Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hot Water

That's all it took to get the wallpaper down - HOT freaking WATER! Why didn't someone tell me to try this to begin with. I assumed that the hubby tried a few options before purchasing the chemical stuff, but you know what they say about ASSuming. :-)

So, the bathroom is done. The kitchen is painted...but, turns out I hate the paint DH picked out, so it's getting painted a different color today. Yeah, I'm picky.

We found 2 houses that we really, really, really like! One has everything I want in a house with the exception of no granite counters in the kitchen and funky vinyl flooring in the upstairs full bath...small things. But, the house is 10 years old. Not old by any means in house years...however, when looking at the other house (the BRAND SPANKING NEW, NEVER BEEN LIVED IN HOUSE), it's hard to not be a little bit in awe of the shiny newness. So, I have my list of pros and cons:

House #1 - Pros
- upgraded tile throughout the living area and kitchen
- new light fixtures that I actually like
- large house (approx. 400 sq feet larger than NEW house)
- large yard on corner with walking trail behind it (no back neighbors!)
- Huge deck in back - perfect for cookouts and parties
- Detached garage - something I prefer, but don't have to have
- Garage already has tons of shelves for storage built in
- ceiling fans and 2" blinds throughout
- great paint colors - we thought we'd have to re-do all of that
- several, mature trees & great landscaping
- has a formal dining, study, fireplace and the # of bedrooms I want (we can't seem to find a house with all that in our range)
- Quiet area of subdivision that we like, which has lots of amenities (pool, splash pad, playgrounds, good Elemetary school)

House #1 - Cons
- Formica counters in kitchen and funky backsplash
- Funky bathroom vinyl floor
- Carpet has a few stains (nothing major)
- House is a bit older than other house, so may have some maintenance needing to be done soon (new roof, hot water heater, A/C, etc.)
- Not THE section of the subdivision we wanted to live in, but still a good section

House #2 - Pros
- Oversized lot (but still smaller than the house #1)
- Upgraded everything - tile downstairs, hard woods in the dining room, granite counters, awesome cabinets, etc.
- great paint colors
- pretty good landscaping
- has a formal dining, fireplace and the # of bedrooms I want (we can't seem to have a house with all that in our range)
- Quiet area of subdivision that we like that also has a new elementary school

House #2 - Cons
- It's 400 sq feet smaller than house #1
- No study!
- Subdivision is newer, but has fewer ammenities than the one where house #1 is located
- Attached garage (but I can live with that)
- Smaller lot than house #1 with back neighbors

Sooo, considering that the prices are the same (before bargaining)........which would you choose???

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Two weeks ago, we finished installing the tile on the bathroom floor and tub area, as well as on the kitchen counters. Well, let me clarify, the tile guys finished...not me and the hubby. We leave that type of work to the professionals.
We did however decide to take down the wallpaper in both rooms, texture the walls and paint ourselves. It sounded easy enough, right?

I never in a million years would have thought that 2 weeks later, we'd still be working on these little tasks! Thank God the bathroom wallpaper was a bit easier to remove! The bathroom is almost done. Just need to touch up the hard to reach areas and paint the ceiling. Hallelujah!

On the other hand, the kitchen still has wallpaper. I really need to track the hours we have been working on this little project alone - at least 3 hours on Sat and 3 hours on Sunday, followed by 1 1/2 hours on Monday (since I didn't have class), at least an hour on Tuesday and again yesterday. Of course, this doesn't count the interruptions to help the kiddo out when she presses the wrong button on the computer, to press play for her dvd (she can't reach), etc. Our poor kiddo, she's watched more dvds this week and played more games on Playhouse Disney.com and Noggin.com this week than she has in her entire life combined. Not that she seems to mind. ;-) We only have a small section of wallpaper above the cabinets along one wall...it's not much, but I guesstimate that it will take about 5 hours to finish. Honestly, if I had known what a pain in the ass this was going to be, I would have said screw it and we would be selling the house "as-is".
I am so tired of scoring the walls with this:
Glopping this goo on the walls:

Then scraping with this:

