Bill and Sue get repaired

I finished knitting my sweater last week.  It was a great project for working through my anxiety about the house repairs.  But, there's no good place to block it that won't be in the way for a while.  Rather than try, I picked up another project to keep my hands busy. 

I picked up this Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Bill UFO in an antique shop a couple years ago.  There were a couple of Sue blocks made and the pieces of Bill were there, but no layout for where to put the pieces.  I made these ten blocks.  And, last week, I started remaking these ten blocks.  Because that's what I do.  (not sure about the Sue in the top row in the white dress.  She might need a new dress.)

I wasn't happy with them.  Bill's shoulders were halfway down his back and Sue's hand was constantly outstretched like she wanted something (Excuse me, could we get this little girl a glass of water?)  So, I started taking the arms and hands off and by Saturday evening, I had them all back together again. 

I believe that UFOs are created when projects don't come out the way we envisioned them.  That leaves us uninspired for the project.  I think that's what happened to the original maker.  The blocks were kind of a mess when I got them, and I could see someone being disappointed in that and giving up.  Start something new that inspires.  I buy UFOs so I can pick them up at that point, with no expectations, and see what I can create from the original maker's disappointment, just by seeing it in a new light.  I'm glad I was able to set this one aside for a while, until I could forget my original vision and come back with fresh eyes and correct the things I didn't like. 

And, yesterday, I made this block. 

Most of the fabrics are not mine.  Either they came in the UFO or I supplemented with garment fabric from my Mom and also from my stash of quilting fabric.  I tried to keep in a family of 70-80's prints as much as I could.  And, a new, heavier background. 

The crew was here working on the foundation Wed-Fri.  They were afraid they'd have to come back on Saturday because of obstacles they ran into, but they didn't have to do that, thank goodness. 

I will say the whole experience was disconcerting.  And, I worried that I had overpacked...taken too much care.  I had not.  Even with all the glass and dishes in the kitchen packed or padded in some way, I could still hear glass rattling and finally realized it was in the fridge.  The house moved.  It went up and down and side to side.  I holed up in our bedroom with the cats and dogs.  The crew wasn't in the house until Friday, so there was just the one day of them jackhammering through the foundation 15 feet from where I sat, trying to hear a conference call.  But, I did sit and work all day Thursday and Friday.  I guess it was a way to stay busy and not think about what was going on. 

This is one of the jacks they used.  The black pole in the middle is the pier that will support the house and keep it level.  The red part is the hydraulic driver that pushes them down.  The pier was driven down about 20 feet until it hit the rock substrata.  So, now the house sits on rock, not clay soil. 

Here are three of them lined up along the back of my kitchen/dining room.  They used the weight of the house as leverage to drive the piers down.  That caused the house to bounce, especially the kitchen. 

They did piers down both sides of the house and across the back, and six piers inside the house that they went through the floor to place.  They broke and repaired a water line.  They put the dirt back in the holes they dug.  When they started, we told them that whatever they dug up, they could toss to the side and not bother trying to replant.  All our flower beds on the sides and back of the house need to be remade to aid drainage away from the foundation, so what they dug up gave us a head start on that project. 

Today, the plumber comes.  He's our wild card.  They're going to test the water lines, incoming and outgoing, for leaks.  If the plumbing settled with the house and didn't crack, we will be very lucky.  If not, we will be giving the plumber a lot of money.  So, again, fingers are crossed that the damage is minimal.  I cannot tell you how much it costs to replace a whole plumbing system in a city where plumbers make $135 an hour, on average.  I just don't want to know that.  If I need to know it, they will tell me.

Everybody have a great week!!  I started unpacking on Saturday.  I was doing it right, unpacking all the dishes and running them through the dishwasher before putting them in the cabinet.  Then, Rob wondered what if they have to jackhammer through the foundation again to repair a water line?  And, I stopped working and sat and sewed Bill and Sue blocks. 

I deserved the rest. 



Like good Boy Scouts

Always prepared.  That's how we try to live.  This was the last weekend to get ready for this week's repairs.  But, there was a little time for some relaxing too, because we were so prepared. 

When I was relaxing, I was sewing or knitting.  My body was too tired to do much moving around, but my mind was still working 90 miles a minute.  Hand work helped take care of that. 

I got this little leader and ender together.  I had laid it out and rolled it on a pool noodle, in a flannel backed table cloth.  But, I put it too close to the edge and pieces kept falling out of it, so when I was looking for something to do, that's what I picked up.  It didn't come out like I thought it would, but it's nice enough and will make a good small utility quilt.  I'll add some fun border to it and it will make a nice square to lay across the seat of a chair or across an ottoman or something. 

Or, maybe it's just fine and I'm not able to see it because it didn't come out exactly like I expected it to.

Anyway, we've had lots of rain and the garden is doing well.  Not sure I showed these, so if I did, sorry.  I spent some really relaxing time out there yesterday morning while it was still cool and watered the flower pots and pulled dead leaves. 

