Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Kitchen Design......Again & Again...

And again and again and again

So we went out and hired a super-fab kitchen designer and she showed us her super designs and well....we where under impressed! She missed super simple things like, oh look someone can't be sitting at the table while someone is cooking or trying to open the frig??? Wha???? She did uh, suggest two things that we are going to incorporate into our kitchen. Can you tell what they are from looking at the new super-fab diagram (with dimensions!!!) below?

We got rid of the return against the south wall and we flopped the place for the fridge along the west wall. Now we have room for a prep sink!! Hurray!!! We also moved the stove off center on the south wall-but its still framed by windows.

Here's the view from the kitchen door looking into the room. Nothing super fab diff here.



Irene wants the cabinets along this will to have a different look than the rest of them. She wants them to look more like furniture which I think is a good idea. So, use your imagination here. Also we like how getting rid of the cabinet return here makes the room look less crowded and gives us more wiggle room for the table.

Here's the view from the sun-porch door looking into the kitchen. We've decided that we are still going to go with a real corner sink. We just can't see wasting the space in the corner by using a regular sink there. We're just going to get a bigger sink than we had at our last house. This shot also shows the dishwasher....boy I wish we actually had a dishwasher...

Here's the view from the north wall looking south. We like the oven offset to the right a bit as it gives us more room for cabinets in the opposite corner. It will be tight with the stove door down trying to walk by to get outside but we think it will be okay.

Here's the view looking from the big windows at the fridge wall. Here you can see that we flipped the position of the fridge from our earlier designs. This makes total sense, giving us plenty of counter space on the side of the fridge and near the oven. On the right of the fridge is going to be a crazy angled tall pantry cabinet. It should be a good use of that weird space and give us somewhere to keep our mops and what-not.
Alright thats it for now. We are still trying to find a quality cabinet shop to build our cabinets for us and help with a little bit of the designing stuff-if they could install them to that'd be super-duper. We think we got the overall design nailed but we are going to need help with things like...should this be drawers, shelves, pull-out shelves, where we going to fit the recycling...stuff like that.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

"good thing we're a monopoly"

That's what the guy from PG&E said to me when he showed up this morning!! On their THIRD day in a row of work on this one day job..

This meter actually showed up last night. Just barely.

After recalling everyone he'd called the night before Dan finally got hold of a supervisor who put us back on the schedule BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T PLANNING ON COMING BACK
/sigh

Then he got a call that they were going to be there sometime after 4:30, so he rushed home from work to wait and wait and wait. At about 7:30 a guy showed up, but he didn't have a meter! He said he needed to run and get supplies and that he'd be back.

By about 8:30 we were pretty sure we were in for another night without hot water, but sure enough, he came back with the meter shortly after that. After he installed the meter he came through the house and checked all the gas appliances in the house. And by all I mean he lit the hot water heater and checked the dryer.. he was a little thrown by the propane camp stove sitting on top of the dryer, but everything checked out and we took hot showers!

But not everything was done. The line from the street to the meter was still the smaller, original size, thus defeating the entire purpose of having touched it at all.

This morning, the speaker of that fabulous quote showed up to swap out the line between the valve just past the sidewalk We weren't about to rip up the newly poured sidewalk again, plus, the valve was where the valve was.. they have no way to shut the gas off between the street and that valve so all of this was always about the run of pipe between the valve and the meter.

When I left for work he was grumbling about how he was going to weld in that trench, and when I came home the trench was filled back in again! just to the level of the pipe, of course.

I'd give them the benefit of the doubt to say it was filled in for safety.. since the trench was about 8" deeper than the level of the pipe, if someone fell into the pit and landed on the pipe there'd be no support for it floating in air, and it's likely it could snap. Which would be bad.
Had we not already dug up the incorrect work that had been covered up, I would be much more inclined to think that safety was the reason. As it was, it just meant we had to dig up the dirt AGAIN.

Here it is. Here's what all the fuss was about. On the right you can see the bigger yellow pipe, but for some reason there's a length of smaller pipe between that and the valve. After another hour on the phone with supervisors it was determined that everything was the correct size and the job was officially done (this was determined by them telling us this..), so I guess that's that.

We can finally fill the trench back in for good and I can start putting down a path so it's not a muddy mess every time it rains.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

got gas?

We don't!

