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The First in the Deck Series

Our most recent DIY experience through the process.

Out With The Old, In With The New

Gotta love a new beginning, right?

Peppermint Shortage

Just a funny afternoon.

Coffeyville, KS

I loved this experience so much that I had to write about it. Then, through e-mails it spread to Coffeyville itself.

Photo Restoration

I had a lot of fun with this "old school" photo. It turned out too cool to not blog about it.

Kitchen Remodel (part one)

This is the first of a nine-part series documenting the remodel of our 50-year-old kitchen in our 100-year-old home!

Getting Further Away!

Well, my last blog was discussing the fact that the Lyric's birth was getting closer and closer, but now I must announce that it is getting further away. You may be asking yourself how could this be possible, but I doubt it. I'm sure that you've figured out that the reason it's getting further away is because HE WAS BORN! YAY!

He was born at 2:10 Saturday afternoon. He weighed in at 6 lbs. 13 oz. and was 20" long. There were some complications with the birth, though. Jodi fully intended on having him completely natural without any medication. Everything was progressing well, too. She toughed it out for hours and she made it all the way to being dilated to a seven. However, that's where the progression abruptly stopped. A total of eight hours passed at a seven and during this time Jodi was forced to resort to getting an epidural. After the long wait with no progress and after having tried some hormone shots to get things going again to no affect, we were told that a Cesarean section was eminent. This could've been terrible emotionally destructive news, but just as she had been throughout the entire pregnancy, Jodi was a champion about it. She's my hero.

The Cesarean went fast and went well. And quicker than I could imagine, I was a father again. Thank you to everyone out there who was praying for us. We were very well taken care of. Things seemed to be going worse and worse as time pressed on, but it turned out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck once, his arm at the shoulder once and his leg once. If we had had the baby natural they would've had to have stopped it halfway through and perform an emergency C-Section. That would've been bad. They would've knocked Jodi out and I wouldn't have been allowed to come in, not to mention the fact that Lyric may not have survived it. So, we were taken care of beyond what we even understood. In retrospect, it all seems so obvious even though at the time we couldn't even begin to understand why things were happening like they were. So, I'll let this be yet another lesson to me. Never doubt the big man.

Getting Closer!

Jodi started having contractions last night. She's been having Braxton Hicks contractions for some time which according to Wikipedia they may start as early as 6 weeks, but they are generally so light that the mother-to-be doesn't even notice them. It also mentioned how they have since found out that Braxton Hicks are much less noticible during exercise. That explains why when I just got off the phone with Jodi she said they weren't as bad now. No, she's not exercising. She's working! She cuts hair for a living and does a great job even when 9 months pregnant! So, I could go on and on about how awesome of a lady she is, but then I'd start feeling like the slave-driving jerk that is making her work while having contractions. Maybe I am that jerk. I don't know. Anyway, I thought that I'd promote my amazing wife. So, there. And just to prove it, I wrote a song that will forever commemorate my wife's award winning pregnancy. It's named "Lyric" after our yet unborn son. I have one more verse to write and then my friend (and bassist) James and I will get back over to our friend Deon's recording studio and lay it down for real. You can listen to the rough version on my MySpace page. There is a link to it on the right side of this page. Check it out.

Useless Information (part three)

  • A rat can last longer without water than a camel.

  • Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks or it will digest itself.

  • A raisin dropped in a glass of fresh champagne will bounce up and down continuously from the botoom of the glass to the top.

  • A female ferret will die if it goes into heat and cannot find a mate. If pretty much every mammal goes into "heat", do people?

  • Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying. Chewing gum while getting broken up with by your boyfriend/girlfriend, however won't really help.

  • During the chariot scene in Ben Hur a small red car can be seen in the distance which is only half as funny as the fact that Charlton Heston is sporting a watch.

  • On average, 12 newborns are given to the wrong parents daily. That explains it!

  • Sherlock Holmes NEVER said, "Elementary, my dear Watson."

  • If one places a tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion's back, it will instantly go mad and sting itself to death.

  • Bruce Lee was so fast that they actually had to slow down the film so that the audience could see his moves, much different from today's movies that have to use special effects to fake fast movement. Lee was the original Matrix.

