Thursday, March 30, 2006

Only in Charlottesville II

Last week, I was at a local natural foods store and my coupon confused the cashier. She had to call the manager. We had to wait. The cashier apologized to the woman standing behind me in line, who replied, “I don't mind. This gives me a chance to recite my poem. And she did, too.
It wasn't a poem about an existential crisis, or her intense longing for a lost lover. That would have been weird. It was a poem about vegetables. We were in a grocery store, after all.
This woman could have huffed away to a different register. She could have angrily tapped her toe while giving me the evil eye. She could have whipped out her cell phone and started a conversation in which she apologized because she was going to be late. There are a million different ways she could have passive-aggressively punished me for holding up the check-out line, but where others would see an annoying delay, she saw an opportunity for an impromptu poetry reading.
I'm charmed to live in a city where people do things like this.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

More renovation photos

Roofless House:

New, higher roof framing:

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Fun in the bath!

It's a tad inconvenient to shower in this:

So all six of us must bathe in this:
(Although not all at once.)

Good times.

Monday, March 20, 2006

In which I gain a new perspective

Gee, your house is so light and airy!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

In which I learn an important lesson.

I have Learned. The way to make pictures appear where you want them is to drag them. That will be my new blogging motto: Dragging is often the Answer.

Pictured here: the re
moval of our roof. It peeled off the house in the same way that the lid peels off a sardine can.

Hmmm...It isn't so easy to drag, when you are working with such a tiny space. I have a terrible feeling that publishing this post is going to result in something extremely silly looking.The second photo is my attempt to give our builder some credit for a great job.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Progress is made

Workmen arrived last week, jackhammered part of our back stairs and dug a hole . The next day, we were told an inspector from the city was to arrive and inspect the hole so that they could pour the footing. I got a bit worried, because even after living in C'ville for eight years, I am still used to what passes for city government in Buffalo, NY, my hometown. I assumed that "the inspector is coming today" meant, "the inspector will show up at any time between now and 2012, preferably at a time that is a maximum inconvenience for all involved." But Charlottesville surprised me once again, with an inspector arriving promptly at 10:00am. She approved the hole, too.

Naturally, with four kids and two dogs, it is impossible to keep them away from the work area. The evening after the hole was dug, Drama Queen, for reasons best known to herself, opened the back door, allowing the dogs to rush headlong towards the abyss. She grabbed the collar of Luna, our older dog, whose weight threatened to pull them both into the hole. Meanwhile, our other dog, Sancho, rocketed out the door and half-fell off the sheer edge of what was left of the steps. It was life imitating art. If you've seen The Fellowship of the Ring, think back to the scene where they're fleeing Moria down the endless stairs that collapse at their feet, nearly sending all of them to the very pit of hell. Our ordeal at the edge of the steps was similar--with me in the role of Aragorn. I managed to haul everyone to safety, but just barely.

I'm used to a different blogging site that is more user friendly--at least as far as publishing photos is concerned. How in the heck to I get my pictures to go where I want them. I am accustomed to pics appearing wherever I have left my cursor, but this site wants to put them all up at the top of every entry. Perhaps some kind soul can tell me what I'm doing wrong--if anyone actually reads this. At *cough* Xanga *cough* I actually get comments. Oh God, having trouble once again getting this post to appear. When will I get the hang of this place. Cleared cache. Giving it another go.

Explanation of pictures from top to bottom:
1. The back porch, or "Tool room" after I'd cleared it out.
2. Oddly oriented picture of foundation hole.
3.The "tool room" before I'd cleared it out.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Above are some "before" pictures of the interior of the house. That messy closet will be torn out as well as the door at the end of the hall and the ceiling, which will be raised to 8'--it's currently less than 7'.

Slight set-back. We drove up to Mountain Lumber today. This is a business that sells remilled antique lumber for use as flooring, mantles, whatever. We bought flooring there on sale, six years ago, and wanted more for our addition. We brought a few leftover boards to show what we'd bought originally, and the salesman was able to pull up the record of our original sale in the computer.

Once he'd replaced his eyeballs, he said, "You really got a good deal on that wood." Back in 2000, we paid $1 per square foot for antique remilled heart pine. Today, the price for the same wood is $11, and we need to buy 100 square feet. I was prepared for a price increase, but not such a huge one. We decided to think it over, and stopped at the Hell that is Lowe's on a Saturday afternoon to look at their wood flooring. It's much cheaper, but it's also of execrable quality. We have Mountain Lumber's price list, and I think we'll end up buying a lesser grade of their antique heart pine.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Home Renovation Begins!

We bought our house over six years ago. It's a small, old house--a typical Charlottesville house, and at 1500 square feet, it is a tad too small for six people and two dogs. We bought it knowing it was too small because we loved it, and because it was the best house we'd seen in our price range, and because it felt like home. During those first marvelous months of owning our first home, it really seemed like this house had sat here for nearly 100 years, just waiting for us to move into it.

Over the years, we've done several DIY projects: installing antique heart pine flooring in a hideous 1960's-era addition to the house, ripping out the horrid plastic kitchen cabinets and replacing them with open shelves and a custom made plate rack, enlarging and replacing two tiny windows in the aforementioned hideous addition.

Our latest project involves fixing the 1960's portion of the house once and for all. We've hired a builder who will tearing the roof off the back of the house and raising it by a foot. Currently, the ceiling back there is barely seven feet high. We're also demolishing a small covered porch, and rebuilding and enlarging it to create a new room. Once the building is done, I will do some major rearranging of rooms--turning what is now the kids' playroom into the dining room. The old dining room will be a family room, and the new room will be a quiet study space off the family room.

The work began on Monday.

Geez. I need to learn a few things about putting photos into entries here. Those are not placed the way I want them, but they'll do for now.