Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trouble in paradise.......

Trouble in paradise.....was the subject of the email I sent to Jason and Michael at 10:10 this morning. It's not enough for them to know about structure, planning, engineering, construction, drawing and all of that other stuff that architects and designers know....what kind of pens to use, coffee to drink, phones that work, socks that are warm. They have to be prepared to deal with the dysfunctional and psychotic mood swings of the deadbeat client.

Still high on the Black Fox paint fumes and a little glass in some windows from last week, I decided to set off for Chicago on Sunday to search for the perfect couch for my perfect house. (We have Bass Pro, Macy's, Sears and Lazy Boy here in Springfield.) I got a $45 room on at the Residence Inn on the end of runway #17 at O'Hare, drove into town Sunday afternoon after an 8+ hour trip, and spent two and a half days sitting on every couch and every chair at Room and Board, CB2, West Elm and Ikea. It was definitely the kind of trip that could only be made alone. Fueled by Chinese food and whole sacks of kettle corn, I drove thousands of miles.....mostly within the Chicago city limits....and found three, count 'em, three possible couch choices and a few likely chairs. It was a great time. But no place for sissy drivers.

I took all of my Chicago literature, fabric swatches, possible couch measurements, tape measure, and blue masking tape out to the house yesterday, so I could get an idea of where the couch would go, when I got it, and how it would fit with a dining table that theworkshop 308 was going to make for me. That's when the trouble in paradise began.

Dear Jason and Michael:

I had a hard day at the house yesterday. I had my tape measure...BLUE masking tape to stick on the floor...measurements for the couch I found...and the plan to put a table (that you will build) on casters, behind the couch, about in the middle of the room. I just couldn't get it right. I just couldn't get it right. And I didn't like it. I worked on it for 2 hours there...changing the location of the couch, of the table, paring the couch down to a love seat, changing the table to a free-standing round one, making the table a drop-leaf with two chairs, having no couch at all but chairs instead. DAMMIT. The house looks best empty I think. Then, I found a plan that might work: put the couch against the back wall...eliminate my small counter/chair space at the end of the kitchen counter...put the table (and I know it will be the most fantastic table known to man) in front of the spectacular window. It may block some of the view, but it will (1)allow me (and anyone else) to sit at the table and look out, (2) put me at a more comfortable distance from the fireplace/TV, maybe even allow for a chair facing inward at the other window, and make a clear passage to either kitchen or hall. Boy, do I need your help. And, boy, am I ever glad that you weren't there yesterday to see me whining and carrying on. I was even ready to glass in the screened porch to put the table out there. So, what do you think? And don't just say, that's fine. Really think about it and tell me what you think. Think. I'm losing it, I think. I have to eat my stupid lunch now. Let me know. I had nightmares last night. A truant's mother was taking too many shoes from the Kiwanis Shoe Bank and I knew it, but didn't know what to do about it....and she was keeping her children OUT OF SCHOOL.....but amassing a pile of new sell for drugs. Do you have the name of a good counselor? marti

Today.......I took a hot shower, ate lunch with my sister and two cousins, met Michael at the house, discussed the options available, (like a mature and reasonable 65-year-old woman who wants to live in a Black Fox Shipping Container house), measured and put BLUE tape where the couch would go against the wall, talked about the table.......and now, all is right in the world. All is right in the world.

People everywhere are starving, the economy is changing lives daily, there are problems around each and every corner.........and I'm worrying about couch placement? Saying DAMMIT in an email? Putting parentheses around numbers that detail my personal comfort level? Having nightmares about shoe thieving?

When I over-dosed on popcorn, a couple of weeks ago, I felt moved to write about Gabe sticking his tongue in a wall socket, for example, and how he turned that into the ability to be a successful engineer.....and a whole page of more random and disconnected thoughts. I later called that a bit of "bad blogging". I'm now thinking that it may have been the Chinese food and kettle corn that sent me into this latest episode of inappropriate behavior. Sorry. I'm over it now. It's not my fault.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Black Fox with windows......yessiree.

Black Fox with windows.....yessiree It looks like something you would see in a magazine ALREADY. It made me laugh out loud to drive up and see that muddy, brown beauty of a shipping container with real glass in the windows and a new sense of style that I didn't realize was missing.

