Friday, August 29, 2008


“You can observe a lot by watching.”

Yogi Berra

Quotation courtesy of Gretchen Rubin over at the happiness project. Another lawyer-always-wanted-to-be-a-writer. Harvard, though, instead of Fordham.

Monday, August 25, 2008

meanwhile, outside. . . .

help has arrived for the garden.Steve takes a break, breaking up the hardpack for a bit of a holding garden for all the herbs that will be making the move with us.
Here it is after two days' work, me digging stuff up; him transporting and planting!

There's lots more to go, but we had to wait until we thought the little guys would be pretty safe from the depredations of the earth-movers, shakers, pavers, gravellers and over-seeders.

I think that time has come. Now all I have to worry about is getting water out to them. Oh, and to decide whether to take our hostas into harm's way - where they face decimation by deer - or leave them here, where they've limped along for the 3 years we've rented.

Possible - but not certain - death by deer? or continued decline in darkness and drought?

Not exactly a moral dilemma, I guess. I'll see how hard they are to dig up and if they resist, I'll leave 'em behind.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

not gonna happen

It's hard to put my finger on just what it was that caused everything else to sort of slow-down snowball, but after a sleepless night one night recently, we decided that a move-in this Friday was simply not gonna happen.

We postponed the movers.

We postponed the newly-cleaned carpet re-delivery.

We postponed phone/internet hook-up and "direct TV" (which didn't get the message and showed up, only to tell us that there are too many trees at the greenwood, and we won't be able to get "direct TV". So. No TV? Or a satellite dish atop the tower, perhaps. . . . [KIDDING!])

Meanwhile. . . . detail disasters continue.

Using the 'eyeball-it-once, cut, then-measure-many-times-and-fix-it-with-caulk' method, the countertop guys managed to cut the wrong inch off the biggest piece of countertop. They are replacing it.

That has held up the plumber, who also didn't realize he was in charge of supplying the sinks and a different toilet to his usual selection. We objected to paying him more than retail for those sinks and toilets, so purchased them elsewhere.

Which toilet would you pick - this one?

Or this one?

[Right. Just what I thought. sigh. Who cares?!]

Anyway, ditto the carpeting: price-wise, that is. The very nice carpet store just down the street apparently did not get the same memo about "incredibly increased prices all around" that the builder's carpet guy in the depressed looking back-lot warehouse was telling us all about. . . .

Then there's the towel racks. . . . but maybe we won't talk about the towel racks.

Steve tile-guy works in fits and starts, trying to put tile underneath whatever is slated to go in next. He's been allowed to grout the bathrooms (primarily because the plumber wanted to put those ugly toilets in) but now it's done and he can try and get the slate in under the kitchen island and maybe finish that off, and get the rest of the missing bits done, cleaned, sealed and grouted.

The electricians are hanging fixtures and discovering missing switches, which will necessitate wall patching later. (Although it appears that it is the security guy who was responsible for the eight [or was it ten? It was a LOT of] little cut-outs in the kitchen wall.)

The painters were here and stained probably 75% of the cedar trim - I can't figure out why they left what they left unpainted. It probably started raining or something.

Turns out the garage and studio doors were never ordered. . . . Add several weeks.

The wing walls are done but - with grade - are eight inches low.

I hear that my front garden was scraped down (to remove all the construction, brick, concrete and stucco debris) and backfilled with good top soil! Woo hoo!

There are piles of gravel to be spread on the driveway and courtyard.

It's coming together, but a move-in before the end of this month? Not gonna happen.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

big slug and little-known facts

I suspected that these silvery, shimmery pathways on the screen were left by a snail. I've seen them before, you see.Ah ha! There he is! But this is a slug - I think - rather than a snail, although the faces look alike. No snail house atop his back, though. Dead give away.That is one big slug! Here's some context - see him checking out my glasses.
The "little-known fact"? When I was a little girl in Germany, I would take snails to school with me in my pockets. At recess, I would let them crawl on my palm. On my way home, I'd put them back on the wooden fence I'd taken them from.

This trip down memory lane brought to you in the spirit of not lingering over potential disasters brewing in the kitchen, where the granite people appear to have royally bungled the fabrication and installation of the otherwise beautiful soapstone I finally settled on. I am awaiting their next proposal for resolving the problem.

Pictures undoubtedly to come. . . .

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

hitherings and ditherings

Now is the winter of our disconcert. . . . and all that (to further bowdlerize poor Willie Shakespeare) when we second-guess all the choices that have been made so laboriously [and blindly] over the past few months. For a week or so, everything that was going into the house just sang as it came together. The wood; the stone; the stucco; the fireplaces and herringbone and more wood of the windows and the apses on the outside and the green woods glowing beneath.

The first hint of a sour note was in the matter of the colour of the cedar trim. A dark ebony is what was chosen - after repeatedly admiring it on our last trip to Eire - but now I worry it might be too stark. I've grown accustomed to the softness of the rich wood. Repeating to myself that that colour will not stay (but will weather to a silver) has not helped, especially since it continues to show that colour on the front of the house, punctuated rather vividly by the bits that were ebonized before the painters inexplicably stopped some weeks ago.

