kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2012-12-31 11:49 am

2012: A Year of Change

Wow. What can I say about 2012?

I've been meaning to post updates for awhile now, but whenever I sit down to write, invariably something happens that takes my attention away. But, right now, sitting at the in-laws house, seems as good a time as ever to review just what an amazing year 2012 was.

Even if nothing else of note happened in 2012, it would be a great year for no other reason than ...

1. The birth of my daughter Scarlett.


Little Scarlett, hours after her birth.

I always wondered what kind of parent I would make. I guess I'm going to find out now. In the process, we encountered frustration, joy, sadness, terror and every range of emotion you can possibly imagine.

Around July of last year, Sarah and I decided that the time was right for us to expand our family, and we started trying for a little one. Frankly, after spending nearly a year trying for a baby, I'm honestly stumped at how anyone accidentally gets pregnant. There was testing, planning, and all kinds of craziness before we finally got he word at the end of March, just two weeks after FWA, that Sarah was pregnant.

A few months later, we found out that our little mass of dividing cells was going to be a little girl. In all honesty, a part of me was hoping for a little boy, but those thoughts immediately went out the window nearly instantly. However, it took us nearly until October to actually pick a name for the little one. In the meantime, we had a scare when the doctor found some abnormalities on her ultrasound and sent us to Birmingham for a more detailed test. Something to do with brain cysts. Thankfully, that turned out to be nothing.

Over the course of the pregnancy, I realized what amazing friends we have. Sarah had no less than 3 baby showers, 2 of which were thrown by our church. We received gifts of almost everything we would need to raise a baby. I literally think we spent less than $500 on baby things.

So Sarah grew and grew with child over the course of the summer and fall (while we moved, see next point), until her due date was upon us. And as her due date passed with no movement, we made the decision to induce her. I will spare you the graphic play by play of the birth process; suffice it to say that I saw way more of it than I was expecting or really wanting to see. The highlights were: about 12 hours of labor but only about 30 minutes of "active" labor, the maximum allowed dose of pitocin (the drug they use to induce).

Finally, at 7:23pm on November 27th, Scarlett Rose entered the world measuring 19 inches and weighing 7 pounds 8 ounces. And after a few days' stay in the hospital, we returned home with our little girl. And over the course of the next month, we had a virtual revolving door in our house of guests. Grandparents, great-grandparents, family and friends all came to see Scarlett. People from church baked us meals as we learned how to live with our new little addition.

The first few weeks were really rough. At one point, one night she was in a diaper less than 5 minutes before needing to be changed again. We've also had a running battle with baby gas. And I love my daughter, but holy shit her farts can peel the paint of walls.

However, I realize now that we've been blessed to have a pretty non-fussy baby. She doesn't complain or cry a lot, doesn't mind people holding her, and sleeps pretty well, usually only waking because she needs to eat or be changed (at least, when mom and dad can keep her awake during the day!). Heck, last night she slept nearly 6 hours before finally waking. At this point, I think we have a pretty good system in place.

Just a few of the things about parenthood I've learned in the last month:
  • Something so little needs an amazing amount of stuff. Cribs, bassinets, changing tables, pack and plays, diaper bags, all manner of things. For overnight trips Sarah and I can usually get away with a small bag, but Scarlett needs an entire trunk of stuff.

  • Doing anything with a child, even something as simple as running out for 15 minutes to grab a sandwich, requires careful planning and execution. When was the last time she was changed and fed? How much time do we think we have until the next feeding or changing? We've been living the last month in 3 hour increments.

    We finally purchased a breast pump a few weeks ago. With that we were able to get a bottle of food for her and were able to leave her with a grandparent while Sarah and I went to see The Hobbit. This has given us a little bit more flexibility to break out of that 3 hour cycle.
But most importantly, I learned that, while I still can't stand other peoples' kids, I sure do love my own. The weight of having to do a good job raising her is really there. I really hope I'm up to the task.

