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July 24, 2007


our buck is growing up.  five point.


kids caught momentary break in the rain and built their own modernist playhouse

we are still hoping we get some use of the pool before school resumes.  however... it remains a hole 

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July 19, 2007

not a whole lot

the electric company has been out.  now we are just waiting for our electrician to return.  we have exterior lights and in-ground lines to be completed.  he was scheduled a few days ago....

the pool is untouched.  the pool installer was supposed to return late last week.  I have worked at clearing some of the lower brush out so I can see the pool from the kitchen.  we've also started to plant ground cover and move potted plants into the area.

our screen room has been out of comission for a while now.  we found the HVAC plenum was condensating and caused our birch ceiling to mold.  it looks like we are going to apply sheets of the pink foam board to insulate/seperate the hvac plenum and ducting from exterior atmosphere.

we also have a hole in the master bedroom wall awaiting drywall patch and a bunch of other somewhat small things to be resolved (like plumbing the concrete sink in the downstairs bath)

most of my time has been spent puzzling together the koi filtration system.  I hope to bring the fish over from our other home by end of next week.

after 3 months of body shop nightmare, we have our e39 back.  our pro wrench tried to get us to upgrade into a 540i with M/sport  options but we decided to put it off for a while.  

marvin sports a fancy new name tag that has our phone number, address and his name; Marvin "The Explorer".

 despite my constant work on fencing he continues to find methods to get out and go meet the neighbors; I think he's going UNDER the fencing.  as a result I've met a few more of our new neighbors.

we have the invisible fence folks scheduled for install late next week.  it'd be MUCH cheaper to just get rid of him. 


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July 11, 2007

chicken scratch

we conditioned the chalkboard paint and tested it out

we each get one panel


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July 09, 2007

I have control of the sun

no koi in the pond yet.  just us schusters anxious to get in the water

hot monkey 

the view of the koi pond from inside the house is gonna be awesome!  will need to relocate fly swatter; wife hates flys

started to hang pictures on walls

had a crew come clean up the lot; haul away scrap wood and relocated mulch piles to the back of the property etc.

concrete sink is installed and looks great, work was done by kollin baker.  need plumber to come back to install a chrome P trap


darby from austin blind faith got us some control over the sun.  I did the install


kids got pleated blinds



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July 06, 2007

nat'l lampoon's schuster family vacation

if you are strictly interested in modern homes and construction, skip to the end of this post.  if you like family misadventure tales.... read on 


we had a trip planned to go camping at caddo lake state park

I spent a whole day gathering supplies and packing in the hopes of leaving on time, or even EARLY.  the eve before departure my son opened the doggie door.  marvin escaped.

I got in the car and drove by some past recapture locations.  I came home and found a mssg from the vet.  he had been recovered and all I needed to do was call them back to get the contact info of where he was currently being held.

I was a bit let down when they told me they had thrown the info into the trash, and the trash had been taken out.  girl at the vet tried to assure me that everything was working out since whoever had marvin was going to call animal control and "they will just deliver him to your door"

so I called animal control and got a machine saying they don't open till 11.30 the next day.  so we waited.

the girl who had marvin held him overnight and had some reservations on sending him to animal control.  she tried the vet one last time and the day staff was quick to act and get us in touch.  

so instead of leaving austin at 11 AM we left at 2 PM (had a few other delays but let's not go into detail)

at temple (just south of waco) we discovered the GPS had died.  the GPS purchase had been the one time I did buy the extra warranty /replacement plan.  I remembered the sales guy mentioned how we could go to any best buy and get a new one if ours quit.  I knew this area of tx was mostly void of this sort of store.  but then we saw it!  GRAND OPENING BEST BUY TODAY.  we pulled over and a new store is staffed with a whole bunch of emplyees who have no idea what they are doing.  after some negotiations where they tried to tell me they were going to send the gps out for repair and I'd have to go back to temple to pick it up at some later date....  I finally walked out with a new unit.  another hour lost. 

