Friday, August 29, 2008

Spoiled Rotten

There's one member of this household making out like a bandit because of these home renovations....Ferris B!. We can't leave Ferris at the house while the workers are going in and out, we can't leave him on the boat during the day due to marina policy, he's not welcome in either of our Ferris goes to day care at his Nana's, our neighbor one block up, Beatrice.

Beatrice, like any good Nana, spoils Ferris rotten! He spends most of the day in the park with her while she walks other neighborhood muts, she gives him wet food mixed with his kibble (he turns his nose up at his dry kibble at home now!), she gives him table scraps, and she's still learning that she can't leave anything at nose level with Ferris around (so far he's gotten her coffee, yogurt, and beer!).

Election Season

There's been so much discussion about people, REAL people sitting down around their kitchen table (unlike Mr. McCain we have only one) at night and wondering how they are going to make ends meet. Marisa and I are no different, by God we don't even have a real table, just a card table and three matching chairs and one that does not.

What is this country coming to?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Just kidding MOM!

Mom, did you really think we would add another pet(s) to this household? Patterson & Parker were found in our beautiful park by a staff member of the neighborhood restaurant, which could not keep two stray puppies because of health code and no one would be there overnight.

Our neighborhood association has a weekly walk on Wednesday’s nights, Citizens on Patrol. We meet at 7 and walk till 8. It is a great way to keep an eye on the hood and catch up with neighbors and friends.

We were all having drinks and dinner afterwards at Three (restaurant) when they mentioned finding the puppies Wednesday afternoon. We quickly mobilized and brought them to our house (what is there to damage?), washed them up in the basement utility sink, applied tick and flea treatment and then let them get a bite to eat. They are cute. We think they are part beagle and basset or entirely one or the other.

NO we (Marisa & I) are not keeping them (show me a boat big enough for two adults and three dogs). We all took turns holding them so that we could send similarly devastating photos to our parents showing more pets, still no grandkids! Thankfully a neighbor's brother and his wife offered to take them for the night and get them to the vet the next day.

Hopefully we will see these two little guys around our neighborhood. Great job everyone getting these guys cleaned up!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Sometimes you just can't explain what stress does to you, and maybe a home renovation is no different. We are approaching two months of no home and tonight I found two signs of hope and patience in Patterson Park and just exactly what I need to get through this: meet Patterson & Parker. I think they are mix Beagle and Basset Hound, definitely brothers, and Ferris is a great older brother!

Marisa is out of town for a business trip but I'm sure once she meets these two she'll be happy to have them as much as I do.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Its good to be....home??

Yep, I'm back from 6 weeks in Canada at World Nuclear University. The time flew by, I made lots of great friends from all over the world (first visit...Argentina perhaps?) and I even managed to learn a bit...and not just about the bars and pubs of Ottawa either!

But its good to back in Baltimore! I'm still trying to get back into the routine of normal life...though our life right now is far from normal! What a shock to go from 6 weeks in nice hotels to the living situation at the Vilardo-Gondol household! We're like refugees! We've got our stuff spread out all over SE Baltimore. Steve and Ferris have adjusted quite well to life on the water...but the boat is definitely a bachelor pad, its perfect for a guy and his dog. Our saint of a neighbor Kelly took in the cats, they're locked away on the third floor because of turf wars with Kelly's cats (it makes me think of that movie Flowers in the Attic). What about me?? I'm still trying to figure out what I'll do. I think I'll split time between Kelly's third floor, the boat, and maybe some time at my cousins out in the country (Ellicott City).

The contract with BGC anticipates 4 months for the project...which means late October or early November... If only WNU were 10 weeks longer....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fixtures & Finishings-Need your help!

We have hit the selection stage for our fixtures and finishings. Baltimore Green is providing us an allowance, but I'm looking for some great locations to find quality plumbing fixtures, tile, and ceiling fans at a bargain, or at least reasonable.

If you could send us some recommendations via the Comments section, Marisa and I would be very appreicative. We are open to online as well as traditional retailers. And of course, only vendors that you have had a good experience with.

Hope to hear from everyone.

Monday, August 18, 2008

HVAC and guess who’s back!

The HVAC crews were in the latter part of last week and today. I wouldn’t say that HVAC is a sexy aspect of the renovation process, but when I am sitting here sweating in an un-air conditioned house, it quickly moves up the ladder of favorites.

I don’t know who did this, but I’m glad the crews have a sense of humor. This supply duct looked an awful lot like a robot.

Bathroom duct

Rear bedroom duct

Master bedroom duct taking shape

And most importantly, back from her soul searching trip for the meaning of nuclear, Marisa is now part of the nightly inspection team, much to Ferris’ dismay.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fun weekend and more new walls

Most times when I would invite my father to Baltimore, it was with the sincerest purpose to help Marisa and I fix, build, or move something. That routine can tire a man out. So last weekend, I invited my parents to Baltimore with the sole purpose of enjoying some of the City's best treasures, great dining establishments, and the close quarters of the houseboat!

Mom was digging the “convenience” of the houseboat. Everything within arms reach! We were able to sneak a trip to the house in on Saturday, not so much to show off the work more so to reassure them that I haven't lost my mind and chosen boat life over land and that we still have a home to go home to at the end of this process.

As for the house, the second floor framing should be complete today! Here’s some pics of the newest room added to the house:

Rear Guest Bedroom

I realize these photos don't look like much of anything, other than a bunch of sticks between the floor and ceiling, but the rooms are taking shape.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

2nd floor coming along nicely

The second floor framing is moving along nicely, although there are some more twists and turns compared to the third floor.

This will be the washer/dryer closet with the original chiffarobe doors parallel to the railing

This view is looking into the middle bedroom/den toward the closet

The rear of the second floor has the walls framed, the interior walls should be completed by next week

Not sure what Ferris is thinking, but he seems to be handling things well. We did have an algae bloom this week on the harbor and the end result isn't pretty, visually or to the nose. The first to die are the fish, crabs, and surprisingly an eel. The eel really bothered be because it kept getting hung up around the boat. Blah. I would have gotten a photo of the corpses, but I was more overcome by the thought that I was sleeping at water level surrounded by so much death. The City Sanitation boat came out and sucked up all the dead creatures, big and small. Now the water has a murky green haze to it. Considering the state of the water, I find it funny that when DC and Baltimore were vying for the 2012 Olympics, they actually thought they could reverse engineer the Inner Harbor to be safe for the triathlon events to be held there. The green haze proves otherwise in my book.

As for the cats, they seems to be doing well at our neighbor's house despite being on other cats' turf. Nothing a little albacore tuna won't fix. I'll grab some pics of them next time I'm over there.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Season Finale

No news to report on the house. Had a great weekend in town with some friends. Saturday morning was Ferris' and my first storm on the boat and it was rough. I'm not sure what you're supposed to do, but I knew it felt so much safer tucked in the berth riding it out. Obviously we survived and enjoyed the remaining portion of the weekend sunning ourselves on the upper deck.

Our neighborhood association held it's last game of the season tonight, and despite a tough season, our team had one of the best attitudes of any team (that translates into we didn't win a game!). We were some of the fiercest drinkers and always showed up for our games.

Marisa comes back to Baltimore in two weeks. It has flown by but I feel the last two weeks will feel like they take longer.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Thank you to my father-in-law for a perfectly timed invitation to go fishing in Canada. It was great to get away for a few days and enjoy absolute solitude from the normal pace of the city. Georgian Bay is stunning, and despite not catching many fish, I had a great time with the Vilardos.

While I was away, the crews started framing the third floor. It was great to come home and see our vision taking shape.

The pile of lumber on the second floor indicates framing starts on Monday