Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Emmys 2010

5:00 Sunday afternoon I hand over the dinner preparations to George the Elder and I settle down on the couch to watch the 2010 Emmy Awards. I was initially unsuccessful. Henry was already watching Men Who Stare At Goats (is he the only one in the English Speaking world that thought this movie was funny?). He wasn't willing to give up the set. I wasn't willing to put my life on the line for it. He finished watching, I recorded the show.

At 6:00 I successfully waded through the 17 button pushes sequence to get to my DVR recording of the Emmys. I was disappointed to realize that I inadvertently missed the first 4 minutes of the opening sequence while engaged in my minor tug of war with Henry. Alas. It repeats at 8:00 here on the West Coast, so I started a second recording. Rumor had it there was a funny bit with Betty White right at the very beginning and who, I mean who, doesn't like Betty White?

My observations...
  • Worst dress EVER goes to January Jones. Damn girl. You looked like a crack head barbie stuffed in a blue shiny bell. The hair? You just get outta bed? You don't own a brush - or a comb - or a scrunchie? Or, for that matter, some lipstick? Biggest problem with the bell dress is what to do (or not) with your legs. When you were presenting you took the comfort stand - feel shoulder width apart. This only served to further solidify the whole barbie comparison. You know how Barbie can't put her legs together thanks to the plastic u-shaped who-who area and the rotating hip sockets? And then when MM won for best series you went all legs akimbo and kept crossing them and un-crossing them. Fiddle. Fiddle. Bad choice all around.
  • Funniest acceptance speech goes to Steve Levitan from Modern Family. First, the whole spoof on the Old Spice horse guy (snort snort, ha ha). And then the final line of his speech when he thanked his wife, "without whom we would probably be dating around a lot. I mean we just won an emmy - that's a pretty good opening line."
  • Twitter introduction idea. Lose it. Wasn't funny. In the least. Not once.
  • Love the Big Bang. Am so glad that Jim Parsons won. My boys think that show is hilarious. They liked seeing someone they know win. Most of the other shows - they can't watch yet. Plus, Henry relates to Sheldon.
  • Worst Hair (besides JJones) goes to Kyra Sedgewick. It looked like she put her hair in braids the day before, swam many many laps in an over chlorinated pool and then went to bed with her hair wet. During her sleep her braid became undone. She left it just as it was. Why mess with mess?
  • A note to Emily Gerson Saines (the exec producer for Temple Grandin). I feel horrid that you will forever watch your triumphant walk to the stage and your humble acceptance speech knowing that the entire viewing audience was more gob smacked by the site of your sagging breasts than you ever intended. Or at least I assume you didn't intend it. If you did - you're mean. or weird. It was scary. and sad. and most likely what my own breasts would look like in that untethered state. Two words. Two-sided tape. Another two words: better seamstress. Another two words. Get straps.
  • Ricky Gervais. You are just plain old funny. Mocking Mel at the Emmys? Brilliant.
  • Claire Daines. Right on the money in all ways. Pretty hair, pretty dress, pretty classy. And, we LOVED the movie Temple Grandin so all was right with the world (although the real Temple Grandin nearly squished Emily Gerson Saines to death during her acceptance speech- it was a nice reprieve from seeing her droopy hooters).
  • George Clooney. Great that he got the Bob Hope Award. Next time he should practice his speech more. Extemporaneous speeches? Not his strong point.
  • And finally, after recording #2 I got to see the whole opening sequence. Cute. But, I'm a Gleek - so it's not surprising. It could have only been improved by getting more unexpected glee club participants like Jack Bauer or Dexter. John Lithgow shaking his booty with Glenn Close? Now that'd be a treat.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Happy New Year!

People can be separated in to two neat and distinct bunches. Those who believe that the year begins in January replete with champagne, schmaltzy songs and funny hats. The unifying characteristic of this sect? Members of this clan do NOT not have children.

People WITH children know that the year technically and officially begins on the first day of school. For those associated with this faction, New Years Eve is merely a celebration signifying the children's RETURN to school after a seemingly endless Winter Break. And while I'm thinking about it - isn't Labor Day also an opportunity to drink beer and sangria while corresponding nicely with the start of the year? Coincidence? Me thinks not. The folks in charge of when labor day was scheduled obviously had children. (or just needed a way to figure out when to stop wearing white shoes - but I'm gonna stick with the school/alcohol connection).

