Friday, August 7, 2009

Oh Mother Nature...You funny girl

It seems as though Mother Nature is not without a sense of humor. As part of my lawn "upgrades" over the past couple of weeks (yeah, I still need to post the pictures, sorry Mom), we transplanted a lot of plants and put in a couple new trees. But of course, this being Minnesota meant that we are in the middle of a drought. I think we've had like 4 days of rain so far this year. While that is good for those with lake cabins (which does not include me :-( ) It is not particularly good for new/transplanted plants, especially with my schedule.

So today, on my off day, I decided to hit up the local Menards and pick up some garden watering kits. Cool little system...just a hose that you lay around the garden area and then you poke a hole in it and connected a small watering tube that then connects to a small sprinkler. That way you only water what needs to be watered...yay for conservation (Actually, the biggest benefit for me is that I don't have to got out and constantly move the dang hose).

Anyway, Mother Nature decided to be funny this morning and I woke up to a down pour. Guess I can't complain. But now I'm stuck in the house cause it's too rainy to work in the yard.

Oh well...

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Power of Words

It's amazing the power that words hold over people. They can convey emotion or thoughts, strength or weakness, courage or cowardice. Words can lift the spirit of a nation or torture an individual. They can appear out of nowhere days after they were said or they can hit you instantly like slamming into a brick wall.

Words have been the banner of freedom and the chain of slavery. They can preach goodness and they can spew evil. A simple word can bring a smile and intense happiness or it can bring about sadness and despair. Words, when presented from certain people, can be one's muse.; by others, one's siren.

Words. They can be laid out there for all the world to see and understand. Or they can wrap an enigma that can't be solved. Words can be clear and concise or they cannot come close to representing the thoughts behind them.

Words. They can lift you to the heavens. Or crush you from the inside.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Building a Fence

One of the biggest things I've wanted to do since buying my house was to finish the fence. Luckily, the previous owner put up 3/4 of the fence. However, he left 1/4 of it un-done cause he had a boat that he stored in the backyard.

My dad and our family friend, Mike, who is a genius at building anything, came down this weekend to help me finish it.
We got the posts and the stringers put in last night and let the cement dry over night. We got up this morning about 7:30am and bought the face boards and started hanging those.

We're breaking for lunch now and hopefully should be done around 4 or 5 tonight.

Additionally, at the last minute, my mom decided to come down too. She's been working the garden beds yesterday and today. By the end of this weekend, the yard will look drastically different.

I will post before and after pics when we are done.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Keeping Track of John

So, I've been traveling a lot for work again lately. And by a lot, I mean, I'm already far past the miles needed to be Elite on NWA (or Delta I guess) for another year.

It's sad. I don't like doing it and I hope it's done soon. But in order to try and track my whereabouts and free time (this means you mom) and to further assist in planning events/trips/vacations, I've decided to post my Google Calendar here on the blog.

I'm not very happy with the options that I've been given for posting it. You would think since both the calendar and the blog are Google products that they would inherently work together. Right? Unfortunately not. So for now, I've just slapped the calendar right at the top of the page. Everyone should be able to see my "public" events and if I'm busy with a "private" event :) I just mean, I'll hide the events like birthdays and such that I track on there....I guess I could also make a different calendar for that stuff. Oh well, one step at a time.

Oh, I realize it's been a while since I've wrote, so I'll fill everyone in on new things in my life:
  • I hired a company to fertilize my lawn. They did it the day it was like 100 degrees outside and I was in MD for work...Awesome results :(
  • I finished grad school and graduated. 3 weeks later, I got my grades. Diploma should be in the mail.
  • I shaved my beard. If you didn't know that I had a beard, then this is no surprised.
  • I have started to regrow the beard. Not because I miss it, but I promised my friend Michelle that I would have a mustache for her Nerd Weekend Party at her cabin this year.
  • I still have a number of boxes lying around the house...still packed.
  • I'm still attempting to get furniture. Actually, I haven't purchased any furniture since the leathers I bought for the basement in March, until today when I bought 3 bookcases off of craigslist: pic

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Damn Plumbing

I have run into my first home problem. I pride myself in the fact that I can generally fix anything that I run into...granted it may take me a few hours and I might cause irreversible damage in the process.
However, this morning I have been completely bested. My kitchen sink keeps backing up. I first saw it the first night I moved in, but after getting it cleared I haven't had a problem since.
Last night, I cooked for my brother and sister. It was a great dinner, but then the problems started. This one was so bad that it was backing up into the dishwasher and everything.

