Monday, December 31, 2007

New found love of an old sport, SKIING!! and stuff....

So about a month ago a friend of mine, and avid skier, Patrick gave me a pair of 185cm Salomon Pocket Rocket shape skis. They did not come with bindings so I had to get a new pair, but I had kept my old Dachstein boots that I bought new in Boone over ten years ago so I had boots. I picked up a pair of Look Pivot 12 demo binding super cheap on eBay and had them mounted and the skis tuned at the Tacoma REI. I got some powder baskets for my Leki trekking poles and went skiing on the 23rd with Patrick and Billy up at Crystal Ski Mountain. I had a blast and picked it (skiing) right back up even if it has been almost 10 years since I last skied (my ski bibs still had a lift ticket from Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, NC from 12/26/97!!!). Unfortunately after about the third run down the mountain I took a tumble and felt my right thumb bend almost all the way back after getting caught on my ski pole, OUCH!!! I skied everything Patrick threw at me including Upper Ferks Run and Sunnyside (a black diamond run!) full of steep soft snow. I finished skiing out the day regardless and we went home around 1pm due to the fact that it started to RAIN, ugh! My leg took a beating too but I left with a BIG SHIT EATING GRIN on my face, I was hooked again!!

I came home and fell asleep on the couch and the next morning my thumb was bright red and very swollen. So off to the ER at Tacoma General on Christmas Eve day. After a few X-rays I did not have a fracture but a severe sprain, given a soft thumb/wrist splint, some pain meds, and sent on my way after almost 4 hours! I now have a pretty bruise and it is getting better but is still very sore. I have an appointment to see a hand specialist ortho doc on the 7th. I also got a get out of work free (as do not pass go or collect any income) note from the doc since I can't really build bikes with a bum right thumb, I can't shift or turn a spoke wrench. I am having, what I hope to be the seventh and final, surgery on my leg to replace the nail/rod in my tibia on January 3rd. So since I knew I would be down for the rest of the season I wanted to get one more day on the slopes.

On the the 29th my best friend, Eric Ewing, came over from Spokane with his three boys for the weekend and New Years. On the 30th Eric, his 7 year old son Noah, and Patrick went up to Crystal to go skiing again. This was Eric's first trip to Crystal as well and, well, conditions were great! Crystal had received almost a foot of new pow! It snowed on us the entire drive up and was almost white conditions at times on the mountain. Patrick went off to ski the deep steep and Eric and I skied down the green and some blue runs taking turns skiing with Noah and helping him up when he took a spill. I did not take any falls and I had prepped my left leg with mole skin and a neoprene sleeve to prevent any rubbing on my misshapen bony shin. I actually felt great at the end of the day! The only thing missing was bright blue skies and then it would have been "THE" perfect day of skiing! I am hooked and even though I am out for the rest of the 2007-08 season I will be back for it next season with a private lesson session to hone my skills and I plan of starting Abigael next year as well! Hmmmm, I just need some new boots now.......

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures due to my camera finally taking a dump. One to many trips to a wet Capitol Forest finally did it in... RIP.

On an awesome note I did build up and give to Christie a new used Specialized Epic mountain bike, her first ever!, for Christmas. It is a medium silver 2003 Epic comp that I stripped down and rebuilt with discs and pretty nice components. I put a 50mm stem and straight Thomson seatpost on it so that it would fit her. She has expressed interest in taking a mountain bike boot camp/skills class in the spring to learn the necessary skills to be able to go riding with me at some point next year.... Christie and her parents got me a new pack for Christmas, a Wingnut Hyper 2.5! I can't wait to try it out! I also will be getting the last bit of wood to wall in the last of the shop! I will be getting some help from my dad and Trails Unlimited to help design and plan a multi use/mountain bike park trails proposal/plan for a local area called Wapato Hills Park not far from my house. I have received a few responses from the proper people to start the planning process!

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2008 WILL BE A BETTER YEAR!!!!

Late edit 1/1/08: Woke up this morning to find the hatchback window in our Subaru busted out and vandalized!!!
(What happened to 2008 being a better year???)





Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Busy being a dad....

