Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 17 - All decked out for Christmas ...

For the first time last night - and for the first time in a long,long time, actually - things are beginning to feel settled. The house is in order. We are living here, mostly alone, without too much interruption from our contractor and trades friends.

It feels ..... sorted out.

We even have Christmas lights and garlands, courtesy of the husband and the five year old who helped his Dad put them up. The tree is even in its' stand, ready for the decorating party we are having later tonight.

Check. Check. Check. (Have a few more gifts and visit to Santa to squeeze in, but we are getting there ..)


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

December 15 - Garbage Be Gone

Look at us - the honking piles of garbage, cardboard and debris are GONE. And just in time for the holidays!What a difference this makes. With the debris piles gone, the floor coverings in the remaining rooms are now also gone. We see how some of the rooms are meant to look. Big difference.

Check out the house from the street now:

And the library, it's so lovely. The picture of my unwrapped nail head chairs was too blurry to post, will revise and add it in for you all later on. We definitely need a rug, now that the floors are unveiled. Still to come, the window seats, which should be not too much longer. They will be dark brown fabric and then I plan to go a bit nuts with toss cushions.

Also accomplished: the stain on the stairs. This was a very, very stinky process (the husband and the ten-going-on-sixteen-year-old had to leave one evening, for the stink) - it but makes the whole first floor look DONE.

Check it out:

Still one more coat of verithane protector to go on. The stain was tricky because the floors are bamboo, but the stair treads aren't. We had to match as closely as we could. Good folks at Randall's made it happen as closely as it did.

And also, I would be remiss if I did not also show you all this:

Yes, despite my reservations, here is the "one remote" system, in place. Working. Easy. All that the husband said it would be. What more could a gal want?

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11 - A glimpse

Things a bit more settled now. Last night, with the gas stove finally connected, I was able to unpack the 14 kitchen boxes. Did a preliminary what goes where 'til 11 pm.

Looking great. Note there is still cardboard on the floor - quartz counter guy coming tomorrow to do final fix on the island.

Doing laundry is pure pleasure in the new laundry room. Great to have such space. We'll put stainless steel counters in place on the lower portion and then plain white laminate on the top. There is also some polka dot tile to put in a few places. I also plan a steamer to eliminate the need to ever iron again. Pictures of laundry room to come.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10th : Overview of the current state

Just to give you an idea of how we are living every day. It's been two weeks now, we have been living in the midst of all of this. It starts anywhere from 7 - 830 am ... and is almost always done by 5ish, but often goes til past six, depending on who is there. We have to be fully dressed at all times, and there is not one scrap of privacy. We also have to clear all of our personal stuff, dishes, homework, etc. out of the way so the various folks can get at what they need to get at.
When we get home the cardboard mountain is larger, debris is spread everywhere, and we have to hunt around for things that got misplaced. Two more days. We are pretty sure it will be all gone and done by Saturday.
There are issues with the counters that remain and that will be fixed on Saturday. They broke the master bathroom counter, and will be bringing another one on Saturday and the legs of the island are uneven. Sigh. Soon ... soon.
As for the husband's tantrum, today seems to be a much better day than yesterday. The fuming is over. There is still an edge, but he has come down considerably.

The glass is still a big problem. The backsplash glass STILL did not arrive 'from Montreal" .... so we cancelled it. We don't really need it, after all. We wanted the glass backsplash behind the stove to go all the way to the ceiling, it goes half way, right to the top white shelves. It's fine. It's good. We can install the hood fan and we are good to go. Gas stove got hooked up today. We can use it now.

It still scares me a little, that stove. I've never cooked with gas and it's rather large.

In other news, the glass railings for the stairs are being installed today. The glass company still managed to screw up a few of the panels, which were supposed to be made from TEMPLATES. But, most will be in place by the end of the day. Have been pretty terrified of kids - mine and others' - falling through and down the stairs. Will be very relieved to have those in.

We also have laundry now. The guys hooked up the washer and dryer, and placed them on a properly supported pedestal.

Funny story:

Last weekend, tired of more than a week of running to the rental house to do laundry - we tried to do a load in the new washing machine. The husband hooked it up. After a time, we could feel and hear this intense rattling and shaking sound from the laundry room. I was downstairs helped the ten year old with some French. It was deafening. And worrisome.

A few unanswered calls later and I dashed upstairs to find the husband braced against the wall, with both hands holding the machine in place as it rattled and shook like a small earthquake. Luckily the cycle was a short one.

