Friday, February 27, 2015

Project House Update: And Now For a Coat of Paint

I know I've complained a lot about tiling the fireplace, but it is official! All the tiles are up! I wrote the whole post and realized I had left that out! That last time you saw it, it was almost there, but patchy. Not anymore! Now onto the next problem with it! Yay...

In the continuing saga of the fireplace we will never finish, did you ever expect paint to come into the picture? When we started this project, I didn't either, but it will hopefully act as a much needed band-aid. Let me explain.

The original facade of the fireplace had tiles around the opening. When we chiseled them off, it took some of the material off the inside of the opening. 

Dan's original plan was to mix up some grout that matches the color of the tile and coat the edge of the opening, all the way to the fire housing part (what is that called? The part where the fire actually sits. The part that is past the opening.)

We made a couple of attempts to match the color and it wasn't going well. We were close, but not close enough where I comfortable coating a four inch fireplace section with it.

I came up with an idea that would minimize the amount of grout we would need. We'd paint the entire interior of the fireplace and just grout right around the edge of the fireplace. Just the first inch, inch and a half, into the opening. It would be enough grout to round the jagged tile edge and cover the damage from removing the old tiles.

Rustoleum makes this great paint that's meant to handle high heats. {Sidenote: the high heat paint we used was basically their spray paint in liquid form, so the fumes were quite intense. If you plan on using it, paint outside if possible. Since we had to be indoors, we opened every window in the house and had all the fans on, with a box fan pointed directly into the fireplace.}

It's amazing how one simple coat of black paint unified the interior of the fireplace. It's almost two dimensional now.

The paint looks kind of streaky in the pictures, but That's mainly reflection from the flash. There is some streaks, but you don't notice it in real life. Also, the thought of having to endure the fumes for another coat of paint is not worth it right now.

We'll have to grout a small strip around the opening, but I'm much more comfortable trying to color match a small strip of grout than a thick one.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sunrise (which is way to early in January) at Old Tucson

You know what I've been doing for the past few months? Training.

No, really.

The idea of running another race became jammed in my brain. I picked a race far enough out that I could work up to it, and then I did it. All the working up and all the racing.

Miraculously, more than actually running the race, I kept to my training schedule.

Seriously. I did. I didn't miss a single run.

It wasn't much, but three runs a week, progressively getting harder. And while I can't say I successfully completed all of them, I tried. Like, really freakin' hard. Through Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's and birthdays and visiting to see Dan's parents over the break, I ran three times a week.

This race wasn't anything fancy or difficult. It was a four mile trail race through Old Tucson Studios, the place where all the old westerns used to be filmed, but now, the place us locals take our out-of-town relatives.

And I did it. Ran all four miles on a ridiculously chilly January Sunday morning. I even beat my goal time of 48 minutes (my 12 min/mile pace) with a time of 46:24. Not impressive for a runner, but impressive enough for me. {Sidenote: it was a fun run, but I don't think I'll do it again. Because it was a trail course, it was a little too claustrophobic for me to be comfortable.}

Although, I did start to feel like a runner in the last few weeks of training. Mainly, unfortunately, due to my injury. I tweaked something in my hip and with each run, it got tweakier, if you know what I mean. By the day the race rolled around, I was already starting to limp a bit. However, it didn't hinder my running, so I pushed through. Four miles of running made my hip its tweakiest, though.

Afterward, I limped pretty severely for a week and a half. That was a fun conversation to have with each and every one of my nosy coworkers. Yes, I'm fine. I just pushed myself too hard running because I am terribly out of shape and this is my body rebelling against me.

Several weeks later, the limp is almost 100% gone. Last week, I started working out again, anything but running, to let my hip get some additional healing. This week is the scary week, though, because if I plan on trying the Cinco De Mayo run again this year, I have got to start training again. I've got to add two miles to the end of the Old Tucson distance, which will not be an easy feat for me.

We'll see how it goes. Getting a hip replacement at 28 years old doesn't exactly seem reasonable in order to run a 10k...

Thursday, February 5, 2015

A Brief Fling with Louisiana

Have you heard that I'm a wedding photographer? No? That's because I'm not.

It all started a couple of months ago. My uncle sent out invitations to his upcoming wedding and my mom, sister, and I joked about going. No that the wedding was a joke to us, but because the wedding was on the other side of the country and, to be honest, my family isn't the fly-to-a-wedding sort of people. Anyway, somehow the joke spiraled until it became a reality. I found myself in my parent's living room, booking plane tickets, hotel room, and rental car for a weekend trip.

And then it spiraled even more. Upon RSVPing to the wedding, my uncle asked my mom to be his photographer. Let's make this very clear: my mom is not a photographer. She is an artist and takes a lot of very pretty facebook pictures, but she is not a photographer. She couldn't exactly say no to the request, so I tried to take some of the pressure off of her by volunteering to take pictures as well. The majority of my luggage for the three day trip was my camera equipment.

The one little bit of site-seeing we got to do was a swamp tour. If you have the chance to do one, I highly recommend it. We had the whole boat just for the three of us. Since it was winter, all the reptiles were out sunning themselves on logs, so we saw so much wildlife. My mom had done a swamp tour in the summer once and didn't see a thing!

Here's the lovely little swamp we motorboated about.

My mom, on the boat, enjoying a beauty day in a swamp.

Our tour guide/boat driver. I want to say his name was Gary? He was very dynamic and friendly.

Giant cyprus trees

The first little alligator we saw.

The deeper we went into the swamp, the bigger the gators got...

...until we came across this giant guy.

He had to be at least 12 feet long. I love the neck on him. He's a real life dinosaur!

After the tour, we had just enough time to grab some Hardee's and eat in the hotel room while getting ready for the wedding.

It was a nice wedding. Minus the two and half hour drive both way, I had a lot of fun. I took over 900 pictures, met some cousins I had never met before, and had a slumber party with my mom, my sister, and my aunt.

Makes me sad we don't do things like this more often.