Christie went back to work a little over two weeks ago and I've had my hands full with two kids, work and other news in our lives.... Christie seems to be doing "OK" with going back to work but she did not go back easily! She reluctantly went back to work kicking and screaming after almost 3 months off! I don't blame her but we have a mortgage and a new car payment now and we have no other choice.... I on the other hand have been enjoying working swing shift building bicycles for REI (working a modified schedule now, in at 5pm instead of 2:30pm) but the strain of the extra drive time for Christie to dive to my work to meet me and pick up the kids then drive home is going to be a challenge.

I have not been able to get out on my bike as much as I would like due to helping take care of the kids but I am working it in when I can. I have been able to steal away the past two Saturdays to the Super Secret trails close by our house for about a 2 hour ride.

In the past two weeks I/we have been dealing with some sad news. A very good friend of ours miscarried, three former messenger co-workers and good friends went missing in the backcountry of Crystal mountain snowboarding presumed dead, and Christie's Grandfather passed away. I also found out that two of my closest friends that have been in the process with me trying to get hired on as a paid professional firefighter just got the good news from Seattle Fire Department that they will be starting in the next recruit class in February, while I am overjoyed form them and their families it is just another reminder that I tried and failed to become a firefighter...



Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Night mountain bike riding is so much fun!! Cyclocross not so much...


This picture came out the best of all, Mike stylin!

"All I want is frickin' sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!!"

Courtland with no front brake!



Lately I have been doing most of my riding at night with a pretty awesome group of friends. During our "Full Moon night ride at Lake Sawyer" last Saturday Mike took some pretty cool pictures with his new camera. It almost makes it look like I have laser beams shooting from my head. The ride was great the rain halted just for us. We never did actually see the full moon due to the cloud cover but thanks the that cover the temps were above freezing!

Summary Data
Total Time (h:m:s)2:19:4715:15 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s)1:43:0311:14 pace
Distance (mi )9.16
Moving Speed (mph)5.3 avg.17.4 max.
Elevation Gain (ft)+1,104 / -1,093

Avg. Heart Rate129 bpmZone 3.0

Temperature (°F)42.8°F avg.42.8°F high
Wind Speed ( mph)N 0.0 avg.N 0.0 max.




Then on Sunday I brutalized myself in the cyclocross race at South Seatac. 60 minutes of pure pain.

Summary Data
Total Time (h:m:s)0:54:375:35 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s)0:54:295:34 pace
Distance (mi )9.76
Moving Speed (mph)10.8 avg.27.5 max.
Elevation Gain (ft)+1,204 / -1,145

Avg. Heart Rate167 bpmZone 5.0

Temperature (°F)45.8°F avg.46.4°F high
Wind Speed ( mph)SE 9.2 avg.SE 10.4 max.

OUCH Zone 5 for an hour!!!!!

The picture of pain!!

Abigael feeding Meatball a Cheeto (note the Pavlov drool!)



Monday, November 19, 2007

Start training them when they are young...

Yesterday I wanted to go help my friend Courtland do some trail maintenance work out at the Super Secret trail network, but Christie was not in the mood to deal with both kids alone. So I volunteered to take my exceptionally awesome daughter with me out into the woods so she could run and let loose some of her pent up winter energy! The only "problem" was that in order to get to the section of trail that needed clearing we had to ride a few miles into the woods via mountain bike.

Best team around dad and daughter. photo by Mike

Snacks with dad on the trail.

SO BEFORE ANY PARENTS (OR GRANDPARENTS FOR THAT MATTER...) FREAK OUT ALL WAS SAFE AND I WOULD DO IT AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT!!

I have ridden with Abigael in my messenger bag before around the neighborhood back in Seattle so she knows how to be still and be safe while riding. But this was the first time I have ever taken her riding in the bag off-road mountain biking on trails. In a word, she did AWESOME!! We had so much fun!! She wore her helmet the entire time without complaint! When I rounded the corner to meet up with Courtland and Mike their jaws dropped and they started laughing with amazement!

Mike whipped out his camera and snapped some shots and Courtland insisted on getting in the pic with the coolest dad/daughter trail work team in Washington State!! We rode out to the work site with ease and spent about an hour and a half clearing out a section of trail of blow downs and overgrown brush and even walked out some new sections of trail. Abigael ran up and down the trail while we worked and had a BLAST to the point that when it was time to go home she did not want to leave! I can't wait until she can ride behind me on a trail-a-long bike.... And then ride with me on our various mountain bike adventures!!!

