Saturday, December 26, 2009

And what to my wondering eyes should appear.......

And what to my wondering eyes should appear?..........but a red rug on the floor.....from the Netzers, I fear. Yep. It was bound to happen. A person has a basic character it an aversion to color or a fondness for Precious Moments.....and some folks just won't let it alone. Don't count on seeing this rug on the floor for more than another few or not.
Phase 2: Technology. (I guess the phone installation was Phase 1......and not a whole lot less complicated than this one.) High definition......straight from Sam's.......not bad for a non-card-carrying, lukewarm-TV-watcher. (New chairs from Target in the picture......and old, rickety camping table from the basement.)
The TV in Morgan's room will be right over her desk. Check out the custom closet doors that Michael made from the translucent plastic panels in a metal frame.
By encasing the plumbing innards in steel, a fairly ordinary bathroom has been ramped up to industrial chic.......Michael and Jason's good idea.

And Jason has finished making the doors for Morgan's room and bathroom, for my bathroom and for the utility room from pieces that were initially cut out of the container walls. They plan to paint them white, but I'm sure attached to the "character" of the rust spots, dents and lettering and hate to cover that up.
This is Michael's Red Banana Berm plan. Try selling that to a landscape company from Rogersville. If I've learned one thing during this process, it is NEVER to use the term "dirt cheap" again. Instead of having just a flat area planted with Buffalo Grass on the non-river side of the house, we thought that berms would make it more interesting and help with the drainage issues as well. That was before learning how un-cheap dirt really is. We'll see how this turns out.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not exactly the Shroud of Turin.....

Not exactly the Shroud of Turin.......but that mysterious purple stain on the floor in the kitchen is, at the very least, sure to be a conversation starter....and at the very most, a tourist attraction which could possibly become as popular as the World's Largest Ball of Twine or the Spam Museum. Where did it come from? What does it look like? Would you drive all the way from Elk City, Oklahoma to see it with your own eyes?

Seepage from an exotic, ultra violet, gelatinous substance being carried in the shipping container from port to port.......only to find itself on a Webster County kitchen floor? Residue from a squid held hostage by a band of starving gastronomes? The outline of a dagger used to slit the gizzard of Australian rain-stick player? Plumber's compound? Bad vibes or good?

Well, enough of that. It's definitely character in the floor to be "celebrated".

Other news: the couch has been delivered......twice. Remember when I went to Chicago and sat on every couch in every store in the city until I found the perfect one at Room and Board? Thanks to the wonderful assistance of Kathleen......and her helpful, intelligent, non-judgmental guidance. Since that day in March, someone has called to check with me, every three weeks, to see if I was ready for it to be delivered. Finally, I said yes. The day before it was to arrive, the Room and Board truck driver called to make the final arrangements and said he would deliver it between seven and nine the next morning. I asked him if he knew the way, and he said he had a good map. I rushed out there at the crack of dawn, unlocked the door and made a welcome sign and stayed as long as I could before returning to work......knowing that it was going to be late that day before I could go sit on it. I went home (to my old house) for lunch, like I usually do.....and there was the couch, wrapped in plastic, sitting vertically in the corner of my living room. Oops. I honestly don't know if I never gave them my NEW ADDRESS or I did and they didn't put it on the paperwork....but I called and told them that there had been a mistake. Instead of telling me that it was my mistake and there was nothing they could do about it....or citing their order numbers and blah blah blah.....they said that they would reduce the delivery charge if I could find a way to get it to the new house, but if I couldn't, they would return next week and pick it up at the old house and deliver it to the new house. Yes, that's right. They would return from their warehouse in Minneapolis and drive to Springfield and then to Rogersville to deliver the couch. ROOM and BOARD. You won't find any better, smarter more conscientious service than that.

I've had lots of family support these days.....bearing (and baring) gifts and talents that I didn't even know existed. My son Gabe, having worked as a home entertainment/security systems installer while finishing Engineering school, has probably experienced one of the more frustrating jobs associated with the building of this house: dealing with the telephone company and the TV people. Need I say more? (Personally, I've got a notebook with a hit list of names from AT & T from the times my Internet service has been severed......which is totally unrelated to THIS undertaking....Linda in India, Bob in Phoenix, Mary in St. Louis, Rick in Mexico, et. al.....). With the details of the installation too gruesome to include, let me just say that this is definitely a labor of love on his part.....on-going, but almost there.

And my son John R., with nary an agricultural/horticultural gene in his body (that I know of), not only has been clearing the land around the house and down to the river, but is now working on smoothing the driveway area with his tractor and new attachments. Another job that has its pitfalls......ticks, scratches, frostbite....and a never-ending need for MORE new attachments.

My daughter (and part-time roommate) Morgan, seems to be in denial. I'm genetically familiar with that trait.

All in all, when it comes to having "good help", it doesn't get any better than what I've had.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cooking on all four burners........