After doing some research last night and dumping 3 containers of liquid plumber into the drain, I got up this morning and when to Home Depot. I brought home a manual crank auger (snake), a pipe wrench, and a bottle of clog remover that was so potent that the plastic bottle was sealed inside a plastic bag...Surely, I had this clog bested.

I dismantled the p-trap and got all 25 ft of the snake in apparently without hitting a clog. Damn...maybe I loosened it up. Re-assemble the pipes, pour in the clog remover, and let sit.

For the next hour, I was confident and had kicked the clogs butt. Unfortunately, I failed.

But my tenacity didn't allow me to admit defeat, so I went at it again...3 hours later, the clog was still holding firm.

But I have a lifeline....home buyer's warrenty....I put in my call to HMS.
"How can I help you today?"
"Yeah, my kitchen sink is clogged and I need a plumber."
"Ok, we can do that, but plumbing work that is the result of a stoppage or clog is not covered."
"Yes, it's right in your coverage agreement."
...ruffle through papers...
"We can still send one out to you."
"No thanks. I'll handle it."

Next call...Richfield Plumbers..."Sorry, our hours are M-F 8:30am to 7pm"
2 more plumber calls failed.

Finally, I resorted to Roto-Rooters.
"Yes, we can help."
"How much?"
"Free estimate and then they can start work right away."
"Score. Send them."

I saw this as a huge victory. Everyone told me that plumbers cost anywhere from $75 - $100 just to show up at your door. I got mine for free.

An hour later, the plumber was here.
"Your drains clogged?"
"Ok, I can clean it out for $185."
...Head Drops...
"Dammit. Ok, let me get my checkbook."

And here we go. He's been at it for about 15 minutes now. Sounds like he's finishing up. Hopefully this will have solved the problem.

Chalk one up to the previous homeowners...They got me good on this one :(

Saturday, March 28, 2009


The talk of the town this week has been the flooding in the ND. Most of my family still lives in Bismarck, so I was concerned all week. Luckily my parents' house is not near the river. But 3 of my aunt/uncle's places were in danger. Thankfully, it appears that is no to minor damage.

As for the Fargo area...everyone keeps throwing numbers around...18ft flood stage with a current height of 40.61 feet. But what does that really mean? Well, think of it this way. The Red River at Fargo during a flood is like trying blast a firehouse through a straw. There's just not enough room, so the river expands and busts through just about anything. To really see what they are dealing with, look at the photo below. It's a time lapse image of a USGS Flood Tracking camera in Fargo.

Simply amazing.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Home Stories and Lent

Ok, so a couple of housekeeping tasks.

First, I've decided that since Imperceptible Rantings was intended to just be a "whatever whenever" blog that stories regarding my first home somewhat break the "no theme" rule. So I've created a second blog - Diary of a First Time Home Buyer. There's nothing there yet, but I will post all the stories and info regarding mi abode there.

Tomorrow (actually Today since it's after midnight) is Ash Wednesday. If you don't know, Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent which is a 40 day long (I think the actual length is debatable depending on if you count Sundays or something like that...I remember a huge argument in 8th grade regarding it). During these 40 days, Catholics are supposed to give up something that would be difficult to live without.
Since I haven't "observed" Lent in this way the last couple of years, I have decided to post my Lenten observance here so that people can hold me to it.

I will not drink alcohol during Lent.

However, to avoid setting myself up for failure, I am going to install the following 2 exceptions to my Lenten observance:
1) The day I close on my house - This is currently set for March 10.
2) Our (Mike, Pete, Will, and Me) annual St. Patrick's Day party. Since St. Patty's Day is on a Tuesday this year...and Holy Week isn't helping us out like last year...This will probably be either the Saturday before or after St. Patty's Day. I need to check with some establishments in St. Paul to see what their plans are.

