« March 2007 | Main | May 2007 »

April 30, 2007

another guessing game

can you guess what this is?

screen room is screened.  planter boxes filled with soil and plants, some still in containers.

second water heater installed, this one is exterior mount

kitchen fixture

I think we need chrome P traps here

we have filled the sections of railing with expanded metal.  we weren't so happy with it when the first two panels went in.  but I think it's growing on me.  

welding is a hot job.  and for protection from sunburn and sparks I wear a denim jumpsuit when I weld.  I still wear it even though I overheard the shelter crew having a good laugh at my suit.  

I said I wear the suit for safety, BUT...  this past weekend while welding, a blob of molten metal ran down my sleeve.  I was welding the underside of the rail so I was sitting down.  I quickly jumped as it burnt my side.    the blob then ran under me.  I started to jump around and doing a crazy crab-like dance.  my hind-qtrs were burning.  finally the pain was less intense and I went on with buisness as usual.  later that night I was washing up in the shower.  I was shocked to remove some foreign object from the surface of my skin.  (see first pic above) .  at first I thought I had been stung by a scorpion... but then I recalled the welding accident, yes, I had welded myself.



[ Yahoo! ] options

where's my coffee?

I wish I could inform you that garden gnomes showed up to shoverl 2500 lb of gardening soil to fill the front planter boxes.  I wish I could tell you about the welding fairies that spent the day cutting and welding steel.  but it was my kat and myself.  and we've neglected to make any stops at the grocery store.  we were very thankful that we found venison sausage in the freezer; thanks  to stephen!



kat said this jalapeno and cheese sausage and patron margarita was just what she needed.


this morning we were not so thrilled to find we were out of milk and a bunch of other stuff.  we worked till almost 8 pm last night.  so monday morning with no coffee and aching muscles.... not so happy about that.


[ Yahoo! ] options

April 27, 2007

missing door hardware

this door hardware arrived today.  it had been missing for a few days.

electrician entombed the conduit in concrete where it goes in next to other utilities

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 26, 2007

instant green

this was not what I had in mind when we talked about building green

this will create an vegetation area for the spray above ground septic system, was told there is bermuda grass seed in this green slurry.  I don't really want a yard to mow

looks like a golf course

one guy operates the hose and the other operates a pump back at the truck.  they had some miscommunication and this fellow with the hose was yelling "I SAID TURN IT OFF!"  the green was spraying everywhere.  I have to wonder if he'll get a bermuda grass toupee

plugs, switches, fans and light fixutres are popping in all over


we have electrician action in the trench!  you can see this is not a plumber. 

josh is there most every morning applying a few more pieces to the cabinetry 

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 25, 2007

not a trip wasted

my rental car is a truck.  since we are so close to completion I always take something with me so we have less burden on moving day. 

[ Yahoo! ] options

steady progress

the guys from the gas company have not yet returned to trench in the gas line.  will give them a call today.


the stair railing is up.  next I get to work on filling the void between top and bottom rails.

master bath vanity almost complete.  we found that the sinks we bought are way too deep to work on the minimal vanity.  a quick juggling of sinks and we are back on track soon as DHL delivers one new sink on Friday.

these BIG and HEAVY crates have arrived

the 69 mercedes has been returned.  it was last seen being driven by william dafoe and julia roberts 

this car will be going up for sale soon.   


[ Yahoo! ] options

April 23, 2007

railed in

kat wanted to try her hand at welding

just like the fourth of july

master bath vanity is going in.  the glass co is cutting a second mirror since the first one had the cut outs for the light fixtures in the wrong spot and holes were too big. 


