31 January 2008

Bed and Breakfast For Sale

Would you like to own the place where Tim purposed to me? Tim sure would, but unfortunately we don't have an extra $399,000 laying around.

Govern Farms and Homes

27 January 2008

Iowa Falls, IA

Yesterday afternoon my mom and I traveled to Iowa Falls. It's around 50 miles southwest of Greene, and I had never been. We didn't get much of a chance to look around town, but I am definitely going to have to head back with my camera (I tried taking shots with the cell phone, but the pictures really suck so I'm not going to even try to post them). They have some amazing architecture both on their Main Street area and in the residential areas. Also it looked like they had some really cool Main Street businesses.

Aaron, Jeannie, and Mike In Real Life

So the original plan for last Sunday was to leave the kids with my mom and head on over to Iowa City to meet Mike of Foxcroft and Aaron and Jeannie of House In Progress. Aaron and Jeannie were guest speakers at Mike's Iowa City Friends of Historic Preservation annual meeting.

Well, mom called and she wondered if she could back out because they were working on putting stone up on the wall of their kitchen. She did a kitchen addition on the house about two years ago and the wall hadn't been finished yet. Their goal is to have it done by the supper bowl party they are supposed to be hosting. I told her I was fine with that. We understand major projects before parties totally. Plus, living so close to so many family we don't have problems finding sitters.

So Molly was going to Tim's folks for the night and Elsa was going along for the ride to Iowa City and then going to hang out with my sister. That was until Molly got the plague. OK, not quite the plague, but some sort of head cold. If you remember from a previous post we had gone to a play date with a friend that developed RSV so I was seriously worried she'd hit the high temps that Elle did. We made it through the night with no problem, but I didn't want to make the in-laws responsible if anything went wrong. So Tim was unwelcoming volunteered to stay home while Elsa and I headed out in the cold.

Tim was very unhappy with this arrangement, I think he had even read up on what was happening on the two blogs so he could stay current with the conversation. But he, being a good husband, also realized that now days I have very little outside adult contact and that this meeting meant a lot to me after following these people for around five years now.

I had a wonderful time. Mary (my sister) and I ate at a wonderful bakery next to the library and then headed over for the meeting. She and Elsa hung out in the children's area while I attended the meeting. It was so wonderful to see a like-minded group of people come together to accomplish so many great things for their city, really inspiring. And Aaron and Jeannie gave a wonderful talk. It was fun the see the beginnings of what would become their wonderful site, and to see them share some of their wealth of knowledge. I would recommend them highly to any other group looking for speakers. I even won a book! More on that in another post though.

My only regret was it seemed like there wasn't enough time to chat. I was sure Aaron and Jeannie were anxious to get on the road and I had to get Elsa so Mary could make it to work on time. Of course, before I left we had to stop for a gelloto, because you can't find that in my neck of the woods.

On the way home I called Tim to report that I was on my way and find out supper plans. He asked, kind of snidely, "So was it worth the 5 hour drive?" Yes, it defiantly was.

23 January 2008


or What Would James Bond Do

So of course the morning I do a post on how the furnace hasn't gone out it goes out that evening, and doesn't stay lit. So last night Tim gets home, eats, and then gets suited up to do battle in the cold. In the mean time I'm cleaning up after supper when his phone vibrates. I pick it up and say, "That's funny it didn't ring, I was standing here the whole time." I then turn around and continue wiping. A couple of seconds later I turn back and see him poking at the phone with his hand over the screen. "Are you texting?" I asked in an amazed voice.

Ok, I know this makes me so totally uncool, but I believe that texting is best left to people who are not grown men. Something about it really turns me off. Picture someone who is the epitiamy of manhood, like James Bond, poking at his phone using stupid abbreviations. You can't right? I rest my case.

So back to our conversation. He shows me his screen. "wtf," I exclaim. "What are you a sixteen year old girl." "Your just jealous you don't know anyone who text messages," he replies.

