Jeff & Kevin

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Category: Random Thoughts (page 1 of 2)

Twenty-Ten

Here it is already the 13th day of the year 2010!  I suppose it’s a little late to make New Year’s resolutions, but as I looked at our blog and realized how long it’s been since I’ve written any post at all, well, I think I can sneak in a late-breaking one!

There are always so many things to do, and time seems to play Houdini regularly.  I always say that if I won the lottery and didn’t have to work another day, I’d be plenty busy with things I want to do.  So many interests and so many options.  Kick the voice-over business into gear.  Get some regular exercise.  Set up a house-cleaning routine and try to win the dust battle.  Get out my camera again.  Finish the trim on the hardwood floors.  Replace the doors.  Go flying.  Some people would be motivated by a long list of things to do.  I get overwhelmed!  I can’t help it.  I have just enough of an obsessive-compulsion to start 1,000,000 new things, but plenty of ADD to keep me from finishing any of it!

But there is one project I did both start and finish in the same weekend!  For quite some time now, I’ve been complaining about our laundry/utility tub.  It’s kind of gunky and the faucet was getting so corroded that for quite some time I’ve been unable to turn on the Hot water at all.  So just like with the year only one week prior, it was time for out with the old, in with the new!

I have to say it went relatively well.  I thank my parents, uncles, grandparents, etc. for raising me to be somewhat handy. (No…not handsy 😉 )  The vanity kit came complete with sink and plumbing parts from Lowes.  I only needed two compression shut-off valves and one drain pipe coupler and I was in business!  Sometime over a delightful beverage I can fill you in on the adventure of trying to get it home in my BMW, or the acrobatics involved in trying to cut a hot water pipe that was still somewhat pressurized (remember, I couldn’t open the faucet valve…), or of the battle between [sink] legs and [my] toes.  But for now I’ll just post the Before & After photos.

Forgot to take the photo before I started the project.  So here’s the old sink, legs and faucet inside:

And a closeup of the old faucet…yuck!

And finally, the new vanity and faucet:

Another beautiful weekend…

…and another bit of progress on the floor trim!  Yes, I managed to get some more done on those pesky steps, and although not perfect, I think it looks quite a bit better.  You can see for yourself below.  Also included is a photo of the trim I put in along the sliding glass door.

New floor trim along the sliding glass door

New floor trim along the sliding glass door

Close up of the quarter-round trim lining the step edges

Close up of the quarter-round trim lining the step edges

The steps all trimmed out

The steps all trimmed out

Today was equally as pleasant.  After a pancake breakfast  (yum) I had a nice time mowing the lawn (this weather rocks for that) before we joined our friends Mitzi and Marion for a nice dinner by Lake Calhoun at Tin Fish.  The special was halibut and my sandwich and waffle-cut fries were amazing!

Summer Fun!

Okay, so I’m on a roll.  And this isn’t necessarily “in chronological order”, but I thought I’d just make a short post here to let you know where our summer has gone.  The end of August is less than a week away and students and parents all around us are all preparing to return to school.  The big Get Together (Minnesota State Fair) is about to begin.  It’s hard to believe it isn’t June anymore!

As I think back, most of the summer seemed to revolve around our big summer vacation.  I spent the majority of May and June researching and planning for our R Family Vacations Alaska Cruise in July.  We had an amazing time on board, and would love to tell you all about it if you’re interested.  Just ask!  By the time we got home, though, it was near the end of July already!

Other summer highlights included seeing several shows at the Guthrie Theater.  We’ve been season ticket holders for several years now, and have seen some amazing shows.  In May/June alone we saw 4 shows, including 3 by Tony Kushner for the Kushner Celebration.  The facility and shows have been great, and in fact, this past weekend we saw Ella, the first show of the new season.  It was a pretty amazing concert/play chronicling the life and music of Ella Fitzgerald.  It’s still playing, and I’d highly recommend it.

Jeff did some running too, including the TC1-mile and the Minneapolis Half Marathon.  He’s now getting ready for the Twin Cities 10-mile race in early October.

Other than that, we’ve just been keeping busy around the house.  We hope you’ve had a great summer too and look forward to seeing or hearing from you soon!

