Sunday, July 27, 2008

update from up north...

I must admit, I felt a tiny bit guilty the past couple weeks as the work at the house has heated up and the stress on Steve has mounted...but there's not much I can do from here so I got past it pretty quick! And now its Steve's turn for some fun. He's fishing in Canada with my Dad and Uncles till late Wednesday so no updates on the house till after then!

Last week was our week of technical tours. We started out in Niagara Falls for just one night but we managed to get in most of the Niagara Falls must do's: Maid of the Mist, caves behind the falls, and the casino. I won $20 on nickle slots!!

Then it was on to Toronto for 4 nights. We went on 4 different plant tours from there. The tours were very interesting (I'll spare you the details) and our evenings in Toronto were a blast!

We ended the week with a drive through Algonquin Park, a tour of Chalk River National Labs, and camping and white water rafting.

Now I'm back in Ottawa for the last 3 weeks of the summer institute. The first 3 weeks have flown by! They keep us extremely busy and of course we need to build our professional relationships with dinner and drinks after the sessions every night!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Virtual-Reality Tour

The bulk of the demo work has been completed. Take a look at the second and third floors.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Work headed south

On Monday it was the basement's turn for a bit of demo. Joining the ranks of the departed were the boiler, the oil tank, the radiator piping, and the front windows.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Past, Present, Future...

You might be wondering about the work we are having done and where it is occurring in the house. Sometimes pictures are just better than words, even if that is taboo to say on a blog. The house is not in its original form. It had been partially renovated beginning 10 years ago up till Marisa’s and my efforts revamping the kitchen 2 years ago.

The bulk of the work and the most exciting parts are the second and third floors. Whereas the house is setup for 3 master bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, the new layout will provide for 4 bedrooms (1 master), 3.5 baths. Ignore the numbers and indication arrows on the existing plan, which was for photo identification on our historic tax credit application.

Second Floor Pre-Construction

Second Floor Post-Construction

Third Floor Pre-Construction

Third Floor Post-Construction

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Major Changes Part II

What a great way to start my Friday, the third floor had been removed and the second floor was on the chopping block. The plan was to demo the back half of the second floor and begin removing the old windows and replacing with new frames and plywood. It’s going to look ugly for a while.

I had my favorite inspector stop by to check on the work, Primo and his dad (Marisa’s cousin), were kind enough to bring dinner for me on the boat afterwards.

This is a view into the rear of the second floor. This was one of the master bedrooms and bathrooms (the one with the wall-less shower that never quite worked the way it should have.

Where the claw foot tub sat.

The vanity

The toilet

Some old wallpaper that has been buried for who knows how long.

Even the front room was not immune to some demo. The windows are being replaced and the floors are being refinished. The room is also the holding place for the claw foot tub that will be reused on the new bathroom.

The front of the house looks like a couple of teeth have been busted out. Not sure how long the plywood will be in place, but it will give people sitting at the intersection something to talk about.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Major changes

I came home from work on Wednesday to find this, this can mean only one thing, major demo was coming soon!

Wednesday night meant I had to get the cats out of the house, a task I wish upon no one. Major thank you to Kelly our neighbor for taking Shenzi and Sambuca in with her two cats. Also thank you to Neosporin for promising to heal most of the scratches without scarring from trying to put two angry cats in carriers.

The electrician and plumber had been in on Monday thru Wednesday to tie off the electrical outlets and plumbing in the areas to be demolished. Ferris inspected the initial demo of the Playboy Grotto bathtub on our third floor.

Work passed!

On Thursday I came home and as I ascended the stairs, what normally would be the wall for the bathroom was now an open landscape of destruction!

Turning the corner to the front bedroom of the third floor, only the wall separating the future bedroom from the stairwell remained.

A view back toward the back of the third floor felt like this was someone else’s home.

Looking up was an astonishing site. We always had a dropped ceiling, with a plaster ceiling about a foot higher. Our architect suggested taking the new master bedroom ceiling all the way up to the rafters, I’m glad we agreed. How cool there is that much space above what we thought was an 8-9 foot ceiling.

RIP grotto tub…

Is the trash trying to tell Marisa and I something

Our former sinks, toilets, and tubs in the backyard

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ottawa or on the Watta’

Marisa may have thought she was clever to have perfectly timed her “study abroad” during the worst part of construction (demolition), but I think I have out-smarted her on this one. I spent some time researching boats for rent and found this little gem floating on the Inner Harbor in Canton, an easy 15-minute walk from the house. The owners were gracious enough to give us a month-to-month lease which will end the second week of November when the marina shuts off the services to the boats for the winter.

