Sunday, March 17, 2013

Concrete Floor Paint

You may remember the basement floor at our house.

When we bought the house we inherited some lovely asbestos tile and exposed carcinogenic mastic.   

Because the cracked and cracking tiles were an absurd mess, and also because, you know, cancerous, we had the tiles professionally removed.  What remained was also a hideous mess of stained floor.  Even after mopping, it looked/looks perpetually dirty.  

It's not great.  

We've covered it with some surplus area rugs and it's not so bad.  Look, it's a basement.  We're not going to drop a bunch of money to remake our basement into ... into something that costs a lot of money.  

Still, we're down here daily to work out, check on the Home Brew, do laundry, or to escort Bobby to his cave (his crate), and we'd like to use utilize the space even more in the future.  Since we're not likely to do that until we tone down this gross factor of the basement... 

How about: Concrete Paint?  

Yes, this is after mopping
first swaths of paint
Before and After : behind the "bar"

in front of the "bar"

I hate to speak too soon, but to my mind this experiment has definitely succeeded.  I can't tell you how much the basement has brightened up, to say nothing of how clean it looks now.

One can seems to cover quite a lot of ground.
And when I say "cover," I mean there's a lot of square footage out of one single can of concrete paint.  I made certain to vacuum and mop the floor pretty thoroughly before the paint went down, and I've got to say, the coverage looks pretty good.    
But do I need two coats?
How important is a sealer? Does that depend on the brand?

This requires some investigation...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Release the Bobbins!

If we had to lose an hour this weekend, at least we got some fantastic (and unseasonably) warm weather to soften the blow.  

Finally we're getting more sunlight.  It couldn't have been sooner for Yuuki, who manages to find every ray of sunlight that he can put into contact with his body.  

We took advantage of the warm weather to get some outside work done.  While I cleaned out the flower bed and cleared the dead leaves from the coral bells, D installed the screen doors on our new french doors.  

"do you like French Doors?"  "Yes I do, mom!" 

Its pretty exciting.  We had two doors replaced recently.  One of them was a door which wasn't even an external door, and the windows in it were painted over sloppily with streaks of off-white paint.  The frame was a tad messed up too.  But now!!  

canine oriented anti-escape devices by gate

The back door that we replaced, shown here sideways for some reason, had a rotting frame, one side didn't open, and the doorknob was in the worst possible orientation for the rest of the room.  

Ok, oddly enough I cannot find a single photo of the old doors.  They were ugly and the cats were always entangling themselves in the blinds, and the door handle was by the wall kind of blocked by the table.  

And then one magical day, men came and brought me this gift.  (I jest, it was not a gift, we're still paying in installments)  And its lovely. And both sides open.  
And now?  Now!?  Screens!!

The animals love smelling the air and hearing the birds.  I love having some fresh air in this place.  Max hasn't sharpened his claws on the screen yet, which is why he's still alive and walking around.   

These are Bobby's first french doors.  Yup.  

In the first five minutes Bobby had run blithely through one of the screens, knocked it off the track and sent it bouncing onto the deck.  D re-installed it and introduced Bobbins to the mechanics of the screen door.   


D escorted Bobby inside, went back outside, shut the screen door, called him from outside, and had to throw up his arms fast to shield himself as the screen door exploded off of its hinges again. 

It's a work in progress.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Bockfest Brewery/History Tour

Saturday we got up bright and early.

Ha, no silly, not to run in the 5K in the snow

We took the brewery history tour through historic and still-reviving Over the Rhine.  The tours sold out again this year, as they have every year since we've been going to Bockfest.  This was the first year we've bought tickets early enough.

The tour also goes underneath OTR, into the catacomb-like Lagering Cellars and tunnels built underneath the brewery buildings and even under Vine Street.
Crown Lagering Cellars

Crown Brewing
Crown History
Some of these tunnels have only been re-discovered in recent years.
Hudepohl Brewing

The view from Hudy building to Findlay Market
As we were climbing in-and-out of whitewashed brick tunnels, and up-and-down rickety staircases ladders, we passed this sign on one of the walls in the Hudepohl Brewery Building:

Which was hilarious.
It was as if the sign was meant for us personally.
D and I had bought a beer sign at the Bockfest Hall right before the tour began, which the vendor was holding for us until the end of the tour.  It made us laugh that we were being reminded not to leave without the Hudepohl sign I'd purchased, in the Hudepohl building.