[ Yahoo! ] options

April 22, 2007


I have neglected mowing the yard at the home we live in


I took off the hardwood floor installer hat and put it on the shelf with the tile guy hat and the painter guy hat.  I put the welder hat back on.  we are working on the railing.  my son has lost his fear of the edge so this has become a priority.  that, and I'm sure railing will be necessary for the Cert of Occupancy we are seeking soon.

we went up on the roof to take in the sunset

I've neglected shaving my face


I found that I can see St Edwards university from the roof

kids had their faces painted at a block party at amy's house.  they came home from school on friday with info on free ice cream and this was clearly their highlight for the weekend.  it was a nice break for them as they have been spending most of their time playing in a sand pile at the new house.

and we discovered the flying tomato!  where kids always eat free.  we found this just a few blocks from the new house.  I can see we'll be back as it was crowded with kids and they have a playscape off the expansive oak shaded deck 

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 20, 2007

apple martini time

the apple martini solid caesarstone quartz countertop is in 

the carport trim is on.  this blue is the same as the blue sections on the front of the house.

both kid's bedroom flooring is complete.  they had a short celebration, then we went out for pizza; something we find ourselves doing MUCH more often that usual.  eating out is the uncalculated expense portion of the sweat equity.  I'm just too tired and it's usually too late by the time we leave the new house to cook a meal at home.

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 19, 2007

straighter, deeper, wider

charlie and crew came back and made the trench to meet specs.

carport crew installed trim.   


[ Yahoo! ] options

pushin' rocks

we have been on the edge of our seat waiting for the gas company to install the gas line.  they FINALLY showed up.  but the installer saw there was a pile of rock in his way and made a speedy exit.  shannon tried to chase him down to ask when he'd be back and how much time did we have to move the rock; an hour, a day,....?  the guy refused to respond and just drove off leaving us all feeling quite rejected.

funding is running low so instead of paying for manual labor I made my kids (age 4 & 7) help me  part that pile of rocks like moses parted the red sea!

 the kids did work hard and I kept the moving them but the reward was great.  unlimited lemonade!

durring this process I was reminded of my brother Phil.  he used to call theids regularly using a gravelly voice and say, "this is JOE!, I'm calling about some rocks I need moved!  I need some KIDS to push these ROCKS... can you come push these rocks?!".  

My daughter is so good hearted.  she would actually try to explain to "Joe" that she was "just a kid and can't move big rocks by myself, but maybe I could move some of the smaller ones".   so I called him to say the kids were finally pushin' rocks

 and for those blog readers in NORCAL, my brother Phil (you can call him Joe if you wanna push rocks) has just opened his new restaurant; Bleaux Magnolia in napa  

they also have a website in development http://bleauxmagnolia.com/ 

they are having the grand opening on April 29th.  ask for Phil, then ask him where he stands on the child labor issue.  My mom will also be there as a hostess.

back to modern home building in austin, we are expecting more utility trench action today.  this will be the THIRD attempt at getting this trench right.  the trenchers get an hourly pay so let's hope for no rock and a wider, deeper and straighter trench by end of day.  I really want electricity and running water in this house soon.


[ Yahoo! ] options

April 17, 2007

cranking it up


tom is cranking it up

hvac unit makes it to the second floor

that is one good looking hvac unit

controls temp and humidity


shower enclosure 

duravit starck tub is set

water heater for master suite

more plumbing action in kids bath

plug me in


the rain cleared after 7 pm.  I received an order of steel today.  I found that steel supplier truck drivers only unstrap the load and don't help to unload.  so I had to unload it all myself in the rain and mud.  I also found that a 5x10 of expanded metal is a lot heavier and larger than a 4x8.  I'd grown accustomed to handling 4x8 and I forgot I ordered 5x10 this time around.  I pulled it off the truck and couldn't get my hand over to the other edge, then the weight hit me, slid down my side and came to an abrupt stop on my toe.  the truck driver kept my mind off my smashed toe by telling me tales of industrial accidents he's witnessed back at the steel yard.  I left the expanded metal in the mud untill kat came by later to help me move it into the garage. 

I continued my bamboo flooring install.  the end is near for that project.  I expect the 2nd wave of railing to commence pretty soon.  the speed should increase since I had the metal delivered in 20 ft sections and will adjust the method for indoor railing so it goes up in big pieces instead of the small framed sections CMoore and I were doing on the back.  so far CMoore is still down due to injury. 


