Thursday, December 31, 2015

Electrically Speaking

The electricians have successfully acquired their permits and are hard at work on the upstairs unit. I am so excited to see things going back IN the house. I've done a little electrical work before but never with the armored cables. Our house looks like a Borg assimilation and I like it. 

Our house never fails to amuse us with crappy hack jobs from the past. Today I found cardboard, regular brown corrugated cardboard, used as lathe under the lumpy patch job in the bedroom ceiling. The ceiling fan was removed to reveal a support system of, well, CARDBOARD! Congrats Jenky Previous DIYers, this one makes my top 5 list.

Not as craptastic but equally as tragic are all the old gas light lines left poking out of the crushed ceiling medallions around the house. Yes, our house is old enough to have had gas lights. It's pretty cool in my humble opinion. Even the basement has old relics of gas lights left behind. At the time our house was built, it had to have been pretty chock full of modern conveniences for a middle/working class home. I'm getting a better picture of what made these row homes so special, and why they were protected and added to the National Historic Register.

At the rate that the electricians are working, I expect that the electrical rough for the upstairs unit will be complete by mid next week. I also heard through the grape vine that we can expect heat mid next week as well. Although I am a bit more skeptical about that as I have to watch the HVAC contractors like a hawk, and for every day they have worked this week, I've had to ask them to go back and fix one thing that was done either in haste or due to laziness. Never you fear, photos are soon to follow.

In the meantime, have a safe and happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Post Christmas Wrap Up; A Christmas to Remember

As of last night, all but three of us have been hit with the norovirus (thus far)... what is affectionately being referred to as the "winter vomiting disease" by some creative news sources. 

Here we are before the accident: 

With only a few hundred square feet minimally touched by construction, we tried to get out about as much as possible.

We went to Rockefeller Center on Christmas Eve. 

We were lucky to have unseasonably warm weather, keeping us warm in our unheated house. So the lack of snow on the ground was more of a Christmas miracle for us than anything else. 

A few of us also made it to the New York Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Garden. It was spectacular to see the beautiful historic homes, buildings, and sites of New York rendered and sculpted using plant materials surrounded by tons of model trains. My favorite was this block of row homes of course.

And my husband; He looks so dapper. 

I also spent some time preparing 2 holiday dinners for 8 people using only our Cuisinart Crockpot. I have to pat myself on the back. I was worried that Christmas Eve and Christmas dinner wouldn't feel right, but it ended up being easier than if I had had a stove/oven/microwave. I streamlined my expectations and simplified the meal. I think this is a good analogy for how I will approach January 2016. Keep it simple and expect great things.

The electrician starts Monday morning!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas Spectacular 2015

This year we are hosting what I am lovingly referring to as our Christmas Spectacular Full Construction Immersion Experience.  Christopher and I will be sleeping on an air mattress in the unfinished 2nd floor. It will be very rustic. 

I will be cooking for 8 in our high tech multi cooker. There will be soup. Lots of soup. Also, eating out. Thank heavens we live in NY where eating out on the holidays is pretty typical and we have a large selection of places in our neighborhood at which to eat one hot meal a day.

It kills me to say this, but the pies and cookies have been ordered. Sigh. Next year I'll bake up a storm, but for now, I'll take a stroll to our local bakery each morning to pick up fresh tasty treats. The biggest perk of this set up is that variety will be far greater than anything I would have whipped up. And I guess there is a teeny, itsy-bitsy, tiny, weeny, party of me that is looking forward to spending most of Christmas week with my family instead of wondering if the pie crust will turn out alright. 

In terms of pre-Christmas construction, we are pushing to get the HVAC installed and the 2nd floor bathroom near complete so that we can have at least one bathroom where tape doesn't do double time as tile. We've been incredibly lucky this winter so far as temperatures have been mild and I even had a 60 degree day to finish sanding one of our entry doors. 

That project will come later, right now I'd like to bask in the holiday decor I was bequeathed by my folks. With one garland, a bolt cutter (best tool ever), a few extension cords, two strands of lights, one  spool of ribbon and some floral wire, Christmas officially visited our row home renovation.


All lit up with man and dog:

Gratuitous bow shot:

I'll have you know, I trained for several years under the stiff arm of Bonita Quenzer Real Estate Mogul tying bows and hanging greens all over the neighborhoods of Pueblo, CO each winter. Glad to see the muscle memory kicked right back in. I can still hear the coyotes crying in the pre-dawn hours on the frozen tundra, as I raced from mail box to mail box with crystallized tears glistening on my cheeks. Seriously, it was fun. Wish I could do it every weekend. (I love you Grandma).