Tag Archive | construction

Images of the Aftermath

I put together some images taken of the rubble left over from the mall beside the Harrisburg Walmart.

Here’s the view of the houses (or what’s left of them) behind Walmart going up the hill toward the hospital.

On Route 45 South of Harrisburg

More of Route 45

Even more of Route 45

Still Route 45

Route 45, again

Yeah, still Route 45

Now, that’s interesting …

That concrete pad there in the center of the photo, that used to be the Lutheran Church.

Beyond “cheap” and “easy”

When I first bought my house (which is a fixer-upper), someone told me the golden rule of hiring remodeling help:

There are only three criteria that count for any kind of service professionals (or amateurs, for that matter): good, fast, and cheap. You will never find anyone who meets all three categories. The best you can hope for is 2 out of 3. Which two, is up to you.

That has, so far, proven true.

The electricians were wonderful to work with, did quality work and were reasonably priced.

The roofers were very quick at their work … but my roof is still leaking.

I recently organized a Lenten study on food ethics for the congregation I serve. As part of my research, I listened to a lecture by Eric Schlosser (author of Fast Food Nation) who pointed out that the selling point of the fast food industry is that they are fast, cheap and easy.

I occurs to me, in both cases, that fast and cheap are thought to be desirable characteristics in everything from hamburgers to handymen.

I don’t have more hours in the day than anyone else, and I have less money at my disposal than many … and so I am often seduced by the wiles of the quick and inexpensive.

But this is the season that challenges us to consider that, perhaps, we were not made to embrace the easiest, fastest or least expensive. We were made for so much more.

The staggering beauty of trees in bloom, the grandeur of fields of purple, the lushness of soft, moist grass, the majesty and ferocity of thunderstorms … nature in springtime forces us to concede that God does not settle for quick and cheap.

I suspect that God doesn’t expects us to settle for that either. What if, instead of fast and cheap, we sought to surround ourselves with things of another quality:


My grandfather (who passed away before I was born and, of whom, I only know the legends of family) was famous for often saying: “It only costs a dollar more to go first class.”

Spring (and, of course, Easter) challenge us to a “first class” way of thinking, challenging us to embrace what is Beautiful, Interesting, Rare, Mysterious, Delicious, Melodic, Abundant, Important.

This Easter, may the risen Christ transform our lives … and our choices.


I’m just a little over halfway through the month … and halfway through the ClutterBuster28 Challenge.

I had high hopes for all the progress I would be making … but I’m quite pleased that I’ve stuck with the challenge and have actually done something toward reducing clutter every single day (so far) this month.

There have been days – I confess – where I haven’t done much … but I’ve done at least a little bit each day.

In honor of the beginning of the second half of the challenge, I’m posting a few pictures.

The top pictures are the before and after pictures of my linen closet. On the left – before the Clutter Patrol struck – the chaos was spilling out into the hallway.

In the top right, you’ll notice that not only is the closet better organized, it’s practically empty.

I haven’t forgotten my commitment to get rid of 100 Things this month (either by giving away, giving to Goodwill, or trashing them).

In fact, tomorrow I will be dropping off five large boxes to Not-So-New in Golconda. (Four of the boxes are shown in the bottom picture.) These boxes contain 73 items of extra linens, towels, washcloths, clothing and home goods.

Yes, this challenge has had quite an impact on my home life. You’ll also see that I’ve been doing some painting. The two middle pictures show the paint colors that I’ve chosen for the bathroom (left) and the painted beadboard before installation (right).

So, that’s my update! I’ll keep you posted.


Getting Worse Before Getting Better

Well, my 2011 ClutterBuster28 Challenge is more than a week old now. Not only am I challenging myself to spend a portion of every day clearing out the clutter … but I’ve also committed to getting rid of at least 100 things by either giving them to Goodwill, giving them away, or throwing them away.

The first week of this challenge started off fairly easy: I spent the first two days organizing my closet and the third day organizing the linen closet. Simple. Everything that belonged in those areas was already nearby just waiting to be unpacked or reorganized. No problem.

But then came the hard part: in order to organize any other area of the house, I was going to have to put like things together. For example, you can’t organize – and get rid of the unnecessary – tools or cleaning supplies or kitchen utensils until you get them all in one place.

Putting all the things that are alike in one place together requires unpacking boxes that are still packed, and actually making a bigger mess than when I started. Ugh. This is terrible.

So, the last four days or so have been spent making a mess rather than cleaning things up. All the craft supplies and tools go to the basement. All the blankets and sheets go upstairs. Most of the books go in the library. The board games go in the living room.

For the time being they all just get piled together. Then I’ll see what I’ve got, what I can get rid of, and what needs to be put away in a neat and orderly fashion. (Puh-leez! Me? Neat and orderly? Well, a girl can dream.)

I can see that things are beginning to take shape, but I am still not happy facing the reality that my attempts to organize have actually (if temporarily) increased the chaos. But at least the increased chaos inspires me to continue the work … one small step at a time.


Clutter Update:
Day 1: completely cleared out and reorganized closet in master bedroom

Day 2: finished work in master bedroom closet; cleaned out a pile of clothes for goodwill

Day 3: cleaned out linen closet; organized sheets and blankets by size and weight

Day 4: broke down empty moving boxes and organized by size so they’re ready to be stored; organized the storage of Christmas and other holiday decor

Day 5: reorganized pantry;

Day 6: took apart nephew’s bed in preparation for moving his furniture to his new bedroom; packed up his stuff (toys, games, etc) in advance of next week’s move;

Day 7: unpacked boxes; spent some time putting like things with other like things

Day 8: put nephew’s bed in his new room and put it back together; started moving his other furniture to his new room

A Room of Her Own

Today, I began to make my home my own.

It sounds a bit theatrical to say it quite that way, since I have actually been working on the house for almost nine months and living in it for more than a year.

But my work on the house up to this point has been dictated by the tyranny of the urgent, and can be categorized as “infrastructure” rather than “inspiration.”

Fix the roof.

Rewire the basement.

These projects (among others) have certainly been worthwhile, but could not be considered part of the work I keep hoping to do that will make this house more my own.

So, today, I began that work.

The back room of my house is a large, wood-paneled, multi-purpose room. It’s off the kitchen, so it lends itself well to use as a dining area. It’s the first common space inside the back door, so it functions nicely as a sitting room. It has a wall of built-in bookshelves with a large, television-sized opening, so it also seems to have been built as a tv-room.

Today, I began converting part of this space into an office. This is most certainly a project that will require more time than I can give in just one day. (I am currently working on the house for about two hours at a time, either before or after work.)

In addition to the arrangement of office-related items on the bookshelves, there is also attention that must be paid to the strategic hiding of items that are unsightly. And, not surprisingly, there are also a few other construction-related projects that are required in order to transform the area into the workspace I envision.

I’m hoping that my new office can be a birthday present to myself, so that gives me a few more weeks to finish it. And even if I don’t meet my own deadline, at least I’ve begun making my house my own.

And that feels nice.


%d bloggers like this: