Tuesday, August 27, 2013

And They Are Off!

I have been posting photos and writing so much about the house and dogs lately, you are probably wondering what happened to the kids...

For their latest adventure, they left with Jim and Jan early Friday morning for a trip to the beaches on the Outerbanks (Corolla) of North Carolina. This is a 20+ year tradition for Jim and Jan and they have it down to a science. 

Kevin and I will drive down to pick them up on tomorrow. They each have orientations at their new schools on Thursday that they need to attend. 

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Early Morning Run

Kevin and I were up and out the door early this morning to get in a run around Burke Lake before going to Mass.

We began our run at the boat launch on the Western side of the Lake. It was a beautiful morning and a very pleasant 63 degrees when we began.
 The Northern end of the Lake (looking South). 
 There were a lot of very loud Canadian Geese in this area.
On the Eastern shore of the Lake (through the trees). 
I loved the area in the photo below. As we ran through this area, the Thai expression, "same same but different" came to mind. The trees and vegetation around the Lake were as lush and green as in Thailand but my running experience here couldn't have been more different! 
Looking North from the Southern end of the Lake. 
Post run in the parking lot. 

The loop that we ran this morning was 4.5 miles, giving me a total of 23 miles for the week. This was my fifth run this week - I don't like to run 5 days a week but until I increase my daily mileage, it can't be avoided. Next weekend I will begin training for the Army 10-Miler so my weekly long run (currently at 6 miles) will be increasing and, hopefully, I can drop that 5th day soon.  

The moon was still visible when we finished. 
 Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Before and After

Look what showed up this morning! Almost 3 months after it was packed in our home in Thailand and 2 months after it arrived in the U.S., our air freight was finally delivered to our home in Virginia. 
It was pure luck that an agent from our moving company was at BWI in the cargo area on Thursday afternoon and happened upon our shipment  - which according to an airline rep had "been sitting there for some time". It was all cleared and ready to go so the movers loaded it on to their truck and delivered to us early this morning.

Kevin went off to golf with a friend and I began unpacking. 

Hopefully, my engagement ring is in the pile above. It is very chilly here and my fingers have "shrunk" a little with the cold - my ring slipped off while I was in an unwrapping & unpacking frenzy. I haven't left the house so I know it is around here somewhere. Sigh. It is always something!

I have emptied all of the boxes.
Everything is in piles. 
Or spread out on the kitchen counters and table.  (Remember, no looking at the wallpaper!). The only "casualty" was a broken dinner plate - not bad at all!

I think we are all going to be thrilled not to have to eat with plastic utensils anymore! 
I need to dig through that pile and find my ring before I take a short nap to recharge my batteries. I am sure I will be organizing and putting all of this stuff away for the rest of the day. 

Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Are You Ready For Some Football?!?

A horrible picture but two of my boys and I settled in to watch the NY Giants - Indianapolis Colts game on Sunday night. 
The Giants did not play all that well but IT. WAS. A. PRESEASON. GAME. That comment is specifically directed to those Redskins' fans (especially the one that I am married to and the other one that I gave birth to) who are so convinced that a 2-0 record in the PRESEASON is surely indicative of a Superbowl win. NOT!

Some good news. Finally. Our contractors, Mimmo, and Dan, have been one of the very few things that have gone "right" with this move. 

When we returned to Virginia in June and realized the magnitude of work that needed to be done in our home before we could move in, not only were we faced with hiring a reliable contractor but we also needed someone who could start and finish the work ASAP. We were splitting our time between a hotel, Jim and Jan's home and my mother-in-law's home. Living out of a suitcase was getting old very quickly. 

Mimmo was highly recommended to us by Kevin's brother and his mom who had him complete extensive renovation work in both of their homes. We scheduled a meeting with Mimmo and Dan immediately and, while they couldn't complete the entire scope of work that we needed done because of other projects, they re-arranged their schedule with their clients such that they could at least renovate the bedrooms and the bathrooms on our upper level and we could partially move in. They did a spectacular job on that portion of the work and actually finished one day ahead of schedule. When they left our home in early August, the plan was for them to start/finish two other projects and then return to us in mid-September. Not the greatest situation for us but we really liked their work and, in our opinion, it was worth the wait and inconvenience. 

Well, imagine my surprise (and happiness) when Mimmo called me yesterday afternoon and said that the second project they had scheduled was postponed for a while because the client was in the hospital. This meant they could begin the rest of the work on our home MONDAY!!! YAY!!! 

Mimmo is coming to meet with me Saturday morning so we can go over exactly what needs to be done and to plan a schedule for the completion of work. I have a lot to think about and do before then as far as selecting tile, bathroom fixtures, paint, etc. but the unexpected busyness is for such a good reason, I don't mind at all. We still have no more information on our "missing" air freight and our storage. In addition, we haven't had any updates on the status of our sea freight shipment which was *supposed* to arrive in Baltimore on August 15th. This continues to stress me out but it will be easier for Mimmo and Dan to work in an empty house so, while I will continue to push for our shipments / storage to be located and processed through Customs, I might not be so demanding about having them delivered. 

Have a great Thursday!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Easy Come, Easy Go

If it wasn't almost September, I would be convinced that I am living an April Fool's joke!

As I posted earlier this week, we received notice last Thursday that our missing air freight shipment had been found in Baltimore and would be submitted to Customs for inspection and then delivered to us. Well, THIS Thursday, we received notice that the agent for our air freight shipment is having great difficulty in getting the paperwork for our air shipment appropriately modified so it can be submitted to Customs. The agent "advised" us to submit a claim and write off our air shipment as a lost cause. Unbelievable! It was a good thing Kevin was in meetings that afternoon and unreachable because, not surprisingly, I hit the roof. I responded with a very direct email stating that declaring the shipment a loss is not an option at this point (especially since it is definitely NOT lost and is being held at BWI airport, less than an hour away from us) and the agent is to do whatever is necessary to get the paperwork modified and our shipment processed. So incredibly frustrating! 

