Monday, September 22, 2008

My new office!!

from MANY different angles.

I have an office. (I'm doing the Snoopy Dance right now.  Be glad you can't see me!)

I am totally loving my house.  Have I mentioned that?  I know I've been complaining a little bit about the cramped quarters.  And the noise.  And, um, the dust.  (And this morning about someone ringing my doorbell at 8 am on the ONE DAY I get to sleep after working until 2:30 am editing, but in all fairness, most of the world is up and working by 8 am.)  But you know what?  I'm loving this.  I love seeing how these guys (and women!) built me a house.  I love seeing them take stacks of wood and nails and building something amazing out of it.  It's so very Little House On The Prairie, building a house out of nothing.  (Granted, it wasn't out of sod, but on the other hand, it's going to last a LOT longer, and has significantly fewer bugs.)

Speaking of which.  Did you see I Am Legend, with Will Smith? (or Charlton Heston, for that matter.)  You know how he was the last of his kind, living alone, constantly looking for just one more person like him?  And fully aware that the legions of other creatures were trying to kill him?  Well, we have a lone cricket living under our bathroom.  He sings at night.  His name is Will.  I feel kinda sad for him.  On the other hand, a lone cricket singing 10 feet from your head at 2 am is REALLY loud.  And I'm feeing quite zombie-ish at 2 am.  

So office!  And siding!  The siding is up!  It looks verrry nahhhhce.  I'm loving this house.  I'm loving my contractors.   I have all along, you know.  I kept hearing stories about how we'd fight, from people with OTHER contractors, and I have to say, either I'm totally delusional, or my contractors rock.  So I'm going with 'rock'.  :)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 158

I think the captain is going insane.  It's been raining for days.  We've been at sea for almost five months, and haven't seen another ship in weeks.  Rations are starting to run low, we ran out of rum months ago, and the men have been fighting.  They have been playing tricks on me, trying to drive me insane.  They moved the walls, just an inch at a time.  They have replaced doors and windows, and act like nothing has changed.   They steal my shoes.  They have been talking about me, I'm sure of it.  I know they are planning something big, I just need to figure out what it is.    

What? Huh? Oh, sorry, that was a story about other people trapped in an insanely small space for much too long a time.

So how has it been going?  Hahahahah.

This is where we're living now.

Yeah.  "Cozy" is starting to lose its charm.  

After a very quiet end to the summer, with skateboarding accidents and near-dismemberments, the guys are back at work and things are moving along swimmingly.  (Yes - the contractors were the injured parties.  My kids just had some scraped knees and elbows, and breaking with tradition, did NOT go the emergency room this summer.)

The plumbing is in, the electric is in, the framing is done.  Now we're waiting for the next round of inspections, and they come back and close it up.  That's how they refer to it - "close it up".  It sounds almost surgical, doesn't it?  It kind of is - you can see all the inner-workings - where the supports are, how they run the plumbing, the electric, the ductwork - it's all quite fascinating, actually.  I almost wish they could leave it open like that. (ALMOST.)

What else - they put the porch floors in and finished that today.  Yes, you read that right - porch.  outside.  in the rain.  (We're in the midst of the remnants of Hurricane Hanna - it's been raining cats and dogs all day.)  It was REALLY cool to walk out there today.  The columns are up (yes, I had to have columns and a double-decker front porch - it's a southern thing).  

Oh!  So the other day, I'm sitting on the couch, and I'm looking into the bathroom... thinking, hm... it's pretty bright in there.... oh!  They took the blinds down.  That's weird.  Where are the blinds?  Oh, okay, on the washer.  I wonder why they took them down... hey, what is wrong with the wall? All the trim is gone, why did they take the trim down?... and this went on for a LONG time before I realized that they had completely replaced the window!  It went from a double-hung to a casement, and there were GIANT ORANGE STICKERS all over it.  Yes, I  really am that observant. 

The best part about the electrician coming (besides the installing the electric stuff part) is that he moved my cable modem wire.  Up until this week, there has been a plastic box on the back of the toilet that contained a powerstrip, a cable modem, and a wireless router, all connected to a wire that came through the bathroom window.  It was the only place that the cable would reach once they tore down the original addition.  Now it's above the washer (again, only a limited amount of choices because of the location of the cable).  It's all temporary, of course.  But it's still nice to not have to worry about fishing it out of the bowl.

