Thursday, December 21, 2006

Kitchen plans b and c

Yesterday, Habitat for Humanity was to come pick up our old kitchen. Upon arrival, they deemed the cabinets unsuitable for resale (too many of their ilk in inventory currently) so they did not cart them away. However, they did pick up our old windows, appliances, sinks and the old countertops which did clear some space. So what to do with the old cabinets? At the moment, the best possibility is to remove the previous old kitchen cabinets from the garage, and then installed the new old kitchen cabinets in the garage. I'm certainly open to other ideas, however!

On another front, we had been awaiting one more bid from our contractor's custom cabinetmaker. However, he's all booked up for the next several months so we will need to find another local cabinetmaker to prepare a bid. I fear we will not have made a decision on cabinets by the end of the year. I suspect this will mean we will be moving back into our house before the kitchen is finished. With a microwave, a toaster, takeout and the garage refrigerator I'm sure we'll be fine!

Progress on the rest of the house continues. Most of the joists for the upper floor and the office floor are now in. They are trying to finish the flooring for the upper floor so they can then begin the work on the roof. At this pace all the exterior framing and roof should be completed in January. It will be nice to have a watertight house again!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

A hole in the floor, no more kitchen

The first wave of steel is now welded into place. The steel floor supports have been welded in to form the basis of the floor between the first and second floors. In the process, it looks like they decided to remove all the existing wooden floor joists after all. (Given how cut up they had to be by the steel, and how unlevel the original floor was, it probably made the most sense. They'll now need to insert wooden joists between the steel to form the bottom of the floor.) The supports for the new stairs are also in -- two cylindrical supports which will anchor the new stairway. To be honest, I'm not sure how they're supposed to be finished -- it will be interesting to see them in their final form!

Now that all this work has been done, you can really get an idea of the sizes and placement of the new rooms, even though some of the existing interior walls have yet to be removed. The new family room will be a bit bigger (and more intelligently laid out) than the old one. The bathroom downstairs may be a little bit smaller than the original one, but is still of ample size. The downstairs bedroom will be of a good size. The downstairs storage closet (beneath the laundry room) will get turned into a computer storage room, with conduits for wiring upstairs to the new office. It will be nice to have all that equipment out of sight!

There is still more steel to come -- the two ceiling trusses, for example. However, I don't know what's left to do before they can put those supports in. I think the crane will need to come one more time before those trusses can go in. I'm not sure how much of the roof they'll need to pull off before they do that, however.

The kitchen is almost completely disassembled. Habitat for Humanity will come on Wednesday to pick up the cabinets, sinks, ovens, etc. Hopefully removal of the kitchen and other items will clear out some space in the garage and make it easier to move around. We are still working on the new kitchen design, waiting for one more cabinet bid so we can make our decision. We've got to finalize the design before the end of the year to have a hope of not delaying our move-in date. Fortunately, I'm taking the next two weeks off from work, so I'll have some time to work on the kitchen and finalize the design!

As always, there are many more pictures available.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Major Milestone -- no more stairs!

The crew has been making steady progress since the steel arrived. On Friday, the stairs were finally removed! Now moving between the two floors is a bit more inconvenient unless you want to risk the ladder. But, since the key insight (or, some would say, folly) that started this remodel was the idea of moving the stairs to a different location to allow the kitchen to be opened up, removing the old stairs is a major major milestone.

On other fronts, the steel welding continues. Each steel I-beam has a two by six bolted in, so that drywall, or windows or whatever can then be attached to it. So the steel goes up, then the wood goes in. In some places, like the framing for the office floor, now that it's covered with wood, you really don't realize that the steel is there.

Downstairs, there is a temporary "wall" holding up the floor above. It's interesting how they have to frame up temporary supports as they move the walls around. I'm sure I've said it before, but this whole project is like a big jigsaw puzzle... it's fascinating to watch!

