Monday, March 23, 2009

And that elevator

The installation team were back today and almost completed their job. We now have a cab and I did see it go up and down.

Alas, it is not yet finished and must pass inspection before it can be used. Since the carpet on the main floor is not currently "complete" in front of the elevator door (that is where our previous shelf unit was and the carpet was cut out in that area) no inspector would give it the final "okay" in the current condition.

The maple wood panels have to be finished by the painter to match the adjacent cabinetry. And the electrician has to install the ceiling lights. We also need the inner folding (gate) door as well as the handrail. And the phone has to be connected.

Remember my earlier posting? Rome wasn't built in a day...sigh.

If you don't'll cry

Today was not fun. But I did have a brief interlude during a telephone conversation with a friend when I was reminded to not take things so seriously. Lynne phoned and started off with "Hi Dorry, how are you?" and I responded something along the lines of that I was hiding out downstairs at the computer screen because there was a bobcat running through my garden. Now Lynne is originally from Chicago and has lived in Arizona and Colorado and she responded with "a WHAT???" Right then I realised that she thought I meant the sort with four legs and a tail when I was "merely" talking about a nasty machine that was roaring over my perennial bed smashing down the about to flower daffodils and annihilating who knows how many ferns, columbines, liriope and coral bells (the botanical name for the latter currently escapes me) as well as making deep tracks through the grasssy area where I all but have to beg each individual grass plant to, please, please, grow.
The clay, that was originally meant to be carted off site and dumped, is now here, in my treed area in a high pile. I'm mightlily aggravated because I thought I gave permission for the clay to be wheelbarrowed and dumped behind my leaf pile and then spread around and mixed with the leaves to created compost in a year or so. And as you can see, right at the front of that horrible pile (which , in turn, is at the front of my leaf pile!) is a large chunk of concrete - there is no way that will "compost down".

So I'm trying to calm down and look to find something funny about all Lynn imagining I had bobcats (of the furry kind) running loose in my back yard.

And also on the plus side is that at last that nasty pile of clay has been removed from the grassy area of the backyard and the topography has been "smoothed down and seeded and strawed". Of course, since the sprinkler line was cut way back in December and cannot be fixed until the topography is restored, watering is a moot point. (The sprinkler people are due to come Thursday to dig up the dirt again to reconnect the damaged sprinkler lines...) Today I heard on the radio that this has been the driest winter since 1800 and something so unless there is some water soon and frequent on that grass seed then I'll have to find something new to laugh about...

As a gardener, these are huge problems to me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Construction for a different client

Today Geoff put in some sweat equity by digging a post hole 24" deep to at last erect this bird house. I was given it for Mothers Day more than a few years ago but it has sat in the garage since then while I tried to decide where to place it. One of the problems all along was that the sprinklers would aim water into the nesting area. However, last week I had some vines and low growth cleared out of this area in the back yard. At the same time a number of trees that were dead and had fallen over were removed and put through the chipper. The resulting chips were then spread deeply over the area that was cleared of the vines. Now we had a cleared area that is not in the coverage area of the sprinklers.

As you can see from this photo, I am providing food (feeder containing safflower seed on the left), water (low bird bath on the right) and a nesting site (the new bird house) along with nearby shrubs, brush and trees to perch on. Behind the cleared area are native shrubs that will leaf out soon and provide good landing spots. In the fall they have a red berry on them that the birds like.

I'm hoping that by the summer time I will have my back yard certified as a "wildlife habitat" by the National Wildlife Federation. Great Falls is one of very few towns nationwide that has been certified overall as providing many wildlife habitats. I have two hanging feeders, five bird baths, two bird houses plus lots of trees and stick piles. And I also have a number of flowers selected to please the birds (echinacea and black eyed susans have the most attraction).

Within an hour of the bird house being erected we observed birds flying around and landing on it and checking it out. According to the books I consult chickadees should find this a good spot to nest. But the birds are not always reading the same book! I have a bluebird house on the other back corner of the yard. I have to have it turned so the hole faces North - otherwise the sprinkler will wet the inhabitants. Now the books say not to face a bird house north but I get birds building a nest in there every year. So who knows.

My next "chore" on the birder list is to put out the hummingbird feeder.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Rome wasn't built in a day...

Sweet little naive me...I was expecting to see the elevator in all it's glory today. At 7:30am a white box truck pulled up outside and I felt really excited. By 8:10am I was on the phone to the builder to report "there has been a truck parked outside since 7:30am..." So Jeff (the contractor) came over and got them out of the truck and started on the job.

