Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Tag: kitchenremodel

Home Stretch

When you’re at mile 24 of the marathon, no matter how terrible things are, they start to get good again, because you really and truly are ALMOST THERE.

Almost there, even if it feels like we might be painting forever…

When last we spoke I was at the painful point where I hadn’t been able to cook in my kitchen or wash a dish for about 2.5 weeks.  I was prepared for about 2.  It was finally getting to me.  However, between Thursday and Sunday, everything pretty much fell into place.

Thursday, our counters got installed.  While I was bummed we had to wait 24 hours to hook up plumbing, it was so nice to be able to put things on the counter.  It sounds so minor but all of a sudden, I could actually chop up a salad in my kitchen and it was amazing.  Then, on Friday, the in laws came and helped us with a ton of work, including hooking up the plumbing (Zliten wanted me to share that HE helped with that too).  Friday night I loaded the dishwasher and it was the most glorious thing ever.

Saturday, we were supposed to do an 8 mile run but slept until NOON instead (apparently 12 hours of sleep was necessary) and then got right to work on the kitchen. We pulled out some Ryker tools from the attic and throughout the weekend, installed all the cabinet hardware, cabinet shelves, unpacked all the boxes, and got a under-the-sink mounted trash can and installed that.  By Sunday, not only did our kitchen feel like a kitchen with some minor cosmetic issues, the rest of our house was no longer trashed either and we had set up the Christmas tree inside.  Life felt back to normal, pretty much.

I’m proud of how we’ve handled the remodel.  Everyone kept telling us that things would be so crazy, and it was, kind of, but we were ready for (most) of it.  So, one year, I actually got picked for a trial in the Jury Duty pool.  It was something I tried to avoid and dreaded but it actually was an interesting experience that I think everyone should go through once.  I feel like this with the kitchen.  We kept our shit pretty calm.  We were so lucky to have knowledgeable and helpful in laws to guide us through the work, but I think the kitchen will mean more to us when it’s done because it’s got some of our blood, sweat, and (very few) tears in it.

Yesterday, our fabulous in laws put up all the backsplash and after work we painted the walls.  I figured it wouldn’t be that much different (the old color is inside the tape around the green fairy) but going from warm spring green to cool minty green makes the kitchen look SO much better with the other colors we’ve chosen.  We have a little more paint work to finish up (and figure out how we’re framing the fairy), the fam is going to grout and finish the backsplash, and we still need to deal with a few pieces of tile but man, we are close!!!

The rest of my life is sort of limping along behind all this remodel stuff and I’m coming into my last few days of work for the year on fumes.  I haven’t had a workout plan in weeks.  When I do motivate and get my ass moving, I’m enjoying it and it feels great.  However, it’s now week 7 of no schedule and somewhere between 2-4 hours of trackable activity (not counting walks and lifting heavy things during the remodel).  I have to remember that this is how normal humans do things.  Normal people don’t ride their bikes for 5 hours a day.

Still getting to play bikes, but the miles are few and far between.

I do miss being abnormal though.  On the weekend trips to Lowes for ONE MORE THING WE NEEDED, we’d see a billion people riding their bikes and get really sad for a moment.  I miss that stuff.  I just have to remember, besides the kitchen looking amaaaaaazing, these good things have happened to me with 7 weeks off:

#1 – I have lost weight.  Makes absolutely no sense, right?  I stop training and tracking and the magic happens.  The week I did the Livestrong ride, I was 185.7 average.  I’m 182.8 this week and my highest weight this month has been 183.7 so far (and that’s a good sign as my weight usually stabilizes around a number – right now 182-183 – for a bit right before it swings down).  It’s slow going but I’ve made just about as much progress on weight loss in the last 7 weeks than the 6 months prior.

#2 – My body has healed.  My heel is back to 100% now, and I currently don’t have any aches, pains, or niggles.  All the residual fatigue of the Ironman coupled with summer and fall’s training is totally gone.  While I’m sure I’ve lost some fitness, I’m super excited for my body to kind of be a blank slate right now so I can mold it back up into a faster, shorter course athlete for a while.

