Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day Seventeen: Are we there yet?

Another fun-filled Sunday! Just think.... this time next week we will be waking up for the FIRST TIME in our NEW(ish) HOUSE! Wahoo!

Matt and I rarely get to sleep in together... or have breakfast together... or even just spend time alone together these days! Being an electrician means that his hours lean more towards the first half of the day - as in he starts before most people are awake! So we stole a few minutes of luxurious together time this morning, joking around and mentally preparing to get back to work on our project, er, I mean house. Needless to say, it was quite lovely. Boy do I love that man!

I was treated to a lovely Peet's coffee on the way up and arrived oh-so-ready to keep painting. (Well, actually I was ready for a nap, but that didn't seem to be one of the options available, so painting won out.) It didn't take long for me to realize that I just do not have quite the reach I did, say, six months ago... There seems to be something in the way! It was great when mom and dad showed up after church; the cabinet interiors got taped along the backs and I was able to get two coats of paint applied.

Dad had the enviable task of sorting thru the kitchen window trim pieces and tacking them back up. There is still one piece that we cannot for the life of us figure out... In retrospect, I really should have painted the trim pieces red while they were off... but with half of the strips being good-condition-old-growth-redwood pieces, it was more of a commitment than I was ready to make when we started in on the kitchen painting process. Now that mom has done such a kick-butt job painting the room, the trim looks shabby in comparison. Ah well, an easily remedied situation... but not this week!

Matt and Dad continue to steam ahead in the bathroom, finishing the sheetrock and wonderboard today! Now all is ready for tile... and my too-good-to-be-true father is taking off Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to tile our bathroom. Holy underpants, Batman!

Mom buzzed around like a cleaning lady on speed today, continuing the floor scrubbing and helping to clear the WayBack of extra tools and garbage. Dad plans on varithaning the floors tomorrow, so Mom had them in eat-off-me-order by nightfall.

I ended up running errands for three hours in the afternoon, searching for semi-gloss floor varithane (HD only had one gallon, OSH had none... what's a girl to do?!?), lighting fixtures, switch plates, wonderboard screws and more. Needless to say, my feet hurt. Quite a bit. Ugh.

We all sat down to our first full home cooked meal *inside* the house, using our scaffolding as a makeshift table and plopped into the four folding chairs that have been our only furniture for the past 16 days. Mom cooked, therefore it was delicious. I must say that I am REALLY looking forward to finally cooking in my own kitchen!

Home to bed, aching and exhausted but thrilled that we are still making good progress. We are behind schedule, of course, but at this point I'm not going to worry about it. I'm too tired to worry. Matt's too tired to worry. Dad's almost too tired to worry. And Mom is a VERY talented worrier, so she can be really tired AND worry enough for all of us. It's a Johnson women trait.

I still need to pack. A lot. Tomorrow. Everything tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Day Sixteen: Are we having fun yet?

Today was another ridiculously full Saturday. I don't know how my parents and Matt do it... they are working like crazy people! We will all need naps when this is done... or part done... But HEY! We didn't go to the Depot of Homes today! Woot!!!

Matt and Dad have reached the turning point on the bathroom - from here on out, everything is progress towards a completed, fully remodeled bathroom! (As opposed to demolition of the old one...) We were all blown away by Matt's drywall skills - he measures quick, cuts quick, installs quick... and is RIGHT ON with his calculations and cuts!
My dad is a *very* precise worker... measure ten times, cut once. The results are always impressive (Matt's brother Mike was trying to figure out last weekend if Dad is a contractor in addition to being a chemist, due to his staggering depth of knowledge in all things home repair. Go Dad!) Matt, however, approaches all these projects with the confidence of a tradesman - measure once, cut once, thank you have a nice day. It has been really fun to see the two styles working together - the perfectionist and the professional. They make a great team (and their hilarious banter provides much-needed entertainment for mom and I as the endless paint-o-rama continues...)

Mom painted the kitchen today while I painted the inside of the cabinets. After removing the layers of funky vintage contact paper, it was clear that the shelves needed some love and attention. The layers of paint have helped refresh the kitchen (and helped refinish surfaces that the OCD side of me did NOT want touching anything that might come in contact with our mouths.)