I can tell the seasons are changing in the bathroom.  In the beginning, it was Lightning Bug season.  That was kind of cool - you'd go in at night, and there would be these cute little  trapped lightning bugs (okay, so it wasn't fun for THEM, but the kids loved it).  Then they were gone.  Then there were spiders.  Or "Pie-ders" as Josie calls them.  Then the ladybugs came.  And I have to say, ladybugs are so cute, that I am completely fine with sharing the bathroom with them.  There's been one living on my medicine cabinet door for days.  At least I think he's living.  Let's just say he is.  If they're on the windowsill, I'll shoo them out the window.  But it's kind of nice coming  in and seeing them there.  Ladybug Season is almost over, though, because now it's Mosquito Season.  They are everywhere.  We have four flyswatters in the house (and yet I still tend to use magazines and envelopes).  There's only so much  you can do.  It's easier to  just pretend we're camping.

I have tons of pictures, I just need to download them.  Or maybe find them.  Or go take more recent ones.  It's all a blur.  I don't know where I am with that part anymore.  :)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ignoring the part about the animals speaking....

or for that matter, about them teaching a human to speak English... where did Mowgli get scissors to cut his hair? He was raised by a panther, and yet has the cutest little bob.  Hm.  

Speaking of living like animals.... hahahhah

Well, sort of.

I realized last week that I didn't need to change the sheets at all.  Because nobody is sleeping between them!  For the most part, I'm sleeping on the couch (was it any surprise that I'd be the last one to bed every night?)  Scott and Ian go into the dining room and curl up on their beds.  ON their beds. ON their sheets.  On their blankets.  Not under them.  And I know this because the beds are still made in the morning when I wake up.  And, please, my son and husband are not bed-makers.  I'm just as guilty, though.  I work until I'm sleepy, then go grab my comforter and crash on the couch.  It's very much like being single, except I'm 20 years older and, well, not single.   (For the record, we ARE washing the blankets.)

It's more like camping.  We have lightning bugs in our bathroom.  And at night, that's kind of cool.  But in the daytime, it's just bugs.  And I don't like bugs.  And it turns out, my children have completely bypassed childhood fascination and gone straight on to "get rid of it!"  Jos wouldn't get in the shower because of 'piders, as she calls them.  Except there weren't any.  But it does look like there SHOULD be 'piders in there.

So, as you may have inferred, this morning, we're watching videos.  Which, it turns out, is our routine most mornings.  We'll go out and do something soon, but for now, we're listening to the lovely sounds of my upstairs bathroom being completely demolished.   It's actually not as annoyingly loud as I thought it would be.  And when the bits of porcelain trickle down inside the wall cavities, it's almost like rain.   Almost.

I wish I could let the kids play in the basement again.  We'll be able to soon.  Right now, though, it kinda looks like this:

 Suffice it to say, it's a little dusty.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I missed it.

I completely missed it.  And I'm feeling awful about it.  And most of you, when you read what it is, will either feel awful for me, or will think I'm a complete whackadoo for thinking this is important. (I strike a lot of people that way, I'm embarrassed to admit.)

So about this house thing.  Houses are built in layers.  There's a dirt and rock layer, then a concrete layer.  Then a wood/insulation/wood layer.  The concrete layer is the most fun.  It's kind of exciting to know that they're basically making a rock that will be in place for a very long time - possibly longer than you.  It's like planting a tree, but much faster (which in itself is funny, because seriously, tree growth?  The only thing slower than building a house, hahaha).  

Okay, sorry.  I got sidetracked.   Back to the layers.  Remember a while back, when they poured the first set of footers, and Ian scratched his name into one when it was about halfway done?  Well, they came back and poured the next set on top - yes - on top of his name.  And so the only people who ever saw it and knew it for what it was - the only people were me and Ian.  And I thought that was kind of sweet.  Until he found out that his name was covered with concrete and he was NOT happy about that.  

