Saturday, May 31

annual birthday dinner

Yesterday for supper, my mom held the annual birthday dinner for my brother and me. Dinner was basically "Thanksgiving in May" as we had turkey and all the trimmings. This meal was especially good. Given how busy we've been lately, we've been doing a lot of eating out and quick suppers, so it was nice to have a good meal for a change.

Thursday, May 29

two nights in a row

I spent a little bit of time in my herb garden again this evening. I finished straightening it out and planted the few herbs that I had purchased. I still need a bunch of stuff to fill it up. Next up, I'll need to see what seeds I have available and probably buy a few more plants as well.

I forgot to mention that I harvested a nice quantity of parsley and chives yesterday. I froze a bunch of it today so at least I have a supply of that now. I could use some more to get me through the year, but it's only May, so I'm sure I'll get plenty more as the year goes on.

cloverfield

We took a break from our usual movie night and watched Cloverfield this evening. It was quite good. Not your typical horror movie, but it will do. The movie was totally intense. With a running time of less than 90 minutes, I guess this is to be expected. But, I really like movies that eliminate the fluff and get right to the point. This one accomplished that feat quite well. Two thumbs up from us.

Wednesday, May 28

dirt therapy

I spent the evening working in the herb garden. It's now edged and weeded. Tomorrow, I'd like to finish it off. I don't have nearly enough herbs to fill it so now I need to decide whether to go out and buy some more plants or try some of the herb seeds that I have. Or a little of both. I got to spend about two hours outside. I could've easily spent another two, but there are other things to do around here, so I can't be greedy. Tomorrow is another day.

I do have some deadlines in mind as far as getting the yard in order. We're not planning on doing much entertaining this year given how busy we've been. But, we are having both sets of parents over for a Father's Day celebration this year, so I'm trying to get as much as possible done before then. I like to have these little deadlines--it is good motivation.

Monday, May 26

work. nap. work. play. work. play. drink.

Tomorrow, Brian's new employee starts to work. We had a lot to do in order to get ready for this milestone, so we called in the troops (our parents) and put in good shift starting this morning. A lot of work was done: trim was painted; carpeting was removed from office #2; office #2 floors were cleaned and waxed; general cleaning ensued; windows were cleaned; a book case was assembled; and I'm sure a lot of other things happened, but I can't remember everything.

We had a nice picnic lunch on the grounds. A Memorial Day without rain was a nice change of pace (though it's raining now). After lunch, we did a little more work, then came home. I took a nap, while Jake and Brian played a board game. After napping, I ran to Giant Eagle to buy some supplies for the office. Then, the three of us went for a short motorcycle ride (only my 2nd ride of the year, believe it or not).

After the ride, we came home and ate some leftovers, then started loading up the vehicles with stuff for the office. I got Brian's computer, phone, and printer hooked up and working. I still have a few things to do on the IT end of things, but things are under control.

I really, really wanted to spend a few hours in my garden today, but it was not to be. I got to spend 15 minutes in the rain before I had enough. There's not much left to do at the office until Brian obtains a building permit for the kitchen and bathroom remodel, so I should be able to spend some quality time in my garden soon enough.

I'm drinking a glass of homemade Gewurztraminer right now. It is delicious.

rain, rain go away

Around 8:00, I finally got outside to do some gardening. As soon as I got started, I felt a few rain drops. So, I was out there for about 15 minutes in the rain. I planted zucchini and cucumbers. I was hoping to spend a little more time in the garden this evening, but it was not to be.

My pepper plants are the only thing remaining to plant in the vegetable garden. It's supposed to be a little chilly a few nights this week, so I'm going to hold off for a bit with those. But, I imagine they'll be in within the next week. I still have to tend to my herb garden. Most things made it through the winter and at least one other reseeded itself (all over the place, by the way). And, two years after ripping my mint out of the herb garden, it's still there.

There is a lot of work to do.

Sunday, May 25

connellsville

I got to spend a good chunk of my weekend in the Connellsville area. Yesterday, I attended a baby shower at the Pleasant Valley Country Club for the wife of one of Brian's cousins. The shower was very nice. The size of the group was perfect and we didn't have to play a bunch of games (there were games, just not a bunch). The mom-to-be made quite a haul.

This morning, the three of us headed back in that general direction to attend a 60th birthday party for Brian's aunt (the grandmother-to-be). It was held at a restaurant called Nino's. Brunch was good, but they had a weird selection of food (it ranged from stuffed chicken breasts, to fish sticks to scrambed eggs). It was nice to not have to cook. As busy as we've been, I don't argue with meals out.