In preparation for the beginning of my year....
  • Binders and school supplies labeled and tucked in backpacks
  • Pencil cases filled with newly sharpened #2s and various colored markers
  • School shopping done
  • Lunch boxes purchased
  • Spanish levels decided
  • One advisor letter received.
  • One advisor letter outstanding
  • 8th grade pre-school potluck deviled eggs made and devoured at said potluck
We're 24 hours and counting until the Wisniewski boys are both in MIDDLE SCHOOL! Holy Rapid Aging Batman!! Did we just confirm two Wisniewski boys in Middle School. Why yes we did. Dang Daddy.

The prodigal daughter arrives tomorrow to help ring in the new school year and to celebrate THE Birthdays. Yes. It's celebration city in our house. Not only do we ring in the New Year - we also get the opportunity to celebrate BIRTHDAYS. Simultaneous, synchronised, concurring boy birthdays.

For those who don't know - my two sons share a birthday. Two different countries of origin, two different sets of birth parents, two entirely different adoption agencies - - same damned birthday precisely two years apart. Wow you think! Right? How cool. What are the odds?? What fun!!! Well, yes. And, no.

The date is September 2nd. They aren't twins so you can't celebrate like they're a set. It would be real jippy if we did that - so we don't. We're not jippy parents. Usually. (I did fix George's backpack today with a whole lotta duct tape, but I just consider that frugal and prudent. Jippy would be having him carry his stuff to school in a target bag while refusing to buy him a new backpack. I think the duct tape looks cool.)

Our non-jippy-ness means we begin our year with a two day birthday marathon. Boy #1 gets birthday dinner on actual birthday with his choice of birthday dessert. Boy #2 gets his choice on the second day. All presents are opened on day ONE. You reasonably can only make them wait for food. Gift delay. Not a viable option. They would riot.

Henry goes first this year - - we're gearing up for Indian Food (I LOVE this kid) and Banana Cream Pie (I LOVE this kid)!. George the Younger follows on birthday-palooza day 2 where he has requested pasta with white sauce/prosciutto with a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake from Baskin and Robbins. I love him too. I especially like the "icing" that they use on Baskin and Robbins cakes. It's made of some melt-resistant material (plastic?) - which is a little creepy - but since I am also partial to downing the occasional Ho-Ho - I can not deny my fascination with synthetic sweetness. Day three will consist of main lining Tums.

All of this follows the first day of school on Wednesday. George the Younger = Excited in that too-cool-for-school-14-year-old-way-meaning-he-says-he-hates-school-but-already-has-his-clothes-picked-out kind of way. Henry = Excited/Anxious in that of-course-I'm-not-nervous-to-start-middle-school-and-that's-why-I-can't-look-you-in-the-eye-when-I-say-I'm-not-nervous kind of way.

So, here's to a big week. First days of school. Boys turning 12 and 14 and Shannon coming to visit for a week. All good. All damn good. Happy NEW YEAR!!!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Seats!

For those of you that know George the Elder and I - and have known us from the beginning of our relationship - you know that we struggled mightily early on with merging our respective decorating genres. I leaned towards wingbacks and chintz. He leaned towards garbage bags and duct tape. It was misery. Sheer unadulterated misery.

Then one day, we saw a table in a deco store in Alexandria VA. We both turned, pointed and said simultaneously, "I love that table!" And the journey began. We couldn't afford that table when we saw it. Freddie Mac didn't pay us much in them there olden days. But we started collecting other pieces and little by little, year by year, we've gotten ourselves a buncha stuff by this guy named Warren McArthur. It's a kind of anodized aluminum glorified lawn furniture kind of theme. He designed his furniture in the 30's and 40's - kind of a machine age moderne if you will. (For the curious sort...if you click on the little chair at the top you can go to a site that shows you a smattering of McArthur stuff - so you can get an idea.)

There are a couple of dealer folks that find McArthur stuff on a regular basis. We keep track of them. And, there are two modern auctions every year - one in Chicago, one in New York. Basically, we keep our eyes peeled for what's coming up. It's fun when you find it. It's even better when you get it "on the cheap." Doesn't happen often, but when it does - wunderbar!

