Monday, October 24

The Big News Is

It. Is. Raining!

Good thing I rescheduled golf from today (Monday) to Wednesday. Pretty smart cookie I am. Our "golf commissioner" said he doubted it would actually rain, but we are getting a good soaking, complete with lightening and thunder, which happens maybe once in 10 or 15 years in coastal southern California. But I'm hunkered down inside, not going anywhere until golf on Wednesday. 



JJ got me an iPad Air for my birthday--which was three months ago, but we don't generally buy each other birthday and Christmas gifts, we get what we want/need when we want/need it, and we stick to a budget so we can afford to take once-in-a-lifetime trips a few times a year.

Which is what we are doing soon (more on that in a minute). So JJ asked me if I was taking the laptop on the cruise, and I said I didn't think so because it's a hassle to deal with at the airport and internet at sea is painstakingly slow. It's sometimes good off the ship in the port terminal, but you can't count on it. So off we went to Best Buy--I already knew exactly what I wanted and they had it in stock. It's an iPad Air.

Man, is it sweet. It is a for-real computer and comes with word processing and spreadsheet software. Unlike my Dell PC laptop, where I had to add ($) a word processing program. And if you can't figure out how to do something, like turn off the bluetooth or set the alarm for example, you can ask Siri to do it. Siri will write a note or schedule an appointment with a reminder, you don't have to type in anything. You can ask it where is a drycleaner or if you will need an umbrella today.


I love technology. Seriously. I'm glad I lived long enough to see all this cool new stuff. I still need my Kindle, because that's where all my books are, and Kindle doesn't share very well with iStuff as far as I know.

We are leaving on a cruise this week. Not a glamour cruise, but a transatlantic crossing, a "repositioning" cruise. Every fall they take the cruise ships to warmer waters (and back in spring) like the Caribbean or South America. People like to go south in winter to get warm and cruise the tranquil, turquoise waters of the tropics.

Because on a repo cruise you spend most of your trip at sea and not in exotic ports, which cost the cruise line big bucks to dock and they pass this expense on to the customer, the price is rather reasonable. Not exactly rock-bottom, but a good value. They are still feeding you and making your bed every day, and shaking your martinis and entertaining you in the evenings.

We are going with our friends Bill & Sarah, who we met on a transpacific cruise last year. I can't find the pictures...I'd ask Siri but I haven't loaded any pictures onto iPad yet. Anyway, these are our Dallas friends, and they invited us to go with them. We will play bridge every day while crossing the Atlantic, which takes 6 or 7 days, and nobody has to cook or do dishes or make a bed for 15 days. We do get a few overnights in port, notably Boston and New York City.


This is Celebrity Eclipse, a sister ship to the Millenium that we were on a few years ago. 



Blu, one of the many dining options onboard.


Wine cellar. 


Martini Bar.


World Class Bar. I like the sound of that. 


I haven't decided for sure yet but I'm considering not taking my big camera, instead using the camera in my cellphone--the iPad has a camera too, and it might be fun to experiment with. There won't be a whole lot to capture out there on the high seas anyway. 

This week we are packing and getting some grooming services done. We fly out Friday evening, arriving in London mid-morning Saturday. Our friends arrive from Dallas around the same time and we will go directly to the ship, where we have been invited to a sailaway party at 5. See you when I get back! 

Sunday, October 16

You'd Never Know

We are completely back to normal around here. All the construction and touch-up is finished and the house professionally cleaned and polished. JJ is back to playing bridge and I am back to playing golf.

Today you would never know they had been here or the extent of the project. They pretty much had to rebuild the frame and secure the interior walls to it.

I thought I'd show you a little B&A (Before and After). I got the big camera working again. The battery had started to swell and I couldn't get it out of the compartment without a tool (paring knife). It too is all better now. Wish I could say the same for my golf game. 

This is one of the corners of the office, which was the room that was pulled up from the slab. It lifted about 3/8" from the floor.


They had to cut all the walls away so they could re-bolt it to the slab.


And they had to re-hang the doors and straighten and lower the jambs.


Here is the finished wall today. 


This was one of many ceiling corners. 


They have drilled into the new frame and bolted the walls to it. 


Here it is today.


This was the shower enclosure before. The whole thing pulled away from the ceiling.