It sure is a nice ride out to that area. Brian wanted to take the bikes, which would've been nice, but I just wasn't into the logistics of finding Jake a ride there. As a consolation prize, I told Brian we'd take a ride tomorrow afternoon after putting in a morning shift at the building. So, this will probably guarantee rain for Memorial Day. Sorry about that.

black thumb

I don't know what the deal is, but most of my tomato plants died again this year (and I didn't even fry them in the cold frames this year. I guess it could be any one of a number of things. I haven't had the time to dedicate to my garden this year, much like last year. Additionally, I switched brands of seed starting mix and used them the past two years. Plus, I planted a lot more last year and this year, than I did my first year (which was successful). I'll need to keep these things in mind next year when it's time to start the seedlings.

Not only that, but my cucumbers and zucchini plants didn't fare well either. So, I bought a few of those at Westwood Garden Haven this afternoon. In the past, I always directly seeded those into the garden. Perhaps it is time to return to that school of thought.

This evening, after working at the building, I planted a few of the surviving tomato plants in my garden. I threw in a few seeds as well because the plants I really wanted (San Marzano plum tomatoes) all died. We'll see what happens with that. Maybe I'll be onto something with this approach.

Anyway, I'm not getting off to a good start this season. There is one positive note: my pepper plants are flourishing. So, I must be doing something right.

Wednesday, May 21

the weather

It has been quite rainy and cold the past two weeks. I was hoping to at least have my tomato and squash-type plants in the cold frames by now, but it just hasn't been warm enough to do so. I had to remove these plants from the grow lights to make room for the peppers. They have been mostly sitting in my living room, but Brian put them on the front porch a few times when the sun was out. The lack of sunlight is not doing them any good--they're looking quite sickly at the moment. I think they'll pick up once I put them outside, though.

The weekend's forecast is calling for beautiful weather. If that pans out, I intend on spending some quality time in the garden this weekend.

still here (sort of)

I would blog, but the only thing I do is go to work and then work on the building. This weekend, I have some social plans up my sleeve, so you might get to hear about something else if I have the time to blog.

Tonight, I had a bunch of people scheduled once again--Brent did some electrical work; my dad assembled a few office chairs; Brian and Judy started painting office #2; Brian's dad worked on the trim in office #1, while I started painting the trim in the hall; and Carol, bless her heart, finished cleaning the bathroom (might I say, the closet was quite disgusting before she cleaned it).

I was feeling slightly crappy this evening (I think the stress is finally getting to me), so I cut out early, came home for a few minutes and did nothing before I had to leave again to pick up Jake, Brian, and Alice.

Assuming I feel better tomorrow, which I probably will, I'll be putting on my networking hat and setting up the network equipment. I've done this countless times at home (and even bought the same hardware for the office), so it should go quickly. If so, I'll probably pick up a paintbrush and work on some more trim, as most of the weekend is reserved for getting the office usable (like setting up the desks). That should be a lot more fun than painting!

Wednesday, May 14

full house

We had quite an array of people working this evening. Brent and Brian worked on the fire alarm system and exit signs; Brian's dad and I finished painting office #1 and started painting the hall; my friend Carol cleaned the walls in one of the closets and also did the walls and ceilings in the bathroom. This was all quite an accomplishment for a weekday evening. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but everything seems to be coming together quickly now. I guess all of those months of preparation are finally starting to pay off.

Tuesday, May 13

garden time

I got in a little garden time this evening. I planted some more carrots and some beets and did a little weeding. Brian was cutting the grass while I was gardening, so I did some trimming as well and then started in on the herb garden, which is out of control. But, at least I'm all caught up on the vegetable end of things. Next stop: Memorial Day weekend.

After gardening, I bit the bullet and repotted approximately 48 pepper plants I had growing under the grow lights. Now there are plants strewn all over the house. Luckily, Brian's dad is taking his plants tomorrow so that will lighten the load a little bit.

Between now and Memorial Day, I'm looking forward to doing some general landscaping. This year's focus is what to do with the area around the garden. It's surrounded by grass, but a mower can't fit on the paths. I think it's time to replace that area with another substrate. But, what?

Monday, May 12

before and after

The reception area is just about done so at least Brian and the new employee will have a place to work. Before and after. We went there tonight for a few hours. Brian and his dad started running the lines for the emergency lights, while I painted half of office #1. It seems like things are really coming together now, though there still is a lot of work to do.

