Garage: Ground to a halt

Why is it that the very last thing that needs to be done on any project takes forever to get done?  We are waiting on the post covers to come in and get installed.  That’s the very last thing that needs to be done and the garage will be done.  It’s been a couple of weeks now.  Still no covers.  A call to Pete D. and he said they would be done last week.  Guess not.  Only good thing is, Rich doesn’t have to write the big check to Pete and company until it’s done.  At least Sally has moved into her new home.

This spring, Rich will get the place wired for electricity and probably get the heating system installed at the same time.  Then it will be dry wall all around.  Rick will be learning a new skill while helping us out.  I figure he will own a house some day.  Everyone should know how to drywall.  I’m the good critic of drywalling though.  I know when it is done correctly, but I can’t do it myself.  That’s what I have a boy for.

Christmas is fast approaching.  Three more days until the wrappings coming off.  I’ve completed everything, but buying the last minute food.  Rich and I will go tomorrow and buy the Polish sausage and rib roast.  There are odds and ends to get as well.  We still need rye bread, Kolackies, and other Polish items for dinner.  We try to stay traditional with the foods.  Christmas is one of the big Polish eating holidays, after all.  Sascha might even get to share in some of the goodies.  I love Polish eating holidays.

I’m trying to convince Rich to have Zurek soup for Christmas instead of barley soup.  Neither Rick nor I like the barley soup.  Wait, don’t tell Busia I said that!  Sorry, Busia.  I absolutely love Zurek soup and Czarnina.  Does that make up for it?  For those who don’t know, Czarnina is duck blood soup.  I have a great dating story with Rich on how I came to eat that the first time.  I never pass it when offered.

Thursday night, it snowed for the first time this winter.  This is the latest date in Chicago history for snow.  That’s not a good thing.  We really need the moisture and the cold.  Last summer had some horrible consequences from the mild winter last year.  I’m hoping for a return to normal.  I don’t mind the bugs and I want them for the garden, but not by the hoards that we had last year.

Still, the snow was a lot less than they had been predicting.  Originally, we were in the 3 to 7 inch range.  They were calling for whiteout conditions.  We had the really high winds, but missed the snow.  We might have gotten an inch.  Most of what was out there was ice from the rain that came through with the storm.  There were downed power lines.  One even fell on one of the pizza places here and burned it down.

Sascha seems happy with the colder temps.  Still, she doesn’t spend a lot of time outside these days.  She seems to prefer the company of her humans inside.  Rich took for her a run today.  She was so tired when she got back to the house, she was barely walking.  Even though she was panting and clearly overly warm, she still wanted in the house.  Luckily, I was in the basement wrapping the Michigan presents.  She could lay out on the cold concrete and cool down.

It’s funny to watch Sascha out in the yard.  Her entire configuration on the chain has changed because of the garage construction.  She can roam further back on the property, but she can no longer get under the deck.  I’m thinking she would trade the back of the property for underneath the deck any day.  I think she’s been keeping the critter under the deck company.  I don’t know if it’s still the groundhog or something else that’s moved in.  By the time I got out to look at the prints coming from under the deck, Sascha had walked all over them.  They could have been anything.

Rick had a Beltaine night to celebrate that ancient Celtic tradition to welcome the return of longer days and the coming of the sun.  They would have had a fire, but the temp prohibited being outside.  And they certainly weren’t having it in the house.  The temp was 14 and it was extremely windy.  Some of the guests came dressed for the weather.  I think they were secretly glad not to have to brave the elements.  Instead, they put all the food on the bar and played video games.  I suggested showing a camp fire on the big screen, but this was shot down as a stupid idea.  I thought it was pretty clever.

It was a quiet week.  I realized that I haven’t made my plans for vacation next year.  I have ideas, but haven’t finalized anything.  Usually, our vacations include camping and I need to reserve cabins wherever we are headed.  Jan 2 is the first day to reserve in most locations.  Once I decide, I hope they still have openings.  Should it be the Smokies and the Outerbanks?  Maybe we do a driving tour of a closer state, like Michigan or Indiana?  New Orleans for a few days?  We’ll see.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

So the garage continues to be unadorned with the final post covers. Sascha doesn’t mind though. That porch is hers!


Sascha still thinks she is a lap dog. Every time Rick sits down in Rich’s chair to talk to me in the office, Sascha has to be a part of the conversation. This is her best conversation pose. Does it beat a double ta-da?


