Friday, October 31, 2008

Mighty Dragons ...

I am sure you've noticed how I often refer to E! as a mighty dragon, for working up on the aerial lift, despite the fact that she is afraid of heights. I have to admit, I have committed plagiarism. The original title goes to E!'s sister for sticking a needle into her stomach twice a day.

Now you may say neither of these things are scary or frightening. You may be right, but you have to give the girls credit for overcoming their fear. Don't make fun of people, who are afraid of things you'd do in a heartbeat. You have fears, too. Is that a spider on your neck?

Happy Halloween!


Shaken Or Stirred? ...

Shaken! But there are times when it is neither, especially when you long for a nice martini and find out that you have neither vermouth nor olives.

I needed a stiff drink yesterday. At around 10pm the heat to the second floor still wasn't restored, and it would be another half hour until that happened.

Yesterday I did the plumbing for the second floor heat, and as expected it didn't go as planned. I picked the most difficult spot first: soldering in a tight corner with the potential to burning down the house. Well, the house didn't burn down, but the pipe wasn't soldered together either, because there was too much water in the pipe, which prevents the pipe from heating up enough for soldering.

This first setback sent me into a trance like condition. I needed some success, so I proceeded to work on the other areas that required soldering. After that worked well, I returned my problem spot, and found a solution.

At 4pm I had completed the soldering on the second floor. Off to the basement, cut the return pipe and solder on the T-piece I had prepared on Monday. On to the supply pipe. I had been suspicious about it all day, because the drain valve had continued dripping all day. I was not to be disappointed. Turned out that the shutoff valve for the supply pipe shut off the water only mostly. Water kept trickling out of the supply pipe. No way I could solder anything to that pipe.

After a few moments of mental roller coaster riding I decided to leave the pipe dripping, put a bucket underneath, and simply use a different pipe for the hot water supply (we have five heating zones, of which two are disconnected right now, as I am waiting for the radiators to come in).

Said and done. Here I am connecting the PEX lines to the system:

Here a shot of the T-pieces in place:

At 8:30pm the system was ready for lift off. I open the valves to fill the pipes, when in a sudden water came gushing from the old return pipe. #@&$!!! I had completely forgotten to cap off the old return pipe.

After getting parts and more soldering, I was ready to give it another try. That was shortly before 10pm. Open the floodgates and whoosh, more water. Turned out that one of my T-pieces wasn't soldered together as well as one wishes. #@&$!!!

I knew the whole day, that I was going to reward myself with a nice martini, after I finished this project, but now I couldn't wait any longer. Poured, not shaken or stirred!

At 10:30pm, at long last, I opened the valves and the water stayed where it was supposed to stay, in the pipes.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Savage Love ...

I was having a Savage Love moment today, actually it was a whole day, and it kinda started yesterday, actually a few weeks back, more precisely last year, but I digress. For those of you who don't know Dan Savage's weekly column Savage Love, read it at

How do you tell your oil burner service man that you love him, that he has a warm space in your heart, that he's the only guy for you, and that you can't do without him?

After we bought the Gunk Haus, we wanted to have the oil burner serviced for the cold season. Our oil man, Larry, gave us the numbers of two guys he knew. That's how we got to know Matt. He showed up, he was very friendly, very thorough at what he did, and forthcoming. I loved him right from the beginning.

Then we had some trouble with the heat on the third floor in the midst of winter. Panic. Our first call was to Matt, but he didn't call back. So we left another message, underlining the urgency of our situation. He finally called back, and showed up the next day. He was there for a good hour bleeding our five zone heating system, at the cost of zero dollars. You just have to love this man.

Well, it seemed that the fill valve for the boiler was broken and needed replacement. Matt said: You can do that yourself. Here's what you do. And he started explaining what to do. Why wouldn't I love that man? He teaches me how to take care of the boiler, and it doesn't cost me a dime. It took me a day, but I did it.

Then a few months back we decided to do the air conditioning in the beer hall. Our first call was to Matt, he does heating and cooling. Our second and third call were to him as well, until he finally called back. He showed up, we went over the scope of work, and he promised to provide an estimate. It never came, but we were busy, and therefore didn't follow up on it either.

At the beginning of October we tried again. It took several calls, until we finally got a hold of him. He showed up, and we went over the scope of work, and he promised an estimate for two days later. It never came. So we started leaving voice mail after voice mail. No response.

