Archive for May, 2014

My Classic Movie Pick: Tall in the Saddle

The kitchen floor remodeling/painting of the walls/new pantry cupboard/new sink faucets installed is all completed.  It was done in time to welcome the grandparents to our home as we all gathered recently  to celebrate child #3’s graduation from high school.  3 graduated, 4 to go is my mantra currently!  With all of the hubbub done and calmness and serenity back in my life, it’s back in the blogging saddle for me and I know of no better way to do this than to recommend a classic movie. TAll in the Saddle poster 1In April, over at Turner Classic Movies, the star of the month was John Wayne.  The station aired a lot of his famous movie roles

which  I had seen already.  The station also aired lesser movie roles that Wayne played, in B westerns which he acted in before 1939’s film Stagecoach jumped his career path up a notch.  I decided to watch some of those lesser known films and found one that was made in 1944, RKO Studio’s  Tall in the Saddle.  A western, with a touch of noir, 2 ladies in distress, and Gabby Hayes.  What a fast-moving, fun film it was for me to see. Wayne portrays Rocklin, a cowboy who is traveling to a town in Arizona to begin working on a ranch owned by a Mr. Red Cardell.  Rocklin decides to sit up top with the stagecoach driver, Dave, played by Gabby Hayes.  Now,  I had never seen Hayes in a movie before and only knew him from the caricature of him in Mel Brooks’s comedy tribute to westerns, Blazing Saddles, and in the song “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, Hayes is mentioned in the lyrics.   Therefore, this was fun for me, to see Hayes in action and he didn’t disappoint, as his Dave loves to drink, is a bit hard to understand with his garbled talk(just a bit, not as exaggerrated as it is in Brooks’s film) and his agreeing with Rocklin that women are nothing but trouble.  Also on the stagecoach to the same Arizona town are the lovely Miss Clara Cardell(Audrey Long) and Miss Cardell’s grumpy aunt, Miss Elizabeth Martin(Elisabeth Risdon).   Miss Cardell is immediately attracted to Rocklin, but she is demure about it and her aunt keeps scolding her for looking at the cowboy!  Aunt Elizabeth is such a grumpy, bossy gal that I kept wanting Miss Clara to tell her off and to get out of her life.  The old aunt does eventually get out of Clara’s life, but not in the way one would expect.

Dave and Rocklin, on the way to AZ, discussing women!

Dave and Rocklin, on the way to AZ, discussing women!

Lovely Clara Cardell

Lovely Clara Cardell

Grumpy Aunt Elizabeth

Grumpy Aunt Elizabeth

The stagecoach eventually reaches its destination and Rocklin finds out that his new boss, Red Cardell, has been murdered; shot in the back.  At this point in the film, Rocklin meets the Harolday family.  Stepdad Harolday(Don Douglas) and his two grown up stepkids: Clint, a weakling who loves to gamble(Russell Wade) and the very strong-willed and hot-headed Arly(Ella Raines).   Arly and Rocklin immediately dislike each other, or at least Arly acts like she does, but we can tell she is also attracted to the new cowboy in town.

Rocklin and Arly, fighting off their dislike for one another

Rocklin and Arly, fighting off their dislike for one another

Rocklin confronting the lawyer about Clara's inheritance.

Rocklin confronting the lawyer about Clara’s inheritance.

Rocklin telling the Haroldays his suspicions about Red's murder.

Rocklin telling the Haroldays his suspicions about Red’s murder.

There are a couple plots weaving their way throughout this movie, which make it an interesting one to view.  First, the murder of Red Cardell and the attempts on Rocklin’s life.  Who commited the crime and who wants Rocklin dead?  Second, the lovely Clara has now inherited her dead Uncle’s ranch.  The grumpy aunt and a low-life lawyer(Ward Bond) join forces to try and steal the inheritance out from under poor Clara.  Rocklin suspects they are up to something and wants to help Clara.  Third, the love triangle in the movie.  Clara likes Rocklin a lot, Arly likes Rocklin a lot, Rocklin likes both ladies and is torn between the two.  It gets resolved but in an unusual way.

Tall in the Saddle is available to buy via TCM’s Shop  and it is also available through Amazon.  There are a few clips and the movie’s original trailer are all on Youtube.  From a serialized story written by Gordon Ray Young that was then adapted for the screen by Paul Fix and Michael Hogan, directed by Edwin L. Marin, seek out Tall in the Saddle to see Wayne in an early star turn, dealing with sneaky, double-crossers, inheritance stealers, two lovely ladies, and Gabby Hayes’s inestimable help.


