fear of framing

Dear Post and Beam Rep,

I expect to have Zoning Board approval by January 13, which means I could have final CRMC permission by February to erect as early as possible in spring. I already have DEM, planning board, historic district, preliminary CRMC approval.

It's time to start scheduling. I would like ideally to put the frame up in April, but fear that weather may push me into May. I heard about the foundation problem with your other house on the island. Obviously, in terms of crew and crane, it would be better financially for both you and me to have your two projects back-to-back, but it's hard to rely on that--witness what happened with the other project.

I am leaning towards your company, as I told you. Your bid is competitive and you are local, which weighs with me. I have a few questions.

What is your turnaround time for cutting the frame?
Who does the panel erection?
Who supplies the two-by stock for nailers? Nails?
What is the design cost if I supply the Timberworks design? (The Architect is also helping me.)
Am I required to have an engineer's approval, and if so do I do that through you and how much does it cost?
Is there sales or other tax on the frame and panels?
Can I provide housing on site for workers to cut costs? (I won't stay in house with workers)
How quickly does the exterior have to be trimmed out and shingled when using OSB panels?
Are there any other costs not enumerated in your letter that I have to cover?
Is there any way I can cut costs?

I see that you have gotten a quote from Loewen for the windows and doors. Is this the only company you have a relationship with? I don't know anything about them, but I do know that I am required to have hurricane-resistant glass with a high "wind load". I have to find out how many pounds per square inch the windows have to be able to take, but I understand the buildings official has begun enforcing this. I also need factory installed mullions and windows that will pass muster with historic district. I am not way into aluminum cladding, either. Must do more research.

Also, I am a little concerned about tractor trailer access. A truck could get down, but not sure it could get back up. I could send photos or video of access.
I am also concerned about providing the "large flat area" to assemble. Due to coastal restrictions, i am trying to disturb as little of the surrounding foliage as possible. There will also be hay bales around the area--not to mention a fresh-water pond, a tidal pond and the ocean. So it's a confined space. Perhaps a site plan or visit would help.

By the way, I am considering setting up a meeting with the editor of This Old House to see if they are interested in a story or blog (or both) about this project. Would you be willing to participate if it works out?

I have to come to RI to deal with my driver's license next week. If you think we should have a meeting, let me know.


island zone

The Christmas decorations are up on the island, the deserted downtown bright with tinsel trees and lighted sailboats, the shuttered hotels garlanded with evergreen and wreaths. Never mind that at the moment it's 60 degrees.
The zoning board met last night to hear my case. The lawyer was there, the architect was there, I was there. The architect and I were dutiful puppets to the lawyer's questioning, and it looks as if we will be unanimously approved in mid January. After that, just one more approval and then--yikes.


what is this mr. li?

Mr. Li was, of course, not invited to Happy American Eating Ceremony. But he made his presence felt by sending this item. NOT one I had ordered, by the way. For reasons that must be apparent, I assume that this is the beady-eyed cruet set so often referred to. Why this delusional merchant believes that I would be the least bit interested in this item—not, let me point out, a cruet set but something rather more obscure—is, like his written English, beyond my comprehension. I would like to be thankful, but I really cannot.
Otherwise, it was quite the thanxblogging, attended by Desperado, Dolores, La Otra Rubia and Angelina, among others.


guest list

The stockings were hung by the chimney with—oops, wrong holiday. That's a turkey from 125th street. And now it's time to play: Guess That Weight!
Not to mention: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner.
Well, Angelina, Dolores and La Otra Rubia for sure. Maybe Desperado. I think Mr. Li, too, although having never met the guy and not wanting to encourage his pretentions, I may change my mind about that. Anyway Dangerman won't be here so no fear of them coming to blows.


eloise and angel

What do you do with country mice in the city? Introduce them to elevators and flower sellers, take them to see the dinosaurs and feeding time at the zoo, raise their consciousness with culture at the Met and excess at FAO Schwartz, feed them with exotic ethnic foods and DVD movies, treat them to haircuts and candy. And do this all in 24 hours. It's exhausting just to watch.



summer's end

OK, y'all. I'm back in Nueva York and darn happy about it.



After just six months and $100,000 plus, Sis's kitchen is finito!


what's in the truck

2 Tony Lama cowboy boots
3 pieces fried chicken
1 Bosch jigsaw
1 Passload nail gun
1 block old tea from China
4 rickety chairs
1 bicycle
1 Incredibles lunch box
1 quilt
1 sleeping bag
1 printer
1 garbage bag of bittersweet
1 bunch six-foot phragmites
1 box files and house plans
2 buckets rocks

And Oceangurl was right on all counts, except that I timed out my departure to the last of the Zabar's dark expresso coffee beans this morning.
Also, if you notice a number of brand names in this post, I am experimenting with what ads Google will pop up next to it. I'm not really a brand name kinda gal. Except for the coffee and beer, of course.


what's in the truck?

Yes, once again it's time for that popular feature (also a favorite on the site My Turn To Drive, see link)
I know my audience is waiting breathlessly for the answer to that question at the end of yet another island season. But as the truck isn't yet packed for the 12:30 boat tomorrow, I can tell you only this so far:
2 buckets of rocks
A more complete lading list will be available tomorrow. Place your bets on what will be on it NOW.


bathroom furniture

What looks like a bathroom but isn't? A bathroom with a toilet without the water hooked up. Hence the cushion. This is a ceramic armchair in a very small room with a sink.
However at the gala Last Supper of Summer last night (attended by the Architect and her daughter, Pomegranate and family and Mr. Piss-on-the-Ants himself but not by Bootsie, who was in bed feeling fluish) (during which we attempted to consume everything remaining in the refrigerator and freezer), BI Bro told me that I could buy a new, flexible connector which would forestall the leak. Guess I have until spring.


what's wrong with these pictures?