Cooking on all four burners.......and a whole lot of just last week. I bought all of the appliances for the house, way back in October, at Metro Builders Supply in Springfield, and
must say that it was a good experience from beginning to end. No heavy-handed, slick-talking, promise-you-everything sales people.......just the facts, some very smart and very personable professionals, a bit of education about why some products are better or more efficient than others, staying within the budget, saving money wherever possible, free delivery to the house (17 miles away), and for a reasonable cost: INSTALLATION.

I am extremely close.......extremely living the dream. And I'm talking about a cold water dispenser and the possibility of crushed ice here. Not to mention a dishwasher for the first time in thirteen years. And, finally, the ability to fix pancakes on the griddle or fry cheese burgers without the smoke alarm going off......thanks to a vent hood. CRUSHED ICE. What next?

And how about the floors? Have you seen the floors since Jason put those coats of sealer on them? Oh, yeah. Now I remember talking about "celebrating" the character of the various imperfections......or some such thing. Well, they are just great. Just great. In a day or two, I'll take pictures of a very distinct "character/imperfection" to be found in the kitchen floor.....and an accompanying "celebration". Folks from miles around may be lining up to see this phenomenon.


And if that isn't an oxymoron, I don't know what is. Imagine marching up to the list, tools in hand and a head full of motivation.......and then you spot a Bald Eagle cruising right down the river runway......or see a couple of ground squirrels having the time of their lives. What to do?

And a great view of all of the clearing John R. and Nicole did one great Fall day.......
See why it's taking so long to get this project wrapped up? So much TO-DO......yet, so much to do........

Monday, November 16, 2009

Am I as smart as my mailbox?

Am I as smart as my mailbox? Only time will tell. It just arrived today......a Salsbury Post-Mount Locking Roadside Mailbox with Front and Rear Access #4325......AND a matching #4315 10 lb. newspaper holder. HAH! I'll never be accused of not having MY priorities in order. No doors on the bathrooms entry is still a propped up board/ stove or icebox......but "neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night........" you know the rest. Gotta have Netflix and the newspaper. I'm a little worried about the "non-locking access panel", "rear locking door", "convenient outgoing mail tray", and the incoming mail compartment" and two keys. But I totally understand the "adjustable red flag".'s what's been happening lately.

The ceiling is finished. As I said before it was totally done, it is a genuine work of artistry and design. Not to mention, labor. I can't imagine doing such a thing for ANYONE.....regardless of the cost and commitment.....and I feel both honored and enriched to have such beauty for the life of the house. Thanks to Michael and Jason.

Closets are finished and will still be standing a hundred years from now. That may seem like a trivial operation to some people, but I'll bet that closet installations have tested many a happy American family. One needs to bare one's soul to one's closet engineers to have ample hanging space and room for shoes. And a terry cloth robe. And a reflective vest. And "did you notice how many GRAY tee shirts she had?"

Today was the day that Jason was going to put sealer on the floors. I spent parts of Saturday and Sunday shop-vacuuming, sweeping, scraping and wet-mopping the area.......with instructions to "work my way to the door, back out of the house, leave no footprints and head on outta there." I did as I was told, and if I hadn't been practicing yoga for a while, I wouldn't be around to tell the story. Kneeling, squatting and pushing a mop should not be attempted by the untrained worker. After the concrete floor was initially poured, a long time ago, I had visions of it being a cool, elegant, monochromatic slab of grey. In reality, the floor will probably be like most durable elements of life.......and even most durable people in life.......its complexion will be a reflection of a most interesting and varied character. And it will be "celebrated" (a favorite designer word) and cherished for what it has become and how it has gotten there.

I can't get over how much better it is looking and feeling on the outside of the house since Ken and "crew" did two days of work. The driveway gravel is no longer in a pile by the road.......the dirt leveling process really puts the house, the ramp and the storage container in a better perspective. He burned down the trash pile, trimmed trees, moved brush piles into the trash pile.......and will be on hand to help with some berms planned for that same area. We're planning to plant that space with Buffalo Grass in the Spring, but after getting some expert advice at Nixa Seed and Hardware, I got some rye grass seed to put down until then. And got a lesson on how to throw it. Right there in the store. I love that place. And the people in it.

Meanwhile, John R. has been doing some clearing on the river side of the house and has been making a more user-friendly path to get down to the river. "Stobs" may be a regional term for those deadly, cut-off parts of trees or seedlings that stick out of the ground, not high enough to notice, but high enough that you will surely trip on them, bust your shins and screech the worst words you know....and John R.'s specialty is stob-removal. And there are a lot of stobs on the hillside. He should be everyone's best friend for that public service.

Most of this work, lately, has been fueled with Squirt, goat cheese and cucumber sandwiches and homemade ham salad made with Jenise's one-of-a-kind-relish, deviled eggs and Ghiradeli's double fudge brownies. Not too bad for Webster County, huh. I've been having the time of my life.