[ Yahoo! ] options

April 16, 2007


kitchen island is mostly wrapped in bamboo

my bamboo flooring has advanced down the hallway.  kids rooms are not large and I'm thankfull that they are composed of 90 degree corners.  both the master bedroom and the landing area have an odd angle that will require me to later go back and custom cut a whole bunch of pieces.

septic system is complete.  the red light was flashing and an alarm went off.  I think the septic inspector is scheduled for tomorrow.

the slate floor is ready for sealing.  I cut a piece of black granite for the counter top.  I will frame it with annodized aluminum.  and while I was in my driveway of our home in oak hill cutting the granite.... BAM!

our e39 got whacked.  the other car just kept going.  I jumped in (broken wheel and all) to follow the hitter and runner, but they stopped down the street.  I found the car parked in it's driveway, keys in ignition, side all crashed but no driver.  police came and also found pieces of the other car in the street by my car.  they found the insurance info for the other car but no driver.  their insurance co. is cooperating.   estimator should be here tomorrow.  if I hadn't been working in my driveway I would have no idea who/how the damage would have happened. 

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 14, 2007

when does it become a home?

today we laid some black slate tile.  water has been disconnected for the weekend due to the trenching actions that went on late this week.  no water makes laying tile complicated, especially the clean up.


we have a clear view of the new septic equipment from inside the house.  some clever shrubbery will be called upon to remedy this odd view.

the two on demand water heaters are waiting for installation.  box says they come with remote control!  I'm not sure in what sort of situation I need to use a remote for on demand hot water...


and I leave you with a question:  when does a building become a home?


we are starting to feel at home when we are there.  we have some furniture, a working toilet, stereo etc.  but every once in a while we find that our home seems quite public to others 

we have a good share of strangers who feel free to just wander around the new house.  today we were all at the new house.  kids were at a table watching a DVD when they became alarmed that there were people in the back yard looking in at us; the entire back side of the house is glass.

 I started to go out there when they announced "we're just checking out your house".  I went back in and we all watched them as they spent the next 10 minutes staring back at us.  I guess they felt that "checking out your house" is a completely plausible excuse for inviting themselves into our back yard.  my wife is a very private person and these situations make her uncomfortable.  I think I'll have to get to work on the fencing soon.  we'll put up a new NO TRESPASSING sign and maybe a sign with the URL for this blog if anybody really wants to know more about the house.


we enjoy receiving guests and giving tours of the house.  but unannounced strangers staring at us from the back yard like we are in a fish bowl was a bit much. 


[ Yahoo! ] options

April 13, 2007


the septic company spent all day installing a variety of pumps, pipes and electronics

carport crew made a nice shelter for cars, people, or whatever we put under this area

I worked on the bamboo flooring


had some beverages after work

eichler is having a hard time learning how to use the doggie door at the new house.  the new one has TWO flaps.

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 12, 2007

brand new utility trench

shelter has been busy with trim, flashing and caulk

the view from the back of the garage. 


the carport crew dropped off materials today.  they found that they'd need a super long extension cord to get power to their work area.  then they left in a hurry.  I expect them to return tomorrow.  I'm calling their supervisor just to make sure.

we are giving our electrician a brand new utility trench!  it will be 30 inches deep and straight as an arrow.  I tried to hire a crew that digs ditches with shovels (no big machines) for this job.  but they wanted 2x the $ and 4x the time as the crpw crew.


I am becoming one with the bamboo 


[ Yahoo! ] options

April 11, 2007

the waiting room




pocket doors are hung

(two-flap) doggie door 


then I ran home to liberate the collection of appliances I have had stashed in the garage.  after an hour of hard labor I had them in the driveway awaiting the movers that were due at 2 pm.  2 came and they said they were running late, expect them at three.  so I asked my wife to pick up our daughter from school.  3 PM came and I got the call saying they were wrapping things up and to expect them at 4.  4 PM came, call was received.  I had a 5 PM appt with our concrete contractor so I urged them to arrive before 5.  I waited till 5:05 and finally made haste over to the new house to make the concrete meeting.  I threw a tarp over the appliances left in my driveway for the world to see.  it would've taken me another hour to get them back in the garage.

at the new house we (wife left work to attend meeting) waited till 6 PM.  concrete contractor called to say it had been a rough day and he was not going to make the meeting, he offered some appologies. 

I had a sandwich while I waited.  a pair of deer joined me. 

6:30 the  movers called to inform me they were on their way!  they got the appliances out of the drive and arrived at the new house 7 pm-ish

we've been waiting months to uncrate some of these appliances 


behold the 48 inch porsche designed vent hood


and the five burner (one is a wok burner), double convection oven w/ gas infrared broiler cooking device! 



