Friday, September 29, 2006

A Hung Hat

Today I tried on the plumber's hat. I was cleaning up from a large dinner and found myself spending a lot of time waiting for the water to drain down both sides of the kitchen sink. I thought that maybe air pressure was a problem and so I started swirling the water in the sink. That didn't work. Then I decided to stick a straw into the drain. No success. I then decided that I would bail water out of one side of the sink into a bowl with a cup. All that did was bring all of the water from the other side of the sink up into the sink from which I was bailing water. Perhaps that should have been my obvious expectation given that I am a science teacher. I finally realized that I wasn't working in a closed system and that swirling the water in the sink, putting the straw in the drain and bailing water from one side of the sink had no effect on my ultimate goal of getting the water to go down the drain. I decided to invite the help of the menfolk.

Dad promptly removed half of the U-tube on the left side of the sink. He left to find a tool in the basement. While he was gone, I decided that if removing the left side U-tube helped, removing the right side U-tube couldn't hurt. I unscrewed right side U-tube only to discover that I had broken off the drain cover that had originally been part of the sink. Oops.

Now that the U-tube was off, I decided to take off the T-connector. I removed this successfully and thought that I now had enough flexibility to stick a wire down the drain and clear it of any remaining clogs. I took a hanger from my parents' closet and unwound it. I proudly stuck it down the drain expecting to pull up a nasty wad of drain clogging material. Instead, the wire popped right through the metal pipe. I had sprung a leak. Add a hole in a metal pipe to a clogged drain.

At this point I realized that I should not pretend that I am a plumber. After Luke observed the situation that I created he remarked, "I sometimes wonder how you survive in the chemistry lab." Dad came to the rescue and taped my hole with medical adhesive tape.

While he was winding tape (and I was feeling badly for springing a hole in the pipe) I reminded him of the time, many years ago, when the upstairs toilet was clogged. Dad decided to fix the problem by getting a Roto-Rooter snake device. After unwinding this metal snake and successfully fixing the drainage problem, one of the children came running into the house exclaiming, "Water is pouring from the side of the house!" Sure enough, the water was draining - but not into our septic field. "Dad," I asked tonight, "do you remember that story?" "I had selectively forgotten it until now," he said reluctantly.

That memory relieved me as I realized that I was not the only one in the family to have less than immediate success with plumbing. But, even with this relief, my decision has been made - my plumber's hat has been put back on the wall peg.


Radio is not a new movie, and even though it is fairly uncoventional to make note of old movies, Radio (Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris), the true story of a marginalized young man and the coach that befriended him, prompts a strong recommendation from the entire family. And since I have never written a movie review before, and will not make my first attempt now, I will suffice it to say that the power of this movie is in the viewing.

The Half-Century Celebration

Today we all celebrated Dad's 50th birthday. Mom prepared an extravagant dinner feast and invited Cousins Trip and Sally to join us in the festivities. Trip brought over a great big wooden "50" complete with Christmas lights. Pictures of Dad's official acceptance into the half-century club are highlighted below.

After finishing the chocolate-mint cake, Dad opened a wide variety of presents including a gum ball dispenser, a box of pecan sandies and a "Stanfordville" hat. We spent the remainder of the evening piled up in the living room to watch one of Dad's favorite movies, Radio, with our homemade movie theater set-up.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Fall Trip to Wethersfield

Mom, Hannah, Rebecca and Caleb went with our old neighbors, Susie and her children, to the old Wethersfield estate. The Wethersfield estate contains a beautiful ten acre formal garden. The creative artwork is inspiring.

Caleb and Ethan with the estate's house behind them.

Rebecca with her little friend, Elliott

Monday, September 25, 2006

A New Front Door

At any given time we always have many home improvement projects on the "To Do" list. We are never quite sure how to decide which one gets top financial priority, but the fact that we could totter back and forth on the floor board for the front door seemed to indicate that the front door demanded some attention. The loose boards were particularly problematic in the cold winter months when a walk by the front door provided a shock of cold air. We are pleased to report that a new front door has been installed and that in all initial trials we have found the door to be quite airtight. We look forward to welcoming guests into our home through the new front door.

