Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Building The Outhouse

The family and I went to our property in northern Michigan for the weekend of the 4th. On the 4th we went to the Mackinac Bridge to see the fireworks. We had heard that they were the best in Michigan and we were not disappointed. The most brilliant colors seemed like they were right on top of us because we were near the bay where they were being launched.

Most of the weekend was spent building our outhouse. It took us a little over two days. My three sons helped a bit. They dug the hole, helped me frame it, measured and cut 2x4s. By the last day they were board with it and stayed inside the air conditioned camper as it was nearly 90 degrees everyday. But my faithful wife stepped in at the end to offer a hand and to give the boys a break.

I have never built a structure like this before and I found a lot a satisfaction out of the project when I was done. I did have one minor flaw though, the toilet seat wasn't placed properly for the lady folk and they end up peeing on the framing in front instead of the hole. I'll defiantly fix that on our next trip.

My design came from a few different sources. Blueprints I downloaded from online, an outhouse book my wife's grandma loaned me and a few sketches from an engineer friend of mine.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Hot Air Balloons Landing

Every year in Battle Creek we have a Hot Air Balloon Show. Always the 1st week in July. Every morning and evening they launch nearly a 100 or so balloons into the air. It's an awesome site to see, the sky dotted with colorful balloons all across the horizon. The city is crazy about the balloons. We have people who get in their cars and follow them to see if they can watch them land and help the crew. Their called "balloon chasers." My mom was a balloon chaser. She would get us up at 6am as they were launching and we would drive all over the city trying to catch one landing. We would help the crews land them, take down the balloons and eventually get a picture with the Pilate and a autograph.

On July 2nd my friend Joe Brown and I was walking down a road near our house watching a balloon land in someones yard when I noticed up the road, about a block, one was landing in my neighbors backyard. My neighbor wasn't home, he was at my house for my sons Joey's 11th birthday party. So I sprinted home and yelled "Chris, a balloon has landed in your backyard!" Puzzled he yelled back "What?" I repeated myself and he said "My backyard?" "Yes!" The whole party jumped up ran down the street to his house, dodging the crazy traffic of the balloon chasers. When we arrived at his home two more balloons had landed and then another 5 minutes later. Four balloons! It was awesome!

Joey with Pilate on his 11th birthday.

Chris taking pictures of the balloons in his yard.

I loved that I could share this moment with Chris, and with my family and friends.