Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Free State Race Report

Last Saturday was the Free State Trail Race at Clinton Lake in Lawrence sponsored by the KC Trail Nerds. Sam and I got up bright and early to get there for the 7 am start. It had been in the 80's a few previous days and we hadn't yet adjusted to the heat. Luckily it stayed around 80 and was overcast for our entire race. There were three different distances 26, 40, and 62 miles. Sam and I did the 40 mile, our longest race to date. The Clinton Lake trails are very runable, rolling hills with a few rocks. Considering the rain we had been having lately the course was pretty dry. We got through the first 20 miles in about 5 hours feeling pretty good. The second lap we must have picked up the pace (or just got less slow) because we started passing people. During trail races you really run against yourself, but at 30 miles in it does help the motivation to shuffle past someone else. Pulling into the finish.

We ended up finishing in 8 hours 9 minutes. Sam took second place for women. Considering the distance we both were in pretty good shape at the end. As usual for Trail Nerd races, Free State was well-marked, had good aid stations, had a very nice shirt, and good medals. The bonus was a warm yet slightly breezy and overcast day. Dick Ross of See KC Run provided the pictures and hung around for the whole day, well at least until the tornadoes showed up.
Only thing with finishing a 40 miler in good shape is that now we are in striking distance of a 50 miler.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Roe Circle in Another Book

Sam works above the AIA office in downtown Kansas City and a couple weeks ago came across this book. A 2000 edition of the AIA Guide to Kansas City. It is good for answering the random, what is the deal with that house/building questions.

Sure enough right there, number 8 bottom picture is our house. We are in pretty good company. On the preceding page is the Marcel Breuer house on Belinder street. On our page, number 7 is the Bruce Goff on 67th and number 8 are some of the "Houses that home Built" on Canterbury street.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Random Updates

Well, the last few weeks have been busy to say the least. We've been tying up some odds'n'ends before we can purchase the new carpeting, and we both ran 40 miles on Saturday (race reports and pictures coming soon). The new tankless water heater and air handler will be installed on Friday. It will be nice to see how much room in the furnace room that frees up. Eventually, we want to make it a true half bath instead of just a toilet behind some vertical blinds. The truck is limping along. John's back up plan is to have his bicycle in the back, just in case he breaks down somewhere.

The flowers are almost done for the year, but here's what the yard looked like a few weeks ago. I just recently realized they sent me one of the wrong colors. I ordered a red/gold mix and instead I had small fuchsia tulips pop up with feathered edges. Oh well, at least everything grew.

I couldn't believe how long the daffodils hung on. We'll probably move the bulbs around some this fall, but I was glad to see everything came up just fine.

The mural in the bedroom is finished. With the flash, it's hard to see the silver tree. I'm debating putting another smaller one on the left side of the wall...

John took apart the headboard for me to paint. The bed will be painted the same, as will a bookshelf from the living room. Most of the furniture in the living room and our bedroom will be a black/brown finish. It was actually really easy to do. I watch WAY too much Color Splash.

Here's the first coat of chocolate brown paint, put on thin enough to still see the wood grain through. That was followed by a thin coat of black using a dry chip brush. It turned out nice, but we didn't take a close up. Maybe when the entire bed is finished.

The fireplace was stripped and John started slurrying in the air voids. He even pulled out his latest concrete toy - the dry polisher - and polished it. Much less of a mess than the wet grinder out in the driveway. I guess it does pay off to let him buy his "toys." Actually, he's working on it while I type.

Ooh la la. The proportions worked out perfect. I can't believe what a big difference it makes. I ordered some samples of crushed glass online and they showed up today. I think we found our color, but that will have to wait until the whole thing is finished. When we have the living room finished, the fireplace will be such a cool focal point. Maybe next winter we'll actually use it.

Besides our own projects, John is trading labor with Jerad for one of his projects. John is cleaning up some recycled metal chair legs for some furniture Jerad is building. (We're hoping that six sets of those chair legs will end up under some chairs in our dining room some day, but that would also require us to unpack the boxes still stacked in the dining room) I swear, any tool you can imagine can be found on the circle in at least one person's garage. There's a rumor that the PBR Fairy will again be visiting this Friday.

We're hoping to go carpet shopping sometime this week, John wants to finish the fireplace this week and then pull trim and paint this weekend. That means realistically, we could have new carpeting in the next month. I don't know what I'll do when there's no exposed sub floor!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Never Buy a GMC Vehicle!

Here is the latest in the on-going saga of my truck. Thursday night everything is running fine. Friday morning it starts very hard, the check engine light comes on, and it sputters on the way to work. Saturday, same as Friday. I take it in to the dealership again this morning. Keep in mind it has been in for new brakes, alternator, radiator, knock sensor, and transmission over the past two months. That on top of leaving us stranded out of town twice in the past couple months. Late in the afternoon they call back and tell me it had 7 engine codes come up in the computer. Seven! I am pretty sure there are only 7 parts on that truck I haven't replaced. So I ask how much to fix it this time? The response, "well we have to replace your catalytic converters to a tune of $900 BEFORE we can figure out what is wrong with the engine." Needless to say this is the last I am dealing with GM. Anybody in the market for a very clean 2000 GMC Sonoma lawn ornament with 70,000 miles. It doesn't run but has lots of shiny new parts.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Placing the Concrete Fireplace Surround

It has been a very productive weekend so far. We are getting ready to go for a run so I figured a post just for yesterday's big project was appropriate. We got the concrete fireplace surround placed yesterday. I have spent the last couple weeks after work tweaking a concrete fireplace mixture based off of quikcrete.