[ Yahoo! ] options

April 10, 2007

in the trenches

this utility trench is giving us ulcers

at least we have a functioning toilet

getting estimates for shower doors

I stayed till 9 pm installing more bamboo flooring.  I found that after I turned off the shop light I was standing next to a giant gaping hole in the pitch dark night.  used the illumination from my phone to guide myself down the stairs 

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 09, 2007

the planets are aligned

today saw a lot of wrap up of small projects and organizing.  punch list created.  extra stuff was removed and floors swept etc.

was great to have the platform removed.  I still duck when I go up the stairs from whacking my head so many times. 

[ Yahoo! ] options

nasty weather for easter weekend

we ended the week with hot temps.  here I am rehydrating myself via the water tap with shannon's (shelter crew) two boxers joining in on thursday

the glulam has been sanded and light fixtures hung, I expect to see the temporary platform taken down today.

we had family and friends in town for the easter weekend.  saturday was filled with non stop rain decorated with a few bits of sleet and snow.  we had a small party and we used three outdoor fireplaces to keep us warm and toasty

sunday morning involved a fast paced easter egg hunt followed by a cascarone battle, note the nearly identical position of their feet as one blow is sure to be followed by another to send more egg and confetti shrapnel flying through the air


sunday afternoon was mostly dominated by trying to help logan get back to Texas A&M.  his voltage regulator gave up just about 5 miles out of austin.  it was not easy trying to locate a replacement part on easter sunday.  we finally found one pick and pull style place that saw us hiking through mud and climbing up to a bmw that was stacked on top of another car to pull a used part.  logan also suffered an egg sized lump to the head when the hood to that parts car came crashing down on his head.  was just coincidence that he'd coasted to the side of the rd next to this sign.  jerky sample anyone?  it's free.

 by afternoon he was back on the rd and did make it to his destination. 

the joy of owning an older german car often involves puzzles that need to be solved, even on easter sunday by the fresh jerky stand

sunday was not a total loss, kat worked very hard at sweeping and cleaning up the new house.  we are actually getting ready to start moving.  we have a toilet over there and will begin to move appliances over this week.  push to get CO in a/b two weeks is on. 

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 04, 2007

prime time

in two days mom and I got almost the whole house primed and painted.  we still have to do the bathrooms.


the old stairs of death need to find a new home

we had the masons back to bring some of the stone work inside, the outdoor fireplace was outfitted in the same stone.

today my mother and I worked on bamboo flooring installation.  we quit early today (6pm); we have a giant artichoke that needs to be eaten.  the last two days have been 12 hr work days and we are a bit tired.

[ Yahoo! ] options

April 02, 2007

I'll take mine w/o texture

they have started the grout

over half way done with the master bath

on sunday we had the opportunity to enjoy the great weather.  had another nice hike.

today we kicked the drywall finish crew out.  we were happy with the results so we had them stop before applying tetxture.  my mom and I spent a good bit of the day spraying ten gallons of primer.  at one point the nozzle gave up and back fired on me.  I look like casper the ghost and it feels like I am wearing a hear net.  

top of my head is coated with a film of primer



[ Yahoo! ] options

April 01, 2007

enough rain

went for a hike down the barton creek greenbelt.  most of the year this is a dry creek.

igor's tile crew is nearing the end of the job.  here the tile goes up a 13 ft tall tower capped with a sky light.

the kids bath is all tiled, matt clear glass tile on the floor

they have started on the master bath.  we will see a variety of tiles (all in shades of blue) covering most of the wall and floor

after much debate, the screen room is going forward again.  it was all disassembled and some adjustments made.  but we did keep the rule of thirds influenced design


this past week was open house night at my daughter's elementary school.  they have had a strong focus on the Eanes family history.  the eanes were pioneers that settled in this area and started the very first school in texas.  the land where her school is located was donated by the eanes family.  as an extra credit project we were to make a covered wagon.  daughter and I came up with this.  my 7 yo daughter did get to put on the welding mask and do one of the welds herself.  when we were asked about our unconventional wagon we replied, "I thought you said Eames wagon" 

[ Yahoo! ] options