etakyma: (Default)
( Nov. 21st, 2011 09:08 am)
Saturday lasted an age, I tell you! Actually, it only lasted about fifty hours due to the international date line and various flights.

I left Tokyo/Narita around 5:20pm on Saturday and landed in Newark, NJ at about 4:15pm also Saturday. Landing an hour earlier than I left... weird!

I finally got myself and my stuff home around 10pm and promptly crashed. Sunday started well - if early - but I was exhausted by the end of it - fell asleep just before eight, woke up around 9:30pm and went back to sleep around 11pm. Up this morning at 5:30am... Its going to be a long damned week.

I hope Thanksgiving goes more or less smoothly for me - although I may be sneaking off to my niece's bedroom to take a nap...

Ugh - I could happily go back to sleep for another couple of hours.
When they first moved into their current home, my sister-in-law was pregnant with B, their second of three kids. B is now seven years old (as of February). When they moved in the house was a five room (two bedroom, 1 and 3/4 bath home) in the center of a lovely NE town (the same town I grew up in, and where my parents still live - although they are on the south side, and my brother and family live in the center).

My brother immediately started renovating the inside to make it livable - the two bedrooms had never been completed - the man that built (and died in) the house was quite elderly, and didn't climb stairs, so he lived in the three rooms on the ground floor. M (my brother) had to install flooring in the two bedrooms. So the summer K (my SIL) was pregnant with B she spent living with her folks (and G who was two at the time), and M spent the summer, when he wasn't working, completing the house enough so his family could move in. The kids are in the two bedrooms and M and K have their "bedroom" in the tiny den on the first floor.

He has spent the seven years since B's birth planning and building the "addition" to the house - which happens to more than double the square footage of the house, and added a two-car garage.

The architectural plans were done by man who knows how to design an addition that will seamlessly expand the current look and feel of the house. M bartered for the plans. M is an artist (amongst his other talents), and at the time was working on a commission for the Eastman School of Music - a portrait of our grandfather for their portrait gallery. So instead of paying thousands of dollars for the plans, he did a portrait of the architect's daughter (and a couple of landscapes of land the architect owns on the Cape).

Three years in to the build (since he is doing 95% of the work himself) the cellar was excavated, and cement was in, the framing was up, and the exterior shell was weatherproof - windows and doors were in, garage was complete, and the shingles were on. None of the interior walls were up the last time I saw the house, which was about three years ago.

My mom took me over to see it today - since M was spending the long weekend trying to get a little closer to moving the family into the new bedrooms - because if the girls spend one more school year sharing a very tiny space we might have WWIII on our hands.

The plumbing and electric has all been done, and the walls are roughed in (drywall up, mudded and all - but the interior window sills have not been finished yet) - in some places the walls are even painted! There are stacks of hard wood for flooring planks in what WILL be the family/livingroom/kitchen waiting to be installed. The original plans only had a one-car garage, but when he expanded it to a two-car garage he left the girl's bedrooms the same size - but that expanded their closets - so they have the most AMAZING walk-in closets ever - with beautiful hand built built-in shelves and shoe towers (because my brother wouldn't do anything so mundane as buy ready-made anything).

The girls will share the new upstairs hall bath - L, their little brother (who just turned three) will remain in the original part of the house and have his current bedroom and the space where the girls' bedroom is, and the current upstairs bath to himself. Which I think he will be glad of when G is fifteen/sixteen/seventeen, B is thirteen/fourteen/fifteen, and he is nine/ten/eleven - living on the opposite side of the house from his teenage sisters. He'll still be a boy - and they will be rolling balls of hormones and hysterics (I know - I was once a teenage girl). That space will probably be a huge relief to him.

The master bedroom is gorgeous - with a closet slightly smaller than the girls' closets for M and a *huge* walk in closet for K - this closet is the size of my smallest bedroom! The master bath has a gorgeous oval soaker tub and a separate shower - but none of the tile or fixtures other than the tubs are in yet. The upstairs also houses the laundry room - which is probably a space about ten by ten feet, and two hall closets - linens and sheets, maybe? Perhaps one will house all the cleaning products?