The before picture with the reinforcement set aside and cardboard down to protect everything.

Now this is a setup. Due to the small size of the mixer, or the large size of the fireplace, I had to do two separate mixtures which makes the logistics interesting. The concrete is based off of quikcrete but I made it stronger and lower shrinkage using various chemical admixtures. It is handy to know the right people. The concrete is black so I had to buy some pigment. The smallest amount of pigment I could buy was for 1 cubic yard of concrete. Since the fireplace is 3 cubic feet, I have lots left. If you need any black concrete objects let me know and I will make you a deal.

Look at those rippling bi-ceps. Our neighbor Mark knows where I can get a 5 cubic foot (this one can only mix about 1.5 cf) gas powered mixer for cheap. Hopefully for the rest of the summer projects we will have more mixing capacity. I can't wait to be placing concrete outside or into more normal shapes.

The black pigment is carbon-based and sucks up the water reducer. By the second half of each load things were getting a little stiff. Normally a vibrator takes care of this but it made too much of a mess to continue using inside.

The forms stayed put and everything finished nice. I hard troweled the top so it should be smooth. Now we have to wait and see how well I got the concrete consolidated down the sides of the form. There wasn't a whole lot of clearance and I might have to fill some honeycombing. Good thing I have lots of leftover materials. Here it is covered with plastic to lock in the freshness.

Wet towels to keep the moisture in. Like the sink this was towards the more difficult end of home concrete projects. Although I didn't make too much of a mess. Really other than my hands stained black for the next week, things look pretty good.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter from Roe Circle

With the weather warming up, we are starting to have regular house things to do along with trying to get the first phase finished up. Friday and Saturday we had dinner with the other circle folk and enjoyed the nice weather. A few too many drinks on Friday night meant Saturday morning's 20 mile run was a little sluggish. Both Sam and I have a 40 mile race coming up in two weeks so even a sluggish run has to happen.
This week the contractor started demoing the red house across the circle and now we can see their living room through what used to be the garage. We saw the plans at a city meeting a couple months ago and the renovation will be nice and true to the style. It keeps the original house and adds a garage and master suite. When finished it will be going up for sale if anyone is in the market.
In between running errands and cleaning we did get a little work done. We pulled out the IKEA headboard that I purchased last summer and Sam got it sanded down and covered in the first coat of paint. The raw pine boards will be a black/brown to match the other things in the master.
Sam kept working on the growing silver tree in the bedroom.
I finished prepping the fireplace surround. Hopefully we can get that placed next weekend. After work I have been tweaking my concrete mixture recipe and getting close. Once this is done I have a few other concrete projects on the books. We need a firepit, table, and some benches for the patio. As you can see I had all the help I could handle. Although a few extra thumbs would be nice.
Here is a mock up of one of the inset pieces for the sink. I can't even imagine the vanity with drawer fronts, what a concept.
A few links to check out. The KC Modern house tour this year is going to be Runnells' homes probably ending at the circle.
A very interesting book with our neighbor Eric's house on the cover. If you look at the second page there is a diagram of the nine Revere Homes around the circle.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Smell of Spring is in the Air

Spring is almost here. The weather today was perfect, but tomorrow has a chance for snow. Hopefully the last of the year. Last night the circle went to first Fridays and then to BB's for BBQ and blues. All in all it was a good night.
Some of our flowers bloomed today, the rest are close behind.
The pear trees are beginning to show some color.
The first tree in the bedroom. Another silver bush has started to grow also. Last weekend after getting back we started to put the closet together.

Beginning to fill it.
Today we finished putting everything together. Now Sam has a closet to call her own. Maybe I can track down all of my clothes, some I haven't seen since we moved in.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A much needed vacation (Part 2)

London's two greenest buildings, City Hall and the Gerkin (looks like a pickle in the background).
St. Pancras station in London. The old Waterloo station remodeled for the Eurostar trains.
The view of Paris from Mont Martre.
Many of the metro stops have original art deco entrances.
The Moulin Rouge. This area is a little seedy in the day so no we did not see a show.
Sam on the steps.
Sacre Coeur
Sam at the Sear's tower.

Very climbable.
The view of Paris from our hotel. It was pretty grey.

The rose window at Notre Dame.
Carnaby Street in London. This was the hippie center during the 60's. It has been turned into a high end shopping area.
It is true.At Paddington Station.
Meeting a new friend. Hey look, another Krispy Kreme.

Enjoying a beverage with the locals.
Time for another.Sam at the airport enjoying a British past time, queuing. This is 30 minutes before we boarded the plane, they were already lining up.
Coming home to springtime.

I don't speak much french, just enough to spend money.