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20120729_appalachiaIt's been a while since my last blog entry but I guess I was waiting for something worthy.  So here it is.

Nate and I had the pleasure to go on a week long mission trip with his youth group to Appalachia.  We went to a mission center in the town of Inez, Kentucky and worked on a home right in that city.

We went down with 8 kids and 2 adults and joined another group from Youngstown. We were the 2nd group in a matter of 2 weeks to totally refurbish a mobile home and got to finish it and turn it over to the home owner on Friday when we left.

Working on exterior siding, drywall, plumbing, electrical, painting and decking, the kids did a ton of the work with a little guidance from us.

Below is a slideshow with some video I put together which pretty much says the rest.  Enjoy!

Here is a photo gallery as well.

20120801 fantasyfootballchampionI would like to congratulate Nick Keba and his team "Nicks Bricks" on being the champion of the inaugural year of the Jento Family Fantasy Football League.

He had a regular season record of 9-4-1 and beat Zack, and his Dad in the playoffs to earn the trophy for a year!

Somehow 3 of the 4 playoff births went to Keba's. I think there was some insider deals going on… and if I hadn't disabled trades for our first year, would have bet on it. Congrats Nick, sorry your trophy was late.

20120708 aurora5kJean has just this summer started the couch to 5k program.  She streamlined it and bumped her progress to get ready for her first 5k.

Her and Nate decided to do the Aurora 5k run with several friends and her brother.  I elected to save my energy for this blog entry and not participate in the event.  

Both her nate did great for their first 5k run ever.  Nate came across first with a time of 26:33 and Jean and her brother Matt finished with the exact same time of 34:27. They kept each other going and took their sweet old time, but didn't stop running. Good job and I think she's got more planned in the future.  A year ago if you told me Jean would be a runner, I'd bet you $100 you were wrong.

20120321_joaniesdinerI was caught actually doing some work at the Joanies Diner at St Joan of Arc. This was in the Gateway News.

Steve Giunto, left, Wendy Schneider and Eric Howard helped the yough group by serving food. Members of youth group entertained and served attendees during the event, which was a youth ministry fundraiser.

Finally! After almost 2 years in the making, we are able to enjoy the basement that's sat below us for 10 years.  Instead of a dark cement dungeon, it's the nicest room of the house. :) The carpet just went in shortly before Christmas to mark the end of the wait. Check out a couple of the pics below to see how it turned out.

BEFORE
basement_before1 basement_before2
AFTER
basement_after1 basement_after2

20111130 poster contestNate's class was highlighted in the Record Courier for a winning poster Design. He's front row on the right.

During the recent Red Ribbon Week, the students at St. Patrick School in Kent created posters for a Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest. Showing off the winning Primary School poster, above, are students in Catherine Kirkland's kindergarten class. At left, students from Carleen Lostoski's and Lura Roblee's seventh-grade classes display the winning Middle School poster. All the posters from the school will be entered in the 2011-12 Knights of Columbus Substance Abuse Awareness Poster Contest.

2011_glennbroskaI don't make many political postings on my web site.

Just thought I'd take a little corner of my web site to congratulate a friend on a well-run political race that ultimately led to his election as the Mayor of Streetsboro, Ohio.

Congratulations Glenn, I know you'll do us all proud in office and take care of our city.


 

I hope this to be the only article on my web site devoted to vehicle maintenance. Throw a 1987 Sikorsky H-60 (helicopter) in front of me and I can strip it to the bone, but embarasingly, cars 'aint my thing'.

Step One. If you're wife tells you go fix the car, tell her to pound salt.

Step Two. If you decided to skip step one and you have a squeaking, grinding, whining, screaching, screaming from your serpentine belt area of your 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan (or equivalent) and attempt to fix it yourself, may the following advice help even one person out there.

