Category Archives: rambling

Local MCM House For Sale

The neighborhood we live in is known as Ridgewood – it’s about 200 houses, the earliest houses are from the mid 1950s, and the newest about 2010 (there are lots available, but no new houses have been built since then.) The neighborhood has a lot of what are known as “mid century modest” houses – ranches, split entrys, etc – but sprinkled in the mix are a number of great mid-century modern examples too. On the outskirts of the neighborhood, one of those just went on the market. It was built and owned by a local dentist – on a hillside, overlooking the valley, with walls of glass and a pool out back. And a really awesome mural downstairs. See it here: 964 Mountain Rd, Owego, NY 13827

Matt Pond, In Concert at My House


Mary and I have the pleasure of doing something really cool on October 5th: hosting an actual concert at our house. Matt Pond is an indie rock artist (his band is called Matt Pond PA), who has released 8 albums in the last 17 years, with a few hits on the Alt Rock charts along the way. We’ve enjoyed his music for many years. September into October, Matt Pond and Matt Pond PA guitarist Chris Hansen will be doing a “Living Room Tour” playing a stripped down set in people’s homes across the eastern half of the US – and we are the last stop before heading home (they live downstate.) We’ve seen him several times in Ithaca – he’s a great performer!

If you happen by chance to read our blog, live nearby, and think going to a concert in the living room of a sweet mid-century house might be your bag, the tickets went on sale today (promotion by Matt Pond begins Friday) and there are only 50 available, $20 each. (Note: All money goes to the artists.) They can be purchased here:

If you want to know what some of Matt Pond PA’s music sounds like, check these out:

Two Years, Blog!

A few weeks ago (on April 3rd), this blog turned two. A lot happens right around that time – Stephen (our son) has a birthday, as does Mary, and this year Easter also happened around that time, so I didn’t put up a post right then about the blog’s birthday.

With another here, I find it interesting to compare the statistics from year to year:

April 2013 – April 2014 page views: 14,615

April 2014 – April 2015 page views: 13,160

Most popular post (besides the homepage), is once again is Adventures in Mid-Century Modern Kitchen Flooring: 1,351

Second most popular is It’s All About The Sputniks with 975 views.

It’s fun finding out the people who read and keep up with our blog. Thanks for following along with us on our adventures! There’s lots more stories to tell: I just did some more work in the kitchen with chroming items and adding lighting, have done some other vintage-style projects I am eager to share, and we’re already started on this year’s exterior house work.

Stay tuned!

Kitchen Drain Fix

A few months ago, after an event at the house, we ran into an issue I had resolved once prior: the kitchen sink was draining incredibly slowly (almost plugged, but not quite.) Back when we first moved in, in November 2012, this same problem occurred. At the time, I called a local drain service and had them do a clean out on the drain line and all was well. I had figured this would hold up for a number of years (more than 2), but apparently that was not to be.

Most of the drain lines in our house are copper pipe – something that would be unusual now, when PVC is used. The plumbing “stack” for the bathrooms is on the other end of the house, and is all copper, but there is a section of drain for the washer, dishwasher, and kitchen sink that runs through the basement. For some reason, this section of drain line was installed with “black pipe,” a mild steel pipe. Turns out, this is bad news for drain pipe. Why? Black pipe easily supports all of the nasty slime that grows inside of drain pipes. It builds up quickly and clogs the pipe. So, the solution was to replace it with new drain pipe – PVC.

This gave me a chance to try out a new tool I had – a reciprocating saw attachment for my Craftsman Bolt-On drill (a really cool system, BTW. Compatible with Black and Decker Matrix line, FYI.) So I cut out the old pipe and built a replacement one in PVC. How plugged was the old pipe? Have a look:

Here is the process and the new pipe. I attached the new PVC to the existing copper stub coming from the wall for the kitchen sink\dishwasher drain, then ran it across the basement to connect to the rest of the PVC junctions. This turned out to be an easy fix – about $60 worth of parts, versus $120 to do the clean out previously. Huzzah!

Random Trinkets

I’ve mentioned this before, but one of the cool things about living in the house your Grandparents and mother grew up in is that you end up with a lot of interesting stuff. My Grandfather, Arthur Rynkus, was a senior manager at the local IBM plant (new Lockheed Martin) here in Owego – he worked for IBM from 1951 (then in Binghamton and Vestal, then from 1956 or so on in the then-new Owego facility) until 1984.

As with many corporations at the time, IBM spawned a number of credit unions for employees (among many other things), normally wherever there were large sites. In our area, there was an IBM CU in Endicott and, separately, in Owego (though they were just 15 miles apart.) In the 1970s these CUs merged and became known as the IBM Endicott\Owego Employees Federal Credit Union, and in the 1990s when IBM downsized locally and\or sold plants (like Owego) to different entities, this credit union changed its name to Visions FCU and moved to what is known as a “community” charter – instead of having to be an IBM employee to be a member, now if you lived in the Greater Binghamton community you could join. Since then, Visions FCU has grown to become one of the largest CUs in the United States (No. 34 as of 2013) and has operations from New Jersey to Rochester.

My grandparents, parents, and brothers and sisters have all been a part of this CU, and the IBM CU in Austin (TX), and today I also volunteer at Visions as a Supervisory Committee member, assisting in overseeing the financial auditing process and helping to ensure regulatory compliance. It’s a big responsibility – Visions is a $3.4 billion financial institution.

But anyways, back to the story at hand: My grandfather was an employee of IBM for 33 years, and a member of the CU, probably from it’s inception, until he passed away in 2007. So he managed to collect a few trinkets along the way, like these:

IBM Owego Open House 1969 Key Chains – this facility is still around and part of Lockheed Martin.

IBM Owego Employees FCU coasters – red, white and blue in celebration of America’s Bicentennial in 1976.

IBM Owego Employees FCU ash tray – definitely don’t receive these as free gifts anymore.

I even have this book of IBM matches – the match heads are IBM blue.

I’ve shared other memorabilia that I’ve had before as well – you can see it here and also here.

I will give a plug here at the end: If you aren’t a member of a credit union, you should be. It’s the best financial deal you’ll get since the members literally own the place (it’s a cooperative) and it is non-profit (meaning lower fees, better loan rates, and higher savings rates.)