Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ceiling Sunday

Wow, this went relatively well and without hiccups. It was time-consuming (and I detest fiberglass) but now it's done...until we decide what the heck we're doing with the ceiling for real.
There was an area where the roof was sagging, not sure why, but Jeff beefed it up with a 3X3.
Our resident abandoned cat, Ocho, has apparently been sleeping in the ceiling of our house where there was a hole in the overhang so we boarded that up today too.

My poor husband is whooped, as am I. We need one more weekend ...

Sunday March 21

This morning we visited an area that I recently read about located right in Central Phoenix - the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area. It was once a dump site and has been converted into a riparian area with paved and gravel trails. It was beautiful and such a nice surprise in the middle of the city. We saw only one person on our stroll from Central Avenue to 7th Avenue. However we saw Quail, Jackrabbits, Mallards and a few other birds I didn't recognize. It was also nice to see reclaimed concrete (broken up curbs) reused and recycled as benches along the paths. We will definitely return.

Jeff is burying his repaired pipe and we will head off to Home Depot in a few to get insulation and ply to temporarily cover our ceiling.

We also have to get the garden covered as the rogue cats have dug into my zucchini mounds overnight. I have my first sprout:

These other plants pictured below have popped up in the bed and I just can't get myself to pull them out. I don't know if they're weeds or what? Mom...?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Termites, still...

I keep forgetting to post about this. They are at it again, same place - down by the glass room where Mark treated recently. He drilled the ceiling along this doorway and injected borates but the blind gross 'mites are still busy at work. He said I may continue to see them for the next 60 days until the borates take effect. He also told me they can build a 6 foot tube in a 24 hr span. Scary.

On another note, there is activity at the house I *heart* behind us, seen above. Jeff said there was someone over there yesterday measuring the pool. So, without peeking, we are guessing that they are securing the pool. It certainly appears the house I love is finally going into foreclosure. Its been vacant for about 4 years and all I can hope for is that someone with vision and a love of all things modern snaps it up.

Irrigation Leak

So, our front irrigation pipe has been leaking underground somewhere. We know this because whenever we get water, the ground is wet out front near the stand box, where it shouldn't be wet. Jeff and his friend, James, tried patching it from the inside of the pipe a few weeks ago but they apparently didn't patch the crack that was leaking. James was a real trooper to crawl down INSIDE that pipe and patch. I told Jeff he better pay him a lot of money for doing that... it's not a big pipe and thankfully James is very skinny.

Jeff decided to dig this out today and he's now at work repairing. He dug out around the pipe and is cleaning the crack of any debris and will patch it with an industrial epoxy. We get irrigation Wednesday so we'll know if it worked then. Nice crack, huh?
Hey, mom, check out the honeysuckle! I think it's going to do great up there and surely all of the bees are going to block my entrance into my house ;)

Internal Battles

After we first bought this place, some artist friends were visiting from Alaska (Jim and Shayla) who cast their work at the foundry. They gave us theater tickets to a play about Frank Lloyd Wright.

After seeing that production, I felt so completely different about our home renovation ideas. It is extremely important to me to honor the Architect's vision. On the other hand, we live quite differently these days.

During a Detroit discussion yesterday, I was reminded about the amazing Turkel House on 7 Mile. It is the only two-story automatic Usonian built by Wright and it is absolutely stunning. In reading some articles on the home, I am back to wavering about the removal of the kitchen wall thus eliminating the bedroom with a door on each of the four walls.

Here are some links about the home:, and photos . Also, a video with the new owners . More photos on Flickr.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Week Recap

Jim and his electrician, Ben, came out this week. Ben was a great guy and very encouraging. He had just returned from 3 months in Iraq the day prior. We hope to have a bid from him within a week for the interior wall (moving the sub, building it into a freestanding cabinet/fridge/wall oven thing). As well, he will quote the west wall that started this whole thing. We do always seem to get sidetracked into another direction, don't we?

AZ Organic came back out Friday - Mark couldn't figure out where the termites were coming in. There were no foundation tubes nor foundation cracks. Therefore, he just drilled into the ceiling and injected borates. It can take up to 90 days to take full effect so he said don't be surprised if we see more. He also installed the final two bait systems in the driveway on the East side of the house. Now we wait 90 days to check for activity in the bait systems. I will be interested to see if they take to them.

We did a nice a.m. hike at North Mountain today. I have never done this trail and it was really crowded. It ended up not being the easy trail I had researched, we inadvertently took the wrong trail up and it kicked our butts. Awesome view though.

After the hike we headed over to Baker's to get the supplementation for our Oak recommended by Tree Pros. They had all the veggies and fruits out so I had to get an Artichoke and a Cantalope. We revamped the front bed and added mounds so I could plant the zucchini and spinach. I transplanted a couple of the butter lettuces, they seemed very delicate so we'll see what happens. Those dastardly cats are still getting in there so I think we will be forced to add a roof...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Electric and Termites

So, termite company will return on Friday to treat the other part of the house where the new tunnel has appeared. The new tube is down by the glass room, just past the laundry. This is a totally new area for activity. Now that I think about it, I have been saying we have -0- drywall in our house but we do - the ceiling in the glass room. Bet they're macking down in there.

