30 September 2008

The First Before & Afters

Before...note the windows and that lovely cinderblock chimney that is (and, apparently, always has been) completely useless:

After...ta-da! They'll put cedar shakes on the framing once the caulk is dry:

That chimney that went right through the master bathroom?

Gone! The master bath is now enormous, making me think probable thoughts about a larger closet someday...

In other news, the kitchen/dining room door is moved! See the progress in Week 3 photos at Flickr.

29 September 2008

Why It Was Hard To Be Away From Home Last Week

It was hard to be away from home last week!

Lars called on Tuesday, "Mama! Ross and I were wrestling and he punched me and my tooth came out!" Lars was still proud of the missing tooth and happy to have been visited by the Tooth Fairy when I got home.

On Wednesday, the new windows were installed! Chris took photos of Days 3 &4 and uploaded them for me to see but viewing them on my phone was awkward (internet in my hotel room didn't work). Based on the postage-stamp size photo not looking as I'd expected it to look, I panicked about the location of the bay window and Chris got the guys to stop working on repairing the outside until I could get home and determine if I wanted them to move it or not. Luckily, I liked it better in person than in the photo, so it doesn't have to be moved.

On Thursday, I talked Chris through answering the EC's questions at the start of rough-in. I was not in a position to spend a lot of time on the phone, so Chris translated as best he could and gave the EC a bunch of .pdf cut sheets so he could see the expected equipment and get started. I cleared up the EC's remaining questions when I got home Friday and he was able to finish rough-in.

Friday brought truckloads of cabinets our way. The cartons are EVERYWHERE! Playroom is filled to the roof, there are huge boxes on the front porch, in the dining room, and in the back hall. I honestly don't know how they're going to fit everything in the kitchen - it's not that big a room! I'm excited to see what happens next and prepared to be amazed by the magic. Chris pointed out that the cartons are no doubt oversized, so some of the bulk will go away when the packaging is removed...but still! There's a LOT of carton in the house right now.

In other news, we've determined the floor (for sure) and counter color (we think; final decision will be made once floor and cupboards are in), light fixtures and cabinet hardware are on order, and appliances will be delivered on Friday. First permit inspections are scheduled for this Thursday - once inspections are passed, they'll close the walls and the real fun will begin. Chris and I still need to determine paint color, pick a faucet, and figure out what we'll sort of fireproof treatment we'll have behind the stove. We're on a mission to figure these last details out and hire a painter (the one thing our GC doesn't do) this week.

We ran out of salt in the little salt cellar this weekend and I realized that the refill box is packed (along with 98% of the kitchen). Rather than dig through everything to find it, I just put salt on the shopping list - it's not as if it will spoil. Chris returned from the store mildly irked and without salt. His comment was, "Do you have any idea how hard it is to buy Kosher salt just before Rosh Hashanah?" Oops.

21 September 2008

Chorus: Kippah Got Out Again

On Thursday, the guys came back and the carpenters worked hard to get a level subfloor in place. They'd finished by the end of the day, so it'll be quiet here until Tuesday, when they'll return to frame out the new door & windows (windows are being delivered on Monday). Photosets are up on Flickr.

Thursday evening brought some neighbors in to see the progress so far and, as they were leaving, a woman collecting donations to fund "education and lobbyists to hold our legislators accountable for providing quality healthcare for everyone" showed up. She couldn't give me any specifics about what, exactly, they were going to teach or to whom they were going to teach this unspecified curriculum. She was also extremely rude, poking at me with her clipboard and pen and, when I glanced down at the page on the clipboard she'd thrust at me, she squatted down so she could MAKE EYE CONTACT WHILE SPEAKING TO ME. If I broke eye contact to look at her form, she'd stop speaking and dodge a little to get my eyes again. While I respected her tenacity, she was indescribably annoying - I wanted her gone and gone fast. As I was backing into the house, though, Kippah came out to the porch to see what was going on. Over-does-it-girl squealed, "Is your CAT supposed to come OUT," and Kippah fled under the porch. Fifteen minutes later, Lars and I had tracked Kippah to under the back deck, where we planned to keep an eye on her until she chose an exit point. Annoying girl? Was still standing on the front lawn. I finally told her we were going to be a while and I didn't want to waste her time - she could go. She actually asked if she could come back later! I said, thank you, no. When we finally retrieved Kippah, I took her up for a shower, which she's actually a pretty good sport about.

I enjoyed the quiet to work in on Friday, something that will be rare until the project is done. I ran out at 4pm to pick up dinner and groceries and came home to find Chris stalking Kippah in the yard. He'd been on the phone in Playroom and had suddenly seen her come strolling around the back of the house, onto the deck. ?!? After we caught her, I yelled a bit about the importance of keeping an eye out for her when entering or leaving the house and took her up for a shower, which she was still a pretty good sport about.

Saturday morning saw us all getting ready to go to a Squirt hockey game. On the way downstairs after my shower, I thought I heard Kippah crying like she was trapped somewhere. I opened the bathroom and the hall closet but she wasn't in there. I went out to playroom and there she was, OUTSIDE the door. AGAIN. As I scooped her up and whipped her into the shower with Chris, Lars discovered the kitchen window was open - must have been left open by the workmen on Thursday and we'd never thought to go in and check (the room is draped shut). Kippah was not so sporty about showering with Chris, or maybe she was just sick of showers; she bore it noisily.

