Friday, August 26, 2005

Die Fenster! Die Fenster

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
Look! We have windows!

They started putting in the windows yesterday. They should have them all in in the next day or so and then they'll start siding.

Extra bonus point: identify the obscure source of this post's title and win a prize (hint: it's from a movie).

Here's the livingroom windows from the inside:


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Boots from Cousin Julia

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
Dada's cousin Julia (Rebecca's daughter) has passed on her most excellent club boots to Dada. These boots are just thing for dancing the night away in the sort of night clubs Dada prefers.

Here we see Dada taking a break from dancing at her Auntie Joanna's house. It was late night for Dada, as we partied until almost nine o'clock.

Father/Daughter Kilts

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
Julie found this cute little kilt-style skirt for Dada and we put it on her to go to the christening of our friend Joanna's home-built camper. On the way we stopped at the construction site for our usual visit. Julie took this picture of Dada and I in our kilts.

"See honey, girls can wear skirts too...."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Fun in the Car

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
Here's a picture of Dada, Happiest Child in the World, enjoying a ride in the convertible (Princess Daisy, the Solara).

We had just finished visiting the construction sight and were preparing to head home.

Dada seems to genuinely enjoy top-down motoring, except when it's too hot or the sun's in her eyes. It's especially fun to drive home from the Site on surface streets at twighlight, were we can watch the sun go down, the city is drammatically lighted, and there are lots of birds and things to watch from the car.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

It's Starting to Look Like a House

2704 Wilson at Sunset
Originally uploaded by drmacro.
We took this picture Friday night. They've got the roof over the screened porch and front entry pretty much decked and trimmed, so the place is really starting to look like a real house. With this picture I was also trying to capture the dramatic sunset--weird storm clouds had blown through to the south and the setting sun was lighting them up with this warm glow. (Click on the picture to see it a larger size)

Here's the current view from the garage, looking toward the street:


Here are Dada and Julie going up the stairs. They've cleaned up the inside--not sure what the next construction activity will be--there's still lots to do on the exterior.


So far the construction has been going pretty smoothly. There have been a few minor problems here and there, but we haven't found anything major. The biggest problem seems to be that the pre-fabricated floor trusses either were not manufactured correctly or were not installed correctly, so that the opening for the air ducts don't line up as they should according to the plans. This was reported to the builder by the architects but I don't know what the final resolution is or will be--it may be simply that they have to put a jog or two into the ducts or do a little in-place reworking of the trusses (which doesn't look like it would be that hard but I really have no idea what would be involved).

Now that we can walk around inside with the interior walls framed out, we get a much more accurate feeling for what it will be like and we're still happy with the design and layout, not that we expected anything different--the design is simple enough that there's not a lot of room for things to go wrong. This is partly because of budget--the simpler the design the less expensive it is to build, and partly the result of applying the Not So Big House principles, which focus on making a house function smoothly as a system of rooms for living in, rather than as a conversation piece.

I'm also pleased with the overall shape and exterior look of the house--I had been concerned that it would be too tall and narrow, looking a bit like a double-wide trailer, but seeing it in place it's not too narrow at all. It's still a narrow house, but the proportions seem correct. The screened porch also helps a lot to make it much less of a simple narrow box and more of an interesting shape. Here's an end-on shot of the house from the street:


Here's a good picture of the garage/car port:


I'm really liking how the car port is shaping up--I think it will be both visually interesting and a really nice outdoor entertaining space (as well as a convenient place to park a car). Should be able to get a ping-pong table there (although playing on the back side might be a little cramped, and we'd probably loose a few balls into the creek unless we set up a net or something). There will be a ceiling fan in the car port to make it more comfortable when the weather is warm.

The garage side is for the convertible (currently Princess Daisy, the Solara). It will also be wired and outfitted to serve as a shop in the future--there will be ample outlets and a space where a work bench can go. There will also be a small tool closet that opens onto the car port for storing yard tools and whatnot.

This picture was taken from just inside where the sliding doors to the screened porch will be:


It's hard to capture with our little camera, but the foregoing picture is an attempt to capture the full size of the screened porch--it's big. While it's not air conditioned, for most of the year it will be a very comfortable place to be and will add significant useable space to the house. I'm really excited about it. Having the roof over it really makes a difference in how big it feels--just standing on the slab you really couldn't appreciate how it was going to be.

The interior really hasn't changed since they first framed it up, other than having had all the mess cleaned up on the first floor. The second floor is still a maze of temporary braces and whatnot.

Dada and I are now going out there pretty much every night--it's exciting to see what they've done every day and it's a fun outting for the two of us and gives Julie a little time to herself at the end of the day (although she does sometimes come with us on these outings). Dada loves to wander about the site, which sounds dangerous to say it but so far she's proven to be pretty careful and there's very little of the sort of dangers you might imagine, like boards with nails sticking up and whatnot--the guys doing the work seem to be pretty good about keeping a neat and tidy work site. And of course I keep pretty close tabs on my precious bundle of joy while we're there.


