When I moved into my new house a couple of years ago my basement was finished but outdated and since it wasn't a space that I needed for living I pretty much ignored it and used it as storage. Last summer I went through the boxes I still hadn't unpacked since moving and purged more stuff (that felt great). I then painted over some awful wall paper and a pink bookshelf in preparation for my birthday party. After that I went back to nearly ignoring my basement, but the one thing I really wanted was a fully functioning 2nd bathroom. The basement has a bathroom but the shower didn't work so I decided in January that it was time to get someone to help me redo my bathroom. That is where my big basement remodeling project started. I don't have many pictures of the basement before I started remodeling but here are a couple from the demo process.
Chris & Michelle Small began emolition began in February. They took everything in the bedroom, big rec room, and a storage room down to the studs. They also took out the UGLY vanity and the non-working shower in the bathroom. After that we started working on putting my vision together in the basement. I had two egress windows installed and a doorway cut in the cinderblock so I could turn half of the rec room into a bedroom. Most of my job during this remodel was sanding and staining doors and trim and writing checks.
Eventhough it's not all done like the shower tile, floor trim and ceiling planks, things look pretty amazing in each room. I am excited to know that when I am all done and the rooms are furnished I will have a 4 bedroom, 2 bath house. $$$$$
World's Largest Porch Swing
October 18, 2020
Covid-19 put a damper on traveling and most of the places on my list were closed so I went back to the Atlas Obscura website and found out that the world's lagrgest porch swing is in Hebron, NE.. I loaded up my traveling campanion and we headed off to Hebron to see the swing. It is made out of irrigation pivot and technically not on a porch but we were out for an adventure and didn't care.
The swing is in a park in Hebron under a covered area and it was fun looking for it. On the way back home I swung by the Fairfield airport which was important to the WWII war effort.
To the Tip of Hamilton County
I spent the last few days planning my online College American History classes and racking my brain trying to figure out enrichment activities for the 12 students in my regular American History class so I decided I needed an outting. I packed myself a lunch and grabbed some cookie treats for Izzy and the two of us headed out in the truck to go to the tip of Hamilton County, NE.
We made it! Down at the arrow sign, the right side is Polk County, the left side is private property. We went to the corner and turned around to head home. This was a fun little adventure and gave me the inspiration for an enrichment activity for my students. I am going to challenge my students to find a place in Hamilton County that they have never been to and document their trip. Maybe we can all learn something about where we live.
I definately thought I would have more adventures posted by now but life got a little busier than I planned. I am still working on reaching my goal and hopefully in a few months things will be less restrictive and travel more reasonable. The restrictions of the Covid-19 Pandemic has forced me to think on a smaller scale for my adventures, so Adventure #4 has a more personal connection to me than an exotic location.
My sister, Barb, had a rare day off so I talked her into going with me to Siloa Cemetery. Izzy and I picked her up and went to find a little, corner of a field, cememtery in Hamilton County where our great-grandmother is buried.
I have been to Siloa Cemetery before eventhough it has been many years since I have been there and I thought I knew the general direction so we didn't bother to check Google Maps, this was an adventure after all. We headed west to the Murphy road and then turned north thinking it was two miles off the highway. I drove up and down the gravel roads looking for it and finding out where people we know live. Izzy was getting antsy so after awhile I broke down and checked Google Maps to find the cememtery. I was surprised the little cemetery showed up on the map. We were 1 mile away, we just hadn't gone far enough north; it is on the corner of 16th & M roads.
When I pulled into the drive Izzy couldn't get out of the truck fast enough. She wanted to check things out righ away. Izzy loved running around the cemetery while Barb and I checked out the headstones.
My great-grandmother Alma Gustafson died in 1918 because of the Spanish flu. My grandmother, J. Marie, and her twin sister, Mildred, were 5 years old when she died.
I am thankful that the Covenant Church in Aurora and the Siloa Cemetery Board take good care of this little piece of my family's history.
