Don’t Call It a Comeback

Have you ever taken an unforced running break?  I just did, and it was pretty scary.  This was the last running pic taken of me before I took a forced 6 week-long running break.

The last running picture

Chest Pain Freaks Everyone Out

600/400/200 times 3 on a hot, humid, mid July night was what did me in.  I was on round two of this track workout, breathing heavily and working way too hard when I felt a twinge in the middle of my chest.  Thinking I should probably slow down a bit I took the last rep a little easier and went home to recuperate in the cool bliss of central air conditioning.  Three days later I still had dull chest pain but it came and went, so I thought I was just overtired.  Later that week I ran an 8 mile race up in Stowe, VT and somewhere in mile 6 after lots of short steep hills my chest discomfort came back.  When it was still there 20 minutes after the end of the race I consulted the nearby EMTs.  Next thing I knew I was whisked away into the ambulance with leeds put on my chest and undergoing an EKG.  So began my 6 week no running episode which was in part terrifying, confusing and stressful.

I didn’t have a heart attack during that race but my EKG results were abnormal and so I was ordered to go see my Doctor immediately.  Since my chest discomfort was brought on by exercise I was ordered to stop doing anything more strenuous than walking until the issues could be ironed out.  I also mentioned to my Doctor that along with the chest pain I had been unusually fatigued for the past several months.  We’re not talking a little tired after a long run, we’re talking about the kind of fatigue that makes you foggy, gives you trouble when you try to concentrate, and makes you want to lay down for hours after a run or workout.  In addition to the fatigue I was feeling chronically sore, like my muscles were never able to recover.  I remember asking my trainer, after one particularly painful week, if it was normal to be feeling so sore and so tired all the time.  Her response was short and sweet – nope, not normal.  Blood tests were ordered up along with some cardiology exams.

I’ve Got to Start Pumping Iron

To make a long story short, after extensive cardiology work ups it turns out that my heart is in pretty good shape.  I have a somewhat higher heart rate than other runners but it’s not out of the normal range and I have no heart disease issues or blockages that they could detect.  Clean bill of health as far as the old ticker is concerned.  What a relief!  The blood work results were a different story.  My Doctor wisely tested my iron levels as one of the primary signs of iron deficiency is fatigue.  Turns out I am borderline low on my blood iron levels and some of the other metrics associated with iron deficiency.  One result stood out in the extreme and that was my ferritin level.  My Doctor told me that the range for acceptable Ferritin levels are anywhere from 10.0 to over 100 but that anything below 30 or 40 would be considered low.  Mine was 2.9.  (Ferritin is a way to measure how much iron your body is storing.  Here’s a link to understanding Ferritin Levels: http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ferritin-test/basics/definition/prc-20014449).  Given my test results I was ordered to start taking some heavy-duty iron supplements and told to eat more iron rich foods (hello juicy steak!).  After just a few short weeks on the Iron supplements I felt so much better, like the fog had lifted and I could function more normally again.  I was allowed to go back to running and advised to take it slowly at first.  For a couple of weeks I did a run / walk at a slow pace before building up to 3 miles and then to 6 for my “long” run.  I’m now back to running regularly and am feeling pretty good.  I had to drop out of the Baystate Marathon because my 6 week running break took place in the middle of the training cycle but I should have enough time to prepare to run the half marathon instead.  We’ll see how well I am doing with regards to my iron levels when I start doing longer runs again this weekend.

What I Learned on My 6 Week Running Break

I’ve learned a couple of important things from this scary episode.  First, when you are a woman over 40 and you tell a medical professional that you have dull chest pain they will all freak out.  Apparently women have very different heart attack signs than men do and many times those signs go unrecognized.  Check out signs of heart attacks in women here:  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Heart-Attack-Symptoms-in-Women_UCM_436448_Article.jsp.

Second, you have to listen to your body.  When you are feeling chronically tired, sore, burned out, unable to complete workouts consistently, or are not improving even though you are working hard please do not assume it’s because you are lazy, or out of shape, or not well rested.  Go get yourself checked out by your Doctor because you may very well have a medical issue – these symptoms are not normal.

Third, don’t fear taking a running or exercise break.  I was very worried for most of my 6 week break that I’d turn back into my formerly lazy and inactive self.  (Of course, jetting off to Italy mid process and eating tons of Gelato / Pasta / Red Wine, while extremely fun, does not help to fully alleviate this particular fear).  When I was able to come back to running I found that I hadn’t lost that much fitness.  While I was a bit sore for the first couple days my legs still remembered how to run, my lungs still handled the effort and my body felt so good being active again.  I knew then that I’d be ok.  I’d never really stopped being an active person.  I was still a runner even though I had to take a break for a short period of time.  A friend said to me, you’ll be a runner and you’ll be active (barring any major injuries) as long as that’s what you believe you are.  Well now I’m a believer, so don’t call this a comeback because I never really left!

Additional Resources: 

I”m crediting my coaches at Runners Connect for helping me craft a plan to get back into running safely after my hiatus.  You can check them out here – there are lots of great articles and other content on the website.  www.runnersconnect.net

I’m also crediting my local running club and running friends for urging me to come back to group runs after I’d been gone for a while.  (I just went back for my first run with them in 2 months tonight – felt great to be back out there with the group.) You guys know who you are – thanks for the encouragement and for caring.  Runners make the best friends.

Lastly, if you need a distraction during your running or exercise break I highly recommend going to Italy and indulging in all the things you normally don’t let yourself do.  Sleep really late.  Eat gelato – twice a day if necessary.  Inhale pasta – I am still dreaming about that pasta with truffles.  Hang out with friends into the wee hours of the morning talking about nothing and everything – it’s balm for the soul.  If you can’t find your way overseas, here are a few gratuitous shots for you to enjoy.

Gelato you taste so good, I can't resist you

Gelato you taste so good, I can’t resist you

Pontevecchio at Sunset.  Florence

Pontevecchio at Sunset. Florence

Pasta Vongole

Pasta Vongole

Until next time, you all stay healthy ok?

Eating my words and evicting my inner mean girl.

Only recently have I been able to say to people that I am a runner. The reason that calling myself a runner feels so strange is that I envision runners as mentally tough, unabashedly positive, pain loving, crazy persistent winner types. I do not envision myself as this kind of person.   The reason why? My mean inner voice.
I have this voice in my head – you probably have one too, although I hope yours is a lot nicer than mine.  Sometimes the things she says are hurtful but true, and sometimes the things she says are just plain mean. Take today for example, I ran in a local 5k and was hoping to improve my 5k time.  This morning before the race my inner mean girl started to pipe in. “I feel tired today, I’ll never make it”. “It’s really hot out today and it’s going to be so hard – why would I want to put myself through this?” “I didn’t make my time goal in my last race 2 weeks ago and I probably won’t make it this time either.” I stood on the starting line listening to her go on and resigned myself to running this race anyway.  As you may have predicted, my mean girl voice spoke up and told me that I was tired (I was). That I was hot (I was). That I would like to stop and go sit in some air conditioning (I did.) That this was just too darn hard (sigh). So I stopped, literally stopped and walked for a little while.  At the end I managed a bit of a kick to pass the person in front of me because I did not want to be seen by friends and colleagues running lazily into the finish.  That’s when it really struck me that I didn’t just have a bad race today – I gave up. I quit. I let my inner mean girl talk me into doing what I really wanted to do, stop running.

The problem with this is that I have another voice in my head that wants to do hard things, that wants me to push myself, that wants to believe I have some ability to be a winner.  This nicer girl wants to be challenged, she likes competition, she wants to run with the faster group and thinks it’s possible that she can, she doesn’t think about win or lose she just say yes when an opportunity presents itself. Why don’t I listen to this girl more often?
It’s easier to believe the mean girl and just not try. If you fail because you really don’t try then it’s not truly a failure right? There’s still the possibility that you could have done something great, and so the fantasy can live on in your head.  If I want to be the person that I think I can be, then I need to evict my mean girl.
I need to make a place for my inner happy voice – it really can’t be that hard right? After all, I consciously made a choice to keep the mean girl around so I can, now, consciously make a choice to keep the nice one around too.  If I do this, then I really will be eating my words.  Never run a marathon? Ha! Doing the Baystate Marathon on 10/19/14. Never run under 25 minutes for a 5k? Ha! I’ll get there. Next race is next weekend – I won’t get to my 25 minute goal yet, it’s a work in progress, but I can work on pacing and not giving up. Let’s see what happens then, shall we?
If I see you out on a run or on the next race course – do me a favor – shout down my inner mean girl, will you? I have a feeling she will put up a fight.

