Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Moving so fast looks like we're standing still

Oh wait - we are we standing still.

Okay, yes, we knew that nothing was going to happen in August. But still, it was so, so sad to come back, refreshed and optimistic, and see our poor house looking as pitiful as ever. There's really no point in me posting more pictures. The interior looks the same as it did in July -- jacked up. The exterior is a bit better: one attic window that was protruding has been fixed. And the grey, crumbling stone around some of the lower windows have been replaced with sparkling white stone. And we hear that a supporting pillar has been installed in our cellar. Tiny steps. Itsy-bitsy movement. We're crawling, ovah heah.

Don't mind my moaning. It's our own fault that we forgot what the house looked like during vacation. We got waaaay ahead of ourselves. When the architects visited us in July, they brought us electrical and heating plans of the house. Unlike the discussion of The Best Way to Replace Rotting Beams, talk about electrical and heating plans is fun. When you're building your own house or doing extensive renovations, you, the owner, get to decide where you'd like each electrical outlet, off/on switch, and heater in every room. This is no simple task, since that means you must also be able to envision what each room will look like, furniture and all, even when the room doesn't yet exist.

Take the bedroom for example. Naturally, we want electrical outlets on either side of our bed for reading lamps, clocks and the like. But where will the bed go? The bedroom is big enough to have a few options. We want to make sure we make the right choice because once the electrical outlets are in place, we're pretty much committed. (I mean, think about it: when you rent an apartment or buy a house, you set up your bedroom according to the space and the location of the outlets, don’t you? Yes, you do.) We don’t want to have extension cords trailing across the room, or wake up one day and say – damn! Why did we put the bed so close to the door/near the fireplace/far away from the radiator? So, it deserves quite a bit of thought. And that’s what we did on our vacation: we looked at our plans, tried to envision each of our rooms with basic furniture, and plot our sockets and heaters accordingly. (That said, we were not working from scratch. The electrical and heating plans from the architects gave their recommendations – we modified the plans to fit our vision.)

It was so exciting to envision our house as it could be. We imagined it clean, dust-free, with actual floors. A bed here, a closet there, overhead lights everywhere. We contemplated the configuration of our bathrooms (where should the stand-alone tub go? The walk-in shower? The heated towel racks?), whether the hallway needed an extra radiator (yes), and the best place to put the boiler (the front part of the cave). All this was reasonable and fun, but then we got carried away. We started visualizing the tiles for the bathroom floor… the style of faucets we’d have…the type of material for the double sink….the huge, stainless steel refrigerator in the kitchen….parties in the garden…cozy fires in the library…. friends in guests room….In other words, by the time the vacation was over, in our minds, the house was already built.

So, it was shocking, nay, horrifying, to return from vacation to find the house the derelict heap of rubble that it is. We immediately got on the phone to the workers. They won’t be able to start again until mid-September. At the earliest.

Well, at least we’re ready.


Death said...

what's the weather like up there in the winters?

ian said...

hi lola and dawg. wow, the house looks amazing. i can't wait to see how it comes out. and i can't wait to come visit after its all done.

another wow for the writing, btw. didn't really need the pictures because you did such a great job describing everything. (there is a novel in there somewhere).

good luck and see you guys in november.


Anonymous said...

I know this is a bit forward of me but would it be possible for my husband and I to get an invite to see your finished house :> I'm kidding, kind of. Anyway I've been following your blog and you may not feel you're making much progress but it's coming along just fine. Take care, Claudia in Indiana

Lola said...

Aw, thanks guys. Claudia, I notice you said "finished house." As I tell my friends here, you gotta pay to play. Nobody gets in without first picking up a hammer! :)

Death, as I mentioned in my email to you, the weather isn't too bad; it gets down into 20's or so. It's only the lack of windows and heat in the house that makes it so troubling for us!

Ian, darling, see you soon...