The challenge is that when you get the pieces, the upholstery is what the upholstery is. Sometimes it's original. Sometimes it's not. Always it doesn't coordinate with what you already have. We have a beautiful chaise lounge upholstered in early Fred Flinstone fuzzy gold. But, we haven't spent much time getting it redone (with the exception of a couch or two here and there). We've been waiting. For what, I didn't know - - and then came the CMR and I guess we were waiting for that!

Our dining room chairs were one of those things that when we got them they had the original pleather covering. It was kind of a greenish-blue-ish color. The seats were old and worn, but we didn't do anything about it. Even when Henry busted through his seat two years ago, we didn't do anything about it 'cept to run out to grab a piece of semi-coordinating pleather and attack the chair with a staple gun. This summer - - well it was time to do something about it. And...

Tada!! I am in LOVE. I could kiss them I love them so much.

We love red. Real red. Real RAL 3000 kind of red. We've used it for stuff in the past. But red can be tricky. It's hard to match. It's hard to be double dare sure. When we looked at the pleather/naugahyde books the samples come in these baby-pinky-finger swatches. We "thought" we had it right. I sweated it out until the chairs came back and Saints Be Praised! It's the right red. I have done it wrong in the past. It wasn't without precidence. You think the red is right and then you realize it matches the rest of your stuff like the red lipstick on Jack Nicholson's Joker Face. Just plain SCARY.

But this time. I am in love. With a set of chairs. And I'm not even embarassed to admit it. They look mediocre in our temporary apartment - but in the words of Tony the Tiger - they're gonna be ggrrrrrrrrrEAT - in the CMR when it is done. GRRRRREAT!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

CMR: Before

Was thinking that I wanted to post up some "before" photos now that the beams are gone and to remind myself how much I like the upstairs of the house given that we've had no access to it for the past many weeks. I peeked in the windows yesterday and it is DIRTY! Everything is covered with a whole lotta construction dust. But, in just a few months, it will be spic and span again. I hope.

This is the whole of the space that was on the lower level. Amazing what you find when you take out a few load bearing walls and bring in a back hoe!!

Upstairs hallway gazing on the now demolished interior courtyard.

Interior courtyard with beautiful view of the cinder block "planter" Why cinder block? Got me.

Dining room.

Living Room

Can't wait to get back in and do my thing! Five months and counting!

Monday, August 23, 2010

CMR Update August 22: The House has Landed

Look kids, no hands - I mean no beams!! In the middle of last week I got an exciting text from GC Paul that just said, "The house has landed." So I scurried over there later in the day and WOW! All the beams thrust through the house had been magically taken away and...well our CMR is sitting on it's own brandy-new foundation. Cool beans!

All the exterior pits of despair have now been filled in and we didn't catch one errant nosey kid. Disappointing. But, they're filled up with water-proofing, gravel, PVC drainage pipes and nice clean fill dirt. GC Paul says we should be as dry as a dessert down there in the new lower level. I guess we need a nice big rain storm to see the proof in that particular pudding. But it looks good, even without a front porch.

The crew is now rocking on the interior framing and we got some new walls this week. And, although I forgot to take a photo of it specifically, we got a part of a moment frame. If you look to the left side of the photo you can see a piece of steel amongst all the wood. That, my friends is $10k worth of steel. Pretty unassuming. For that price I want it to sing old Steel Songs from the mill days and do my yard work.

George the Elder and Henry stand in the new doorway to the laundry room.

A view from Henry's room in to the rumpus room where George the Younger basks in the sun gazing at the pool room.

View from George the Youngers room to the now nearly complete framing of the west wall of the pool room.

This is a big pit that is in the rumpus room adjacent to the pool room wall. I'm not entirely sure what the purpose of this large void is, but I suspect it has something to do with waterproofing of the lowest point of the excavation. We had a little trouble trying to get the floor level and the drain level working together. There was a few days were the words "sump pump" were mentioned to our unabashed horror. Thanks to some creative work by soils engineers, GC Paul and some other guys, we no longer need a sump pump. I really do still love our team.

