Monthly Archives: October 2016

project addition: an update

I had grand plans for the weekend, but my body is not cooperating. In the span of eight days, I’ve had a violent stomach virus, an eye injury that required two visits to the doctor, general seasonal allergies which have morphed into a head cold, and now I have a high fever with all over body aches. I’m hoping it’s not the flu, and it’s just general sinus misery. I can’t really miss work tomorrow, so I’m crossing my fingers that things take a turn for the better overnight. I’m trying to rest as much as possible, but I’m already bored with myself.

I haven’t had the energy to post anything about the addition plans, and M’s been working through some more of the skylight and Nanawall details anyway, so I haven’t been in the drawings since Saturday morning. I have a corneal abrasion, so I can’t wear contacts and I’m not supposed to read – which probably also means I should limit computer time. Sometimes I’m not the best at following doctor’s orders.

But I will give you a quick report on the Conditional Use Hearing: It was completely uneventful – which is a good thing, I think, but rather anti-climatic. The notice has been posted on the lamppost right in front of our house for three weeks, so there’s always this sort of back-of-the-mind fear that someone will show up in opposition to the project. We were number ten of eleven projects on the agenda, so we kept watching people leave as the hearing went on. We decided I’d present the project, and so I had a brief summary in my head to give at the microphone. I stated my name and the address, but before I could say another word, the person leading the hearing interrupted, saying “so… we’ve met several times about this, and you’re building a garage with a living unit above it, and an addition, and we have all the approvals and the letter of support from your alderman, yadda yadda…” and then he asked the two standard questions he asked everyone, and I answered that “no” we weren’t going to endanger the welfare of anyone in the neighborhood or contribute to the downfall of civilized society with our project, and we were done. No one else stood to speak for the project, or against it, so although we have to wait two weeks for notification of their verdict, we’re feeling very confident that we’re approved to move forward.

What potential stumbling blocks does that leave? Well, we submit the bid package now for pricing, so there’s always that whole money stumbling block that could drive us back to the drawing board on a few items. And at the same time we’ll be submitting for the building permit. Typically this would wait until after we have a firm bid in hand in case there are any changes. But since we are in a federal historic district, the project is also reviewed by the Cultural Resources Office, and there is the chance that they could have some comments that we’d have to address. It would be good to know this sooner rather than later. We are using approved materials and our house is not on a corner lot, so we have much more leeway than if we had two “public facades” as our neighbor to the east does.

Then we hammer out the finances, work with our contractor on the construction schedule, negotiate some tree removal items with the neighbors, and break ground for phase one – the addition. So there’s still a lot to do, and we’re behind our more than ambitious schedule that we outlined earlier this year, but slowly, steadily, we’re getting there.

Maybe my body’s just trying to tell me something. “Slow down, you’ve been working really hard. It’s going to work out. There are a million decisions to be made, but they don’t all have to be made tonight.” E brushed my hair for fifteen minutes, which felt like heaven, and now I’m off to slide into clean pajamas, make a cup of tea, and doze off to the sound of M working next to me and baseball in the background.

wednesday morning in the garden


Yesterday brought cooler temperatures, and another stunning sunrise. It’s dark when we drop off E at school these days. Her classes start so early. But the sky is waking up on our right, and we catch glimpses of the pink hued sky between the houses on each block as we drive her to school. F put up no arguments about the garden this week, a pleasant change from her typical resistance.




We picked up coffee and steamed apple cider and a couple of breakfast sandwiches to eat, and parked at the garden while we finished them up. It was light once we arrived, but still chilly. Delightful, really.





We weren’t as rushed on this morning. We were able to visit the maze and the secret paths without any nagging. She was in a collecting mood, so her hands and arms were soon full. She stopped every thirty feet or so to re-adjust everything. This worked well for my photo taking too – we’re an odd couple as we walk, rarely side-by-side, usually one in front and one lagging behind, distracted by something.





The holiday lights are being installed throughout the garden. It seems early, but I know that November is just around the corner. I’m not ready for fall to be over. It feels like it’s just starting to settle in. As she walks, F wishes for mittens. It’s not that cold, but we can sense it coming. She decides she’ll put a pair in her backpack, just in case. She shoves her hands in her pockets for a moment, but she can’t resist picking up sticks along the way. The sticks are resting in my trunk for a few days, until I’m certain she’s forgotten about them. Until next Wednesday, when she discovers something new along our walk.




admiring: Hamilton, in all its glory

Since the Broadway hit Hamilton is a frequent topic of conversation in our house – to the point that the seven-year-old will bust out lyrics like nobody’s business – “Hey guys, I want to be in the room where it happens!” – I thought I’d highlight a few fun things we’re considering for holiday gifts in these parts.

But first, I wanted to recommend the fantastic documentary – Hamilton’s America, the first in PBS’s Great Performances series.


It aired on PBS last Friday night, but my understanding is that it is available for streaming for four weeks, and after that point, you can still access it if you have PBS Passport (a benefit for PBS supporters, as we are). It was phenomenal. We loved watching the back story of how Miranda and his talented team worked for six years on this production, but it’s far more than just the story of how a show gets made. There are interviews with historians, politicians, artists, playwrights, musicians. Cast members visit and tour historical sites and view and touch journals and writing desks and weapons from the story. At one point near the end of the documentary, as they are discussing the inspiration behind the song “One Last Time” about George Washington stepping down from power, and the peaceful transition to a new leader, we were all pointing at the screen and shouting “This is so RELEVANT!” It’s just so much fun to deep dive into a subject in a new way, and it’s a testament to this living, breathing work of art that it’s so profoundly engaging and smart. So watch it!

This book is purchased for the little one:


I’m picking these up at the Book Fair next month for the big one:



And t-shirts, right?


I’m already excited for Christmas morning.

If you’ve got other Hamilton-inspired items, please let me know!