Friday, May 29, 2009

We're going camping!

We have several things to talk about today! First off - the bathroom is done (except for re-hanging the medicine cabinet). It really looks good! You'll have to come by and take a peek...

Second - you may have read in earlier posts about how the National Weather Service might have a problem with their rain gauge. Well - it appears that they have taken the lid off of it! We've had the same amount of rain as we've had for weeks (which means that it rains 6 out of 7 days) but the good ol' rain gauge is now reporting that we are 3 inches above normal for May. Whew!

And speaking of the weather - it has been very stormy all week. This morning, it looked stormy again. But it has cleared up this afternoon and the sun is shining! And tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful early summer day with low humidity (at least for Knoxville). So, we've packed up the trailer and we'll be heading out later this afternoon for some much needed rest and relaxation!

And one last thing - thanks to EVERYONE who donated to the Tour de Cure! Next Saturday - we'll be on the bikes, peddeling away! It really means a lot to us (and to the American Diabetes Association!). Letting go of some cash for a charity - especially with the economy being the way that it is - is hard to do. And it is very much appreciated. If you haven't donated yet and would like to contribute - just go to http://tour.diabetes.org/goto/bryon and click on the "sponser me" button. And you can click on the couple of links in the top right corner of this page for some more info!

We hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The bathroom update!

Here's the quick rundown of the progress on the bathroom!

First of all - Darlene is back and I didn't get it finished. Surprised? I didn't think so.

There was one major contributing factor (I'm really not very good with spackle) and a minor contributing factor (I had a "band" commitment this past weekend that I thought had been canceled when I started this project).

At any rate - here's where it's at...

The first task was getting the old drywall out. And all of the old drywall has indeed been ripped out. I gave myself one day for this task - and sure enough, it was completed in one day! So far so good...

Next came an unplanned task. All of the electric code violations have been fixed (yes - all connections need to be made inside a junction box - even for light fixtures! Good thing that a little spark didn't set the insulation on fire... That put me about a half a day behind schedule.

Next came hanging the new drywall. No problem there - except that EVERY SINGLE SHEET had to be cut! Whew - that took some time. The original schedule had me putting the first coat of mud on - but the extra time spent with the electrical kept me from getting it done.

Next came the mud. Those "pros" make it look so easy - just throw it up on the wall and viola! NOT! Of course, I know I'm not a pro - I've done enough drywall work to know that I'm not very good at it. but I REALLY lost a lot of time here. I gave myself two days - and it took four (and I'm going to have to go back and redo some of it).

Next came the primer and paint. No problems here! All done in 2 days...

Then came hanging the new lights and exhaust fan (all with mere hours before Darlene's return) Not much of an issue here - except with the exhaust fan. The way it mounts makes it want to shift while you are putting the screws in. It took a couple of tries to get it right.

Then Darlene came home. She thought it looked nice (she should have seen the mess I had earlier that day! She would have been impressed with the cleanup effort).

Since her return, I've reattached the toilet tank (a note to everyone - any time you empty out the tank, plan on buying ALL new rubber! The old rubber just won't seal again...), reattached the vanity and sink, and caulked the shower so it's a usable bathroom again.

But there's still a ton of piddly stuff remaining. Paint and hang trim. Hang the shower rod, towel rods and ring, hang the toilet paper holder. And that pesky spackle touch-up (I'll be doing that tonight). It should be done by the end of the week as long as we don't take up too much time with bike riding (the Tour de Cure is only 1 week and a half away! Better get those training miles in...)

I'll let you all know how it goes!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A new project for the house...

Hey everybody! Bryon here. I just wanted to let everybody know about the latest project at the house...

You see - Darlene is out of town visiting some friends. So what am I going to do at home by myself? Heck - why not rip out all of the drywall in the bathroom!

I can hear you now... "What in the world?" and normally I would agree. It doesn't sound like much fun. But for those of you who have been inside the downstairs hall bathroom, you know of it's "condition"...

You see - When I moved in (12 years ago - it really has been that long!) there was this god-awful wallpaper in the bathroom Darlene and I worked and worked and worked (and then worked some more) at getting all of the paper off. Then we washed the walls with DIF trying to get all of the paste off...

Then we put up some primer. Then we painted. Then the real trouble began.

The problem was the paste under the paint. With the heat and ultra-high humidity, the paint would crack and fleck off the wall. Imagine how pretty that is.

So we spackled over it. We tried different primers. We tried different paint. All to no avail. It got to be so bad that when people asked where the bathroom was, we would direct them to the one in the spare bedroom...