But it was okay, mainly because he forgot (thank goodness for heritable traits - he's got my memory issues).  But also because I knew there would be many more opportunities to mark our concrete.  When they poured the foundation, we all leaned outside the kitchen door and planted our hands in the concrete.  All four of us.  The kids hands were so cute!  And I knew I wanted a picture of it, because eventually that would be covered up with flooring and we'd never see it again.  

And here's the thing.  I'm a photographer.  I knew that the only way I was going to get a decent shot of that would be with some very low side-lighting.  And I didn't have anything to do it with at the time.  So for about a month, I'd step over our handprints and think, "oh! I need to do that!"  Well, that's not true.  For about a week.  And then I completely forgot about it (see earlier comment about memory issues).   And life went on.

Today was a pretty normal day in the 'layers' part of the house.  The outside is up, and now they're doing some inside stuff.  They're building walls.  They're putting in stairs.  They're waiting for the tub to get here so they can do the rough-in plumbing (yay!  My own bathroom!  Whoo hoo!)  And they're putting down the subfloor on the main level.  It's really nice, kind of soft and bouncy.   Much nicer than the concrete.  

The concrete.  Uh oh.

I did it again.  I forgot to take the picture.   And is it really that important?  Probably not.  But it kind of was.  It was something that I wanted to remember.  And wanted to photograph, because, as I mentioned, I have a pretty wretched memory.

I'm SO not telling Ian about this one.

Gotta love PhotoMerge.  It looks MUCH better than this now.  That thing on the left? Our temporary wall, blocking the stairs.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Sometimes I just need it to be quiet.

So picture this, if you will.  It's a code-red day outside.  Which means not only is it hot, but it's so unhealthy that you shouldn't even play outside.  And we don't really have an INSIDE to play in, since at the moment, every spare inch is taken up by bins of... stuff.  Clothes.  office stuff.  books.   just stuff.   But I want (need) to work.  I've got a backlog of editing to do and I'm perpetually behind these days.  And I just want to concentrate.  Just for a little while.  But one kid wants Spongebob.  The other wants Diego.  The first one now wants Pokemon.  The other one wants The Dot.  Again.  Damned 5 minute movie that needs to be manually restarted each time.  And I just want... quiet.  I want to go somewhere.  I've toyed with bringing the laptop into the bathroom and closing the door, completely abdicating all parental responsibility.  But I don't.  And sadly, not because I'm such a great mom.  No, it's because there are big gaps in the walls and windows and under the doors, and bugs are getting in, and I H A T E bugs.  Truly despise them.  Yes, yes, yes, I know they're important for the ecology of the planet, blah blah blah, but I hate them.  Just the thought of them makes me feel itchy.  Although that could be residual stress itchiness from hearing the jackhammer ALL DAY LONG on Monday.  (But now there's a hole for the egress window- yay!)  Seriously, on Monday, at a certain point I literally couldn't think straight and my cheeks started itching.  It was the weirdest thing.  I finally gave up and went to my moms.  (I love that at 40 (ish), I still go to my mom when I just need...something.  It fills me with hope that my children will still need me when they're 40, and I won't be locked away in a home somewhere, worried that my socks don't match.)   But anyway, back to the noise... no, the bugs... no, what was before that?  Oh!  The kids.  And the space.  Or rather the lack of it.  We're talking tight quarters.  And a lot of television.  And just too much  noise.  So this is how I got through my morning.  
It was lovely while it lasted.

Monday, July 14, 2008

How do you click more quietly?

Seriously.  I'm in the living room, theoretically editing (I mean, I am HERE now,  but I'm also uploading a slideshow, so technically, I'm still working), and everyone else is asleep.  In the dining room.  Yeah.  