  • The original name for butterfly was flutterby.

  • The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

  • The first product Motorola started to develop was a record player for automobiles. At that time, the most known player on the market was Victrola, so they called themselves Motorola as they intended to be their competitor. In the user manual of my '62 Plymouth Valiant, it shows a Victrola Record Player as as one of the options available for that model.

  • By lying on your back and raising your legs slowly you won't sink any further into quicksand.

  • Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat celery than it has in it to begin with.

  • Charlie Chaplin once place third in a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest.

  • The glue on Israeli postage is certified kosher.

  • Once again this has been yet another volume of useless information. You are now no smarter than you were before you read this. However, you curiously read it anyway despite it's warning of a title. Remember this useless information, though. It can become useful if used the right way. For example, suppose some ugly jerk approaches you with a revolting pickup line. Properly rattling off these little known facts combined with convincing facial expressions can convince any pick-up artist that you're mentally unbalanced and no longer worthy of their pick-up attempts. Just don't mention the one about the female ferret dying in heat without a mate. That may, in fact, be encouraging.

    Power is back!

    After I got home from work yesterday I fired up the generator just long enough to have my neighbor come out and tell me that City Utilities had restored the power and that it should be back on. So, I quickly de-hardwired the generator, put my electric meter back on, and flipped the main breaker to find out that indeed the power was back on. Yay!

    So, with power again, I played for several hours on the internet toying with different things including the links list on the side of my blog. I personalized all my boring links with a cool graphic button. It took a while, but I think it was well worth it. I've got to keep things interesting around here, right? I also engineered a button that allows readers to be added to the list of people who get an e-mail when I write a new blog. Most of you reading this, I would say, are already on the list, but there may be someone out there that stumbles across this and wants to join the crowd. So, if you don't get an e-mail with a link to this then click that button and it will take you to the "Google Groups" site that sends out the e-mail to everyone. All you have to do is click on the "Join this group" link and then fill out the little form asking for your e-mail address and all that. Then your gold.

    Well, the snow is now here, but the good news is that, while the roads are a little slick, we didn't get what they thought we would get. We are getting a little bit of freezing rain, but the meteorologists are claiming that the entire system is moving through rather quickly. So, I think that we'll be alright.

    Want to see something freaky? Look at the countdown at the top of the page. Okay, so maybe that doesn't freak you out, but it absolutely weirds me out. We're pretty much ready, but it just seems that you can never be ready enough, you know?

    Well, I hope you all are doing well. Later!


    Every superhero has a weakness. Superman has his kryptonite. Batman has his unprofessionally explored lingering emotional trauma from losing his parents to a young Joker. Rogue has her teenage hormone-driven need for a boyfriend that won't die from her twisted Midas touch. And Jodi and I have our ice.

    Ice has left us powerless now for a week as of tonight. The good news is that ice also has a weakness. Our solar system's yellow sun. Which, ironically, is the source of Superman's super powers. See how everything comes full circle? Like rock, paper, scissors!

    Anyway, the power is still not on, but we do have a generator which is better that a lot of people out there who are still trying to make it without power at all. We've been there and we don't want to go back. We did, however, come up with a pretty good invention during our three day stint of sub-standard living at sub-freezing temperatures. We call it the "Head-Tent". We took the fact that when someone sleeps in a tent their breath warms up the tent a little. And since every little bit counts when the temperature gets down to single digits, we invented this sheet/broom handle/string/hook-screw combination to retain the heat from our collective exhaled carbon dioxide. I know it may sound silly, but it worked. This head-tent is most likely the reason why we are not both sick right now. The last time I went camping I was sick for well over a week with flu symptoms just for having breathed in cold night-air all night. But, the air in the head-tent, while containing a slightly less ratio of oxygen to other natural gases than normal, stayed comfortably warm.

    We also decided to make the most of the cold weather and enjoy some hot chocolate. We braved the ice and fired up the backyard BBQ pit to boil the water and milk. A little added cocoa was the last ingredient needed to put us in a hot chocolate bliss that temporarily removed our minds from the cold conditions in which our bodies were trapped. It was good.

