Father’s Day

The kids were home the evening of Father’s Day as I pulled in with the Airstream after a great camping weekend at Mauthe Lake.   I received the perfect rustic gift from them and we had a nice dinner out and then enjoyed the Batman Lego Movie.   Bam!   Pow!  Kaboom!!!   Thanks, kids!!!

Chainsaw Challenges

Sunday’s challenge of the day (well actually one of many) was to eliminate some of the tree overgrowth in the backyard.  One task was to take care of a birch tree that had grown over the back patio of the house.   There were also a few tree limbs over the back yard immediately behind the lodge that needed to be trimmed back.  Using the chainsaw is serious to me and I really try my best to be very safety conscious.  I leave all the large tree cutting to the professionals and try to only cut up trees that have already fallen to the ground.   Today, however, I was faced with a relatively simple task and decided that I could do this myself.   It is interesting to note that I was on call last night (very sore from running the chainsaw the evening before) and had to look at a foot x-ray of an 85 year-old man.  The history on the study read:  85 y/o male using a chainsaw to cut down a tree and branch fell on foot.  Foot Pain.

In my mind, this x-ray does nothing more than justify my use of the chainsaw at the meager age of 50 and now I know that I have at least another 35 years to go before I need to consider hanging it up (the chainsaw that is).    Looking forward to a few more chainsaw challenges in the years to come!

The birch tree falls within inches of the Airstream, exactly as I planned. Really!

Nearly complete with the birch tree removal and not one piece of it ended up damaging any persons or personal property!

Afterwards, a Sunday evening celebration at the nearby Smiling Moose Saloon where a live band was playing amazing classic rock!  I smelled like gasoline and hadn’t yet showered after my chainsaw fun, but I was definitely the best dressed and probably the best smelling guy in the bar!  Heaven!

Fantastic Vents

Spent a large part of this weekend working on the Airstream.   There was a significant leak in the back of the camper and the subfloor has been removed.  I have purchased the marine grade plywood to replace the floor, but before I do that, I need to get to the source of the leaks.  There are three vents and one large AC unit that are probable culprits and all of it is going to be replaced this spring before camping begins.    Also that ugly TV antenna is going to find its way into the dumpster as soon as I have aluminum to patch the hole.  We don’t need to receive TV while camping.    Finally, all windows are going to be re-caulked before any new flooring goes in.  I never thought I would find myself doing this, but it has been rewarding (albeit frustrating) so far.

The vents are a great piece of technology, completely automatic with thermostats, remote control and a rain sensor that closes them when it rains.  Pretty fancy for me!

The Airstream ready for some new vents

The rear vent prior to being removed. Why not enjoy a good cup of coffee while sitting on the metal roof of an Airstream?

Drilling out the many rivets. I am going to be an aluminum expert when done with this thing… In 10 years…

Rivets out. Now time to scrape of the cement-like sealant they put around this thing. Finally had to use a grinder to get it off.

The inner fixture hanging by the 12V wiring Previously this was a combination vent/light, but the entire interior lighting is being upgraded to LED fixtures.

It was unbelievable the bugs and old wasp nests I found hiding away. The new vents will make that an impossibility as they are completely sealed and covered when not in use.

The old vent removed and now I needed to cut the inner and outer aluminum skin to fit the new square vents.

One of the two forward vents completely installed. Butyl tape looks messy and will be cut once it has a chance to sit for a few days. Then I will caulk with TremPro 635 polyurethane sealant.

The rear vent complete. Air conditioner will be replaced with a brand new low profile unit next weekend. Just need to figure out how to hoist the 100 pound behemoth onto the roof….

Before I complete the fan installs with the interior trims, I need to strip off old latex paint and wall covering. Eventually the interior skins will be shiny aluminum. Will never understand why the interior skins were covered in the first place.  This is a HUGE project!

Carol’s Birthday Celebration

Enjoyed an evening out eating sushi and drinking wine with Carol and Brian.  The language barrier with the server resulted in an unexpected “birthday” treat at the end of the meal. So we decided to celebrate Carol’s birthday even though it really wasn’t her birthday. Had a great time!!

Easter Weekend in Chicago

Had a nice “Brady Bunch” weekend in Chicago over Easter.  Blue Man and Adler Planetarium were some of the attractions.  Lou Malnatti’s Pizza on Friday night!  9 people in all and we met Wendy and George for Saturday dinner near Lincoln Park!

Lower Wacker south of the river on our way to Lou Malnati’s for some famous food!

The river was full of life on this perfect evening!

Cole leads the way

Mother and Children

This quick shot was performed at the request of Cole so he could share it at school.

The big kids are “AWESOME!”

Despite my better judgement and mild protest, we just HAD to stop at The American Girl Store.

Noah was in HEAVEN!

and so was Michaela…

So dreamy!

The Easter Bunny even delivers to The Embassy Suites!

White Woman next to Blue Man….

Bought these sunglasses for Luke then wished I had kept them for myself….

Parking Lot Portrait as Michaela and Cody needed to head home. The rest of us neede to see the Stars at Adler Planetarium

Luke’s thermal body print. Still wishing I had kept those sun glasses….


More nerds


Emily arrived in Portland

Despite my great anxiety about this trip, Emily has begun her adventure and will be attempting to bicycle solo across the United States. I got a text early this morning around 1:30 AM that she had safely arrived in Portland, Oregon. She plans to head west to the Pacific Ocean and Tillamook, OR and then start her journey back towards the east. It is currently 36° in Portland which is one of my biggest concerns about her route.   I’m also concerned about the possibility of snow on the roads in the mountains.  My partner got her some warm biking clothes late last week and hopefully that will be enough to get her through the nights.   HERE is a link to her blog.

The first leg of Emily’s route


 One of the great joys of having high school kids in the house is being able to experience a bearded dragon taking a nap on your chest during movie night.   His name is Parthurnaax.  I have nothing more to say about this.


This weekend I took a little time to try my luck/skill at participating in an international amateur radio contest. It’s called the CQ WPX SSB contest and the purpose of the contest is to try and work as many stations as possible throughout the world and also trying to get as many different call sign prefix variations as possible. Unfortunately, with my limited power output and very low antenna, along with my limited time over the weekend, I was only able to make contact with about 50 other stations.

My estimated standing in the contest. Pretty poor, but I had fun!

Regardless, I went through the process of completing A digital log of the contacts and submitted it to the organizing entity. It was the first time I’ve ever done anything like this and despite not being even close to winning, I was able to make some new country contacts which are always fun!

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