One more cute pose. A boy and his dog relaxing on a recent morning in front of the TV.


Since there was one more pair of brakes, Rick wanted to try his hand at one more critter. He gave this one to the previous owner of the brake parts. She seemed to think it was cute.


Rick has a unique way of signing his works. This was an example on the latest creation.



Day 27 through Day 40: Garage is done….almost

Garage seems to be at a standstill.  Talked to Pete D. and he assure us that the post covers and Leafguard will be installed this week.  That will mean the end of his involvement as a contractor.  It also means that Rich needs to write out the check for the final amount.  Seems like a good exchange.  We did get one nice garage out of the deal.Rich told Pete that he was moving the hot rod over to the new garage.  Pete was concerned about the floor.  Apparently, you should no expose the concrete floor to oils and such until you can treat the floor.  The treatment requires a minimum temperature of 50 degrees.  We figure that won’t happen until Spring.  Rich informed Pete that he would cover the floor, but moving the hot rod was conducive to continuing the good relationship with the wife.

On Saturday, Rich and Rick moved Sally to her new home.  She seems to like it over there.  It’s quiet.  That meant rearranging the attached garage so I can park in there again!  By Saturday afternoon, it could pull into my own spot in the garage and stop until the red light marking good placement on the floor.  The red light means I didn’t hit anything.  So the Frontier and the CRV are side by side.  We have a guarantee of good wedded relations in the house, for now.

It’s Christmas time.  That also means birthday time for Sascha.  She started out in life as Holly and was a Christmas puppy.  Too bad she got too big and ended up in the rescue.  Her name is now Sascha, but her birthday is still at Christmas.  I bought a carrot cake to celebrate.  Tonight, we sang “Happy Birthday” to Sascha and she danced about.  I think she is learning what it means to sing “Happy Birthday” and that means she eats cake!  She is so happy when she hears that song.

First semester of college is over.  Rick survived finals, I think.  We’ll have to wait and see how he did.  A couple of weeks off and then the Spring semester starts.  That just gives him more time to look for a job.  He has put in applications with several establishments.  Now it might be a waiting game.  I’ve got my fingers crossed.  I think Rick has got his crossed that they don’t want him!  Freedom definitely has its advantages.

Last week, some of my friends gathered to celebrate a week of birthdays. It all starts with my birthday followed by Diane’s and then Kim’s.  For this, we decided to meet from dinner and drinks. Kim arranged for us to meet Cooper’s Hawk Winery.  I got there early since I wasn’t sure about the traffic.  By 5:30, we had gathered at the bar and made our way to dinner.  It was a great night of food, drinks, and talk.  There’s nothing better than hanging out with the girls.  Even the chocolate cake with ice cream and whipped cream was heavenly.

My birthday came and went.  For my birthday, I treated myself to a massage.  The neighbor, Carol, is a masseuse.  She came to the house and gave me a massage right here.  It was very nice and I felt so wonderful afterwards.  I decided to continue massages and try to help some of my issues.  Carol returned this week to give me another massage.  Once again, it helped tremendously.  How ever thought of massages deserves a reward.

Rick has been complaining this week that he has never built a gingerbread house.  I tried to explain to him that we had done that.  Since he didn’t remember this experience, he decided to try it again.  He bought a kit and spent an hour putting up walls, applying icing, and decorating a house.  It turned out pretty nice.  I didn’t help him, but now maybe he can claim the experience of building a gingerbread house.

On Saturday night, the Northern Illinois Streeters car club held their annual Christmas potluck.  They rented out the Spring Grove Auto Gallery for the occasion.  This venue is a large garage that takes cars on consignment and is storage for cars.  The cars vary at any time, depending upon who is trying to sell something.  There was a 1933 Ford 3-window coupe for sale.  It looks like something right out of a ZZ Top video.  We enjoyed some food, songs by the entertainment, and even a Santa.  Rich was able to sneak in some beer.  We did pretty well in the grab bag and I even won something in the door prizes.  I gave my nice tool bag to Rick for his own set of tools.

Sunday was another quiet day.  Just sitting here watching the garage and waiting for it to get done.

Dec 3 and Sascha was hiding behind the pile of debris.


Sascha can be such a bully and forces her way into your lap.