Yesterday I started the oil burner for the cottage, because a new tenant was about to move in. All I got though was some smoke coming out of it. A case for Matt. The voice mail I left went unanswered.

Today I called another oil burner service guy, I needed the problem taken care of. In addition, E! called Matt again, and left another voice mail. At last, he called back and promised to be there in an hour. It was three hours until he showed up, but I was happy as can be. He fixed the problem, as usual, and explained everything to me. Cost: $20. Gosh, I love the man.

All day today I had these visions of what Dan Savage would have to say about my relationship to Matt, which I knew would be DTMFA (if you don't know what this means, google it, this is a PG-13 blog), and I was ready to do just that, but that was before he showed up. Right now, I am in heaven, and hope that Matt shows back up next week as promised to service the oil burner in the main house.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watch What You Wish For ...

I bet you all know the feeling: The genie comes out of the bottle and grants you three wishes, when suddenly your stomach starts aching and you utter to yourself "I wish I didn't have those ten donuts before". The genie replies "Wish granted", whereupon you say "I wish I hadn't said that".

Well, you get the idea.

So, I wanted gutters on the house. As every good home owner knows, they keep the water away from the house, and that's a good thing. I got the gutters, and today I was out there in nasty weather, pulling leaves out of the gutters, lest they overflow. Actually they did, which is how I knew I had to clean them. Who would have thought, brand new gutters, and they're already clogged with leaves ... ;-)


Monday, October 27, 2008

Sold(i)er Up ...

I don't know, but ever since AL left us, things don't seem to be as exciting around here anymore. Quit whining, Dirk, soldier up.

I finished prepping for cutting the second floor heat tomorrow. I said cutting, not cutting off, mind. The problem with the second floor heat is that its supply pipes run exposed in the publicly accessible areas, which I don't like. I don't need a lawsuit, because someone burns himself on a 180°F (82°C) hot water pipe. So I ran some PEX tubing inside the walls, where they are out of sight, and out of touch.

To tie the PEX into the existing piping I had to solder up a few pieces of copper today, can you feel the excitement?

Whenever I do interrupt a working system, I like to do this first thing in the morning, and reserve the whole day, in case something goes wrong, and I need to get more parts. Thing is, it is supposed to get really cold on Wednesday, and I would like the heat to be working then.

While I'm at it, I rearranged the heat on the second floor to put most heat into the bedroom and the bathroom. If you don't know how baseboard radiant loops work, just believe me that I am making things better than they are today.

Now, if you think it is taking us a little too long already fixing this place up, well, here's a picture of our neighbors Lisa and Larry. Granted, they are building a house from scratch, which is actually somewhat easier than fixing up an existing place, but they are doing most of the work themselves, just like us. Nevertheless, they have been working on it longer already, and they will still be working on it when we are already open for business. So, don't complain about us taking our sweet time, it could be worse.


The Curse Of The Foam ...

What if you had your house insulated, and it actually worked!

At the end of August we had the entire first floor and beer hall roof insulated with Icynene spray foam. It costs more than fiberglass mats, but is a heck cheaper in the long run, easier to install, seals tighter, and has a lot more advantages.

Thing is, it really works, which in times can be annoying, particularly in the shoulder season (Übergangszeit von kaltem zu warmem Wetter oder umgekehrt), when you would like the place to pick up the outside temperature more quickly, in order to warm up the place without heating, or vice versa.

Here is a picture of the beer hall ceiling. Of course we still need to install wall and ceiling cover.

This picture shows to the right and bottom the spray foam in its raw installed form, after which it will be trimmed with a thin saw to fit the frame construction.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Community Support ...

Ever since we bought the Gunk Haus, and started renovations, people stopped by to find out who these crazies are to take on such a project.

You see, the old Hollywood Bar has had its history. It was a hopping place in its time, but has been neglected ever since its owner died six years ago. His wife wasn't too interested in it.

So it had been a bit of a sore spot for a while, but now these two kids started cleaning things up, changing things around, that caught people's attention.

Many people who drive by wave, honk, or give us the thumbs up. You feel like the whole neighborhood is waiting for us to open.

