Thursday, December 28, 2017

Unwrapping the past

As we go through boxes from our storage, we are finding some boxes that were wrapped up in 1999 and haven't been opened since. Unwrapping has been an opportunity to look back in time and see not only what's in the boxes, but what's shown on the newspaper we used for cushioning. We can see what's changed and what really hasn't. President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were in the news, cell phones going hands-free was new, the coolest people had flip phones, and SUVs were just beginning to take hold. Who remembers Hollywood Video, The Good Guys, Radio Shack, or Cellular One? Who remembers being able to buy a (manufactured) home in Sunnyvale for $125,000? Such a long time ago but it also feels just like yesterday.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Makin' lemonade one rhinovirus at a time

That headline is as clever as I'm going to get today since I am recovering from the aforementioned rhinovirus or common cold. On the upswing, all is well. But! Today's lemonade moment was again seeing Bill's amazing woodworking in progress. I asked him for an action sequence and this is what he offered:

He is stripping the old paint off our house's original doors so that we can re-use these beauties. Solid wood, interesting grain, but a fair amount of work to prepare them for re-hanging. That's my boy's superhero identity, Eco Carpenter Man, always wanting to re-use beautiful stuff rather than buy new.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Wood you believe it?

The beauty that lies beneath the paint on these doors is well worth the effort and time to strip them. These are from two sources, our original broken, tear-down house and a job site where Bill worked eons ago. He has saved materials from job sites for years, and they are about ready to make their debut as beautiful finish details. 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

My punny valentine

We recently moved our spinet piano out of storage and look forward to getting it cleaned and tuned after the holiday rush. (Who knew that piano tuners are booked up months in advance?)

We winced when we tried to install the piano's music stand and realized that we did not have the vintage screws that hold it upright. Eventually, we will find a new set, but there hasn't been any structure to hold up sheets or a music book.

This morning, we unpacked several sets of dishes, some of which we do not recall at all. We stacked up some of these dishes and their matching cups on top of the piano to clear our workspace as we opened even more boxes.

Me, walking through: "Looks like you got yourself a music stand."
Bill: "Yes, a CUP-ple of them."
Both of us: {silly giggling}
Me: "You're learning 'Linus and Lucy'? squeeeeeeeee!"

A precious gift, a valuable role model

As we have approached this point where we unpack long-stored items, I have been waiting patiently for the moment when I could see this art piece again. It was a gift from my father to my mother, and it hung on the wall in our living room in the house they built for us. I don't know the history of the piece, but the hand-forged nails that hold it together might be a clue.

With all of the similar-style memes all over the internet these days, I have thought many times while it has been in storage about this woman and how she is teaching the men to drink. She's a great role model from long ago, a woman who is leading, teaching, and offering her, ahem, expertise to younger men. Thanks to my parents and especially my mother who taught me to be strong and independent, just like her. I am also deeply fortunate that my boy loves that type of mate.

That fellow on the right looks like he's about done, eh?

The 10 days of Christmas

Today, we unpacked several boxes that have been in storage for some time, our very own time capsules.

Over the course of my childhood, creativity was always encouraged. Lots of projects were going on year round, but especially at the holidays. One year, we bought a set of cookie molds featuring the 12 Days of Christmas, and then made ornaments from them. Today, we found ten of them, and it's doubtful that the other two are still around. {Have you started singing the song yet to see which ones are missing? When you figure it out, let us know :-}

The little drummer boy's head has fallen off while in storage, but he still adds a fine beat. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Contem-plating our storage

Today, Bill is deciding on the layout of our cabinet shelves, installing the side panels and trim pieces on our kitchen cabinets. There are always many more steps than you might think, and the detail decisions that we make together are many. Well, actually, I often say, "Whatever you want! You've done this much more in your life than I have." His eye for design is impressive and his ability to install things beautifully wows me regularly.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

O Captain! Her Captain...

We recently moved some old boxes around as we continue sifting through lots of old stuff and this very old box ended up right next to my drum set. As I stared at it tonight, memories of my last San Francisco roommate and her boyfriend whom she later married, a captain in the Army, came flitting back. So long ago, but some moments so very clear.

