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Thursday, January 31, 2008

a little romance

We got our new engagement rings in the mail last week! Don's original ring wore out and broke long ago, and mine was in pretty poor shape -- we bought them when we were starving college students and couldn't afford much in the way of durability in our jewelry, nor could we afford to get exactly what we wanted back then. So we decided to get custom made new rings that we really loved. We had them made by these folks as our Christmas present to each other, and they're truly fantastic:

Mine is titanium with a tension-set black diamond, and his is titanium with an inset band of ebony wood.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

progress, of the extremely slow variety

So, in between jamming my finger on a crowbar and overstraining most of the muscles in my legs, I did manage to help Don get some demolition done on Sunday. We concentrated on the middle bedroom, and have now gotten it almost done. All that's left is the ceiling and most of the back wall, and we can move on to the back bedroom.

This weekend will probably be devoted solely to demolition (other than a brief break for me, to go to the crafting afternoon at Evelyn's!). As always, if you are feeling sledgehammery, you're more than welcome to come and help. If I get an actual confirmation of attendance by anyone other than me and Don by Friday afternoon, I'll arrange to cook dinner for whoever helps.

No photos of the progress yet; at this time of year I'm rarely home when there's enough daylight to go up and take pictures. I'll post some as soon as I get them.

Monday, January 28, 2008

come and craft

Since this is coming right up, I thought I should probably post about it! Stolen directly from Danielle:

What: A Crafting Afternoon

When: Sunday, February 3, 12-3

Where: Evelyn's , 784 Washington Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21230

Who: Anyone who wants to come to knit, craft, drink coffee or just hang out.

No RSVP necessary. Just show up. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

dumpster day again

A new dumpster was (I assume) delivered today. Don stayed home this morning to wait for it. So we're all ready for Sunday, except that I haven't yet decided what I'm going to cook. It sort of depends on who decides to come and what they do and don't eat. Not a lot else going on until then, so it's back to work for me.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

yet more demolition

The master bedroom is officially totally demo'd. Don finished it up on Sunday, in the process filling the dumpster the rest of the way. Hopefully we'll get a new one this week -- plans are currently for more demolition on Sunday, followed by a home-cooked (and potentially food-blogged) meal for whoever helps.

Demolition is a really frustrating thing to have dragging on and on. It's much more satisfying when you can get it all done in one violently destructive day or weekend, like we did last time. It seems like it ought to be so easy to get it all done! But the killer with demo, as it turns out, is cleaning up after yourself. If you don't shovel out all the plaster and wood bits, pretty soon you wind up being unable to move around enough to do any more demo. And shoveling is way less fun than hitting things.

Friday, January 18, 2008

all she knows is now i annoy her even more

The cat is not nearly as impressed with my new macro filters as I am.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

all by himself

Before he got sick, Don started to work on finishing the demolition in the master bedroom. He came home early from work one day and did some work on the ceiling, among other things.

Now that he's better, he plans to work on demolition all day on Sunday. The sooner the demolition is done, the sooner we can call the window people!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

busy busy

I don't generally talk about work here -- nobody wants to get dooced, after all -- but I feel compelled to post a note that I've just gotten my third proposal assignment in since we got back from the holidays. This means I've got two proposals due on February 8th and one on the 11th, plus getting ready to sell jewelry at Farpoint on the weekend of the 15th. We're expecting at least one more RFP to come in, a major one, sometime quite soon. So, uh, I'm busy. No guarantees on posting here.

In the meantime, I've been making a bunch of these in different colors. I love my new Dremel tool and drill press.

Monday, January 14, 2008

house of a thousand flushes

We've been sick. Like, really sick. Like, violently ill. Wednesday night I was up all night making best friends with the toilet in what I thought was a case of food poisoning. It wasn't fun, nor were the two days of unpleasantness that followed, or the third day of intestinal adventures after that as my system tried to restart after the total cleanse (celebrities pay tons of money for this, you know). Just as I began to feel better, lo! We discovered that it wasn't food poisoning, because Don got it too. He's home now, on the third day of the cycle, so hopefully he'll feel better tomorrow.

Because of this, all sorts of plans had to be cancelled, poor Danielle had to scrounge up her own dinner, and no more demolition got done. Very disappointing.

Friday, January 11, 2008

the shape of things

Even though the demolition's not done yet, we are finally able to start seeing the actual shape of the things we've been talking about and planning for. The picture above is what used to be the summer kitchen closet, off of the master bedroom. It's going to be the master bathroom when we're through, and now that all the stuff is out of there it's a lot easier to see how that's going to happen. The big upstairs landing is just outside the door to the left of this picture, and we're going to steal space from it for a walk-in shower. A bathtub will go under the eave (hopefully), and toilet and double sinks should fit in there somewhere. We haven't made the final placement decisions yet, but it's going to be a lot easier to do that now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

you bend 'em, we mend 'em

Zenchick insisted that I take a picture of the work-appropriate shirt she wore for demolition day. Despite having a messed-up shoulder and stepping on a nail or two, she was an awesome panelling and drop ceiling puller-downer. :)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

danielle's swath of destruction

She's a menace to anything under five feet high.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

a hint of what's to come

Well, since SOMEBODY who lives in my house doesn't check their email and didn't get my note to take some pictures of the upstairs yesterday before it got dark (hint: it's not the cat), I have no pictures for you of the end result of Saturday's work.

