22 April, 2010

Finished the Flooring

In just the past couple of days, Greg has been super-industrious.  Trying to get as much done as he can before he leaves for training, which I appreciate but it means that he's tired and doesn't get to bed until late.  I really appreciate his hard work!!  Last night was a Major Milestone in the remodel project...
The last bit of flooring is down...  YAY!!!  The last few rows went slower than the main floor.  In part because Greg couldn't use the nailing tool which sinks the nails into the groove far enough that you can immediately seat the next board.  No.  Instead he had to use the brad nailer with finish brads, then the yellow tool that taps the nails down into the wood.  In addition to that, we have several power outlets and an air return in the floor along that wall.  So lots of fitting and pounding, then sawing, then more fitting and pounding.  But it's done, and it looks absolutely fantastic!!
He finished the flooring and moved straight on to sealing the slate.  I have to admit that the sealant really makes the colors in the rock come through.  I liked it without, but it looks even better now.  The cats had to spend the night and most of today in the garage, since they love to lay on the stone - I suppose it's because it gets warm in the sunlight.  I missed having my little heaters on my legs last night, and I have to admit I didn't look in on them or talk to them while they mewled at the door.  Didn't want to sleep in the garage or have them get excited about getting free.  They were awfully whiny and needing of attention when I got home, but there are no cat prints in the seal job on the slate...  =)
Tonight, Greg hooked the water up to the sink and fridge; moved the cabinets from the office back into the kitchen;  rearranged some furniture; put the blinds back up; and put some of the big tools away.  We've still got a bit to do - unpacking and rearranging is part, but there's also the trim and hanging the doors.  I'm thinking maybe I'll get some painting done while Greg is away so it's ready when he gets back.  I'm excited!!!  It's starting to look like a "home" again.

19 April, 2010


The work done Friday evening, Saturday (between the MS Walk and Roller Derby), and all day Sunday was installing flooring.  There's not much more to say.  I mean, there's a little bit.  Like: Thanks for the help, James!  He was here all day on Sunday helping with various bits and pieces.  But mostly, this post will be pictures showing the progress over the last couple of days.  It's amazing.  It's exciting!  It's phenomenal!!
There's still a bit to be done, but it seems like it's coming together quickly now.  I know that's because we're to the part that "shows".  Like in painting - the trim and edging take forever, and when you finally get to rolling it gets done lickety-split.  As of Sunday night, here's what we have left:  finish installing the flooring; seal the slate; hook up the water in the kitchen for the sink and the fridge; install the transitions; paint and install the trim; paint and install the doors.  Greg has been working really hard and done a marvelous job!!
On another note, I took Jeannea to the airport this morning.  She's on her way to Silly Dilly for the summer.  It was *so* nice to have both Sara and Jeannea here to visit me...  and they're good sports too - not only to put up with the Construction Zone, but they were cheerfully willing to help out.  I always feel good when they come to visit, and a little sad and lonely when they leave.  But it's only a few short months and they'll be stopping in again - this time to luxuriate in the finished-for-the-summer look and feel of the house.  More comfortable, and MORE PLAY!!  =)  Be safe, Girls - see you soon!!

17 April, 2010

MS Walk and the Derby

Jeannea's Spring visit usually corresponds with the fundraising walk for Multiple Sclerosis.  This is the first of many charity walks that I sign up for - mostly so I have an excuse to get some extra (or any) exercise.  Being that it's April, the weather is unpredictable.  It's best to dress for chilly weather (and be prepared for cold rain), so if it's sunny you can peel layers and enjoy (but if not, you're not miserable).
Even with my multiple layers (or perhaps because of my multiple layers), the walk was brisk but pleasant.  I was told it's a little over 4 miles.  A little chilly to start, but once we got moving I warmed right up!  This walk takes us around Lake Hood, the float plane lake that's next to Anchorage International Airport.  I always find it fascinating to see the big jumbo jets taking off in the sky and the little two-seaters on the lake.  An interesting contrast.
As a special treat, Jeannea happened to be in town for the last roller derby bout of the season.  Anchorage's Rage City Rollergirls vs. Edmonton's Oil City Derby Girls.  The first bout that we took Jeannea (and Sara and Sheri) to was when Rage City went to Seattle to play.  We had a blast, but it's always better on the home court, so I was excited to have her be able to go.
As usual, we went early to get good seats.  Good thing - doors open at 6pm and the derby doesn't start until 7pm, but by 6:10pm the best seats in the house are taken.  Once again, it was a sellout crowd - great news!
This was the most exciting bout of the season!  There was never more than a 20 point spread in scores, and in the very last two minutes we went from tied to down one to win by four!!!  Super plays, loud crowds, and rowdy girls!  The Edmonton team was fantastic (I'm hoping we try to recruit a few of them - interested, Tie Dye?) and our girls played their hearts out...  I was hoarse by the end of the evening.  =)
To round out the day, Stacy met us for dinner (James was already with us at derby) and we got to enjoy more good company and good food.  We went for sushi.  I'm finding that I rather enjoy the sushi rolls - as long as the fish is cooked.  It's not that I don't enjoy the raw fish, I just can't bring myself to try it. *shudder*
In between all the drama and the fun, Greg was busy too (is he ever anything but busy??).  He ran the course for the MS Walk and got a bit done on the flooring before heading to derby to photograph, then met us for dinner.  Next post will be an update on the remodel progress...

