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A little place on the river

Nearly all the best things that came to me in life have been unexpected, unplanned by me.” -Carl Sandburg

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted a home on the water. As is common for a kid growing up in Chicago, I spent many a summer weekend at various lakes and resorts in Wisconsin, and have fond memories of good times with friends and family.  Despite pushing ever closer to the big four-oh, I still get together with my high school friends each summer to go rafting.  It’s about slowing down a bit, enjoying nature, and finding a little inner peace.  I always knew I’d have a place of my own someday; I just didn’t know when.

Addressing this line on my bucket list was not weighing too heavily on me when I got a call two months ago to help a friend with cleaning out her mom’s old house.  This was her childhood home that her mom had continued to live in until late last year, only to abruptly move out when she got a new job in another part of the country.  She needed to clear out the old stuff inside and quickly prep it for sale.

And sell it did… to me and my girlfriend. :-)

Fast forward to the present: after numerous inspections, lots of what-if scenarios, and endless negotiating, the deal was done.  We took possession this past Friday.

Normally this would be a time of celebration, but the champagne is going to need to chill for another several months.  This house needs a ton of repair work and remodeling.  You name it, it’s broke, or worn out, or disgusting, or was done wrong to begin with.  The foundation and frame appear to be in decent shape, so it won’t be a tear-down.  But we want to get the majority of the work done in time to enjoy the house next summer, which means we’re gonna be busy little beavers between now and then.

The first step is to clean the joint out.  So far we’ve helped the former owner with moving her salvageable belongings into storage and have filled 60 cublic yards worth of dumpsters (and counting!) with the rest.  If we stay on task we’ll finish the junk removal and get the place clean enough to stop jaws from dropping and stomachs from turning by mid-November.

I’ve named the house Chuck.  To me, this is a fitting name for two reasons.  First, it’s located in St. Charles, Illinois.  No-brainer on that one.  Second, it reminds me of the Christmas tree from the Charlie Brown Christmas special.  To paraphrase Linus Van Pelt: it’s not such a bad little house, it just needs a little love.  (And by ‘love’ I mean sweat, money and work. And by ‘a little’ I mean a lot an imperial shitload.)

And thus begins Project Chuck!  I intend to use this space to document Chuck’s transformation from a tired, run down rat’s nest into a little gem on the Fox River.  Pics and videos will be forthcoming, along with tales of the adventures we encounter along the way.

Everyday I’m Tumblin…

I’ve been told that the cool kids are moving from Facebook to Tumblr, so that’s what I’m trying to do here.

For those of you just tuning in: I’ve had my own domain for the better part of 16 years. For the first twelve or so of those years there was a web site that it pointed to, but at some point it got pushed to the back burner and eventually taken off the stove altogether. I’ve decided that it’s time to bring the pot back to a boil and see what I can cook up.*

This marks the fifth major version of my site, and the third using an honest-to-god CMS. This is a good thing- it means you can use your existing accounts to participate (seriously, who needs yet another password to keep track of?) and hopefully I can keep the spammers, phishers, and other undesirables away.

What’ll you see here? My interests include technology, transportation, architecture, futurism (is that a word?), politics, economics, and beer. I’m thinking I should add cooking and fabrication to the list, so you might see stuff about that as well. The one-liners will be kept on Facebook and Twitter, saving this space for delving into greater detail. I can’t say you’ll be mesmerized or hanging on my every word, but hopefully it’ll still be worth your time to stop by once in a while, even if only to say hi.

So, if you’re new to these parts: welcome. And if you’ve been around for a while: welcome back.

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