Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tuesday night, gym...

It was a strength day at the gym yesterday. I got there for the 9 p.m. class. It was chest and back.

So in traditional fashion, we beat the crap out of them.

Started out with 60 chest presses and 60 standing rows. Alternated in 15 rep sets. I felt pretty good that I was lifting 30 pounds heavier than any other guy there. We then did Push-up Row Rows (you do a push-up on dumbbells, and at the top, you row to your hip.)

We then moved onto the TRX chest press/TRX two arm rows. Again, 60 reps, but this time spread out in 20 rep sets. The third exercise in this group was jumping pull ups. You'd jump up into a pull up, then catch yourself on the way down. At the end of these, my fingers actually slipped off the bar, and I landed on my knees. It was on sports court tiles, but it didn't actually hurt. I had to move an exercise mat underneath me for the last few reps after that, though.

Then came the tires. Our trainer, Jason Muir loves his tires. I think it makes him feel like he's in Rocky. He has three tractor tires, of varying size. Yesterday we used them to do push-ups off of. You'd put your hands on the ground, and your feet on the tires. You'd do 10 "inclined" push-ups. Then, while your hands are still on the ground, you'd hop your feet down onto the floor then back up onto the tires. It kind of looks like a donkey kick. You'd do 5 of those, then back to the push-ups. We did three sets of this combination followed by 50 crunches.

I then moved on to TRX Rip chest press/row. The rip is a heavy exercise band attached to a bar. We attach it on both ends, kneel inside, and do an inclined press. This was 60 reps of both exercises broken up into 20 rep sets. The rows are underhand rows, to your belly. Keep your arms body width apart. I jumped ahead a few exercises, because he had Roman Chair leg lifts. Since we only have one Roman Chair, where you put your back against a pad, your forearms on some pads and hold the handle in front of you. There is not an actual seat, you are suspended. (I'll find a picture and post it later.)

Then it was time to run. My legs are tired and sore, but for some reason last night's run really hurt my shins. I made it back, and did some planks to finish it out.

All-in-all a good night's workout, and I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow.

The wife has been having really bad carpel tunnel syndrome attacks. She usually has to work after I'm home, the kids like to bug her. She's also working more to keep insurance. This is nice because of teenage problems, including braces. I'm sorry you're feeling so bad honey!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Anti-roofie and an early morning

At the gym last night I told the trainer I was tired. I also know and trust my trainer. He told me he could give me a little something to get me through the workout. I can't remember the name, but it gave me energy. So much that I staid up way too late.

This morning I had to be in to work by 6:20ish. I was playing tech support for our department's focus group on promotional items. I got to set up web cams and audio streaming. So we could "secretly" observe the going-ins. It's fun to do different things, and this was a fun project.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sunday observation

I teach primary, eight year olds, and am always amazed at how well the kids can read the scriptures. The one observation I have to make is that their breathing patterns sound like they've been jogging while they read difficult words.

That just made me laugh yesterday.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hooray for Saturday!

So I started Saturday off strong. It was warm, and really nice.

I help out at a local produce co-op, Bountiful Baskets. We spent the morning distributing produce, but we only had eight volunteers compared to our usual 12-18, so it took a little longer than usual.

I then went home and rallies the kids to clean up the backyard. We had to get rid of the dog's "mess" and the mess made by the dog and kids. Our dog has become a chewing animal. Actually, she always was, she just seems to have gone on a bender lately.

Anyway, I got the kids working, and I started trying to level some ground to lay some pavers. I hit a rock pretty early and set out to dig it up. Right about this time, one of the neighborhood teenagers came over to heckle me, so I recruited him to the rock removal cause.

The rock turned out to be a three by three foot square of concrete with large river rock on the bottom. It was 10-12 inches thick I was able to pick it up and move it, but just barely. Moving this piece uncovered another small piece, so we started digging again.