It’s been so long!

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on getting web sites and blogs updated for my business and I realized that I haven’t really been posting on the personal site.  Why is that?  Well, most probably because I’m a bit ADD and I tend to like to start 1,000 projects and am not really too good about sticking with or finishing any of them…

Case in point:  Our hardwood floors!  In October of 2005 (yes, nearly 4 years ago) we embarked on the task of some home improvements that involved removal of some horrific old carpet in the living and dining room areas of the house in favor of some solid oak hardwood flooring.  The following spring, we had another go of it and put the same hardwood in our bedroom and the upstairs hallway.  Finally, I don’t even remember when, we finished off the den.  But I use the term finished loosely!

Yes, the flooring is in, and for the most part seems to be doing fine (knock on wood).  And most of the baseboard trim has been put back up.  But… only some of the newly-required quarter-round has been mitered and nailed in place, and the transition from the kitchen/entry tile still hasn’t been done!

Excuses?  Well, several.  But mostly I was having difficulty envisioning how to properly get those last bits done.  And I know it’s trim, and sloppy trim is just as bad (or worse) than having no trim at all.  And there’s always a distraction!

This past weekend, however, the weather outside was gorgeous and was perfect for having windows open and tackling the project again.  I decided I could remove a pesky stair riser, get a new toy (er, ah, tool) to flush-cut the pesky subfloor, and replace it with a better fitting one and that would resolve my trim dilemma there.  Then, that same flush-cutting tool could be used to even up the ends of the boards by the sliding glass door so I could at last actually place the transition piece that has been sitting on the floor for years.

I went to the friendly neighborhood Home Depot where the friendly staff pointed me in the direction of a new oscillating tool from Dremel…the Multi-Max!  I was able to use the tool for a few flush-cutting jobs enabling me to solve both problems.

Did I finish?  Well, no, I ran out of both time and steam.  But I did make some good progress and I think I may actually finish this coming weekend.  You’ll have to stay tuned to find out!  🙂

…a car seat doesn’t fit so well on the back of a Harley…

So this morning I’m listening to a pre-recorded bit of the Derek & Romaine (Sirius 109 / XM 98) show from last night when I hear probably the funniest statement I’ve heard all day.

I’m listening to a lengthy discussion about why a lesbian may or may not want to date another lesbian that has kids.  Romaine, Derek and several of the bitches (um, er, listeners) express their various points of view and the general consensus was that, while not always a problem, having kids around can make dating or having alone time a bit challenging.  While people in their teens and twenties probably can’t be bothered with their other half having to divide her attention between the relationship and the kids, it is something more of an adult should be willing to do.  But even while willing, there can still be challenges…after all…

…a car seat doesn’t fit so well on the back of a Harley!

Sirius-ly Addicted to Derek & Romaine

For over three years now I’ve been listening to a show called Derek & Romaine on Sirius Satellite Radio‘s OutQ channel.  The four-hour show airing from 5-9pm in the Central time zone (6-10pm on the East Coast, 3-7pm on the West) features content ranging from political opinion, to pop culture, to advice on sex and sex toys.  I have found myself addicted to hearing what  hosts Derek and Romaine, producer Sam, associate producer Greg and their guests have to say.  Their regular segments such as What’s Your Gay Problem?, Desperately F#@!@ng Angry! and The Dildo Whisperer are some of my favorites, almost always both entertaining and informational!  And thanks to my Stiletto portable radio, I can satisfy my addiction by listening live on my evening bus commute, then record the rest of the show so I can listen to it the next day.

I’ve mentioned the show before in this blog, and talk incessantly about it to everyone I know, but until last week, only Sirius subscribers could hear the show by tuning into Channel 109.   Now, however, a whole new group of people can enjoy the zany antics of Derek & Romaine, because OutQ is now also available on XM Radio Channel 98!

Now there’s no excuse!  Tune into Derek & Romaine on Sirius 109 and/or XM 98 today!  You may be shocked by what you hear at first, but soon you too will find yourself addicted!

Happy Holidays!

