My Big Renovation Blog

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2 steps forward… February 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — frogsboro @ 5:41 pm

My housemate says my cat wants to go vegan.

thanks to Tyler for snapping and sending this pic

thanks to Tyler for snapping and sending this pic

And the pile of bricks in the backyard is apparently in “the wrong place” and needs to be moved so the grading work can be done.

And I just invited 70 people to come to a party in an empty, ugly house–what am I thinking?

Life is so complicated.


Crossing the Line February 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — frogsboro @ 4:06 pm
Fresh paint appears -- yellow means "gas"

Fresh paint appears -- yellow means "gas"

Arrived home for lunch yesterday to find still-wet paint marking
a line from the back of the house, across the sidewalk, and over the street.
Gas line–was my best guess. Seeing as it started where my meter ought to be.


Doug sez:  I had the utilities called to start marking the underground thingys.

Yellow is gas. Telephone is orange, power is red, water is blue and sewer will be green. We’ll be busting out all over with color!!

An artist who was into mapping once told me what pink meant (check out artist Mark Bradford),
but I’ve forgotten.


Hurry up and wait. February 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — frogsboro @ 4:30 pm


Today my builder sez:

Jennifer,  the grader  is on alert to start asap. He has a couple of jobs in the works and can start Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Electrician is checking with Duke Power to set up proceedings concerning the temporary power pole. I have plenty of preliminaries to start on today or tomorrow to get ready for grader. I will call to have utilities locate services on property. They will spray the individual items so that we know where they are buried.

Also, permit went in for approval yesterday– seems there is some additional issue about no construction in the (creek) buffer and a debate over a few words in the ordinance. SIGH. We will need a survey now, to show the location of the “creek.”

In conclusion, Doug adds:  if it ain’t one thing, it’s your brother!

SIGH. Okay– time to find a surveyor. And pray the planning department gods are in a good mood this week. 🙂


A long, long way to go February 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — frogsboro @ 8:43 pm

Will it ever be done? Will it ever get started?!

Despite the fact that I drove through snowflakes (!?) in downtown Durham at lunchtime today, we had another mild weekend. Sunday, out on a walk with Una, I picked a bunch of daffodils from a vacant lot on the 400 block of Mallard–where someone’s front yard must have been at one time.

Around the ‘hood recently: the folks at the corner of Oakwood and Primitive appropriated the “Don’t Trash My Spot” sign from across
the street for their own yard, and then promptly dumped an armchair, a lampshade, and three (exceptionally ugly) gold end
table frames down the bank where the sign had been.
Perhaps we should return their furniture to their porch with a note saying, “You must have dropped this.”

Marc checks out the inside of the house for the first time

Marc checks out the inside of the house for the first time

Neighbor Jessie, who is a photographer, and I have agreed to take over the Cleveland-Holloway Blog. We interviewed another Mallard Ave. resident over the weekend as our first profile.

Jessie took the pictures in this post this past weekend in my house–my housemate Marc had never seen the inside before.

I still cannot quite believe it is ever going to be livable.


Sign of Things to Come February 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — frogsboro @ 4:11 pm
Sweet Olive ventures out

Sweet Olive ventures out

Last Sunday we got a sunny respite from the winter weather, and people and animals alike were out enjoying the spring preview on Mallard Ave.


Meet the Architect

Filed under: Uncategorized — frogsboro @ 2:58 pm

Doug puts on his contractor’s hat and comes for a meeting.


Groundhog Day February 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — frogsboro @ 9:25 pm

Six more weeks of winter — that’s the word from our large rodent friends. Not surprising, although it was approaching spring-like this past weekend.

Leeloo approves auction buys

Leeloo approves auction buys

Last Friday I schedule a doctor’s appointment in a panic because half my face was a little numb, my left eye had been twitching for over a week,  and in general I was feeling pretty weird–I was afraid I was about to have a stroke. Earlier that day I had finally decided on a contractor and was in a panic over whether or not I was doing the right thing. Then I called my banker to discuss the fact that a set-back from the creek now means I cannot build my screened porch without a variance. He is looking into whether or not this impacts the appraisal enough that it will lower the amount of money I can borrow. I was a little stressed.
Saturday morning I awoke with a swollen eye, a tight chest, and a racing mind. Maybe I wasn’t having a stroke after all, but a heart attack. Turned out, I was just getting a bad sty.
So I spent the day treating myself with hot compresses and regular doses of Rescue Remedy. By noon, I was calm enough to spend a fairly normal weekend–although with somewhat diminished vision–and was able to resume my preferred stance for this whole endeavor: one of taking things as they come, and enjoying the whole process as an elaborate game. I even made it to my first ever auction Saturday evening and bought a couple of items that will look great in the new house, which, despite all impediments, I am able to envision more and more each day.
Boy was that fun! (the auction).

Sunday I assessed the damage to the “creek” and backyard by the recent rains. I had cleared the area of debris last month, but now it was strewn again with beer cans, plastic bags and enough Styrofoam cups to supply a week’s worth of AA meetings. I picked up a few of the recyclables, but didn’t see the point in clearing it all up when the next rain will just flood more garbage into my yard. A closer inspection of the creek shows that what looks somewhat natural, if pretty mucky, from a distance, is really a fairly man-made affair. The majority of what’s in there turns out to be bits of brick, pieces of tile, chunks of concrete, broken glass, twisted wire, shredded plastic, rubber, and corroded metal — not rock. It is so nice to know that the powers-that-be care so much about what I build near this “creek” I now steward, but not enough to have done anything to keep it clean over the past 50 years.

The Crick

The Crick

None of this seems to bother the birds, though. They were there, wildly alive in the trees.
An instant balm– a miracle of nature four blocks from Main Street.