So now, we have it all done up pretty and properly. How lucky am I to be able to do some major laundry tonight? Isn't my life exciting?
And if that wasn't enough, with the stove now in place, ready to use, I can even unpack the kitchen!! That's my big plan for tonight. I will be up for hours.
It's strange because I don't know yet how I will use the kitchen, where I will do my stuff, where I should put everything. It's larger than I am used to and since there are almost no uppers, it's throwing me a bit.
Must experiment.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

December 9 : Fuming

The husband is not happy. The husband is steaming. He is by all accounts an extremely good natured person. Rarely have I seen him lose it in 15 years. However, yesterday his good nature reached full capacity. He's on edge. He is ready to have all of these lovely hardworking people .... out of our house!!

We've been in for two weeks now and are ready to actually settle in. We've been patient, we knew there would be additional stuff to do. But we are ready for it to be done, signed off. We are ready for them to be gone. We're there, but we've yet had a chance to enjoy it. Christmas is coming, and we need to unpack!!

The reason? Yesterday, almost nothing got done. He got home mid-day and there was almost no change. When you are living day to day, waiting for certain things to get done so that certain other things can get done, this is not a good thing.

Oh, they've all got their reasons. The cabinet guy couldn't finish the cabinetry and panelling on the bar area because it turns out ... the quartz counters over there were never actually installed. They should have been siloconed and leveled, but are actually just sitting on top! You will recall the countertop installers woke us at 730 am last Saturday to 'install" our counters. Not installed. Nope. Just kind of ..... resting. This means Brian, our cabinet installer can't exactly install cabinetry around it. So he left for the day.

Then, the glass backsplash, on which absolutely everything around the stove depends ... just didn't come, no real explanation. Maybe they will come tomorrow, they said. They already made a mistake with the first attempt - this was a rush order and was to be installed asap. Didn't come.

The glass railings were supposed to go in. That guy didn't come either. The glass was dropped off. It's nicely wrapped and sitting there. Not in the rails, on the floor. That guy called us a 8 pm to let us know he wasn't coming. He might come on Thursday.

Some debris was hauled away. Some AV stuff happened. But not all. The house was unchanged.
Overall, we still have closet poles to be installed, window cranks to be put in, closet doors to be fixed, a house number to go on, painting to be done, drywall repairs to be made ... blah, blah, blah ...

Today will be, hopefully, a busy day. We have our gas guy coming to install our hood fans, and turn on our fireplaces. Which would be great because we are having a winter storm and our floor heat is a little .... ahem, uneven. A fireplace or two wouldn't hurt to keep the place warm.

I think the floor need to be "bled" or adjusted or something. The heated floors are warm and toasty - almost too warm and toasty - in several parts of the house. In others, it's chilly. Apparently this is normal and adjustments are required. That is supposed to be this week.

On a happier note, check out the husband's office. We did some decorating over the weekend. That's a giant "W" for .... "Husband" whose name really starts with a "W". And a giant map of the world. Both available at your friendly neighbourhood IKEA.

Also quite lovely, our bedroom wallpaper. Check. It. Out.

Love it!!
Will send happiness update later.

Monday, December 7, 2009

December 7: Long, long overdue post and explanation/excuses

I was totally beating myself up for not posting before this, then I cut myself some slack, realizing how much has been going on over the past week or so.
For one thing, my camera conked out so my only source of photos is the husband's I-phone .. and that works very well actually, providing there is ample light. These days, we are barely home when there is any natural light, given winter's sunlight hours, so that is a bit far between, I am afraid. Without photos, a blog post isn't much interesting, so that leads to a pretty big dry spell.

Add to this the fact the youngest child had a fifth birthday and there is that thing called Christmas that keeps creeping up, plus all these kind folks who are popping in to visit ... really not much time for picture taking or blogging. After all, this is my current kitchen. We are living out of the downstairs kitchen, which is fine, I have only the bare minimum stuff unpacked, the rest is here. This was only ever going to be for three days or so, we are now going on ten. It's fine, really. We are very well set up down there.

We also didn't have Internet for about five days - or sporadic Internet as things got sorted out. The joys of moving.

And, as I often say to the the husband and kids "I am only one woman" and this is true of blogging, I guess.

Then there are still all these people in our house all the time, trying to finish it for us. The place is a beehive. The husband and I are either here constantly answering questions etc. or at work, letting things unfold. The husband normally works from home, rarely going to his office. But I think he's been there every day this week - it's just been too distracting staying here.

But here we are back on line. In my previous post, you'll see where I left us. As you will recall, it was very early the day after we moved in - a week and a bit ago. I wrote the post and only had to post pictures of the couches. That took until today!

