Monday, March 29, 2010

Sinks and disappointing sinks

With much hope the blue glass top is well on its way to being made correctly this time. We discovered today that the other sink (in the downstairs bath) was also screwed up—the part where the plumbing connects to the bottom (drain) is chipped and cannot be connected (according to Bruce the Plumber). So back to Northrup's we go on Wednesday.

I am also returning the handheld shower connection. Initially the guys hooked up the shower head which came with everything else (Moen). It worked fine, and looked great, but I had already paid for the handheld unit which would have been useful for washing dogs in the tub and other practical things. When I had the plumber remove the nice Moen showerhead and connect the handheld, I realized it didn't work as well, and looked pretty awful in comparison. And then I found out I paid $145 for back it goes.

The sink, in the same downstairs bath, was a showroom sample ($50). Good deal. But whether it was already damaged, or happened here after delivery is still up for discussion. Either way, it is the reason we have no working bathroom sink and have to brush our teeth in the kitchen.

So, all is going well, considering. I still haven't taken any new pix, but I will in the next few days. Be looks perfect...even if it isn't.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Faucets, fostering and Gary Foster's farm tables

We are headed back to NY on Saturday morning for a week. Jim the Builder says the slate tile floor downstairs was a "real bear" to lay and grout. The pieces weren't square, and the rough surfaces sucked up the grout even after 2 coats of sealant. It is finished though, and he says it does look good. I told him we need the rough surfaces to work as nail trimmers for the dogs who don't like getting their nails trimmed...we won't have any cement sidewalks up there to serve as nail files.

I told Kelly at the bath showroom to go ahead and order another top with the widespread faucet holes. She sent a photo of the current one with a 4"-faucet attached, and I was not happy with it. Delivery of the new one will not happen in time for our visit, but I am sure we can make do with the downstairs bathroom. Especially since that downstairs bath is sporting a new tile floor and its real sink and vanity (I hope).

I am convinced that any potential adopters are being scared off by the rescue agency that has poor Ruby the Foster Dog, but I have been posting her little Home Wanted posters everywhere that they'll allow it, including Petco and vets' offices in NJ and PA. She'll be making the trip north with us again.

And finally, a shout out to Gary Foster the Farm Table Guy: We are coming up this weekend. We want our kitchen island to be done and waiting for us. See what you can do to make that happen! (Note: talked to Gary the next day. He is working on the island, but he doesn't expect it to be quite finished by next week.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Faucets and fostering

I got the great news on St. Patty's Day that my blue glass vanity top was finally delivered to the store in Oneonta after a 3-month wait. And then yesterday, I got the even better news that it was a really rich cobalt blue, which I was worried about, because the sample was more like sky blue. And then the bad news: they drilled the holes for a 4" center faucet, and I already have the 8" widespread faucet. ARRRGGGHHH! (grunted with an Irish brogue, of course)

So now I have to decide if I want to go with the 4"-faucet, which isn't actually smaller than the other, but looks different because it sits up on a base (see photos) or wait to have a new sink top delivered to Oneonta on March 30, and then hope we can get it installed while we are up there that week. I think the downstairs bathroom sink will probably be installed by then (when they finish tiling the floor) so we will have one working sink...

I am very happy that these major dilemmas are actually very minor, considering the fact that we are building a whole house, but it is frustrating to be so close to the end and have these things still on my mind.

And then there's that adorable foster pup, still hanging out with us, and becoming more adorable and more attached with each week that goes by. I resolved my differences, as best I could, with the wacky rescue people, but we still don't have another home for her to go to. There was one phone call about her, but so far no say a little prayer for the little one!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Stone repair and foster dogs

Todd the Stone Guy was there yesterday and repaired the sink. I will wait to pay him until I can approve of his work in 2 weeks. He also hired Lizzie the Cleaning Lady to come in and do her best to remove the stone dust which is covering everything. The biggest problem is that it is all over the newly painted walls and newly installed flooring, and it doesn't just mop up like normal dust. But that will be Lizzie and Todd's problem to resolve, not mine to worry about.

Ruby, my foster pup, does not appear to be finding a home anytime soon. I am pretty sure this has something to do with the rescue group which is sponsoring her, and the pathetic bio they have of her on If I read all that they say is wrong with her, I wouldn't adopt her either. I say she is still the best behaved pup we have ever had here.

When I suggested yesterday that we might be "forced" to adopt her because she is just so darn cute, I was told that they won't adopt her to us either. I guess we are good enough to provide her "emergency foster" care for the past 7 weeks, but not good enough to provide her "Furever" home?

I am disgusted with these people! Now I know why so many caring folks refuse to adopt a rescue dog...because of agencies like this who make it so difficult. Kim, I hope you are reading this: Don't you know that you are defeating your own cause and promoting adoption from backyard breeders and pet stores when you treat people (and dogs) this way?

Poor Ruby!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making amends

So Todd went out to inspect the damage earlier this week. He thinks he can wet-sand the bottom of the sink to make up the difference, but I want some sort of agreement that if he makes it worse, it is on him to replace it. Problem is: it would be very difficult to remove the undermount sink which is glued to the counter, which is glued to the backsplash, which is glued to the wall. Let's hope we don't have to go there...

I think it will all work out, and I won't pay him a cent until it does.

Jim the Builder chose a good time to go on vacation. I hope that no one called him to tell him this latest drama.

The guys should be working on finishing up installing all the interior doors and the baseboard trim. Then I think they are moving on to laying the bamboo floor in the kitchen and dining room. Then on to the slate floor in the living room, foyer, and the bathroom downstairs. Then installing the woodstove (I think we resolved the wall issues) and replacing the utility sink in the bathroom with the real thing.

