Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CMR Update: A Good Month!

And long last - after three (or more) weeks of other priorities - an update on the amazing progress of the CMR. On one hand, we've made lots of progress - - on the other hand we found out our completion is delayed by 90 days. Yes, we thought we'd be the first clients in construction history (besides those folks who get the benefit of "extreme makeover home edition") to get their project done on time. We were just foolin ourselves. Alas.

I've loaded up a boatload of photos and I wanted them to be in the right order - - but they aren't, so we're going to start with some of the new stuff and then get on to the time elapsed photo journey by area. What I've come to realize is that while I think I am taking similar photos from similar angles every Sunday. I am thinking wrong. I hope you'll get the gist anyways...

First we start with FRAMING! We have:

closets in Henry's room:

Closets and doors frames shown from inside George The Younger's room:

We have bathroom walls that separate the bath from Henry's room:

We have a view of the framing from standing atop the upper level hallway looking down to George the Younger's room door:

We have INTERIOR stairs!!! No more popping upstairs through closets. No more chinese gymnastics. We just take the stairs. Cool beans - but I have to admit a little less exciting or creative.

New stairs leading from rumpus room upstairs to kitchen:

New entry stairs from garage to rumpus room:

New stairs from George the Younger's lair to Henry's room:

Library Views:
We ordered a bunch of light fixtures. We took one over to the house to see if we liked the size. George the Elder holds it up for the inspection. They're bigger than we thought, but we likey!!

Walls getting patched!!

Kitchen Hallway/Stairway:
The "tin giant" gets jammed in the wall. This is the exhaust for our radiant heating / water heater below...

And the "tin giant" gets enclosed...

We got "wall" in the kitchen!

The Upper Hallway:
Note the old framing for the doorway at the end of the hall? Note big giant trough carved in to ceiling?

See trough gone in ceiling? See old door frame removed?

See new ceiling line up close??? We LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Photos of "The Most Important" room in the house.... do you know what it is??

Dec 5th:

Dec 19:

Dec 26:

The Rumpus Room:
Dec 5th - all the radiant heating is installed and secured. Dry wall metal framing installed. Very nifty.

Dec 19: light cans installed, framing for wine celler/cabinet is in!

Dec 26: Insulation started!

Views of a garage:
Dec 5: Radiant heating insulation hanging down. Framing for storage closet is there, but you can still see through to George the Younger's room:

Dec 19: Garage = work room, but more closet framing is done. Radiant heating is all secured.

Dec 26: H finds his old crutches (a memory of exactly one year ago!), wall closed off to George the Younger's room, garage is filled with electrical stuff and drywall!!!

Exterior Stairs:
Dec 5: H climbs up to retrieve an amazon package. Does the house look like a place where mail should be delivered? No, but did I send myself something there? Yes. Dummy.

Dec 11: George the Elder retrieves more packages... this time the parts to the media rack for the rumpus room. We meant to have those delivered there!

Dec 26: After contending with much rain - - the stairs are finally poured! We still don't have a front door, but we got stairs!!!

And those stairs are protected by y: YUP, "Protecto Wrap!!"

Yes, we're delayed. No, we are not happy about it. But, we're moving forward and things are starting to look like house!
There's a big stack of doors and windows in the garage that we hope to see in the next couple of weeks. There's much drywall to be installed. There's railings to be installed. A new back door to order (since it was recently reported that the old back door needed to be either fixed or replaced since a few Sunday's ago someone threw a big ceramic planter through the glass and spend some time tooling around the house smoking cigarettes and enjoying the construction view. Nothing was taken and, according to Foreman Luke, they didn't pee on anything. ???). We are finishing the design of the bathroom vanity and the tile has been ordered after some issue with tile sizes and colors.
All good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Many Balls

I've ignored my blog the last week (OK - it's been a month, but in the spirit of the season, you could cut me little break). I've been running around like a one-armed wall paper hanger. But, I am nearly done with all the holiday hoo-ha - and, according to my little vintage "days 'til xmas" card board doo-hickey - there are still 10 days left to the big day. If I were you, I'd start collecting canned goods, bottled water and kindling - surely the world is coming to an end. Hopefully armageddon will hold off until at least after the 25th. I mean I put in all the effort and everything.

I will be back to posting shortly. There are lots of new updates about the CMR. A teaser: We got our new completion schedule and we are delayed by more than a month. Me = unhappy. I. am. over. this. temporary. living. crap. But, it is what it is and I can't spend too much time grousing about it. I've got presents to wrap.

