Archive for the ‘House Construction’ Category

House To The Rescue

April 5, 2011

My “hotel” story got its first live telling this past weekend to someone who doesn’t read my blog. The nerve! But the expression on his face was priceless. And he told me yesterday he’s been passing it on.

You knew it was coming, stuff about the house. I left you off last week that the attic/closet was done and awaiting a paint job so the carpet can get installed. And there was that piece of base molding that was missing. Well, here’s where my house came to the rescue. I found that piece of molding. Mind you, in the past twelve years, there have been elements to my house that have been conducive to ease of living (the flood in the basement last year notwithstanding–that was anything but easy); such as a nail stuck in the wall in the precise place we intended to hang the calender, or the little bit of barren wall space was perfect for this bit of bric-a-brac. Okay, maybe it was just that we were lazy and decided to hang the calendar on that nail in that spot rather than look for a nail and the hammer and get all involved with calendar hanging.

But I’ve found useful things, such as a saw one time tucked up in the rafters in the basement and other odds and ends. I had this thought of looking there once again and there, right next to the bundle of curtain rods and roll up shades and reflective foil paper for behind the radiators that have all been wedged up there from the word go, was that piece of molding. So, that saves Jim from having to hunt down a match which may never happen.

And then, as promised, on Saturday, the patio lights arrived, but because there were some parts missing, they didn’t get installed until yesterday, but, oh, they’re just wonderful. Worth the wait. In fact, Patio Joe said he’s ordering the same ones for his house.

So, Sunday, once we got ourselves in gear from the previous night when four of us killed at least one  bottle of Jack, we got down to painting the attic and I had the nerve-wracking job of staining the woodwork, including the door and even though I was tarped down enough to protect the floor from even sulphuric acid, I was still in a panic working over the carpet. And then I also patched up that paint job where the wall was replaced from when the heater was moved.  Saturday morning I put my light upholstery skills from my career in window treatment design to work and padded the individual sections and Sunday, after the painting and all, we put that together and hung it. And finally around 8pm we got the rooms put back together.

So, here are what could be the last pictures of the entire project, not including the carpet, because it hasn’t happened yet. And that’ll look like the one that’s already down in the bedroom and I’m sure you don’t care to see my clothes hanging.

   

The lumber in the garage. The last of that window. Looking in at “attic”. The doorway opens and the radiator is moved and subfloor  is down.

   

Close-up of the interior and the air conditioning ducts are in. A shot through the door at the sheetrocked room. Sheetrocked. The just about finished space (no carpet) with a hanger rod installed and stained. The raised platform is because of the raised ceiling for the fan in the room below. I just fit standing up with no shoes on.

                                

Looking into the room showing both sides of the closet. And the room put back together, with the patched paint job on either side of the door.

                

Without headboard and, well, with…..

   

The lights!

If A Tree Falls…

March 24, 2011

So, here’s something I don’t understand. Recently I had my taxes done to the crashing reality that I was going to owe a king’s ransom and I gulped with both embarrassment, as if I had done something wrong and relief that it wasn’t as bad as we thought it might have been. Although, had we not taken our advisor’s advice, it could easy have been double that amount. Okay, but that’s not the point. My accountant inadvertently left something off my return that would have lessened my payment by a cool few hundred, so he sent me another return I could send in once my check had cleared. Well, the one for Federal. Okay, but that’s still not the point. The accountant gave me pre-addressed envelopes with return receipt cards attached and now I’m getting to my point. Yesterday, in the mail, I got my return receipt from the Federal payment, however my check hasn’t cleared. Oh, wait, here’s the point, my State check cleared, but I have not yet gotten my return receipt card. What up? Are those return cards arbitrarily paid attention to? Is this the way the government works?

If I fell in the forest and no one was around, who would laugh?

