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finally done unpacking. Mostly. Really, I’m in pretty good shape. The basement still has a few boxes that need to be taken care of, and the floor down there needs to be cleaned. And its spider population should probably be checked. But aside from that, and a stack of empty boxes in the garage, I’m settled in. So, after posting some pictures during the height of my living-out-of-boxes misery, here are some post-unpacking pictures to give you a better idea of the type of place I bought. There’s still a lot of work to be done: painting walls, stripping woodwork, finding window dressings. But it’s getting there. I’ll let the photos do the talking:


ow cool is that? While aimlessly Googling information on my most recent obsession house, I came across the 1940 census, whose 72-year embargo ended this spring. With a little luck and determination, sure enough, I was able to find who was living in my house for its Golden Jubilee. And the results were something of a surprise to me.

I’ve suspected for a while that the house was a rental at some point in its life because of code-complying modifications like the sealed transom windows above the bedroom doors. And the sixteenth United State Census confirmed my suspicion. But I’m a little surprised to learn that in 1940, the house was rented by two families. I really don’t know how it could have been split up (however, given the difference in rent, one family may have been renting only a bedroom or two). There’s no indication that the house was split and then restored to a single-family dwelling.

The first family listed on the schedule is 37-year-old Floyd Nowland, his 34-year-old wife Lillian and their eight-year-old son, Edward. Dad worked 50 hours a week as a bartender. Mom raised Edward, who was in the second grade. Floyd quit school after the 8th grade, and Lillian made it through junior year. They paid their $18 rent ($295 today) rent with Floyd’s $1,100 ($18,000) a year income.

The Nowlands apparently lived with the Rolfs. Adelma was a 32-year-old divorcée with two kids: Lynne, an eight-year-old second-grader and John, 6. They payed $35 ($570) in rent, compared to the Nowlands’ $18. Adelma probably had a college degree, presumably in architecture, and worked 50 hours a week in a park, I think (the cursive is tough to read) for most of the previous year, earning $1,050 ($17,200).

I’m quite aware of how geeky this is, but I get a kick out of it. I think it’s interesting to see how these people lived, and would love to know more (like how Adelma raised two kids on a small salary, nearly half of which she put into rent). But the total rent of about 850 of today’s dollars rings true.

Pretty cool to see. Take a look for yourself:

I know the image above is too small to read. Click on it for a full-sized version that is only negligibly easier to decipher.


y two weeks off from work have wound down, and while I was able to get done refinishing my floors and my stuff moved from the apartment into the house, I was not able to do any unpacking. And it may be a week or two before I can. In the mean time, expect more cursing out of me. I hate living out of boxes.

But, like I said, the floors were wrapped up. While refinishing floors is hard work, I wouldn’t consider much of the process to be hard. This is what I did: (and by “what I did,” I mean, “what my dad, Joe M., Ben S., Ben V., Dan J. and I did.”):

:: pulled up the carpet and pad
:: removed all the tack board
:: removed all the staples holding down the pad
:: vacuumed the floor
:: sanded the floor with 25-grit sandpaper
:: sanded the floor with 60-grit sandpaper
:: sanded the floor with 80-grit sandpaper
:: vacuumed the floor
:: cleaned floor with mineral spirits
:: put down a coat of stain
:: put down a second coat of stain
:: cleaned floor with mineral spirits
:: put down first coat of varnish
:: lightly sanded floor with 220-grit paper
:: vacuumed floor
:: cleaned floor with tack cloth
:: cleaned floor with mineral spirits
:: put down second coat of varnish
:: lightly sanded floor with 220-grit paper
:: vacuumed floor
:: cleaned floor with tack cloth
:: cleaned floor with mineral spirits
:: put down third coat of varnish
:: lightly sanded floor with 220-grit paper
:: vacuumed floor
:: cleaned floor with tack cloth
:: cleaned floor with mineral spirits
:: put down fourth coat of varnish

After all that, though, they’re done and look great.

After completing the floor project, I had only a couple days to move out of my old apartment before the lease ran out (and before I ran to Chicago for a couple of days to catch some baseball). During the few weeks leading up to the move, I’d had Wednesday the 27th in my mind as my targeted move date. Of course, though, moving in June in Nebraska is never a good idea.

With the help of a group of great friends and family (again), along with a 26-foot U-Haul truck, I was able to move in the comfort of Tuesday’s 92-degree heat with 178-percent humidity.

Despite all the free help, there were still labor costs associated with the floors and move.

The first morning I woke up in the new place, this is what one of my bedroom doors looked like.


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