And our final photo today is a view of the two George's attacking the holly tree in the front yard. Got a letter earlier in the week from our draconian HOA about how our holly tree was encroaching the sidewalk and needed to be trimmed back. My first response was to write a pithy note back saying two things - 1) that holly tree would encroach ONLY the forward progress of Andre the Giant and 2) I will trim my holly tree the very moment that they came and dealt with our section of parkway (the landscaping between the sidewalk and the street that belongs to the HOA) so that it didn't look like the median strip somewhere on a deserted highway. I reconsidered this and just trimmed the tree. I have sneaking suspicion that this is not the time to use up and chits or good will with the HOA. I got more more approvals in my future and need them as "friends".

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

We picked the boys up from the airport last Saturday night from camp. Henry arrived with a cough. He presented his germs to me in a format that my body didn't care for. I ended up with the flu. Generous boy. We send him away to sun and fun for 5 weeks. He returns the favor by bringing home the plague.

It's been five days and I still feel like hammered shit. Luckily, the boys have not wanted to do much except drown themselves in all things electronic. I have not wanted to do much except drown myself period.

I did manage to get out to shop for school supplies - a mistake - - since I was in no mood to discuss the finer attributes of one type of 3 ring binder versus another. But, I needed to get them out of the house for a bit. Their eyes were glassy from playing endless hours of Call of Duty and checking Facebook. I was afraid if I left them to their own devices they would blind themselves.

This too shall pass - but it's been a heck of a week. And while I'm not sure exactly what I've got, I am a little disappointed that among various symptoms of cough, fever, aches and pains - this particular disease did not include loss of appetite. In my book, it's only fair that if you're going to get ill you should at least get the accompanying benefit of shedding five pounds. Nope. I'm still craving peanut m&ms while simultaneously not wanting to get up off the couch. Dang.

Monday, August 16, 2010

CMR Update 08/15: We've been framed

Sunday dawned gray, cold and, gray and cold. Standard stuff for this summer. The boys got home from camp the night before, so we dragged them kicking and screaming away from electronics and blankets to head over to the Cool Mid-century Remodel (CMR).

While they were "not pleased" to be wrenched from their computer screens, updates of facebook and Call of Duty - them there boys acted just like boys when they hit the inner sanctum of the construction site. Nails to pick up, planks to walk and bounce on, dirt to throw. Ah. Boys.

This week it looks like the biggest change is that we now have framing around the pool room. The concrete was nice to give a sense of where rooms were - and yet, the addition of the framing makes it even more obvious. George the Elder and I were lamenting how nice it would be down there if we were able to leave the whole place open to the sky like it is now. So bright! And so cold and so wet. Not a good idea. The skylights are going to have to do. The windows in the boys' rooms will also bring in much needed sun light.

The view of the "pool" room from George the Youngers room.

View from inside the pool room

A rare photo of me inside my laundry room. Not that being inside the laundry is rare for me - I spend a considerable amount of time doing laundry - but the whole photo of me is rare. I am the family photographer. I like it behind the lens. I worry less about wearing lipstick.

It's a regular family week - a view of George the Younger in his soon to be room doing what he will soon to be doing in there when there are actually walls, windows and a floor. Texting.

Henry stands in front of his "window" looking through the bathroom....

A little comic "relief" so to speak. H takes an imaginary dump where the future crapper will be located.

And last, the boys give the big thumbs up for changes while they've been away at camp.

On the agenda this week is more framing, some more concrete and decisions about the atrium roof. Trench drain? Regular drain? Lava rock in sand? Lava rock on pedestal? It boggles the mind. Plus, we continue to wrestle with the transition between Phase I (The lower level) and Phase 2 and 3 - mostly with Phase 3: Landscaping. Just when you think you've thought it through, you find out that you need to notch out some concrete. Notch away.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Whatcha bin doin?

As most of my 10 readers know - I have been without my young boys now for 33 days. They will be home on Saturday. Yes, George the Elder hung around. The youngers will arrive back in SF on Saturday night, closer to Sunday morning. Camp comes to an end. For both parties.

When they left in mid-July I had a crisis of intention. With the lack of full time employment, no intercontinental move to coordinate and no other large projects to occupy my mind, hands or time - what WAS I going to do? What WAS I going to fill up my days doing? Ah - well, here we are 33 days later and - geeze - - what the hell did I do? You got me.

