Oh, August

By , August 31, 2016 3:57 pm

One last run, and “Adiós, August!”


I am not sad to see you go!


Garmin stats – amount of runs took a big nosedive, but at least cycling and swimming was consistent!

August brought my lowest running mileage since July of 2014! Eek! I barely broke 100 miles! We were just too busy with our house projects for me to fit in as much running as I’d like to.

And that is A-OK. I am proud of what I did get done. And happy I am not training for a single thing. I have a 5K on the calendar in October, and that’s it! And at this point, I think that will be a 5K for “fun” and not for “time.” Works for me!

I am looking forward to more miles in September though, and hopefully, some cooler weather! Karen nailed it when she said if there was a month to run less, it was August! Yuck – I am sure I speak for everyone when I say, “enough with the humidity and high dew points!”

So far…

By , August 30, 2016 12:25 pm

… I’m really digging the new paint color in the master bedroom!


It’s “Sidewalk Gray” from Benjamin Moore. Did you know Sherwin Williams has Benjamin Moore paints programmed in to their computers (and probably vice versa)? Our painter uses Sherwin Williams and we were working off of a Benjamin Moore paint deck. I thought we’d have to match colors at the store, but nope – they just pulled them right up at Sherwin Williams, making it super easy for us!

160830sidewalkgray3 160830sidewalkgray1

This is the first room we’ve (had) painted a new color in the house – it makes it feel more “us”! And I can’t wait to see the room with our bed and furniture in it!

Here’s our “inspiration” photo:


We have a headboard similar to that, and actually, some old cabinets from who knows when that are that color. Our night stands are dark though. Eventually, we might put our night stands in the guest bedroom, when we can afford all new cabinets for our bedroom. Someday!

And someday, we’ll also replace our living room furniture. That is WAY down the road, but we have an inspiration picture for that, too! I might as well post it here in case it gets lost. Or to laugh at how different our preferences are in a few years when we actually can do it!


I got to sit on my couch this weekend!

By , August 29, 2016 6:36 am

Granted, I would have liked to spend the entire weekend sitting on the couch, doing nothing, but a couple of hours Saturday and Sunday night was nice (and it was nice to get to workout both mornings!).

Since August 4, our living room has looked like this:


We spent some time moving things around on Saturday so we could actually sit on the couch (gasp!) and turn on the TV (double gasp!!!):


We’re in the final steps of getting ready to move back upstairs. On Friday we ordered new mattresses for both bedrooms (so we won’t be carrying the old ones back up there!). On Saturday we bought all the lighting trim kits and vent covers, as well as wall and floor trim (to replace damaged and missing pieces), and paint!


Then on Sunday, we prepped the rooms to be painted – took off hardware, face plates, etc., and got all the trim pieces ready to be installed. That took all afternoon. Blah.

A contractor is painting all week, then we can start moving back upstairs Friday night. I can’t wait!

Training Week 358

By , August 28, 2016 11:18 am

Highlight of the Week: Having more time to workout (because we weren’t working in the attic all weekend and every weeknight)!


Monday | August 22, 2016: 12 m ride + 4 m run + teaching strength class
Indoor Bike Time: 47:00, Pace: 15.3 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 75°/75°, Time: 38:07, Pace: 9:31 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: surprisingly good!
Strength: one dumbbell and cards, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good

Tuesday | August 23, 2016: rest
Wednesday | August 24, 2016: 5 m run + 13 m ride + attic work
Loc: hood, Temp: 74°/75°, Time: 47:45, Pace: 9:32 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but hate wearing a visor
Indoor Ride Time: 50:50, Pace: 15.4 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, but a bit sore butt!