We also get a lot of unsolicited support, like from our neighbor Joe (no, not the one I had talked about before, but everybody around here is named Joe or Jim), who stopped by out of the blue (as usual), and lent us a tool for stripping the old paint off the siding. Or there is our neighbor Billiam of Liberty View Farm, who offered us to promote our restaurant through his extensive email list. Then there is Joe (that's the one), a retired baker from Long Island, who gave us advice, tips and recipes for pretzels and bread making.

Our presence also seems to have a positive impact on the community. Rich, a real estate broker and developer, bought a house two doors down, fixed it up, and it is now on the market. He told us that he would have never done that, if it weren't for us opening a restaurant. Or our dear neighbor Evelyn, who along with others started a Clintondale beautification project.

I don't want to take credit for all this, but I feel we have a positive influence on the community, which is a great feeling.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Another Day At The Gunk Haus ...

Today was one of those days where a lot happens, but nothing that would make the front page.

E! was busy painting the south side.

Ray's guys came over to install a piece of stainless steel back splash, which they didn't have last time around.

I continued pulling PEX tubing for the third floor heating. The aluminum enforced tube has a one inch outer diameter, and is tough to navigate, especially around turns, but it beats working with a torch next to 200 year old bone dry wood.

Aside from that was office work, book keeping, requesting a refund for over payment, and ordering radiators (Heizkörper) for the beer hall. I will be all giggly when they arrive.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Was heißt denn das?

Hier einmal ein Eintrag für meine Familie und deutschsprachigen Freunde. Wie Ihr vielleicht schon gemerkt habt, ist das Gunk Haus Blog in Englisch. Das macht es für Euch wahrscheinlich manchmal schwierig, da ich Wörter gebrauche, die man nicht unbedingt im Langenscheidt Wörterbuch findet. Manchmal schreibe ich die Übersetzung, oder deren Annäherung in Klammern hinter das entsprechende Wort, aber das mache ich wahrscheinlich nicht sehr konsequent.

Deshalb, seid nicht schüchtern nachzufragen wie man ein Wort übersetzt, ob das jetzt Aerial Lift (Hubarbeitsbühne) oder Thingamabob (Dingsbums) ist. Glaubt nicht, daß ich alles weiß. Ich gehe oft in ein Geschäft und weiß nicht, wie das Ding heißt, das ich kaufen will.

Neben ungewöhnlichen Wörtern, benutze ich auch viele kulturelle Referenzen oder Phrasen aus dem amerikanischen Alltag oder Film und Musik. Die lassen sich in der Regel schwer übersetzen und ich versuche es erst gar nicht. Wenn Ihr aber darüber stolpert, wie schon gesagt, nicht schüchtern sein, ich kann es ja mal probieren.


Reminiscing ...

The date came and went, and we missed it. A little over a year ago, we bought what was then the Hollywood Bar. It had been under that name since the 1930s, although it changed hands several times until we acquired it.

I remember vividly on the first day we took possession when E!'s brother in-law pointed out a pinhole leak (Haarriß oder so ähnlich) in the basement. Worlds collapsed for me, I had pictures of the water shorting the electrical and burning down the place before we even moved in.

That pinhole leak provided me with much agony for a few days, while I was trying to fix it with a propane torch and solder (Lötzinn). If the electrical didn't burn down the place, I certainly would with the torch. After two days I gave up, and we called a plumber.

E! and I have come a long way since, and learned a few tricks.

Today I worked on reconnecting the third floor heat to the boiler. There was a little soldering (löten) going on, but ever since that first day, I had promised myself to get rid of all that rotten copper piping. I have long since switched to PEX, a flexible plastic tube, which originally was used for radiant floor heating, but has since been approved for potable water (Trinkwasser).

No more pinhole leaks for me.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

You Can Call Me AL ...

It was a sad day. The inevitable happened, we had to part with our new found friend.

Over the last five weeks he had grown on us. First we were shy, but we got to know each other and bonded. In the morning we'd wake him up, toll around all day, and have a good time, and at night we'd put him to sleep.

In the beginning he was a hungry wolf, and we had to feed him tremendous amounts, but we learned to keep him from running idly in circles, and hunger subsided.

To him, we must have always been just little, scared kids, making him crawl around eagerly watching the tip-over alert. But on his way out, he showed us what he was really made of, racing around the house, climbing into his ride like it was nothing.

And at the final wave good-bye, the sky opened up and shed a few sad tears, and so did we.

We will miss you AL.

