Thursday, March 30, 2006

I meant to post these pictures last June

These won't be anything significant to anyone that reads here. I took a trip back to my old stomping grounds where I grew up. I wanted my family to see the pictures of things how they are now.

Here is a picture of our backyard. This is actually taken from the field behind our backyard, which I could barely walk through. Remember how open this used to be? I could barely make out our old house through all this.

Here are some pictures of the current status of Limberg pool. Pretty sad huh?

Here is a picture of the Sutters Mill sign

Here is a picture of that entry way that dad built/lanscaped. It's still alive and well.

Here is a picture of the first car lot we had.

Here is a picture of the new stadium they built at Ponderosa

Here is a picture of the practice discus ring and my name etched into the cement.

Here is a picture of the new sacramento Temple being built up at Mormon Center.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Arches Pictures

Here are some pictures from our trip to Arches:

Here is a picture of Caiden next to the Colorado River. We camped about 30' from here.

Here is my nephew Lanik, sitting in a camping chair like an adult with his leg crossed. It was hilarious.

Here is a picture of some petrified dunes (one of the first things you see when you enter the park) with the La Sal Mountains in the background. Notice the snow on them?

Here is a picture of Bill and Lanik on their hike through the park

Here we are in front of Landscape arch, which is more delicate than the popular "delicate arch", which you'll see down below. A portion of this arch broke off (underneath) back in '91 and someone actually captured a picture of it, which was on a monument along the trail.

Here is a picture of Clint and Annie (friends of April and Bill who we camped with) on the hike.

This is a secret spot that Alene climbed up to. You can't see it, but just below her is a pool-shaped area in the sandstone. She was very proud of it and decided that she was going to build a house right next to it and create her own hot tub there.

Here we are at the famous "Delicate Arch", which is displayed on all the Utah license plates, as well as any brochure about exploring the desert in Utah. Like I said before, it was VERY impressive to see in person (and somewhat scarry too as you were surrounded by cliff edges everywhere). It was pretty cool that the area made an almost natural theater-style seating around it. Many come up here to watch the sunset.

Here is a picture of some pictographs (or as I like to call them "hyroglyphs", LOL!) which were at the bottom of the trailhead to delicate arch.

Here is a picture of us hiking to Double Arch, which is where the last Indiana Jones movie was filmed.

Here is Lanik playing in the sand in front of Double Arch

Here is Double Arch, by far the most impressive of them all (with Delicate coming a close second).

Here is a hike called "Park Ave", which is an area that is supposed to resemble the Park Ave. buildings in NYC. Alene and April did this hike and the boys waited at the end of the trail (you drop off at the beginning and can pick them up somewhere else).

OK. Now it's time to get back to work. I have to get that friggin' countertop up!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Went to Moab/Arches this past weekend

Alene, Caiden, and I went camping in a campground about 6 miles outside Moab, right along a muddy river (the Colorado). We spent the good portion of the trip hiking through Arches National Park. We had never been there before, so we were obviously blown away.

Before I met Alene, I never found much of a fascination with the desert, red rocks, red sand, etc. However, after actually spending time there with her, I'm in love. I think it's a very beautiful part of God's creation of this earth. Many will think of it as nothing more than a hot, barren wasteland, however Alene said her feelings on it perfectly to me about it being lonely yet romantic in many ways (I'm paraphrasing and can't remember the exact words, but they still meant a lot to me). I love how she sees the beauty and good in EVERYTHING.

So we hiked to every major arch in the canyon. That was quite a feat. I was most proud of Caiden doing every one of the hikes. We did a 7 mile hike at the end of the canyon (where we saw 5-6 different arches). We did the 1.5 mile hike up to the "delicate arch", which is the famous arch you will see on every brochure and Utah license plate. It's very touristy (there had to be at least 30 people up there and you could see a constant line of people coming and going up the entire trail from the trailhead), but it was still worth the trip. It's pretty scary too as the arch itself is right against a huge cliff. Next time I do that hike, I want to go there at sunset. Again, it will be very touristy, but I hear it's amazing. The elevation change to that area is quite high as well. When we were up there, it got VERY windy.

Some other arches we visited were not hard of a hike at all. Double Arch was amazing (where they filmed the last Indiana Jones movie; the river phoenix scene at the beginning). That place was beautiful and the echo you can create in the two arches, which come together, was cool too. Caiden was quite proud of himself because he hiked all the way to the top of the bottom ledge of the arch. The day before we hiked to double-O arch and we climbed up to the bottom arch, however, coming down we had some problems with him being scared. He ended up slipping about 5 feet on the rock coming down and scratching his back. I felt so bad for him, but I think it helped him knowing he could make it up some tough climbing. I want him to learn stuff like that.