Because our entire house is so poorly constructed, and they're having to redo framing we hadn't intended to do, we've moved to a time and materials basis for the framing (over our original fixed-price bid). I'm hoping that it doesn't turn out to be as bad as it might and that we aren't too much over our original price. Our contractor has been really good about letting us know these things in advance and trying to work it so we can minimize the overruns.

The kitchen demolition is going to happen early this week. Habitat for Humanity will pick up the old kitchen on Thursday... there's no turning back!

For a complete set of pictures, you can go here or here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Moment Frame

It's difficult to really capture the enormity of the moment frame with the camera, because we can no longer get far enough back to capture it fully. But hopefully these pictures give you some idea. In the span of time between yesterday morning to the evening, they put together the outer moment frame, and the supports for the new office.

Today they worked on welding more of the steel together; I'll have new pictures tomorrow.

A complete set of pics from today is here.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Woo-hoo! The day has finally come. The steel arrived!!! Now, our house is starting to look like a house! I wish I could show you the pictures of the completed moment frame, but alas, all I can show you is the mondo crane that lifted the steel over our house, the raw steel, and all the guys in hardhats working on the steel. As of this evening (when it was too dark to photograph), the moment frame is up, and it is impressive looking! It was hard to see how big the upstairs room is going to be when this is done, but now it's much easier to visualize.

The still have other steel parts to bring in; I'm not sure whether they'll need to bring the crane in again or not though.

I was worried about the crane being a real inconvenience for our neighbors, but big as it was, our cul-de-sac is bigger, and it looked like there was plenty of room for people to get in and out of the cul-de-sac.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Where are those pictures?

We have been taking pictures, but really, there's not much to show over the past month since the foundation was poured. They've reframed a couple of outside walls that weren't true, and have finished all the preparation for the steel which should arrive any day now. The moment frame and other supports are being welded in the shop, and then will be carted over to the house where it will be craned in. Hopefully, we will get the steel either Friday or Monday, and then the framing should start going a lot quicker.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Scope creep, and then some -- new kitchen!

If you recall, I was bemoaning the sorry state of our old house construction. Well, it turns out that to make the living room floor level, they will need to have a stepup from the kitchen to the LR/DR, as they cannot get the floor height of the kitchen to match, without losing so much of the cabinetry that we lose the dishwasher. Keep in mind that we've already "lost" the trash compactor, something that I don't really care about. But the dishwasher I do...

So, we bit the bullet and decided that we will replace the kitchen, so that they can get everything to fit right. We hadn't really planned to do this at this stage, because, well, we don't have any money left. But we have a home equity line o' credit, so we'll have to dip into that to be able to afford it.

Fortunately, the timing was good, as I took this whole week off. And ironically, I had decided to go up to the design center in SF to look at kitchens for when we had the money to do it. So I had a headstart on trying to figure things out -- what started as a speculative exercise turned into a for-real one.

I visited about six kitchen places in two days. Two custom cabinetry makers, and two European kitchen makers have copies of our old kitchen plans and are going to give us a rough bid as to how much new cabinets will cost. I did also look at Bulthaup and Poggenpuhl (which I preferred), but they are going to turn out to be way too expensive for us to do. So right now the choices are between custom cabinetry and Varenna, by Poliform (an Italian company). I should get the bids in a week, and then we can decide.

We weren't planning to replace most of the appliances, however, it turns out that our ovens are 24 inches, which is now a nonstandard size. So we'll get new ovens. We can keep our cooktop, and we'll keep our Subzero refrigerator (saving us quite a bundle). The dishwasher is up for grabs... if we can reface it to match the cabinetry, we'll keep it, because it's still in good working condition. Otherwise, we'll replace it. We'll have to get new sinks and fixtures, as well as new counters. We'll also have to upgrade the light fixtures. As much as I'd like to replace the kitchen windows, we'll probably leave them as they are for now to save money.

Replacing the kitchen now, although a bit stressful financially, will be good in the long run, since we can get all the major construction over with at the same time, and since we'll now have a kitchen that matches the rest of the house. If we can get the kitchen spec'd out and ordered by the end of the year, it shouldn't impact the construction schedule much.