We have decided to varithane the floors to help protect the soft-ish wood against our less-than-gentle lifestyle. Mom bravely tackled the floor-cleaning process on hands and knees with a scrub brush, damp mop and enough pine sol to scald your nose hairs right off. The floors look exponentially better already - can't wait to see what the floor varithane does!

Once all the drywall was up, it was time for Matt's introduction to mudd and tape. Hooboy. He's doing a GREAT job... but the process is less than foolproof. Dad fully admits that this is NOT his area of expertise... but he and Matt are still trying their darnedest to get it right. At one point I peeked in to the bathroom and found dad with his hand on his forehead, bemoaning the fact that this is "the blind leading the blind." Perhaps a bit melodramatic, but it made for a great picture.

No rest for the wicked - we'll be back bright and early tomorrow! (Mainly because everything is going so slow that we're entering the frantic panic phase of pre-move/pre-baby home remodel... WHATEVER. If we need to, we hook a hose up to the utility sink, run it to the back patio and shower outside for a few days.

Longer than a few days? Time to panic.

Day Fifteen: Wait, we're moving? We need to pack up the old house?!?

I was hit today by the sickening realization that we will be MOVING in to the new house next weekend... which means that we will be MOVING EVERY SINGLE LAST BELONGING WE HAVE next weekend.

And I have just started packing... while 34 weeks pregnant... or is it 35? Either way, it is *super* slow-going.

Today I took some time to organize much of the baby stuff that we have been accumulating over the past few months. I washed and folded a sickeningly-adorable pile of newborn clothes that we have been blessed to have handed down from friends ('cause they only wear this size for a minute!) Do you know how TINY newborn socks are?!?! Do you have any idea how bizarre it is to fold postage stamp-sized onesies? (And exciting... we're entering the home stretch!)

Our wonderful friend Jon came over to the new house tonight to help Matt with bathroom demo and framing. It was great to get him out to the house and use his enthusiastic manpower! I gave the boys plenty of room (as the bathroom is pretty darn tiny... particularly once you add in two working stud muffins [I can call your husband a stud muffin, right S?] and power tools.)

The greatest part of Jon's visit was dinner - hell froze over, and we got pizza. Wahoo! Due to Matt's dietary constraints we *almost* NEVER eat pizza... this was such a treat! Dinner was also fantastic because it involved conversation with Jon... He and his wife are two of the most beautifully social people we know. Getting together always means laughter, easy conversation and a reminder that we need to get out more often with awesome people like them!

So... not much of an update on the house, but we're still going strong. Dead on our feet, panicking that we won't be ready in time, dazed by the remodeling process... but still going....

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day Fourteen: (Does he know what he's doing in there?)

Yesterday I spent three hours tangled with the shop vac, trying to suck up all the roof pucky that had rained down over the past week. It was not a pretty sight. I took all the drop cloths out for a good shake over the edge of our new patio and tried to hold my breath as they released clouds of sawdust, dirt, composite roof "sand," leaves and unknown other substances. It felt GREAT to clean up, even just a little bit, as the house was looking pretty wrecked and the sandy junk from the roof had to be no bueno for our soft-ish fir floors. Note to self: never have a roof replaced in an exposed ceiling house when you are living in said house. OK. Got it.

The roof is on and almost finished - they still need to complete a small section on the garage. Apparently there were four roofs on the garage as well - just removing the previous roofing material properly will supposedly help with the slight sag to the roof line over the workshop. Whatever. I'm shocked that the roofers didn't just reframe the whole garage roof without asking and then hand us a bill. (Sorry, still upset.) The final roof does look quite lovely on the house - I'm glad that we went with the hickory color the roofer suggested.

Matt met with the owner of the roofing company this evening; apparently they had a good talk about our concerns and their workmanship. There is no conversation that can fix the problem, but I defer to Matt's judgement and expertise on the house. (But I do have to say, I may be hormonal, but POLKA DOTS?!?! ON OUR CEILING?!?! ARGH.) OK. Moving on.

Danny and Megan came down tonight to see the new casa and lend a helping hand. I worked today and thus wasn't there to greet them graciously from the front porch (apron and pearls optional) but was able to show up with bueno Taqueria food in hand. We had a great time catching up over burritos, sitting in our fabulous flimsy folding chairs outside around a small work table. (I will miss these kinds of moments when we are fully moved in with furniture and other modern conveniences...) I do love how much we laugh when these two are around!