House news (ad nauseum): the way I hear it, the closet door is supposed to be in today. How that’s possible since after two weeks of waiting it came in wrong and now here it is, two days later is a mystery, but if it really is ready then who cares, Edith? The spacklers finished yesterday. All we need is the closet poles, the light, the electricity and the room will be done. By Friday, I’m told. Then we’ll paint, get the carpet put down and Bob’s your uncle!

And I missed getting Liz points by one minute yesterday morning. ONE minute!  Bobby got the points. I swear he must  have a deathwatch direct hotline.  Rest in peace!

 

 

Motown Night.

The history of Motown is quite remarkable, to think it was all started with a borrowed $800 and to see what happened to some of those hits last night on Idol is rather shameful. But, that’s where the luxury of getting to vote one of them off comes in handy.

To be sure, I think Jacob and James were neck and neck for best of the night, with James pulling ahead ever so slightly. Jacob sang You’re All I Need and was very controlled. He said he would be and kept his screechy high notes in check. James put a current soulfulness into Livin’ For The City.

I also have to say, while on the subject of Jacob, note to American Idol: tone down your background singers. There were times they were singing over the contestant and we’re not judging them. Well, at least they’re not the singers on Dancing With The Stars.. Yikes.

Much as I hate to admit it, Lauren sang very well last night, but her rendition of You Keep Me Hanging On was too unchanged from the original. Perhaps if she had twangified it, like she did last week, like Scotty does, and did with For Once In My Life. I was kind of like this and like that with it, but he’s just so gosh danged cute, and he really smoothed out his rough beginning. The show’s favorite, Casey, still annoys me. He always sounds like he’s being strangled. My favorite, Naima, once again disappointed me. Dancing In The Street is a smooth, soulful feel-good song, while at the same time evoking a laid back summertime scene, like dancing is effortless when you’re happy, but this version was too choppy. My other favorite, who brought the house down last week, left me a little cold. And Pia, though the judges compared her performance to something Celine Dion-like, I found the song overpowered her and she had to try too hard to keep up. Paul forgot his lyrics and Haley….

So, that leaves me with my picks for the bottom 3 again.

                                   

Let The Game Continue

March 10, 2011

The next phase of House Construction is scheduled to begin today. The first of three payments has changed hands, lumber and such is in the garage and the area is prepped; the bed is dismantled and leaning against the wall, the curtains are off the window and the TV and other furniture I don’t feel like moving are covered with tarps. This is the new walk-in closet project. Originally, the roof on the addition was supposed to be offset, leaving the bedroom window exposed, or at the very least, having to install a smaller window in its place, but the existing window was, for all intents and purposes, rendered useless. So, why not just take it out, move the radiator, throw up a door, some framing and sheetrock, a coat of paint and make that space a closet? And so, here is the beginning.

  

And my incantations apparently are not working. Still haven’t gotten notified about the CO. Possibly by tomorrow? But it can’t be much longer.

The seedlings I started a week ago have all popped. In my starter tray I have 3 kinds of tomatoes, red and yellow cherries, and beefsteaks and then some thyme. Those are the ones of all the seeds that needed to be started indoors. All the rest are to be started outside. That was a little disappointing, I wanted to watch them sprout, but at least it’s one less step. And this weekend we’ll be hunting down some soaker hoses and the necessary accoutrements for my first-ever official garden. Oh, sure, I used to grow great crops of tomatoes and peppers–even cantaloupe–in Newark in big tubs, but this is my first in-ground garden.

I’ve been getting rousing rumblings from my enternal rest over the last few weeks that my services would be needed once again. The call was even greater last night with the vibrations I was feeling from a certain someone, an old fan of mine, Jayne, who oftentimes took me to task about my opinions.  Well, I think it’s official, I’m going to be lending some spectral input to this season of American Idol. I know my name has been bandied about over the last few weeks, will the Ghost of Commander come back? Will he not?  And as it turns out, Herbert and The New Shazzam are nowhere to be found. I thought they did a fine job in the experimental two-voice format last season, I thought their bantering was charming at times but, this time around, Iwant to keep it simple,  not a blow by blow like I’ve done in the past. That was too tedious.

