Thursday, June 30, 2005

Getting By With A Little Help From Our Friends

Sometimes Jay and I just sit and marvel at the willingness of our friends to help us on Humphrey House. It's really amazing. You know you have the best friends and family you could ever want when everyone is ready to pitch in like this. I'm more than a little moved by their generosity and goodwill, if you can tell.

Either that, or everybody just wants that trip to Jamaica REAL BAD. :) Seriously, tho, this weekend we had just an amazing WEEKEND WARRIOR TEAM.

Jason's maternal grandpa, "Grandpa Duck," is a tough old guy who runs a handyman business in the city. He came out to assist in some serious window construction, and will be guiding us (who am I kidding, he'll be building it) in the reconstruction of a new stairwell. Grampa Duck rules, and guess what kids, he does one helluva mean "Donald Duck."

Props to Marsha for making the five hour train ride (10 roundtrip) from Carbondale to refinish our front door (among other things). She's my soulsisterfriend from WAY back - the person I've known longest in my life! - and a bit of a slavedriver to boot. It was 97 degrees in the shade, and this girl was outside, in full sun, with JEANS ON, slathering stripper on our new front door (which we discovered had been painted tan, yellow, burnt orange and fugly babyshit yellow before you got down to the beautiful oak [?] beneath) for over FOUR HOURS. Actually, I lost count after that. But it looks AMAZING.

Scott continued working on his "dirtiest guy in da house" reputation by removing the remaining plaster and lathe walls around the staircase, thereby making it the most dangerous space in the house! Scott was, as usual, covered head to toe in black soot. I think I'll start calling Scott "Burt" ... I think that was Ms. Poppin's boyfriend's name in "Mary Poppins." You know, the chimney sweep? :)

It's a long fall from the 2nd floor to the basement ... it's so creepy now walking upstairs and seeing the floor of the basement with every step you take. I think we're making a ban on treks upstairs till further notice. At least until we get that waiver Julie was talking about....

My brother Matt & his fiance Erika also came up and joined in the fun this past weekend. Matt worked on installing the windows, while Erika (a self-proclaimed victim of "project add (attention deficit disorder)" took on a few jobs in the course of the day: stripping with Marsha (woo-howdy!), then stripping the table with me, then peeling off the hideous great-great-grandma-died-in-her-sleep-in-this-bedroom-20-years-ago-and-we've-never-touched-the-room-since blue wallpaper in the bedroom/family room area.

All in all, an incredibly productive weekend. THANKS TO YOU ALL - we'd still be running in circles in a panic in the basement without your help.


Friday, June 24, 2005

And on the 177th day, there was light ...

That's right, folks. We got lights in the basement. Full-on, proper lights, with switches that won't shock you and pull chains instead of shoestring. It really does look lovely. And it was also a learning experience. As in, electricians cost money, but they're better than using your conduit lines for a new perm. The 80s look is in again, right? Right???!?

On another note, many thanks to Judy for bringing the following to my attention: when we move into our shiny house in three weeks, we won't yet have a laundry room. Which means we're back to doing laundry at a laundromat, something I haven't had to do for the past five years. I haven't missed that overpowering smell of dryer sheets and stale sweat, nor the thieving hands who steal my favorite outfits when I go out for a smoke (well, back in the day. Won't need to worry about that anymore.) On the plus side, I hear we can really score big drogas at the laundromat down the street. Woohoo. There's always someone passed out in that parking lot. Ick.

Wonder how many other things like this we have yet to consider?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Waiting to exhale ...

The ink is dry on the papers now, so I guess we can begin to exhale. We've (again) gone under contract with the condo. The buyers (new folks, from Chicago, but using the same agency) have until the 27th to get financing, then all should be smooth sailing from there. Provided I don't hang a wet towel on the drying rack again, thereby confusing the home inspector into thinking water is coming through the tiles (gimme a break!). Mmmm, maybe I will hold my breath a bit longer ...

