Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fourteen Days

As I finished my morning ablutions this morning, a thought occurred to me. I tossed some clothes in the laundry basket and said to Michael, “I’m going to throw a number out. Tell me what it means. Fourteen.”
I slipped back into the bathroom to grab my toiletry kit as he rolled his eyes to the ceiling.
“Do you know?” I asked, on my way to throw the kit in my suitcase.
He couldn’t guess.
“It’s the number of times more we will take a shower in this bathroom.”

And so it is. We have more than fourteen days until the official bonafide move date, but our week-long trip to Kentucky reduces the number of mornings left at the old house to fourteen. FOURTEEN!

I probably have failed to mention in the chaotic weeks that have preceded today that we were about to leave on another trip. And this is in addition to the brief sojourn out to super-rural America this past weekend. Now we are in Kentucky. Louisville, to be exact. After ten hours in the car and watching over 50% of the video tutorials for Final Cut Pro Studio, we were pleased to find our hotel is quite lovely and comfortable, and within an easy drive Liquor Barn. This is an excellent way to test a variety of local-produced beers, and also stock up on some known favorites before we head east to dry counties where we will spend the rest of the week.

Unfortunately I will have no photos to share from this trip. I had brought my point-and-shoot to super-rural America a few days ago, and lined up a kick-ass shot of both the the drenching rain outside and the televised Scrabble competition, only to discover that my battery needed to be recharged.

And the recharger is where?

Dunno. Packed. In a box. I’ll find it eventually.


Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Reality of the Assignment

I find myself tonight in the super-rural part of rural America. I will not say where, exactly, only that my assignment allowed me the luxury of heading to the hotel early I actually had a bit of napping time available to me prior to dinner.

The day began with temps soaring into the upper 90s. Then a front moved through and rain began to fall as we headed to the hotel.

Before checking in, however, we stopped at the Home Depot which shares the same parking lot as our hotel, and bought a light fixture for the basement stairs as well as two bulk packs of AA batteries (I had a coupon that was about to expire). By the time we left it was deluging.

The hotel has been packed with a family reunion. The lobby floor is slick with the footprints of a myriad of small-but-wet, unaccompanied minors.

The best thing on television when we checked in was a marathon Scrabble competition, which says more about the poor quality of the other offerings than the quality of this.

Outside, the typical hotel signage that says that you park at your own risk, is hung off a barbed wire fence.

And my editor wants a pull-quote. The best quote I have found so far is that people like visiting this town because their children can walk up and down the street without worrying that their kids will be shot at.

I had a Boulevard Black & Tan for dinner. Life is good.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Don’t Faint

But we’ve actually scheduled an official moving date: August 23.

This will be followed by much revelry and sleep (hopefully lots of the latter).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Included among the many obstacles we have faced in putting this caddy shack into order (some known, some surprises) was the need to retrench our phone line because, according to the telephone technician, the cable company had trenched through their line at some point in the past when a previous homeowner had installed cable telephone in their home.

Well the trenchers showed up this morning.

And they assured me they would not interrupt my phone service (because I asked specifically).

So when I picked up the phone at one point and found no dial tone, I trucked out to the alley to let them know something had gone awry.

And I walked up on the trencher just as he was taking a whiz on the electric company’s utility box.

’Nuff said.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Photo Catch-up, and a Few Successes

In my previous post I mentioned how well my knitting bag worked as a packing cushion. Here is proof:

I also want to share with you a few successes:

I have been attempting to get an electrician to revive the old greenhouse exhaust fan since the week we closed on the property. That was June 2nd, btw. In two separate visits he failed on all counts. On the third visit I asked him to remove the old fan so I could see about either fixing it off-site, or obtaining a replacement.

With temps now in the 90s and the garden room exterior door now installed, getting an exhaust fan operational is increasingly critical.

I will say that installing the new fan (because that is what it took - a whole new fan) was no easy task. The old housing was slightly too small for the new fan, so I attached the new fan to the underside of the roof rather than trying to make it work on top like the old one. The sun was beating down and the temps that particular day were in the low 90s, so we’re guesstimating that, like a parked car, the temps inside the greenhouse were well about 120, 130. I was sweating so bad that my glasses were steaming up while I was trying to wire.

