the Stadium 1 - Atlanta

Yes, we are standing outside of the stadium and looking at our hotel. You really can’t get much closer than that. Let me show you just how far we had to walk:

Outside the Stadium 6 - Atlanta

I’m leaving this picture a little larger so that you can see a little better. On the right hand side of the picture you will notice where it says “Omni Hotel”. Right below those words are the doors where we would exit the hotel. Now, to the left you will see “Chop House Gate”. This is the gate we would use to enter the stadium. This gate is located near right field. As you can see, we had a long and arduous walk every night after the game.

There were essentially two types of rooms you could choose in the hotel. You could get a room with a view:

View from Sarah's Room - Atlanta

(The view from Sarah’s room)

Or you could get the room without the view:

View from My Room View 3 - Atlanta

(The view from my room)

To be completely honest, I’m not sure what the difference in rates were between these two rooms as Sarah paid for mine, but I do know it was significant. Though Sarah said it was completely worth it. She barely watched TV when she was in her room because she was too busy observing the happenings in the stadium.

To be completely fair, though, my view wasn’t that bad. After all, I could see downtown Atlanta:

View from My Room - Atlanta

Sure, you had to look past the immediate buildings, but it’s there! I could also see the new stadium that was just built for the Falcons:

View From my Room View 2 - Atlanta

To say that this was a nice hotel is an understatement. I mean, there was valet parking!

The rooms were equipped with very nice TVs and a Keurig (instead of a coffee pot):

My Room 1 - Atlanta

My room had two queen beds:

My Room 2 - Atlanta

And a shower that looked amazing:

My Room 3 - Atlanta

Mind you, it looked amazing. It was actually a failure in practicality. After every shower I would have to clean up the water that splashed on and over the threshold (by way of the 1/2″ gap between the door and the threshold) and then I would have to clean up the drops of water that had managed to go over the top of the glass door while washing my hair. Those water droplets reached to the toilet every time.

My Room 4 - Atlanta

This was probably a range of 3-4′. There was one other thing that annoyed me about the bathroom. The door:

My Room 6 - Atlanta

Can you see what type of door? It’s a barn door style with a very greased sliding mechanism. Which means I pinched my fingers a few times.

My Room 5 - Atlanta

Now, perhaps it’s because I grew up on a farm and used actual barn doors, but this style does NOT appeal to me in the least! I would rather have a pocket door than a barn door if you are worried about space for a hinged door. Having that bulk hanging on your wall, plus the fact that you can’t really hang anything on that wall, just annoys me. But that’s just me! If you love this look, then that’s great.

There was one other thing about this hotel that I found to be the most interesting. As we were standing in Sarah’s room looking out over the stadium I glanced up and saw this:

Hercules Airplane - Atlanta

That is a big plane! The stadium is very close to Dobbins AF base, so this is probably a common sight to those who live around there. I was more intrigued with that plane than with the stadium. How sad is that!

I have a lot more pictures to share with you, but I think this is enough for now. Keep an eye out for more Atlanta posts.

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Introducing Gary

Since my post wishing everybody a Happy Star Wars day I’ve had a TON of questions regarding Gary.

Gary and Bob


Who is he? Where did he come from? Why is he appearing on the blog? What is his favorite color? Plus many other questions too numerous to mention. So, without further ado I give you everything that I know about Gary.

Gary T. Nelson

Brandon in Diaper

Gary T. Nelson was born in April, but we don’t know what year as his parents weren’t good with numbers. Or names. He was named after his dad just so that they wouldn’t have to remember any additional information. To be fair, we’re not even sure he was actually born in April… that was just what his parents told him. This is also the only picture that was ever taken of him prior to embarking on his military career.

Gary feels that he had a normal childhood. He did what all boys his age did… played tag, traded football cards, and set off railroad crossing signals for fun. He didn’t really apply himself in school, though. Instead he dreamed of the day he could become a Jedi knight and wield a light saber! After all, the girls all fall for guys with big light sabers.

As he sat for the ASVABs he pictured how handsome he was going to look in his Jedi robe! He was mentally saving the day with his quick reflexes and Jedi mind tricks. Life was going to be great! He flew through the test and waited for his assignment (as that’s what happened at that time when you took the ASVABs). Pretty soon the call came in and he had been recruited by…

The Imperial Army

The Army???!! No way! He was definitely Jedi material! When the recruitment bus stopped at his house to take him to boot camp he tried a mind trick on them, “This is not the cadet you are looking for…” and waved his wand around. They just laughed and tossed him onto the bus. The Imperial Army doesn’t mess around!

Gary had no other options so he remained in the Imperial Army and graduated from boot camp:

Storm Trooper Graduation

After a few years Gary grew very disillusioned with the military service, but he was stuck. He’d signed a contract when entering the service that only released him after 25 years of service. The punishment for going AWOL, or breaking the contract altogether, was death. That really wasn’t an appealing option.

What’s a guy to do when he thinks his boss is a big jerk?

Darth Vader

What do you do when you feel like just another white-clad storm trooper in a sea of storm troopers? You do as little as possible. That’s what. A lot of people think that the storm troopers were really bad shots and that’s why they always missed whatever they were shooting at. Nope. They were missing on purpose! They couldn’t leave their job, but they really didn’t want to further the Empire’s cause, so they just pretended to be bad shots. Management had such low regard for the storm troopers that the ruse worked and the storm troopers were thought to be mindless pawns. And that’s how Gary survived until he finally reached the age when he could retire.

After he retired he didn’t want to do anything for a while. He just wanted to have fun. It was the first time he could actually dress up for a Christmas party!

Christmas Storm Trooper

Then he was excited when his favorite football team went to the Super Bowl!


Things started to go downhill from there, though. The Patriots lost the game. Then Gary started running out of money. He tried to get some part time jobs, but when people found out that he had formerly been part of the Imperial Army they refused to hire him.

He caught a break when the neighborhood bar was in desperate need of a bartender.

Bartending Gary

Unfortunately, an armed bartender tends to scare the patrons away, so he wasn’t employed for long.

Things got really bad and Gary hit rock bottom…


He was hanging out on his front porch, wearing cast-off clothes and waving his gun wildly at people as they walked by. As he looked in the mirror and realized that he was wearing a shirt with a CAT on it he broke into sobs and cried helmet-fulls of tears. What had gone wrong? Why had he ended up such a broken wreck of a person? Was it all so hopeless that this is what remained of a formerly idealistic dreamer?

Then the voice of his former boss broke into his misery, “I find your lack of faith disturbing.” And that was all it took. Gary picked himself up and started working towards his dream of becoming a Jedi knight. He didn’t know how long it would take or if he would ever accomplish it, but he knew that he had to do or do not as there is no try. So he did. Do, that is. I mean, he did do and he didn’t just try to do.

Gary as Yoda

You can rent ‘Yoda’ by the hour, or by the day. He does birthday parties, family reunions, bar mitzvahs and corporate motivational meetings. He is also available as an Uber driver on the weekends. For a slightly higher fee he will wear the Yoda costume while Ubering you around town.

And that, my friends, is the story of Gary T. Nelson.

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May the Fourth…

… be with you!

Gary as Yoda

Gary got dressed up as Yoda to wish you a Happy Star Wars day!

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