Monthly Archives: October 2013

Happy Halloween from Team Stein!

You should have some Chick-fil-A tonight.



The Origin Story of a Basement Arcade

For most avid readers of the blog, this will be a glimpse at the recently painted/put together Team Stein basement.  For a few of you, this will be the post about the man cave/basement arcade that you’ve been pining for…

As you can see from the tiny panorama picture below (which seems like it should be an oxymoron), the basement is ready for movie watching, TV viewing, video gaming and…even pinballing.


Taking another oxymoronic picture from the other end of the room, you can clearly see that my Batman pinball machine has made its way north from Nebraska…finally.


**If you have little to no interest in one man’s tale of acquiring things for a basement arcade then now is the time to stop reading.**

Full disclosure here, I’m a pinball junkie.  Dad got me hooked when I was a kid and, because I have the reflexes of a cat and the speed of a mongoose, I was able to keep the ball going for more than 10secs at a time, thus getting my childhood $0.25-worth and cementing my love for the silver ball.  I even convinced the family to get a machine when I was roughly 10-years-old…a shrewd business move that ranks right up there with collecting baseball cards…I think.  (Black Knight 2000, for the curious minds).

Fast forward to becoming an adult and I slowly started acquiring more arcade gems to put in my own house (much to the chagrin of K).  At the old house, I went through various “line-ups,” as they’re known in the pinball world.  Lethal Weapon 3 (that I had my parents pick up for me in Atlanta when they were driving back from Florida…good thing they have a conversion van and nothing but time on their hands) and an Operation Wolf arcade game I bought from The Barley Street Tavern were the first additions.


Whodunnit (which I had my parents pick up for me in Houston when they were driving back from Texas…there’s a theme developing) was the next to arrive because everyone loves a good interactive pinball murder mystery.  And then I was out of space and money.

20131029-223543.jpg(Natebass sighting!)

But, much like the Grinch who stole Christmas, I got a wonderful, awful idea…and the Whos down in Whoville would never see it coming…if I sold some of the less sought-after titles, I could make room and use the money to get better titles…it’s almost like using free money to buy things you want, so what’s not to love?  That meant saying goodbye to Lethal Weapon 3 to add a Junk Yard, perhaps my favorite game I played growing up.  (You build a flying jalopy out of junk to escape Crazy Bob’s junk yard…and then you fight him in outer space…A FLYING JALOPY…OUTER SPACE!)  They used to have machine in Lawrence, KS when I went down there for basketball camp in the summer.  And, never being a person to reject nostalgia, I bought one I found for sale in the middle of Nebraska.  So, naturally, Dad and I drove the van out there to pick it up.  6 hours later we got it home, plugged it in and watched the power go out in it less than 2 seconds after I turned it on.  (Not quite the glorious first play I was hoping for, but it just blew a fuse, so it was a $0.50 fix.)

After that, I was content…for a brief period of time.  Then a game called Fish Tales (a machine I used to play often at the Kwik Shop by my childhood house) came up for sale on Craig’s List…in Bellevue.  That was far too close to pass up, so I convinced Dad and a friend of mine to take the 10 minute journey with me to pick it up.  Then, I was really out of room and money.


Now up until this time, I had been dabbling in the “deals” and nabbing older machines when I could, but at some point you have to step up to the Major Leagues, right?  So I sold two machines I thought I would never part with, all in an effort to make the purchase of all purchases.   Batman.  A relatively new machine based on The Dark Knight Trilogy…which is perhaps my favorite movie trilogy of all time.  While it hurt to part with my “old friends,” I’d played both Whodunnit and Fish Tales to death as a kid and adult,..and made it to the “wizard modes” in both.  Plus, like Beyonce, sometimes you just want something shiny and new-ish.


Right now the new house only has room for one machine…but fear not…I have grandiose plans for a basement arcade that would make Showbiz Pizza look like Chuck E. Cheese…wait…

Oh, and in the meantime I can go to this bowling alley that’s 15 minutes from my house.

20131014-230453.jpg(Dad sighting!)


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The perfect fall thing to do.


Let’s talk about how wonderful the month of October is. The weather cools down, the leaves start turning brilliant shades of sunset, I get to wear boots everyday, Halloween decorations can be displayed and everything starts becoming apple and pumpkin flavored. Basically, life is perfect. Continue reading

Weekend Recap

We had a quick weekend in Omaha, where the boys had show with the original members of Ten O’Clock Scholars on the evening of the Omaha Zombie Walk. Fortunately, only one of the 4 bitten band members actually went full zombie…

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We built this.


Keeping in line with turning our house into our home, we’ve created and unpacked the travel wall, our collection of souvenirs and memorabilia from our travels to far off places.

We started with a blank wall in the living room. Knowing it needed to be painted and having a hard time figuring out a color, I found this tutorial for a wooden headboard. After adapting the measurements for our space, we headed to Home Depot for supplies. We found our wood, screws and stain and headed home for the first “big” home improvement project after completing our weekend apprenticeship with my dad.

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Tempting Fate


Everyone who knows me, knows I love IKEA. As we are continuing to unpack and settle into the new place, T and I needed to make a quick trip across town to pick up a few bookshelves. We found the items, loaded up the back of the truck and headed on our merry way.

Partially home, the truck started puttering a bit and I noticed the gas light was one. Now, T is not known for impeccable car care and has been stranded more than once in his life due to car trouble, but he wouldn’t seriously have risked me and our IKEA getting home because of gas, right? Continue reading

We’ve Changed




Somewhere between my first attempt at landscaping a new home at 24 years old and landscaping our second home at 29, I have become obsessed with the idea of having  rocks in our yard. I’m not talking river rock instead of mulch, I’m talking semi-large boulders strategically dropped throughout the plants, haphazardly placed in order to look like I haven’t thought about where they would go for hours on end, but instead just landed there while I was digging my flowerbeds.

Somehow, I’ve gone from a young, bright-eyed and naive gardener to a crazed woman, looking for rocks while on road trips and making T pull over when I see a ‘good one’ in the middle of a field.  What happened to me?

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If You Haven’t Been To The World’s Largest Renaissance Festival, You Haven’t Lived


If you think you’ve ever been to a Renaissance Festival in your life we would like you to take a moment and really ask yourself, “But have I REALLY been to a Renaissance Festival?” Continue reading

Seriously, DOT? Why are you doing this?


Shortly after we moved, as in 2 weeks after we moved in, construction began on the major interstate that both of us had to take to work and generally anywhere that we want to go outside of our suburb. Extremely intense construction that often led to only one open lane, ramp closures and 15-30 minute commute increases on a good day. Couple that with the super-skilled drivers in MN and the fact that we weren’t familiar with the alternate route options, and Team Stein ended up on QUITE a few “I have no idea where we are or how we get to our destination and Siri is super confused so I guess I’ll keep driving until we see something familiar” excursions in the Cities. Continue reading

Bringing Down the House


We’ve officially tackled the first “big” renovation at the new house…moving the bedroom wall. We know that we have a lot of skills – creating awesome scrapbooks, planning vacations, building dog ramps – but we will be the first to admit that building a wall is nowhere on the list of Team Stein skills.  That’s why we’ve enrolled in the “I don’t know how to do anything but my dad can do it for us” apprenticeship. Continue reading