We're supposed to close on July 20th. On the 8th is my band's first gig in Chicago, the 9th is a whopper of a bachelor/bachelorette party for Mike & Sandy, and the 16th is Jason's stepbrother's wedding. So, feeling a bit of pressure to really get as much done in the next three weeks as possible. I think I will take Fridays off from working at the house (not that I think Jason will do the same, he's redefining the word obsessed) so I don't lose my mind. But otherwise, should really get something accomplished there each day.

So far, we've got the painting and framing 90% done in the basement. The electric guys are coming back tomorrow to finish the stuff they had to wait on before (apparently, there's an actual ORDER to the way you're supposed to do this stuff, information I wish we'd had BEFORE they came out the first time, and HVAC should be done before electric. Who knew? Not us) and then we can schedule both the framing and electric inspections with the Evil Village. Scotty is finishing the framing today (YAHOO!) so we should be on schedule.

Now we just have to create the rest of that schedule.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I wanna be ... your sledgehammer

we kicked that concrete's ass.

Monday, June 06, 2005

"So, when you gettin' a dog?"

The first time I ever had something stolen, it was this girl Tracy Young in preschool. It was my birthday, and for your birthday you got to pick out a ring from this box. I picked out a beautiful watermelon ring - I'd had my eye on it since Dusty Salmon's birthday. Tracy sat across from me, and asked if she could try on my ring. When I gave it to her, she said "Finders keepers losers weepers" and blew a raspberry at me. I was inconsolable. The teacher wouldn't make her give it back, either, saying it was my fault for giving it to her. I felt so damned crappy. Although I did sing at Tracy's wedding fifteen years later, I still never really got over it.

I still feel that way every time something gets stolen from me, even now.

Yup, you guessed it, we got burgled (is that really the term? Sounds so dorky). Our garage did, anyway. We'd moved a bunch of power tools to the garage while we painted the basement (apparently not our brightest moment)and lo and behold! they'd disappeared. Jerks broke in through the window. They even stole my dry cleaning - all my best clothes. SIGH.

We've learned a lesson, albeit one I wish we hadn't. Keep nothing of value to you in your garage. Good thing is, I talked to our neighbor and she was cool with the fence, even wanted to talk about splitting the cost. Plus we're going to get a security system. And all our neighbors keep asking when we're getting a dog. Within a ten house radius there are three huskies, two german shephards, an akita, two labs and a yippy little terrier.

Now if I could just get rid of the crappy feeling ...

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Now EVERY room has a view to the basement!

Sunday was interesting. Jason and his buddy Chris got a wee bit melancholy for the good old days admist all their ductwork on Sunday afternoon, spouting weepy-eyed soliloquys on the joys of living in Aurora back in the day, when helicopters and skinny, sleepless paranoid roomates ruled their world, and nothing was more important than whose turn was next on Grand Theft Auto. Well, few things were more important, anyway.

And yes, now EVERY room has a view to the basement, thanks to Chris' trusty saw of some sort that just munches through carpet and subfloor and wood, oh my! But that means we also have AIR CONDITIONING EVERYWHERE! THANKS CHRISTOPHER!

It also appears as though our house is going to have TWO furnaces. More on that later.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Beam It Up, Scotty ...

Our man Scotty was here this week to assist in the re-construction of the basement. Back when we thought we had a pretty severe deadline (see previous posts) we had invited Scotty, an old pal of Jason's brother-in-law with a thorough knowledge of all things constructional, to come down from Wisconsin for a paid gig doing drywall and more.

As usual, we got a little ahead of ourselves.

However, Scotty did prove to be useful as hell. He and Jason did a lot of framing in the basement with Jay's newest toy, a concrete nailgun that uses actual Remington .22 caliber blanks to fire the nails into the concrete flooring of the basement. They also worked on reorganizing the garage after a shitty incident earlier in the week gave us cause to do so. More on that later.

We'll be asking Scotty to come back once we've gotten our electrical and framing inspections completed. Then he can come kick some evil bootay on the drywall. YEAH!