Dinner, cards, blogging...

All good things to do at a great round dining table, like this one from dosgallos.com. (Yes, I'm still obsessed with round dining tables) This is the 60", shown in a medium mahogany, lightly distressed finish. It comes in a number of other finishes, including a black which I really like, and a 72" size that would be perfect in my dining room. Does anyone know anything about Dos Gallos?


Sick of hearing about plumbing yet? (we're sick of talking about it!)

When we moved in I couldn't get the cold water washing machine hose off the spigot down in the basement. So I put our much newer, steel-wrapped hose on the hot and hooked up the old cold hose to the machine.

Over time the slight bulge got bigger until finally we decided that when not using the machine we'd turn the supply off. And one of the last things I did before we headed off to Cali was make sure that was done. Good thing too, when we got back and prepared to do some wash it finally gave way.

Still, there was no getting that old hose off, so Saturday we called Roto Rooter back. While I waited I took a hacksaw to it and actually got the connector cut, but it still wasn't coming off. Matt the plumber showed up and after a false start caused by our turning off the water main before he arrived, he installed new taps, I got a new hose, and we're back in business.

And while he was here Brett asked if he wanted to quote the bathroom re-plumb. He beat all three of our estimates. He'll be back on the 27th to do the job.

And the Tile Shop called, the wall tile is in! I'll head out to pick it up this week.

You make the call

There is currently one double-hung window in the bathroom that must be replaced. It remains where it is and retains it's current size, the only possible change would be to a casement. It will be surrounded by about a 3-inch casing painted white, and then the whole thing is surrounded by white marble. The sink will be to the right and there will likely be a freestanding cabinet of some sort to the left, but nothing that impedes.

So the question is what to do for a window covering. I'm open to curtains because we bought a Panasonic exhaust fan that I'm sure will move the moisture out. I'm also open to a variety of blinds or shades. I'm even thinking it might be nice to forgo any covering at all and apply some sort of view-obscuring film to the glass. The only thing I'm not so into would be a shutter.

So what do you think? Or even better, what have you seen or done yourself that you felt worked really well?

When last we discussed the bathroom - or - The value of a good carpenter

You'll recall there was nothing going on while we worked on patching the subfloor and gathered plumbing quotes. I'm pleased to report we may have broken the log jam.

I had Bill, our faithful carpenter, stop by before we left town to look at a couple spots on the ceiling that needed patching. There was some odd framing left from the shower walls that I didnt quite know how to handle and a corner where an old roof leak had left the plaster all brittle and crumbly. I thought he'd give me a good price on the fix. Instead, he gave me a killer price on a full ceiling and subfloor replacement.

I had to kind of laugh when he proposed it. I said "Bill, why do my projects get more complicated everytime you come here?" His response was "Because I want to be sure all your projects get done right." I can't really argue with that.

He showed me how the old subfloor was a bit bouncy and explained that replacing it would allow him to glue and screw new wood to the floor joists. A solid footing under the Wonderboard would ensure that my floor tile stays in place and won't crack or break.

So he started yesterday and this afternoon when he called to see when I'd be home tonight I knew he was done. But there was more, and this is why Bill has his own code on our keypad deadbolt.

One of the shower walls was two different thicknesses. The studs were 2X4's on one half, and 2X6's on the other to accomodate the toilet stack. Not a big deal, but it would mean that I'd be tiling a floor-to-ceiling strip about 2 inches wide where I turned the corner. So what did Bill do? Without even asking he sistered up those 2X4's with new 2X6's to make that wall all the same, making the upcoming drywall and tile just that much easier, and the look just that much cleaner.

And that new ceiling? He got the greenboard for half price because he bought sheets with broken corners that he knew he could work around, and took the savings and bought new insulation which he put down up in the attic. Not because I asked, because we'd never discussed it. Just because what little insulation was there went with the demo, and attics need insulation, and that's just how he works.

California Dreaming

Ok, here are some vacation pics! They're all out of order because I'm lazy and Blogger tends to throw things up in reverse order. (Is it just me or does it do that to everyone?) Here we go.

Vineyards in the Valley, we hit about 8 over the three days so I don't exactly remember which this one was.
Same here, unidentified grapevines.

Union Square in San Francisco, at the end of the block from our hotel. True story: we'd gone back to the room for a nap Tuesday after the de Young museum. We could year noise and a loudspeaker from all the way up on the 8th floor. Thinking it could be something fun we ran down to check it out. It was a worker's rights protest group picketing our hotel. They had vuvuzelas.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards, the best tasting room, without a doubt. The reservation only "Farm to Table" tour starts with some company history, continues through the kitchen garden, hits the actual winemaking area (with a taste of just-pressed-moments-ago juice), through the caves, and finally to a pergola-covered table on the terrace. Six wines paired with delicious things cooked in the vineyard kitchen all enjoyed with a view of the vines. Seriously, call ahead and make the reservation, this one was fun.

It wouldn't be a trip to San Francisco without a visit to the gay high holy ground that is the Castro. You get off the Muni train and exit Harvey Milk station at Castro and Market, and come up right smack in front of the Diesel store. Somebody knows their target market.

And we rode a cable car. I never realized the cable was underground, I always thought it was the electrical wires overhead. Do not tease, I'm a Kansas boy, we have horrible public transportation here. Different mode, now I know.

Alcatraz island. I thought it would be kind of touristy but the 45 minute audio walking tour was quite interesting. The whole thing is smaller than you'd think. The main cell house is the sort of big, blocky industrial architecture you'd expect. This shot shows the ruin of the warden's house, which surprisingly was spanish colonial revival. I never expected it, but then again it's California so it's not at all out of character.

View of San Francisco from the water.

And the California Academy of Science (which looked really interesting), taken from in front of the de Young Museum. Devoting more time to the de Young next trip as the collection is amazing. We'll also be sure to hit the Legion of Honor as well.

So there you go, a few highlights. Brett will be sorting and making galleries this coming weekend I'm sure, so if I see that I've forgotten any stand-outs I'll be sure to post.

It was a really fun trip, but its good to be home and sleep in my bed (with Alex Schnauzer!)

Home from California

And we're back. The weather in California, both San Francisco and the Napa Valley, was beautiful. More wine and food than I thought was possible, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have tons of pictures on the camera and will try to post a few soon.