Saturday, May 30, 2009

Your Vote Counts!

A few weeks ago, I posted about our carpet removal. Since then, we've slowly worked on that project, putting the carpet out with the trash, prying up the tack boards, sweeping over and over again. Now we're taking the plunge. We are ready to order the new flooring.

This week we looked at Lowe's, Village Decorative here in town, and Lumber Liquidators. We knew in advance that we want either bamboo or engineered hardwood (more environmentally friendly and a bit less expensive), preferably the snap-together kind. Village Decorative - other than learning that bamboo will fade in direct sunlight - was a bust, and Lowe's didn't have the combination of the type of flooring and the installation method. But today we hit the jackpot with our online glances at Lumber Liquidators.

Honestly, when we pulled into the parking spot I was a little nervous - I mean, there was a man standing by the door, glancing out, longing for customers. But it was so easy. We knew what we wanted, the salesman showed it to us, gave us free samples and a catalog, and let us know how long it would take once we ordered. There was no pressure to buy a more expensive floor or pay them to install it. Amazing.

So here are our two options. This floor will go in the dining/living/entry area and the hallway. (We are keeping the tile in the kitchen because it's supposedly a lot easier to clean - with water.) It's Schon Quick Click Engineered hardwood. We are already leaning toward one, but we still want your vote and reason for it.

This is next to the paint color for most of that area.

This is next to the back of the kitchen cabinets. (There is a breakfast bar between the kitchen and dining room; this is underneath it, if that makes any sense.)
This is next to the accent walls - under the chair rail in the dining room and the fireplace wall in the living room.
So what should it be? Post your vote or text it to Megan or Brad.

Another exciting event was that today I finished this project... Brad's cousin, Lindsay, is having a baby boy in July. Barb is going to her shower next weekend and will take it for me. I would have to say that it turned out very well; now that I'm 23 I can do projects all by myself - with frequent calls to mom, of course. I'm so proud of myself!


Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Little Bit of Life

We like to go on evening walks through the neighborhoods around ours (and ours in the process, of course). For Brad the walks are social time, to see how many people we know who will stop us to talk. (Note: I have discovered that if I want to walk for exercise, I should go on one in the morning by myself.) One evening we stopped at the house of some friends, talked for about an hour, then ended up going to get pizza with them - from the gas station they own - and getting a ride home. Such is "small town" life, though I still contend that Augusta is not that small of a town.

Here are some images of a recent walk...

The corner down the street:
A yard sign we transplants happen to love. :)
Mr. Popularity
Anyone need an appliance? (I was a little scared to take this picture because there was someone in the garage working.)
Hoping no one comes after me for my paparazzi-like photography.
We want a tree like this. But, we don't know the actual name, so we just call it the "peely-bark tree."

On my solo walk this morning I found a wonderful place just a few blocks away from our neighborhood... drum roll, please.... a dirt road (again, not that Augusta is so big it would take long to get out of town). That's right, folks, this country girl found an unpaved place to walk. It was absolutely beautiful. And so peaceful. Tomorrow I will take my camera.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Living is Easy

Flowers at the farm...

Yes, it is summertime. Hooray! That's such a wonderful word in the house of two teachers - and very welcome at the end of last week.

My "To-do" list seems miles long, but I'm already checking things off: touch up paint, tie quilt, price flooring, get lots of summer snow (a.k.a. shaved ice)... I do love a good list.

The only problem is that I cannot figure out where my camera memory card is. I uploaded pictures this morning, put the card back into my camera, deleted all images, and now??? And so finding that goes on my list.

Monday, May 18, 2009

We're Not Gonna Take It! Part II

Freaking frustrating. Those two words describe the relationship between DISH Network and myself (Brad). Even though something as trivial as television service is, I expect the service that I pay for. A novel concept! Through the last few years of having DISH, I have made at least a dozen calls to complain about losing our signal. Today was the last straw, we had not had any service for the last 24 hrs (no storms have passed through in that time period) and they offered to send someone out to fix it for free.

- Flashback to before we moved - Me: How much longer are we under contract for our DISH? DISH Lady: it looks like you only have 5 months remaining. Me: Great, thanks!

- Back to the future - Today I asked the customer service rep how much longer we had, because we are unhappy with the amount of times we lose signal, and how it is dangerous for us in Kansas when we lose signal during thunder storms, and I am told that we are under contract for another YEAR! I was upset and asked how much it would be to cancel service because I didn't feel that we were being treated as customers who have been loyal for almost 2 years. They tell me that it is $10 for each remaining month, and then offer me a $10 a month discount for the next 6 months. I chuckled and said no thank you, it would be worth our money and safety to discontinue having DISH. I know that Megan's parents have DISH and rarely have problems, that is why I was very excited to initially sign up. But since the first day of having DISH it has been nothing but a pain. It looks like Megan and I will be entering the "Digital Age" with Cox Cable.

