Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some recent housework

I've been sporadically working on my house, but obviously haven't been posting anything up here about it. Lately, I've decided I want to have my kitchen ready for use by the end of the summer. This means having the walls framed out, new electric run, new gas lines, new water lines, new drainage, new ceiling and lighting, a window replaced, a new back door, new sub floor, the random brick chimney vent in the roof removed and the roof fixed. That's a lot to do and considering I really only work on it one day a week, I don't know if I'll get all that done, but I will have most of it ready.

I started by cutting off the water to the kitchen and removing the old iron piping that ran from the water heater to the back of the house (the 2nd floor bathroom is run with PVC). In the process of getting rid of that pipe, I learned that I didn't have to cut it, it could easily be removed at any joint by simply pulling on it. I don't know how clear the picture below is, but I removed both of the connecting pipes without any tools; it's almost completely rusted inside. Makes me happy I rarely used the kitchen sink and even gave Chloe water from a Brita. I also removed all the gas lines going to the back of the basement (Stove/Dryer) and the one that was going to my non-existent furnace.

I took out the ceiling in the kitchen (no pictures of that though) except for the light. The next step was to remove the floor. I made a decision that I was going to lay an entirely new subfloor because I wasn't sure what type of flooring I wanted and this would be the easiest way to be ready for what ever is decided. This is the back wall of the kitchen before I started doing anything.

The first section I removed was a huge pain in the ass because I didn't really know the best method of cutting everything up. The floor consisted of the original 3/4" hardwoods from who knows how long ago, a linoleum type floor directly on that, another thin subfloor with another layer of linoleum and finally a third subfloor with more linoleum. If you remember back to the beginning, there was also a layer of laminate wood floors on top of this. I ended up cutting the floor into square-ish pieces and pulling them up with a wrecking bar (my new favorite tool). I was able to get a decent amount done in a short time and was happy that I could easily see the results.

The joists seem to be in good enough shape to re-use, which is good because I had no intention of replacing them. I'm going to lay a temporary floor so I don't fall through, and hopefully be ready to lay the permanent floor in a couple weeks.

My bi-annual attempt at cooking

I don't cook very often ... primarily because I don't have a kitchen at the moment, but also because it takes time to prepare everything and I just don't feel like doing that too often. I do enjoy cooking, and hopefully when I do have a kitchen again, I will do so frequently.

I had to throw together a simple meal for two and asked what I should make. "Chicken and vegetables" was the response I got so I decided to go with it and try to make something flavorful out of a bland base.

I wanted to marinate the chicken, but didn't have time to put everything together and decided to go with a rub (not sure if that's what its called but I'm OK with it) and just season the outside. Basically I made a mixture of balsamic and apple cider vinegar, olive oil, a healthy dose of rosemary, basil, finely chopped (minced?) onion and a spice mixture a family friend makes called The Heat (need to find his website, this stuff is great). I coated one side of the chicken and refrigerated it overnight, then flipped the pieces and coated the other side to sit while I was at work.

The mixture of vegetables I decided to go with was from a recipe on the Epicurious app I have on my iPad and I decided to add a couple things too. It consists of yellow squash, zucchini squash, eggplant, red peppers, portabella mushrooms and vidalia onions. The squash, eggplant and mushrooms were all cut lengthwise to make it easier to grill and I tried to cut the peppers in as large and flat pieces as I could. I only used the outer portion of the onions so they would be big enough for grilling. I coated each piece with some olive oil and basil since I didn't have the other ingredients the recipe called for (mint and sun dried tomatoes) and like basil a lot.

I grilled everything on relatively low heat except for when I initially put the chicken on so the spices would sear in a little bit. It took a while but I think it turned out well and kept the chicken juicy and didn't overly crisp the vegetables. I sliced up some fresh mozzarella over the vegetables and then drizzled some balsamic dressing over it.

All things considered, I really liked this and it didn't take very long to put together. The chicken definitely had some kick to it thanks to The Heat.

