Friday, June 27, 2008

Second floor coming up

Yesterday our consultant Dan visited our site and gave us a thumbs up so far. Progress yesterday included completion of floor joists for second floor. A huge beam was hoisted in place for the division between deck and office. Now our hallway is closed in and we can see our light. The pantry is framed in the kitchen and our bathroom is pretty well shaped.

Today the second story walls go up - had to make a decision this morning about flooring material on the deck upstairs and decided on tile. One of our windows has to be changed - I'm hoping we can catch the window order at Andersen.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Monday, June 23, 2008

June 23rd

We had pasta with scallops and a good arugula salad. All washed down with Tin Roof Merlot, a wine we enjoyed with Ina and Jerry a week or so ago.

Most of the day was spent puzzling out our fireplaces and figuring out what to do. We had one mason, Tony over who seemed like a practical guy. He advised us to get some flue people involved.

Stairs were completed and we were able to clearly see our office view for the first time. Nice. They also put the window frames in the turret.

Jaime cleaned up the dirt mounded up around the house. He moved it around evenly and raked it smooth. The job site now looks more ship-shape and organized. We have a little more pick-up around the garage to do and things will be in good shape.

Richard bought a new car yesterday and tomorrow we go to pick it up. BMW 650 - something he's really wanted. Lots of engine and a nice driving machine. I get the old Beamer.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

June 21st A Hot Summer Night

Summer came in on a heat wave! We went to a concert performance of the Fallbrook Chorale with a special guest performance of the Fallbrook Youth Orchestra. The chorale was pretty good on some numbers particularly American the Beautiful. The Youth Orchestra played the Beach Boys number, Fun, Fun, Fun - it was so bad that my
back teeth were aching but they get an A for effort. Most are beginning violin students and they are able to saw out a couple of notes and I mean "saw". Even if the kids learned to draw a bow across the strings properly they'd turn out a better sound. As Richard says, the charm lay in the "small town" character of the event. At intermission for $2.00 you could buy a plate of cookies and other goodies, probably baked by the chorale members. While milling around the food, we heard one woman exclaim that it was 106 in San Marcos.

After the concert, we decided to go to a movie and ended up in Temecula. We headed out for Oceanside first but it looked like everyone in Fallbrook was headed for the beach, so we turned around and beat it over to Temecula. Good hamburgers at Ruby's and then Sex and the City. As they say, you go see it for the clothes - they are fabulous. The movie is endless and stupid, but a fashion lover's treat. When we left Temecula at 9:00 it was 96 degrees - but down to 80 by the time we got to Fallbrook.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Women crushed by hot dog stand in Baja

I ran into Beth downtown. She was in England recently visiting one of her wind-surfing friends from her former life in Baja. She told me a hilarious story about riding to a party in a truck with a hot dog stand. Apparently she and her friend were invited to a party at a house which stood six miles down a piece of dirt road. They were waiting on the corner for a ride which had apparently forgotten about them. Suddenly a truck appeared, hauling the hot dog stand from town, which no one even realized was portable. Beth and friend asked the drivers where they were going and it turned out they were all headed to the same place. The hostess had hired the hot dog stand for the party. Beth and friend jumped into the back of the truck with the hot dog stand and proceeded to bump down the dusty, curving road. The hot dog stand was no small proposition and every time they went around a curve the stand would tip in one direction or the other threatening to crush either Beth or her friend depending on the turn. For the duration of the ride the two women were alternating between laughing at the crazy situation and being terrified the stand would crush one of them.

Beth says that after it was over, she never laughed harder in her life. "What a way to go!" she said..."I can see it on my tombstone..."crushed to death by a hot dog stand"

June 21st - First summer day 2008

The second story is going on the house. Stairs are being crafted and the turret is under construction. Temperatures reaching almost 100 degrees in the afternoon are not slowing anything down. The "faces are down" and the hammers keep pounding.

Yesterday there was a big crew on the scene. 6 trucks were parked in the driveway alongside a new delivery of wood from DixieLine. The floor joists were being hoisted when we arrived about 8:00.

"Saving the beehive" is our latest challenge. We require a 2" clearance between the back of the fireplace and the framing. Even though Nick and Fran's old plan shows a two inch clearance on the blueprint, there is only a one inch clearance in reality. After considering several possibilities...shaving off a inch from the back, adding on several courses so the fireplace sticks out...we decided on Ken's solution which is to attach some rebar and fold it out and around to support an extra inch or so, re-framing it. We've had a couple of masons up to look at the thing and opine on what to do and are waiting for bids.

Heating/ac and roofing are our next trades.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Concrete Pouring Day

June 12th. We passed our inspection yesterday. It was our first on-site inspection and I was nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof...worried that the pool would be a problem, the fireplaces would be a problem, the set-back would be measured and that he would notice the casita. After I worried over that list, I had a secondary back-up list to worry about, just in case I ran out of anxiety.

The only item the inspector requested was one more piece of rebar in a trench. If he's on the job to the end, we're on easy street at last.

Last night three cars full of people came to look over the concrete job and brought up a pump. The truck will sit in front of the house and the pump will push the concrete into the forms. It's a family of people doing the work. Chevo is still messing around in the trenchs doing little things. The plumber was here at 8:10 all alone, but he complete what was necessary.

DixieLine is providing the lumber and we had a bit of a conflict between Ken's lumber guy at Dixie and Mike Kerr who usually does business with UBuildIt. There seems to be little cooperation between people as they work on commission.