The trip was great though. The purpose was for my sister in-laws husbands (Bill's) Birthday, which they usually do somewhere where it's warmer in Utah (the central and southern area is typically warmer) to camp and celebrate his birthday. It was fun just hanging out around the fire at the end of the evening. They get pretty drunk and get even funnier. One funny moment was when we returned, Bill (who was not drunk yet), built himself a shower out of some tarp and a huge water jug hanging from a tree. He was so proud of it and wanted everyone else to do it, but we all bailed. He was then upset, but it was hilarious.

I'm so glad to have these opportunities to camp often. I'm glad that Alene loves doing it becuase it motivates me. I've always wanted to camp for the first 5 years I lived in Utah, but I never had a ton of motivation because I couldn't find people that wanted to go. Alene would rather camp every weekend, than stay at home, so that is good. I love that Caiden gets a chance to go out and experience these things too. I want him to have the best of memories, as I do with all my future children. Alene is an awesome mom and kicks butt on all the hikes.

Oh yeah, we also bought a National Parks pass, which is good for a year. This gives us motivation to get out and see places like Zions, Canyonlands, possibly Yellowstone, and Glacier (if it all goes to plan, but who knows?) Still, we will get our money's worth out of it.

I'll post pictures of the trip later (we let my brother borrow our digital camera, so we took some pictures with our 35mm camera and some that we will have Bill send to us from his digital camera).

Now it's back to getting the kitchen finished. To be honest, I was getting kind of tired of working on it, so I stalled a bit on finishing the counter tops. Now that I'm back, I've got some more motivation to finish them. I hope to have them mostly done before Alene gets back from her trip to Dallas this week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kitchen Remodel Day 21???

Yeah, I keep losing track of the days now. I'm just going to guess.

So I spent part of Sunday and Monday installing the cupboard doors, adding the 3 layers of plywood to the countertops, and installing the island in the middle of the kitchen. Plus, Alene and I moved most of the kitchen stuff (the stuff that wasn't dirty) into the Kitchen on Monday night.

Here is a picture of the cabinets doors going up.

Here is the kitchen with the island and the sub-countertop in

Last night (Tuesday), I cut out the hole for the kitchen sink and installed it. I have not tiled the countertop yet, but I screwed down the cement board around the sink area. We are going to tile right up to the sink, then grout the seams around it. I installed all the plumbing (except for a few parts I need to buy) which included the dishwasher and the garbage disposal. Here are some pictures:

I'm not going to have a ton of time to work on it until next week though. Tonight I have school. I plan on finishing the plumbing fittings, but that is about it. Alene and I are going to a concert at Kilby Court. Tomorrow I'll have a little time to work, but I'll mostly be preparing for our camping trip to Moab this weekend. I may get the backer board put up on the rest of the countertop and the backsplash, but that is about it.

Still, I'm excited at the progress and to be able to be moved half-way in. I can't wait to actually use the dishwasher and the disposal. Many people think "big deal, every house has one", well, I've lived in this house for 7 1/2 years and have not had one, so it is a big deal :-). I'm so thankful for the support and patience Alene has shown with the kitchen. She feels really guilty that she has not been able to help much, but it's not like she's sitting on her butt watching soap opera's or something. She's been working so hard with school and her regular job, as well as her church calling. It's not easy to find the time. I have a flexible schedule and I'm only taking one class, so it is easier for me to get stuff done. Either way, I want her to know I feel like we are together in this. Thanks baby. I love you.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Kitchen Remodel, 18 (I think??)

Made some good progress on Saturday. I was still pretty sick on Friday, but I was better than Thursday. I spent the little time (and energy) I had bringing all the cabinets up from my basement. That in itself was a pretty tough task. They come slimmed down boxes with all the parts inside to build the cabinet. Here is a picture of what they look like.

2006 Kitchen Remodel

Obviously the boxes vary in weight depending on what size the cabinet is. The heaviest one had to weigh a good 125 lbs. That one sucked carrying up the stairs! :-)

Later that night, Alene and I went to the movies with Russ and Randa to see V for Vendetta. I don't have time to go into details, but I enjoyed the movie and was split on the over-all political message: that conservative party leadership ultimately will lead to a nazi-like regime, somewhat pissed me off. I'm not a HUGE conservative, but I'm more right than I am left (just right of center you could say). Anyway, enough of that. I still enjoyed the movie and would see it again.

So on Saturday morning I got cracking on building the cabinets, then hanging them. I've only hung cabinets once before, so it was fun trying to remember how to do it. Shimming them is the most important part. Also, having a partner to help you hang them counts. Alene was pretty busy with homework, but she pitched in whenever I needed her to hold the side of a certain cabinet to screw the sucker into a stud. For the ones that I didn't need her help with, I got creative and used stacks of other cabinets as a means to line a cabinet up against the wall to screw it in.

