Monthly Archives: October 2010

Halloween

Trick-or-treating is not very good on Vashon, so we took the kids to the new house for their first Halloween. Seattle is supposed to be the best city in the country for trick-or-treating, lucky kids. Havana was a mermaid and Hudson was a shark. We drove around Capitol Hill to see all the decorated houses. Havana pointed out every house with jack-o-lanterns out: “Pumpkins!”

1st Halloween

We’d been hearing about 18th and 19th Avenues, which really put on a show. The streets were blocked-off to cars, but the streets were filling up even before dark and the houses we could see were elaborately decorated. It wasn’t advisable to bring young kids to those streets because it was too scary, so we stayed on our street. Most of the houses on our street were decorated but it was more low-key.

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Basement concrete

Before the kids went trick-or-treating, we went in the house to see the basement floor. It can be walked-on now, but will be curing for a couple weeks. After that, they’re going to lightly acid wash it to expose some of the aggregate.

Before:

New concrete in theater

After:

Concrete is curing

This week they hooked the old boiler back up to get some heat in the house, so the radiators were on for the first time since we inspected it and the first time we’ve been in it while it was heated. It was nice and the radiators, as expected, are not too hot to touch.

The radiant heat in the basement floor isn’t yet hooked-up, but they said they’d connect it to the boiler and use the heat to help the concrete floor cure. So hopefully we can walk on it barefoot to test out how that feels.

We sent mail to the neighbors offering the wood from the trees we cut down and told Schuchart/Dow’s people they could take it too. I was surprised to find that all of it had been taken! We were going to post an ad on Craigslist for free firewood and let people haul it away for us, but we didn’t want to have a bunch of free-stuff-scavengers coming over at all hours of the day.

Basement floor concrete

We went to the house for the third time this week. This time we took the kids with us because today they were pouring the concrete in the basement and we wanted to put our handprints in the floor so the people renovating the house in 100 years find it.

Handprints

When we got there, Westlake Concrete was there and about halfway done with the floor. They were waiting on the second concrete truck to deliver more concrete. We got to see them pouring and leveling it. We had to wait for the concrete to set a little before we could put our handprints in it, so we went to Elysian for lunch. By the time we got back it was ready. Havana marched right into the basement and put footprints in the wet concrete before we could stop her. Mark, the superintendent, put some foam core down for me to walk on and Gay handed me the kids and I pushed their hands into the concrete. Gay put her hand in and then I put our name in using some alphabet letters we bought at a toy store on the way to the house.

Before we left, we had a phone call with Mark and the structural engineer, Eric, to talk about yet more beams he wants us to put in the attic. I feel like we’re making the house into a bomb shelter the way it’s being reinforced. The engineer insists it’s all necessary (and no one can argue because of liability concerns) but I can’t imagine every old house does as much as we’re doing to this roof. In the end, the entire roof will be rebuilt other than putting a new surface on it.

Monkey Puzzle Tree removal

We took the 9:00a ferry in to see the Monkey Puzzle trees being taken down. We got to the house about 10a and Bartlett Tree Service was about half-done limbing the first tree. By about 1pm the first tree was down to a stump and they were starting the other tree. We left at 2:30p and they thought they’d finish it, but by 5pm they hadn’t. It was limbed and topped, but a 40-foot trunk was still standing and needed to schedule a day to finish it.

Limbing tree #1

We also met with another electrician and another plumber to bid on the project. And the people from Pacific Galleries came to take some lighting fixtures that we’re going to sell at their auction in November.

The foreman for Bartlett Tree Service made a point of thanking us for hiring them. I assume it’s because of the state of the economy, most people are happy to even have a job these days, but you don’t hear it very often even now. He didn’t have to do it, of course — they do their job, we pay them, it’s a fair trade and we’re both satisfied — but it shows good character (and doesn’t take much). I’m more inclined to hire someone in the future who appreciates the work than someone who doesn’t. Some people we’ve hired over the years behave as if they’re owed a job and that we should be thankful that they’re willing to accept our money.

Collaborative Lunch

Today we had a lunch at the house for all the people involved in the house renovation. The architects, interior designers and contractors have worked separately with us as the conduit. Some people hadn’t even met yet. So we wanted to get everyone together at one time, talk and just have a friendly get-together. After a stop for another ultrasound and an OB/GYN appointment, Gay & I picked up cupcakes (a favorite) at Cupcake Royale, beer and sodas at QFC and sandwiches at Volunteer Park Cafe and met everyone at the house.

