Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Extra Mile

Happy Halloween! 

I ran five miles yesterday morning to put me at 1901.0 miles in my transcontinental run.

The view at the end of my run yesterday morning - "Section: 8 Map Name: Pawnee River, 88".

This was the view after my 4 mile run on Tuesday morning (at 1,896.0 miles). Not much changed over that five miles and two days! 
Blah. What flat and boring landscape!

The good news is that I am more than halfway across Kansas.
With every run, I am getting closer to the halfway point across the U.S. and closer to the Pacific Ocean! 
I had hoped to get out and run another five miles this morning to bring my monthly total to 90 miles but my head cold migrated down to my chest yesterday and I cannot breathe. Only cough. So, after a walk with the dogs and a quick trip to Lowes to get a few supplies for Dan and Mimmo, I am going back to bed!

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Brown Blob

Our big boy and his "lovey".
And our not-so-big boy.
As far as the completion of house renovations are concerned, we are talking in terms of days

Yesterday, Mimmo and Dan installed all of the outside trim, insulation and siding. Everything was sealed up tight with a ton of super-duper caulk.  
The exterior looks fantastic - almost like new! Kevin's first project this Spring will be to paint all of the trim on the house white and get rid of that hideous brown. Today, Dan and Mimmo are installing the insulation, drywall and trim inside the sun-room. They plan to paint tomorrow and then that room should be finished! 

While I certainly won't quit my day job, I think I did a pretty darn good job on my first wallpaper installation. 
It took me 1 1/2 hours to hang those two pieces - more time than I planned on but my perfectionist tendencies got the best of me for a while and I spent a lot longer than necessary on some areas. I am very happy to report, however, that no tears were shed during this project. So far. There is an area of about 6" along the seam that I am not happy with but I finally realized that I needed to just let it go. I still have two more lengths to hang but needed to get these up so the vanity could be installed this morning. 

Which it was. 
I love this room now! The granite guy will come this afternoon with some samples for me to look at and the granite will be installed tomorrow. 

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Dan and Mimmo installed the windows in the sun-room yesterday.
As soon as the windows were installed and sealed, we noticed such a (welcome) change in the temperature in the house. The plywood/tarp window covering was just not cutting it and the temperature difference between the levels in our home was incredible. The bedrooms and family room were cozy and warm but the middle level was so chilly. We would bundle up just to eat dinner! 

Today they are working on installing the insulation, trim and siding. The water damage on the roof trim was significant - in some areas, moss was growing! 
They removed the damaged trim and replaced with some kind of PVC composite material which will last must longer and be relatively maintenance free. 

Autumn is definitely here. It is chilly at night but we have been lucky in that it is sunny and mild (60 degrees) during the day. 

The Japanese Maple right outside the sun-room.
I had to run a few errands earlier today and stopped to take photos of these beautiful trees while I was out and about. 
Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Out With The Old

And in with the new!
The windows for the sun-room were delivered late Friday afternoon and today Mimmo and Dan are installing them. And repairing a lot of water damage they discovered when they removed a portion of the siding. Sigh.
The vanity for the powder room will be delivered tomorrow. That means I need to hang the wallpaper TONIGHT. I really should have done it over the weekend when Kevin was around to help but all of my thoughts were with Pete and I knew I wouldn't be able to concentrate properly so I didn't bother. I will give it a go tonight and, fingers crossed, hope it all goes well.

Pete had a mega chemo treatment and was released on Friday to go home with hospice care. His doctors were fearful of giving him that treatment because they were not sure how his body would react. Yet another small miracle was bestowed upon him and he has regained some use of his vocal chords, is able to swallow better and is in less pain. He is now enjoying the quality time that he so desperately wanted with his family and friends. If he is able to have visitors, I hope to take the train up later this week and spend some time with him. 

Have a great Monday!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Special Request

After I finished my blog post yesterday afternoon, my plan was to (gulp) begin to hang the wallpaper in the powder room. Before going upstairs to begin, I did a quick check on Facebook and my heart just broke. 

My friend and former college housemate Peter has suffered a recurrence of the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that, as of early September, was thought to be in remission. Pete was admitted to the hospital about three weeks ago and his health has deteriorated very quickly. The cancer is aggressively attacking his brain and his spinal column. Things do not look good at all and his family has traveled to New York to be with him. Pete's plan, made with his doctors' approval, is to undergo one last treatment of chemo (and possibly radiation) as soon as possible. Hopefully, that treatment will give him enough relief and functionality to release him from the hospital so he can spend some time with his family and friends. He is hoping for one week of relief but recognizes that it may be only a few days. 

