Monday, November 28, 2011

Drywall, drywall, on the wall . . .

So, last week we went out to see what progress had been made on the drywall.  I hadn't been out since before the awesome insulation had been installed.  We went with a local place that uses a soy-based batt, and I'm tremendously pleased.  Not only are the batts a pretty, swirly-creamy-brown . . .

. . . but they are obviously far more dense than fiberglass.  They stuffed the ceilings completely full.  And my favorite part . . . they don't stink!!! Hooray!!!

It's amazing how well the house holds the heat out into it when the drywall guys are there, even though the garage door still needs trim (there's a gap between the door & wall all around, sigh), and it took days to get something to occupy the holes in the entry door.

So, for family & friends who have wondered, here are the latest project shots.

Warning: Several metric tonnes of photos follow . . . 

Looking in from the "front" door.

From the front door into the garage, through the shop:

A slice of Vern's little office:

Up the stairs we go . . . don't they have mahvelous natural light? I <3 those windows. :o)

The view out  the window at the top of the stairs, visible in the previous photo.

Here they are, my stair-lighting lovelies.

I as yet haven't the faintest how I'll clean the one further along (yes, it's 10+ feet above the steps below), but I'll have all winter to puzzle that out.  Right now I'm just hoping the sill lies far enough out of scaffolding range that it has mostly escaped the liberal mud slinging of the drywall crew.  Oy.

Here we have the cute little bath.  That transom brings in light directly from the stairwell.  I'm wishing I'd been bold, and put in a glass block panel in the wall there next to the shower to bring in more light.  As it is, we'll most likely need supplemental light most of the time.  We'll see what happens when I get white subway tile on the walls and glossy paint up above it to bounce the light around more than raw drywall rock and subfloor . . .

Ahhh . . . my lovely living room. :o)  Imagine built-ins flanking the windows (drawers below, bookcases above), with a window seat running between under both windows.

And in these, my friends, in these unassuming-looking truss voids, lie most of our hopes foe sanity in this addle-headed endeavor: the truss cabinets.  Heavily insulated and uber-reinforced below, bedding, folding chairs and stools, floor pillows, and the kids' lockers will all live here.

We just need to divine a way to face & fromt them.  So far I've come up with simply trimming out the fronts for doors and somehow building huge pull-out-pantry-style thingies-on-wheels.  (Yes, that's a technical term. ;o)  Even though I'm aware how giddy this sounds, the solid plywood floors in those trusses makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Or, more to the point, they keep my heart from going pitter-patter, as I no longer worry about small children falling through to the garage below.  {Intense sigh of relief}

And now we advance to the kitchen . . . while this photo looks dark, don't let my camera's inability to handle chiaroscuro fool you.  Those two southern windows fill the room with glorious winter sunshine.

Ahhh, here's a better shot.  The corner you're looking into will be the "hot" corner.  You can see the black hole (lol) that's the exhaust fan for the induction hob, and there are two dedicated circuits for a countertop oven and the hob.  The peninsula will extend from the corner to the right to help divide the living & kitchen spaces, provide lots of workroom for meal prep (and possibly eating . . . still trying to figure out how to manage that) and lots of homeschooling and crafting.  I'm also excited to run a shelf along above the windows for things like pitchers, bowls, platters, etc.  Functional sculpture. :o)

Ahhhh . . . one of the hazards of construction.  Thankfully only the inside pane sustained damage, and the construction company will be covering the repair.

A view of the kitchen & bath from in front of the cracked window.  The success of the southern windows shows much more clearly in this view.  You can see through the door into the (master) bedroom, as well, and the little closet where the water heater will go (white pipes curling into the room, anyone?).

This nook will cradle the woodstove (will post more info on a stove when I've got some), with slate underneath and about four feet up the walls.  (We'll put up 1/4" durock first, to support the weight of the slate.)  I just need to go cherry pick through the slate at a local yard to get the colors I'm looking for.

And now, we venture into the bedroom.  I hesitate to call it the master bedroom, as no other bedrooms exist to compete therewith.  We'll see how the nomenclature develops.  This wall will also have flanking built-ins and a wide & deep window seat (with drawers underneath, of course).  Every square inch of this space will pull its weight, work hard, earn its keep, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.  In this shot you can also see the only little spots where foam insulation lives . . . in the last space between trusses, where additional bracing holds the eaves on, making the depth available for insulation about, oh, 3".  Batts just wouldn't cut it. ;o)

Truss cabinets in the bedroom (with view through door into kitchen).  Finger included for scale. lol

The wall where the bed will go.  We're still trying to figure out how to put lamps on the wall.  The decision lies tabled until the actual bed is in place.  (We've yet to build it.)

And that concludes our drywall tour. :o)  I'll leave you with a few shots of my walk back to the van (which we parked a ways back on the road, as the snow down the middle of the road hadn't melted enough to not scrape the undercarriage alarmingly.  The meadow . . .

More meadow, and gorgeous winter sky . . .

The observatory site . . . (the ponds will someday be foundation posts) . . .

