Monday, August 29, 2011

Just another Sunday...

This weekend our beautiful Denver played host not only to the Duvall Demolition Duo, but also the USA Pro Cycle Challenge.  With a recent road bike purchase under my belt, I (Chris) obviously knew what to expect, but was a real thrill for Sarah, Bill and our friends Chad and Michelle to see bicycles moving in excess of 40 mph up close.  

The bikers had spent the entire week going over some of Colorado's toughest passes.  The finish line was situated right in the heart of downtown Denver.  That is the old City and County building as seen in our July 4th and snowboard competition posts.  

 You could tell that this event was the real deal with recognizable team names like Garmin and Radioshack bringing their big team RVs.

The reality of the competition at hand was further evidenced by the Anti-Doping (that is what the yellow sign in the windshield of that RV says) station not but 100 yards from the finish line. 

We situated ourselves on the second to last corner before the finish (13th and Grant for you Denverites).  That is our friend Chad, always looking down on everyone around him.  Sarah and Michelle are enjoying the shade under that golf umbrella. 

And this is what they saw from that orange rail right in from of them...

 This stage of the race included 6 circuits around downtown, lucky for us, our little corner of the course was also on the approach to the beginning of the circuits, so we got to see the riders a total of 7 times.  So after the riders would go by, there was time to re-situate to different places.  Here is the peloton from the other side of the street.  You will notice that the group seems a little lengthier than the first video, that is because this shot was about the 5th circuit, when the racers really started to bunch up for the finish.  

For the last circuit we moved down down the course a piece to see the riders launch in to the finish.  Those of you who frequent this blog will recognize my youthful voice shouting encouragement (for some reason we have a lot of video with me shouting in the background).  The incoherent hodge podge of words about halfway through is me reacting to a half-full water bottle being thrown in my general direction by one of the riders.  

Untitled from Sarah Gilstrap on Vimeo.

After a couple hours of watching those guys work so hard we were beat, we returned to the Gilstrap Home/Duvall Construction site for some much needed relaxation.

A great day with great people, a great excuse to bust out the new grill.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

What a Weekend

Well, the Duvalls have officially been here for 6 full days, and we have already accomplished a lot. At this pace, by this time next week we could have a second addition built! Installed a storm door on the front door, perfect for cool Colorado nights (and a home without air conditioning).


This is another example of the plaster lathe walls.

Mom and I spent the entire day Saturday tracking down cabinets at Home Depots across the Denver metro area. We had planned for cabinets to be phase two of the project (ie: a next spring purchase) but we came across these discontinued beauties and were able to get them at 70% off, so we couldn't resist. The only catch was that we had to spend Saturday calling all 20 Home Depots to find the inventory we needed. Fortunately, we found everything, and then some, and saved some cash to use elsewhere in the kitchen... granite countertops anyone?

When we got home from the Home Depot adventure, out of curiosity, we wanted to see what was under the poorly-laid DIY tile job. Sure enough, we found original 1923 hardwood floor! Excellent! Removing the tile and concrete board under the tile became a 7 hour endeavor we started on Saturday evening... and finished late Saturday night.

The new half wall, just needing sheetrock now.

Removing the tile then scraping the screw heads so they could be removed with the power drill. This floor gave a whole new meaning to "sweat equity."

Chris and Dad moved the water heater on Saturday while mom and I drove the Denver metro area to find cabinets. This is where the water heater once was, in the corner of the kitchen with a closet built around it. 

You can see what was under the tile and concrete board, the 1923 hardwood floor with remnants of laminate flooring stuck to it. This will all need to be professionally (Bill Duvall?) sanded and refinished. End result should look like the hardwood in the rest of our house!

New location for the water heater, in a back closet that will become a mud-room/landing area when we move the backdoor to its new location in this closet. Dad will build a closet with bi-fold doors around the water heater.

Kitchen cabinets... more photos to come...

Pulling up the last tile in the kitchen.

Pulling up the last concrete board in the kitchen.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Duvall Demolition Duo Does Denver

Mom and Dad arrived on Monday and Tuesday we came home from work to this, a good sized hole in our wall, which was the start to our "opening up" project. End result will be a half wall between the living room and the kitchen, with new (new to us - actually they'll be old and refinished) kitchen cabinets, a new refrigerator and microwave, and an installed garage sale stainless steel sink we salvaged! "Phase One" as it has affectionately been deamed, is the "opening up" portion of the project. The cabinets, appliances, floor, etc will happen next spring, tentatively!




Electrical wiring - did we tell you our house was a real estate office before we bought it? So there is a LOT of phone and outlet wiring!

Water heater in the corner of the kitchen (there used to be a closet built around it). Water heater will be moving to the back closet of the house, down the hallway, in hiding.

View from the back door looking through the kitchen into the living room, into the new addition in the far background of the photo.

Hardwood floor under the kitchen tile, awesome! Possible chance it can be sanded and refinished, to be determined later...


