Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Wordless Wednesday: Dude, Where's My Roof?

posted at 4:28 AM
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007
A Little of This, A Little of That
There is either light at the end of the tunnel, or the headlights of an onrushing train. Either way, it's movement. We have been stuck in a holding pattern for a couple of weeks while the structural engineer designed, analyzed, re-designed, re-analyzed -- you get the picture. Finally, we have a plan and should get the final approval on it from the city today. Then they can go back to re-building the framing so they can put on a new roof.

I posted pictures the other day of the loft with the roof torn off. It has been sitting like that, with just a covering of plastic, ever since. Last Friday we had a storm that was as bad as anything I've ever seen. I literally had a waterfall coming into the den. I found two little pans and spent 40 minutes replacing the full pan with the empty one, running to the door and dumping out the water, then running back to swap pans again. (The Professor, of course, with his incredible sense of timing, was off running an errand.)

The cabinet man came out yesterday. We started laying out the kitchen and realized that some changes are necessary. The Professor wants a 6 burner cooktop plus two wall ovens; I want a stove with the same number of burners and ovens. I am trying to save space for counters and cabinets; he is trying to keep us from getting in each other's way when we are preparing big meals for the entire family. The professionals agree with me; family members who have seen us in action agree with him. Stay tuned for more thrilling developments on this subject.

Rocky Raccoon has been sneaking into the house every night. He is huge -- about the size of a small dog, but much more muscular, something like a pit bull. I did some research on the internet and learned that raccoons can break in anywhere, and that it's not a good idea to let them associate the inside of your house with food. So last night I put a bag full of pecans out on the lawn, and we nailed up every access point we could see on the ground. (Although apparently raccoons are like cats and can get through much smaller openings than you would expect.) It's 4:30 AM and I haven't heard him yet, so I guess it's worked.

Last night the Professor had another fainting spell. It happened exactly like the first: he had just finished eating, complained of dizziness, and went out. It didn't seem to last as long this time, or maybe that was just because I wasn't terrified, and I didn't have to holler for help. He came to, he was fine, with no lingering effects except some clamminess of his skin. On the internet again ... discovered this is quite common in "older individuals" with high blood pressure. Both times this has happened he wasn't that hungry to begin with but ate everything on his plate, anyway, so hopefully, as all the literature suggests and any normal person should be able to figure out, he can control this by not over-eating.

Prayers and good thoughts would be appreciated for my ex-husband, the father of my children, who is having surgery for lung cancer on Friday.

posted at 4:11 AM
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Saturday, July 21, 2007
Saturday Photo Hunt: Tiny
This tiny church, which only holds about 30 people, is on the Big Island of Hawaii. Despite what you think you see, the back wall of the church is right behind the altar. Like so many buildings in Hawaii, it is open to the weather, with a big porch to keep the rain out. It perches at the top of a hill, and the path is lined with Crown of Thorns. With the ocean view, the wonderful tropical breeze and flower scents, and the charm of the building, I have always thought this is probably as close to God's ear as you will ever get on earth.

posted at 4:44 AM
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Friday, July 20, 2007
The Night Visitor

Look what's been coming into my house at night! We stored the bags of pecans from last year's crop inside so the squirrels wouldn't eat them. But yesterday there were pecan shells all over the floor.

Here's the culprit.

He's very friendly. The Professor said the only thing that made him run was the flash going off three or four times in a row. He came back three times during the night, not that I knew it because I sleep like the dead. We blocked the hole where we thought he was coming in, but of course there are access points all over this house right now, and we didn't even slow him down. Sorry, I'm going to put a song in your head that you won't be able to get out, but I guess his name has to be Rocky Raccoon. The Professor said the cats ran to greet Rocky when he first showed up last night, so apparently they've all decided that he belongs here.

I had no idea remodeling would be so interesting!

posted at 4:55 AM
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Tuesday, July 17, 2007
The Progress Continues
We have certainly had our share of problems: the electrical power failed in the underground line between the utility pole and the house; the tarp protecting the roof filled up with water and leaked all over the house; and in an apparently totally unrelated incident, the plumbing backed up. So maybe you can understand why I haven't been doing much blogging lately.

In some ways I feel like a dog: "The porch! My favorite place!" "The kitchen! My favorite place!" "The dining room! My favorite place!" But seeing my ideas turn into reality is such a thrill that I can stand and gaze at the (newly widened) back hall with rapture.

This used to be the master bedroom and is on its way to becoming the kitchen. The sink will be where that doorway is at the end of the room, and I will leave the window above as wide as it is now. This faces east -- I can see the bay -- and they've already built me a nice wide shelf for plants. You can see the framing of the pantry in the corner. When they cleared this room out enough for me to walk in it, I got out the blueprint and the sidewalk chalk and drew my counters out lifesize on the carpet. I am so glad I did that, because I ended up taking some room out of the breakfast area and putting it into the business end of the kitchen.

The Professor and I are squeezed into a couple of rooms. They tried hanging plastic to keep some of the dust out, but the plastic sheets would blow into the rooms, as my air conditioner air intake really sucks -- literally. So now we have zipper doors. At first the cats were afraid of them, but now they jump right through with no hesitation.