Danny was Matt's best man at our wedding - a total goofball and loveable party person. Those of you who where there might remember his fabulous toast ("Kadoosh!") and his date (my grandmother.) I don't know Danny's entire work history, so when I walked in to find Danny with a skill saw attacking our bathroom floor, I must admit I was slightly alarmed. I pulled Matt off his ladder where he was installing switches in the WayBack to ask, "Does Danny know what he's doing?!?" in my most positive, upbeat, neutral and quiet whisper. Turns out Daniel worked in construction for several years. Whew. My bad. Sorry to ever doubt you dude... I'm just slightly concerned when I see someone with a skil saw in one hand, a beer in the other, coming out of the bathroom to say, "I may have just hit a pipe. There were sparks."

Holy poop. ;o)

(Thanks Danny and Megan - was great to see you, and Danny did a great job removing the old bathroom floor in preparation for this weekend's big bathroom showdown!)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day Thirteen: I am not a happy camper...

I forgot to take a picture of my concrete art the day they poured (with a giant, awesome, totally rad concrete mixing truck! Still excited!) Do you like the line of trees I scratched in? I was under a whole heap of pressure - the concrete guys were standing over me to see what I wrote. Not bueno. I could have done a Starry Night or Guernica if they weren't watching... ;o)

We're having a bit of an issue with the roofer... namely an issue with the NAILS that are coming THRU our BEAUTIFUL EXPOSED PINE ROOF. Nails on their own would be one thing, but the roofers apparently tried to cover their mistake by REPEATEDLY POUNDING THE NAILS FROM THE INSIDE WITH A HAMMER ON THE SOFT, AGED WOOD. Thus, we have polka dots on our ceiling. Don't you think that, were you to do this once on a client's ceiling, producing said marks, you would stop and find an alternative method of removing the exposed nail ends? Yeah, me too. But apparently this crew didn't seem to mind that they were giving our lovely ceiling pox scars. I'm pretty miffed. There are still nails hanging down in the bathroom... hopefully they won't continue to bash our poor wood ceiling in after Matt's discussion with the owner.

And the gutters were supposed to be pre-primed. They are not. But at least the house now has gutters.


I met Matt up at the house tonight and made us our standard sandwiches and chips for dinner. Today I baked an apple crisp with fruit from our very own tree for our dessert. These apples are delicious! Tart, crisp and with great flavor, perfect for baking, eating raw or applesauce. A co-worker let me know about a great local homebrew supplier that has the presses and crushers to make our own apple cider! Now if only I could actually REACH all those apples!

Matt continues to kick booty rewiring the *entire* house. Have I mentioned what a stud my husband is? Yeah, he rocks. There are beautiful new light fixtures and ceiling fans in the front room, master bedroom and nursery. We now have LIGHTS in the closets! The kitchen and the WayBack are coming along, and the bathroom will be rewired this weekend after we re-frame and insulate. Crazy.

Speaking of the WayBack........ it is a total mess...... hurricane-thrashed-status-disarray. I can't wait for this to all be over so that we can clean up and enjoy our house (even more than we are enjoying it thus far!) Have I explained the name of our enclosed porch room yet? Hmmm. Preggo-brain.

When Matt was little, their family had a big ol' 1970's station wagon (the indestructible all-metal kind) and four young kids. Three sat on the back bench seat, but one lucky kid got to sit in the "way back" of the station wagon - the fun area with room to relax away from the siblings. Thus, our "fun room" has been dubbed the WayBack. Here's to years of relaxation, games, storm-watching and sleepovers to come in our own WayBack.

Day Twelve: on which I am brought to my knees by tile...

I just have to say that making decisions about remodeling a house that *we* own is far harder than anything I have ever done related to any housing situation, ever. Case in point: today, I had a panic attack while driving when I started to think about the floor tile in the bathroom. Over the past few days I have looked at every sample of tile offered by the Depot of Homes, a reputable local tile outlet, the design blogosphere... I have poured over years of Sunset bathroom pics online and in their design books, on cottage-decor-related websites, restoration DIY resources and This Old House magazines.

And what great insights have I found?

Always allow more than one week to redesign an entire bathroom.

