Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sunday: The High Line (7/17/11)

We were up pretty early on Sunday morning and took a walk to Chelsea Market and climbed up to the High Line, which was an abandoned elevated railroad, turned beautifully landscaped walkway.  This is an early morning skyline view...

The combination of hardscape and plantings is gorgeous.

Lots of grasses...

And flowers...

An amphitheater for live performances...

An incredible modern bird sculpture...  (I want one!)

And a few stunning views across the river.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Saturday: I think I'm dreaming... (7/16/11)

On Saturday, I hopped on the Bolt Bus in DC which delivered me safely (the bus driver was only stopped by the cops once...) in NYC, where I met Jack.  He had already been there for a day on business and had done some cookbook power shopping before I got there.  We're up on the High Line (more on that later) and the hotel we stayed in is the one with the round windows - the Dream Downtown.  It should be noted that I dreamed non-stop about the (Dream Downtown) hotel and other aspects of our trip from Friday night straight through Sunday night.  It's sort of like a ridiculous version of a Stephen King short story.  It's also a pretty clear indicator that I really, really needed to get out of the house.

After doing some shopping, we retired (being by far the oldest people there) to a table by the pool to people-watch.  The hotel has two sections that rise above the pool on either side.  We stayed on the cheap side (on the right in this photo) in the next to top floor, furthest to the left (the lighting wire crosses our window/micro-balcony in this photo).  The people-watching was far more interesting than is represented in this photo.  Let's leave it at that.

Jack persuaded me to post the most mild of the people-watching...  These two girls were dressed identically (with fanny packs), and wandering around for hours.  We just couldn't figure out how they fit in with the whole crowd.  Until they wandered over to our table and offered to give us massages.  Apparently they had some takers.

This is the view of the Saturday night party from our tiny balcony.  I didn't catch a photo of the pool on Sunday night, but it was easily four times as crowded.  See the circles on the bottom of the pool?

The pool is above the rear of the lobby.  When you look up, you can see the swimmers from underneath.  I chose not to swim.

But the light shimmering through the water into the lobby was just stunning.  Jack said there was a photo shoot going on in this area before I arrived.  Circles, circles everywhere...

This was our little room, which was actually quite nice.  We're thinking of contacting the hotel to see what kind of mattresses they use, which are much dreamier than our current mattress at home...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday: Flooring and raining (7/13/11)

We received the heartwood pine samples that are from new growth pine trees from a company in Georgia (on the left).  The center board is the cedar that will be used for the decking and we're trying to go for a similar look.  The reclaimed heartwood pine (on the right - unfinished on top and with Waterlox tung oil finish on the bottom) is from a company in North Carolina.  The older pine should be much more stable than the new, meaning that we would get less movement and gapping between boards (which is what we have now).

Later that day, we suddenly had the most intense storm and rain.  I knew they had covered the chimney flu with plastic to rule out that as a source of the water leaks around the chimney.  So I laid down on the hearth and took a picture up the flu.  I was completely incapable of diagnosing anything from this photo...

While I was busy obsessing over the water stains forming on the cedar plywood out front...

I completely missed the fact that water had been rushing down the back basement steps underneath the basement back door and into one of the rooms that we have much of our packed stuff in.

The water traveled underneath the laminated flooring in the basement to the other end of the house.  I spent many, many hours mopping.  We wound up with very near an inch of water in that back packed room - thank goodness everything is off the floor.

Tuesday: Newest cedar siding (7/12/11)

We were originally supposed to get cedar siding with straight edges on the sides for the exterior.  We were disappointed that it seemed to be so unavailable and decided to settle for the v-groove siding (on the left with Sikkens sealant), but our builder has since found a source for clear straight edge siding (on the right with no sealant) - love it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Friday: Waiting for rain... and floor samples (7/8/11)

After hearing more about how the roofing and flashing were constructed, I think we were wrong about the gap at the bottom being the problem.  Everyone seems to think at this point that the problem is that the grout is soaking up water which wicks much further, past and underneath the porch roof.  We were expecting rain this day or the next, so they fastened a tarp to seal off the chimney above the flashing.  Unfortunately, we only got a sprinkling, so we weren't able to prove that was the problem.

