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.

Friday, November 12, 2010

I'm a Winner!!

In recent days, I've been noodling a lot about bars, hooks, knobs. I was on the hunt for something for the new bathroom to add a little "wisniewski" personal touch. Something that would be nifty and fun and had the knack of holding up a wet towel.

See, the new downstairs bathroom is going to be fabulous. But even that fabulousity of brandy-new tiles and floors, and shiny new facets and sinks still needs to be offset by that one thing that makes it "us." Something quirky and unusual. Besides, that bathroom will serve a dual (duel?) purpose. It will likely be the bath that guests use when we entertain callers and... terrifyingly, will also be the one that the boys use on a daily basis. Let's just say I'm a-racking my gray blob about how to make it useful for boys and gives them enough enticement to hang their damn towels up. You know, just in case someone pops in for a visit and needs to use the loo.

I put out the call to my FB friends about ideas for a "too cool for school" towel rack idea. I clearly wasn't illustrative enough about what I meant. Well meaning folks returned with "try restoration hardware" or "crate and barrel." Yup. I know those places. But that wasn't what I was looking for. I want visionary. I want unique. I want something no one else has. I resigned myself to the fact that this was going to have to be a DIY project.

I googled for ideas. Lots of folks seem to think that ladders make exceptional towel bars. So true. Until it falls over on you while you're seated on the toilet. I searched some more. Baskets also seem to be highly recommended to "display" towels, although I hardly think that a damp towel in a nice basket looks any different that a damp towel thrown in the hamper. I looked through blogs of midcentury projects, houses and stuff. I talked to George the Elder. We thought about using some really cool vintage glass insulators. We thought about using barn hooks. We thought about retreating and calling Williams and Sonoma and just "throwing in the towel" ( da-da-dum-dum-dum-cymbal-crash). And then....we hit it. Old porcelain cross-bar sink handles. That's what we want.

But where to find them? E-Bay seemed the likeliest spot. So, I bought my ticket and hopped on the e-bay train. I have never before bought a ticket for this train. I've watched George the Elder ride it. I've skulked around and seen things that I might like to bid on - and then I hand it off to the "trader" of the family and let him finish it out. But this was a first for me.

It's an exciting trip - and it's oh so easy to see why it's addicting for people. You simply find the thing you want. You put down a max bid and then you wait. A couple of days go by and you're still the winner. The teeny-wee time clock keeps ticking away to the end of the auction. It gets nearer, you get smugger. You know that you will prevail. You hop on to the page that displays your object of desire and watch the timer tick down to minutes, then seconds - you ready yourself to raise your arms in a victorious fist bump since you are currently the highest bidder and then.... BLAM!!! All of a sudden you're a BIG FAT LOSER. What the?? Now, you're hooked. Congratulations e-bay. You've snared another one.

I was devastated. I was watching it and watching it. I was prevailing. I was THE BEST. And then I simply wasn't. George the Elder, says I was "sniped." A rookie mistake. I don't know what sniping is or how that rat-fink snuck in in that very last second to gip me outta my prize - but I knew it wasn't going to happen again. I. Like. Winning. Period.

So, I located a new offering of a couple o' pairs of faucet handles (two hot and two cold) and put in a elephant sized maximum bid. I was gonna win these suckers no matter what. It goes without saying that my max bid was more than these little suckers were worth. But I had victory-at-any-cost written all over me. And guess what?? I WON. And I won them for cheap. $7.50!! I was thrilled. I got the handles and I got a bargain. What's not to like? So I tried it again. After all - 4 little wee handles does not a complete towel organizer make.

Second time around - I won AGAIN (of course I still won. I was willing to PAY for my dream of the cunningly dandy and stylish sink faucet towel hooks). These are super peachy ones in great condition and I HAD to HAVE them. One week ago I didn't care a lick about vintage sink faucets. Today I will WITHER and DIE without them. The fickle winds of interior design are blowing mightily here these days and e-bay is fanning the flames with a vengeance.

So, I was winning this morning when I arose (I checked). I was winning when I left to take the boys to school (I snuck a peek again). And then I wasn't. I was on my way home from dropping the boys and "PING!" my phone made that message noise and at the next light I checked my email. I was OUTBID! And I was NOT at home. And the auction was ending in less than 2 HOURS. I was in a panic. What if I didn't make it home in time? What if someone else was going to use those darling little handles to make towel hooks? Damn them. Whoever "they" are. What if there was some kind of traffic jam that would elongate my normal 12 minute commute into 2 hours? (Yeah, I know - they're only faucet handles - but I'm trying to get across that I really really wanted them).

I got home, ran into the house, threw my purse to the chair and fired up the computer. Thankfully I had plenty of time to increase my bid and...Ta Da! Here are handles 5 and 6 to make my dream vintage towel hooks a reality.