Gosh, we got so close to getting the north side done. Oh well, where is the ladder ...


Monday, October 20, 2008

Sugar Daddy ...

Ok, I officially declare United Rentals our sugar daddy. Yes, you guessed it, we still have the aerial lift. So we put it to work and started painting on the north side. If luck will have it and the aerial lift is still around, we'll finish it tomorrow.

Thing is, our sugar daddy has given us so much candy already that we don't even know what to eat anymore. We were discussing today what else we could do with the aerial lift after we finish the north side. Tree pruning, sure, but that won't keep you busy all day. I'd hate to see the bugger sit out front unused, but it may come to that.

In the last five weeks we clearly must have turned into aerial lift snobs, because today on the way to an auction we saw a JLG 660 SJ (we have a JLG 450 AJ), but quickly discovered how much better ours was in terms of flexibility and everything. And the other day on the parking lot of a Home Depot (hiesige Baumarktkette), we saw one of these tow-behind cherry pickers, and were just amused at how skimpy it was.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Endspurt (Final Sprint) ...

And another long day at the Gunk Haus. E! got the west side of the beer hall painted.

Just in time for me to take over the aerial lift and finish installing the siding on the north side. It was after dark, when I finally nailed down the last piece.

If United Rentals isn't picking up the aerial lift tomorrow, maybe we even get the north side painted. Cross your fingers ...


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Boring ...

Day 4 of not having the aerial lift picked up (I told you so didn't I). I know, it sounds like a broken record. Granted, I could drive the damn thing down to United Rental myself, after all, it is self-propelled, but simply driving it to the other side of the house already takes five minutes (that's a distance of less than 100 yards).

Ok, so we still have the aerial lift, and therefore still use it. Here is E! in action, painting the west side of the beer hall.

Yours truly meanwhile was back at the north side aluminum siding. I hope to finish this up tomorrow, with the help of the still available ... wait for it ... aerial lift!!!

As you can see, our life is fascinatingly boring, and completely controlled by a machine. Hmm, sounds like 1984, or Metropolis.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Free Lunches ...

Remember when I said that there are no free lunches, besides shit brown tile at Sherwood Tile in Newburgh (I was corrected today by E!'s sister, that they are in fact chocolate brown). Now, do you also remember that yesterday was pickup day for the aerial lift.

Well, it was still here today, all day, and unless they pay people weekend bonus, it will still be here on Monday. Now that is a yummy lunch ... :-)

Although we painted all the areas which we really couldn't have reached without the aerial lift, it does make it easier painting places that you could easily reach with a ladder.

Finally, I found the time and energy today to do some book keeping, and enter September's receipts. This is rather boring and tedious work, but totally necessary. If I would do it every week, it would only take me a few minutes, but I am a procrastinator, and therefore I only do it at the end of the quarter, at which point it takes me several hours.

Oh well, no free lunches, no wait ... ;-)


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Daycation ...

Today was going to be pickup day for the aerial lift. And with the prospect of rain we decided to take a daycation. As we were low on various supplies, we decided on a trip to Danbury, Connecticut. There are two stores in Danbury, which we don't have around: Costco (eine Grosshandelskette) and Trader Joe's (ein Lebensmittelladen der besonderen Art). Aside from that, Danbury features a Five Guys, which we didn't go to today. That is because we already had lunch at East Fishkill Provisions, a smoke house, which makes great sausages, including Weisswurst, and Blutwurst (blood sausage), and various other yummy things I remember well from home. I am certain some of their products will make it onto our menu.

When we got home the aerial lift was still there. Well, I guess we'll use it until they pick it up.

Speaking of pickup, I fixed the break line on the pickup truck this morning before we left, which is very helpful. The pickup is a $500 pile of rust, but it works (most of the time), and it allows us to haul stuff around, get lumber, and pick up shit brown tile for free ... ;-)


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Gunk Haus Rising ...

I am sorry I didn't post any pictures of Gunk Haus yesterday, as I had promised. It was a long day again, stopping only after sunset, and I do hit limits on occasion. But here it is, Gunk Haus at sunrise:

Now, United Rentals was supposed to pick up the aerial lift today, but they were rather slammed today, that they didn't make it. Well, one more day on the rig, for free of course, and here is E! painting the windows to the beer hall:

Mike and his gang came by yesterday, and pulled the wire for our new 3-phase service, which requires four wires, each of which must have been about 3/4 inch thick plus insulation, I kid you not. A total of 120 feet of 3/4 inch copper wire, don't ask how much that costs these days.