2. Sold and bought houses and built a garage.


In front of our new house.
 

About June, we made a big decision: it was time to move.

Honestly, it was not something I was looking to do. It would have to happen eventually, but I was hoping I could punt the ball downfield a little ways and not have to worry about it for a few years. But finally, in July, when we had a living room full of baby stuff and no where to walk, we finally had to face reality that we were going to have to move.

So it was with a great deal of sadness that we put the home I bought back in 2007 on the market and started looking for a new place to live. We looked at all kinds of places in Madison (we wanted to stay in Madison City Schools), but finally settled on a house what was far bigger than what I was intending to purchase but was such a good deal that we couldn't walk away from it.

Our new home is a nearly 3,400 square foot home in central Madison. It was the model home for the neighborhood, so it features many upgraded amenities like a jacuzzi tub, granite countertops, tankless hot water heater, music system and many others.

The downside? It didn't have a garage. In this house, the area that was a garage in the floor plan had been finished in as office space for use while the builder was constructing the neighborhood. We liked that space because it added a large amount of square footage to the house, so we decided to buy the house and have a detached garage built onto the back.

Make no mistake, this was a long process. We got just days to our first closing before the lender decided they didn't want to do what we were trying to do (essentially, buy the house because we were getting such a good deal and use the equity to build the garage). So we ended up having to get a construction loan to buy the house and build the garage.

The other major sticking point was what to do with our old house. I was adamant that I did not want two mortgage payments, but we weren't getting many bites on the old house. Then our awesome realtor was able to work a deal where the builder purchased our home for resale, freeing us to buy the new one. We had to take a small loss selling it, but not unreasonably so.

But we worked through it all and finally, on October 23rd, we were able to sign the documents and buy the new house. We started moving that day, and the movers came the following day to finish off the big things.

In the meantime, the builder was finishing off some of the things that were left from the contract - namely, carpeting and building a closet in the front room and fixing a sidewalk issue. Then, of course, building the garage. As of today, the garage is "finished" - I had them build the garage unfinished because they were wanting too much money to essentially hang drywall. Now, all that's left is to close the construction loan and we're on our way.

3. Cursillo

What can I say about the Cursillo weekend other than that it was life-changing.

I'm not going to write much about what actually happened at Cursillo. It's not out of any secrecy or shame - to the contrary, I wish I could share the joy of what I experienced with every person on Earth. But I also don't want to ruin the surprise and, no matter what, I don't think words could adequately express the joy of the experience. Regardless, my experience was different from that of my fellow pilgrims, and from past and future pilgrims. It's different and unique for everyone; we all experience it in different ways.
 
 
Coming out the other side, it feel like a new person. Cursillo was literally a life changing experience.

... and the rest!
  • This was my first year since 2003 when I didn't work FWA. I had intended it to be a permanent retirement, but the minute I set foot in the Sheraton, I knew I could never just be an attendee. So after careful consideration following the end of the con, I decided to return. My roll as of this time is uncertain, but I have a few ideas. :)
  • As far as concerts go, saw the Drive-By Truckers twice, Phish once, Matthew Ebel twice, and finally checked a "bucket list" item off when I saw Elton John. However, I missed out on Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters and I'm still upset about that.
  • Put a new stereo in my truck.
  • Barack Obama was re-elected.
  • The Olympics were awesome as always. Except for NBC's coverage. That sucked ass.
Of course, 2012 wasn't perfect. There were some things that sucked.
In review

I don't think any year in my life has had as much change as 2012 has. This has been a mind-blowing year, full of firsts, new starts, changes and stress, but as I look back on it, I realize what an amazing year it's been. I feel like I'm ending this year a different person than I was when I started it. However, despite all that, I'm kinda hoping 2013 is a little bit more laid back. If every year was like this one, I would be the most interesting man in the world.