My parents redid one of their downstairs bathrooms a few years ago in very tasteful, modern and neutral materials and colors. I've always loved the floor tile in that bathroom, so when Dad called up to say that the discount tile source still had that tile in stock, I was pretty stoked. Then he said that it would be a custom order and non-returnable. And that they did their ordering tomorrow morning at 10 am. Thus I needed to make a decision with Matt within 12 hours.
Bring on the panic attack. I'm such a wuss.
Matt gamely joined me in a mad dash about town and thru design books, searching for alternatives. I had a nasty experience with rude salespeople who seemed to not want to answer my basic questions about ordering tile from their warehouse. We arranged tile samples all around the HD floor, trying to visualize the different natural stone tiles next to the white subway tile that we've already decided on for the bath. I was trying to find something that we both really like, as the tile Dad could special order for us was not his first choice.
At ten at night, however, we decided that it is just tile. The special order tile goes with the subway tile better than the other options we had looked at. And of all the things we have to worry about these days, tile should not have to be high on the list.

Thanks, Dad, for ordering our tile. Now we need to learn how to set it... I feel another panic attack coming on...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day Ten: A big one.

Today was a BIG day.

We were first on the scene today at the house – yeehaw! (We even had time to stop for an extra-special treat: Peet’s mochas! Mmmmm… makes life better!)

Matt met a plumber through his work who lives in Santa Cruz… and was interested in trading electrical work for plumbing! Hot dog! Alex was a great sport, getting up to the house nice and early to get cracking (ha…) even after working up at the current job site until EIGHT PM the night before! (A solid 13 hour day… and then he put in at least nine at our place. What a trooper.) The bathroom continues to reek of rat pee… and now the WayBack (aka the enclosed rear porch) is starting to smell as the stench wafts out the back window… We’re going to try bleach tonight… Dad got the rest of the bathroom walls off while Alex went in search of supplies. Just when you thought the smell couldn’t get any worse… he uncovered an even bigger nest area. Ugh. Again, my hero! Dad and Matt put their heads together to finalize wall plans for the bathroom – I see another trip to Home Depot on the horizon! (BIG ugh.)

Matt’s brother Mike showed up early to help tackle the massive project of re-wiring half the house in one day… The house had wire mold run every which way to get power to ceiling fixtures, fans, etc. As of this afternoon, however, there were miles of romex run on the exposed plywood for the roof, covered with hard metal strips to ensure the roofers don’t nail thru our wire when they put the new roof on tomorrow. Mike and Matt working together are such a trip – they have a seemingly endless supply of goofy nicknames and inside jokes that they throw at one another all day whilst performing super-ninja-electrical-tricks. It was great to get Mike out to see the property (and even better that his lovely wife and awesome kids let us work him to the bone *all day.*) They had matching sunhats and sunglasses on while working on the roof – it was hilarious that their hats match the chapeau favored by their other brother, Mark. Someday I need to get a picture of the three boys in their matching fishing hats! I wonder if their dad has one, too?!?!

The carpet came up in the master bedroom, exposing the last major expanse of potentially questionable fir flooring – THREE FOR THREE! We rock! Yes, that’s right, all our flooring is kick-butt. Yeehaw. Wow. Dad did a great job pulling up ALL the tack strip and prying out all the carpet staples. We’re so stoked. I was worried about the bedroom – it had not been taking on the feel that I envisioned when we decided to go for this place… BUT I am happy to report that the finished product is absolutely lovely. The undertones of the ceiling and floor look beautiful against the white walls. (Now if only I had a few magic privacy hedges to hide the neighbor’s house/roof… Perhaps next week!)

Mom continued to kick butt applying a second layer of primer to the kitchen walls. I painted the inside shelves of one of the cabinet units and discovered that it wasn’t looking too great with just the shelves painted – we need to paint the entire inside. Joy. At least the ten layers of funky contact paper are gone!

I crashed big time in the afternoon – too much on-my-feet time combined with lack of sleep caught up with me. I threw a towel down on the floor in our bedroom and took a short nap. Methinks more sleep will be necessary in order for my continued involvement in the house projects. I can’t imagine how Matt is still standing – he’s basically working 12 hour days, seven days a week when you add up his job and home work schedule. Too much work and not enough sleep – when is CrankyMatt going to emerge? ;o)

Alex did a great job – the new copper is in and ready for our bathroom fixtures. Now if only the smell would disappear… (yes, it really IS that bad.)