And, after a brief tutorial from George the Elder following my first triumphant ebay conquest, I can even manage to pay for my spoils myself on PayPal. I'm a ebay Goddess.

I'm also not going back there of my own volition anytime soon. My desire to win combined with a limitless ability to bid on things that I hadn't known about 2 seconds ago, but now must have or perish - is not a happy marriage.

This afternoon, while gazing lovingly at my first solo purchase, I stumbled across a 1950's music typewriter. It was amazingly - - really it was. You couldn't really make a towel hook out of it, but even George the Elder would have agreed on the extent of its awesome-ness (had he been available for comment or conference). It was a semi-circular typewriter that only had musical symbols on it. You could have used it to "type" out your own Opus for heaven's sake. It would have been fabulous to hang over our piano in the CMR. But even if it had been merely mediocre-cool (which it wasn't) was made it practically irresistible was the ebbing away of bid time on the screen. It makes you feel like you're going to miss out and miss out for good! And nobody wants to miss out. Nobody. There were only 3 hours left in the auction. Even on-line that sense of urgency is created by the ticking clock. Egads.

Luckily, I was able to quickly recognize that this bid might be the first in a long line of purchasing really cool stuff that would end up with me being singularly featured on "The World's Greatest Hoarders: The E-Bay Addition." I let it go.

But, it really truly was so really truly unique. A music typewriter? Why I never. I wonder if I set up my ebay account to notify me if there's ever another one I could get in early and...... See what I mean? You start out just wanting to create a one-of-a-kind towel hook array and the next thing you know you're bidding on vintage hose bibs at 3am. My name is Wendy and I could be an e-bay addict.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Song Lyrics 101

I spend a great deal of time in the car. I spend a great deal of time in the car with two boys who listen to WILD 94.9 or MOViN 99.7. Two radio stations that play all the hits from Rhiana to Ke$ha, and Nelly to Jay Z.

I also spend oodles of time listening to George the Younger's i-pod which is turned on bright and early for shower time (loud enough that he can hear it in the shower and consequently I can hear it in the kitchen) and then subsequently relocated downstairs so that we can enjoy the dulcet tones of eminem while we partake of our Special K. We are also treated to his play list while doing homework and washing dishes. It's a veritable non-stop hip hop parade. I think I am in love with Nelly and I don't even know what he looks like.

But the result of this is that I know the lyrics to, and can reasonably sing, most top 10 songs on the hit parade whose demographic is surely people that are at least 30 years younger than I. It is not unheard of for me to start whistling the melody of Nelly's "Just a Dream" while I am vacuuming. I find this a little disconcerting - but it is what it is.

One of the reasons that I know all the lyrics is that there are currently at least a half a dozen or more songs that they're just not that complex. I have taken note that at some point in the song, the artists frequently use the exact same words. If you know the following two words you should be able to mumble your way through most songs. Your teenager will either find this endearing or creepy. George the Younger kinda likes that I know the words, that way when he is singing the melody I am permitted to jump in with the back-up part. So here's the short list:
  • Shawty
  • Put your hands up

"Shawty" refers to any girl, girl friend, ex-girl friend, future girl friend or drunk girl at a party depending on the song. It is like using "her" or "she" but hella hip. (hella is a little dated now - but it's fun to get it in when I can. George the Younger is only permitted to use hecka - we have our standards you know)

And, should you begin to learn the songs where "put your hands up" is peppered quite liberally (and there are at least a dozen - just google it if you are skeptical) - please use caution when you are driving. When George the Younger and I sing along in the car, we also sometimes seat dance. (just imagine the visual - it's amusing) If I were to put my hands up as many times as I am asked to do this during any 30 minute driving period we would all surely die.

So sing loud and proud - here we go, "Shawty, put your hands up, Shawty!"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Homemade Sushi

In most families when you ask the 12 year old boy, "What do you want to be for Halloween?" the answer is a superhero or a cartoon character or most likely, something gruesome that will scare the little kids with realistic knife wounds or zombie effects.

When you ask my 12 year old boy what he wants to be for Halloween, the answers are not so simple. This year? Sushi.

He wanted to be a food product. I was game. And yet - how does one actually construct a child sized roll of fish and seaweed paper? I spent a morning wandering around our local JoAnne Fabrics getting inspiration. What to use? How to do it?

The result: Foam, seaweedy fabric, wide black ribbon, white plastic garbage bags, some wasabi colored felt and a couple of orangy colored kitchen scrubbers that worked nicely as sake (salmon).

My sewing machine is in deep dark storage, so this had to accomplished using only safety pins and spray adhesive. It was very McGuyver-esq.

George the Younger went as "The muscle." He does have a very Vietnamese mafia look to him, doesn't he? Bought the suit coat at Nordstrom's Rack. Not only is it a great Halloween costume, but it will work nicely for his upcoming 8th grade graduation. Usually it works the other way around - you re-use actual clothes for costumes. We are moving from costume to actual clothes.