This time we had problems finding the edge. And soon another neighbor joined the party. We took a few breaks to play with our friend Mr. Snake. He's about 16 inches long now.

After around an hour we had found more of the edges. It was about 3.5-4 feet wide and 5 feet long. This piece was between 8-15 inches thick. It also looked like it might go under the fire pit I built last year.

We tried to break this piece with a sledge hammer, we tried to pry it up, we dug under it and tries to break it again. Nothing was working. Then my neighbor mentioned he had a hand wench in his car. So he got that and we anchored it to a stump in the back. We ended up pulling the stump out of the ground (see below.)

So we anchored it to our apple tree and just tries to put some tension on the slab so we could break it easier. Still no dice. I got out my cheap Harbor Freight angle grinder, and I burned out the motor. We took some more whacks at it. It wouldn't budge. We dug some more, and got it to move a little bit.

We moved the anchor over to our maple tree. This helped pivot it a bit more. I didn't have a really good lever to use, or so I thought. I had bent my pick axe trying to use it. I went searching and found a 10 foot 4x4. I decided to use this, and we were able to move it a little bit.

We changed how the rope was placed around the slab, we went from a simple loop to a harness and it moved quite well.

Now our only problem was we were hitting the fire pit. We ended up damaging a couple of bricks on the top, which I'll have to fix later. We used the 4x4 to pry it around the pit and were able to drag it out of the hole.

I'd decided that I wasn't going to get this out of my backyard very easily, so I'm going to incorporate it into the patio. This meant we had to flip it over.

After another half hour, some more leveraging, and a bit of brute strength it was finally flipped. After the ground is leveled I'll move it into place.

This also took most of my free time for Saturday, and kind of wiped me out.

We had a barbecue at my sister-in-laws that afternoon. The wife got to hold our newborn nephew for quite some time, even though it probably wasn't enough for her.

I'm thankful for our family and neighbors.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tough night at the gym

Missed the gym yesterday morning, so I went last night. Now, this is tough because it means that on Friday morning I'm getting up early and heading right back.

To add to this, my youngest child slept from 2:00 p.m. until 7:45 p.m.ish. This meant I knew I was in for a long night.

Anyway, I got to the gym, and it was a really tough strength day. We started by alternating between 10 push-ups and 10 burpees, with a exercise band upright row on the jump. We did 10 sets of this. This took quite some time. This was also the end of our super-sets.

Next we moved onto arms, and did 100 curls. I'd do 10 regular, then 10 hammer-fist curls. By the time I was done with this my biceps were cramping.

Then moved onto delt raises. I'd do five out to the side, then five out in front. Again totaling 100 reps.

Then moved onto eight sets of 15 rows. Did these on an adjustable pull up bar, very low with my feet on the floor and my back toward the ground. I rotated between wide grip, overhand rows, and close grip, underhand grip rows. That's as far as I got, then I went on a run. I was exhausted.

Got home, and didn't get to sleep until 2:00 a.m., thanks to the well rested child. When he was back up at 5:00 a.m., so was I.

I decided that I was up, so I'd go back to the gym. Did mainly cardio, and I started getting light-headed. I really should have ate, and slept before going to the gym, but what you gonna do?

The routine this morning started with a 1/2 mile run, then moved into lots of mountain climbers, jump rope, more mountain climbers, hop-touch-reach, and some abs. I finished with a five minute static squat, and by the time that was done, my head was spinning. I figure by the time I'm done with work today, I will be in complete zombie mode.

Hooray for the weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

City Creek Shopping Salt Lake City

So I took my lunch hour and braved the crowds downtown SLC to check out the new City Creek Center.

I like it. It is a very nice. The East side has a removable roof, much like a football dome. It was a nice enough day that it was open today. It felt like a mall, kind of intimate, but you could enjoy the open air. Places like the Gateway feel really stretched out, but this was nice. The use of rock, and water (there is a "creek" running down the middle) look great. They even have a cool fountain.

