Midwinter Jicker Boots

Midwinter Jicker. I looked it up. It’s not a real phrase, according to Scrabble and the dictionary, but I know it’s real because 1. I’m in it and 2. Lots of other people are too. Dr. Seuss knew about it- he made it up. It’s perfect. It’s the anomaly of weather at this time of year, and this one is a doozy. I wonder if you can use “doozy” in Scrabble. It’s cold, snowy, icy, frigid, unsafe, dry, unpleasant, dark, gloomy, never-ending and, dare I say, totally jickery.

Ways to deal with the jicker: 1. drink a lot. 2. eat a lot 3. buy boots.

Work Boot Splurge
Work Boot Splurge

Splurge is another good word, like jicker and doozy. But can you technically splurge when the boots are super-duper on sale? Above you see three newly waterproofed pairs of man-boots, and two pairs of, well, more man-boots in a smallish size. They fit me like a glove-boot.  I’ve been in the habit of wearing stupid things in a construction zone due to not having smart shoes to wear, so I finally decided to get some good, sturdy boots.  The ones I’m wearing are cushioned, yet ventilated, steel -toed, yet light at the same time.  Oxymoronic comfort. The matching pair of chestnut boots were just a coincidence. Mike had bought his three pair of bootage the weekend before at the now-closing Normans in Bad Axe. I bought mine the following weekend, not realizing it was the same boot. But how adorable- we can tramp around the church matching our little hearts out!

Matching flannel and tired expressions! Priceless!
Matching flannel and tired expressions! Priceless!

Of course my flannel is shot with silver glittery threads. I know you can’t see it in the photo, but you can see the black velvet collar. Looks great with caulk stuck to it.

Learning how to Caulk, feel like a rank beginner. Am a rank beginner.
Learning how to Caulk, feel like a rank beginner. Am a rank beginner.

Speaking of caulk, that’s what we’ve been spending our weekends playing with. And when I say playing, I mean getting up on a high ladder, balancing precariously, using bare fingers to stuff nasty dusty cracks in the church with a sticky, gooey and totally ornery substance while feeling like you’ve never been able to do anything right IN YOUR WHOLE PATHETIC LIFE because the caulk won’t stay put and starts dripping down onto your cute flannel shirt shot with silver thread and collared in velvet. You know, that kind of playing. Just the way to get through the Jicker.

"You're not SERIOUSLY taking a picture now?"
“You’re not SERIOUSLY taking a picture now?”

In case that sounds like way too much fun for a Sunday morning, I forgot to mention the enclosed spaces we’re working in…

Don't raise your hea.....OUCH!
Don’t raise your hea…..OUCH!

…and the scraping of cakes of crud, gobs of grime, and flakes of flotsam that will accompany the eventual (and looming) painting of the Ceiling. I capitalize it because I have a healthy respect for the Ceiling.  It’s vast, and may kill us or leave us writhing, at the very least.

"I wonder what the weather's like in the Bahamas today?"
“I wonder what the weather’s like in the Bahamas today?”
"Warm and Sunny, with probable comfort and pleasure in the forecast."
“Warm and Sunny, with probable comfort and pleasure in the forecast.”

 

Luckily Santa brought us bright blue gloves to brighten the Midwinter Jicker Dark Blues. Thanks Dad! I mean Santa!

I wonder what Nitrile is. Sounds explosive!
I wonder what Nitrile is. Sounds explosive!

Note the difference in fit of the glove between the box photo and my actual hand. It turned out to be more efficacious to use the bare hand when stuffing toothpaste back into the tube, which is the equivalent of what we were doing with the caulk. But the gloves are uber suave, and I used them with style.

"I'm crushing you!!"
“I’m crushing you!!”
Get thee in there, Caulk!
Get thee in there, Caulk!

So we got through most of both sides of the church in two weekends, not by killing ourselves, but by pacing ourselves. I think we’ve finally come to the conclusion that there’s no use in damaging yourself for something that is supposed to give you joy and be a good thing. No one wants bad Ju Ju in the church. Well, it might be too late for that, considering its history,  but it is an environment that, of any I’ve known, would be able to keep the Midwinter Jicker at bay. There is always some symbol of the beauty to come…

Lit from without, but soon lit from within.
Lit from without, but soon lit from within.

…and inspiration to keep us coming back weekend after cold, dry, dark weekend to make the church a place of beauty and inspiration for everyone. 

 

– 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

Visitors Bearing Gifts

A little backstory: I’m not from Michigan. I was born and raised in upstate NY, in a suburb of Rochester NY. I moved to Michigan to work at the Longway Planetarium in Flint, MI, after living in the NYC area for several years. I’ve been happily in Michigan around 15 years now, and the ONLY thing I regret about leaving NY is that I live 6 hours away from my parents!

They came for a visit. They arrived weary, since they both still work, but bearing gifts, as always! They brought Mike a saw. A very nice saw. I know it has a great name that explains its function, but I’ll just call it a saw. It moved in many, many dimensions, planes, and time zones, and Mike was delighted with it.