Richard is at Costco with Dion buying the little storage shed..Dione will assemble it today as well and we can move everything in. No Jaime today.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Week two ends with a lot of digging

June 6th. Demolition was complete June 5th and the demo guys finally left with their truck filled to the brim, the bobcat lashed to the trailer and three guys jammed into the cab, tired and anxious to get home. We were relieved to see the end of the smash and crash period and to get started CONstruction. Ken Webb, our framer and concrete guy, arrived with a crew at 7:30 and they started measuring and digging immediately. About 1 hour in, they discovered the existing footings extended down 24" instead of 12" as anticipated. We had to call the architect for new instructions which were to dig down underneath the existing footings and add still more concrete.

Gail came over and saved our low voltage wiring set-up by covering some of it with a sleeve. It runs through a footing now and we're hoping the inspector lets us leave it in again. Thursday was a digging day. Friday the plumbers arrived and started their installations of major plumbing lines. They didn't estimate placement of the main properly and so they had to jack-hammer out a lot more concrete.

Jaime showed up and was able to work on re-routing the irrigation pipes so that a footing could be poured. The footing was right on the same spot as the irrigation pipe. Jaime is very helpful as he can translate for us when necessary. He understands enough English to comprehend what we want and to communicate it for us. My "Spanish on the Job" booklet is still unused.

Lots going on. At this point, we have to stand back and let the experts do their business. I continue to do what I do best - worry about over-looked details and my all-consuming window order which has bogged down again.

Spending days out in the grove is lovely. The cats re-visited on Friday and enjoyed a lot of romping about, catching lizards and trotting back and forth behind us. They don't like the sun and run from shade patch to shade patch. After running a short stretch, exhausted and panting, they flop into the leaf litter to cool down.

La Casita was beautified yesterday by Richard with the addition at the doorway of two pots full of New Zealand Impatiens with some blue and pink lobelia for trim.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Week two of demolition

Monday and the crews were to be on hand at 8:30 - framer, demo guys to mark the spots for the saw cuts into the concrete. At 9:15 the framer showed and the demo guys rolled in around 12:00, saying they'd had a flat tire with the big rig. They brought the bob cat with attachments and the saws, 2 guys and Angel the bobcat operator. They got straight to work breaking up the remaining concrete on the back patio, former patio and broke one of the main pipes in the process. We didn't know it was built into the concrete. A major flood ensued filling up the patio space where the new kitchen is to be located. Now everything is muddy and a mess. The whole place is littered from end to end and it seems we have the two worst workers Dirt Cheap Demo has on the staff. The bobcat operator gets things done but the others are just foot draggers. On top of this. they can't operate the concrete saw without water so they have been filling pop bottles all day to cool the device.

Progress Monday and Tuesday: All areas marked for saw cuts. All large areas of concrete are chopped up. Today we dumped one load by our stream and one load on Gails property. Gail came over to hook up the electrical to the garage but I told him it wasn't necessary. The two bozos knocked down the one wall remaining on the garage side.

I left at 2:30 leaving Richard still looking for a solution for the water problem and got a hair cut in Temecula. It was such a relief to be away from the chaos.

We did meet with a young, energetic and articulate landscape designer today with whom we were very impressed. His name is Gio Leonardo, how artistic is that.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Friday morning when we arrived at the house, the crew had scooped up most of the debris and piled it in the dumpster. Soon after the tiles were scraped up and we had to scurry to find something to put them in. Richard set out on an avocado bin hunt and came back with a couple which we half filled. The bobcat took them out to our construction storage area which is now looking like a construction yard with all the roof tiles and floor tiles.

I cut a deal with Lalo to pay him on Friday and he promised to come back on Monday with two guys to do the rest - as he put it, anything you want!! We want you to be happy. We'll see.

Saturday we waited half the day for the plumber who decided not to come. Gail came down to hook us up some power for Monday.

Sunday we arranged to meet the plumber Gary Kelly at 9:00...he showed about 9:30 and had to dissamble the gate to get it in. Say what?? He didn't notice the key pad. Duh. Thankfully he brought along a trusty helper who seems to be on the ball and will likely do most of the work. It really doesn't seem to be so much of a plumbing job, but maybe by the time we're finished I'll be able to see where the money has gone.

I shoveled out the guest bathroom from debris in order to give the plumbers access and so that they could see the connections. Raised a blister on one hand. Richard and I decided to use the broken concrete to "pave" the rose bed area. Tomorrow we'll have the dump truck move the pieces to a spot fairly accesible so we don't have to cart the stuff too far.

It was another beautiful day at the rancho and the cats had an excellent time, chasing things. At one point Buster ran over the boards crossing the pool and he took them like a hurdler, jumping over and over, over and under. They get very focused when they hunt!!

We took the rest of the day off spending a couple of hours in Escondido at the BMW dealer looking at the 600 series car and the new 353 coupe. The 600 is a beauty according to Richard. The back seat is not a good experience as it's claustrophobic and there is no air conditioning. The car only has one drink cup and no handle grips on the ceiling. It's really a one person sports vehicle although it's not small. Richard is looking for a 06 model which should run much cheaper. I hope he can find a color combo he likes. After
car time we had a late lunch at the French cafe on Grand Avenue....the charcuterie plate of pate, ham, turkey, potato salad, gherkins, Nicoise olives, tomato, grainy mustard and brie. Served with a basket of French rolls, it was perfect to stave off hunger - no dinner now.