Of course, since I'm baking a baby, the hubby insists that I wear this and this:
One the upside of all this, I may end up with some great arms from all that scraping! But, I've only been able to get on the treadmill once this week and that is driving me crazy!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Spirit of the Marathon

It's finally here and for one night only! If you are interested in seeing the movie, go to www.fathomevents.com. I've been looking forward to seeing this flick since before I ran Chicago in 2006, so you know I'll be there!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Still here

Yeah, I'm still here. Still gettin' on the treadmill. I didn't get a chance to workout all weekend, because 1) school started and 2) who needs to workout when you're scraping wallpaper for 3 hours straight on both Saturday and Sunday?

I. hate. wallpaper.


Now, when the hubby and I are looking at older homes, we automatically rule out any that currently have wallpaper! :-) True story. And, the builder we both fell in love with decided to discontinue the special offer they had this month, so we're back to square one with the house hunting. That sucks. Royally.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In case you're really bored...

Here's the video we created for our International Business class...


School has started, the kiddo will not fall asleep at a reasonable hour, I cannot get on the treadmill because of the last item, the house is a mess...

Can I just say

I. hate. wallpaper.

It's taking forever to remove it from our kitchen walls. At this rate, we will never be able to paint. Sigh. I completely hate our house being in disarray and just want to get all this work done already.

But, on another note the kitchen counters and bathroom tile look fabulous! The munchkin is doing well, although he (yes, he) is a bit on the large side (along with my butt). ;-) And, I believe the hubby and I found a home and neighborhood we both agree on...hallelujah!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Volunteer Duty

First, congrats to everyone who ran this weekend! Whether it was the 5k, the 1/2 marathon or the whole enchilada...way to go!!

I made it to the GRB Saturday for my 10 am shift with the Media Relations/PR group. They're a great group and I had a great time. It was pretty slow by the time I arrived, so after making sure we had enough media packets, I ended up blowing up helium balloons for that night's pasta dinner for a couple of hours. We also went through training on what we would be doing on race day - for me that was tracking the male marathoners. I had a feeling that Saturday was the calm before the storm. I suspected that Sunday would be a frenzy of activity with the actual races and the press conferences. We did get a sneak peak at the cowboy hats that were presented to the winners. :-)

After my shift, I headed to the Expo for a look around. Last year, I wasn't completely sure I had made the right decision about switching to the 1/2. But, by the time I made it to the Expo, I was okay with the decision. Today was completely different. For the 1st time, the realization hit me that I wasn't participating in any race. That was a bit difficult for some reason. Seeing all the runners picking up their packets made that realization really hit home. For a second, I actually thought I was going to cry. Weird, I know. I'm blaming it on those crazy-ass pregnancy hormones!

Sunday, I started out at 5:30 am at the corner of Commerce and LaBranch. It was dark and scary and no other volunteers were around yet, so I walked over to the next block where there were already two people. Our job was to just make sure that no one drove through the intersection once the streets had been blocked off for the race. Easy right??? This is crazy...after the cannons went off, we (the volunteers) were all looking toward the start line and could see the police cars slowly coming towards us. All of a sudden, this woman comes out of no where in her car! We had no idea how she got there, because she would have had to come through the intersection where the full marathoners were running. This lady goes on and on about how she just HAS to get to work and wants to know if she can cross "real quick". We were just looking at her like she was nuts...um hello lady, the race has started there are runners coming! She told the police officer, "You know, some of us actually have to work" and the police officer was all nice and replied, "Yes Ma'am, I understand, but I am sure all these people work too. They've been training very hard and this is their day." Turns out, she told the police at the other intersection that she had a medical emergency and was on the marathon medical team! Can you believe that? One other person tried to get through right as the 2nd wave started. He was going the wrong way on the one-way street. Crazy people!

