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January 25, 2008

A Big Day

Cement is a really dirty business. The cement was poured today under the little room off of the kitchen. They also poured some steps and a slab since they had the truck anyway. What a messy job! And, there is enough cement to hold up the Statue of Liberty or a ten story house! The cement was poured right over the rocks that were already there and several inches thick. The other exciting thing is that the platform and the steps into the new room are done -- now they are finishing the steps that will go down from the lower living room -- although I don't know when we will open the whole thing up. It will depend upon what we decide to do next. Tom finished the curve on the lower deck -- which seems a bit small to me. But, since it is in the trees, it won't be too much of a partying or living deck anyway. I think it will be just fine. It is about two feet bigger than the upper deck. And, that seemed bigger once it was finished. So, I'm hoping that it is a matter of perspective. So much happening. The guys are hard workers. I'll post a few pictures today.
New Door to Subbasement -- lovely storage area

Outside of New Room Showing Doors (still covered with paper - but they are in!)

New Steps from Pool Room into the Bathroom Hall - Steps up to Lower Living Room Will Be at the Right

Pouring the Cement below the Breakfast Room

New Outside Area in Back of Breakfast Room

Posted by Marilyn at 4:35 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2008


The stairs that connect the pool room and the lower living room are being built. They are tricky since they are done in two runs down to a platform and then three curving steps into the room. This is because the entrance into the basement is much higher. I'll take a picture once they are done. The forms are also ready for the concrete under the breakfast room. The engineering specs were overkill according to Tom -- but he has been faithfully getting ready for tons of concrete to be the walls supporting the room.

I can't begin to say how exciting it is to see things take shape. I love being able to finally see what might be when this is finished. The big room continues to please me -- I didn't want it, but now I love it. I wouldn't have asked for it, but I can see how it will add to the overall interest of the house. It is a great room in all sense of the word. I can hardly wait to finish it and give it some personality. I fear that I won't do it justice.

Posted by Marilyn at 5:11 PM | Comments (1)

January 21, 2008

What A Beautiful Day!

It's such a lovely day here that I went for a walk. It has been so cold -- hovering around 36-38 degrees. Today is just a bit warmer, but it helps. No one is working today. I don't know if the guys are elsewhere or just taking the King holiday off. I finally walked down in back and decided to post some pictures. You can see the house taking shape.

The New Upper Cantilevered Deck off the Lower Living Room

The View From the Back of the House

Posted by Marilyn at 2:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2008

Speaking About Decks

I have been entranced by the deck just down the street from my friend Becky's house. It is exactly what I want. Becky gave me the resident's name and phone number. I called and left a message, but they haven't responded. Becky indicated that they didn't really involve themselves with the neighbors and that the wife, who is a decorator, may not want to share her ideas. The house appeared in a design magazine after it was built.

I really want to see that deck closer. So, I think I'll try calling once more. If they don't respond, I'm going to put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and pick up my magnifying glass and go sleuthing. Their contractor must be on record and with any luck, I might be able to find out who did their deck. I'll keep you posted on my success!

Posted by Marilyn at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2008

One of the Guys

This morning I had a date with Tom and a deck guy, GIno, to talk about decking materials. Then Mike, the electrician, showed up and we all stood around and talked about Hummers. Golly, I just felt like one of the guys! I just smiled and listened like I was actually interested in what they were talking about. Mike wants a Hummer and Gino has one that he doesn't want because it guzzles too much gas.

Mike has been here before. He's very effusive and very funny. He was hopping around complaining about the cold, and also complaining because the electrical box is a hazard now because it is too near my new stairs. Also he was horrified that the construction guys are working so close to the old wires coming in from the street. He went on and on about different ideas and how we need to involve the electric company. He thinks we should bury the wires. I turned that problem over to Tom, and turned Mike's attention to the electrical stuff he still needs to do in the basement bathroom. That was more my comfort level -- I just couldn't wrap my mind around either Hummers or moving the entire electrical system for the house.

The deck guy has two options -- one is to pour a seamless deck and the other is to put on the vinyl that I used to have -- with several seams. The seamless is almost twice as much money -- so I'll have to think about it. Why do I always like the stuff that is more expensive? Much of the seamless charges are for labor -- the guys have to come back many, many times to pour different coatings -- and they have to seal off the area with plastic so it is not too cold. I think I will gnaw on this for a bit.

I wrote the biggest check ever to Tom today. Scary!

Posted by Marilyn at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

January 16, 2008

Decisions Completed!

I'm excited today! The plywood is covering the patio and they are just now putting on the arched rim of the upper deck. It looked so tiny to me when I saw the beams, but walking on it feels ample -- and solid! It will be more than big enough to accomplish my purpose which was to be able to wash windows and clean gutters. I just took Debbie, my designer, up to see a house that has curved glass railings -- it is really lovely. She loved it, too. She was impressed by how it framed the house without calling attention to itself. I think we'll go with that look. That is the first major decision I made today. Then, in talking with Tom and Debbie who assured me that they can match the synthetic siding (durable and less expensive) to the cedar shakes (which are extremely expensive), I decided to let them. So, two down and only about 4,500 to go. The poolroom windows are being installed today -- and the $1700 door will be here shortly!

