Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Allow me to brag and name drop for just a moment. My husband, the great and powerful CPM, plays a mean guitar solo in None More Black. Today, NMB's newest record, Icons is out. I've been rocking it in the gym and in the car for the past few months. That's one of the benefits of being married to a band member...early access to their recordings. (Other benefits include an unending supply of t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.) This record is awesome. Get it.

So, this past Saturday night, NMB played the Fat Wreck Chords CMJ showcase in Brooklyn, NY. This meant that the band members descended on my house for practice a few days prior to the show. I am lucky enough that CPM doesn't ban me from "guy time," so I get to hang out with the guys (this weekend's activity was a viewing of Jackass 3D) when practice is done. Truly, these guys are family now. I love each and every one of them. Also, they all eat my food and say I am a good cook, so that scores them points in my book. I live to feed people. It's the nurturer in me.

Someone recorded some of Saturday's show. Take a peak.

Not seen in the video is CPM's backstage orchestration of a triumphant use of Twitter to get someone's horrible/mean/awful girlfriend to finally break up with them. I normally disapprove of public displays of relationship troubles, but this girl was stalker level psycho, and wouldn't take a hint (Hint: If your boyfriend ships you back to your home state, that means he wants to break up.) I guess after about twenty random Twitter users sent pics of her guy with other girls (including a few professional dominatrixes), she finally caught on. Evil girlfriend eliminated.

I can honestly admit that I laughed more this weekend than I have in a while. CPM and I took a break from working on the new house and just hung out. We'll get back to house renovating this weekend.

Yesterday, I stayed home from work to sew a Halloween costume for myself. It's been months since I used the sewing machine. Nothing has changed...I spent a lot of time ripping out seams due to silly mistakes. I also found myself approximately 1 yard short of the main fabric that I was using, so I'm totally hacking the costume with two different fabrics. My goal is to use only fabric from my stash. I'm sewing Simplicity 4940. (It really is easy, I just made a stupid mistake and twisted something while sewing, necessitating the seam tearing. It was totally frustrating.) Hopefully, I can correct the error and get this thing done before the weekend.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Duct. Done. Dude.

Spouse (aka Mr. Super HVAC guy) and I spent the weekend completing the installation of the duct work in the new place. When we bought the place, it had radiators. Yes, I know, radiator heat is awesome and super efficient, and doesn't cause bloody noses and headaches the way forced hot air can. Radiators, however, take up a ton of space in a tiny little house (one radiator beneath every stinking window), so they were demoed early on. We had intended to install radiant floor heat throughout the place. Then, the reality of the budget set in. We value engineered (go, me, with the construction terms) the radiant floor, and will instead have forced hot air. Mr. Spouse will install a humidifier so that I don't get dry air bloody noses and headaches. (They work fabulously, we have one in our current house heater, and I haven't had a problem since Mr. Spouse installed it.)

The plumbing is in progress. I forgot to take a picture of the big ass trench in the basement floor where the drain line was installed. If I disappear before that trench is filled in, you know where to look for the body now. If all goes well, the plumbing should be done this week. I still won't have a real toilet in the place though. Me and Mr. Porta Potty are getting used to one another. The key is to keep the number of people using the thing to a minimum. Unfortunately, this contradicts our need to have actual people doing work at the house. Maybe I should force all of our helpers to maintain a liquid only diet....hmmmmm.

For some reason, we've delayed starting the electrical work. Fingers crossed we get to that this weekend.

Once all of the mechanicals are completed, we will move to what is proving to be perhaps the most expensive part of the project: the spray foam insulation. We have decided to go with closed cell spray foam insulation in all of the exterior walls and in the ceiling. Because we vaulted the ceiling, and the joist bays are so shallow, we actually do not have the space to use traditional fiberglass insulation. Which is good, since fiberglass insulation is actually crap. So, what have I learned about spray foam insulation? One: it is not cheap. You can save some money by using open cell foam, but you need more of it, and it is not as good as closed cell foam. Two: It outperforms traditional fiberglass insulation so well that traditional R value ratings are irrelevant, and theoretically, you should only need a minimal layer. However, your local inspector will probably force you to install the code required R value anyway. Hence, you will be getting prices for 5.5 inches of closed cell foam in the ceiling, and you will drop dead from shock at the cost. Then you will start cutting the budget in other places to make up the money. C'est la vie.

This week will be a bit chaotic, since Mr. Spouse will be playing Mr. Rock and Roll Guy. Having house guests means I have to clean the bathroom instead of just wiping it down with a Clorox wipe and calling it a day. It also means we will get nothing done at the new place. Sigh. At this rate, I only hope we get to live there for the winter holidays.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Wait, what day is it?


I begin this blog with a photo of a couple of Vegan Treats dessert items enjoyed at the wedding of some friends. No, I am not vegan. Yes, it's because "I can't live without cheese." Yes, I know what they do to cows to get the cheese made. I get over it. I also don't believe that vegan desserts are better than regular desserts. These ones are very, very good (Peanut Butter Bombe cupcake and Pumpkin Cheesecake) but I'm sorry, the best butter cream has real butter in it. The end. (Actually, not the end, because I have done a lot of vegan baking in my day, and I'm sorry, I simply prefer to bake non vegan. I could go on and on and on about why, but I won't. It's boring, and lots of people disagree with me, but I don't care. But I will bake vegan for you if you are vegan and I love you.)

So, where are we in house progress? Well, it looks the same way that it looked two weeks ago. Hence, no new photos (but see below for reference). There is a big ditch in the basement (for the plumbing), and some duct work has been installed. We're square in the midst of the mechanical portion of the construction. It's not as glamorous as the demo and the framing. But, it means we are closer to actually living in the place, and not just visiting it daily as if it were a sick parent in the hospital. At this point, I just hope we live there by the winter holidays.

Window Installation

I've been meeting with spray foam insulation contractors. That's about as exciting as it sounds. We talk R values and closed cell versus open cell foam. The windows have been delivered, and are awaiting installation, the front and back door will soon follow (none too soon since the latest work site drama involves a broken key in a really old lock, and the installation of a hasp and padlock to secure the place).

I've been doing a lot of number crunching. The budget is finite, you see, and I obsess over every dollar that we spend. I sometimes try to think about finishes, but I just can't. It's too soon. Maybe when the drywall is finally up. I do my best work at the last minute.