Earlier in the month, Ann Brown invited theworkshop 308 to speak to the Southeast Rotary Club about the designing and building of the house......and invited me to come for lunch and listen to the presentation. Michael was at the house installing plank at a time......while Jason gave an outstanding account of the 8747 house....beginning with the day I walked into their place with my shoe box full of house ideas to the present stage of development.....and finished with an intriguing hint of a project-in-the-works planned for a more urban neighborhood in Springfield. His commentary was so descriptive, yet concise... and his pictures, as you have probably seen on the flickr part of the blog page, are just great. It was both conscience-raising and entertaining and I commend Ann for her vision and her taste in program selection and applaud the Rotary for the consistent good works that help make this a good place to live.

And, if that wasn't enough........a week-ago-Friday, Bob Weddle and Andy Wells brought some 5th year Architecture students from Drury University to talk to Michael and Jason about the house and to tour the project. I liked seeing and hearing their reactions to this undertaking. It was good.

Plenty of stuff left to do.....interior doors......the ramp......woodstove.....deck......cut the door in the storage container.......canopy for my parking place......Gabe's audio/visual/security system operation.......various small jobs both inside and out.....I'll try to keep you posted in a more timely manner.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Out of the gutter......into the closet.....and some real dirt.

Out of the gutter....into the closet....and some real dirt. In other words.......hacking away at the to do list.

Who knew I could get excited about gutters? Flat black, commercial-type......the perfect go-with, accessory for a black fox shipping container. Kind of an agri/industrial/Calvin Klein look.
And this, my friends, is how many great works have begun........drawings on a napkin......or, in this case, my friend Sally's plan for my closet on top of a styrofoam chimichanga-leftover carton.

.................with her structural engineer husband Tom to install the plan. This is a first class operation.

These ceilings are going to take your breath away. They have truly taken the whole look and feel of this space to a new and elegant level.......have brought warmth and color where it was needed........and, if it wasn't before, will certainly make this a one-of-a-kind dwelling.
And, yes........we're paying for dirt here. Never thought I'd see THAT day.

Loyd sharing dirt stories with Jason.
Ken......friend, landlord, retired teacher/librarian, potter, sculptor, banjo-player, bike-rider, runner, renovator and heavy-equipment operator returns with his crew to move the earth. Did I say clogger?

And wife Shirley......who brought her chair and book......and read nary a page.
You get a yard full of some smooth dirt and people just come out of the woodwork to sit around and admire it. Quite the support group, eh? Only George and the dogs are missing.
Jason......on the porch......contemplating four-part-harmony.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

9:00 a.m......the buzzards were circling....the campfires were cold....

Oh..........if only this baby could talk.
You cannot buy those orange leaves at Hobby Lobby.
Today's view from the porch off my bedroom....nary a buzzard in sight.
.........and it sounds as good as it looks.
Black Fox (the paint color) Big Bertha.......the pride of Webster County.
Track for the sliding bathroom door.
This is where I will keep twist ties, rubber bands, carry-out menus, and my fake bubba teeth.
And this cupboard will house Cheetos, Hot Tamales and Wasabi-flavored almonds.
It seems that Michael and Jason have gone screaming and waving their arms.....into the sunset. (Again.)
Look up.....wood strips on the ceiling for attaching the cedar.....sample cedar straight ahead.
Look up, again.......wood strips on the ceiling for the cedar AND new track lights.

9:00 a.m......the buzzards were circling.....the campfires were cold.....and not another single, solitary person was in sight. I had the whole place to myself and plenty of time to check on the week's progress. It appears that theworkshop 308 boys have been very busy. Bless their hearts.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Excitement level: fevered pitch.

Excitement level: fevered pitch. Progress: whiplash speed. Buzz: never-ending.
And that is not ALL due to the cabinet man's speedy recovery from the flu. Stuff is happening. I'll have some pictures in a day or two. Cabinets are looking awesome. I will be surrounded by smartness and splendor for the first time in many, many years......cabinet-wise, I mean. Some of the windows have gotten an eyebrow treatment, never previously duplicated in this civilization, to facilitate proper rain management. Three square light fixtures and a porch light have been installed. Berms and landscaping are being passionately discussed. A conservation agent has been contacted. Kitchen appliances have been selected and purchased.
Most of the plumbing fixtures have been tested successfully. The heat works. The air-conditioning works. Ditches have been dug with top-of-the-line rental equipment. Conduit has been laid that would rival the Alaskan pipeline. The propane man is poised and ready for action. And did I mention THE RAMP? Oh, baby. Am I going to have A RAMP! One of my thoughts for the house design has always been to make it barrier-free. Any one of us could stumble into one of those ditches or become disabled by a fall on the dance floor at any moment; and I, for one, certainly want to be able to operate any type of mobility aid throughout the house without worrying about narrow doors or a flight of stairs......and make that a possibility for any visitors. And what A RAMP! By the time it's finished, the house may appear to be merely an afterthought. There's not a convention center or an opera house in town that has A RAMP like this one. Keep your eyes on this space for more pictures.....and more progress.