16 April, 2010

Girl's Day, Girls' Visit

I've been looking forward to April for lots of reasons.  April, while dirty brown in color, is generally warmer and a harbinger to greenery; it's noticeably lighter; and I get visits from some of my sisters - YAY!  Sara came in a week ago Wednesday, and Jeannea arrived this past Tuesday night.  For the few nights they're overlapping, we borrowed a cot.  One on the couch, one on the cot - both in the middle of our Construction Zone.  They're such good sports!
Since the visits only overlap by a couple of days, I took some time off so we could spend some quality time together. There aren't many things that can beat a paid day off work for pampering and spending time with family and friends.  A little sleepin' in, breakfast, pedicures, some shopping, late lunch/early dinner, and a relaxing evening.  Can anything be better?  Nothing comes to mind...  =)
Unfortunately, all good times must come to an end.  We took Sara to breakfast this morning before we drove her to the airport, slowed down, and kicked her to the curb.  It's hopefully going to be a busy, lucrative summer for her in Valdez.  We won't be visiting over 4th of July weekend as we've done in the past, so I'm thinking I'll take a weekend trip and drive over to visit.  Maybe late July or August...  Have a good summer, Sara!!

14 April, 2010

Fun with the Floor

Greg continues to work hard to get the flooring done.  We're almost there.  Every day, the new changes are apparent and I can almost taste the finish.  Of course, we won't really be done until sometime next winter (if you count replacing the cabinetry in the kitchen), but we'll be done for the summer soon.  YAY!!

In the past couple of days, Greg has been a busy little bee.  He gets as much done as he can in the few hours after work, and it's really paying off.  He's finished laying the floor in the office.  This means we're (mostly) done in that room.  Well, we still need to paint and install the trim, move furniture around, and get organized, but... the point is we couldn't even think about getting organized and moving furniture back in there until now.  And now, we're just about ready for that...  as soon as the flooring in the living room / kitchen gets done... since we've now moved bits of the kitchen (those detached cabinets we've been moving around for the last six months and the boxes that now have the stuff we emptied out of all the lower cabinets) in there so there was more room and the floorspace was clear out here.

In addition to getting a lot done on the bamboo, Greg also grouted the slate.  It's got to dry for a bit, and then we need to polish and seal it.  I'm loving how this is coming together and what I envision the end product will be!  It'll all be worth it when it's over...  =)
Jeannea came in on Tuesday night.  Both she and Sara have been great about the less-than-stellar accommodations and helping where they can. We're going to indulge in a Girl's Day tomorrow.  A treat for their patience, to commemorate our being together, and a belated celebration for both their birthdays (both within the last couple of months).

11 April, 2010

Sara, Slate, 'n' Stuff

Sara arrived last Wednesday.  She's here to visit me before she heads out to Valdez for the summer.  Since there hasn't even been a walkway in the spare bedroom for *ages* now, we were trying to decide what to do.  Option 1: She can sleep on the couch in the Construction Zone - pros are she's close so I get to spend as much time as possible with her and I can spend the night in my own bed (especially on work days); cons are there's no privacy (for her or the cats, since she brought her two and there's my two) and she's subject to the time schedule of Greg - oh! and there's no privacy.  Option 2: Board Sara, myself, and the cats (hers - mine would stay at the house) with various friends and/or family (there were a couple different options) - pros are she gets a real bed and a place of her own (with privacy); cons are working out schedules, and I'd be feeling guilty about not being around to help Greg on the house.

