Wednesday, August 21, 2013

“Wind ‘95” becomes “WTF ‘13”

18 years ago, during a violent wind storm (nicknamed "Wind '95" because Windows '95 had just been released), a huge tree fell on our house from two properties away. 


All bedrooms on the upper level of our home were heavily damaged. Thank goodness no one was in them!  A good chunk of the tree went straight into what was then Aleks' and Peter's room and surely would have hurt them... or worse!


One car, which contained all the kids' Christmas presents in the trunk, was totalled and another was heavily damaged.


It took many months for us to have our home back -- mostly because the asbestos abatement work that had to be done due to what we were told was contaminated ceiling popcorn. The hardest part of all this for the kids (then just little kidlets) was watching their favorite toys, stuffed animals, books, and even bedding being disposed of by men wearing alien-looking protective garb from head to toe. It was not a fun time! 

Fast forward 18 years: we now have some fairly minor water damage caused by a leaky roof (which has since been replaced). 


Turns out insurance covers the damage. Yay, right?  Following procedure, they tested the popcorn ceiling for asbestos, in spite of my assurances that there is definitely asbestos there.  After all, we remember it well! 

Surprise: the lab report indicates NO ASBESTOS DETECTED. 


This is Peter's career field.  He is a licensed Industrial Hygienist and certified "asbestos guy" (I don't recall the exact name of the certification). For both personal and professional reasons, he insisted on a second sampling, taken specifically by him and sent to a different lab. Those results came back today and guess what?  "NO ASBESTOS DETECTED"!! 

This means that the months of inconvenience, but even more, the real heartbreak the kids went through was for naught!!  I can’t even really wrap my head around how this feels.

But, on the plus side, no asbestos!

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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Here we go again!

Remember when I insisted that we’re finished with major projects around the house? 

Well, Tom made a liar out of me. 

Seems that now that the hot tub has been moved from its previous location at the end of the no-longer-existing “dry dock”…P6190036

…to be incorporated into our new deck


…a slab of concrete was left all by itself with no purpose in life whatsoever and nothing leading to it.  This apparently bothered Tom no-end!

Admittedly, the nice little fire pit and seating area that Tom and Kat had made years earlier…


…had deteriorated badly and now we’re left with this:


According to Mr. Has-To-Have-A-Project Tom, something new was called for in the area.

So what’s he doing now, you ask?  (Don’t you? I do!) How is he spending every spare minute in his summer, you ask?  (Don’t you? I do!)

He’s making a big ol’ fancy backyard water feature!  This thing will have it all, from a gurgling spring to a cascade over a descending bed of river rocks, to a full-fledged waterfall that one can sit on and dangle one’s feet over, to a dry pond and creek bed.  Like most of Tom’s projects, what began as a quick what-if ponder has blossomed (careened?) into a major project.  And, like most of his major projects, this one will end up to be amazing and great and I will once again feel awful for all my belly-aching about the mess and the time and the lack of other activities that we should be doing in our old age.



Those cinder block foundations will support big ol’ flat stepping stone rocks that will lead down from the deck, over a running river (OK, a babbling stream) with another stepping stone rock right in the middle of it, onto a big wide rock surface, and finally onto the patio that started this whole crazy project.


Allow me to walk you through the above photo.  If nothing else, it will show Tom that I actually have been listening!

A “spring” will start the whole business at the top of the the area surrounded with brick. Then there will be a patch of cascading river rocks. (The water running over it should sound great!) The stepping stone in the middle of the river will be where the white bag is in the photo, the main waterfall will be just beneath the white bag on top of those two big rounded cinderblocks, and the dry pond will be below the waterfall, where the deep hole is.


(Yes, it is a godawful mess. Thanks for pointing that out!)


There will even be a dry stream bed cascading down the hill from the dry pond.


That 3-foot-deep hole under the deck? That’s for the pump.  Apparently it needs to be at a lower depth than the bottom of the dry pond.

It’s been hot in Seattle lately and when Tom finished digging that hole yesterday he was covered heat-to-foot in sweat! Poor guy. I feel so sorry for him, forced to build this amazing water feature!

Oh, and that slab of concrete that started all this in the first place?  The destination of those big rock steps? That will be covered with flagstone and there will be a new fire pit on it, surrounded by stone seating.

I should wait until it’s all done and then post a neat, tidy little post about the glorious end result, but I’ve decided that if I have to put up with the process mess, then you do too. 

So there.

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