Sunday, January 03, 2010

2009: Year in Review

Instead of posting regularly in 2009, why not skip the whole year and write one post to sum up the entire year?

Needless to say, 2009 felt like a whirlwind. We can't believe 2010 is here already! In case you were wondering, here is what we were up to in 2009...

We worked from home when we received a foot of snow overnight:

We finished up our bathroom remodel (more pics):

We spent a fun weekend in Las Vegas (more pics):

We became "Aunt Justine and Uncle Nick" as our good friends welcomed their son:

We closed up our outside cellar entrance (more pics):

I went to Portland for the AIGA Leadership Retreat:

I played softball with my co-ed company team (not always in the rain):

We went to beautiful Colorado (more pics):

And almost immediately headed to Chicago for Lollapalooza (more pics):

We got certified as Open Water Divers:

Nick went to Los Gatos, CA for the annual carwash Enhancement Group:

We threw a crazy Halloween party (more pics):

I was promoted to Manager of Design Solutions at ExactTarget:

Posing at our holiday gift exchange and lunch.

We went to Hawaii and got Advanced Open Water certified (more pics):

We celebrated our 5th Wedding Anniversary:

We drove to North Carolina to spend Christmas with the Parsons:

What a great 2009! We're excited to see what 2010 brings.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Welcome to the family, Riley!

Sometime this fall (we can't remember exactly when), a cat started hanging around our house. The first time we saw it, we thought Claire has escaped from the house since this cat looked very much like she does. Although a bit skittish, the cat seemed nice enough. After some convincing, it got close enough to let us pet it and we started giving it food and water every once in a while. After a couple weeks, we started to wonder if the cat had an owner or if anyone in the neighborhood knew about it's situation. We put a collar around it's neck with a note asking if anyone saw the note to give us a call. A couple days later a woman down the street called and said that the cat had been hanging around her house for the last couple years. Since the cat had been living outside for quite some time, we thought we'd leave well enough alone but continue to provide food and water occasionally.

Well, as the weather grew colder, the cat barely left our porch, and even seemed interested at the prospect of coming inside. Nick built her an insulated shelter to stay warm, and we planned to take her to a clinic to get checked out. Without knowing the cat's history, we weren't willing to risk infection to our other cats before getting "outside kitty" checked out. Nick spent a couple hours at FACE, getting her de-wormed, vaccinated and tested for FeLV and FIV. With a clean bill of health, Nick brought her home and invited her to stay inside.

We've since dubbed her "Riley" and considering the circumstances, she's adapted pretty well to life on the "inside." She barely moves off of our bed, and purrs immediately when petted. Welcome, Riley!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More bathroom remodeling fun

We've talked about the bathroom several times on the blog... we've been collecting the tools and supplies we need to "oil rubbed bronze-ify" our full bath upstairs for several months at this point. When we bought our house, the bathroom had bright gold fixtures and trim - all nice, but not quite our style. We had also noticed a sewer gas smell from time to time, which we believed to have been caused by improper or insufficient venting of the drainage pipes in the bathroom.

Nick put his plumbing skills to the test and connected the sink in the bathroom to a nearby vent pipe in the wall. While doing so, he created quite a disaster of the drywall behind the pedestal sink in the bathroom. Since we'd been meaning to paint the bathroom for months, we decided to take this "opportunity" to go ahead and patch the drywall, paint the bathroom, and begin installing all our oil rubbed bronze goodies. He also patched the drywall near the medicine cabinet where there used to be an outlet, and some other various smaller holes.

While I was visiting her parents in North Carolina, Nick painted the bathroom. While we liked the moss green color we picked out on the swatch, once it was on the walls I realized that our shower walls had pink undertones that were only emphasized by the green on the walls. "Back to Sherwin Williams", I said and returned with some sample containers of a deep red and dark beige. I never considered painting an accent wall in a bathroom before, but after talking to the guy working at Sherwin Williams that day, I thought it might be a good idea. You can see our samplings in the pictures below.

The current state of our bathroom is: No tub, no sink. That's right, we've only had the shower and toilet in there for a little over a month now. We are hoping to finish this off soon, and will even be ordering the new shower door in the coming weeks.

Here's what you've been waiting for: pictures of the mess!

The new vented drain pipe

Where the sink used to be, and Nick's drywall patching

The clawfoot tub and sink, waiting to be re-installed

A sample of the beige on the wall next to the shower (and the rejected green paint!)