What is that you say? Getting all the presents wrapped is part of finishing up on the holiday hoo-ha? Fine, then. I'm not really ready. I'm only mostly ready. Feel free to hold off on stocking up on the canned pork and beans. It seems we all have lots of time left.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Hills are Alive

Went down to the Castro Theater last night to participate in the Sound of Music Sing-a-long. One thing's for sure... I'll be making this an annual event! What a hoot.

The event was planned by the music teachers that are coordinating the trip to Salzburg this coming summer. They thought it would be grand to get all the kids there to see where they were going. A nifty note is that the "house" that is used for the front of the VonTrapp home is now the Orff institute where the festival will be held. Pretty cool.

And although the evening was planned for the kids, I have to admit that I think that the adults has a much better time! It was a like Rocky Horror Picture Show meets The Sounds of Music meets the eclectic and wildly create Castro District. How would this get any better?

There were many nuns, a woman holding a "moon beam in her hand", lots of dirndls, and one lonely goat"her". We got goody bags when we went in the door. They included:
  • A piece of drapery fabric (so you could shout - "THE DRAPES!! USE THE DRAPES!")
  • A small sprig of fake edelweiss (you know what that's for and you got to use it TWICE!)
  • An invitation to the VonTrapp party so we could all waive it in their air while we joined in the final "goooood niiiiiight"
  • A party popper to pop when Maria and Cpt. smooched for the first time (although this was used by many throughout the film whenever there was sexual tension - - and geeze if there wasn't a plethora of it in the film? Who knew?)
  • A couple o' cards to help up remember the work flibberty gibbet and will o' the wisp.

There was MUCH audience participation. I wish I would have written down some of the stuff that was shouted out - but let's just say most of it went over the kids heads but was ridiculously funny. And, best of all - you could sing! Every word, every part, every song! Not only could you sing - but you were encouraged to sing. Loudly. With Gusto. Even when you were way out of your range! Loved it. I swam around in a big pool of happy singing.

Best thing of all? The words were right there for you to see. A bouncing ball above the words would have been cool, but even the Latin words for the nuns during the first abbey scene were up there. Cool beans. And yet, since I have seen TSOM about...hmmm....as many times as Joan Rivers has had plastic surgery - - my secret goal was to sing all the words without looking at them on the screen -- sort of like going to a foreign language film where you know the language so you don't need to read the subtitles. And, (sniff/nose wipe) if I don't say so myself, I am DAMN proficient in that arena. I exceeded my personal expectations. My weakest moment was the goat herder song - - but beyond the yodeling who really can say they know all the words to that one. The fun is in the yodeling, right?

And guess what? Turns out that there's more of these bad johnnies coming up in the next year: West Side Story, Mama Mia and Hairspray. Me thinks I'm going to be a regular. Next time calls for costumes and cocktails! The hills are alive!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Salzburg or Bust!

In breaking news, today Henry was selected as one of 17 middle schoolers who now comprise the San Francisco School's music ensemble that will head to Salzburg in July 2011 to participate in the international symposium celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Orff Institute.

He is OVER THE MOON with excitement. He squealed like a little girl and jumped up and down when he heard the news. So very Henry. This is something that he really wanted to be involved in and it's a chance for him to showcase what he loves. Good on him!

Congrats to Henry. Our budding international musician!! Way to go big guy.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A little Glitter...

What is it about Thanksgiving that makes you want to emulate Martha Stewart without a single ounce of regret or embarrassment? I dunno. But, damn, we sure did our best this year.

We headed down to Phoenix to spend some quality time with my sisters and cousins - an event that, if history tells, will repeat itself some time in 2030. We're a scattered group - - us Wood girls - - so this year was serendipitous in that, due to some last minute flight arrangements by one, we got to spend the holiday together. And, with Aunt Deb as our "hostess with the most-ess" - we had oodles of "martha-ing" to do.

We glittered the requisite gourds and dried ears of corn. Which, I might add, would NOT have been done at my house (temporary living or no) since I have a real 'thing' about glitter and it's insidious ability to find it's way in to various nooks and crannies and appears decades after the craft event, usually in your food. I don't know how. It just does. So, kudos to Deb for allowing this to happen. She, not surprisingly, was vacuuming some of it up on Sunday morning after T-day. She will find more - - perhaps when we reunite in 2030 - - I guaran-damn-t-it.

