Monday, December 29, 2008
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
After a wonderful visit up at my parent's house in A-town this past weekend, I jumped on the road back to Blormal. I repacked the car and then headed down to Chattanooga. When I left my parent's house my car thermometer read -6 (wind was ~ 30 mph)...wind chill was about -25! Holy freezing temperatures Batman! That is DAMN cold. With the high winds coming out of the west, it made for a very difficult and frustrating drive back to Blormal. The heat in the car was working overtime to keep Payton and I warm. On top of all that, I forgot my phone charger! Dang it. After refueling and getting something to eat in Bloom Bloom, Payton and I got the car adapter/inverter/converter thingy for my phone and headed south once again. Things were running smooth until just past Effingham. The adapter/inverter/converter thingy for my phone charger stopped working! Consequently, I didn't have a phone for the duration of my journey. No phone, high wind, and bad radio for the remaining 6 hours! I will leave out all the cursing, yelling, and frustration. All I will say, is I was very happy to be in Chattanooga with Andy... after 12.5 hours on the road :)
Andy made me an awesome dinner, which I was unable to eat due to all the gas station junk food and queasy stomach. I got a shower and we talked and relaxed. Ahhhh it is feeling more and more like home =) The Christmas lights were even up:
I thought the Christmas lights looked AWESOME!
Monday morning Andy went to work and I got to play. It felt so strange to be the one staying home while he went to work. I went rock climbing at Little Rock City (LRC) in Soddy Daisy, TN. Literally 5 minutes from our house! I went with our friend Kevin Todd. Kevin just moved to Chattanooga too! We are going to have a great crew down here. On our first boulder problem, I totally ripped a corner of my middle finger on my right hand off. Nice size chunk, but nothing to keep me from climbing more -- or typing ;-) I tried to take a picture, but our stupid camera was not cooperating. I will tell you, it is a nice war wound ;-) After I got the bleeding to stop, we went and did a couple more problems. Since I am not really solid at climbing right now, I didn't do too much "exciting" stuff. I still loved being out there. Trying to climb on real rock is amazing. I always feel like a much better climber outside than inside. Not that I am really all that much better, maybe it is all in my mind. Later that night, our friends Brad and Hailey came into town. They crashed at our place so we could all go climb on Tuesday--minus Andy...he had to work :( So Kevin, Brad, Hailey, and myself headed to this new area in Dayton. Not too many climbers have cleaned or set up boulder problems yet. We were all so super stoked to have a rock playground that didn't hold any expectations for us to live up to or fall short of. We weren't too familiar with the area and where all the "good" rock was, so we did a lot of hiking and not too much climbing. Personally, I didn't care. I was happy to be outside, not at work, and not in IL weather. My legs are sore and I am a happy climber. Ahhh the Chatt.
Tomorrow, we are going to paint the kitchen and pick up the house for Christmas. Andy is only working 10-4 and then I think I want to go to mass someplace. Andy and I are doing Italian for Christmas dinner. I am going to try my hand at homemade Italian beef. I am also going to make 2 pies, lasagna, and garlic bread. I invited Tyler and Lacey Klein (owners of the bike shop), Kevin, and Andy's cousin Jacqueline and her boyfriend Brent. Other than that, I don't know what our Christmas plans will be. Mostly hanging with our babies and enjoying the A-W-E-S-O-M-E weather. I am really trying not to rub it in, but I do NOT envy our friends and family in Illinois.
I will leave you with a new picture of our children (Atreyu, Payton, and Sebastian)...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday morning it was off to the vet for Sky, my father-in-law's dog. Saturday afternoon was some final house remodeling (re-grouting the shower) and getting ready for the 3rd annual Tri-Shark formal. The formal Saturday night was a blast. I ate way too much, drank way too much, and danced way too much ;-) It was so great hanging out with all of our friends and having such a great time. While I was having such a great time, I was also really bummed Andy wasn't there to experience it with me. It is at times like that I actually feel more lonely and miss Andy more than ever. We tried to have Andy on a conference call so he could experience the awards portion of the evening, but the technology fairies were not cooperating with us. At least we tried, right? Andy won male MVP and I won "shark bait." For those of you not familiar with the Tri-Shark awards categories... MVP--well that is pretty self explanatory--Andy totally rocks. Shark bait on the other hand, is an award for a club member that did the dumbest thing during the season and lived to tell about it. Well, out of 3 nominees, I won. I guess. The dumb thing I did was not eating enough/correctly before my half ironman this summer. Then to top it off, I was late to the start of the same race and finally I got my timing chip mixed up with Andy's. Consequently, I messed up the results for M25-29 and W30-34. In one fell swoop, I did 3 dumb things in one race. Yup. That is how I roll.