The wide-plank wood floor looks great, but - again - what colour? Back to the swatch board for me, and another couple of little sample cans to purchase and stroke onto waste wood. . . .In the bath, what is called travertine looks an awful lot like Carerra marble, and has a whole lot more gray in it than expected. In addition, the brushed finish (the bigger Luther gets, the harder slick surfaces are for him to get a grip on!) is considerably slicker than the sample board led me to believe. . . . I'm not sure I like it, much as it pains me to admit.I do like the shower tile pattern, though, I must say. Thank you - yes - my design. Wait'll you see it when it's done! Unless it - too - gets derailed, somehow, and (crap!) maybe it's going to be too busy? sigh. . . . Well, that's Chris with the question mark on his back, putting it in. Take a deep breath, queenie. It's gonna be ok. Moving on, the slate I've been so delighted with for the "dog bath" I now worry is too dark. Yes, "dog bath" is what the guest bath has taken to being called, as that's where the walk-in shower for wet and muddy doggie purposes has been placed. I wanted it to be rustic, but now it's feeling a bit too cave-like. . . . Surely a bit of light in there will help - oh! - but I don't want to second-guess the light fixtures just now! That will bring up questions of towel bars, faucets, and finishes, and you don't want me to go there. Trust me on that.

Anyway - here's the mosaic slate that will go on the shower floor, up against the big slate, which will also go on the walls. . . . The dark cut-out bit there on the top right is the entrance to the 'shower cave'. sigh.
You know what? I think it might be time for a 'big picture' here. (ah. you can see the natural wood trim - and the bits on the far right that have been stained the ebony. It reminds me of the time I decided to cut my hair, and the hairdresser took a phone call after having cut just one side. I sat in misery and regret. . . . Note to contractors and designers: "Do not do this to your clients." It's too hard on them.)
You know? This also reminds me of the story in the Old Testament, where Nehemiah is overseeing the re-building of the walls around Jerusalem. At one point, they just kind of got overwhelmed with all the junk and the 'rubble' all around them. I think it's time to take my eyes off the rubble and refocus on the big picture, even as I keep my head down and keep working.

Minus eleven, and counting 'til moving day.

Today? The kitchen counter goes in. Yes, I'm apprehensive. This creative visualizing stuff is nerve-racking. It's never quite what you imagined.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Countdown - minus 12

Counting today, we're scheduled to move in twelve days. Can you believe it?

No. Me neither.

No plumbing fixtures or appliances; lighting fixtures are on-site, but not installed; no mention of carpeting; a lot of bookshelves to be built, stained and sealed; another coat of paint; no electric switches or switchplates; ditto plugs; dining room floor to go in and then both wooden floors to be stained, sealed, and tung oiled (several times); bathroom tile work needs to be finished (although Steve-tileman worked all weekend and was making a good dent in the master bath); slate tile to be finished; all to be grouted. . . .

And then there's all the outside work still to be done: wing walls, final grade, cut driveway, spread and roll rough gravel in prep for the pea gravel; trim stain; window and door tune-ups and touch-ups; downspouts; garage doors; debris clear-out & seed/straw; install slate on steps; do something about the concrete floors in the garage and studio (they're polka-dotted with stucco blobs).

Add to this, the fact that many of these jobs are mutually exclusive to doing the others. You can't be sawing and building library shelves while you're trying to stain and seal the floors. Neither can appliances come in when you're working on floors. . . . Painting precludes wiring work; grading complicates delivery of appliances and fixtures. . . .

So what does Tom-builder do? He went on vacation last week. Then his foreman had surgery towards the end of the week (he assures me it was minor and that he's all better now . . . and I am glad he's ok).

I think I'll go on vacation this week.

Well. Maybe not. I have too many plants to dig up and get moved. The good thing? It's slated to be under 80 today. Woo hoo!

in other news: critter updates

Luther and Diana have been seen to be reclined in the same room, and have even dined together - each off his or her own plate - without major histrionics.

Of course, histrionics usually ensue. . . . eventually.

Diana's language is atrocious - such name-calling! - and Luther is unable to resist the bait. It's usually just a matter of time before they go at it again. And then it's just a matter of time before I go off and silence them with my own screech, commanding "SILENCE!!!

The neighbors must think I'm a lunatic.

Obedience school starts tomorrow. Thank God.

my bad

Eleven days (?!) since my last post. I have no real excuse, except that there's not all that much more to see.

Yes, the slate floor is now finished in the living room - but still not grouted.

The wooden library floor went in - counter-sunk face nails, and all.
As you see.

Now, for the dining room.
One wing wall is mostly finished.
The mason [note the intentional use of the singular] was last here sometime last week, when I got this picture of him working on the other wing wall. He hasn't been seen since. No final grade [read: "No hope of getting plants in."] until the wing walls are both done.
After a potential disaster in the kitchen [you don't want to know], we're expecting a new cabinet in a few weeks, but the countertop has been templated [per picture below] and is scheduled to go in tomorrow.I have been assured that the errant cabinet will "slide right in." And that would be in the vacant spot to the far left in the picture.

Stay tuned.

Friday, August 1, 2008

proper grounding

You remember this, don't you? With the orange floor?
Well, it's orange no more. The slate is wild.
In the library, the wide plank wood floor has arrived and is "acclimating" before it's put down.