Thursday, November 29, 2007

And there were streaks of fire behind me

On Saturday, I ran my very first ever 5K, not far I realize, but a momentous occasion nonetheless for someone who use to run only if being chased. By a bear. A hungry bear. A hungry, rabid bear. (I have never actually been chased by a bear, hungry, rabid or otherwise.)

It all started back in mid-September when I heard about a running program called the Couch to 5K. It had a fun name so naturally, I decided to try it. Over the next 9 weeks I ran 3 days each week and slowly built up my endurance. I went from running 60 second intervals with walking between to running 30 minutes continuously.

When I completed the 9 weeks I was supposed to be ready to run a 5K or, 3.1 miles. But the farthest I had ever run was 2.7 miles. What if at mile 2.9 one of my legs snapped off and I had to hop to the finish line? There was no way to know with total certainty that this wouldn't happen. So I had to do a test run just to be sure. One week before the race I ran a course I measured out to be 3.1 miles. Miraculously both my legs were intact as I finished. It took me 33 minutes. I knew I was ready.

On race day I had 2 goals:
1. Don't finish last
2. Finish in 33 minutes (or less)

The race was without incident, there were no hungry rabid bears, I didn't trip, and neither one of my legs snapped off. When I crossed the finish line Chris tried to take a picture of me in my moment of glory. This is what he got instead:

Nothing. I ran so fast that I ran out of the frame before the camera could click. But, if you look very carefully, you can see the streaks of fire behind me on the pavement. That is because I ran SO fast that I finished in 30 minutes and 12 seconds which is nearly 3 whole minutes faster than my practice run. I guess there is no accounting for adrenaline.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Laundry death shanty

The neighbors are still at it. They have now closed off the entire front porch leaving only a tiny 2x2 foot hole near the stairs to crawl in and out of on the front of the house. At night when the porch lights are on, you can see them glowing through the 6 inch gap along the top of the "three season room". It is *almost* like a halo. A big, bright, hideous, redneck halo. From hell.

In what I can only assume to be an attempt to make their house even more marketable than it already is, Mr. Fix-it has continued construction now working on the back of the house. All last week we heard the sounds of furious sawing and hammering punctuated by shouting. When I looked outside, I observed that the washing machine was still out back and had now been joined by the dryer and what appeared to be a miniature hot water heater made from spare parts. They had been surrounded on 3 sides with plywood and a makeshift roof braced by long pieces of lumber. We call it the laundry death shanty. Why you ask? Because the first snowfall we get, that thing is going to come crashing down and crush whoever is unlucky enough to be beneath it laundering their clothes.

As we stood there looking at the Laundry Death Shanty in all it's hideousness Chris said wryly, "Gosh, I bet you they gained a whole 16 square feet from that addition."

"Yeah" I responded. "Anyone who doesn't buy that place now is nuts! "

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's a little too cold for that

It's time for another edition of what the hell are the neighbors doing now.

Two weeks ago, Chris and I were outside grilling when we saw Mr Fix-it walk down the back steps of his house and over to the washing machine sitting along side the house. We had both assumed that this washing machine was not operational, with it being OUTSIDE and all. How wrong we were. He opened the lid and reached down inside to retrieve a load of sopping wet clothes. After he staggered back up the stairs an into his house, Chris and I turned towards each other our shocked faces lit up only but the now flaming lamb chop on the grill.

"That is insane!" Chris said, "I can't believe that their washing machine is outside. It is November, it's going to freeze soon and their house will flood when the pipes burst."

"Yeah" I responded, "I can't believe thy actually wash clothes in that, I thought they just used it to sit on while they shaved each others heads this summer. I had no idea it actually worked!"

"I know! Wait, what?" Chris looked at me over the smoldering lamb chop, "They do what?"

"Oh, you've never seen them do that? They come out here and one will sit on the washing machine while the other guy shaves his head and when he is done they switch" I explained. "I guess it's a little too cold for that now."

Shaking his head, Chris silently went inside with dinner.

Fast forward to last night...

I am driving home from work when my cell phone rings. It is Chris. I answer. "Hello?"

He says:"Oh. My. God. Come home *RIGHT NOW*. Are you almost home? How much farther? When will you be here? " Before I could even stammer a response he continued, "They have covered the entire porch in plywood. Except for the very top. I assume they couldn't reach it without a ladder." His voice was now at a fever pitch. "This has to be seen to be believed. Seriously, how much longer till you get here? Hurry!"

I knew, as soon as he said they, who he was referring to. I drove home as fast as I could. It was still the longest 15 minutes of my entire life. The anticipation nearly killed me. I was not disappointed. As I drove past their house I slowed way down (read 1.2 mph). It was hideous. The entire 6x15 foot porch was enclosed with giant pieces of wood. Along the bottom the sheets of wood were just leaned up against the railings. I mean, why bother to nail it on when it will just stay up all on it's own? Its a waste of nails! Along the top of the railing there was more sheets of wood, although, none of them were tall enough to totally close off the space so there is now a 6 inch wide gap between the top of the wood and the roof all the way around. Did I mention it was hideous? I did? Oh. Well that is because it WAS hideous. And, as of 7:12 this morning, it is still hideous.

Chris and I spent the rest of the night trying to figure out what they were doing in there. I guessed that maybe it was too cold for their outdoor, tropical pet parakeet. Chris thinks they moved the washing machine in there so it wouldn't freeze. We are also pretty sure at one point there was a refrigerator out on the porch as well. So we considered the possibility that they are just moving all of their appliances out onto the porch to make space for extra roommates.

"Maybe Mr. Fix-it will make it into a three season room" I suggested. "They could saw openings in the wood and duct tape saran wrap over the holes to make windows! Nothing says buy this house like a do-it-yourself three season room."