Keeping those conditions in mind, and the fact that I did something a licensed electrician failed to do, this modest photo depicts a major success.

I wired some more stuff up this morning. You see, the old receptacles and light switches had been painted over, and purchased at different points in time from different stores. Some were white. Some were white plates over ivory receptacles. Some were white receptacles with ivory plates. Even the ivory colors were inconsistent. We’re talking mix-y match-y out the wazoo, and pretty darn trashy at that. So I made a trip to an electrical supply house and bought a butt-load of receptacles, switches and plates, and am changing everything out as we finish painting each room.

Here’s a before of my office:

Here’s an after:


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Checking in once again/there’s light at the end of them there tunnel

I have not forgotten about you, dear readers, I assure you. Things are just crazy here, and there, and that other place that we call home, office, and home/office.

I’m sitting on the floor of our new conference room, waiting for my framers to arrive to hang doors. It’s door hanging day, gang. Isn’t that exciting?! And the phone technician is on his way as well.

We spent last weekend working our tushies off moving a whole heck of a lot of crap from Points A and B to Point C. Still much to move, but the cargo van rental from Enterprise enabled us to move our more delicate items, such as antique mirrors, without worrying as much about the packing quality of professional movers.

On our Saturday trip to the new town I brought along my knitting project because it happened to also be a knit group day. While I did arrive in time that technically I could have gone, I would have gotten zero else done on the house that day, so I passed. But it wasn’t a total loss. I found the knit bag made an excellent packing cushion.

Yesterday I placed my change of address for our office because, as of this weekend, we will no longer be spending our work days at the old site. More to be moved, of course, but the 8-5 stuff can occur at the new office. We’ve been saying goodbye to our old office mates. Happily, I might add. I love C. I love K. I’m not at all crazy about “Dude” who by turning the thermostat on his side of the building down to 59 (no kidding) is making the a/c on our side of the building not think it has a job to do, which means our office is unbearably hot. I’m also not crazy about K’s kid drop-by’s, but I love K, and K loves his kids, so what can I do?

[several hours later]

Two of my crews have been working all morning. The first is hanging the doors. Turns out that when the framer roughed out one of the doorways, he kinda did it to the wrong dimension. We knew that going in to today, so that was no big surprise and they have already rectified their error which I attribute to the residual smoke from the doobie smoking hippies who seem to have done most of the finish work on this house up to our closing date. Can’t chastise the framer too much about that because we managed to buy the wrong door into the garage. It all evens out in the end.

The second contractor is the phone technician who is a surly man. He did the head tilt combined with “that’s interesting” several times as we walked about the property. At one point he looked me straight in the eye and said, “I’m saying this cheerfully, but this is going to be the job from hell.” And so it has. Though we’ve got phone lines coming into most rooms (and often two), few if any are connected to the outside box. And to make matters worse - much much worse - at some point the previous owners had switched to phone service through the cable provider, and the cable provider had cut through the trenched phone line rendering it totally unusable. We now have a cable laying on the ground from our exterior box to the neighborhood box. The phone company will have to hire a contractor to return at a later date and lay a new trench for said phone line. The phone technician has now spent the entire morning here and had to leave for an appointment. He has promised he will return to finish the job. $125 for the first outlet, $80 for each outlet thereafter: Worth every penny.

A third technician for the security company is due here any minute. And now one of the sheetrockers has returned to fix two errors that the framers spotted while they’ve been working this morning.

Iz bizy.

More later. I promise.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Reason 9,057 I Will Burn in Hell

Regular readers of this blog are aware of my current “schedule,” meaning the crazy-ass manic pace with which I must lead my life in order to get meet massive looming work deadlines, prep my old house for sale, prep my new house to make move-in ready, and, well, move. It is requiring reaching into deep into reserves day after day after day. I have no “extra” time or “extra” energy to apply toward things that aren’t directly related to the above-mentioned obligations.

