Dave's 30th BDay present to me. (See what I'm talking about)
Thanks in advance, Dave!

 Oh man, I hope they make this happen. (UPDATED) (See what I'm talking about)
Too bad it would cost a fortune, and probably nullify any insurance you might carry. But still, how sweet?!

UPDATE: Here's a video of the world-record jump Pablo and I discuss in the comments below:

True story: he actually did get on a surfboard after landing in the water, and surfed all the way home, breaking several other records.</lie>

 Moved in.

So, we're mostly done moving in (still a ton of stuff in the garage, some stuff still in the kitchen at the old place), but don't have much room to live - really the only rooms that one can comfortably spend time in are the guest bedroom (complete with tiny full-size-bed) and the kitchen. And the deck.

As you can see in the album linked above (just click on the picture, natch), my office is currently in the garage. The drywall guys have been pretty good about coming (came in on Saturday, but took Monday off), and three of them were in today for a 1/2 day.

I got the internets working on Sunday (DSL), but for some reason I can't get the *phone* to work. Probably one of the components (DSL filter and phone surge protector) I bought, I guess I just have to futz some more (or return it and get a functioning unit). But I'm a little anxious about futzing as, well, like I said - the internets are working, and I'd hate to risk screwing that up.

Anyway, things are going pretty well. The drywall guys look like they're nearing completion downstairs (with the exception of the laundry room, which they seem to be ignoring), which bodes well for getting my butt in a REAL office eventually.

More updates as they happen. For the remainder of the week, I think we'll just be focusing on getting the rest of our stuff out of the old place, and then cleaning it before the new tenant arrives Sunday.


 Last post from a rental!

So while we still have internet I figured I'd blog really quickly.

I spent all evening (until now) at the house, pulling up more carpet, vacuuming, and tearing off recently-discovered BRIGHT ORANGE wallpaper that had been painted over. And cleaning the garage, so we at least have one place that isn't under construction to put all our crap.

Dana works tomorrow morning, and is going to drop me off to pick up the truck at about quarter after 8. My helper is showing up at our rental at 9, which gives me some time for last-minute packing of stuff before it's time to really start working for the day.

Supposedly our phone (and DSL) will be switched before 5pm tomorrow, but even if it is I doubt we'll find out - I haven't yet dropped a line from the phone box outside to our new server room and phone patch panel. That will definitely happen by Monday, though, as I have to work again (sadly).

I'm really tired, and going to shower and then go to sleep.

The picture at the top, as always, is from explodingdog.com

 Looming move
So yesterday a drywall guy showed up. I ran to the house over lunch to get some cleaning done (which reminds me, I need to pick up more vacuum bags) and there he was in the (to-eventually-become-a) den mixing up joint compound. Booya. I dropped off the stuff I was bringing over (like D's bike) and told him to help himself to some beers in the fridge (bribery works really well with contractors) and skedaddled.

Came back in the afternoon to get cleaning done again, and filled up the shop-vac I borrowed lickety-split with insulation and other debris I'm sure the attentive reader would have noticed previously in our pictures. Then I started tearing up the carpet in the living room, which went a little more quickly than I expected (though not quite as quickly as I would have liked). Today I'll be returning to get rid of the rest of the carpet we're removing and get the house as close to move-in-ready as possible (which is not very much. Basically, I think I'll just clean the kitchen).

The drywall guy who was there yesterday had been dropped off by his buddies, so he couldn't run away when I came back over. When they came by to pick him up, I offered all of THEM beer, and then magically one guy was able to speak English and asked me some questions about the job (yes! it worked!). So, they'll be coming back today to finish patching holes and putting up walls, and the guy who was there with the tape and mud yesterday will be back to probably sand and mud again (then after one more sanding, we're done). Then I can use the paint sprayer I borrowed to prime basically everything in the house. My goal now is to have the office "finished" by Monday before I have to work again (from my new office!). Then I'll finish the downstairs, then attack the upstairs, probably starting in the bedroom so we can get in there ASAP. Until such a time as at least the downstairs is put together, I think most if not all of our furniture will be living in the basement. we'll probably bring the dining room table upstairs so we have a place to eat, but that's a piece of junk anyway so it won't ruin the illusion that we're living in a construction zone.

Then I think we'll just go room-by-room and "finish" them one at a time. And by finish, I mean: paint and put in floors. Trim will be left for sometime in the distant future. Our closet won't get finished for god-knows-how-long, but once we paint and get floors everywhere we can bring the furniture in from the garage - a big step.