Dig that Wasabi hat y'all. I am Martha. I am crafty. I CAN make sushi.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

In to The Wood

On Saturday the Junior League of San Francisco hosted the Elle Design tour of houses in my San Fran hood. Technically I am not currently living in the hood since we are biding our time in a temporary apartment while occasionally visiting the CMR in said hood.

But that didn't stop me from heading over to meet a friend so we could be voyeurs and check out the interiors of houses of people that we kinda know so that we could make interesting design comments (read as snide remarks) about the insides of their houses. It was fun. Seeing the homes and, of course, making snarky comments. (As if the two of us live in houses that would even be remotely considered as candidates for such an event? This knowledge did not discourage us. Nor did affect our ability to be wry, witty and a tad bit rude.)

We walked around and saw a total of 6 homes. Our neighborhood is not that large, but according to the junior league, it was large enough that there were shuttle buses that went between and among the various houses. Total distance between the two furthest homes? About 3 city blocks. What kind of weenies does this home tour attract? 3 damn blocks? Really? Perhaps design folk are inherently lazy? Suffice to say that we walked between them feeling mighty superior to those lazy-bones that were taking the shuttle.

The homes were lovely. They were lovely in the way that staged homes are lovely. All traces of actual living were carefully removed. The homeowners own furniture was partially removed and replaced with - well, designy stuff. They all looked polished. Polished as in the way that a hotel lobby looks polished. Nice. Swell to look at. Clearly not for human living on a daily basis.

In some ways the tour does give you some ideas about interior decoration in your own home. The tile work alone was worth looking at. Still, I would like to go in one super cool interior design that meaningfully accommodates the following and still looks amazing:

  • 13 pairs of dirty tennis shoes in the entry hall
  • Various game boy, nintendo, ipods, cell phone storage strewn artfully about
  • Baseball equipment in the living room
  • Real life crap that must be in your kitchen like, oh I don't know, say food. Or a wet tea towel. Or the school class list.
  • Knick knacks the the average house actually might contain like a shoe shaped ceramic sculpture, macaroni frame or your grandma's cut crystal candy "basket".
  • Art work that does not require the hiring of an armed guard to stand in front of it.
  • The kinds of crap that are on my two boy's dressers: baseball cards, little rubber bracelets, a half bag of jolly rogers left over from camp, and 17 small "gold plated" baseball and basketball trophies. Or a pile of Sports Illustrated that MUST NOT be thrown away under penalty of death.
  • The kinds of crap that are on my own dresser: bad school photos, a bowl full of single earrings that have a pair somewhere (I don't know where, but I am hopeful that it will be rediscovered), seven buttons that belong to seven different pieces of clothing that I will sew back on "one of these days", 4 half bottles of perfume and a half dozen safety pins in various sizes.
  • School crap (back packs, strewn math papers, old tests, half sharpened pencils and the spanish/english dictionary that is rarely used, but must be close at hand.)
  • Office miscellany like rolls of scotch tape, a flashlight and the unpaid, yet not overdue PG&E invoice. Oh, and the coupon for buy one get one free V8 juice.
None of the houses had this stuff. I don't know what they did with it. Maybe they have supernatural powers of storage and organization. I thought my powers were sharply honed, but maybe I am way outta my league? (To be honest, I know that this isn't true. I peeked in a couple of drawers and a closet or two. Guess what? Empty. Me thinks that they have all this stuff in some file boxes locked in the garage, but I'm merely speculating. They just want you to feel bad that your house doesn't look like this all the time. They're mean that way.)

And, for those of you that want to know the most recent article "des decor" that is critical this design year I now know what it is. Last year when I went to the Architecture Institute tour it was the oblong dish with the 4 shiny apples. If you put that bad johnny on your kitchen counter you were in the know.

This year?? One (or several) large ball of twine/rope. And I mean large. Like 2 feet in diameter. It can be rope, sisal, twine or some other natural fiber. But, it must be large. In more than 50% of the houses there were at least 2 of these. You roll them in to the corner and, voila! You can consider yourself hip with 2010 decor. Me? I don't get it. You can't even put something on top of it like the various school papers or even a pair of dirty tennis shoes. It just takes up space and acts as a deterrent to dust balls finding their way there.
At least with the apples you could eat one now and again. Large ball of twine? No identifiable purpose.

I came back home full of ideas - none that would work in my CMR - but still the thought of having a living room with a light fixture the size of a mastodon (and oddly looking like one), a chair made of knotted twine (a theme, perhaps?), seven area rugs laid artfully overlapping (trip hazard) and topped off with some modern art that would scare the children was sort of fascinating.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

CMR Update; More Crete FINALLY

It's been a while since I've posted an update on the Cool Mid-Century Remodel (CMR). The reason? We've been mired in the what-to-do-about-the-floor concrete issue. And FINALLY we have closure. Finally we made the decision what to do. It took a while. My hair is now more gray than ever (as if that's a possibility), but we've now "got floor!"