We left the choice up to her, and she opted to stay at the house.  It's been fantastic - extra help on the house (thanks, Sara!), no worrying about imposing on others, and I don't have to figure out how to connect my laptop to someone else's network (because it's all about me, right?).  Even the cats are settling down - still a bit of hissing and growling, but none are bald and there's no extra barf (no more than normal, anyway).  Poor Sara ends up helping us on some project or other every time she comes through.  One of these times, I'll have to make sure it's a proper "vacation" before she goes to slave away at fish camp...
The first night she was here, she helped mount the TV in it's new location and fill yet more boxes with even more stuff.  This time, we emptied the lower cabinets from what's still in the kitchen - in preparation for moving them to lay the new flooring underneath.  I really appreciate her willingness to help and her good attitude about the whole deal!!

Yesterday it was finally time to install the slate entryway for the sliding glass door.  Yet another milestone bringing us closer to completion...  YAY!!  Sara helped us lay out the tiles, pick the best ones, and rearrange until we were satisfied with how it looked.  As Sara and I were heading out to do some shopping, Greg was mixing the mortar to cement the tiles in place.  We ended up staying to watch a little longer than anticipated (and found out in the process that our kitchen fire extinguisher is empty, so I promptly picked up more while we were out and about) - mainly so I could put out any potential fires and/or Sara could perform any emergency first aid should the need arise...  since the motor for the stir paddle filled the house with smoke as it was burning out.  At least Greg was mostly finished by the time it became entirely unusable.  =)
Once the mortar was mixed (and supplemented at the end with an emergency run to the hardware store to get enough for the last bit), laying the tile seemed to go pretty smoothly.  At least, Greg didn't seem to have any problems with it, and Sara and I did fine at supervising...  I'm extremely pleased with the way it turned out - and excited to see the bamboo next to it as we progress even further.
Greg has worked hard all weekend on the house project.  When I took Sara over to visit with friends and have a nice game of Killer Bunnies, he opted to stay home and get more work done.  His goal for completion is before he leaves for training in Florida - which is two weekends from now.  Maybe I should go with this one, since my relatively arbitrary out-of-my-ass date didn't work.  What?  You mean that paying attention to the people that actually do the work (well, more than just running the Shop Vac and cleaning, anyway) may give me a more accurate timeline?  Who knew??
Now we're actually laying the bamboo again.  Another indication that we're in the homestretch...  Today Greg spent some time crunching numbers, making cuts, and working around the small spaces (like the pantry closet and doorways).  Now that he's a bit further from the wall and "custom" areas, it should go down pretty quickly.  Then it'll be a matter of getting our stuff organized and the rooms put back together again...
Jeannea will be arriving next week - so we'll have a couple days of overlap with both girls here, before Sara heads out and I get the weekend with Jeannea.  I absolutely *love* this time of year - because I get to see some of my sisters (not because it's a heatwave outside, since we've barely broken 40 a few times and still have snow).  And, well... if the project's not done, we're all happy to spend time together anyway - I already borrowed a cot for the couple nights the girls overlap.  =)

04 April, 2010

Easter Anniversary

This Easter came up rather unexpectedly.  We've been working really hard on getting the house remodel finished up - at least to a place where we can "close up shop" for the summer and spend some time enjoying the best part of the year up here.  I was thinking how quickly Sara is going to be here, and Jeannea the week after.  And how much we need to get done so they have a place to crash.  And all of the sudden, it's Easter.  Huh.
It's celebrations like these where I miss my family, but we were fortunate to be able to spend the afternoon with Greg's mom.  (She only looks goofy in the picture above because I asked them to "act like they like each other" - and the pictures where they're not making faces turned out fuzzy.  Dumb camera!)  We had a lovely Easter dinner, then played games for the rest of the evening - it was truly enjoyable!
To top it off, Greg reminded me that it's our anniversary today too.  It's a little amazing to realize we've been married for 12 years now.  It doesn't seem that long ago that we were just getting to know each other.  It's been a good run so far, and I look forward to the years to come.  Love you, honey!!
All in all, it was a lovely day.