Follow the Lights!

Every May, my birthday rolls around. And every May, my beloved husband finds something sweet and amazing to surprise me with.

It wasn't these...
It wasn’t these…

These beauties were the by-product of his search for the perfect gift from Craigslist! He did find an amazing little piece of furniture for me but it’s for home, not the church, though it does have quatrefoils on it.

We had been looking for light sconces for some time, and our search had schooled us in the prices and quality we were likely to find.
These had been polished.
These had been polished.
We knew they were neither cheap, nor easy to find in quantity. So it was with utter amazement that he found this set of five doubles and two singles. All for one low price.
Score!
Score!
Yes, they will need some love, both aesthetically and electrically. Someone had wire-wheeled some of the metal. I used Brasso and elbow grease on the one on the left, and it has a very different tone than the polished one on the right. But I will figure out how to make them match, never fear! They will be a beautiful addition of light to the Church!

Meanwhile, the protective plywood came off the front windows, and the front of the Church saw first light, again.
All closed up.
All closed up.
One eye open...
One eye open…
And the other…
Who's that in the window?
Who’s that in the window?
Why, it’s Grindstone Mike, putting the final touches on the paint.
Soon it will be time for dinner. How’s it going, Dr. Fisher, of the Institute of Barbeque Grills?
Oh it'll just take 15 more minutes...
Oh it’ll just take 15 more minutes…
Right! Well, we’ll check back in 20…
Painting.
Painting.
The windows look just great!
ust a few more to go...;)
ust a few more to go…;)
They sure do let the light in!
Meanwhile…
Assistance from a guest!
Assistance from a guest!
And so it took a few hours, but the lads were able to find all the right places for all the right parts, and we did dine on burgers and dogs. Our first grilling in Grindstone Corners!
Yay-Be-Que!
Yay-Be-Que!
Let’s light it!
– The White Church Gallery

Looking Down the Road

You know the road that leads from M-25 to Grindstone Corners, our little neck of the woods? It was a dirt and gravel road.

Our Little Piece of Heaven, and a dirt road.
Our Little Piece of Heaven, and a dirt road.
Rybak's Ice Cream Store and a dirt road.
Rybak’s Ice Cream Store and a dirt road.

Yes, that’s definitely dirt and gravel.

Dirt roads are...dirty.
Dirt roads are…dirty.

Bring on the asphalt, please!

You can even call it ASH-phalt, I don't care!
You can even call it ASH-phalt, I don’t care!

Mmm you can smell the progress!

Yeah, that smell is tar.
Yeah, that smell is tar.
It's definitely a Kodak moment for us all!
It’s definitely a Kodak moment for us all!

Now that Rybak’s Ice Cream store is open again, Grindstone Corners has come alive. Ann Fisher is the proprietress of this historic and delicious establishment, and people come from all over for the high quality ice cream, the pleasant surroundings and the friendly atmosphere.

GC- corner of Rouse and Copeland roads.
GC- corner of Rouse and Copeland roads.

Not sure why the church icon is out in the lake, but it’s pretty cute anyway. OMG! The FISH in Grindstone city are as big as a HOUSE!!!

Rybak’s isn’t on the old map, but it is the place to hang this summer.

We all scream for ice cream!
We all scream for ice cream!

Come on up- the people are warm and the ice cream is cold, and the road is PAVED!

P1010008

– The White Church Gallery

 

Caulk and Spackle, Toil and Trouble…

Sorry Shakespeare!
Sorry Shakespeare!

It was another Sunday Morning session with the white pasty substances. Using Fast and Final spackle is almost like frosting a cupcake. Here, let me show you!

Astronomy-related treats for my students!
Astronomy-related treats for my students!

I recently made cupcakes in the colors of stars: orange-red stars are cool small stars, and blue stars are hot and bright. Our Sun is there in the middle. The Main Sequence is the result of the relationship between color, temperature and lifetime of stars.

HR+Diagram(units)

I had fun making them, and I thought spackling and caulking would be just like that!

Frosting?
Frosting?
stuff and spread...
stuff and spread…
Yes, just like frosting cupcakes....
Yes, just like frosting cupcakes….
...except for, like, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT!
…except for, like, EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT!

I didn’t have to frost the cupcakes on my side, in piles of dust and spider webs, trying to stuff “frosting”  into cracks upside down. Darn gravity!

