Friday, December 21, 2007

Warmth elves and works of industrial art

Prior to our house making/keeping, we were busily insulating our newly heated home. We capped the second floor ceilings to hold the heat in (sort of) and keep it from escaping to the atmosphere (expensive!) and floored it in from below in the basement ceiling. Alicia, Bonnie and I had quite a little assembly line going.

You must admit, they look like little Christmas elves,
checking Santa's toy list
and working hard in his workshop!
(Note the blurred action photos!)

The beautiful sculpture that is making all of this warmth possible -- after all these weeks (dare I say, "months"??) of hard work is this:

All of this was brought to its final fruition by Frank Vitolo, our amazing plumber, a true craftsman. He constructed all of the copper connections and designed the layout of our kit parts, tank and boiler. I connected all 18 tubes to the manifold! Alicia was the system layout mastermind throughout the entire house. THANKS FRANK!! Only the slab tubing in the basement remains to be installed.

Oh, and if you don't think is beautiful, please consider the former system in all of its sooty glory:

Transformed!! (sort of)

Happy vacation!!! In whirlwind of activity occurring on Wednesday night and all day yesterday, Alicia and I have turned our construction zone into a temporary home. Now we can relax and enjoy an entire week with the kids!! With the help of many comforters (formerly dog beds) and many bundles of insulation,  well, you'll just have to see for yourself:

We have a couch and a love seat:
(seven bundles + four comforters). Yes, the love seat did get covered.

A door and two boxes (containing our new future toilets) = dining room table!

Three bundles, one fitted sheet, one futon mattress, and voila! Hilary sleeps!

Admittedly, our tub and bathroom area are lacking in privacy, but they are oh, so atmospheric, no?

Home sweet home, and just in time for Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A thousand words in pictures...

I can't begin to say all that I have to say after so much time away from this task. I am always writing blogs in my head as I work. I'm sure someday I'll be able to dictate telepathically through a cyber link. Until then, I will share photos for now.

I am sitting in pjs and a t-shirt ON TOP of the covers, and I AM WARM!!!!

Gone are these days:  
and these. 

Good-bye to our beloved kitchen chandelier  (i.e. the only place to hang a light).

Speaking of which, I feel as though I am going blind living in this house. We have but TWO wired ceiling lights in the entire house (sans basement). This means that the number of available lights (well, work lights, that is) is solely dependent on where the they were being used that day, and whether I bothered to bring them back. This has provided Alicia with a fine excuse for not mastering her steamed milk techniques (too dark). It has also provided me with many a harrowing trips on multiple extension cord snafus (due to the ever-changing arrangement of EVERYTHING).

No more gazing up at this   in the morning. Now we have the beginnings of our new fireproof, sound and thermal insulation 
 made from basalt and slag.... COOL. Hey, speaking of said insulation, where DOES one put FIFTY-TWO bags, each measuring 4 feet x 2 feet x 1-1/2 feet?? EVERYWHERE!

 And I do mean everywhere. 

Just wait until you see what we do with these in the meantime (tune in soon).

Oh! We had our first REAL snowstorm last Friday.  Twelve beautiful inches of gorgeous snow (not too cold, not too wet). I had more fun than can be expressed driving in it on several outings that day. It was a true and total BLAST. Yay! I love my Jeep and I love 4-wheel drive! Alicia has yet to attempt to drive on the snow and ice... I've no doubt that with some instruction, practice and confidence, she'll be having a ball, too.

The basement slab is due to be poured soon (with more radiant heat!), although I'm not quite sure when, as I've got soooo much to do first. Just getting the gravel in down there was quite a transformation -- and an eight hour day of hard work by two fellows with wheel barrows. It will be a fine day when the arctic blast from below is quelled.

Will post the photos of the boiler with radiant manifolds (I KNOW you're all waiting with bated breath) soon.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mermaids Today - Heat Tomorrow

Literally tomorrow! We've finished the radiant and Frank, our plumber, has the boiler set to go. Tomorrow, we have heat..and plenty of house photos to share. So today, you get photos of the mermaid I've been working on. Stay tuned. Might be a couple of days before the full spread hits this blog, only because we have champagne chilling for our first warm night.

Jodi wants me to add that we have a basement full of gravel! May seem like a weird thing to get excited about to you, but this means our slab is finally in progress. We've been ready for months. Jodi and Mary had the basement demolition and excavation done before I arrived in July, but getting a concrete guy lined up (who's not part of the MOB) is a slow process in Poughkeepsie.

Lots of photos to share (they've been piling up for some time). Now that warmth is more than just a fantasy, we will be able to take the time to blog.

Oh yeah. Don't think we've blogged about this...
This is a photo of the jeep after the deer jumped in front of our car. Much more damage to the poor departed dear deer. It was instant for her at least. We pulled out the duct tape to get us through until January when the body shop can repair it. Are you getting the idea that things move with a different sense of urgency on the East coast?