Friday, July 11, 2008

Mailbag! Part 2

Picking up where we left off yesterday:

Commenting on Runner Up!
Jennifer said, "Congratulations! I love berry pie."

So did everyone. I'll make more next year certainly.

Commenting on I'm Floored By How It Looks
Tech Handyman said, "looks amazing! I will now have to read the rest of your blog. Be sure to keep us updated on the progress!!"

Umm sure, I have included your comment because it at least linked back to a blogger profile, but this seems a little spammish to me...

Commenting on On the Cutting Edge
StuccoHouse said, "Wow, that looks great."

Donald & Christie said, "Nice job! I like the verticle grain flooring. May i ask where you found it! Enjoyed you blog and will be watching for more! :)"

Stucco: Thanks! For those that haven't read her blog let me tell you, this is a highly valued compliment. She is one of those people who really does everything right with her historic home.

Donald & Christie: The flooring was from Friends of Historic Preservation's Salvage Barn. I helped pull it from a farm house outside Belle Plaine several years ago. This floor was used as interior floor, many of the pieces we pulled were over 12 feet long. You cannot get that quality lumber today.

Commenting on A Cool Thing About Elevation
Jenni said, "And you will never forget this comment...
“I will never ever forget this night!”
how sweet."

Thank you, Jeni. Like StuccoHouse, I read Jenni's blog often without commenting...

Commenting on Amateur Archivist
Captain Zamo said, "I lived in the basement of that house on golv with mick and helen in 1979. a family of racoons lived on the roof because helen often fed them. The famous Iowa Writer's Workshop was planned in the living room. mick worked for vance bourjally on blue bird farm."

Captain- I think you're the person who called me too, I was stripping paint when I talked to you and really wasn't focusing very well. I thought you were someone local calling to chat. I appreciate your call and information.

I am aware of the legend of the idea creating the Iowa Writer's Workshop being formed here. There is plenty of evidence confirming the friendship between Wibur Schramm's family and the Fox's: Wilbur Schramm autographed books found in the house and Bess' war time letters to Helen asking if she had read Wil's latest story in the "Saturday Evening Post," for example. But I cannot get any outside confirmation of that story from other sources... But that doesn't mean I don't repeat it or pass it along myself!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Mail Bag! Part One

I'm not always good about getting back to people who comment on posts. I'm always a little surprised that anyone comments on my posts, especially since I read many blogs without commenting. But I wanted to answer recent questions so here goes:

Commenting on As If We Didn't Have Enough Water!
Christine said, "I hope you fare well with all the flooding. Good luck!"

We did OK, the river crested 18 inches lower than expected due to downstream levies and dikes failing. Their misfortune was our gain. The lower crest prevented my office from flooding. A fellow ICCD teacher and her family have moved into the rental house behind us, their acreage along the Cedar River completed washed out.

Commenting on Ride the River
Kathy from NJ said, "Thank you for all these pictures. I am very happy that your family is all safe.

I was looking at some of the original house plans and am curious about the storm cellar. Was it ever built? Is the storm cellar part of the basement?"

As to the storm cellar, yes it was built. It is no longer part of the basement because at some point they walled it in. When I look I can see where the opening was. My guess is that the thing leaked water into the rest of the basement. 20 years after the house was built photos show a big cinder block cold frame for starting plants right above where the storm cellar would have extended beyond the house. I'm guessing that contributed to problems. After we had owned the house we discovered that the foundation wall on that side was cracked. 5 Deadmen in the Basement explains what we had to do about that.

Commenting on And Now For Something COMPLETELY Different
NV said, "Wow! How awesome to see that same closet a lifetime ago and to have unearthed such treasures inside. It's great that you have such a connection to the original owners. Also, glad you haven't floated away. Bad year for us Midwesterners."

Jimbo said, "Make dude man spring for a ticket to London too! Woo!"

Jennifer said, "Very cool! I say you send them with a personal escort... you of course!"

Sandy said, "Awesome! I agree with Jennifer."

My thoughts exactly! Lisa and the girls get to leave for California next week but since we are implementing a new student information system in the school district, I am extremely busy right now training people on it. Maybe I'll blow all my overtime pay on a ticket... or new wooden storms, sigh.

I'll comment on the rest of the recent comments tomorrow! I promise.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Cool Thing About Elevation

With Lower City Park flooded this year we couldn’t get our usual shelter to cook out then watch fireworks. Iowa City decided to move the fireworks to Hubbard Park and to set them off after the last Jazzfest concert, with a scheduled start about 10:30. That would be too late for us. Lisa heard from one of the neighbors that you could see the Coralville fireworks from Finkbine golf course, near our house.

We packed up popcorn and drinks and rode the two tandem bikes to the driving range a little after 9:00 last night. No one else was there and we settled in on the bench above the range. Thirty seconds after we sat down the golf course sprinklers went on and doused us. We moved.

After half an hour of younger daughter asking if it was dark enough yet, we finally saw a tiny glow barely above the tree line off to the north. “IS that IT?” screamed the six year old.

“No, I think that’s the North Liberty fireworks.” I said. We watched them for a few minutes Then we saw tiny flares, barely above the tree line to the west.

“IS that IT?” screamed the six year old.

“No, I think that’s the Tiffin fireworks.” I said. We watched between the two for a few minutes. Then another set of fireworks started, barely above the tree line to the north, but east of North Liberty’s.

“Is THAT it?” screamed the six year old.

“No, I think that’s the Lake Macbride fireworks.” I said. We watched between the three places for a few minutes.

Suddenly a big firework explodeed MUCH higher in the sky. “Those are Coralville’s!” I said. We oohed and ahhed appropriately. Older daughter was very disappointed that being so far away we could barely hear the explosions.

After 20 minutes of watching there was suddenly a VERY LOUD explosion BEHIND us (to the east). We looked back and realized we could see the Iowa City fireworks too. Our heads were on swivels going between Coralville and Iowa City.

I told the girls, that’s the cool thing about being at the highest point in Johnson County, we could see 5 community’s fireworks all from the same place. Younger daughter commented on the way home that, “I will never ever forget this night!”