Either way, training resumes December 18, nothing crazy in terms of hours, but I will be maintaining a schedule with actual prescribed workouts instead of “let’s go do something today for a while… or not…”.  I may actually be excited enough about it that I’m working up a schedule now.

I’m hesitant to be all *WOO WOO SUB 2 hour half marathon* anymore at 3M because 5 weeks is not a long time to train, but I’m interested to see what I can mold myself into in that time.  And, of course, I’m going to show up and see what happens, because sometimes what happens is MAGIC.

November wrap up, December goals

Well, it’s now December.  The last month of 2017.  Holy crap, that went FAST!

Fast, unlike the trot of turkeys I did on Thanksgiving.

Let’s talk about what didn’t happen, because it’s kind of a LOT.

  • Swim at least twice.  (I swam ZERO yards.)
  • Ramp up running (at least as much as I had envisioned November 1st)
  • 8 Strength sessions (I think I did… two?)
  • Eating healthy food every day but Thanksgiving
  • Tracking my negative diet quality calories.  I did some days, but fell off after we started remodeling.
  • Finish the Carl Sagan book.  I’m at 70% – I’ve had to do this one in 10% chunks between my other books).
  • Finish 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I’m halfway through and could power through it in a night if I wanted, but I’m actually enjoying reading one section at a time and absorbing it.  So, I’ll try to finish it this week.
  • We did not make it to a comedy show.  So I really need to figure out what to do with my 7 pairs of tickets because that’s a lot to do in one month.

While usually I’d be bummed about admitting all this, not this month.  My body has appreciated the break from formal training and has enjoyed just generally being active a few hours a week.  My give-a-shit is at full capacity with the kitchen remodel and wrapping up work for the year.  Here’s what I have accomplished:

  • I wrote two chapters in my book.  Admittedly enough, I had two random days off, and those were the days I did it, but hey, small victories.  I am now at 8.5 chapters of 15 planned, so I’m over halfway!
  • We went camping and had a lot of fun at the tri series party.
  • I launched one major update at work and am a few days from a smaller one.
  • And, most importantly, we have finished like 95%  of our kitchen remodel.  Which is all the bullet points I need to feel good about what I’ve done or not done this month.  When I wrote my To Dos last month, I seemed really concentrated on the logistics, not realizing EVERYTHING that went into the actual doing.  I basically spent the second half of November painting things while everyone else did the harder stuff.

Holy crap, y’all, it’s a usable kitchen!!! …even if it needs paint and a backsplash and some other stuff…

I’m actually happy to have had the experience.  Would I do it again?  Yes and no.  Doing the cabinets ourselves mostly just took time and having done it once, I would be *ok* trying to do it again if we weren’t under a huge time pressure.  Paint and hardware, no problem.  However, our in-laws replaced all the drywall and did the electrical and the plumbing (changing where the sink and dishwasher were) and I would DEFINITELY not have taken that into our own hands.

I also do not regret paying people to do the counters.  Like, one bit.  They were 3 hours in, out, and on with their lives and apologized to me that it took so long.  No. freaking. problem.

So, while there’s still some minor cosmetic stuff to do, we’ve got a fully functioning kitchen and our house is relatively clean (and will be completely back to normal by the middle of this week).  That’s a huge relief.  I was pretty good about that through most of the process, but when we unpacked the last box yesterday, I felt so much more relaxed, much more than I realized.

So, December.  Last month of the year!  This month is about wrapping all that up and returning to a bit of relaxed normalcy in terms of training, eating, and life.

Let’s talk training. 

My cycling miles have gone from hundreds to tens.  Like last week, I think I literally biked 10 miles.

For sanity’s sake, the OFFICIAL schedule resumes mid-month because, reasons, but from now until then my goals are:

#1 – build up my run miles and start incorporating a little speed 1-2 times a week.  These can be little fartlek sections, track intervals, but I need to start seeing some 9s on my watch in small doses.

#2 – resume strength training – 2x week, even if it’s just a Oiselle dozen or 15 mins of pushups and random stuff, I need this habit back in my life.