We used the glittered fall fruit to make stunning center pieces with more husks, leaves gathered from Washington DC (thanks Shannon) and sparkly ribbon. They were, if we don't say so ourselves - gosh dern nearly perfect.

We stamped and stickered and bow-tied some place cards. I got to write the names. I have oddly good penmanship - the result of a BS in Education from Wittenberg University. Thankfully, I got to use it for something since, clearly, I didn't use it for teaching.

We made napkins in to cute wee little rosebuds (a skill I learned from a sweet cambodian girl last time I visited there - a tres nifty skill to have and super easy, hence why I remembered how to do it) and folded napkins to look like leaves (a skill we learned from the internet while we were looking for another shape to beautify our table).

We made cool leaf cut-outs out of pastry for the top of our delicious apple pie. Thank you Williams and Sonoma for your dandy little leaf cut-out things. You're the tops.

And after all of that - we had our table. Martha probably would have made lovely little hand crafted and stenciled chair covers so that everything was perfectly uniform - but we like the eclectic look - - plus, we didn't have time to cover furniture. There's really only so much you can do in 12 hours....

We're good - we three sisters...... Yup, we can martha a thanksgiving table with the best of 'em. Or we can at least do what our big sister tells us to.... same diff.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Not a Hater

Dear Darling Bristol,

Tonight on DWTS you said that there were a lot of "haters" out there and you were going to prove them wrong by winning this whole dang kit and kaboodle. Good on you - - but....

If by "haters" you refer to those who want to sit down and watch a DANCE show where people actually move gracefully across the floor - - then color me a "hater."

If by "haters" you refer to those who want to actually escape in to a friggin DANCE show without it becoming an extension of the current fucked-up political scene - - yup, "hater."

If by "hater" you refer to your "supporters" who support you simply because your Mom's website says that's what they say they should do without giving a rats rear end about whether you not you could do a passable Paso Doble - - ummmm - I'll put my hand up for "hater" on that account as well.

If by "haters" you refer those who think that dancing actually requires a modicum of rhythm, musicality and the ability to, oh I don't know, remember the steps - - yup, again, that'd be me.

But darlin' I don't hate you. You're as cute as a chubby little button. You can toddle off and be the best dang undefined "teen activist" ever in the whole darn history of people who are being activists for unknown and unmentioned causes. You just ain't no dancer.... nope. No hoofer at all.

Hugs and Kisses,

Sick of politics invading my escapist dance show

CMR Update: Moving Along November

Between great grand rain storms that rocked the Bay area this weekend (and brought some normally rare thunder and lightning) - we headed over the homestead to check out the weekly progress.

See the blue skies? Perfect timing to make the visit - rain didn't hold off for too much longer... See the pretty house still under construction?

See nifty front stairs being formed? Hopefully, the rain will hold off for the rest of the week and then we will have stairs, and a porch, and a less dangerous way to enter the house. Except that the front door still doesn't open thanks to that pesky "house leveling" thing that happened a couple o'months ago, but they're going to take the whole thing out to water proof under it and they say it should work dandily after that.

See the rain that got in the house since it's not exactly water tight these days? Windows are necessary to keeping rain out I believe. We ain't got those yet. But the good news from this photo? Water is pooling, not running. Nice level floors!!!

See the tons of red tubing that will keep our feet warm all year long? They are almost done running the radiant heat for the upstairs. They need to secure it to those dummy boards they have installed and then... heat!

See George The Elder climbing up through the hidey hole between Henry's room and the upstairs closet? Our old "entry way" of shimmying up between the floor joists in to the Kitchen is no longer an option. They went and put a ceiling in there. Damn them.

See the long to-do list? See how I am smiling that they have a to-do list? See how I am frowning because of the small number of check marks on said to-do list?

See the cool box from Duravit that contains the sink for the new bath downstairs? This means that things are starting to arrive. At our house we now have a few boxes full of lighting fixtures and many many door knobs.

See the very flat very cool new roof above the kitchen and the stairs? Almost finished - but it did keep the rain out over the weekend. Nice job for a roof!

See the name Jensen 1949? This is the original builders name that they got off on old permit inside the garage. They wrote in on this beam...