So I've been working on it the last two evenings. I'll post the details and some pics in another post. But the "short version" of the story is that all of the drywall has been removed and the new drywall has been hung with the first coat of mud. Not bad for a couple of evenings after work!

If I'm lucky, I'll have it all done before Darlene gets back. Oh - did I mention that I haven't told her I was doing this?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The "Beg-O-Gram" has been sent

In the last day or so - some of you may have received an email from us! The subject was "The Knoxville Tour de Cure" and it is certainly not spam mail! If you did receive it, take a few minutes and read through it. Then go to and make a donation. It will go a long way towards saving a life.

And if you didn't get the email - we appologize! We tried to put in as many email addresses as we could remember - but you know about memory and age...

But have no fear - you can find all of the information from the email by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page under the "Tour de Cure" heading.

And we also realize that economic times aren't as good as they were. But no donation is too small. If it's a dollar - it will help! Many of the folks at the office are making donations $0.50 cents at a time and we are thankful for every penny! And if the current economy has been good to you (or if you've figured out how to be on the good side of a government bailout) - feel free to donate more.

Thank you to everyone who donates. And an "extra special" thank you to those who have diabetes and donate. YOU are the reason we ride!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tennessee finally catches up...

We realize that a lot of our friends and ALL of our family live somewhere other than Knoxville. And because of that, you are probably not aware of the daily weather that happens in Knoxville (unless you've talked to me recently!)

So here's the update.

It has been raining. Not just today. Or yesterday. But for 4 months.

Sure - we've had some nice days this year (especially if we exclude the temperature - I could write an entire post just on how crazy the temperature has been...). We've even had a couple of days where the sun was out all day. But the rain days have outnumbered the non-rain days by 2 to 1.

This isn't all bad. The entire southeast made national news last year for record breaking drought. Georgia tried to pass a law saying that they owned the Tennessee river due to a survey error (the survey took place around the same time as the civil war). Of course, that would mean they would have to change all of the signs to "Chattanooga Georgia"...

So I'm not complaining about the rainfall (the new grass in the backyard looks terrific - all with no sprinklers!). And I hope it continues throughout the summer (we have a history of absolutely NO rain in August!) But I do have some concerns about the rain gauge at the National Weather Service.

All of you that have been to my house know that we live on top of a hill (remember trying to get out of your car while it's parked on the driveway?). So you should all know that when we have standing water in our yard, we should be working on plans for an arc. We should be several inches above normal in total precipitation - right?

Not according to the NWS. We are three one hundredths of an inch above normal.

So, all of you who may have contacts within the National Weather Service (particularly the center in Morristown or the observation station at McGhee Tyson Airport) - please call them (or email or communicate in whatever your favorite way may be). Just let them know that they need to remove the lid from the rain gauge.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Help Stop Diabetes!

It's that time of year again! The weather is warm. It's time to put that bike on the road and start training for our favorite ride - the Tour de Cure.

What is the Tour de Cure? It's the largest nationwide fundraiser that is put on by the American Diabetes Association! And it is 100% funded by cyclists!!!!

That's right! Those of you that are cyclists know that we enjoy riding in charity events throughout the riding season. Most of the events are fundraisers for local bicycle clubs to promote community awareness. I'm sure you've seen those "Share the Road" signs. As a general rule, those signs are paid for by local clubs (not a single tax dollar!!)

But this charity ride is different. It doesn't support a local club. It doesn't promote cycling awareness. It helps save lives by funding the American Diabetes Association.

Specifically, the American Diabetes Association has been funding innovative research to combat diabetes since 1955. They fund more than $42 million a year in research at more than 160 research institutions throughout the country (including $3.67 million to the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt University School of Medicine). And more than $16 million of that comes from cylists in the Tour de Cure.

Most everyone knows someone whose life is touched by diabetes. For us, it's our mother who needs daily insulin shots. Perhaps it is you yourself (which means the YOU are the reason we ride!). And the American Diabetes Association is the only national non-profit organization in the United States to provide support for ALL FOUR TYPES of diabetes (Type 1, Type 2, Gestational, and Pre-diabetes).

We ask all of you to consider sponsoring us in our effort. It's easy to do (and it's tax deductible!). Just go to tour.diabetes.org/goto/bryon and click on the "sponsor me" button. It's all online. It's guaranteed safe. And you will feel good knowing that you helped the more than 90 million Americans with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

And if you would like to do something even more - investigate the Tour de Cure website and see if your city is one of the 78 cities nationwide hosting a Tour de Cure ride. Whether you decided to ride 10 miles or 100 - YOU could be one of the more than 38,000 cyclists that help raise money to put an end to diabetes!