Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another room down, a gazillion more to go....

Okay, maybe not a gazillion but I don't think I'll ever be finished painting this house. Next house will be MUCH smaller. Least I finally finished painting the first floor hallway though. Since it's such an open space, I wanted to keep the colors relatively neutral but change it from the current color of off-white. After much consultation with Sue (she's my color consultant) I decided on stripes on the bottom half, below the chair-rail, and the lighter neutral color on top. Sue also made a really good suggestion of different glosses for the stripes so the darker color is semi-gloss while the lighter color is eggshell. The overall effect is subtle but definitely nice.

Unfortunately after painting the hallway, I realized how beat-up, dirty, and smudged our trim has gotten so my next step is to wash, patch, and repaint the trim. Then it'll be onto the garage hallway and back door vestibule next.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pete is Mr. April!

Every year LRR (the lab rescue we volunteer with) puts out a calendar with LRR alumni dogs. All adopters are encouraged to enter pictures of LRR alumni and the twelve best are chosen for the yearly calendar. The calendars are well-made and all proceeds go back to helping LRR's dogs; they make great Christmas gifts for those dog lover friends and co-workers (*hint hint*).

We entered some photos of Pete and Max for this year's calendar (Max made it in LRR's 2007 calendar). Unfortunately Max did not get chosen, but Pete's picture below was chosen for April, yay! I still think Max's bee picture should have been chosen, I love that shot (yes, the bee is still alive)!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Surprising benefits of the Wii Fit

Mike and I have had the wii for a while now (Eric was kind enough to send us one when they got lucky purchasing two) and we haven't used it much. Unfortunately most of the games haven't lived up to the hype of the wii, and one of our all time favorite game franchise, Metroid Prime, seemed a bit disappointing with the wii. Once we bought the xbox 360 there was no contest and the wii just gathered dust.

When wii fit came out, I was curious about the effectiveness of the game but couldn't find a copy anywhere (without the inflated price of ebay). After a couple of gentle nudges from Mike I decided to just sell our wii since we just weren't using it and the demand for wii consoles was still high. Before I sold the wii I was able to borrow a friend's copy of wii fit.

The wii fit focuses on aerobics, yoga, balance games, and strength training. The aerobics are interesting but don't last long enough for a real workout. The balance games are fun and help you to control your sense of balance but I think the most useful are the yoga and strength exercises. The yoga exercises help me stretch and strengthen a very stiff out-of-shape body while learning to balance myself correctly. The strength exercises uses your own body to tone and train. After the first day of wii fit, I found myself with some sore muscles and a profound respect for those who can be flexible enough to do some of those yoga poses.

I'm using the wii fit as a supplement to the aerobics and weight-lifting mostly to improve my balance, stretching, and muscles. However one surprising benefit of the wii fit has been to increase my focus on what I'm doing when working out. Since the fit uses a balance board, you have to be aware of your form, position, and balance when doing the various exercises. I've used this ability while weight-lifting and realized that I haven't been doing a lot of exercises correctly. Notably because I can feel the right muscles working now and I'm also rather sore this evening although my weight-lifting regime hasn't changed at all.

So I think we're now going to keep the wii and continue (hopefully) to use the wii fit to help us get into better shape. The fit is what you make of it. You can do a half-assed job and think the game is stupid or you can really work at it and get a pretty good workout. Granted it's not a replacement for regular aerobics and strength training but it is quite good as a beginning or supplement.

Monday, August 18, 2008


The truck is just fine, it'll pull through with just a couple of scratches but no major injuries. The garage door however is on major life-support with little chance of a full recovery. Let me start from the beginning.

Usually every saturday and/or sunday we take the dogs to the nearby dog park in the mornings. It keeps them socialized and it's nice to give them a change from their normal walks in the neighborhood. This saturday was no exception. We popped the pooches into the suv, I opened the garage door and we headed out. CRASH!!! Unfortunately the garage door opened much more slowly than we anticipated so the top of my truck hit the bottom of the garage door. We pulled back into the garage and got out to survey the damage. Unfortunately the bottom portion of the door had bowed out enough that we couldn't move the door in either direction so Mike and I unscrewed the bottom half of the door and put it aside. Once that was removed, the rest of the door moved on the rails just fine so we've kept it in the open position. Since there was nothing else we could do about it that morning, we headed to the dog park and grabbed some breakfast afterwards.

When we got back, I called a few companies for estimates to replace the door; Mike was too disgruntled to talk to anyone on the phone. All the companies said that no one uses wood doors anymore (too much maintenance, no insulation) so they would have to special order a new door. Everyone apparently uses steel instead....obviously except for cheap-ass builders like ours. One company came out to give us a quote (most over the phone) and showed us that replacing all our doors would probably be a good idea. We haven't done any maintenance on our doors so you can actually see water damage in the panels, the rollers are mostly rusted so they slide instead of roll. Plus everytime the garage opens and closes, it sounds like it's going to shake the rails apart. Surprisingly Mike agreed with the company so he started to research steel doors instead. These days garage doors use torsion springs (incased in a black box) with no cables or springs so it makes for a very quiet smooth door. I got some quotes from other companies on steel doors and Mike found Costco sells good steel garage doors too.

On Sunday we headed to Costco to see what they had. Our timing was good since they didn't just have the typical small area with pamphlets but there was an actual section with garage doors that day so we got to see how they looked, the differences, etc. The cost is MUCH better than most of the quotes we got. We're looking for something a little more fancy than the typical garage door this time around. If we're going to upgrade to steel, we might as well get something that looks a little nicer especially since the garage doors are the first thing that people see as they come towards our house.

Mike is rather excited to get new doors, and I'm excited to get nice and quiet doors so this little incident turned into a good thing....right?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Surprisingly exciting to watch

Jen gave us 4 tickets to see the Nationals (baseball) at their new stadium last night. Unfortunately all our friends have other lives and we were therefore unable to pawn off the other two tickets which was unfortunate since these were kick-ass seats. Unlike Clark Construction's tickets to RFK, these were not right behind homeplate and we didn't get free food but it was still pretty amazing.

These tickets were about 20 rows behind home dugout (on the first base line) so the view was fantastic. Actually I think the view from these tickets were a lot better than from behind homeplate. Plus we had pre-paid garage parking right next to the stadium. Mike took a picture from his Blackberry from our seats but the picture doesn't convey quite how close we were to the field.

The new stadium is impressive, large, and spacious. It still has the "new stadium" smell. There are vendors around the entire stadium so you'll always have over-priced food no matter where you are.

We aren't baseball (or sports) fans but it's always fun to sit in the stadium and watch what's going on while stuffing our faces. The Nats were playing Cincinnati Reds and by the bottom of the 2nd inning we were sure the game was over. The Nats had 2 runs in the 1st but Reds came back with 5 runs in the 2nd inning. The 6th inning had the Reds adding 1 run and the Nats adding 2 for a score of 4-6. Then it got really good! In the 7th inning, the Nats came back with a vengeance with 4 runs, then added 2 more in the 8th inning for a game winning score of 10-6! So we really ended up getting into the game as the score got closer and closer.

It was a lot of fun to watch and cheer but like all live games we had a VERY loud heckler/"encourager" a few rows behind us who did a LOT of shouting through the game. It definitely annoyed a fair number of people and I'm sure his voice carried to the other side of the stadium!

Definitely lots of fun to go watch the Nats plus it was just a bonus that they won that night. Jen, thanks for the tickets, they rocked! We'll take any other sports tickets you send out way.