I started with the corner cabinet. One thing I did differently. Since these are considered the "cheap" cabinets by any true contractors standards, I not only built them to the specifications of the manufacture, but I also used my finish nailer and re-inforced any area I could with finish nails. I noticed a difference it made in the over-all strength of the cabinets.

Here is the first cabinet I built:

2006 Kitchen Remodel

I then proceeded to build the rest of the wall cabinets, then laid them out along the wall they were to be hung on:

2006 Kitchen Remodel

Then I started to hang the cabinets:

2006 Kitchen Remodel

2006 Kitchen Remodel

2006 Kitchen Remodel

Then I built the base cabinets and attached them to the wall (and to each other)

2006 Kitchen Remodel

2006 Kitchen Remodel

2006 Kitchen Remodel

Finally, I cut the sub-layer of the counter-top and screwed it down to the base cabinets. We finally have the "feel" for what the kitchen will be like once the counter tops are done. If you look at the very last cabinet in this picture, you'll notice it was backed against that angle in the corner of the kitchen. THAT was pretty interesting. I had to cut about 1/3 of the back of this cabinet off at a diagonal angle. Then I put a 3/4" piece of plywood along the back to give it strength. I also re-inforced it with some other support pieces of wood and nailed the crap out of it with finish nails. It is going to hold up just fine now.

2006 Kitchen Remodel

Next phase of this will be to put on the cabinet doors and hardware, instal the kitchen window (it's in, in the pictures, but not actually screwed down), move everything in, build the countertop for the dining/kitchen access, tile the countertops/backsplash and the dining/kitchen countertop, then finish off the island cabinet in the center of the room. Alene came up with a good idea. Instead of tiling the island, we're going to make a wood countertop for the island (kind of like a cutting-block). I need to consult with some wood experts and find out what is the toughest wood out there that I could use. I'm basically going to glue some wide 1x8" (or whatever the widest stuff we can get) together for a few days, then cut it to fit on top as a countertop and finish it off with some trim. We will then stain/varnish it and have a nice butcher-block looking countertop where the island is. If it doesn't work out in the end, we can always go back over it and tile it. I really like the ideas that Alene comes up with here and there.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I'm sick

I wasn't able to get any work done yesterday (Thursday). I came home early from work just to get some rest. I HATE being sick. I remember I used to hope I would get sick when I was younger (so I wouldn't have to go to school), now I look at it as nothing more than a hinderance. ARGH! I'm at work again today, but I still feel sicker than a dog. I'm going to see how long it lasts.

I slept for a total 15 hours from yesterday to this morning (2.5 hours when I got home, got up to pick up caiden from karate, then another 12 hours last night) and I'm STILL as tired as I was yesterday. I wonder how long I could sleep if someone put me in a totally dark room with a glass of water (which is really my only reason for waking up). That would be interesting.

Anyway, I'm hoping I can miraculously get better today so I can start to hang a few of my cabinets tonight before we go to the movies with Russ and Randa. We're going to go see V for Vendetta on an IMAX screen. The seating is assigned in these types of theaters, so it should be pretty neat. We already bought our tix, so we're set.

One good thing about being sick is having a wife that cares about you. Alene was so good about buying me some medicine and taking complete care of Caiden last night. She went for a bike ride with him and got him to bed. He fell asleep w/in a half hour for her. It usually takes me at least an hour to get him to bed. She's awesome. I felt so bad that I was so incoherent when she was around. My head was so thick, it was hard to think about what was going on around me.

Thanks for taking care of us honey.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Kitchen Remodel Day 16

Alene and I put the grout down last night. It was tedious, but we got it done in about 2 hours.

2006 Kitchen Remodel

2006 Kitchen Remodel

2006 Kitchen Remodel

2006 Kitchen Remodel

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Kitchen Remodel Day 15

Got the tile laid last night. It all turned out pretty well, so I've got no complaints. I need to let it sit for a day, then I can do the grout (on Wed). I was a little upset because I had plans on nailing some brackets to the floor before I tiled the middle area (where I'm going to put the island). I hadn't realized I forgot until I was half-way through the area I wanted to put the brackets down. I'll now have to drill through the tile and attach them with bolts through the entire floor. That is going to suck. Maybe I'll just use lag screws?

I normally use this cement-type board (wonderboard) for the underlayment, however when I went to help my brother in-law (Brock) with his floor, he had a buddy there who does tile for a living and he was using this plastic mesh-type stuff, which goes down MUCH FASTER than cement board (you have to cut the board to fit (if necessary), then glue it to the floor, then screw it down. With this stuff you just roll it out, cut around anything you need to with a razor knife, then staple it to the floor. Appearantly it does it's job.

Here are the pictures of what I did: