My attempt to move from Southern California and create a happy and sustainable urban homestead in North Dakota, with some musings on life with deaf dogs, a gluten free spouse, and the occasional mischievous garden gnome. Thank you for visiting and I hope you enjoy.



Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sprayin' For Skeeters


Grand Forks, like a lot of towns large and small, in North Dakota and throughout the Midwest periodically spray for mosquitoes during the peak summer months. Spraying occurs in the evening, during prime mosquito activity time, and is done with low flying aircraft (freaked me out the first time it happened) and/or trucks that drive slowly through the streets.

They usually give a day or two warning when they're going to spray, typically publishing a small article in the Grand Forks Herald. The most recent article caught my eye though, since it contained some information that was new to me.

It started with - "Mosquito control trucks travel with a flashing yellow light at about 10 miles an hour." OK, cool. Good to know that there will be slow trucks around town and we should avoid them like any other service vehicle, or snow plow.

The next important item was a warning - "Residents should not run, walk or bike directly through the aerosol cloud behind the sprayer." What!?!?! Does this really happen? Seriously? And often enough that people need to be warned not ride their bike or jog behind the toxic death cloud that's spewing out of the truck. Is this a game for local kids? Really?

And the final nugget of information - "Residents may want to stay inside for about a half hour until the cloud dissipates." This seems a bit more reasonable, yet still scary. The thing about a toxic death cloud is that it rarely does as it's told. Just like Baby from Dirty Dancing - you don't put Toxic Death Cloud in a corner.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Almost Done and Just Started

The painters have almost finished up the house, the bottom floor is pretty much done, and the upper floor needs one last coat. They've been terrific and haven't gotten a spot of paint on the woodwork or any goofs thus far. Supposedly they're going to be done tomorrow, but we'll see how it goes, though it does look promising.

In other news, Ms. Professor Cummings took the first step towards enlightening the generation of tomorrow. Classes at UND started on Monday and she taught her first class today. The report from campus was that the fresh faced youth gleefully embraced her and the knowledge that she has to offer. Granted it was only the first day, and the depth of the teaching was describing the nuances of the syllabus, but Ms. Professor Cummings made the family unit proud on her first day of teaching.

Ms. Professor Cummings has also become well acquainted with her new environs, especially the local Student Unions' coffee/snack cart. It's here that she has embraced the university lifestyle and has spent the late mornings sipping coffee and snacking whilst conversating with her new department colleagues. We'll keep you appraised of Professor Cummings' exploits throughout the semester as she strives to inspire and educate the leaders of tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Littlest Supervisor

Alycia has had her hands full over the course of the week, with her first day of work on Monday, taking care of the kids, and tending to the painters. She's done a great job and we're extremely proud of everything that she's been able to do this week.

The painters from Ye Ol Painting are in the house and have almost finished with the wallpaper stripping, and they should be priming/painting as soon as tomorrow. They've been extremely efficient and work from 7:00 until 5:00ish, very impressive thus far. The only snag in the wallpaper has been in the living room where the wallpaper proved troublemsome to remove. The painters resorted to scrapers and a belt sanders and eventually got it off. In every other room the wallpaper came right off, which is nice.

The painters have been very receptive and appreciative of the dogs and both Tito and Shaak Ti got a lot of attention from them. On the first day of wallpaper removal, Shaak Ti decided that the very best spot to supervise the painters was sitting atop the pile of wet, gluey wallpaper on the floor. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, it's a good thing she's so pretty and that we love her.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hail to the Hail

So it hailed yesterday in Grand Forks. Yup, a big mutha-trucka of a thunderstorm (red and black on the Doppler Radar) blew through town and dropped some quarter sized hail in the area. This isn't much of a big deal for locals, but for newbies and weather nerds like, me it was a big deal. Unfortunately though I was in San Diego, land of the unchanging 82 degrees, bummer right? Not with a super cool girlfriend like Alycia.

As I'm getting ready for work I get a Google-chat (the audio and video feed from Google/G-Mail) request from her. She pointed her webcam outside and I got to see the lightening and hail and listen to the thunder. Combined with the Doppler Radar feed from weather.com, it's like I was right there. She got a ton of super cool girlfriend points for this, that is for certain.

I also got to see the dogs, Shaak Ti and Tito, calmly sitting through each bolt of lightening and crash of thunder, staring outside, wondering why things looked so weird out there. Immunity to thunder is one of the cool side benefits of having deaf dogs. I'd feel bad for them if every thunderstorm caused bouts of "hide under the bed and tremble with fear". It's almost like they're SuperDogs, immune to the thunder. Granted they may not have any other super powers, but I bet in dog world thunder immunity is a highly sought after skill....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

San Diego House

So the San Diego version of the Chappell/Cummings homestead remains fairly well unoccupied, with the possible exception of my hanging out in it for most of August whilst I work here in San Diego. It's an odd feeling to be back in the house from whence you moved with none of your belongings, sleeping on an air mattress, and cooking/eating everything with the one spoon you have.

My sister is moving in over the next few weeks and months, though not sure when all five dogs are gonna show up. I've alerted the neighbors that they are going to have five barking voices instead of the normal two, and they're fine with it. They're actually pretty stoked to have a firefighter in close residence, always an asset to have a first responder living close by.

I'm glad that I'm able to rent it out to a relative like my sister, instead of having to go through the process of renting it out to strangers. It would have been helpful to enlist a property management company, like Real Property Management, who'll work with you even if you're only renting one house.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Potential For Severe Weather

So some kind of low pressure deal is moving across Montana, picking up the meteorological equivalent of a 2 Arby's Beef n' Cheddar sandwich combo (yeah the one with the curly fries) along the way, and then it will do something with some kind of other frontal system, and that will probably cause some thunderstorms this weekend, some with the potential to be severe.

Read the Grand Forks Herald Article HERE, they're a bit more eloquent about it, though they lack the relevant Arby's analogies. And you wonder why newspapers across the country are failing.

The bummer is that I'm out of town and won't be able to personally partake in the glory. I just love sitting there and watching the rain, wind, thunder and lightning, it's great. Plus I still haven't heard what the tornado warning sirens sound like. I'll be fairly bummed out if I hear a firsthand account of awesome lightning but don't get to see it.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Questionaire

Since Grand Forks can be a bit smaller and a tad more isolated than other college towns, the University makes a great effort to make sure that new faculty are properly introduced to the community and made aware of the things the city and state have to offer. With this in mind, they organize a bus trip every year for all new faculty to see the sites across the great state of North Dakota. Alycia, being a native and all, has declined to go, despite my prodding that it might be fun.

They also put out a booklet of all the new faculty and attempt to put people in touch with one another that have similar interests, be it playing tennis, snow shoeing, cross stitching, chatting about politics (you voted for WHO?!?!? for the Potato Advisory Council position). Since she opted out of the UND Bus Tour '09 Extravaganza, I encouraged Alycia to fill out her questionnaire for this booklet. The one obstacle though that truly and rightfully stumped her was what she should put down in the category of "Spouse/Significant Others Profession".

I demanded that she put the truth down, but "professional slacker" had an unsavory ring to it, so I decided that my profession was "semi-retired". Alas, she didn't necessarily think that this would be the best way to make friends in a new community. But now everyone is gonna know that I'm an accountant.....which I think is an even worse way to try to make new friends, but we'll see how it plays out.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

North End Bridge

In the course of tiring out the the magical R-Dog on an hour long walk through the Riverside Park area and adjoining environs, we learned that the North End Bridge is currently open. This is the northernmost bridge on the Greenway Walking/Biking Path that connects North Dakota and Minnesota and had been damaged by the flood this Spring. We had heard differing reports from folks on whether or not it was operational, but we heard word that it was open.

But thanks to Alycia and her tireless two-state dog walking inner drive, we were able to discern that the bridge to Minnesota and back again is indeed open for business.

In other local happenings, the 22nd Cats Incredible Catfish Tournament wrpped up today - see the article on the first day leaders in the Grand Forks Herald.