Monday, April 25, 2011

Escape Artists and Easter

The only real work accomplished this week was to change the oil on the cars (they were WAY overdue), cut the grass, and plant some potatoes in the garden. Part of the reason all the work was done outside was because of the houseguest we had for the week.

This week, we watched our friend’s dog while they were on vacation. We always thought it was challenging to work on the house with Tucker around…but with another dog underfoot, it’s downright impossible! Ginger is a cute, sweet dog but we did have one big problem…

…her actions on the night of The Great Escape!

Chris let the dogs out into the back yard on Thursday evening to do their business before bed. Our entire backyard is fenced so they are able to run around on their own. They were outside for about 10 minutes before Chris went to check to see if they were ready to come back in. He turned on the back porch light and couldn’t see them. They also didn’t come when he called. So he put on some shoes and walked out into the yard only to find that they had pushed their way through one of the gates (we think they jumped up on the gate and the latch rotated allowing the gate to open).

So not only did we lose our dog, but we lost someone else’s dog too! Let’s just say that there was quite a bit of panic in the house. We both were running around, trying to find car keys, flashlights, and shoes. We drove around for a good 40 minutes trying to find them.

Chris found Ginger first (after about a half hour) and she was actually headed in the direction of the house. However, when he tried to call her to get her in the car, she would run in the opposite direction. This happened multiple times before he was able to corner her near the pond (apparently she got thirsty with all the running around).

I found Tucker after another 10 – 15 minutes. He was trotting along the sidewalk toward the main road. Fortunately, as soon as he heard me call his name, he came right over to the car and hopped in. They were both a little tired when they were back home.

We were just so thankful that we found them so quickly. While looking for them, I kept having flashbacks of a lost dog incident from years ago – it was my aunt and uncle’s dog that slipped out of her collar and we couldn’t find her for over a month. That was an incredibly stressful time!

So after all the dog drama died down, we went to visit family for Easter. We went to Chris’ parents on Saturday where we got to visit with his family, hide Easter eggs for the kids, and had a delicious dinner. We headed to my parent’s on Saturday night. We went to Easter mass, got to hide more Easter eggs, and had a very filling Easter lunch.

After lunch, the kids were able to go search on the “Easter Hunt” (according to Braden). The kids ranged in age from 12 to 2. It was a lot of fun to see them running around the yard and getting so excited when they found anything.

We got home at a decent hour on Sunday and just got ready for the week. Hopefully everyone had a nice Easter too!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Sprechen Sie Englisch?

We didn’t get much accomplished this week – mostly because we’re getting lazy. We’re also planning our vacation and part of that means that we need to learn German (and don’t have much time to do it!).

We don’t want to come home to a construction zone so we’ve been focusing on small tasks. I spent some of Sunday putting painter’s caulk on the baseboards in the living room and dining room. It is small details like this that aren’t hard but they just take time. Most of the time we were rushing so much to install the molding that we never completely finished the job (like an hour before our housewarming party!).

We also attempted to install the crown molding in the living room. We got a little frustrated so instead we went running. We made the mistake of buying the composite (plastic) molding because we thought we’d save some time on painting. Instead, the miter saw wants to melt it and it is much more difficult to cope. Even trying to use the manual miter box is difficult because it’s so slippery. So we’re considering taking it all back and buying the wood molding like we should have in the first place.

On Saturday, we went to Steve and Diane’s housewarming party. They moved into a “move in ready” house near the water last year. I can’t even imagine moving into a house where all you have to do is paint a few rooms and unpack…maybe we should consider that for the next house we move into! It was a nice party but the weather was awful – terrible storms moving up the coast made it a very rainy, windy day.

Sunday was much nicer weather so we did spend a little time in the evening outside picking up sticks. We had a lot of the branches left over from the walnut tree we cut down a couple weeks ago (we ran out of daylight and didn’t get to bundle all of them). We ended up with a dozen bundles that they took away today. It’s so nice to just place things near the street and have them disappear in a few short hours.

We’re also dog sitting this week for some friends. They are going on a cruise so we get to watch Ginger. She’s a very sweet dog but always likes to be underfoot. She gets along really well with Tucker so I’m sure he’s happy to have some company.

