Monday, February 9, 2009

Busy February

So backing up a bit, it's been busy around here.

I started the month down in New Orleans for my company's annual client conference. I organized a volunteer work day for anyone interested in coming in a day early and pitching in on a house in St. Bernards Parish, and was pleasantly surprised to have 30+ folks from all over the country coming in early and rolling up their sleeves. As a side note, the St. Bernards Project was the most effective, relaxed, and productive non-profit I have ever encountered. They had materials and one volunteer on each site, (we were spread between 4 houses, 30+ people, and the houses were not large,) and there was less than 5 minutes between arriving at the work site and everyone actively working. The house I worked on was fully insulated by our group of 6, other houses were sheetrocked, mudded, and one experienced "mold remediation", all thanks to a group of "suits" that were willing to dive in.

One house when we started:

When we finished:

Now on to my daughter. She's growing like a weed, running around, expressing her very strong opinions, and exploring the world. She's taken to climbing, and very luckily seems to have a decent sense of balance. Her on my stomach, all her.

The climbing is a bit more worry some. So far she's a little less certain on the decent, but she's figured out that a hand-hold is vital. Case in point, she brought me her shoe the other day, I opened it up and held it down for her to step into. She backed up, put a hand on a dining room chair, and then held her foot up for me.

This is a bookshelf I made a few years ago, it's now in her nursery. I think it's going to have to be moved before she goes any higher.

And cause she's adorable.

Cousin Nick is working diligently on the re pointing project. After getting fed up with the wasted time taken to move scaffolding around, I made this purchase. Got a great deal, and have several requests to rent and/or purchase it once I'm done.

The house is coming along. The wood siding is mostly in place, with a couple of gables to go. This is what it looks like in raw wood. We are nearing the lower end of our cash reserves, so Alexe and I have started working on the portions we can do ourselves. What with Saturdays and Tues/Thurs evenings already dedicated to the building, we don't have all that much left in the schedule to contribute. However...

With a wonderful partner, and some decent weather, look what we accomplished in 5.5 hours yesterday. That's including setup and cleanup time. (This is primer, paint will be nest weekend.) Amazing how the proper tool can make a job fly. Those airless sprayers, (another tool that paid for itself in a day,) are amazing. Don't those overalls just melt you? And look at little A. She spent most of the day on my back in her carrier, but had some breaks to wander around, and one hour long nap in her stroller in the kitchen. Overall she was a champion.

Lunch break, courtesy of an amazing wife and mother.

Cute too.

Finished product.

And this is what I did on Saturday. All the front half rounds are installed, (that lift is amazing) and the two center windows are in. Alexe has completed the 2 coats of blue on the store front, and we have cleaned the interior for the movie on Thursday night. As soon as my arch is done, (it's taking far more coats than I thought to build that arch out of mortar...) I will remove my forms and the concrete border will be burgundy. All in all we're coming along. (With a very serious prospect for long term rental of half of the first floor, which we are very excited about.)
So. The little boy that is due in May has been treating Alexe very kindly. Periodic cravings for yogurt seem to be the worst of it. (That's right, in case you forgot, that lady standing on a barrel painting away is 5 months pregnant. Such a package.)
I threw new fuel filters into the diesel station wagon, and it seemed to perk up the acceleration. New tires and that should be on the road this week. Hmm, anything else? Probably. I hope you all are keeping busy and/or happy. Spring is coming down here, (saw daffodils yesterday,) and the world is a beautiful place.