    Overall, we have felt very blessed and taken care of throughout this whole ordeal. Despite some pretty big challenges (like Jodi being merely two weeks away from her due date, the first generator throwing a rod, a tree landing on my truck, having to work, having no hot water, the electric lines being ripped out of the house we intend to buy, etc.) we managed to get all of our basic needs provided for. This picture of the fire turned out great and makes a very cozy desktop background. And, the last picture I added just because we found it humorous. This is the house we are trying to buy. We loved the sign with the "Please Take One" death-by-tree-branch trap.

    Ice Storm Slideshows

    Ice Attack!

    "Ice Attack!" was the huge, bold headline on the front of the News-Leader yesterday. Attack is right, too. It's crazy. Our street looks like a warzone. Anyway, I'll have pictures and more details later. We've had no power for the thrid day now, so I haven't been able to do anything online. When the power comes back on I'll tell the whole story. Later.

    Passed Inspection

    Yesterday held a few surprises during the inspection of the house. First, we got in the house and found out that the water was not turned on despite the fact that all the utilities were to be turned on during the inspection period. So, I call our realtor, who calls the seller's agent, who calls the seller, who tells the seller's agent that they are turned on, but that we have to turn them on at the meters. The message gets back to us and we proceed to turn the water on at the underground meter by the street. I go inside to check for leaks and I could hear water which is always a bad sign. I run upstairs to find the leak in the bathroom. Jacob ran out to tell my step-dad to shut the water off while I kept the pipe together as good as I could. Water was spilled, but not to an extent that couldn't be soaked up by the ugly drapes that the previous tenant didn't care to take with them.

    With the water back off and no new leaks other than the one that was obvious we decided to attempt to get the furnace working. After all, it was starting to get dark and the temperature was dropping quickly. We turned the gas spigot on in the basement, but still it didn't appear to be on. We checked the meter and, sure enough, it was off. But, with a quick turn from my crescent wrench the gas was a flowin'. However, we didn't even make it around to the front of the house before we realized that turning the gas on was a big mistake. After we turned the gas back off and waited about 5 minutes, we could no longer smell the pungent odor of natural gas. We went back in and found the culprit. Apparently, there was a stand-alone gas stove in the foyer. The stove had been taken out, but the gas pipe leading into it was left un-capped. So, naturally with the valve on the meter turned wide open, the gas was blowing out the unblocked hole at high-pressure velocity. City Utilities came out and capped the pipe, turned on the gas, and even performed an inspection throughout the house and gave the gas a green light.

    So, despite these wonderful experiences, the house passed our inspection of it and the buying process is still in full swing. Today, the house was inspected by the termite guys, but they must not of found anything or I would've heard. The next big test is the appraisal. If the house appraises for the amount of purchase or more than the whole thing will be sent to the title company and the underwriters where the rest of the buying process will be finished and then closing will be imminent. If the house does not appraise at the agreed purchase price, then it's back to negotiations for us. The good part of that would be that we could get the house for cheaper. The bad part is that if the house appraises for more than the agreed upon purchase price we still get to buy it for what we agreed upon. That means we would get automatic equity. That would be sweet.

    House Update!

    Last week we made an offer on the house that we wanted. The counter-offer came back yesterday morning and we signed our approval of it last night which makes this deal officially under contract! We are now in the process of buying the house as opposed to just making offers and such. So, now comes the work. We have three days to get the appraisal scheduled (which our banker should be doing for us today) and ten days to get the appraisal and inspections done. We've been blessed with great family members, though. My step-dad volunteered to perform the inspections at no cost whatsoever! He's going to meet us tommorrow after I get off work and do it then. So, if everything goes well with the inspections and the house appraises for at least the price we agreed to buy the house at then we should be well on our way to closing the deal. Thanks for all the prayers and don't stop now!

    Emasculating Party

    I've learned something new here recently. Apparently, society (and by "society" I mean a bunch of women) has invented another new custom. As I'm told, it is widely understood that many men are to have a "Diaper/Wipes party" while their spouses are at a baby shower. The father-to-be throws this party and the invites bring a package of diapers and-or wipes.

