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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!

Thanksgiving Meal in Pill Form

It was the morning of Thanksgiving Day and everyone in our house was watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Times Square on television. It seemed like a great family thing to do and it was for the most part. However, it only took a few commercial breaks to pick up on a disturbing pattern. CBS had apparently sold about half of their commercial time to pharmaceutical companies. Every commercial break had at least one lengthy commercial that attempted to convince Americans that they were well within the given statistic of people suffering from one illness or another. All of the commercials are the same with people smiling and feeling great and explaining how their problems have been solved by the regular dosage of this new medication. Of course, it doesn't show any of these people smiling through any of their listed possible side effects.

Speaking of the side effects, one of these commercials was promoting a new medication for people that have leg cramps. Of the listed possible side effects that this medication can have was "gambling and sexual urges". What does this mean? And what in the world did they put into these pills to cause such a reaction? Did the control group that they tested these pills on all wind up playing strip poker? Did they test the drug on dogs first? Is that how they wound up with those silly paintings?

Another listed possible side effect was dying. How does death find its way into a list of side effects? There's nothing "on the side" about dying. That's pretty much the focus of the problem, I would think. The leg cramp sort of becomes a moot point, right? I wonder how many people out there dying wish that all they had was a leg cramp. Not to mention the people out there who are uncontrollably dehydrating from chronic diarrhea and severe vomiting. I'm willing to bet that these people are wishing for a leg cramp, too, and yet people with leg cramps are popping these pills and apparently having these very side effects.

Jodi was appalled at some of things that were said and decided to write CBS a complaint. Ironically, about half-way through writing her message CBS ran a commercial for an upcoming CBS Evening News with Katie Couric. The top story that they were advertising the show with was "Teens Abusing Prescription Medications". Talk about a hypocritical television station. They'll sell all of their commercial space to the top bidders: pharmaceutical companies. And then they'll attempt to get you to watch their news shows by reporting on the very problems that they are helping to create. I'm surprised that these pharmaceutical companies want to advertise on their station, or maybe that's why they want to. Maybe it's similar to a mud-slinging political campaign.

Either way, I find it horrible that CBS would do this. Television is just not good to watch anymore. We actually had to convince Jacob that he didn't need Lunesta. He saw that pretty butterfly on the commercial and turned around to tell us that he has trouble sleeping and needed some of those. I guess , judging by the success of Lunesta's distribution, that a frightening amount of adult Americans are still running around with a seven-year-old's mentality.

Big Plans

December 6th, 2003 was a great day in the life of Levi Felton. It was the day that I met a girl named Jodi who unbeknownst to me at the time would later become my wife and mother to my children. It was also the day that I laid down a mere $850 for the best vehicle I have ever bought. A 1959 Ford F100. Within a couple months it became my daily driver and it has remained that ever since. Until last Saturday...(key ominous music for dramatic feel).

November 11th, 2007 was a not-so-great day in the life of Levi Felton. I worked for seven hours and then left to go to Jacob's basketball game. They lost but it was a really good game. Due to Jodi having a baby shower to attend right up until the game, she showed up in her own vehicle. That worked out quite nicely when upon leaving the parking lot my Ford made the following sounds: running nicely...chugga,chugga,chugga,clank,chugga,clank,chugga,THOOMP...

That's right. "Excuse me, waiter. May I have one blown motor with another glass of disappointment? Thank you." For almost four years, the Ford has ran me all over the place. Oh, sure, sometimes it broke down needing a new this or that, but it always was back up and on the road in a limited time. But not this day. This day would mark the end of the Big Bad Ford. Or would it?

Last Thursday, I made a purchase. From a friend's friend, I bought a 1992 Ford E150 Econoline Heavy Duty Cargo Van. The picture here is similar to the one I have, but mine has some damage to the body all along the passenger side when (according to this friend's friend) the previous owner hit a mailbox with it. However, as my friend put it, "Mailbox? More like a Post Office."

The original plan was to take the motor and transmission and possibly the rear end out of the van and put it in my truck. The new plan is to unbolt the van body, roll it off, unbolt the truck body from its frame and set it on the van frame leaving the van's motor and transmission intact.

The challenges: The frame will need to be chopped down about 18 to 20 inches as the van's wheel base is that much longer. The linkage for the steering column, gas pedal, and brake will need to be fabricated. Wiring, wiring, wiring. And, finally, making custom body mounts might prove to be somewhat difficult.

