Sunday, December 29, 2019

The last Sunday non-football project

Let's get rid of the ugliness first: The Browns lost to the Bengals. This doubled the Bengals' win total, and doomed (if they weren't doomed already) John Dorsey and Freddie Kitchens.
Speaking of Kitchens, we spent some of our Sunday project day in the kitchen... loading up our plates with food.

Sunday was another one of our family parties. Tis the season...

We tend to have a few more parties than most, due to late December birthdays. The schedule breaks out like this:

December 24: Christmas Eve.
December 25: Christmas Day.
December 27: Our son Tom's birthday.
December 29: Beth's sister Paige's birthday.
December 31: New Years Eve.

The Paige birthday dinner fell on Sunday. We had lasagna and wine.

Here are pictures from the various festivities.








Monday, December 23, 2019

Sunday Project Day - an annual tradition

This was our annual cookie decorating day.



For me this meant eat lunch with my in laws, tell jokes with my nieces, and have some homemade raspberry wine. All of which were infinitely more fun than watching the Browns lose yet again - this time to the Baltimore Ravens.
I did try my hand at cookie decorating. As always I wasn't constrained by the season.

I also tried to do a baby Yoda. Epic Fail.
Depending on who you asked it's either the love child of Gumby and ET or Sid the Sloth from Ice Age.

Monday, December 16, 2019

A little different take on the Sunday project day

Officially this is what happened on Sunday (instead of watching football):

I flew to Memphis.

It was an evening flight, but Sunday afternoon was spent packing for the trip.

I did get to see the Patriots team jet at the Cincinnati airport.

No photo description available.
Today's flight is operated by Cheat Air

I also saw a bunch of fans in Patriots jerseys at the Greater Cincinnati airport. There was one guy at the airport wearing a Bengals jersey. I assume he lost a bet.

From a Patriot fan's point of view this makes a lot of sense. Getting a flight to Cincinnati then buying a "scalped" ticket (can we really call it "scalping" when the tickets are probably nowhere near face value at this point?) is likely cheaper than buying tickets for a home game.

My son was at the game (he got a free ticket). He said there were way more Patriot fans in the half full stadium than Bengals fans.

As a side note, when I got off the flight in Atlanta a pilot was waiting to board. He asked me if the flight was coming in from Boston (given all the Patriots jerseys). I said no and explained why there were so many Patriot jerseys.

He told me that before the Patriots bought their own team jet he had flown a couple of team charters. The Patriot charter flight lands in Providence. When the plane gets to the hangar all of the players cars (Escalades and more) are started and warmed up, ready to go.

Such is life in the NFL. It's a tough game, but the perks are great.

And occasionally an NFL player can let that go to his head and act like a spoiled brat, if the coach lets him.

Bill Belichick doesn't let that happen.

Freddie Kitchens does.

And that's why I have completed a large number of projects this year.

(Ironically none of them involved a kitchen change... something the Browns will hopefully do this year).

Saturday, December 14, 2019

When you know that Sunday won't be available and you have projects to do

Yesterday we got a lot of things done.
(I mostly supervised the process, but it still counts as completed projects).
At 9am our new handyman arrived. He fixed a hole in the garage wall. It was too large for me to handle. He then mounted my whiteboard. Again - too large for me to handle.
No photo description available.
He got both items done by 10am.
At Noon the delivery truck with our new sectional arrived. They set up our new sectional and TV stand.


They moved one of our old couches to the basement. They moved the other to the front yard. NOT as a permanent thing, but it was fun to sit on with the dogs one last time.
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, sitting and outdoor
Tom and I then hooked up the new TV.
Around 5pm the next truck arrived and took away the old couch.
By the end of the day it was two brand new rooms.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Sunday (and part of Saturday as well) Project - moving equipment and more

First off the game that I didn't see:

The Browns won. It wasn't pretty, but they won. I watched the highlights later. Baker Mayfield threw two interceptions, but one was a terrible call. The receiver was down, the linebacker took the ball after. To call that an interception is wrong. But even if the call was right - the ball hit the receiver right where it should have.

I could go on, but this is a blog about what I did instead of watching football.

On Saturday we borrowed an appliance dolly and moved the 160 lb. huge TV downstairs. It will become a video game TV - with Netflix connections using a Roku box as well.