Monday we proceeded to this. Note that there is no roof. So of course it started to rain. It is now covered with plastic and we are waiting patiently for the workers to come back and put the roof on. Okay, maybe I'm lying about the patient part. I know that we have a long way to go and I have to stay calm, accepting and understanding about setbacks and interruptions, but there are moments ....

posted at 5:06 AM
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Saturday, July 14, 2007
Saturday Photo Hunt: Shadow
This is the only time in my life that I ever deliberately took a picture of a shadow. We were in the balloon, flying over the Masai Mara in Kenya. The whole trip was an incredible experience, and it's hard to pick out "best parts", but this balloon ride was definitely one of the best experiences.

posted at 4:08 AM
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Remodeling Update
Guppyman: Mom, how come you aren't posting pictures every day of the remodeling progress?

Mitey Mite: Because I'm too busy coping with all the crises to even take a picture, much less post one.

Saturday before last, they poured concrete for the front and back porches. The following Monday, they informed me that they needed to start turning the master bedroom into the kitchen. They obviously didn't realize that I live with Professor Pack Rat, and clearing out anything of his is a Herculean task. In fact, I think Hercules would have been defeated.

Fortunately, the sun came out and they could work outside building the roofs for the porches. Oh, did the sun come out. It was hot. It was muggy. On Tuesday, the workers kept blowing a circuit with all their saws. On Wednesday morning -- Thursday? I've lost track -- anyway, I woke up at 2:00 AM because it was getting hot in the house. I had electricity in the bedroom hall, the back entry hall, the master bathroom (but the outlets didn't work) and the refrigerator. That was it. Because I had to get the electric company to remove a lock band on the meter before the electricians could do anything, it took almost 24 hours to restore power. But I did discover how delightful my new front porch is. It was so cool and breezy out there that I was tempted to sleep there. We will never know for sure, because no one is going to dig up the old power line, but there's a pretty good probability that they nicked the line while they were pouring the concrete. The guy from the power company says it takes a few days to fail when it's nicked.

Fast forward to Saturday. I have a lovely new porch, not completely roofed because the loft design got changed and we are waiting for engineering drawings, but it is covered with plastic to protect it from the rain. I am packing up boxes (and boxes and boxes) from the master bedroom. I go to the kitchen and almost break my neck as I encounter a big puddle of water. I look up and see water running through the ceiling fan. WTF!!!

I never thought to mention to the framers that the wind hits the front of the house so hard that it frequently takes down my Christmas lights. A few nails were not going to hold the plastic down. Part of it blew back, the plastic got slack and started filling up with water -- so much water that it knocked a short piece of plywood in. It looked like this.

You can see the dirt in the bottom of the "bag" and from there you can tell how much water had accumulated. Every twenty minutes or so I had to mop up huge puddles. Our builder is one of those southern gentleman who won't let a woman do anything difficult or scary, so I really hated to call him, but I just didn't know if the wet wires might short out all the other wires and start a fire. I reached him on his boat, he assured me that as long as I didn't have the fan or the light on it was safe, and said he would send someone out, even though I kept telling him I could live with a leak, just as long as it wasn't dangerous. The builder himself came out Sunday morning, squeezed through the studs in the attic and lifted up the plastic enough to drain the water. Well, of course, most, if not all, of it drained down through the ceiling fan. I had to go to ten minute mopping intervals. On Monday the framer came over, got up on the roof in a pouring rain, and tried one thing after another. Finally he went to get a heavy tarp, a blue one, or "FEMA roof" as we've called it ever since Katrina and Rita. Of course, as soon as he drove the final nail (this time through boards) the rain stopped.

So after all this, it wasn't a big surprise when the framer told me that I had to get everything out of the kitchen, too, so he could start demolishing it today. I was doing pretty well, but I had to stop because the builder sent two guys and a trailer over and I had to take them over to the storage place and help stuff ten pounds of stuff into a five pound bag. But Guppy and my incredible, fantastic DIL Stormii came over and packed up everything that was left. Stormii said she does this for a living and she just "exceeded expectations" on her review, and I believe it. I never would have been able to do all that by myself.

I have moved two tall, skinny bookcases into the former-hall-bath-soon-to-be-master-bath to serve as medicine cabinets/dressers. I also put the coffee pot, iced tea maker and microwave (which is probably a stretch) in there. It is now the "kitchroom". I cleared out some space in my office closet for my clothes; the Professor will just have to make do with whatever he took on his trip. Hey, he could have been here!

I have been totally neglecting my job, which makes me feel terrible, so look what I'm doing -- I'm blogging. Guppy just called me and said his car is completely dead; it would cost more to fix than it's worth. Stress? What stress?

I'm actually holding up pretty well, but poor Guppy, who just paid off his car with the money he was saving for a second car, to save the interest. Now he has no car, no equity, and no down payment. Go over and tell him at least he has friends out in the bloggy world.

posted at 2:24 PM
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Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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