Next, I headed over to the GRB to help out in with the PR group. The PR stuff was pretty interesting. The carefully planned out tasks we were assigned the day before got completely scratched. There was supposed to be someone on the trucks that lead the 1/2 and full marathoners with a radio updating us on what was happening. Then, we were supposed to blog race info on the marathon website...but we had technical difficulties getting the radios to work. So our updates were basically just repeating what was being shown on ABC. Here and there, we could wander over to the window and look down on the start line to see the finishers coming in. We also helped set up everything for the press conference after the race and got to see all the elite runners head over to the elite area. Occasionally, a reporter would want to interview a runner, so we would have to run over to that area and look for that person and bring them back to the media room. I had the honor of finding Jessica Armenteros-Word and walking with her to the media area...I have no doubt that she will once again be back at elite status soon! Umm, stupid me for suggesting we walk up the escalator to get upstairs. It was after the race, so I am sure she was exhausted. Doh!

Volunteering was fun and was exhausting at times, but in all honesty, I would much rather be out there running! ;-) I'll see you out there next year!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Good luck!

Well, the Expo has begun and marathon weekend here in Houston is underway. I can't not participate at all! That would be so not-me. After I had the kiddo back in November of '04, I had a friend who was running the 1/2 marathon for the 1st time in January '05. I met her in multiple spots along the course of the race and helped her run the race in. This year, I thought I would do something a little more "official" and volunteer to help out.

I'll be at the GRB from 10 am - 2 pm tomorrow helping out the PR/Media Relations group. When I signed up, I didn't realize that we would be all the way over in Hall B....the Expo is in Hall D, so I may not be able to see any of the peeps from Striders, Houston Fit and fellow bloggers. I am second guessing my selection in volunteer duties, as I would love to be where the people are both at the Expo and during the race. But, I thought I would try something a little different and this sounded pretty interesting to me. I am hoping to check out the Expo a little after my shift though, so I hope to see some peeps then. I should be easy to spot...most marathoners at the Expo will not have a protruding belly. LOL!

On Sunday, I'll be at Commerce and LaBranch from 6 am - 8 am making sure that the course is clean and safe for all those participating in the race. At 8 am, I'll head back over to the GRB to help out with the PR group again until noon. After that, I hope that I'll be able to hang out a bit, since that will be about the time the folks I used to run with will be finishing.

Sooo...I hope that I do get to see some of you out there. If not, best of luck to you!!! I can't wait to read your race reports.

Legs be strong, mind be stronger!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

She's alive

Hi there. Yes, I am still alive and well...just busy. I actually had a long New Years Day post all typed and even saved, but still Blogger somehow managed to eat it. Grrrrr.........

I really thought my winter break from school would be a bit more relaxing, but for some reason my schedule still seems pretty busy. Right now, there are renovations going on at our house. We've been out there searching for the perfect house in the 'burbs every weekend and are gradually getting the list narrowed down. So, the point of all the renovations is to get our house ready to go on the market. Oh, how I am going to miss the short commute that goes with living in town! Sigh.

I have been on the treadmill. Mostly walking. Not as often as I'd like, thanks to the kiddo refusing to go to sleep before 10 pm. I may need to call in Super Nanny Jo, because there are nights when I want to pull out my hair. LOL!

As we get closer and closer to Sunday's Houston Marathon, I started thinking of all the nervousness, excitement and anticipation that I would normally be feeling this week. At a cafe during lunch today, I overheard a girl talking about the marathon this weekend. It's her first. I have to admit that I am a bit envious. I miss that nervous excitement and I will miss the feeling of accomplishment that happens afterwards. So, I thought I would dust off this post from last year with some tips for running this Sunday. To everyone who is participating in the 1/2 or full on Sunday - GOOD LUCK!!!