things were moving along and we were closing in on the campsite.  I had given up on cooking a big meal so we stopped at taco bell.  fuel level was just below 1/4 tank but the rd out of taco bell was steep.  the fuel lines sucked in air and we stalled.  stuck on the side of the rd, 7:30 pm

diesel fuel injection does not like to have air in the system.  I walked the dogs while we considered our fading options.  that is when I discovered we had stalled in front of a big rig diesel repair facility that stays open till 9 PM!  service mgr said they had one tech that was familiar w/ ford powerstroke engines; joe.  he was out on a test drive.


 so Joe get's back and they come up with a plan to spray wd-40 into the intake to get the engine going and fuel pump primed.  parts guy could not find wd-40 in the computer so they just gave us the can for free.

15 minutes later we were back on the rd.  I gave Joe a $20 for beer and his eyes lit up.  everybody was happy.

late at night, negotiating dark rural rds, about 5 miles from the camp, we missed a turn in uncertain,tx   we had been dazzled by the colorful lights on the uncertain tavern which describes itself as Especially Suited For The Outdoors Type.

our gps quickly plotted a new route and we took a quick turn with it as our guide.  it sent us down a dark narrow unpaved rd.  we passed a large steel building that had a group of people (all resembling larry the cable guy) standing in the driveway near an industrial shop fan.  tiki torches were lit.  they all looked in amazement as the long truck and airstream negotiated their desolate dirt rd.  we were near the end and we saw it, a railroad crossing that was elevated.... a steep, steep ...  so steep we could not see anything but stars as we slowly went up (backing up was not a good option)  finally the front came down the other side and we saw pavement near.  I was sure the airstream would bottom out going over, but once again we faced adversity and forged ahead.  we made camp after 9 pm.  we woke up to find a beautiful setting.


our friends the brown family drove over from shreveport to camp with us.  they brought their ski boat for some touring on the lake.  saw lots of interesting bayou architecture (see bottom of the post).


  troy, his son and I paddled government ditch.


did some fishing 


daughter turned 8

had a party in the airstream

scooter was a big hit


she loves to play uno 

we went to shreveport for oyster poboys.  the kids were wound up and kept climbing on, running over, squealing at... everything

we relocated our camp to the diamond jack's casino.  had a small party there. 

the next night we attended a surprise 40th birthday party for Cmoore (he helped me build the metal railing here at austinmodhouse)

the boys watched power rangers and had some rough play. 

CMoore was surprised

five guys seen above have been at this since the 80's.  we posed to recreate a few era pics; I think the first one was taken on the way to see the cure in dallas.  nobody is certain, as are many details from the 80's.  (original pix below)



the next day I was taking the kids to party for the 4th of july.  we'd spent the day having lunch at the casino and soaking in their hot tub.  somehow my new shorts have an eject feature and the truck keys were gone.   we called AAA and they sent their key guy out to cut us a new one.

kat was trying to work back at the airstream but discovered she'd left the power cord for the laptop.  she worked till the battery was exhausted and called us home from the 4th of july party.  it was time to hit the rd and head home!  we pulled out of the casino under a blanket of 4th of july fireworks.

made good time on the rd (drove through dallas).  got to within 4 miles of home when the truck once again sipped air into the fuel pump.  it was 4 AM.  the fuel gauge said 1/8th of a tank.  I guess the truck is telling us that we must not get below 1/4 tank.


we were on mopac.  called AAA again.  this time it took them 2+ hrs to get somebody there.  morning rush hr traffic was getting bad and we were tired of being stuck there.  the guy they sent out ran to the store to get wd-40.  at 7.30 we were back on the rd and home by 7.40.  we were exhausted.

 we found that we had concrete around our pool!


looking from the screen rm

and now, an example of bayou modernism!

what you see here is a mobile home on stilts, married to a steel building.  sort of reminds me of a back woods bayou version of a res4 modular home   click here to see a larger version of this bayou architecture

a nice A frame

shreveport has a bunch of MCM and international style homes.  many done by the same architect.  it was great to see this one is getting some updating by somebody who understands what they have.


 if you've not yet had your fill of boatin' and bayou party pics, check troy's flickr acct (click here)





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