July 30, 2009


Seattle hits an all time record of 104 degrees today. Amazing. MacGuyver and crew were working and even poured a little concrete. Needless to say one of the guys felt a bit woozy. Better go jump in the lake and cool off!


First Sunset

July 28, 2009

Stopped by the jobsite on my way home last night and climbed up on the newly finished first floor platform. I was just in time to gaze at my first sunset from the dining room location! From here you can see the tallest downtown buildings of Seattle to the left and possibly the tip of the Brothers, peaks in the Olympic Mountain range to the right. (Just squint past those power lines.)  Looking forward to enjoying this view over many dinners with family and friends.first sunset

Our family has had a wild ride these past few months. Putting the other house on the market, living in it while trying to sell it (which was no easy feat I tell you) then moving all our crap into a tiny, stuffy, sweltering, ant infested, closetless rental house , and THEN starting construction on the new house. Some days I fantasize about being a Normal Family,  a family that hires people to put all these things into place to make their life comfortable. Not us. Nope. We have to do everything ourselves, and the hard way. Design our own home? No problem! I’ll just get to that after kids are in bed, dishes are done and laundry put away. Move? No problem. It wasn’t far, we’ll just get a couple of hand trucks and schlep the equivalent of an 18 wheeler’s load just around the corner one piece at a time. Build a new house? There again, no problem. MacGuyver and Graceland will tackle that in their spare time too, sleep is really over rated.

And then there are the kids. Did we forget or overlook what an incredible overhaul this is for them? No. We seriously considered it. But we had to move forward and I kept reminding myself that many children have to endure much harder scenarios than just having their Legos turned topsy turvy. As I told my son the other night, while tucking him into bed, “For me, Home is whereever You are. You are my Home.” I  think he got it. We talked about how grateful we are that we are all together and how fortunate we are to be building our very own house. Again. 

What I hope my children learn from this is that hard work will pay off. They don’t remember that they’ve actually done this before! For the last house project there was many a night we put kids to bed, called our own phone at the job site and used the phones like a baby monitor. And we would work until the wee hours, checking the phone for any tiny murmur and occasionally running back to the old house to creep in and gaze at our sleeping babes.

Sure, we’re a bit uncomfortable now. But hopefully in about 6-7 months we will look back and say, “That wasn’t so bad, what’s next?!” (Hopefully the answer is ‘Vacation.’) In the mean time I am sure that my family is learning that Home is where our hearts are and thankfully, we are, portable.

After a quick dip in Lake Washington we decided to check on the progress of the house. And its happening! We now have wood and walls. Here’s MacGuyver and daughter checking out the view from what will be the main floor of the house.frances and brian atop wall

Next up is the Big Boy checking out the Big Beams.peter big beam


Today is a big day at Broken Down House on Fire. The concrete foundation walls are being poured. This would not be happening without the hard, hard, HARD work MacGuyver has been putting in to our project.

On any given night these past two weeks, MacGuyver comes home from his day job, changes clothes, and dashes back out, for hours of hard manual labor to get our project site ready for the concrete pour. He has been setting, checking, rechecking all the concrete formwork and structural steel holddowns plus thousands of  other miscellaneous bits so our house won’t tip over in the event of  a natural disaster. To quote Martha Stewart, “this is a Good Thing.”

 He has also caught some major, albeit subtle, mistakes that would have resulted in our house being constructed in –  to use a technical phrase here – a Wonky Way. Our concrete subcontractor must have let his mind wander a bit, as we found the walls were not at right angles to each other. I know, I know, most people think that architects love crazy angles, but honestly we don’t. Just call us squares.

MacGuyver routinely comes home in the dark (which is late here in Seattle, way up North at 48 degrees Latitude), often 10:30 or 11. He showers, falls into bed, and gets up at 5 a.m. to head back to our project site before heading off to his day job. Tonight, after the concrete pour, we have a strict bedtime of 9 p.m. This man needs some rest!

If you see MacGuyver around the ‘hood, be sure to compliment him, give him a pat on the back, or even buy him a chai tea and a cupcake from Verite.  He deserves adoration right now for his continued hard work and unwavering attention to detail. We: Graceland, the 2 kids, 1 dog and 2 cats, declare him a Hero.

Thank you, MacGuyver!brian on wall 7-15-09