Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hair today, gone, gone today!

I've been debating for a while...chop off all my locks...keep them...chop them off...keep them...

I think I look better with long hair. Plus, as I've gotten older, it has gotten nicer -- a nice wave to it and some ringlets sometimes. But the problem was that my hair, which was almost to my elbows, would become so tangled from boating and wakeboarding. So it was time...

Today, I went over and visited Sonya at Trendz Salon. I told her that I wanted my hair cut just below chin length. But I had no clue what kind of cut I wanted. Easy maintenance, some layers...


Since I wanted to donate my hair to Locks of Love, she started out by rubber banding my hair, measuring it, then cutting it all off. Sonya shampooed my hair and massaged my head...good stuff. Then I decided to go for an off-center sweep, with some long bangs. Snip snip snip, then some styling later...and here's how it came out!

Since Sonya styled it, I can't guarantee that it'll look like that every day...but she did give me some tips on how to make it look good. As low maintenance as I can, that is!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Deck pics, home improvements

So the deck got done in 9 days. Pretty quick job. But since then, it has rained quite a bit. Black spots developed on the deck, randomly spotted, but kind of all over. And then the inspector came by and wanted a few things done. So it is not *completely* done yet. We had the deck guys come out and look at the black spots. He said that he'd have his deck stainer come by at some point and pressure wash it. Then after that, we'll have to seal it immediately (oil for this kind of wood). The subcontractor, who is supposed to fix the things the inspector doesn't agree with, is working on another deck right now. All it takes is about a days worth of work, but don't know when he'll come out.

But anyways, here are pics from the finished deck...

Our neighbors, Brad and Angela, donated the metal tiki torches and a tall table (not shown). But for now, we have very ghetto furniture. Two chairs and some colorful plastic tables. That's all we had from the deck before. So at some point, we'll have to invest in some nice furniture and a grill (nope, we don't even have a grill!). I'm feeling quite broke from expending my entire income this year on the deck. But fortunately, we didn't have to go in debt for it - could pay for it all out of our pockets. As for the other home improvements that we want to do...we may have to carry some debt for.

Next on the list of home improvements...
- Gutters -- we need them badly!!!
Outside the front door

- New fence -- open up our property to our actual property line. Just need someone to dig the holes and sink the posts..Brad and Sean can do the rest of the fence ($400-$500 labor for the posts alone)
Grey fence is our current fence. We own the land between the grey fence and the newer tan fence.

- Natural stone steps on the slope that goes by the bamboo (will have to hire someone to do that)
Cause there's no reasonable way to walk down the hill...

- Create a pathway downhill on the other side of the yard (should be able to do ourselves)

- Stone/pavestone landings on each side of the steps off the deck

- Improve drainage system -- The builder who built the house next door (same ones we had concrete and trash issues with...) built it so that the drainage would all drain in our sideyard. Bastards. We get a lake effect where our crepe myrtles grow, that then trickles (or in torrential rains, floods) downhill into the side of our backyard creating a waterfall over our temporary stone landing by one of the set of deck steps. That'll be a lot of work to do...
That's the builder's stupidity in routing the drainage right into our yard...a lake that's only a few feet away from our house

- Painting the hallway interiors of the house (hire someone for b/c of tall walls)

- Paint the guest bathroom upstairs (will do ourselves)

Well, with $129.81 to my name in my personal account, that means that we'll have to wait a while to do anything else. Good thing Sean is working! ;) Hoping to hear about another movie job in Sept...

Friday, August 15, 2008

Deck updates -- pics from Day 7 of deck constructio

I didn't update my blog because I took a 4 day weekend road trip up to Kansas City.

So here was the progress as of work day 7 (Aug 12th).

Ends of boards nailed in, posts in

Finally some stairs! Now we can let the dogs out the back door instead of walking them around the house.

Still a lot of work to do...

Eye of the tiger (wood)

View from down the hill

The big picture from above

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Day 3 - Deck construction

Just a briefer...after day 3 of construction, they finished framing the 3rd and lowest tier of the deck. They also poured some of the concrete for the structural posts. It looks HUGE! Our slope is pretty steep, so there is a lot of space under the deck. We'll have to figure out something creative to do with it.

Here's the progress:

On a side note, rather than kenneling the dogs and spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars, we've been trying to wear them out every day. They get excited/anxious/protective when they see people near the house (front curtains have been torn down a few times, the curtain rod is bent!). So we'll wake up early in the morning and take the dogs for a walk. They'll pass out for a few hours. Then Belle will wake up, realize there are people working right behind her, and she will let out a loud Beagle howl. It gets the other dogs excited. I have to calm her down, then she passes out again. A few walks a day and they crash more. They're doing a lot better than I thought they would. Yay!

Passed out dogs = happy mom

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Day 2 - Deck Construction

We were awaiting the arrival of Eduard, the tropical storm that hit near Galveston. Austin has had 42 days of 100+ weather and we are in a drought! The lakes, the plants, animals, and people need the rain!

With that said, deck construction began around 8am. The guys got quite a bit done. It started to rain at about 3pm, so the crew left after that. But alas, the rain was just a teeny bit...only a few drops. Not the inches that we were hoping for.

Today, the guys built the framework for the top and middle tiers of the deck. It is huge! And now it is making more sense. There is another level to be framed as well.

Here's the progress of the deck - Day 2:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Day 1 - Deck Construction

Alas, the wait is over. We have had plans for getting a new deck. The original deck was 10'x10'. It was small given the slope of our yard. We are contracting with Archadeck and having a 592sq ft, three tiered deck built out of tigerwood. And undertaking, yeah. Expensive, yeah. But it'll be well worth it. We'll have usuable outdoor space as well as a nice outdoor living/entertaining area. I originally wanted a second story deck and a 3rd story small platform (we live on top of a hill, and you can see pretty much 360 degrees around from the top of our roof). But we had to nix both the 2nd story and 3rd story platform. It was going to cost way too much.

Here's what the old deck looked like:

View of deck from second story window

We had the plans drawn up on May 22, 2008. However, the hold up occurred because our POA was more strict than what we imagined. They wanted a stamp from the county's engineering office. Archadeck had to draw up full on architectural/engineering plans and whatnot, then submit it to the county office. There are only 2 people who work there, and there's a backlog (Austin is a popular place to build even in a housing downturn). And then once they got the stamp, they had to present it to our POA's architectural review board, which only meets 2x a month. With stamps and approval from both parties, the deck construction started yesterday, Aug 4th. They say it will take about 2-3 weeks for building.


Link to large sized plans

Link to large 3D rendering of deck

We met with the guys from Archadeck yesterday morning for a pre-construction meeting. The carpenter and his helper came back after lunch to tear down the old deck and start on the framing of the new deck. They were only out for a few hours, but did quite a bit for that short time.

Deck destruction

End of day 1 of deck construction

All of the dogs were a bit confused

Today, they got an earlier start so a lot more will be done today. For starters, they found a Giant Red Headed Centipede by our water softener. I was a little creeped out, though. The carpenter trapped it and is going to take it home to his kids.

Giant Red Headed Centipede