Tonight I unhook the office and tomorrow Qwest is supposed to switch our service to the new place. I have all the necessary wires RUN for hooking up the computers, but none of them are terminated anywhere, so that might take some time to complete. I'll get things up and running as quickly as possible though so we can let you know how things are going. Hopefully the first update will be sometime this weekend.

It's going to be a busy, busy weekend.

 Sometimes I really miss Illinois. (See what I'm talking about)
To think that the state legislature tackles such important resolutions warms my heart.

To call myself a member of this esteemed organization makes me proud.


 Blog Already!

So Mark's been nagging me for long times to finally get around and blog, so here you go.

16 1/7 weeks preggo today, and I'm feeling pretty good. Here's a recent ultrasound picture for all of you.

I get tired pretty easily, and achy at night, but that and some nasty acne outbreaks are really the worst of it so far. My pants don't fit so well anymore, and I'm kinda in that limbo stage of clothes don't fit but it's too early to wear hot and sexy maternity gear. Mark's a lucky man. I feel like an old lady with how much I could complain.

But even though I'm not the hugest fan of actually being pregnant, the whole idea of being a mom and having a family makes up for everything. I'm glad I have a good nine months to get used to the idea, because it does take some getting used to. But everything has really gone well so far. We just heard back on the screening tests for Down's, Spina Bifida, and a couple other weirdo genetic diseases, and everything was normal. We have our big ultrasound where they measure and look at everything in about a month, which should be good times. We're not finding out the baby's sex until he or she comes out of my va-jay-jay, so we've taken to switching pronouns by month. For June, baby is referred to as "she", which has me thinking I'm carrying a girl, but next month when we switch back to "he", I'm sure I'll be positive it's a boy again. Although all the Old Wives Tales say I'm having a boy (very little morning sickness, bad acne, carrying the baby lower in my belly--they showed that on the ultrasound last time--), and I just like telling Mark I'm sure it's a boy because of this mostly because it drives him crazy. And that's always fun.

Work is awesome, my contract as an employee is officially up July 12th, and we've already met to discuss me buying into the practice as a full partner. This is a huge deal and kicks major ass.

Gearing up for a big road trip next month back to North Dakota, planning to see Missy and her family (with a new baby who is gonna pop out any day now), and spend some time with my parents, brother, and his family at my parents' lake cabin in Minnesota. Should be way good times, well, as much as can be had when I'm not drinking with my dad. Doesn't look so good for the pediatrician's kid to have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, but man, I do miss me microbrews.....

Mark's picking at his feet right now and that's grossing me out. I have to go make him stop.

 Drywall! (and, late night)

So, as you can see, the drywall guys showed up. Click on the picture above for a couple pics (not nearly all of them).

I got to the house yesterday about 4:30 and walked in to see a guy standing, well, right where this picture is looking. Told him everything looked great, asked how long he had been there, and realized he didn't speak a lick of English. Oh well.

So, he escaped upstairs and I kept looking around. I eventually made my way upstairs (EVERYTHING was covered in drywall!) and found the guy from downstairs with two others. Then they kind of wandered out of the room and I kept checking stuff out. They were seriously almost done (hanging the board; they still have to tape and put joint compound everywhere, and sand everything down and make it pretty). By the time I made it downstairs again, I realized they were gone - I had scared them away!!

Anyway, the only two problems were: they drywalled over the fireplace surround, which I had yet to put insulation back in, and they tied what was supposed to be a free-standing column into a nearby wall.

I had my work cut out for me last night. Actually, I didn't get home until after 11, and only that early because I begged Wes to come help when he could. Last night I got behind the fireplace (tight squeeze to be sure!) and insulated, having to remove only two small panels of drywall that they had just put up, and then insulated the laundry room wall (between the laundry and den) as a friend recommended to cut down on noise from one to the other. I'm convinced now that is the best insulated wall in the house, funny enough.

Anyway, we also had to frame a wall for the 1/2 bath, put a stud in the ceiling so they could drywall the laundry room, install a final speaker, build speaker boxes into the den wall (for in-wall speakers eventually), and all kinds of other fun stuff.

The only thing really remaining for me to do is to build a column that mirrors the support one (seen in the picture above, holding up the big beam and mistakenly attached to the laundry/den wall), and then they can have at it as far as the drywall goes. Hopefully they can finish this week (though I'm not holding my breath) so we can prime (and paint?) and start on the downstairs floor this weekend.

