Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 189: Jungle boogie

Bob and the boys were busy last week.  Most of the windows are in as well as all of the doors.  The cladding has been finished, we can see the pipes for the hydronic heating and the ducted vacuum pipes have been installed.  The garage door has been ordered and the plasterer will be in this week or the next.  Hopefully the glass roof will be installed this week; it was booked in for last week but the glass was not ready.   The glass roof will go over this space here:

I should point out that we have not painted our front door aqua - this must be a protective coating that remains on until it is painted. The big pile of green in the picture of the back of the house (top left) are the weeds that we have been attacking.    There are still quite a lot to go!I cannot believe how they have completely taken over the back yard, although interestingly, some of the plants have fought back with a vengeance.  The winter rose looks better than it ever has and we found a spray in a pot of orchards that have never flowered since we bought them.  Obviously it liked being neglected and being buried under weeds.  We filled up our garden waste bin and that of a neighbour with some of last week's efforts but there is still a lot to get rid of, and we added to the pile this afternoon.  It was a good day's work in balmy conditions; spring has finally come to our neck of the woods and it was great to be out in the sun after a cold September to date  While we were at the house, we looked at the bench and cupboard samples for the kitchen and decided on our colours - cupboards in gloss white, with completely plain profiles, with a benchtop of white flecked with grey.  This will look cool and stylish when combined with a watery green glass splash back and contrast nicely with the centre support pole, which will merge into the island bench.  So there's another tick on the long list of decisions to be made - we should have also picked out laundry colours, but I think we've done enought for this weekend. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 188: Black and white

Collingwood Football Club logo
Once upon a time there was a little girl who grew up in the southern states of Australia.  The religion of that state was Australian Rules Football.  The chapter of this religion was called the VFL which was made up of 12 tribes.  The tribes competed against each other for 6 months of the year, culminating in the two best teams competing in a mighty competion called the Grand Final.  All believers selected one of the twelve tribs to follow.  The mightiest of all the tribes and the one that polarised the people of the state the most is Collingwood - the warriors of the black and white robes, whose emblem is a magpie.  This was the tribe of the little girl.  But these mighty warriors had fallen on hard times by the time the little girl was born and they had not won a Grand Final for many years.  This continued on for a long time, although they did continue to get to finals.  One of the most painful losses was in the year the tribe lost to St Kilda by one point.  Another sore point for Magpie fans was an incident some years later when a favourite son, John Greening was hit and severely injured during a game against St Kilda.  The followers of the black and white have long memories.  The little girl grew used to her tribe getting to the end and losing, but swore never to watch a Grand Final match again after watching them draw in 1977 against North Melbourne.  The match was replayed the following week and the tribe of the Black and Whilte were comprehensively beaten.  She could not even bear to watch the match when the tribe finally won 13 years later, and only came out of her room to see the last ten minutes of that game.  Since then, the trophy cupboard has been empty.

Today was the first grand final match against St Kilda since 1966.  In a way, it was a handy day for the us; we had to look for things for the houseand I  didn't think I could stand the stress of watching the whole game, so I thought we might as well be out shopping   We also knew that from midday, the shops would quieten down as people would be heading home or elsewhere to watch the match, because a great game was expected.  It was a productive morning and early afternoon; we managed to sort out some light fittings, order the tiles, look at some doors and bathroom fittings before the game started.  While heading to our final destination we tuned in to the game and Collingwood took an early lead.  Fortunately at the last stop, I managed to watch a fair bit of the game in the shop in between selecting toilet holders and shower heads, then we headed on back to Catwoman's to hopefully see the mighty Pies take the flag.  Catwoman thought they were a cert to win.  But as we long suffering Collingwood supporters know, it's not over until the siren, and in the last ten minutes, the Saints took the lead.  I'd hoped for a good game but this was all a bit too much.  Then Collingwood goaled to lead by one point, which was looking like sweet revenge in the dying part of the final quarter until St Kilda kicked a point to equalise in the last minute.  Memories of the 1977 Grand Final came back.  The look on the faces of the players and the crowd was of total and utter disbelief.  The captains were asked to speak, but they were hollow words.  The champagne will have to stay on ice for another week, when they all go back and do it again.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 182: It don't come easy

This is probably stating the bleeding obvious, but building a house is not easy.  Even when there are no problems, your builder is genius, all the tradies turn up on time and you are tracking to budget, there are loads of things to think about and do.  Monday morning was the walk through with Bob the Builder and Sparkie Dave to discuss the plan for electricals, including powerpoints, lighting and data cabling.  We seem to be in agreement on most things.  It was funny to watch Dave and Bob talk about things that they have done on other jobs when thinking about resolving issues with ours.  Most discussions ended up with them telling us that they would sort it out.  So far, so good.  It looks like all we have to do here is select the finish on the light switches and powerpoints and find the pendant lights.  I had to head off the to Day Job, so Stos stayed on the talk about plumbing issues with Pete the Plumber.  The result of this discussion was that we need to revisit the list of supplies that we compiled during our afternoon at a local bathroom showroom.  Walk in showers are out, we don't have the room in the second toilet for a small wall basin, the ceiling in the second bathroom is too high for a flush mounted ceiling fitting and Pete and Bob don't need the shower sub bases recommended.  So a lot of red lines will be ruled through the list and we'll have to go back and pick out another shower rose and include the shower channel.  Not the most exciting thing in the world.  On Tuesday I had a half hour call with Bob which ended up in a long list of things for us to do; find out thickness of preferred floor tiles so that the stair man can calculate the rises, start thinking about the finishes for the kitchen and getting this underway, talk to Stos about having refrigerated airconditioning instead of evaporative because the unit for the latter can be seen out of the world's most expensive skylight and agree on some door handles.  The change to the airconditioning unit is disappointing as we had hoped to save money by re-using the unit from the old house, and we prefer evaporative to refrigerated.  But the sealer on the discussion was that the evaoporative unit won't effectively cool the kitchen/living room which is the room most exposed to the west.  It will also ruin the beautiful roofline as the system box will stick out like a sore thumb.  Stos proposed that we go without but I don't want to do this - I know how hot the kitchen in the old house could be and I don't want  to have to retro fit air conditioning  So refrigerated it is.  Yesterday was the day for buying the ducted vacuum cleaning system, picking up tile samples, looking at door furniture and starting to think about carpet. Today we have been cleaning up at the site; sweeping up wood shavings before tackling the humungous weeds in the garden.  Honestly, there are lions and tigers and bears out there.  But the earth is quite damp so once you get the shoulder under the pitchfork, they are coming out relatively easily.  Another couple of solid afternoons work and we will have it under control.

