Have you missed us? Were you worried about us? I bet you were! ;-)

First, not to worry, we're here, and we're all fine. Second, wow have we had a lot going on! Over the last month we've wanted to write several blog posts but it has been so crazy the last little while we've just not had the time. Don't know if you know this, but it turns out topical blog posts require some inordinate level of time and concentration that we just haven't had the last few weeks.

Rather than trying to do a topical blog post about window glazing, a project that took months but we creatively make it look like a weekend, or a new recipe that we can't get enough of, we're going to get back on track by kicking it old school blogging style. "What's that" you say? We're going way back to the chronological journaling style roots of blogging, back before blogs were all shooting for compelling linkable content angling for pins and shares. Yes, we're going to look back over our last six weeks or so and summarize some of our highlights. If you follow us on Instagram there's a chance some of this may be familiar, but it will certainly have a bit more detail and far fewer hashtags. One thing's for sure, we haven't just been sitting around doing nothing the last several weeks. More on where these guys fit into the story in a bit.

Our last blog post was back near the end of July, when we did a little video home tour of our foursquare. Since then we've continued on several projects, experienced a few cool events, and we went on a handful of small trips.

The whirlwind started when a friend of mine invited me to attend the opening of DC United's Audi Field downtown. As a lifelong soccer fan I've been anxiously awaiting the new stadium's opening for many years now, so the experience was a ton of fun, in spite of the torrential rains that greeted us upon our arrival at the stadium.

If you're a DC area local, and/or a DC United fan, you should definitely make a point to get to a game. It's a great stadium with wonderful crowd noise and energy, and it seems like there's really not a bad seat in the house.

Right at the end of July, Wendy and I loaded Lulu up in the car and we headed out on the first of our small weekend vacations. Our destination was to visit one of our closest friends, Katie, down near Morehead City, North Carolina.

Katie's parents have had a cottage down on Bogue Sound for her whole life, and this was our chance to experience the place we'd heard much about for so many years.

This was both Wendy's and my first time visiting the North Carolina coast, and what an amazing time we had. Katie and her husband Colin used to be neighbors of ours in Old Town, and we've been friends with them through several of their deployments, at least three moves, two kids, and more bottles of wine than we can count. Having the unique opportunity to experience Katie's childhood getaway through the eyes of a local was a true treat.

From local fare (the shrimp burgers are not to be missed), to great antique shops...

...to some beach time with Lulu just behind Fort Macon, this little trip was just a few days long but was incredibly fun and relaxing.

This is what pure bliss looks like.

While visiting we had the chance to stop by the historic town of Beaufort where we walked around town gawking at the amazing historic homes.

It seemed like everywhere we turned there was a new place we liked better than the last.

Everything happening with Hurricane Florence and how it is impacting the coast and nearby inland cities has us heartbroken and worried. We had such a wonderful time while visiting and simply dread how significantly the people in that area are being impacted. A 10' storm surge will have an extreme impact on those area that we enjoyed so much, and this is simply terrible.

As we left town we drove through the city of New Bern, North Carolina and loved every minute of it. We took a half hour or so to drive around town and quickly tour the historic district.

Some of the homes of New Bern date to the mid 18th century and the architecture as a whole is absolutely impressive.

Wendy and I both want to make a longer trip and stay in New Bern the next time we head down there just to get to know the city a little better. It certainly seems worth the time.

Once we returned home we used our relaxation as re-energization and turned it into progress on some of our projects. Most notably, we've continued to move ahead on the main hallway of the Foursquare. We learned one very unfortunate (for us) fact. The underside of the 3rd floor staircase, above our main staircase, is beadboard. Well wouldn't you know it, someone decided it would be a good idea to wallpaper the beadboard. Then someone else thought it would be a good idea to paint over the wallpapered beadboard. None of this was a good idea.

So now we're taking care of that by slowly stripping all of the paint and paper off of the underside of the stairs.

Beyond that absolute mess, one of the aspects we've covered at length in the past was the built-in bench build to disguise the new HVAC return duct and our crawlspace access. After hanging our antique Galway "Fishing" sign we still had the large opening for the air return. A while back we'd found an antique cast iron grate to fit the opening on eBay and previously spent a bunch of time cleaning it up and spraying it white. So I finally got around to mounting it in the opening to finish off the under stair project.

We still need to put a final coat of the trim color on the grate, as well as on the large screw heads holding it in place, but this felt wonderful to finally have this checked off of the list.

We also made some major lighting decisions in the hallway (like the fact we don't need any recessed lights in this room), and test hung the new light fixture Wendy found for the space some time ago. This step made the whole project start to feel real.

It's important to remember that we're covering the summer in this description, so we did many of those wonderful things we like to do in the summer. We took in Nationals games...

...we went for walks around Old Town...

...we watched classic movies projected on our neighbor's garage (North by Northwest and Sabrina)...

...and I got a bad case of poison ivy that tortured me from the day before we left for North Carolina for the next three weeks. I have no idea where I got it and I apparently react somewhat terribly to the plant's oils. Oh summer traditions of prednisone.

In the middle of August we got to do something that was a ton of fun. We headed up to Baltimore for the Stanley Black & Decker launch of the Craftsman brand. Stanley Black & Decker bought the Craftsman brand from Sears in 2017 and have been working on their overhaul ever since.

We were covering the event for Popular Mechanics, Charles & Hudson, and ToolCrave.com and wrote up a summary of our #CraftsmanLaunch experience over on Charles & Hudson. If you're a tool fanatic like me, or have some memories of Craftsman from your past, you should definitely check out the article. If you've noticed, this is also why you've been seeing Craftsman pop up a lot more in Lowe's, Ace Hardware, and on Amazon lately.

