Little Toy Soldiers and Such...

The Blog of Michael T. Murphy and his lifelong obsession with "little army men" and their imaginary glory, miniature wargaming, and other things...

Monday, November 9, 2020

Saying "Goodbye" to ToD, and moving into the new house...

 As the first part of this got to be pretty long and intensive, I decided to break it into a few parts. Sadly speaking though, it seems that this part is going to be also a bit on the photo intensive side.  So once again, sit back with a nice cup of coffee, tea, or whatever you like to drink as you scroll through this...

GOODBYE ToD:

As referenced before in the previous article, the move from the "old house" to the "new house" was filled with a lot of memories, (good and bad), as well as "stuff".  On the last day I was there, I decided to spend a few moments with an old friend of mine to say "Goodbye".

That old friend was "ToD" (aka: "Tree of Death").

ToD was a huge, elderly, soft maple tree that dominated our backyard, and had gotten semi-legendary status on TMP, as well as some friends of mine, and even the lawn care team. It had done wonders in dealing with someone that needed "dealing with" and was known to kill squirrels, as well, and warn lawn crews when they got "too close".

I loved that tree...


Tree of Death, (aka: ToD): The tree that kept squirrels, useless boyfriends and nosy, pesky, lawn care personnel in line.


Saying farewell to ToD....



A few quiet words were spoken and the wonderful tree showed it's sadness of our leaving by shedding leaves quietly as if they were tears...
And then we pulled away....

At the house...

So we moved...
My first drive down there was not alone. I decided to take "Mr. Bear", (we rescued him from a liquor store where he was going to be thrown out as "they had no room for him, and the advertisement for what he was used for was long over"), and with his own winter scarf, and a spare Desert Storm Veteran Cap, I buckled him in for safety and away we went.
I also went through the drive through at Wendy's with him and the girl on shift loved it.

One of my better passengers...




The sellers had left us a lot of the house history and had even included photos of "The Old Girl" in her snowy winter glory.
Truly this house is like something out of a Normal Rockwell painting.





But it was just beginning to be the Fall Season and the trees were starting to turn their beautiful colors of red and gold...





As said before, the house is essentially four stories, (basement, main floor, upstairs, and attic), and not including the attic, is approx. 3600+ sq ft. Add the attic in, (which we are as my wife has claimed it as her "domain" for her dresses and stuff), and it's approx 4500-5000 sq ft.
The Old Girl has four bedrooms, (three on the main floor and one in the basement), three full baths, and one half bath, kitchen, pantry room, small eating room, dining room, entryway, living room, sunroom, and a master full size walk in closet room, as well as the stuff down in the basement. She also has three fireplaces, (two gas and one wood).
Heat is by boiler and electric baseboard, while cooling is by AC/Air Handler, and ceiling fans.
The house is wonderfully dry, and we won't have to worry about the issues with "Indiana humidity and mold".

This is a "first day photo" of the entryway, looking towards the front door. The living room is on the right, while the dining room, (aka "The Romanov Room"- Courtesy of TMP's Wyatt The Odd), is on the left. 



Looking into the living room, you can see the two ceiling fans, the fireplace (FP#1), and beyond that is the sun room. The brick wood burning fireplace, (FP#2), is on the direct opposite wall of FP#1.



A close up view of FP#1, along with some of the many antique oil lamps that my wonderful wife (Gawd bless her!), has reconditioned. Many of these lamps are mid-late 19th Century and can fetch a pretty penny with collectors, reenactors, and historical decorators. The Bible is open to Psalm 91, which I read on each floor of the house.

Going through the French doors, led to the sunroom...



And the brick fireplace, aka "FP#2)...

It's a nice fireplace, but obviously needs some "decoration", (ie: "That Murphy Touch"...)

So since it was getting near Halloween, I decided to "spruce the mantle up a little"...

Hmmm...kind of a "Martha Stewart meets Boris Karloff" type of decor feel, don't you think???...

Naturally my wonderful wife, (Gawd bless her!), said "No!"...
So she "suggested" that we could redecorate it in a "period style"....
I agreed (happy wife, happy life, and all that stuff ya know), and so we did...

Add musket to the wall, and some of our period primitives, and it looks like it's right out of Colonial Williamsburg. Any moment I expect someone in a powdered wig to come wandering through griping about King George III...


