Thursday, September 30, 2010

The ugly stages of construction

These pictures are from the 27th. I am a few days behind (the granite countertops actually went in yesterday)

Luis surveys the texture that is going onto the wall:
Divert your eyes from the disaster in the background and feast your eyes on the new blue.
Utter destruction
Dad's back is obviously feeling much better, but he is still taking it easy
The tile removal was so difficult, we just took off the drywall entirely - we're down to the studs
Winter is sawing the drywall flush for the new install - and happy to finally have a job where she can help

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The 'Rents

Had a busy Saturday:

Luis and I set up all the cabinet drawers/doors in the basement of mom's office building in a storage unit and got the primer sprayed.

Back at home, the ladies made a mess of the living room...

...and set up an air curtain around the kitchen to keep the primer fumes out of the house.

When Luis and I finished up with the primer on the doors, we headed back to the house and started spraying the cabinets. (Note the fan system that blows air out of the curtained-off kitchen to create a negative air pressure situation - it worked great and there were NO paint fumes problems in the house....although the neighborhood had a bit of a stink going on)

This is the "second" curtain inside the kitchen to keep the blue paint overspray (from the island) from settling on the freshly painted white cabinets. Yeah, things were getting kinda cramped in there. Maybe we should have painted the blue color first and then just covered the island...
After spraying the house, Luis and I headed back to mom's office building to spray the final coat on the cabinets (the stools and the cabinets for the "island" are getting a steely blue color)

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Beans Runneth Over

I just sent this email out to the Ashurst family:

Well, we are scheduled to fly out on December 30th. It will (I'm sure) be major fiasco with a huge load of luggage and three unruly kids. Last time we flew, each seat back had it's own entertainment package with video games, movies, TV shows etc. That was much better than the standard "movie" that they used to show. The kids all sat around and watched whatever they wanted and it really helped to keep them off our backs. I hope this flight will be equally equipped - it is a long ride.

I asked my wife about the Der/Die situation and she reports that the country is simply referred to in the singular as "Nederland." So, I guess that solves the controversy. They speak "Dutch" and I have already picked up quite a bit of it, but I have a very long way to go yet. We have "Rosetta Stone" and the kids all work on it regularly. I need to get started. The bad news (if you can call it that) is that I will be attending school in English and virtually everyone there speaks English and prefers to simply speak English than to listen to me bumbling with my poor dutch. What that translates to is that I have a hard time finding people to practice on. I'm sure living there will help though and I expect to improve my skills greatly.

I'll be attending the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University (to get an MBA degree - sorry Jim - I know you hate all those moron MBAs :) and while we have not yet signed a contract on a place to live, it looks like we'll be living in Zoetermeer. That will put me at about 30 minutes commute on bicycle or 1 hour by public transportation to the school. Zoetermeer is where quite a few of Jessica's family live and it is much more "suburban" than Rotterdam so we think it will be better for the family there.

I do not plan to work and I do not have any work lined up. The program I am in is only one year long and due to the short time frame, the curriculum is reported to be extremely rigorous. I don't anticipate having enough time to work at all. Jessica may try to get a job or part time job, but since she is a Dutch citizen, there will be no problem with any paperwork. We'll mostly be living on our savings. Once I graduate, we will be looking for a job wherever that may take us and we may end up staying in Holland; at which point I would have to go through some sort of authorization process. I don't think that it will be too difficult with Jessica being a citizen. On the other hand, if we do want to stay in Holland and work there, I will really need to kick in the afterburners on learning the language because that will (of course) be a crucial skill.

We are very sad to be leaving the ranch. It is actually already sold and we have, as of the last couple of weeks, been imposing ourselves on the hospitality of my parents. They don't really have room for 5 more, but they have been extremely generous in letting us stay with them during the transition phase. This week they were visiting my sister in DC so we "paid a bit of rent" by getting them a new Bosch dishwasher and had it installed for when they arrived last night. We're actually hoping to save a little by living here with them and not paying rent, but at the same time, we do realize that we are a major imposition on them.

As a part of the moving process, we actually sold the vast majority of our possessions and it was surprisingly liberating. A couple of things that did pull on the heart strings though: I sold my truck, gave away my dog and a huge pile of steel stock from my shop and I sold all my cattle. Those are the things that really hurt (for me anyway.) We will, of course miss our place in the country a lot - we had a lot of good times out there - but we are excited to be moving on to the next step. The show must go on.

Honestly, yes, selling the ranch is a bit of a relief as well. There is a lot of work involved in maintaining that place and we didn't really even maintain it all that well. Things have been CRAZY busy over the last couple of months as we have tried to decide what few things to store while we are gone, what will come with us and what to sell. Then, of course, we had to implement those plans. We are just now getting settled down (I sold my truck on Saturday and my utility trailer today.) All that is left is to sell my tractor and one more car and then we should be set for the next few months before the next big transition (to Holland.)

I actually just informed my boss that we would be leaving in three months, so keep your fingers crossed that he doesn't get trigger happy and start filling out that pink slip prematurely. It would not be the end of the world, but it certainly would hurt a bit to lose our paycheck for the last few months.

Anyway, since I want their money, I'd better get back to work.