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Friday, May 30, 2008

Signed up and ready to work.

Yesterday Robin and I signed up for a fitness challenge. The grand prize is a cruise for 2. We'll win it. :)
We've been visiting the gym more regularly than I ever have before and paying the money for a trainer has its benefits, but this will be different as we will need to devote ourselves to a different thought process on living, sleeping, eating and activity. All this in the midst of our continuing preparations for our upcoming move. Well, if you're going to do something .. might as well throw in all the chips !

Work (work at work, that is) has always been a particulary challenging obstacle to staying in any kind of regular routine. Starting your work shift at a different time each day keeps you on your heels and never seems to give the chance to develop a daily regimine of exercise, meal planning, or consistent sleep. Sometimes we work 5 shifts in 4 days, each with a different start time and occasionally an 8-on, 8-off, 8-on rotation, It's difficult to say the least but that's the way it's done and why we get the big office and the big paycheck.
To overcome that hurdle and develop a consistent diet and fitness plan will be tough ... but we are both pretty committed to improving our current state of fitness and losing some weight.
Hope you'll pray for us in our endeavour over the next 12 weeks.
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The weather has thrown a bit of a gauntlet down for outside work the last couple of days. You know, the old "it'll-be-cold-and-wet-and-blowing" thing so you can't get much work done outside? Oh yeah, and the tornado thing .. there's that too. But undaunted, we've managed to gain a little more progress outside and this afternoon should be a great opportunity to actually fininsh up some things I thought I'd have finished about 3 days ago. The porch decking is done and the banister is almost completed. Then stain and paint and we'll call it good. We've only a few more things on the exterior lost and we will feel presentable to prospective buyers without compromise.

The garden is even sprouting some carrots!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

New Coat of Paint

The new siding is all up, the new trim is all in place and caulked and sealed, the base color has been applied and by the end of daylight tonight the trim will be painted and the house will be officially 'done' on the exterior ... alright ... almost 'done' ...

Tomorrow I should finish up on the front porch project (all new decking) and put the final touches on the bracing for the back fence, which has sagged during the last year to the point of not opening without some serious effort. Some stain for the new porch, some paint for the new gate slats, and one more 20' length of trim and we'll be able to call it finished.

Robin placed flowers in the flower garden and planted veggies (tomatoes and basil (yum!)) in the back-yard garden, Tomorrow we'll set up the 'gazebo' and put together a small shaded sitting area in the back yard. We're homing in on being done with construction and fixing stuff up. Our friend Roger did a great job finishing up the interior trim / moulding work for us so all I have left to do is freshen up some caulking and put some stain on two remaining interior doors.

The rest will be 'staging' and cleaning. We're looking forward to being done with the frenetic effort to prepare this place for sale and hopefully we'll get a little breather before we pick it up and do it all over again with the Verdant Circle house once the renters vacate.

Alrighty! Think I'll start checking around for cheap diesel in Longmont :)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Name that Truck

From Gary: This weekend we will be painting the exterior of the house. Our dear friend Al is a pro and did the pressure washing and prep yesterday (Friday). Today the rest of the trim will go up along with some last-minute filler and primer and the masking and painting will begin in earnest. Hopefully the weather will be perfect and the project will be done in only two days. The last time I painted my house it took nearly a month to find good weather days that coincided with with any time off I could scrounge up ( a pretty wet June, that one...)


Work continues on the interior as we press on towaard the goal of being mobile. What do you do with boxes and boxes of books that were your private library? How will we 'dispose' of the 20 or so photo albums with 'precious' prints that go back as far as 1917? The trinkets, toys, electrical gizmos and "what-if-I-need-that-someday" items that formerly occupied shelves and drawers have all got to find a new home somewhere, somehow, because we simply won't have room for much beyond the essentials (and we are still trying to learn what exactly is 'essential').


We did determine that if we're going to be pulling our home around, and if it's going to weigh in the neighborhood of 16,000 pounds, the Ford F-150 that we owned wasn't up to the task. It's taken about 4 months of research and shopping but we finally did find a very nice, slightly used, Ford F-350 right here in Longmont. While we had been around to see several other trucks already, from Fort Collins to Denver, nothing felt quite right as a total package. I came relatively close to a purchase in Denver, but after we were kept waiting for about 45 minutes I went back out to the vehicle with my flashlight and started crawling around. In the end we decided not to buy it as there was a considerable amount of rust inside the cab. The seat tracks, power seat motors, and even the springs I could see were quite rusty; not at all normal for a one-year old truck. Something seemed odd to me when I first saw the truck, and I'm thankful that I took that second, deeper look into it. While I propbably could've struck an amazing deal on the vehicle, it would've been a big project bringing it back to shape and we don;t need any more projects right now.