A sample of the red

Did I forget to mention that we also decided to strip the paint from the trim around the door? The casing and trim around the door had several coats of paint and couldn't really take another. We've been using a heat gun, chisels, chemical stripper, and an orbital sander.

A closer shot.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Arbor Ailments, Part Three (and Four?)

We'll (hopefully!!) conclude our series of "arbor ailments" in 2008. In the beginning of September, we walked outside one morning and it suspiciously felt like April all over again. Our friend the Mulberry lost another (much larger this time) branch into our poor neighbor's yard. Yes, that's right - the same tree lost three large branches in one summer. We again called several local tree services, and this time it was recommended that we remove the entire tree. We were told that the Mulberry (which happened to be one of the few large, healthy trees left in our yard) had been allowed to grow past the point where it could support itself, and would continue to lose large branches (and likely next time into a nearby garage.) We reluctantly agreed to the removal of the Mulberry, and also had a large redbud extensively pruned. Our yard is much less shady now, and we're hopeful that the additional sunshine will contribute to thick, green grass in the spring.

HOWEVER, just a couple days after we were faced with our Mulberry-removal, we exited the house in the morning only to discover the lovely sight you see below:

Yes, that's a 5-foot branch sticking up through the roof of the garage. As you might imagine, trees were not my favorite thing this summer. Luckily my very handy husband climbed on the roof (the following day) and had the hole and shingles repaired in a manner of hours. I was pretty upset by this whole string of tree-related events, but also count us very lucky that this was the extent of the damage caused by 4 separate incidents. Here's a look from the inside of the garage - you can see the end of the branch poking through the hole.

lastly, check out the massive spider I found on our porch the other day. I don't mind spiders as long as they stay outside - they eat all sorts of bugs that I'd rather not have around. I did some poking around online and I think it's a grass spider - the web is quite intricate and contains a couple funnels.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who wants a level floor? I guess we do...

Neither Nick nor I can remember when he started working on the project in the basement, but we thought it deserved a blog mention. Nick has been removing concrete and dirt and experimenting with different ways to support and level the first floor of our house. After many years of different types of supports in the basement, the floor in our kitchen/dining area is very uneven, and our stairway has begun to slope to an angle. The installation of steel supports on hydraulic jacks in the basement will remedy these problems over time.

This one is to be continued...

Monday, September 08, 2008

Arbor Ailments, Part Two

Phase two of "arbor ailments" reared it's ugly head in August. The same Mulberry tree mentioned back in April decided that it no longer had a need for one of it's two trunks. This time the branches were wedged between our garage and the neighbor's garage. Nick spent a couple weekends sawing away. We had a tiny area of damage to the shingles on our roof but nothing major. Again, more of an inconvenience than anything else. We also had to dispose of the huge pile of refuse we created, so it sat in our driveway until mid-September. Again, to be continued...

Monday, August 04, 2008

Bushes begone!

We recently attacked another bush in our yard - there was an awful, prickly, fast-growing behemoth in our front garden area that was painful to prune and blocked views to and from the street. Nick donned a trio of gloves (yes, all at the same time) and went to town. The resulting root ball had scary nuclear-looking yellow branches and wasn't finally removed until weeks later when it started to grow a new bush!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Travels: Cedar Point and NYC

We headed to Sandusky, Ohio over the 4th of July to meet Justine's family for a weekend of fun at Cedar Point. Michael, Nick and Justine rode their favorite coaster, Millennium Force, at least a dozen times and also enjoyed the 120-mph Top Thrill Dragster.

At the end of July, Justine was headed to New York City for a client onsite, and Nick decided to join her for an extended weekend. It also happened to be Nick's birthday! We enjoyed 5 days of non-stop eating, drinking, walking and gawking. It was the first time either of us had been to NYC and we can't wait to go back.

Check out our pictures on Flickr.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Gutters and bushes... what fun!

Later this spring, we realized that we were unintentionally growing seedlings in our gutters so it was time to bring out the extension ladder for the first time. Nick tackled the house while I took care of the garage. Needless to say this was pretty gross.

We also spent some time in the yard - weeding, watering, making sure the grass stayed green. We also tackled the bushes on the north side of our porch. Since a couple were dead and overall they were large and distracting, we tore them out:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A little bit of bathroom remodeling...

Nick installed the built-in medicine cabinet that we ordered from Lowe's several weeks ago. Although messy, it was a quick project and adds a nice touch to our bathroom. Our "oil-rubbed bronzing" plans continue - we have most of the materials to finish the transformation (paint and hardware) but have not yet purchased the most expensive piece - a new shower door.