Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bathroom Diaries: Days 6 & 7

I came home to find a gigantic box in the vestibule from Tony. She had called me before I left to say she had sent it. It was a nice surprise to find it when I got home. Another Christmas/Birthday for me! But it's questionable who the gifts are actually for: Jacques immediately had to jump in the box and when the door mat came out it didn't take long for him to claim it.

As soon as I had changed into PJ's, sorted mail, and took stock of myself (I'm still sick, better, but sick, slept most of the flights, and am feeling a bit of jet lag…) I checked out what had been done in the bathroom.

Look at all that purple drywall!!! Isn't it fantastic! Wow - it's amazing. Did Jeff pick it out just for me??? (no - I asked today - that's just how it comes - but he said he thought I'd get a kick out of it).

And even though everything is kind of demolished, it really looks great with my colors doesn't it? Makes one think of changing one's mind completely of the color of the bathroom! (no - not really).
As I headed to the bathroom to see what had happened, I noticed something very curious - in my kitchen - someone had been having quite a good time! That little squirrel was still in the house!!! He ate half of my apple and some of my chocolate from Germany. Pooped ALL over the place, chewed up the towel under the dish strainer and left grody little footprints all over everything. He also did a real number on my plants in the living room; half of them were over turned and he'd dug up the soil. sigh.
So I spent the better part of an hour cleaning up and wondering if the squirrel had been chased out or was still around.

Well, I found out in the morning.

(Day 7:)

I'd shut the second floor door last night just in case. Jacques was very restless last night so I should have known. When we came down in the morning and opened the door - sure enough, something panicked and stormed across the room and into the kitchen. I went into the kitchen to see it jump up onto the top of my cabinets and run behind the blue bottles. It had left fresh poops everywhere for me and I decided that was enough. As I looked up to see if it was still behind the bottles it actually peeked out at me!
So I opened both windows hoping it would run out if I chased it, pushed a chair up to the cabinets, and grabbed a basket - ready to defend myself.
The moment I was face to face with the thing - it bolted. It raced across the back of the cabinets towards the windows, leapt down and as it was jumping down toward the windowsill, I took a swing at it meaning to shoo it out. But instead, I made contact and the squirrel flew out of the window barely touching with the edge of the 2nd floor roof. The dogs next door had already been alerted when I opened the windows and that squirrel must have landed on the grass right in front of them because they went crazy. I don't think the squirrel stopped for a second though, it charged right up the chain-link fence in front of them, up the hanging wires and landed on Mr. El's window sill. It sat there for a few seconds with the dogs really causing a ruckus beneath it before it tried running up the shingles, sliding back down almost landing in their jaws before some miracle propelled it up the shingles and over Mr. El's roof.
After this exciting start to the day I got to work to do end of year cleaning.
But I think I got everybody sick. Cary was still sick, Leah said she was very sick over the break, Dana came in and described the same symptoms as Leah had had and Cathleen said she was trying to fight it - but her lymph nodes were swollen. She eats really healthy though, so she might beat it. And then - Jeff the Contractor? It was my early day today - came home and found him sick too. Well, with as much sneezing and coughing as I've been doing, it's not really a surprise though is it? I still feel guilty… :( I hope I didn't get everyone in CA sick too.
Despite being sick, Jeff drilled the hole in the vanity.

Put the green board(?), (I'm not sure it that's what it's called or not, but that's the drywall that is for tiles) behind the tub . . .
And put the floor down.
I went off the find tile. The last stuff I really wanted was too expensive. $24/sqft. What I found today is $14/sqft. which is still expensive - but not quite as. So I've made a decision. (I think). The floor will be apple green and the tile behind the tub will be white. At any rate, I have to put the tile behind the tub in myself. I think this is fine because no one's going to see it behind the shower curtain anyway. I'll take the class at Home Depot - and we'll see how it turns out. Jeff has no confidence in my ability to do this. Well, we'll just see about that.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What does one do when one turns 35?