We are nearing the end...maybe even by Easter when we go back up. But the garage (and a generator for power outages) will have to wait until all the snow clears. Considering that it has been hovering around 60° all week here in south Jersey (the snow crocuses are blooming!) I think spring will be moving north pretty soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A half-good day

Richie and Jim were both here today and accomplished quite a bit. They hung several doors, and Richie, all by himself, unloaded the doors that came a day late (backorder) and even carted them up the stairs by himself (no easy task). Jim was still under the weather (head cold) but a vegetable beef soup from Mary's Pantry got him breathing and almost back to normal.

The photos are of Lester inspecting the finished dark bamboo floor in the music room, and the 4 porch brackets hanging with their first coat of paint. Looking good.

The downside of today was all on the stone guy: stone dust everywhere—the guys will have to clean every surface in the house before proceeding with any finish work. That, and the nice Kohler drain for the sink required another hour or two of grinding before it would fit. The heavier gauge nice chrome drain did not fit in the same hole as the cheapy one that Todd the Stone Guy supplied.

The real problem du jour was the fact that the soapstone sink is tilted to the back by a 1/4", so the water doesn't drain through the center drain. It builds up (and stays) in the back of the sink. All of the guys here today said it would be impossible to fix because sink and counter and backsplash are all epoxied in place. I am calling Karen the Kitchen Designer tomorrow morning to see if she can make it right. We'll see how that all plays out...

The other good news: Jesse the Electrician came out and hooked up several of the lighting fixtures (pictures to follow). The other bad news: he connected the front porch light over top of the only front door key which was hidden in that box. Can't lock the front door when I leave tomorrow. I've already made the phone calls...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another good day

…except that Jim P was sick, and Jim the Builder on vacation at the in-laws in AZ, so Richie was here by himself all day with just me and 3 dogs as helpers. We provided the entertainment and snarling and that was about it.

He finished up the dark bamboo floor in the music room, installed the vanity in the master bath, and hung 2 interior doors.

Tomorrow, Bruce the Plumber is supposed to come and connect the kitchen sink, master bath shower and toilet. We also need to discuss a well-water-treatment for the reddish iron stains in the downstairs toilet and shower. And Jerry is supposed to connect the oven, dishwasher and cooktop so that I can test the new kitchen before I leave.

Friends Jane and Mac should be stopping by in the afternoon for a full tour. I don't think they've seen it since the sheetrock went up.

Now if only Jesse the Electrician would come and hook-up some of my light fixtures...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Three dog day!

...much better than the night.

Lester was still nervous and pacing for most of last night. He tried to wake us all at 5 am, but I insisted on staying in bed until 6:30. Then Richie was here promptly at 7:30 and the fun began.

Karen the Kitchen Designer showed up at 10:30, as Todd the Stone Guy was supposed to be here between 10 and 11 am. He showed up around 11:20, which meant that Karen had to leave shortly thereafter to get back to work. I sent her some photos.

Richie was doing window trim in the basement, while Jim was sealing slate in the upstairs bath (very smelly, windows open and heat down to 50°). Stone guys were grinding stone and creating a lot of noise and dust, and finally gluing pieces together that got us all high even with the doors and windows open (which may explain our frequent high propane charges).

The interior doors were delivered just after Jim the Builder and Jerry showed up. Richie and Jim P moved on to installing the dark bamboo flooring in the music room.

Ruby the Foster Dog was her usual snarly self with Richie and Jim P in the morning, but as the day went on and more and more folks were going in and out, she gave up trying to control the situation. As the doors were open most of the time, I spent most of the day shivering and trying to find missing dogs outside. Luckily (I guess) the remaining snow from last week's storm is still about 2 feet deep, so only little energetic Foster Dog was able to romp around out there. There will be no creek visits on this trip!

More progress on the house and more photos tomorrow.

And maybe good news on the little monster: her possible adopters passed the first round of the test, now they just have to make it through the home check and she could go to her "Furever" home this weekend. (Animal Friends Furever is the name of the rescue group.) This is reason to celebrate! I think I need a glass of wine!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Three Dog Night

Yeah, I know, you have to be old to remember that group, but it is the perfect title for this post.

We made the trip north again today: Lester, Sophie, Ruby and me. Ruby puked in the front seat twice, about 15 minutes before we got here. I thought I had covered everything up pretty well with her bedding in the front seat, but she still managed to trash my jacket which was stuffed underneath.

All three are sleeping comfortably right guys on the floor...diva on my bed. As I suspected, Jim the builder had the guys move all my stuff up from the music room on the first floor into the master bedroom on the second. Unfortunately, he also moved my only internet jack up here.

So we entertained ourselves downstairs for a bit, having dinner by the dining room windows with the 3 of them running around like they were all puppies. Then I tried to convince Lester to come upstairs. He bravely gave it a shot, but Ruby was jumping all over him, so he aborted after about 3 steps.

I tried again a few times, but he refused. So I leashed the little monster to scaffolding downstairs, and practically dragged Lester up here. He was nervous and panting and wandering all around. When I unleashed monster, she was all over him again. He ended up hiding in the closet in the library. I had to block the stairs to keep him from going back down. I think I am probably going to put his bed at the bottom of the stairs and let him sleep down there. Who knows what I will do with him during the day while the guys are working.

The good news is: I took Miss Ruby to Adoption Day at Petco on Sunday, and several people were interested in adopting her. Now they just have to get through the difficult application and house check. I am praying that someone will be approved to adopt her, and that she will go to her new perfect home this weekend. We love her dearly, but 3 dogs is one dog too many. My 2 old dogs will definitely miss her, but will also be relieved to see her go. That pretty much sums it up for me too.