Last weekend we got our first snow here. It was less than an inch, but it actually stuck around for a day or so. Clare had the idea to get some pictures of Spencer in his Austrian outfit (the same one that I wore when I was his age). It is a pretty warm outfit, so it was a good idea. Unfortunately, we didn’t find a really snowy backdrop, but we thought some spruce trees down the road looked nice. Spencer was a pretty good sport about it, even though he seemed to think that we were just a bit crazy.
Last weekend we got Spencer a high chair. Best of all, we only had to walk to our neighbor’s house two doors down to get it. They had one they were not using anymore, so they offered it to us. We gave them some of our cherry tomatoes in exchange for it. Up until now we have been feeding Spencer in the bumbo chair, but he is starting to outgrow it, and it is really nice to have a tray, now that he has a couple teeth, and is starting to eat some finger food. Best of all, Clare and I can now sometimes both eat at the same time, while Spencer feeds himself some cheese or, in this case some scrambled eggs. He still has a tendency to choke on big pieces and then throw up all over the place, but he is getting better.
Here is yet another old video which I should have posted nearly a month ago, but didn’t get around to. It is certainly worth seeing though. It is another video from our trip to Arizona over Labor Day weekend, where Spencer is playing in the pool. For some reason he really liked to try to climb up on the edge of the pool and play with various toys there. Maybe it was just a hint that he would soon be pulling himself up on everything he can find (which he is doing now).
In my continuing effort to get back on top of blogging, and my penchant for combining people’s names, here are some pictures from when Chris Brinkerhoff and Sarah Miller visited us a couple weeks ago. It was actually rainy for much of their visit, but we did get the chance to do a little hiking at Red Rocks, and we had plenty of time to play with Spencer, which seems to be the main reason that people want to visit us these days anyway. more pictures follow
No, not the kind you grow vegetables in. Not, not a super-duper LEED certified, energy efficient house (though we have made our house much more energy efficient). I am talking about a house which is the color green. More specifically, the trim is now consistently dark green (reaction is the name of the paint color). This has been a long process, and is actually still not totally complete. We started putting in new windows last spring, and put green trim around them. We knew that we wanted to get new gutters and fascia this summer, since the previous tenants had let the gutters get so clogged that the fascia was rotting. We got a couple quotes on gutters, and decided on Gutter Topper, which had a booth at the Arvada Gold Rush festival in June. They actually specialize in this gutter topper thing, which prevents leaves from getting in your gutters to begin with. It is actually more expensive than the gutters themselves though, so we did not get that. I’m young and have plenty of energy to clean the gutters a couple times per year.
We signed a contract with Graham Lutz (the salesman) of Gutter Topper in early July, and they said it would be 3-5 weeks, since they were pretty backed up. They didn’t end up starting for nearly 7 weeks, and then it took them over 2 weeks to complete the job. There were all sorts of excuses like dental emergencies, and hornet stings, as well as simple unpreparedness, and short working days. The first day that Greg (the installer) showed up, I actually got a call from Matt Roberts (the installation manager), saying that Greg wasn’t able to get the outside power outlet on our house to work. I was quite surprised, since I was at home with Spencer that day. It turns out he was at my next door neighbor’s house. Had their outdoor power outlet worked, he probably would have started ripping off their gutters. I am not sure what would have happened in that case. At any rate, I went out and talked to Greg, and we went over the project. He had all the new fascia board (I requested cedar instead of pine) with him, and asked me if I wanted the rough side or the smooth side facing out. I said the smooth side, since it would be easier to paint. He said: “Oh, I was wondering if you were going to paint it. Why don’t I let you paint it before I put it up?” This was a good idea, since it is a lot easier to paint the boards on solid ground, as opposed to on a ladder. However, he could have this great idea a month earlier. It actually stated in the contract that the owner would paint the fascia. So suddenly I had a new project to do. Fortunately I had some paint left over from the window trim, so I was able to start painting that day. It took me several days to paint all of the boards though, since I didn’t have enough room on my saw horses to paint all of them at once. This didn’t turn out to be much of a problem, since Greg worked so slowly and little.
The next hurdle was the soffit. We had already discussed the fact that some of the soffit needed to be replaced, and it was in the contract, but Greg did not have any material to replace it with him. So that delayed things even more, and ended up in more painting for me unexpectedly. In addition, some of the fascia boards had some fairly obvious imperfections. One of them had several gouges near one edge of the board. It turned out that Greg put this board right in the front of the house. Had he flipped the board upside down, the imperfections would have been covered. Or if he had put this piece somewhere where gutter would cover it, it would have been covered. Or he could have put it in the back of the house or on the side, and I probably would not have cared, but I thought it looked bad, so I had him replace it, which meant he put up a new board which I did not have time to paint first.