Thursday | August 25 2016: 6 m run
Loc: hood, Temp: 70°/72°, Time: 1:01:06, Pace: 10:11 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: super muggy out
Friday | August 26, 2016: teaching strength class + 800 m swim (breaststroke, w/Anne) + 5 m run (incl. 10×1:00)
Strength: step, 1 DB & boxing, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: Grayslake Pool, Temp (air): 64°, Time: 22:58, Pace: 2:35min/100m, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good
Loc: hood, Temp: 75°/73°, Time: 48:14, Pace: 9:38 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, especially after my knee warmed up! Enjoyed the breeze

Saturday | August 27, 2016: 8 m run + 5 m ride
Loc: Van Patten Loop, Temp: 70°/72°, Time: 1:23:52, Pace: 10:28 avg, Difficulty: medium, Felt: tired legs, muggy
Indoor Ride Time: 23:25, Pace: 12.8 mph avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: tired

Sunday | August 28, 2016: 12 m run
Loc: Kilbourne to trail head loop, Temp: 69°/74°, Time: 2:05:32, Pace: 10:28 avg, Difficulty: easy, Felt: good, just thirsty!


  • My right knee was so tired this week. I think it’s either from crawling around in the attic so much the last three weeks, or needing new shoes, or a combo of both. The good news is, I won’t be in the attic as much in the future, and I have new shoes I can wear, so I’ll see if those two things help! Or maybe my body was just like, “Whoa, we’re actually running our normal amount this week? WTH?”
  • Yay! I actually did get to run my preferred 6 days, and 40 miles this week! HORRAY!!!!
  • Friday was the last day the pool Anne and I swim in after class is open for lap swim in the summer. Sadness! We both really enjoyed going there after class. I’d kind of like to find another pool I (we!) can drop in and swim laps for relaxation, but I don’t think I am going to find another one with a $3 drop in fee!

Link to Training Week 357

Calico Kitty is back!

By , August 27, 2016 9:08 am

Can you believe we haven’t come up with a name for her yet?!


She was a little easier to find this time.


This is definitely the most exciting animal or thing we’ve found outside the house. Even more exciting (for me) than those urns (which yes, my dad confirmed when he was here – one does have a bag of ashes in them).


Catwalk, complete!

By , August 26, 2016 7:30 am

Yeah, work that catwalk, Data!

And cross that off the list!


After three weeks, we’ve completed all of the major attic/ceiling work. Yay!

On Monday, Steven installed new lights and power (each light base has one power receptacle). It was important he do this first, because the drywall ceilings went up Monday, and we no longer had daylight in the attic!


On Wednesday, we finished the north side of the cat walk (see south side construction here). We already had the side boards up there, and just needed to cut out notches for them to fit around the conduit,


I laid the boards down next to the platform, and marked the holes that needed to be cut to fit around the conduit


then Steven cut them

screw them in,


then cut some shorter pieces to fit at the end, and over some ductwork. I also vacuumed up all the sawdust we created. Might as well have it clean before the insulation goes in, right?


All finished!


And spent!


It’s so warm up there. I think we should do our next attic project in the winter. Ha.


It feels good to be done with the majority of the really hard stuff! We still have a few things to do:

  • pick out and install lighting trim kits and vent covers
  • buy paint
  • buy a new mattress and schedule delivery (we need a new one and why haul the old one back upstairs?)
  • seal some holes in the basement (related to the new joist project)
  • clean upstairs, move back in!
  • clean downstairs

And our contractor has been working all week:

160823baffle 160822newceilingmaster

  • Tuesday – installed subfloor over dining room, patched all drywall on walls, mudded and taped ceilings

160823diningroomsubfloor 160823masterbedroom 160823patchedmasterbedroom

Remember this spot?

  • Wednesday – more mudding
  • Thursday – sanding
  • Friday – sanding and attic insulation install

The contractors should be done today! Then we have someone painting all next week, then we can move back upstairs next weekend. YAY!

Random Thoughts Thursday 107

By , August 25, 2016 8:05 am
  • Today is my snister’s birthday! I wish I could celebrate with her, in person! Happy Birthday, snis!

Gosh, I think this is the last picture (from Nick and Alyssa’s wedding in June) I have of the two of us! I should have taken one when I saw her on my birthday in July!

  • My magnets came! And now that they are here I thought of a few more I’d like to make. Ha.


