Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Now we're cookin' with gas!

Literally. :)

After a whole bunch of running around trying to get the necessary adapters to actually connect the grill to the back of our house, we've got it hooked up and running. Notice how neither the grill nor the house blew up in the process. Thank goodness.

Now that we've finally got a grill up and running, after several days of headaches, what's on the menu?
Vegetables!!! Not all that manly, I guess. But they were delicious (that's speedie-marinated zucchini in back and portabello mushrooms with mozzarella cheese in front). Now we can enjoy our newly fenced in back yard by grilling. Let us know when you're coming over for a barbecue. Bring meat. And if you're coming from New York State, Speedie sauce!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Fence!!!!

Thank you so much to Mom and Sue for coming all the way down here to help us build a fence. It was awesome. Here's the story...

It all started on Saturday morning, when it was frigging hot out. We went to Lowe's and bought all the stuff (a big grill, 7 bags of concrete, 12 2x4s, 14 fence posts) and loaded them into the truck.

Then the fencing was brought out (oh boy...)

Then we waited for another half hour in the sun for a manager to come and open the gate (efficiency experts, the Lowes managers are not). Eventually we loaded it all up and hit the road for home. Oh, did I mention that Chad flew back from Boston at 5am and was passed out at home during all of this?

Anyway, by now it's 90 degrees and sunny and it's time for digging holes and sinking posts in cement. Chad joined us, and the system was pretty much mom and Rachel (who have excess energy) dug the holes and Chad and Sue (who have enough patience to do this right) set the poles. We had 14 holes 2 feet deep each, except for the one where mom got a little excited and went down 3 feet.

We had one small setback that involved digging into a bees nest (it's hard to take pictures of swarming bees, sorry you can't see it). Oops. But thanks to modern chemistry (aka pesticides) we were able to quiet them down enough to remove the nest and get the pole in. Miraculously, not one of us got stung.

It was sweaty work for all. At the end of the day, while Sue and Chad set the last few poles, mom and Rachel tried to install the grill. Unfortunately, our natural gas hookup is approximately 800 years old and uses entirely different sizes than we were expecting. So we said screw the grill and had pizza for dinner.

Now on to Day 2: rain. Boo. But because we're insane, we installed all of the fencing (this involved carrying the 6 x 8 panels over, holding them level (which often required digging trenches), and screwing them to the posts. Oh, did I mention it was raining? This is why we don't have many pictures. The rain let up long enough to saw the pieces we needed to, and eventually all the fencing was hung. Mom still had some energy so while we were finishing up the fence she dug us a garden (amazing, I know!).
We tried to find the right pieces to install the grill, but no dice. Maybe a smaller store (that wasn't open on Sunday) will have the pieces we need. But even if it takes a few days to get the grill working, the weekend was a total success. Our fence looks so awesome!!!

Also there are a few more pictures. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oh, let me give you my card...

Booya. There it is. PhD senior scientist. It must be true because it's in print. :)

Things are going pretty well with the job so far. I'm not as exhausted as I was the first week, but my energy seems to be coming in spurts. For example, Tuesday night I felt great and played volleyball until ~10:30pm (so I didn't get to bed until ~11:30) and then got up at 5 so I could be at work early to meet with someone and decided to ride my bike to work. Then Wednesday night I crashed and went to bed at 8pm. So now that I can handle being awake and paying attention for eight hours straight every day we'll have to work on spacing out the out-of-work activities.

In other news this evening I cleaned our floors with murphy's oil soap (I've been waiting to do this until the urethane had a month to cure). Did I mention I love our floors? They are so great. Also I learned that Max is scared of the mop. Shocking, I know.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Christopher's Bday

We went up to Chad's parent's place last weekend for Christopher's 3rd birthday. This was my first chance to try taking pictures with my new phone. Jenna (who is 2) was very helpful in taking pictures but tended to get a bit too close when we tried to take pictures of ourselves...

Also Christopher beat up Chad.

Overall, a great visit. :) See here for the rest of the pictures: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8640358@N04/tags/christopherbday/

Sunday, July 22, 2007

we still exist!

There has been some grumbling that there hasn't been much posting since I've started working. That's due to a combination of my not being by myself not talking to anyone all day, and also not really making progress on the house this past week. But today I did finish up my office a bit, so I have a pretty good place to work (i.e. post pictures on the computer, since I don't HAVE to work at home anymore!!).