So, let’s take a look at the first round of the competition.

First of all, I love the new sans-Simon version of American Idol; we’re not all encumbered by his weekly vanity-fest. But I do take issue with how this new panel of judges don’t really come as clean as it seemed they set out to be. Take Jacob last night, for example. He was all over the place in pitch, with tone, with notes bouncing off of everywhere. He’s not one of my favorites to begin with, but he’s done much, much better than this and the judges were eating him up. I think they did him a disservice by telling him he has what it takes. All but Randy. I’m really impressed with him, being the voice of reason this season, without parroting the rest of the judges.   Lauren was horrible, inaudible and didn’t like being told so. Casey, I’m not too crazy about either. Ashton was shakey. Paul’s voice is too squeaky. Pia so far has done the best job. James, excellent. Haley yuck. Jacob…whoops…that’s unfortunate. Thia was good, but did she screw up on the lyrics? Stefano…a curious arrangement and did a good job. Karen good until her end note. Scotty is cute as a button and that’s some voice! He’s a favorite. Naima was so-so, a little rough, a little pitchy.

So, what’s my take? Bear with me, I’m a little rusty. I hope Naima doesn’t get axed, seeing as how she was a wild card pick and her performance was just so-so. I’d like to see Lauren go, just because, but I think the worst job last night  is a toss up between Jacob, Aston and  Haley. Either of them can go and it will be fair. But, if I have to name one, I’ll say Haley.  Come back tomorrow to see if I’m still on my game!

Until next time…

No Outlet…No CO!

February 15, 2011

Yesterday was the big day, time for the final inspection on the addition and first the plumbing passed, then the fire inspection passed. The building inspection was momentarily in jeopardy because of the fan tray; because a revised drawing wasn’t included in our pack of drawings (though all other revisions are) but the inspector happened to remember when it was framed out when he was here for the rough inspection back in the summer. As far as the electric, we failed and the cause is one…COUNT IT…ONE outlet on that brick wall, but that fix is in the works and may be taken care of as early as this week.

Ariel took the day off to deal with the inspections and after they were finished trickling in over the course of about 2 hours beginning an hour after they were first scheduled, (and I had over half my day under my belt) we decided to celebrate our near victory and went to see a double feature. Well, not in the traditional sense–then again, is anything in the traditional sense these days?–it was more like two movies for the price of two movies. We saw Black Swan and The Fighter.

I intended to stop work at a certain time but time got away from me and by the time we got ready to go and get there, we missed the opening credits of Black Swan, but not too much that we couldn’t piece it together. I’m not sure I liked it as much as I hoped I would, though I loved the head-trippiness of it, the parallels of her thought processes that lead to her triumphant finale. If I did come away with one thing from it, I think I may now have to dip my toe (so to speak) into the world of ballet and find a production of Swan Lake. It is, after all, a Tchaikovsky work and I’m always up for a Tchaikovsky event, though I’ve never been to the ballet. I gave the movie a 7.

After that we had about 20 minutes to kill, which, in movie house language is really 45 by the time all the coming attractions and commercials and turn off your cell phone reminders play and we sat crunching on our popcorn while the minutes ticked away. What I got out of The Fighter was something totally unexpected. Sure, I’ve seen Marky Mark in a few pictures and have always enjoyed his acting, but I never expected to be so emotionally taken by a boxing movie. The last time that happened was when I saw The Champ with Wallace Beery and Jackie Cooper (I still haven’t seen the Jon Voight/Ricky Schroeder version). “You were my hero, Dicky” “I was. I was,” was just one of the poignant moments that got me. But the greatest quote concerning The Fighter came from a woman who was sitting behind us after the movie was over: “I didn’t like it, there was too much fighting.” I gave it a 9.