Yet, somehow the days passed, I did not spend most (or any) of them with my keester glued to the couch eating bon-bons - but I did have that on my "list 'o things to do" - just never got around to it. I, obviously, did not find much time to update my blog with uncanny witticisms. So, what. did. I. do?

I did scrapbook. Much to George the Elder's dismay (or at least his wallet's). I have completed a total of 25 pages. Covered all birthdays and birthday parties from 2001 through 2009 and several other marked occasions. I also now own 1,237 different colors of card stock, 3 books of misc. patterned paper, an expandable folder full of bits and bobs, a new 12x12 cutting mat (from martha steward no frickin less), new exacto knives, a nifty see-through centering ruler and 37 new kinds of sticky alphabets. George the Elder decided last night that were our temporary apartment to catch on fire - the ONLY thing that we needed to save was the scrapbook and the scrapbook crap. The 60" plasma? Fuggetaboutit. Insurance would cover that bad Johnny. Insurance on 323 different embellishments and chipboard bits? Not so much.

I did plan for all things "house" after remodel. I created a spreadsheet. I made columns and rows and estimated costs. I went room by room to try to think of the kind of jake we are going to want to spend on embellishments of a different kind come January. You know - necessary things like blinds for the boys' new rooms - - and unnecessary things - - like wouldn't it be fabulous if we could recover every single piece of furniture that we own to achieve the ultimate in cool 1940-1960 deco/midcentury splendor? Oh and buy a few more pieces to make it deliciously perfect! Just the magazines! Just like my imagination!!!

After reviewing said spreadsheet, taking in to consideration the completion of Phase I (the lower level currently under construction), Phase II (the kitchen - estimated completion 2015), Phase III (the landscaping - planned for mid-century 2050) - - well my imagination is gonna be waiting a good. damn. long. time. The boys' are just gonna hafta learn to sleep with the light streaming in to their eyes. They'll both be teenagers. Teenagers don't actually need darkness to sleep do they? I'm also thinking of taking an upholstery class.

But, the good news? I have the spreadsheet. This way I cannot possibly forget all the things I want to do and all the cashola it would take to do it. And given that information all the things are likely NOT to get done, but I will be unable to forget about it because it's all on an organized electronic document. A conundrum, yes??

And, I have continued to update and augment the "Find George The Younger a High School" expandable folder and calendar. We are making progress. I received the "SSAT Study Guide and Handbook" in the mail yesterday. I got this for George the Younger to bone up on his test taking skills. You know - what's the best methodology for coloring in all those pesky little sideways ovals with your #2 pencil? I cracked open the tome of knowledge last night while catching up on Madmen.

Should I be embarrassed that I felt compelled to try my hand at a couple of the practice tests? I did a few questions in my head, checked the answers and came to a sobering conclusion. Should I be taking the test right now (for real) for admissions in to high school, I might want to seriously consider an alternative school? One with a short bus. One where the ability to correctly analyze analogies or do simple geometry equations are not required to obtain life skills such as dog groomer or taco maker.

Yup, the boys arrive home on Saturday. I don't have much to show for their absence - but isn't that the way it goes? Last two weeks of August we gird our loins and head in to the school year. Printed out the school supply lists (yes, another time consuming activity) and are ready to go buy all manner of notebooks and pens and markers to replace the myriad of notebooks, pens and markers that we buy every year. Doing our best to support Staples.

And with that, I am off to spend the last couple of days cramming all the things in to them that I should have been doing while they were away. Or not. Do you think I have time to create 4 shutterfly books of various trips taken in the past 10 years. I have coupons. 50% off!!! Ah... maybe not. I've got books to read and bon-bons to eat. That was on my list after all...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CMR Update August 8 - We got Rhombus

The pouring of concrete two weeks ago was dramatic. Visually (for us at least) is was the first real indication that we were going to have a bottom level. With rooms. And a floor. Oh, and some stairs. Exciting. This past week, well - it wasn't so dramatic. Although my GC says lots of stuff is going on. You just can't "see" it.

