Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The Green Man goes far back into Celtic myth. He appears on earth in visible form around the winter solstice, the same time that the Celts were decorating their homes with holly and ivy to celebrate the return of light after the shortest day of the year.

We’re really feeling the lengthening of the day here now. We can work in the house with decent natural light until about 4:30 each afternoon (there’s one stand of work lights in the house but no overhead fixtures yet). We had a busy weekend working on the cabinets and by this morning we had completed seventeen of the eighteen-—piles of cartons have become stacks of finished cabinets.

The IKEA system is very logical; whenever we thought that perhaps we were one piece of hardware short on a cabinet or that an incorrect part had been shipped, we soon found out that we had miscounted or that the piece was vital to the particular cabinet’s structure in ways we hadn’t anticipated. “Trust Mr. Ikea” has become a mantra we toss back and forth with each other, now.

The design of the parts is such that it's difficult if not impossible to put them together the wrong way. The only exception we found to that rule was the direction to mount the upper cabinet drawer glides into the fourth hole down from the top of the cabinet when it should have been the third.

I elected to pay just a bit more to outfit our cabinet drawers with a little tension device that prevents them from slamming. When you push the drawer shut, it goes in fast until about two inches from the cabinet face after which is decelerates and glides gracefully and gently into the shut position. Fritz has become fascinated with the things and loves to show them off, or even to walk by a cabinet, pull the drawer open and then give it a push just to see it slip ever so gracefully into place. We’re going to love having these mechanisms--IF he hasn’t worn them out by the time get to move into the house.

Our general contractor is leaving for a week and a half to attend to family business in the aftermath of his mother-in-law’s passing. He’s devised a schedule for the various sub-contractors that will have them working intensively but in a coordinated way throughout the month of February. Ceramic tiling will begin shortly in both bathrooms, accompanied by the acid dye staining of the concrete floors in the great room, entry hall and master bedroom.

The original idea was to have the staining done after a great deal of other finish work, but the concrete guy (a rare instance of man who pushes both of our buttons—the definition of “ruggedly handsome” and a great body obviously under the jeans and work shirts) insisted that the danger of his acid dyes and high finish sealers harming other surfaces in the house meant that he had to come in as soon as possible. As it is, the rooms will be heavily tented in heavy plastic, including the ceilings. I think I’m very happy we’re not having more rooms done in this technique.

After the floors are finished and cured, they’ll be protected by a couple of coats of sealer and, when that’s dry, a layer of heavy craft paper until the entire construction process is completed.

We discovered quite by accident that the Marmoleum I wrote about in my last post was manufactured by the Dutch linoleum firm for which Fritz’s niece designs flooring. What are the chances of that? It’s up in the air right now if tile patterns we chose are among the lines she designed. I worked out the Kitchen floor pattern last night and will submit a finished drawing to the company supplying the tile tomorrow.

From where things stand now and given the schedule laid down by the general contractor, it looks realistically like we could be moving in on or about April 1--and yes, I know what April 1 is!

Isn't is funny that we're finding 4:30 in the afternoon a "good thing" as far as light goes. I just made this comment yesterday.
Will, we are *still* showing off those silicone drawer closer dampener thingies, a year later now. At first we really thought they were something extraneous we hadn't ordered... but they are a really deluxe feature that helps us get our bourgeois on! ...along with the cast aluminum drawer divider thingies too...
I hear people slam Ikea occasionally, but I have bought and assembled a host of different Ikea items over the years, and I've never had a part missing.

Mostly, though, I go because it's a fun place to shop. Their shopping carts are unique, and you can spin them in all directions easily. I am always doing that, and people are always staring at me while I'm doing it.

And there are always a lot of cute guys there. It's especially full of recently divorced men. Not that I have an interest in such things, of course.
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