And so, the adventure continues!

Life Without Internet

We lost our DSL for three days in the scraper and our connection to the world. It's pathetic, really, how much we depend upon a connection to the Internet! You'd think it would have been a welcome relief. However, although I took all this week off, there was some actual work I had to do at a specific time on Thanksgiving. So we packed up the laptop and drove down to our local pizzeria to sponge off of their free wireless (the pizzeria was closed, but their wireless was still open). I sat in the car for thirty minutes doing my work, while Kurt took pictures and fetched us coffee from the one open place in town -- Starbuck's! So it wasn't all that bad.

We thought the problem with the DSL was the line to the house. But we didn't really investigate very hard at first. On Friday, Kurt went down to Fry's and bought a new modem, to make sure the modem wasn't the problem (ours old modem was the first generation DSL modem... six years old, so it was amazing it still worked). Still didn't work. So we plugged the modem into the test port on the phone junction box (outside the house), and that did work. So, for the third time, we relocated the DSL, this time to the master bedroom (the opposite side of the house).

We now have both the phone and the DSL plugged into the test port on the outside of the house, and wires strung into the windows. The joys of scraper living! The inside wiring off this place is so noisy, we have given up trying to get it to work for real, and hopefully this solution will work until we have to move out. Despite the fact that it's not our house, we really hate to have our landlord put any money into a place that's destined for destruction.

We had to relocate the office into the second bedroom, which was the room we'd originally planned to set up the office in. So Kurt had to set up the desk, which has been disassembled since we moved in here. As a result, it's starting to feel more like we live here than like we're just squatting. (I'm a bit fearful that this could portend having to move out sooner than later as Murphy's Law kicks in!)

The upside of all this is that the wireless and DSL work much better than they ever have, and I have good wireless in the parts of the house that I frequent. The old setup was at the opposite extremity of the house, and didn't reach well into the bedroom.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

To scrape or not to scrape, that is the question

We are still waiting for the steel to be fabricated and delivered. This is putting us _way_ behind schedule. Apparently the hold up was the wait for the structural engineer to get the revised plans to the steel fabricators. It's interesting... we tried to cut down on the cost by taking some steel out of a place that didn't need it. However, doing so, while saving a bunch of money, has increased the delay. My guess is the delays will wind up costing us money, so the net net won't be much savings. (I think if we'd had a contractor during the all important structural engineering phase, we'd have caught this much earlier and wouldn't have incurred the delays.)

When we met with our contractor this week he pointed out all the places where our house isn't true. The walls aren't quite at right angles, the boards don't run level, etc. I think in retrospect, we might have been better just dozing the part of the house we're remodeling. They've already had to reframe one of the exterior walls (which I don't think they'd been planning to do), and they're going to have to do something about the variation in the run of the floor. I found myself getting a bit depressed at the quality of the crackerbox we live in. There's no question it will be a better house when we're done; I just hope that the poor quality of the existing house doesn't compromise the end result.

Scraper hopping

Kurt's enjoying the nomadic lifestyle. Our eviction from the house we're living in is probably four months away at this point, and Kurt's thinking we'll just take up the life of scraper hopping. Once we get booted out of this place, we'll find another scraper to occupy and will live there until they're ready to tear it down. We'd be the last people to occupy many a house, laying house after house to rest. It certainly would be a good way to experience other neighborhoods, and would force you to pare your belongings down to the bare minimum. I'm solidly against this however. Moving is just too much work!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

In the queue for steel

The foundation's poured, and there's not much to do until the steel is ready to deliver. They've installed some bolts in the foundation with which to bolt the house to the foundation. They also took the drywall off the inside of our master bedroom wall in preparation for shoring up that wall (because of the structural work in the rest of the house). So now we just have to wait. Steel is supposed to arrive this week or next, and then construction on the new part of the house will really begin!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Foundation trilogy

The concrete has been poured, and the foundation is complete! Friday they must have poured all the concrete, as we now have a solid floor again. It's exciting that we finally have a new foundation. Coda's not sure what to make of it, however.