Aside from the tools, this turned out to be a chance for me to live out one of my childhood dreams. Craftsman is sponsoring a few cars in NASCAR on the Joe Gibbs Racing team. As a result of this sponsorship several JGR drivers were in attendance, including Erik Jones and Ryan Preece.

Now I don't know if you know this about me, but I am a lifelong NASCAR fan. I've been attending races and watching on TV for as long as I can remember. Part of this Craftsman launch event involved a stop the Autobahn Indoor Speedway all electric indoor go kart track. 

Not only were we able to have a little fun racing go karts, we had the chance to race against NASCAR drivers on the track!!

The outcome of our races? Well, I am not bashful in telling you that I beat Erik Jones in my race with him, and my time for our morning session was 2nd fastest out of all event attendees. I was only bested by Ryan Preece in top lap times for the morning session, and that was only by 0.1 seconds. Based on this, I think my best and only course of action is to immediately quit my job and begin pursuing my dreams of driving NASCAR in a professional and full time capacity. (Kidding not kidding.)

Left to right Murray Kruger, Erik Jones, Wayne Carini, Ryan Preece, NASCAR's new oldest rookie

I could go on and on about the Craftsman launch as it was both a lot of fun from start to finish, and a ton of great information. One of the best parts of any event of this type is the opportunity to get to see old friends and meet new friends from all over the world that we normally only get to talk to on the Internet. The YouTube, Instagram, and online tool/maker/diy community is a wonderful one to be a part of. Best of all we got to do all of this up in Baltimore, which allowed us to bring Lulu up to the event, which allowed some people who only know her from Instagram the opportunity to meet her. How weird is that?

Lulu and Murray from @KrugerConstruction (who is also @jaxxypug's dad)

A litter later in August we took a day trip out to the Shenandoah Valley area in Virginia. Some of Wendy's wonderful clients were looking at a great house in the country on some land, so I tagged along and we decided to make a whole day of the outing, rather than just driving there and back. Boy did we have a great time! We found so many great places to stop and explore by taking a less direct route home. We stopped in antique stores in Berryville, VA...

...explored 18th century graveyards...

...had lunch at an 18th century pub...

...and found an amazing antique store called Red Schoolhouse Antiques. This place is not your typical antique store where you have so much stuff sitting on top of other stuff that you can barely see what you're searching for. This store is in an amazing old schoolhouse and is full of European antiques brought over by the owner's of the store, who live in Scotland full time.

If you find yourself nearby, it's an excellent place to stop. The prices are extremely reasonable, especially given how high end the pieces in the shop are.

Over labor day weekend Wendy, Lulu, and I took our final trip of the summer when we piled into the car and headed to Cincinnati. We were going for two reasons, the wedding of Wendy's cousin, and to visit the Cincinnati Zoo for an animal encounter I had given to Wendy for her birthday earlier in the year.

The wedding was held at the Cincinnati Nature Center's Krippendorf Lodge. The historic lodge from the early 1900s was a perfect wedding setting and allowed us to take in the wonderfully preserved building in addition to enjoying the celebration with friends and family. Not to mention the fact that the wedding had an open Graeter's Ice Cream Truck in the driveway!

In addition to the wedding we took a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo for a chance to do something really special. We enjoyed an interactive experience with some of their Penguins and their two toed sloth named Moe.

Back when I was trying to figure out what to get Wendy for her birthday, I was wracking my brain for something unique, fun, and memorable. Wendy is a huge fan of the Cincinnati Zoo (and Fiona the hippo), penguins, and sloths, so I figured, why not get a chance to actually meet them in person. It's a great way to give a unique gift that's also benefiting zoo and animal programs. 

Buddy the Magellanic Penguin even gave Wendy a gift of a completely custom painting! Unfortunately, Buddy did lay down with his chest in the paint at one point. Nothing a quick swim won't take care of.

Our giant whirlwind of the end of our summer wouldn't be complete without a little more work on the main hallway project. For that we launched into finishing up the plaster work throughout the hallway.

We've spent the last several weekends we've been in town applying coat after coat of plaster in hopes of having this hallway project completed before we're solidly into fall. While it's slow going only getting to work a day or two per weekend, we're making some solid progress and it feels like we're moving along.

While the last month and a half has been a blur, we anticipate much of the same over the next two months. We'll be doing our best to keep you all updated on our latest goings on, but our apologies if it's not as regular as we would like. We also have a few big projects on the horizon that we can't wait to share more about. Until then, we're just enjoying our finished dining room project every chance we get.

So that's what we've been up to. What did you do to close out the summer? Anything fun? Any big projects?

Comments 4


9/14/2018 at 10:01 PM

Please tell us that you bought that spinning wheel! So much character.

9/17/2018 at 10:50 AM

Thanks for the update! Your effort in pulling together a blog post is greatly appreciated. And not producing “content” for contents sake. We all have periods of life, especially in the summer, when it’s just enough to knock off a few small items off the list and then relax and enjoy our homes and our country.

9/25/2018 at 10:53 AM

First of all, BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER. (It has occurred to no one in my life to get me a chance to hug a penguin for my birthday... big miss.)

Also, I really miss reading old-school blogs, so I loved this. Looks like it has been a great summer!

Karla (threadbndr)
11/28/2018 at 2:24 PM

Wow, you all had a crazy busy summer. I remember when my son was stationed at Lejeune, I also loved the old houses in New Bern and Jacksonville. I would have been fine with him settling their when he got out of the Corps, but he came on back to Kansas.

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