Last night was the first night.  It was our practice run.  We did it right - we kept the kids up until 11 so they'd sleep wherever we put them.  :)  Jos fussed for about a minute, then settled down and slept in her little corner nest (playyard).  We had to keep a light on for her because she was scared.  Which worked for her, but I can't sleep if there is light.  So first we dimmed the dining room light.  Still too bright.  So I used the stovetop light.  Still too bright.  FINALLY she fell asleep and I could turn everything off.    Then I noticed how quiet it was.  Too quiet.  Quiet like when I used to spend the night at my Grandma's house, and I'd be sleeping in the guest room and could hear the clock ticking, and then all I could think about was how LOUD the clock ticked.  (And then, just when I'd almost fall asleep, the cuckoo part would go off.   Damned cuckoo clock.)  Which brings me to the clicking.  I'm on the computer (obviously).  And it clicks.  And they're all right next to me, so my clicking sounds really loud.  I miss my white noise.  I had a fan.  A baby monitor.  The ceiling fans in our rooms.  Lots of white noise.  And the best I can do right now (because there isn't any room in the downstairs for the fan, even if I wanted it!), the best I can do is the radio.   So, for the next several weeks (months?), we will be sleeping to the soothing sounds of the Baroque Channel.  

Did I mention that we were living on one floor (two rooms)?  Four people (and a fish).  Two rooms.  No closets.  Oh, and my business!  My entire office is theoretically going to be condensed to two cabinets.  Which will be a challenge since it's spread out into about 8 plastic bins (and two cabinets) right now.   In addition to the other 5 or 6 bins with clothes, toys, bathroom stuff.  I just took a bunch of pictures to show what a disaster it is right now, but frankly, I'm too embarrassed to post them.  Maybe tomorrow.  

Man,  I miss tv.  We have DirecTV, but it's not getting a signal right now, because the dish is lying on its side in the yard.   Again, one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time - no television for the entire summer!  We're going to read!  Play games!  Write!  Be creative!  Except I miss my shows!  I loved So You Think You Can Dance, and I'm missing it.  I've started watching shows on the computer.  But with everyone in basically one room, well, let's just say my Law & Order routine has been disrupted a bit.

I need to go to bed now.  It's 12:30(ish), and sometime tomorrow morning, much earlier than I want, there will be several men putting holes in my walls.   And it will be loud.  And I'm pretty sure that even if *I* am able to sleep through it (and I can - light drives me crazy, but you could set off a cannon by my head and I'd just snore right on through the boom), even if I can sleep through it, I'm pretty sure Josie can't.  (Ian,  bless his heart, is just like me.  It takes EFFORT to wake us up in the morning!)  So I should go.  I'll post pictures tomorrow.   And maybe even show you the scary parts.  :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Today, it's quiet

Many things have happened since last we chatted.  Holes have come and gone in my walls.  Walls have come and gone.   We have a perpetual fly problem.  (How do they get in!?  I need a flyswatter something fierce.   There is always one buzzing around my head in the middle of the night when I'm editing and the only light on in the room is the one over my head.  Anyone looking in from the street would think I had gone crazy, because I'm typing with one hand, and waving Ian's butterfly net around my head with the other.  I hate flies.)

But today, it's quiet.  They will be back on Monday, tearing up walls again.   I've enjoyed the quiet.  

I need to get you caught up.

So where are we... the framework is up.  

There are windows.  The front living room window has been completely replaced, and there is so much more light in the living room now!  It's lovely.  I need to take another picture of the back of the house with the windows in.  It makes a big difference.

There is a GIGANTIC hole in my front yard, where they are putting in the egress window.  I don't know where the dirt went, because the pile of dirt in the yard seems to have stayed the same height.  It's a mystery to me.  The hole is for the egress window.  Soon, there will be light in the basement!  Whoo hoo!  (I'm very excited about this, in case you can't tell.)

I am currently working on a slideshow with all the pics - as I was looking through this batch, I realized there are just too many.  And it's my own fault for waiting a month between!

Here's a very quick slideshow of How To Unload Trusses:

And what's next?  Tomorrow, we officially move into the dining room.  All four of us.  In one room.  Three beds.  Last one to sleep gets the couch.  I have a feeling that will be me. (I'm okay with that, it's a comfy couch.)  Don't worry... there will be pictures!  :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I have a foundation!

And walls!  Well, I have the framework for SOME walls.  But I have a foundation.  And those are very important, as it turns out.  And they take a LONG time to do.

Last week, there was NO parking on my street within several houses of ours.  And I am still planning on making cookies or something as a thank you/sorry for the trouble/please don't hate me thing for the neighbors.  Why was there no parking?  Because on any  given day, the following trades were at my house:  Carpenters (who are here every day), electricians, concrete guys, and some other random people just wandering in with construction stuff.  Oh!  And there was a backhoe (NOT a bulldozer) in my yard for 2 weeks.  I love having my own backhoe.  Ya gotta  admit, it's kind of cool.  But this isn't about the backhoe.  This is about the foundation.   

I wanted a slab.  The idea of another crawlspace, well, no.  It's just not going to happen.  Not after the incident with the possum.  I will never again provide shelter to scary rodents.  So to have a slab, first they need to dig a hole.  A big hole.  A really big hole.  And lots of smaller holes.  And the holes need to be inspected (and we passed, natch).  Then the HVAC guy comes and puts in ductwork.  And the inspector comes back and is sent away, because when they were moving a big piece of concrete, they, um, accidentally dropped it on the duct.  And squished it.  And that was bad.  So the HVAC guy had to come back and do it again.  I was not here for that part, but I am pretty sure he was REALLY not happy about it.  Because it took him all day to get it just right (you can see it the other post below).  But he did fix it.  And when I came home, the ducts were covered with dirt.  And the gigantic pile of dirt that was next to my house was nicely leveled out back in the giant hole.

And then the concrete started.  And stopped.  Because the truck broke.  Which was kind of funny, because the kids and I were watching out the back window (since we no longer have cable, this is our primary source of entertainment), and when it started pouring, Ian said, "wow, that's a lot of concrete!" and then the concrete guys (my guys, not the one with the truck) figured out the same thing and immediately started waving and shouting at the truck guy, but it was too late.  It snapped.  So instead of filling the gigantic hole easily with a chute of concrete, instead, they had to do it a wheelbarrow at a time.  And they did.  And they were here for a VERY long time.  I was really impressed.  These guys have a much stronger work ethic than I do (notice I'm blogging, and not editing).  

p.s. - We now have electricity in the downstairs bathroom!  We don't have any light fixtures, just holes for them, but that's a whole other story.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fortunately, I can sit down.

Because tonight I had to go to the bathroom in the dark.  There is no electricity in my bathroom.  Which, this afternoon, didn't seem like a big deal.  But now... well... it kinda is.  Especially because that's where the laundry is.  And we haven't done it in a while.  And from the looks of things, it might be a while before we can do it again.  

So today, they tore the roof off the bathroom to get it ready to have a second floor put on top.  And inside, they found a nice little nest of mice living in the insulation, and eating the wires.  Yes, live wires.   I wonder how long it would have been before we had a fire, had they not torn this part down?  I'm so glad they did!  While not nearly as annoying as the stinky possum living in the crawlspace, this is a bigger deal.  If only the mice were as cute as the HouseMouse books.  "Has there been a party in your attic?  And a fire on your roof? Maybe you should look around... there's a mouse in the house, and there are clues to be found."  (This quote will mean nothing to most of you. But Lori knows what I'm talking about.)  :)

Yesterday, they were pouring footers.  In the middle of a footer is my son's initials.  Literally in the middle.  They poured half of it.  And left.  While they were gone, he wrote his name with a stick (and me worrying the entire time that he was going to fall in, and how was I going to explain THAT bit of supermom parenting to the paramedics?)  but he didn't fall in.  And today they came back and put the rest of the footers on top.  So it's like a secret written in the stone, that only he and I will ever see.  And I didn't even take a picture.  (Because then it wouldn't be a secret anymore.)

I Hate The Noise

It was Josie's first complete sentence (that we could understand).  What was the noise?  Construction.  Drilling.  Hammering.  Bulldozers (although Ian insists that the thing I call a bulldozer is not, in fact, a bulldozer.  It's some other thing I can never remember the name of.  Neither here nor there, really.)

So it's been a month.  Our house has gone from completely livable (with mildly annoying issues) to, well, the opposite of that.   It started slowly, with a 3-week delay starting on day 1.  (yes, day 1.)  Which actually wasn't a bad thing, because we got used to using the half-constructed back side of the house as a giant covered porch.  And being able to go from the outside straight into the bathroom has its benefits when you've got young children.   I miss that part.  Because here is where we are now: