May 11, 2011

My First Mammogram

Because my job requires a very thorough physical evaluation, I got a mammogram. I must add that I'm about 7 years younger than the recommended age of when screening should start, be no matter.

A mammogram happens like this:

Step 1 - Stand in front of an X-ray machine. Nurse adjusts left breast on a lower plate, and then lowers upper plate as much as she can, effectively sandwiching the breast

Step 2 - Nurse takes X-ray

Step 3 - Nurse arranges left breast in same manner, but with machine now positionned diagonally

Step 4 - Nurse takes X-ray

Steps 5 - 8 - Repeat process again with right breast

While the nurse was tugging at my breast to arrange it just-so on the plate, I jokingly said "are you sure this isn't going to stretch my breast fibers and make them saggy?"

She responded "oh honey, you can't fight gravity, that'll happen anyways."

Oh vanity. What's wrong with me that I'm more concerned about my breast sagging than finding evidence of breast tumors?


May 09, 2011

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

"Rehabilitating" my house has been a whirlwind adventure of signing papers, calling my banks and lenders frequently, checking on my contractors and scheduling follow-up fixes to the renovation.

Thankfully, the largest projects are completed, and my timeline is now the following:

Year 1 (2010) - Complete Rehab of the House - status: complete

This has included removing carpets, restoring wooden floors, removing dropped ceiling and adding drywall, removing wood paneling from walls and smoothing plaster underneath, redoing roof and replacing joists, adding a second bathroom downstairs, redoing the upstairs bathroom, redoing the kitchen, knocking a wall between the kitchen and dining room, installing a large pantry, doing a heavy up on the electricity

Year 2 (2011) - Tending to the Garden - status: in progress

The front and back yards were composed exclusively of dandelions, onion grass and crab grass. So I had a landscaper removed everything and install sodding (see pictures below). It's a relatively cost effective option that temporarily "cosmetically" enhances the look of my yards.

Year 3 (2012) - Expanding Deck, Adding Attractive Fences and Sprucing Up the Garden - status: not started

Optimistically, I will be a lot richer in about a year and will be able to indulge in building a proper deck (the current one barely can hold a chair), putting up some privacy fencing (I now have a chainlink which makes me think of Dobermans for some reason) and making the garden look nicer. I've already signed up for the DC RiverSmart program which offers things such as free installation of rain barrels, design and planting of native species gardens, and installing permeable pavements to allow water to drain back to the garden. Given the general efficiency of DC services, I should be hearing from them next May 2012 (again, optimistically).

Year 4 (2013) - Possible Sale of House - status: not started

By 2013, I plan to sell my house for a million bucks. Hum, that may be a bit optimistic but there's always a chance inflation while skyrocket by then.

Backyard - Before

Rolled Up Sodding

Backyard - During, Phase 1

Backyard - During, Phase 2

Frontyard - Complete

You can also check out some pictures of what the yard looked like in April 2010 during the renovation of the house here. Warning: strong graphic contents of dead plants contained in the link.