It’s that time of year again!  The holiday season is upon us once more, each and every year it seems to come a little more quickly.  Normally I’d be pretty stressed right about now, but this year things are going a little bit better.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve made some changes in my family this year, or perhaps it’s the fact that I have actually been home this year, as opposed to commuting weekly to Utah.  But I’m certainly not complaining :)  Now if I could just win a stocking from Derek & Romaine I’d be all set!

The tree is up, the cookies baked, the shopping is nearly finished and the last of the cards are going in the mail in the morning.  I always like to save wrapping for just before we go to visit the family.  This year we’ll be fortunate enough to visit with both families during the holiday season!

To those of you who are visiting our site for the first time, welcome!   You can get some highlights of our past year by reading other articles.  We will try to write more often as the mood strikes in the coming year, so please bookmark us and come on back!

Meanwhile, we wish you peace, health, happiness and prosperity in the coming year, and we look forward to seeing and hearing from you soon!

My Summer Recap

Yes, it was a busy summer. A quick quick recap? Let’s see….

…Kevin’s parents and aunt Mary visited from WI for a weekend, painted the bathroom, got new kitchen counters installed, went to Chicago for the True Colors tour, went to Milwaukee for Ken’s 40th birthday, went to South Carolina to visit my family, saw Spamalot, helped a friend move, misc summer parties, visited friends in Seattle, finished the wood floors in the last room upstairs —

Oh and training for my 10 mile race, which by the way, I did very well in this past Sunday despite the unusually warm weather.

Jeff 10 Mile

 

  

Where has the summer gone?

I was chatting with my friend Chris and somehow the topic of this web site came up.  I knew I hadn’t posted to it in a while, but gosh…I didn’t realize it was Memorial Day Weekend!  Here it is well after Labor Day weekend already!  The summer has absolutely flown by!  Let’s see if I can recall where it went??

In June I had one more trip for a week to SLC for work.  I haven’t been there since, and it has been quite an adjustment to be home.  I miss the people there both in and out of work, and I miss the chance to work out at the local 24Hour Fitness (we don’t have them here…and if we did it would be insanely crowded).  But it is really nice to be home.   Oh, except for that trip to San Jose, California for 3 days.

That month we also took a quick mid-week trip to Chicago to see the True Colors Tour at the Auditorium Theatre.  We met up with my friend Stephen from Nice (who is now working in Chicago) for a nice dinner on the Miracle Mile and then headed to the show.  We were treated to performances by Cyndi Lauper, Erasure, Debbie Harry and several others.  It was a great show benefitting the Human Rights Campaign.

I also completed my horseback riding lessons that month.

New Counter, Sink and FaucetsJuly marked my first month without travel since maybe September of 2005.  It was simply wonderful to be home.  We didn’t really do a lot that month, but we did get new kitchen countertops, sink and faucets installed.  After an exhaustive search and many changes of mind, we settled on DuPont Zodiaq in the shade of Smokey Topaz.  We had a new under-mount stainless sink installed, and selected Price Pfister faucet.  A bonus feature (and not without installation agony) is the under-sink water filter with dedicated faucet.  It’s so nice to have freshly filtered water available any time.  A new quiet disposer polished it off.  Thankfully my parents and my Aunt Mary came for a weekend visit, as per usual, Dad’s help was much appreciated with the projects.  We ended the month with another concert treat, this time seeing Erasure for a rare appearance in Minneapolis!  It was a great show again.  Anyone who hasn’t heard my band lately needs to check them out on their web site.

August was relatively low-key as well.  I decided I’d been home enough that I could manage to drive to Milwaukee for my brother Ken’s birthday (ha ha…I’m not the only one in my 40’s now), and we had a nice visit with the whole family.  Near the end of the month I started to catch a cold, which I still have.

And that, technically, was the summer!  Over Labor Day weekend, we finally attacked the last of the nasty blue carpeting.  We had the stuff on the steps going downstairs replaced with a nice mocha-brown color low pile.  And in the upstairs guest room, we ripped out the last of it and applied hardwood flooring once again.  I guess by the 4th room, you get pretty good at it, because it went fairly smoothly.  And we had just enough flooring to finish the room.  And I mean just.  We cut the last board to put in the last row in the closet!

