Basement Bathroom

This summer we upgraded our basement.  We added a full bathroom, switched to a tankless water heater, upgraded our electrical panel, and added an egress window to the basement family room.  Rather than continuously posting photos all summer, we saved them until the end of the project.

Basement Project

We started by cleaning out our storage room and doing the demo work.  We then hired a highly recommended contractor for everything else.  The bathroom turned out really nice.  Our upstairs bathroom now plays second fiddle to the one in the basement.

Also, thanks to American Standard and this hard to listen to collection of “industrial musicals,” our bathroom now has a theme song.


With the death of Google Reader and the uncertainty of where I really want to be hosting my photos, I haven’t been posting lately.  Rest assured, we’re still here and doing fine.

Here’s some not-at-all-catastrophic storm damage pictures from last night’s hail storm.  I got caught driving in it.  Our house got caught standing in it.  At least the power is back on now.  We went over 12 hours without it.  Does anybody want to help us drink some ice cream?


Tick, Tock, Time to Toss

This “artwork” from high school is no longer suitable for storing in our basement.  My wife says we have to throw it away.  Part of me will mourn this loss… another part of me wonders how I’ve made it this far without going completely crazy.

This is just one of the many pieces of wonderment we found while cleaning out the storage room in our basement.

I don’t remember this being that hideous.  This might be evidence that I have a tendency towards delusions of grandeur.  I’m sure the work isn’t even entirely mine.  In our high school art classes, we often based our projects on other artists’ works.

I don’t know… maybe it faded or something.


Last night we fixed our furnace.  The only thing we had to do to make it work again was to replace a 2 month old furnace filter.  Let me explain…

Marie complained at lunch yesterday that the house was starting to get cold.  The thermostat on the wall was reading a few degrees colder than the target temperature.  I figured this wasn’t a huge problem since there are “smarts” built in to absorb temperature swings.  When I toggled the thermostat on and off it started right up and I headed back to work.

When I came home from work the house was cold again.  This time it was much colder than the target temperature.  I toggled the thermostat again and the furnace ran for about 5 minutes and quit.  This was odd.  I put on a sweatshirt and went to the basement.

The furnace has a tiny window that you can use to see an LED number code.  It started it’s cycle with an H.  After a little while it started flashing 6 and then eventually started flashing 2.  We fetched the furnace manual.  6s and 2s weren’t codes for anything.  I opened up the furnace for a closer look.  It then became obvious.  There’s only one digit on the furnace display.  A flashing 6 was really a code 66.  A flashing 2 was really a code 22.  The H was the only code displayed that was normal.

Code 66 was a limit code for the blower motor.  It was working too hard.  Code 22 (which came at the end of the cycle) was a high limit… probably a temperature sensor somewhere.  The codes pointed strongly towards the furnace not getting enough air from our ducts.  I took out the furnace filter.  It was only two months old.  It was chalked full of a fine white powder.  Was this fallout from some nuclear bomb test?  Anthrax?  Maybe it was the same white dust we’ve been cleaning up the last couple weeks that has been spewing from our little ultrasonic humidifier.  Yeah… that seems more probable.

The cold and flu season has really taken a toll on us this year.  We’ve been running the little humidifier pretty much constant for about 3 weeks.  The white dust is really mineral deposits from our tap water.  It gets atomized along with the water in our humidifier.  TVs, monitors and other static generating gadgets are like magnets for this white dust.  We never thought we were clogging our furnace filter with it.

The furnace worked great again after replacing the filter.

When we bought the ultrasonic humidifier, we loved it.  It’s super quiet, easy to clean, and there’s no filter to replace.  Now I’m not sure we should be running it anymore.

Caribbean Vacation

Earlier this month, Marie and I went on a vacation with our friends, Matt and Janice.  We spent some time in Florida in addition to going on a Caribbean cruise.  We had a great time.  We left shortly after a large amount of snow fell in Minnesota.  This made the warm, sandy beaches that much more enjoyable.

I am experimenting with hosting our photos on Google.  I hope this works out.

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was one of our first stops.


Our next activity was this awesome speedboat tour of Miami.

Miami Speedboat Tour

Our cruise ship left Miami on Dec 10th.

Leaving Miami

Here are pictures from our cruise ship, the Carnival Destiny.

Carnival Destiny

On 12/12/12 we made it to Grand Turk. We went snorkeling from a catamaran sailboat.

Grand Turk

Half Moon Cay had an amazing beach. The sandy bottom went on forever.

Half Moon Cay

In Nassau we decided the term, “Christmas Jollification” was underutilized back home.


Our last stop was the Everglades. That’s Matt holding “Little Snappy.”


Newspaper Clippings

I was happy to find some old newspaper clippings while cleaning the basement today.

The first picture is from the Fargo Forum.  I’m guessing it was 1983 if they got my age correct.  The Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, MN occurs every year about the same time as my birthday.

Hay Stack at Rollag

I think the second picture and article are from the Hillsboro Banner (1986).

Elm River Fishing Derby  Elm River Fishing Derby Text

Frontenac State Park

In July (yes, I’m just now getting around to July), we went on a short camping trip to Frontenac State Park.  We camped with our friend, Kevin, and also Marie’s mother, Shari.

On Saturday night we went for a “short” hike down the bluffs.  This hike ended up taking us a much longer than we expected.  The next time we head out right before sundown we’re taking a flashlight.

Frontenac State Park