Looking back at our cozy little place . . .

And one last time before I trudged through the ditch and up to the road to the van.

Thanks for stopping by . . . hopefully I'll have more interesting things to post soon . . .

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I feel so good, freshly returned from a lovely afternoon of contemplative shopping, tummy nicely filled with a simple dinner Vern made while I was out.  The kids haven't gone too wild (yet), pajamas donned (mostly), with teeth brushing and family scripture study straight ahead.

Today's foray produced groceries, some wonderful conversation with fellow fiber guild members at a local yarn shop, a precious quarter of an hour blissfully lost in the used classics section at the corner book store, and a general feeling of making solid progress in sinking roots into this community I love.  Hopefully I can blog more about it in the near future . . . there's so much I love here, and whether or not to openly blog about it has lain at stage left for a while now, coming and going, not fully settled.

Working across main at first street headed towards the van, snuggly familiarity settled itself in my chest; finding footing across the packed snow, breathing in crisp early winter, streetlights just beginning to come into their own.  I love the turn of the seasons, my expectations of each gradually fulfilled.  I guess that's what you call home . . . this gratification of memory renewed, the familiar and known replaying themselves in comforting sequence, but each time with the spark of life breathed in by those around me.

The children near fever pitch . . . and I must go . . .

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Space to Breathe

Some days, you get a little space to breathe . . . drawing deep breaths before compulsion to plunge back into the fraying fabric of life resurges. My tea water just "dinged" for the sixth time today; still haven't managed to make a single cup with it.  Today's sandwich began and ended with craziness, but held lovely thick slabs of breathing space between.

We had a quiet day at home, the half of us. I stayed home with HJ today, to let him finish getting over his fever (one more day of good naps did it, while missing today would have set him back days). MissE stayed home with me, as she had a slight allergic reaction to something over the weekend, and I wanted to keep an eye on her. And finally, Bear stayed home with us; Vern is in our bishopric, and my Bear doesn't govern himself well with only siblings to hold the reins, no matter how much he wanted to go to nursery.  I think the Larabar he brings for his snack each week played a big part in that. ;o)

So, Vern left for early leadership meetings as usual, two hours later I loaded everyone up and dropped off MrC, Anderman, and Lil'MissL a little before Sacrament Meeting started, and brought the remainder home.  We gave HJ a snack (his appetite began to come back yesterday), I did a few things with MissE that she held near and dear to her heart, and HJ and Bear both got their naps in good time today.  (Let's try to overlook the little issue of me waking Bear early due to a mental lapse which included not shutting his door and then going and doing dishes, k?)

Taking care of the children today, with only half of the usual crowd, felt like a vacation.  A sweet, peaceful, restorative vacation.  Granted, two of the dependents napped a good portion of the time we had at home, so it felt as though I had even fewer around.  Being the Sabbath, I also stayed completely away from the internet, didn't get lost in (or overwhelmed by) housework undone, or a blogroll unread, and just did what we needed for today.  Refreshing.

I feel as though I have a new perspective; one which allows me to perceive my world clearly, instead of in a blur.  So much of the time, I feel just like this shot of MrC . . . 

and looking on the bright side simply looms too large.  (We were able to joke our way out of that small catastrophe . . . never fear.  We had him laughing into his lap after a minute.)

But today . . . today was lingering in a sweet meadow, far above meltdowns and sticky fingers and missed garbage trucks.

I hope I can keep my eye on this afternoon's little valley . . . remember how I felt today, how I really can find the space, the peace, the time; only do what really needs to be done; pushing back the pressing of multitudinous minutiae so it flows around and past.

While in Utah a month ago, we hiked around a little lake called Mirror, up in the Uintas.  A long, brisk walk it was, with all kinds of weather as we made our way around.  Most of the way, it was just me and my Bear.

He thrived on the conversation and adventure, while I reveled in the miracle, the monumental creature, trotting along beside me.

At one point along the trail, his shoe needed emptying.  We stopped and he saw to it silently, picking a low trailside ledge for sitting, carefully working the velcro tab, removing his shoe to liberate the gravel inside.  Waiting for him, I suddenly found myself very still.  Turning and looking up with a deep breath, I tuned into the massive, living, sentient presence of the mountain.  Rising up and washing over me, I breathed it in: the damp earth, shifting evergreens, the crisp early fall air and the earth's breath off the lake.  But standing and breathing wasn't enough . . . it was all I could do to keep from laying out full length to look up into the sky and feel the rejoicing earth solid beneath me.

Day by day since, successfully distracted, I've rushed and worried and blustered and run too far too fast.  But today, there was space.

I will remember.

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Greater Good

Another excellent film: The Greater Good.  I'll let the website and this review speak for me.  They'll have it free to watch on Vimeo until midnight tonight.  Hopefully you'll get to see it . . . otherwise the DVD is for sale for $10 . . . which tells me that the producers are more interested in raising awareness, engendering thought and sparking conversation, than they are making money on this.  Good on 'em.