Clearing the trail with Mike, Courtland and Abigael.


The littlest trail gnome!

Needless to say I got to get out and help with the trail maintenance and Christie got a break form the 3 1/2 year old hell on wheels!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tuesday evening SUPER secret night rides...

For the past couple of weeks I have been riding with a local group of riders on Tuesday evenings. The trails are maintained by my friend Courtland and a few others. The trail system is fun, fast, and twisty. We typically ride about an hour and a half or so and cover about 8 to 9 miles of pure singletrack. We stopped last Tuesday night about half way through for a Cliff Bar break and Mike took so pictures of the group.

We had FIVE hardcore "Betty's" riding in the group with a total of twelve riders.

The group ranges in size from about 8 up to 15 people all by word of mouth. We typically meet around 6:15 and are out in the trails for about 2 hours total. For me it has been a great chance to get some extra weekday riding in and test out my new light system. I have since turned at least two other people onto my Ay Up! LED lighting system. I hope to be able to convert more people to Ay Up! as in my opinion it is the best system around! I am even working Wednesday - Friday so I can have Monday night with the family and ride Tuesday night.

PS yes I know I have crazy helmet hair!!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Riding and working my a$$ off!!

Saturday I packed the whole family up and we drove down to Capitol Forrest to take part in the monthly Saturday volunteer trail work party with the "Friends of Capitol Forest". I brought the whole family because I knew we would be working on improving the parking area at the "Y" and not out on some trail somewhere in the forest. I was glad I brought my little chainsaw as I ended up running it almost non-stop helping to build the fence around the parking area. Abigael dug in the dirt and played in the mud. Christie walked around carrying Mason and took pictures to help document the work. There was a good amount of people that showed up and we got almost all of the fence up and would have finished it if 50 of our posts had not been stolen the night before!!


Sunday I got a 'kitchen pass" from the wife to go ride. Courtland and I drove down to Olympia and met up with his friend Brian to go mountain biking even further south just outside of Longview, WA. We linked up with a bunch of local guys and they guided us on their amazing trail system in and around Growler's Gultch! We rode over 14 miles and did some impressive climbing and super fast, super fun descending. Four of the local guys were riding 29er full suspention moutain bikes and one guy, Bob aka Red-haze.com, was kicking ass on his fully rigid singlespeed!!
I got my ass handed to me a few times, bailed a few times on some steep technical terrain features (TTF's), nailed some more TTF's on the money, and ended up with a good sized bruise on my left quad, ouch!
Photo courtesy red-haze.com
Thanks to the local guys for showing us their kick arse trail system and inviting us back anytime we want! I have decided to make it mandatory that I ride at least one day a week on the mountain bike as it is good for my soul and my health!! I can't wait to be able to take Abigael along with me and eventually Mason as well!! By then I will have to be riding 5 or 6 days a week just to stay in shape enough to keep up with the kids!!

Photo courtesy red-haze.com

On the home front all is well. We had a great time trick-or-treating on Wednesday and last week I started working at REI. working swing shift has taken some getting used to, and not just by me, as Christie now has to put the girl to bed and deal with them both in the evening when they are cranky and tired. I am scheduled 3 days a week now and have the option for more or less depending how hard I work and how many hours I want to work. So far the job is pretty easy and "fun". I will work until I can go back to school and finish my nursing degree!! When Christie goes back to work I will adjust my schedule to go in at 5pm instead of 2:30 and we will meet and swap kids in the parking lot at work. I hope to be able to get the shop walls painted in the man cave this week so I can start hanging and organizing my tools and get the clutter cleaned up!

Christie turns 20 fifteen on Wednesday. Unfortunately I have to work but we will do something nice for her....

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New happenings in the Lockwood household....


So we finally went out and took the plunge and bought a new vehicle!!! We bought a MINIVAN!!!! Yesterday we finally decided on a 2006 Kia Sedona LX minivan it is light blue with a light gray interior. It is a used 2006 with 22,660 miles and it is in immaculate condition. We get the remainder of the 5 year 60,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty and we purchased an extended 109 month (9year) 100,000 mile bumper to bumper (include wear and tear!!) warranty. The dealership threw in a factory installed 2 inch class 3 tow hitch as well! I am actually quite excited about owning a minivan and do not dread the stigma attached to owning a "minivan". We got our loan for 60 months at 4.94% and we are paying less than $400 a month!!!



