Thursday, June 29, 2006

Out to Park City

We picked up and moved out west this week. Back to the glorious weather in Park City. It turns out that we just squeeked by on getting the dog out here. If the weather at take-off or landing is supposed to be above 85, they won't ship a pet. Salt Lake City was running about 10 degrees above average and even landing at 10:23 in the morning, it was just barely cool enough. We all made it and the pets were absolutely wonderful. So far they are 2-for-2 on cross-country travel.

We got everything up and running in the condo, did mail, got groceries and such. We're now running fairly well and hopefully can take full advantage of all the activities here for July 4th.

The exciting thing is seeing some progress on the house we are building next door. The first step was clearing a good chunk of the lot and then building a 12 foot retaining wall at the top. The wall is almost done.

The next step will be a lot more grading, and then pouring the foundation. We have been very lucky that our lot is mostly soil and loose dirt. Other lots, only a hundred yards away, are nothing but rock. They have to spend lots of time and effort blasting rock or hammering it out. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

If you want a little entertainment and have a high-speed Internet connection, you can watch a time-lapse movie I am making. Click here

Monday, June 26, 2006

This summer's projects

Having been back in Raleigh since April, we tried to get a number of things done around the house. The first was changing the closets in our master bedroom. We had a walk-in with some standard shelf and hanger shelves and then two closets with by-pass doors.

Here we ripped out the by-pass doors and the entire closet structure. This was converted to a second, smaller walk-in.

When we got done, we had lots of shelves, cabinets, and hanger space. It looks better and makes it a lot easier to stay organized.

The next project was replacing a lot of the windows in the house. As Julie put it: "Our old windows didn't keep out bugs, water, heat or cold." We ended up going with Anderson Replacement windows. We replaced most of the windows with casement windows. The husband and wife that did the installation were great and very careful with everything from the quality of the install to the cleanup.

Most interesting was replacing some of the windows in the living room and sun room with big picture windows. This required cutting out the mullions between the existing windows. Everything was going smoothly until the installer discovered he had just cut through a steel support beam that was disguised as a 2x4. Neither he nor our remodeling builder (Steve Kjellberg) had ever seen that done before. It cost them about a day bracing the huge opening and then replacing the cut beam with two new beams. It all worked out in the end, but there sure was some tension for a while.

You have to see the new windows to really get the difference. It costs quite a bit but we think it makes a huge difference in the house

The last big project was an irrigation system. After planting hundreds and hundreds of plants, some fairly expensive, we wanted them to live and live well. We now have a six zone irrigation system that keeps all the plants happy. Of course, since having it installed, Raleigh has now had the rainiest June ever recorded, with over 10 inches of rain. Fortunately, the irrigation system has a machanism for not watering when we have had sufficient rainfall.

There's now PVC pipe buried everywhere in the yard. I wonder how long it will take before I cut one of the lines.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Stanley Cup

One of the big things we did this spring was attending a number of the Stanley Cup play-off games. The Carolina Hurricanes did a great job of leveraging the new hockey rules and the salary cap. They put together a great team and eventually won the whole thing. It was a big deal for Raleigh and even North Carolina. It is the state's first professional championship. The Carolina Panthers and Charlotte's basketball teams have done OK, but never won it all.

One of the things that we bring to NHL hockey is tailgating. Apparently, it just isn't very popular in the great white north, at least not for hockey. In Raleigh, if you put 18,000 people at a stadium, they are going to bring beer, food and grills. Nothing else makes sense. This is Julie with three lovely ladies from our neighborhood.

As the play-offs went on, you would see more and more Hurricanes flags flying on cars. This is the parking lot before a game.

Before the game, they would do a multimedia warm-up. One of the cool things they did was show pictures of players on the ice. The last image they would show was the Stanley Cup. Always a way to get the crowd going.

Turns out that Hurricanes are the only NHL team with cheer leaders. They are called the Storm Squad. Half way through the play-offs, we started seeing three big guys dressed in their version of the Storm Squad outfits. Turns out that they were all Ganymede Software people. On the left is Peter Schwaller, one of my co-founders.

Tough to get great pictures of the action with a small camera and a seat up with everyone else, but the RBC Center is a great place to watch hockey.

The celebration starts at the end of game 7!!

And this is what is all about, the awrding of the Stanley Cup.

It was a great experience and as much as I would love for them to win again soon, I guess it just isn't that likely.