Until next time, stay positive out there – ok??

2014 Boston Marathon Volunteer Experience Recap

Yesterday I had the honor of handing out water to the runners at this year’s Boston Marathon at the Mile 16 Hydration Station.  What a day it was! We finally had great weather – it started off sunny and in the low 40’s, increasing to the low 70’s over the course of the afternoon.

Mile 16 Hydration Station

Mile 16 Hydration Station

Expectations for this years marathon were running high in our city and the day was emotional on many different levels.  This is my first year as a runner and I was so excited to be part of the marathon experience.  I enjoy being part of a team, and, while I have no desire to run a marathon I am absolutely thrilled to support all of those who do run.

If you aren’t familiar with the course Mile 16 is just about at the start of the Newton Hills and not too far from the famous (infamous?) Heartbreak Hill.  It’s an extremely tough section of the course as the runners hit those hills on tired legs.

My job mainly involved filling cup after cup after cup full of water (I was advised to avoid the Gatorade table if I didn’t want to be one sticky mess at the end of the day and I am thankful that I got to do water instead.  Those runners do aim for the trash when they throw the cups but a lot of it ends up on the volunteers) and then hand out cup after cup after cup of water.  I thought my shoulder was going to give up and go home about halfway through the day.  Talk about workouts!

Handing out water at Mile 16.  My shoulder is killing me!

Handing out water at Mile 16. My shoulder is killing me!

We were far enough from the start that we had some time to get all the tables up and take a quick break at Starbucks.  However, once the elite runners came through we were at the tables non stop.

Watching the elite runners come through is an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.  The women came by first, led by Shalane Flanagan and they looked beautiful.  Perfect form, just floating across the pavement and not even bothered by that pesky little hill. I like to think that’s what I look like on my long runs (it’s not, mind you, it’s just what I like to think).

Elite women running through mile 16.

Elite women running through mile 16.

Then came the hero of the day – Meb Keflezighi.  He was absolutely flying and all alone.  His nearest competitor had to be about 2 tenths of a mile behind him and the elite men’s pack was even further behind that!  I don’t even have the words to describe Meb.  I can only say to run like that is a gift.  A huge cheer went up from the crowd when he came around the corner and it followed him as he disappeared up the hill – Meeeeeeeeeebbbbbbbbbb!  Kinda says it all doesn’t it??!

Go Meb!

Go Meb!

After Meb, came the 4 waves of runners.  One thing that struck me as interesting was how many runners were in Wave 1.  (Wave 1 is the really fast but not elite runners.  These guys and gals can all finish the marathon in under 3 hours so they are running somewhere in the 6-7 minute mile range.)  They were all incredibly fit, strong and taking on that hill like it meant nothing.  Seeing how many of them were in that wave though made me think that the key to running fast is more about fitness and determination rather than just genetics.  Don’t get me wrong, to run like Meb and Shalane you have got to have the genes.  However, I think any “regular” human being who has some talent and the ability to work incredibly hard and push themselves has the potential to be in the fast group.  This gives me hope as I was starting to feel like I might be relegated to the back of the pack forever!

The last 2 waves were the slower runners and all the charity teams.  These are people with pure heart, grit and determination.  Many of them are new runners, perhaps signing up for the marathon as a way to get in shape.  They have spent hours, days, weeks, and months training for this one event.  They might have raised a lot of money for charity just to get the privilege to run that course.  They came in all shapes, sizes and ages which lends further credence to the fact that ANYONE can be a runner.  You don’t need to be Meb, you just need to put those shoes on and get out there at whatever pace your legs can manage.  As the saying goes, if you run you are a runner.

Many of the later runners walked through the water stop.  Some looked dazed, hot and tired.  Others looked determined and focused on the road ahead.  One gentleman took my cup of water and hobbled up the hill, crying the whole way.  I hope he made it to the finish.  Still, there were many runners who were joyful, happy, and embracing the energy of the crowd.  To quote a favorite blogger, Janae Jacobs of Hungry Runner Girl, I realized that it’s possible for us normal folk to do hard things.  You can do it, it’s just one foot in front of the other.

