Saturday, March 17, 2007

Objective #2: Windows!!

The windows arrived on Thursday, and the great room windows are big indeed! They're so big, they won't fit in the house through the front door, and they had to lean them against the garage. Ed (our foreman) said we could reuse the supports as a goal post when we were done. Not a bad idea!

A crew from Blomberg (the window manufacturer) came today to install the windows. They were very fast and efficient. By the time we arrived at the house this morning around 11ish, the downstairs windows were already in.

We watched them install the big windows into the upstairs. They had to carry each window around the back of the house, and use a ramp that Ed had set up to walk onto the upstairs (new) deck, and then pass the window on the outside, with a couple guys holding the window from the inside of the house and a couple guys holding the window on the scaffolding. It was awe inspiring! They looked really smooth by the time they got to the third window, but I'm sure they were glad that that was the last one.

We had one slight issue to resolve with the side sliders upstairs (which side they opened up on), so it was good we went to the house today. By the end of the day, all of the window frames were installed, but there are still a few panes in the big windows that need to be installed. Objective #2 of the remodel is nearly complete!

On a very sad note, we learned that the electrician who had originally been slated to do our job passed away. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer three weeks ago, and given a year to live. Our condolences go out to his family.

More pictures can be found on Kurt's picture site.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Scraper Living ... Part Deux

One aspect of living in a scraper is you tend to let the house decay around you. It's silly to fix anything because the house is going to be torn down. When the water heater broke a few weeks ago, we had to get that fixed, because really, hot water is a necessity (that's pretty much why we're not living in our house at the moment). But a burned-out lightbulb? You're talking major coin. Even so, Kurt finally did replace the porch and entryway lights this weekend, but only because the bulbs had come four in a pack!

But an event happened today that sums up the dilemma of scraper living, and why it really does start to drag you down after the first couple of months, once the "hey, we're camping!" feeling wears off. We have exactly two keys to this place. It turns out that one is a rather bad copy of the original. The keys operate the door from the kitchen to the garage, and the deadbolt to the front door. We have no keys for any other part of the house, including the front door knob.

I had, of course forgotten that we never lock the front door knob, and forgot to warn my good friend Pam, who's here visiting from Oregon (with her dog Sprocket in tow). So I gave Pam my key this morning so she could come and go without worrying about leaving the house unlocked. Unfortunately, not knowing the no-key-for-the-door-knob factoid, she, like any reasonable person, locked the doorknob as well as the deadbolt. She was quite surprised when she got home that she couldn't open the front door.

In the meantime, Kurt had given me his key (the original; Pam had my bad copy). So, when Pam called me, the only way in was through the garage, which meant that Kurt had to drive home since he has the car, and thus the garage door opener. Unfortunately, Kurt had the copied key, which naturally, does not open the kitchen door. So they both had to wait until I got home from work with the original key to open the door to the kitchen. Poor Sprocket patiently waited to be freed from scraperdom. Of course the good thing about the scraper living, is that if Sprocket had had an accident, we wouldn't have cared!

We also realized that if we'd had to break a window to get in, well, really, who would have cared about that either? We just would be getting a head start on the whole house demolition project! So I guess there are some upsides. Sort of.

But right now, I really miss my home.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Office Door

There are still a few remaining details to be resolved. One is the material to use for the office door. The office door will be a sliding door that slides on an exposed metal track. When it's closed, it will be at the end of the kitchen. When opened, it will slide next to the wall behind whatever furniture is there. When it's closed, it will sit adjacent to the red glass pantry doors, and the ovangkol (wood) buffet. The floors in the hallway are black stone. So, the door has to be a neutral color that will go with everything. Because it sits next to a hallway without windows (our skylight was outplanned since the roof framing was in the way), we'd like to use a material that will let natural light in from the windows in the office.

We've narrowed the material down to two possibilities 1) A door made of broken glass (as can be seen in the AMA building in Chicago, or in the de Young museum in SF (the former being intentional; the latter not) or 2) A plastic laminate from, called "Courier" (see: for a sample). Both materials are interesting and let light in. The first is a bit more elegant, the second more whimsical. Opinions? (I'm leaning towards the glass, Kurt's tending towards the courier.)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Scraper Living

Not much is happening with the house. I'd hoped we would have windows installed by now, but we are waiting for the electrician to wire the outside lights. Hopefully next week... (our contractor lost the original electrician and is working on getting another one to fill in, but still it takes time).

So, it occurred to me that what this world needs is a new magazine called "Scraper Living" -- all about living the nomadic lifestyle and hopping from tear-down to tear-down.

Issue highlights include:
  • Ten ways to make your temporary house feel like your home
  • Five good workarounds for common house problems
  • Six great ways to finding the next scraper of your dreams
  • Living the nomadic lifestyle -- how to make the most of your temporary abode
  • NIMBY -- how to entangle the planning dept.
  • How to lighten your load, an eBay primer
Oh I had a bunch of other good article ideas today, but it's late and I'm tired! Tomorrow I'll go find a publisher after I map out the next couple of issues!