Flood waters are receding

This has been an interesting week.  After almost 6 inches of rain over the short course of three or so days, we were flooded here.  This turned out to be the highest rate that the Fox River has ever seen on record.  The river finally crested at 7.48 feet.  That meant that the channels around us were flooded as well.

On Saturday, the 20th, we went to Michigan to help Jon celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday.  With a cookout at the 40, we celebrated with BBQ and the fixins.  The best part was all of the family who gathered.  It is always good to see Busia.  Irene and her family came up from Fort Wayne and Ohio.  Donna and Norm came in from Chicago.  They all have such a good time.  They are fun to be around.

On Sunday, we returned to find the water a little deep over the roads.  There are barricades to warn people to stay out of the area.  River Road through the state park is closed, cutting us off from McHenry. It seems a little strange driving around it every day to get into the neighborhood.  The best signs are in the neighborhood though.  Basically, it said if you weren’t a resident, you would be arrested.

We were high and dry though.  The basement sprung a leak for a day or so which meant that we were vacuuming up water.  Rich got up early on Thursday to find the basement filling with water.  There was a considerable puddle in front of the bar.  He quickly moved furniture and got the area cleared.  With a little Yankee ingenuity, he built a jig to dam up water and suck it out through a hose to the sump pump.  Luckily, it went from sucking water out every 15 minutes down to an hour at a time.

We’ve talked about fixing the cracks in the basement a couple times, but the leaks were never that bad.  I got motivated and found a company.  I called them and set up an appointment for them to come out and give us an estimate.  They didn’t sound too busy on the phone.  On Friday, Glen came out and took a look.  Rich heard what he wanted to hear.  We set up an appointment to get the work done.  It was time.

The weather improved, so Rick started painting the garage.  We borrowed scaffolding from Dave.  This would make reaching the 10 foot ceilings easier.  The primer went up and he started the white paint on the ceiling and halfway down the wall.  The other half of the walls will be blue gray.  It should look like a real nice workspace and home for Sally when it is done.  We have our fingers crossed that he can complete it by next Saturday.

So plans continue for the annual Derby party here.  The flood waters should be gone.  Rich is still planning to BBQ up brisket, ribs, and chicken.  I have stocked up on food and people are planning to bring things to help out.  Oh yeah, the Zurekbrau is brewed and kegged.  All we need are a few good people to drink it.  We’ll see who shows up.

On Thursday evening, our department was treated to drinks and foods at a local establishment.  We went over to enjoy some time with our co-workers.  While we were talking to people, we came across a couple of new people.  Turns out, a couple of engineers from Krakow are in Schaumburg working in the bay and acting as liaison for products from Krakow.  I found out I actually know them.  We have worked together by phone for a few years.  I guess I’m well known in Krakow as well.  The question everyone there asks is if I speak Polish!  They see the Polish name and hope that I do.  Unfortunately, I only married Polish.  We’ve invited Marcin and Aneta to the Derby party.  Thought it might be fun for them and good me to reinforce my connections to Krakow.

Rich is organizing a reunion of people who served with the same group he was with in Germany.  Someone had started a Facebook page for the related groups.  They have been exchanging photos and memories.  Someone suggested that they meet up for dinner somewhere.  San Antonio came up in the conversation.  That’s as far as it got.  Rich decided to take on the task of really organizing dinner.  Since Rose lives in San Antonio, he went with the suggestion to do it there.  A web site went up on Zurekbrau with an email list.  One of the guy who is in San Antonio is checking out German restaurants in the area.  It looks like we are on for July 6.  Hang on, Rose, we are coming down for the 4th!

Vacations are planned and we are adding these as we go.  I might have brought this up before, but I am excited for it all to start.  I’m working on adding more.

We start out in June for Chicago Bluesfest.  We are staying downtown.  It’ll be the Bluesfest during the day and trying to hit some of the places we’ve wanted to go in the evening.  We are identifying all the brewpubs, bars, and joints that we’ve wondered about.  Should be a busy few days.

The following week, we head out to Kansas City.  My favorite blues band, Trampled Under Foot, is holding a release party for their next album.  Rich put in enough to their Kickstarter account to get invited to the party.  They sent out the date and place.  Now we just have to show up and listen to the music.  I love the name of the bar where we are headed.  It’s called The Trouser Mouse.  More to come on this one.

