Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oita International Wheelchair Marathon

The Oita International Wheelchair Marathon is one of the largest wheelchair only races in the world. This race draws the best racers from across the globe, including 51 year old world record holder Heinz Frei of Switzerland as well as everyday folks and everyone in between.

This year, more than 500 racers will compete in the either marathon or half-marathon.

The people at the Oita Marathon host an amazing event. As a foreigner, the logistics of travelling in Japan are taken care of. They assemble an amazing group of volunteers who are paired up with racers to help them get to where they need to be.

This truly is an international event. When I travelled with hubba last year we met racers from Japan, China, Korea, Switzerland, Spain, South Africa, Bahrain, Australia, Canada and the US.

The race organization publishes a book with pictures of each and every racer with their stats. This is all of the racers, not just the professionals or the likely to be winners. Some of the fans come around the staging area prior to the race to have their picture taken with their favorite racers and gather autographs.

The world record for the marathon in a wheelchair is 1:20:14 and was set by Heinz Frei on this course in 1999. For comparison, the current world record on foot is 2:04:26 and was set by Haile Gebrselassie in 2007 at the Berlin Marathon.
In case you're wondering, a marathon is 26.2 miles. It does not matter if you walk, run or push. A marathon is a marathon. Period.

Today will be the 3rd year hubba has entered this race. There is a live feed here if you're interested in what wheelchair racing looks and sounds like. If you're in the Mountain Time Zone, the feed opens at 7:45 Saturday night (that's today) and the race begins at 8pm.

Adventures in Sewer

Last Friday hubba and I were both home and finally feeling well so we started some serious unpacking. It was that afternoon that I took some items to the store-room in the basement and noticed a strong "musty" odor. I told my husband about it and headed to town to address my growing list of required supplies.

He called a little while later to inform me it was not a "musty" odor but that there had been a flood and there was "black stuff everywhere."

Long story short: the flood came from the shower drain and had occurred sometime within the previous 10 days. We spent our romantic Friday evening at home removing carpet and scouring the bathroom. Thankfully there is a 24-hour super store close by so we did not have to dig a latrine in the middle of the night.

Our neighbor, the plumber, lent us his wet-dry vac for the night and came over Saturday morning to help us solve our problem.

After a while of looking for the sewer clean-out outside and rooting through a couple of the drains in the basement he called a buddy who came out to feed a camera through our lines. They discovered a broken fitting that was full of tree roots. Now this part is magic to me. They decided the fitting was close to the apple tree in the front yard and that's where they would dig. Here's the magic part... that's exactly where the problem was.

This missing clean-out was under the apple tree... about a foot under-ground. The tree had grown (or was planted) so close to the clean-out that it pushed it down enough to break the sewer line at the fitting. With the broken sewer line, the tree was able to find the moisture and roots into the pipe.
We had our washer and dryer delivered a little over a week before we discovered the back-up. So we think the flood happened then because I did about 10 loads of laundry in quick succession.
We called a professional cleaning service to remediate the damage in the basement. They came out on Saturday to assess and offered us a couple of scenarios. We opted for the do-it-during-regular-business-hours option. There was mold and it's impossible to know how big the problem is until you start opening walls. They sealed off the area and took samples for asbestos testing.

The tests came back negative and the destruction began on Wednesday afternoon. They removed 1-2 feet of dry wall across the entire flood zone. The mold was quite extensive in some areas and the steel wall studs are rusted in the same areas. This indicates there has also been a long-term leak from the shower.
In addition to the drywall, the crew removed and hauled away the bathroom door, jam, vanity, toilet, shower door, tile, carpet and padding.

All that remains is to finish removing the apple tree, trim the clean-out a little closer to the ground and add clean-outs to the basement bathroom.

Hubba and I have decided to leave the basement as it is until we have completed the remodel we have planned for the main floor. It would be a shame to repair the basement then have to open it up again to correct anything else we might run into.
If you're in Northern Colorado I highly recommend Advance Plumbing Services of Loveland and SERVPRO of Fort Collins. Both companies were incredibly professional, helpful and down-right nice to work with.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Hay is Here.

-- Post From My iPhone


My friend Roci gently reminded me today that we've been in our house more than two weeks, therefore it's time to update my brain.

Both hubba and I have had the flu or something like it for the last couple of weeks, so the moving in has gone slowly.

The washer and dryer have been delivered and are working. They have space-age dashboards and ding like Mr. Rodger's Trolley. At first I thought it was kind of silly and could not help but smile, but now we've had it several days and the dinging is not nearly as cute.

I've learned it's possible to overload the washer. It will continue try to spin the water-logged load without giving an error message. It's not as quiet as the salesman said, but it's not loud either.

Two of three ramps are built.
The second needs to be screwed down and have the railing installed. The weather has delayed the completion of the second and third ramps, but it's very nice to have two in place and usable. Once the second is complete, we will paint the first two. The third will be outdoors, and mirror the existing deck.
We've found our winter clothes but still have much to unpack.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

We Bought a House

We bought a house last week!
My husband and I have been working to move to Colorado since November 2008. We listed our house in Albuquerque, New Mexico in March, sold it in June and finally closed on our farm last week.
We are slowly unpacking. Most of our things have been in storage since February. So it's like Christmas in almost every box.
Our new place is significantly larger than our old place. So a few rooms will be vacant for quite some time. The good news though, is that the guest room and the office will now be different rooms. In fact, there is room for each of us to have an office. My loom room is in the basement and hubba's gym/man cave is off the garage.
We will build three corrals and put up loafing sheds in this pasture before we move the alpacas up from New Mexico.
It is simply wonderful to be able to drink my morning coffee and look out beyond the back yard to this pasture and know that a dozen alpacas will be living there shortly.