It's starting to look like a real house! Finally! (and just in time, too!).

Anyway, D has been busting her butt packing (the guest room downstairs is done, lots of stuff on the main floor is packed, etc), and I am one exhausted puppy.

I'm gonna run now (I have a real job, which of course has been major-busy lately), but feel free to comment away!

 House Update (UPDATED)
Sorry, no time to illustrate this post with a picture, trying to keep it quick.

After Friday's trip to Home Depot (is there a "you will spend several hundred dollars more than you think" rule there?), came home to find the plumber at work again. Yay. He mostly finished, and would be done if it weren't for a hose barb that couldn't be re-placed, and therefore had to be replaced. I got some bad work done Friday (in drilling through the top plate of an existing wall to drop some wire for the home audio control, I clipped a power line for a light, which took about 4x as long to fix as the initial task. That really sucked.). However, I got in touch with the home audio people about another issue I was having and got that resolved lickety-split.

Friday night we had dinner with Dana's partners. Instead of running home to shower and change, I stayed at the house and took my first shower there. Can I just say, Holy Awesome! The water felt like it was going to rip the skin right off my body, which makes for the ultimate shower. I was more than pleased. Dana brought me a shirt and we went over to Ron's for dinner and discussion.

Saturday, at 8am I met Wes at Ron's place. Ron is expanding one of the rooms in his basement, and has probably 800 ft^3 of land excavated and the foundation of the new room poured already. But there was no way to get from one room to the next, so we had to take the opening for a window that already existed and turn it in to the opening for a (double) door. Unfortunately there was a solid 1' wide concrete wall in the way. So Ron rented a masonry chainsaw and a huge hammer drill and the three of us went to work. I spent most of my time on the other (in-)side of the wall with the shop vac, inhaling carbon monoxide and sucking up the water that the hose attached to the masonry chainsaw was throwing in the room. Fun stuff.

Anyway, the deal was, we would go to Ron's in the morning, then Ron and Wes would come and we would finally remove the flue for the old coal furnace, which did nothing but take up space in the house. I got released early (when the wall removal became a two-man job) and went home to continue my wiring. Wes showed up a couple hours later and he and I were able to get rid of the flue alone, so we did that and patched up the hole in the roof. Then Dana came over with lunch. Burritos!

After lunch I got back to work. More cable and phone and network installation. (I'm running out of network cable REALLY fast). Went home about 7pm in a really bad mood. I'm pretty sure I was dehydrated, and certain I was exhausted.

Sunday was more of the same, but I started at 9 instead of 8. Tore up my hands doing some difficult (but necessary) electrical work - adding another outlet in the office that I know I would regret not adding if I didn't do it, and switching the washing machine to a different circuit - as it was, it was sharing a circuit with the TV (and stereo, etc) and lights in the den, and I didn't want the operation of the washer interfering with that stuff. Successfully switched it to a circuit that feeds some lights and outlets in the garage. No problem!

So, things are progressing. I'm approaching the end of my work (though there's still lots left), and the only problem (which isn't minor) anymore is the lack of any response from the drywall guy. Today begins the search for a new one.

Again, I'll get pictures before we get the drywall up, but until we have to I really don't feel like spending the time. Too much to do!

UPDATE: At lunch I left to go meet Shorty, our drywall guy, on his walkthrough. The plumber was there putting in the new hose barb and is now DONE! And the even better news: Shorty will be coming over TONIGHT to start on the drywall. I'm going to finish wiring downstairs (all that remains is running speaker cable for future surround) and put up the 1/2 bath wall ASAP so they can finish drywall down there first. Then: Paint and floors! In the meantime, he's going to begin upstairs. After I told Dana this, her message consisted of: "woo-hoo!! We're gonna have walls!!!"

I second that.

I guess I have to start taking pictures before they cover everything up, huh?

 Housework update (yay! Exciting!)

Before I start, let me draw your attention to the most recent featured video (to your right. Just click on the words). I want to thank Scott for this gem - every couple years I think of this video but can't ever remember the name. Jermaine is my favorite. And the moonwalking skeleton at the end. Sweet.

Anyway, to the house.

Tomorrow, I leave for my (hopefully final) trip to Home Depot to pick up the special order closet doors and other random stuff (maybe some lighting fixtures, definitely some new outlets, that kind of thing). Also probably will grab a handrail for the stairway bannister we're adding.