Since then, things have been unfolding in our home-that-is-a-construction-zone .... everyday we get closer to done. Still not at done, but we get closer. Each day the house feels more and more like it will "when it's done".

I do change management in my real job, communications around change. We call the end result of a change the "desired state" .... So, the desired state in in sight. We have a few days to go til we get there. We are starting to experience the desired state.

We got 3/4 of our kitchen and bathroom counters last Saturday (at 730 am!!) same day as we hosted a birthday party for ten kids as well as two games of the oldest's basketball tournament, which the husband coaches, plus a dance recital dress rehearsal, the recital and a trip of two to Ikea and Home Depot....)

The counters look like this. The gap is where the end pieces will go, the island will end up looking like it's wrapped in the brown quartz. We have a three level island. There is different quartz on the smaller part and that's butcher block joining the two together. The end pieces come Wednesday so I'll take a picture of the completed island once that's done.

The kitchen is really coming together. Note: Poinsettias!! My only current Christmas decoration.

The glass back splash arrived and then wasn't right, so half of it went up. The other half was wrong and had to be re-done. Supposed to be in tomorrow. Then there is the stove fan. The gas stove can't be connected until there is a fan. The fan can't be installed until there is glass. I think the glass needed the quartz ledge to be installed. Can't recall exactly, I am sure SOMEONE knows how this is supposed to unfold. I believe the glass comes tomorrow, as does the glass for the railings.

As well, all week, our trusty audio visual team has been installing our audio, sound, lighting, security and other components which are all connected. It's pretty cool actually, we have these "pads" in the house that we use to turn on our music/itunes/radio/phone/security/temperature etc. I hope I will be able to make them work. The lighting past is really cool, actually. We can select these lighting "scenes" that are pre-programmed. Needless to say we are having a few laughs developing the "scenes" ...

Key pads look like this:

And then there are the remotes. The husband has promised that this will all be "wireless" - and that everything will be combined into one easy to use remote control and that it will not be ridiculous.

Well, readers, judge for yourself. Here is the remote collection currently in the TV room. As if I can even turn anything on. I hear promises of this changing very soon ... we'll see. these are required for the television, blue ray players, (there are two), cable, sound system and some other stuff. I have no idea.

Also, our TV in the main room - in the planning center -- is a TV/computer screen. It switches back and forth between both, which is actually pretty cool. It's here:

This is all still not done, it's quite a feat. I think they should wrap up this week.

I have been unpacking areas as they are unfinished. So far, here is what the library looks like:

Need more books. When I see the new shelves, I realize how many books we lost. We had an equivalent library shelf in our old house and it was packed with books. In time, we'll get there again, I am sure.

Those are our outdoor porch chairs. We had to remove them from the porch to give the exterior finishing guys space to do their cutting. The new ones arrives from Toronto last week, but we haven't' unwrapped them yet. Best to keep them protected.

As you may have guessed, the house is still crawling with people every day - electricians finishing, plumbers installing as things progress. We are all here, hanging out all day together. Yesterday was my day off and I couldn't find a place to sit and do some online stuff .... I left to run errands.

For a solid week, we brushed our teeth in the bathtub of the kids bathroom - which was our only working bathroom for five or six days. We now have toilets everywhere, but are awaiting the rest of our counters for the rest of our sinks and faucets. The counters - these ones marble - come Wednesday. Hopefully the sinks and taps can be connected the next day.

The exterior is so close to being finished, but our trusty installers had a mishap - the son of the installer, fell off a ladder and injured his elbow. He will be off for quite a while with surgery and a cast. Although I am dying to get it done, the front cleaned up and my Christmas lights installed, I completely understand and wish him a speedy recovery.

Speaking of cleaning, can I tell you the worst part of all of this? THE MESS! There is construction debris everywhere in our yard, the back is especially bad. It's not safe for the kids to go out. Snow is just starting to fall in the next few days so I threw a fit and made sure a bin and some strong backs are going to be taking care of this asap. We can't have that debris sitting in the yard over the winter. Can't. So, tomorrow is the day for that.

Debris (covered in snow)

Can I also say that the cardboard is endless? We are buying and unwrapping so much, it has become a mountain. The boxes and packaging material. The garage is full, we are recycling our little butts off ... and still, there is cardboard. Cardboard:

Followers, I must go. Will report back to you all very soon, and much more frequently. Also will arrange a guest post from the husband so he can fill in the details behind the electronic component of this project, for I know nothing.