And that’s all I got for you. Tomorrow I think I’ll tell you about this past weekend; I just have to figure a way to make some of my descriptions “family friendly” otherwise it could become my shortest blog of all time.

On The FRINGE Of A Breakdown!

February 1, 2011

I gotta hand it to that TV show Fringe. Not only is it one of the very few sci-fi shows I genuinely find entertaining (plus who can help but just love Walter?) but it also got me out a potentially embarrassing pickle. It was this past Friday, the house was duly prepped for our latest painting jag (which was hysterically involved and I’ll get to that in a few) and we sat with our take-out Chinese watching some television and it was time for Fringe. The opening scene was of a traffic checkpoint and I lurched forward in a panic. “OH MY GOD” I exclaimed, “….this is 2011, isn’t it? My car is due for inspection…this month!!!” I rushed into the kitchen to find my wallet to make sure I had my current updated documents (my registration and insurance card specifically) and then checked online to see what hours the inspection station was open. So, before 8am yesterday morning, the last day of the month, I was on my way and I really should have known better and left the house earlier. In a perfect world, which, sometimes if I hit it lucky, some days are kinda perfect, the trip to where I had to go would take about 7 minutes. 40 minutes later I arrived, got inspected and returned home in time to start work by 10.

On the way home, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts for a celebratory cup of coffee (I passed and don’t have to go back until 2013–I hope Fringe is still on TV in two years) and I tried their new reverse Boston Creme donuts. Mmm, mmmmmmmm!

So, the painting. We really never figured it would take as long as it did but the hallway and the stairwell literally took us over 10 hours. Granted, we put on two coats and that stairwell wasn’t the easiest area to tackle, but it seemed like it took so long. If you ask my back, legs, feet, hair…you name it, it felt like it took longer. Oh, wait, plus we did the two front window walls as well that day, in the library and the den. Okay, so 10 hours isn’t so much.

Then, Sunday, we got an earlier start because we had the rest of the library, the office and the bathroom. All smaller spaces, but we wanted an early start because we wanted to go buy switch and outlet covers, put up the new mailbox and go out somewhere for dinner. I’ll admit, we cheated a little behind the ceiling high bookcases in the library and did just around where the wall behind them could be seen and the other two walls which are only partial; that was the library and for the office, two walls would be the same color. Oh, did I mention they’re red? And red is notorious for being a bitch to work with and after my second coat and everything was bleeding through and making streaks and dark spots and you name it I remember thinking making my red velvet cake from scratch is less of a hassle and was prepared to go to a third and fourth coat if necessary. We’ve been wanting a red in the library since forever and I wasn’t going to let paint get the better of me but that line of rationale was beginning to erode.

The red has to be mixed with a thinner base but thankfully we were able to get a paint/primer it could be mixed with so while I finished painting the peanut butter on the other two walls in the office while waiting for the first coat in the bathroom to dry, Ariel went to get the thicker cherry cobbler red paint. Thankfully that covered. It’s funny, the paint we used in the bathroom that we thought would be a sort of dusty miller turned out to be just a tad darker than the color in the addition and the kitchen.

We began cleaning up, delirious from two days worth of paint fumes and up and down ladders and getting into positions the normal human body should not get into and we investigated the smell of something electric burning in the basement. That was exciting and the best we could come up with was a flourescent tube went bad. I didn’t now they smelled, but the best way to describe it was an overdone toasted marshmallow. It was past 9 when we finally called for food, a pizza and by 10 we were eating dinner.

So, disregarding the few spots that need touching up, we are essentially FINISHED with the painting and I will get some pictures posted, possibly tomorrow. And speaking of tomorrow, that danged Punxsutwaney Phil damn well better not see his shadow!

One of these days I’m going to post a really short blog! Man, can I go on, or what?

Thursday. Snow. Mailbox?