Everything else will come later.  I miss the pool.  I miss playing bikes for hours on end.  I miss lifting heavy.  But right now I’ve got a bit of the run love back and I’m excited to nurture that!


I give myself about a… B- for nutrition last month.  I am so glad I cooked up so much healthy food – we ate almost everything, minus one soup I’ve got thawing for tomorrow.  During the weekdays, we ate reasonably well when we were eating at work.  However, at home, on the weekends, we definitely reverted to pizza (twice) and italian sandwiches on french bread and some other super yummy but admittedly junk foods to keep everyone fed and without prep or cleanup.  I don’t regret it at all, but I remember one Saturday thinking that my intake for the day had been a kolache and four slices of pizza and a small salad.  Not my normal eating patterns for sure.

My official weight average this month is 184.1.  I weighed 24 times so it’s a pretty good average.  That’s -1.2 lbs down.  As frustrating as this slow going progress is, it’s still progress.  And I know because this morning, when I weighed 184.7, I was like, ack, that’s up a bit.  Last month this time I would have been stoked.  I’m really hoping I can see a 170-something number this month, if I made it through Thanksgiving and a remodel with a weight loss, surely I can make it through December with the scale continuing to be my friend, right?

So, I’m making the same goals this month as last month.

  • I will track all negative diet quality foods for this month starting today.
  • Exceptions: vacation, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Years Eve.  Vacation, I’ll be diving too much to gain weight, and I’ll allow myself those other days to celebrate and not worry about calories or the quality of my food.  Every other day is normal healthy eating because these are the holi-DAYS, not holi-MONTHS.


Hoping to get back to more of this in December!

December is a good month progress here because I’m off work for most of it so I can actually do stuff but also have time to relax.  Last year I powered through a lot of my triathlon coach training.  This year, I hope to make a bunch of progress on my book in a similar fashion.

I have 7.5 chapters left.  I would like to knock out at least FOUR of them.  I have five days off while Zliten is at work, and I’m giving myself one of those days where I just can’t even and not making any progress between Christmas and New Years.  If I can get more, great.  The overall goal: it would be a nice birthday present to finish the first draft by next March.

Finish all the little kitchen things and get my house back to it’s normal organized chaos.  What’s left:

  • Bolster kick plate on the peninsula so we don’t need extra tile
  • Fix tile spots
  • Backsplash
  • Touch up cabinets
  • Paint walls

I have a little bit of organizing I’d like to do with the spice rack and pantry but that’s all future goals.

Write a personal mission statement.  In reading 7 Habits of Effective People, I see a lot of things I do well and a lot of things I could do better.  Establishing a core set of principles in an easily distilled statement I can refer to when I’m making decisions in all aspects of life sounds like a good idea.  While my husband kindly brought up that I sort of do that on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis, I feel like crystallizing words around who I aim to be is a good exercise.  Of course, this also includes coming up with 2018’s map and plan like normal.

We get to go back to one of my favorite places in the world!!!

Figure out how to travel lightly.  For this vacation, we purchased BCDs and regulators for diving (they cost only double the gear rental fee for just that week and we’ll never have to rent again).  However, that means our scuba gear now takes up most of two large suitcases and the camera equipment takes a small one.  We are going to have to travel REALLY sparsely otherwise.  Good thing four swimsuits, two pairs of shorts, a few t-shirts, two pairs of sandals, and a cover up doesn’t take much room (but I need to limit it to pretty much that).

Take my annual facebook/twitter break.  It was mentally necessary last year.  This year, I’ve found some awesome groups to be a part of, so these sites don’t stress me out as much as they did last year this time with all the political BS, but I still .  It will get logged out on my phone the day I leave for vacation and I’ll limit myself to it when I’m in front of my actual desktop for a while.

Play some GAMES!  This is usually the month I actually get a chance to lose myself in some video games and I really am looking forward to it!

Catch up on my reading.  Finish Carl Sagan, The 7 Habits, and choose at least two more – probably the 4 hour work week and Bedtime Stories for Triathletes, but I also just bought two running books that probably would make sense to read while I’m training for a half marathon, not to mention some new fiction I’m looking forward to… ah, the life of a hangry bookworm.