  • We have a sensor installed on a tree midway through our driveway that alerts us when cars (and deer, ha) are coming or going down the driveway, by playing a song in the house (and by alerting Steven on his phone). Of course, this tends to go off whenever I am on a conference call! One time someone asked if that was our doorbell. Ha, no. We just have a knocker on our door – add that to the list of house “to do” items – install doorbell.


  • When we were leaving the house Tuesday night, Steven slowed down the car and pointed in to the woods – a calico cat was sitting on a log in our yard! We’ve never seen him before. I hope he comes back!


Can you find him?

  • We were leaving on Tuesday to GET GROCERIES!!! Which we hadn’t been able to do since mid July! We haven’t had time to shop or cook much since we started our second floor ceiling project on August 3, so we’ve been getting take out and eating very basic meals. And, as you can probably guess, I feel like crap from all this crappy eating. Here’s to hoping we can eat better and cook a bit more now!


Link to Random Thoughts Thursday 106

The Only Pirate at the Party Book Review

By , August 24, 2016 6:21 am

Well, that was a quick, easy and FUN read!


I like to browse the iTunes “Top Songs” lists to get music ideas. I can’t remember if it was the “Dance” or “Electronic” list I was browsing when I first came across Lindsey Stirling but I was hooked. She’s a violinist with a high energy electronic (not classical) style. Her music is upbeat and addictive – I find myself playing many of her songs on repeat, especially during runs. I downloaded her entire second album and a few songs off her first album after I first “discovered” her, and listened to her music only, on many of my long training runs last summer and fall. I also had all of her songs on my Dallas Marathon playlist.

When I saw she was coming out with a third album I pre-ordered it on iTunes and was delighted with each of the three single releases (and especially excited when the entire album was released last Friday  – what a great surprise to wake up to*).  I felt like I didn’t know much about her as an artist, other than she was on America’s Got Talent, so I decided to read her wikipedia page,And that’s where I saw she published a memoir, The Only Pirate at the Party, in January. Why read wikipedia when I can read that?! Oh yeah, here’s where I mention I bought this book myself and all that. No one is sponsoring this post or paying me to write this. 

Stirling split the book in to three sections – childhood, working to become an artist, and stories about the entertainment industry. All of the chapters were short and themed (meaning they had a specific point) – which I appreciated! It was so nice to just breeze through this book!

So, I had no idea she’s Mormon. Or has two adopted (although they don’t want to be called that) siblings (along with two sisters). Or that she got her “big break” on YouTube. Or struggled with an eating disorder. Or is a bit of a control freak who had a hard time letting go of doing ALL the work after she was able to afford assistance. The book was full of information and fun stories and I LOVED it.

A lot of the book ends up being about being true to yourself – even if you are “the only pirate at the party.” Besides discussing finding her place as a unique performer – an electronic, dancing violinist! – she also talks about being true to her values (modesty, no drinking/drugs, etc.) in the performance industry. And how to continue to believe in yourself when people are unnecessarily cruel.

The book makes her sound like someone who would be a lot of fun to hang out with – a fun-loving (and really hard-working) goofball. And the fact that she’s made a Star Wars tribute video (not mentioned in the book, but I’ve watched it) makes me like her even more. Now, to go to a concert and see her in person! Sigh, the next one in Chicagoland is during a busy time for me and I can’t make the Milwaukee show. Maybe I can make the Chicagoland one work!

*I am not digging the singing collaborations much on this album though. I guess I just want to hear her play! I bet those songs will grow on me as I listen to them more.

Just need to finish the catwalk!

By , August 23, 2016 5:24 am

Last weekend was our last (gawd, I hope) big working weekend and we ALMOST got everything done. Almost. Not quite. Cry.

But we did get enough done that the contractors could start yesterday, so, yay! We just have a few things to finish in the attic space this week. And we did get A LOT done this weekend:


We installed and tested all the lighting/electrical. This included (finishing) mounting the lights and securing previously mounted ones, cutting conduit (old and new), installing conduit, installing a lot of new wiring, and running up and down the stairs a zillion times to the breaker box to turn the power on and off. Ha. I had done some lighting wiring with Steven before in our other attic space (above the garage), but he taught me some new stuff – how to cut and ream conduit. I liked that I was learning something. I’m sure Steven loved that I slowed us down so much at first. Eek.