There are many stores you wont find anywhere else in Utah. There's even a Disney store. Most importantly for certain people in my office, Express moved there. It was funny to see women lining up with the blue Tiffany boxes to get a picture.

I dragged my coworker through restoration hardware, the only store that kind of held an interest for me, and he had never been in one. They have some really cool rooms set up. Of course my first thought was I could make 80% of the items in there for much cheaper than they sell them. Hmm, maybe a good idea for a side business.

Anyway, I'll go back sometime with the wife. We'll stroll the stores and look. I probably wont be buying anything anytime soon though.

Wednesday Recap

I didn't get much done last night. First, my oldest daughter had junior high orientation. That means number two is entering her teen years. Hooray, or something.

We had a parents meeting for my son's scout troop. I think I'm paranoid, but the scout master, who I was in an Elder's quorum presidency with was looking at me more than the others, and there is an opening in the Deacon's quorum.

The scouts will be going to a really cool camp this year, Camp Loll (all the kids thought that was great, even after we explained it wasn't spelled LOL.) This camp is located between the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. They do an all day hike that will go into either Yellowstone, or Tetons National Park. It is beautiful, but the kids are bummed they have to drive six hours to get there.

So my wife went to the junior high, and I went to scouts. While I was in scouts I started getting text from my wife that her mother was mad at her. Turns out that her folks sewer had backed up, they had some roots in the line, and they hadn't cleaned their carpets. My wife had called our guy, and had him on the way over. My mother-in-law doesn't like being helped, this is according to the wife, and that made her mad.

By the time I was back from scouts, my wife was going up to her folks house to help our carpet guy. She also had to finish my daughter's video book report, our computer was too slow and kept crashing, so she used iMovie on the in-law's Mac.

The weather is beautiful, so I'm going to get the kids out in the yard to clean up this weekend. This is a big deal, as we have a front-yard fence, when most of our neighbors don't. We catch every bit of trash that is blown down the street in the front. In the back, we have a dog that likes to chew stuff. We have trash to get up, and it should be nice to do in the sunshine.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the oldest used his birthday money to buy his old scout master's x-box. Time to fight the video game battle again. He's been told that he will have limited time everyday, and that if his grades drop, I get to take it. Hooray!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Late night Tuesday

At about 8:30 p.m. last night I was told that I needed to help my daughter edit a video. Now we don't do much of this, and our desktop is slow. Her and a friend had made a movie of "Little House on the Prairie" for a book report, and it was due in the morning.

The video had all been recorded on an iPhone, so it mp4 format, which meant we couldn't edit it on Microsoft Movie Maker. I have a converter program, but after waiting an hour and a half, and only having one-quarter of the videos converted, I gave up on that.

I ended up spending quite a few hours working on it, then I had to get my wife involved. She had done the filming, and new what was "bloopers", and what was good film. (Not putting down your acting skills kids, but sometimes it was hard to tell.) At this point, our computer freaked out and I lost all the work, but by this time I was much better at putting it together, so I remade the movie to a point, then let the wife take over.

I was so tired this morning, I slept through the alarm clock and missed the gym. I'll have to go tonight.

Besides that, not too much went on Tuesday. I've got plans to build a dining table bench from some old dimensional lumber I have laying around, and I need to primer my car. Expect to see reports on those soon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

John Carter, or A Princess of Mars

For his birthday, my oldest wanted to go and see the new film, John Carter. This movie is based on a book by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and was written before he wrote Tarzan of the Apes. That means that this book was written over 100 years ago.

To be honest, I haven't read the books in over 25 years. I remember enjoying them, and could remember a few basics. Tars Tarkas was the leader of the green martians, or Tharks. A princess, obviously since the book is A Princess of Mars. And our hero, John Carter who served as a Captain in the Virginia Calvary during the Civil War.

To give me quick review, I liked it a lot. Some other members of the family hated it, but I'm pretty sure they would be happy just watching Remember the Titans. Now that was a good movie too, so don't get me wrong.