Sarah stained the door.

Staining the windows is tricky.

Mom wanted the new door to bring more light into the living room.

The Last Summer Rays

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Cornell Update

Isaac is in the swing of academics at Ithaca. He has embarked upon a new challenge this semester - he is serving as a teaching assistant for an animal nutrition course. He is pictured below with his fellow teaching assistants.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fun With Chemistry Boxes

My life has been very focused on teaching chemistry in the recent weeks, thus the lack of recent updates. Caleb decided that he would get wrapped up in chemistry too...but in a different sort of way. He decided to have fun with the brown packing paper that brought me some more of my chemical supplies.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Pre-Autumnal Walk

September flower picking was at its best today. The skies were blue and perfect and the air was very clean. The beautiful colors of autumn are just beginning to emerge. Jessy and Becca brought some of the colors back to the kitchen table.

Rebecca and Jessy with their bouquets of flowers.

A closeup of Rebecca and Jessy's bouquets.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Out With the Old

The Yellow House on Bentley Farm is awaiting its demolition. Three dumpsters have arrived in anticipation of rubble collection. It is soon hoped that a model house for The Waterlands at Bentley project will be built in its stead.

In this case, the new precludes the old. But we are grateful for the many things that have remained the same as the farm undergoes much change. And we are also grateful for the memories, especially of the Cadbury's many years spent in The Yellow House. The Yellow House was the place where we would always go to find Chris Cadbury and any mechanical part or tool that we could ever wish to locate. In the shade of the The Yellow House yard, Mary Cadbury hosted the Quaker Meetinghouse picnics. Inside The Yellow House, Mary and Chris always kept a box of old-fashioned toys that were a source of great delight to any child who chanced to visit The Yellow House. The Yellow House garden grew grapes that Mary turned into jams that found their way to our table at the end of the summer season. When I was small, The Yellow House was the residence of a dog named Frodo who frightened me many times by greeting me with great energy on two legs.

It is in these times that we think gratefully upon the words of the Christ, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Labor Day Party on the Bentley Lane

Hans and family hosted quite a Labor Day celebration on the Bentley farmhouse lawn. The day was complete with a band and catered delicacies. After we ate our fill of caviar, shrimp, pork and fancy rice cakes, fifteen huge pizzas were delivered to the party as well. What a wonderful way to begin the approaching autumn season!

Rebecca, Jessy and Monica all got their hair done by Sarah before the party.

The Band

The girls' table.

We enjoyed talking to Hans' eldest daughter, Kim.

Wow! Fifteen pizzas!

Rebecca hula dancing.

The whole scene.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Happy 21st Birthday Isaac!

For Isaac's 21st birthday, he took a trip with Nathaniel, and his roomate, Eric, to the State Fair in Syracuse. They enjoyed the $0.50 milk and the $1.00 baked potatoes with all the works. Isaac kept telling Mom that he wanted no surprises for his 21st birthday, so Mom made no secret arrangements. Thank goodness for friends! Some of Isaac's friends surprised him with a cake in the late evening. Landon made it by himself and tried to spell Isaac's name with sprinkles on the top. The funny thing was that the first two letters were clearly visible and the last three letters were very hard to see. It was, nonetheless, impressive.

"Happy Birthday to you!"

Isaac chowing down with 12 pieces of cake!

A September Marriage

Today was the first day that actually felt like autumn. The damp heat was replaced with a crisp air, not unlike the apples that we are greatly anticipating eating. The clouds hid the sun from view, but in my book, the fresh air made it the perfect day for a wedding. Matt and Adrienne were married today in a packed church (just like Isaac and Nathaniel recommend). The reception was jovial - instantaneous table singing and dancing were not uncommon. I enjoyed spending time with my childhood (and now adulthood) friends.