Our architect mailed us a note about the soffitting and gutters on the house. I wasn't even sure about what soffitting was, to be honest. Apparently the way he'd designed the finish work under the eaves was to finish them off with stucco. The gutters in the new part of the house were also designed to be nicer looking than the current ones. But since no one can really see the outside of our house, we all realized that this was an unnecessary expense. So, we'll finish the gutters and the eaves the same way they are on the house now (which is basically, exposed eaves, and smallish gutters). This will hopefully save us a significant chunk of change that we can then apply to either repainting the entire house, or to the shear wall reinforcement that has to be done to the bedroom side of the house.

Our architect said in the beginning when we first got the bid, that we should plan that we were going to spend that amount of money, and I think that's right. Any amount that we save in one place seems to get eaten up by either an unanticipated expense or an augmentation to the existing plans as we start to realize what it means.

Foundation II

As of midweek last week, the concrete for the foundation was ready to be poured. The rebar was in, the moisture seal was on, and everything was ready to go. (I suspect they were waiting for an inspection.)

Wednesdays are our days to have our weekly meeting with our architect and contractor, to discuss any open issues that come up. It turns out that some of our walls are not perfectly square (surprise!) and we had to make a decision as to whether to "fur" the wall of the garage side (which will make one wall of the new office) to make the walls perfectly orthogonal. Since it isn't that important to us, and it's not that far off, we decided not to (because doing so will increase the expense, natch).

We also had to decide whether to do a flush baseboard (this is a really nice detail in a modern house, but it's much much harder to do than an applied base, and in a remodel like ours, it's probably much harder to do and therefore too expensive). So, we decided not to. We did decide to do a flush detail on the door frames, however (no wood trim), since that should look cleaner.

We had a long discussion about whether the front door can be salvaged or not, and I'm not sure what we finally ended up with. Whatever the cheapest solution is, I think. We got a new bid on the HVAC, and it came in a little bit lower than the original rough estimate. The upstairs will be air conditioned (for those few days during the year when it's unbearably hot), and the downstairs will be plumbed for air, but will not be air conditioned yet. In fact, due to the state of our existing heating system, the entire system is going to be replaced.

Our architect and contractor are working on getting us a new estimate of the remaining open items so we can figure out how much everything is going to cost in total. Even though we have a fixed-price bid, there are so many allowances in there that it's hard to get a handle on what it's really going to cost in the end. There are also other items that we don't have accounted for that we're on the hook to pay. It's difficult to pick out the remaining materials without knowing that.

The next thing we have to finish specifying is the electrical and lighting details. For the electrical, we're probably going to put in Cat V-E throughout the house just in case we'll need it. We also have to put in wiring for an alarm (sigh) since our insurance company won't insure the house for what it's worth unless we have that. We'll probably plan out a home theater setup while we're at it, even if we don't put it in for a while. While the walls are opened up, it makes sense to plan for as much as possible!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Foundation foundation

It's been very busy at work, with no time to post. However, Kurt's been taking pictures, and I've been putting them on my website at For a change, I've been posting pictures quicker than writing blog entries, so if you're curious you can check back there to see the latest.

Everything in the house at this point has been demolished, except for the stairs (which they're using to get between floors), and the half-wall between the kitchen and the great room. I think they'll leave that closed up until we have a real roof on the house, since it will expose the entire kitchen. The laundry room is getting refloored, so they've moved everything out of there and ripped out the floor.

Two weeks ago, our contractor finally got the portable drilling rig to drill the holes for the piers. The holes have to go down quite deep (something like fifteen feet). Access to the back of our house is not great, so they had to bring this machine that works on compression. It sits in the driveway, and then a hose snakes around to the back of the house to power the portable drilling rig. From there, they could dig the holes.

The one day it rained, they drilled inside (there are three piers that will be created inside the house -- two for the new stairs, and one for the new bathroom wall). It took them a couple of days to finish drilling. Then, they had to get a soil engineer out to sample the soil and determine how the concrete needed to be mixed. Then, they put the rebar and concrete in the holes to make the piers. The inspector came out and signed off on that piece of construction.

