Monday, December 26, 2011

Work It!

   Now that the basement floor is waxed and burnished, we can start putting the gym together. We've had the mat flooring on site for some time, sitting in shipping boxes. I ordered gray and red. When I opened the boxes, I saw that the red was much more orange than the red paint on the wall. Oh well.
   We ordered the floor mats on-line from American Floor Mats. They were shipped very promptly. The mats are 2'x2'x5/8". They are textured on the upside, smooth on the floor side, and they are a dream to install. 
   In 45 minutes we had the floor together. Each square has removable edge pieces on two sides, so after it was all together I went around and alternated color strips for the edge. We also decided to make it just a bit bigger, so I ordered a few more squares. It will just be a matter of pulling off the edge strips and putting down the new squares.

   Ed had the gym equipment down in the barn, which was not a fun place to work out. Freezing cold in the winter (literally) and hot in the summer, it was also a hike in the rain, which around her is most of the year.
He had to disassemble it, load the pieces into the Gator, haul it up to the basement, and put it back together. This meant not losing any parts or pulleys and not forgetting where anything went. It's old and creaky, but then, so are we. For $60.00 at a garage sale, it will do until Ed decides to upgrade.
   I ordered an inversion table and roman chair (back extensions) on line, so he also had to assemble those. We  already had the recumbent bicycle.  We still need a good set of dumbbells, a bench press, and one or two other items, but for now, this is enough to keep us tired.

 And this is why we work out. I love to cook, and I love to eat. It would take no time at all for me to have to step sideways to get through the door. So, grumbling all the way, I manage to haul myself downstairs and climb onto the bike. There is plenty of room to do yoga, or heaven forbid, zumba. And in the basement, nobody can see.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Yuletide Is Upon Us

   Winter solstice will be this week, and while we've had a unusually dry and clear winter so far, the days are very short. We are in a valley, and even though we are surrounded by hills rather than mountains, it definitely cuts down on hours of sunlight. by the 21st, the sun won't clear the ridge until 9:20 in the morning. It will skirt the edge of the hills, and set by 4:15 in the afternoon. After that, the days just get longer.

   I managed to finish the eagle transom for the front door this week. Hopefully Ed can get it installed this afternoon. I made sketches for the sidelights, but I'll need to order glass before I start those. I don't think I have enough matching glass to do both sidelights to match the transom.  there isn't a supply store within a reasonable distance. Having glass shipped is always a risky proposition. Sometimes it gets here in one piece, other times...not so much.

   Ed has been putting coats of wax on the basement floor. One coat of Butcher's Ironstone and six coats of Butcher's Amplify, and he'll call it good. Then he will use a burnisher (basically a floor buffer) to complete the last step. The wax is a sacrificial surface that protects the stain on the concrete. Since the basement won't get daily use (except to the gym), it should last a long time.  It's been a long process to finish this floor but he's done a great job and it looks gorgeous.

   Last week we had the back area graded. We wanted to get some protection down over the dirt before the rains returned. I took several bales of hay and spread them over the fresh dirt. Hopefully it will slow down the debridement by heavy rain, will compost in, and may just leave enough seed to start some grass. As an added bonus, it keeps a lot of the mud off Abby's feet.
   It may actually rain next week.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Tis The Season

   We had two weeks of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, warm being a relative term. Ed has learned to schedule projects based on the weather-of-the-week.
   We can't get the house finaled until the porch rails are complete (among other things). In order to preserve the view off the back porch, Ed plans to have a large staircase, spanning several of the back columns, come down to grade. In order to do that, he has to actually have grade, hence the project.    Enter Sam Longtain, his equipment, and Digger, his dog.
   Digger was a busy little guy, chasing the tractor, birds, anything that moved, and generally investigating absolutely everything, all while staying out of the way of the equipment.
   The blocks are made by the local cement company. When trucks come back with a partial load, they pour these blocks that they sell for retaining walls. I have no idea how much they weigh but I'll bet if one landed on your foot, or in this case, hand, it would really really hurt. Ed's right hand is still swollen and sore from his injury two months ago. It really made me nervous to watch him position these blocks, which were swinging like a modern day mace.   Happily, neither dog nor man were maimed or crushed.
   The blocks are not what one would term "architecturally attractive", but after some creative landscaping, they will be acceptable. Not only does it create a landing for the stairs, but it makes the newly terraced lower area easier to mow with the rider mower.  
   After the blocks were installed, Ed hauled in many loads of fill dirt with the help of the Gator, to finish back-filling the blocks. Once the weather turned cold and drizzly again, he went back to shingling the back columns. He has one left to do on the back of the house. Of course, there are still the eight left on the garage, but that's another day.
   I've been working sporadically on the stained glass piece for the front door transom. I bought a pre-cut beveled eagle cluster two years ago in anticipation of this piece. Unfortunately I used the given dimensions for the transom, which were for the entire transom, not the glass portion. That meant I had to nose the eagle down a bit to fit. It still works, but isn't quite as dramatic as I would have liked. I have most of the glass cut, and will start foiling this week.
     I love Christmas. Finally, after two years, I have room to take out my Christmas stuff. I greeted each piece like a beloved friend as I gently unwrapped ornaments from their tissue blankets. I have one glass ornament that Mom gave me when I was first on my own. A hand-made ornament from a good friend, now passed on. A little red stocking ornament, knitted by Ed's Mom. Dressing up the tree is a bittersweet task, filled with warm and happy memories. Life, like winter, is fleeting. It should be lived with flushed cheeks, laughter, rewarding work and quiet rest.
   So they all went on the tree, 50 year-old glass ornaments and  new LED lights. It's the first Christmas tree in the new house, and that makes it special indeed. The cats, including the new one, haven't tried to climb it or knock it down....yet. This year I'll buy a few new ornaments. Someday, God willing, they'll be 50 years old and on someone else's tree.