I have this hanger that holds three baskets.  I don't plant directly into the coconut liner.  I put a large plastic bowl in that and plant in the bowl.  I have red geraniums, ice plant, and dusty miller in all three, but the dusty miller isn't doing much. 

And, here is a little Gerber Daisy.  I planted this in a great spot last year.  And, then a larger plant came up and covered it and it almost died.  So, I dug it up and put it in a pot and left it to live or die and it lived.  I've had this for several years.  It's been in the ground in several spots.  But, it seems to like living in a pot better. 

But, most of our weekend was spent lifting and toting and filling the POD.  We decided not to put the dining room furniture out there.  There are no repairs in the dining room, but there are a couple on the other side of the dining room wall so every thing had to move, but it didn't have to leave. 

The garage hasn't been this clean since I bought the house in '98.  There is still stuff on the other side of the room, but this corner is clear. 

We finally found someone to take up the deck.  He came on Friday.  He was being weird about the price, so we just offered him an amount he couldn't refuse.  Sometimes, you gotta do that, because we were not able to go out and do that in a single weekend.  It took the contractor and his team an hour.  They had to unscrew 720 screws. 

We moved all the furniture out of the living room yesterday and pulled the carpet and pad back.  Then, we unrolled it and put the furniture back so we could enjoy it until tomorrow night.  It's just the sofa and a couple recliners.  And, we'll need to cover the television with a quilt and some plastic.  All the little tables are in the pile in the dining room.  

Remember that a couple months ago, I was turning the house upside down looking for some documents?  They were the documents from when I bought the house.  And, in them, there was a description of the previous repairs and the engineers report from when I bought the house.  And, the lifetime warranty on the repairs.  When I couldn't find that, I felt terrible, but we moved forward...mostly because we didn't have a choice. 

Well, I found those papers in a box in the garage (even Rob said that wasn't the kind of thing I would lose) and was able to get the diagram to the repair company so they can make adjustments in where they dig.  And, found out that lifetime warranty was only for five years and expired in 1994.  That actually made me feel better.  At least I hadn't lost a document that was worth money.  And, the new repairs come with a lifetime warranty from a company that's been in business with the same name for a long time (that's important in a lifetime warranty).

By next week, this will be over and we will be waiting for the plumber and the guy to reinstall the carpet.  Keep your fingers crossed that the movement in the slab last year didn't damage any pipes.  That's another expensive repair. 

Everybody have a great week!  Yesterday, Rob remarked on what a good team we are.  He focused on how long we could keep TV and entertainment operational and I focused on making sure I could feed us all week without cooking.  I made burgers and a casserole and have two kinds of sandwiches ready to go.  He figured out that if he wrapped the TV Tuesday night, we could keep a portion of our real lives going for two more days. 

Those are very important things. 



In the midst of it all

I haven't really been telling people about our foundation thing.  There's a saying here that every house that doesn't have a cracked foundation will have one eventually.  It's the clay soil the city is built on.  Many of the houses in our neighborhood have had foundation work done.  Anyway, people don't like to talk about it because they're worried they will be next.  Don't talk about it is like whistling past a graveyard. 

But, there was one co-worker whose daughter had had foundation work last year and I mentioned it to her.  We had a nice long chat about how theirs went.  They chose one of the companies that we didn't choose, so it was interesting to hear how that process worked.  We talked about some boxes and packing paper in her garage that she was glad to bring to us.  The next day, she showed up with 13 new boxes, a bundle of packing paper and a roll of tape.  She'd stopped at Lowe's and picked it up that morning.  When I realized what she'd done and said she didn't need to do that, she said she liked to help her friends out when they were having a rough patch and gave me a big hug.

I was moved.  There will be a thank you card on her desk this morning.  And, we used all those boxes and so, so, so many more. 

The POD came Saturday morning.  That was fascinating to watch.  The lifted it, pulled the truck out from under it, and used the lifting unit to drive it into our driveway and lower it.  The lifting unit was itself a wonder of machinery, but the delivery driver did a really nice job and certainly knew what he was doing.  He parked it right where we needed it.  . 

All the glass that was in the laundry room, just above where they will need to make a hole is packed as is all the glassware in the kitchen.  All the serving pieces that were stored above where they are placing another pier is packed...it's surprising how many of these piers are under something of mine that has to be packed up.  Rob has packed everything in the living room and there are just a couple things in the dining room.  All the furniture is so bare!  Do you remember I mentioned that we ended up with a box that had about a thousand cloth napkins in it?  Welllll, all the dishes in the kitchen that I didn't think I needed to pack are stacked with those between them, not because I'm afraid of breakage, but I don't want to listen to them rattle.  And, we attacked the garage.  We disassembled the jenga puzzle of extra furniture.  And, we picked several pieces to let go and a few pieces to keep.  We have a big goodwill pile.  And, Rob has a friend, so all that stuff that I wanted to put ebay and was never going to, I'm giving to her to sell.  Rob took three boxes to her on Friday.  Yesterday, I packed three more. 