Mom found plaster lath in one of the older walls - our house is 90 years old, and these materials are very old! The mortar was mixed with horse hair, which makes it more durable - its the equivalent of mortar mixed with fiberglass or something along those lines now.

Alarm system hanging by its cord - the wall it was affixed to has been removed. I guess we'll need to remount that somewhere...

View from the backdoor, looking through kitchen, into living room and new addition is in the far background of the photo. Opening up! New 2 x 10" header across the top for support.

Chris and the alarm system panel, haha!

And of course, we checked out the newest attraction in Denver, IKEA. We spent an hour wandering around, lost most of the time, and got some pretty neat ideas for the kitchen. Overall, worth the experience, but we need to go back on a day when we can spend a few hours there!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Birthday Boy

We have had a very busy summer, and August has certainly kept the pace. The first two weeks Chris was in NYC, meanwhile back in Colorado, I prepared for our annual conference at work. Chris was home in time to help move heavy stuff from work to the venue for the conference! We celebrated his birthday with friends a week early, at the Blues and Brews on South Pearl Street, just a few blocks from our house. We had a great time, and always enjoy these outdoor concerts during the summertime on Pearl Street. The next week was busy with working toward the conference, then the conference came and went (successfully might I add!) and now the Duvall Demolition Crew has moved into the Gilstrap Abode, and boy are things getting exciting around here, stay tuned!

This was just a neat photo of Larimer Street, near downtown Denver, that had flags up for a couple months this summer.

Great photo of Chis with his friends...

The women had the chairs for the concert!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Here's to New York!

This is Chris' 3rd year working in Nyack, New York for a client and my 1st year to be able to go and visit for a weekend! His NY trip typically coincides with our annual conference at work, but this year our conference is pushed back two weeks. I flew out on Thursday night and spent Friday sleeping in while Chris finished up his work week. Friday night he gave me the tour of the little town of Nyack he is working in. Nyack is about 45 minutes north of Manhattan, and sits right on the Hudson. These are a few photos of the seminary he's auditing, absolutely charming historic campus.

This is a view from the seminary, overlooking the Hudson valley.

They had pretty neat benches with "Nyack" carved in the metal...

After a tour of Nyack, we drove to Piermont which is a town just 10 minutes away. The little town is situated on a peninsula that jets out into the Hudson. We had an authentic italian meal at "Confetti" on the patio.

Saturday ended up being a slow day - I woke up that morning with a pinched nerve in my back that caused my leg to be in a lot of pain. We visited Urgent Care and filled some prescriptions for medicines. I ended up spending most of the day in bed, which was unfortunate since we were in New York, but necessary to feel better.

Later on Saturday we gradually made our way into Manhattan to our hotel. Our hotel was in the Upper West End, just a few blocks from Chris' cousin Shannon's apartment. Sunday morning we met Shannon and her boyfriend Kellen at this great local chain called "Sarabeths" - we enjoyed a basket of muffins and homemade preserves, along with our own picks for entrees. I had homemade lemonade too - which is becoming a tradition. (I have a favorite place in Denver for homemade lemonade - The Deserts Bar aka "D Bar" -  so anywhere I go that has homemade lemonade, I always get it so I can compare, and reassure myself that D Bar does still indeed have the best lemonade!)

This is a pic of Chris sitting on the steps of Shannon's apartment building. The style of rows of apartments were so unique - you would never see architecture like this in the midwest!

This is looking down Shannon's street toward Central Park, which is just one block down.

Breakfast at Sarabeth's

We also found this gem right around the corner, and enjoyed a delicious dark chocolate/cocoa milkshake - I think they call it a "Chocolate Shake" but the flavors were so much more complex than just a chocolate shake!

This is a photo of our hotel

On Sunday we also drove past where the World Trade Center once stood. This was very memorable for Chris and I because the first time we saw this site was in 2005 when we visited New York with a group on an "Alternative Spring Break" trip - during that trip we worked at a homeless shelter for 3 days and then experienced the city for a day. I remember seeing the WTC then, just 4 years after September 11, 2001 and I can recall the huge pile of rubble and hole in the ground, which left you speechless to see such destruction. It was neat to see the WTC site today and see the new structure being build, Freedom Tower, now, 10 years later.

Next we drove to Coney Island - home of the famous hot dogs!

Chris of course had to get a hot dog, and we're proud to report that it was delicious.

Coney Island is also home of the annual Hot Dog Eating Contest - you'll see on the sign they have a countdown until the next contest... yikes!

We also sought out a famous restaurant, dear to Chris' heart - the "Restaurant" featured in Seinfield. He was very, very excited to see this first hand.

Overall, we had a great weekend - it was oh so romantic to be back in New York, where we once spent time together as good friends, and then now as husband and wife. We half-jokingly say that this is the city where we fell in love! We feel so fortunate and blessed that we're able to make memories like these together.