What they came to do today was to install the track and frame (pictured above on the lowest level) and put in all the door stops and the wiring for such as the call buttons.
On Monday they will be back to put together the elevator cab. After that it will all have to be inspected by the County before it can be used. We are getting conflicting stories as to what the County Inspector will want to see before he will sign off on the inspection. Today the installers told me that there must be finish flooring on both the floor of the elevator and the floor on all the levels that the elevator stops at. Previously we had been told that existing flooring was fine (there is a cut out of carpet in front of a small portion of the elevator door since that is where there was previously a cabinet) and that there was no rush to install the new flooring. Now this is a small glitch since we had intended all along to replace the carpet in the family room - but after all the construction was done and we had no more dust and debris and workmen boots to contend with.

So, I just need to remind myself that Rome was not built in a day and nor is an elevator.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In anticipation of the big day...

Last night I found out that the elevator is going to arrive on site and installation will begin on Friday (March 20). What excitement! There has recently been somewhat of a slowdown on site since we did not know when the elevator would be arriving. So today Chris, the painter, was back on the job, and putting the first coat of paint on the walls around the elevator door area on the ground floor. Here you can see the new (correct) Pella outside door to the left of the door to the elevator shaft.
Now here we are outside where work is also somewhat sporadic. You can see the beginnings of the pergola. We are still waiting on the removal of the pile of clay and fill and the regrading of the grassy swale. I am getting anxious about this since the lawn sprinkler system (which was damaged in the excavation) must be repaired by the end of March to be "on schedule" for season turnon. The sprinkler people won't come on site until the landscaping has been restored. Now, to me, I can't quite see the sense of creating the new ground/lawn levels and restoring the lawn area only to have the sprinkler people come in and dig it up again. But they all fiercely defend their own workmanship and don't want it destroyed by others. sigh.

The end is beginning to be in sight.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Look, no dumpster!

Today as I was driving home from a luncheon I looked across the highway to point out where I lived to one of the ladies riding with me - I began to say, "it's the house with the dumpster" but had to correct myself. "It's the house where they're picking up the dumpster". And by the time I got home there was only a patch of greener grass where that big dumpster has been for so long.

In the foreground (on the neighbor's lawn) is lumber for the pergola which goes on the new patio.
Upstairs you can see that we have had the painter on the job for the past several days. The doors for the elevator have been installed but still no sign of that elevator!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A contrast in the back yard

The snow fell on Monday and it was very cold indeed that day (well below the 32 F freezing point). But by today (Thursday) the sun was out in a blue sky and the temperature had inched up considerably and was in the 50's F (10 + C). See the difference in these two shots.
The brick guys have been hard at work. On the snowy Monday they arrived on site in the afternoon and shoveled snow off the new patio area, the "boardwalk" from the street to the backyard and the grass from the boardwalk to the front porch. Then on Tuesday they showed up and began working again on the garden wall.

By the end of their day today they had the garden wall and the planter box finished. Those gaps in the wall are for lighting. Next on their agenda is to lay the paving brick on the concrete slab. Sitting on top of the wall on the right hand side (photo above) are three samples of paving bricks.

Meanwhile inside much of the drywalling has been done. Today the painter was here (he had been earlier in the week applying the spackle/"mud") working on sanding the drywall and getting a start on the interior painting. I'm a tad curious as to why the walls would be painted before the trim work has been done but...we'll see.

And tonight I hope to get a better nights sleep. Last night we had some excitement with smoke alarms blarring unexpectedly - there was no fire but I was thinking we had a faulty circuit breaker. It swung into the off position three times yesterday and each time that happened it triggered the smoke alarms. But, with some questioning today, it seems that yesterday when the brick guys left the site they left a heater going. Now this heater draws a lot of current and so as soon as we (unwittingly) turned on a light or something else on that circuit inside the house it overloaded the circuit and threw it off and turned on the alarms.

We'll get back to a quiet life soon...surely?

A snowy Monday

On Monday we finally had a real snowfall of about 7". It had started through the night and continued to about midday. Above you can see some of the wooded area in the back yard. That's the top of my garden arch which is "resting" there while the works are ongoing - ordinarily it is at the side of the house but needed to be removed to allow a bobcat through. Behind the arch you can see the result of what has been a more frequent weather pattern this winter and that is lots of wind. Several trees have blown over. On closer inspection they had been dead for a while but now will need taking care of as there are too many of them in a similar state.
I peeked at the window at 7am and could see no tire tracks down the road and the snow was falling quite heavily. So I thought I might as well get back in bed and read since there would be no action for the day. Imagine my gasp when the doorbell went at 8am - it was Pat and Bruce who needed to get in to hang drywall. Pat had to leave his car at the top of the street but Bruce drives this big pickup truck so he was able to negotiate the hill on our street.