02 June 2010

I'd Rather Be Tri-ing

The first real triathlon we did was the Capital of Texas Triathlon on Memorial Day in 2006. We've signed up every year since (I say "signed up" because it was canceled in 2007 due to torrential rain). This year, though, we were busy with a different kind of Memorial Day triathlon:

1. Load up our supercool utility cart with leftover stone from around the job site:

[This cart is so fantastic. We bought it from Costco instead of a wheelbarrow, and its four wheels make it so steady. It also tilts to dump the contents and has removable sides for carrying flat items. It's made of a sturdy metal mesh material and has a thick plastic liner for fine cargo, like sand. (We didn't want to hurt the liner with the heavy stones, so we used old wood floor boxes to protect the inside of the cart.)]

2. Organize the stones in the gap between the driveway and the garage, using the different thicknesses of stone (and brick leftover from our landlord's remodel job) to even out the changes in height from the garage to the ground.

3. Fill in a layer of sand between the stones. (After we have laid all of the stone, the fourth step will be to get some fine gravel to lay on top of the sand to create a smooth(ish) surface.)

The goal is to temporarily bridge the gap between the garage and the current driveway. We had planned to replace the old driveway with a new paver driveway, but between additional costs we've incurred along the way and new city requirements that further increased the cost of pavers, we decided to defer the whole driveway issue until later. Since we have all of that extra stone and needed to make a smooth path for the cars to get into the garage, making a temporary "paver" driveway seemed like a fun project...until we spent most of the day working on it. Exhausting. I would much prefer to have spent the morning swimming a mile, biking 40 kilometers, and running 10k.

Today was a new day, with new exciting developments. First, a new view of the exterior:

The fence is gone! I think we're really in the final stretch.

Inside, there were some other surprises. First, the microwave:

I'm not really one to exaggerate, so when I refer to it using phrases like "space age" and "revolutionize our lives," I hope you know I mean it. This microwave has convection, steam, and lots of other fun features -- it's full of specialty trays and pans to use with its different settings -- and that panel where the time is displayed is a touch screen. Do we need all of this? I'm sure we don't. But we love eating well, yet cooking is a challenge for us, so anything that will make it easier to eat better seemed like a good bet.

The microwave wasn't the only appliance to find its way into the kitchen. There was also this sleek-looking dishwasher:

Unfortunately, this is a KitchenAid, and we ordered a Whirlpool. When I told R's right-hand man, R2, he first didn't believe me (he had verified the model numbers when the boxes arrived), and then he suggested that I keep quiet about the mistake (KitchenAid is a more expensive brand). But while the box had the correct model number, somehow it was packed with a completely different dishwasher. (Whirlpool and KitchenAid are owned by the same company, and I guess these models are made in the same plant.) Fancy brand or not, this dishwasher lacked some of the features we want, so we're getting our Whirlpool...and some quick research revealed that this is a bottom-of-the-line KitchenAid, versus the top-of-the-line Whirlpool we ordered. (Coincidentally, our kitchen bar pendant lights arrived last week and were supposed to go in today, but they came with the wrong finish, so we're sending them back, too.)

And now, switching gears, an update on Mr. Dasherton: He seems to be doing better. He saw our regular vet this morning -- he's now on five medicines -- but his appetite and his hopping seem to be improving. Plus he's scored some banana baby food, which is making him really happy.

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