I did a quick Google search to see if we could re-connect with them and I was stunned to see that he died in a car accident a few years ago. They had been together through undergraduate and graduate degrees, two daughters, and lots of years. At age 51, gone. All the plans they had to grow old together, cut short. It's somewhat poetic that I should think of them as I sat down to practice something I put off exploring for so long. Be all that you can be, now rather than later.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Enjoying a lovely cab

We have been working on some fun final details, including finishing the kitchen cabinets. It is always fun for me to see the process, especially when I return home to find the drawers up-ended and resting while they wait for installation. The hardware underneath intrigues me so this is a great chance to see it up close. Our kitchen is getting closer to completion, but enjoying the journey is what's most important to us.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Carpentry geeks, unite!

What does a talented carpenter do when he finishes a big milestone? He starts a new project, this time for some friends. [There's much more to do on our project, but he wants to finish up a few details for on long-promised projects.] And when I have the day off, we make an adventure out of a trip to Economy Lumber, suppliers to woodsy folk since 1936.

As we pulled into the parking lot, I said, "OH! This is the place we visited a while back, and I remember promising not to embarrass you in there by taking too many photos." Try as I might, and desire as I do to not be a goofball inside, I still had to take photos, crack jokes with the staff (who did not seem to know how to take my invasion into their clubhouse), and do things to make my boy laugh while we waited for our turn at the counter.

The last time we visited, I marveled at the oddly tall doors for one of the buildings in the yard. Imagine my sincere, lumber-geek delight to discover that we were going to actually step inside that building, past those giant doors. SQUEEEEE! Or, perhaps I have been around construction for too long. Naw, delighting in stuff everybody else passes by is my jam. The last photo below shows a worker and Bill inside that building with the reason the doors are so very tall.

Bin-iful bounty of nails, screws, and bolts

I have no idea what these are, but they are cool. That is all.

We might have finished sooner if we had bought earlier.

The mystery of the super tall doors is solved.

Monday, July 31, 2017

So, this just happened...

All you need is love ... and awe for that love

Even after all these years, I am still rather in awe of Bill's amazing skills. Our remodel project has given me lots of opportunities to watch with incredulity as he has tackled thousands of projects small and large. On Saturday, he said, "I'm going to go hang a door." And, rip zip quick, he was done. I'd like to think that one of our survival mechanisms through this big project (after our shared sense of humor) is deeply appreciating what he can make happen.

I was reminded of how far we have come when I laid down in our new gym to rest my back on Saturday afternoon:

That big beam, which is openly visible in the gym and travels through the attic space towards the back of the house, brought back some memories. I was working from home one day several years ago and had the opportunity to watch Bill + four friends muscle that beam into place using their ingenuity and strength. It was so nausea-inducing that I had to walk away and distract myself while they continued on -- I couldn't watch the action without deeply worrying for their safety, but those boys were successful that day. That beam serves as a reminder of our devotion to this project, mad building skills, and intense teamwork.

Here are a few scenes from this weekend.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lighting the way home

The electricians visited today and made magic happen, both inside and out. Most special to us was the power that was hooked up to our front porch light, which we wrote about a while back while Bill was rebuilding it. This new photo is blurry but a very special milestone.

We appreciate the beauty of this one remaining intact piece of our old house and how it still lights the way to our home.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Handle me with care

I don't think there's anyone who doesn't want to be handled with care. We look forward to giving every visitor who rises to our second story a handrail so that they may rise with care.

As The Traveling Wilburys said: "You're the best thing that I've ever found. Handle me with care."

Hank concurs.

Taking our milestones when we can get them

For the first time in our lives together, we have more than one bathroom
and the TP is ready to be distributed.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Job dog

We've been using the term "job dog" for so long that I didn't even know that the phrase seems to be short for "Job site dog," when a person in the trades brings their pup to work.

What makes a good job dog? According to one of our dear friends and construction helpers, a dog that stealthily sneaks up on workers who are heavily concentrating is not eligible for being labeled as a good job dog. Okay, Kyro is out of the running.