On another note I worked my first shift at my new job with REI as a bicycle production specialist at the REI national distribution center!! I actually clocked in and out for a complete 8 hour shift!!! I get today off so I can take Abigael and Mason out about in the neighborhood to go Trick-or-Treating and experience our first Halloween holiday in eleven years of being married in a neighborhood where we might actually get kid knocking on the door asking for candy. We have two pumpkins that picked at a local pumpkin patch and we have carved on the front porch. As well as a few decorations ta boot! Abigael is dressing up as a "scary" witch for Halloween and I think I may go dressed as a "roadie" cyclist??? Pictures to come....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Puke part Deux

Group shot before the start of the ride.

I rode the Sick Puke again on Saturday. The weather was PHENOMENAL!!! I rode with about 10 other people including Daniel Meyers an old friend from my cross country racing days. I think I have my Garmin Edge 305 figured out now and I have a link to the data from the ride HERE. I took a few more pictures as well and posted them on my Flickr account HERE. After the ride we met at Jim's house for a feast of a meal prepare by him and his wife. I also rode Friday night out at Lake Sawyer on a BBTC ride led by Courtland call the Sawyer Full Moon ride for about 2 hours under a cloudless full moon night sky!! This week I have ridden almost 65 miles of singletrack alone AND I LOVE IT!!!!
I got the job working at REI as a Bicycle Assembly Technician at the Sumner distribution center. My first day at work other than last Thursday spent filling out paper work will be this Tuesday, wish me luck! Christie's mom and grandmother have been here this weekend for a visit and it has been very fun to watch Abigael play with them both as they pine after the new baby boy....

A view from one of the clearcuts, quite beautiful!

A bit more mud than last week!!!





video
A video from last weekends ride in the wet....
(this was taken while riding with one hand on the handlebars and the other holding the camera!)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sick Puke 2007 Challenge




Yesterday I gathered with a dozen or so other mountain bikers to take on the 2007 Sick Puke Challenge in Capitol Forest. My friend Courtland picked me up a little after 8am and we carpooled down to Capitol Forest just south of Olympia, WA. When we got to the "Y" everyone was ready to go and waiting on us to get ready. I brought coffee and banana nut bread for the morning start but with not enough time before we left the ride organizer, Jim, took it with him to the mid way point. The rain was coming down in a steady drizzle as we set off down the road and onto the trail. Shortly after we started riding on the single track three of us took a wrong turn and quickly learned the lesson of waiting at trail intersections for others to come along. This was my first time riding in Capitol Forest as well and Ben, from Minnesota. Soon Courtland, Ben, and myself fell into a nice rhythm and started riding as a small group. At the Fall Creek trail head the Sun threated to poke it's head out and was a nice change! The trail had been, and would continue to be, full of 6 inch plus deep mud puddles and wet over growth that proceeded to soak us to the bone! We all took a nip off of my flask of Crown for "warmth" and headed back out onto the trail before we got cold. At the mid way point at Wedekind area we met up with a couple of the guy's girlfriends in their car. We replenished our water from the cache that Jim left on Friday for the group. As people started to get cold we all set out again. soon there after it started to HAIL on us!!! When we popped out onto the road somewhere?? Jim met us with the by-then lukewarm coffee and delicious banana nut bread!! What a godsend!!! We picked up the other Brandon into our group. Brandon C. had been suffering pretty bad from cramps in his quad and hamstring, OUCH!! He proceeded to man-up and push on, way to go!! We soon crested Capitol Peak and the radio towers where, with out shelter, it was horribly cold and windy. On the way up to the peak it started hailing on us again and we all heard a singular VERY LOUD thunder clap!!! On the back side of the peak we had to do so route finding and made and extra trip up to the top of Larch mountain before finding the route and continuing on the trail. The rest of the trail continued to be wet, muddy, slick, and full of rocks, roots and ruts left by the motos. We finished the Sick Puke in a total time of 8 hours 30 minutes around 37 miles +/- and few. I GPS'ed the route with my new Garmin Edge 305 but it is new technology to me and I think between heavy forest canopy, clouds and my inexperience I lost some of the route...? Back at the "Y" we met up with Jim and some of the rest of the riders that either did or did not finish and Jim gave us our coveted Sick Puke 2007 t-shirts!! Courtland and I toasted with a cold beer (Fat Tire ta boot!!) and soon after we got on the road home. The ride was one of THE best mountain bike rides I have ever ridden and will go down in infamy as I continue to try to push the limits of my mountain biking endurance and skill!! I was also told by Jim that I was the first 29er to complete a Sick Puke in it's six years runn'n!! I also tried to take as many pictures as I could although my camera took kind of a beating and some of the pictures didn't turn out very well due to the wet weather... Post on the MTBR.com 29er forum