Right next to it they wrote John Muldoone who is one of our builders and the date 2010. This is all going to get dry walled in - but imagine how cool it will be 50 years from now when someone opens the ceiling back up. A little hidden history...

See the cool "permission to build" permit from February 1949? We're going over to steam these off the wall next week. We want to frame them and put them on the outside of the dry wall.

So, this week - lots more stuff going on. I am hopeful that the to-list will have more checks and we will get closer to move in. GC Paul waffled on giving me the move in date during our meeting last Wednesday (still waiting to hear the expected delivery date of doors and windows) - but we're hoping to hear this week. Original move in date was set for January 17. Given today's date that would mean only about 45 more days (ish). I'm no dummy - I know it's going to be later than that - still - it's nice to dream!

Monday, November 15, 2010

CMR Update: Floors and Mores

After the brief period of confusion and decision making that held us up from getting the floors poured - we are now "cooking with gas". And there's lots activity over at the old homestead. Much to George the Elder's delight we witnessed some activity there on a SATURDAY - which warmed the cockles of his heart. Technically, we're not supposed to work on Saturday's according to our HOA - so I believe that what partly gave him a little thrill was knowing that we were rising up against "the man." George the Elder is no fan of Home Owners Associations. Go figure.

So, after the concrete had set a couple of days, the crew came back in to cut the joints. Concrete basically cracks when drying - so to minimize that - - joints are cut in a pleasing geometric pattern that has to do with where the walls meet the concrete and reasonably large sections in between. Weirdly, I loved that it now looked more like a floor thanks to the cuts.

They still had the skylight hole open to help accelerate that drying process. I get a little tingle when I start to see what the space is really going to look like with those giant skylights opening everything up. Wheee!

The cuts in George the Younger's room:

Then, a couple o' days later came the grinders. They ground and they ground until the aggregate was exposed and the floor was smooth to the touch. The next day was spend with a polisher and some sealant to achieve the glossier finish we were looking for. Since we couldn't walk on the floors, and the skylights were now covered up again - our first view of the floor was very primitive - by matchlight. We quickly made a trip back home and get a couple of flashlights....

Still, even with the flashlights, it was hard to get a good shot. What we did see - we loved!!

This is a close-up of the exposed aggregate. Now, the floors are drying and the colors are quite muddled. It will be several weeks before they achieve their final color which should be a nice light grey.

Now that the floors are walkable, we still can't get good photos of them since they are now covered in saw dust and other construction detritus. This past week was spend working on:
Installing the upstairs radiant heat tubes. I was over there on Thursday and they were drilling holes through both the steel beams and the floor joists to run the tubing through. Crazy loud....

The windows in the boys rooms are now more fully framed and waiting for the windows to go in them. I have a meeting with GC Paul and Architects John and Geoff to find out when the windows will arrive. But they have a place to go now. Same with the exterior doors to the atrium. All framed and ready to go.

The original windows in the upstairs living room we will be keeping - but one of them was cracked (me) and one of them was broken (Foreman Luke) and they were both replaced this past week. So, two new window panes in vintage casement windows. Yeah!

The roof line over the kitchen and the new stairs to the lower level was also on the agenda this week. I am not tall enough to see what's really going on there - but I trust that whatever it is will manage to do the job of keeping the rain out when it is finished. They also took the old brick off the exterior window sill in the atrium. We're going to replace it with the same Lava stone that will be on the floor.

The atrium floor also got stage II of it's water-proofing system and is getting ready for the pedestal thingamajiggy that will hold the stone above the floor and allow the water to drain. It's like a very large bathtub of sorts. It's ultimate niftiness is that the floor will be a solid surface with no visible drains. Too cool for school.

And here's George the Elder reading through the "daily work log" of Foreman Luke. He's a taskmaster - wants to make sure they're working like dogs.

And finally, as if we didn't use enough concrete to make the lower level - we're getting ready to put in the new front steps and porch. The step configuration is a little different than what was there before - so they had much jack-hammering to do. This was going on the same time they were drilling through the steel the other day. I appreciate and am infinitely grateful that I have very patient neighbors!

This coming week the focus will be on lots more interior stuff. "They" tell me that this next part seems to go very quickly. I won't be holding my breath on that. I measure time in increments of trips to the Laundromat. I have been many times - and will need go at least 8 more times - - if we are on schedule. I have a sneaky suspicion that we will not be done by mid-January - - and so I will continue to faithfully collect quarters until I know for certain otherwise.