When it came time to put furniture back in, we’ve decided that the room isn’t going to be a guest bedroom any more.  It is so rarely needed for that purpose.  Instead we’re making it a little study.  We found two cute new chairs at Slumberland’s Grand Opening sale, and a lamp and some bookshelves at Target, and a rug at Pottery Barn.  It’s not quite done yet.  So photos are to come.

I guess that’s it for now.  I promise I’ll post updates and thoughts more often. 

“Done” in SLC???

Well, after 16 months of commuting nearly full time to work in SLC, it seems as though my time there is done.  I use italics because I can’t really be sure of anything.  But at least for the full-time nature of it, I think it will be….for a while.  I attach somewhat easily, so it was with mixed emotions that I am transitioning back to a normal life.  As I packed up my things in SLC, I was both excited to be going home and a little saddened that I won’t be seeing the friends and co-workers I’ve become used to seeing every day.  I know I’ll be back there from time to time, I just don’t know how often.

I’ve now had two very busy weeks back in Mpls before heading off on a much-needed vacation away from the office.  And as I sit here tonight, I should be going to bed instead so I can get up and face the office after 10 days away!  I can only imagine the email that will be waiting.

Update

Memorial Day is here, and is the last day of our little spring vacation.  We both needed some time off, so we spent some time in South Carolina visiting Jeff’s family and the end of last week here at home.  The trip to South Carolina seemed to go quite quickly, but it was good to finally see his brother Joe’s new house and to visit with the niece and nephew.

While we didn’t get a whole lot done once we returned, we did get some things out of the way on our list.  We bought new kitchen faucets and had our countertops measured.  We got some samples of Zodiaq and think we’ve finally settled on the color we like, and we selected a new sink.  Now we wait for the quote to come in before ordering.

New Flax BathroomNew Flax BathroomJeff decided that since the plans to re-do the upstairs bathroom fell through, he should at least paint it.  It’s now flax and sports new picture frames with art, towels and rugs (only one is shown in the photo.  It looks quite nice, but now really underscores the need for new flooring!  Someday we’ll get to that, but I’m not sure when!

Meanwhile, I finally attacked some of the trim for the hardwood floor we installed in October of 2005.  Yes…coming up on 2 years ago!  But with few bugs outside, nice weather and finally being mentally ready to attack the project, I finally got at installing the quarter-round in front of the baseboards.

Of course I couldn’t get very far without running into issues I created because it was the first room I installed the flooring into.  Those included never really finishing the transition between the hardwood and the tile, or figuring out how to fill the gap created by the bowed wall on the living room side.  What I really needed to do the job was a new table saw.  One quick trip to the new Home Depot down the road and I had a new power tool.  And boy..did it ever make the difference to rip floor boards the long way with the proper tool versus trying to use a jig saw!  I managed to get the last row of [partial] boards installed right up near the tile, and used the other halves to fill in for the bowed area of the baseboard, and installed quarter-round throughout most of the dining room.  By no means done, but on the way!

I told Jeff when it’s finally all done, we need to have a T.G.I.F. party (that can stand for Thank God It’s Done, or… Thank God It’s a Floor).  Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath!

Live Long and Prosper

The words of a science fiction character…well wishes from a race of logical beings that have trained themselves to control and even eliminate their emotions (if that’s really even possible).  But wise and kind they are.

Today we burried my Grandmother.  For me and the rest of my family, it was far from emotionless.  Having nearly reached the age of 94 years, and bringing up and positively influencing four children, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, it would seem she did heed that advice, and heeded it well.

She had a good, long life, and in the end, really didn’t seem to suffer.  We were all fortunate enough to have the time to visit with her…to laugh and cry together…and to face head on the certainty of what was to come.  We know she was ready and that she is now in peace.  We are comforted by these things, as well as the many wonderful memories and traditions she has given to us.  She will always be with us, and I’m very grateful to have been fortunate enough to have had her in my life.