I’m looking forward to enjoying another month of THIS beauty we put up yesterday…

Relax.  I have 24 days off work starting at 6-ish PM on Friday.  While I’ve made it through a little less haggard than I have in some previous years, I definitely need some time to recharge and become a patient, pleasant, and kind human being again.

Happy December, everyone.  What’s up in your neck of the woods?  Fun holiday plans?  Heading to a tropical destination? Netflix and PJs? Becoming a ski instructor for the winter?

Mile 18

It’s like Mile 18 of the marathon up in here.

Getting there!  Also, I made everyone stop working to go look at the amazing sunset because I am THAT PERSON.

I’m so done with running at this point.  And there’s still 8.2 more miles to go and that feels like the LONGEST time ever and I just want it to be over NOAW.  However, since I’ve been through this type of thing before as an endurance athlete, I know it’s the home stretch, I know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel even if it’s a little dim, and we will survive and get to that finish line.

Let me get my crankies out of the way.  I have not minded doing the work.  I have not minded the mess around the house (much… I sigh at it once in a while when I have to step over boxes to get around or can’t find something I need, but I gave the house permission to be a mess while we did this, so it’s fine).  However, I want my effing kitchen back.  I want to cook.  I want to chop veggies on a counter.  I want a dishwasher that can get caked on food out of a dish without having to soak it in a bathtub.  I’ve eaten more junk food than I should, not because I don’t have healthy food to eat, it’s just a PITA to prepare and more importantly clean up without a fully functioning kitchen.

So, I went full lazy this week.  I got some healthy prepared meals for dinner that take no real prep or cleanup on my part.  And… I should have full cooking capabilities really soon since the counter folks are currently here RIGHT NOW installing my happy fun sparkly quartz counter.  So, mile 18. It sucks right now in this moment but it will get better really really really soon.

What’s left?  After the counters and sink are installed, we need to hook up the garbage disposal, dishwasher, and then honestly, everything else is completely cosmetic and I have a kitchen again in practical terms again.  I can start unpacking all those boxes.  All that’s left after that is:

  • Some minor trim work
  • Finishing up some painting (walls and outsides of cabinets that are exposed)
  • Putting on the hardware
  • Kickplate for the cabinet bottoms
  • Make shelves for the custom bar cabinets that don’t have them
  • Mounting the backsplash
  • Fixing the tile (and of course we are ONE short of what we need and have to go hunt it down or get creative)
  • Mounting the light strips under the cabinets

…and I think that’s it.  I’m sure other stuff will come up but at some point soon, we’ll be able to call it finished!

My #IMTexas finisher shirt finally fits!

The good news is that I don’t think it’s negatively impacting my other efforts.  Apparently, this project came at the point where my body decided it needed and can appreciate a break from formal training.  My weight continues to trend downward even though I’m definitely not consuming as much healthy stuff as I should and probably less of a calorie deficit overall.  I haven’t tinkered with FAST yet but I have had some great runs lately where if it wasn’t for some other commitments (work/remodel/plans), I would have EASILY run a lot longer.  That’s a good feeling for when I really start getting back to it.

I’ve trotted 5 miles with turkeys in about 53 minutes, chatting with friends the whole way (with a 17 mile bike ride wrapped around it), and done various hour+ runs with no problem.  This weekend, I plan to go a little longer and do something between 7-10.  Every other sport I have slacked on since October 22nd.  That’s ok.  I feel the pull to start doing a regular schedule, which is nice, but life has not yet given me the room for that, so at the very least, I’ll have five weeks of focused training when I get back from vacation.  That should be enough to make a go at a PR, at the very least.  No matter what, as long as I’m healthy, Sapphyra will show up and do battle on January 21st.

And, just because we’re us, we had to take a remodel break on Sunday and put up our lights.  Priorities.

So, it’s a little rough, a little chaotic, and a little messy-middle right now.  But I know by going forward, I’ll get to the light, I’ll get to the finish line, and I can go back to playing bikes and cooking healthy food and training for reals again with a shiny new kitchen and clean house.


