Monday, May 27, 2013

The DIY Kitchen Island

Along with the walking to retirement (the fun part), the not so much fun part is the "fixing up the house" to retirement.  We have decided that we are not going to retire in our current house.  Therefore we need to fix it up and get it ready for the market.  To keep costs down, I want to DIY as much as I can.  Many projects ahead...  This project, building a beadboard butcher block kitchen island.

Awhile back I tiled the kitchen and during that process made the decision to tear down the existing kitchen island (it was not worth keeping).  It actually made the tiling job easier.  However that did leave me with the problem of what to do about the island.  I decided to build one.  I use the word "build" with a bit of liberty as I actually did not build the island; I bought two unfinished floor cabinets and built the structure around them.

The only part that I had trouble figuring out was how to secure the island to the floor.  Once that was figured out, the rest of the the project wasn't so bad.

Step 1 - Decide where to locate the island and mark it with painter's tape.

Step 2 - Drill the holes for the lead anchors to be able to secure 2x2s (to be able to secure the cabinets to).

much easier doing these in the grout lines
Step 3 - Secure the 2x2s to the floor.

Step 4 - Cut out areas on  the base of the cabinets so they can fit over the 2x2s and electrical wires.

Step 5 - Secure the cabinets to the 2x2s, cut out holes for the electrical outlet, and run the wiring for the outlet.

Step 6 - Another trip to Home Depot for the bead board, measure, measure again, and make the cuts.

Measure twice, cut once!
Step 7 - Secure the beadboard to the kitchen island.

Step 8 - Start the priming and securing of the 1x3s.

Step 9 - Paint the island, multiple coats after the primer.

Step 10 - Find (found at Ikea), buy, and cut butcher block top.

Step 11 - Sand & secure butcher block top to island and seal (many coats) it.

As usual, this project took longer than anticipated (but they always do : )

Still have much more to do on the kitchen makeover, but at least this step is done.

Another DIY project: Building a fence with branches, step by step instructions.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Event 36 - The Sweep

I volunteered to help out with the Sutallee Trace Trail Challenge 10 mile race this morning.  A few weeks back they (Mountain Goat Adventures) were looking for volunteers for this race and they were offering free entry into any upcoming race  this year.  Works for me.  I've volunteered before, it's usually a fun 'feel good' thing and you typically receive a T-shirt, some snacks, water,...  But Lisa (RD @ Mountain Goat) had a much better offer - include free entry into one of their future races.  So I took them up on it. My job, 10 mile race sweep.

Basically this meant I'd make sure I was behind the last runner (which is very normal for me anyway : ) and I'd remove all of the orange ribbons (hung all over the pace so folks don't get lost), take down the orange signs, pick up the orange flags,...  in essence 'sweep' the course.

So, I lined up at the back of the pack for the 10 mile race:


and we were off!

So for this race instead of being in the back of the pack, I was behind the back of the pack.

It wasn't too long into the race before crossing on of my favorite trail bridges:

favorite trail bridge
But soon it became time to go to work.  The rest of the time I was looking for and removing the following:

Some were easy to remove, some were not.  Also, in the spirit of keeping the trail clean, any other trash that was laying around went into the bag.  I did not come across too many empty GU Energy Gel packs.  The ones I came across, I hope they were accidently dropped by someone and not just thrown on the ground in the woods - but that might be a whole other topic of discussion.

There was a bunch of poison ivy on the trail, I did used Tecnu afterwards - sure hope it works.  I did get lost twice.  This was situational as I was the one taking down the markings.  It was sort of fun - I just had to find the 'next' orange marker on one of the paths,  But it did get to the point of looking at the soil, leaves, pine straw and trying to figure out if a few hundred people had just gone over an area!  It became very obvious when the only sneaker prints were mine : )

The only thing that really went wrong though - was my fault & could have happened anywhere -  I lost my car key on the trail in the woods.  I had it on a carabiner but at some point the key got off.  Long story short - had to call my wife after the race was over to drive the 50 miles and bring her key.  Lesson learned on my part - WILL ALWAYS HAVE SPARE KEY!

So even though I did not race this race, I still did the race and had a pretty good workout from it.
It counts : )

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Race 35 Twisted Ankle Half Marathon

This race was hard.  In my quest to do 100 races, this was number 35.  It was the most difficult, by far.

The day started out very early as we made the 100 mile drive to Sloppy Floyd State Park.  Upon entry into the park we stopped by the park ranger, paid the $5 park entry fee, had no trouble finding a parking spot, and had plenty of time before the race started.

As usual the race director, Becky (remember her name, you'll see why in a bit) called us all together just prior to the start to go over things to be aware of.  Becky does a wonderful job putting this race together, she is one of the best.

Becky giving last minute instructions
I do believe I took away the most important thing she mentioned - just follow the blue strips hanging from trees and you won't get lost.  That was good because numerous times over the 13.1 miles when I was by myself, wondering if still on the right trail - I'd see a hanging blue strip and knew I was not lost in forest : )

We were off.  First mile was around the lake, the second mile was through  the camping area.  In the camping area, smelling the bacon & eggs, I thought - this is borderline cruel and unusual punishment : )  Next we were off into the forest.

At around mile 3 we passed the old Marble Mine, a dip in the reflection pool would have felt pretty good at that point.

Marble Mine on the trail
So at this point the race was still "easy" and "fun".  However, we were quickly approaching Becky's (the RD, the name I mentioned earlier) Bluff.  Becky's Bluff is no joke - it is HARD!  Putting into perspective, here are my mile times for the first few miles:

Mile 1    12:15
Mile 2    13:15
Mile 3    13:45
Mile 4    28:38

There were a few foothills leading up to this elevation gain and your brain starts thinking "oh this must be it", only to discover it's not Becky's Bluff yet.  However, there is no doubt in your mind when you ARE there.
All I can say, it was hard.

At the top of Becky's Bluff we started an out and back rolling elevation changing ridge line.  The inclines were tough but nowhere near as tough as what we just did.  Following are a few shots from on the ridge line:

Seeing the blue ribbon was comforting

I think it was about mile 8 or so, my legs did not want to go anymore.  They were just tired.  The elevation gain really took a lot out of me.  You really start questioning why you're doing this.  Pretty much by this point, mile splits, finishing time, mean nothing.  You simply just want to finish.

One of the really nice parts of this race was on the out and back on the ridge line.  It made me think of a really old advertisement pitch by Honda (I think this was from the 1960s).  Their ad saying was "You meet the nicest people on a Honda".  Well during that out and back I thought "you meet the nicest people in a trail race".  As I was still on the "out" part, many were on the "back" part.  The amount of "good job", "looking good", "doing great", thumbs up,... from the folks as we crossed on the trail was amazing.

I was very happy to finish this race and the pizza & coke afterwards were delicious!  But in hindsight, what I liked the most about this race was the t-shirt we got:

What a great t-shirt!