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All day I've been a giddy as a camel in an insurance commercial. Seriously, ask my annoyed co-workers, I've been this way all day long.

Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, guess what day it is!!! Guess. What. Day. It. Is!

That's right, folks! We've got ourselves a good old fashioned DC metro area snow storm a brewing. And like every overhyped weather event in DC, I'm super excited for the potential of what might come. So excited, in fact, that I'm setting up our snow cam once again and plan on blogging the fun that is sure to ensue!

Live Shot

At this point, without a massive and historic snow storm, I can only be let down.

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Comments 12

Among our friends, family, and now the Internet, we're somewhat known for starting and working on many simultaneous projects. We may preach the good old "one room at a time" approach to DIY home improvement, but in actuality, we practice "one major room ripped apart for what seems like an eternity while also taking on lots of other "smaller" projects...which may or may not include other entire rooms." And by "practice," I mean, "we're expert at."

In all honesty, it's an exercise in DIY futility and one we can't recommend for anyone wanting to get something done quickly.

Software development is my day job line of work, and we have a rule when it comes to defining a complex system and managing the project. No matter what the customer wants, they have three options, but they can choose only two. Their system can either be good, cheap, or fast (completed quickly). In other words, the better the solution, and the faster they want it done, the more expensive it is. Alternatively, the cheaper they want it for and the faster they want it done, the worse quality the system will be. And so on...

In DIY home improvement (as with many things in life), the same principles apply, except with one modification. Rather than representing a triangle of options, this is more of a quad point scale of measurement. The new major decision points are similar with one major addition: Good, Fast, Cheap, and Life.

Let's look at all four of the these items with respect to DIY.

Good: This rather subjective yet all encompassing aspect of renovation projects is rather hard to quantify, but relatively easy to identify. A project with a "good" result is one where you've not taken short cuts along the way and the finish work, as well as the work below the surface, is executed to the best of your ability. This requires a time commitment that allows you to hone your skills in what you're dealing with if they don't already exist, as well as a desire to achieve a caliber of workmanship that satisfies those with a discerning eye. (Read: "your significant other.")

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Comments 5

If there was one thing we knew about the purchase of our home over a decade ago before we even started a single project, it was that we'd eventually install crown moulding in pretty much every single area of our house. It's an element of home decor, historic homes, and general home aesthetics that Wendy and I both enjoy. It dresses up almost any room, it's not cost prohibitive from a materials standpoint, and it's something that the general DIYer is completely capable of handling with a little knowhow, patience, practice, and the right tools.

Now 11 years later, we've applied crown in three different profiles within eight of the 11 rooms in our home, and the other three rooms won't escape our ownership without eventually being adorned with this delightful carved wood architectural detail. Looking back on our early gusto, it's funny to think about all of our attempts and missteps early on in our process of developing solid crown moulding skills.

We made a whole bunch of mistakes when hanging that first room of crown. From painting the wall and ceiling before putting up the moudling to using the wrong type of caulk. But it was a learning experience that helped set our stage for the next project, the next next project, and beyond.

After I had nearly completed hanging our crown in that very first room, I proudly marched Wendy into the living room and presented the hung (but un-caulked) 4" traditional crown that I had slaved over for days. I had just once piece to go, but I was too excited not to show it off. Wendy's response, "Maybe we should have hired someone???"

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Comments 9

As much as we sometimes wish our lives were 24x7 DIY (with the frequent vacation thrown in), this obviously isn't a reality. We split our time between the hobbies we love, the downtime we enjoy, taking care of ourselves and our four legged children, the work and chores we must do, and spending time with friends and loved ones as much as possible. It's a busy schedule, sure, but when I really look at it, this somewhat healthy breakdown of our lives is a good balance that helps to both keep us sane and stimulated. However, at times, we must skew more heavily in one direction of the split or another when the situation either allows or requires.

Lately, we've been putting quite a bit of time and energy into taking care of our wonderful little Ori-Pei, Lulu, in her quest to beat cancer.

A few weeks back we told you all about the identification of her second mast cell tumor and resulting surgery in early January. We also filled you in on the fact that she'd require continued treatment after the surgery because we weren't able to achieve good margins on the tumor's removal. Well, the last few weeks have been "Operation Warrior Princess" in our house, where we're all actively fighting off these a-hole cancer cells and working for Lulu to make a complete recovery.

We wanted to take this opportunity to give you all an update and a little insight into this whole process. Whether you've experienced something similar with your loved ones and can commiserate (Lulu's process is very similar to human radiation too), or are just interested to hear about how they tackle this sort of thing in dogs, we hope our experience not only cures Lulu, but that it also helps others learn about options and possibilities in cancer treatment.

Our latest journey towards beating cancer all started a little over two weeks ago when Lulu began going to the first of her 15 daily radiation treatments. The plan was straight forward, but very intimidating. We'd need to bring Lulu every morning, Monday through Friday, for three weeks, for a total of 15 sessions. During these sessions the oncology staff would need to lightly anesthetize and intubate her (radiation requires complete calm and stillness, not a strength of Lulu's), then perform the radiation treatment on Lulu's right arm. We were warned of the possibility of a localized burn on the area where the radiation was being given, missing fur, and the resulting scar tissue or white spot. Going into it without any prior experience on the subject was very intimidating, to say the least.

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Comments 25

Guess what day it is? Nope, not my new favorite day of the week thanks to an office camel promoting the significance of hump day. Instead, it's the annual Old Town Boutique District Warehouse Sale at the Masonic Temple here in Old Town! While I'm certainly no fashionista, even I can't resist the sweet siren song of the promise of great merchandise at hugely discounted prices. 

We're big supporters of shopping local small businesses, and that absolutely includes the various local merchants in Old Town and the Alexandria area. The cool thing about this event, put on by the Old Town Boutique District, is that so many of our favorite stores are in one place and have some really great markdowns on their items. In fact, it's so popular that there's always a pretty significant line of people waiting to get inside an hour or more before the sale opens at 9:00 am. 

We arrived early again this year to say hello to several of our friends and vendors, to take photos to share with you, and to do a little deal scouting of my own. As in years past, The Shoe Hive's booth was a popular spot, with frenzied shoppers pulling open boxes like kids on Christmas morning. All supervised, of course, by a giant bronze bust of George Washington.


I too couldn't resist getting in on the action and was thrilled to snag not one, but two pairs of new Hunter rain boots, including this cute calf height gray pair. I'm still not sure what, exactly, got into me. I mean, two new pairs of rain boots? But I suppose when you can get them for 55-75% off, it's hard to resist!

The shoe selection didn't stop there. Bishop Boutique had a great selection of flats, boots, and heels, as well as a humorous approach to their advertising. 

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Comments 4
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