Regular readers will also know that I am not a children person. I have nothing against children per se. I realize that they are complex creatures with unique personalities. But let’s face it, these creatures haven’t finished cooking yet, and as such they require the application of a rarely-used part of my personality as well as loads of energy that, let’s face it, I simply don’t have at the mo’.

And regular readers will also know that one of the people I share my office building with a man who has two small children that he generally visits upon our office while we are here on Saturday mornings. And that these visits are not appreciated. I mean, I’m not a children person. Being around them does not “feed my soul.” They distract. They move quickly and they gravitate toward my very expensive and delicate equipment that I require to do my job.

Yesterday around noon I heard the tell-tale sounds of children bobbing up the stairs toward the second floor. I cringed. I had been at my desk working since 6:05 a.m., and had been up since 3 a.m. disassembling my old drapery valences to make the morning’s trash haul.

I held my breath.

Through the patterned glass in the door I could see two shadows approach - one adult and one child. Then came the knock. I remained quiet.

Then I saw her hand (because it was the office mate’s wife who was escorting her child to my door) gesture toward my mail slot.

Quickly weighing my options, I decided the best course of action.

“I’m not accepting visitors today,” I called.

The boy’s face peered through the mail slot at me.

“I’m on the phone,” I called again.

That did the trick. The family went off to lunch, and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I dashed off a quick email apology to my office mate explaining that I was in the midst of a huge deadline.

Only a few more weeks...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Shift Work

I fully recognize that a good chunk of America took Friday off. And not just from work, but also from chores and the rigors of daily living. I, however, did not. Could not. This is what Friday looked like for me.

2:30 a.m. Rise, make coffee, and start a load of laundry. While waking up, resume work on the Tesserae Rug.

3:15 a.m. Put wash load into the dryer. Resume work on rug.

4:00 a.m. Start a second load of wash. Knit on V-neck cardi front (previously finished but intentionally partially frogged during most recent knit gathering.)

4:45 a.m. Throw pile of warm clothes onto bed. Put wash into dryer. Calculate yardage requirements for three curtains in the new house to prepare to purchase Saturday during the two-day-only sale at Hancock Fabric (50% off all decorator fabrics, thankyouverymuch).

6:00 a.m. Mix up a batch of weed chemicals and apply to all brick sidewalks and cracks in driveway.

6:43 a.m. Make lunch and head to office to spend the day working on massive project with Monday deadline.

4:30 p.m. Leave the office.

5:00 p.m. Make dinner, open a beer and collapse.

7:15 p.m. Go to bed to sound of fireworks outside.

With one or two small alterations, this has been a pretty typical schedule for me for the past weeks and will continue to be until sometime in late September. It sounds insane, and there are afternoons when I think if I don’t get a day off (and I mean really off) soon, I will surely collapse. But the good news is that progress is being made, and only because of this sort of insane schedule.

The ceilings at the new house are nearing completion.

Doors have been ordered and will either arrive late next week or the end of July, depending which employee I spoke to.

Light fixtures have been ordered and most are due to arrive at the end of next week.

The stove and washer dryer are purchased and set to be delivered next Friday.

Michael has been painting on the outside of both the old and new house. Even our new mail carrier commented that it’s looking pretty sharp!

Blinds for the old house are on order and set to arrive within the next two weeks.

Today is Sunday, and once again I arrived at the office to begin work before 7 a.m. I have already spent hours knitting on the V-neck cardi, done a load of laundry, and taken all the main drapes down out of the dining room (salvaging the drapery hooks and the bobbinlace tie backs I so carefully made 15+ years ago.) Before the day is over I will have finished phase I of my work deadline, sent it to my editor along with an invoice, taken all the drapes down out of the parlor and blue room, as well as removed their valences and hardware, AND, I will have made flanges for some of the gappier holes around a few radiator pipes on the first level of our old home.

Around 30 yards of fabric wrapped in plastic await me at the new house to be transformed into curtains.

But that will have to be another day. And definitely after the sheetrock crews are gone and the dust has settled.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008