What you can see - - or specifically what my GC could see - - is that our nifty little mid-century modern house is not technically a square. Maybe it never was a square. Now - and forever in the future- - it is a Rhombus. See above photo of cool upstairs hallway (this is a before picture, since you can clearly see the atrium floor which is now air). According to Paul (the GC) this hallway narrows from where this shot was taken to the end of the hall. And here we thought it was just the perspective of the photo. It narrows by about 3 inches. Say what?

Now 3 inches isn't a great deal of yardage, unless we're talking about a chunk of plastique explosives or the size of a man's johnson - and - - apparently - - where construction is concerned. Who knew? So, we need to decide whether we wanted to make the new lower level square - so we would have a rhombus sitting on a square - - or just to make the lower level a rhombus too. We decided on homogeneous shapes up and down. If you've got a Rhombus, you should stick with a Rhombus. My GC said not to tell anyone. Ooops. Cat's out of the bag. If you come to stay with us in the future, know that you will be staying in an un-square house.

And on to the weekly photos...

Current exterior view of the front corner. I am sure our neighbors are so pleased. The house behind us is for sale. They've gotta be pissed.

We got exterior waterproofing, gravel, drainage pipes and some fill dirt. Soon the giant pit surrounding the front of the house will no longer be a tragedy waiting to happen.

Somebody left the ladder right in front of the "entry" to the upstairs, and left the door open. George the Elder is a boy. He had to climb the ladder to shut the door. Am thinking that since George the Elder is entirely unable to shut most doors in his own home once he opens them (kitchen cabinets included) I should just go buy several ladders and place them strategically through out the home. If climbing a ladder is all it takes. Color me in.

The lower level looks a bit like the pleasure garden of the Marquis De Sade. Unbearable pain or suffering anyone?? We got chains. We got spikes, we got pits of despair. Fun for the whole sadistic loving family.

And, the most important thing this week... We got a new beam. This beam will hold up the floor of the living room above it. It will not come crashing down in to G3's new bedroom below it. I believe that this will be helpful. I was told there used to be a wooden post that helped to hold up the living room floor when there was only crawl space below it. I wouldn't know that since it was in the crawl space. I don't do crawl spaces. Spiders live there. I let them live there alone. But, GC Paul says there used to be a post there and he hasn't lied to me yet.

And a final note - - George the Elder and I went on a little reconnoiter on Saturday down to the Noe Valley Whole Foods store. No, we weren't food shopping - - although we did grab a couple of nice rib eyes and a great bottle of red for later - we were concrete floor shopping. Whole Foods has a really nice polished concrete floor with some eye-catching aggregate exposure. Bet you never knew. I didn't. It's an awfully "pretty" floor - but we have our hearts set on trying to achieve the magnum opus of "High School Hallway Speckle" as opposed to "Grocery Store Floor Chic Chunk." The bulk of the floors in the lower lever will be finished concrete (decidedly Eichler, classic mid-century). The exception will be the bath - - tile, of course. And the laundry room where we will use Marmoleum in a quintessential 1950's green/black/white pattern.

Yes, we will end up with a giant shiny concrete rhombus garnished with marmoleum. Can't wait. Five months and counting.....

Thursday, August 5, 2010

High School Blues

Yesterday I went out to Office Max/Depot/Staples to purchase my go-to organizational tool for all projects that require simultaneous tracking of numerous variables, the collection of various important pieces of paper and that greatly enhances ones ability to make a final informed decision based on the collection and organization of these aforementioned articles.

The ideal tool, you might ask? Well, the mighty plastic envelope folder with the 12 sectioned interior complete with colored tabs and elastic sealing loop.

Why do you need this superior tool, you might ask? Well, yesterday was my own official kick-off day of the "Find-George-the-Younger-A-High-School" project.

This project could also be entitled "need-to-find-the-kid-a-high-school-since-the-schools-in-san-francisco-only-go-to-8th-grade-and-then-you-have-to-find-the-right-school-for-them-even-if-it's-public-cause-the-idiots-that-manage-the-SF-public-schools-thought-it-best-that-ALL-students-apply-to-public-schools-by-lottery-and-since-that-doesn't--work-out-for-any-of-the-students-odds-are-we'll-be-paying-tuition-for-a-private-school-that-is-tough-to-get-into-and-require-some-serious-planning-and-whatnot" project. But, that's a little wordy don't you think?