My 17 year old nephew went with us. I heard a few grumbles from him during the romantic bits, but he seemed to really enjoy the action.

The CGI was well done, and I thought the way characters and animals moved was great.

Overall, it is a go see. My only complaint was that we were out past 10:00 p.m. on a school night, and our youngest was so hyper that it took almost until midnight to get him to sleep.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend wainscot

I decided to use the time on Saturday, before the storm hit, to work on the wainscoting.

Luckily, I had ripped enough MDF down that I didn't need to move the car out of the garage. I only needed my miter box.

I focused on the upstairs hall, and was able to get it done quite quickly. The problem is its hard to take pictures of, but here is what I have.


I also painted the backs and sides of the cabinet doors. I have unique hinges, and they have been painted over, so I had to drill out the screws. Looks like I'll be replacing them.

I started painting the wainscoting in the kitchen. Originally we were going to paint this white, but I'm painting it the same cream as the cabinets. Not sure if we'll antique this or not, but after the cabinets are done I'll see how it looks.

It is starting to come together

Happy birthday!

Yesterday, Sunday, March 18th, was my oldest's 13th birthday. The highlight of the day was him opening his Facebook and YouTube accounts. He has been excited for this for years.

In looking back, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone. I love you, and am proud of you.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patrick's Day

My daughters were concerned the dog would get pinched, so they put a shirt on her that had green on it.

Poor mutt.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Politics in Utah

Attended my caucus meeting last night at the local high school.

First comment, it was the hottest day of the year so far. Then you stuff. 115 people in a small science room and it was boiling.

Spent an enjoyable three hours with my neighbors and took care of our party business.

It was fun to participate.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My mother-in-law's table

So last fall my mother-in-law mentioned that she wanted a table for her birthday/thanksgiving. Okay, it was more than a mention. She said they wanted to build one, and did I have any ideas.

Here is what I was told, it needs to be big so all the grandchildren can fit around it. They didn't want to spend too much on it. And finally, we talked about style.

Now I love Arts & Crafts style furniture and architecture, so I drew up se plans for a trestle table. I did this for two reasons, first we decided they wanted built in benches on one wall, and a trestle table is ideal for pushing under a built in. Second, I like the look.

I suggested we make it out of Douglas-fir, which my father-in-law thought was weird. I said it would keep costs down and we could use a super hard finish on it to compensate for the softness of the wood.

We spent a Saturday working on the legs. We used traditional mortise and tenon. My father-in-law cut all the parts to size, and I bored holes and used a chisel to make the mortises.

A few days later I came back and glued up the top. The top was a bit bendy, but we thought we could pull that out when we attached the top.

My father-in-law then did the hard part, sanding.

Work came to a halt when we figured that my mother-in-law wouldn't be hosting thanksgiving. Anyway, this last weekend work picked up again. I helped move the table inside and attach the top. My father-in-law was worried about the top flattening out. He decided to use lag bolts through the top. We pre drilled holes so we can use a dowel to plug the holes.

Here are some photos. He has to use some pre-stain conditioner to keep the wood from blotching, then stain and finish it.

I have to say I'm happy and I like the look.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hallway wainscot

Did the first section of the hallway wainscot. I had to make some additions around the cold air intake, and will have to do something around the electrical outlets.

The wife is happy, so I am happy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Stair wainscoting

So after the excitement of Friday, I used Saturday to work on the wainscot, specifically on the stairs.

I knew this would be the most dramatic part, because I was making a wall of panels. Here is my blank canvas.

So I'm using an eight inch base and a six inch top rail. You want to use a smaller to rail because visually the base will look smaller because it's farther away from your eyes.

On this big wall I wanted to make it a feature. So I ran multiple cross pieces to make panels.

I'm using four inch uprights. This gives a traditional arts & crafts look. In the corners I'm using a two inch upright.