Sunday, May 11

jake's birthday party

We had Jake's 8th birthday party yesterday. We learned a few important lessons, the main one being to invite fewer kids next year. Jake invited 13 kids and 12 showed up. I wasn't expecting quite that turnout particularly since another kid in his class was having a party the same day and his parents rented a local hall for the event.

This year our luck ran out in regards to the weather. So, we had all of these kids in the house wreaking havoc. Actually, Brian had a bunch of games planned, so things went smoothly for the most part. After the pizza and cake, it was nice enough to go outside, where the kids played some more games. Brian started running out of things to do about 30 minutes before it ended, but he somehow managed to stretch things out until the parents starting picking up the kids.

Jake said it was his best birthday ever, but he says that every year.

Thursday, May 8

i planted the carrots!

I went outside for a few minutes tonight (if I don't tackle this stuff a few minutes at a time, it's not ever going to get done). I planted carrots to the strains of Buster barking in his crate. How relaxing. I also realized that I didn't have any beet seeds. I guess I'll be picking those up this weekend.

Wednesday, May 7

adios amigos

This evening we headed to Altoona to bid farewell to our friend Steve. He's moving on to greener pastures in South Carolina. What is it with the Carolinas? This is our second friend to move there (luckily for us, the first one moved back to the area). Jake has also had two friends move to North Carolina (and he wasn't too happy about it, either).

I got a tip on a good Greek restaurant in the area, the Athenian Cafe, so we checked that out this evening. Jake got a cheeseburger with fries, but the rest of us ordered gyros with a side Greek salad. I thought the food was great. In fact, I ordered a large Greek salad to go (I needed something for my lunch tomorrow). It was so big that Brian's going to have to eat half. The prices were great and so was the food. Unfortunately we don't make many trips to Altoona so I don't know when we'll get to eat there again.

Back to the point. We're really going to miss Steve. We only get to see him a few times a year as it is, but I always look forward to talking with him. Thanks to the internets, keeping up to date should be easy. But, his presence will definitely be missed.

Tuesday, May 6

relief

We found out today that we can get an occupancy permit (i.e. Brian can start working at the building) before all of the electrical work is done. What a relief! But, I would still like to finish the building ASAP because I have too much other stuff I'd rather be doing.

At any rate, a lot got accomplished today. Some electrical work was done; Judy came over and primed office #1 and the hall; I painted the trim in the reception area; and Brian started installing the flooring in the reception area. So, this project might actually get completed some day.

rush hour

Well, it was more like 30 minutes, but I got a few things done: planted the rest of the peas, and put in the Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower plants. And, I planted my dill plant in my herb garden, too. I'm still behind, though!

Not to mention the fact that my landscaping needs some work--just your typical spring stuff. But, normally, I get started on it in April. I'll be lucky to start on it by June the way this year is going.

Sunday, May 4

playing hooky

I played hooky yesterday and went to a bridal shower for one of my relatives. I would have rather worked on the building, but sometimes you have to attend a family social event and this was one of those times.

But, all was not lost. Brian and my dad spent the whole day there and accomplished quite a bit. They hooked up all of the electrical stuff (except the fan) in the reception area and then ran a bunch of lines in the other rooms. And, my dad finished removing the tacking strips and staples that were in the reception area floor. I started that job last week, but didn't have time to finish it, so that was a big help.

My slacking ended today. We went over there for a few hours this afternoon. I worked in the reception area, priming the floor trim and painting the window trim. Brian did some miscellaneous stuff and Jake played outside with some new friends that he made last week.

Things are looking good, but we really only have two more weekends of work there before things need to be wrapped up.

Saturday, May 3

behind

I'm a little behind schedule, but it's nothing an hour in the garden couldn't cure. Of course, I don't know when I'll actually find an hour of time to work there, but I'll keep looking until I do.

The other night, I went outside for a few minutes and weeded a few spots in the garden and then planted about 1/3 of the peas I wanted to plant. I could've done more, but I was puppysitting at the time, so my fun in the garden didn't last long.

To change the subject, I had a bumper crop of cucumbers last year. I planted Sweet Marketmores. I had some seeds left over, so I planted them again this year. If they work out even half as well this year, they will definitely be the cucumber of choice around these parts.

brewster's millions

It was another family movie night last night. We watched one of Brian's favorite movies from his childhood, Brewster's Millions. The movie was about a guy who inherited $300 million from his rich uncle. The only catch was that in order to get the inheritance, he had to spend $30 million in 30 days. Sounds easy. But, the catch was that he couldn't have anything to show for his money at the end of the 30 days. Who wouldn't want to give this a try?