Thursday, August 31, 2006

Look Who Visits the House

Not for real, but virtually.

This is a cool way to see the reach of your blog graphically.

In short, a geographic representation of who has visited this blog for the last 12 hours'

Just a little snippet of internet love.

Are we there yet?

In my rants, I believe I have never mentioned that the house is fully functional. You can cook, clean dishes, bathe, run the climate control systems, watch the sunset over the vineyards, marvel at the red tail hawks as they float over the ridge looking for prey, and just relax. There are times when it is difficult to see past the memories, the mistakes, and the money spent on fixing anothers mistakes. But there are times when I catch a glimpse of what it could be, what it should be, and what it can be.

Ok, enough of that, this is what I have planned for this weekend. Touching up the paint on the eaves, staining the posts and if time and weather permits, re-etching the concrete patio. I will be satisified with getting two out of three of these done.

I am hoping to get the patio to look similar to this:

Does anyone want to bet whether or not I can do a better job than Dave Exline at staining concrete? :-)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Where is my fireplace...

So I never got a fireplace. No wood stove, no gas stove, no nothing. Strange that I remember asking for the draw of the fireplace and transfering the money to the contractor but I never got one. Funny how that works. But in my archives I found where my fireplace went:

----- Original Message ----- From: Leslie Miley To: Janice Exline Sent: Friday, October 22, 2004 5:56 PM Subject: Re: Invoice from Three Little Pigs Construction

Janice, All draw requests are deposited in the same account. For example when I request a draw from line 760, it is deposited in the same account that you withdraw funds from. I am trying to avoid either of us withdrawing funds that are not earmarked for our specific items. i.e. after you withdraw funds, the account balance should be zero or close to it. We had the situation with the fireplace where you withdrew the funds that were earmarked for the fireplace draw with draws from other line items. This gets confusing for me and since we
are moving so fast, I need to manage what is being paid when very closely to avoid that potential conflict At the end of the day, I need to make sure that each invoice, whether yours or mine will be paid with the appropriate draw.

So I think I will either go with a Kiva style as I originally planned, or a wood stove. Any suggestions?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The emotional cost to build this house

I am not referring to dollars but emotionally. I look at this house and see what is not done, I look at this house and see where someone else made decisions for me, I look at this house and I see what should have been, not what is. I look at this house and see a broken dream.

2004-2005 was not a good year. From crazy tenants, to shady moving companies, to Dave Exline and Janice Exline, to trying to run a coffee bar in a ultra-conservative, racist town. Who and what I am was fundamentally changed and not all for the better.

I do not believe in people as much as I used to. I do not trust that people will have anything other than their own interest in mind when I deal with them. I no longer see people as individuals but as competitors and roadblocks to my happiness. When I look in the mirror, what disturbs me the most is that I no longer dare to dream.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tarantula Hawk?!?!?

I was minding my own business, walking around the property the other day when I saw this 2 inch long black thing with wings, flying around. I was amazed because I had never seen anything like this. I asked a few people what it could be and lo and behold, it led me to the Tarantula Hawk.

Upon researching this little creature I came upon the following descriptions:

  • The tarantula hawks prefer female tarantulas and seek them in their burrows. They capture (often following a dramatic battle), sting and paralyze the spider. Next they either drag the spider back into her own burrow or transport their prey to a specially prepared nest where a single egg is laid on the spider’s body, and the entrance is covered. The wasp larva, upon hatching, begins to suck the juices from the still-living spider. After the larva grows a bit the spider dies and the larva plunges into the spider's body and feeds voraciously, avoiding vital organs for as long as possible to keep it fresh.
  • The sting, particularly of Pepsis formosa, is among the most painful of any insect. Commenting on his own experience, one researcher said, "You will curse your mother for ever having you." Another described, "...immediate, excruciating pain that simply shuts down one’s ability to do anything, except, perhaps, scream. Mental discipline simply does not work in these situations." Yet another said, "It's not like things that make you swear and say bad things about somebody's mother. These things, when you get stung, you might as well lie down and scream. Why not? It takes your attention off the pain." It is listed near the top of the list in Schmidt Sting Pain Index.
I have no shame in saying I ran when I saw this buzzing around.

Now I know where Ridley Scott and Dan O'Bannon got the idea for Alien. If you see this thing, run!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dave Exline Demons

I have been working on the Paso Straw Bale House for some time now. Strolling down memory lane can sometimes be educational, inspirational, humorous, sad, or downright painful.
Here is the memory lane I was down today.

Dave Exline (partial) email communication From 12/3/2004:

"It appears, after looking over all of the correspondences, reviewing the verbiage, the attitudes, the half-truths, the excuses, and the half baked "negotiations", that you have had an intent to take over this job for a long time. I really believe that you have "set me up". I believe that you thought you could take over the job at the point that we now are. Yet you now discover how much "more" there is yet to do, and you now find yourself incapable of doing it, and you bring in Turko. Not a problem, I hope it all goes well for you and you end up with what you anticipated. It is no longer my art, no longer my product, and you may no longer use my name in connection with it."

To finish my walk down memory lane here is my analysis:
  1. Painful and Sad is Dave Exline alleging that I set him up to take over the job and that it was my intent for a long time.
  2. Educational is "discovering how much more there is yet to do". If he meant re-installing the windows, bringing the house to code due to his unauthorized engineering changes to the roofing system, and re-doing the majority of the electrical, he was right. If all this was done the first time, there would be no need for this blog.
  3. Humorous is that "I can no longer use his name in connection with it." :-)
  4. Inspirational in being able to chronicle this house via blogging.
In my stroll down memory lane, I have come across a few other websites of people who have had issues with their respective contractors. It is amazing to me how similar the stories are. If there is such a thing as a shared experience, having issues with your contractor is one of them.

There must be a school somewhere that teaches this. It needs to be closed.
Blogging rules!