Thursday, June 14, 2012

Slow Going

I know I haven't posted anything in a while when I get pinged by my sister.  "New blog post!"  Okay, Courtney, but it's not going to be very exciting.

Slow going these couple weeks, doing a lot of waiting.  It's been pouring lately, and the ground's pretty saturated.  So the plumber hasn't been able to finish, because there's water everywhere.  And the wall behind the retaining wall needs to dry too, I think.  But supposedly both of those things will start up again tomorrow, when the plumbing inspector comes out and puts his stamp of approval on the connections that have gone in.  Yes, the plumbing is not 100% done, but we went yesterday and saw we are now officially hooked in to municipal water and sewer.  The plumber dug up under the sidewalk that faces the kids' bedroom windows-- getting awful close to the huge Yew tree in the process-- and around the corner into the house.  We got there just as the crew was pouring gravel on top of the pipes, so we did get to see the PVC before it was closed up.  And it's not just the water piping that's done-- Washington Gas came out in the last week or so and relocated that crazy pipe that was outside Isaac's window, sure to break the glass the first time he tried to open it.  That big metal thing's now a thing of the past, and we didn't even have to pay for it's removal and relocation.  Yay!  Montgomery County had supposedly been giving Mark the runaround on the permit for the retaining wall downstairs, so the excavation has been at a standstill.  However, yesterday I think he got it all sorted out, so hopefully, since there's a dry forecast for at least the next week, that project can get back on track too.

The water/sewer pipes snaking around the side of the house.
Tight fit for the water/sewer pipes between the sidewalk and the Yew tree.
Notice the big root they dug around; hopefully it won't cause any damage.
The blue pipe sticking up is where our responsibility ends and the
water company's responsibility begins.
We're having more than just a little feeling of crunch time lately, not necessarily because we're behind schedule but more because we have a crazy busy summer coming up.  Between going to Buffalo for a week for the Fourth of July to going to the Olympics for a month for work and going to Russia for a couple weeks to cover a summit, I have literally four free weekends at home the entire summer.  I've been trying to impart this to Mark & Rory, giving them our schedule and pleading with them to tell us beforehand what we need to have decided, and they're slowly giving us things to do.  We went the other night to Home Depot after work to pick out shower heads; not a good idea.  Shower heads are incredibly boring to choose, and taking the kids between school and dinner maybe wasn't the best choice.  We came home grumbling to ourselves, "we are not being overly strict to expect our kids to behave in Home Depot for an hour, are we?"  Lola actually got a time out in the shower-head aisle.  We came out of the experience with one "meh, that one's fine," and one "I guess--"  not the best results for a shopping trip!  Luckily we don't have to pick out bathroom faucets, because they come with the vanities we've already chosen and Abby loves.

Yesterday we stopped by to meet up with people who are going to give us an estimate on kitchen cabinets.  It's a place where they specialize in custom stuff with an ecological bent-- they sell sustainable cork and bamboo flooring, as well as kitchen counter-tops literally made out of paper, for instance-- and we've already chosen floor tile for the bathrooms from them, so they said they'd give us a discount on a custom kitchen.  Fine with me!  But when they came by, I think they confused me more than helping.  Of course, seeing a blank slate, they had all sorts of ideas... that were different than hours.  And when we told them our ideas, it was kinda Seinfeldesque: "Not that there's anything wrong with that..."  The two were an older Iranian guy, Mo, and a younger Serbian guy, Igor.  Mo was kind of the idea man, and Igor was the planner. Or something.  Either way, Mo mentioned moving the wall abutting the bedroom back a foot because our bathroom closet was too wide to be a normal closet and too narrow to be a walk-in.  He mentioned moving the pantry over to the window side of the entryway and blocking out that one window-- a non-starter with me, since the windows overlooking the glen are way too important to block, in my opinion.  He mentioned moving all of the cabinets over to one side of the room, getting rid of the counter-top that blocks the bottom pane of each window, and putting in seating and a quasi-breakfast nook in the corner.  I hate breakfast nooks.  And I am truly scared about the potential lack of storage in this house, even though he assured me there'd be the same amount of storage with his idea that there'd be in mine.  The one important thing he mentioned I hadn't thought of before: the exhaust vent from our stove.  I had thought it should go straight up and out of the roof, but he said it'd be better to make a 90-degree angle and have it exit through the side of the house, since apparently roof exhaust pipes deteriorate more quickly than wall ones.  Problem with his idea is it blocks out the top 6-9 inches of half of the upper kitchen cabinets.  My response was to suggest the pipe go through the wall before making the 90-degree turn, instead using the top 6-9 inches of our bedroom closet.  He was intrigued...

So, they took measurements and will get back to us.  We have someone tomorrow coming as well to give us an estimate; a man Abby met a week or so ago that she described to me as "an old man who is literally in love with granite."  Since we are not putting granite in our kitchen, I hope he's okay with our plans!  In the meantime, we're going to do some more independent study, and hopefully the slow moving will speed up.

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