Yet mixed with the gentle smiles that emerge on our faces when we find ourselves thinking of her, come the tears at the recognition that we will miss her dearly.  Our lives have now changed forever, as we will no longer enjoy the company of someone that has been a part of our entire lives to this point.  We instead must be content with our memory of her.  Fortunately, there are many wonderful memories upon which we can draw.

She created a wonderful legacy, and even in her death provided an opportunity for the family to strengthen the bonds we have with each other.  For a woman who never boarded an airplane, she certainly understood the philosophy of a fictional culture from beyond the stars.

À bientôt!

Tonight I had to say good-bye, or hopefully rather until we meet again to my very good friends Larry & Gwynn.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing them for several years now and have come to appreciate them as two of the best people I’ve ever known.  The world could certainly benefit from having more folks like them!

But I’m confident that we will remain in touch.  Certainly it will not be as easy to see each other as it has been in the past, but technology really has shrunk the world.  Cell phone calling plans and the Internet, webcams and digital photos all make it much easier to stay in touch than it was 20 years ago!

In any case, I wish them all the best in the next chapter of their lives, and look forward to stories of their adventures to come.  And if they happen to be reading this, I have this to say:

      Thank you, and I love you!

All my best….

Kevin

Wicked!

For my birthday, Jeff surprised me with tickets to see Wicked, the broadway musical based on the novel Wicked:  The LIfe and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.  Two years ago when we went to New York to see Kathy & Mo, we stayed at a little hotel that happened to be across the street from the theater in which Wicked was playing on Broadway.  It was relatively new then, but tickets were impossible to come by.  Ever since, I’ve been saying how I’d like to see that show.  Finally, it’s touring, and made a brief 10-day stop in town…and the dates just happened to coincide with my birthday.  So thoughtful Jeff jumped on the opporunity and it was an awesome gift.

As we found our seats in the Orpheum, I noticed the curtain was a map of Oz, with the emerald city glowing magically in the center.  Little did I know that it would be only a hint of the wonders we would experience over the next three hours!

For those that don’t know, the story dovetails with the classic story we all know about Dorothy and her experiences in the land of Oz.  But it’s from another perspective…that of Elphaba, the Wicket Witch of the West.  We learn of her origins and her relationships with some familiar and some new characters not mentioned in the famliar story.  It weaves in quite well, and provides some very interesting perspectives.  While being entertained, we are challeneged to re-think our perceptions of good and evil.

As for the production itself…it was amazing!  From scenery and lighting to costumes to choreography and vocal performance everything was stunning.  Combined with the story and the music, it may very well be the best show I’ve ever seen!  I would highly recommend anyone that enjoys theatre in the least make an effort to see this show if they can possibly do so!

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!

For me, it was independence from work, and independence to do something I don’t usually get a chance to do in Utah. There is a small road, open only during the summer months, that connects Brighton to Park City and Heber City. I’ve always seen the road, and wondered about it, but never had a chance to drive it. Well today I did! I rounded up Scott from work and we went on a little road trip.

Brighton-Park-City-Passage.jpg

This is the view as we reached the top of the ridge dividing Big Cottonwood Canyon from, well, I’m not really sure! But from the other side! I’ll have to do some more research to see exactly where we drove!

The intense morning heat put a lot of energy into the atmosphere, and some storm clouds developed. I was hoping to get lucky enough to capture some of the magnificent lighting strikes, but at least the lighting here is still pretty cool.

We continued along a narrow stone/dirt road until we found ourselves descending into Park City, right behind Park City Mountain resort. We notices a lot of new construction of homes and condos and they look pretty amazing. I could see myself living there!

After a quick tour of Main Street Park City even through the pouring rain (there’s something about me and Park City..it rains or snows every time I go!), we headed down into the Heber Valley. Heber is a place I’ve only seen in the distance, from the tops of Brighton and Alta resorts. So it was time to venture into the valley. We passed Dear Valley resort and the Jordanelle reservoir (??) and a coulpe state parks and rec areas before driving down “the main drag” of Heber City. It’s a cute small town, but doesn’t have the character Park City does. We managed to find the Heber Airport, but through the pouring rain, didn’t go exploring.

All in all it was a nice way to spend the afternoon!

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