Demo: Day 2


"Mom, why is the chimney so crooked?"

Good question.

Guess it explains why that wooden framing around it was twice it's size. 

A view into the kitchen…from our old closet. Amazing what a few less walls does…

And this used to be a stairwell. Check out the linoleum we found. Guessing this was the original kitchen location...



Demo: Day 1


We got it!!!!!




A "virtual" haus tour!

Many of you have been able to experience our Winchester House of Mystery but many of you haven't. And somehow words don't really do it justice.

So I figured what better way than to give you a very basic walk through…pre-demolition.

Haus Tour Part 1 from maushaus on Vimeo.

Haus Tour Part 2 from maushaus on Vimeo.
Haus tour part 3 from maushaus on Vimeo.


Delayed Permit Issuance

That is NOT the subject line you ever want to get in your inbox. Especially not when you are standing inside City Hall, waiting to talk to the person about picking up your permit.

Basically I couldn't contain the frustration any longer and when it was my turn to approach the counter, the tears they were a flowing.

And you know what the dear building inspector said to me "We've all been crying at some point in the last few weeks." Again, not exactly what you want to hear.

Our plans were approved on Friday September 5th. Yes, approved! But my verbal confirmation came with the fine print: it takes about 4 days for issuance and the department would be closed for a training the following week for 4 days, then it was an alternate Friday so they would be closed again but I was told we would have our permit on Monday, September 15th.

That week delay was actually a breath of fresh air: We moved out. We emptied the house. We emptied the fridge. We drew on the walls. We set up life in San Francisco.

Two days ago, on Monday, as I stood amongst 15 others who were "checking in" on their projects, I suspected things were not as they should be. But I was still smiling, still patient, still understanding. I was told our plans were on a desk, with 2 others, awaiting a signature. Wednesday afternoon would be the earliest it COULD be available.

So today, on Wednesday, in the afternoon, I returned. And as I was waiting, I just happened to check my email.

Today's setback was an IT problem - one that has slowed the issuance process to a snail's pace. And when I say issuance process I mean the process of generating a yellow piece of paper that says I am allowed to start working on our house in the manner that was approved. No compensation, no appeasement, no "here's what you get instead", just a whole lot of "wish we could do more."

There is nothing we can do. I could play hardball but I don't even know what playing hardball would like in this situation. It is apparent that there is something seriously out of alignment within the city's Building and Planning Department and the atrociously long bureaucratic permitting process is just the tip of the iceberg. There are whisperings of hirings and firings, new rules, new routines. And yes, tears. And yes, waiting.

We are no longer waiting for outside plan checkers to peruse our plans. We are no longer waiting for comments to be emailed to us. We are no longer waiting to answer questions. We are no longer waiting to hire a contractor. We are no longer waiting to move out. We are just waiting for a piece of paper.

And today I was told it could be a week, probably less, hopefully not more.


Check: Pre-con meeting complete

We are one step closer to getting this show on the road. Sort of.

I just got finished with my first official "pre-con meeting" which usually happens once you have your permit but we are doing things a little backwards. What is a "pre-con meeting" you ask?

Well, it is 15-20 minute meeting, at your house with the architect, the builder, a person from the Planning Dept, a person from the Building Dept, a person from the Fire Dept, a person from the Police Dept and a person from the Public Works Dept.

Of the 8 who were required to be here, 5 showed.

Ann talked about the scope.

John was told how to manage a construction site, as if he didn't know.

We all learned that pissing off your neighbors is a REALLY bad thing to do (there are 15 projects in our little town that have red flags because neighbors complained about something) and that waiting until the last minute to get a change approved is not a good idea. So submit changes early.

The Police and Fire and Public Works representatives didn't show so the Planner gave the "highlights" of what they would have told us:

Don't block the street - leave 11 ft clearance at all times.

Don't work outside of the allotted construction hours.

Don't rinse paint brushes at the curb because all water runs to our creeks.

Don't piss of your neighbors.

I do get why this is useful and maybe even necessary, it just doesn't seem like the best use of everyone's time. But none the less, it is a rule of the game and we started this game, so we are playing along. Can we please just get started now?


Don't draw on the walls...

…unless they are about to be demolished.

Home is wherever the people you love are

It's 3am and a little boy was having trouble sleeping an hour ago which means that I am now wide awake.

And right at this very moment, I am utterly grateful for my iphone in the dark, Facebook, my friend Lesley and the author who wrote...

 "A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul. But a home isn’t always a physical structure, or a specific location on a map. Home is wherever the people you love are, whenever you’re with them. It’s not a defined place, but a space in your heart and mind that builds upon itself like little bricks being stacked to create something stable that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go."

Boom. There it is. A big fat reality check. My pity party is over.

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