January 27, 2011

I’m not sure what I’m going to talk about today, but I wanted to post something so I could…talk about forgetting stuff…I have another two pictures, a before and after of the paint job in the kitchen. It took me a while to hunt down the before pic and I actually found it a week or so ago, but something shiny apparently kept distracting me becasue I kept forgetting to put it up. Well, because Ariel needs them for his continuing Powerpoint presentation of the entire shebang from start to finish, I, well, blah, blah, blah.

I know I put up a picture of one kitchen wall but that doesn’t show you the hideousness of what was there. Actually, it wasn’t all that hideous, well, maybe just a little. The concept was good and it worked and the combination was classic… Well, if you’ve been following along since the start of the House Construction Project, you’ve seen green and orange walls in the kitchen. They really looked great together, but for all the time it was there, I was never happy with the orange. Not the color, just the way it covered the wall. It was streaky and blotchy and dark in spots. The only thing is, the before picture is a little compromised because it was taken with my old phone and the “after” with my Droid. I love my Droid. Do you know I can get Sirius satellite radio on it?

 

It’s actually last night that I’m writing this, watching American Idol and peeking every now and then through the window to see if the second onslaught of snow which has the potential of dropping as much as 12 additional inches has yet begun, and to be endlessly paranoid and repetitive, wondering how my mailbox will fare through it all.

You know what’s kind of comical? The way weather people try to mask the nuisance of snow with pretty words; the white stuff, the fluffy stuff, the powdery stuff. Doesn’t make it any less annoying.

And you know what else I found funny? I saw a TV advertisement yesterday hawking a replica of the late Princess Diana’s 18-carat sapphire and diamond engagement ring which now graces the hand of Kate (or Catherine, as the Queen prefers) Middleton since her engagement to Prince William. The replica thing isn’t what strikes me funny, but it’s the tag line in the ad that you can “own a piece of history”.

Okay, so American Idol is over and my favorite of the night was Naima Adedapo who sang “For All We Know” by Donny Hathaway.  And Chris Medina has the all-time most heart-wrenching “tragic” story that American Idol always seems to feature.  From all the stories I’ve ever heard, his brought me to tears. He may not win American Idol, but his death do us part attitude toward his now wheelchair bound fiance proves he’s already a winner.

This just in:  it’s 6:20 am and I finally decided to roll out of bed, knowing the task ahead of me (us) and I’m happy to report that my mailbox is still standing in spite of the 3 foof wall of the white stuff at the foot of my driveway. I can’t say the same for the garbage can that I dragged out at the last minute last night because the recorded message from my trash collecting company said there would be normal service this morning and the garbage gets picked up between 5:30 and 6. So, before I trudge out to move the snow armed with a belly full of hot oatmeal and coffee, let me show you some views around the house. 

  

Looking out my garage door. Those low hanging branches are normally several feet above my head. The view from my front door and of course the patio and that little nub way in the corner is my fire pit which I haven’t seen since the day I put it out there and took pictures the day before Christmas. We have had snow on the ground since December 26 and it’s really getting monotonous. But my mailbox is still standing!

Elementary

January 26, 2011

I don’t know why all of a sudden I keep forgetting details about certain things, like how I forgot to say that we cut down the doors after the carpet went down and how, in the third grade, when we were still being taught how to write in cursive, I was the first person to have Mrs. Albrecht’s permission to use my new skill for my assignments in her class. Just little add-on tidbits I should have included.  Oh, I had such neat handwriting then. Now, it’s more like I write with my feet. I think I’m in too much of a hurry, sometimes I even misspell my own name.

Did you know that too much caffeine can actually cause fatigue? I find that happens sometimes and I can have a cup of coffee near bedtime and sleep like a baby (curled up in the fetal position, blankey securely in hand…..diaper optional!) but if I have a cup of tea, I’m up all night. Is the caffeine different in the two beverages? The reason for the fatigue is that caffeine can act as a diuretic and dehydration can cause tiredness.

