Thursday, August 30, 2012

a little rain must fall

yes, you could say we had a little rain this past Sunday.  i love those days!  looks like this weekend will be more of the same!
and of course we dealt with it as best we could!

Step Up

one of the items on my list of Must-Have's was a step ladder that i could store IN the pantry so we could get to our IKEA Hacked pullouts at the top of the pantry & fridge.  both of us are only 5'5" & we cannot ask Tucker to come over every time we need the pizelle maker.  

4 of 5:  Handy Step Storage

so a LOOOOONG time ago, i found this ladder at The Container Store

but was too stubborn to buy it.  i was certain i could find something (1) local & (b) cheaper with my focus being on the former.  i also made the mistake of only concentrating on how flat the ladder could fold up & if it was shallow enough to still slide into the bottom of the pantry.  i never really focused on the height it would give me (or lack thereof) when unfolded.  so with that misguided priority in mind, i ended up buying a single step step stool from Target.

not a bad little step, but really what was i thinking?  one step?  i might as well stand on my tippies!
so i finally did an online chat with a CS rep & explained my delima & she graciously agreed to get someone to measure this thing folded up.  "it cannot exceed 23" front-2-back when collapsed or the pantry door won't shut & this MUST be stored in the kitchen or we will continue to stand on my refurb'd stools" i told her - that poor poor woman!  it came in at....drum roll.....dramatic pause.......i don't remember, but it was less than 24" hooray!  so of course i ordered right then & there...........NO!
i don't know why, i just didn't.  wait, i think i mentioned something about being indecisive?  yeah, that would be it.  so FIIINALLY i got my crap together & ordered it!  but not before online chatting 1 more time to make sure i'd made it absolutely clear that this thing HAD to be 23" or less when folded.  dear dog!  someone help me!  yet another CS rep chatted with me online & assured me he understood my question & it was definitely whatever measurement i didn't remember yet again - i have a feeling i'm flagged at their Call Center now.  so all that for this!
and i love it!  these upper cabinets by far are still one of my favorites HACKS in the remodel, second only to my wine storage.  and how did the ladder do when collapsed?  
perfect!  do we use it often?  sparingly, but the whole point of the top cabinets is for seasonal/lesser used items that had to stay - unlike the mounds of crap that never made it back into the kitchen!  but when i do want to get to it, it's not a hassel & i'm not digging stuff out.  
the only complaint i would say about this ladder is it's not easy to collapse back down.  i saw that in the comments section before i bought it & it does take me a few seconds to get it right, but it's worth it not to have to lug a step ladder through the house, watch Nacho stand on the counters, or risk some horrendous Darwinian episode from standing on those bar stools.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

It's All Downhill From Here

we took a quickie vaca trip a couple of weeks ago to CO.  Winter Park to be precise.  we've done snowboarding trips there before, but never a summer trip.  so what does one do at a ski resort in the summer? Downhill Mountain Biking. oh boy!  what a blast!
first up we took the Amtrak train.  i did this when i ran a race out in Boulder, CO 4 years ago & i loved it.  but you have to understand how much i HATE flying!  i mean, i'm using the HATE in the fullest sense possible for that word! HATE HATE HATE.  so yeah, we took the train.
coming into Denver station
on the way to Winter Park right before Moffat tunnel
the views after Denver were amazing. by far the coolest was going through Moffat Tunnel.  6 miles through a mountain, so about 10 minutes of darkness.  neat-O!
Frisco station
and here we have the fence line of a house across from the Frisco station.  this is about 1/4 of what they used for the fencing at this house.  unreal!
recycled skis
 so what does the main lift area/bottom of Winter Park look like without snow?  like this!
 who knew there was a full goofy golf course at the bottom of the mountain!  crazy!
just happened to be a mini coupe rally going on while we were there.  so many minis!
but on to more interesting stuff.  the Downhill.  here we are (minus me of course) after a morning lesson.  that's Korby (who NEVER poses for a photo so i threatened him), Lauren (our main instructor), Nacho, & Stephan (co-instructor).  really great class & awesome instructors.
 Nacho & Korby had so much fun that i convinced them to take a second level class.
 yeah, i sat out the afternoon due to a little spill that left me with this.  it only got worse before it finally started getting better.  it's almost gone now.

so lessons were Friday.  Sat we went up to Rocky Mtn National forest where we normally snow mobile & did a little hiking!
 this is Grand Lake - which we normall see covered in snow & ice!

 and this is waht RMNF looks like when there is no snow or snow mobiles.  4wheelin instead!

 man was that fun!
 we capped off Sunday by biking all day!  i faired much better than Friday!
 people, you are looking at moguls. i don't mean me & Korby & a bunch of $$ either!
 yeah, we ski/board down that!
no trip to a ski resort would be complete without Bloody Mary's & these at Lime did not disappoint!
i cannot recommend this enough, bruises and all!  we will be back!