The floors are in, but as yet unstained, in the upstairs hallway, and he is working on finishing the stairs and the newel posts for the bannisters. The bedrooms will be carpeted - that isn't in yet either. He showed off his pin-nail gun. And mentioned a couple of the windows "sprung" and before he finishes them he's got the replace them - what he means is that the seal broke on them and condensation got inside the panes - but the windows are under a twenty-year warranty so all he has to do is call them and they send him replacements. He'll replace the ones that "sprung" before he puts up the interior finishes - sills and framing.

The what-will-be-the-new-kitchen area is his current workroom - and the kitchen will be the last are of the house he finishes before he breaks through the wall to the current kitchen and joins the ground floors together. The upstairs he'll break through the wall as soon as the upstairs is ready to be occupied - but he can't break through before, because the wall where he will break through is currently where the girls' built-in bunk beds are in their bedroom (he built the beds when they moved the girls in together when L was born, because the roof line right there is weird, and there isn't the head space for standard bunk beds. He also built desks for them that fit the space they had in the very small room.).

He is planning the design and building the kitchen cabinets himself. Since he did this for his first house (and learned a LOT about making kitchen cabinets) I have no doubt his kitchen will be amazing once complete.

All in all I was incredibly impressed with where he is now.

I see a lot of work that the house needs, and K and the kids will be very lonely for him, and he will be very lonely for them, but they should have new bedrooms/bathrooms come September and they'll be back from the Cape, moved into the new rooms. Only a year late - he'd wanted to get them moved in last fall - but I think the summer he broke his collarbone (nearly exactly two years ago) put him way behind his schedule. All in all he is building it on his off hours from his day job (sys admin) and as he scrapes up the funds to buy materials and tools. My dad has tried a couple of times to give him money for various pieces of the project - but I don't know if he has been successful at getting M to accept at all. I think his frustration with my brother was what made him offer to redo my bathroom when the tiles were falling off the wall in the tub surround (the really bad tile job the previous owners had done was not done correctly - neither the mortar, grout or backing board was done correctly, so water had done its level best to rot out the backing board behind the (really ugly) tile). Since I didn't have the funds to do it at the time (three years ago) I accepted - and he paid for the tiling of the floor and tub surround, the new toilet, and the new vanity. I have no idea how much it cost, but it made him feel good to do it for me - and it allowed me to use the money I'd saved for house repairs to fix the roofline fascia and replace the gutters that were rotted out and falling off.
Woke up Monday morning, around dawn. In Beijing. Finished packing, had breakfast, picked up my silk shirt, and started for the airport with M at 11am. Beijing time. Got on the plane around 1pm. Sat on the tarmac for an hour or so, finally got underway an hour late.

Landed in San Francisco at 9:30am Monday Morning Pacific time. Raced to get myself and my stuff through customs, back through security and to my gate Just in Time to make it on board. Sat at the gate while the mechanic changed an indicator lightbulb.

If there is some punchline that has to do with mechanics and changing lightbulbs I am way way way too tired to make it.

Landed in Boston at 8:00pm.

Also on Monday.

To make a very long story only slightly shorter, my bag decided SFO was the airport to be at, and did not make my connection when I did. A courier will bring them, hopefully overnight, as it did manage to catch the next flight out. It should have landed, and I am really really looking forward to the end of this endless Monday. I've spent nearly fifty hours inside this Monday alone. No one should spend two straight days living out a Monday. That is just cruel and unusual.

To recap: Monday dawn, Beijing, 6isham. First Monday sunset, somewhere over Japan. Second Monday sun rise, about two hours from the California coast over the Pacific. Second Monday sunset, just south of Chicago.