We then attempted to move the entertainment center with the dolly. It got stuck on the turn of the stairs. So we brought it back upstairs. Joe then called his friend Ben. Ben came over and Joe and Ben moved the entertainment center downstairs. They then lifted the TV up and put it in the entertainment center.

The key in all this was to get me out of the way.

As part of the execution of this project (note that the word planning wasn't used in that sentence) I moved things around to get into the crawl space. While I was there, I took the file cabinet out and moved it next to the desk.

Sunday's project was to clean everything out of the file cabinet and re-organize it. That took WAY more time than planned. But at the end of the day I had an organized file cabinet next to the desk.



I also had enough time to put up some Christmas lights on the deck




And I reorganized my wine rack in the bar area.




Finally I was able to put the components back in the entertainment center.



Friday, December 6, 2019

A quick recap on the Sunday project list and where we are at:

THINGS WE DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:


1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.
3. Painted the basement wall in preparation for the new office and entertainment areas.
4. Cleaned out the detached garage.
5. Cleaned up the yard and burned up everything in the fire pit (killing lots of weeds in the process).
6. Assembled a basketball hoop.
7. Cleaned and organized the master bedroom closet.
8. Got a puppy!
9. Assembled a spice rack, finished a cornhole board and cleaned out the bog garden.
10. Hiked five miles.
11. Fixed a large hole in the wall.
12. Painted the finished basement, put the guitars on the wall, moved the desk.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Sunday project... Win/Win

The first win: I wasn't subjected to watching the Browns lose to a team starting its third string quarterback. Again. (Denver was the first time).

The second win: We got the basement area (future home office and entertainment area finished:

One corner of the finished basement - it is awaiting the TV.

And we got the desk cleaned and put in place for the home office:
















And once I moved the desk I realized I could use the pegboard to mount some (not all, but some) of the guitars that my sons Joe and Kenny use the record music with their band Starless.
















And once we got all that done I decided to get the new tree up. By this time the game was long since over, but I didn't want to sit down and watch the "highlights".

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Saturday Project... because it's a four day weekend

We did a Sunday project a day early - mostly because we knew it would be a big effort that will conclude today.

The Saturday project was painting the rest of the finished basement rec room / home office area.

This included painting over the former large hole - it's completely covered.

For today's Sunday project we will take the tape down, put the outlet covers back on and move the desk to its new home.

And since it's going to be over 50 degrees we will also clean up the sticks and limbs and leaves that came down in the high winds earlier this weeks. Pics to follow.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Sunday project - fixing a hole in the wall.

First off: The Browns. This would have been a good game to watch. The Browns got out to a 28-0 lead and wound up winning 41-24. Joe Schobert had two more interceptions. All in all a good day.

That said, I fixed one of the bigger problems on our list. One that, had any of the drywall repair companies on Angie's List responded to my phone call, I would have outsourced (for a whole lot more money that what I paid to fix it.

We have had a drywall hole in the finished basement for a while. Saturday evening I went to Lowes and picked up a patch kit (I already had the sheetrock compound at home) and larger putty knife (I had the small ones at home).

Here are the before and so far pictures. As you can see, the patch wasn't fully dry by the end of the day. Additionally there are some cracks near the hole that will need a layer of spackle applied before we paint. Target date for painting is Friday. That means the official Sunday project for this week will come early. But that will leave Sunday for antique shopping.






THINGS WE DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.
3. Painted the basement wall in preparation for the new office and entertainment areas.
4. Cleaned out the detached garage.
5. Cleaned up the yard and burned up everything in the fire pit (killing lots of weeds in the process).
6. Assembled a basketball hoop.
7. Cleaned and organized the master bedroom closet.
8. Got a puppy!
9. Assembled a spice rack, finished a cornhole board and cleaned out the bog garden.
10. Hiked five miles.
11. Fixed a large hole in the wall.




Monday, November 18, 2019

Sunday Fun Day

The Browns didn't play on Sunday. They played on Thursday. They won, beating the Steelers 21-7.

Since I only agreed to skip Sunday afternoon football, and since it was Browns against the Steelers, I watched.

I watched the whole game. Even the little disagreement at the end.

But this isn't about that game, or the fight. This is about Sunday projects. It would be very immature of me to bring up anything related to the end of the game on this post.

This Sunday's project wasn't a project at all. Instead it was a hike. We had our troop planning meeting on Saturday. We stayed overnight and then joined about 300 others in a five mile hike: The 100th anniversary We-Hin-O-Pay trail hike.