Here is the completed wall, before paint.

Then I did the other side. I found something interesting, the wall on the middle of my stairs loses an inch in height from the bottom to the top. I actually have one of my uprights (battens) in the wrong place. I'll fix that tonight.

I think the hardest part of this project is finishing the edges. To save costs I used multi-density fiberboard (MDF). This paints really well because it is fine saw dust and glue pressed between paper. The problem is the edge. It absorbs paint. You have to cover it. You can buy an expensive product, but drywall compound works great. Now I have to cover all the edges, caulk, and fill nail holes. Then it's on to paint!

Monday, March 12, 2012

He's a pain in the neck


I mean he had a pain in his neck. So the wrestling coach called the wife at about 4:15 on Friday afternoon. He said my oldest had hit his head and couldn't wrestle until he was cleared by a doctor.

My wife went to pick him up, and took him over to the doctor. Once there, it was clear he had a concussion. He had slow responses to questions, but then he said he had a pain in his neck. The doctor immediately put a brace on his neck, and wouldn't let him move.

They called an ambulance to transport him to a nearby hospital for images of his neck. This is about when I got there. I barely beat the ambulance there. I waited for the in-laws to show up and take my youngest. Then I was off to the hospital.

I got to the hospital before they had the oldest off of the backboard. He was complaining that his back hurt, mainly because he had spent half an hour strapped to a board. He was responding well to everything, except his blood sugar was a bit low. He hadn't eaten lunch, he thought the enchiladas were nasty. I secretly think he is trying to drop to a lower weight-class.

This is when I finally learned what happened to him, from the horses mouth, so to speak. The varsity wrestler at his weight-class had gotten a double (where his arms are wrapped around both of my son's legs.) He was picking him up to take him to the mat, and fell himself. The other wrestler hit the mat, and my son hit his head.

We spent a few hours in the hospital, had x-rays and spoke to people. The oldest even took part in a study on concussions and sports. One of the x-ray technicians made a comment about having done something very similar himself, and I believe one of the EMT's did too.

Long story short, everything checked out. They pronounced him having a case of whiplash, and a concussion. He has to be checked out by his primary care physician at the end of this week, and has to wear a neck brace until then. He gets to wear it while sleeping, and even while bathing. It was fun to get a tie on him for church yesterday.

He seems to be doing great, and isn't experiencing any pain (except in his teeth because the brace forces his jaw together at night.)

In better news, the oldest daughter got her cast off on Friday. I'll come back in an update this post with some photos when I have time.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wrestling meet

Went to the oldest's wrestling meet yesterday. It still makes me laugh to see the cheerleaders sitting there cheering. The other school only had six there, but my son's school had a dozen.

My son got pinned in the second round. He did really well. He got into one hold where he had been pinned repeatedly, but was able to escape. He was then pinned with a headlock from a two on one hold (here's a video), like most of his team. The other school has a really strong team, and our varsity only won three matches.

Just wanted to say good job to the oldest. It's fun to see him learning do much, and being part of a team.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fun at the gym

So I've helped out around the gym. I've done some web stuff, social media stuff, I even helped lay the flooring. Last night I helped install these...

We had fun with a hammer drill, sledge hammer, and red heads. They should add some excitement to the gym. We have four to install, but didn't have enough red heads (those gingers are amazing.)

For those of you who don't know what a red head is, it is a cement anchor. It is a long bold, that expands at the bottom when tightened. This locks the bolt into the floor.

These pull up stations have adjustable bars on the uprights, and a high fixed bar. We'll be using the lower bar a lot, mainly because we don't have a bunch of members who can do full pull ups. They should be fun!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Back to the gym

So the last couple of weeks I only went to the gym once. Long story short we had an outbreak of pink eye in our house (hate it) and I had a head cold.

