Wednesday, March 28, 2012

RIP Methuselah

This past weekend we discovered my turtle, Methuselah, dead in his tupperware dish of water. I can't help but blame myself a little bit because maybe with the unseasonably warm spring weather, he came out of hibernation earlier than usual (mid-April). His routine was to hibernation for about 7 months out of the year.

At around 21-22 years old, I'd say he lived a good life. I got him around 11 years ago from (bear with me) my friend Kristen's former co-worker's daughter, who had had him for 10 years and was leaving for college. He arrived with the name Max, but I quickly renamed him. I've always kind of thought it was a little weird for me, an adult, to own him, but I was happy to give him a home. He will be missed for his gentle, quiet presence and also entertainment value to Harriet. She just keeps repeating "Turtle go bye-bye" all day long. Clearly Meth left an impression on everyone he met.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sculpture Park Fun

Yesterday we biked over to the sculpture to meet friends, enjoy the nice weather and run some energy out of the girls. Harriet and her best buddy Lauren had a ton of fun walking around the park and checking out the art.

Obviously we had to take their picture in front of the cherry, as touristy and cliche as it is.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Basement Slide

What? A basement slide? I've come up with all sorts of silly ideas and projects. Typically once I describe the ideas to Christina she's pretty straightforward about giving it a green light or a red light. When I mentioned I wanted to cut a hole in a wall to use as an entrance to a slide into our basement I didn't get the immediate "no" I expected. In fact, she said it sounded cool and asked I show her what I was thinking. Recently one of my old college roommates was in town and we bounced a few ideas around on how to make it work.

Fast forward four days and the above basement wall had a 23 x 18" hole cut (just to the right of the stairs, level with the landing) and I put blocking in place to support mounting a 10' slide.

The landing is off the kitchen and connects to the basement stairs and to an exterior door on the side of the house. Although it took a bit to clear it all out, I was never worried about doing any structural damage.

I researched different slides for about a week. Sheet metal slides are typically custom made and more expensive. They also require more upkeep and framing. Plastic appeared the best bet. The range in pricing and quality was pretty big though. Menards, Do It Best Hardware, Toys R Us all carry three generic slides. A tube, wave, and straight slide in two pieces. At one point I thought about buying a used playground set on craigslist and just using the slide in the basement, then setting up the rest at my father-in-law's or donating it. Then I found the top quality Rainbow Play Systems brand (showroom above) had a 40% off sale ending in a couple days. I took an afternoon off work to drive out and buy the slide.

Pretty tight fit in the Honda. The sales rep was pretty funny about everything one he realized he couldn't upsell me on other stuff. As I left he said, "You're a good dad."

Here is the entrance to the slide. We attached soft batting underneath that black "pleather" so that it would be like a cushion in case kids bumped their heads out of the shoot. We're also thinking about painting a sign on the wall to the left of the entrance.
Christina painted a super fun mural on the basement wall. Above is the mural in progress. She used all the leftover paint samples from when we couldn't decide on walls colors for upstairs.

Lots of trim work, cutting, sanding, painting, and caulking later, I attached the slide and we were ready to go for one excited little rider.

An adult can fit through the hole and the slide can hold up to 350 lbs, but this is really just for kids. Right now Harriet needs us to hold her as it is pretty fast moving. I'm sure it won't be long before she'll stop going down the stairs all together. At least until she's 8 or I install the fireman's pole (just kidding).

Monday, March 05, 2012

Paint ambivalence

A few weeks ago we painted the family room, kitchen and foyer. It was a tough decision choosing colors. We made numerous trips to home depot and bought 16 samples jars before committing to the colors. I painted these swatches and we debated them for weeks. We finally settled on what you see below. I know this seems kind of silly, but we are not painting these walls again anytime soon.

Here is a before of the foyer that we took last summer before we did the majority of the crown molding.

We finally decided on this color and then Steve and our neighbor Ryan put up the last of the crown molding. We got the armoire from craigslist a few months ago. It is nice fit because it is giant and helps fill the room that largely goes unused. All we need to do now is get a rug.

Here is an after for the kitchen, see previous color below. The grayish blue really helps to brighten up the room. I am not a fan of earth tones and have wanted to paint this since we moved in, but inertia and other projects set in. Finally we couldn't take all the water stains on the walls since it was painted in a flat finish (yes, in a kitchen).

Before color of the kitchen and the family room.

After pic and I finally put up this artwork.

The family room was probably the most work because there was so much patching to be done. There were a ton of cracks, big and small, in the walls. I am happy not to have to look at them every day. We painted the room a light gray, as you can see. Wait, is this an earth tone? I like to think of it as a neutral. Anyways, it brightens up the room and seems to compliment the blue from the kitchen. Now the carpet looks mismatched, but it isn't the greatest quality to begin with so perhaps we will replace it sooner rather than later.

Another shot of the room.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Fulton get together

Last Friday I helped plan a get together with my elementary classmates. About 18 students and one teacher got together at the Red Dragon to reminisce and catch up. I know 18 people sounds kind of pathetic, but it was unofficial. Also we only gave people a month in advance to plan for it. Two people flew in for it, so it hope it didn't disappoint! It was a great night and it felt like no time had passed even though it was over 21 years. Someone there said it best when he said that it was great to get together with a group of people who truly know you. It was interesting to see where life as taken everyone. Hoping we can make it an annual event!

The group minus three people who came later.

Thursday, March 01, 2012