Which is not true. Tom and Jen text message. For some reason I accept this. Maybe because when they started they were actually teenagers. Maybe because they are so darned cute because for some strange reason they seem to still want to talk to each other after being married for two+ years. I think of them as young and cute. I don't want to think of my husband as young and cute. I want him to be a tool wielding, furnace fixing machine. And this text messaging crap is interfering with both.

The phone vibrates again. "idk, what does that mean?" he asks. I feel a little better because if he doesn't know all the slang maybe he's just starting down this dark path and he can still be saved. "I don't know, maybe," I reply. He types away furiously for a bit and then heads down to the basement. I assume he is going to get tools, but after the minutes drag by I figure out he's down there texting where I can't see him. So the situation has gone from weird to creepy and no one is fixing the heat. -sigh-

James Bond wouldn't sit in his basement text messaging. And you know what, James Bond wouldn't come to bed smelling like burnt corn either. But I suppose I'm disappointing in ways too. I imagine Bond girls shave their legs more than once a month.

21 January 2008

Corn Furnace Update

I'm sorry I said I hate contractors. That was a little extreme. Like I said there are a few that we couldn't live without and are very pleasant to work with. But unfortunately we have found that to be a very small number. For awhile we figured it was because we had made the mistake of not hiring the expensive contractor. This corn furnace has taught us that price does not a good experience make. We've come to the conclusion that for us doing the work ourselves has been much more rewarding than hiring it done. That being said if the furnace continues to not keep up we have decided that we will purchase another heating manifold and install it ourselves. So no, I don't hate contractors, I hate working with them.

I think like todd said in the last post it was a case of bad communication. The plumbers we had out to do the work seemed experienced in what they were doing, and were much better (honest?) in answering our questions. I wish that we could have dealt with them from the beginning instead of the owner/salesperson combo we talked to. So maybe that's a secret. You need to stick with smaller/local businesses. But then again that's bitten us in the butt too. And as for recommendations we learned how unfortunate those could be with our roof debacle. I don't know what the answer is. I just have to go on with the belief that people who mislead others are going to have to answer for that someday, and be happy in that knowledge.

Thank you matt for the offer of help. As of right now I'm hoping we won't need it. As for a cleaner we were told that we wouldn't need one with this system. Which was another reason why we bought it.

When the plumbers came back out they removed the solid auger we had been using and replaced it with a hallow one. They said they don't install solid ones on corn furnaces anymore and don't know how that one made it on our unit. -sigh- It seems to have made the difference. Tim had noted that even how it burns seems better and we haven't had a problem with it going out since. This is the longest it has consecutively run ever. My dad made a good observation. He said that the auger probably makes the difference because a hallow one wouldn't conduct heat as much as a solid one. The solid one was probably conducting the heat and causing condensation (which he had noticed outside the tube and thought was strange) which caused the feed to gum up.

The fact that it is now running after the replacement makes me feel better because these guys had my husband and I feeling like a couple of morons. They kept telling us how they had retired farmers who ran the thing with no problems and didn't understand why we had problems. Well, from what we can tell now it's because YOUR auger.

Other minor issues you should know if you are thinking about getting one. They are NOT maintenance free. The salesperson made it sound like you just had to clean out once a month or so and otherwise you didn't have to pay any attention to it. Wrong. We have to poke around at the fire twice a day. Tim does it first thing in the morning before leaving for work and then in the evening after supper. So don't expect to take an overnight away and it still be working when you return. That being said the technician we had out here said what the owner told us about having someone around to watch it constantly is a bunch of baloney. That people are able to leave there stoves and go to friends houses for play-dates and return to find them working. We've also found that you can't adjust the thermostat. I'm one of those people who loves it cold when the sleep. So I had a programmable thermostat that dropped way down at night and then warmed it self back up before I was up in the morning. We can't do that right now. In fact, if we mess with the thermostat setting at all it seems to lead to problems so we no longer touch it. I don't know if this we be better once we have the shed built and have a heaver load on the system. I'll have to let you know.