Chickens!? and Swimming at Deep Eddy Pool

CIMG1228-detailWhen we decided to build a new house on the lot in south Austin we also agreed that we wanted to raise chickens there. Our soon-to-be back neighbor across the creek has a pretty large flock, there are no serious limitations on chicken raising in Austin, and we thought it would be great for Dada--we know another family that has a little girl who, at 3 years old, collected the eggs from their flock.

So Julie started getting books from the library this last week and then we bought some books and we've been reading all we can about chickens.

So now we have chicken fever.

Today we went to the Boggy Creek Farms, an organic farm in east Austin that sells their stuff two days a week. They have a large flock of chickens and sell their eggs. We had eaten the last of our Boggy Creek eggs this morning and they were so good. So we took Dada and Grandma Peggy (who's in town for the weekend) to see the chickens. Dada was fascinated by the chickens (which she can also correctly identify in her animal picture book--we've been working on chicken identification).


We took some pictures of Dada and the chickens:



After the farm, we went over to Callahan's General Store to look at their chicken supplies and chicks. They had chicks for some of the breeds we've been thinking would be good (Rhode Island Red, Americaunas) but the woman there who manages the chicks said that we should wait until spring. Hmph.

Julie seems to be holding firm in her resolve not to get chickens until we're at the new house, but I'm starting to think about what it would take to set up a three- or four-hen flock here in our current place--we have plenty of back yard and it wouldn't require that big of a coop. We'll see....

This afternoon we all went swimming at Deep Eddy Pool, Austin's other spring fed pool, which we had never been to before (the neighborhood pool close to our house closed for the season this weekend). Unlike Barton Springs, Deep Eddy is a proper pool, rather than a natural swimming hole that's been minimally developed. We had a nice time playing in the cool water. It was very refleshing. There was a swim meet going on, which was interesting to watch. I've just starting reading about a new swimming method, Total Immersion Swimming, that has gotten me thinking about doing some competitions. I asked to get on the mailing list for the group sponsoring the competition.

So now it's back to thinking about coop designs and reading more about chickens. What we've learned so far I think can be summed up as:

- Chickens are relatively easy to care for

- Fresh eggs from free range chickens are really really tasty

- Butchering chickens is messy

- Roosters are noisy

- Once you start raising chickens you will likely become a tiresome chicken nut who goes on and on and on about how wonderful it is to have chickens and anyone who doesn't like chickens is just not the sort of person they want to imagine being in this world and what are we going to do with all these eggs and aren't those hens just precious blah blah clucketty cluck blah.

By the way, if you wouldn't mind saving your egg cartons for us, that would be great....

Monday, August 15, 2005

Shades Time

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
Here's Dada wearing her shades. We were out at dinner with Uncle Jay and Aunt Kay. Dada has learned to put her glasses on by herself and will actually wear them for awhile now.

CIMG1056-photoshop-01Here's another picture of Dada from the same restaurant. The picture was underexposed so I tried brightening it up in Photoshop and liked the effect you get when you turn the contrast up way high.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Who's Out There?

We know that many people followed this blog while we were in China. Now that we have been back in the States for a few months and have settled into the boring routine of everyday life, I'm curious to know who is still regularly following this blog. Not that I'm that concerned about it--this is as much a journal for our own future use as it is a communication vehicle for communicating with friends and family (and anonymous strangers), but it's nice to have some idea of who is or is not actually paying attention.

So, if you read this entry, please post a comment or send me email and let me know.

Here's another, somewhat arty picture of the house under construction, just because entries with no pictures are boring:

Saturday, August 06, 2005

It's Starting To Look Like A House

Originally uploaded by drmacro.
They've started framing the house and it's going up fast. You can see the progress at the time-lapse photo set on Flickr. There are also lots of pictures of construction details (at the suggestion of our architect).

We've been going over there every other evening or so to take pictures. Dada likes to climb around on stuff (we do take great care to ensure she's not in any danger from nails and whatnot).

Now that they have the main roof trusses up you can start to see the shape of house. This picture is from the backyard looking east toward the street.

Here are some more shots, revealing and artistic (all the construction shots are tagged with "2704wilson" on Flickr):

CIMG0978 CIMG0986

CIMG0994 CIMG0966

Dada with her dad and grandma at the reunion


We've returned safely from the excitement of Family Reunion Fun, Part II: Sheets and Perkins Gone Wild. We had a great time and got to hang out with family we don't get to see that often, including cousins I hadn't seen in ages.

There were some hitches: Dada hated riding in the car on IH-35 (who doesn't?) so there was a bit of fussing; also, she's been experiencing a shy phase so she didn't let most people hold her, though she was willing to high-five people. And she took to my cousin Cindy's daughter Sara in no time. [Posted by Julie]