Please keep Pete and his family in your thoughts and prayers (if you are the praying kind). Pete has approached this fight with cancer the way he approaches everything else in life - with strength, courage and perseverance. Pete has a true heart of gold and would do anything to help someone out, friend or stranger. We are all hoping for a miracle.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


I wish I could say that my absence from the blog for the last two weeks was due to the fact that I was soaking up the rays on a beach in Bora Bora. So. Not. True. 

In addition to all of my many "stay at home wife & mom" duties, I have been unpacking and organizing our stuff from the move. Everything is slowly coming together - for some reason, it seems like it is taking me a lot longer to get the house together than it has after previous moves. Yet another thing I can blame on the aging process. 

As of last week, we had another bathroom fully completed.
At some point, we would like to add glass doors to the shower - the tile work is really too pretty to hide behind a shower curtain. However, at  a cost of $1,100.00+ for the glass doors, the shower curtain works just fine for now. 
I just love how the vanity turned out - it was definitely worth the wait. There are three shelves on the left side and a large cabinet underneath the sink. The color of the wood is called "cherry java". It is dark brown with a very subdued burgundy tone. . 
The photos below do not do the granite any justice. I will try and find the piece of paper that I wrote the pattern on. It is Italian and, although a bit pricey, I think it adds so much to the bathroom. 
Upstairs, other than the vanity (which should be delivered any day now), the powder room is painted and ready to go. 
I am playing around with the placement of the wallpaper pattern on the wall...
Unfortunately, Dan and Mimmo do not "do" wallpaper so this project is all mine. I have watched several "how to" videos on and it definitely looks do-able. Even for me.

Dan had told me that the trick is to make sure I have a perfect line drawn on the wall to install the first piece of paper along. I spent probably way too much time with Kevin's level trying to accomplish that last night and I think the line is as perfect as it is going to get. I have also measured, cut and labeled the lengths of the wallpaper that I need and have gathered all of my tools and supplies. (At least it sounds like I know what I am doing, right?). Now, I just need to bite the bullet and begin to hang. 

Caitlynne is on the crew team at her high school and this is a photo I took when I dropped her off at practice yesterday afternoon...
I am so envious that she gets to row in that setting! Of course, when they begin their regular "on the river" practices in February (brrrr!), I will watch from the comfort of my warm car. With a mug of hot cocoa.

Lastly, I had a somewhat good run in the Army Ten Miler on Sunday.
My finish time (1:45:00) was much slower than I wanted it to be (1:35:00) but, given the race conditions, I was not surprised. Both Kevin and I agreed that, for a variety of reasons, we most likely would not run this race again. For starters, with about 35,000 "runners", this race was just way too crowded. The start gun for the first wave of runners went off at 8:00 am. The start gun for my wave of runners (the 6th and last wave) went off at 8:25 am but I was so far back in the corral that I didn't even cross the start line until almost 3 minutes after that - and then it was another 2 minutes or so before I could even pick up my pace to a very slow jog! Going by the official clock (and not my timing chip), it took me almost 42 minutes to reach the first mile marker. My clock time for the race was about 2:15:00 - which made me very happy for the invention of the timing chip! It was really hard for me to get in a running "groove" and keep a steady pace during the race because I had to constantly maneuver around slower runners and walkers. There were so many people and never any room to just run. 

And now, my rant. The race rules clearly stated no electronic devices (including iPods, MP3 players, cell phones, cameras) were allowed on the course. In order to not know about this rule, you would have to be blind, deaf or dumb (or not read any of the race information). The rules were published and posted everywhere! I did all of my long training runs with my iPod and was planning to run with it until I saw the rules - and I left the iPod at home. I didn't even carry my iPhone because I was afraid it would have been confiscated if I had to go through some type of security and it was detected. That being said, I cannot tell you how many times I had to stop running suddenly or swerve to avoid another runner who stopped right in front of me to take "selfies" or photos of the monuments or to change the song on their iPod. It was unbelievable how unsafe the running conditions often were. I was shocked not only at how many people blatantly disregarded that rule but also at how lax the race organizers were about enforcing it. Why have the rule if it is not going to be enforced?

I am going to try and post some more this week but who knows what tomorrow will bring (maybe the delivery of the windows for the sun-room?!?). Please know that my intentions are good but, unfortunately, when things get busy and crazy around here, the first thing that is impacted is my blog. 

Have a great Wednesday!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Walking On The Wild Side

With the exception of the the kids' bedrooms, the living room and the dining room, I have used "Cream Delight" by Valspar (eggshell finish) on the walls throughout the house. Although it is boring, I think it is best to keep most of the walls of our home as neutral as possible until we get everything unpacked and settled. The lighter color definitely makes all of our rooms lighter and brighter and it will look a lot different once all of our paintings, pictures, artworks, etc. are unpacked and hung. We have unpacked quite a bit of artwork and I am still going 'round and 'round as to where to place everything (once we get to that point!).