The Dining Room, (aka "The Romanov Room")...






The dining room chandelier is not original to the house. 
The chandelier was originally in a local bank during the 1890's to early 1900's, and was set up for gas lighting. When the bank was torn down, the chandelier was taken to a salvage/junk dealer, and from there to an antique/junk shop, where the previous owners found it, had it repaired, cleaned, and set up with electric wiring and installed. It is absolutely gorgeous.

Sooooo....with all of that we are moving onto "The Basement..." (AKA: "THE MAN CAVE!)....

THE MAN CAVE!!!!!

So, as part of the deal, my wonderful wife, (Gawd bless her!), claimed the attic as her own, and I then claimed the basement.
And what a basement it is.
Forget the days of stinky, dank, dark, musty, holes in the ground...
While the basement of The Old Girl does in fact, contain the full size Laundry and Mechanical room, (with a laundry chute which makes moving the dirty clothes even more fun and easy), she also has a nice large closet (for food storage, and for our wines, as well as a full bathroom, a 12 X 12 bedroom (which becomes my painting/work room), AND a full size basement game room!

My wife was pleased that I would have all of my gaming crap...errr...."stuff" in my own personal "Man Cave", and to top it off, she discovered that there was a nice little key that could lock the basement door...hmmm...

When there is too much "Manliness in the Man Cave", my wife can quietly lock the door...


Going down the stairs to the "Man Cave". You can see the closet door cracked open. The painting/work room is to the right and to the left is the gaming room and the bathroom.


One of the ideas we had with the storage closet downstairs, (besides using it to store some long term shelf life food, and sundries), was to have a place to keep our wines, etc.  True we had the wine jail but the way it sat on the floor didn't make it very useful at all and took up an absurd amount of space.
"Why don't we mount it on the shelf and make it a shelf rack?" My wonderful wife (Gawd bless her!), said to me.
"Hmmm..." sez I.
And so we did.

So we took the closet....


And the wine jail, just needing to be set up and filled with all of those wonderful bottles of wine...


Raised it up, laid it on it's side, inserted it onto the shelf, and voila!  Instant shelf wine rack!  The door is currently held open with a green bungee cord, which will eventually be replaced with a more visually appealing brass chain. And although this pic shows a couple of empty spaces for bottles on the rack, I can now vouch that this rack is 100% fully stocked. The small wooden rack contains our Christmas German Gluhweing, a couple of bottles of Sangria, and a bottle each of Delirium Tremens and Delirium Noctem.


Next up is the future painting/work room....

The entrance to the future work area. 12 X 12 with a natural light source, adjustable track lighting, numerous electrical outlets, this room is just ready for me to occupy it with my cra...errr...."stuff"....


Another pic of the room showing the natural lighting. Plans are to have my painting station against the wall with numerous shelves, and storage areas for all of the stuff that is needed for this horrible hobby of ours.

Turning the corner, we come onto the bathroom and the gaming room....
First up...the bathroom...

A fully finished out bathroom done in cedar planking, tile, red highlights, and the wall that you cannot see is tastefully left in it's natural brick.  The cabinet holds extra toilet paper, hand soap, air freshner, etc, because well...we all know "That gamer"....

Inside the bathroom door is this brass duck robe hanger. For some reason this duck seems to attract the attention and it seems to fascinate the hell out of everyone that sees it. 


Next to the bathroom is the brick wall and the entrance to the future game room.




Looking into the future game room, you can see natural lighting, electric lighting, heat, and an already wall mounted white board. The square in the ceiling is the laundry chute.

Looking to the right from the entrance, you can see the natural lighting also, the enclave where the TV, etc, will go, a portable baseboard heater, etc. Also visible is a set of Art Audio stereo speakers already wired and ready to be hooked up.  Future plans for this area include a large screen TV, DVD player, Sofa and chairs, as well as a table against the wall holding a mini fridge, (although the wife wants to put a full scale one down here), and a microwave. All of this is her idea, and I do believe she is planning on having me live down there!!!


The next two pics are of the rest of the gaming room, showing the lighting, the walls for "wall hanging stuff", the small passage with the dart board, and of course, "the hidden secret room".
Yes, we have discovered that we have a hidden room, (hence the strange passage.)
Oddly enough no one seems to know what is on the other side of that wall, (the previous owners said that it was walled up like that when they bought the house in the late 80's...), and they never seemed to show interest in seeing what was behind it.
This open area is going to be where the gaming table and display cases along the walls will be. 



