Showing posts from February, 2023

The Mystery Child

  Charles City Intelligencer - 3 Aug 1876 This article written just weeks after the 100th birthday of the United States has really thrown me for a loop. It states that a baby boy was born on July 28th. The problem is that I don't have a child born at that time. At the family plot, there is a central marker, three larger stones for John Kuck and his first two wives on either side of him, next to five smaller stones for each of the five children that died of diphtheria, a total of eight markers altogether. The two that survived are buried in nearby Rockford and out in The Dalles, Oregon which I saw for my own eyes last fall. You can see them all below. At some point after I first visited the graves, I noticed something about the stone obelisk marker. It had nine etchings memorializing the dead. One was for an infant whom I hadn't known about. You can see that side of the marker below. It was in pretty rough shape the first time I visited but I thought it said Infant Daughter born


  My plan was to impress you with an "original" painting created by Dall-e 2, which for those not aware, it an artificial intelligence program that can do those sorts of things from a description one types in. I did so several weeks back thinking it might come in handy for a post where I have no picture to show but alas, it is having problems today, probably due to publicity traffic. Whenever I log in, there seems to be a problem. So I went back to plan B which is to rip a picture from Google's image search that is somewhat appropriate. On a recent Friday, we at long last headed in to get our fourth Covid shot, which is the third booster. Because we all came down with Covid the week before it became available, we weren't eligible until around the first of the year. Yes that was nearly two months back but sometimes that is how things go in our household. But the stars aligned, school had been cancelled for the day the prior evening and by mid morning, it was a nice day

Another Bedroom Ticked Off

  I went from the hardest of the three bedroom to the easiest of the three bedrooms, not because I was trying to be efficient or create motivation but because it was the one vacated by my eldest daughter after her move downstairs. It just needed a paint job. The carpet, original to our occupation of this house, isn't the best but is in decent shape and will hopefully last another handful of years until the younger daughter is off on her own.  I took the matching custom book shelf off the wall to paint the wall behind and decided to give it a fresh coat of white paint while it was easy to do. Otherwise, the only real big project was to move the recently built canopy bed into this room. Due to the extra window, it required a little bit of shimming to get it to fit and still overlaps each window by a tad but I know this is just a phase and so I made it work. I didn't take a before picture since it is mostly just a change in color but I made sure to take an after photo before the y

Death In the Schools

  If you will indulge me, one more blog post on new information I found on my Kuck ancestors before returning to the bedroom swap project in progress. I have more material for future posts but I will save them for another day further along.  John and Mary Meyer Kuck had seven children (an eighth was either born stillborn or died within days of birth), five of them who died of diphtheria along with their mother Mary all in the space of six months. Many years ago, a kind researcher who had access to the microfiche of the local newspaper copied out the death notices for three of the children and Mary but either didn't find or didn't know about the other two children. It cost me money for a cup of coffee so worth what information I did receive. One of the missing death notices was for oldest daughter Anna who was 17 at the time of her death. So fresh off the success of learning more about John, I did a newspaper search for Anna and found two articles, the one above talking about th

John Kuck's Near Death

  I wrote about what happened after my 3rd great grandfather John Kuck's death awhile ago. A brief synopsis though is that it sounds like son George Kuck, my 2nd great grandfather from father John's first wife Mary, tried to fraudulently take possession of John's estate. Younger half brother Paul from John's second wife Elizabeth, successfully sued in court and as a result, the court ordered all of John's assets to be divided equally. Each of his five surviving children from his first two wives would get 1/6th share. The remaining 1/6th share would go to any surviving step children of John's third wife, also named Elizabeth. (She died during the court case.) In those court records described John's last few years alive saying he had been overwhelmed by a gas leak in his house and was never "right" afterwards. Presumably this is when son George tried to take over John's estate by getting him to sign over much of his assets into George's name.

The Travels of My Ancestors

 While waiting for paint to dry, literally, I fired up my computer and surfed my way to a genealogy site. The day before I had watched a YouTube video about using DNA to solve genealogy brick walls and thought it might be worth a try for the longest and thickest brick wall in my family tree, finding the parents of my third great grandmother Mary Meyer Kuck, wife of John Kuck. However I got a bit distracted. Remember how I discovered not to long ago how digitized historical papers were being digitized and online where they weren't before. That was the case during some of the life of John and Mary Kuck and after doing a quick search, I found that indeed, their local newspaper was digitized and now online and free to search. In less than an hour, I doubled the knowledge I had on this family, perhaps the family I know the best in all my tree. It just goes to show how little I actually know. I'm not sure why I always assumed that John Kuck left Germany at age 16 and just never went