Well, I go to Disneyland. Sleeping Beauty's Castle in the morning.
Daddy waiting in line for Peter Pan… second star to the right, straight on 'till morning. Pirates of the Caribbean is still one of the best Disney rides.

The Tea Cups. I wanted to go on them but I got stuck in line waiting for Churros. Dad and Ann are in the turquoise cup in the upper left of the photo. I had a video somewhere but it seems lost in the micro chips of my card.
It's a Small World. Also - one of the old favorites.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle on the way out.
The Castle again after the winter lighting. And in the magic kingdom at 7:30 at night with maybe 50° F, it started to snow. :) Ya gotta love it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I was a band geek - yes I was. My sophomore year the Band Christmas party was held at the Johnson's. Halfway through the party someone organized a little caroling group. There were about a dozen of us, mostly the girls, but the Ballager brothers came with us! Shocker of shockers. These were not the two one would think would do such a thing.
We started off down the street stopping at different houses and sang the standards. It was fun, and we were successful. All having some sort of an affinity for music we were pretty good. We rounded the block and were half way up the next street when we came to a house that was clearly having a Christmas party of it's own. We stopped and started singing.
At first, only a few excited people came out. As we kept singing more and more people came out onto the porch. Finally, we decided to finish up and sing Silent Night. The party came to a stop, everyone came out on the porch, and they joined in. We all sang together, the Ballager brothers sang harmony, and we sang as many verses as we could. I remember first getting chills, and then a different feeling came over me, a powerful feeling of what - I can't put my finger on even now. It had something to do with being able to give a gift to complete strangers, to give unexpected happiness and to receive it at the same time. It didn't cost money or effort; it was graciously given and accepted. It was a chord in complete harmony of the universe.
We finished and everyone clapped - we wished each other Merry Christmas and moved on. I will never forget that evening. The gift is a memory of complete peace and harmony with perfect strangers. If we could put more of that into the world on a daily basis - imagine what could be accomplished.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. Happy Kwanza. I wish you all peace, joy and happiness.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bathroom Diaries: Day *^%^? : The Tub

I forgot to say that the tub came too! Jeff & Co. picked it up from Lowes on Friday, (I think?) And lugged it upstairs. He called me later and said, "It's here, and it's HUGE!" I said I wanted one big enough to play marco-polo in. Wish granted! It's 20 inches deep.

I guess the plumbers came back and on Monday because when I got home the tub was in and so are all of the water tubes, a big new hole in the hallway wall-to access the tubes - and probably the new floor as well? Although I'm not sure about that one. Lee is going to install a thermal floor. (big grin here!) It will be soOo nice not to put my tootsies on ice cold tile in the morning!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Doorway, Two Plumbers and a Squirrel

I might as well start with the drama of the evening. A squirrel was sitting in my new bathroom.
This is not really a surprise as I knew they were getting into the house and I was hoping not to have to deal with it until after the new year, but lo and behold, . . . I had friends over for 4th Advent Coffee, wanted to show them my new bathroom "in the works," looked up to see this little guy (he's not little - he's the size of some of the dogs I've seen around here) sitting on the ledge over the door. I told Katie and Mary to come into the room and pointed at him, at which moment he freaked out! -peed all over everything, anointing Katie and my camera. And really, wouldn't you freak out too if three things about 20 times your size were staring at you?
I left the bathroom, turned out the light, only to hear him crash to the floor seconds later. He couldn't figure out how to get out so he was panicking and running all over the place. Finally he ran into my bedroom and after jumping frantically from thing to thing (we three were to scared to try to cross his path to open a window which would have helped him escape), he decided the heating duct would be a good place to hide! and he promptly slid right down to the bottom.
We went to the basement to investigate - I patted the duct - sure enough - there he was scrambling around at the bottom. :(
I did not want o de roast squirrel wafting up the heating shaft so we took evasive action.

(Imagine the Mission Impossible music now . . . ) The doorway to the kitchen was blocked off, keeping us and squirrel in, cat out.
Left over laundry line was tied to a cast iron iron. Peanut butter was put on the weight. . . and along the entire length to entice our little intruder up the rope. . . then it was lowered down the shaft so that he could crawl up.