Hopefully we’ll be slightly more productive this week but with Easter coming up, I wouldn’t count on it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

No Furlough = No Extra House Work

I had to travel for work again this week – this time it was Phoenix. And with my luck, it rained almost the entire time I was there…in the desert. After each trip I don’t have much energy for housework due to the long (4+ hour) plane rides leaving me so drained.

When I got back to work on Friday, everyone was scurrying to try to get all our hardware in a safe configuration for the potential government shutdown. Almost everyone at work was predicting at least a few days off of work this week – and actually looking forward to having an unplanned vacation. We were already dreaming of what we could accomplish with extra days off! We stayed up late on Friday to watch the news only to be disappointed when the President announced that the shutdown was averted. Darn!

We had a pretty good weekend but didn’t get a whole lot of work completed on the house. On Friday we went to a friend’s 40th birthday party and played volleyball. On Saturday I went to the dentist (ok that part wasn’t fun), we went for a run, to a moving sale, and out to dinner. On Sunday we went to our local high school’s musical (Little Shop of Horrors) and went for a bike ride.

You may notice that we got quite a bit of exercise this weekend. Normal renovation work makes you very strong but does little to help your aerobic capacity. We want to get in better shape for the vacation we have coming up – it will be a much better trip that way. Hopefully we can keep it up until we leave!

With our vacation looming, we have been hesitant to start any big projects (bathrooms, basement, landscaping) because we don’t want to come back to a major construction zone. We feel like there will be plenty of time this summer to live in dust and debris!

One thing that we accomplished this weekend was sorting and organizing our tools and hardware (and consequently cleaning a section of the basement). If you remember, our upstairs was previously used as our tool crib – it was a complete disgrace! Our guests needed to use the upstairs so we moved all of it to the basement and then we walked away (very carefully since there was only a small walkway out!). Below are a couple pictures of the post hide-everything-in-the-basement activity.

We always get frustrated because we can never find the tools that we need for a particular job. Even though it was like pulling teeth, we spent a good portion of Saturday to work on a remedy. We removed everything from the boxes/bags/piles, sorted everything, and then found an appropriate sized box, drawer, cabinet, etc. to store everything. We don’t have a workshop yet but this will allow us to be slightly more organized – we may even be able to go to the “Electrical” box to find gang boxes or to the “Pliers” drawer to find a needle nose pair. My mother would be so proud!

The after pictures below show much more available floor space – but obviously we still need to go to the dump with that big pile of debris near the door!

Hopefully this week will be a combination of exercising, refinishing our furniture (it’s still not done!), and cleaning/organizing the rest of the basement.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Welcome to the Hotel Skocik

I had to travel to Boulder, CO for work this week. The meeting went well and I was even able to go for a hike with my brother-in-law, Mark, before I had to head to the airport.

We went on a hike West of Golden in an area that had fires recently. There were a lot of scorched areas and trees but it will most likely recover in several years. The wind had picked up a lot throughout the day and some of the gusts during the hike nearly knocked us over.

While I was away, Chris was busy getting the house ready for guests. My parents and the car club came down on Thursday evening for our Friday White House tour. We all traveled into D.C. and got to stand in the really long line. Finally, we made it in the White House (with only one incident) and were able to make our way through the East Wing. While we were near the entrance area, the Obama’s dog, Bo, walked past to go out for a potty break. He was incredibly well trained – he was off leash and didn’t even look at anyone in the hall.

After the tour, we all split up to do other D.C. things – we went to the WWII monument, Tidal Basin for the cherry blossoms, and the FDR memorial.

We had 6 people staying with us and another 6 came for dinner and a house tour on Friday night. They were all very impressed with the work that we’ve completed (I’m sure they’re hearing plenty of stories from my parents!).

On Saturday, we went with my parents to Old Ellicott City to walk around for a little while. It was a nice day – but cold! The rest of the evening, we chatted and played games.

Everyone left early yesterday so we did have time to do a few things around the house. It was a much milder day so we worked outside for awhile. Chris took the chainsaw to half of the walnut tree near the garden – it was huge! We spent a long time cutting it up and preparing bundles of branches to set out for the county to pick up tomorrow.

We plan on working in the house over the next few weeks to start organizing – it makes it very difficult to work when you don’t know what you have or where it is located. Oh, and we have a little thing called taxes to finish…