Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wall and half-wall

Looking from the fireplace toward where the new kitchen will go in. The old fridge is in the approximate spot where the new one will go. A counter-height bar will extend to the right from the vertical post in the foreground.
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Half wall framed

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

10k for Bari

Today I ran my local Oxford Day 10k for my Israeli triathlete friend Bari, who was unable to run hers due to the death of her mother-in-law. So Bari, credit yourself with another 10k in your race log.

Unfortunately the humidity really knocked Bari for a loop today and she was only able to slog around the course in a sweaty dripping 1:05:15 (10:31 min/mile pace). Those desert-dwellers just can't take it, can they? They're so evaporation-dependent. Here on the Eastern Shore we laugh at evaporation.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

In midstream

I haven't done much swim-bike-run to speak of this week, but I've worked on the house 3+ hours each day. Call it upper-body cross-training camp. It must be some level of exertion, because every day my hands and shoulders are sore, and I was down to my lowest weight of the year this morning!

Things are progressing! After much spackling (two quart tubs worth) and sanding and wall prep, I've finally begun the real painting fun. This will be an "Ariel" bathroom for the girls when I'm done, but here's a "before" shot:

And here's midway:

I started preparing another upstairs room for painting by removing the outlet covers and came across this big nest of disgusting. They're teensy ants, fortunately, and not termites - and shortly after this shot all the soldiers died horrible but mercifully quick deaths from an overdose of Raid.

Things are progressing outside, too - finally got most of the bushes chopped down from 12 years of overgrowth and I'm gradually whipping the place into shape. The Bradford pear blossoms have just passed. I still have to decide what to do with that little raised garden in the foreground that formerly featured a broken birdbath and was formerly edged with attractive rotting wood. The enormous oak on the right will come into its leaves very soon and nicely shade the house in midday all summer.

Morning from the farm market

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The house is bigger

Well, it's not actually bigger, but it's starting to FEEL more spacious and open already. I love it! Well, more accurately, I love envisioning what it can be when it's all done.

Today I went on a shopping spree and bought a dishwasher, a refrigerator, a microwave, and an in-sink garbage disposal. Whee! Fortunately I learned of a 10% off coupon for Lowes (at your post office too, inside the change-of-address moving packets).

And oh yeah, today I locked the keys in the house for the first time. Whoops. Fortunately I found a sneaky way in. There's nothing really to lock up yet except numerous full cans of interior paint, soon to be half-empty cans of interior paint.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The new kitchen, gutted

The gutting began today! We're combining three small rooms (family room from where this shot was taken, sunroom through the sliding door at the left, and kitchen behind the wall to the right).

View at the end of today with the sliding door (which will be removed) to the left, kitchen to the right.

The original view of the kitchen interior a few months ago (before we bid on the house):

Almost the same view today:

Turning around in almost the opposite direction, the original small kitchen closet and inexplicable nook to the right of it. The open doorway to the family room is to the right of that.
Today, starting the process of combining the closet and nook into one larger pantry closet:

Turning slightly right, the former area that held the kitchen table, and shelves for the little TV they apparently watched during meals:

Today, minus the little TV shelf, and the walls and cabinets and window too:


The renovations are beginning! This is the part that I've been working on for a couple of days. There are settling cracks all over the house that aren't serious, in nearly every room, but that should have been patched (and re-patched) some time since 1985. Well, they're getting it now. This is above the front entranceway at the landing of the stairs. Before:

And a preliminary after shot, below - I'll be painting these walls some time in the next month, perhaps a nice toasty orangey-tan-brown color (whatever you call that). Cinnamon? Only not nearly that dark.

It's starting!

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Swimming technique

Here is a great resource for you analytical visual learners out there who are working on improving your swimming strokes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Star-Mangled Banner

While the girls were taking a bath tonight Catherine was trying to recall "a new song about a flag" that she had learned at school and sing it for me. Somehow I managed to decipher what she was trying to sing from: "O'er the rainbows we watched were so gallantly streaming!"

I was drying her off after the bath and trying to explain: "That's a very important song, Catherine! And it was written by someone called Francis Scott Key, when he was on a boat not very far from here. . . ."

"Mom, do I look like Cleopatra with the towel wrapped around me?"

(Sigh.) "Yes, dear. Just like Cleopatra."

Sunday, April 12, 2009


That's Catherine buried in the Bunny's tummy below:

Coloring eggs at home (the first time I dared to have those open dishes of dye around the girls!):

Dorchester YMCA Crab Run Half Marathon

Results for my 39th half marathon finish:

Nancy Toby F 51 St. Michaels
Chip time: 02:38:10
Pace: 12:05 min/mile
Overall: 156/164
Age group: 3/3

That's a fast bunch for a small inaugural race! The course was flat and fast - almost identical to the Eagleman half Ironman course, so I was very familiar with it. It was rainy but in the 50s, no excuses on the temperatures. I got to the halfway point turnaround in about 1:14:25 according to my Garmin, but fell apart on the second half.

After the stop in the woods at the 6 mile mark, I count six walking breaks in the second half of the race, which really brought down my finish time.

March 9 Princess Half Marathon: 2:56:04
March 22 National Half Marathon: 2:35:48
Yesterday Cambridge YMCA Half: 2:38:10

Time to get to work on bringing back that endurance! I'd like to get back to running the speeds that I was two years ago!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Are you an average triathlete?

If so, you are a 38-year old white man who participates in sprints, Olympic-distances, and the occasional half IM. You also run 5ks, 10k, and marathons. You're married, with children living at home, and hold a white-collar job. Your family income is $126,000 per year - $2,276 of that you spent on bike stuff within the last year. You say you're into triathlon for the personal challenge and to get and stay in shape.

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:

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)

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.
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