That is all for now. Goodnight!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My New Home!

Here is the Richfield house that I am buying. I've posted all my pictures from the house inspection today to my web album here:
Posted by Picasa

House Wars VI: The Return of John

Sticking with the Star Wars themed titles, this is my latest update.


I found out early Wednesday morning that my offer was accepted. Things are moving quickly. Closing is set for March 10. EEK. It was kind of hard managing all the items from out in DC too. I'm sitting at Reagan Airport right now typing this. My flight leaves in an hour putting me back in Minneapolis around 11:30 am. Then I'll get a couple hours sleep and head over to the house to do the inspection. Then I have to start filling out paper work for the mortgage and call someone about setting up home owner's insurance.

I also need to start thinking about doing my taxes this year. I think I really need to speak to a professional rather than doing my own. I want to make sure I get the most refund I can. Everything I've found on the internet says that I can claim that new First Time Home Owner's tax credit that was included in the stimulus bill on my 2008 taxes even though I bought the house in 2009. Of course, that's the NET, and you can't trust EVERYTHING you read there. Anyone know of a good tax guy/gal they'd recommend?

So many things to to start planning for furniture...I should make a list of the things I'll need. Luckily, there isn't much to do in the house itself. I don't think I'll need to paint or anything. No big projects that HAVE to be done. Mike will just have to deal with having to lower his head when walking through his door for now.

I'll post pictures after the inspection today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amazing Burger

I'm sitting at the Red Rock grill at the airport waiting for my plane...I just had the Double Swiss and Mushroom was AMAZING.

Seriously, try it sometime.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

House Wars - Episode V - The Curse Strikes Back

If you know my family, you know that we have had a long battle with what we jokingly call the "Engelman Family Curse" or EFC for short.
The EFC isn't a real curse like a haunted mansion or zombie pets but more of a container for all the random things that happen to my family. At least once a week something happens, where the only response from another family member is "Only an Engelman". This would be an instance of an occurrence of the EFC.

Here was where the EFC made it's appearance during my search for a new home:
I found a house I really liked in Richfield a couple weekends ago. I liked the house a lot and knew immediately that I can see myself purchasing it. But instead of putting an offer in then, I decided to give it a couple days to see how I felt about it. I looked at a couple more houses and decided that since my parents were coming down last weekend, that I would do a showing with them and see what they thought.

So, I set up a showing from last Friday afternoon. As the EFC (not luck, it's never luck) would have it, my flight out of Maryland (where I was for work) was delayed and my parents' car broke down in Fergus Falls.

So we rescheduled for Saturday. We looked around on Saturday and my parents really liked the place and again I was sure I wanted to put an offer. But AGAIN, I decided to wait a day to see how I felt.

I just so happened to drive by the property again on Sunday and noticed a lot of cars outside that looked familiar...oh yeah, they were the same cars that pulled up right after we left on Saturday. Great, someone else is having a second showing.

So I picked up the phone and told my Realtor that I wanted to put an offer in. She checked to see if I needed to do it that night, but the listing agent said no. So we met yesterday and put the offer together. We went aggressive to see how much movement we could get from the owners on the price.

A couple hours pass, and I haven't heard anything. Finally, around 7pm last night, my Realtor calls to tell me that the listing agent has said they aren't going to respond to my offer that night because they were expecting another offer the next day and that they would allow me to amend my offer if that happened.

So today rolled around and I get a call from my Realtor and of course....another offer is written so I have to decide what is going to be my best offer take-it-or-leave it. This is not how I wanted to buy my first home. So we decided on a price and now I'm just waiting to hear.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, why is this a big deal? How is the EFC involved in this? Isn't this sometimes normal when buying a house?
My answer...I guess so, maybe, you could think of it that way. But instead, I'm fixating on the fact that the house has been sitting on the market for 9 months with only 1 price drop, everyone agrees that it is still listed to high, and the day that I submit and offer, SOMEONE ELSE DECIDES TO OFFER TOO! NOT A WEEK AGO, NOT NEXT WEEK. THE SAME FREAKING DAY!