Fall Break & Branson, MO
Last summer I went to the Ark Encouter attraction in Williamstown, KY and found iit to be very interesting. When I heard about the Titanic Museum in Branson, MO I thought it would be a similar experience so I made plans to go see it during my fall break from school. The museum is 1/3 of the Titanic and has a recreated beautiful grand staircase that is really something to see in person. It took me about 2 hours to go through the museum, reading almost everything on display. I enjoyed my time and didn't have to be in a hurry. I was only disappointed I couldn't take pictures inside the museum.
I spent the rest of the day going to a fish hatchery, shopping at Branson Landing and attending a show in the evening. At the fish hatchery is was interesting to see the process of rasing the trout until they are ready to be released into the lakes.
I attended a show called "Six" in Branson. Six brothers that perform as an acapella group. The show was very good and music I like to listen to. It was two hours of fun and relaxation. These guys are very talented and included a very moving tribute to their mother.
Fall Break & Topeka, KS
Why drive 7 hours straight home when you can stop at IKEA and at the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic site? Driving by myself for long periods of time is very hard so I like to find interesting places to visit as side trips. When I was planning my trip I knew I would be coming back through Kansas City so I could stop at IKEA but when I really got to looking at the map I realized that Topeka, KS was only about 50 minutes from KC and I could then head north for home. I like to visit places that I teach about and Topeka was a place I had not visited before so I put it on my itinerary. The Brown v. Board of Education site was well worth the stop. The park ranger was very enthusiastic and gave me a great introduction to the building and exhibits. What I learned was that Kansas provided nicer segregated school facilities than other southern states, making the case of "separate but equal" harder to disprove. They also had on display a black doll used in the psychological study by Kenneth Clark to help win the case. The other great thing about the historical site was that people who lived it would come and drop by regularly to walk the halls of the former school. If this was closer, it would be a great place to bring my students.
I got home safely from this road trip and now I am planning for the next adventure.
Jail in Harvard, NE
Working on this list of 50 adventures I found the website Atlas Obscura and searched Nebraska. One of the 'world's most extraordinary sights" is in Harvard, NE. This small town with a population of about 1,000 people has a 130 year old jail that was owned by a teenage boy and then Charlie McCarthy bought it with war bonds. The sign next to the jail tells the story of its unusual owners.
Since Harvard is relatively close (50 miles round trip) I decided to make this my second adventure. I got Izzy into the truck, packed her some water, stopped for a chocolate shake for myself and headed south out of town.
I don't think I have ever been to Harvard so I drove around town a little before we stopped at the jail. It was easy enough to find and Izzy was excited to get out of the truck and check it out. So here are pictures from my little adventure to see a jail on a Sunday afternoon.
Stop 1: The Foreign Candy Company Outlet Store in Hull, IA
Adventure 1/50 was a family affair. Several of my family members met me at the Foreign Candy Company Outlet Store on Saturday, August 10, 2019. We scoured the store looking for fun and interesting candy to fill our baskets. I purchased mostly chocolate bars but everyone else picked up sour chewy candies. It is such a fun place to stop because you give yourself permission to be like a kid and get the yard long bubble gum or the spaceship wafers. You also realize that you don't have to purchase a lot of candy and for 20 minutes you just had fun.
Stop 2: Supper in Le Mars, IA
Out in the parking lot of the candy store it was time to make a decision; go get ice cream at the Wells Blue Bunny Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor or eat supper first and then ice cream. Jack, the sensible one, suggested supper first and then ice cream. We decided to try the Iowa BBQ Company in Le Mars, IA. This was a good decision. If anyone is headed to Le Mars I would suggest eating at the Iowa BBQ Company. I also suggest the Ribeye Brisket with Mac & Cheese and Corn Bread.
Stop 3: The Wells Visitor Center & Ice Cream Parlor in
I wanted to mark my upcoming 50th birthday in a special way. After thinking about this for a long time I am putting my plan into action. I am going to go on 50 adventures over the next 2 years to celebrate my 50th birthday. I am inviting family and friends to join me on any or all of the adventures. Some are going to be big, some will be small, but all will be fun.