Monday, July 9, 2018

BIG post... baby, running, wings, Taylor Swift... so much more...

So, the news is out... Summer is about to be a big sister!  We are now less than 5 weeks out until the next ball of joy joins us.  We don't know the gender, but I am leaning towards boy.  Summer has been such a big help and really seems to understand the whole change about to happen.  She wanted a sister the first few months, but she now says she wants a brother.  This baby coming is one reason why I have been running so many races lately.  I know that when there are two kids that my time to run will be greatly cut back.  I do the morning show then I go into full time dad with Summer.  It is nice avoiding daycare because it is so pricey. Anyway... Michael baby #2 is due August 10th.
Speaking of... I finally found the one race photo from Mohican Trail Marathon.  This was after we were in the woods for 13 miles and about to hit the middle aid station for some fuel. 
I also went back to Cleveland to visit the in-laws one final time last weekend, before the baby.  I was not planning on running, but I found a group planning to run the Hinckley Reservation outer loop.  It is, hands down, my favorite place to run.  A good mix of single track, open prairie, hills, farms, road.
Good fun!
I was asked to take part in a hot wing eating competition on Friday, National Fried Chicken Day.  I competed at the Easton location of Hot Chicken Takeover and ate 10 wings in 2 minutes.  Which means 2,000 meals, in my name, will be donated to Food Rescue US.  Good fun for a great cause.
Saturday morning I helped emcee and run in the inaugural Hilltop USA 5k.  It is the largest race ever held in the Hilltop and we had 300 runners sign up for the race!  I went to a coworkers pool party for a little big then...
Went with a friend to the Taylor Swift concert.  The weather was FANTASTIC!
When you entered the stadium they hand you a wristband that had a few LED lights.  They are lit up red at the time of the photo above.  But they change colors throughout the stadium to match the music and it just added to the effect of the event.  Really cool.  Traffic... was WAY worse than any event I have been to at Ohio State.
Sunday I woke up and got the driveway ready for a neighbor to re-seal it.  He does a big group of the neighborhood one weekend a summer and it is a great value! But I had mocked up garden bed in the garage, so I had to get all of that out since you can't walk on the driveway for a few days.  My strawberry garden bed started rotting some last fall.  I was able to get through this year fine, but it needed to be replaced.  My neighbor's tree shades this bed so it doesn't dry out as fast as the other beds.  I also did not use treated wood 3 years ago because I didn't want the chemicals to get into the soil.  Well I don't want to replace it again in 3 years, so I went with treated landscaping timbers that were on sale.  But... I lined the inside lower boards with plastic so there is no contact between the soil and the boards.  No nails or screws either.  I drilled 1/2" holes through the boards and then used 1/2" rebar hammered through the holes.  It is snug enough that it should hold all the boards together and if it ever needs taken apart then it is just pounding out the rebar. The old bed was held together with screws and it was a pain taking all of those out, so I wanted to avoid that.  Hoping these beds will last at least 10 years.  I think I can get another year out of the other 3 beds, but will see how this one turns out before jumping ahead of myself. 
What a beautiful weekend for Central Ohio! We managed to warm up to 87 on Sunday and likely getting just a tad warmer for your Monday with plenty of sun and some afternoon clouds. A tad humid today with a very slim chance for a stray pop-up shower in the afternoon, although most of the area will stay dry until Tuesday. Mostly clear and warm tonight followed by more clouds Tuesday. A cold front will pass through tomorrow and that will help trigger scattered showers and storms, mainly for the late morning and afternoon. The Storm Prediction Center has Central and Southern Ohio are in the Marginal Risk for storms to become severe on Tuesday. Most of the area will see rain, but not everyone. Northern Ohio may not see much rain since the cold front will pass through earlier in the day, before the heating of the day helps for rain development. Sunshine comes back for Wednesday and less humid air, but temps stay in the mid 80s. We slowly warm up through the rest of the week and stay dry for the workweek. There is a slight chance for rain next weekend, but it currently looks light and spotty. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Rain barrels and rain on the way

So... step one for a project is acquiring stuff.  I had been wanting to put in rain barrels for a LONG time, but I finally decided to do it.  Rain water is WAAAAAAAY better for plants than city water.  Less chemicals and extra nitrogen!
So... there they are... done, right?!?!
Had to clear out the space for the barrels and put in a foundation pad.  Easiest and most cost effective foundation was using some blocks, but that is probably the most time consuming part of the job.  Making sure the foundation is set and level took about two hours. Then drilling all the holes in the barrels for the tubes and drains. 



The barrels are all attached in the back at the top, so the first barrel fills up then they fill up down the line.
Here is the before and after photo of the side of the house.  I did not want to drill into the house to hold the tube, so I am using more pipes hammered into ground to hold up the pipe.  I sawed off some T fittings so the pipe sits level from the downspout to the barrels.  It also allows for easy adjustments if it's necessary.  I am pretty happy how it turned out and cannot wait until we get some rain...
Have the rain gear handy! Today we will start out with a little sun, but increasing clouds will bring some scattered showers and storms for the afternoon and evening. More on and off showers and storms likely for your Wednesday. The Storm Prediction Center has Ohio in the Marginal Risk for severe storms tomorrow. High temps stay in the lower 80s due to the rain limiting our warming. Once the rain leaves early Thursday then we crank up the heat. Highs in the upper 80s on Thursday and then 90s for Friday and the weekend with plenty of sun and humidity. We may see a few pop-ups by Sunday and Monday. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

Quick trip to Baltimore, Philly, & York for a wedding

How do you like Summer's Rocky pose?  More on that shortly... 
My cousin was getting married about an hour north of Baltimore over the weekend, so Thursday I flew in to Baltimore and rode with my aunt up to the rehearsal dinner.  We stopped first to check out the Baltimore Basilica.
The inside is amazingly restored.  Quite a lot of history as well.
We arrived at the family crab restaurant for all the fun, right on time.  Summer rode up in a car with my parents the day before, so I met them there.  Summer had lots of fun with all her cousins.
Summer even won two rubber ducks from the vending machine... Well... she sweet-talked my aunt to win her a couple.  Fun times hanging with family and my grandfather.