Current score: Etakyma: 0 --- Monday, November 15, 2010: Eleventy Billion

Can't sleep yet - too tired. Glad to be home, but man, not looking forward to getting up tomorrow.
etakyma: (Default)
( Dec. 13th, 2009 12:56 pm)
So this morning as I was surfing the Web and eating breakfast at somewhere around ten am (shut up, its Sunday!) there was an almighty BOOM! and I felt the vibration in my house. I thought at first someone was shooting at me (not unless it was a missile (too big a boom). Then I thought maybe there had been a gas explosion somewhere... but we're mostly all on oil, not gas around here. And peeking out the door (in the cold, in my PJs) showed no smoke in any direction. Very calm (if cold at around 17 degree) morning.

Then my computer notified me it was on reserve power. My power had gone out. Oh. Must have been a transformer going in spectacular fashion.

Well, even before I called the power company there was a truck idling outside my house (I admit I was going to wait forty minutes or so before reporting it). Two hours after it went out I have power again. And the only casualty seems to be my clock radio, which won't turn off the radio part, and won't let me change the blinking time. Well, I hadn't even changed it when we "fell back" for daylight savings, so that shows how often I *use* the clock in my bedroom (not often).

So I can continue on with my (only slightly) interrupted day. I did manage to fully pack for my trip to California tomorrow, so that is all to the good.

Now to figure out my appetizer for this party I'm going to...
etakyma: (Default)
( Sep. 3rd, 2008 01:08 pm)
I've posted before on the town phone alert system, I think. So my town can take segments of the population of the town and call them with a pre-recorded message. It is usually a notification of mosquito-spraying, coyotes seen in the area, alzheimer's patient wandered away, road detours, blizzard (or any violent weather) warnings, that sort of thing.

This afternoon the helicopters started circling about forty minutes ago. I figured, some wreck on the Mass Pike (overpass less than a mile away) or something of that nature.

Just got a pre-recorded call from the police department.

There is a man in the area, armed with a knife, who is suicidal. Lock your doors, curtail outdoor activities, and btw schools have been notified - all the kids are safe in school (likely, they are all on lock down). Don't go out until this is resolved. If you see him [they gave a basic description], call 911 immediately. Do not approach.


Right. So how is your Wednesday going?

ETA: Update from the police department. School dismissal is delayed (schools still on lock down, I bet), all after school activities canceled, and if your kid lives in my neighborhood - they aren't being released. South side of town, and western edge are all going home as usual. My part? No dice. You can pick up your kid (as long as you are the parent/guardian of record) but the buses are not rolling into my area until this is resolved. So, not resolved yet.
etakyma: (Default)
( Aug. 25th, 2008 11:33 am)
And I have finally sort of caught up (oy! email out the wazoo)...

The Adventure Along the Rocky Coast of Maine was incredible. Pre-sunrise dash to the eastern tip of the USA to see the sun crest over the horizon. Sonogram-the-humpback-whale. No moose. Deer, grouse, wee snake, tiny school of tiny fish. Watching the tide come in and go out again. Rocky beaches. Hiking up mountains and not falling off. Wild blueberries. Salt water as far as the eye can see and beyond. Mussels and barnacles, and seaweed, oh my! Driving, driving, driving. Evening rituals like talking round the fireplace. Cooking, picnics, and lobster. Puffins! Port-a-pusses! Shifty-eyed Sea Gulls! Birds of prey of indeterminite species! Almost killing Ang daily. Being out of signal range and offline for seven days and *not* *missing* the tech a bit. Daily postcards!

Yeah. Too much, and not enough. Next year can't come soon enough - and this time our intrepid seventh will be with us (we missed you, sweetie, so much). Good times.

So anything I missed that I absolutely *must* know? Catch me up!!!
So getting home was less stressful than the fiasco of going. I go to check in for my flight and they ask me to "volunteer" to take a later, Aer Lingus flight to Boston, through Shannon, instead of the Dublin-Chicago(layover from hell)-Boston flight path I was on.