Progress and Thankfulness

I’ve been looking at this kitchen remodel like a long race.

Somewhere between the proverbial start line and the first few hundred meters of the swim (picking up the cabinets).

I’d say right now, I’m mid bike.  Not quite sure if I’m over half way yet, but close.  I’m far enough in to feel a little fatigue, but there’s a lot left to go.  The process is actually not been too bad, I honestly think that playing “helper” to people who know what they’re doing is the best possible scenario.  If it was contractors, I think I would be impatient and antsy (well, MORE impatient and antsy).  If we were doing it all ourselves, we would be SO overwhelmed.  For example, we’re putting crown molding over the tops of the cabinets to cover up the fact that they’re a little uneven.  I would have never thought of that, but I’m happy to help paint and hang it up!

So, it’s been about a week.  Last we spoke, everything was torn down.  I’m actually thrilled that went as quickly as it did because once that happened, there was no turning back.  Apparently, according to the in laws, it was the easiest demo they’ve ever done and I think they had fun doing it. 🙂

Garages are not for cars this week.  They are for painting cabinets.

The last week, in my world, was about two things: fighting off decision fatigue to make smart choices I won’t regret later, and painting all the things.

I was super excited to put together a kitchen exactly how I wanted it until I actually had to put the kitchen together!  I had procrastinated picking out a lot of things because a lot of shops are only open when I’m at work and also I think I was a little intimidated.  It was stressful (#fwp) because I was thinking about:

  • Resale value.  I’m not saying I want to move any time soon, but I also don’t think I’m going to live in this house until I die.  I never want to do this again so I’m making choices that are not so bold I’ll have to rip them out to list the house.
  • Personal style.  Conversely, I’m not a tan and light wood finish kitchen person.  I wanted to chose things that make me happy and excited.
  • Price.  I went into this making sure I didn’t cheap out on the crap that mattered, but I also know that the 2800$ quartz counter we picked out (and actually fell in love with) is just as awesome as the 7300$ quartz counter that was our other choice.  Similarly, I don’t need the 350$ faucet I loved when I found one for 199$ with a slightly different curvature but almost the same.
  • Smart DIY vs Stupid DIY.  We can paint and hang cabinets and put on hardware and save money on the labor.  However, I started to get greedy when I was able to purchase 4 granite slabs for about 400 bucks.  After a day or two I thought better and returned them (except one I’m keeping for a bathroom redo next post-Ironman season, heh).  Our quote is about as cheap as the granite + tools and supplies we’d need to do it, and they’ll get it done in one day and they guarantee their work for life.

But, I got through it and I think we made good choices.  I fell in love with the clearance backsplash.  We found an amazing deal on some quartz counters.  When I asked the guy for what his cheapest quartz was to get a baseline quote, he said we had picked it out (and it was #1 on our list).  Once I had both of those, we were able to finally pick out cabinet paint (the day we actually started painting…).  I picked out a faucet, and then when they didn’t have it in stock, found one cheaper that I liked just as much.  We found the microwave we wanted 40% off.  Everything is going so well!

Anyone else love Moulin Rouge as much as I do? 🙂

I was still worried that losing our apple green accent wall would make me feel all sad and plan.  I like black and white a LOT.  I’m super excited about what’s going on there.  But – I am a bright bold color person at heart.  I can’t say that I didn’t think for a second about the gorgeous RED SPARKLY granite counter.  However, the amazing and wonderful Zliten nudged us into getting a hue system as part of the remodel, and I am in love with my disco kitchen already and the cabinets don’t even have doors.


The only hiccup was the cabinet place left two of them off the order, but Zliten’s parents are local and were able to pick them up earlier this week.  They were out of what we ordered, but we were actually get a better configuration than we had picked before.  Definite lemonade out of lemons there!

So, at this moment in time, we’ve painted everything that can be painted right now.  Today after work, we’ll hang the top cabinet doors.  Then… we’re kind of at a stopping point until the family comes back on Friday to work, so we’ll have Thanksgiving completely off (I figured we’d come home and be finishing something up).  Wheee!

