Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It's always been my secret shame that I make my living as a structural design engineer yet I have very little expertise for fix-it projects around the house. Luckily Steve knows this about me and always asks if I'd like to take the reins when something comes up. A month ago I replaced our toilet flush mechanism with a dual-flusher. (It should have only taken a screw driver at most but somehow the original handle was all jacked and I ended up using pliers, wire cutters, and a hacksaw. Tools!!) Then during the last ferocious Front Range wind storm our fence gate was torn from it's hinges, and after closer inspection we realized it would be best to just replace the entire gate. Steve asked if I wanted to be project lead and I agreed...but I didn't know where to start.

So like any good project, we started at Home Depot.

Commence DIY

I marked all the planks to length to match the curved pattern of the original gate and then started cutting them with our sweet compound miter saw. Yes I know these are straight cuts.

Cutting the planks to length

I laid out the top of the "Z" support structure...


...and scared myself cutting the center diagonal member with a circular saw. It doesn't help that I personally know someone who swiped back with one of these guys and right into his thigh. I made Steve supervise the whole process.

Skillsaw; Empowering and terrifying

Somehow it actually fit together.

Attaching the cross brace Zzzzzzz.....

Once all the pieces were cut it was really easy to just lay them out and screw them in place.

Attaching the planks to the frame

I was going to measure the exact spacing between the planks but finally I just said screw it and eyeballed the whole thing. I think it came out fine.

It's bootiful!

Slap a coat of paint on that puppy and you got yourself a gate!


And DIY self esteem.

Feeling very proud of myself

Monday, April 04, 2011

Weekend Warriors


Holly has decided that it's just too much trouble to stay in town every single weekend. To appease her wishes, Karen and I have decided to buy a 25% share of a mountain retreat in the Keystone area. While not a 100% ownership, it made sense to us to avoid the pressure of finding renters and expense of a nicer place we probably won't be able to enjoy more than once a month anyways.

Isn't it cute?

The house (yes, it's truly a house) is fully furnished, with 4 bedrooms and 3 baths and a 2 car garage. There are comfortable places to relax and play inside, and a deck with a gas grill for the lazy summer days. Holly will be accepting invitations to the "Bunkhouse" for her friends to come for a visit.

Master Bedroom
We like guests sometimes too
Go play in the bunkhouse!

It's a good thing there are extra mountain bikes in the garage, cause you never know when you'll need one. We also have access (from the driveway) to local trails for hiking and biking in the summer, and snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the summer. The hardest part may be choosing what to do.

It's ok if you forget your mountain bike
Games to be had

And after a hard day playing, the full kitchen will provide for some great eating, we can relax in front of the fireplace, or we can settle in the den for some games. The only down side seems to be that we can't fit all of our friends at the same time. Guess we'll just have to rotate.

Living Room
Fine Dining
Who doesn't need a freestanding fireplace?