2016 In Review
2016 was a super busy year for me, and in some cases, probably a little too busy.
The year started off alright, enjoying the "new house" feeling, still thinking that hey, I'm a homeowner now! (It's amazing that even a year after closing, it's still kind of hard to believe I own a home).
In January, we had our only significant snowfall of the year and season. And I have to say, it was a pretty sight, especially when I didn't have to clear the driveway. But I guess that's why I bought a snow blower.
In February, my wife and I discovered that our dining room had wood paneling behind the wallpaper which threw a wrench in our plans of taking down the wallpaper and painting plans. Our whole house was wallpapered, which isn't really our style, but taking down wallpaper, while a major pain in the ass, isn't exactly difficult. Painting would definitely give it a freshening up that isn't terribly expensive. All the other rooms look 100x better now than they did the day we closed on the house.
The dining room was an addition to the house I want to say in the 1970s sometime, and we knew the walls weren't plaster like the rest of the house (a simple knock on the wall told us that much). But we had (falsely) assumed that it was drywall underneath the wallpaper. Oh boy. Thinking about it, knowing we would have to do something, we decided we were going to tear down the wood paneling, and while we were at it, vault the ceiling. The dining room ceiling was no higher than 7 foot, so it felt cramped. If we were going to tear out the walls, we might as well raise the ceiling too.
In mid-March, the demolition began.
To our surprise, the studs on the ceiling were these gorgeous reclaimed wood beams. (Ignore the nasty wiring, we ended up replacing all of it.)
Needless to say, that completely changed our ideas for the final look of the room. The only thing we can figure is the previous owner built the addition with whatever materials he either had on him or could get cheapest. The next 9 months, pretty much right up to Christmas, was spent renovating the dining room. We had to re-stud the walls, run all new wire, insulate, drywall and spackle, paint, install trim, and more. It took MUCH longer than we anticipated, and there's still some finishing touches left to do, but the end result looks amazing.
Over the summer, I also had the bright idea to play on 3 different hockey teams. I love playing hockey, but 3 teams was slightly excessive. As much as I love it, playing 3-4 times a week took its toll. This also didn't help with the home renovations either. I'm back down to 2 teams, and it seems like the happy medium. Often times more than once per week, but not really more than twice.
In September, Lauren and I spent the week in Cape May, NJ. It was a nice, relaxing vacation. Not much to say about it other than it was relaxing and a beautiful week to be there. One nice part was that we discovered Cape May Brewing Company. We spent an afternoon at their tasting room and ended up coming home with 2 growlers full of delicious beer.
Just under 2 weeks after getting back, Lauren and I went to Vermont for our anniversary. We had gone up to the Mount Snow area for my brother's wedding in July and while it was cloudy and rainy, it was definitely beautiful. We decided that it would be a great destination in the fall with the leaves changing. We ended up staying in a little AirBnB apartment in Wilmington, Vermont; a small little town with a lot of charm. It was absolutely gorgeous. We spent a few days just wandering around taking pictures (that I'm still going through). We met up with some of our friends from Maine in Concord, New Hampshire one day. We also checked out several craft breweries. We visited:
Madison Brewing Company in Bennington, Vermont
Elm City Brewing in Keene, New Hampshire
Whetstone Station in Brattleboro, Vermont
Gilded Otter in New Paltz, New York
The only downside to where we were, was that many places seemed to close by 8 or 9 pm. But take that away, it was a great trip and I would totally go back again.
In terms of my fitness goals, it was a mixed bag. I didn't really get anywhere on my weight or body fat percentage, but I was able to notable increase my strength. At the end of the year I had hit 200 lbs. on bench press, 305 lbs. on deadlifts, & 245 lbs. on squats. In terms of running, I had started to get back into running after running the marathon in 2015, but it was also the first year in a while I didn't run a single race, 5k, half marathon or otherwise. I was supposed to run a 15k and Broad Street, but both days, the weather was crummy and while I wanted to run them, but rain makes me miserable and I guess I just didn't want it enough. I'm hoping to run at least one half-marathon this year.
It was a good year. Too much to really hit everything in a single blog post, but I'm looking forward to 2017.