July will find us in San Antonio for the 4th of July.  We will be attending the first reunion for Rich’s group from the Air Force.  Should be fun as well.  It’ll be nice to Rose and hang out with her for a while.

In August, B. B. King and Peter Frampton are coming Aurora for a concert.  I’ve wanted to see B.B. for a while.  Peter is an extra.  I purchased my tickets and ready to go.  I’m hoping for good weather as this is an outdoor concert.  More to come on this, too.

In September, we head down to the Great Smoky Mountains for a little hiking and some mountain views.  It’s been a while since I’ve been down there.  Rich hasn’t been.  Once again, we are hoping for good weather since we plan to be outside a lot.  Big question is: bears or no bears.  There’s a good bet of seeing at least one.

Well, it’s time to start another week.  I have deliveries this week.  But I don’t think that will mean my workload will get easier.  Might be time to think about expanding the team again.  We’ve definitely got more than enough work to go around, and then some.

 

Cars made their way slowly through the water on Tower Rd.
Cars made their way slowly through the water on Tower Rd.
Looking down Holiday Rd back to the river.
Looking down Holiday Rd back to the river.
This was Tower Rd coming in to our part of the neighborhood.
This was Tower Rd coming in to our part of the neighborhood.
The sign says it all.
The sign says it all.
This is the playground at Hickory and Tower.
This is the playground at Hickory and Tower.
Water coming over the road at Moraine State Park.
Water coming over the road at Moraine State Park.
There is a road under there called Lakeview.
There is a road under there called Lakeview.
Looking down Holiday back up to Sunset.
Looking down Holiday back up to Sunset.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
We had hail really bad during one of the storms.
We had hail really bad during one of the storms.
There is a Goose Island in McHenry now.
There is a Goose Island in McHenry now.
This garter snake was trying to stay safe and dry.
This garter snake was trying to stay safe and dry.
One of the houses on river has their deck elevated over the edge of the river.  That's about all you see.
One of the houses on river has their deck elevated over the edge of the river. That’s about all you see.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
Standing at Tower and Hickory looking toward the lake.
At Catalpa, you can see this house that sits on the river and around the bend from Squirrel Alley.
At Catalpa, you can see this house that sits on the river and around the bend from Squirrel Alley.
This is the view across the channel.
This is the view across the channel.

Missing Blog for April 6

I did do a blog, but I was waiting to pull off the pictures.  I know, not an excuse.  Here is the earlier blog, with pictures.

Wow, it’s the beginning of April!  Where the first half of the year go?  Too bad the weather doesn’t know that it is Spring.  We finally saw 60s on Saturday, but it has been a little chilly.  At least my flowers are trying to come up.  They don’t care about the weather.  I have lots of green sprouting up through the dirty around the house.  Come on, summer!

On Monday, Rich stayed home to get the electrical contractor started on the garage.  We got a quote for service out to the garage and then to add the lights and outlets.  Since the quote was a good price, Rich decided to have them do all of the work.  Rich marked out where the trench would go.  On Monday, they trenched, put down the conduit, installed the service, and ran most of the outlets.  They even had the lights on the outside put up.  The green barn light over the man door looks great.

Work ended there until the Building Inspector could stop by and check it, which he did on Tuesday.  Rich stayed home on Tuesday to help with the inspection and write the big check.  Once Ray came by and gave his blessing, the work continued.  Rich’s hand didn’t even shake that much when he wrote the check.

I normally work at home on Tuesdays.  So I was there for the fun and games that day.  Sascha wanted outside after the contractors arrived that morning.  I didn’t think about her or that she might get in their way.  Apparently, she didn’t like the noises from the garage so she didn’t wander in.  I went to check on her and the guys had come out to say hello.  They were petting her.  Later, they took a cigarette break and she was hanging out with them.  I have one very social Siberian Collie.

Tuesday evening, Rich and I went to dinner with some friends.  Unfortunately for Rich, only the girls showed up.  He didn’t have to listen to much girl talk, so I think he managed to survive.  It was great to meet up with several people I don’t see often.  We had a few laughs and enjoyed a little bit of social hour in a busy week.