Some highlights: a diploma (sometimes I still can't believe MIT gave me one!), plenty of book space, plenty of random picture space, a good place for sue's box, and lots of white for me to mess up once I start painting again. Perfect!

Monday, July 16, 2007

This one's for Grandma

Who said yesterday she was sad she couldn't be there to bring me pencils (like my first day of school). Here I am, all ready to go to work, holding pencils that Grandma gave me years ago. My first day of work was good, the people I'm going to be working with are fun, and I'm excited in general about my new job. We'll see how this report changes by the end of several days of nothing but safety training...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Hours until Rachel's professional career begins:

9.5. Weehee!

Not much happened on the home front this weekend. We had a great time at a wedding yesterday, where we barely knew anyone other than the groom. Luckily they sat us with his engineer friends from work and apparently we geeks get along just fine. Today we spent a few hours running and walking around Valley Forge National Historic Park (we didn't actually do any historic stuff, just enjoyed the river). We saw several deer (who are apparently NOT very scared of people - they would hang out and chew a branch or something while we walked by 20 feet away), birds, butterflies, etc., and really not too many people. It was nice. Then we relaxed, cleaned a bit, and unpacked and hung the rest of our artwork. This means that several of our walls are now less bare. However, now that we have so many walls, we'll have to do a bit more work to fill them all.

So now the only box yet unpacked is the one with our casserole dishes. Unfortunately, we have no idea where this box is. Hopefully we will discover it in the basement eventually.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Relics of the past

What the heck is that thing?

Oh yeah, it's my clarinet. Notice how it is out of the case and actually assembled. Yes, I was also shocked that I even remembered how to do it. I was inspired by Laura during the Brady Bunch weekend, then again when Chad and I went to see the Ambler Symphony Orchestra at the Morris Arboretum last night. The arboretum is really beautiful - the perfect place for an outdoor concert. And did I mention there was beer tasting?

At any rate, playing it today for the first time in 9 years (since high school, I think) made me realize/wonder a few things:

1. When the hell did I get old enough that I have things that I feel like I did as an adult, yet I haven't done in 9 years!?!?
2. I have no chops. None at all. I mean after 15 minutes I was buzzing and spitting all over the place
3. It takes more air than I remember
4. It's heavier than I remember (my right thumb still feels funny)
5. The ONLY piece of clarinet music I have is the Brahms Sonata (Op. 120 No.2) I played for Nyssma. This piece is good because I know it so well that the fingerings and what it is supposed to sound like came back relatively easily. This piece is bad because it requires lots of jumping around over the break and up high while playing softly. This did not come back so easily (see #2).
6. When dad moved out of Pease st. I didn't claim my music stand. This means that Op. 120 No.2 is scotch tapped to my bookshelf so I can stand up and even have a chance of hitting the high notes.
7. It was really really fun. Once I can feel my lips I'm going to play it again. :)

Now for a glass of wine to enjoy my last vacation day in the next 6 months!

Brady Bunch

What a fun, fun weekend. It was just awesome to finally get to meet and hang out with everyone. Thanks again to dad and Melanie for finally getting us all together. Thanks to Debra and Nils for being there in spite having by far the roughest travel experience.

Here is my new favorite picture of Sarah and I. I mean really, what's wrong with ginger ale mixed with fruit juice!?

More pictures are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/8640358@N04/tags/brady

Enjoy! :) Yay family.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

I'm just a little black raaain clooooouuuud...

...hovering over the dining room...

(the image at left is our chandelier covered in trash bags so I can paint the ceiling. Looks pretty silly, huh).

We had a rainy 4th of July, with Sarah coming to visit (our third guest EVER) and helping to paint the rest of the dining room. I'm very excited about it.

Here's a sneak preview...

Stay tuned for pictures once it's all put together.

Also, due to the rain (and the fact that all of the bars in ambler were closed) we spent the evening playing an insane rabbits game on the wii. Here is Sarah listening to the wiimote for pig squeals to alert her to burrowing rabbits that might pop up and blowtorch her at any moment. You get the idea.

Now back to NYS for a few days, then ONE MORE WEEK to mess with the house and get my stuff together before work begins! Eek!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

We live here!

How can you tell? We finally have some pictures hung on the walls, and the railing is back on our stairway (and looking great in black!)

Just as a reminder of how different the staircase looked before:

Another sign of life - our clothes are finally stored in our bedroom (the dressers were in the kitchen for the floor refinishing)

And finally, the mezuzot have been hung. What an amazing feeling to hang an mezuzah on your own house. :)