Saturday, July 24, 2010

My old trunk lives on in film

We've been getting rid of some old stuff on craigslist lately, mainly old furniture as a result of redoing our office. Among these items was my old trunk. My sisters had similar "foot locker" style trunks they used in college, so when it came time for me to start college, my parents found me one at a garage sale. We painted it black, filled it with stuff, and I hauled it out to Wisconsin for college career. As a central part of my dorm, it served me well as junk drawer, foot rest, coffee table, step stool, extra desk space, kitchen table, the list goes on...

In the years since college it remained mostly unused except for holding the occasional odd item I needed that was stashed away in there. So when we were looking to clear out some things from the house, we decided to post it up for sale on Craigslist. Similar trunks were going for $20 to $30, so we posted mine for $25. About a week later I was contacted by someone interested in the trunk and we set up a time on a Saturday afternoon.

He was very interested in the trunk and had asked a lot of specific questions about it on the phone earlier in the day. The man that arrived showed up with his dog, excited and barking. After putting the dog back in the truck, he then tells me they are shooting a world war 2 movie and they need an authentic foot locker. The producers had managed to borrow one from a member of the MN Red Bulls unit to shoot some trailer footage, but the owner wouldn't let them paint over some of the Red Bulls insignias and the like, so they needed one of their own on a limited budget. He was very happy about the handles on my trunk. Apparently he had looked at several trunks that day and most had broken or missing handles. This was important because he said there was an important scene where a young boy was supposed to pick up and carry the trunk by the handles. By this time I was pretty impressed with the story and was happy I apparently had the "perfect" trunk. All it needed was some repainting for their movie. He gave me the cash and started going on that his producers would want to know what he spent the money on, and how he would need to write up a bill of sale for the must-have $25 Craigslist trunk. He was thrilled with my tough old trunk and hauled it away.

After leaving, I wrote back to him by email and asked if he could tell me more about the production. The movie is called "Souvenirs". As I read about the movie and read some articles about the production everything made sense that my buyer had told me earlier. The movie is the fictional story of a Minnesota boy who finds his grandpa's old army foot locker full of "souvenirs" of the war, which gets his grandpa to open up about his experience. The grandson then grows up to fight in Iraq. While some of the press I read made it out to be a relatively low budget film, they still managed to bring in a notable actor James Cromwell due in part to his son (also in the movie) living in MN himself, and they'll be able to get some authentic army drills and equipment on film due to some cooperation with the local armed forces.

Since selling the trunk I've been keeping an eye on the production, and have started noticing stories about the movie showing up on local news. While obviously I have little to do with the movie, as a community theatre actor & singer I think it's really cool to have played even a small part in a serious film. I wish them good luck with the production and hope to see it when it's released, if for no other reason than to see my trusty old college trunk. Filming starts soon.

Official Souvenirs Website
Souvenirs Facebook page

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The new home office takes shape

Several weeks ago, Beth and I were discussing what I could do in the future to keep up my exercising habit as was recommended by my doctors. I loved getting out for long walks, but that meant Beth would have to stay home with Nathan until I returned if he was in bed. Bad weather (especially winter) would hinder my ability to go out for walks. I don't want to take on the monthly expense of a gym membership, and even if I did that would take more time for each session due to travel time, prep time, etc. I had wanted to try a treadmill at home, but we couldn't think of a good place to keep one, and didn't want to take up space in the common areas of the house. I knew I liked the treadmill from using them at cardiac rehab, and I like mentally disconnecting while I listen to my favorite podcasts or an engrossing audio book.

This led us to come up with a new plan for the house. Beth's office downstairs was a room she found she didn't like to use. It was secluded in a corner of the basement, was usually cooler than most of the house, and generally inconvenient, especially if she needed to run upstairs if Nathan started making noise through the baby monitor. The room downstairs can't be a bedroom due to the lack of a window, and would work better as an exercise room anyway. My office upstairs would have room for two people if we could clear out some items.

We started going through our things, cleaning and organizing, and ended up selling my old desk and an old bookshelf on Craigslist. We also sold my old storage trunk on Craigslist which I have an interesting story about, but that's for another post. Once we sell off Beth's old desk I think we'll have offset most of the cost of the new office.

On Monday we headed down to IKEA with Beth's dad to help us haul stuff home while her mom watched Nathan. We had made up a plan for the office and picked up almost everything that day (we had to go back for some items that weren't in stock on Monday). Of course, we had to partake in the Swedish meatballs with lingonberries for lunch at the IKEA restaurant before we left. We picked out a series of VIKA AMON tabletops and VIKA ANNEFORS table legs with storage that would come together in the form of a large T-shaped desk for the two of us. I also picked up a SIGNUM cable organizer to mount under each desk to keep all the cords tidy and up off the floor. We also came home with a new wall clock, desk lamp, and a few other small accessories. Now that everything has come together we absolutely love the new space. We have more workspace than before and the room feels bigger to boot!

We figure the room will stay an office for a long time. This room was part of an addition to the house, and it doesn't have ductwork for air conditioning; just baseboard electric heat. The best way to keep things comfortable is to keep the door open and the ceiling fan running. Plus the vaulted ceiling means there is no attic space above to insulate from the outside temperature. Overall, it works well enough as an office, but we wouldn't want Nathan or other future children to live in a bedroom with this relatively poor climate control.

Now the downstairs (former office) room is our next project. Beth has moved out of the room, and now we just need to sell off her old desk and get rid of some more items. Once it's cleared out we can look for a deal on a low-cost new/refurbished/used treadmill and set up a little exercise space. The cool temperature downstairs should lend itself well to working up a sweat. Having the ability to exercise my heart and body year-round at home will be great. I'll be able to keep up a relatively consistent habit, and be more available as a husband and father. I want to keep my heart healthy and I don't want to become the person who has a treadmill that never gets used. Granted I have more of a reason than most to use it. At least for now I'm able to get my exercise walking outside, and assembling and moving furniture!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fourth of July 2010 - Boating & Cherry Wine

The family enjoyed a fun Fourth of July this year on Mom & Dad's boat. The day started out rainy and windy as we made the 90 minute drive down to Red Wing, but the weather slowly turned around as we floated in the marina eating our lunch below deck.

Nathan enjoyed his first boat ride, much of which was spent sleeping thanks to the dark bedroom and slow rocking of the waves. He slept almost 2 hours for his afternoon nap. Once awake, Grandpa let him help steer the boat. He had a blast!

After we returned to the marina mid-afternoon, Dad and I went out to pick some cherries from some trees on public land not far from there. Dad had been there already to pick some for making wine and had also started picking some for me. By the time we got there, most had been picked already, but we were able to scrounge up maybe another pound, giving me about 10 lbs total, enough for at least 3 gallons (15 bottles) of wine.

We headed home at Nathan's bedtime so he could sleep on the car ride. This happened to be his last ride in the car seat since he's big enough now for the upright car seats. After putting Nathan to bed we enjoyed a relaxed evening, and I stayed up late to start processing my cherries for wine. The new batch is now fermenting away in the basement. Can't wait to try it!