Friday, October 12, 2007

Getting out to ride

Tiger Mnt Preston trail entrance

I have finally been able to get out to ride some mountain bike miles in the past few weeks. In the past three weeks I have put in about 20 to 30 miles a week on my mountain bike on single track! I rode with Bob on the Tolt pipline 25 miles, Tiger mountain before flatting and having to push out 6.5 miles, rode with the Sawyer Gut Buster weekly ride 9 miles, I got to ride at Banner Forest with the west side crew last night almost 12 miles, and I found a local place to ride that is only 6 miles form our house!! I forgot how much fun it is to just ride a mountain bike without being in some sort of race. I may try to take on the Capitol Forest "Sick Puke Challenge '07" ride?? I have been trying to sign up for as many BBTC rides as I can/the wife and family obligations will allow. I have not taken very many pictures but I plan to in the near future. I want to get as much riding in before I may have to have surgery number 7 to finalize the healing of my leg!?!?!

Mt. Rainer from Orangegate park only 6 miles form the house!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Speaking of sacks....

My good friend and fellow blogger/mountain biker extraordinare, Rich Dillen, just recently had a new messenger bag made for himself. It is in true Dicky fashion and looks like a sweet sack! I had to make a post about custom bags because I don't think I ever made mention of my new bag... While I am no longer a working messenger I still ride my bike around town and need a bag to carry all of my sh!t. Last year I was lucky enough to have the owner, and good friend, of RE Load Messenger bags, Ellie Lum, in my algebra class. We talked about doing a two strap, backpack style, bag to help me carry my school books. I submitted my design in the fall 06 quarter and in the middle of winter quarter 07 I was presented with my new messenger/book bag! It was absolutely amazing turning out even better than I anticipated, Thanks Ellie & crew!




I used a picture taken by Amara Boursaw, of Wheels in Focus fame, at the 2005 Elite National Qualifier at Alpenrose Velodrome in Portland, OR. I was racing in the match sprints and did not finish last!


To custom made bags, salute!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The month of September "lost"....

I realize I have not made a post since after Mason was just born. That means I did not make a single post in the month of September, WOW! I have been busy with taking care of Mason, Christie, and of course Abigael. I finally decided to try to put some words down and try to get back in the swing of blogging.

Life has been chaotic around our household. Christie's folks were in town staying with us for two weeks after Mason was born. It was a lovely visit and I look forward to Pat and Myrtle coming out at the end of October to visit and see the new young'n. We finally emptied our house and had a few weeks to ourselves as a family. Currently my mom is in town fawning over her new grandson for a week. It has been really fun having Christie home on maternity leave. We have been able to goto the park, go to Dr.s appt., and just hang out around the house. Mason is adjusting to his new environment and so is the rest of the family to him. Abigael has completely embraced her brother! She just loves and adores him. She likes to pick him up and carry him around, under the watchful eyes of the parental units, of course. Christie has completely switched off her work brain and is loving it!! I hope she will be able to turn it back on when she needs to... I was offered a position working for REI in their Sumner warehouse as a bicycle assembler on swing shift from 2:30 till 11pm. Unfortunately due to my EMT class obligation on Tuesday nights from 7-10pm (until Nov. 20th) they could not work around my schedule and I did not get the job, OH WELL next time.

Speaking of EMT class I am almost half way through with our mid-term practical finals this weekend. I will be a patient for the morning student and I will test in the afternoon. I am also waiting to hear back from Seattle Fire Dept. I had an awesome interview on September 7th and passed my CPAT with flying colors 8 mins 12 secs no faults!! I should know if I move on in the hiring process by October 15th.

