Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Teen Cave

It's like a man-cave, if man-caves were built for teenage girls. We got this couch that forced a piece of furniture upstairs, which forced us to turn the guest room into something else. Enter the teenager. I had to completely remodel the bathroom up there, she called it "working on her suite". She originally picked the orange color when we moved in 8 years ago, now she wanted it purple. We had to replace the carpet, move the furniture up, and hang a huge TV on the wall.

We had a recent family vacation in Pigeon Forge, TN, so I took pictures of the teen-cave to show off to the bigger family that doesn't come visit us in Raleigh. Enjoy the tour and some pictures from the vacation.

These stairs used to have carpet on them. I still need to paint the risers, and the treads could use some refinishing too.

The landing was hardwood under carpet! Such a pleasant surprise.

The remodeled bathroom.

On my woodworking blog, I did a whole category for this bathroom remodel. We found that sink on a clearance sale at Lowe's, same with the engineered flooring ($30 and $40, respectively). I also blew open a closet, made those shelves, flushed up the wall, redid the electrical, added the medicine cabinet and 2 lights, made my own shiplap and did the accent wall back there, hung the rest of the drywall... it was quite a mess. But the finished product is really cool. The tiny bathroom up there came out great!

New carpet, and we moved all of her furniture up there

The double recliner that spurred the whole thing

The big TV mounted with the playstaion and VR

The whole big family on the train at Dollywood

And out on the deck at the cabin we rented

the cabin was really nice

It was a really fun vacation in TN. Morgan made it with his wife, and my parents of course, but Michael had to stay home with a sick kid. I thought the room turned out great, everyone else agreed. This was a great way to setup the holidays.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Catching something

I've got a bug to get back to regular training, not just running when I can or feel like it, because that's almost never. It's never too early to plan for next year, right? I'm going to knock Oregon and Tennessee out of the 50 state list as the only athletic plans out there. I'm already registered for the Boring Marathon in Boring, Oregon outside of Portland. I'm also looking at either the Dirt Circuit (probably), a 12 hour race near Knoxville, or the Trash Panda Marathon (raccoons) in Chattanooga. I like the 12 hour because I can rest in between laps, it's a 3 mile loop so I can do 9 loops and call it a day if I want to.

Those are both in September of 2019. Plenty of time to train after I finish up some of these projects, and I'm planning on taking that (Fall 1) as my break from grad school anyway. I can only take 5 out of 6 possible class times next year, so that's going to be the skip. Really I'm ready to be done with grad school already. It's take a LOT of time and I kind of hate it. Head down, muddle through, take it one class at a time. I finished the first class already with an 89.75, a quarter point away from an A.

How I really feel about grad school
Again, I'm so glad the election is over. The blue wave is really nice and seems reasonable, but I really wish Beto had won and Florida didn't fuck up everything again. Mostly just because I despise Ted Cruz and Rick Scott as people as well as for their political propaganda.

I hate Florida
Final note: it's been so long since I've posted anything here I totally missed the Thanksgiving gratefulness post and the 10 year blog anniversary post. I ate so much over Thanksgiving that I'm not sure I will ever actually be hungry again. Well, at least not until I actually start running.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Almost Athletic

I got to be near an actual athletic event recently! My friend KC from the RAM team did the Swim the Suck 10.3 mile open water swim race. She asked me to pilot for her, so I hopped in the kayak. No way I'm going to pass up another road trip to Chattanooga! KC and I also got to hang out with her husband Chris, and another couple (Fred & Lisa) made the trip too. Fred swam, Lisa kayaked. I only took pictures while we were on the river, but the entire weekend was filled with craft beer, BBQ, and lots of laughs. Nooga is a really fun town.

Selfie in the house the night before. Feeling it.

Me with KC before the race

Suit up!

the Tennessee River

Selfie with a girl taking a selfie behind me

This is actually KC and Fred in the water

Lisa on pilot

Good form

My view for 4 hours in the water

Finally the clouds starting to break

They had an inflatable cow at the finish line

KC and Chris at the finish

Here we go!

That whole trip was a blast. It really makes me miss swimming open water, swimming long, and swimming on the RAM team. At least I can still run, but it only happens once or twice a week, and usually not longer than 3 miles.

Last weekend was the NC State Fair. I don't go to the fair, and usually complain about the traffic. But this year the traffic didn't bother me, my commute goes in the other direction now. I do love to run by the fairgrounds while the fair is going on, it's always so nice to see all of the people who come out to the fair. So I went out for an easy 3, and it was cool. and it felt good, and I took my phone so I could always call for a ride home. Then I decided just to keep going towards the capital building, my regular 10 mile route. And funny thing, I never fatigued! Finally I discovered I was too close to getting back to the fairgrounds to call for a ride so I decided to just finish it out. It was the first time in double digits since the marathon in Colorado, and the really I have only hit 5 miles once since then.