So at this point we've got piers, and I think they'll start building the foundation next. The steel is being constructed and part of it will be welded offsite. The steel should arrive in a week. The roof/ceiling in the LR has been cut back and is propped on a few two by fours/four by fours. They'll leave it that way until the steel is in, at which point I think they'll be ready to start reframing the new roof.

It seems that the lowest point of our new ceiling is at the highest point of the old ceiling. Which means, we're going to have some really high ceilings! (We can call it the "Grrrrrrrrreat!" room.) It should be a nice room when it's all done. We did decide to plumb the room for air, and our contractor rebid the HVAC part of the contract with that in mind. It turns out that they are going to have to replace our entire HVAC system in our entire house, but this should still come in under the original (very high) rough estimate.

Our architect is now trying to finalize our lighting and electrical plan. I realized at this point that even though we have a fixed bid, I really don't know how much we're going to wind up paying. There are lots of "incidentals" that aren't so incidental, such as the money we have to pay to the welding inspector to inspect the welds, or additional fees for the structural engineer. A thousand here, a thousand there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money! A lot of the pieces of our construction bid were based on allowances for materials; however, now that we've picked out the materials, I don't know whether we stayed within those allowances or not. So... this week we're going to have to get a better estimate of everything in the bid, along with the remaining "incidentals" so we know how much we can afford to spend on lighting. All this money stuff is a little bit stressful!

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Construction has begun!

I've been remiss on posting, but it's been so busy at work I've had no energy. You can find a bunch of pictures from September 23, September 25 and September 28 on my website.

In the last week construction finally began. We had to write our first big check (gulp) to our contractor on Wednesday. As of today, the house is completely dismantled except for the stairs and the roof. They're leaving the stairs in as long as possible so they have an easy way to work on the first (top) floor of the house. The deck has been cut back for the foundation, and the concrete slab on the bottom floor has been cut for the piers. The new bathroom plumbing has been installed (the line to the sewer, etc.).

Because the downstairs plans were initially drawn from the plans that were used to build the house, once they exposed all the walls it was apparent that some of the measurements were not quite right. The concrete pillar that supports the fireplace upstairs is in the way, so the bathroom gets a little bit shorter. (But I figure, it saves us a little money because we'll have to use less tile! Perhaps the guests won't stay quite as long as they did before.)

They removed the cabinets and hood and the backsplash in the kitchen in preparation for exposing the kitchen wall. I sure wish we had the money to redo the cabinets, as they are looking a little bit dated. They moved the stove into the garage and put all the drawers on the counters. This weekend we have to go move all the stuff in the drawers to our new house so it won't get super dusty during the remodel. That being said, they have covered everything with plastic and continue to do an excellent job of keeping the construction site clean.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Where are those darned pictures?

You're probably wondering why no pix in the past week or so? I just returned from a short (work) trip to Stockholm. Kurt's been taking pictures, but I have had no time to blog.

The house is now almost completely dismantled. All but the plate glass windows are now gone. The fireplace has been destroyed (hurrah!), and most of the drywall and insulation is completely gone. Basically we are left with a shell of a house.

The contracting crew is doing a great job of keeping everything neat. They pile all the stuff up on the driveway according to type of material (wood, metal, insulation, etc.), and then cart it all off when they have enough to get rid of. Fortunately, they also carted off all the crap we took out of our house, saving us a dump run or two.

We are awaiting the arrival of the post hole digger (or whatever the heck you call it) to start digging the piers for the foundation. I think actual construction should start this week.

Some newish pics can be found on my website.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Finally all moved out of the old house (sorta)

We went to the house this evening and moved all the remaining stuff out of the rooms that are going away. We still have to clean off the counters in the kitchen, but that will need to wait until another day. Getting rid of stuff and moving is really exhausting work!

Although they're still ripping off stucco from the outside, we noticed that today they have ripped out drywall from the downstairs ceiling. So I think major destruction is about to begin!