When the time came to choose the paint for the powder room, I decided to mix it up a bit and use this color of paint (Deeply Sunset by Valspar in eggshell finish).
I am going to wallpaper one accent wall with this Shand Kydd (yes, the late Princess Diana's mother!) design. 
The powder room is pretty small and I think this will be a great "statement" combination.

It was back to work Monday for Kevin. Last week, he was deemed "non-essential" to the U.S. Government but this week he was re-classified as "essential" so off he went. I should note that his return to work meant a *major* slowdown in the progress of our unpacking. He opens and empties a few boxes each evening but it will be the weekend before we make any more significant progress. There really isn't anywhere to put anything so I am not too upset.

Chester went to sleep last night dreaming of our run this morning.
Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Army 8 Miler

Wishful thinking! 

As planned, I ran my ten miles yesterday morning but it was not pretty. In fact, it was pretty ugly. 
The first eight miles of my run were great. Although it was warm (about 66 degrees) and a little humid, I felt really good and was keeping my time under 10 minutes/mile. I did have to swing back by the house at 4.5 miles for a quick bathroom and hydration break but, after that, I continued on strong. At 8.0 miles into my run, I ended up at the bottom of a very long and steep hill that I needed to run up and over in order to get home. Very, very poor planning! I lost of all my "juice" halfway up the hill. It was sheer torture to get to the top and quite a struggle to run the last mile home. But, I did it. After an Epsom Salt bath, scrambled eggs & toast and a long nap, I feel just fine. My mileage for this week was 28 miles, the most it has been in a LONG time so today will be a rest day for sure. I am getting ready to take the dogs out for a long walk now as it is supposed to rain quite heavily later today.

I will be able to get one more ten mile training run in before the Army Ten Miler on October 20th (assuming it will not be affected by the Government shut-down). I will do a better job of planning that run so it is not as hilly as it was today. At least I know I can run the distance. 

Have a great Monday!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Renovations In The Sunroom

Dan and Mimmo spent the first part of yesterday morning finishing the removal of the wall-paper in the kitchen and prepping the walls (to be painted) in both the kitchen and the bathroom. 

Trying to contain the dust generated by the drywall work in the bathroom. An eerie sight but every little bit helps!
All of the plumbing has been completed in the bathroom and the entry & bathroom floors and the stairs are ready for the hardwoods to be installed. 

The work on the renovations in the sun-room then began. Our plan here is to install ceramic tile on the floor, replace the windows & door and paint. The sun-room, like the bathroom in the entry, was an addition to the house and was constructed rather poorly. Our main concern was to find and fix a leak that has appeared a few times over the years around some of the windows. The framing around three of the windows has been so badly damaged by the water and warped that the windows could not close. 
The carpet came up easily and, other than some more ugly linoleum, there weren't any major surprises underneath it. 

This door will be removed and replaced with a sliding glass door. 
Mimmo and Dan began to remove the rest of the trim around the windows and that is when the fun began. While there was some water damage to the drywall from the leak, the real mess was what we found behind the drywall. 

Damage from a long ago termite infestation. 
In April of 2005, we had a termite swarm in the sun-room and immediately began (and continued) annual treatments and monitoring. Each year as I write the fairly large check to Terminex, I wonder if it is really worth continuing with the service as we have been termite free for over 8 years. Well, it is definitely worth it because I don't want a termite to ever again even think about nibbling on our home! 

Eight years ago (and probably for some time before that), those termites had quite a feast on the wood in this corner of the sun-room.They ate the entire length of the window and right through the floor. The wall and the wood just crumbled. 

Dan found this inside the wall as well. Nice.
Everything was ripped out and taken to the dump. I bet there is no one more than Kevin who wants the Government to start back up! 
Dan and Mimmo re-built the entire corner wall and floor and it is as good as new now.
Since the replacement windows are custom made and won't be delivered for another couple of weeks, Mimmo and Dan carefully sealed the opening.
So, now we look just a little bit red-neck. 
Later today, I am going to bring a nice bottle of wine over to my neighbors along with my most sincere apologies. 

This tarp was hung over the entrance to the dining room. 
Although I know its primary purpose is to keep the dust contained to the sun-room  I also like that the tarp keeps this mess "out of sight, out of mind" while I am going about my daily routines. 

I am up early this morning to get out for a 5 mile run. My plan was to run 10 miles today but, for no particular reason, I decided to hold off on that distance until tomorrow morning. I have a nice dinner planned for this evening - barbecued chicken, creamed spinach (at the request of Christopher - again!), challah bread and a fresh tomato, mozzarella and pesto pasta salad. With fuel like that, I am guaranteed to have a great run tomorrow morning. It is still very warm here but a cool-down is predicted for next week so so this might be the last time we are able to eat on the patio.

Have a great Saturday!