Chloe, the Bee Killer

Look closely at the below picture.

She was going crazy trying to catch the bee and I wanted to take a video, but didn't change my phone and ended up getting this picture instead. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Picture Catch-up Part 3, Chloe

Who doesn't love pictures of the best dog in the world; Chloe.

The red, white and black huskies

Joey, Chloe and Luke

This is why a white dog at the park is a bad idea

After getting cleaned up at Hair of the Dog grooming in Canton

She likes the firetruck and the snow (at a stoplight)

Chloe talks in her sleep ...

and can keep herself busy pretty easily

Don't know why the video quality is so bad, I guess they got compressed when I e-mailed them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Picture Catch-up Part 2, Football Games

Other than the several Ravens games I go to each year, I thought I'd like to see another stadium this year and how the crowds treat me. A bunch of friends are Steelers fans so I figured I'd head there.

Justin, Marko and I tailgating

This was a pretty awesome stadium and I can't wait to go back next year

I was really impressed how few Ravens fans were there. The Steelers fans apparently don't sell up their seats for big games like a lot of fans do here in B'more.

Overall, I was treated pretty well, even after we won. It may have had to do with being surrounded by friends that were Steelers fans, or that I didn't really try to start anything, or that I'm 6-4, 260; regardless, it was a pleasant experience.

I've wanted to see Mike Vick play live because it's hard to see the whole field on TV and what affect he actually has on defensive backs. I chose the perfect game to; the 59 - 28 pummelling of the Redskins on a cold and rainy Monday night.

Let's just say that after the TD pass to Desean Jackson on the 1st play of the game, it was easy to see how scared the DBs were that he could pass like that and it allowed him to run all over the field. I was happy with the decision to go to that game, but I wish it was somewhere else; I can't stand FedEx Field and it's a nightmare to get to/leave from.

This is from the Ravens - Steelers game in baltimore last weekend. I went to both games this year and amazingly, both stadiums were pretty silent while I left. BTW, this picture is from an iPhone app called 360 Panorama, it works pretty well during the day, but figured I'd try it at the stadium and like the results (will get one at the Ravens - Saints game next week during the day to see how much better it comes out).

Picture Catch-up Part 1, Culebra Puerto Rico

First, Happy Birthday Aunt Karen.

OK, these picture catch-up posts are going to be incredibly out of order but that's the nice thing about having a blog ... you can do whatever you want.

These are from the second weekend in November in Culebra, Puerto Rico. I went with a great group of people and it was the perfect escape from work and the increasingly colder weather.

The ferry ride from the mainland to Culebra take about 75 minutes and you get to see a bunch of the other islands off the coast of PR

These 2 pictures combine to be the view from our condo's balcony; too bad my phone couldn't capture how truly awesome it was

The ladies of the trip with our bus driver Willy; we had a party bus both nights and he came in with us everywhere we went

Some of the group chilling on our balcony

When there's drinking and available coconuts, the only logical conclusion is a coco-lantern

Our only meal out, at Eden, was excellent (had lobster that was great)

Kirby, Jackson and I after the meal. There's a reason for my face, but I'm not telling here

The group with Willy (my phone's lens had a smudge)

The ferry leaving Culebra

One of the streets in old San Juan; we had time before our flight and decided to take a stroll through

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

So yeah, still not doing much here

Wow, 55 posts last year and I'm only at 7 (including this non-post) this year.

I guess this just hasn't been something I think about very much anymore or maybe I haven't really felt the urge to share any of the boring things that I've been up to lately.

It could also be because I haven't done a damn thing to my house and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to start this.

Oh well, I guess I'll think about writing something substantial here this week. Maybe talk about the awesome trip to Pittsburgh this weekend to watch the Ravens beat the Steelers or the second job I'm starting this week at a wine bar or the weddings I have this month and next or the upcoming trip to Puerto Rico or maybe ... just maybe, I'll write about how awesome my dog Chloe is. She's pretty f'ing awesome.