Saturday afternoon, after I'd apologized for yelling at the boys about letting Kippah out, and after Kippah had learned the hard way (bang!) that the window is now closed, we went to a party for the Mites' families. About half the kids are returning vets; the others are new to the team, if not new to local hockey, and the gathering was a chance for the kids and parents to get to know each other. We all had a great time and I'm glad to know the people I'll be spending so many cold 6ams with are fun.

Sunday featured more hockey - another Squirt game, this time a win - a quick Target run, and some housework. At some point in the weekend, we thought we'd lost both Chris' AmEx and his reloading Sbux card, but both were found stowed safely (if absentmindedly) in our own pockets.

I leave for a tradeshow in the morning - I won't be back until Friday night. Chris is charged with taking pictures of the construction while he's home and I'll update when I get home...by which point I'll be much more eager than any of you to see the progress!

18 September 2008

On The First Day Of Demo...

...My true love cleaned the refrigerator. We had to take everything out of it to move it anyway, so he figured why not? That was at the start of the day. To fit the fridge parts into the basement scrub sink, Chris took the washer drain hose out during the chore. At the end of the day, he ran a load of wash which (hose is out, remember?) flooded the basement. So, we got in a little wee-hours wet-vaccing. At least we figured out the problem before calling the contractor in a panic. (Water! Everywhere! Help!) The thing is? Our GC rocks - he totally would have come over - so I'm glad we figured out we were dopes on our own. The clean fridge is now installed (loose interpretation of installed, here) in the dining room, completing our temporary kitchen setup. The enormous table I bought last year is really handy for storage underneath and lots of temporary counter space.

In an hour and forty-five minutes, the guys had deconstructed everything but the floor. Getting the floor up took most of the afternoon but the guys left the site at the end of the day with demolition complete. After they'd gone, I went down to the basement and took pictures looking up through the kitchen. Hi, Second Floor! They got the subfloor laid - LEVEL! - today. We tossed marbles on it and watched with glee as they stopped in the middle of the room, short distances from where they'd initially landed.

We've discovered a few interesting tidbits about the house. The wall between our kitchen and dining room was an outside wall - there were siding planks hiding out behind the drywall. An old door was also uncovered across the room. There are not as many unsavory discoveries as we were expecting, and the ones that are turning up (like the wall supports that aren't actually long enough to reach the header) will be fixed.

Pictures from the first two days of construction are up at Flickr.

Stay tuned...

17 September 2008

On Patience

  • Good things come to those who wait.
  • Patience is a virtue.
  • (S)he that can have patience can have what (s)he will.
  • For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under Heaven.
Say what you like, MY WAIT IS OVER. My time to break down is here! My time to build up is on the way, and there is MUCH rejoicing! Before pictures with descriptions are up at Flickr.

We've planned to wash as little as possible over the course of the renovation, since the downstairs bathroom sink is tiny - we'd have to haul anything larger than a teacup upstairs or down to be washed. So we've stocked up on recyclable dishes and will cook on foil or in recyclable bags. I was thrilled to discover they make crockpot condoms, so we can have stews and chili. Everything else will be cooked in the toaster oven or microwave. I am optimistic that we'll be able to make reasonable meals and hopeful that it won't get too frustrating before we're done. Since we packed all the glasses, Chris found champagne in cans (with straws!) to celebrate the construction kick-off. It's not our usual, but nice (in a trailer trash sort of way).

11 September 2008

Teeth? Who Needs Teeth?

Lars is not the only Mites player with "Professional Hockey Teeth" this year.


09 September 2008

Homework - A Survival Story

"Mama, I have to do this multiplication using the Traditional Method, the one that's been used for hundreds of years, like when you were in school." I regard him silently, considering whether he is cute enough, today, to live. I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt and he instantly abuses the privilege, "Did you have to do it this way because there weren't any calculators?"

"We had calculators. We were just smarter than kids are now - we didn't need to use calculators to get the answers right."

"Mama! I can do these problems without a calculator." I just smirk at him. Incensed, he whips his pencil into position and cranks out the answers. I arch an eyebrow at the completed assignment, impressed. I hope taunting will be as effective for the whole school year!

02 September 2008

Labor Day in Canada

There are no pictures of the perfect weekend we just spent at the cottage, mainly because we forgot the camera. Even if had we had remembered it, though, we might not have used it. Our days were spent languidly moving from cottage (eating, sleeping) to beach, (swimming, sailing, playing Kubb, playing catch, searching for lucky stones and looking at fossils on the point) as whim directed. Our nights were spent chatting with family and falling asleep to the sound of waves rolling on the beach. Even the long drive home did little to dampen our relaxed spirits.

Today, Ross is going to a birthday party, Lars is moping about not being allowed to play his DS, Chris is circuit-tracing in anticipation of our kitchen construction, I'm working. W
e're all a little edgy - aware that tomorrow our fall schedule will crash into life with no easing in - but I'm still riding the benefits of our weekend away and only a tiny part of me is wondering if we're ready for what tomorrow will bring.

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