I’ve been feeling great lately. Very positive, content, loving towards all my friends and family, full of energy, sleeping well and waking up refreshed, etc., etc. I thought it was possibly because life had suddenly become fantastic, but I think it’s actually endorphin overdose from all of the extra exercise I’ve been getting. Glen has been very keen on the biking, so we’ve been doing a weekly long bike ride and intermittent short ones. This Monday, we went on a 12 mile bike ride that starts in our neighborhood. We were pleasantly surprised to see that our neighbors J. and W. were the ride captains, so we got the opportunity to get reacquainted while we pedalled along. I was the straggler. This may be because I am, greatly to my surprise, the smallest and weakest member of the family. It may also be because I am the only one riding a poorly maintained twenty-year old bicycle. In any case, it was a great ride, and left me exhausted and sore in the “you’ve had a great workout” way that I became addicted to as a high school athlete.
I felt like I barely survived the ride, but the captains said we did well. Our family was the only group that joined the ride, probably because it was raining slightly, but they said because it is an entry-level ride, many people are starting from absolute zero and have more trouble with it than we did.
In addition, I’ve kept up with twice weekly bikram yoga, and we finally massaged the schedule in such a way that we can walk the dogs every day. On non-yoga days, they get a very long walk, nearly two miles. This causes them to keel over and sleep the whole rest of the day. It’s awesome, and it’s a non-trivial workout for me, too. Also makes for good conversation with the spouse.
In summary, I have endorphin poisoning and am probably insufferable and unfit for the company of normal writers with all of my cheerfulness.
I’m still on my diet/exercise plan, and have been on a plateau for about six weeks, now. You can’t believe this phenomenon until you’ve lived it. It defies the laws of physics. When I added the extra exercise in, I actually gained two pounds and then re-plateau’d at that level.
Yes, I know “muscle weighs more than fat” and blah blah blah. I have indeed lost some inches. But at some point in the slimming down process, the scale really *must” register a lower weight. The weight I am at now would be too high even for a very muscular man of my same height. There is no scenario where I can get back into a size 6 without losing some actual mass. Hence my confusion and impatience and daily yelling at my Tanita, “Oh come on!”
(This is not a request for diet advice. There are 5407 weight reducing diets out there, and everyone has a favorite. My switching to your favorite will not solve this problem. Time and patience will solve it.)
So, a big thing is happening at our house. I’ve been meaning to take some photos and do a big introduction post, but it’s not happening, so I’ll include the short version for now and hopefully the photos will come.
We are doing a major home renovation. Yaaaaaay! *Kermit flail*
This thing has been in the works for over a year. In fact, for record keeping purposes, I looked back at the first payment we made to the designer/builder, and it was over a year ago.
Our home is a 3 br/1 bath colonial built in 1924. It’s a wonderful house, with all of the charm you would expect of a house of that vintage. It’s built into the side of a steep hill, so it has a subterranean garage on one side, and a porch that’s been converted to a three-season-room above the garage.
We’ve found the house awkward to live in because of the driveway/garage/porch situation. The driveway is a narrow chute with rock retaining walls on both sides, probably built with a Model A in mind, and the garage is also very narrow. We were able to park our minivan in it at one point, but you can barely open the doors. All of our cars have scratches and chips in the paint from the rock retaining walls.
It goes without saying that the tiny garage does not have any space for storage, power tools, bikes, etc.
The porch is a nice idea. French doors lead from the living room to the porch. However, the flat roof leaks, in spite of the fact that we’ve repaired it once already, and it’s drafty as hell. When we moved in, there was in fact no actual lock preventing someone from walking into the house through the porch. I’m not kidding! We moved into the house in 2001. The porch had a flimsy storm door only, and the french doors leading into the living room were theoretically lockable with skeleton keys. You know, the universal kind you can buy in any antique store? One of the first things we did was install a proper exterior door on the porch so that we could lock it.
However, the whole porch thing has driven me crazy ever since. It’s a tantalizing space that seems like it could be wonderful living/storage space. In reality, it’s a junk magnet that is unpleasantly drafty in the cold season, and overly hot in the summer season. I could go on and on about the porch.
So, in our remodel, we are tearing out the garage and porch completely. (Aiyee!) We will be putting in a new, wider driveway, and a larger garage. On the main floor of the house, where the old porch was, we’ll have a family room that matches the garage footprint, with (oh god yes) a MAIN FLOOR BATHROOM. *more Kermit flailing*
I’m really excited about that bathroom. As our son just turned into a teenager, with all of the increased grooming that implies, Brent and I are slowly losing access to the house’s single bathroom. Many peepee dances ensue The first floor bathroom will have a large shower stall instead of a tub. This will give us a way to wash dogs without dragging them upstairs. It will also be handicapper accessable, so the whole area can be turned into a convalescent suite if one of us should become bedridden or if we need to provide care for an older family member. We’ve been through elder care already, with the world’s least accessible house, so we’re very conscious of how difficult that can be. (My mother fell down our stairs not once but twice when she was living with us. I have huge regrets over not choosing a ranch-style house back in 2001. So many problems we had in her care would have been solved by living in a one story home.)
On the second floor of the house, above the family room, we’re putting in a master suite. There will be yet another bathroom. (Three bathrooms, OMG!) The room will also be big enough for a queen-sized bed AND reasonable furniture and closet space for storing clothes. (I don’t know where these 1924 people put their dresser and chest of drawers. Half of my clothes live in the guest bedroom/office.)
So, that’s how our summer is shaping up. The past couple of months have involved many design meetings with the builder (in process), figuring out financing (done), applying for permits (done), cleaning out the garage and porch (in process), storing or divesting excess items (in process), and pre-shopping for materials and finishes (a never ending task). Brent is only working part time, and he will be GC on the project, and will be working as part of the crew for the demolition and framing.
We already have major challenges in the initial phase with our hilltop site–where to put the dumpster? How to get materials in and out? The sequence of tasks needs to be carefully planned because of access limitations. Brent and the builder are working on those problems together. We also have some potential surprises waiting for us when we get stuff torn up and dug out. We don’t actually know where some of the utilities come in and connect to the house, because the city’s records for 1924 are sketchy. Apparently, it’s also not clear at this point how the plumbing for the new house will connect to the old house. The plumber will have to figure it out later, when things have been exposed and the framing is in.
However, the plans are approved, and we are braced for “known unknowns” and budget overruns, so we are going to cross our fingers and take the plunge. We’ll probably be breaking ground in about two weeks.
It’s very exciting, but will probably also keep us busy and stressed for the whole summer. That’s where endorphin poisoning can be very helpful. Yay, endorphin poisoning! Pass the checkbook. Whee!