This is a slightly old story, maybe week old, but get our your magnifying glasses and get a close up look at this! Anthony Horowitz, the author of stories about teenage spy Alex Rider has been given the green flag to pen the first full length novel concerning Sherlock Holmes since 1915 by the Arthur Conan Doyle estate. No details or even a title have been revealed about the book due to hit the shelves in September. I know of at least one person whose eyes just widened to the size of half dollars at the mere thought of this and has probably already made a note on his phone about it. Right, Ariel?

Okay, well, I have some more house pictures of the second floor revitalization project. Gone are the dingy plain white walls we’ve lived with for the past 12 years in favor of some color and let me tell you, this faux finish kicked our butts. It’s similar to the one we used in the kitchenette, but with a slight twist.  Gone also are the linoleum floors in favor of plush carpeting….sorry Dave! And we kind of rearranged some furniture and artwork and made going upstairs a real pleasure.

   

Starting in the middle room, henceforth known as the Emma room because the bedroom furniture (the bed, night tables, dresser and chifforobe (not in the pictures…hmm) was Grandma’s : from left to right is the corner by the heater and then finished with the fireplace, also Grandma’s (not real) back in it’s place. That closed door leads to the blue room and it should be strung with police barricade tape. Right now that blue room is acting as the attic annex. Enter at your own risk. Then looking over to the closet, unfinished and finished. We fauxed in metallic copper with this awning red and beige.

An extra shot with no “before” just to show some more of the room. I made a discovery about that ceiling light–it has a pull chain that was cut off. We’re going to rechain it after we find a suitable new diffuser for it.

   

Looking out from the Emma Room to the unfinished and finished hallway and then looking from the other end of the hallway. This Precious Emerald was mixed with a metallic gold paint for texture. The gateleg table and the mirror above it were also Grandma’s.

   

The master bedroom before and after. Same old dingy no color walls redone with Blue Ocean and metallic silver. That silver was extremely thin and runny and made quite a mess so it took a second day to tone it down. Note of interest, the TV set in the first picture is approximately 30 years old, between 25 and 30. But we thought the room needed an updated TV. The viney sconces on the wall behind the cabinets were from our room we stayed for many years in Provincetown and were given to us by the former owners when they decided to redecorate the room. Over the bed, is a bric-a-brac cubby that held a bunch of junk and naturally blened in with the rest of the room and then of course finished.

Note to faux finish painters out there…allow TIME. It’s not as easy at it  might look but the results can be very impressive. And the best part is you can “fix” spots you don’t like. Just don’t get carried away and screw up a cool pattern you really love by getting overzealous.

Endleofan

January 10, 2011

I was thinking about blogging about the number 11, since this is 2011, but quite frankly, what I got out of the article about the number 11 and what it means, I thought, duh, how boring, “one left over 10”. That’s what the Old English meaning of endleofan is. See what I’m saying? Not really blog-worthy. However, I did learn that the term “elevenses” in England is a mid-morning snack such as a biscuit with a cup of tea. It was also used in America in reference to a now abandoned custom of a pre-noon whiskey break. Oh yeah? Abandoned?

So, anyway, on to some big news. We spent the weekend painting. First, on Friday, on one of the coldest days of they year, we primed over the old paint in the kitchen, the kitchenette and the ex-dining room. We used that Kilz and holy smoke, it just about did just that to both of us. The fumes were so bad that a couple of times Ariel nearly fell off the ladder from lightheadedness and both our eyes were swollen and bloodshot. I think a handful of salt thrown in my face would have been less painful. On top of that, when we were finished with all three rooms by around 10pm, we had to shovel the snow that fell that day. I just didn’t want it to freeze into a sheet of ice.

Saturday saw a much more humane day of painting and the kitchen is now the same color as the addition. It’s called timothy straw, and you’ve probably seen the pictures (I’m assuming) on my blog at one point or another. The middle kitchen, now officially known as the kitchenette, started out as white chocolate. The ex-dining room, now known as the sitting room / downstairs guest room / anti dining room is now white marigold. And then we went out and shoveled Saturday’s snowfall.