So long 2012. Thanks for being awesome!
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2012-10-03 04:09 pm
Entry tags:

Home Blues

In my last entry, I mentioned how the move process was going. I also said we were supposed to be closing on September 26th, and moving shortly thereafter.

Well, it's October 3rd, and we're still in our old house.

What happened? Well, pull up a chair, and I'll pick up the tale where I left off last time.

The Inspection

As I mentioned in the previous post, we sold the house. And, as is common, the buyer of the house wanted to get an inspection done on my house. No problem. It worried me a lot because we had just found (and fixed) the leak in the chimney, and I had no idea what else might be lurking to be fixed. But, you do what you have to do, so they did their inspection on Monday, September 10th.

Now, according to the contract, they had 3 working days to present me with a list of repairs. Well, Wednesday and Thursday came and went, and I thought we were in the clear. Then, Friday, they finally get me a list of "requested repairs." and I very nearly blew a gasket. I fully believe their inspector to be batshit crazy. Here were some of the "requested repairs":
  • New driveway and sidewalk due to "cracks." Every fucking driveway in the neighborhood has cracks in them. It's a 20 year old house, and the driveway is in fine shape for it's age.
  • Wanted the siding replaced. The siding was just replaced by the previous owner in 2005.
  • Wanted a new roof because the roof vents were too narrow and the bathroom vent vented into the attic.
  • Wanted some major work done on the electrical system. The electrical system is fine and hasn't been touched.
  • Wanted the laundry vent line re-routed to be "shorter." The laundry room is in the middle of the fucking house. It's as short as possible already.
  • They wanted the motherfucking chimney extended two fucking feet! Apparently there's some code that says chimneys have to be a certain height above the roofline, and mine was two feet short. But every house in the neighborhood built on the same plan has the same height chimney, so it was obviously okay when it was built.
And that was just the crazy ones. That's leaving along the other 20 or so items they requested that were somewhat reasonable. I'm being serious when I say I almost lost my shit. My first instinct was to tell them to fuck the hell off because they broke contract, that they aren't getting shit from me, and I'll see them at closing.

In the end, because I have to work with this guy, I ended up agreeing to fix 12 minor items. Most of which was done in a weekend and was completed thanks to [Bad username or site: koakako's help. @ livejournal.com] Fortunately, they agreed. Could have done without the drama.

Comes The Appraiser

As I mentioned in a previous post, the new house we are buying doesn't have a garage. It was the model home for the neighborhood, and, when the builder built it, they finished in the area that would have been the garage. We wanted to keep that because it adds enormous square footage to the house.

It's also his last property in the neighborhood, so he's under a lot of pressure to get it off his books. So he's selling the house at a massive discount. We're buying the house at $76 a square foot, when most of the stuff in that neighborhood has been going in the mid $80s. We were confident that we could write the contract for above the purchase amount of the house and escrow the remaining amount (essentially, borrowing against the equity the house would already have at closing because it's so underpriced) and use that to build the garage.

So we had everything set up with the loan. But their appraiser dragged his feet for the maximum amount of time he could before going out there (he had 10 business days and waited until the 10th day, then tried to reschedule - my realtor told him that he couldn't and we were closing in 3 days). According to my realtor, he had a foul attitude about having to drive down, and didn't spent a lot of time there.

Then we get the report back. He refused to value it any higher than the MLS listing, which is fucking retarded. The MLS listing is so low you couldn't rebuild it for that price. It's worth more than that in materials alone! (Not even kidding about this - every insurance estimate I've gotten has been almost 1.5x what we're paying as the estimated rebuild cost WITH the garage factored in).

Then, the mortgage broker informed me that, even if the appraiser had approved it, they would not have done the escrow in spite of us having been completely upfront with them from the very beginning about what we were trying to do. At the last minute, they were just like, fuck you.

That was Monday the 24th. We were supposed to be closing in the 26th. Everything fell apart that day. I'm not even kidding - I had moving vans arranged! I had the utilities scheduled to be in my name. Everything had to be stopped while we circled the wagons and figured out what our next move would be.

