One day last week the Professor asked me why I tossed a loaf of bread at the foot of the stairs. Then he picked it up and said "Oh, and I see you opened it with your teeth." Rocky Raccoon had been here again. Then we got the windows put in and all the entry points sealed up. This morning? -- another loaf of bread halfway down the back hall. Oops, the Professor opened the kitchen windows and forgot to close them.
Earlier this week we ordered two sofas and a rug. I am cringing at the thought that they cost more than half the price of my first house. (My first house cost far less than a car does nowadays, but still, it's the principle of the thing.) I was out looking at furniture everywhere, wandered into an Ethan Allan store, and started talking to a very sharp young woman who had my likes and dislikes sized up in nothing flat. She found the fabric for the couches, she led me to the rug, she found the perfect paint for the walls, and most importantly, when I dragged the Professor into the store to see the stuff, she had brains enough to flirt with him. Ka-ching! Sale made.
The electricians and plumbers have been here all week. The plumbers have run the gas pipe for the new stove and have dug a trench halfway around the house so the kitchen sink can drain into the main sewer pipe. Now here's the interesting part: almost everyone who has worked on this house habla Espanol, but the guys digging the ditch? --- pale, freckled redheads!
I have been so impressed with the crew that has done the framing. They have a family business and they start training their sons early. All summer the carpenters brought their boys, who split their time between fishing at the dock and helping. These guys can run across a tiny board two stories in the air, and can catch pieces of wood while they're doing it. I've told them that if they ever get tired of framing, they can become a high wire act in the circus. They are so careful and protective of us, and they clean up their mess every day. I wish I could say the same about the electricians and the plumbers.
It is amazing how many decisions have to be made -- most of them on the spot with no forethought. Where do you want the switch for this light? How far back do you want us to cut this wall? Do you want a light in this closet? And on and on. But here's what happens if I'm not around to answer: they wired lights and ceiling fans on the front porch, but did not take into account where the porch swing would be. I will have to hang the swing in front of a window to keep it from hitting a ceiling fan blade. Hardly a tragedy, I know. Now we are picking outside doors, bathroom tile, and stone / brick / whatever for the chimney and hearth. No one has asked me yet what kind of knobs I want on the doors and kitchen drawers or what style of switch plates I want, but I know it's coming. I never gave most of this stuff a thought -- it's just there in the house, right? -- and about half the time when they ask me a question now I tell them I really don't care, just do what they normally do. But of course there is no "normal"; it's "lady, do you want it here or there?" I do not want it here or there, I do not want it anywhere -- no, wait, that's not right. Too many decisions have turned my brain to mush.
In the loft ...
In the kitchen ...
Next to the fireplace ...
Yes, I know you have to use your imagination. For those not from hurricane-prone areas, all those silver straps are called hurricane straps. They help your roof stay attached to your walls. And if they work as they are supposed to, that will make me very, very happy.
This week, two nights in Houston entertaining a visitor from the factory, two nights in Corpus Christi.
Next week, one night (Sunday!) in Tulsa. Two nights in Houston entertaining someone from the factory.
The following week, four nights in Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The week after that, three nights in Portland.
The following week, the biggest trade show of the year for my company, three straight days of 8:00 AM to midnight.
And if I'm lucky, I get to go to the fall API meeting the week after that.
Meanwhile, we have shingles on the roof, the fireplace is framed in, there are windows framed in in the loft. So there is some progress on the home front.
If I could just stay awake long enough to appreciate it...
1. Doors on the bathrooms. For various reasons, there is not a bathroom in the house where you can have complete privacy. I have added to General Patton's best advice: "Never pass up an opportunity to pee when you find a bathroom with a door".
2. A clear driveway. There is so much stuff piled there: beams, plywood, siding. Shingles are supposed to come today. Cars? What a silly idea!
3. A clear lawn. The driveway won't hold all the stuff. Where they have used up piles, there are patches of dead grass. Between the piles, there is overgrown grass. Interspersed among the piles are pieces of broken glass (former windows) and more nails than I knew existed. Let's just say I won't be winning the Yard of the Month award.
4. Windows. The front window where the fireplace will be is boarded up. Ditto the to-be window over the kitchen sink, which used to be a door. The room functioning as our living/bedroom had the window broken out by an over-zealous sweeper the very first week of construction. The outer walls of the loft have been framed in now, but those windows are boarded up. Now I find out, after many promises to the contrary, that the hurricane-proof windows we want will take another 3 - 4 weeks to get here.
5. Complete walls. All the way around the house. We are still missing a couple of walls where the den meets the loft, and almost the entire house has a little space between the roof and the outer walls.
6. My kitchen. I miss baking! (I bet my customers miss my baking, too.) My kitchen right now is a microwave and toaster oven in the back hall, and the bathroom sink. Oh, and the refrigerator in the living/bedroom.
7. Home cooked meals. Eating out every night gets very old, very fast.
8. My ice maker. The plumbers and electricians have made a habit of disconnecting things, then disappearing for weeks. One of the things that got disconnected was the water supply to the ice maker. I am a spoiled brat about the ice. Now that I'm used to getting it without having to open the freezer door, it seems like a huge imposition to have to get ice the old-fashioned way. I have lectured myself about women in Africa walking six miles to get drinking water for the day and what kind of horrible, selfish creature am I to whine about the temporary loss of my ice maker, but you know what? I'm horrible and selfish but dammit, I miss my ice maker!
9. Clear sinuses. It won't happen until the dust is gone. The dust won't be gone for several more weeks.
10. My bed. We have the mattress on the floor, but for some reason it doesn't feel right and I end up sleeping on the couch more often than not. My back is not happy.
11. My promotion at work. Same job, just "Senior" attached to the title. I pointed out to them that the "senior" had better refer to experience, not age! The best part is that it comes with a nice, fat raise. I think it should have gone into effect yesterday. We'll see how long it takes the paychecks to catch up.
12. Opportunity to blog, to visit people, to chat with my neighbors. Between work and the incredible number of decisions to make, I have no leisure time.
13. A mind that can absorb things other than remodeling.
We have had the beehive collapse syndrome here in Houston, and it seems like the absence of the bees has allowed the wasps to thrive. This is NOT a good thing.