Smooth!
Smooth!
Eventually this will all be painted over, and realistically, no one will ever rest their eyes on this part of the building, but there is a sense of satisfaction knowing that it is done and done right, or as right as rookie me can get it.
Meanwhile, Grindstone Mike was working on the quatrefoil window frame. Sanding and caulking was the order of business.
Sanding
Sanding
We also put up trim between the ceiling and the wall along the back of the church with toe molding.
Could you hold this, please?
Could you hold this, please?
We angle- cut the molding so the pieces would fit nicely against each other and be held in. I’m learning a lot about how buildings are put together. I ask a lot of questions, but luckily Mike is very smart and knows the answers.
"If we don't angle them, it will look like crap..."
“If we don’t angle them, it will look like crap…”
I’m good with it!
So up the ladder with all the tools and materials.
Nail gun control!
Nail gun control!
And wah lah, the finished product. Again, will anyone ever notice? Probably not, but they’d notice if it WASN’T done, so it must be done!
Voila!
Voila!
Another cold, dry, windy Sunday in Grindstone City. Another chunk of work done. But as Shakespeare said, “Things won are done, joy’s soul lies in the doing.” So we are feeling joyful!
Yaaaaay!!
Yaaaaay!!
Hard to tell, isn't it!
Hard to tell, isn’t it!
But it is done, and it was kinda fun! We’re learning a lot, trying to enjoy ourselves, and imagining the finished project. A beautiful church, an art gallery filled with gorgeous and thought–provoking art in many different media, lots of light and color and love!
"If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work." -William Grindstone Shakespeare
“If all the year were playing holidays, to sport would be as tedious as to work.”
-William Grindstone Shakespeare
– The White Church Gallery

Hiatus

It had been over three weeks since we had last said goodbye to the Church, unplugged the wax melter and shut off the lights. Three weeks of December bustle, of Christmas parties, Church events, and seeing family and friends. Three weeks of shopping and eating and making merry. It seemed like a long time, and we worried about the Church. But the Church is so snug now with its new insulation, drywall and excellent Geothermal furnace that everything looked exactly as we had left it. Well, almost everything…

OOPS!
OOPS!

We were babysitting two plants from Rybak’s Ice Cream store for the winter, but they cannot live on sunlight alone. They do need water…

The Blue Hydrangeas made it - but they are fake...
The Blue Hydrangeas made it – but they are fake…
I even left them on the Robo-Saw with its awesome swinging arm and a few bottles of water, but apparently the saw drank the water and left the plants to fend for themselves.
Now that the church is comfy-cozy with its spray foamed long underwear on, the windows are the only weak link. So it was the windows that we worked on. I didn’t snap any pix of the work because (as if it wasn’t evident) sanding and caulking windows isn’t very glamorous, nor is it adrenalin-producing. (Really I just forgot…)
I did manage to sneak a picture of Mike working on the trim between the ceiling and the drywall. There is a bit of a gap there and the trim will fill that nicely. But again, it’s not super sexy work, though he did his best to make a nice pose…
Nice form, Grindstone Mike!
Nice form, Grindstone Mike!
We did have a leisurely week off in the Thumb, and some of the time was spent just nesting with the critters.
"Could you bring me my fez and slippers, please? Yes, all four slippers!"
“Could you bring me my fez and slippers, please? Yes, all four slippers!”
I don’t know if it was all the extra sleep I got, but I started daydreaming about the bathroom ceiling.
An Empty Canvas
An Empty Canvas
So I searched for ideas…
Hmm... classic but a little pretentious?
Hmm… classic but a little pretentious?
Uh, no.
Uh, no.
This should have been at Graceland!
This should have been at Graceland!
Well, perhaps we’ll just stick with something more tasteful, like this for example:
Is that a cumuloNIMBUS cloud?
Is that a cumuloNIMBUS cloud?
Or maybe something artsy:
We call it "Pearls and Paint Chips"
We call it “Pearls and Paint Chips”
I call it ugly. What do you say, Iggy? Pass or Fail?
ZzzzzFailzzzzzzz!
ZzzzzFailzzzzzzz!
Maybe we could get a giant print of this picture for the ceiling:
"Ah what's that lovely aroma?"
“Ah what’s that lovely aroma?”
OK, maybe not. But something must go on the ceiling. Can’t wait to see what we come up with!
– The White Church Gallery

Drywall!

I’ve been in the habit of bolting out of school on fridays and driving north. I say goodbye to the Astronomy Club kids, hop in the car and drive two hours in the waning but magnificent burnt orange sunlight ’til I make my way to Grindstone Corners! I get to the church with some pent up energy and literally run around like a kid.

I know, no running on ladders...in a skirt!
I know, no running on ladders…in a skirt!

Mike arrives after me, since he has to stay later at his job. So on this particular day, I got to see it first.