Here's a little taste of what demolition looks like, though -- I took this one while Don was destroying the plaster that remained above the stairwell window so that he could install the pulley for the dumpster chute.

And now I'm going to go sign the cat up for her own email address. She might need it for her fanmail.

Monday, January 07, 2008

pictures to follow

Demolition day has officially come and gone. A HUGE thank you to those who showed up (even though certain people couldn't be bothered). Unfortunately, even though everyone there worked like maniacs, we didn't get done. I was so busy actually helping for once that I didn't get any action pictures -- but by now you all know what demolition looks like. I'll get some pictures of the final scene of devastation and rubble tonight when I get home from work and try to get them posted this week.

Highlights of Saturday included Alex (aka Don's new best friend) showing up promptly at 8 with a big bag full of tools. Danielle was a demolition whirlwind, completely clearing every wall she touched -- up to four and a half feet. She also proved to be the consummate party guest, bringing along both a crowbar and cookies. Zenchick made friends with the cat, who loved the attention, and also managed to save me from being the person to step on the first nail, while Angie and Donna seriously went to town on the nursery closet and cleared that mofo completely out.

After we were done for the day, Alex and Danielle and Don and I all went out for dinner (after taking a break to go to various places and clean up) at Rub, which Don and I had never heard of or been to before. Very good barbeque that even sauce-phobic little me could eat, plus great drinks and a gigantic projection screen where we caught the crucial twelve minutes of that disastrous Redskins game. And wedge salad! I'm a dork for wedge salads. It's also just minutes from the house, which gives it about a million points in its favor. We're always looking for restaurants close by. Turns out if you just go over the Hanover Street Bridge there's all kinds of options. Who knew? I mean, other than Danielle.

Anyway, after that we came back home and collapsed. Sunday we slept in prodigiously, then watched TV and played video games until it was time to head out so I could take Don for his Christmas present: the deep-tissue massage I booked for him for the day after demolition day. When he got out he said it was the best forty-five minutes of his life, which means I continue to maintain my reputation as the best present-giver. After that, back home for more relaxation and a little web fun starting up my latest project.

As for the upstairs, I suppose now we'll just be hacking away at it ourselves until it's done. Don went to work about three hours early today so that he could leave early and get home while there was still enough daylight to work on it. We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

how to make a dumpster chute

Finally, here it is: our photo tutorial on how to create your own dumpster chute. We did this last week; those of you coming over on Saturday will get to see it -- and fling things down it -- in person!

First things first: you've got to take out a window. This is the window at the top of our stairs; we built a scaffolding so that it can be accessed a little less precariously (pictures of the scaffolding are here and here).

Next, install a pulley above the window. If you don't know the physics of pulley-installation, I can't really help you. I was an English major. You'll note that we bolted a spare piece of lumber above the window for the pulley to be attached to so it would be even with the window.

Lean out the window to take pictures of the happenings below; get yelled at for endangering both expensive camera and self.

Buy approximately a metric buttload of sturdy trash cans (we cleaned out the supply at both Home Depot and Wal-Mart, which is why there are two different colors). Using a reciprocating saw or other useful implement of destruction, cut out the bottoms of all of the cans. (I had high hopes, but alas the bottoms do not work well as frisbees.)

Stack all your bottom-free cans together, and thread chain through the handles (one roll of chain per side turned out to be exactly enough). Make sure you've bought chain that is strong enough to handle the load; ours is rated for 300 pounds.

Make sure you've got a length of chain at the top of the cans to hang the whole shebang from; Don and his dad counted 60 links back and then looped the chain around the handles of the top can, using a bolt with washers and nut to secure it.

Tie or otherwise secure the other end of the pulley to the midpoint of your hanging-chains; make sure to leave the top section dangling free, as you'll bolt this to the window frame later.

Using the pulleys and some brute strength, maneuver the stack of cans upright.

Hoist the first can to your desired height; the bottom should overlap into the next can so nothing will fall out of the chute. Designate that useless person standing around taking pictures to hold the rope in place while you loop chain around the next set of handles and secure with bolts.

Do it again.

And again and again and again and again and again.

Once the top of your chute has reached the windowsill, run upstairs and bolt those chains into place so whoever your poor rope-holder is can let go. Then come back down and heave the end of the chute into the dumpster. We bolted the last few cans together still stacked, to provide a little stability and weight to keep the end securely in the dumpster.

Take a spare can and create a hood for the top of the chute. When you're not using it, you can just take the hood out and tarp over the window.


There are a few extra pictures in the set here.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

you know you want to

I just thought I'd post a reminder that this Saturday is the long-awaited demolition day, and you're all still invited. We'd love to hear back from a few more people; our list of people who love us enough to come swing sledgehammers at our walls is currently depressingly short (although it contains some seriously awesome people).

Coming soon: the much-anticipated dumpster chute, and possibly a 2008 to-do list if we feel up to committing to it.