Greetings from a warm Spring-like day in West Des Moines, IA. Temps got into the lower 70’s today. Is crazy considering I was downtown ice skating with hat and gloves last night with temps in the 30’s. Not complaining, but warm weather this early in the year is usually followed by nasty storms and tornados… Hope not…..

Is it Spring yet?

Had a nice visit from my parents this weekend. This was their first time to check out our humble abode. A few weeks back they went on a two week trip to the south western part of the United States via Amtrak trains and buses. Dad took quite a bit of time to plan it all out and it went smoothly. They went from Galesburg, IL to San Antonio, TX and spent a few days there. Then they went to Las Vegas, NV and eventually to Salt Lake City, UT by bus. They brought their cameras along this weekend, so we loaded the pictures onto Mom’s iPad and then streamed a slideshow of them to the TV via the AppleTV. Was fun to watch the pictures go by while Mom and Dad told us about their adventures..

The remainder of the weekend we spent showing them around Des Moines, shopping and dining out. On Sunday morning we checked out a large indoor flea market held at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Was fun checkout out the hundreds of vendors with a large variety of junque. Mom had lots of fun and purchased me this fun item:

It is a Tissue Box Couch – there is a box of Puffs hidden under it. I think it is kinda cool and could design a room around it 🙂 Can tell someone spent quite a bit of time creating it. The couch came with a business card with contact information for it’s creator (“Karen’s Garden”). She is building a business around them. If you search the web for “tissue box couch” there is lots of variations on the basic design.

After the flea market we stopped at McDonalds for a quick lunch then they headed back to Illinois. Dad called me at 6:30pm to let me know they made it. He said they had a nasty trip back because of I-80 being very slick with snow and freezing rain. They saw lots of cars driving too fast for conditions, spin out and end up in the ditch in the Iowa City area. They almost stopped several times to spend evening at hotel, but kept going very slowly (10 to 20 mph) and eventually drove out of it. Was too bad they had to have such a rough time heading back….

Last night (Monday) the ice rink downtown had a party for all of the participants of their Learn to Skate program. We got to skate for free while doing fun activities like dancing, conga line, limbo and playing some games. I received a few prizes like a tube of “US Figure Skating lip balm” and a little cardboard airplane that you put together – gave to John. The rink is open until the 11th – want to go at least one more time – weather permitting. It was closed today due to the high temps. I start taking lessons again on the 11th at the indoor rink in Urbandale.

Purchased a new pair of skates – this time they are figure skates as opposed to hockey skates. I want to see if I can do the fancier moves easier with them. The hockey skates are starting to feel clunky…. but maybe it is just me. Went went these:

Riedell 625 SS Soft Series

They just arrived today – so have not actually skated with them yet. Will be interesting to see how different they feel on my feet and how I adapt, or not… Is probably a good thing I’ve signed up for level 2 classes, instead of level 3 next week.

Our spring projects are moving along. John ordered a storage shed from Tuff Shed. He went with the 8 x 12 foot Premium Ranch model. Specked it out with door on the gable end, no window and a work bench inside. Price came in right at $3,000 – which includes delivery and installation. The delivery guys show up with the modular panels on a truck and then assemble them on-site. They are scheduled to be here this Thursday with it. Have a time-lapsed video app on my iPad to record the assembly. Asked John if Tuff Shed has a website were we can pick out which delivery guys we wanted… he just groaned at me…..

Have the carpeting ordered for the hallways of the apartment building. Not telling which color of carpeting we went with – will post some pictures when it is in place. 🙂 The total price for the commercial carpeting, pad, removal of old carpeting, removal of vinyl by the doorways and installation came to $1,400.00. That also includes labor for carpeting the stairs, around the railings and removing some toe molding where the vinyl flooring is installed. Believe it is a fair price. Installation is scheduled for March 14th. Asked John if the carpet place has a website were we can pick out the installation guys we wanted… he just groaned at me…

John has been calling around to find a glass company who can replace the front windshields in the motor home. He’s not finding very many companies in the greater Des Moines area who will work on RV’s. He did find a glass supplier and got a quote of around $2,000 for just having the glass delivered to us. That included charges for putting the glass in crates and having it shipped to us. Way not cheap – but at least we know what the supplier charges when we receive bids from installation companies. Driving to Winnebago in Forrest City, IA is also an option, but would run us $150 in fuel for the trip and they are not known for being the most cost effective option. Regardless, we need to get windshields replaced before our trip to St. Louis in mid-April.

We also need to get the exterior of the RV washed and waxed before the trip. Right now it has lots of black streaks and looks dumpy. Nothing like a fresh coat of wax ( or 2) to perk it up. I’m trying to convince John that we should divide it up into two or more separate days. Washing and waxing everything in a single day can be done, but then I need three days to recover. He is also checking to see if there are any detailing companies who can wax it. Think we should just do it ourselves, but could be convinced otherwise if the price is right….

We are also starting to plan for the yard work that needs to be done shortly. John called around and got some prices on having some black top soil delivered for the lawn. We need to add some soil so the yard slopes away from the apartment building and to help new grass to grow. Then we will work on getting fertilizer spread and the lawn seeded. My dad gave us some pointers for getting a new lawn started. Main things are to select a high quality variety of grass seed that will do well in our shady lawn. Also need to follow instructions on the grass seed bag to determine when we can apply crab grass killer. Will probably do this in the next few weeks – weather permitting.

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