Volunteer Park Cafe

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Belle & Sebastian at Benaroya Hall

We went to Benaroya Hall to see Belle & Sebastian (name taken from a cartoon, not the names of people in the band). We ran into Peter Johnson and his cousin in the lobby, which was a surprise. He said that Reid and Marissa were also there. I should have expected that. We did see them across the hall once we got into the show and texted Reid to say “Hi”.

It was a good show, although our seats weren’t very good. They played a cross-section of their songs, but with so many albums and EPs they’ve made over the years — they used to be very prolific — a 90-minute show seems short. I’m surprised they didn’t play “Stars of Track and Field”. I like the newer albums but I miss the older songs with the trumpet and horns. I didn’t think to bring the better camera, but at least I took some videos with my iPhone.

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Dinner at Lecösho

We had dinner before the show at Lecösho, a place we’ve never been. Since we paid for parking at Benaroya Hall, we could walk to the restaurant from the parking garage, just a block west in Harbor Steps. It was a great evening and we caught the end of the sunset from the restaurant.

Sunset view from Lecosho

We had Penn Cove mussels and beef short ribs for appetizers, I had the salmon (of course) for my entree and Gay had the Porchetta, which was stuffed pork wrapped in pig skin cooked slowly for several hours. For dessert, I had an ice cream sandwich, which was a scoop of chocolate ice cream, a scoop of blood orange sorbet and a scoop of corn and cinnamon (!) ice cream sandwiched between two pieces of shortbread. Gay had the chocolate torte. Everything was very good.I had the Saison DuPont farmhouse ale with dinner, which went well with the food.

Another house visit

Since we were going into Seattle for the Belle & Sebastian show, we went to the house to check on progress again. The electrical panel has been moved from the family room area down to the mechanical room below in the basement, the old panel and wall it was on have been removed and both panels are installed in the basement. We saw the west wall of the basement that they grinded to potentially leave it exposed. They put panels showing where the skylights will go in the attic, which helps them figure out where new rafters can go that they structural engineer is demanding but no one understands. The new steel beam for the garage has been delivered and is waiting to be installed. They tested a patch of fog coat on the exterior to see how well it covers. We also saw another concrete sample for the basement floor, which we’re still not happy with, and there’s more of those coming in the next few days.

New beam for garage

Profitable Bailouts

The US Government’s TARP bailout of the financial institutions has reaped a 8.2% profit, or $25 billion. The people (I’m looking at you Republicans and Tea Party tards) who say that government can’t do anything right don’t know history. And now we can say that they don’t understand math either.

The bailout of GM and Chrysler will not pay off, we’ll lose $17 billion on those clowns. But the AIG bailout also profited $11 billion. In total, the bailouts not only didn’t cost the US taxpayer a penny, they saved the economy from decades of recession, probably even a depression, and they profited $19 billion. And in less than 2 years.

Giving credit where credit is due, it was the Bernanke and Paulson that alerted Congress to do something, who made it possible for Bush to sign it and make it happen. Aside from the Republicans in Congress who opposed the bailouts, two responsible Republicans and a Democratic Congress worked together. Government solved yet another problem that the private sector couldn’t.

Pumpkin Beer and house visit

This weekend is Elysian’s Pumpkin Beer Festival, so we decided to go into the city today to taste some of the 40 (!) pumpkin beers on tap. I love pumpkin beers. We packed the kids in the car and got on the 12:50p ferry. We stopped at Beer Junction to stock up on some new beers and then went to the house to take some photos of the progress.

photo.JPG

The kids had fun running around the house. They don’t see it as often as we do so it’s always new to them. We headed to Elysian and, egads, found the line of people wrapping around the corner and down the entire block. I refuse to wait in lines, especially with kids so it was easy to nix that plan. We went to Cal Anderson park instead and let the kids play. Then we went to Circa in West Seattle for dinner but they were closed. Our last chance was Zeeks Pizza. The kids were tired and slept right after leaving Capitol Hill, so we had to wake them up for dinner.

We got home, put the kids to bed and turned on the UW vs Oregon State game and, fortunately, I bought Elysian’s Great Pumpkin beer at The Beer Junction today, so I could pretend that I didn’t miss their pumpkin festival again.

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