Monday morning went back in to the gym. Did a ton of squats and now my hamstrings are hurting. Then on Tuesday night I took my oldest to the gym with me. He was frustrated that I was getting done with the exercises faster than he was. The big problem was that Tuesday was a leg strength day. Now my hamstrings really hurt.

It's good to be going again. At our gym we test every six weeks, which has been extended to ten now. We see if we are making our goals, and the trainer has six levels he would like us to work through. I've been stuck at level 5 for some months, mainly because I've plateaued on my weight loss goals. I've now set a goal to drop 15 pounds over the next ten weeks. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I had to drop someone off at the airport this morning, and as I drove away I saw a gaggle of missionaries behind a big uhaul van getting there luggage out. I don't remember doing that, but what do I know. It's been 19 years.

I was sad I was driving so I couldn't get a picture. I was happy trying to come up with a proper name for a big group of missionaries. I really think a quorum, or a district might be the best. Although if you are anti-Mormon you might think a murder is better.

UPDATE: I think I have come up with the correct term, an Army of Elders. See it is a reference to the Army of Heleman, and if you are anti-Mormon it could cast them in a negative light, like the forces of darkness. I think this is a win/win naming scheme, and I expect to hear everyone refer to the missionaries using it. That is all.

UPDATE TWO: I had to go and pick the folks up, their flight filled up. I had to take them back a few hours later, just in time for the snow to hit. I cannot believe how much snow the storm dropped so quickly. Hooray for snow in March.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Busy weekend

Saturday was non-stop. Woke up, and got to Bountiful Baskets to volunteer. Bountiful Baskets is a great produce co-op currently running in 20 states. For around $17 you get 12 produce items every week. You can also add on other items. Good quality and good value. Luckily this weekend I wasn't in charge and just had to be a worker drone.

As soon as that was done, I had to run home and get my oldest ready for soccer practice. We had a good session with some specialized running training. The one thing I noticed at practice was the size of my son. He was middle of the pack height wise at the end of fall season. Now he is the third tallest kid on the team. He must have grown four inches since October.

Then I had to run home because the wife had to go to a baby shower and was in charge of music for our Stake's baptisms. She sent me a text that Elder M. Russell Ballard was there.

When she got home I had to go pick up more MDF for the wainscoting, and supplies to make a slide for my son. As we were doing that, my folks called and invited us to go see "The Lorax".

So we got home from Lowes, and packed the kids up and headed to the theater. I bought a couple of tubs of popcorn, they are refillable, and my mom pulled small popcorn bags from her purse, and we fed the entire extended family. Then they invited us to Chuck O Rama.

This is always a special adventure as our autistic son gets overwhelmed and wants to run around. We have to strap him down and serve him. My other kids love it though. We did get to have my oldest nephew sit with us, and he is a great kid. (I'm still going to call him kid even though he is 17.)

We had previously been invites to my sister-in-law's house to watch some old UFC fights. We were running a bit late, but really enjoyed the fights. My oldest fell asleep with his head under a blanket. I carried him most of the way to the car, and it really freaked him out. By this time it was 10:30, and time to go to bed.

Sunday was slower, but we got a new bishopric, so church was exciting. We're excited for the new bishopric, but sad to see the old Bishop move. I was also able to get laundry done on Sunday as I didn't have time on Saturday.

Our oldest went to church with my folks. They are doing a local mission with a Spanish speaking branch, and he needed some practice for his Junior high class. He seemed to enjoy it.

We went visiting family, and I got to see my newest nephew for the first time.

It was busy, but enjoyable. Hope everyone has a good week.

Friday, March 2, 2012

New iPhone App (at least new to me)

I just downloaded an app called Stop Motion Cafe. It allows you to easily make stop motion, think claymation, animations. Below is my directorial debut. Enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Viewed on the train

So I had to sneak a picture of this ear ring. It looks like a peach pit on the end. The great thing is I had a wonderful talk with this guy and his partner, who looked like Donald Sutherland and was at least as old. I saw pictures of their iguana and their chihuahua.