I had a long list of deliveries that I need to do this week.  I decided to keep my head down and work through everything and stay out of the office.  For some reason, I get distracted a lot more when I’m in the office.  I just needed to put in the time and get the work done.  Of course, that means working a lot of hours too.  The guys don’t feel too neglected though.  I just have to make it over the next couple of weeks.

Rich sent me an email with bad news on Thursday.  Mr. Johnnie Billington died down in Clarksdale, MS.  This really saddened me.  Back in January of 2012, Rich and I went to Memphis for a week  At the end of the week, we went down to check out the Crossroads in Clarksdale.  While we were there, we visited Ground Zero Blues Club.  We went in to eat and listen to the jam night.  We had met Stan Street earlier in the day.  Stan, his band, and other locals were playing that night.

As we listened to the great music, an older gentleman came and stood at the railing by our table.  He was smiling and trying to start a conversation with Rich, who wasn’t feeling well with a sinus headache.  I went over and decided to talk to the gentleman.  He said his name was John B.  As he and I talked, I got some wonderful stories about how he had been playing the blues since he was 13.  He was now teaching young kids to be showman.  One of his protégés was playing that night.

I told John that we were visting from outside of Chicago.  He laughs really big and says to me, “Everywhere is outside of Chicago.”  He thought my comment was very funny and kept laughing over it all night.  Turns out, he had lived in Chicago for several years playing blues with some of the names at that time.  He returned to Mississippi after his mother became ill.  He had lots of stories about his adventures.

His student, Omar Gordon, came on stage and played.  Poor boy was so nervous, but he was wonderful and quite talented.  John gave his full attention to Omar during his turn on stage.  You could see the pride on his face that Omar was doing a great job.  John applauded and went right back to telling me stories.

Stan came by to tell me that I was in trouble.  Once John has you in his sights, he apparently doesn’t stop talking.  That was fine with me. I was being totally entertained with all of his stories.  Stan just laughed and patted John on the back.  I talked to John until Rich needed to go.  I shook John’s hand and thanked him for a wonderful evening.  Thanks for all the Blues, John.

Now to plan for Rich’s birthday.  He is asking to go to Hofbrau Haus for his dinner.  So on Saturday, we venture down to Rosemont to eat some German food, drink some beer and listen to a little Humpha band music.  I think a couple of people are planning on meeting us there.  We’ll be in no hurry to leave.

Electrical box and conduit for all those outlets.  Wired for power now.
Electrical box and conduit for all those outlets. Wired for power now.
Lights overhead now.  No more working in the dark.
Lights overhead now. No more working in the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outlet all around the place.
Outlet all around the place.
Dual lights over the big doors.
Dual lights over the big doors.
The new barn light over the man door is so nice.
The new barn light over the man door is so nice.
Sascha waits patiently for most things.  Otherwise, she is just a speed bump in the kitchen.
Sascha waits patiently for most things. Otherwise, she is just a speed bump in the kitchen.
Another Sunday morning and time for Sascha to be in Rick's lap.
Another Sunday morning and time for Sascha to be in Rick’s lap.
Sascha just not quite feeling it for playtime.
Sascha just not quite feeling it for playtime.
Rick and Sascha fighting over the fox.
Rick and Sascha fighting over the fox.
Rich's birthday cake.  Chocolate with raspberry filling.
Rich’s birthday cake. Chocolate with raspberry filling.
Sascha knew there was cake in the house.  She was just waiting for Rich to cut it for her.
Sascha knew there was cake in the house. She was just waiting for Rich to cut it for her.
Rich had been wanting bear claws to tear up the pork shoulder when he does BBQ.
Rich had been wanting bear claws to tear up the pork shoulder when he does BBQ.
New Hop Head t-shirt to show off the hobby.
New Hop Head t-shirt to show off the hobby.
I made this tutu especially for Sascha's trick.
I made this tutu especially for Sascha’s trick.
Sascha was not happy about the tutu.  I thought the glitter would help.
Sascha was not happy about the tutu. I thought the glitter would help.
Sascha doing her Twist trick in her tutu.
Sascha doing her Twist trick in her tutu.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter! Once again, it was a good day for a Polish eating holiday. We had pierogi and sausage for brunch along with Mimosas for the adults. Zurek soup was on lunch followed by lamb, wild rice, and crescent rolls for dinner. Rich picked out a really nice pinot for the adult beverage.We had the annual biting of the ears on the bunnies this afternoon. We only do one basket these days. That way we share the goodies. Rick and Rich get their own bunnies so they can bite the ears off of them. I don’t need a bunny. Just give me the Cadbury eggs. Sascha wanted her bunny, but I didn’t want to start a bunny chase. The squirrels are bad enough.