I have been getting my ASS handed to me in all of the cyclocross races I have raced in last month. I raced in the Labor Day race, Copper Cross (where I lost my clothes before crossing the finish line, opps!), and the Steilacoom GP. I have been racing in the singlespeed class with a bunch of ringers. But mostly it is due to me being completely out of shape! I vow to lose the added pounds and get back into fighting shape again. I have put on almost 10 or 15 pounds since the beginning of summer, OUCH!! I have also made the decision to go back to my old cycling team AVA/Counterbalance. I have "kissed" and made up with the few people I had issues with and I look forward to having good friends to ride and race with this coming year. I will continue to race cyclocross season with Viking Sport and Erik totally understands my reasoning for wanting to go back to AVA/CBB. I have also stated that when I come back to the AVA/CBB team it will only be as a racer as I want nothing to do with team politics or leadership. I will help out when needed but I have my hands full with family and now live 35 minutes away from most of the team.

I have been trying to get out and ride my mountain bike as much as possible lately.
I recently picked up, by selling some of my parts and a bike, a new full suspension mountain bike frame. I realized after the Cascade CreamPuff 100 that I needed some squish in the rear as I get older and more brittle. The frame I got for a steal off of eBay is a Lenz Sport Leviathan 3.0 29er!! I used all of the "geared" part from my Black Sheep to build it up. It weighs in right around 27 pounds ready to rip! It has 3 inches of rear wheel travel and due to the Fox RP3 ProPedal shock it doesn't bob a bit when pedaling uphill or out of the saddle! I had the travel in my RS Reba fork changed from 80mm to 100mm so I now have 4 inches in the front and 3 in the rear. I really enjoy riding it unfortunately we have now entered the crazy rainy season here in the great Pacific Northwest so I try to get out when and where I can... I am going to try to find a local group of mnt bikers to start riding with down here in the "south end" on a regular basis, so far my two options are both on Thursdays at either Lake Swayer (Sawyer Gut Buster ride) or Banner Forest (B.F. night ride). I made my Black Sheep into a fully rigid singlespeed mtb and it weighs in right around 19 or 20 pounds!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Lockwood legacy will continue on! Introducing Mason Campbell Lockwood.....


Christie gave birth Friday night to Mason Campbell Lockwood. Mason was 6 lbs 14.5 oz, 19 inches long, and 100% healthy!! Christie is doing well albeit sore. She gave birth without any drugs in less than FOUR hours from the time her water broke, 6:30pm, at the house till Mason came into this world at 10:23pm! Christie was Sooo strong and made me the proudest husband and daddy, EVER! We spent all day Saturday and Sunday till 2pm in the hospital. Mason passed all of his tests with flying colors. Mason latched immediately to Christie and started nursing with minutes of being born! He has been nursing and sleeping very well so far! The doctor let me help "catch"/deliver Mason. I stayed by Christie's side the entire time helping to coach and encourage her through the labor and delivery. Then at the last moment a third nurse came in and took my place at Christie's side and I gloved up and came around to the Doctor's side. She told me she would deliver the head and the shoulders and I could "do the rest". As Mason's head came out she suctioned his mouth and then positioned my hands around his head while applying an upward pulling pressure. The doc delivered Mason's shoulders and I helped bring him the rest of the way into this world and up onto Christie's waiting chest. Christie and I did not know the sex of our baby until he popped out and it was an amazing surprise to see that he was a boy! Abigael and Christie's dad, Tom, were out in the waiting room and when we were ready I went out and got them and brought them in to see their new brother and grandson. Tom lit up like a Christmas tree and Abigael was in total awe and wonderment. Both got a chance to hold Mason before I sent them home around 2am to get some sleep and wait till Pat arrived the next day. We had a few visitors Saturday afternoon, Wayne and Mary Lockwood and Sam and Wendi Hawley.


We are home know and trying to find some kind of a rhythm and schedule. Last night was our first in the house with Mason and it was kind of rough. Thankfully Christie's parents are here and they are doing a WONDERFUL job of helping out with Abigael and taking care of all of the little stuff. Tom was here all last week and Pat arrived Saturday afternoon. Thank you to all that have sent congratulations and well wishes!! I have posted some pictures on my flickr account and more will come I am sure....