During.


After.


We're so glad to get this behind us. We were at a party last night and our neighbors are all nervous because their turn is coming. 

Now I can work on a new quilt project and my golf game. 

Thursday, October 6

Today

My planets are not aligned today. 

There is a lot of activity in the house today--I think there must be 10 or 15 contractors here. So I got my for-real camera out to take some proper photos but it wouldn't turn on. Dead. Hmmm, must be the battery. I have two others, so I put in another battery and no dice. I went to put in battery #3, but battery #2 seems to be stuck in the camera. Sigh. Fugeddabout it. So these photos come from my phone. We are sequestered in the studio today, and for something to do I decided to make a blog but my blog-writer program wouldn't open. Oh, bother. 

There are so many trucks on our street this morning I joked that we were going to have to get valet parking. Geezers on their morning walks stop to ask what the heck is going on in there. We should post a sign explaining it.


We've got drywallers to patch the cracks.

Painters of course.

We've even got guys to straighten and true-up the door jambs. These guys are real artisans. They see things we don't see.

We've got master carpenters. They work in the attic. But I have seen pictures; there is three days worth of lumber up there. 

This is the insulation being blown in (returned to) the attic. 

And last, but not least, we've got Moe. Moe is the ambassador who comes every day to organize the team and soothe the homeowner's ruffled feathers, laugh at their jokes, etc. He returns at the end of the workday (around 3:00) to give us the plan for tomorrow and make sure everything is cleaned up. 

They are scheduled to be finished tomorrow (Friday). After a walk-through inspection, the cleaning crew will arrive. It will be so good to be done with all this and not have to get up and move the cars out of the garage. These guys show up ready to go at 7:45. They are all great guys, hard workers and very conscientious, and very good at what they do.

Saturday, October 1

Two Things I Know for Sure

One, if we ever have a hurricane this house will still be standing while all the others in the neighborhood will be rubble.

Two, insulation really makes a difference and I will never buy a new house again.

Not much has changed except the calendar month. It’s October!!! Wheee! I dig October because it means cooler days ahead.

Okay, that’s the good news. Let’s dig right in to the happenings around here. Where to start…

This is a section of the wall of our office, it’s the room that lifted off the floor about a quarter of an inch. It’s Ground Zero. They removed a section like this around the entire room so they could tighten the bolts back down to the slab. They had actually pulled loose. That was some wind! There is still a tiny gap between the floor and the baseboards. I am very concerned about the floor when they pull up the tape, tape is not kind to this particular floor. We had to have the floor repaired 4 or 5 times when we first moved in and when they pulled up the tape…well. This time I’m ready for ‘em and loaded for bear if there are tape marks.

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Moving right along, they have started to repair the drywall. I guess this is progress. The drywallers were supposed to come back today (Saturday) to finish this job but something happened and they left the place a mess for us to live in all weekend. There is shit everywhere and we are not happy. Ordinarily these guys are really good guys—all-stars—but the drywall gang? Not so much.

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I can’t show you pictures of the attic although it’s tempting to climb up there to see, we had framers in the attic for 2—or was it 3—days, pounding. Supposedly they built a new frame on top of the existing frame and fastened the trusses to it with the proper clips (see my previous post if you’re interested).

They had to remove the insulation in order to get to the bare…wood? Who knows what’s up there. They brought this awful machine to suck the insulation out of the attic and it made a horrendous noise and smell like a gang of Harleys in the garage. The smell of diesel gave me a piercing headache for two days.

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That’s a shitload of insulation and we can really tell it’s gone because the house gets very hot during the day. I thought about feeling sorry for the framers working up there, but…nah.

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Once they got the frame in place they had to fasten the ceiling to it. There nail holes like this on EVERY SINGLE interior wall.

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Lovely, isn’t it. Said no one ever.

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This particular corner wall, the wall to the right is the office and the wall to the left is an exterior wall, so when the office lifted up it took this piece with it. You expect some settling cracks with a new build but this wall is riddled with them.

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All in all, the guys are very conscientious, but I am ready to turn the page to a new chapter. My patience has run out. They say one more week, but you know how that goes. Then there are the painters and a cleaning crew.

Other’n that, we’re good! We are healthy, anyway.