Monday, October 13, 2008

No Free Lunches ...

As you all know, nothing is free in life, except for a palette of shit brown tile at Sherwood Tile in Newburgh, NY. E!'s brother in law (Schwager) had noticed them, and told us right away.

So we figured, we'll go get them, or at least as much as fits on our pickup truck. Ever since the early days, we have been hunters and gatherers (Jaeger und Sammler). This hasn't changed, and knowing that tile is expensive, you want to grab it while you can, even if the color would be most fitting for a torture room.

So, E! took off with said truck to go get some, while I was still up on the rig trying to finish some work (remember, the aerial lift will leave Wednesday morning). After it got too dark to continue working, I cleaned up, to take Piglet out for a walk, when the phone rang.

It was E!, she was still down in Newburgh (about 20 miles away). The brakes on the truck had started to feel spongy (schwammig). So I drove down to Newburgh, and assessed the situation, and didn't you know, the car was dripping brake fluid (Bremsfluessigkeit) all over the place. No chance you could drive it on the emergency brake alone for 20 miles.

That's what we have AAA (der hiesige ADAC) for. No wait, that's what we have AAA Plus for, because you get 100 miles of free towing. To make a long story even longer, we call AAA, and an hour later the tow truck arrives.

We load my pickup truck on the truck, E! takes off for home, and I sit down in the tow truck. The driver wants to go backwards, but doesn't find the gear (Gang), so he simply goes forward, crossing the lawn (Rasen), but even that sounds painful. He's working the gear box (Gangschaltung), and the crunching noice doesn't sound comforting. He declares that we have to go back to his garage (Autowerkstatt) to get another truck.

So we drive 20 minutes in the opposite direction where we were suppsoed to go to. We get to the shop, it takes another 20 minutes to move my pickup from one tow truck to the other, and off we go. I got home at 10:30pm (22:30 Uhr).

What a busy day. That called for a drink. A good occasion to open the bottle of Scharlachberg Meisterbrand, which we got from Joe as a wedding gift. I will tell you about Joe some other time, remind me if I forget.


Batman ...

While I was up in the corner of the roof, I took off a piece of trim, about 24 by 12 inches, because it had started to come off anyway. And lo and behold, I saw this:

Now folks, those little wormies there are called guano, in other words, this is what bat shit looks like, piles of bat shit.

When I looked at the trim piece I had taken off, I found two more bats, clinging to the trim like they were stranded on a piece of wood in the middle of the ocean:

They clearly were baffled (verwirrt) by the sudden exposure to light, and being woken halfway through the night, pardon, day. So I did what you are supposed to do (alright, expelling them from their home for not paying rent isn't what you're supposed to do), when you catch a bat, you release it at a tree, so that they can climb up the tree, and fly away (bats are horrible at starting from the ground).

And because I am a nice person, and bats are great to have around, I went to Lowe's (hiesige Baumarktkette), and bought a bat house. Let's hope those critters settle in there.

Speaking of bats, on Saturday we had a bat in our house. Well, we had left the doors open after sundown, because the weather is really nice right now, and didn't you know, a bat must have been thirsty and figured, it would stop by for a pint of beer. Now, what do you do, if you have a bat in your house? You open the doors and windows, because a bat really wants to be outside (after the pint of beer of course), and they sense the flow of fresh air. Lo and behold, it worked. Case closed ... :-)


Into Thin Air ...

Granted, painting the gable 35 feet up in the air does not compare to climbing Mount Everest, but heck, you still have a great view (to the left, the Shawangunk Ridge, or just The Gunks, in the far distance The Catskills):

And as they always tell you: Never look down! ... ;-)

We are on our final push to finish up painting, at least anything that requires the aerial lift, because it is going back on Wednesday. I'll post pictures of the place tomorrow.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Leaf Peeping ...

Leaf peeping season is upon us, and boy look how gorgeous it is. The maples next to our parking lot look like they're ablaze (enflammt).

With the exception of a few cold nights and days, it has been a fantastic fall so far. We barely had any rain, and temperatures during the day have been in the 60s (15 Grad Celsius), up to the 70s (21 Grad Celsius).


This Side And That Side ...