Wave of the Future

sorry for the drought, but we were on vaca & i never seem to get back into the groove quickly. so another IKEA Hack brings us my next kitchen customization!

3 of 5: Microwave & Cutting Board Station

one of the early ideas i found when researching the kitchen redo was to place the microwave under the counter. most of the examples i saw had it positioned in the island.  i have always hated any appliance that sits on the counter (with the possible exception of a Kitchen Aid Mixer cuz they are so stylish right?).  of course, appliances on the counter take a way distant 2nd to the microwave above the stove.  uggh!  yuck! grosse!  we lived with that beast for almost 10 years ourselves
yeah, sexy right?  and yes that is a missing drawer front to the left of the stove. believe it or not it was the drawer front that broke the kitchen's back & kicked our redo into gear! sure glad i tore that off...uh, i mean too bad it fell off!
anywhose...the great thing about that microwave was, NOTHING!  there was nothing great about it. the lighting was terrible and the venting went straight out the top and into the kitchen.  i love when people do that, not properly venting a stove!  right up there with eating their toe nails that one!
so i knew 6 years ago that the microwave was not going back UP into or onto anything. it would be hidden out of the way.  and here we have it!
we started out with the Akurum Base With 3 Drawers (18" wide i believe) in Nexus Black/Brown
Akurum Base w/ 3 Drawers
oddly enough when i went to their US site today, i could not choose the Nexus Black/Brown option so that might now be discontinued.
moving on....the only drawer kit we bought was the bottom one.  leaving the rest open, we simply used a piece of shelving, cut a piece of Black/Brown wall panel to size for the front, & attached the front panel to the shelf with the hinges to create this - some of these pieces you can't find online, so be sure to ask for extra shelving and panel pieces for custom stuff like this, you'll be glad you did.
put the shelf in the cabinet & slide the microwave in.  to compensate for the extra depth, we just cut a scrap piece of OSB down to the correct width & dept & set it in the back so the microwave would not slide around.
now we were ready to dress it up.  either we own a biscuit cutter or we borrowed one. i have no idea which, but Nacho cut slices in the cabinet frame & the panel pieces that would cover the white.
he then wood glued/snapped those pieces together to give it a finished look.
and here's what it looks like in use
we have since changed the panel to pull down instead of flip up.  it's a toss up really, but bending over to see what i needed to grab was cumbersome so we are using the flip down for now. and since it's so narrow, it makes for a great place to store cutting boards.  i corralled that with a hand tray from Target.
nicely done i think!  and here is a more complete finished view
yes, i know you can still see the white inside of the cabinet, but i just can't bring myself to line that with anything just yet.  perhaps a future project.  thinking either cork or metal panel.....but we will call it finished for now.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I love that group! But this is not about music. Nacho & I are headed out to CO but this time by train. I did this by myself 4 years ago since i didnt have to worry about anyone but me. I loved it! But of course i HATE flying. We usually drive the 14 hours out to CO & the train is 18 so not that big of a deal when you have the time. Of course I've never been out of the country, well except for Canada, so I have no idea what train travel is like in other countries. I hear nothing but good about it from those who have. I do know that we (US) are woefully inadequate in this tecnology as well. Too bad cuz it's relaxing & less demoralizing than any airport I've ever been in. Anyone want to enlighten me on how great, or maybe not, this is in other parts of the world?

Good Egg Bad Egg

i've intentionally held off on any duck updates because, well, i've kinda been holding my breath & hoping for the best.  i'm afraid that time is passed.
we did have a spark of success about 2 weeks ago (July 19th) when we saw mama swimming with 2 babies after we got home from work.  we didn't have our camera handy so had to run back inside & get it. by the time we got back out to the beach, this was the best we could get
she continued to swim across the river & disappeared around the island.  she left behind 4 eggs.  so we were a bit devastated that she'd abandoned the nest & remaining eggs, but like to think she knew best.  and hey, 2 babies!
HOWEVER, she came back the next day!  Alone! yep, we have no idea where the babies were/are.  we have not seen them since that day.  we kind of hope she's hidden them away or Dad is taking care of them somewhere, but that is unlikely.  she has been on those 4 remaining eggs ever since.
i did a little googling around week 2 & found that the average hatch time is 28 days after the last egg has been laid.  we don't know when that was, but today, Aug 1, it's unlikely those eggs are good.  she won't abandon the nest. my heart is broken. we wonder every day what happened to the 2 babies that did hatch & if there is any way possible the remaining 4 will - doubtful.  i like to think her instinct is best & maybe they will, but, again, doubtful.
for now, here's another close up from the day after we saw those 2 babies with her.  she still will let us get really close to her and the plants in the nest have grown so that she has great coverage.  you can see me trying to console myself.

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