That's it for the current tour of the house and the future man cave for me. I am going to be updating this as I set it the place for painting and gaming and decorating. Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Fall Update!

Greetings to everyone once again!
A lot has happened since my last entry, (Aug. 2nd 2020), and there is so much to say on the home front and the gaming front for me to update you with. This entry is pretty long and photo intensive so you might want to get some coffee and relax as you scroll through it.

FIRST OFF: 

HOUSE!

Well, it's official. We have a new home!
In the last update, I had explained how we had needed to move due to the rising complications within the city of Indianapolis, and Marion County, Indiana in general. Rising taxes, and rising crime rates, along with the general overall craziness and a mayor that refuses to do his job, as well as changing factors in our neighborhood (Neo-Nazi Biker Wannabes moving a couple of houses down from us), had made us finally take action from our 14+ year long term rental. 
We had looked at a number of houses, and lost out on a couple, and dodged a bullet on two of them, before we finally settled on the one I had originally saved from Zillow. 
So we walked in, looked and made the offer. The offer was accepted and the sellers and my wonderful wife and I (Gawd bless her!), became good friends. All the deals and etc, went smooth on both our part and the sellers part with the listing agent being the only fly in the ointment, taking longer than usual to get required paperwork sent. But in the end, things worked out and The Lord blessed us with our new house. 

We had originally thought about calling her "The Grand Dame", but instead settled on "The Old Girl"...
She is 103 years old and is historically registered. I am lucky enough to have the entire abstract of title for the entire house, (showing the platte for the town and the area to be signed and authorized by President John Quincy Adams). She is listed in the Indiana Historical Landmarks Association as the best preserved example of Colonial Revival Architecture in the entire county.

Myself and my wonderful wife (Gawd bless her!) after assuming possession of our new home...

So now that we had a place to live, came the new task...packing up all of the "stuff" and moving from the old home.
Now the old home that we lived at in Indy was never intended to be our "forever house". The original plan was for us to rent it for a couple of years and then find a place and move on to it from there, but due to issues with people living with us, (My wife's father, my son (three times), and my daughter and her boyfriend at the time (Bob)), as well as work issues, etc...the "couple of years" became "almost fifteen". 
But now we had found our forever home.
And it was time to start "Loading up the truck."

PACKING AND MOVING....

George Carlin was right when he said "A house is a place for you to store your stuff while you go out and get MORE stuff..."
And all I can say about that is "Amen."
The actual packing and moving of boxes etc, took approx. a month, as I would load a dozen or so packed boxes into the truck and take up to the garage. The idea was for us to get the small and medium boxes out and moved, and then hire a brute squad (movers), to get the furniture and big stuff.
And it worked, but it was horrendous back breaking labor. Packing items, labelling boxes, stacking them, loading them into the truck, moving, unloading from the truck to store them into the garage for unloading and unpacking later. We lost two of those days for auto repairs, and at the same time had to deal with other issues (medical appointments, etc). But we slowly got things done.
It's amazing how much "stuff" this hobby of mine, and the amount of figures and stuff and all the other little things, (paints, supplies, etc), makes this an ever expanding monster.
In the end, while packing, I did an approximate inventory of unpainted figures. I came out with a little over Six Thousand (6000+) unpainted figures. (This does not include terrain, scenics, etc.)

So I packed...

And packed...


And packed yet more...


Until all the figures were packed...

Approx. 6100 figures packed up and ready for their new home...

And it was books, glasses, pipes, steins, rules, games, magazines and all other sorts of odds and ends as well.
Truly, what kind of madman has stuff like this?

Skull glasses, VHS Tapes, Steins, and an Elvis Coffee Cup...a sure sign of madness...


My ORIGINS Award from 2006


An old Ral Partha Fantasy Wyvern from 1993-ish...Primed and waiting patiently all these decades to be painted finally and put into action...


And yet, another "Major Award" that needed to be gently packed and carried so that it could be displayed with pride in the window for the neighborhood to see and enjoy this Christmas...


And as always, some unusual, (and old), military gear. Here is a Vietnam Era US Army buttpack.