Anyway, I'm OK with how work is going except for two things: the plumber and drywall guys I'm depending on have been incommunicado lately. I need the plumber to come and move some pipes around before we can frame up the last (1/2 bath) wall, and as soon as I'm done wiring we need the drywall guy to come, so we can paint and then start the floors. Our moving day is fast approaching.

The picture above is way out of date (from before Memorial Day weekend). The office wall is now up (and we'd be looking through it towards the den/laundry), and there are many more holes in the ceiling for wiring. Also, the infamous can lights for which I am so darn proud.

Remaining to do:
  • Wire for the audio controls and network in the kitchen/dining room,
  • Audio controls for the deck,
  • Wire speakers for the deck (this one can really wait)
  • Wire the audio controls and speaker for the master bath,
  • Wire the network/phone/tv for the bedrooms and living room.
I also REALLY want to pre-wire for surround in the den since I've already torn it apart and it will require mucho patching, and we're (supposedly!) having the drywall guy come in to patch up everything anyway, so a couple more holes shouldn't make too much of a difference. Most of the electrical wiring is complete - I just have to reconnect stuff in the nursery, add a switch over the (non-existent) mantle, and probably add another set of outlets in the office (one can never have too many). I hope to complete all the wiring by the end of the weekend, so we're ready for the drywall guy. But again, we need the plumber guy to come first too (so we can frame up that last wall, and the faux column).

Otherwise, we have to pick out paint (and then paint) and install the floors. Lots to do in little time. The stairway railing won't get completed before we move, but that's OK as it will make it easier to get cumbersome things up the stairs.

I have to get back to work now, but wanted to post since Dana was supposed to yesterday but didn't get around to it. But she's pregnant so I can't give her too much shit.


 Weekend report, lights, and Big News.
What a weekend. I probably spent almost 20 hours working on the house, and though Joe Layman couldn't tell by walking in, if you had been in the house before we started to tear it apart, you could tell. From Thursday through Sunday, I added 16 recessed lights (14 6" lights, 2 4" lights) and changed a TON of electrical wiring as well (to accommodate the new lights and our new needs/desires). And my fingers took the brunt of the abuse. Half of my cuticles start to bleed about halfway through the day and I have cuts and scrapes just about everywhere. BUT, almost everything is working again, and all the lights make a HUGE difference in the house. Things are starting to come together.

Which is a good thing - because as the counter up to the right says (as of this writing), we only have 18 days before moving day. The guy we're getting to do the plumbing should be in sometime this week (the earlier the better), and I hope to finish the rest of the wiring (electrical and otherwise) by Sunday. Then we can get the drywall guy in, paint, and install the floors. The floors for downstairs came in last week and are beautiful - the whole floor is going to be so transformed the previous owners would never recognize it. The half bath is going to remain gutted for now so that when we do (eventually) finish it, we can run wires and plumbing where we need to, then we'll drywall/paint/finish that room. But with the door closed, nobody will ever know.

The "to-do" list is still pretty substantial, but diminishing, which is very encouraging. Details are starting to materialize (that is, I'm becoming more acutely aware of the little things as the "big things" are narrowing down), and after installing the lighting in the living room yesterday (and moving a shit ton of debris from the middle of the room to the corners) I realized just how big the room is going to be, and how much bigger it will seem since we have no furniture for it. :)

After we move in there will still be a ton of work to do (trim, built-ins, a mantle, the aforementioned 1/2 bath) but those are things we can live without until I get around to them. After the major stuff is done, I'll probably take a break from house work and move on to yard work, which is sorely needed.

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to do most of the heavy lifting, painting, and weed-poisoning myself, as..

Dana is pregnant!

Yup. We're just loopy enough to bring another Fitzgerald into the world. Her due date is December 3rd, and we're totally excited. We're 14 weeks along today (everything is in weeks in Pregnancy Land), which leaves us about 26 more to go (basically, a third of the way). We're not going to (purposely) find out if it's a boy or a girl, and the next big home project (probably before the built-ins or a mantle) will be the nursery. If I can find the entry with the ultimate nursery, I'll post a link in the comments, because that's my current plan, girl or boy. I also saw a pretty cool (if UBER nerdy) one here today as well.

Another quick trip to Home Depot is in the cards for sometime this week (I'll be taking a half day) to pick up the doors we ordered for our master closet and some other odds and ends, and I'll probably be taking a lot of pictures before the drywall guy comes so I have a record of what I've done (and where wires are hiding, etc). I'll post an album when I do that.

That's it for now! Back to work for me!