I have a list of everything that’s left to go, and while it’s long enough to freak me out, most of the surprises should be over.  Most of the decision making is over as well.  We’re down to good old fashioned work and I’m ok with that.

In other news…

Yay running without my heel feeling like it’s going to fall off!!!

I’m RUNNING AGAIN!!!  It’s not 100% pain free yet but I actually ran for an hour (5.4 miles) and then spent the entire day on my feet working on the kitchen and it didn’t set me back at all (felt fine the next day).  I ran three times last week and will get in 2-3 times this week and then hopefully ramp up a little bit starting next week – still 3 times, but extend the weekday runs closer to 45-60 mins and the weekend run a bit past an hour (75-90 depending on how I feel).

I’ve been neglecting my bike and the pool.  I’ve been doing some lazy weights workouts sporadically.  It’s ok.  I’m certain I’ll get back to it soon.  I’ve got 8 weeks ’til 3M and while that kind of freaks me out, I’ve gone from offseason to a 70.3 PR in that amount of time, so I’m sure it will be NBD.

My body has actually been thanking me for taking an effing break.  While it’s slow going, my weight trend line is going down.  While I’m not training regularly or tracking my food.  During the holiday season.  I’m not sure what’s up but I won’t question the magic.  I would say I’m about 2 lbs away from where I raced Austin 70.3 last year, which was incremental goal #1.  If I could set a goal right now, it would be to see 170-something on the scale before December 31st.

While I have not been tracking my food (or even the negative diet quality score foods like I said I would), I have also been attempting to keep it all reasonable.  I am super thankful that I cooked up a storm to have healthy food available, and it’s been a lifesaver.  However, there were some days that I couldn’t bear finding a place to plug my microwave in or digging out the scrub brush to wash out a dish and we got takeout.  When we had the family here all weekend we got bbq and pizza and sandwiches to keep everyone fueled.  I would give myself about a C, but apparently that’s a passing grade right now, so I’ll go with it.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I’m thankful for my life, even if it’s a little hectic right now, it’s also full of so much awesome.  I’m thankful for Zliten, family, friends, triathlon, scuba diving, that my kitchen will someday soon be in fully finished disco mode, and that I have a job that lets me afford to do all this.  And probably so much more, but for now, I’m thankful that I have a long weekend and I need to see about starting that right about…

Tearing it down to build it back up…

In case my millions of adoring fans hundreds of accidental readers three people and a bunch of bots audience wanted to know what’s up with life, here’s a quickie.

Day 1, or why my inlaws are amazing.  They did ALLL this demo work.

We have cleaned out everything and have now gutted our kitchen.  No going back now!  They’re doing a bunch of electrical and drywall work today.  We hunted down the clearance (aka – had to locate it at two different stores because they didn’t have that much left) backsplash that I fell in love with, and looked over countertop options.  Ugh.  I want granite but after reading about the care, it sounds like taking care of a child so we’re researching other options.

I really wanted to pick the counters first, the cabinet colors second, then a backsplash to match both but of course I’d fall in love with something I had to have and do it all the wrong way.  It’s all good.  I’m so excited about it I don’t care. 🙂

Tonight and tomorrow night are for priming 21 cabinets and 42 cabinet doors.  The doors should take us a little over 5 hours tonight unless we figure out a better way to do it, so we should be done close to… 1am?  The cabinets *should* go quicker tomorrow since we don’t have to do them in shifts.  Please wish me luck and a minimum of sleep deprivation to get it done!

Besides that I am doing my damndest to continue eating healthy.  I batch cooked about 2 weeks worth of lunches and dinners and we’re trying to stick with eating mostly that instead of a ton of takeout (though there will be takeout).   While I wouldn’t say I’m *training* by any stretch of the imagination, I am running (not 100% pain free but cleared by the chiropractor and it gets *better* as I run) or biking a little bit each day so I get some sort of activity.

Everything right now is pretty much stress level 11 – but a few more weeks and I will be in Bonaire, with a pretty new kitchen, and life will be grand!

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