I know that my $1700 door has become an obsession. I am just amazed by the price tag on such a small part of the project. I can't just refer to my door as if it is just any old door. I also know that I could have paid much more -- but it seems to me that all doors should cost about $100 or so.

Speaking of the ($1700) door, I woke up a few nights ago worrying about it. I often worry about the project in the middle of the night -- when I don't even know I was thinking about it. The door is an odd size and needs to trimmed. I worried that they would trim it unevenly and the top and bottom wouldn't match. Tom assures me that the door frame is usually wider at the bottom and they just have to trim 3". But, then I think he too began worrying that they would trim it right. Before all the rot got fixed, he would mention waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the project and what he would do to fix the damage. It's nice to know that I have worrying company.

When the windows are in, I'll post some new pictures.

Posted by Marilyn at 12:21 PM | Comments (2)

January 14, 2008

Rain Rain Rain

My poor new room is constantly deluged by rain. They are working as hard as possible to get it covered and the windows in, but they have to sister all the beams for cantilevering the upper deck. They are waiting for all the banging to be done before installing the windows -- so they don't get banged around. I get worried about the rain, but I guess that is what happens in the northwest. Tom keeps assuring me that it will all dry out and be fine -- but since water was the original culprit that got me into this, I still worry. This is the boring part of the job -- costing me lots of bucks, but not much to show for it yet - just thicker beams. There are lots of decisions coming up -- siding, flooring, railing, decking -- all these ings are going to drive me crazy.

I have always found the worst part of any job is when you have to weigh all the decisions. I don't mind gathering information or letting go once the decisions are made. But, as long as I'm still brainstorming, I feel like I'm in limbo. It makes me really cranky! I guess I'm afraid of making a costly mistake that can't be changed. I'm also a person who needs all the possibilities before wending my way through the list and crossing out ones that don't work for one reason or another. I can't just settle for someone else's idea -- I want to know why it is best, what else is possible, and what various factors are involved with all the choices.

Is it better to pay $1700 for French doors that are the same height as the windows because they will make a great deal of difference to the design? What about that $700 lock that is state of the art security? Does it actually lock any better? What items should I save money on and which ones are too precious to compromise? These questions make my head swim -- but each and every one of them are important. I know I will make mistakes -- but I hope to keep them at a minimum. One step at a time. One step at a time!!!

Posted by Marilyn at 8:44 PM | Comments (0)

January 7, 2008

Absolute Chaos!

Do you want to know what chaos is? It begins with all the adults in the house exhausted from lack of sleep, tag teaming with the baby, having 25 phone calls within a few hours, a visit from KJ and almost 8 month old Ozzie, two cranky babies at once and continual and constant pounding underneath your feet and outside the room where you are visiting. Oh, I forgot making cookies and cleaning the kitchen at least five times in one morning. And, add Dani's laundry to her tasks. The only person who seems to be sane is James who feels better and has disappeared upstairs out of the action to watch television.

The saving grace is that the workers have made considerable progress today -- I'll catch up tomorrow, I have to go answer the phone.

Posted by Marilyn at 3:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2008

Otherwise Occupied

I know I have not been writing on this blog very often. I suppose, in part, it is because I am otherwise occupied with a 15 month old grandchild who has been practicing his walking all over the house. His favorite thing is going up and down stairs and the three stairs from my upper to lower living room are just perfect for a toddler. He now knows to go down backward, but often gets distracted while in the middle of the task and stands up or wobbles over to the light switch. So, we are constantly monitoring while cheering him on. Frankly, the stepping stones to building a life are ever so much more interesting than building a structure. Charles has gone home, but Dani and the boys are here for a few more days. It is a nice break from thinking about the house to working at controlling the clutter and getting in as much visiting as possible.

However, we are also making building progress -- I would post pictures, but you can't see much yet. They poured the concrete for the footings for the deck and the lower deck is framed in. They also poured a slab under the existing porch off of the kitchen and I will have a small gardening room when the structure is remodeled. I feel for the guys who work out in the cold and wet -- with caps and gloves and a pretty good attitude nevertheless.

There are quite a few similarities between the building and the visiting. Both interrupt my rather peaceful and solitary existence. I suppose as the building gets more invasive, I will get very frustrated. Hopefully, it will be like childbirth -- and forgotten when the finished product is enjoyed. Well, family visits disrupt my quiet existence, too. The house is cluttered, my things get moved, my normal routines get put aside, I've totally ignored Weight Watchers, and I haven't been out walking -- but I love spending time with my growing and delightful grandchildren and having an opportunity to enjoy my children as friends is always an amazing and heartwarming experience. Life is full and good. What more can I ask?

Posted by Marilyn at 2:10 PM | Comments (0)