The “Fix the Kitchen Floor Stat!” Blues

3 years ago when we were able to house hunt in Rolla, MO, a 3 bedroom house wouldn’t do.  Not because we are ostentatious people but because we had 6 kids and 2 adults so a 4 bedroom house would be where  we would start our hunt.  With God’s  providing, we were shown a 4300 square foot house, built in 1984, in a nice subdivision.  It was only a  2 minutes drive from church, 7 minutes from the junior high school, 8 minutes from the high school, 7 minutes from The Centre,  and 10 minutes from shopping.  The house met our need and was in a great location.  Location, location, location, I’ve been told, is the realtor’s mantra and I’ve been reminding myself of it to counteract what happened  at our house in January of 2014.

We noticed that there was a group of ceramic tiles in the kitchen floor that  needed to be replaced.  There was a crack  running through these tiles  and it was getting worse.   With the knowledge that extra, matching tiles had been left in the garage by a previous owner(we’re the 3rd family to live in this house) my husband, armed with information from This Old House’s online videos,  began to take up the old, cracked tiles.  Thus our Kitchen Horror Story began.

As husband worked that Saturday afternoon, he discovered that the sub-floor under the tiles was wet!  He discovered tiny, black ants crawling around blissfully unaware that their world was about to end…they were living in the sub-floor!  The more my husband decided to remove other tiles, the more he found  damp sub-flooring.  He also discovered that the  sub-flooring  was made of particle board, not even decent sub-flooring!!!!  We were dismayed and realized that all of the ceramic tile comprising  the kitchen floor would have to go in order to rip out the wet, particle board sub-floor and replace it with decent sub-flooring and new ceramic tile.

To aid us in this necessary work, a good man from our church came on the scene.  He  likes to help people with projects and after  husband told him about our horror story,  this good friend came right over and helped to remove the old sub-floor and put in the new one.  He and husband also discovered a couple more problems with our house.  The sub-floor under the stove was actually the deck that was on the outside of the kitchen wall!

A sunroom had been installed on the back wall of the house with french doors opening into it off of the kitchen.  When the sunroom had been added on, the kitchen wall was pushed  back to widen the kitchen.  Instead of extending the existing sub-floor to be under this new area of kitchen flooring, it was simply decided to let the outside deck be the new sub- flooring!  That discovery answered our questions as to why  the old  kitchen sub-flooring had damp areas and signs of past water damage(we are pretty sure that whenever it rained, water was hitting the decking and bouncing right into the kitchen particle board sub-flooring)  and why that part of the kitchen was  so cold and why  it felt  like cold air was blowing in on top of our feet!  Husband and good friend  also discovered that the sunroom wasn’t built correctly and that it will have to be redone, another project to tackle when the kitchen is done.

Horror story indeed, or perhaps an illustration of man’s inhumanity to man?  You probably think I am being too dramatic with my choice of words, and maybe I am.  But when one is new to a town, has no idea who good builders are and who aren’t, if we, the buyers, are told that the  home sellers are honest and now we know they were  not, it just sours ones outlook on his fellow citizens, a bit, when the home you buy from them turns out to have hidden problems.

A few positive events to come from  all of this kitchen repair is that I did get  husband to agree that we might as well repaint the kitchen.   From a pale, blah beige we now have a sunny, Copacabana Yellow, courtesy of Benjamin Moore Paints.   When the pantry cupboard was removed in order to get the old sub-floor and ceiling tile out from under it, the silly thing fell apart due to it being made of cheap particle board and improper installation.  This event led to a good recommendation of a local woodworker and a visit to his shop.  A new cupboard is being built as I type this blog.  Lastly, husband told me today that he is actually enjoying installing the ceiling tile himself and so far, so good. New baseboards will be installed, trim will be repainted with Parrish White semi-gloss paint from Benjamin Moore, and all will be ready in the kitchen when our loved ones arrive to witness child #3 graduate from Rolla High.  So, for the month of May, my usual amount of blogs won’t be written due to this kitchen business but as soon as May 23rd-24th are over, I plan on renewing my blogging for the Rolla Daily News at it’s usual amount.