I arrived to the house last Friday to witness the historic event. Bode trucks in attendance. All the plywood had been taken down to enhance ventilation and the crew was already nearly done. When they say they're going to pour concrete they mean fast. They're going to pour fast.

I thought the house looked amazing sitting up on the one seemingly small, but apparently strong, beam on the corner. When the plywood is up I guess I imagined that that was helping to hold the whole thing up. I imagined wrong. Turns out that house has been resting on this very beam for weeks.

Another closer photo of the single sliver of a bean that holds up the front part of the house. With the plywood down there's LOTS of light down there now! Eventually those holes will have windows in them that will match the ones above them but a wee bit smaller.

Here's the Bode crowd doing what they do. This was taken about 10 in the morning and they were working on pouring the last room before the garage. They are working on George the Younger's soon to be room since it's the easiest to crawl out of. The concrete poured directly on to the radient heating tubes means that our amazing conrete floor will be toasty on your toes when you want - and cool on your feet when you don't. Given that we live in SF we do realize that we will be "wanting" more than we "don't."

The guy in the cowboy hat on his knees is the crew leader. His job (the most important in the hierarchy of concrete floor pouring) is to smooth it out with his tool. The second most important man is the one holding the hose with all the diarrhea-like-consistency cement "poop" pouring out.

This is GC Paul showing me how the nifty floor leveling device works. They set up a tripod with an electric beam that shoots out all around the lower level. There's another measuring stick with a sensor on it that if held at the right height will trip the alarm and send out an ear piercing scream to let you know you are level. Scared the crap out of me but it works.

Here's the beautiful wet concrete in the pool room. Strange to think that some day you won't be able to look this way any more once the interior wall goes up and the stairs come down. But for now - what a lovely site!

This is the newly poured concrete in Henry's room taken from the vantage point of the hall closet upstairs. And, do you remember, Henry was really keen on trying to make a secret escape route from his closet downstairs to the closet upstairs? Turns out that GC Paul has a couple of young boys himself and so the secret passage way is on. Henry doesn't know it yet - so it's going to be a cool surprise for him.

On Sunday George the Elder and I headed over to see how the "drying" was going. This is him taking his first steps in his stockinged feet on the new garage slab. I made him take his shoes off! It was new, it was pretty. I didn't want us to be the ones to scuff it up!

Our first stroll on the floors of the rumpus room. The skylights (here still covered in plywood) are going to be so much closer than we could have imagined when we were walking on the unfinished floor. This space is going to be wonderful and sunny!

This is taken from the far corner of George the Younger's room looking out in to the hallway (that doesn't exist yet since the wall that will separate the room from the hallway is only on the plans and not real yet).

With a nod to OSHA here is the handily crafted don't-bump-your-damn-head-on-the-beam solution.

And finally, here's our terrible artwork in the corner of the garage. GC Paul told us when to go over and carve our initials in our garage - but he kind of mis-calculated and the cement was fairly well set by the time the boys and I got there on Friday afternoon. Still, it isn't often when you have the unalienable right to carve your initials in cement, so we went for it.... kind of like a dog peeing on his own front yard. We own it, we get to mark it!

Next posts will show the cutting of the joints, and the final grinding and polishing. They are polishing today and it looks - - well it looks...GRAND!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Mugsy: I heart you

School pictures generally suck. I know this since last year George the Younger's 7th grade photo looked like he was making the poopy-face he used to make when he was a toddler and was focused on, you know...pooping.

I, of course, displayed this horrific shot for the requisite year hoping upon all hope that this year the photographer wouldn't continue to badger him to put his tongue in the back of his mouth during the shot. (For clarity: when George the Younger smiles his ginormous and sparkling grin, he sometimes thrusts his tongue out.) The result of being asked to shove it to back of his mouth = the aforementioned "poopy-face" combined with what could be easily interpreted as a look of clear hatred towards the photographer. And, could you blame him?

But this year, the school went with a different photographer. And, I LOVE THEM! The photos are natural, they were taken outdoors on a beautiful day and the result....

Now we wait for Henry's who missed the photographer on the first day thanks to some poorly designed teacher conference schedules. Luckily make-up picture day was another bee-uuu-tee-ful SF fall day (our BEST season by far!), so I've got my fingers crossed. His one from last year lean heavily towards the "Indian Area Rug Salesman with a bad Toupee" theme. Not an especially attractive look for my little brown Khmer Prince. Oh, unless he was actually trying to sell area rugs and then I suspect it would make a fine bill board poster along some freeway. He does look sincere and trustworthy if nothing else.