We ended the day by ripping out the old hood and marking the skylight placement for the roofers. They start tomorrow – it will be interesting to see what their work is like. They started work a day early without asking us last week: we arrived up at the house on Thursday evening to find that we no longer had a roof! Then the owner stopped by at 10am instead of 2pm yesterday to discuss the work for next week (when Matt was at work.) Again, without calling first. We haven’t signed anything with them, so this is rather bizarre behavior from a contractor. But they seem to be highly regarded by our friends in the local residential construction business, so hopefully it will all work out!

Late dinner at the Taqueria, even later grocery shopping at SnobHill… then home to fall in to bed, exhausted. But hey! We made it a whole day without having to visit the Depot of Homes! And that is a good, GOOD thing.

Day Nine: This is all becoming a blur…

The problem with working on many projects at once with a tight timeline and limited resources is that not everything will be properly documented for posterity… Ack!

Matt had to work again so Jon and I made our way up to the house (stopping for a delicious Peet’s along the way…) and found Mom and Dad already WAAAY too hard at work. (Their work ethic is legendary…) We had a brief meeting to discuss what we would be working on for the morning then got to it! They had already started taking up the carpet in the nursery, and… TADA! Another home run! We are really lucking out on these floors! One more to go… fingers crossed that the master bedroom’s floor isn’t covered in bloodstains or mold or scratched in hate symbols…

After much effort, deliberation, crying, frustration, screaming and mixing, I came to the conclusion yesterday that white milk paint on pine paneling is NOT GOING TO WORK. *sob* So we grabbed the zero-VOC primer and started in on yet another coat of paint in that dang room. Which smells. We left the primer to dry, hoping that the stain blockers would do their magic and eliminate the yellowing from the tannins in the untreated wood. When we came back today, it was clear that another coat of primer will be essential. I trotted down to the local hardware and paint store and was INCREDIBLY pleased to find that it is the quintessential small mountain town store – a bit of everything, and everything in bits. I love it! I had a camouflage key copy made for Matt, and a zebra print version for my own key ring. I picked up another gallon of VOC-free primer and a gallon of preggo-friendly white paint for the top coat: Pittsburgh Paints Delicate White, or something like that. The second coat of primer was applied and the timer set for the hour delay recommended between primer and paint.

We also assessed that the kitchen will need another layer of primer before we can put the final paint on the walls – even with a “killer” (and very toxic) primer, there was still tannin bleed. We had no idea that this would be such an involved painting undertaking!

Matt arrived (he worked a half day – yay!) and we all had lunch sitting around the kitchen in folding lawn chairs. That room gets pretty darn hot; we’re glad that we have skylights on order to help vent the back rooms and keep the kitchen as light and bright as possible.

After lunch, Jon played lumberjack with Matt’s sawzall – he cut down the half-fallen tree that was covered with vines and BLOCKING MY VIEW. How rude! It is amazing how much that dumb thing was blocking! The view is even more wonderful (if that is possible.)

Dad and Jon made a trailer run to the SC house to pick up the plants that were dug up yesterday. They also packed up our fire pit, patio table, bistro table and wood chairs, and the top half of my potting bench. I can’t wait to have the roof done and be able to start PLANTING! (‘tho I may need digging help… drat!)

Matt continues to rewire the house at breakneck speed, replacing and adding outlets in each room, mounting new light fixtures and generally being the world’s greatest stud muffin. I’m so lucky!

In the afternoon it was time to begin BATHROOM DEMOLITION DERBY! The original plan was to paint the pine paneling and add concrete board/wonderboard in front of the panels around the tub for tiling. This, apparently, will not work. ;o) Plan B is to remove all the paneling, insulate, sheetrock, paint, tile and grout. After seeing all that can go wrong when trying to paint those pine panels, Plan B is darn appealing. Plus… after seeing what was hiding *behind* the panels? Puke-a-rama… Mouse/rat nests, complete with fabulous animal piss odor. Bring on the bleach bombs, shop vac and new walls!

They guys are working hard to have the bathroom walls fully gutted for the plumber tomorrow – and working in a toxic waste site, I might add. By late afternoon the stench of rat piss was so heinous that I had every fan going in the bathroom and back areas to try to bring some relief to my poor dad, diligently removing each board by hand. He wins the smell-tolerance-of-the-year award!

