Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Revenge of Winter

Here is something that has plagued me for a while;

Next to that dormer is a chimney that I have to add about 10 feet to. The box gutter is shot and that piece of plywood is to support my weight when I have to stand on that ledge to tar the roof in that area every year until I replace the slate. The water that runs off gets sucked up by the brick and is the reason why my bathroom wall is damp and peeling and also the cause of that ceiling mushroom that I showed you several months back. Well, this has caused another problem now. Below this area is a stairway to the basement that isn't covered with a cellar storm door. The doorway is boarded up and the side walls have bulged for years due to the heaving of the ground due to freezing and thawing in the winter. Not any more though. Today they looked like this;

Now isn't that special?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New House Accessories

This weeks auction netted us a few things. Besides an Eastlake wood top parlor table for $45 and two oak school type chairs for $15 we got these Griswold cast iron mail boxes for $40.

When I get bored I can whack these with a wire brush and spray paint them black so they can look as good as new. I haven't figured out what to do with the second one yet. Maybe I'll save it until Elizabeth is a teenager. I can attach it to her bedroom door to put her mail in after I ground her for a year when she has a hissy fit at Meijers and gets the police called on me.... wait, she has already done that!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Damn Spammers!

Even though you might use word verification to prevent spambots from zapping your blog it won't stop spammers! When this site gets spammed, I just delete the post. Lately some of my earlier posts got spammed in the comments. Upon a little research I am finding that the spammers are searching Google for blogs with specific key words. In all cases the searches were for words related to the subject the spammer was promoting and in my case the words searched were sexually oriented. Once again "Farmhouse Sex" was one of the searches and another had to do with spanking! The common thread that links the spammers is more interesting. They are located in India. I guess this is the penalty I pay for calling my site "This Old Crack House" and having a potty mouth. On the other hand, some poor bastard is sitting at a computer during a monsoon season searching aimlessly for something pathetic in a language they don't fully comprehend. Think how sad it would be if someone in India who loves cats searched the internet using the key word "Pussy".....

Oh Crap! That's going to send my google hits through the roof.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Guess What?

I did something today that I haven't done in 10 weeks. Since the inside temperature was up to 54 degrees I actually worked on the house! I just started right where I left off before the temperatures dropped below freezing inside the building. That's right. I assumed the position of being on my knees on the floor, bent over a heat gun with a paint scraper in my hand while sluggishly plodding away at the timeless task of stripping paint and goo off a floor. I had truely forgotten just how much I missed it! Some things I'm afraid, are best forgotten.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Springeth Hath Sprungeth

Spring officially began at 8:07 PM last night. So in good Olde English tradition lets all sing a round! Repeat after me...

Svmer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!

Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,
Sing cuccu!

Awe bleteþ after lomb,
Lhouþ after calue cu.
Bulluc sterteþ, bucke uerteþ,
Murie sing cuccu!

Cuccu, cuccu, wel singes þu, cuccu;
Ne swik þu nauer nu.

Sing cuccu nu. Sing cuccu.
Sing cuccu. Sing cuccu nu!

What? You didn't understand a word of that? Hmmm well I guess the English language has changed somewhat since 1260 AD.

Here is a Modern English translation but it doesn't fit well with the melody.

Summer has arrived,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!

Seeds grow and meadows bloom
And the forest springs anew,
Sing, Cuckoo!

The ewe bleats after the lamb,
The cow lows after the calf.
The bullock jumps, the billy-goat farts,
Merrily sing, Cuckoo!

Cuckoo, cuckoo, well you sing, cuckoo;
Nor cease you ever now,

Sing cuckoo now. Sing, Cuckoo.
Sing Cuckoo. Sing cuckoo now!

There is a sound clip of the first version if this sounds familiar.