Sascha and Dad making an important phone call. To Santa maybe?


Extreme dog!


Sometimes it is already nighttime when I get a chance to get my daily garage picture.


Sascha believes the porch is all hers.


Finally got to move Sally over to her new home. She likes kind of small in that big cavernous garage.


Cleaning up birthday cake after the singing. Happy 4th birthday, Sascha!



Day 20 through Day 26: Garage has taken shape

On Monday (11/26), the building supplies appeared in the driveway.  Trusses for the roof are lying in the yard.  It was exciting to come home on Monday and see that things are really going to happen.  The waiting was over.

Rick called me at the office on Tuesday (11/27).  Two guys showed up first thing in the morning and started working on the walls.  Between them, they seemed to move pretty quickly.  I couldn’t wait to get home after work to see what had been done.

In the meantime, Sascha wasn’t happy with the construction.  She didn’t like the noise from the saws and the air nailers.  She goes out to do her necessary business, but comes right back in as soon as she is done.  She not really enjoying her yard too much.

By the time we got home from work, the framing for the walls was done.  The crew were just cleaning up for the day when we pulled in.  We went for a tour of the structure.  The size of the garage was finally apparent.  That large slab of concrete was taking on a life now.

The two guys stood around in the yard for quite some time talking.  They finally took off.  They spent all day working together and then stood around smoking for half an hour.  I wondered about that.  Why would they just hang around after the job?

On Wednesday, the crew came back again to work some more.  The roof trusses went up and the structure continued to grow.  When we returned from work, the walls had tyvek.  It was really starting to come along.  Once again, the guys stood around smoking and talking in the yard.  They hung around for about an hour.  In the meantime, we took a tour of the garage in its current state.

Thursday was a special day.  I took off for my birthday.  It was a me day from start to finish.  After a massage in the morning, I spent the day hanging out with the dog.  I went out in the late afternoon to pick up my cake from Herb’s Bakery.  They have the best cakes.  A nice, white wedding cake with butter cream icing.

Originally, Rich and I were going to dinner at a nice restaurant a couple of towns over.  But when I tried to call, I found out they were closed!  Now where do we go?  I thought about some of my other favorites, but nothing sounded good.  Rich saved the day when we got home.  He suggested Fritzl’s.  This is a very nice German restaurant that we haven’t been to in a while.  I love German food.  After some liver dumpling soup and wiener schnitzel, I was happy to come happy to dessert.

Oh yeah, and the garage for the day.  I watched the guys climb all over the structure.  At one point, I saw one guy walk about to the end of the truss over the porch and push another truss in front of him.  I was so afraid he would fall.  One guy applied plywood sheets to the roof while the other guy framed out all of the doorways and windows.  They were enjoying their cigarettes and talking again when Rich and I left for dinner.

During dinner, Pete the contractor called to say he would be stopping by.  He was looking over the garage when we arrived back home.  Turns out, the two guys working on the garage were brothers.  They didn’t talk much during the day and spent the hour or so after hours talking.  I found that amazing that they didn’t talk during the work hours.  That’s a lot of restraint.

On Friday (11/30), the roofer came out and finished off the roof.  Now it’s time for the building inspector to do his thing.  Pete ordered the siding and it appears that the garage will have siding on Wednesday.  Things are really moving on.  This is so cool.

Another Sascha story.  The other day, I decided to take Sascha for a walk.  It had been a couple of days since she had been out around the neighborhood.  The weather had gotten too warm to take her scootering.  Rich hadn’t felt well enough to take her out with the bike.  It was getting dark early, like it does at this time of year.  I figured I could take her out and back before it was pitch black.  Rich decided to join us.  Sascha was in high spirits for a walk.  We got around the corner and headed toward the lake when Sascha began dancing.  I couldn’t see anything, but she most certainly did.  She began to bark in that high pitched cry.  I still didn’t see anything.  Suddenly, Sascha lunged forward and about pulled me off my feet.  When I regained my balance, I finally saw the two does up ahead in the grass.  They took flight and Sascha was straining to join them.

Day 23: The porch is added.


Side view on Day 23.


Day 24 Framing is complete.


Day 25 Nice roof there.


Day 25 A view of the other side.


Day 25 My daily shot of the garage.


Sascha is sitting in the yard trying to avoid having to come in the house.


Imperial look from the princess.


Still not coming in.