Starting Again

So, this time, we're taking a little bit different approach. First, we're talking to an actual bank, and not a mortgage broker. We're getting a construction loan for the full amount, buying the house, and then building the garage with the remaining amount on the loan. Then, we'll close the construction loan.

But people are still dicking with us. After we got all that set up, I got a call from the bank saying they couldn't send an appraiser out until they got drawings from the builder. Then they said they had the drawings, so I asked to see them. They had the wrong drawings. That took three days to work out, going between realtors, builders, and banks. Either way, it may be another 2-3 weeks until we can get into the house.

In the meantime, my wife is 8 months pregnant and looks like she could pop at any moment. Time is of the essence here, but nobody seems to be in any kind of hurry. I'm seriously losing my cool with it all.

The End

We also made a decision that this was the end. If something happens at this point, we are calling the entire deal off. All the way off. We are pulling our offer on the new house and pulling our house off the market. We'll wait a year until after Scarlett is born, then try this whole thing again.

All this stress has been absolute murder on me, and it's been holding us up from doing the things we need to do. I really hope it gets resolved soon, because both of us are just worn out of "one more thing."
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2012-09-07 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

Coming Up To Breathe

God, I don't ever remember being this busy in my entire life. Even that semester I took 18 hours and (helped) plan a convention pales incomparison to what it's been like recently. It's like someone through my life to warp 9.

We sold the house!

We had been working with a buyer and finally, last Friday an offer came in. It looked like a good offer, so we accepted it. But it's a littlemorecomplex than that.

What happened was that we've been working with a builder to buy a model home in a neighborhood. But my stipulation was that I wouldnotbuy unless my current house sold. But the builder has sold his remaining lots in that neighborhood to a different builder and is eager togetthis house off his books, as it is his final property in the neighborhood. So he cut a deal with us where he would buy our houseandimmediately re-sell it.

So we agreed to the deal. The downside is that I'm taking a loss selling the house. Not a big one, but a loss nonetheless, which is kind ofabummer. 

But wait, there's more! The current house doesn't have a garage on it. Because it was a model home, the area that would have beenthegarage in the normal plan was, in this house, finished off as office space. It's actually really cool, there's a L-shaped room, with asmalleroffice inside it with a little glass window.

But either way, the house doesn't have a garage, and needs one built. So we had to get the final dimensions on the garage squaredawaybefore we could have a final price on the mortgage. It will also be attached to the house via a small breezeway, which has to be factoredintothe construction costs.

So I've spent the last week doing things like finalizing the garage dimensions, finalizing the contract price, getting the mortgage, havinghomeinspections done, and working on other various financial things. Still have to go is getting the insurance finalized - people are being apain inthe ass when it comes to calling me back - picking a mover, etc.

Oh, and did I mention that they want all this done by the 26th? Oy vey. If I survive the next few weeks without a major psychotic episode itwillbe a fucking miracle.

In the meantime ...

Fucking water.

Some of you who follow me on the Twitters may have seen me tweet about the fucking leak in the chimney. Well, after getting quotes from anumber of contractors, we finally had that fixed in the last 2 days. I repeat, it took them TWO FUCKING DAYS to fix all the damage that waterleak had done, and likely had been doing for years.

Most roof leaks become visible fairly quickly when they leak onto drywall. But, because of the precarious nature of this leak - leaking almostdirectly down to the chimney to the slab below - meant it probably went years without being discovered. Almost all the wood at the top of thechimney was rotted and had been rotted for some time - i.e. my inspector back in 2007 should have found this.

So it took them two days to pull out all the rotted wood, repair it, re-side the chimney and put a new cap on it. The plus side is that now I have a bunch of siding in case I need to do a repair in the nest 3 weeks. But, either way, it's done.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2012-08-06 07:59 pm

The State of Kiran

So it's been awhile since I posted, so here's an update. Or something.

It's a girl!