Mary was our intrepid documentor of the entire drama - thanks Mary! It was a very exciting evening. We don't know if the squirrel indeed reached freedom. I went down to the basement to whack at the heating ducts - with no sounds issuing from within. A good sign I think. Mary also said she saw the rope move at one point, hopefully the rascal left the building.

In other news. . .
I desperately wanted to finish up my doorway - but alas, that too has not been achieved. I blame Jeff the contractor really.
I managed to Spackle on Monday - and sand and paint on Tuesday. It still needs a lot of work, but I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. Then Jeff appeared with the plumbers and I made the mistake of asking him what he thought of my handiwork. Mistake. Now we know that he would have done a MUCH better job - because this IS his job. But still - I thought he would as least be able to say - hey nice job - for someone who has no idea what they are are doing. Nope. We launched into what really should have and needed to be done. And while we KNEW he would say this - its still a little discouraging. But my Dad saved the day today when we talked. He brought it up - "Hey the doorway is looking really good!" :) Thanks Daddy.
I still can't get to it until after I get back from being in LA.

So yes, Jeff brought the plumbers, Brendan and ? (crap, can't remember the other guys name.) Two nice guys. I like them. They don't talk much (at least not to me - but that's not the point really now, is it?). But I get good vibes from them. Brendan was telling me he installed a convenience tube (?) (snort - convenience) for the toilet. It's the big black tube in the upper right corner.
And finally, Mary took this picture - it's not very flattering (sigh) but what do you expect?
Woe to me - I've been really sick for a while now. I got another wave of it after assessing the Woodland Cemetery collection last Wednesday. Cary, our Archivist, walked into the Conservation Lab with the same croaky voice as I did - we both caught the same thing from that disgusting dusty collection. :( Yuck. So I'm taking a ton of orange juice, echinacea, golden seal, and mucinex. Somethings gotta give. At any rate - note the big bags under my eyes, and the general state of my hair - but for some reason I really like this picture.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Doorway and Bathroom?

I finished the other side of the doorway. It's not perfect. But it looks a heckuvalot better than it did before. Maybe I'll get to spackling tomorrow night. The other major issue to deal with is where the baseboards meet the rest of the construction. I haven't the foggiest idea what to do here. I guess I'll make it up as I go along - what else is new?
There was also evidence that there was some more work done in the new bathroom, although no one bothered to tell me they were coming to work.
The first clue was that there were a lot of manly looking boot prints in the dust around my recent project - assessing my handiwork?
The second clue was the vanity sitting in the middle of my kitchen.
The third clue was that there were new wires in the bathroom. So I'm guessing Lee was here. :)
A new circuit for the plug?
Possibly the controls for the floor thermostat?
And the moving of the light fixture.
Alrighty then.

When I got home this evening there was a bag on the front stoop with curling ribbon on it. Who would be leaving me a gift?
Lex, the guy I bought the house from.
When I came to look at the house back in March, I walked into the bathroom on the first floor to find these owl prints on the bright cheerful walls. He dropped them off today with a very nice note. They are moving to San Francisco - Good Luck!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Doorway in the Studio

I've finally started finishing the doorway I knocked in in the studio way back at the beginning of August. Remember my Asbestos drama? Yeah - that was it. I don't know if I've been inspired by what has been happening in my bathroom or if the raggedy doorway is just driving me nuts - but I decided this was the weekend to tackle it.
I forgot that I was gallery sitting for our show at the Icebox on Saturday for six hours, that was a major crimp in the plans - but I ended up pretty much finishing a sweater I'd started after getting back from Germany. That was nice.I started by cleaning up the raggedy edges - and then remembered I had bought a new drill last night! :) I pulled it out and knew I was in trouble when I saw the packing tape keeping the drill's box closed. Sure enough, this drill was bought, used, and returned. There were scuff marks all over it and wood chips in the packaging. Some people have a lot of nerve.
I was really at a loss without the drill. So I headed back to Home Depot. I've had a little Black and Decker job for over 15 years. (A very good Christmas present from my dad) Unfortunately, it landed in the hands some someone who was not very nice to it - tightening the drill bits by running it, rather than just closing the chuck by hand, and so one of the teeth was sticking way out and there is now no way a drill bit will drill straight. Argh. I've finally realized I need a new one. I bought an 18v Rigid:You know, I finally understand Tim Allen and his stupid manly grunting over power tools. My little Black and Decker was a 7.2v. It's kind of like going from a Yugo to a Porsche - (I'm guessing on this one). The screw just melts into the wood like butter.

While I was at Home Depot I asked it there was a wider Miter box than 4". Nope. So I had to invent a new way to saw my 10inch boards. Necessity is the mother of invention! :) So I took my cast iron irons, plastic triangle, and my mini clamps (these things are the best), scored the wood with a box cutter and started sawing away. It works fine - and I'm not buying a massive saw to do this job. And since I sawed everything by hand today - I know I'll be hurtin' tomorrow. Ah the price we pay for what we want.

First board up.

Second board up.
All three boards up. And then start on the molding. More clamps to help get that in place.

I'm really glad I don't do this full time. Wood is finicky. It twists and turns and bends and I know I'm going to have to use a lot of spackle.

But it really cleans the space up nicely doesn't it? Tomorrow evening I'll finish up the other side. And then the spackling can begin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bathroom Diaries; Day 4

It's a good thing I had these today. It rained buckets all day long! I was supposed to go to an opening tonight at the Ice box for one of my last Center for Emerging Visual Artists shows, but you know - I'm still sick - on the upside of sick, but sick none-the-less and it was cold and pouring. Two of the women that run CFEVA are highly pregnant and I decided - not going. I have to sit in the gallery for 6 hours on Saturday watching all our stuff, I'll have a better chance to see everything then. I got a lot done here though, cleaned up the studio a bit (two hours worth). That on top of meeting with my financial advisor (I feel really grown up!) meeting with one of my great students, strategizing with Jeff the Contractor throughout the afternoon. . . I'm really tired.
So I'll just wrap things up quickly (well I'll try)
My orange walls have sustained some damage. I'll have to repaint them when the saga is over. I'm going to have to paint in my bedroom too so, no biggy.
Jeff spent most of the day being irritated with my house. Nothing is square - apparently the bathroom is 2" out of square. You can even see by the vertical piece of wood in the picture above how much he had to fix. That's not perspective - that's literally how much he had to cut off of a 2x4. or whatever he's using. But the ceiling is fixed and "it's not coming down now," he said smugly. Well good.
He also framed the door in and now my door jamb will be 6in. on one side and 5 on the other. Okay then. As long as the door shuts - I'll be happy.

And yes, for those of you who would like a better idea of where we are going - here's the vanity. See the last blog entry for the faucet. I will have a very big beautiful mirror over this as well - and behind it will be the mural.

NOW - it sounds like everything is going along hunky dory - right? Wrong. Well, things are pretty good, but not ALL good. On ? Tuesday he cut the water lines to the third floor. Then they cut the lines to the kitchen sink on the second. When he came on Wed. Morning to touch base - the kitchen sink was leaking through to my first floor studio. Thank goodness it had just started to leak - and we caught it before it gushed on some of my stuff. But the thing is - I thought he'd fixed it last night - so this morning I used the sink again - and came downstairs to find a pretty good drip. :( There was nothing underneath it anymore - but still. Now I need a new ceiling in my studio. Which could be a blessing in disguise because that is the one and only horrible-badly-plastered-ceiling in the whole house. So I get a new ceiling now rather than later. However - at the end of the day today, Jeff says, "Can you move out of that room?"(meaning soon) UGH! It is a really good thing that he is so nice - he really is (and that he looks like Patrick Swayze) because otherwise ...... aarrgh!
But as I was cleaning up the studio and thinking about all of this- the answer is really - no I can't. Not until mid-January. I'm teaching a new class in the spring at Moore - and I need to pull the syllabus together in a space where I can find everything. They're not coming back until Tuesday with the plumber so we'll see what he says about that then.