15 January 2008

I Hate Contractors

Things are pretty glum around the farm house these days. We don't understand. Are all contractors jerks? I mean I think we are pretty good judges of character, we seem to have so many lovely friends and family. Then why are we incapable of picking a decent contractor? OK, not all of them have been horrible (we love you Wedeking Electric please come soon to wire the dining room), but it seems we get more bad apples than good.

For the last three days the furnace has not kept lit over 6 hours. Last week it worked fine for us. Tim would go out every night and stir the pot a bit and things were a nice and toasty 72 degrees. And when the weather turned so did our luck.

They sent a guy out yesterday. When Tim called last night Mick (the owner of the company) said that we had bad corn and just the slightest crack can cause the furnace not to work. Now isn't that something you should tell the customer before they purchase corn? Also, he was upset to find that I was not home. The girls and I had gone for 4 hours to a friends for a play date. I guess you are not supposed to leave the furnace. Isn't that something they should have told us? Now if someone said to you you can't leave the house for the furnace to work effectively would you buy the furnace? I think not.

So we got up this morning to our cold house and Tim called Mick again. He said that this is the last time he is sending a guy out for free and we just have to face the fact that we have a bad batch of corn. Now here's my solution. We will waste even more of our time (Tim was supposed to be a work hours ago, but he's here waiting for the contractor) draining the bin. We will then purchase "approved" corn from the contractor and then see if the damn thing works. Or I am seriously tempted to say to them take the damn furnace and the coil that you put in that is too small to heat the house and we'll just pay for the work plumbing the two together. Then we'll go to another contractor and start over again.

I am so tempted to e-mail the company a link to this post and a copy of my site stats. Let them know just how fast word of mouth can travel when you have a houseblog. I suppose I had better just settle down though.

10 January 2008

Rath Administration Building Purchased

Exciting news. The Rath Administration building has been purchased to be renovated by Mako Waterloo Corporation. Read the article here.

04 January 2008

Waste of Fricking Money

I want to call my husband and scream and yell. But I won't because I am a good wife.

They came Monday and installed the corn furnace the rest of the way and the last few days have been a constant battle with it. If it actually stays lit, it doesn't keep the house warm. I let the temperature fall to 63 and then I'd bump the propane on to catch it up so I don't know just how low the thing would fall before it would keep up.

Yesterday morning the contractor came out to start the fire because Tim had to get to work and we couldn't figure out why it would have gone out (he said it was feed that plugged the auger, but when Tim looked at it this morning after it went out again he said the auger is not sitting right and it's grinding the corn up into feed). I talked to him about it not keeping up and how maybe we need a bigger exchanger on the furnace. He told me that the exchanger was more than big enough for area this size in that "Don't be stupid" tone of voice. I wanted to make a nasty comment, but not only am I a nice wife, I am a good person so I just smiled sweetly at him bottling my anger deep, deep inside.

What really burns me is we used a really expensive contractor. And it's still not right. Arrrrrrrrg@!#$

Well today that anger is itching to get out. I need to get somethings tonight at the store and I just know Tim is going to make a fuss about price and not having any money. Well at least the camera case I plan on buying will work unlike that stupid corn furnace he bought. There I said it, and hopefully that will be enough and I won't have to have a complete melt down in the middle of the Target store.

I wish I had a time machine. I'd hop in it and travel back to October and forbid Tim from buying that stupid corn furnace. Instead I'd take the money and buy a Wii and the Guitar Hero game (I played it with my cousin last weekend and fell in love, I even dreamed about it last night, serious). Then if I was angry I'd just rock out until my anger subsided...

Slow Ride -da dum dumb, da dum dumb-
Take It Easy -da dum dumb, da dum dumb-
I'm In The Mood...