Sometimes a runner would come through and say a heartfelt thank you to us volunteers.  I have to say, these thankyou’s made me tear up more than once. It’s a bit hard to describe what it means to be a volunteer this year.  I’ve been part of a local running club for almost a year now and several of our members were running so I was looking forward to supporting them after watching them train all winter in the brutal cold.  I have, like many of you, watched the news reports on last year’s events and know people who weren’t able to complete last year’s marathon – so this year they are back to finish what they started.  There’s Team Hoyt running their very last Boston Marathon this year and they will be greatly missed in the years to come.  Then there’s a guy like Meb who puts the names of the 4 victims from last year’s event on his bib and runs his heart out for them, for this city, for this country and for himself.  I have huge respect for those of you who ran yesterday.  You crushed it out there.  You will forever be woven into the fabric of this city’s memories, on one of our most special, profound and meaningful days.  I’m proud to have been a part of your marathon experience.  I hope you are proud of yourself as well and I look forward to seeing you in 2015.

A sea of green cups at Mile 16

A sea of green cups at Mile 16

Until next time – ice bath, foam roll and rest up.  See you on the roads…

A dog’s life…

I haven’t posted in a long time. Months in fact. I have some pics ready to go up on the blog of the finished renovation. I’ve been doing some running too. But I had been a bit overwhelmed with the move and work so I didn’t get around to writing the posts. And then Bonnie got sick. My little menagerie of a household was put on hold as I tried to get her well or at least pseudo-stable again. It didn’t work. Bonnie passed away at 11pm on Sunday April 6, 2014.

Bonnie when I first got her from the rescue group.

Bonnie when I first got her from the rescue group.

I know what you are thinking: she’s just a dog; here’s another over 40 woman confusing her dog for the babies she decided she never wanted to have; and maybe if she wasn’t single this wouldn’t be such a big deal.  It’s ok. I have thought some of those things myself – even as I dismiss them because I am very happy in the choices I have made. But still – it’s just a dog right? Why mourn?

Over the last week I have been thinking a lot about dogs, animals in general and our role in the biological sphere that we call earth. I saw the movie Noah which started me down the “be a good steward path”, which then led me to a “why are we here” path.  It was deep thinking at its best, done late at night with a glass of wine, some low fat Cheez-its and Comedy Central playing in the background.

Why are we here?  That question is the same as “what’s the meaning of life”, which if we are really going to be honest actually means “am I important?”.  Biologically speaking the purpose of life is simply to produce new life. To pass on genetic material infinitely so the species can continue. It’s hard wired into every living thing on this planet. We are not unique in this respect. Now, if we ask the real question – the am I important one – the answer is not so clear cut. No – In the larger universe, each of us individually is probably not that important.  As long as humans exist the species can continue. Yes- to your family, friends and anything/anyone who depends on you, you are Important. Very important. Yes – to your future offspring you are of extreme importance so you take care! Anyway – the whole meaning of life is kind of a mixed bag it seems. How about another way to ask that one? Do I have a purpose here? I say no, we don’t come into this world with any purpose other than reproduction. It’s up to us to carve out some kind of meaning in our lives, to determine for ourselves what gives us purpose and satisfaction. And, that led me to being a good steward. I find truth and honesty in the idea that we should assume responsibility for the environment around us. Everything from the trees, to gardens, to habitats, to animals etc. Humans, being at the top of the (as currently discovered) evolutionary scale, are transformative in nature. We don’t operate solely on instinct the way animals and insects do. We shape the nature of our surroundings, sometimes for good but too often with negative results.  My good stewardship responsibilities are limited as I am not a farmer, or a rancher, or a shepherd. I don’t have children to raise, or even chickens! But, I do have pets, I do run my own little household, I can manage the impact I have on the earth through the choices I make every day. Maybe the purpose of my life can be found in the satisfaction that good stewardship brings.

A smiling happy doggie

A smiling happy doggie

Now that I’ve meandered a bit let me tell you what being a good steward had to do with Bonnie’s passing.  I tried looking up being a good steward on google and all I got were religious references. Forget that – I don’t want someone’s opinion, I want facts, data, specifics! (Also, I googled what is the purpose of a dog’s life and I found these three top results: A Dog’s  life by W. Bruce Cameron, why do dogs have whiskers, and why do dogs wag their tails? Lots of deep thinkers on the internet it seems). In my opinion being a good steward means the proper care and feeding of my animals. They need to have regular meals and clean water. They need to have shelter and medical care. They need discipline in order to create a harmonious environment and for their own safety. They need play time and affection so that they are happy.  And they need someone to make the hard decisions for them because they have no voice, no concept of the future or the past, only the present.

