Monday, August 27, 2012

When you want a job done right....

Consider doing it yourself!  No, we're not digging the pool ourselves, but we did find our own pool builder and that has turned out to be one of the best decisions we made.  After months of dithering around with poor designs we took matters into our own hands and got some other companies to bid on the project.  And now it is full speed ahead on the pool!  I can almost feel myself floating on a pool float with the sun shining down on me...

Here's the progression over the last week:

Last Monday they marked the location... unfortunately they were off 
by several feet but it wasn't an issue.

This was the scene Friday morning.  

I happened to be on-site when the first shovel-ful was dug!

By the end of the day Friday this is how it looked.

And at then end of Saturday it was completely dug.  The layers in the earth are fascinating.  It feels like an archaeological dig or something.  Smells like it, too.

Here is the view from up above on the balcony
Here's looking from the back of the pool looking toward the house (in case you couldn't tell.)

This one was taken by Jim during lunch on Monday--rebar in and plumbing almost done.

Even though work is being done on the front and inside of the house it just seems to be creeping along...  I think the more we see getting done the more anxious we are to just be finished.  Here's the progress on the inside:

Versaille pattern, travertine, located in mudroom, pool bath and laundry room.

Pool bath shower

Tile detail in master bedroom/bathroom

I'm pretty happy with how this turned out!  At first I thought it might be too bold but I really like it.

We used the same tile in all three upstairs bathrooms.  I love the tile, but now that I see it I might have chosen to do something different in the bunk room bathroom.  Jim said, "it doesn't really work for a girl..."  
Here's a close up.  I think if I needed to I could make it work for a girl...  Maybe not a super girly-girl. 

Guest room bathroom

All good progress from last week.  The wood floors were on hold while the tile was being installed.  

We also took the barn-building into our own hands and signed with a builder for that project last week.  They are now looking into the engineering and getting the building permit and will hopefully be getting started within a month.  That is a whole 'nother set of issues... Fortunately not as many selections to be made and I already pretty much know what I would like to do since working in other people's barns for the last 9 years:

European low-front stalls with rail top dividers.

Other happenings:

This has been done for awhile, but I don't know if I got a picture.  

documenting the water damage in Robert's room after the recent rains.  Our project manager has been on vacation so this still has to be dealt with.

A few areas on the outside are not engineered to hold the weight of brick and so they will have stucco applied soon.

Today was the first day of high school for Robert.  He looks so excited, don't you think?   He actually asked me what I was doing when I pulled the camera out this morning.  You would think after all these years he would know the routine!

Joe was a little better sport.  He's wearing his favorite shirt of the summer.  Happy SENIOR YEAR, Joe!
I'm not really ready for school to be starting... it seems like the summer flew by.  My baby is in high school and we have another senior.  I was informed when he got home today that "homecoming is coming up..." and I was reminded that there is really only one thing that I hate about living in Texas and that is homecoming mums.  That is a post for a whole entire different day.  I'm not going to think about it now... I'm going to go back to floating in the pool....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

considering self defense

Jim really likes guns.  When he turned 40, I "let" him get a handgun and even went to pick it out with him.  It's a really big one--and it scares me to death.  A couple of years ago, he took a conceal and carry course and bought a smaller gun, which he now keeps in his glove compartment.  And, on occasion, he carries it around the property with him.  You know, for self-defense from attacking coyotes... or alien invaders.  I usually just tease him about it a little.  I have even overheard him say that I should carry a gun... you know, for when I am out at the barn by myself.  I always laugh that one off, too.

So, yesterday we were checking out the creek after having heavy rain a day or two prior.  And what should we see?  

Yes, that is a SNAKE.  Of course, the one day that no one (Jim) is packing, we see an enemy.  "You could have used your gun!"  I said.  He said, "No, it is illegal to discharge a gun within city limits unless it is self-defense."  To which I said, "Well it could have come after us!"  To which he laughed.  I don't think I'll be getting a gun.  If you have to wait for the snake to come after you to shoot it, what is the point?  I will just be running away as fast as I can, thanks.  After doing a little research, I found that this snake is probably a "blotched water snake" and is not poisonous, although "they can defend themselves by delivering a series of rapid bites while smearing feces and musk onto anyone attempting to capture them."  I would venture to say that none of us will be attempting to capture them.  Gross.

And nearby, we found another specimen to demonstrate grossness:


Ah, a banana spider.  Brings back such lovely memories of when I had one crawling up the front of my shirt and, rather than help me get it off before it got on my bare skin, my chivalrous son Robert whipped out his phone to snap a picture of me jumping up and down and screaming.  (And later informing me that he had never heard me scream before.)  This specimen was about 3 inches across.  Robert kept trying to get me to get closer to it... "move the grass so I can get a better picture of it..."  Yeah, right.  I think he just wanted to see me scream again.

