30 November 2010

Thankful for all of it

This month has been filled with many, many projects, accomplishments, fun times, and, well frankly, a lot of chaos.  I haven't been posting much lately due to everything that's going on.  But, believe it or not, life is slowing down.  I'm thankful for that too.

Here's a quick look back at November by way of a few photos I snapped.  I must warn you, much of it is remodel related.

BK putting in plumbing and electrical upstairs for the new upstairs laundry.
Friends Olivier and Alex gave up a perfectly good Saturday night to help us tear out part of a load-bearing wall and put in a new beam to support the house -- not in that order.
Putting in the posts to hold up the new beam.
Ryan helped us with framing and electrical work.
Wall was out, beam was in, house was still standing.  Byron was happy.
Late-night drywalling by BK.
We spent a week insulating, drywalling, muding and taping with the help of three helpful guys from Casa Latina.
Me, trying not to forget to take a picture of myself at 32 weeks pregnant amid all the chaos.
Plastic, plastic everywhere -- in an attempt to control the drywall dust.  Alas, I still managed to give myself a sinus infection due to breathing too much of it.
Good friends pitched in to drywall, paint, and more.  Thanks Mike!

Our "painting party" participants included Erin, Darcy, Becky, Darren, Brian, Karen, and Sam.
Thanks to Joe and his multiple loads to the dump, we have managed the construction rubble quite well.
BK patched the floor where we took out the load bearing wall, prepping for carpet.
We completed painting the living room and bedroom before carpet went in.
Our friend, Bob, spent two days installing the wool pad and carpet for us.  Looks and feels wonderful!
While carpet went in, we drove to B.C. to load up and move Byron's dad.
Up and back in the same day -- a bit nuts -- but we were glad we did.  Snow hit the Coquihalla pass the next day.
Despite all the chaos, Oggy managed to get several naps a day.  The rest of us weren't so fortunate.
All work and no play makes for a bad month -- so luckily, our good friend, Lisa, had a birthday party that we made time to attend.  A festive, fun evening with great music!
Marie, Lisa, Linda, and me
Mom and dad came to visit the week before Thanksgiving -- and we put them to work right away.  Dad helped remove and then replace the bathroom floor in Herman's suite, prime and paint, and many other jobs.  We may have worn him out by week's end.
Mom cooked and did baby laundry and must have unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher more than 20 times.  Thanks, Mom!
Snow and 20-degree weather kept us all indoors on Thanksgiving week.
Our deck.
On the baby front, we also had some November festivities. (When I get photos, I'll post more.)  Early in the month, friends from the Green Lake Church hosted a shower for me.  I received many lovely and generous gifts from this thoughtful group of women. 

I also had the pleasure of a visit with my friend Melodie this month. We had a fun afternoon catching up after not seeing each other for several years.  It was like we picked up just where we left off last and no time had passed at all!  Thanks, Mel, for making the trip and for the cozy stroller blanket.

And later in the month, I was treated to another celebration for Grover and me hosted by my friend, Lisa.  It was a cozy evening shower made extra special by the fact that my mom came up for it, my sister attended, and several long-time friends from near and far came as well.   

We also had another ultrasound this month just to check on Grover's size.  Seems he had a growth spurt mid month and my OB was wondering just how big this baby was getting.  Well, he's a whopper.  We learned that at 34 weeks he had a 10 cm head.  Argh.  Not sure I want to think about what this will mean . . .
Here's one of the 3-D ultrasound pictures my friend, Cathy, made possible.  It's almost like a photograph of the little guy.  I wonder how much he will look like this image when he arrives.

Well, that's the month in quick review.

I'm determined to slow it down a bit in December.  The Christmas tree is up and smells great.  And my friend just sent me a new book to read . . . maybe I'll put my feet up and read a while.

23 November 2010

The view from here

After a snowy and extremely windy day and night yesterday, today dawned clear, icy cold (19 degrees), and sunny.  Here's the view from my porch this morning.
Snowy Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound
I am staying nice and toasty in the house today -- starting to cook for the holiday and just hanging out with my people.  My sister, who doesn't have school today due to the weather, will hopefully come by.  And Byron, who managed to get to his office in Bothell this morning, is planning to come home early.

We successfully moved Herman down from British Columbia last Monday, November 15.  Emigrating him at the border was a breeze and now he is patiently awaiting his green card.  In the meantime, he's been helping with sanding, painting, and getting all his boxes of books and clothing unpacked and organized in his suite downstairs.