In the end, as hard as it was, and as much as I wish it wasn’t necessary, I made the hard choice for Bonnie. I know she is at rest and that whatever it was that made her so uniquely her has gone back to that from which it came. I believe she is part of the fabric of our universe – one thread amongst the many threads that hold this whole thing together.

Really this is all mumbo jumbo though. I am no philosopher, just a humble every day human trying to find purpose and happiness.  All I really know for certain is that I sure did love that little dog.

Me and Bonnie at the Harvest Festival 2013

Me and Bonnie at the Harvest Festival 2013

 

Renovation: Stage Two. Choices, choices, choices

The house has been undergoing a renovation for several weeks and we are, slowly, making progress.

After the initial demo I had to make a lot of decisions, in a rather quick time frame, as to what I wanted in the house. First, I had to choose the tile and grout color for the bathroom. I decided on classic subway tile for the shower/tub wall as it will never go out of style. I picked a light gray grout to give the tile a bit more “design” and also because white grout seems to get dingy fast.

Choosing tile and grout color. Who knew there was colored grout?!

Choosing tile and grout color. Who knew there was colored grout?!

Next up, my nemesis, choosing paint. It’s the easiest thing to change in your house but for me it’s the hardest choice to make. I feel so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of colors and options available that I become almost paralyzed. I would have taken months to decide (and a ridiculous amount of samples) if left to my own devices, but the contractors needed an answer so I had to choose. 

Narrowing down the options.

Narrowing down the options.

I choose Edgecomb Gray by Benjamin Moore for the downstairs and hallway (although it looks beige on the walls), Revere Pewter (also Benjamin Moore) for the bathroom and back bedroom, Cashmere Grey (BM) for the middle bedroom, and Normal Grey (Sherwin Williams) for the Master Bedroom. You don’t need to adjust your monitors – none of these colors actually look grey!

Normal Grey Sherwin Williams

Normal Grey Sherwin Williams

Cashmere Grey Benjamin Moore

Cashmere Grey Benjamin Moore

Revere Pewter Benjamin Moore

Revere Pewter Benjamin Moore

The last big choice I had to make was what color to stain the floors. I like a more modern look and decided to stain the floors a rich, dark brown. Don’t they look pretty?!

Dark floors and first coat of Edgecomb Gray Benjamin Moore

Dark floors and first coat of Edgecomb Gray Benjamin Moore

A couple quick updates on other areas: the bathroom has walls and a door!

We are getting there!

We are getting there!

We have a pocket door!

We have a pocket door!

And……drum roll please, the glitter ceiling is gone! 

Say buh bye to the glitter.

Say buh bye to the glitter.

Now I have to work on getting movers (1600$ to move 2 miles? Really? For a one bedroom move?), buying furniture and figuring out how to pull it all together. Oh yeah, and how to save money fast so I can get that awful kitchen remodeled.

Lastly, just because …….

He seems a little confused here :)

He seems a little confused here🙂

Until next time, stay warm out there!

Carlsbad Half Marathon: Sunning, Running, and Chafing

When you are in the midst of your very first home remodel what is the smart thing to do?  Why, go on vacation, of course!  So that’s what I did.  Ages ago my friend Lynn sent me a half serious message asking if I wanted to run the Carlsbad CA Half Marathon with her, and, since I always say yes when people ask me to run with them (probably because, until recently, it happened so rarely) I hopped online to register for the race.  Fast forward to January and the time had come!  Regardless of new job, or current home demolition project I hopped on a plane to San Diego.  I have to say, I think I made the right decision because when I was landing I saw this:

Ah Sweet Sunshine, How I Have Missed Thee

Ah Sweet Sunshine, How I Have Missed Thee

After the bitter cold we’ve been experiencing here I was certainly ready for some sunshine.  I made it a point to arrive a few days early in order to give myself time to get over the jet lag and to enjoy an extra few days in the sun.  Best decision I’ve made recently!

Beach Run Scenery

Beach Run Scenery

Later that day I was rewarded with a spectacular sunset and an even prettier sunrise the next morning.  Also, it should be noted:  No Filter on these babies, this is all nature….

