We took a little bit of a break to head to Puerto Rico with the OTA gang.. Our camera broke the day before we left, and we both were diagnosed with strep throat while we were there, so this is about all the excitement we had. And let me tell you, it was great!
<-- We were both actually getting work done here on this hammock on the beach Work this past year has been crazy hectic but successful for both of us, and we’re looking forward to an even more successful (but hopefully slightly less hectic) 2009.
February brought a pretty constant stream of concrete trucks.
<-- This is the slab being poured over our wonderful we-hope-to-experience-the-warmth-of-soon radiant heat.
One unexpected by-product of digging down to get a full height downstairs, was that our back door wound up 3 feet below ground level. We knew we’d have to build some retaining walls, but we didn’t think they’d be so big or so immediately imperative. Dan designed this fabulous sunken patio with the stepped retaining walls formed into benches and we had it installed by a guy who’s an expert with stamped concrete. It’s our instant slate patio, and is still the first and only finished room in the house!
And then it was on to installing heat for the 2nd floor. The entire first month (and periodic moments throughout) was grinding down the nails sticking down from above so we could attach the heating system underneath.
<-- Our romantic anniversary present was matching his and hers grinders, which we’ve gotten a LOT of use out of!
We thought it would be a few years before we had time to build the retaining walls and a deck, but our instant patio enabled us to get back to the traditional Neumansky July Dan’s Birthday BBQ! Friends, family and neighbors (plus a never ending stream of food) made the day perfect, and made for a great housewarming. As day turned to night we fired up the fire
August came quickly, bringing our annual “vacation” to the desert. This year the Fire Lounge came back in full force with several fiery new additions including a flame tornado and a couple of Reubens tubes (not even going to attempt to explain, click here and here for proper details)
Back to the real world and the house, we brought in some help to work on the east wall. You can see pretty much everything in this one pic: the doors we stained and finished, nice waterproofing over earthquake-safe plywood shearwall, fresh windows and new siding. You can also see the new upgraded electrical service to provide more than an extension cord’s worth of electricity to the house.
Soon it was time to turn our attention to the best day of the year, Halloween! Most of our Halloween stuff is still in storage, so we had to get creative and make some things to bring the holiday spirit back to the neighborhood. We scared a lot of kids (and more than a few grown-ups) and won 2nd place in the Alameda Haunt Your House contest. Just wait until everyone sees what we can really do when we have all our goodies back! In the meantime, more pics of the spooky effects arehere
And then, back to the heat. We’re installing radiant heat from the underside, so it’s a tedious job of stapling up metal fins, then pressing tubing that will carry the heat up in them (with all kinds of other fun tasks that I’m leaving out)
It’s California but when you can see your breath in the bathroom in the morning, you realize just how much you really want heat.
2009: Chez Neumansky expands by 2 feet
And that brings us to now. We’re almost done with the heat, and have the permits ready to run the gas and electrical (still waiting on the water..) so we’ve got a good plan and plenty of work ahead.
The big plan for 2009 is that we’re expanding Chez Neumansky by two feet. Two tiny feet of the baby girl who will be joining us this May. That’s right, we have a serious deadline to get the house clean and safe for the newest Neumansky.
Here’s to a healthy and happy new year to all,
-- the Neumanskys