    To the guys reading this, let me ask you a question. Does a Diaper/Wipes party sound like one of those parties that you look forward to or one of those parties that you are regrettably unable to attend because you have to do a lot of work around the house that day? I completely understand if the latter is the answer. I'm the one here with a child on the way and it's my responsibility to have this so-called party and even I believe that I have a lot of work around the house that I have to do whatever day it is that I's supposed to have this thing.

    So, being the innovative guy that I am, I decided to throw the party, but also to change the focus. This evening at 5:00 pm I'm having a bunch of guys over for "The First (and last) Annual Felton Dart Throwing Competition Extravaganza!" (actual invitation shown at right) After the fatty foods are consumed, the competition will begin with a double-elimination bracket for the dart throwing. Simultaneously, the double-elimination bracket for Tekken 3 will be taking place. I even got a couple of prizes for the first-place winners of each tournament.

    Now this is a party I can feel good about. We'll be savagely competing for two much coveted prizes with a fresh taste of blood in our mouths from the under-cooked hamburgers. What can one do to make it more manly than that?

    Try, try again.

    Well, here we are again. In the middle of last month we put in an offer on a house that we decided we liked a whole lot. We really wanted this house and we felt that it was everything that we were looking for and definitely a keeper. The owner took his time mulling it over and finally decided to counter-offer with a not-so-unreasonable offer, but had put a time frame on the counter-offer that was definitely unreasonable. He only gave us 14 days to close. When you subtracted out the two weekends and the Christmas holiday, that only left us with about 8 working days to get the house appraised, inspected, and closed. In all likelihood, our bank probably just would've told us that it couldn't be done. After all, they have red tape galore to cut before they just throw around thousands of dollars. So, we regretably declined the offer.

    It was obvious that the owner had tax reasons for wanting to get the house closed before the end of the year. So, we decided to just wait him out. We'd wait until the beginning of the year to put in another offer when maybe he would not be so hurried to get the impossible accomplished. Well, the new year is here and we told our realtor our intentions and she informed us of the bad news. The house was no longer listed to be sold. Crushed, we were back to zero.

    However, last night, our realtor got a hold of the seller's agent and found out that the house would be re-listed. He also said that he would love to get a new offer. So, our realtor is drudging up the paperwork this morning to turn in another offer even before the house is listed. This offer will pretty much be what the seller countered with in the first place, of course without the crazy deadline. So, maybe this go around everything will work as planned. Wish us luck.

    P.S. On a completely unrelated point, here are some logos I drew up. Just for fun and well, a poorly executed Christams gift. Hee hee!

    Coffee Beaners

    Some time ago, a co-worker told me how he bought a coffee bean roasting company down in Ozark. Being a coffee drinker, I was immediately intrigued. When I expressed my interest in possibly becoming a customer he said that he would bring me some samples. He did more than that, though. He let me borrow a fancy electric coffee bean grinder and he gave me an array of samples including Columbian Supremo, Mexican, Guatemalan, French Roast, Espresso, and Sumatra. They were all great. We were hooked. We made him our dealer and business has been booming. We went right out and bought a fancy grinder for ourselves. Jodi, then bought me an awesome new coffee/cappuccino/espresso maker to match. And, today we are putting on the finishing touches to our home-built coffee bean dispenser.

    The story of the dispenser starts way back in May of '06. I was dumpster diving at MSU as I always am when school lets out. And, I came across this HUGE coffee bean dispenser. It still had Churchill Coffee Company insignias all over it. It was straight from a coffee house, and some frat boy must've taken ownership of it somehow. However this student acquired it, I may never know and don't really care. After all, I have it now. I eventually decided that the box was way too enormous and I took it upon myself to take it apart and trash everything but the hardware. A few months ago, I built this box and customized the hardware to fit it.

    Last week, I drew out "chicchi di cafe" on the front. I then spent the last week engraving it into the wood with my off-brand dremel tool. Today, I painted the phrase and then sanded down the entire top to take off the excess paint. Then, Jodi painted the front and put on the finishing stain.

    I have my eye on a table at a flea market that I will probably pick up tomorrow. I will chop it up in order to use it's decorative metal legs for the dispenser. And, voila!, it will be finished.

    P.S. "chicchi di cafe" is Italian for coffee beans.

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