The EFC is a cruel bitch....

House Wars - Episode IV - A New Home

As you may or may not know, I'm currently in the process of trying to buy a house. This was all started when one of my roommates bought a town home and moved out and my landlord decided this was a good time for her to stop earning the mortgage payment from rent and asked us to move out....

Enough ranting there.

I finally found a house in Richfield that I really want. It's listed way too high, so I've decided to make my offer very aggressive. So I'll see how that turns out.

Now it's just a waiting game.

More news to follow.

P.S. - This post was written retrospectively. More has happened, but I want to order my stories in a certain way.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Those who have come before me.....

So I was talking with Sidd the other day online and I decided to google myself. Yes, that's "google" and not "Google". I am using the verb form which according to Webster's New Millennium dictionary is defined as "to search for information on the Internet" and not the proper form in reference to the Mountain View, CA based company.

Anyway, I googled my own name (first and last) to see how far I'd have to go before I found something (except for a directory listing) that was about me...I was thinking maybe page 2 or 3....

Page 1...

Page 2...

Page 3...

Page 4...

Page 5...

Page 6...

Page 7!!!!

WHAT?! SERIOUSLY?! PAGE 7!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Man, that's disappointing. So I decided I'm going to share with you some of the things that me and my brethren are.

  • I have extension experience in the music industry
  • I am an alumni advisor at Dartmouth and "a genuinely good guy"
  • I live in Detroit.
  • I married Themla Froman and we have 4 kids....I also died in 1985
  • I was in 4 episodes of "George of the Jungle"
  • I donated $2,850 during the 2008 election cycle
  • I am a scientist at S. C. Johnson & Son, Inc.
  • I am a chiropractor in Fountain Valley, CA
  • I brew my own beer called American IPA
  • I also live in Delaware.
  • It appears that I am on the board of a few Chemistry boards.
  • I was married to Ursula until my death in March 1942.
  • I'm the manager of an Illinois little league team.
  • I coach girl's basketball in Illinois...I have a record of 233-121 a .658 winning percentage.
  • There's lots of family history sites that I'm a part of.
  • I work in the construction industry.
  • I am a photography with a semi-sweet website ( say semi-sweet because it looks cool until you click on things and get under construction on a white page. But I guess it's understandable considering all the other things I'm involved in.
So there you resume :-)

Oh and as for Sidd....try googling "Siddartha Sanathanamurthy"...he's the first result...Jerk.

Monday, February 2, 2009

First thoughts and a Get To Know Me

A couple days ago I received what amounted to a Facebook Chain Letter. Remember those things when you first got an email address? "Forward this letter to 10 of your friends and you will be cut a check for $1000! No seriously! My friend's mother's co-worker's niece's college room-mate's dog's masseuse's secret lover did it and he just got his check!"

Yeah, did anyone actually EVER get one? Not likely. Yet we are all still suckers for a good chain letter. And as such, I was easily pulled in to the "25 Things" Notes on Facebook. I got so into it that I spent most of the afternoon writing my list of 25 Things. It was was funny and serious; heart-felt and sarcastic; a self-introspection and a public display of both my good and bad. It was actually quite exhilarating. But right before I clicked the Post button, I accidentally hit the backspace key causing my browser to go back a page and I lost everything I wrote. SON OF A.....

Anyway, I procrastinated re-writing it the rest of the day, but eventually did it. Afterwards, I thought to myself, "Maybe this kind of vent writing could ease a little stress in my life." And so here it is, my own personal blog....Imperceptible Rantings. The only guideline for my posts will be that there will not be a theme. I'm just going to write what I feel like, when I feel like it. In fact, you may see posts that will suddenly change topics in the middle of a sentance. This is how my brain works.

So to start, here is my muse....the originator of what I'm hoping becomes my therapy (unabridged). Enjoy.

1) I am currently on track to be homeless in 4 weeks....Awesome.

2) I watch a lot of TV....seriously. In any given week, my DVR records at least 11 shows.

3) Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate...I love them all. If it involves space travel, I'll probably watch. I also secretly wish that I could be frozen and thawed in 500 years when all of it is a reality.

4) Josh, Chad, and I were once stopped by a police office who thought we were attempting to burn down our school. Only, we didn't go to school there. When we didn't have an answer about why we were lighting fires, he asked if we were doing it "for shits and giggles". That still cracks me up to this day.

5) A police office once warned me and a group of my friends that he would "take us downtown" even though we were across the street from the police station. We did not point this fact out to him.

6) Subscribing to Netflix was the BEST DECISION EVER.

7) Besides Netflix, I also own over 300 movies. This does not count TV show box sets. There is at least 1 DVD in my collection that has NEVER been placed in a player. Sad.

8) Kelsey and Courtney once spent an hour teaching me that "pillow" is pronounced PILL-O and not PELL-O. Thanks girls.

9) I almost lost my right arm as a child. An inept nurse put the IV through my vein and didn't check on me for hours. Apparently if it had gone on for another 30 minutes, they would have had to amputate my arm.

10) I have a severe hatred of needles. Can't stand them. For the first 22 years of my life I didn't know why. That Christmas my parents finally told me about #9. Now I understand.

11) I remember belching so loud in the cafeteria in 2nd grade that everybody stopped and looked at me. Mrs. Sebesta gave me a punch in my punch card for it and then told my mom. This started the epic battle between me and Mrs. S and why she is my arch nemesis.

12) I spent Spring Break of my freshmen year learning to solve a Rubik's Cube. It takes me between 2 and 3 minutes. No world record, but I'm proud of it.

13) I am very scared of having kids. Not because all babies hate me, but because I'm worried that I will either be too lax or too strict and it will scar them for life. When I think about this, it makes me even more proud of my parents since they pulled it off with 4 kids.

14) I am the only one of my siblings that is not a Johnnie or a Bennie. I catch a lot of hell for it when I go home.

15) I have to stick my foot in my mouth a lot. For example, I once called Will a "big slut" in front of his entire family. In my defense, I said it while walking into his room and had no idea that his family was in there. It was super awkward. We all tried to pretend like it didn't happen. It hasn't been bad lately, but I know that's because it's all pooling up for one enormous train-wreck of an incident.

16) I am the only person in my family to ever break a bone and have to get a cast. Did I do it in some fabulous blaze of glory? No. I did it in gym class...playing Wiffle Ball.

17) It's A LOT not ALOT and ANYWAY not ANYWAYS. Thank you Mrs. Schroeder.

18) I am very good at taking things apart but not always as successful at putting them back together. Items that have met their fate because of me: tape player with microphone when I was 7, just 2 days after my parents gave it to me for my birthday, lawn mower when I was 15 and digital camera when I was 24.

19) I killed my baby blanket when I was 8 or so by laying too close to the space heater. It started on fire, I almost started on fire, Peter saved me. Thanks bro. Sorry blankey.

20) I have made some pretty dumb decisions in my life: using a chain-saw while drinking when I was 18, driving through a blizzard to Fargo for the State Class A Boys Basketball tournament, driving Sean's Audi TT down 169 at 120 mph at 3am, launching fireworks off from a steal pipe leaning against my uncle's propane tank. I am still amazed that none of these situations resulted in bodily injury.

21) I wish I had stuck with piano. I also wish I could play the guitar.

22) I am a sucker for John Cusack movies. I don't know why but High Fidelity and Grosse Point Blank are two of my favorite movies.

23) This is the 2nd time I've had to fill out this form. I completed it and then accidentally closed my browser before I posted it...I am having difficulty remember all the things I wrote the first time, so this is a filler :-)

24) I am a fidgeter. My roomates get very irritated with me because I'm constantly fiddling with anything that is lying around. Most of the time I don't even realize I'm doing it.

25) I lost a bet in high school and had to Nair my entire chest and stomach. It was not fun. To this day, I have an odd shaped bald spot on my leg where some Nair dropped.