While it doesn't appear that a lot has been happening at the house over the last few weeks, Bob and the crew have been busy.  One thing that we noticed today is the finish on the pole supporting the roof of the rear structure.  This old ironbark telegraph pole has been sanded to a silky finish and sealed so that the natural colour of the wood stands out.  The photo on the left does not do it justice - this section of the pole visible in the kitchen is a beautiful pinky-red colour.  The lower section in the hall underneath has tiger stripes at the top, then fades to grey where the pole had been submerged.  This will really be a striking feature.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 181: New kid in town

Here at STLT temporary HQ, we have quite a menagerie.  Three humans, two Burmese cats, one moggie called Moses (but should be named Satan) and as of yesterday, Ella:

Catwoman had a day off yesterday; ostensibly just to have a day of peace and quiet before year end madness hits at the Day Job.  But the real reason was that she was picking up the new addition.  Stos was in on the secret but told me yesterday after we had decided to go to the cinema straight from work.  Catwoman has been looking for a corgi for some time but hadn't told me about this.  I now understand why she was so interested in discussing what we feed K & P.  Ella is from New Zealand, so had a long day having been dropped off at Auckland Airport at 4.30am ( 2.30am Australian East Coast time).  We met her around 9.30pm so she was understandably a bit tired and aloof.  But after some initial trepidation, she was making friends with the resident humans.  The cats are a different issue.  The Burmese go into hiding when Ella comes into the room and Moses gives her evil looks at her from a safe distance.  She reacts by barking at him, and we just had a nasty incident where she has chased him, resulting in her being banished to the "time out" room.

I have been missing having dogs around - the Landlady's corgis made up somewhat for our girls being off with the breeders, so it is wonderful to have Ella join the household.  Still, it's only 2 months until we can bring K & P home.  As Catwoman has loads of Brownie points for having us stay with her, I suspect that Ella might be spending the Christmas holidays with us.

On another note, anyone looking for a funny and touching film to see this weekend should head off to see "Boy",  This is a quirky, funny and dark film (odd combination, I know) from New Zealand whose junior star has a 1,000 watt smile.  Have a look at David and Margaret's reveiw over here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Day 171: Brother in arms

Today when I got to the Day Job, I had an e-mail from the STLT New York fan telling me that he misses the blog.  Well, he is family but has told me that he waits with baited breath for the weekend updates.  And the blog is a good way to keep people far away up to date.  The lack of blog posts has been the result of a few different things - the move to limited mobile broadband and a lack of time.  The mobile broadband has been taken out over 3 months but it seems to measured on a weekly basis so the program was telling me last week that we had used our capacity.    I actually had a post ready but seem to have a few problems with photos and placement, so had given up in disgust.  And the day job has been busy plus we had a weekend away, so time has been short.

Anyway, there has been a lot of progress over the last few weeks.  We now have exterior walls:

To this

From this

A lot more will be happening over the next week - windows and doors should be going in, the glass roof will be installed and electricals will start soon.  Bob has us thinking about a lot of things - concrete, driveway cross overs, door furniture, and locks to start with.  We meet with Sparkie Dave on Monday to talk through the electical plan which involves lots of power points, and following this, we'll make an appointment with a classy local light shop to do a lighting plan.  I've already seen a couple of pendant lights that I like:
Bernabei Freeman"Lace" light via
"Orchid" by Marc Pascal via

I think Stos isn't all that wild about the Orchid light but I love both of them and want them for the lounge room and master bedroom respectively.

We have also chosen a front door and seem to have won the battle on painting it as opposed to having a timber finish.  We may also get our way on the charcoal garage door - Bob seems to understand that we hate the idea of a timber/faux timber garage door .  But Bob has really gone into battle over the finish of the void over the stairwell - we want rails that allow you to see into the kitchen from the street level part of the house, but Bob wants to put up a half wall, capped with timber which will wrap down onto the stair balustrade.  He tells me that a look through rail will "confuse the eye" and he's not the only one who thinks so- both The Draftsman and a guy who dropped in the other day agree.  Now I don't know how much weight I put on the opinion of some random bloke, but The Draftsman's view is really bringing out the big guns! On this basis, we have told Bob to go ahead with implementing his vision - and we are hoping for the best!

G - I hope you enjoyed this; I promise to keep up the posts.  Love A & S xxx.