See what?
See what?
See the new drywall, of course!
What does it look like? Well, I knew that Mike’s jaw would drop when he saw, so I had the camera ready when he arrived.
Let me indulge myself by showing you a happy person!
Hi Hunny! Notice anything different?
Hi Hunny! Notice anything different?
Ye aulde dropped jawe...
Ye aulde dropped jawe…
DANG! What a difference!
DANG! What a difference!
So I don’t have any nice, Pinterest-worthy photos of what new drywall looks like, but here’s what I do have:
North side of Church
North side of Church
before...
before…
...and after.
…and after.
And the south side of the Church.
And the south side of the Church.
DRYWALL!
DRYWALL!
Wayne and son came back on Saturday to do some mudding. It was the cutest thing; Wayne up on  the scaffold slapping down drywall mud, and son pushing the scaffold along!
Before you know it, the team had finished up, and we had walls!
Awesome!
Awesome!
Stucco-finish paint next. Color choice will be an intense decision. Stay tuned!

– The White Church Gallery

Repair, Restore, Remake

Those are comforting words. Repair: to fix what’s wrong. Restore: to bring back what once was. And when you can’t restore or repair, then remake! Do what you gotta do.

As you know if you’ve been following the story of the White Church Gallery, or perhaps better known to locals as the Grindstone City Methodist Church, the Church needs lots of love and tenderness. Even when tenderness means opening a can of whoop-ass on it.

Whoop whoop!
Whoop whoop!

Repair: One whole corner of the church had serious water damage. Time and tide had left a hole in the roof, allowed water to cascade down into the wall, and turned the support structure into a weird kind of wood-soup. Dry, chunky wood soup. That makes no sense, but when you grab a handful of it, it’s what comes to mind.

A year and a half ago, we thought it was artsy.
What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger...
What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger…
But it turned out to be rotten to the core.
'S gotta go!
‘S gotta go!
So once the plaster and lathe went, operations moved into the guts of the support system.
Well at least he's not a plumber...
Well at least he’s not a plumber…
By the way, the lathe had a glorious ending. At first, everyone wanted some lathe. “Good for starting fires” “I need some too!” “I’ll take some lathe.” Yet somehow I ended up with a giant pile of it.  Then it was all, “Get rid of the Lathe!” “It’s going to attract ‘coons  and skunks!” “Should have just put in the dumpster.” So I had to get rid of it. My pyromaniac tendencies won out in the end.
Lathe fire!
Lathe fire!
It was a good night of burning, bright hot fire, a little after-glow fire water, and lots of yuks…
blah blah yuk yuk...
blah blah yuk yuk…
Even the moonflower came out for some fun…
Up with the Moon!
Up with the Moon!
The morning after…
Burnt!
Burnt!
Scavenging square nails kept me busy…
P1010134
Stay tuned for what becomes of the nails…
What the HECK will I do with these?
What the HECK will I do with these?
So long story short, the floor got repaired.
Pollock Ingenuity!
Pollock Ingenuity!
Pollocks get things done. And how!
And then they sit around and talk about the glory days, even if it was literally thirty minutes ago!
"Remember when we repaired the floor in the southeast corner?"
“Remember when we repaired the floor in the southeast corner?”
So that’s the repair work. Restoring  came with the remaking. Remember (what I consider to be) the coolest feature of the church: the quatrefoil window?
Weather -beaten beauty.
Weather -beaten beauty.
With a little help from our (Amish) friends, it was remade.
Into this:
Remade!
Remade!
Stay tuned to see what happens next. Thinking- colored glass, to reflect the colors of the gospels. – The White Church Gallery

It Ain’t Easy!

So what’s been going on this week? Let me show you, and you can guess…

??? Is it Art???
??? Is it Art???
Holes and conduit! And shavings!
Holes and conduit! And shavings!

Darn, you guessed it! The Church is being wired. Now that the plaster and lathe is gone, we can wire the walls for electricity before we add insulation and close her up with drywall. Outlets under the windows and in front! The ceiling had already been wired, but now the walls are good to go. Well almost…

Holy Rotted Wood, Batman!
Holy Rotted Wood, Batman!

Of course, in renovation, as in life, nothing is ever easy, and there were disaster areas that needed to be tended to before we can even think “Spray Foam!”

Who better to attend to them? Grindstone Mike, of course!

How'm I going to make this better?
How’m I going to make this better?

With a little help from a friend, of course. Camera-shy ice cream magnate Paul Fisher helped out, but it’s a bigger job than just weekend will allow time and energy for, especially after such a grueling work week and last week’s adventure to NY State for a lovely wedding.