From last year....
Okay, so I am no elite athlete or running guru, but if this is your 1st time running a marathon, I have been in your shoes! I remember my 1st marathon day vividly. While it was definitely difficult, I can say with certainty that it changed my life forever. If I have a chance, I'll tell you more about the experience later this week. For now, here are a few things that I've learned along the way...
  1. Try not to obsess about the marathon, but realize it's perfectly normal if you do. I do this for every marathon, not just for my first. You will read and re-read every inspirational e-mail and every list of tips and advice. You will have all these tips memorized and will be able to recite them all as you run on Sunday. :-) Before Chicago, I watched this over and over again, too.
  2. Try hard not to freak out. I know the marathon is probably consuming your thoughts right now, so that's easier said than done. But try to throw yourself into your work if you can, because the last thing you need to do is worry.
  3. Think about what you want to wear on race day now. Be sure to think about what you would wear if it's colder/warmer than expected. You will probably change your mind 2-3 times between now & then, only to revert back to your original plan.
  4. Check out this support map at the Katy Fit website. It's awesome! My hubby has used it every year to figure out where he's going to meet me and how to get there.
  5. It's your 1st marathon! Gather all your friends and family and tell them where to meet you on the route. Chances are, you've run a 21 miler and know where you could have used an extra boost. There areas where I needed a pep talk were - between mile 18 & 19 in Tanglewood, miles 22 on Memorial and anywhere on Allen Parkway.
  6. Print out a pace band here. No, print out two - one with your "ideal" finish time and one with your "not so ideal" finish time. With the world of Garmins we live in, you probably have a Garmin and don't need to wear the band. However, if you are math challenged like me, you can use these to estimate where you will be at each mile and write it on the above mentioned map. Then, give the maps to your support crew. They will thank you for not making them wait for hours to see you jog by.
  7. On Saturday, plan to pick up your race packet early before all the crowds hit. Then, do something you find relaxing. I like to catch a movie. It helps take my mind off the race...for a couple of hours at least.
  8. It's race morning. At the GRB, you will see people you don't know doing stretches you've never seen before. Don't attempt to try them out now...stick to what you've been doing all along.
  9. Also at the GRB, you will probably have to pee right before it's time to start the race...even if you just went 2 minutes ago. The port-a-cans outside the GRB usually have shorter lines than those inside.
  10. You're going to see some crazy stuff along the way - men peeing on the side of the road after the turn between mile 2 & 3, ladies in the heights jumping up and down with cowbells, a priest sprinkling holy water on Main (get some, it can't hurt), Elvis & Marilyn Monroe near the Galleria at mile 16, Belly Dancers around 610 & Memorial, Cheeseheads on Allen Parkway....don't be too focused the race and your pace - enjoy it and laugh a little!
  11. Along with the crazy stuff you see, people you don't know will offer you some crazy food. Obviously, some of these folks are not runners. I've been offered everything from candy & cookies to bananas & oranges to tuna sandwiches & donuts.
  12. Let's face it, you're running 26.2 miles...there will be times when you are hurting. You will question your sanity. You will swear you will never run another *&+@#$ marathon! You WILL want to cuss out the next person who says "Lookin' Good!" or "You're almost there" (at mile 8)! Try to remember these folks don't have to be out there at all - thank them kindly, smile or wave...then cuss them out in your head or under your breath.
  13. Along the same lines, I probably don't have to tell you this, but be sure to say hello and thanks to the policemen and volunteers out there too.
  14. When you're feeling tired, find a little kid in the crowd at give him/her a high five. Miraculously, you feel better and it gives you a boost of energy you didn't have before.
  15. Allen Parkway will seem like it's a million miles long. You've run this path before hundreds of times, so keep reminding yourself that you will eventually get there....really, you will!
  16. When you get downtown, just take it one block at a time...you are there - the home stretch. At this point you don't want to take another step, but you know you can. The roaring crowds are right around the corner. When you finally see them, you will think they are a beautiful mirage. I assure you they are REAL.
  17. The closer you get to the finish, the faster you will want to run. You are probably not running that fast and your finish photo will be proof of that, but hey it feels like you are. :-)
  18. When you cross the finish line, you may feel like laughing or you may feel like crying. Hell, you may feel like doing both at the same time. Go with it...it's normal. Savor the moment..you have just become A MARATHONER!
  19. When you are done, you will not want to take your medal off....DON'T! You've earned it, you have bragging rights. Only take it off when you shower. Yes, you can even sleep with it on if you want to.
  20. Set your VCR/DVR/TiVo to record the special KTRK Houston Marathon special. It airs at 10:30 pm, after the news...you most likely will not be awake. It's fun to watch.