Five miles of hiking. It included two very large hills. It also included a lunch stop in the middle of the hike.

My calves are sore today. But probably not as sore as Mason Rudolph was on Friday morning.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Extreme Sunday Project

Let's get the Browns result out of the way: They won. 19-16. Yet had I watched it I probably would have aged a year in three hours, given the fact that:

- They managed to do something that hadn't been done in YEARS - fail to score despite having eight plays inside the opponent's one yard line, and
- On the game winning drive Baker Mayfield almost fumbled, and the almost fumble was returned for what would have been a game icing Buffalo touchdown. (Replay overturned it) and
- Buffalo missed what would have been the game tying field goal near the end of the game.
Still a win is a win. But I'm glad I missed it.



What we did this week:


We started on Saturday. I deployed the new spice shelf. We moved all spices to one central area. And it looks good:



Yet to be decided: Will we use the labels, and will we alphabetize the spices? The serial organizer part of me wants to do both, but the practical side of me says "three shelves, 36 spices, not really necessary".


After the spice shelf I completed the bar reorganization by assembling the new Ninja blender.


But wait - there's more!


On Sunday we had a day of really nice weather.

Beth cleaned out the bog garden.
I wish we had before pictures - but we were too busy working.

Cistern overflow drain cleared out

Weeds and leaves cleaned out

 


The hoop is now adjustable!

View from the ground


Beth literally finished the cornhole boards

If I graded the Sunday projects I would call this a huge win - like what the 49ers enjoyed over the Browns a couple of weeks ago.
The only downside was I managed at one point to step in dog crap with both of my shoes - like what the Browns did against the 49ers a couple of weeks ago.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Win / Win - Things we did instead of watching football - November 3, 2019

First let's start with the Browns: They went to Denver. They played a bad team. They played against a rookie quarterback.

And (drumroll) they lost again. They did so in a spectacular "Browns will be Browns" fashion. Three missed tackles on a 75 yard touchdown. Best running back on the sidelines in short yardage situations. Two receivers getting threatened at halftime by the NFL for their shoes. A former starting safety getting cut after the game for threatening to kill someone on Twitter.

Ho hum, just another day in the office.

But I saw none of that. Instead, we completed the best Sunday project yet.

THINGS WE DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.
3. Painted the basement wall in preparation for the new office and entertainment areas.
4. Cleaned out the detached garage.
5. Cleaned up the yard and burned up everything in the fire pit (killing lots of weeds in the process).
6. Assembled a basketball hoop.
7. Cleaned and organized the master bedroom closet.
8. Got a puppy!









Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Great No Football Experiment - Week... well I lost count, but it's October 27

This week's project actually happened on Saturday (with some spillover to Sunday).

We chose Saturday for the project because Sunday (today) was our 29th wedding anniversary. We took the family to Red Lobster to celebrate.

(NOTE:  The Browns / Patriots game was on in the bar at Red Lobster. I did peek at the score. And I was both happy and disgusted. Happy that I committed to this idea, and disgusted by the score - 17-0 at the time.)

On Saturday we did a bedroom cleanout - for me it was mostly centered around organizing the closet.  I generated a couple of boxes of clothing for Salvation Army, and cleaned and organized the space.

In addition we filled a box or two of old VHS tapes and DVDs. While not a project per se, it sets the stage for a bigger project: The master bedroom reorganization (new TV and get rid of some furniture).

On Sunday we had time after church and before Red Lobster so my son Tom and I stacked firewood on the deck. We are now ready for a cold winter.

Following that we cleaned up, changed and went to Red Lobster (Mahi Mahi and more!) and Jungle Jim's (Wine and more!)

THINGS WE DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.
3. Painted the basement wall in preparation for the new office and entertainment areas.
4. Cleaned out the detached garage.
5. Cleaned up the yard and burned up everything in the fire pit (killing lots of weeds in the process).
6. Assembled a basketball hoop.
7. Cleaned and organized the master bedroom closet.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Great No Football Experiment - Week Seven

The weather was fantastic, so we moved outdoor projects to the top of the priority list.

Specifically, Beth finished up the fall "get ready for winter" yard work and Tom and I assembled a basketball hoop.

We assembled it twice.

The first time we put the hoop on the post backwards. This became evident when we stood it up and it didn't balance well.  It also explained why the fit on some of the screws was so difficult.

After the second time we had the hoop assembled.

Mostly.