This home away from home couldn’t be more perfect. It has a private bedroom (berth in boat speak), full kitchen, dinette area and upper lounge area. The back deck has a beautiful view of the harbor and the upper deck catches some nice breezes. Inside the cabin can be air conditioned so that I can enjoy every channel cable offers, plus the previous owners installed a flat screen with full cable hook-up. Nice, considering we didn’t even have full cable at the house.

I have been bouncing back and forth from the house and houseboat while I get more of the house construction ready and more in need of a place that isn’t so construction ready. Last weekend, I had some of our neighborhood friends stop down and check out the boat. Ferris and I kicked the evening off with our favorite boat beverage and he quickly became the party animal. I should have known it would be a late night, but I can always expect a great time with our neighborhood friends. Ferris was not so chipper the next morning.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

No news...

Well I am sad to say but there has been nothing new to report on the home. It has been a quiet week around here, although outside of the house has been very busy.

Monday night, our neighborhood baseball team had a game, which I subbed for our starting pitcher and I got shelled. We lost 18-1. It taught me a valuable lesson; never boo the pitcher because it is harder than you think. I will be returning to Camden Yards with a new perspective.

Tuesday was a post-work meeting and I had great intentions of catching the concert in Patterson Park but decided I was hungry and cooked dinner. Yes, even though Marisa is gone, I must fend for myself. I did run into some friends afterwards and chatted outside from 9:30-11:30 PM. That's what I love about this neighborhood. I intended to take Ferris out for a nightly walk and instead ran into several friends that had been at the concert and were walking home. After some discussion I ran into another friend/neighbor and we spent a while strategizing how to guerilla garden (placing of plants/flowers on another's property) our neighbor/friend's front stoop as a gift for when he returns from a trip to Europe. Implementation is set for Saturday.

Wednesday is our neighborhood Citizens On Patrols (COP) Like Police Academy 4, but we are not issued weapons.

Thursday, tonight you get views from the homestead. As I mentioned, we are staying in the front room during construction. This means me, the dog, and the cats. Locking the cats in the room means adding a litter box, gross, but it is what it is. So as a pay back for locking them in the room all day, I returned home to this nice mess...

On a side note, happy birthday to my great brother Jon and amazing nephew Nathan.

Monday, July 7, 2008

ET or our house?

What could easily serve as a movie set for ET, our house has moved to the next phase of demolition; preservation. The zip walls will help contain the dust and debris and the protective floor coverings will limit damage to the wood steps. Although the movie ET terrified me as a kid, especially when the house was surrounded in plastic, I gladly welcomed this next step in our process.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Greetings from Ottawa

What a nice surprise to come home from Chicago to find that Steve had finally gotten his stuff together! Sorry it’s been a while since we've updated. We were busy with more moving and more packing. You haven't missed much. We thought walls would be coming down last week but they didn't. They did however, prep the house for demo. We now have zipper walls to protect the non-demo parts of the house from the dust and additional protection on the stair case, which is one of our favorite parts of the house…except at 2:00 am after a few too many!

Steve will have to keep everyone updated on progress at the house because for the next 6 weeks, I’ll be in Ontario at the World Nuclear University Summer Institute (nuclear charm school as the Vilardos have taken to calling it)! The timing could not have worked out better. With each delay we experienced this winter/spring, I kept looking at the calendar thinking, “Wow! This could work out quite nicely!” And so it has! Most of my time will be spent in Ottawa with a week spent in southern Ontario in Niagara Falls and Toronto. I just arrived last night but I already think this is going to be a really great experience. 100 fellows, all under the age of 35, all involved in the nuclear industry, from 37 countries all over the world! Oh, and I’ll be living in a dust-free, construction-free, box-free, 4-star hotel room the entire time with a view of Ottawa's Parliament building...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

No Packer fan here

Blah. No this is not a football post about the NFL Green Bay Packers, but I might as well hate them because it is in their name. I hate packing. I hate packing for weekend trips; I hate packing for vacation, worst of all I hate packing up an apartment to move to a loft to move to our first house and now to move out of the first house so that we can renovate. We have spent nights, weekends (plural) and what feels like any other waking hours packing the house. Needless to say I am behind on my portion of the packing. I need to catch up and quickly. Marisa left Baltimore tonight for a business meeting. With my free night, I decided to make a couple of trips to the storage unit for the remaining bulk of stuff as well as clean up the space once free of the items. Check out the before and after. I hope she is surprised when she gets home. I still hate packing.