Thursday, November 30, 2006

Renovation Update

It's been about 3 weeks since we've posted about the renovation, but that doesn't mean that things haven't been moving. It just means that there's been a bunch of messy infrastructural work going on that isn't very interesting to look at.

The trench in the dining room floor is filled in now and there was a week and a half of work to lay radiant heat in the floor of the back half of the house. This turned out to be a good time for us to stay at our friends', the Juneaus (Juneaux?) while they were in Brazil. We were able to contribute to the Thanksgiving cooking effort and the their house had heat when ours didn't.
Our wood floor was delivered yesterday to acclimate to the house and (I hope) will be installed next week. The cabinets will arrive then also. The HVAC guy was here to do some duct work and the electrician was working away too. I bought what I hope is a beautiful light fixture off eBay and I will post pictures when that is installed.

What else? KC, our oldest and largest cat, has proved able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. No matter how high the wood barrier to the back part of the house is, he can get over it. When this project is done, he is going to PetSmart for a bath. I swear that the challenge of these plywood barriers is the only thing keeping him sane through all the chaos. That and Noelle....I am so glad we have two kitties and not one. The superintendent on our job finally barricaded the space up to the ceiling and built a hinged door perpendicular to the stair so it is more difficult for KC to get over there. But I am sure he will have that figured out by tomorrow morning.

Now, I realize I have been making our project sound perfect and painless. So, just to bring some reality to it all, I should tell you that we can only run our cooking appliances one at a time (the coffee maker OR the microwave OR the toaster oven). We've been having to take trash out the front door and walk all the way around the corner and down the alley to put it in the big trash bin. The new door to the back half of the house has fixed that, thankfully! And, (drum roll please....) our poor neighbor came out of her 2nd floor flat which overlooks our garden only to spy one of the contractors in the portajohn. There's no top on that thing! How's that for a SNAFU? I was mortified (so was she)! But fortunately, we have a responsive team and there is now a raised plywood ceiling over the portajohn. We hope that whole contraption will be gone in a week when the floor is in and they can reinstall the old toilet.

The windows are supposed to be installed tomorrow. I am sure in a week or two we will have pictures that show more interesting progress. :)

Eva and Jacob Sittin' in a Tree....

I took this picture of Eva with one of her most favorite beaux, Jacob. Unfortunately, Jacob is not in her class this year and she misses him very much. In fact, the other day, I saw Jacob in the hallway....he said Hi, I said Hi and that Eva missed him a lot. He said "I know." A true Hans Solo moment! Jacob is a sweet boy and more than one person in the Phelps family has noticed a resemblance to Will at the same age. Posted by Picasa


Here are about 1/3 of the cousins on Thanksgiving day. Sydney wanted everyone to have a special hat to wear so we had lots of pilgrims and indians (native americans?) around the table. I can't believe Cherie was able to take such a good picture. Usually the more children you have the more difficult it is to get everyone to cooperate. Frank and family, we missed you! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Stars of "The Candy Quest"

Will and three of his buddies (and some other kids) made a short claymation movie last weekend (see earlier post for a link to the movie). Apparently, the kids started by making the clay figures, then wrote a story around the figures they had created. Will and his buddies are obsessed with small animals, so that is what they made. Will made the two gerbils on the left, the pumpkin and the chair. The gerbil on the far left never made it into the movie, but the bigger gerbil did (carrying the pumpkin in the movie) and was voiced by Will. Will also made and colored he chair, which was one of the props in the movie. (BTW, the gerbil on the left looks more like a demonic rat to me, but Will says it is a gerbil.) Posted by Picasa

Another View

This is another view of the clay figures from "The Candy Quest". Posted by Picasa

What a Mess!

I thought when the first round of demolition was complete our backyard looked like a mess, but now it is really bad. Our old brick patio has been pulled up, and the bricks are being recycled into the reconfigured rear wall of the house. Posted by Picasa

Outside In Looking at New Kitchen

This is a closer in view of the photo above. We are reconfiguring the back wall from two windows and a center door to a wider door to the left (looked at from outside) and a single bigger window over what will be the sink inside. We also took out the (ugly) wall unit airconditioner that was built into the brick above the old kitchen door. I sure hope those 2x4's hold, they are supporting our bedroom. Posted by Picasa

Inside Out from New Kitchen

This photo is taken looking out into the backyard from what will someday be the new kitchen. The ugly radiator will go - the new door frame is right behind where it is now. Heat in the new kitchen will be radiant, so no need to leave room for a radiator. The master bedroom is right above this room. With the night temperatures in the uppers 30s, and no insulation in the ceiling, our bedroom is getting mighty cold at night. Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Candy Quest

Will and his friends, Jake, Ross and Caldwell, took a clay animation class at the Torpedo Factory last Saturday and the results were hilarious! These boys are so creative and I think their clay gerbils came out beautifully. The class made up a story, used modeling clay to create the characters, built and painted the set and then (with help) did the stop motion filming a la Wallace and Grommit. Check out their video!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Happy Halloween! Four Cats and a Spy

Eva decided we would be a cat family. Will decided he did not want to be part of the litter and dressed up as Alex Rider, the main character in a series of novels about a teenage spy in England. He didn't look dressed up but hey, spies look like everybody else! And I think he enjoyed explaining who he was.

It was a very warm Halloween night and the streets were totally packed. I am very glad I did not attempt to take the stroller. Posted by Picasa

Loot and More Loot!

I think Will has his mouth full of candy! Posted by Picasa
Tehan (my running buddy) and I helped Eva sort through her candy to find the nut-free stuff. Poor Eva. We had to ditch half her candy.

What a mess we have in the background here. You can see my crockpot. This thing is very handy for cooking oatmeal overnight. Look at the doorway in the back. Our contractors nailed up "Thermaply" to block off that doorway to keep the dust on the other side and the cats on this side. But you can tell that KC and Noelle are *desperate* to check out the rest of their territory and they did succeed in getting through that door. Tomorrow, I will put up some pictures from the other side of the "new and improved cat containment" measures. It is becoming sort of comical.

The Imperial Star Destroyer

Will has had his eye on this Lego kit for months and been saving his allowance for just as long. He finally earned enough money, with a little help from Auny Edie, to buy it this weekend. He put it together with one of his friends and is very proud of all their hard work! Posted by Picasa
Here is the Imperial Star Destroyer opened up. This is quite a complex Lego and a big morning distraction. Posted by Picasa