Tomorrow they are going to rip the windows off the house and barricade the bedroom wing with plywood (so no one can get in while the walls are off.

In the meantime, I leave for Sweden on Thursday, but don't have the right clothing at the scraper. Tomorrow we have to go to the house so I can get some clothes to take with me. And maybe a suitcase to put them in. Fortunately, we have an alternate front door in the bedroom to use during the remodel. Our own private apartment with no electricity or gas.

I will post pictures tomorrow, once I'm all packed and ready to go on my trip!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Peeling off the walls

The stucco destruction continues. They made much more progress today. I suspect as soon as they've done everything they're going to do to the upstairs outside, they'll then rip up the deck. As I mentioned in my last post, my theory is that they're doing a lot of work to the outside work now while they have the deck in place, because it will be easier to work from the deck than to work from scaffolding. Once they've done that they'll take the deck off and will start the foundation.

Which brings me to... building permit. We have our demolition permit, but we don't yet have our building permit. I think we're supposed to have it today or Tuesday, but to be honest, I'm not really sure! They can continue to take structures down, but they can't actually start to put anything up until they get the building permit. We've already paid money to the city school districts based on the amount of space we're adding. We now have to pay I-don't-know-how-much based on the value of the construction. Everything seems to be based on an increment over whatever else you're already paying, so as your construction costs go up (because of regulations that the city puts in place), so do your costs for the building permits. It seems like there's a bit of a conflict of interest at work here, doesn't it? All I know is that at certain points it feels like everyone's got their hand in your pocket.

Tonight I walked from the old house to the scraper. I walked down our really steep hill, and up the adjacent very steep hill to get over to the cross street to our temporary abode. It was quite a pleasant evening and quite a pleasant walk indeed! A lot longer by foot than by car, but still very pleasant. The dogs enjoyed the walk too. Maybe we'll walk over to the house from the scraper tomorrow morning, and then walk from there to downtown.

Breaking up is hard to do (apparently)

The big news on the remodeling site yesterday was the arrival of the portapotty! You know you've arrived when you have a portapotty in your front yard. We have ARRIVED!

If you were going to tear down your house completely, it would be easy. You'd just bring in a big wrecking ball or the claw of death and start hacking away at the structure. Heck, you could probably even dynamite it. A few hours or maybe a day and the house is gone!

Remodeling is a different story. Slow going because you want to preserve the basic structure of the house. Plus, you want to shield parts of the house from the elements, those parts which are not being remodeled. So the demolition goes a bit slowly as they peel the stucco from the parts of the house that are being remodeled.

I think what's happening is that they want to get all the stucco off the being-remodeled parts of the house now, while the 2nd-floor deck is still there. It will be a lot easier to do that from the deck than from scaffolding. Because they're not yet ready to expose the insides of the house, once the stucco is gone they board it back up (for protection). At least that's what I'm surmising. (I suppose I could just ask Mike... but it wouldn't be as much fun as guessing.) It's a very interesting process to watch!

Yesterday they made good progress, but there is still more stucco to go. Looking at the house from this angle and without the kiwi vine I'm struck at how incredibly ugly the stucco (and even the house) is. I think we're going to have to figure out how to put a siding on that doesn't look quite so ... dated ... without costing us a lot of extra money.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The wrecking ball pays a visit! Destruction begins!

Well, the day is finally here. Okay, a couple days ago they tore off the trellis to our deck. But that was just foreplay. Today they finally started ripping up the house. I thought this day would never come!

We stopped by the house after work and were treated to rubble in the front yard, caution tape on the side deck and bare wood framing on the back of the house! They are tearing away the stucco adjacent to where the new foundation will be built. I suspect that tomorrow they will tear off the deck.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We FINALLY get our demolition permit!

Nothing new happened at the house today, but our contractor reported that we were FINALLY issued our demolition permit! Woo-hoo! Our building permit should be ready in a few days.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Constructions BEGINS! Oh wait... maybe not yet.