On Sunday, I attempted to recover from the evening before. I nursed a wicked hangover all day. PS...beer pong and flippy cup until 3 in the morning is not the best idea I have ever had. Sunday night I went over to Colleen and Scott Klein's house for the annual Ironman Hawaii party. Again, bitter sweet. I loved talking to everyone and catching up on new news in our friend's lives, but with out Andy there, it just didn't seem complete. Now I am home with a full belly and my hangover is on the way out. Payton and I are cozied up on the bed about to watch a movie and eat some popcorn. Not really looking forward to going to work tomorrow, but it is one day closer to seeing Andy, so that is good.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I feel great! I just put the last coat of polyurethane on the living room floor (the last floor to refinish out of 4). It is truly an amazing feeling. Granted I have 3 very small projects to finish before I would like to sell the house, but nonetheless it is READY to go on the market! Whoooo Hooooo!!!!!! OMG! Praise Jesus! Alleluia! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
Wednesday night my mother-in-law, Elaine, is coming over to help me stage and take pictures of the house to put up on FSBO (For Sale By Owner). I am so excited. When I have the link completed I will post it here too.
So to re-cap...last year, after Andy and I got married, we decided to get serious about this whole "moving to Chattanooga thing." Everyone was asking, "Why are you moving there? Got a job? Got a house? Going to school?" Nope. None of the above. We decided we wanted to live in an area of the country that would let us live our lives (outdoor/recreation) the way we wanted to live. Rock climbing, hiking, fishing, kayaking, cycling, camping, and running most of the year, if not all year round. We don't want to live life gutting through the bad to maybe hopefully grab a sliver of happiness in a bi-annual vacation or the occasional weekend get away. Our "playground" will literally be in our backyard.
Additionally, the winter months in Illinois have extended their stay long enough. I'll say it. I HATE Illinois winters. I hate snow. I hate being cold. I hate bitter cold wind. I hate ice. I hate scraping my car every morning. I hate having to worry about what type of car to buy in case I get caught in a severe winter storm. I am done with it and all it has to offer. I can live without the sledding. Essentially, that is the only winter "sport" I ever participated in and probably will ever participate. Granted I love to ski, but you have to travel to ski if you live in Illinois. So, if I am going to travel to ski, then I can travel a little further. The weather in the southeast is beautiful. Very mild winters and very similar summers to central Illinois. If I can grow pansies in my yard in February, by golly I am gonna do it!
I think the only 2 things I am really really going to miss about Illinois are family and friends. It is going to be really hard being far away from everyone we care about...but we have plans (insert Dr. Evil laugh here). There have been a number of our climber friends that are ALREADY making plans to transplant into Chatta-vegas (I don't know why they call it Chatta-vegas...just go with it), and maybe we have convinced some people that it is a really awesome place to retire. ;-) Something also to keep in mind, there is not an invisible force field that keeps a person from leaving Illinois or coming back into it.
I regress...back to getting serious last year about moving. Consequently, we needed to remodel the house to get it on the market. The kitchen was severely outdated and there were many other projects that needed a face-lift. So in a year, we have...
- Installed a new 6' privacy fence
- Rebuilt the front porch
- New landscaping in front and back
- Repainted the outside of the house (yes, it is aluminum siding)
- Stripped 82 year old wall paper (thanks Anita) in 3 rooms and repainted all rooms
- Remodeled the kitchen (installed a dishwasher and a garbage disposal)
- Refinished the entire first floor hardwood floors
- Installed ceramic tile in bathroom, kitchen, and back hallway
And those are just the "big" things. There were so many other smaller projects that so many people have helped us out with. We appreciate all the help, advice, and expertise. Thank you-thank you-thank you. You all have made our first year of marriage, remodeling our house, and training for an Ironman go much smoother than we thought it was going to go.
At some point I want to have a "get-to-gether"/open house party for everyone that helped us with the house. Not sure when that will be, but I will send something out in the near future...so keep your eyes peeled.
**For all you out of towners, since there is furniture in the house now and Sebastian is in TN, you are welcome to stay the night IN our house. You don't have to get a hotel room! Yeah.
Take care, Heather
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Thinking about getting back in the saddle, on the road, and in the pool. IM FL was 4 weeks ago and I am itching to get a schedule together for 2009. My hope is to be in Chattanooga by March, so my race schedule tentatively will be in the south.
Two years ago I did the Memphis in May Olympic distance tri and my brother-in-law, Chris, did both the mountain bike race on Saturday and the Olympic distance on Sunday. I thought he was so tough to race back to back events. Last year, I wanted to do both, but because of late registration fees and the insane cost of gas, I didn't go. Total bummer.
When you do both it is called the MiM Amateur Challenge. They award $5000 cash purse payable to the 15 male and female athletes with the best combined time in the Olympic and the mountain bike race. Not sure if I will snag any money, but I really want to race hard for 2 days and see what I can do.
The cost of the Olympic is only $95, if you register before 12/31/2008. The cost of the mountain bike race is only $45, if you register before 2/28/2009. Not too bad if you get in early. Anyone want to race with me? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? The date of the races is 5/16-17/2009.