Yesterday we finished off the kitchenette with a sort of Italian marble / old world finish that includes the timothy, white marigold, mellowed ivory.

And because there was no snow to shovel after that, we went instead to pick out paints for upstairs. In all these years, we haven’t put a single dab of paint on the second floor, the new bathroom notwithstanding. And not only that, we ordered carpet for the two main bedrooms and hallway upstairs. Yeah, look at us! New addition. New patio…it’s like a brand new house.

Happy Holidays

December 29, 2010

Well, here I am, back after a wonderful Christmas break. Christmas was great, spending Christmas Eve, as we always do with Ariel’s parents. This year was even more special being baby Yonathan’s first Christmas. Earlier in the day, Patio Joe and his wife came by for cake and coffee and Tammy got to see all the work her hubby did outside and what her Uncle Lou had done on the house. We visited for quite a while and even talked about photographing the patio for Joe’s website. Later, my mother got here and we took off to Newark.

Christmas Day was enjoyable and relaxing. The three of us had a leisurely breakfast then opened gifts with Stephen King’s Misery playing on the TV. We had our inaugural dinner that night in the new dining room and later we watched The Women (1939), with the promise of the next time she’s over, of watching the 2008 horrible remake, just to prove a point why classic movies should never be tampered with.

Sunday rolled around and we went out to take care of some stuff that needed to be taken care of and on the way home, the snow had begun, light at first, but before long the ground was covered and there was no sign of stopping. It took us nearly 3 hours to clean the snow we needed to clean, including a pathway along the inside of the fence on the patio, just in case the lights come in before the snow has a chance to melt so Joe would have a place to walk. And speaking of patio, I have more pics. So, before I leave you with those, let me take a quick moment to wish you all a very happy and healthy 2011. This will be my last blog for this year and I will see you here after the New Year!

   

Starting out the back door, looking from side to side. See that poor lonely, lost looking fire pit?

   

The firepit/coffee table, a great find, and a great compliment, we think. And then a look at the opposite end of the patio and a portion of the garden.

   

Looking into the garden and then panning around. A shot of the front corner of the patio from the outside.

   

A view of the fence and retaining wall from all angles.

   

A few shot of the patio in the snow!

Don’t Fence Me In

December 23, 2010

In just a few short hours from now, depending on when you’re reading this, I will be done with work for the week and will be in the kitchen baking. This year I’m making a red and green velvet cake to take to Ariel’s parents’ for Christmas Eve. I don’t know for sure if Baby Rita will be making our apple pie or not. She does a great job with it every time she does. I also have to decorate the tree. Ariel picked up a little 2′ fiber optic tree that twinkles in a variety of colors. We were using the little ceramic Beagle tree from The Bradford Exchange but he thought a slightly larger one would look better in the window. We decided what with all the hullabaloo with the house and the last thing we needed was that humongous tree and with all the trimmings.

I could, and should, go on and on about the patio. And you know what? I will. The larger crew was here yesterday, but they didn’t drink as much coffee as I anticipated. Ugh, if there’s one thing I can stand see go to waste is a good pot of coffee. They worked on the fencing, the garden bed, finished the pavers up to the house and ran the wiring for the lights. The plumber was also here and connected a water line for irrigation for the garden. And wouldn’t you know it? I’ve got a bunch of pictures.

 

   

The day the paving began, first with pallets of pavers and then the sand was dumped and spread out. The last picture in this row shows the side where the garden beds will be.

   

The paving in various stages

   

Some more of the paving. The flatbed full of fencing. Installing the fence.

   

The first section of fence. Later in the day. A shot looking over the garden beds to the back. And the completed outline of the gardens. I can almost taste those tomatoes now. And the basil. And I hope there will be enough room for a mozzarella plant.