Three more days until we need to return the aerial lift, and we're making headway. As you can see, E! has the east side almost done. Of course we still need to paint the first floor (Erdgeschoss), but we don't need an aerial lift for that.

Around the corner I was busy reinstalling the aluminum siding, which is coming along nicely, though I may not be done before we return the aerial lift, in other words we will have to paint it by hand. This will ultimately be my job, as it means being two stories up on a ladder. Now folks, I can't stress this enough, E! is afraid of heights, and she deserves all the credit in the world for what she does right now, being up on the aerial lift every day.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Bad Economy? What Bad Economy? ...

Ok, the next one to tell me the economy is in bad shape will get an earful from me. Ever since we started work on the Gunk Haus we have had trouble with contractors. Not that they do bad work, no, the ones we hired always did great jobs. No, it is about getting to them, getting them to respond to us, getting them to show up.

On Tuesday, I called five air conditioning contractors to have some work done. One actually showed up (their office is only two minutes walking distance from our place), one called back (actually his wife called back, announcing that he would call back), and that's it.

When we did our roof in April, we had only gotten one bid, simply because that was the only contractor who called us back, showed up, and gave us a bid. Out of fairness, I have to say that we did get a second bid, but it wasn't for a metal roof, which is what we wanted.

If all those folks would come to our restaurant, and would have to wait only five minutes before any wait staff would pay attention to them, I bet you they'd be pretty upset.

I don't think, the economy is in bad shape, or maybe it isn't in too bad a shape yet. Maybe all those contractors are still spoiled from a more thriving economy, and don't want to bother with little fish.


O Mike, Where Art Thou ...

Mike (the electrician) didn't show again today, which wouldn't be a problem, if he didn't need the aerial lift to finish up some work on our new 3-phase service. Thing is, the aerial lift will go back on Wednesday morning.

Speaking of the aerial lift, it blew another o-ring (Dichtungsring) today, and was leaking hydraulic fluid again. The service guy came by in the afternoon and fixed it, but we, notabene E!, didn't wait for that, and went back up to get some more work done. Now give that girl some credit, she rocks!!! And here's the picture to prove it:

And here is yours truly, working around the electrical wires. Granted, they are all insulated, but it still makes you feel queasy (mulmig):


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Visitors From Outer Space ... (Updated 1x)

Today, Mike (the electrician) and his gang were supposed to run the wire for our new 3-phase service and install the panel. Well, that didn't happen. Instead, E! and I started painting the east side of the building.

At last, not unexpected, actually very much announced, our friends Stefanie and Sven returned back to us from their trip through New England. They had a great time on their three week camping trip, and we had a lot to talk about.

Sorry, no pictures today, it's too late, and I am too tired. E! is already sleeping soundly besides me.


Here is a picture of Stefanie and Sven with the RV (recreational vehicle = Wohnmobil) they had rented for their trip. That thing had it all, bathroom, shower, kitchen, fridge, satellite TV, everything.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Raison D'Être ...

Today was another busy day. Mike's (the electrician) gang got the panel up on the thingamabob, installed a conduit, and pulled the wire to the pole by the road.

E! meanwhile was back up on the aerial lift, until she got kicked off by the gang, who needed it to install the conduit tower for our new 3-phase service to the house. They should finish that tomorrow, when I will take pictures.

As I am still waiting for the shipment of PEX tubing, so that I can hook up some radiators again, I kept myself busy with the north side. Yesterday I had taken off the aluminum siding on the upper half, and today I installed house wrap, so that we can reinstall the aluminum siding starting tomorrow.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Torturer ...

Oh, it feels so good, chasing your girl out of bed at 7:00am, make her coffee half decaf (entkoffeiniert), give her the stink eye (boeser Blick), if she isn't up on the aerial lift by 8:00am, and make her stay at least 15 feet above ground until the sun sets.

Ok, who the heck do you guys think I am?! Seriously, I'd rather have E! stay in bed and be pampered all day long than see the anguish in her eyes before she gets up there each morning.

Yet, we have a lot of work to do, and much of it takes some skill and knowledge, or simply strength, which makes a lot of work fall into my lap, and therefore E! gets stuck with jobs that may look less glorious, more dirty, or simply boring.