Our builder had come up with Siberian Larch as an alternate wood for flooring (bottom piece).  The piece on the left is the cedar, for the deck flooring, to which we're trying to roughly match the look.  I don't have the other piece of larch he brought in this photo, but the grain between the two pieces was completely different.  The smaller pieces above right are reclaimed heartwood pine samples that we got from a company in North Carolina.

And with a brochure cover like this, how could we go wrong?  Reuben would apparently be so happy with this floor.....

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday: Flashier flashing (7/7/11)

We've still been having problems with the cedar plywood, that's the under-side of the porch roof, getting wet where it contacts the chimney when it rains.  So they cut a channel in the stone and installed this bigger flashing which covers the first flashing they installed.  This is the only angle where the flashing is visible from the street.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday: NICHT WERFEN! (7/5/11)


I neglected to take a picture before I opened the box, but this was undoubtedly the best-wrapped box I'd ever seen.

Remember these concrete pendant lights we were trying to order from Germany?

And my lame attempt at mock-ups?

They're here!! And I'm amazed at how closely the tone matches that of the concrete hearth.

The lens attaches with three little magnets.  Die schlauen Deutschen!  (those crafty Germans...)

Monday: More wetness woes (7/4/11)

We had problems with leaks around the chimney, so they came back and beefed up the flashing, which is too bad, because that makes it that much more visible from the street.  It improved the situation, but didn't fix it.  This photo is from Sunday, the 3rd, after a hard rain.  This is the front of the chimney on the front of the house, under the porch ceiling.  As you can see, the stone and grouting get wet, but also, the cedar plywood gets water stains that are permanent, and would turn to rot.

I think this stain (on the edge of the plywood) is also from water seeping in at the flashing, then traveling down the incline to this spot...

...and this water stain on the porch floor is directly below it.

So, on Monday, after the parade, Jack kindly offered to go up on the roof and take some pictures of the flashing.

We're wondering if this gap is where it's getting in.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monday: Happy 4th of July! (7/4/11)

"Oh, my God, the parade is about to start!  You don't think that crappy band is going to dare play again, do you?  We've suffered for so many years..."

"Uh oh, I think I hear them coming.  Try to enjoy yourself before they get here."

"Toot, toot, bleat, bleat..."

Bicyclist:  "My ears!  MY EARS!!!"

"Yaaaaaay!  They finally stopped playing!"

Tuesday: Farmers' Market, here we come! (6/28/11)

I told Sheila how frustrated I was that, as we sit waiting for wood samples (or any other long-drawn delay in construction), we're still dealing with having no kitchen and the limiting effects of that on our homemade meals.  She pulled out a craft magazine (a gift from Grandma Sheila and Grandpa John) and asked if we could try making the recipe in it for Ratatouille!  (She's so smart!)  It was awesome, and what was even awesome-er was that she loved it too!

Sunday: Happy Birthday, Aunt Julie! (6/26/11)

I recently copied some old photos to send to my dearest Aunt Julie for her birthday, and she was wearing a beret in 4 out of 5 photos.  So here's Reuben donning one in her honor.  Je t'aime, Aunt Julie!

Thursday: Back yard happenings (6/23/11)

I've been held up in blogging, partly because nothing is happening at the house (waiting on siding and flooring samples), and largely because Sheila is now out for summer and my computer is apparently her new life.  Anyway, through the heat, we've had some lovely happenings to entertain us in the back yard.  Here are some calla lilies...

And here are some gargantuan day lilies.

Here's a photo with my gargantuan hand, to give you a sense of scale.  I'm not a big day lily fan, but apparently, I'm a big fan of big day lilies.