We still have to add the height adjustment lever, and we still have to add about 300 more lb. of sand to the base.  (We had about 40 lb. available.)
Pictures to follow.
THINGS WE DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.
3. Painted the basement wall in preparation for the new office and entertainment areas.
4. Cleaned out the detached garage.
5. Cleaned up the yard and burned up everything in the fire pit (killing lots of weeds in the process).
6. Assembled a basketball hoop.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Great No Football Experiment - Week Six

We didn't do a project this Sunday.  It wasn't because we didn't have projects in the inventory - we had plenty.

But we started with lunch at my in-laws. We had soup, homemade bread, and wine. Beth's niece was in from Florida, along with Beth's grand niece.

Eating and talking with family is time well spent especially compared to watching football. This opinion was shared by my father in law, a Cincinnati Bengals fan. He didn't even turn on the game.

When we got home we realized we didn't have project time. Instead we had clean up (and get set up for the next project) time.

So instead of football we:
- mowed part of the lawn,
- burned up all the extra wood in the fire pit (this had the added benefit of killing all the weeds in the fire pit).
- put away some leftover items from the scout campout.
- pulled weeds.
- edged around the sidewalk.
- and worked (to little or no avail sadly) on getting the lawnmower to self-propel both wheels (instead of one).

Meanwhile, the Browns turned a 20-6 lead into a 32-28 loss, once again convincing me I made the right call at the start of the season.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Great No Football Experiment - Week Five

The Browns weren't on this Sunday, instead "playing" Monday night football in San Francisco.
 
This week's project was cleaning out the detached garage, with an end goal of having enough room to park both cars. 

This wasn't necessarily on top of the project list, but it worked with the items we had for other projects (none), the available labor (Phil and Beth only), and the weather (raining).

In the end we generated an incredible amount of garbage, an equally incredible amount of things to donate to the Salvation Army, and enough room to park two cars.

Meanwhile, Monday also managed to free up when the Browns put on a display of football ineptitude not seen since week one, which was what got this whole effort started.


THINGS WE DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.
3. Painted the basement wall in preparation for the new office and entertainment areas.
4. Cleaned out the detached garage.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Great No Football Experiment - Week Four

Okay, in hindsight this one hurts a little to write about.

As noted in week one, I have replaced Sunday afternoon NFL football with projects or other pursuits.

This really wasn't much of a problem up until week four:

- On week two the Browns played the Jets on Monday night.
- On week three the Browns played the Rams on Sunday night (and lost).

But on week four the Browns played at Baltimore on Sunday afternoon. And the game was televised in the Cincinnati area, given that the Bengals were playing in Pittsburgh on Monday night. (If we define playing using the 2017 Cleveland Browns definition:  Showing up wearing helmets).

Meanwhile the Browns went to Baltimore and won going away 40-15. I saw the updates come through on my phone all afternoon...

But I digress. I didn't watch football on Sunday.

Instead we had a family dinner, followed by our Sunday project:  Painting the finished basement (brown wall only).  Tom cleaned the baseboards, Beth did the detail work and I did the roller work.

This is the first step in creating a TV area and office area in the basement.

And it turned out pretty good.


THINGS I DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.
3. Painted the basement wall in preparation for the new office and entertainment areas.

Monday, September 23, 2019

The Great No Football Experiment - Week Three

The Browns were on national TV - but not on Sunday afternoon.

That worked out well, because I spent Sunday afternoon flying to Canada.

Live football was an option on the flight from Minneapolis to Calgary - at least up until we crossed into Canadian airspace (all the TV feeds went out then) - but I declined.

Instead I read, wrote some speech material, listened to music and performed a GTD style weekly review.

All better than watching Tom Brady (that's what the guy in front of me was doing).

I did watch some of the Browns game Sunday evening (on Canadian TV - so I guess they were on international TV. But I got tired, and turned them off before they blew it. Score one for being old.

THINGS I DID ON SUNDAY AFTERNOON INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.
2. Read a book and did a GTD review on a flight to Canada.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Great No Football Experiment - Monday...


I didn’t really think about the Browns schedule when I came up with my big plan last week.  Had I thought about it I would have realized they played on Monday night this week. And, in the heat of the moment, I might have made a rash decision to not watch them whenever they played.

This would have been unfortunate in that I would have had to try to do a project on Monday night. Experience tells me that Monday night is one of my least productive times.