Rest assured though, that this will be turned upside down once we open the restaurant. E! is a great business woman, she has a fantastic palette (Geschmacksnerven), and knows how to manage people, while I will be stuck cleaning glasses, roto-rooting overflown toilets, and schlep provisions around.

E! and I are a team with individual strengths and weaknesses, and we complement each other rather well.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Thingamabob ...

That, whose name we don't speak, because we don't know it, is taking shape:

Tomorrow, Mike (the electrician) is going to come over, and start work on getting our new electrical service to the house, and to the thingamabob, which E! likes to call chalet.

Today was a cold(er) day, especially in the shade, with a slight breeze. Not a good day to be up on the aerial lift, but E! pulled through, and got two thirds of the east side prepared.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Comments ...

I just went through the settings, and realized that in order to provide comments you'd have to be a registered user. I changed it so that anybody can provide comments. So, rant away ... ;-) ... or better yet, give E! a pat on the shoulder for her courageous task of being up on the aerial lift every day.


Whatdoyoucallthisanyway ...

Yesterday was a long day, E! was up on the rig the whole day, and she kicked ass. She got the south side mostly done (to paint the left side, we'll have to move the aerial lift around the house, which we'll do after the east side):

Meanwhile I finished work on the stand/cover for the service panel (Sicherungskasten) for the parking lot side. E! was very kind, and let me play around a little, spending almost three days on this project. I always wanted to do a little timber frame (Fachwerk) project, and this was just perfect. Below you see the two halfs of the stand/cover/whateveryouwanttocallit.

And here is half the stand/cover/youknowwhat assembled and set in concrete footings, for which I used clay flues from the old kitchen chimney, that I had taken down earlier in the year.


Friday, October 3, 2008

In The Hood ...

Before we get to today's excitement, as promised, shots of my Schatzi in action:

On to the main attraction: The Hood!!!

Today, Ray Chung and his gang came over to install the kitchen hood (Abzugshaube). Ten by three and a half feet of stainless steel. Due to the low ceiling in our kitchen we had to have it custom made, though most often they are custom made anyway.

The gang was here all day, fadoodling (herumfummeln) with the hood, cutting holes, welding stuff to it, and finally ...

... installing it. Isn't it a beauty?


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Holes ...

Back at digging holes. As I mentioned the other day, I was cutting concrete in the dish station to dig a hole for the grease trap (Ölabscheider). Turned out there were two layers of concrete, of which the first popped right off, but the second was sturdy.

Here I had chipped away a corner with the chisel already:

It turned out that underneath the concrete were just rocks, which is good, as it makes excavation easier. It also helped with the second layer of concrete. I basically fished out the rocks from underneath the concrete, thereby making it more bouncy, and thus break easier. So, after about two hours this morning, I had the remaining concrete removed:

I halfway expected to find dead bodies, drugs, or money in that rubble, but all we ever found in this place was an issue of Chocolate Pussy from the seventies (before Brazilian waxes became standard), and a newspaper announcing heavy losses by the army during an offensive in Belgium, er, did I mention that it was dated February 1945.

I will leave this ditch for now, as other things have priority. I continued work on the cover for the electrical service panel on the parking lot side. Hopefully by tomorrow I will finish it, and set it up, which requires digging two more holes.

Meanwhile E! was brave as always and went up on the aerial lift again to start painting the south side of the house. I was up there today painting the roof trim, and I was glad to be on solid ground again afterward. She is a mighty dragon, and deserves respect. I'll post pictures of her work tomorrow.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Is Upon Us ...

Fall is coming, and it may turn out to be a pretty one, as can be seen from the sugar maple on our parking lot, which already shows hues of orange and yellow.


Bouncy, Bouncy ...

Yesterday we woke up at 6:30am from the sound of the aerial lift starting up right in front of our bedroom. Well, we were in bed, and I was certain we had taken the key. Turns out, the repair guy had an early start. The problem was a blown o-ring (Dichtungsring), which led to the leaking of hydraulic oil.

As we were up, we got an early start as well. E! started prepping the south-side.

Meanwhile, I prepped the east-side, by replacing missing clap board. Before ...

... and after.

Originally, I was going to continue work on the hole for the grease trap (Ölabscheider), but the siding took priority. But this is how it works for us. Priorities shift, often very quickly. This is usually because we need to prepare something for a contractor to do their work, and less because we aren't as organized, though I wouldn't throw that too far away ... ;-)