Tuesday, April 07, 2009

About those carpets

In 28 years, terrible things can happen to textiles. Even very formerly-expensive textiles. Ask any museum curator.

Especially bad things happen to your carpet if you never move your table in 28 years.

Or your (empty) plant stand.


Apparently, this carpet once was all a uniform color of eighties "dusty rose". Now it's a chameleon carpet.


We alternate between laughing hysterically at it and agonizing over how much it's going to cost to rip out and replace every stitch of carpet throughout the house. Which is fully wall-to-wall carpeted in every room except the kitchen and bathrooms.

Monday, April 06, 2009

This will not stand

I went through the whole house today and took extensive pre-renovation photos. Hopefully the view from this perspective will not even be recognizable in photographs as the same spot when the renovation is complete! Lots of before-and-after shots to come, in time.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

The bunny


Darwinian pruning

If they were meant to live, they will. The bushes on the new place haven't been trimmed back in a dozen years and were constricting the driveway and dangerously cutting off the view of cars down the street.

Before to the north:

After to the north:


Before to the south:

After to the south (it had completely grown over 3 other smaller shrubs!):

Maybe they'll live. . . .

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Energy issues

No, I'm not talking about my workouts here - this is about remodeling.

As we've been browsing for new appliances I learned the details of the tax credits available for energy-efficient home improvements this year:
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_tax_credits#s1

This is probably the year to get these things done! There are tax credits available of $1500 total (up to 30% of purchase price) on a slew of energy-efficient items. Free money!

We hope to take advantage of this for:
* Outside doors (need at least 1 replacement needed)
* Storm doors (need at least 1 replacement needed)
* HVAC

I'd like to add an on-demand tankless hot water heater (like my Canadian friend Dianne just did), but we don't have natural gas or propane in the house and I don't want to add it just for that, so we will skip it. I also looked into an electric heat pump water heater, but those are just coming on the market this year for residential use and are recommended for larger-volume usage and warmer climates, so I think we'll have to stay with the traditional models if we replace the hot water heater.

Friday, April 03, 2009

New house!

The deal is done! We're now the proud owners of our new home!

Although it will take us some two months or so to move into it. We're happy to get things in motion!! We'll walk the girls there for a surprise on their way home from school today!

Remodeling starts on Monday!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Poultry polyandry

This little duck "family" has been hanging around our neighborhood for a few years now.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Treerow

I love this row of old trees along the Miles River about 1/3 mile from the house, on my usual running route.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, March 30, 2009

The plat

Here's the new plat of the new house, just drawn up to save us several hundred dollars per year flood insurance!

If this house goes underwater, the entire peninsula will be underwater. We're in good shape, even though the water's edge of a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay is less than 60 feet from that top left (north) corner.

Notes:
IPF: Iron pipe found (buried)
IRF: Iron rod found (buried)
CMF: Concrete monument found
IRCS: Iron rod corner set

Safe travels, Ellie!


Best wishes to my good friend Ellie who is embarking at the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail this week! See you on the other side!

Here's a lovely tribute to her and the trail before her.

Friday, March 27, 2009

What's the draw?

A friend asked me online the other day: "I'll bite.... what is the draw in moving to a house 2 doors down?"

My answer:

We're getting:
- 3 more rooms (currently an office, a sunroom, and a family room)
- attic and storage space
- fireplace
- extra half bath
- garage
- stick built (versus our current modular) and expandable
- concrete driveway (versus our current gravel)
- additional 0.3 acres
- an enormous back yard, which we don't have now on a corner lot
- great trees and water view
- (Giving up our deck and our remodeling/moving time)

All for not much more than an addition would cost on our current house. Plus we get to stay within two blocks of the schools and a stone's throw from the harbor and town in a neighborhood we love!

I think that's a pretty good deal!

Busy day of no workouts

Busy day but no exercise! (Unless I count walking to the school and back four times, which I never count).

Met with a banker in Annapolis and signed some papers and talked to the remodeler and signed a contract and emailed back and forth with the realtor and things are gradually falling into line. We've got the colossal kitchen gut and rebuild all lined up to go after we close on the house in another week. Yes, this ca. 1981 kitchen has GOT to go!! Lots of photos of the stunning transformation to come!


Then we stopped for a lovely lunch at Kent Island looking out at a loon swimming around in the water, and drove home.

Then tonight was the big bingo fundraiser and silent auction at the school. Elisabeth was too tired but I took Catherine over and we played a few rounds of bingo.

Our neighbor Donald Rumsfeld had donated a Secretary of Defense cap which I bid on. I also bid on a life-size ceramic bunny, a cookie jar made by one of my daughter's classes, a painted rack made by my other daughter's class, a certificate for dinner at one of our local favorite restaurants, and a tub full of wine and glasses, etc.