...and this knob extrudes macaroni...
…and this knob extrudes macaroni…
...but this one flattens out pizza dough and then takes you to 1985...
…but this one flattens out pizza dough and then takes you to 1985…

Ok, I’m making fun, but now I see the label- it’s a radial saw!

We let Mom and Dad sit down for 5 minutes, then we put them to work. We still had lots of work to do before drywalling could commence. So hi ho, hi ho, up on the scaffolding we go!

"Measure twice, cut once"
“Measure twice, cut once”

The wall at the front of the church wasn’t ready for drywall yet. Nailers (2x4s) had to be positioned so that there was something to nail the drywall into. There is an arch already built into the wall, but there was little to hang drywall on, so that was the day’s project. There was something for everyone to do.

How's the weather up there, Ma?
How’s the weather up there, Ma?
"Hey! Up here! Look up!"
“Hey! Up here! Look up!”

I definitely inherited my work ethic from them.  They haven’t slowed down much in the 46 years I’ve known them. Mom’s 71 and Dad’s 69 (it was his birthday!), and they work harder and better than most 30 year olds! Plus they are fun to have around. Dad has a great attitude and endless curiosity, and Mom and I are always up to hijinks. We both almost wet our pants trying to get a ladder out of the bathroom. It was definitely a Laurel and Hardy moment, but luckily I’m the cameraperson so there is no evidence of it!

"Put that camera down and fetch me a prybar!"
“Put that camera down and fetch me a prybar!”

This was an especially athletic moment for the men. You can’t see the full view, but Dad was hanging out in space like a child on a jungle gym.

"This doesn't feel like recess!"
“This doesn’t feel like recess!”

Honestly? I don’t remember him being in so much peril when I took the picture, but looking back, yikes!!

"I can't quite reach the nail..."
“I can’t quite reach the nail…”

But perseverance paid off, and the arch had its nailers!

P1010086

I know it’s hard to tell the difference, but Wayne, our drywaller, will be able to tell! He’s set to start work soon, and everything must be prepped and ready.

There was also a door that was to be walled over and had to be framed in.

Good bye door, hello wall...
Good bye door, hello wall…
Let's go get some ice cream!
Let’s go get some ice cream!

It was a busy and short weekend, and I was very sad to see them leave for NY on Monday morning, but before they left there was some time made for ice cream eating and cow-gazing. Dad and Mom grew up on farms in a little town near Hornell, NY, and Dad retains his love for the bovine race, as do I. So he and Mike stopped by our favorite magical cow pasture for some cow-eye candy!

Bovine Bliss
Bovine Bliss

Cow-gazing is relaxing!

Cow Contentment!
Cow Contentment!

We’re very, very lucky to have Mom and Dad! Thank you, God!

– The White Church Gallery

Uncovering the Window

For as many years as can be remembered by the living, there has been a red circle with a white cross in the front of the Church.

000_0428

000_0433

Here’s the story of the uncovering of the Quatrefoil window.

First light was quite exciting!

Now you see it,
Now you see it,
Now you don't!
Now you don’t!

I couldn’t take pictures of bringing the window down since I was holding the lowering rope! But she is down, and ready to be loved. It’s not clear yet whether she will be restored or will become a museum piece. She’s in rough shape.

P1010100

Most of the glass was intact, but in order to repair the window, all the glass had to come out. That meant all the brittle glazing had to be picked out. I did the best I could, but it became apparent that the glass was really not worth saving in this case. Yes, it was old and original, but we think the reason it was covered it because it’s too fragile for the westerly weather it had to take. So new glass will have to be made for it.

Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.
Antique brittle glazing + dry rotted wood = bye bye glass.

P1010104

I did manage to remove the center glass without mishap. And never fear, I saved most of the pieces for the future. I’m sure a project will arise that will call for antique warbly glass.

The bones.
The bones.

Exciting!

Meanwhile, the other window is coming along…

Primer
Primer
Nice sanding job!
Nice sanding job!

We’re still debating colors, so stay tuned…

– 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

Scraping, Painting.

We’ve started painting the outside of the Church.

P1010022

The first investment was a “Paint Eater.”

The yellow device eats paint
The yellow device eats paint

Scrape, then paint. Scrape some more, then paint some more. Two coats of Sikkens white does the trick. You can hear the sucking sound as the old wood takes it in.

P1010033

Upward!

Scrape
Scrape

Pretty!

Paint
Paint

Now the north face…

Before
Before

P1010057

Scrape, paint, scrape, paint…

After
After

After two weekends, we made some serious progress…

After the first weekend
After the first weekend
And after the second weekend.
And after the second weekend.

I wish I could just photoshop the rest of it in! Notice we started low. It’s only going to get tougher as we ascend. But we can’t stop now!

Meanwhile the road is being prepped. Two years of gravel ,then it will get paved. Right now catch basins and drain pipes are being installed. $$ Yowch!

P1010263

Luckily it’s not a long, nor winding road!

P1010264

And the road will lead to our favorite place, White Church Gallery!

P1010074

– The White Church Gallery