Or, it will be. Sarah and I found out that the aforementioned sexess baby we were having will be a little baby girl. While we don't currently have a name, we are leaning towards the name Scarlett Rose - just unusual enough to be interesting, but not something silly or crazy.

Although the sex determining ultrasound was not without some drama. The doctor called us a few days later to let us know that the ultrasound showed some ... irregularities. Namely choroid plexus cysts which are cysts in the brain of the child. Apparently, these occur in 1-3% of all pregnancies and they usually resolve themselves on their own. But, they can also be an indicator of certain genetic disorders such as Trisomy 18. So, she wanted us to go to UAB in Birmingham for a more detailed ultrasound.
 
So Monday, after sweating this shit for 2 weeks, we went to Birmingham. I have to admit, I was impressed with the facility. The first time I can ever remember a doctor getting us in ahead of our appointment, and at one point we had two doctors, a medical student and a tech looking at the ultrasound. Fortunately, thank God, they pronounced that there were no more signs of the cysts and everything else looked completely normal.

House for sale.

But with a little girl on the way, Sarah and I have discovered that there is simply not enough room for us in this house with all the baby stuff. The house I bought back in 2007 is simply not big enough for all the stuff we're going to be buying. And forget having enough room should another kid come along in a few years. So, concluding that now was a good time to buy and that I only want to move once again, we finally put the house on the market last weekend.

It has been very bittersweet, and I've run the gamut of emotions on it. I gotta be honest, though, I'm gonna miss this place. I've really loved this little house and I have a lot of memories here. It'll be sad when we have to leave. But if anyone's looking for a home in Madison (great location 5 minutes from the Arsenal and Research Park), let me know.

In the meantime, we've put an offer on an absolutely enormous house in another area of Madison. 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 3,150 square feet. It has a huge open floorplan living room, an enormous master bedroom and bathroom suite with a closet larger than some bedrooms in my current house. And, best of all, a huge front room with a separate office. It was once used as a model home and the builder had their offices in the front area.

We've been going back and fourth with the builder. He's trying to unload it, but I'm firm in my resolve to sell my current house before committing to a new one. So prayers would be appreciated that all this works out.

Vacation.

In the past we've taken some big vacations. Jamaica, Las Vegas and London come to mind. This year we're staying a little closer to home and driving down to Pensacola this weekend to spend 5 days ont he beach. It'll be the first time I've been back to Pensacola Beach since way back in 2003 when I went with my Dad. 

Truck!

Today, I did $800 worth of work on my truck. Among the service done:
  • Two new tires.
  • Two older tires rotated and balanced.
  • Oil changed.
  • Brakes services.
  • Alignment fixed.
It's pretty nice not to have that major vibration in my steering wheel anymore. Moreover, with all this done now, it should be some time before I need to do any major service again *knock on wood*.

kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2011-08-21 03:07 pm
Entry tags:

Wherein Kiran tries to evict a wild animal from his house!

So I've been hearing this sound in my downstairs master bathroom. The sound of grinding and scratching. At first I thought I was crazy. I thought I was hearing Pumpkin upstairs in her litterbox (which is in the upstairs bathroom above the master). But earlier this week the sound got dramatically louder. Even my wife could hear it. It was time to take action.
 
So I called an exterminator. He came out on Friday and crawled through both of the attics. He found mouse droppings (as well as bat droppings from a previous infestation) and laid out traps to try to trap the "mouse."
 
But as of this morning, I was still hearing the sound.
 
So I popped open the plumbing access panel and looked inside. I couldn't see any animals (one of my big fears was that I was going to look in there and some animal was going to come flying out at me). But I could see where most of the noise was coming from. There were a large number of rocks underneath the tub, looking like they came from a hole in the slap.
 
At this point, I'm still operating under the assumption that whatever it is is either a  mouse or a rat. I left a couple of glue boards and a couple of snap-traps underneath the tub. Hopefully, in a few days, I'll be able to report success.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2011-06-26 08:02 pm
Entry tags:

Yay

Accomplished a lot this weekend.