1/3 Done... More or Less

  I was able to get the floor installed okay and was pretty happy with it. There was one trouble spot working around the door jamb to the walk-in closet where no matter what I did, short of removing the entire door and frame, I just couldn't get the plank to seat with the other (due to not being able to angle the board) without beating on it which chipped a corner. Nothing a little superglue couldn't fix but still, something I will always see whenever I'm in the area which is hopefully very little. I reinstalled all the baseboard trim and of course, exposed unpainted wall areas. But it isn't very noticeable, especially since I won't use this room very often, and so I'm punting that job till later on. I then hung up my daughter's custom made bookshelf I made years back from her upstairs bedroom to this one. She repainted it a dark green which she likes better than the bright white I painted it back then. I also took out the ceiling fan which she didn't li

Call Me Mr. YouTube

  The painting went fairly smoothly and I kind of enjoy it. A couple years back, I bought a pair of ISOtunes earmuffs that sync with my phone via bluetooth so I can listen to my favorite music or podcast while still receiving ear protection from loud sounds around me. I bought it mainly for entertainment while mowing lawn but it works well while I'm in the shop though I try to use caution when wearing them around running power tools lest I forget they are running. After the paint dried, I started rehabbing the closet. I will do another post on that so won't bore you with the details other than to say, I was missing parts and so had to stop. Thus I decided to get started laying down the new floor. I have done a few tile jobs over the years, namely small bathroom floors and our walk-in shower and with our three year old addition and kitchen remodel, I became experienced in laying solid tongue and groove wood flooring. But laying a floating vinyl planking floor was new to me. I kn

Uncovered Problems

  One thing about remodeling a home, is I almost never do something without uncovering hidden problems. There always seems to be at least something. In the case of the first bedroom of the big bedroom swap project, I noticed that the threshold between the bedroom and the small walk-in closet had cracked and sank about 3/8 of an inch and also along the entire wall that runs along that direction.  There are no other cracks anywhere else which for a 50 year old house, is saying something. Since the above wall follows the centerline of the house and holds up floor joists running in each direction to the outer walls, I'm assuming that it was poured without any or much of a footer below that area and basically just settled a bit. I'm not really worried as it is a 50 year old house, the cracks were done a long time ago judging from their discolored hue, and there is good old Iowa clay underneath so it really isn't going to go anywhere. Also it was only 3/8th of a inch so it really

Digging Right In

  After finishing up taxes for the year and getting them filed, I decided to spend the rest of the day starting the great bedroom swap project by tearing out the flooring in my MIL's bedroom. It looks really good in this picture but was in poor shape. Our house was built on an uninsulated slab of concrete with no moisture barrier and concrete, no matter how thick it is, allows moisture to creep through it. If you've ever been in the bowels of a dam, that is why the walls are always damp even through 20 feet of concrete. Previous occupants didn't account for this moisture movement and installed cheap laminate flooring on top. As a result, at a lot of the joints, the thin laminate layer has bubbled and looks terrible in the right light conditions. It also causes enough swelling in the summer that the entire floor will buckle upwards so it is like walking across a sail laying flat on the ground with air trapped underneath. It had to go. I really don't want to remove all th

The Bedroom Shuffle

 Funny how these sorts of projects start. Years ago when we were looking to move and searching through available housing inventories, our chief complaint was trying to find a house with three bedrooms together, one of which was the master bedroom. We had a young child and another one on the way at the time and the last thing we needed were bedrooms on the opposite side of the house from each other or even on different floors. This requirement really delayed our house search but eventually we prevailed.  Flash forward another decade plus in years and we now have older children who wish they were farther away from us and a live-in parent who wishes her bedroom wasn't down a flight of stairs and in the far corner of our basement. So one evening while the live-in parent was still overseas visiting her other child, the subject of doing a bedroom swap came up and the project was immediately born. The plan: While mother-in-law is still overseas, I need to remove her stuff and finish remod

Descent Into a Sad Situation

We missed seeing our neighbor's husband by a month over a decade ago. Two months after our offer was accepted and a month before closing, he passed away. She was a nice older lady though kept mostly to herself. Some might call her aloof but to me, she was just guarded due to her economic status. They had owned a three state franchise of a popular restaurant chain but to us, she was just a neighbor. We did neighborly things over the years, chatting across the border of our yard, dropping off some bounty from our garden and consuming her chocolate chip cookies. I've searched for an escaped cat of hers and she has called and asked for advice from time to time. But as time went by, contact became less and her only daughter moved in with her. At first for only short periods of time but eventually permanently. The daughter was a different sort of person. She wasn't as guarded and so we learned through her that her mom was beginning to suffer from dementia. The daughter had her ow