Today we went to the house first thing in the morning and were delighted to see three trucks in front of our house. We even saw lumber!! Mike was going to have his guys dismantling our kiwi plan that had entwined itself around our deck (which was to be removed to make room for house), while he went to pull the demolition permit from the city. We moved a few more leftover things from the yard into the garage, and left hopeful that by tonight there would be some actual demolition.

A little later in the day, Mike called to say that the city had told him that more trees needed to be protected -- trees that sat behind the part of the deck which was to remain (hard to see how they'd get chain-link fence there).

When we stopped by the house after work, there was more chain-link fencing up and some caution tape around the deck. So it looks like we should (crossing fingers) have our demolition permit tomorrow and real destruction can begin.

Today they just managed to say goodbye to the kiwi -- we no longer have kiwi or a trellis on the deck. I think that's good progress!


While we were at the house we saw our next-door neighbors (who had been gone on the weekend so we didn't get a chance to talk with them then). We had a lovely chat and explained a little bit about the project. They might take some of the stuff we're taking out, as our houses are of a similar era and some of the things in our house might fit nicely in theirs. Of course by the time we finished talking it was getting very dark and oh yeah, we don't have electricity, so we'll have to continue the discussion tomorrow!

First get together at the scraper!

On Sunday night I had some friends from work over to the scraper to eat some pizza and watch a movie. I figured it would be easy, because you just order out for pizza. We soon figured out all the things we hadn't moved from our house: a corkscrew for the two bottles of wine that people brought. Uh, more than two plates (fortunately Kurt was able to retrieve the Chinet from our house before guests arrived... those will come in handy, but I guess we'll have to make a Costco run to have a steady supply!). Maybe some glasses or cups? Good thing we bought canned sodas!

Oh yeah. Chairs. You need more than four chairs if you have eight people. So we used the piano bench, Coda's kennel, the office chair and that seemed to do the trick. Must remember to get a few folding chairs!

All in all we had a great time, and it was a nice way to finish off the weekend. We wound up all being too tired to watch a movie, so everyone went home relatively early so we could collapse.

Moving out is more work than I thought!

We spent all weekend cleaning stuff out of the rooms that are going to be renovated. On Friday I thought we were almost done; on Sunday I couldn't believe how long it took! The last bits of what has to be moved out are the hardest, because you can't really get help to decide what to keep and what to throw away. Kurt's brother said, just get some plastic storage bins, dump everything in there, stack 'em up and deal with it later. But I was determined to get rid of as much stuff as possible. In the end, I probably did fill a few cardboard boxes with stuff I'm going to get rid of later. My eBay pile at the scraper has also grown considerably (so look for some new auctions soon... once I get some energy back!).

While I decided things and packed/recycled/tossed out stuff, Kurt did recycling runs and other necessary errands. We did find one outlet in the house that actually still had power, so we hooked up our little portable stereo to power, and rocked out while we were packin'. It certainly made the time go by quicker!

Sunday, we started dismantling things as well. The closet organizers and the track lighting will all be salvaged and given away or sold. There are a bunch of other things that I'm certain someone could find a good use for but I'm not sure how to match up the person with the thing (craigslist, I suppose). Hardwood floors, wrought-iron railings, etc. Hopefully we'll find a way to recycle what we're taking out of the house.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Scraper versus Our House -- A Comparison

Kurt, being the funny guy he is, decided to compare the rental house we're living in (aka "the scraper" since it's scheduled to be demolished) versus our house. Here is his comparison. (Scroll down as there is something funky with the tables...)

The Scraper Our House
Central A/C rickety old fan

Front door works perfectly
pretend you’re the cops and kick it in

Garage fits two cars
one car on a good day
Ice in fridge door ice blocked up in freezer
Country club neighborhood suburban subdivision
Beautiful oak tree spurge
Wildlife rats
Separate freezer freezer bags
Duxiana bed concrete-slab French bed
Parking for guests nosebleeds and heart attacks from Himalayan altitude
Hot tub mosquitos

I think he's a little biased, but really, what can you do?