To top things off, on one Friday Matt Roberts (the installer manager) called me to ask if I could give them partial payment, so that Greg could have some money for the weekend. I said no, since the contract said 30% up front, and the remainder when the job was done. By this point I was not very confident that he would come back to finish if I only owed them a bit more. Had they been more on top of things, the job should have taken 2 days – 3 at most. Greg did come back on Tuesday, the day after labor day, and finished the job, and in the end, did a fairly decent job. It has rained since then, and the gutters and downspouts work well, and the fascia is hung fairly well. One thing he did not do with the fascia that he probably should have is overlap the seams of the boards. Overall, I would give them a C-. I would not recommend Gutter Topper of Colorado (or L & R enterprises, their new name).
Back to the green house. Dave and Ellen came to visit us last weekend, and while they were here, we got a bunch of work done, including painting the remaining fascia boards, and painting over the nails on the fascia that was painted. We also hung back up the old shutters in the front after painting them. Dave almost fell off his ladder while helping me do this, and dropped one shutter. It cracked, but we were able to put it back together with a little silicone caulk, and you can’t tell at all from street level that it is cracked. We were just glad that the shutter broke, and not Dave. Ellen did a bunch of work inside the house, including putting up more baseboard, and re-weatherstripping the front door. And of course we had plenty of time to play with Spencer too. Now we just need to paint the front door green to match the trim, and to replace the two windows in the front of the house.
Spencer’s second tooth came in a couple weeks ago, but I just finally got a nice picture of it a few days ago. Life has been pretty busy lately now that I am teaching, and Clare has been working a lot for an upcoming conference. I am going to try to catch up on blog posts soon. He still likes those bongos!
For labor day weekend we went to visit the Dibbles in Arizona. It was quite a party, since Drew and Aunt Jean also came out. We got to see firsthand all the great work that Ellen and Dave have been doing in their bedroom and bathroom. We also toured some gigantic compost heaps, grilled out, put together some new furniture for the bedroom, and attempted to solve all the problems of the world.
However, the highlight of the trip was the pool. Dave and Ellen had told us that we should come visit so Spencer could play in their pool. They were 100% correct that he would like it. We have taken him to a couple other pools by us, and he has liked it for the most part, as long as the water was nice warm (at least 80°F). Dave and Ellen had their pool around 85°F, so it was very comfortable. Spencer also seems to be getting better at getting his face in the water. The first couple times we took him, he would get very angry if he accidentally swallowed some water. Now he just coughs it up a bit, then goes right back for the water.
Spencer’s first tooth actually popped through a week or two ago, but it has been hard to get a good photo of it, since he likes to stick his tongue out and cover it. His smile also seems to vanish these days when I put my head behind our big camera, so even these pictures aren’t that great. But you can see the tooth. The second bottom tooth is almost popping through as well. Any day now.
Shortly before going to Michigan, we bought a box of western slope peaches from the Rotary club. They were extremely good! I have been very disappointed with the peaches in the grocery store this year, having become accustomed to peaches from the farmer’s market in Michigan and Indiana. Unfortunately, we had to buy a 10 lb. box, which contained 19 peaches, and we didn’t have enough time to eat them before going to MIchigan. I didn’t want them to go bad, so I decided to make peach sauce.
I used 7 of the peaches. I first quartered them and removed the pits, then briefly blanched them in boiling water, then I put them in the food strainer attachment of the kitchen aid mixer. It turns out I did it a bit wrong, since I ended up putting the peels back in. About half-way through, I realized that it was very easy to remove the peels myself, so I started doing that.
I then cooked the peaches over low heat for about 2 hours, until it was pretty thick. I put in 1 cinnamon stick and 5 whole cloves, which I removed after cooking. I then put the whole thing in the blender and puréed it. I froze one ice cube tray worth, and put the rest in the fridge. It turned out very tasty. I think that next time I would skip the kitchenaid altogether, and instead simply peel the peaches, cook them, and then purée them.
About a week ago we went to Michigan to see Grandma and Grandpa Felty, and to go to the wedding of Mark and Carrie, from my old band. We had a very nice time there, and used our time very efficiently to see as many friends and family in the area as we could. Spencer had a good time playing with his cousin Sadie, trying out some good midwestern corn on the cob, and did ok with the August humidity. more pictures follow