We ended our wonderful day of work with a special dinner at the Boulder Creek Brewing Company. Nothing rewards a day of hard work like burgers and beer! The first day that Matt and I spent time together, we ran a trail race on Angel Island and came back for burgers and beer at the Seabright Brewery… starting a long tradition of many non-dates with turkey burgers, shared fries and a stout for Matt, water for me. The Boulder Creek Brewing Company was another site for our non-dates while Matt was living in Brookdale – it was great to share this delicious gem with my family! Judging from their reaction, methinks we will be using this local hot spot as a go-to for visiting friends and family. Wahoo!

As has become the norm, Matt and I ended our day at the Depot of Homes… again. “Stop taking our money, dangit!” ;o)

I’m really growing to hate that place…

Day Eight: Why is a visit from the cement truck as exciting as Christmas to me???

Today was CONCRETE DAY!!!!!!! That’s right, folks, we (hired professionals who) poured nine yards of concrete on our property today… I had been looking forward to this as we saw the formboards take shape, but I was really giddy to see the actual truck, pumps and workers who transformed the broken slab blight at the back of the house into an amazing new patio that overlooks the river. They also shored up two new retaining walls, filled walkway cracks and reinforced the back corner of the house foundation (where the previous owners had oh-so-brilliantly dug out the supporting soil to make more room for storage. Good grief.)

This marked a big day for us, as these two problems (foundation and back concrete slab) were probably the biggest factors that allowed us to bid on and purchase this property. Others might have been scared off by the prospect of the house sliding down the steep slope, but not us!!! Problem solved… and we still have money to fix the roof!

The main worker bee pouring and spreading the concrete was a gentleman named Jon – with a giant rose tattoo on the back of his shaved head (to go with the giant old-English script of his last name across his back, and a myriad of other such tats.) This guy was *busting* his butt while others looked on… I felt guilty for not jumping in with a pair of boots to help spread the muck evenly. In between pours we had a lovely conversation about the property, the upcoming arrival of our daughter, the state of the health care system and the latest books we’ve read. He was unbelievably polite – a statement that has been true of the entire foundation team. We’ve really lucked out on this contractor! He even left a designated space for me to doodle in the drying concrete – and provided a really long nail for my etchings.

Mom and Dad tirelessly painted in the kitchen and both bedrooms. We all took occasional breaks to watch the concrete progress – can you tell how much I loved watching the concrete day?!? ;o) Jon came down from Humboldt to help out – we went back to the SC house to dig out some of my favorite plants for transplant. It was pretty hard work and I think I may have overdone it a bit… but the plants are ready to join their new bedmates in the mountains! I am anxious to see what does well in the new climate… Will the salvia collection thrive? How about the native grasses? The herbs? What will the gophers eat first? Only thyme will tell… (Oh wow, so bad…)

We all trotted off to Taco Bell for a gourmet dinner in our grungy clothes, covered in paint splatter and sawdust. I am thrilled beyond belief that we will soon welcome our daughter in to the world… but as we race to fix up our house and move in by the end of the month, I find myself wishing I could take her off for small stretches of time to get more done. Ah well, at least we always know where she is at this stage in the game!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Day Six: What's Behind Door Number Two?!?...

...or in our case, what's behind the plastic "tile" sheeting? Hoo boy.

We did not work on the house yesterday - between work work schedules and our Birth Preparedness Class ('cause you can be soooooo prepared for birth...) we didn't get to play on our fantabulous project. The foundation contractors continue to plug along, adding in retaining walls and getting ready to pour our future back patio on Friday. It's looking good!

Today, however, we were back at it!

I made the mistake of thinking that I would get tons of work done this afternoon, following my morning prenatal yoga class. Ha. Yes. Didn't happen. First, it was OVER 90 DEGREES. AGAIN. This is *NOT* ok with me. At all. Second, I was already pooped by the time I got up to the house. And third, I was slightly creeped out by the locksmith replacing our knobs and deadbolts for three hours while I tried to focus on bathroom demolition. He did a fantastic job, and really was quite a nice guy, but there is something unsettling for me about being alone in the house with contractors of any type. I really appreciate the fact that our great foundation guys always ask me to join them outside if they need to discuss something. I'm sure that the whole pregnancy thing is playing a large part in my feelings of anxiousness and vulnerability. I've also found myself rather nervous when working at the house by myself... The extra 45 pounds and diminished ability to run like hell starts to seriously effect one's feelings of safety.