So, we found the one here in Longmont and closed the deal on Thursday evening. Very, very nice pulling vehicle, room for 5 folks and a full size bed for motorcycles (grin). It's a 2008 model, but used already, so we got it for much, much less than a new one (someone else had taken the big 'drive-it-off-the-lot-and-lose-$20k" hit. We're very, very pleased with the truck (having had it for a whole day now) and we'll see what to do about a hitch next week.
OK, it's a big, long, diesel powered, 4 X 4, dual-rear-wheel monster of a truck with a huge 'cow-catcher bumper up front and we're trying to come up with a name other than "Tom" (dually, that is). We're strongly considering "Frank" because of the movie "Cars" .. you remember 'tractor-tipping' ??

I will post a couple of pictures in a day or so, when I can grab a few minutes, but I'm liking this so far. I have been joking (since this is a big truck with a big engine) that I have been riding motorcycles most of my life and have spent a major portion of my time commuting at 50+ miles per gallon, so now the environment owes me one ... (grin) ... not really, but it will be a different 'Carbon Footprint" than the KLR. It's a tool, for a purpose, and we're grateful to be able to do this.

Now, we need a name...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hounding

We've been nagging our collective bosses for several days now, curious about how the process will transpire from this point forward. They have remained vague since they don't really have the hard-and-fast information we've been asking for.

Well today we received our answer in the form of a formal offer for transfers to Miami Center complete with a January 4th, 2009 report-to-work date.
Alright ... now it is official. We have secured the jobs and will be showing up on their doorstep right after a 2,100 mile cross country trip during the New Year's holiday.
Toward that end we have settled on the plan to purchase the RV (Fifth-Wheel) and pull it along with us to Florida. We are going to be living in a Montana 3665RE Fifth-Wheel for at least several months after we arrive in Miami, and maybe for the duration of our time there should we find that this is the lifestyle we like. Now I have to find a truck that'll pull our house around :).

We firmly believe that we're going to be just fine with this choice; that buying property in Miami and then 'settling in' is not what we want to do considering our future desire to go sailing for extended periods of time. One very inviting aspect of having the smaller (considerably smaller!) living space is that we will begin training for living aboard a boat as we adjust to both the RV itself and the community that surrounds the RV lifestyle. Another future benefit will be the ultimate convenience of travel, both by boat and by RV should we choose either option. I may have previously mentioned that it strikes me as extremely cool to consider the idea of moving the RV across the country and parking it in storgae somewhere until we eventually sail into that port. How much fun would it be to drive across the country, leave the RV in, say, San Diego then fly back to Florida and go sailing; eventually crossing the Panama Canal and winding up in San Diego again where a familiar land-based domicile awaits while the boat's hauled out of the water for a bottom paint or some such work. Sounds like a plan to me :)

But we first have to get there ... and the challenges are sizeable. We met with Jenni (our realtor) yesterday and got our final guidance on preparing the Hayden Ct. House for sale. In a nutshell there is still a considerable amount of work to be done and our goal is to live in a 'show home' until it gets sold. Neither of us have done this before, but I think we're not going to be too thrilled to have phone calls come in saying that "there is a showing in 20 minutes, can we be scarce?" /) I know it will be to the good in the end, but it's daunting to think we'll be spending the nights in our house, but not necessarily be allowed to 'live' there. OK> We'll get the gates fixed, do the painting in and out, fix up the back fence, repair the front steps and deck, and finish up the siding and gutter work. Then we'll caulk the kitchen counters, put the final touches on the new flooring, clear out the last astions of our normal life from the den and the garage, and proceed to show the place to as many potential buyers as we can round up. I'll be sure and post the link to the Virtual Tour' after the realty crew comes out and does the photo shoot. Here we go!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Paper!, get your Paper!

Today we both received our hard-copy, "Official / Tentative" (a good giggle-term) offer from Miami ARTCC via email :)
It looks good! I'm going to take a lateral transfer with a very small pay increase and Robin is accepting a promotion with a more substantial raise (yahoo!). We are both very excited and have renewed energy over the tasks at hand.
In a couple of days, the Operations Managers will meet and take a look at when it will be possible to release us to the new facility, then all that remains is for us to prepare for that date. I am guessing it will be 6 to 9 months hence, so we'll likely be traveling to Florida during the winter months which will present its own challenges. It'll probably be best for us to drive straight south to warmer climes, even though that means driving through Texas! (grin).

Tomorrow will mark the beginning of de-construction of the outer walls of the house. There is some water damage on some siding and I have to dig in there and find the source as well as replace a couple of exterior walls. It will be a big and difficult project, but really the only other option is to hire a company to re-side the whole house and that is a bit too much of a total-loss expense to deal with just prior to selling the house. I have a couple of very good and gracious friends who've said they'll help, so it may go more quickly than I expect. Here's hoping it is not a major renovation.

The other projects are still coming along. I've now scanned a little over 2500 negatives into the computer and have moved in to the print-scanning phase. Once it's all done, most of the photo albums will be digitized (and backed up!) and we can go to print with whatever we have room for later on. Well, it ~seems~ like a good idea :). I'm scanning everything at 600dpi, so we should have a good print when and if we choose to do so. We're probably going to have to buy a couple more SDRam cards for the electronic photo album that's hanging on the wall and that way we can just have a perma-slide-show running for us. Oh, it's an exciting time to be alive!