 Troubleshoot. I am no expert so this is a novice's diagnosis through; lots of googling, lots of videos, subscription to online (alldatadiy.com) vehicle breakdown and unfortunate trial and error removing most components below. Costs are from Autozone and time is relative to skill. (mine, capable but not so great)

DIAGRAM: 3.3L/3.8L 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan Serpentine Components

20110930_2006caravanserpentine

  1. Serpentine Belt - Possible culprit if high pitch squealing or squeaking. Especially if fluctuates not necessarily with the rev of the engine upon startup. Check for wierd wear marks on edges or cracking in the grooves on the inside. Should be very taught and cannot remove by hand. (less than 1/8" wiggle). Do not spray with WD40 like the shop told my wife t. It may fix it for a short while (hours/days) but ultimately shortens the life of the belt. If that's the culprint, replace it. Cost $25. Time 15 Minutes.

  2. Power Steering Pump - First of my part swapping chaos. Was definitely bad. Likely culprit if moving steering wheel back and forth during turning produces higher whine or screaming. The worst part of all (BY FAR) to replace due to it's location, demand to remove obstacles and special tools. Cost $44. Time 8 Hours.

  3. Tensioner Pulley & Arm - A likely culprint (in my case) with a steady whine, screaming which is bad bearings. Incedently, it's probably the pulley that's bad, not the arm (unless belt tension is weak).  The pulley is the EXACT same as the idler pulley and can be purchased separately. Cost $17. Time 30 Minutes.

  4. Idler Pulley - A possible culprint which would be a steady whine, screaming which is bad bearings. A cheap try at a fix if the exact screaming is hard to determin. Cost $17. Time 15 Minutes.

  5. Alternator - One of the 2 parts I did not replace. Though it would consist of whining, screaming due to bad bearings. You can still have good charging power and full output with bad bearings. Also the 2nd most expensive piece of the whole accessory drive system, so not a good component to replace just as a stab in the dark. Time estimation based on what I researched. Cost $170. Time 3 Hours.

  6. AC Compressor - The other of the 2 parts I did not replace. Sadly can't help much on this one. Do not think it's a typical noise producer... HOWEVER we had to have it replaced at a shop at 80,000 miles due to non-working AC system. (Shop Cost, $1,100) Cost $350. Time Unsure, Not Simple.

  7. Crankshaft - Not really any moving parts on this. Likely major engine trouble if this is making noise. If this is the issue, drive the van to a metropolitan area, leave keys in it and windows down. Problem should be fixed within a day.
  8. Water Pump - A possible culprint which would be a steady whine or screaming which is bad bearings. Would have engine overheading problems if it was fried even further but this blog entry is devoted to noise issues. A relatively cheap try of mine since it 'really' sounded like the noise was coming from there. Cost $35. Time 2 Hours.
Good Luck to someone!

 

Sometimes I just feel a little nastalgic. Just wanted to say a little thank you to the families of the firefighters and policemen who lost their loved ones 10 years ago today.

And another thank you to all the families of the brave people who overtook flight 93 to save hundreds of more lives in DC.

20110905_labordaycampingLife is good. This photo about sums up the weekend best for me.

In our efforts to try out new campgrounds and find a place to frequent, we tried "Cutty's Sunset Camping Resort" in Louisville. A pretty nice clean place overall, despite firemen and ambulances.... but hey.... it's a holiday weekend. I would recommend and we'll likely go back.

Thanks to several great friends to share it with, the Novotny's, Blasiole's and half the Marsinek's.

And the highlights in a nutshell....

  • Steve & Brian Beating Jack & Mo in Cornhole*
  • Flaming Telephone Poles
  • Four "bags in the hole" rounds for Steve & Mo, None for Jack.
  • !! Power Out on #63 !! (G3)
  • Lil Nate. "No Electricity, No TV"
  • Excessive Breaking of the Wind
  • 3 Wheeled Bicycle Lady
  • Caged Children Biting Other Humans

Click here for a photo gallery of the weekend.

*1 out of 30 games.