In any event, the guy did a great job reinforcing the overly-hollowed-out door knob openings, adding metal plates and refitting the non-knobed door so that it locks on the top and bottom. We said "buh bye" to the scary fire hazard lock thing on the back door (that needed the key in it at all times so that you could open it.) I love the antique bronze handles - even though they aren't true black - and think that they will look great with the eventual color scheme changes.

Thankfully I was able to soak and scrape off most of the wallpaper remnants in the bathroom - hopefully the walls will only need a light sanding before priming and painting. Matt continued to add outlets and switches and wires and boxes and all sorts of fun electrical stuff in the bedroom and kid room. Did I mention how much I love being married to such a handy stud?

I tried to get sandwiches for our dinner at New Leaf, but, of course, today was their employee appreciation night. The one night of the year that they close early. Figures. So instead I trotted down to the Taqueria (in 91 degree heat) and picked up a few burritos. I will definitely be back, as that place has GREAT AIR CONDITIONING! Ha. It's the simple things in life! Dinner out on the porch again, enjoying the slightly cooling evening and relative quiet of our property.

Which leads us to the main event of the evening: DEMO ROUNDUP!

We couldn't wait anymore - the bathroom "tile" had to go. After a bit of quibbling over demo technique, Matt decided to use his favorite method - *grab and yank*. It worked rather well when combined with my *carefully use the proper tools to loosen the edges* method. Unfortunately our original plan to remove and use the pine paneling behind the tile for future repair or patch jobs was dashed as soon as the sheeting came loose... Giant swaths of tar-like sealant mar almost the entire area of panelling. We may have to tile further out than previously planned... But in the general scheme of things, this is NOT a big deal. Thankfully we were too tired at this point to really care! Wahoo.

Packed up, locked up, shoved off and came down to the 20 degree cooler house by the ocean.

Poop. I'm in trouble if this heat keeps up...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day Four: I Love Wallpaper...

...but I love it even more when it comes off the wall in nice, easy, wide swaths. Our bathroom? Not so nice, easy or wide.

I spent Monday holed up in the tiny bathroom that will become grand central in a few weeks, starting the demolition process that I have dreamed of since I first laid eyes on its rather gross interior. Think plastic "tile" sheeting, mismatched vanity and mirror, random universal handgrips in every direction, 3/4 sized tub with tile border that overhangs the tub edge by a good half inch, wallpaper so horrid it is guaranteed to cure you of your hiccups at first glance... But other than that... Oh, and a window that opens out to the enclosed porch room. Lovely.

When I pulled the vanity off the wall, two condoms fell out of their high hiding place, making me wonder just who was getting some in our house lately... since the previous owner passed away in 2007... at the age of 98... Hmmm... The step-grandson, the almost-20 son of our neighbor, perhaps? Eeeewwwww....

Matt cut off and capped the shower pipes on Sunday (I married a total stud muffin...), so we will be ready to do even more intensive demo work on the bath when someone who can actually lift a crowbar is around. I'm trying not to overdo it, but it is so hard to look around the house and helplessly count the unending projects that I would *really* love to have finished or at least started by the time we move in... The bathroom is DEFINITELY near the top of that list!

The foundation crew continues to build retaining walls, pour concrete posts, reinforce the perimeter and prep for the BIG POUR coming up on Friday... That's right folks - a massive load of cement is coming our way at the end of this week! Stay tuned for pics... Maybe we will write our names in the slab!!! "Sara was here." So original.

We did not make it up to the house this evening, as it was the return of our small group after a lovely summer break. It was great to get caught up on what has been happening for each family (...and there is altogether-too-much going on...) and to have a little break from the stress of the house. But I found myself making lists in my head as I was munching on Cassy's delicious chocolate chip bundt cake (OMG...), contemplating kitchen skylights as I tried to focus on what each couple had been up to over the past month, even mentally running through painting technique pros and cons as we talked about how excited we are for our daughter to arrive in the next six or so weeks. Does this make me a bad person? Or just a really focused remodeler? In my current state of "preggo-brain" I seem to only be capable of contemplating one topic at any given time... Lately it seems that the old adage is true: The house always wins.