The plumber came and did everything we needed him to do before PG&E's scheduled appointment time of 8:30 am

He shut the gas off, disconnected the old meter to reroute the main gas line into the house to the other side of this staircase..


.. and he installed an emergency shutoff valve which automatically shuts the gas off in an earthquake.

It's not the most attractive house accessory I've ever seen, but it's MUCH better than losing our house to a fire after an earthquake


And here's PG&E's part of the work. You can see the new bigger gas line going through the concrete curb of the driveway and attaching up to the new meter feeding into the house.

Wait.. no.. my mistake.. THERE'S NO METER THERE!!

So Dan started calling supervisors and helplines and emergency helplines (on hold for 40 minutes on an emergency helpline doesn't give me much of a feeling of safety)

You can also see that the gas line does NOT go through the concrete curb and, after we dug back up the dirt they so thoughtfully piled back into the pit, just barely covering the work they did, we realized it was actually not a bigger pipe at all. It was way after dark by this time, so the pictures don't really show anything..

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Make way for PG&E

PG&E finally got us on the schedule to come and increase the gas service to the house. Because the gas main in the street is at low pressure, the only way to increase the pressure to the house is to increase the size of the line coming. If they'd gotten back to us 9 months ago our driveway could've been a foot and a half wider, but as it was we really didn't want to go with the suggestion to have an "accidental" gas leak to get them out before the foundation and slab were poured.

They told us the new meter wouldn't fit in the cabinet the existing one was in and we couldn't mount it outside that wall because we have stairs there now to get down to the newly-dug out garage. So, we had to find a new spot for the meter, and decided on the other side of the front stairs, next to the driveway.

The plan is to run the gas line straight (for a change) from the street, through the curb at the side of the driveway (seen in the picture at left), then up to a new meter.


So we needed to dig a trench from the gas main on the street, pull up the bricks along the edge of the driveway, and have a licensed plumber move the point of entry for the gas line into the house over to the new location.


<-- Here's me getting the dirt out from under the existing gas line. Doesn't it look fun?! Apparently Tom Sawyer's tactics don't work anymore because I tried to get 2 kids and a dog to help dig and none of them took me up on it!


And even if it wasn't almost October, we had to do something with all that misplaced dirt, right?!

The neighbors LOVE the memorial Dan made. (you probably need to click on the pic to get a version big enough to read)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

OT: Fire Lounge'n on the Playa

Welcome to the playa, let's get to work!

Trucking everything out to the middle of nowhere and setting it in its spot is just the beginning.. we had to fabricate all the runs of hose to get propane around the circle of fire fun. Then the hoses had to be trenched, along with the electric wires, deep enough so no one could snag them and pull them out.


Sound-activated fire sculpture requires sound, so that all had to be setup as well. A new friend donated those giant speakers and the cabinet all the equipment was in is the one old tv cabinet that Leroy's evil grandkids didn't steal from us after they broke into our house.

This is a very harsh environment, so everything has to be able to handle whatever mother nature can throw at it (often all on the same day!)

Here's our wedding arch, serving up its role as an entryway pretty nicely (if I do say so myself)

This must've been early in the night, because there was always a crowd huddled around the fire tornado - and the bar, for that matter!

Here we are in full swing

You can see the Thunderdome in the backgound off on the left.

Here's a little video (sorry about the crappy sound.. we had some.. um.. issues with the sound early and consistently through the event. You remember those ginormous speakers? blown in less than 5 minutes!)


A little later in the night and the pipes on the fire tornado are burning cherry red! (not sure why that looks fuchsia in every picture I took) Happily, if somewhat surprisingly, not a single drunk hippy tried to touch it!


Here's the tulips in their calm state. You can see the vines reaching up to the pilot flames that ignite the ball of propane


And here's a shot of the tulips in action.. can you see why we didn't test these in our driveway in Alameda?!

The controls for these were on a bar table next to the controls for the fire tornado and it was a lot of fun to see the handful of people who realized how they were being controlled realize that they could walk up and push the buttons.

Here's a shot from a tower (yes, we have towers) that gives a pretty good view of the lounge

We parked Steve (the tricycle at the upper left with the two tiki torch looking flames coming up out of skulls.. yeah, they shoot fire too. cute rings of flame) at the edge of the fire lounge for ambiance.



And finally, a video from above that hopefully lets you see what we were trying to do