So, yes, as George the Younger enjoys his last days as a camper in the wilds of New England - I have been making various strides in the high school search 2010. I have registered him for open houses, shadow visits and scholastic aptitude tests. I have written letters and filled out applications to ensure that he gets additional time on those aptitude tests. I have started filling in the calendar with the dates of independent school fairs, alumni nights at his current school and public school fairs. And, I have labeled 9 of the possible 12 tabbed sections in my handy-dandy super organization plastic folder.

For those not here in the Bay Area, there's something you need to know. There is no such thing as a "neighborhood" public school. Every child from those entering kindergarten to those entering middle school to those entering high school needs to APPLY for the priviledge of attending public school. And statistically you have about a 1 in 40 chance of getting in the school of your choice. Those odds are give or take - depending upon the specific school. I spent a good chunk of time yesterday on the SF Unified School District's web site looking at high school options. For George the Younger there are really only 2 viable options. He doesn't have a holy hope in hell of getting in to either of them. Drat.

The remainder of the day I spent muttering to myself - sometimes even audibly to others around me. Mutter, mutter - who in tarnation thought this was a workable system - grumble, grumble - why are the very people who pay the highest taxes in SF the very people who have the least likely chance of getting in to their school of choice - mutter, grumble - the ranking criteria is RACE blind, but it is sure as heck isn't socio-economic blind since the first 5 criteria for who gets top priority has to do with socio-economics -- bitch, moan, grumble - - and since there is no neighborhood school, there is no neighborhood pride or community feeling - - mumble, groan..... And so it went all through the day. My republican-ness was clearly rearing its ugly head. (And obviously that head is still with me the following day- but I won't dwell. It is what it is and we will deal with it.)

What I do know is this. At the end of the day, George the Younger will go to High School. I don't know where - but I know that he will go. How do I know this? Because I am now the proud owner of the 12 sectioned plastic folder and good things come to those that are organized - -or at least expected things come to those that are organized. We will gather, we will assess and we will know the odds. We will look at independent, we will look at parochial, we will look at all the options. We will use the folder to all of it's organizational capabilities.

More importantly - the folder is BLUE. Blue symbolizes wisdom, confidence, intelligence and faith. It is also strongly associated with calm and tranquility. Did I know this before I bought the folder yesterday? Nope. But a few clicks on the internet and you can acquire oodles of information about the meaning of color. And, in the face of projects such as this color analysis can't hurt, can it?? Any port in a storm.

Monday, August 2, 2010

CMR Update August 1: Crete isn't just an Island

On Friday July 30th I went over to the house to see this... An enormous red concrete truck.

What I didn't get to see (nor was I interested in seeing it) were the foundation footers being poured earlier that morning. What I wanted to see and what I DID get to see was "He-man Master of the Concrete Spraying Fire Hose" spew tons and tons of high pressure concrete on wooden forms covered with rebar. The concrete comes out with such enormous pressure that he had to have two "spotters" just in case he should lose his balance and go flying around holding on to the end of the high pressure hose spraying concrete all over the CMR where it was not called for in the plans.

Once the maestro was finished with the spray - the two spotters followed up behind with the rough finish work. First, a tall piece of steel is used to trim and level the freshly sprayed globby concrete and the shovel is used to basically take off big blobs of over-spray from the top.

And finally, "trowel guy" smooths the whole thing down to level concrete perfection.

Here's a nice photo showing "trowel guy" smoothing on the upper portion of the new basement and "leveler guy" in the lower portion of the new basement in two different stages.

And what a difference some concrete can make. Boys, we got ourselves a living space going on here!

Here's the foundation wall on Friday morning:

And, taken from a side angle, the same piece of foundation on Sunday morning.

Pool Room with just the wet footings on Friday morning:

Pool room with partial walls and dry footings on Sunday.

And, today I send BIG kudos to my construction guy and architects for thinking outside the box (and our wallets) to come up with a creative solution to a little sub-surface water drainage issue this past week. These guys are the best - and, so far, we really are pleased with the team we've put together. We're having fun, they're having fun, and we're all getting along. No yelling, no screaming, no reason to use power tools inappropriately.
Hope that didn't just jinx everything. Just in case.... I rapped the table - - it's wood and all.