And, if that wasn't bad enough...this morning we received an email notifying us that there is no record of the household goods that we had packed and sent to storage when we moved from Miami to Thailand two years ago. Fortunately, I have all of our move-related paperwork from the last 8 years and I can easily document exactly what was put into storage. Unfortunately, the items we stored were mostly very important and expensive stuff - all of our furniture, appliances, Kevin's power tools, my great grandmother's china, our wedding crystal & silver and the like. I am just so thankful that I thought to hand-carry all of the paperwork with me when we left Thailand. I would be beyond furious if I had packed the paperwork and it was sitting at BWI or on a ship somewhere. I am trying not to think about this too much (don't want to completely ruin my weekend) and I will deal with this latest mess on Monday. 

At this point, given how *well* everything else has been working out for us lately, I would not be at all surprised if the ship carrying our sea freight sinks somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. (I hope I just didn't curse us with that proclamation!). 

We bought a grill and a patio set last week and have enjoyed eating dinner outside on the patio several evenings this week. The weather has been beautiful - sunny and cool with no humidity. In fact, it might even be a little too chilly for my liking! We are going to Mass tonight and then Jim and Jan are coming over for dinner. A preview of the very loosely-themed Asian menu...

Sweet and Sour Cucumbers (using my mom's recipe). 
After I planned the menu and invited Jim and Jan, I realized that my award winning recipe (really!) for Thai Turkey Burgers is in our sea freight shipment so I had to improvise. A lot. I thought of pretty much anything with an "Asian" flavor and threw it all in the bowl with the ground turkey and mixed together. Lemongrass, ginger, garlic, cilantro, scallions, soy sauce and fish sauce. We will shape the mixture into patties, grill and serve on a toasted kaiser roll. I have sliced tomatoes, lettuce and a lime & chili mayonnaise (also an improvisation) to be used for toppings. I can't wait to see how these turn out - it will either be an epic fail or a fantastic win. 
For dessert...mixed summer berries (blackberries, blueberries and raspberries) topped with a homemade balsamic glaze and cream. Yum!
My boys. They spend so much time together and follow each other (and me) around. 
Have a great Sunday!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Complete! First Phase of House Renovation

Two weeks ago, early Thursday morning (August 1st) - the granite was installed on the vanity top in the bathroom.
The granite I selected was called "white river". Since the vanity was only 36" wide, I was able to select a remnant from the supplier's "stash" which help to defray the costs a bit. 
Later in the day...the fixtures were installed. 

I couldn't resist adding a few accessories right away.

 The tub/shower area. 
Christopher's room.

 Caitlynne's room.
The hallway.
 New light fixture in the hallway.
 Looking up the new stairs to the upper level. 

Now on to the good stuff! We have been in the house for two weeks and things have changed quite a bit. My mother-in-law was kind enough to loan us some lamps (as well as a few end tables) so at least we have light!  

I love the bathroom! Caitlynne did a great job in helping to pick out the accessories.
Caitlynne and I trying to select a shower curtain almost caused World War III. Fortunately, Caitlynne spotted this one in the clearance bin at Bed Bath and Beyond and it was a perfect match to the tiling and the other linens we had picked out. We both agreed that we loved it and a MAJOR crisis was averted.

Caitlynne's room is just stunning. She chose silver and grey for accent colors and for her bed linens, curtains and rug. These photos (taken with my phone) do not even begin to do it justice. The two lamps and the mirrored bedside table were fabulous and totally unexpected finds at HomeGoods. We are still looking around for a mirrored dresser so if anyone has any leads, please pass them on. There is still work to be done but everything else (art, pillows, accessories, etc.) is packed in our air and sea freight shipments so we are at a standstill for now. That goes for Christopher's room. And the rest of the house. 

Our room is really very unspectacular and ho hum right now. 
Window treatments in our room are on the "absolutely must do" list (I think our neighbors would appreciate it!) but I am having a very hard time trying to decide what to install. I really would like to wait until our air freight shipment is delivered as I had a couple of sets of drapes made in Thailand and I *think* one set might work in here. However, it has been so long since I have seen any of that stuff, I forget the exact colors. So I will wait. Sigh. Edited to add...I wrote this post early this morning and we have since received very bad news regarding our air shipment. Details to follow soon. UGH. UGH. AND. UGH.
Of course, my shadows followed me from room to room while I was taking these photos! 
The photo below is taken of the only part of our bathroom that I am not embarrassed to publish. 
The rest of the master bath is in a state of organized chaos. Just like my life. We did not do much in the master bath as far as renovation is concerned. Other areas in the house needed work more urgently and, let's face it, a master bathroom renovation is not cheap and we are not made of money. Dan and Mimmo removed the wallpaper, repainted and updated the fixtures and that cosmetic work alone made a huge difference, enough so that we hope to hold off on completely renovating this room for a long while. My goal is to spend this weekend and get this room all sorted. Monday I hope to have photos of my progress. 

In my last post, in addition the information I wrote about our air shipment, I also spoke too soon about Sonder not being interested in Chester's toys. Uh oh! 
They are very good-natured when they play together but I do have to keep a close eye on them because of the difference in their sizes and Chester being so big and so uncoordinated. 
We have been having spectacular weather here (it was 56 degrees when I ran this morning) and I have been spending a lot of time outside during the day with the boys. 
Have a great Friday!