My mom and dad arrived on Saturday, November 20, and since then we've been putting them to work on projects upstairs and down.  I think we are wearing them out.  Dad has done more than his share of hard labor already, removing a floor and now putting a new one in, plus painting, and making Home Depot runs with me.  Mom has the baby's room and the baby laundry well in hand.

In all of this hubbub I managed to get myself a nasty sinus infection, complete with sore throat.  (I think the drywall dust is the culprit.)  Going to a dinner party on Sunday night and talking a lot didn't help much since I now have laryngitis and have to resort to whispering -- or, god forbid, not talking.  It's getting better now that I have some antibiotics, but I can't wait until I feel normal again.  

Here life is quite chaotic, and the house is dusty and cluttered at the moment.  The basement is not completely done.  But this week our home is full of people we love and who love us.  Today we have sunlight and a capable furnace.  None of my canned goods exploded overnight in the cold garage.  And we scored two bags of butterflake rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.  Our grocery shopping is done so there's no need to drive on icy roads today.  Two of our three bathrooms are almost completely functional.  And although little Grover seems to be above average in nearly every way, including weight and head size, he hasn't decided to surprise us with an early arrival. 

Today, life is good -- and only getting better.

14 November 2010

I might just wear it to bed

As I write this, I am sitting at my dining room table wearing a respirator.  I may sleep with it on.  Seriously. 

Our downstairs remodel is not exactly finished, but we are definitely making progress.  Today we were scheduled to drive to Canada to officially move Byron's dad to the U.S.  But our plan got a tad delayed because we realized (luckily before we left) that the carpet warehouse had not given us all the carpet padding we purchased, which necessitated going after an additional roll so that our friend, Bob, who started installing carpet in the downstairs suite today could actually finish the job while we're away.  By the time we had retrieved the extra padding from the only store in the Seattle area that had it, it was 4 p.m.  We have opted to sleep in our own bed and head up to B.C. early tomorrow morning.

Had we known that Bob was going to make such progress in the first day and that he was adhereing the padding to the floor with a solvent containing hexane and toluene, maybe we would have chosen differently.  That said, I'd rather sleep wearing a respirator in my own bed than without one somewhere else.  So I think that's what I'll be doing -- within minutes.  (Hopefully, the fact that every door and window in the house is open and we have all the fans on will make the respirator unnecessary).  God knows turning over in bed at 33 weeks pregnant is hard enough without a respirator on your face!

To say I'm exhausted would be an understatement at this point.  We've been working on the downstairs with the help of hired workers from Casa Latina and the generous help of many friends over the past week or so.  Last night, we found ourselves painting 'till midnight.  (I'll tell you all about our progress this past week in a future post with photos).  And today, we were up again at 6 a.m. putting on another coat.  It's looking just great, and we are beginning to forget how awful it looked before the drywall, paint and lights.  I guess that's what keeps us going . . . that and the fact that someone's is going to live there beginning tomorrow . . . and the reality that I'm having a baby in seven weeks.  Nothing like a little motivation.

Here's hoping we can finish the rest in the next four weeks -- once Herman arrives, we'll enlist him as well.  Nobody is safe! I also hope that we have no big wait at the border or difficulties emigrating him tomorrow.

Well, off to bed.

05 November 2010

It's all about the house these days

We're on the home stretch -- and by that I mean we are definitely being stretched by our home.  We will be lucky if we finish the downstairs in time to actually have my father-in-law move into a finished space on November 16.  But we are also nearing the end of this remodel marathon, thank heavens!

The inspections have been a tad stressful, but we are now prepared to close up the walls and ceilings, rip out part of a bearing wall, and then paint and install floor coverings, then fixtures and  appliances follow.  We've lined up some help from friends to frame, paint, and drywall . . . and hired some specialists do some of the installations (including carpet and bath tub surround).  But, it's pretty obvious that finishing by the 16th will be dicey.

Here's some visual proof of our progress so far (take my word for it, it's evidence of progress).
This is one of the spools of wire that has been pulled throughout the basement ceiling and walls-- we've put in more than 1,000 feet of new wiring altogether.

New plumbing and electrical throughout the basement (note Byron's deft use of the "hammer cram," the preferred technique for forcing all outlet wires to miraculously fit inside the receptacle box).

Wiring and insulation for a new kitchen.

The upgraded electrical panel, which includes peanut breakers (almost sounds cute, huh?).

New water supply lines for the kitchen featuring the ominous "shark bite" fittings.
Safety lighting outside the house.

Bathroom fans in all three bathrooms (this involved attic time, much to Byron's chagrin).