Didn't get a single one of my bids!! Oh well, I'll be there next year!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Property survey

If you're super-interested in this new house of ours (OF COURSE you are!) we just got a survey done yesterday to mark the corners of the property.

Photos are HERE (on Flickr).

Then I drew the little outline map above on the satellite image. The far back corner of the property is in the neighbor's front yard. Weird.

We had to have the house elevation documented. Because it's all a flood area around here, they wanted to charge us $2000 per year in flood insurance. Uhhhh.... Good thing we know a lot about a house two doors down that only is charged about 1/4 as much for annual flood insurance! It's something about being built at different times and some new regulation taking effect, but anyway, the survey documented that the foundation is something like 9 feet above the water line and there should be no particular risk of flooding (unless the whole peninsula is submerged when the polar ice caps melt). So the survey more than paid for itself in the savings for the first year.

Meeting with the remodeling guy today to get the numbers. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I missed celebrating!

Wow. My hit counter registered, as of today, 202,918 page views since I installed it on March 26, 2005.

Four years ago. If my math is right, that's somewhere around an average of 138 hits per day. On my stale old blog.

I'm flabbergasted!!

Thank you to every lurking reader who stops by here to browse around. I appreciate it, truly.

Special thanks to those of you who take the time to leave a comment now and then. You absolutely rock!

2009 National Half Marathon

Short report: 2:35:48, about 6 minutes slower than I had hoped.
11:54 mile/min pace
Age group: 64/71 (90.1%)
Overall: 2177/2281 (95.4%)
(Note: Yes, it's a pretty fast bunch compared to most races, but the qualifying standard for entry in the half marathon is a prior sub-2:30 performance or equivalent).

Longer report: perfect "no excuses" running weather, cool and clear and windless. The course was a bit hilly for this flatlander. I started the coughing at Mile 6 and couldn't stop. Sheesh, I was on a solid pace for about a 2:27 finish before that! They also ran out of cups after mile 4 (for 2:15 finishing pace onwards) so I probably didn't hydrate well swilling from jugs. That's really lame for a race with no race-day registration! I tried not to think about the AIDS runners drinking from the same jug as I did, and hoped I didn't give away my germs, but did it anyway. The last couple miles were way tougher than I wanted.

5 minutes faster than last year on the same course with bronchitis. 5 minutes faster than Disney 2 weeks ago. Better a little faster than slower I suppose.

Crossed another finish line for my 38th half marathon and a medal.

On to the next half in 3 weeks! Hopefully fully healthy!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Too late

"The 2009 National [Senior] Games are now open to all individual sport athletes (except golf) who participated and finished at a 2008 Qualifying Games. If you finished your event in 2008 and want to experience the National Games we have a place for you!"

Nope. Not with less than five months notice for me to start training in a sprint event. Now if you had told me 7 or 8 months ago, great, I would have been ready for it. But now that you can't fill your rosters, nosirree Bob, I'm not changing my 2009 training and competition plans just for that!

I R SRS ATLEET!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another half on Saturday

This coming Saturday I have another half marathon: National Half around Washington, DC, that I've run twice before.

Last year I ran it when I had bronchitis and was coughing the whole way:
2594 51/53 F5054 2:44:18 2:40:00 12:13 Nancy Toby 50 F 6012 Arlington VA

Hmm, now here it is the Tuesday before the race and I've been sick for a week and got a pretty big cough going again this year.

This might just be deja vu all over again.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The first remodeling meeting

Our new house is coming up fast! We close three weeks from tomorrow!

I was able to have a meeting inside the house this morning with the remodeling contractor and his "kitchen guy". They looked it over and took measurements and they seem to have a good understanding of what we want. We talked about several options for opening up the space and combining the existing kitchen, sunroom, and family room into one huge room.

They won't know exactly until they take the existing sheetrock off, but they think we may be able to open the space between the sunroom and kitchen with only small pieces of wall at the existing corners, which will tie in well and also hide the discrepancy in wall position and ceiling height (0.5"-1") between the kitchen and sunroom.

Since there are air vents on the floor of the (former) outside wall of the kitchen and the outside wall of the family room, and baseboard heaters in the sunroom, we probably won't need much new ductwork but he said it's possible to do because the sunroom does have a crawlspace. Didn't sound like it was a big deal.

I explained that we needed to reserve enough $$ to replace the HVAC but he seemed to be able to be conscious of our budget and work within that.