The weather finally warmed up enough for the drywall to go up. The contractor called to say he expected to be out on Wednesday to start work. It’s amazing what one guy can do if he is an expert. Funny, his name was Rich also. Too many around this week for me to keep them straight. The first day saw the ceiling go up. On the second day, the walls were up. Friday saw the taping and mudding. Looks great in there. This is going to be one nice garage.

Rich was planning on the mud to be dry on Saturday so we could start getting the primer up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. He and Rick went out and got paint anyway so we would be ready when the weather is warmer. They got white paint for the top and blue gray for the bottom of the wall.

On Friday, we all to bowling. Rick took his ball along in case they needed someone and he could take the opportunity to bowl with a real team. The fourth on Rich’s team didn’t come in, so Rick got to bowl with his Dad. I think he enjoyed it. Rick did bowl pretty well for not being a full time player. However, Rich’s last game was awesome. He did 209 without his handicap. There were 5 or 6 strikes in there.

That gave us a good reason to head over to The Sports Page for wings and nachos. From there, we could finish up the Louisville game and watch the remainder of the Kansas game. I wore my Louisville shirt to bowling. The guy who owns the alley came down to tell me that he was turning on the Louisville game down by me just so I could watch. How cool was that.

Speaking of March Madness, Alex ran the Z Family Pool again this year. The same cast of characters applied along with a few new ones. For $20, we can put in our bracket and hope for the best. This year’s list of unlikely winners hurt most of us. It would have been a good year to pick the underdogs. I picked Louisville, but I’m not top dog on the list. That would be James (JimiZ).

Rich and Rick picked Kansas. Now they wished they had Louisville, but they are cheering right alongside me. I was watching Louisville earlier this year and was highly impressed with how the team was setting up to get shots. Peyton Siva is directing traffic and the team was responding. Now I see them taking that all the way to the finals.

I called and got a quote for the electrical work on the garage. The guy came by one night and walked through the work with Rich. On Thursday, he sent his quote by email. Rich thought it was a good price for the entire scope of work and not just for getting the service out to the garage. On Friday, the contractor left a phone message wanting to start on Monday. Rich figured he’d call on Monday and try to set it up as soon as possible. Then an email came in on Saturday still wanting to start on Monday. So I guess the electric out to the garage starts on Monday. Now we’ll have lights while we paint.

We’ve started planning for the Derby Party. Rich brewed beer on Thursday. So there will be wheat and cherry wheat available on party day. The weather got warm enough to turn on the water spicket and for standing around the garage.

The weather had better get warmer is all I can say. Where is spring? I know the winter has been terrible. But I am so ready for warm weather and lots of sunshine. I keep thinking it’ll be better soon, but the cold keeps hanging on. By May 4, it’ll be warm, right?

I’m hoping for a better week coming up. At least, Easter was nice.

Snuggling on a Sunday morning.
Snuggling on a Sunday morning.
Such a sweet face.
Such a sweet face.
Sascha enjoying big red chair time.
Sascha enjoying big red chair time.
Sascha catching up on the rays.
Sascha catching up on the rays.
Community Easter basket of goodies.
Community Easter basket of goodies.
Annual biting of the bunnies.
Annual biting of the bunnies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bunnies missing ears.
Bunnies missing ears.
Easter eggs for Zurek soup.
Easter eggs for Zurek soup.
Rich brewing beer for Derby.
Rich brewing beer for Derby.
Drywall going up out in the garage.
Drywall going up out in the garage.
Real walls up now to hide the insulation.
Real walls up now to hide the insulation.
New walls all ready for paint.
New walls all ready for paint.
Yeah, someone else had to reach up high for the ceiling.
Yeah, someone else had to reach up high for the ceiling.
Is this is?
Is this is?
Rick was happy with his handiwork.
Rick was happy with his handiwork.
Rich admiring it.
Rich admiring it.
All those paint samples.
All those paint samples.