Yes, I know the two have to be resolved. Unfortunately they have to be resolved by me lying scrunched in a corner on the floor with a saw the size of a nail file chipping away at an opening the size of a nickel. If I give you a nickel will you do it?


not quite pg

The Architect e-mailed me the first sign.
Then I noticed that it had a website in faint letters on it. So I created the mission control sign.
I mean, you can make up anything, and some of the actual signs on the website are funnier than anything I could make up.
Unfortunately someone else discovered the CHURCH SIGN WEBSITE too.
Please feel free to suggest your own signs—and if you like, have them made into refrigerator magnets.
In other news, the urethane isn't dry so I can't try to put the toilet in yet.


getting show on road

Take truck to Boat Basin for caliper replacement.
Meet w/ contractor
Pick up stats from ferry
Take Pomegranate and children to boat
Whitewash bathroom
Urethane floor
Install toilet



Remember the boards on the Ford? Well, they are all on the wall now. It's a wonder the house doesn't sink with all the weight it's got in it. And I under de estimated the amount of wood I needed by half. No matter how much I calculate and measure I can't get it right. I don't want to buy too much (pretty full under the house) so I buy short.
And then have to go back. Without using the brakes.
I believe my plan is to whitewash this wood. I was thinking of just diluting the Kilz I have hanging around. The only other white I have is semigloss. What do you think?
Also, do I put the truck mirror back on the wall?


make that unanimous

The viewsheds are OK, you'll be happy to know. Maybe you're wondering what a viewshed is. Maybe you're picturing like a small artist's studio with maybe a DVD player or maybe naked people inside. Maybe you check the dictionary, but you won't find a definition there.
However, if you go to any historic district or preservation meeting, you will hear the word bandied about quite freely. According to what I can gather, it's like a watershed only with views. Like, say, if I wanted to build a house between you and the ocean, I would not only be in your face, but in your viewshed.
Well, I'm not. So there.
Plus, my designs "are in keeping with the neighborhood"—as well they might be since we are the neighborhood. And my details do not offend the sensibilities of those on the Historic District Commission.
I'll tell you what does, though: decks. Particularly second floor decks. They hate 'em.
I thought they might get after me for my little balconies. But no. They were going to consider it for awhile, but then one member moved they approve the design immediately, and they did. Unanimously. I about collapsed. Next up: Zoning hearing.


poetry in motion

This is the Ford
that carries the boards
that fried the brakes
for heaven sakes
after three thousand bucks
of work on the truck
that carries the boards
to take from the Ford to put on the wall before I install the new toilet seal and then I can deal with the brakes on the Ford before getting aboard the boat with the hope that the brakes on the truck will last long enough to deliver the stuff—oh what the fuck.


construction destruction

How does this work? One thing gets fixed, the rest gets wrecked. I guess a small place is like a jigsaw puzzle. You move one piece and all the other pieces have to move. So now I'm waiting for everything else to find a place it wants to settle in


ok, now it's ready

Did I mention that every other room in the place is destroyed so that I could fix this one? The light's still not right. Will try again later.

your room is almost ready

Pegboard and color consult courtesy of Neruda. I will post another pic later when the light is better.
A few helpful tips for wannabe carpenters:
Slow down.
Slow down.

Putty and paint, the cosmetics of the carpentry world, conceal many a wrinkle. Three coats is better than two.
Slow down.
Do not purchase the variable speed sander I did: The speed varies from out of control to personal helicopter. I believe it to be possessed by a dervish. It was made by Milwaukee and I hate it.
Slow down.
And one last tip: Brute force—sometimes being a nice careful girl doesn't work and you just have to wail on it, wham it, whack it.



One question, and then I have to get back—ahem—to work. Today should finally see all that damn trim done—except the 31 inches I'm shy for the top of the door. Sigh.
Question: Do I take my tools to New York? Or just assume I won't be needing them again until spring?


the self starter

The self starter bounds out of bed at 6:30 in the morning, stubs her little toe on the corner of the bed while running—running—downstairs to turn on the Vermont castings gas stove.
Then the self starter considers returning to bed until everything feels a little warmer. Too boring—things to do!
The big chore of the self starter's morning comes next: Making coffee. Then the self starter checks the news to make sure nothing else has blown up overnight, the weather to ascertain if it's cold on the Island (yes, but we knew that) the e-mail to see if the cub has issued a release indicating that she is alive (nope).
The self starter pushes the pile of bills and to-do notes aside. Maybe later.
The self starter has signally failed in the past week to force herself to finish the tiny bit of painting and trim that will complete the fall project of redoing the guest room. Or the tiny bit of urethaning and paneling required to reinstall the toilet that sits on the porch. Who knows what marginal excuses the self starter has come up with? The self starter is already thinking about the next project in the spring.
The self starter needs to complete one project before thinking about the next. The self starter needs to start self. Immediately.


are you getting stodgy?

Are you beginning to worry that your life is boring?
Are you tired of your house or apartment?
Do your friends seem predictible?
Do you eat the same thing every night?
Is even your sex life getting routine?
You need SHAKE IT UP
We are a collective of designers, filmmakers, writers and other creative people who can make your world more fun. Give us five days, and we'll rattle your cage.
You don't have to buy anything for this makeover. No new furniture, no new clothes. We'll take what you have and help you to see it differently. Introduce us into your lives, and it's like a chemical reaction—everything will change. You will discover people and ideas, tastes and colors and places you may be be longing for without knowing it. You will never be bored again. Our motto is: All the cards are in the air!

* In association with Jeal-Anon U.S.A.