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Man Cave is coming together!!


This past week has been spent working on "Brandon' Man Cave". The shop has been a HUGE work in progress as it started as a dirty little storage shed. It has been transformed into an amazing work ans "man" space!! I owe it all to the exceptional experience of my dad, Cam, as well as my uncle Wayne. He has worked tirelessly this past week to help me install electricity out to the shop and garage, build a work bench, install a sink, clean-up the back yard, refill the "trench", rebuild the foundation to the shop building, and various other small jobs around the house. The Man Cave is still a work in progress but is coming together nicely. I will eventually post some pictures but it is a nice refuge from babies, screaming 3 year olds and my lovely wife.... I'M JUST KEEDDING!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Digging up the yard.... My first project as a home owner!

My new sanctuary, the shop, on the right behind the apple tree
and the corner of the garage on the left

When we bought our house it was known that one of our two outbuildings was going to be my shop/sanctuary. But it was also known that one of the outbuilding was not wired with electricity making it more of a shed than a shop. Since the other building actually has a garage door I figured I would not take it over as my shop and instead conquer the shed as my oasis!
But doing so necessitated under taking my first major improvement project as a home owner, wiring the shop. I went down to the Tacoma Public Utilities office and obtained a permit, $60, and was impressed how easy it was to obtain. Then I consulted my dad as to how to go about the job. I knew he would be up here in WA state next week as he gets home from his annual Alaska job.

Under the house against the back wall.

According to the code books that Tacoma PUD gave me that I would have to dig a trench. Ok I said I can dig a ditch no problem. Acording to the book it said the trench needed to be 30 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Well the two out building are about 40 feet from the back of the house and they are about 20 feet apart from one another. So that meant 60 feet of digging! I should have gone an rented a Ditch Witch but I decided to beat myself up and dig it by hand. It took me about three days and two shovel later I had a 60 foot, total length, "T" dug and a back yard in shambles. The book called for the bottom 6 inches to be sand , in which, the conduit or UF (Underground Feeder) cable should be buried.

The start of the trench against the back wall of the house.

Well today I went back to the permit office to ask some questions. When I pulled out the book and my detailed drawing to show the inspector and ask questions about the trench I dug he kinda laughed and said, "Your trench only had to be 18 inches deep." WTF?!?! Everybody got a quick laugh at my expense and then the inspector said, "That book is not for you it is for contractors and the specs that you dug your trench for are for laying cable to underground secondary service boxes (SSB)" Oh well better to have dug deeper than not deep enough.... He also said I did not need to line the bottom of the trench with sand and if I didn't want to I did not have to lay conduit that I could bury the wire directly in the ground. We are going to use conduit because it is much cheaper running individual strands of wire vs. bundled romex for the length we have to lay wires, roughly 100 ft, and individual wires must be contained inside conduit (pipe).

The trench, 40 feet of it, 30 inches deep and 12 inches wide!
Bottom corners of the garage on the left and shop on the right.

When I was digging I encountered a pipe next to the garage which I have since determined to be out water main line. It is 18 inches deep and 12 inches from the garage. The inpector said the not only would it not be an issue but that if I wanted too I could lay plumbing pipes in the same trench with the conduit. So I am thinking that I might plumb off the main to run water out to the shop and eventually put in a utility wash tub sink?! I still need to get a plumbing permit if I intend to do so.

Existing wiring into the garage, think it's to code?
And the water main pipe to the house.

So as soon as my dad gets back from Alaska, on Sunday, we will get started with the wiring. We are going to run four 6 gauge 30 amp 220 volt wire strands out of our main 200 amp breaker panel into a 30 amp sub panel inside the shop and then run another set of the same wires into the garage into another 30 amp sub panel box. We will then do the rough in wiring of the shop pulling all of the wires for all of the receptacles, switch, and light fixtures. I also plan to rebuild the work bench inside the shop so that I can place all of the power outlet receptacles in just the right places to be useful in a shop.

Under some concrete walkways and into the shop!!
I will hold off on showing the inside of the shop until it is done,
then I will show before and after pictures in a future post!