I know again that this is trivial and some what materialistic (or Snooty Tooty) complaint in the grand scheme of things, but there are many days after being at school from 7:00 to 3:20 and then heading to practice from 3:30 to 6:00 then grading papers for an hour that I would like to relax and watch the Royals, Jayhawks or the Daily Show to unwind from my day of 5th graders griping about each other and high school girls and their inherent attitude towards everything.

Friday, May 15, 2009

We're Not Gonna Take It!

First, my warning: there are some really disgusting pictures in this post.

Well, we knew when we bought this house that it would need a lot of TLC. The pictures make the house more impressive than it really is, and we have always planned on this place being a real labor of love. But, I can honestly say that I never thought I would spend my Friday nights like this one.

The last couple of weekends we, with the help of parents and brothers, have worked hard, painting the kitchen/dining room/living room/hallway and landscaping in the front, along with various other little projects. For the most part, we had decided to let things stay as they were for a while. It was nice to clean up and live like a normal person for a while. That lasted about four weekdays.

We start with some super-smelly carpet in the living room/dining room (it continues through the hallway and bedrooms, but is not so smelly there and thus is not involved in this story). The previous owners had four dogs, and it seems as though these little yippers were not often let out to do their business in the yard when they needed to. The smell was there when we looked at the house, when we made an offer, when Stanley Steamer cleaned the carpet, and when it got warm and humid, the carpet smelled even worse. This week has been especially bad.

Since the smell has quickly escalated, we move on to tonight, and armed with a brand-new box cutter and blade, some duct tape, bleach, and many trash bags, we begin our next project.

This action (combined with me pulling the carpet and rolling it), reveals something worse than we even imagined.

However, since this is the corner that always smelled the worst, we had some hope for the rest of the floor. Once we pulled up the pad, our hopes were... dashed.

The sub-floor is stained. The especially dark spot right by the door was actually still wet when we pulled off the carpet and pad. Disgusting. (On the plus side, you can see my stellar paint job in the corner of the picture.) So our temporary solution?!

We bleached it! The harsh scent of bleach is actually a welcome change for us. Our next step is to have my dad over to check and make sure the plywood sub-floor is in good enough shape to keep (we think it is, but want to be safe). Then we will kilz it until we are ready to put in some hardwood.

Hopefully someday we'll be able to put up pictures of the total transformation. For now, I'm spending as much of the weekend away as possible.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This I Believe

Since we moved to Augusta, we have been going to church in Wichita. To be more exact, on the west side of Wichita. Lots of people have asked why Hope - because it would make more sense to find a church home in Augusta, or even a Mennonite church that's a little closer. We made this decision for many reasons, and since we've been attending Hope there have been many to add to the list.

One of those new reasons is the drive. It may seem crazy, but it is one time a week when we know we will have time to connect, no matter how busy life has been. Another perk of the drive is listening to NPR on the way. One of the Sunday morning segments is called "This I Believe."

You can read more about it and listen to some essays at, but basically it is a radio program from the 1950's that has been resurrected. People write essays about what they believe (and why, of course) and read them on the air. Recent highlights have been Muhammad Ali and a kindergartner who listed 100 beliefs.

From this program comes my current unit. I debated for months, not sure whether or not 6th graders would be thrilled to do this, take it seriously, or even be ready (cognitive development what it is). In the end, I obviously decided to jump in and see what happens. So far so good, two days in. I had them hooked when I played Tarak McLain's essay (he's the kindergartner) and one from a 6th grader.

The first assignment of the unit was to write what the word "believe" means. No dictionaries. No friends. Just write it down, in a sentence or two. What follows are a just few of their definitions. And this is why I teach...
To me, the word "believe" means an idea you think is true.
To me, the word "believe" means to think no one can turn down your ideas.
To me the word believe means you have faith in something or you know something great is going to happen.
To trust something.
To me the word "believe" means to have faith.
To me the word "believe" means that all your hope is in a thought of your own.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

What's Lacking... a little creativity.

So for a long time I've wanted to set up a blog. And a few weeks ago I did. For school. "Mrs. Kohlman's Blog" on edublogs. In the beginning things were complicated, and I am thankful to be working in a district where we have instructional technology positions to help me out! It's been a fun little adventure for the kiddos and me.

After that was done, I debated about setting up a personal one. I've thought about how nice it would be to, at the very least, comment on the posts of my friends. But I always resisted - not because of the public-ness of the venue (though I had my concerns), not because I thought I might not write posts that are articulate enough (though after reading my sister's blog, it's a valid thought). I didn't start a blog until now because I couldn't think of a creative title.

Really. It's true. I mean, I'm an English teacher. I make a living with words (albeit those at the sixth grade level), so surely I can think of some wordplay for a unique blog title. But no. I ended up giving in to myself today, and creating this. As you can see I'm still at a loss for words (hmm... maybe that would have been a good title?). I think, though, that I will stick with the simplicity of, as Brad put it, "just who we are" and let the posts speak for themselves.