The other races I have in mind are the Natchez Trace State Park Sprint in TN (between Memphis and Nashville) on Sunday March 22, 2009 and the Scenic City Sprint in Chattanooga, TN at the end of April.
That is it for now, gonna wait and see what else will come our way in 2009.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Made it past that and into a blizzard. Awesome. Snow. Really great drivers from out of state that have never seen snow. Exactly what I wanted to see. (Dripping with sarcasm). Anywhoisit. Got Payton fed, unpacked, and now for some relaxing with a book.
Catch up with you all later.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
My first adventure on the road was for coffee. For those of you who don't know, caffeine and and I do not get along very well. My reaction to caffeine is very similar to that of a crack/coke head. I cease to make sense during conversation, can't eat, sweat profusely, and have a hard time "coming down." So at 5 am I thought, "Whoo Hoo! I get to have a huge cup of coffee and all of my crackiness will come out on an 8.5 hour drive and no one will be the wiser." Well, not knowing too much about coffee, I got the biggest cup of coffee Huck's gas station had and put in what I thought was a reasonable amount of sugar and cream. By the time I got to Leroy, I realized I had not put enough sugar into my gigantic cup of joe and needed to pull off to get more. Payton thought this was our final destination and literally jumped over me and crashed into the side window. Poor pup. I then went into the scariest gas station ever, and quickly filled my ginormous cup and skedaddled out of there. After our Leroy fiasco I got us back on the road and whoo hoo-ed our way into Kentucky for our first gas fill up (Paducha, KY). Then onto Nashville and finally into our beloved Chattanooga. Ahhhhh. I was able to talk to my parents and Elaine while on the road too. They got me through most of TN. Not a bad road trip. It was the longest I had ever driven, and longest I had ever driven by myself. I will now take my big girl pants, thank you.
Tyler Klein and his wife Lacey, invited us over for a Thanksgiving dinner. I thought it was going to be at 6/7 pm, but come to find out...it was at 2 pm. So we were an hour late once I got showered and changed, no worries. Tyler and Lacey were great. They got us heaping plates of food and handed us each an adult beverage. Great people! Being that we are all "northerners" (Tyler and Lacey are from Madison, WI) we didn't partake in a traditional southern Thanksgiving. We had all the regular stuff. There was turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, etc. Maybe next year I will know what collared greens are and how to make them ;-)
Now that Andy is enmeshed in the retail world, he is fortunate enough to "work" on traditional "off work" holidays. Black Friday in the Northshore shopping district was the open house for all businesses housed there. Well, TREK Chattanooga was no exception. Granted they just got paint on the walls, and display cases delivered 1 week ago...but who cares! Tyler (Owner), Andy (Sales Manager) and Mike Teff (Parts Manager) worked long hours this week to get things up and going by black Friday. In the process, Andy got really worn down and very sick. So when I showed up he was pretty much a NyQuil zombie. Yeah :( Despite being a NyQuil zombie, the soft open went amazing! They only had 60-70% of their product (bikes, clothes, shoes, parts, etc.) in by yesterday, but still managed to completely WOW the Chattanooga residents. Some people drove from Atlanta to come and see it! The cash registers were open and they actually had more in the cash register at the end of the day than when they started! I am so proud of Andy and all that he has done in the short period of time he has been down here.
What did I do on black Friday? Good question. I've got answers. I woke up and said to myself, "Self, let's be productive and get this rental house looking more like the Sweets live here." So I cleaned and organized and felt amazing. I know, I am nutty--cleaning makes me happy. Then I went downtown to the store and visited with Andy, did some window shopping in Northshore, and then headed home to get a run in before it got dark. Running in southeast Tennessee...well, this is a very very interesting experience. I plotted a 5 mile run on USA Track and Field's web-site.
First thing to note about running in TN, there are hills. Not Jersey Ave. hills. I am talking about hills similar to Germantown/Metamora hills; and you don't have to go looking for them! The biggest one I tackled was less than .5 mile from our front door. My butt is going to look amazing!
Second, residents of TN think it is perfectly alright to let their rabid Cujo crazy dogs loose on their property.
After my first of four encounters with these southern dogs, I found 2 perfectly sized sharp rocks that I held onto for the duration of my run. I never had to throw either of these rocks, but I did feel safer nonetheless. I got home, knowing I will never be able to run with any of our pooches. I was pretty bummed about that, but then thought...I am going to be the toughest hill running rock launching southern gal out there! I told Andy he had to keep my rocks here so when I return I will have them as soon as I walk out the door ;-)
After my run, Andy came home, we had dinner and headed back to the shop to close down and watch the fire works display from the Grand Illumination. It is sorta like Festival of Lights in East Peoria. One difference the lighted floats are boats on the TN river and there are killer fireworks after the boat parade. Andy and I will try to embed a video later today. (found one on YouTube)...
All in all, a good weekend in the Chatt. Looking forward to coming back for Christmas.
Not too bad for my first blog, right? Hopefully, I will get better at this and it will be entertaining. Take care all.