So when Sunday came I realized that there was no Browns game to boycott. Furthermore, there would be no Browns game to boycott next week. They play Sunday night, which is an even worse time to attempt a project.

I quickly adjusted:  No football at all on Sunday afternoons. For the rest of the season I will dedicate Sunday afternoons to projects, or other pursuits (like this Sunday).

This covers many Browns games, as well as Patriots games and other teams I have no interest in watching.

The other upside of this is that I can watch the Browns tomorrow night. At least for a little while.

And I suppose if the Browns start playing well I can record the Sunday afternoon game.

The great no-NFL experiment - Week two (plus project description)

I'll admit it - I quit watching football at halftime of the Browns' 43-13 loss to Tennessee (at home no less).  I didn't want to spend time watching a team that committed almost 200 yards of penalties, including one for kicking an opponent in the head (that one came with an ejection).

Then after the game I read about Odell Beckham Jr - a very talented receiver, probably one of the most talented the Browns have ever had - wearing a $350,000 watch. Then I read that he will keep wearing it.  I don't give a crap about what he does or doesn't wear, but I do give a crap when that becomes the focus.

And then I read about Antonio Brown for what felt like the 100th time.

And frankly I'm tired of seeing the Patriots get players like Brown in what feels like an underhanded way.

Also, I'm tired of the Patriots.  And the Browns for that matter.

Suddenly I had a thought. After giving up football for a half day on Sunday I got the lawn done, plus some other work. What could I accomplish if I skipped football every Sunday?

On Monday I started a list of projects. Small projects that could be done on a Sunday afternoon.

And then... on week two of the NFL season... I did none of them. Instead of watching football, or doing a project, I spent time with Beth's extended family. We talked, had some wine and ate a meal together. We talked about my dad passing and other family members as well.

Admittedly the Browns didn't play, so it wasn't like I skipped watching them.

(And I haven't decided about tonight's game yet).

But one week into the Sunday experiment the scorecard looks like this:

THINGS I DID ON SUNDAY INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE NFL:

1. Spent quality time with extended family.


We had Beth’s mom’s family reunion. This involves a large group of fun relatives sitting in the front yard in the shade, eating food, drinking wine and having great conversation.

I talked with Butch and Sandy. Sandy went through chemo since we last talked. She has come out cancer free. And she now has nice curly hair!

I talked with Margie and Susie. We talked about dad’s passing away. Susie lost her husband to Alzheimer’s. We were able to share good stories (and a glass of wine or two) (or three).

Monday, August 19, 2019

Great things from the air

Normally when I fly I take the aisle seat to allow me to get up when I want. Especially on long flights.

Today's flight from Detroit to Seattle was different. I had a window seat (although it was one with no seat in front of it, allowing me to get up without disturbing other passengers).

With about 20 minutes to go I decided to take a look out the window. And I was presented with the ultimate #greatthing. Snow covered mountains in August.



And mountain ponds.



Thursday, August 15, 2019

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts...

When my barber found out that I was going to Peru he had one question:

"Can you find out if the toilets flush counter-clockwise?"  He always wanted to know if toilets in the southern hemisphere flushed the opposite direction.

I did a little research and found a nice article that said that they didn't. The science (which I don't really understand) says that if the body of water is big enough it would flow counter clockwise, but a toilet is not nearly big enough.

So it was quite a surprise when I flushed a toilet in the Lima airport and saw that the water did in fact flush counter-clockwise. This also happened in the Trujillo airport, and in all of the toilets we had in El Milagro.

So the mystery was solved: Toilets in the southern hemisphere flush counter-clockwise.

Then last week we rented a condo in Gatlinburg.

And the toilets flushed counter-clockwise.

Bottom line (pun only partially intended): Sometimes toilets flush clockwise and sometimes they flush counter-clockwise. And I have no idea why.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Great moments from our Smokey Mountains vacation

Beth, Tommy and I just finished an incredible week in the Smoky Mountains.  Highlights included:

Stopping in Kentucky for some Orange Cream Ale 8

Hiking the width of the Appalachian Trail.

Hiking to the top of Clingman's Dome on a clear day!

Petting goats at Goats on a Roof... where they have... goats on a roof. But they also come down for food.

Eating ice cream and then posing with bears

Checking out penguins at Ripley's Aquarium


Walking down to the Pigeon River in Gatlinburg

Having a picnic at New Found Gap

Playing Space Invaders, Pac Man, Frogger, Mappy and more.