So what have you learned today? I am completely off my rocker (cuckoo, cuckoo) and goats have been farting since the Middle Ages!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Life as Barbie and Lawn Thatching

Once in a while I actually get to sit down and watch This Old House Hour on PBS. Several months ago I saw an episode of Ask This Old House that involved lawn care. Roger pulled out a tool that is used for "thatching" a lawn. When I saw the tool I said "Hey, I've got one of those! It's been hanging in the garage for years!"

This week, between dealing with day to day life and playing "Barbies" with Elizabeth (which is kind of fun because my character looks like Barbie but sounds like Ken...) I have spent a few moments thatching the lawn and getting blisters. Fortunately the lawn at the resident home is smallish due to flower beds that look like crap as you can see;

"Oh, and here is the kewl tool. It kinda sorta looks like a rake, only different" (he says, looking like Barbie but sounding like Ken);

Maybe I should start "Ask This Old Crack House?" On second thought, maybe I shouldn't.

Anyway, did you know there is a new "Divorced Barbie" set? Yeah, it comes with all Kens stuff!

Friday, March 16, 2007

I Don't Know?

Oh no! It looks like Woods is having another auction next week! Things can get crazy around here the week before a Woods Auction. Just look at how excited Elizabeth gets. She can't wait to get there!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Feeling All Warm and Fuzzy Inside!!!!!

Tonight was our 2nd annual neighborhood chili cook-off event. This year we had 14 different entries instead of the 4 last year. We had double the attendance too. If you want to be amused you can read about last years event. With the greater variety of choices this year and two beers when I got home, I am certain that by noon tomorrow I WILL KNOW the difference between my a** and a hole in the ground......

Does anyone know how to fix burned porcelain?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Happy Birthday to Us!

Elizabeth turned 4 today.

I expect that I will be receiving another one of those cards sometime this week from Lowes that says "Happy Birthday" followed by "If you spend $XXX you will save $X like I did last year about this time.

AND this Blog is officially two years old today! I don't know whether to boast or complain......

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Direct Reply from Rejuvenation!

Before I posted my Indirect Reply post I sent a copy to Jim Kelly (the Owner) at Rejuvenation so they wouldn't get any more surprises from me. He responded with nice note indicating that he had tried to post a comment but experienced some difficulties with posting. He approved of my post and added that he was going to post a direct response on HIS BLOG.
I got an email a short while ago indicating that he has done this so you can all go over to HIS BLOG and see what he has to say! If you are interested in what he had to say about my marketing idea here it is:

"I will forward your marketing ideas to Tony Penca, our marketing director. I am not really up to speed with what all we are doing, but we are always willing to look at new ideas"

So, while you are at HIS BLOG site stop over and look at some of their light fixtures, put a wish list together and then let him know if you would support this kind of idea. If enough of us do it, it could happen! Let him know that Gary sent you.

There may be more to this houseblogging thing than meets the eye! Now if it would just get a little warmer so I could work on the house.....

An Indirect Reply From Rejuvenation!

From a reader who posted a comment about getting an email from the owner of Rejuvenation Lighting.

Dear Amanda,

Thank you very much for the note and for alerting us to the info on This Old Crack House (great site).

We feel extremely frustrated about the increases in costs we have had to pass through this year and last (just one was double digit - essentially it came out to 10% overall in the new catalogue). We are not gouging. Just so you know, here is what we have dealt with and why the increases are so high.

Since 2002, worldwide copper prices (main ingredient in brass) have quadrupled. This has had a huge, huge effect for us. Other commodities like steel have jumped substantially as well. On top of that, fuel increases have affected just about everything else (energy is the main "ingredient" in glass) as well as the normal increases in labor and other services and supplies. There is more to the story, such as skyrocketing medical benefits. Soon as I figure out how to do it correctly I will post something on the website.

Thanks again!

Jim Kelly

I have noticed many sitemeter hits from Oregon over the last few days so it would appear that my Rejuvenation Analysis has been studied by the company. I have held off posting this in the hopes that Mr. Kelly would have posted his own comment to this site but this comment is quite sufficient as far as I am concerned. I'm impressed that he took the time to reply to a houseblog reader.