However, Hank is the best job dog ever. Well, after our beloved, departed Nikki. Hank naps nearby and wakes up just enough to wag lightly as you come through the room. Or, he gazes at you as if to say, "Have I told you that I really, really love you?" All while being super relaxed. You're a good boy, Hank.

A chill job dog

Sunday, July 16, 2017

It takes a village to build a house

Yesterday was a great day in the smallest, yet largest, of ways. We rode off on our bikes in the morning to get coffee, visit our local bike shop, and then get groceries at our neighborhood farmer's market. Not very extraordinary. But, we encountered sweet friends in front of the coffee shop who we have not seen in a few years, and chatted with another friend and his adorable young son a few steps later. Incredibly sweet moments, small but wonderful joys.

As I pulled my phone out at the bike shop to write something down, I saw that our video doorbell had recorded someone ringing at our front door. When I viewed the video, I saw that FedEx had dropped off something that was expensive that we need on Monday to meet our aggressive inspection deadlines. ack! What if some no-goodnik takes the package before we can return? Do we turn around and forget about the market? No. We call our dear, sweet friends who live across the street and ask them to snag the delivery off our porch and secure it. And, of course, they did.

The help of these wonderful friends enabled us to continue on with our morning and the last few details on our big project as we get closer and closer to completion. While some may think that this is not a big deal, it is hugely important to us that we share our lives and exchange help with the members of our local community. We love our neighborhood and couldn't imagine living anywhere else. So many people have lent us assistance on our project and we thank them all for being part of our village.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Being counter productive

Yesterday was another exciting day with our little project. Our new countertops arrived and the fabricating crew installed them. Progress!

The underside of the countertops include steel supports so that they are strong and sturdy.

The installation begins.

Mad Chemist 100% Virgin Acetone, whatever that is.

The new island.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fun with fabricators

When you buy a slab (or three) for your kitchen counters, you have to decide the shape into which they will be cut. To do this, you work with a fabricator. The first step is for a worker to come to your kitchen to create a template of your surfaces on site. The fabricator builds these templates out of thin wood like balsa and the shape is assembled with staples. Bill was working on this step as I left for my work trip on Tuesday.

Today, as  I returned, we drove straight from the airport to the fabricator's warehouse where our slabs (and those of many other customers) are in process. We needed to look at how the templates are placed on the slab to ensure that we like the portions that will be in different parts of the room and agree on how it will be pieced together.

We made slight adjustments back and forth that were probably back to the same position that the fabricator suggested before we arrived. It will be exciting to see these slabs cut, assembled, and installed soon!

A fabricator's workstation

Someone else's slab and template

The templating process ensures that shapes and sizes will work in a space and not lead to an expensive mistake.

"Let's move this a little..."

Our kitchen island

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A grate idea

When we started our wee project, we thought a lot about energy conservation. We enlisted the help of the amazing Frank Schiavo on passive solar, and we (meaning not me) thought a lot about how to cool the house in the summer without installing air conditioning that neither of us wanted. And, rarely need. During our occasional very warm days, Bill knew that he wanted to leverage the cool air from our crawlspace to help draw down the temperature inside the house. He installed a whole house fan upstairs, and wanted it to draw cool air from downstairs via the crawlspace. Through the magic of the interwebs, we found this cast iron grate and it is now in place. You can feel the cool air coming up from below even when the fan is not running. His grate idea is helping us cool with science, and that's pretty cool.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A trip to the island(s)

Me, calling home at the end of my day: "Hey, love, I'm heading home in a bit."
Bill: "Great! I want to take you on a trip to the islands."
Me: blink. blink. blink.
Me: "AH! You have been working on the shape of the kitchen island!"

The care and crafting of our home is one of the most enjoyable parts of this remodel. Plus the humor. :-)

Each of these marks indicates a factor in the shaping of our kitchen island.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Brown v. Red. v. Floored of Education

We chose our floor color today (should we make it more red, more brown, more lightish and greenish?) so we will keep you in suspense about our choice for now. The stain was applied today and three layers of protective coating will follow starting tomorrow.

I do love puns, and I love how inclusive our country can be. So, that's how I chose my somewhat nerdy headline for this post. #punnygirl

Choices, choices.
After choosing from the samples, they are removed.