First, the tree in the previous post was cut up and pulled to the road. Once it was removed, the damage to the fence was not nearly as bad as it had appeared. So I'm going to put off actually repairing it for awhile until it cools off outside. We also removed one of the dead trees in the backyard as well. I need to call a tree service to grind the stump, though,and remove the rest of the junk in the backyard.

Sunday, we decided to clean the carpets and sofas in the house. So we rented two of the rug steamers from the grocery store and went to work. It ended up taking 5 hours with the both of us working on it to cover our house and clean the sofas. Oh my God. The water coming out of the machine was black. I didn't realize we had let the carpets get that bad.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-08-27 05:13 pm

More Closet

Finished wiring in the closet this morning. It turned out to be a bigger project than I was anticipating. Started last night identifying the outlets (when I initially wired the house back in 2007 when I bought it, I didn't do a good job of identifying the drops), putting them through the wall and punching down the keystones. This morning I made cables and connected everything up to the switch before work.


Before


After
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-08-27 10:27 am
Entry tags:

Toilet

Yesterday morning when I went into the bathroom, I started with my normal morning routine - the three S's (shit, shower and shave). But didn't get beyond the first one. When I sat down on the toilet, I put my feet in a quarter inch of standing water. Apparently overnight, my toilet had sprung a leak.

Great. Wonderful.

I sopped up the mess and reached around to see if I could tell where the leak was coming from. It felt like it was coming a seal around the base of the feed line, where the feed line connects to the plastic cap that connects to the float valve.

As the toilets in this house break, I've been replacing the float valves and stoppers with more modern designs. So yesterday at lunch, I fixed the toilet by installing a new feed line and a new float valve. No more leaking water, no more random tank filling in the middle of the night either.

kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-08-22 02:58 pm
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New Closet Shelves


Old and busted.


New hotness.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-08-01 09:52 pm
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Coping with the heat

The daytime highs have been at or near 100° for the last few days. I'm not insane - I'm not about to go out in that in the blazing hot sun just to cut the lawn. So I waited until 8:30 tonight - after dark, when it was just 95° - to cut the lawn.

kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-07-25 05:21 pm
Entry tags:

Yesterday

Yesterday, I headed out to look for concentrated barley straw extract. Was looking for it to use to clean up the algae bloom currently going on in the pond. After trying three places in Madison, none of them had it but all told me to go to this place way the hell up on North Parkway. So I resigned myself to going up there and took a shortcut (Jeff Rd -> Blake Bottom Rd -> Highway 53 -> Springfield Rd -> Pulaski Pike -> Winchester Rd) that put me out right next to where I needed to be. And wouldn't you know it, they had exactly what I needed. Now I know where to go for pond supplies.

Being that I was on that end of town anyways, bored with nothing to do, I stopped by [livejournal.com profile] koakako's house to see what he was up to. He was working on his wife's car rotating the tires, doing an alignment, and fixing the fan relay. I wasn't actually planning on this, but we ended up looking at my truck as well.

It had been having a vibration at highway speed and pulling to the right. I took it to NTB in Madison before I left on vacation and they told me they fixed the alignment, but it was still pulling to the right and vibrating. So I had KO take a look at it. I had kind of figured it was a tire imbalance, so we ended up rotating those to the back, and fixed the alignment as well. So now it drives smooth up front and doesn't pull to the right anymore. There's a noticeable vibration from the rear, but I'll get those tires re-balanced at some point in the future. For now, at least it's drivable at highway speeds again.

Afterward, to thank him for fixing my truck, I took him out for sushi!

