Monday, June 28, 2010

Hot, Hot, HOT!!!

The past two weeks in Maryland have been extremely hot and humid with almost no rain. There were two record breaking temperatures set this month. Since we have no central air conditioning we had to buy and install at least a window air conditioning unit.

We’re still sleeping in the dining room and the only window the unit fits into is the living room window. It makes the living area cool but at the same time it definitely detracts from the little curb appeal we have!

Our plan for this week was to work on the hardwood floors in the bedrooms. We reserved the floor sander for the weekend and in order to be ready there was a lot of prep work.

We had to install the last few rows of boards in the master bedroom and a few boards in the medium bedroom. We also had to move all the items in the rooms – this included the guest room bed, dressers and nightstand as well as all the radiator covers. To find a place to store everything we had to re-organize things in the basement and den. Now our den is so full that all you can do is open the door – but just barely!

Saturday was our day to have fun. Chris went for a bike ride and I went to a church yard sale (I was hoping to find furniture for our other bedrooms – with no luck). Our church festival was Saturday afternoon so we spent quite a long time there. Chris picked up some eclectic pieces at the white elephant sale to decorate the house (I don’t particularly like them but they were inexpensive and the money went to the church). In the evening we started to sand the master bedroom floor.

On Sunday, we sanded, sanded, sanded. We also took a few hours to go out to eat lunch with James, Michelle, and their daughter Emma. It was nice to spend time with them. We still have a lot of sanding to do so we’ll keep the sander until we’re done.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Back in Maryland

This last week of class in California was a lot of fun – everyone in the class was wonderful. We had a lot of fun in class, hiking, going out, and playing miniature golf.

While at Ames Research Center, we went on a tour of the facilities. We got to tour the vertical simulator where the astronauts train for flight – the simulator moves in six directions. The first picture is of a model of the facility, the next is the cab in the facility and the final one is of me inside one of the simulator cabs in the high bay.

We also got to tour the two big wind tunnels. This was amazing – there is a 40’ x 80’ facility and an 80’ x 120’ facility. We started in the smaller tunnel where the model helicopter body was located in the test area. We then got to walk through the tunnel circuit back through the turbines. There are six enormous turbines that circulate the air. We walked through these and then into the large wind tunnel. It was hard to get good pictures inside because it was not well lit (or in places, completely dark).

I left California on Friday afternoon and got back to Maryland very early Saturday morning. When I got to the airport I found out that the Denver airport lost my luggage. This weekend we were supposed to go to Chris’ cousins wedding in West Virginia but we were unable because of my travel.

Since we were home, we got a few things accomplished. Fortunately they were small projects that we think make a big difference in the appearance of the house. We finally removed the ugly wall on the front porch and installed the temporary railing (next year we plan on completely re-arranging the porch setup). We also replaced the old ugly light fixture in the front, hung up some plants, and put up our house numbers. We think that it is such a huge improvement!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Sunny California Days and Maryland Yard Work

I’ve been out in California for a week now and have been having a great time. The training class I have been attending is very interesting and useful. I’ve also been making many friends from the other NASA centers.

I was invited to go hiking with a small group from the class a couple times this week. On Tuesday we went to Mission Peak – the trail was steep but we got some nice views of the surrounding area.

On Thursday we went to Castle Rock. This was one of the better hikes I’ve taken – the trail wasn’t very long but had a lot of diversity – great climbing rocks, a waterfall, beautiful views, woods and meadows.

Saturday we ran across the Golden Gate bridge (it was sooo windy), had dim sum in Chinatown, and went to a few wineries in Sonoma. Overall it was a great day!

Sunday, after church, I went to the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. Mrs. Winchester (of the rifle fortune) was quite crazy. She believed that spirits of people killed by the Winchester were haunting her and that to appease them she needed to continuously build. Construction continued 24 hours a day every day for 38 years, only stopping when Mrs. Winchester died. The end result was a Victorian mansion that has 160 rooms.

The reason it is called a “Mystery” house is due to the crazy stairs, passageways, doors to nowhere, and secret séance room. Mrs. Winchester also had an obsession with the number 13.

While I was having all this fun, Chris was stuck in humid Maryland working on the house. He worked a lot on the sunroom and did a lot of yard work. He also installed all the balusters on the porch railing. I’m sure he has a lot of information to add to this description but I’ll be sure to include pictures of the house work next week.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Inspection Passed – Let the Refinance Begin!

On Tuesday we had our final inspection from the consultant. The contractor still has a couple small things to complete before I give them the final check but we should be able to re-finance soon. It will be so nice to have a much lower interest rate!

During the rest of the week we did mostly yard work – it seems to be never ending. On Friday night my parents drove down to help to re-install the hardwood floor in the master bedroom.

If you remember, in early March we were working on patching the floor in the bedroom. We were having so many issues because of the old floor installation being so crooked – it made large gaps form between many of the boards. We decided then to fix the floor properly.

The first step was to remove the old floor boards and remove the nails from them. This took most of Saturday with the four of us. We also had to re-secure the subfloor to the joists so that the floor would be level.

Before installing the boards, we had to remove the dirt from the old boards with a wire brush – it was amazing how much dirt and dust was between the floor boards. We prepped the subfloor by laying down asphalt paper and then Mom and I laid out the floor boards while the guys nailed them in. Now we have a full floor in the bedroom – hopefully we’ll be able to move into it soon! In the picture below you can easily tell which boards were new and which were old.

On Sunday night, I had to leave Maryland for California. I will be out here for two weeks for training for work. My trip out was pretty awful but I think the training will be very interesting.

While I was in the air, our neighbor across the street came over to offer some items to us. Chris gratefully accepted the table saw, sheetrock, and interior doors. These are the neighbors that are moving soon and it’s great that we’ll be able to use things that they would have thrown out.

Hopefully Chris will be able to get a lot of work accomplished while I’m away – I’ll be sure to update with photos after I get back home!