On the quilting front, I just sent Edyta feedback on the coolest Christmas quilt.  It's called Oh, Tannenbaum.  The 24 pages of instructions look intimidating, but it's a very easy to follow pattern, made in a row by row style. 

And, I finally found my layout for this quilt.  Sorry about the toes.  But, I'm just too tired to edit. 

And, there are garden pics.  A couple daylilies. 

And, the oakleaf hydrangea has started to change to a pinkish brown. 

Well, that's it for me.  Syd had to be at work early and has overslept, so superdad is going to need to take her to work.  Everybody have a great week!! 



And, then we did that...

I am happy to say that I got both my quilt guild raffle quilt blocks done.  They came out very nice, but both have their little imperfections.  The other day at work, there was a young co-worker looking very closely at a piece of woodwork he had created.  Later, I heard him talking to another co-worker about the mistakes.  I took the chance to share the quilter's maxim that if you hang it on the front porch and look at it as you ride by on a galloping horse and you can see it, it's a mistake.  Both my co-workers enjoyed that a LOT!

We should start getting other blocks back tonight.  I've heard from a couple people that have finished and am sure there are others.  The background for the quilt is three shades of gray fabric.  The one used in the applique is the medium. 

Other than that, the only sewing I've done in the last two weeks was to piece a block for a pattern I was reviewing.  I was absolutely dead sure the measurements for the center were wrong,  So, I pulled out some fabric and gave it a try...and I was incredibly wrong.  I don't have to make a block often in reviewing patterns, but this is not the first time. 

I've spent a little time in the garden.  We were at the hardware store Saturday and watching all these people buy stuff for their yards.  We were breaking a sweat just walking to the car and I looked at Rob and asked "Isn't it a little bit late for that?" and we laughed.  We both do all our hard work in the fall winter and spring.  All I'll do from now until September is pull out the dead stuff to keep the garden clean and keep the air flowing through it. 

These two iris came off the same stalk of the same plant.  This is a shade loving iris, but I think I might have put it in a little bit too much shade, so it will be moving to a sunnier spot soon and hopefully, it will do more than this next summer.

This is a "dead nettle" that I bought because it was a shade loving ground cover and I like something that is kind of vine-like growing out of this tilted over pot.  It blooms a fuschia colored flower every so often. 

For my shady spots this year, I chose a bi-color coleus and red impatiens.  You can't see the coleus.  I just cut it all back...

and am starting a ton of baby coleus.  I recently did the same with a Dusty Miller that survived from last year and it's rooted and ready to transplant. 

These are two pots that have done extremely well in the greenhouse and I wanted to show them off outside the back door. 

Yesterday, we started packing.  No, we aren't moving.  We are packing and will move most of what we own into a POD in the driveway while we have our foundation repaired.  We had a structural engineer in a couple months ago and got his assessment of the problem so that when we started talking to repair companies, we'd know enough not to get ripped off.  And, we studied foundation repair until we knew enough to be able to talk to repairmen and ask good questions.  Then, we started inviting companies in for bids.  We got a variety of repair options and a range of prices.  And, we went with the most expensive because it matched the engineer's assessment the closest.  When we had that engineer in, it was to keep from being overcharged.  We ended up using it to make sure the repair we get is the repair we need.  But, it means moving out of the living room, the dining room, the kitchen, and packing all the glassware I have stored in the laundry room.  If you've followed for long, then you know I have a slight obsession with glassware and dishes.  That's really fun...until it all has to be packed up or washed.  And, we have to take the boards off that deck we had built a couple years ago.  We're trying to hire someone to do that. 

Anyway, wish us luck.  After the foundation, we need more repairs.  It's going to be a periodic construction zone around here as we have sheetrock repaired and the house painted inside and out and we'd really like to get new floors.  And, we have to have an air conditioner.  And, we need plumbing repairs...……..

Rob reminded me, a house is never really paid for. 

I think the best part of this has been how well Rob and I are handling it.  We both look at one another occasionally and say "I think I'm going to throw up."  Not literally, but between us, it's a message of; I want you to know I'm really nervous about this and I'm saying it in a way we can both laugh about.  We've had a couple moments where we lost patience with one another, but nothing has escalated into an argument.  And, we haven't kept any of this from Sydney.  She's been listening and reading the bids and asking questions.  And, I believe that what we are conveying to her is "life happens.  Deal with it in a happy way and move on."  At least I hope that's what she's taking from it.  That and don't be afraid of the hard stuff.

Oh, and knitting makes a great distraction.  I've been knitting my way through the anxious bits.  I have the front and the back of my sweater done and am about 40% of the way up one arm. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  I'm off to pick and box and fill it with useless stuff.