On April 15, 2008 we closed on a 1955 Mid-Century Modern home in Merriam, KS that was custom designed by the late Donald R. Hollis of Hollis + Miller Architects. We will be sharing our journey as we update the house to make it our own, while trying to stay as close to the original design as possible.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New England Adventures and FEMA K-9 Test

Since LD and Katy were going to Massachusetts to recertify as a FEMA Urban Search and Rescue K9 team, we decided to turn it into a mini vacation.  
We got into Buffalo, NY on the second night, and decided to check out Niagara Falls.  It was late, but we had read in one of the brochures that they lit up the falls at night with different colored spotlights.   It was amazing to witness the raw power of the roaring water.  All that power made LD nervous, given that Katy was very interested in getting closer to the water.  If she had not been on a leash, she would have jumped in.  Katy loves the water, any water, even if it is one of the largest, most powerful running water in the Nation.

We wanted to go back the next day and get on a boat that takes you closer to the falls, but the overnight low was going to be close to freezing!  We decided it would not be the best day to get soaking wet.  So we continued our journey and arrived in Massachusetts on Monday evening.  

Tuesday we spent the day in Maine to talk dogs and see the Atlantic Ocean.  We got an excellent recommendation to eat at DiMillo’s Seafood Restaurant in Portland, Maine.  Both LD and I both figured that it would be just plain un-American to leave Maine without eating lobster and New England Clam Chowder.   Their chowder was a meal in and of itself, and it was to die for!!   I ordered the twin lobster (broiled, stuffed and baked) dish, and LD ordered everything else in the sea (haddock, clams, shrimp, scallops).  There was way too much food, but it was all delicious and something that we couldn't get anywhere else.  

After lunch we wanted to take the dogs to the Atlantic Ocean.  Morgan has been to the Pacific Ocean, but Katy has never been to any ocean.  Fortunately for us it turned out that dogs were allowed on the beach before Memorial Day.  

It was chilly, but that did not keep Katy from heading straight into the water and getting a taste of the salty sea.  

Morgan, who normally ignores other dogs was running around and actually tried to play with the other dogs.  Morgan took a liking to a pointer named Annie, which looked a lot like Baine.   We didn't realize she was selecting one dog until we watched the video.  LD thinks the Pointer reminded her of Baine.

The next day we were supposed to go to a Red Sox game, but we had sticker shock when they told us that parking around the stadium was around $40.00.  So we found a dog wash/store to wash the sea salt off the dogs, and headed to Ikea.  Our only intent was to return a few items, and buy some handles for our bathroom vanity.  But we spent some time looking at the cabinets, and I think we have decided on the cabinets and countertop for our hall bathroom (once we get around to it).  Nevertheless, I managed to browse for over three hours before LD told me she was done.   

On Thursday, we went into Salem to learn more about the Salem witch trials.  We walked around the Salem witch memorial, and checked out the burying ground next door.  It was sad to see the lack of maintenance in the memorial, and the lack of interpretive signs around town.  

We expected to see historical markers and signage on such things like where the trials took place, where the "witches" were hung, why they were murdered, etc, but we did not find that kind of information.  You would think that given the historical significance of the events that took place, and the number of people it draws into Salem, they would make more of an effort to maintain and mark the sites. 

On Friday we took the Samuel Adams Brewery Tour.  Nick, our tour guide, was excellent, but the best part of the tour was the FREE beer.  

We were given three beer flavors (well I got to sample three of their beers, LD does not drink).  The first beer was their Boston Lager, the second one was their seasonal Summer Ale, and the third one was their Brick Red.  Of those three, I preferred the Brick Red, unfortunately it is only sold as draft beer in the Boston Area (it is the brewery’s way of thanking Boston for their 25 years of support).   

After the tour, we made our way into downtown to follow the Freedom Trail.  A couple of very nice Bostonians saw that we were struggling with our map, and pointed us in the right direction.  

We started our journey at Fanueil Hall, unfortunately the second story was closed.  LD was very disappointed that the Boston Massacre Site was literally a construction spot in the middle of 3 streets!!!  

I was surprised to learn that all the historical sites were interspersed throughout the downtown area.  We found ourselves wishing more than once, that we could travel back in time to actually see what the area looked like.  Nevertheless, it was amazing to actually see the spots that built our Nation's foundation.  

We had an early dinner that evening because LD had to drive into Boxborough for an orientation meeting.  She found out that instead of testing at 1:40 the next day, she was going to take her test in the morning.  It turned out to be good for her because her nerves had started creeping in on Thursday, and she was wishing she could just get the test over with.  Despite my complete trust of their awesome skills, I still get nervous when they test.  

Pile 1-had 2 "victims"

Pile 2-had 3 victims

It is dangerous work, even when it is not a real scenario.  These dogs don’t know the difference between training and the real thing, and they give 110% of themselves every time they are out on the rubble.  

Katy and LD did great.  They found all of the “victims” in both rubble piles.  LD was on Cloud 9.  I am comforted by the fact that if I or one of my family members ever became entrapped in a real disaster I would completely trust Katy to find us.  

We stuck around Saturday evening to celebrate with the other K9 teams, and we started our journey back on Sunday morning.  New England was beautiful, but after spending ten days on the road, there is no place like home!  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Feeding The Fire Monster!

We are happy to report that our brush pile is finally gone!  We spent nearly 6 hours yesterday feeding the fire monster.  I was quite exhausted, but LD saw the end in sight and her energy gave me a second wind.

While LD and I were busy with the fire, our handyman was hard at work reconfiguring the plumbing to accommodate our new shower valve, hooking up the drain in our sink, installing new can lights, and replacing the toilet water supply line.

Our next step is to construct the shower pan.  Instead of trying to build a mud pan from scratch, we have decided to use a Kerdi shower kit.  I placed the order last Friday, but unfortunately I found out on Monday that the company is at least two weeks behind in shipping orders due to a supply issue.  I tried buying the kit locally, but the price quote I got was $150 more.  I am all about buying local, but not when there is such a huge price difference.  So I will just have to wait patiently.