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Over the River & Through the Woods to Grandmothers House We Clean


My mom had wanted us to come down to my grandparents home to clean for months. Unfortunately a busy summer had kept us away. We finally made it a week after our honeymoon ended. We slept at my parents home in Cudahy before heading down to Racine.

We got home from our trip on Tuesday and left for Milwaukee on Thursday. It was almost like an extended vacation.

Before leaving the cities we stopped and had dinner at Foxy Falafel. It was pretty good and I like that she uses sprouted chickpeas. 

I never knew my grandparents on Poppyseed Tuska's side so Grandma and Grandpa Wojcik were a special part of my life. They both passed away last year after living nearly 90 wonderful years. 

Their home was always a wonderfully warm and inviting place. The perfect place to spend your Christmas Eve in front of a fire place.

Since it's going to be sold, Brooke and I took on the massive task of organizing and cleaning the home.

When Scott told me his mom wanted us to clean his grandparents house I knew with all the stuff his Grandma collected that this was going to take more then one day. We worked one room at a time. It was neat seeing all of his Grandma's trinkets. I had only been at this house once before so it was nice to catch all the details.

For lunch the first day we stopped at Georgie Porgie's a custard joint near the house.

I would have loved this place as a kid. Check out that tree house.


We tried out every variety of in-house sodas. My favorite was the root beer followed by blue raspberry.

You can more or less call this place an elaborate take on Culver's only quite a bit better.

On our way out we each choose a pint.

I love how my grandpa had all of our birthday's handwritten. We spent most of the first day on the two ends of the home working our way towards the center.

The two of us thought we'd have energy to cook, but each night we ended up going out. We wanted to try out some unique Racine hotspots. 

After driving around Racine we ended up back on Durand Avenue with empty stomachs. We stopped at Taqueria Nuevo Vallarta. I believe my aunt and I ate here last time she was here. I'll probably stop by next time we make it Racine. 

In the morning we did what any self-respecting Racine visitor would do and checked out the O&H Danish Bakery

I'm partial to danish layer cake, but you can't leave Racine without kringle. Since we didn't have $15 for a cake it did the job. Lehman's makes the better cakes anyway.

So damn good.

While going through piles of cards I found a few gems worth saving.

We pretty much worked immediatley after breakfast until it got dark out. Only stopping for food breaks.

We really enjoyed our leftovers and frozen custard.

I also found this gem while going through the randomness.

(What about the pic of your bro?)


I also found this picture from my brother Colin's Dutch Boy days. Two girlfriends, Colin?

After cleaning into the evening we made a break for Well's Brothers famous pizza. Supposedly its one of the ten best pizza joints in the USA. Good, but no better than Mama DeMarini's in Milwaukee (which may have closed for good. At least Phil and Dom are still in business).  

When we read the reviews for this place most people complained of it being in a "bad neighborhood". If you think a hispanic neighborhood is bad then I think you are racist.

Harsh words Brooke, harsh words.

By the morning we were out of kringle and onto the final rooms.


My grandma has thousands of antiques, as she was a dealer, which each had to be dusted.

And chandeliers, too many chandeliers.

We found antiques of another sort while dusting under some kitchen canisters.

I thought I was going to puke from all the years of dust I found above the kitchen cabinets. Scott kept making comments about dead skin cells. Ew.

We found lots of interesting items in their kitchen.


My grandpa could never finish a meal without a toothpick. These ones must've been for St. Patrick's Day.



And then we were done. 

It took us 3 whole days to do it. I think Scott and I made a good team. My cleaning skills definitley rubbed off on him. If anyone knows anyone who needs a deep cleaning we're willing to travel.


 I took pictures not just for selling the place, but to remember the meticulous museum my grandma had curated.



The couch we have in our living room used to sit there.


My grandma's bedroom was intimidating as child, but is beautiful in hindsight.

Wish I had a close up of that lamp.

When we started this room was basically storage for unused furniture but we turned it back into a bedroom. Scott's dad was really impressed with our work. I wish we had done before and after photos.


It's sad to think that wallpaper might come down.

The stovetop, oven and fridge surely will be replaced. I'd love a galley kitchen. It's so efficient.



The carpet hasn't aged well, but it's still beautiful space.

 This is Scott's favorite part of the house. For a mid centruy house I would live here. Also that dining table will be ours soon.


This side of the home was added a few years after the rest of the home.





My mom tell's me that this built-in uses very rare Brazilian wood or at least rare for when it was built.

This bathroom is so elegant.


Of course the backyard's the biggest selling point. Spent many days playing here as a child.

Under the willow. It used to weep a little bit closer to the ground.

I had one last bulb to put back.

We had seen this on Saturday, but decided to gander at Frank Lloyd Wright's Johnson Wax headquarters one more time on our way out.

Downtown Racine.

My pops needed help bringing this table in.

We were all hungry so we picked up some Tsing Tao, a gem of Chinese restaurant in Cudahy.

My mom, dad, Brooke and I made space on the table for our feast. 

We finished the night by showing my dad pictures from our trip. Poor guy. 

Comments

emma. said…
I always tell you how your post relates to me. ha. I toured the Johnson Wax place once. I was in architecture club because I was cool. Though I think that might have been an actual architecture class field trip. We ate at A&W.

I really like that bathroom.

Happy anniversary. :)
Brooke said…
Thanks Emma.

I had no idea you traveled to Wisconsin and Michigan so often. Do you know of any other fun places to go?
Katrina said…
I have to admit, I teared up a little bit when I read this post. I could just picture us all there for some many holidays and weekends. I can't imagine it without all those furnishings, artwork and beautiful things. I miss them.
Katrina said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
ausdsign said…
Hi Scottie,
We met so briefly at your li'l sister's wedding. I've always followed your site and found all the images you took so captivating. I think I've expressed that to Katrina before over and over again. Well, this time I think you have outdone yourself once again. I never got the chance to meet your grandparents but through the collective pictures and narrative excerpts I felt like I knew your grandparents. Thank you for posting it thru Katrina's FB timeline. You're an amazing photographer with always a sensitive vision that captivates your audience. All the best, Nerissa (SF)

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