The benefits: It will still look like the Big Bad Ford hasn't changed at first glance or even at second glance. However, much will have changed. It will sport a fuel injected 302 V8 with heavy duty automatic transmission with overdrive. It will have a stronger frame better suited for towing. It will have a wider wheel base with a better suspension package giving it better handling and cornering. It will have power steering, power disk brakes, a working emergency brake, an a/c compressor that I can convert into a self contained on-board air compressor tank, CRUISE CONTROL, and a more powerful engine.

The bottom line is that I'll get to keep the Big Bad Ford looking like it has for the last 48 years, but I will get all the modern advances in technology on board. Previously, I was the only one that could drive it, but with these changes Jodi will be able to handle it with ease. Also, previously, the furthest I'd ever dared to take it was Branson. It was clearly not suited for highway driving and couldn't be trusted that far away from home either. After this project, it will be right at home on the highway. No more granny low gearing ratios.

What do you think? Good modifications VS. keeping it original?

Date Night

Last Friday, Jodi and I went on a date. The theme was dinner and a show, I suppose, since the plan was to go to a new restaurant on Commercial Street and have a nice dinner and then make our way down to the Outland to see a friend's band play.

The evening started out awesome as we showed up just in time to get curbside parking directly in front of Peabody's. We go inside and immediately are greeted by a friend of ours who works there. He seat us up in the V.I.P. room that consists of one table for four that overlooks the entire restaurant. He suggests the Surf & Turf and we accept his suggestion. It was amazing. The cook is a genius. Both the steak and the tuna were cooked to perfection. I have no idea what all he did to them , but he turned two slabs of meat and some vegetables into the most delectably flavorful meal that I have ever had.

There was a beautiful baby grand player piano that was playing Frank Sinatra's hit songs. And, we were told that they have people come in and play some nights. It was a great meal at a great spot. Go check it out.

We finished the evening by going to the Outland and listening to some band that played a lot of Sublime and Sublime-inspired music. They were really good, but we were really hoping that the Beautiful Losers would show up and take their place on stage. We realized after maybe an hour that it was going to be too late when they would show and get started so we left. Lyric had stayed asleep the whole time so our babysitter had it easy. It was a good night.

Remember, remember ...

"Allow me first to apologize…I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of the everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke, but in the spirit of commemoration where by important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful, bloody struggle are celebrated with a nice holiday. I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is, sadly, no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit and have a little chat. There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak. Even now, orders are being shouted into telephones and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why, because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will ALWAYS retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning and, for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth, and the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country isn’t there? Cruelty, injustice, intolerance and oppression, and where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Certainly there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only to look in a mirror. I know why you did it, I know you were afraid, who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease, there were a myriad of problems, which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you. And in your panic, you turned to the now High Chancellor Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night, I sought to end that silence. Last night, I destroyed the Old Bailey to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than 400 years ago, a great citizen whish to imbed the 5th of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice and freedom are more than just words…they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you, then I would suggest that you allow the 5th of November to pass unmarked, but if you see what I see, if you feel what I feel, and if you would seek as I seek then I ask you to stand beside me, one year from tonight outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a 5th of November that shall never, ever be forgot."
-V for Vendetta

Let There Be Light

A few weeks ago, Jodi had expressed that she wanted to get some new globes for our dining room chandelier. She wanted to give it a new look. And I had to agree because it really needed a new look. So, we went shopping for new globes and finally found some that we liked at Lowe's. Jodi put it all together and painted the old, ugly brass and it looked awesome.

Then, a terrible thing happened. We turned the light on and the entire room had this yellowed look to it. The white molding looked like smokers had been licking it for years. It was pretty bad and it really screwed up the mood since we were expecting to be in awe of our new light fixture. Instead, we were disgusted by our choice.

I thought that maybe we could put something reflective in the globes to keep the light from going through the globes themselves. The room looked yellow, after all, not from the light bulbs but rather the light that went through the globes and picked up the yellow hue. We tried foil and it looked stupid. I then thought that maybe we could paint the insides with some chrome paint. But, in the end we did one better than that and painted the insides with white spray paint. No more yellow room and no more ugly chandelier.

For a grand total of $32 it was an inexpensive and much needed upgrade to our home.

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