Reusing old conduit (after we cut it). It’s white because we painted all the old conduit with Kilz.



New, never been peed/pooped on conduit!


Let there be light!

Ductwork Taping

I taped up all the ductwork insulation (and installed one piece we missed) on Saturday. I now hate all tape. I wrapped a present Monday morning and was super frustrated. I need a tape break!


This tape is actually neat, everything’s just a pita to do in the attic. And as suspected, taping the supply vent ducts was a TOTAL PITA.

160820taping 160821ducttape

But it’s done, yay!

Subfloor Blocking

The contractors will be putting new subfloor in the attic space above the dining room (our roof slopes down, hence there being an attic there), and we put in blocking so they have something to attach the floor to.


This is where Data went to go skydiving

We’ve actually done A LOT of work in this room and I’ve barely mentioned it. The rafters going down to this space had a TON of insulation, nests, and animal droppings in between them that we took out. I vacuumed it about four times. We sprayed it with Kilz. We had to re-route our internet cables through here. And we removed the ceiling below it (over the dining room) due to animal damage.



And, the big project, which is what we didn’t finish – a catwalk above the attic. The attic was a pain to get in to before, and a pain to get around in. So we added a big opening to get in, and are installing a platform (“catwalk”) to crawl around on when we need to do work up there. We hope that will make future attic work less of a pain. I also hope never to be in our attic again… ha ha, I kid, I kid.


Opening to the attic


Platform when you get in

We laid down the supporting 2x4s on Saturday, then started prepping the 2x4s that go vertically next to those. The vertical 2x4s all varied in length to go around conduit.


We did as much as we could Saturday, while still leaving a space open to get the huge platform boards in to the attic space. We finished putting all the 2x4s in Sunday, and installed the platform in the guest bedroom area.


Data observing catwalk work

160821Datasupervisingcatwalkwork2 160821installingcatwalk1

The guest bedroom side had a lot of special pieces since that is where the access panel to the attic is located, and we wanted there to be a little platform to use to get up and down.


View toward the south (over guest bedroom). There are sides on the platform because insulation is going to be blown in to the attic.

We also installed the platform over the rest of the attic on Sunday, but didn’t finish the sides.


View looking north toward master bedroom


View looking south back toward the guest bedroom and bathroom

We called it quits with the catwalk early (around 11:00 pm, ha) so we could clean up the second floor and garage. Our contractors came on Monday and we wanted them to have room to work. And we wanted the huge pile of sawdust off of our garage floor.

So, still left to do this week – finish the catwalk and install attic lighting. But probably install the lighting first so we can see what we are doing while we finish it!

Skydiving Data

By , August 22, 2016 1:22 pm

Two Data posts in one day! Winning!

Part of our dining room ceiling is currently demolished, and we have plastic separating that part of the dining room from the kitchen, but you can still see in to the space. Contractors are here today, and one of the first things they did was put insulation between the floor joists over the dining room. Yay, progress… that someone else did!

So I am in the kitchen making our sandwiches for lunch, and happen to look over at the dining room plastic, and see a huge piece of insulation come down… with Data riding on top of it! What the what?!

He lands on the floor, making only a small thud noise, and calmly walks away.*


View from the kitchen


View from the living room

Meanwhile, I am in the kitchen with my mouth hanging open, saying to Steven, “Did you see that?! Data just floated down from the second floor on a piece of insulation!!!”

Steven’s like “So he went skydiving?”

Ha ha, I guess so. And I guess R38 insulation is thick enough for a 12-pound cat to fall 8’6″ and be okay.

And apparently, skydiving makes you VERY hungry:


And look at this!!!! CEILINGS! IN MY BEDROOM!!!!


*How did he get up there? Well, you access that part of the attic through a door in our bedroom that he pried open. Little sh*t. He’s been sneaking in there this whole project!

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