While I have the ear of Rejuvenation I would like to propose something for their consideration. I have been in communication with the owners of via their discussion board and Aaron may have already spoke with your company regarding this since they are in the process of renewing the advertising link through the web ring. Many of us don't advertise or won't take the time to study the process or rate tables. We also don't know the accuracy of the system in place to keep records of click throughs. There are a lot of housebloggers out there that could REALLY do good word of mouth advertising for your company, Based on the comments on my analysis post it is obvious that several of the more popular blog writers would love to own Rejuvenation fixtures if they could justify the expense and fully understand that light fixtures REALLY change the mood of a room.

So, how about a discount to people who are registered with who are willing to write a fair review of your products after purchasing them and put a link to your site in return for the discount or an additional link if they already subscribe to the advertising arrangement.

Another thought was this. I am the president of our tax-exempt non-profit neighborhood association. There are 2500 buildings within our boundries and over 5000 residents. In addition to our neighborhood we have at least 5 Historic districts here in Dayton. I can put you in touch with the heads of those organizations. With a direct approach to marketing in this manner could you offer coupons in catalogues solicited from these neighborhoods?

I own four Rejuvenation light fixtures and already moved them from the house that I bought them for to the "Old Crack House" because I would be very upset if I sell the house to someone who lacks good taste. I would have no problems linking to your site if I knew that I qualified for some kind of special treatment, whether I took advantage of the special treatment or not. I'm sure you will find many who would be willing to do the same. It would certainly be interesting to see your comments to this!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Beware the Nones of March!

We have all heard about the "Ides of March" due to that whacky bard William Shakespeare who wrote a play about Julius Caesar but you NEVER hear about the "Nones of March" so I'm here to inform you about both.

From Wikipedia

The Romans had special names for three specific days in each month. The system was originally based on phases of the Moon (Luna), and these days were probably declared when the lunar conditions were right. After the reforms of Numa Pompilius, they occurred on fixed days. The named days were:

Kalendae (Kalends) — first day of the month, from which the word "calendar" is derived. Interest on debt was due on Kalends.

Nones — depending on the month, could be the 5th or the 7th day; traditionally the day of the Half Moon.

Ides — depending on the month, could be the 13th or the 15th day; traditionally the day of the Full Moon. An auspicious day in the Roman calendar.

Months with Nones on the 5th and Ides on the 13th days: January, February, April, June, August, September, November, December.

Months with Nones on the 7th and Ides on the 15th days: March, May, July, October.
These rules are summarised in the following mnemonic:

In March, July, October, May
The IDES fall on the fifteenth day
The NONES the seventh; all besides
Have two days less for Nones and Ides.

Now, on a biblical level we have all heard about Sodom and Gomorrah. We are constantly reminded about Sodomy and what and who it involves BUT no one EVER mentions Gomorrahmy. If you look up the word Gomorrah in the dictionary it refers you to the word Sodom. It's like a dirty secret, going down like shellac in a conversation about floor finishes or pork chops at a Bar Mitzva! About 20 years ago a buddy of mine told me about Gomorrahmy. He wouldn't describe it in detail but indicated that it involved plastic sheets, a bottle of Wessons oil and a girl from West Virginia who was double jointed in six vital locations!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Pictures of Herman

Herman Volkenand acquired the "Old Crack House" back in 1887. It was bought from the children of Charles Edgar the oldest of which had turned 18 by that time and the $6500 paid for the property would have been split amongst the three children as an estate settlement. He then spent two years raising the roof, adding a bay section, elongating the front windows, modifying a closet and adding some doors on the second floor. I have already transcribed a biography about him so I don't need to repeat it here but I found three pictures of him that I have that show quite well how he aged over about 20 years.

He doesn't wear the same tie twice!
Now you have to ask yourself, "Would you buy a second hand buggy from this guy?"