We also stopped at Great Spirits. It's amusing when I think how much, in some ways, I've changed since college. When I went to the alphabet shop in Auburn, I'd usually come out with some Jim Beam, maybe some Kahlua and Seagrams Seven. I walked out of Great Spirits yesterday with an excellent Port wine, a bottle of Honey mead, and a Three Philosophers Belgian-style Quadrupel. I guess I'm growing as an alcoholic drinker.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-06-14 11:48 am

HOT

I put off mowing the lawn all weekend, mostly because it was so fucking hot I thought I might burst into flames if I went outside. Ended up waiting until 7:30pm last night just to get started ... and it was still in the upper 80s.

Picked up a Saitek Yoke and Pedal set over the weekend so I can practice landings in the sim.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-05-24 03:11 pm
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Front Bed Project

Before:



After:

kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-05-10 02:12 pm
Entry tags:

Front Bed Project

So the idiots who owned the house before us put rocks in the front bed and generally neglected the flower beds in every way possible. It's been a long project rehabbing these beds to the point where we might actually be able to plant flowers in them. To add to that, there was a fairly serious water drainage issue caused by the main downspout for the front of the house coming down in that bed. So every time we had a rain storm, it would flood the entire front bed and sidewalk.

To fix that, we rerouted the downspout along the front slab and out the side. We did that a few weeks ago, and it mostly held up to the 4 inches of rain we got out of the same storm that drowned Nashville. But the front bed was still flooding. Not nearly as badly, but still flooding due to it being a low lying area.

So we raised the beds up between six and nine inches depending on where in the bed you are. This involved hauling 1.5 tons - yes, literally - of topsoil and applying it. Then we hauled a half-ton of mulch to apply on top. It was a hell of a lot of work, but the results speak for themselves...

Pics behind the cut... )

We were going to try for flowers on Sunday, but we were both way too sore, so we may do those this weekend. After that, the next project is to remove those overgrown bushes on the right in picture #1 to make way for a small pond and water fountain. Either way, I wanna have all this shit done by the end of May, before it gets too hot to work outside.

Ahh, the joys of homeownership.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-01-24 10:24 pm

Weekend

Had a good and productive weekend.
  • Got the hydrangea trimmed back, and the property line cleared. The chainsaw made short work of both of those. Also got the front bed and mailbox bed weeded. All I still have left to do is chop the stuff I cleared up from the property line into firewood.

  • Went out to try the new barbecue place at Bridge Street - Smoke House. Sarah and I both really enjoyed it. The barbecue quality was as good as Greenbriar, and the atmosphere was actually good and not geriatric!

  • Made good progress on my goal of ripping all my DVDs onto the file server. With the AppleTVs in the living room and bedroom, it's like having our own private VOD system. Unfortunately, I'm still only on "A". :P

  • Got a bootleg of my new favorite movie on my iPhone.

  • Relaxed.

  • And finally, caught up with [livejournal.com profile] kubulai after 4.75 years. It as a good conversation - one I look forward to continuing soon. The only downside was it was nearly 2am before I finally got off the computer and even later before I got to sleep. Too much stuff going through my head.
kiranlightpaw: kiran_likeshine (Default)
2010-01-23 05:44 pm
Entry tags:

Flying, Yardwork

So I guess I was due for a bad lesson.

On takeoff, we had a 10kt crosswind. It was my first time taking off with a crosswind; I knew to kinda crab the plane into the wind, but I wasn't expecting the wind to get up under the wing and try to flip the plane.

Later, on landing, my CFI told me to turn off a little early at E6, but we still had to lose some speed. I started my turn a little soon and almost flipped the plane again....

So, almost two crashes. :(

I guess it's a positive that I learned from it; I now know how to handle crosswind takeoffs a little bit better, and next time to continue to E5 instead of trying to make a turn that I'm not comfortable with.

On the plus side, my altitude handling was a lot better, ground reference manuevers when well, and got some touch-and-go practice at KDCU, which was my first time flying into a field other than KHSV.

Today, I got the chainsaw out and hacked the huge hydrangea bush back as well as clearing out the brush along the property line. It's nice to be able to look out my back window knowing the line is clear and that it's not growing into the fence anymore.