Progress on the house since I last wrote:

The garage doors were installed

All the pre-cast concrete pieces are laid out in the front yard.  It must be like putting a puzzle together.

Some of the front windows are done.  This is Joe's room upstairs and the guest room downstairs.

This is attic space upstairs and the master closet downstairs.

Here's the view from "the spot" taken on Friday.  It seems like it has looked like this for weeks...

Here's the progress on the inside:

All the walls are ready for paint.  Sub-flooring on first floor:  ready for wood floors to be installed!  Looking from back stairway next to laundry room toward guest bedroom.

Looking from kitchen into great room.

Wood flooring being installed in upstairs hallway.

The first fully installed wood floor--lucky Robert!
Wood flooring being installed on upstairs bridge.
Oops.... water damage in Robert's room from the recent rain.  The roof, ceiling and drywall will have to be repaired.  

So, now that the wedding excitement is over I've been feeling a little numb.  We had a great time with Michelle and Miles and Jim's parents, sister Linda and husband Bill and two of their boys, Alex and Nick. 

Here's the whole group at Michelle and Miles' Texas reception

It was hard to see the kids leave... 

And now it's time to get busy on the house again.  I have plenty to do with the final selections we have to make as well as coordinating all of the decorating.  Not my strong suit but looking forward to using some colors that we love this time.  Here is one thing that we worked on this weekend:  

The tile design in the master shower. 

This week they should be able to get all the wood floors laid and hopefully all the tile, too.  I think then it will really start taking shape as "our" house.  We meet with the pool company on Tuesday--we'll get the outline of the pool set and hopefully they'll start digging.  With any luck, having heavy equipment back on the property will send the varmints packing... so we don't have to be.  (a little gun humor.)  Going to bed now.

Monday, August 6, 2012

I believe the end is in sight.

The house part of our homestead project is starting to feel like we will actually get to move in sooner rather than later.  Jim makes about 2-3 trips a day over to see the progress.  I usually make a pilgrimage every couple of days unless major work has been done.

On Friday we met with a construction company about building the barn.  That concrete pad seems to be more of a problem than we bargained for... it is definitely a factor in the engineering of the new structure.  We are waiting for their bid.  We learned from the landscape designer that in order to get the 4 acres of pasture in good condition we will need to put weed killer on it... no surprise there.... but then Tia can't be on the grass AT ALL for 6 MONTHS.  :-(  In all likelihood that means that she will stay where she is with my friend, Karen, until the grass is safe and then we will bring her to her new home.  At the rate we are going with that part of the project it will be next spring before we can watch her out the windows.  

We are excited to have Jim's family in town this week for Michelle and Miles' Texas reception.  Jim can hardly wait to take everyone out to see the house.  Our project manager said he would make sure everything is cleaned up!  Considering the mess that is over there now, that will be no small feat.

This huge pile of drywall scraps sits just off the back porch

the back porch is almost done except for around the windows, which have to be replaced because they are not the right windows.  I believe they put the new ones in today.

taping up the drywall in the family room.  I don't think these workers are afraid of heights.

View from back stairs looking toward foyer and guest room

Venetian troweling.  We're using this "specialty texture" in a few areas.  So few that we are actually under budget on that allowance.  Take note... that doesn't happen very often.

Foyer showing staircase.  Guest room under stairs.

Kitchen dome.  This is such a crazy feature in the house.  We really had no idea what it would actually look like in real life.  We love it!  We just have to figure out how to do it justice with some paint.

One of two smaller domes.  Almost looks painted already!

Covering up all the nail holes in the master bedroom.

All of the precast concrete is here!  It will go around the front windows and doors.

Groin vault ready for paint


The last couple of weekends we have been buying furniture.  Robert scored a new bedroom set!  Since he is gaining inches rapidly we realized that the twin bed he's had since he was 2 is no longer going to work.  Here's his new bed:  (minus the orange bedding and artwork.)

We have sat on many couches and recliners.  Here's the winner for the media room:

(If you can see Jim's expression you can see that he is making the "how can I embarrass my teenager" face.)
Today I picked up 3 canvas prints at Costco that I had made for the reception this weekend.  They turned out great.  Someday I'd like to be able to take such great photos.  Here are three that were taken by Motif Motion and Stills for Michelle and Miles' bridal shoot (They are not the ones I ordered because those are a surprise):

The rest of this week is going to be swamped with getting ready for company and the reception!  We have our trim walk-through on Wednesday morning and then I am looking forward to a bit of a diversion from all of the house stuff.