House Renovation

Homes built in the 80s are certainly highly lauded for their exquisite craftsmanship, but I guess even they need some TLC eventually. I kid, the houses in this neighborhood all look like they were cobbled together over a 3-day weekend. It was time to finally put some money towards making sure this place holds up for a while longer.

Prior to all of this, we also replaced the garage doors and tore down the rickety tool shed (not to be confused with my nice shed). But in the bigger scope of this project, we had all the paper-thin aluminum windows replaced, and even added a couple big windows where there weren’t windows before. Next, we had the rotted siding replaced. There were parts of the siding I could just push my finger right through. The chimney, it turned out, was rotted and had to be largely rebuilt on the fly.

That’s where we are right now, but the project isn’t done yet. We still have to finalize paint colors (this could have literally been done months ago but I guess it’s a bigger decision for some involved in the process than that!) and of course have the house painted. And then comes the dilapidated roof, which will be paid for by insurance. It was rather beaten in the ice storms. And then come the gutters. And then we’re still not done. There’s the backyard landscaping. Now that we have a giant picture window looking out to the backyard, we need something worth looking at other than a pile of dirt.

The house as it looks today with the siding part complete but not yet painted and none of the lights and stuff reattached.

Anyone who has been to our house in the past knows there were no windows on that dining room wall before! Still needs to be finished, but there’s a lot of crap that needs to be done.

Spring Training Trip

For the first time since 2017—even though at the time we were thinking it might be an annual event—our fantasy baseball league sent a group to Fort Myers for a “destination draft”. The best part of fantasy sports is always the draft. The league’s ante is $50 and the top prize is only like $300 or so, so yeah, we all clearly spent well more than that just getting to Florida. But hey it’s not really about the lavish cash prizes.

Fort Myers is of course where the Twins and Red Sox have spring training camps. Very surprisingly, Austin had a direct flight there on American Airlines. The other guys who were able to make it flew in from Minnesota or New York. Brother-in-law Tim is the ringleader of this long-running league, now in its 23rd season or so.

We had an Airbnb with a pool in Cape Coral and mostly stuck around there, but ventured out to see a Twins game one day. Due to the flight schedule, I was forced to stay an extra day than the others and went to a Red Sox game by myself. All told, it was a fun 3+ days away. It was nowhere close to the craziness of 2017, whether due to us being 6 years older or missing certain people.

The gang after the Saturday Twins-Braves game. Kevin, me, Tim and Pete. Kevin and Pete are old friends of Tim’s who I mainly know through this league!


We’re about a month into the Little League season, and I’m back managing a team for the fourth straight season (Twins, Rockies, Mighty Mussels, and now Marlins)! John, naturally, is on my team along with 3 of his friends. It worked out well that I was able to draft all his buddies.

After last season’s 2-10 showing, we got off to a fast start with a Week 1 win over the Phillies. After that, it was a long break due to spring break. And then I missed the second game due to the aforementioned Florida trip, which the kids lost 10-7. It’s nice to have one in the win column early this time.

John’s strengths on the field have been largely his fielding. He’s a very good first baseman and sometimes second baseman. He has struggled at the plate a bit. Kids on the team are being uber patient at the plate, letting almost every pitch go by and coaxing walk after walk. But John has a bigger strike zone, so that approach has not worked well for him. What are balls to the smaller kids are strikes for John, and he’s yet to reach base in two games. We’ll work him in at pitcher sometime soon after a decent showing last season.


Since it’s been so long, here are other tidbits. Grandma Marcie visited us for a few days over spring break, mostly for fun as the kids were already enrolled in a camp. But she kept them occupied in the afternoon!… We took in SXSW on a chilly Saturday afternoon, kids included. Mostly involved wandering around Rainey St and listening to bands… Our ice storm brush was finally collected after the February ice storm… Trying to plan out summer fun—camps for the kids, visits up north, fun trips, etc. Nothing at all on the agenda yet!… Look for me and Lauren at the CMT Awards on CBS on Sunday! We are going to be down on the floor hobnobbing with country music’s brightest stars.