We talked about saving money on the countertops and they seemed to agree that using more inexpensive laminate at first would be a good way to save cash for now, with the intention of replacing it 5-10 years down the road.

They also looked over the location for the pantry closet (there's an existing closet stuck in an alcove and I want to enlarge it by walling off the entire alcove) and agreed that would work well as a big storage pantry closet, with an angled door.

All in all, very positive meeting! I think this should work well!

Oh, I also took the contractor guy upstairs to see the attic space and he agreed there was a lot of space there and could make a very nice loft room - just have to re-route the dryer vent. We may want to ask him to work up a rough quote on that space before he's done with our house so we have an idea how much it would cost us down the road to add that room in Phase II sometime in another year or two.

I have some big glossy brochures now to start picking out cabinets. Shopping!! I'm thinking a nice medium honey-oak and cherry-stained hardwood floors. We will probably keep the existing stove which is white and go with white other appliances for the replacements.

I took some more photos, and will start posting them when we get going on the house.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Race report: Disney 5k and Princess Half

I. HAD. A. BLAST! I've posted tons of photos on Facebook and some on Flickr, q.v. Lots of fun spending time with my good friends Holly, Linae, and Shawn!

I've done several of the races in years past at Walt Disney World (half plus triathlon plus
Dopey) and this is the FIRST time the race management really got it right. Finally I felt like a valued participant instead of a money dispenser shoehorned in around their visitor schedule! They always have VERY early shuttle pickups and a lot of dead time at the staging area, so sleep deprivation becomes part of the experience, but I've gotten accustomed to that.

Expo: Best race expo I've been to in dozens of big races. Lots of vendors with attractive products, princess makeovers on site, elaborate princess costumes on display, character greetings and photo-ops, t-shirt size exchange. I would have stayed and shopped longer if I hadn't been in a hurry to visit the parks. For the first time in my experience they had prompt shuttle transportation from the hotel directly to the expo and back.


Royal Family 5k: Belle and Beast at the start, and Snow White, Aurora, Minnie and Mickey, and Cinderella on the course. Probably 1/3 or more of the runners were wearing some type of costume, some quite elaborate (I just ran in my daughter's Ariel tiara). They had semi-effective pace seeding and after the first few hundred yards it was relatively uncrowded running. I stopped and sometimes stood in line at all the characters, then sprinted to regain my former place with the flow of runners. Nice rubber medals which included WEAPONS in the design, I assume as a token gesture to make the boys feel included!


Afterwards we watched the kids' races, which are very fun and well-managed, and attended the Princess Breakfast where we had some more character encounters and plenty of photo ops. It was a nice add-on and very fun way to start the day of park-going.

Princess half marathon: Took the familiar course that they use for the half marathon in January - 5.5 miles to the Magic Kingdom on highways, less than a mile of really fun stuff through the Magic Kingdom, then highways back for a quick loop through Epcot to finish. I dressed as Snow White, and lots of people were in costume too but a much smaller percentage than in the 5k the previous day. About 3% of the ~6000 runners were men, many in great costumes such as Fiona, Belle, and Minnie. The time change had taken effect the previous night, so the first half-hour of the race was in darkness. The mile markers were elaborate princess designs, but no characters on the course until entering the Magic Kingdom. The characters were in abundance at the castle and beyond, however, with fast and furious opportunities for photos and not terribly long lines at any of the characters. I stopped at least 10 times on course to take photos, and since I'm not acclimatized to Florida temperatures I got overheated in my Snow White costume, but I expected that and adjusted my pace accordingly.


One really fun part of the race for me was the Snow White photo-op, where I cracked up the Prince by asking him, "How about a Snow sandwich!?"


The medals were gorgeous! Unfortunately the hotel checkout time is still 11:00 AM so I had a sprint back to the hotel and quick shower before I had to dash for the plane.

Yes, I'm already working on a plan to perhaps return with one of my daughters next year for the 5k. I'm sure she will enjoy it even more than I did!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Disney races by the numbers

5K
Watch time: 33:17
Photo full stops: 4

Half Marathon
Chip time: 2:56:04
Overall: 4337/6150 (70.5%)
Women: 4187/5956 (70.2%)
Age group: 235/417 (56.3%)
Bathroom stops: 2
Photo full stops: 10+

Disney photos photos photos!


I HAD A BLAST! FINALLY Disney learned how to really do a race right. It was a fantastic event, no fooling! Still a very early morning, of course, but finally I felt like a valued participant instead of just a money machine.

I also have a zillion photos, of course! Too many to put on the blog, but they're lots of fun if you want to browse through my albums:

Friends at Disney

Disney Race Expo

Royal Family 5k

Princess Breakfast

Disney Princess Half Marathon