Um, no, I don't want to cut seven hours off my journey and spend an eternity in Chicago if I don't *have* to! Sure. Send me to Boston as directly as you can. I love that.

So I go through their "wait in this line, to queue here, to go there and do that" thing - and the upshot is I get the last window seat on the plane (only center seats are left - and only four of them in the entire AirBus - this is one very full flight). The catch? I have to deplane in Shannon, go through US Immigration, get back on the plane to go to Boston. Domestic to International in three easy steps. Shannon airport is TINY - about six gates (and two runways) in all. And it took about forty-five minutes to shuffle us all off, queue us up to get our customs cards stamped, and check us all back in to queue up and reboard our flight. Easy-peasy. And a very pretty area as seen from the sky.

(Taking off from Shannon Airport)

The woman who I sat next to was a Delta flight attendant traveling with her eleven year old daughter and her sister-in-law. She and her daughter were seated across the aisle from eachother and her sister-in-law was somewhere forward of us. Her husband is a Delta Captain, and she's got a step-daughter as well. We discussed travel (she loves Japan, and was really excited I would go there in the next year-ish (November 2009)). And her family (she thinks becoming a mom made her a way better flight attendant). And she got some special perks because she and one of the flight attendants on our flight knew some of the same people (a whole bottle of water that she pushed on her kid, me and the two kids sitting next to her kid). All in all not a bad seat mate, even if she was prone to talking.

Ah, so glad to be home! So I've been offline a few days - what's up world?
etakyma: (Default)
( Mar. 25th, 2007 11:07 am)
Yesterday I spent the day traveling.

I went through Frankfurt, and wow. If you've flown recently back to the US from the Frankfurt airport in Germany, you know what I am talking about. I think I got more action from the security chick than I've had in years. They frisk absolutely everybody. And between the metal detector wand and her hand running where no hand but mine has been lately... I'm just sayin'. Her hand brushing a little more northward and we'd have to get married.

But the travelling thing took all day. I started out at 4:30am local (11:30pm ET) when I checked out of the hotel. And I got back to my house about 4:30pm local (ET) time. Which would have been 9:30pm in Prague. I made a couple of phone calls, ate something and collapsed into bed at 8:30pm. I then woke around 12:30am (about the time I'd been getting up in Prague - 5:30am. I went to the bathroom and went back to bed where I slept on until 7:30 this morning. 11 and a half hours of sleep, and a little something to eat, and I am feeling so much more human.


- cobbled streets and alleys, and stone work absolutely everywhere you look. Not just cobblestone, but *decorative* cobblestone.

- the food - love the game meat you can't find in the US. I had quail, duck, roedeer (a specific type of european deer, that populates like rabbits), venison... all of it delicious. I didn't get a chance to try some of the other meats on the menus I saw, like boar, rabbit and hare. And presented so beautifully.

- the restaurant's there have wonderful portion control. At every meal I cleaned my plate, did not feel overful, did not feel like I was starved, and still had room for dessert, even if I'd had an appetizer.

- looking out the windows and seeing gothic cathedrals, and baroque palaces, and architecture and sculpture from all ages - starting around the year 900. The buildting facades are so spectacular. The city is one of the few that was never bombed during WWII - so all those old buildings are untouched by that sort of damage.

- Walking across the Charles Bridge (Karluv most) and looking at all the vendor's wares.

- Ancient buildings everywhere. I know I just said that, really. But I bears repeating.

- Turning on the TV and getting CSI dubbed in French, CSI:Miami dubbed in Spanish, and South Park dubbed in German (which, as admittedly, I've never watched a whole episode of) and which sounds oddly appriate in German, and the British Discovery channel. All at the same time.

But I have to say, I am so glad to be home!!!

Aside to [ profile] krissielee, hon, I need your address. Just send it to me (I think you have my email address already?).


etakyma: (Default)


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