Todd warned me on Saturday, while we were standing around admiring the paint color and talking about what was happening next. He said he thought the windows could possibly be installed this week.....but he sure didn't prepare me for how they were going to look.....all framed in aluminum inside of those massive steel frames that have been lying on the ground waiting to be welded into place. (I may not be describing the process correctly.....I'm more into results.) Anyway you look at it, it's a milestone, for sure.

Jason called me at work to let me know there were some windows in the house, and he had just been out there to take some pictures. Lo and behold, while I babbled and whooped on the telephone, he told me to log onto the computer and I could see them with my own eyes. And I did. Logged on and talked on the phone at the same time. (I believe they call that multi-tasking.) Does he take great pictures, or what? And he's even smart enough to know what to do with them next.

Needless to say, I got out there after work as fast as I could possibly go. They look absolutely great. The whole house is looking better than I ever thought possible. And when you go inside and look OUT of that front window and see the river and not another building nor another human being in just takes your breath away.

If you are out on a Sunday drive, any day of the week, it's worth checking out. Keyway Construction Company and theworkshop 308. Remember those names. You heard them here first.

I hope everyone else is having as much fun as I am.

Thanks a lot.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

About that color......

After submitting to months of wisecracks about my need for red shag rugs, rusty-smokey-pumpkin versus mossy-oak paint for the outside of the shipping containers, and other colorful topics, I got THE CALL that it was time to decide on the exterior paint color.

It was to be Jason, Michael, Me, Natalie and cheese burgers at Ebbet's.....Natalie as a possible mediator....cheese burgers as a probable deal maker....Ebbet's as a too-little-elbow-space for any significant violence or hand-wringing. (And don't think this wasn't planned in advance.)

Lunch was polite....the cheese burgers were good, and then it was time for a SHOWDOWN IN THE SUN-DRENCHED SILENCE OF THE PARKING LOT.......with Michael packing the chain of paint chips from Sherwin Williams, and the rest of us empty-handed. Names of colors like Laughing Orange....Amazing Gray....Balanced Beige.....Adano Bronze......Gusto Gold.....clacking through the air with piercing possibilities. We picked seven.....spit out their names while Jason wrote them down....and then went our separate ways.

Jason got a small can of each color, went out to the house and painted a long stripe of each on the side of the container.....propped up some of the cedar boards next to them that we will use on the porches......and a few hours later, I rolled in to stand back and look and.........decide. Jason had already picked his favorites, but kept them to himself. I picked the darkest one on the end, thinking it looked best with the cedar and it certainly looked like it belonged with the tree trunks and the river that were there first. BLACK FOX is the name of the shade, and that also happened to be Jason's pick.

We were standing there, firming up our decisions, and Todd (the builder) happened by. He made a smart remark about the seven-color rainbow painted on the wall of the container, and how it would look much better if we could just narrow it down to one color.......and agreed then, that the dark charcoal-brown looked the best. As did Michael, later on. As did Natalie.

It's going to be awesome. Jason remarked that the tree-trunk-charcoal-brown shade makes it less about the containers themselves and more about the land where they sit. And he may be right. (I wonder if that was part of the plan.)

Gabe has finished all of the wiring for the security, entertainment, and network systems....a one-tetanus-shot-only job....for which I will be eternally proud and grateful.....the insulation is in the roof....the inside looks real clean and organized in preparation for the next insulation phase....and I'll try to keep a more silent tongue and a clear head for whatever showdowns are next.

Monday, March 2, 2009

That was some bad blogging the other day......

That was some bad blogging the other day. I apologize. It's pretty sad when, after re-reading what I had written, I had no clue as to what I was trying to say. I think it was possibly diet-related. Too much popcorn in a short amount of time. And I mean TOO MUCH. The sad thing is, I would do it again right this minute if I had the chance. (Eat too much popcorn, that is.)

I was blathering about so many random and obscure people and things, for no apparent reason.......but my heart was in the right place even though my mind was very porous.

Here's what I wanted to say: 1) The degree of devotion to this project is far greater than the salaries earned by those involved. 2) The amount of support and interest we've experienced has been incredible....and appreciated. 3) It is a big help to have people in my life who can keep me on track. 4) I sure am having fun here.

From now on, I won't be blllllloging just for the sake of blllllloging. I'll wait until I have something to say and will try my best to understand what I am saying.