And of course no move would be complete without a careful relocation of my Legendary Velvet Elvis... This is perhaps the finest artwork that anyone could buy off of a street-vendor in Juarez, Mexico for ten dollars...


And I had to pack up my cigars and humidors...


As well as my pipes and pipe tobacco...


And the wine jail...


That's a lot of bottles of hooch!



And it was time to pack the bottles of "The good stuff..."



The Weird Stuff...

One of the things about packing and moving is that you always, ALWAYS, find those "things" that you forgot about, thought you had lost, or even didn't even know you had. And there is also always "The odd and weird things", (especially with me)...

Well it IS an election year...


My old company/unit patch. C Co. ("Cobras"), 3/34th AR BN. 2nd BDE, 1st AD, Ferris Kaserne, Erlangen, FRG, 1984-1986.


A complete set of the old "Dark Cults" horror storytelling game, which came out in the early 80's. The artwork is amazing, and the game play is very good. It does require a player with good imagination to make the story-play go. This is a rare and hard to find game, and is actually complete, (including the decal). Sadly, I believe that it was ahead of it's time. There wasn't a market for card games such as this in the early 80's, and something called "Dark Cults", just didn't seem "right". I mean, ALL of those parents, and teachers, and clergy had seen Tom Hanks go crazy in "Mazes and Monsters", right?...right?..

And speaking of cards...

Some of my old cards from the "Deck of Many Things" in Dragon Magazine. Back in the nineties on a slow day at work in Korea, I printed them out, colored them, printed the backing, stick glued them, and then laminated them for use. 30+ years later the full set is still in excellent condition. They've only been used in one game....(and it wasn't pretty)...


Custom engraved glass mug for my ACW reenactment unit. 


Hmmm...not really sure where this came from...but still...it's a nice addition to my bookshelf...next to the jar with the brain in it...


Hmmm...another odd book that "just seemed to find it's way" onto my bookshelf...


And Great Cthulhu appears! And he doesn't seem to happy about having to be packed away into a cardboard box...


Neither does "The Great Elvis Cthulhu"...

And it wasn't just stuff that I had collected either...
Way back in the early 1970's, when my mom was getting divorced from my crazy, murderous raging, alcoholic father, we stayed with a couple of her sisters. Along the way, I played with my toy soldiers. And when we moved to Texas, some of them were inevitably left behind, "Forever on patrol"...
A few years ago, when my mom died, the last surviving sister, (one of my aunts), brought this to me. She had found it in the backyard soon after we moved...And she had waited over 40 years to return this old soldier back to his commander.
He now sits in a place of honor on my shelf.

Ready for action....for over 40 years....

A coffee cup, "liberated" from "The Blue Ox" on Sandhill and Flamingo Road in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The "Ox" was the place where the local gaming group that I was part of would go at night to eat, drink, and tell our "no shit there we wuz" gaming stories, war stories, and tales of life. For some reason, I had to have an escort with me whenever I went there, because if I went there alone, I always, ALWAYS had an issue with one of the waitresses. If someone went with me...no problem.  It was one of those "Murphy Weird" things that people simply could not understand....
Anyhow, the cup reminds me of days and games long ago gone...Good memories, good friends, and good times.



A 2005 promo badge for D&D announcing that "2005 is going to be the BIGGEST YEAR EVER for D&D...", along with a rare Dungeons and Dragons Metal Business Card Holder... Just the perfect thing for your office geek...

After all the packing the items were empty and loaded....

The once full display case...sadly empty...

As well as the crowded and every populated and busy painting desk/workbench...

From this...


To this...

And finally the last truckload was packed before the Brute Squad would come in to move the big stuff and the furniture.


And as a finality...
The lowering of the National Colors and Flag of The National African Republic of Bongolesia and it's base of operations in Indianapolis, to be moved to it's new home. A somber occasion for everyone.





And the last plane out of Bongolesia (for now), took to the skies from it's old location, journeying to it's new location in the future. 
(*Cue the theme song to "The High and The Mighty")...









And that was it. 
The house was packed. The Brute Squad came in and moved us, and we were outta there...
The end of an almost 15 year "Temporary stay" and into our (hopefully) "Forever home"...

The next part update will be on the house, and the new "Man Cave" so, STAY TUNED!!!!