Me, Mike, Dad and Mom
Me, Mike, Dad and Mom

Time spent with the folks is always special, and seeing relatives is always a hoot, but the 10 hours in the car each way was a little hard on the nerves tushie!

I did take a day this week to go hiking in Crescent Beach State Park. Summer has flown by, as is usually does, and for me teaching school starts very soon, both High School and College. So I took a day to “goof off” in this lovely setting, only 15 minutes from Port Austin, MI.

"Let's take a walk!"
“Let’s take a walk!”
Moss mountain!
Moss mountain!
Dunes and waves.
Dunes and waves.
"Look how magical!"
“Look how magical!”
Ahhhhhhh...
Ahhhhhhh…

I’m selfishly posting these so I can look back and remember how wonderful it was and to keep me breathing during the long season ahead of working all week, renovating all weekend. Poor Grindstone Mike has been doing this all along, but that’s why he’s Grindstone Mike. Tough and gritty, but keeps everyone near him sharp too.

"It ain't easy being green!"
“It ain’t easy being green!”

– The White Church Gallery

Christmas

It was a lovely Christmas!

Zaitz. Mike Zaitz.
Zaitz. Mike Zaitz.

A drywall gun! This gift, along with an extremely generous gift card for the actual drywall, comes after a difficult decision to remove the plaster so we can insulate and replace with drywall. No one wants to see the old plaster go, but the walls need insulation. The Geothermal can’t do ALL the work, we have to help as much as we can.

Bye bye, plaster...
Bye bye, plaster…

Another gift from Mom and Dad Meyers. A Pulpit.  A gorgeous, loved pulpit from Ohio. They said they made a day trip to get it and had a great time doing it.

Wow!
Wow!

Thanks so much, Mom and Dad, for all your support and understanding and love through all the years. And your extravagant generosity.  Another great Christmas!

Cardinals swarming Mom's head!
Cardinals swarming Mom’s head!

We didn’t forget what Christmas is all about!

In the Cross of Christ I Glory.
In the Cross of Christ I Glory.

– The White Church Gallery

Workin’ It.

Huff puff scrape scrape...
Huff puff scrape scrape…

The season of summer slid right into fall, and still we are scraping and painting. I personally find scraping to be fairly therapeutic. I guess the boys think I need this therapy because they let me do it! With no interference.

Huff Puff blah blah blah...
Huff Puff blah blah blah…

Now since I am the author of this recorded history, I will not come out and say that I did most of the work this particular day. People might think that I’m biased. Instead, I will let the pictures speak for me.

How's it goin', boys? Just came in for a cool drink...
How’s it goin’, boys? Just came in for a cool drink…
Back at it- me and the empty ladder.
Back at it- me and the empty ladder.

But to be honest, we couldn’t have gotten to the “next level” without the help of the scaffold; planned, gotten and set up by the menfolk. Without it, we couldn’t have done this:

More than halfway! Yay!
More than halfway! Yay!

And then there was the break in the action of the Annual Amazing Kinde Polka Fest.

P1010067

Every year for seven years the families of Kevin Wiley (owner of the Kinde Pasta House)  Paul Fisher (owner of Grindstone’s Rybak’s Ice Cream opening spring of 2013) and Gerald Prill have enlisted the help of lots of local sponsors to put on the Thumb’s most amazing Polka Festival.

After 7 years, Prill and Fisher are still going strong. Ignore the crazy eyes.
After 7 years, Prill and Fisher are still going strong. Ignore the crazy eyes.
It's grueling, but worth it.
It’s grueling, but worth it.
We'll be Polish for the night.
We’ll be Polish for the night.

Everyone’s Polish tonight!

I helped hang the red lights. They stayed up the whole time!~ whew~
I helped hang the red lights. They stayed up the whole time!~ whew~

This awesome band played at Paul Fisher’s daughter’s wedding this summer, and they were back even more energetic, if that’s possible. Three daughters on the fiddle, Dad and young son on the accordian, and other family members rounding out the group. So much fun!

Who stole the Kishka?
Who stole the Kishka?

I didn’t steal the Kishka, cause I’m not even sure what it is, but I did steal a kiss from my Polish hubby!

Mmm wahhh!
Mmm wahhh!

Whether we’re working on the church

steady there...
steady there…

or Polka-ing our butts off,

dang my arm is getting tired...
dang my arm is getting tired…

We’re a great team, and surrounded by a community of hard working, hard playing folks. What more could you ask for?

The 2012 Kinde Polka Fest
The 2012 Kinde Polka Fest

– The White Church Gallery