Friday was a free day for some of us.  My sister few in from Florida Thursday as well.  We all stayed at my brother's house in York, PA, but he had to work. I convinced the free group to load into the car and head two hours over to Philly since they had never been there. 
Here is Summer again, doing the Rocky pose in front of the Philly Museum of Art.
Smile!
Had to get a pic of the Rocky statue.  
We were pressed for time, so we snapped a group shot from out on the sidewalk, instead of waiting in the line.
I then took the group over to the historic district where we got to see the Liberty Bell.  The line to get inside the building had to be about 3 hours long and parking is $7 for every 30 minutes. 
We also checked out Independence Hall.  You have to register for the limited release of tickets to get inside the main hall, but we did go into the West Wing to check out some of the original paperwork signed!
Another short jog down to South Street for Jim's.
YES! So delicious! Summer was not interested, so I found a market with a kitchen and had them whip up a quesadilla and she smashed that... along with some fruit.
Friday night was pretty chill.  Wish Marcus was there, but I photo-shopped in a picture of him on the wall.  He will be back in a couple months from Bulgaria.
Clark and I woke up early to go run a local 5k to help the local Habitat for Humanity.  We both got first place in our age groups!  Pretty hilly run.
Off to the wedding!  Summer and I danced the night away and were very excited to see mom when we got home, but she stayed back home for a family reunion on her side of the family. Yesterday was a busy day at our house with something I had been wanting to do for a LONG time... more on that in a blog in a few minutes... 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Mohican Trail Marathon, Summer's new bedroom, & heating up

Took my runs last week pretty easy to rest up before the Mohican Marathon, but Summer and I did get out for some time together.
The flowers in our backyard are looking fantastic this week.  It's amazing seeing things come to life.
We had a great week with our three year old, but this weekend was going to be a big weekend for Summer.
Summer helped me clear out the guest room and we moved the guest bed into the basement and the guest room downstairs.  We will come back to this in a minute...
Back in January I talked with my brother and we decided to run the Mohican Trail Marathon.  The 100 mile run starts at 5AM and the 50 mile run starts at 6AM.  Our marathon started at Noon on Saturday and MAN it was hot!  Carl, the president of the Columbus Westside Running Club, decided to join in on the fun and signed up too.  We are all smiles picking up our race packets before the start.
Still mostly smiles at the first aid station about 5 miles into the run.  Ice in the hat and ice down my back REALLY helped keep my core temperature low considering it was so hot.
Still smiles on the trails.  
We ran into Kathie!  A few weeks ago Carl and I had our final long training run for the race and she showed us the course.  She was doing the 100 mile run and it was nice running into her.
The views were fantastic for the course.
Annnnd.... Done!  It took just a little more than six and a half hours, but we finished!   The fourth guy is Jason.  He was running around our pace and he joined our group.  It was SO helpful running with others.  Something I ate at the 14 mile aid station did not agree with my stomach so I had to power hike more than run for a little while, but then I regained my composure and we kept going.  Same goes for Clark and Carl.  We all had small issues and we all worked together for motivation and powered through as a group.
I was glad to get to share this experience with my brother because he is getting married soon and I am sure his life will get a lot busier.  My shower, Saturday night, was amazing!
Sunday was focused on Summer's "big girl" room.  We got breakfast in the morning and then I had her bed together by Noon... but that was just beginning.  By the way... using a power tool, or drill, makes assembling things SO much faster than doing it by hand.
We then decorated and I made a small book shelf to store toys and books. 
One of her favorite things in the room: the cloud lights. I mounted them just high enough to light up the room and she could reach the switch. Considering we completely re-did the room for her, we really did not spend too much money.  The bed from Ikea was the most expensive thing and even that was pretty reasonable.  Her first nap and night went very well.  She is getting so big and it kinda breaks my heart... But I am excited for her.
Get ready for the heat today! 
National Weather Service issued a Heat Advisory for all of Central Ohio today, until 8PM. This means the heat index will be near or just above 100!
There is also an Air Quality Alert today meaning that air quality may be unhealthy for sensitive groups. This will be caused by high levels of ozone due to our weather and also some extra particulate matter from wildfires. If possible, try to carpool and avoid fueling or mowing during the afternoon. We will see plenty of sun today with just a slim chance for some pop-up isolated storms.

More clouds for Tuesday with scattered showers and storms with a 70% chance of rain. Central Ohio is in the Marginal Risk for severe storms Tuesday. We will keep that chance of rain around for Wednesday. With the clouds and rain our temperatures will be a little cooler for the coming days.

Most of the rain will take a break on Thursday with highs in the lower 80s. We see more scattered showers and storms returning late Friday and Saturday as a Low Pressure system passes by over the Ohio Valley. Try to stay cool today because some milder weather is on the way. Have a good one!

Best,
Andrew Buck Michael

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