On Hillsborough St

At the state capital building

a farmers market downtown

the NC State Fair
So I'm feeling good. When we were in Chattanooga, Chris suggested I try CBD oil to medicinally help with the inflammation. Amazon can't sell that, but I did get some hemp oil. Funny thing is, it really seems like it's working! My hands, wrists, and elbows were in really bad shape for weeks, and I was really debating going back to the rheumatologist because the current meds just weren't working. This hemp oil does seem to be the real deal. We'll have to see how that works out.

Mentally, I'm only doing ok. Summer lasted way longer than it should have, so now we get absolutely no fall in NC. No leaf colors, they are just dropping. Went overnight from high's in the 90's to high's in the 50's. insane. I'm not ready for the holidays to be here yet. More sleep and less weight would be nice. Road trips and great long runs like this really help! But finishing the porch project would be really nice too.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

1 down 10 to go

Well my first class in the MBA program is in the books. No clue what my grade is yet, I'm just glad it's over. This class took a lot of time. I was still able to work in normal life stuff, and we did have a couple of hurricanes blow through that delayed the class by a couple of weeks. 7 weeks down, 70 weeks to go in this program. I really wish I had done this 10 years ago, it sucks trying to do it now. Plus I already know most of this stuff after 15 years working in management. It's not challenging or interesting, but at least it takes a lot of time.

So this first class (Management - Organizational Behavior) finished on Thursday and the next one (Accounting) starts on Monday. This free weekend I'm loving. But I got to get back on that grind tomorrow. In the meantime, there has been not much running, too much working, and plenty of this:

We do still have the cat

The kids got to go to a concert, here's Evil Genius

The concert was my brother Michael opening up for Jump, Little Children in downtown Raleigh

The beard is coming back

I'm working on the front porch project. Here are my architectural drawings

Digging a ditch for the foundation

The victim of hurricane Michael: the sawhorses holding up my boat

Flooding in the hurricane turned my ditch into a moat
Hurricane Florence came through, and it really wasn't a big deal in Raleigh. We didn't lose power or have any real damage. But it did take me a couple of afternoons picking up limbs and debris from the yard. Hurricane Michael 2 weeks later actually had more of an impact. Tons of rain and wind. I tried to finish the ditch for the porch before the storm hit, turns out I dug it about 8" too deep! I got the boat built up to a point then I've had to wait on supplies to come in. Like, I'm still trying to find the $800 for plywood and epoxy, so I decided to start up this porch project in the meantime. So the boat sat, covered, and the wind was so bad the sawhorses holding up the strongback collapsed. Well, 2 out of the 3 of them fell over. So I rebuilt them this weekend and got everything standing upright again.

Eventually I'm going to finish that thing off.

I've got the bricks and concrete blocks for the porch, and have the foundation poured now. Time to build it up, then floor it, then put up some stairs. Oh yea, and running. I need to do more of that. And I'm still trying to lose some weight, but the stress of grad school isn't helping that. Work just cleared a huge deadline too, so I'm looking forward to the holiday slow-down in the office.

So that's this chunk of life from down in NC!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Work on Work

Work is going great! I'm a software architect for LexisNexis now, and it's a really cool company and I've gotten a really cool position there. And, what's even more surprising, they seem to really like me. In fact:

My award came with a stuffed animal

Along with about 4 other members of my team, I got an award called "Leader of the Pack". The office is on campus at NC State so a lot of our office stuff is wolfpack themed. I'm the tech lead for the Migration Tools team, so I tell around 20 people how to move a bunch of data around. It's a big team. They are all java developers too, so after 20 years of writing Microsoft code I'm totally in a foreign land here.

They also give us 2 days each year for volunteer activities. My favorite is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity building houses. If I'm lucky, I get on a framing crew. This time, we were sheeting a roof. I'm very much into construction (if you couldn't tell by my woodworking blog) so getting to do this with a crew of my engineers is really fun for me.

so much fun with this crew
The only downside was that it was 102* outside (closer to 120* on top of that roof) and there was no shade in sight. I sweat through my clothes so fast and could not stay hydrated. Mostly I was just grateful that work lets out of of the office to go do such valuable work. It's a real company value at LN.

They also have tuition reimbursement, and I'm taking advantage of that to start taking some MBA classes at UNC-Wilmington. My first class is called Management, but it's really about organizational behavior. I'm doing ok in there too, and it's pretty interesting. Grades are good, but I've only had quizzes so far. It's 11 classes at 7 weeks each, and so far I'm counting 3 weeks done, 74 to go. Not going to finish until 2020, and as long as I stay with the company for a year after they they will end up paying for most of it. My first day of school picture:

It's all online. Laptops are the new backpacks

Again, normally I'm all like

But this company is seriously cool.

Other pictures of the family just so we all know they really exist:

Ella and my niece on a recent visit with my parents

The kids standing in a masonry project I built in the backyard

Evil Genius took a picture of a picture of herself

Kelley hanging out on the finished masonry project
So we're all good. Work and school are ok, hurricane Florence is barreling down but mostly went south of us so we're all good in Raleigh with this thing. Just a little rain and some wind, nothing strong. Kids are tracked out, football season is back in swing, and summer is almost over.