2011_nate_baseballchampionsWell this little blog entry can't say enough how proud I am of Nate and our baseball team this year.  We had a great year finishing 9-5-1 in the regular season in the Aurora Baseball League.

Nate finished the regular season with a .410 batting average and gave me great innings at 2nd base and pitcher postions.

With a 3rd place finish we had to work our way through the tournament bracket to get to the championship game last night.

Up against an undefeated "to be unnamed" red team, we needed to play our best offensive and defensive game to beat them.

The game went as most others until we put up a hit filled 7-run inning which would turn out to be the difference in the 9-4 game... holding this team to 4 runs was an accomplishment of its own.

This is when my kids and I began to witness the most poor sportsmanship we've ever seen from coaches and kids alike. With pounding on the fence taunting with every pitch, screams of 'you suck' and coaches that were high-fiving the ridiculousness, it was an out of control game to say the least.

It made the win all-the-sweeter to put a team like that in their place.

A special kudos to "Jared Tuma" who looked the taunts in the face with a big smile at their dugout, and continued to shut them down in the 7th inning with strike outs to close the game.  Thanks Jared, to help us rise to the top, hold our heads high and be happy to live in Streetsboro and not Aurora. Made me proud!

20110706_branminortournyI want to take a little space to tell Brandon what an awesome job he did this year on his baseball team.  He was one of our most valuable assets playing hard in the catcher position primarily, but also giving us good help at pitcher and short stop.  He finished with a .710 batting average with 3 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs and hitting for the cycle twice.

We finished the regular season with a 10-2-1 record.

We breezed into the final tournament game under the lights at night and the kids pulled out an exciting win to take first place. It was great to see how excited they all were.

It makes all the hours put into coaching worth it being able to stand there with the kids, knowing we helped get them there and were able to help them be their best.

This makes for his second baseball championship. Thanks for a great season Brandon.

It was another great camping weekend with friends and family at Woodside Lake Park in Streetsboro. We reserved five spots all together and built a little compound of our own. Four days of swimming, cornhole, eating and a little STORMING.  All in all it was a great time with great people. Thanks to all our friends for a great time.

Some of my more memorable moments:

  • 20110704_woodside2Chinese travellers and Shhhushushi
  • Diving off the docks
  • Great Fireworks
  • Cutting up Bluegill for fishing
  • Mini-Cornhole Tournys
  • Launching balloons at the Benci cabin
  • Showering in the rain
  • 24/7 firepit
  • Jean and laptop by the campfire
  • Girls Skarioke
  • How bout that hairlip foo


I have thrown together a little photo gallery of the weekend with several highlights but this photo kind of sums up the weekend.

20110704_woodside

20110531_memorial_jackiAnother successful camping trip to the Salberg Camp in Leeper, Pennsylvania to kick off the camping season.

Thanks again as always to Mark and Joy for letting us camp there, and bring a couple outsiders with us.... the Blasiole's and Novotny's. With 10 kids, we were a handful.

Starting with a pretty sloppy setup due to the wet spring, it actually turned out to be a great weekend with just enough sun... for me to get burnt.

Below is a few bullets to highlight the weekend, followed up with a big photo gallery with lots of pics.

And the highlights....

  • If the shamrock's a rockin, don't go knockin.
  • I think the power is out.
  • There's a couple flies in the outhouse.
  • Why is Brandon on the roof of their RV?
  • Daddy, Nate's cheating at Nukem.
  • Did you say Brandon is leading the kids on a hike.
  • Can we go on a quad ride.
  • No smartphones allowed.
  • 70 campers at the Salberg Camp
  • 60 degree river water

Click here for a photo gallery of the weekend.

20120519 recordcourierAly was caught in the Record Courier again asking a question at a field trip in Kent.

St. Patrick School fourth-graders watch and ask questions as Portage Park District volunteer Dawn Alber teaches about river wildlife at Heritage Park in Kent.

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