Catching Up...

Since my blogging hiatus, a few things have occurred in my personal life. I realize that this blog is dedicated to home repair, but I thought that I might toss up a few pictures of the vacation that we took over the Fourth of July.

Brice and I try to see as many national parks as we can. So far we have visited:

Rocky Mountain National Park (CO.)

Grand Tetons National Park (WY.)
Yellowstone National Park (WY.)

Colorado National Monument (CO.)
Great Sand Dunes National Monument (CO.)
Mesa Verde National Monument (CO.)
Arches National Monument (UT.)
Petrified Forest\Painted Desert National Park (AZ.)
White Sands National Monument (NM.)
Carlsbad National Park (NM.)

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument (CO.)

Grand Canyon National (AZ.)
Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument (AZ.)
Wupatki National Monument (AZ.)
Montezuma Castle National Monument (AZ.)
Badlands National Park (SD.)
Mount Rushmore National Monument (SD.)
Jewel Cave National Monument (SD.)

Not bad for just four years. Although I have visited numerous other National Parks in the U.S. when I was a child, I really don't remember them very well.

Recently we went to South Dakota for the Fourth of July weekend. We started at Mount Rushmore thinking that there is nothing more patriotic than spending a fireworks-filled fourth of July in South Dakota. However, there is one important point I should make about Mount Rushmore on July Fourth: the fireworks display is actually on the third of July! Disappointed, we stayed for the lackluster ceremony and took some pictures anyway.

**Note the total lack of fireworks.

Here are the South Dakota Badlands after a record year of rainfall. It was very green there and the mosquitoes were terrible at night.

Here are some pictures inside Jewel Cave. Carlsbad is prettier, but Jewel Cave carries the title of "world's longest cave system". We took the Scenic Tour, but that came complete with 732 flights of stairs. I had discovered the week before we left that I had torn my medial meniscus after I had a MRI screen to address my chronic knee pain. This most likely occurred years ago on a backpacking trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. Since that fateful day, I have fought knee pain in my right knee, particularly when going down hills or stairs. I did okay in the cave, but on July 29th, 2008 I went into my first (and hopefully last) surgery for a partial meniscectomy. Now it appears I will have some more time to blog!


Do You Have a Door on the Bathroom Yet?

It has been quite some time since the last time that I posted to the blog. Most of our work (albeit not very much) had been on the exterior of the house. We have worked on getting the front lawn in better shape, since a year or so of no water has taken its toll on it. Unfortunately that required us ripping out the weeds that had replaced the front lawn. With a little re-seeding, we have managed to bring back a few clumps of grass here and there (pictures posted later).

I also began to replant the flower garden near the porch and the curb. I chose plants that require a lot of sun, but not very much water. In other words, cinquefoil, Russian sage, salvia, barberry, thyme, and some shasta daisies. Anyone who lives in Colorado is probably familiar with these low-water species. Unfortunately low-water and no-water should not be confused, as a few have died. Perhaps we are better candidates for a rock garden.

In addition to all this extensive gardening, the cottonwood continued to lose branches in the latest windy spring. In fact, we had quite the collection of sticks on the side of my house. Fortunately, my parents were kind enough to come up for a visit from the southland and grind up all that biomass. It took them one full day, but the pile is gone and the trees look better. That is, one of the cottonwoods looks better. The cottonwood closest to the street has started its journey to the great beyond. You know a tree is looking bad when a couple of guys show up at your door and offer to take the tree down for a mere $1500. I really don't like the idea of paying $1500 to remove something that I am actually fond of.

Anyway, our most recent accomplishment, as the title suggests, is the near-completion of the bathroom. For almost a year, guests have come and gone in the house. Their biggest complaint has always been that the lack of a bathroom door means that one must announce their bathroom intentions to the others in the house. Although there is still a few more things to fix in the bathroom, Brice has finished the trimming, caulking, and painting in the bathroom. I know in previous posts I had decided to paint the bathroom blue, but a last minute decision led to what you see before you.





Finally, I was able to sew some curtains from a matching shower curtain. I am quite proud of them. Brice suggested that they should "snap" together, so that the neighbors can't see in. However, I thought a button might be a little more stylish. I used a button from some old buttons that my mother gave me and a Jade donut that my friend Jody brought back from Hawaii. Thanks to both of you for your contributions to the curtains.

I should also address the plant on the counter before I get some comments. It has not been planted in the pot yet.

So to answer everyone's nagging question... Yes. There is a door on the bathroom.