Sunset Carlsbad State Beach

Hello Pretty

Hello Pretty

My trip to CA couldn’t be all sunsets and rainbows however.  Race day had come and it was time to test myself against the 13.1 course.  Lynn came up and joined me in the hotel the night before so that we could get an early start.

Getting ready to rock it

Getting ready to rock it

And, as we were en route I got this fantastic picture from the big guy himself:

Aww, thanks Buddy!

Aww, thanks Buddy!

The course could not have been more beautiful.  We ran right along the ocean for most of it and the energy of the spectators was incredible.  There were so many people cheering, volunteering, holding up funny signs and just generally supporting us that the first 7 miles flew by.

Start of the course  - I can see the ocean!

Start of the course – I can see the ocean!

Best scenery ever

Best scenery ever

Starting around mile 9 I became very fatigued.  The half marathon distance is still new to me as I have only run one prior to this.  I am not going to lie, it’s taxing on my body and once I hit mile 9 or 10 things start hurting – hips, knees, feet….you get the picture. I also start asking myself why I’m doing this.  Man, did I want to stop.  Every time I went through a water station I had to fight the urge to just sit on the curb.  For me races are really between my will power and the voice in my head that’s telling me to stop, that I can’t do this, that it’s too hard.  It would be so easy to just give up, and many times I have wanted to but once I’m out there, I really don’t have a choice. It’s either keep putting one foot in front of the other or DNF (Do Not Finish) – if I don’t finish, I don’t get a medal!  (Right now I really like getting the medals).  I slowed down quite a bit at the end and at mile 11 I kept repeating to myself “just 2 more miles, you can run that in your sleep, in fact you may have on several occasions!”  Finally, I hit the last downhill that marked the end of the race and I was so relieved.  On the last .2 miles I ran past a man in a wheel chair who was heartily encouraging the bedraggled, hot, and weary runners.  I nearly burst into tears at the sight of him.  Here’s someone who can’t run and I’m complaining because something that I get to do for fun is kind of hard. That momentum carried me to the end and I got to reunite with Lynn. (And yes, I got my medal!)

Finally it's over!  I look happier than I feel here...

Finally it’s over! I look happier than I feel here…

One note here about something serious that happens during long races sometimes – chafing.  It’s not pretty and it definitely hurts.  If you are going to run any kind of distance I suggest you invest in some good compression shorts, tights or Body Glide.  What I used on race day did not hold up under the heat and I was pretty miserable for the last 3 miles or so.

All in all I had a great time.  This was a fairly easy course- couple challenging hills but nothing too major – and I couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather.  Plus, I got to spend time with my friend and her lovely family.  (Note: if you want to check out the race for next year here’s the link: http://www.carlsbadmarathon.com/ )

One last breakfast before I boarded the plane

One last breakfast before I boarded the plane

Until next time – Stay Classy San Diego…

Carlsbad State Beach

Carlsbad State Beach

Stage 1: rip it all out!

image

Gutted!

Guts of a bathroom

Guts of a bathroom

image

Uh oh Deb, don’t fall down!

image

Gone, gone, gone

image

Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey goodbye

After the craziness of closing on the house, trying to find a contractor I liked (and trusted),and the general overall panic that happens when you decide to embark on a major project comes the time to put everything in motion.
So begins stage 1 which I like to call – just rip it all out already! The bathroom has been completely gutted. No more shiny silver wallpaper and hideous peach tile. Gone is the block of a vanity with its linoleum lined medicine cabinet, along with the peeling linoleum from the floor. In its place is a Dark, empty hole just waiting for inspiration to hit. (If you have some to spare please send it my way).

Next up was the removal of the minuscule railing. Seriously, this thing maybe came up to my thighs. I was envisioning my nephew saying “hey watch me” as he flung himself from it and onto my sofa, when he gets a bit older. So, clearly, the railing had to be replaced with something a bit higher and safer.

Lastly, the half wall between the kitchen and living room was demo’d. I hope this will make the house feel more open and have better flow between kitchen and living room.

That’s it for stage 1. Next up will be removal of carpet and wallpaper (thankfully!). The next big thing for me is coming up with a color scheme for the painter – I’m thinking pale grey and white? What do you think? Feel free to make color palette suggestions.

Until next time ……