Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10,000 miles and still going strong

After my morning errands, my bike odometer read 10,003 total miles on my bike. I bought the green Sedona Giant in 2001, so that comes to over a thousand miles per year. I would venture to say that ninety percent of those miles are commuting miles, including trips to work, the store, bank, farmer's market, ultimate practice, campus, etc. Sure, I occasionally hop the bike for a workout, but for the most part, it is my mode of transportation around town.

In the past ten thousand miles I have changed the tires once but patched the tubes many times. I am on my third (plush) seat, second front fender, chain, and front gear box. A few years ago I changed the grip shifters to rapid fire out of pure desire. (The bumpy bricks around town would ofter change my gears because my hands would bounce around so much.)

In the fall of 2004 it was stolen on campus even though it was locked up. Four months later I found it on another part of campus. Since I had reported the theft and bought the bike locally (they had the serial number), I could prove it was mine. The cops cut it loose and I was off. (I know, I am very lucky.)

This bike has seen the streets of Bar Harbor, Maine; Ottawa, Ontario; Burlington, VT; Madison, Wisconsin; and Seattle, Washington to name a few of the outpost we stopped at on our trip across the country. On that same cross country adventure, Kent and I rode old rail trails of the Black Hills of South Dakota and the 20 mile loop around Acadia National Park.

My longest ride was about 65 miles with my neighbor Tony, when we rode the Great Miami Bike Trail from Yellow Springs, Ohio to Cincinnati. We spent the night at my brother's house and then rode back the next day. Our reward that day was a visit to Young's Dairy for an ice cream sundae. mmmmmm, ice cream.

I get it serviced about every other year at the same store that I bought the bike, but I should probably do that more. I have a rack and saddle bag to carry groceries, books, or cleats, whatever is on the agenda for the day. Which reminds me, I need to go oil the chain. Later!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy Fourth of July to You!

Thanks to everyone who sent out invitations for various July Fourth Frolic opportunities. We were lame and stayed home. However, that meant much done on the house. Yes, we are still doing things on the house. Things like...door knobs! Yes, any guest of ours would know that things could have been a little more private in the Gromen-Butler household, if not for the holes in the doors. But now, yeah, we can shut the doors (and lock them). The reason it took so long is because we hadn't finished the doors yet. And it is one of those things you just don't think about until you have a house guest (with dog) for 2 months. In fact, with just 2 people in the house, I rarely shut the bathroom door.

On to other accomplishments:

Since we had to finish the doors (with Linseed Oil for those who are interested), we went ahead and finished some trim as well. Kent has been slowly but steadily installing trim on the first floor.

I put up blinds in the bedrooms and bathroom. (Again, yeah for privacy) We went with very simple double celled blinds that are supposed to help with keeping the heat in the house in the winter and out in the summer. nothing fancy.

We are still installing light fixtures. Both bathrooms are now done. The downstairs bath was tricking because the ceiling is so low (no picture, sorry). and the upstairs bath was tricky because the hole for the light was off center of the mirror and sink. This meant that Kent had to put a piece of wood behind the fixture to be able to center it. See photo below. So now you know the secret if you stop by for a visit.

The biggest change is my adventure in the kitchen. Last winter, some friends moved out of town and I scored some of this composite wood material that has the white laminate on it. It's the same stuff as my kitchen cabinets. With my new favorite tool, the pocket jig, I made 2 wall cabinets to the left and right of the stove. I also installed a butcher block countertop to the right of the stove. Don't get excited, I didn't make the butcher block, I cheated and bought it at Lowes. I did put the strip of oak on the left side to pretty it up and give it a straight edge. Then screw it in to the cabinets below and presto, instant countertop.

This is the beginnings of shelving unit. I didn't make doors, and decided to just leave it open. but I did add some trim to spruce it up a bit.

Here's the finished product. I added the face plate in the middle to hide the venting for the stove. I was hoping Kent could paint a picture there, or just the words "Buon Appetito". We'll see.

Now things are much more handy in the kitchen. No more bending over to get food or plates out of the lower cabinets. I still want a small pie safe or something like for more storage. But something will come up.