And then, on our way to the next site, I saw this hilarious sign painted on the side of this red building.

Perhaps the most puzzling use of punctuation I've ever seen.
"We" like people.  
heh heh

OTR is famous for being one of the biggest collections of Italianate architecture anywhere.  And even if you don't know much about architectural design, all you need to do is look up to find something to appreciate.

The Moerlein Building

Another terrifying, narrow, steep, staircase into ... enormous, air-raid-shelter-grade structure.  For real, if Cincinnati is ever going to be bombed, this would be the place to be to wait it out.  With ventilation to help C02 brewing byproducts escape, you'd be safe and sound, and only a little bit cold.

The photos really don't capture how huge these spaces are.  Hundreds of German immigrants down here, digging in the dark in the 1880s.  I can barely imagine it.  They were paid in money and beer.

Ticket prices help to fund further excavations.  It's so impressive to me, what people were able to build.  It's kind of thrilling too, to think that we have a warren of cellars and tunnels underneath the city, just like Paris, and a lot yet that remains unexplored.  

I think it's great too that the excavations of Cincinnati's brewing history comes at a time when Cincinnati brewing is coming back, the business of brewing is being developed here again.  
I like that its come back to its roots, becoming a local, craftsman industry again, and reweaving itself into the community.    

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The Time of Year for Beer in Cincy

This time of year is big for craft brewers and craft brew lovers in Cincy.  
This very weekend, is Bockfest, that celebration of Spring, OTR, and bock beer.

ein bock --the goat
 Bock is tapped only in spring, made from grains harvested around October.  It's sweeter and more nutritive, and it sustained the clergy during their lenten fasts, during which some would only drink beer.  Cincinnati has a lengthy brewing (and drinking) history, which is now being reclaimed with old names like Christian Moerlein and Hudepohl.

Posters in Arnolds cataloging Bockfest history were a nice touch 
We own a copy of Over The Rhine, When Beer Was King.  It's pretty interesting (unpaid, unsolicited plug) to learn about not only Cincy's heritage, but also to understand how devastating Prohibition was to the City and the lives of the people who ran and operated its 32 breweries.  

Friday night one of our local favorites 46 Long played Arnolds.  We listened to some delta blues while we sampled and enjoyed the bocks on offer.

Bell's Consecrator Doppelbock
Triple Digit Gravitator Doppelbock
Rivertown Bock
Hudy Bock
Troeg's Troegenator Double bock

And we missed the parade, again, like every year.  This year we were actually inside Arnolds, eating kangaroo meat and boar bacon, while the parade left from right outside.
Maybe next year we'll be sitting even closer to the actual parade without seeing it.

Because Bock is sweeter and calorically dense, it's not for everyone or for all the time.  Personally I love the flavor, and I dislike the hoppier beers.  Not surprisingly, I'm one of a pretty populous fanbase for bock beers here in Cincy.  We were on-hand at Arnolds as they tapped a 1/4 barrel of Triple Digit Bourbon Barrel Gravitator Doppelbock at exactly 2pm on Saturday.  9 minutes later, they were sold out.  D got one of the last ones to be poured.  (It was surprisingly fruity and extremely amazing)

The King of Hudy.  Goat Man.  That hat.  That Friar.  The ex-pontiff was walking around too, and a man with tree branches strapped to his head like a headdress.  Good times, all to the music of Jake Speed, a truly entertaining bluegrass musician.  (He went on an hour late though, we were beginning to think he might not show at all, but he played an enjoyable show, so all is forgiven.)

Jake Speed and the Freddies
The great thing about Bockfest, is it feels like you are enjoying quality brews with your neighbors.  Mostly neighbors that you don't know, especially in our case.  But still, it never feels like a frat party or a hipster bar.  It's people who enjoy good beer and good times.  And amazing waffles.  Amazing.  Bockfest is a good time, and it gets better every year.