Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Marquardt 102 beats Fisk 101

I have a phrase I like to use when I do home repair around here:
"Marquardt 102 beats Fisk 101." 
It's kind of like the way classes in college are numbered. If English 101 is the intro class, English 102 will be just the tiniest step above it. Not the intro, but no expert level. So our house was previously owned by people named Fisk.
They were do-it-yourself-ers. 
I say that with a bit of tongue-in-cheek because, well, in many ways I'm just as cheap about my home repair. 
So there are some things that they did that are.. um... less than perfect. Not that they started with perfect materials mind you, since this house was built in 1868. But here's a good example.
This is our coat closet:
It is a folding door with a rail at the top. When we moved in, if you closed the door all the way the little guide would often slide off the rail. This would be Fisk 101. So I employed all of my handyman style skills to fix it.
Can you see my fix? Here it is from the back.
Oh yeah, check that bad boy out. That's a shim that's been broken off so it's not too long. I unscrewed the rail on one screw, slid in a shim, and rescrewed the rail in through the shim. (rescrewed; is that a word? Hmm... spell check doesn't think so.)
And that would be Marquardt 102. Pretty good, huh?

So recently we decided we hated the storm door on our house. Chances are 90%+ that it was purchased at an auction for $20 or less and it showed. Darn thing was a pain in the keyster. (Huh. Keyster is also not a word. I'm full of these tonight!)
Here's the old door
What you can't see is that I've ripped out the bottom screen because our cat clawed it to death. If you've never seen a screen clawed to death, consider yourself lucky. It's ugly. Not to mention the screen totally loses its purpose in life. I've also already replaced the broken latch on it once, and the entire open edge was coming off so it made a horrible cracking noise every time the door opened and closed. 
Turns out if you replace a screen door, it's not a super easy process. It involves, like, drill bits and stuff. 
But two days later, here's what we have!
I feel the need to say "voila!" Maybe this one was actually complicated enough to be Marquardt 103. Or even Marquardt 201. Anyone want to hire a contractor? No job too small! 

So I invite you to share. Do you improve the things the previous idiot did to your house with things that are only borderline less idiotic? Or do you hire someone?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lady in Red & Talking to Sheep

As I helped Ryan herd sheep tonight--this consists of standing in a spot he dictates and just being generally intimidating--I looked down at my red shirt and red polka dot farm boots and thought to myself, "this is probably not what Chris De Burgh was thinking when he sang 'Lady in Red.' "
While I do actually own a red dress that cleans up ok, this is not it.

My daughter's newest, best trick is that she makes sheep and cow noises. Not "baa" and "moo" but "me-eh-eh" and "maaahw." Altogether more accurate. Considering her current words are "Mama," "Daddy," "ball," and an occasional "num-num" in reaction to food she likes, she's soon going to make more animal noises than words. She's working on turkey noises too... 
But here's a video of her talking to the sheep for your viewing pleasure.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Bad Summer Night Poetry

There's a party in my garage,
and everyone's invited.
Turkeys, chickens, garden tractor
coexist united.
In amongst the concrete mixer, 
a brooder design is working well.
But can you tell turkey from chicken
in a building hotter than heck?
Cicadas and crickets harmonize
in a sky marbled pink.
They tell me "go and get a camera!
Then just stop and think."
So I leave you with the sound
of an Iowan midsummer night.
It's time to go in and wash the eggs
before I get a mosquito bite.