Our GC, Jim, is coming back out tomorrow with his preferred electrician so we can get another electric quote on the back of the house and flipping the subpanel to a different wall. We are seriously considering tearing out the bedroom wall completely and making a super kitchen. Then we would convert the glass room to a master suite and leave our current master as a Guest Bed/bath. We are concerned, though, with resale value if we remove that wall. For pete's sake, there's a door on EVERY SINGLE wall in the room though. FOUR doors in that room! That's wierd. However, this would leave us with no studio space. May be an incentive to get that going as well??

So, I will leave you with my beautiful vincas in bloom, my orange mint, butter lettuce peeps and a sprouting green bean. My corn is up too!

Monday, March 9, 2009


Look what Jeff found in a totally different part of the house tonight...

Termite Treatment Day!

We hired AZ Organic to do our termite treatment. I really was concerned about the use of heavy chemicals with all seven of our pets. Oh yeah, us too.

Turns out we really didn't need to tear out the walls and ceiling, just for our own peace of mind. Which we kind of knew already. Don @ AZ Organic had told us it wasn't necessary but we were very concerned about what we couldn't see. Our consciences are now at ease seeing into the ceiling and behind the walls.
Mark started by drilling the length of the expansion joint where they are coming up. There were places on both the North and South sides of the room where the concrete was so thick the hammer drill didn't go through the foundation. After drilling, he injected the holes with Red River WDG

He then patched all of his holes and even patched all of the remaining holes throughout our house that the old termite companies never patched.

Next I boiled some water for him to mix with the Bora-Care. He brought in a tall beaker filled with the thick substance - added the hot water and mixed. He then pump-sprayed this solution onto the wall bases and also in the glass room where we suspected Drywood termites. He said it really looks like there were drywoods long ago and the wood was replaced as he saw no holes ("exits") in the wood. Here's the webpage for Bora-Care, Manufactured by Nisus

Nisus Corp was actually very helpful when I contacted their Corporate Office for referrals to local authorized treatment companies.

Finally, our third attack was the bait system by Advance. These are placed every 15 feet around the perimeter of our home. They are filled with tasty, irresistable, cellulose termite snacky-snack disks. These Bait Systems are checked every quarter and when activity is discovered, poison is added to the bait system. We'll see.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

We're an "Estate" ?

Two articles from back in the day... The Arizona Republic's Sun Living section. The first article is from 1960 when Frederick Griffin lived here, the second is from when the bakery owner did an addition in 1979.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What we've completed

Sometimes when we are feeling down and like we haven't accomplished anything here, it's helpful to look at old photos of the place. When we first moved in someone recommended making a punch list and crossing things off as we completed them. This way we could look at the list and see all the items crossed off and feel good about progress. Don't know where that list is anymore....must've buried it in a drawer in a fit. So....what we've completed:

New block wall around entire property perimeter.
Three custom steel gates.
Two new ACs
Five new skylights
Five new Low-E sliding glass doors
Tankless Hot Water Heater
New buried Irrigation line
New sewer line (partial, at City connection)
New roof
Rebuilt banquet
Cedar closet
Replaced master bedroom insulation and interior walls.

And sometimes it's not all about replacing but also removing:
Demo carport
Demo jacuzzi
Demo pond that consumed over half the yard
Removed 7 trees
Removed many, many stumps
Demo wood planter in kitchen
Demo rotted wood perimeter fence

So, we're doing stuff, right?!


We had a tree company come out today to give us a quote on trimming/storm-proofing. It's been a few years since the Eucalyptus' have been done and we all know about their destruction and my poor Subaru.

The man was very nice and super knowledgable. He is a certified arborist and gave us some insight to our trees and what to expect of them as they continue growing. Thankfully he convinced Jeff the Palo Verdes are nightmares and he agreed we can rip them out. Better hurry and do this before he changes his mind!

The gentleman said our property was like an Arborist's experiment or something along those lines. We have a diverse forest. We have 3 Eucalyptus, 3 African Sumac, 1 Australian Bottleneck, 1 Pine (we were right, he said it was a Christmas Tree at one time), 2 Bottlebrush, 2 Mulberrys, 1 Silk Oak, 1 Chinese Elm, 1 Japanese Privett, 2 Palo Verdes, 1 Mesquite, 1 something-I-don't remember-the-name and 1 Texas Red Oak (that I planted last year as a memorial). The total is $1895 which I think is a very good price. It's hard to believe we ripped out 8 trees and still have this many.

He gave me some tips on my Oak (which I couldn't tell if it was dead). It's not dead, it has salt burn. He instructed to dig the dirt away from the trunk and mix in some mulch and continue the weekly deep watering. Yeah, it's hanging in there!

Not so bad...

Well we started before the sun was up and were done by noon thanks to the help of Jeff's coworker, Tomas.
We initially thought we'd take down two panels in the middle bedroom but we ended up taking down the entire wall. Lots of termite tubes, some new, some old.
After the bedroom, the guys tore down the kitchen ceiling...

Leonard approves.