The Chronicles of the Mole Family, Chapter 5

We have windows!  I realize that some people might take this state of affairs for granted in their house, but when you have been providing a banner year for your propane company’s revenues by semi-heating a house with huge gaping holes in it, windows are a positive development.  We even have state-of-the-art windows, which are made of a composite material for the exterior frame and wood on the interior frame.  The result is a window that lasts longer, being less susceptible to rotting.  (I am quoting verbatim here, as I do not pretend to know anything at all about windows.)

Here is what the new-fangled windows look like:

new-fangled windows

The exterior framing has been completed (yay!), and the crew is now busy framing the interior.  The foyer will be a 2 story entryway, and the kids’ rooms (including real closets and their own bathrooms) are taking shape.

Here is the bedroom for our 13 year old:

bedroom for child #1

And here is the bedroom for our 10 year old:

bedroom #2

We are thinking about going to a make-your-own-tile place and have each child make a tile that can then be put in their bathrooms.  It will be a nice, personalized touch to add to their rooms.

And did I mention that each of the bathrooms (with the exception of the guest bathroom) will have heated floors??  Naturally, the boys in the family have been completely indifferent to this epic development, while the girls have been dancing jigs of joy at the news.  Clearly, this is an X and Y chromosome differentiator issue.

Two Gentlemen of Verona

We saw Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Shakespeare Theatre in DC on Friday.  We have been season ticket holders for over 10 years.  Our philosophy on the Shakespeare Theatre season is that we go to the Shakespeare plays, but we are hit-and-miss on the non-Shakespeare plays.  Plays by playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw and Christopher Marlowe are good, but plays by Henrik Ibsen and Harold Pinter are not.

We very much enjoyed this particular production of Two Gentlemen of Verona.  The play itself is generally believed to be one of the first (if not the first) plays written by Shakespeare, and you can see early versions of plot devices in this play that he uses in subsequent plays.  The staging was also excellent and creative.  The characters were dressed semi-historically (with doublets and long gowns), but the set was somewhat post-apocalyptic, and there was music from Rihanna and U2 (both of which, I’m fairly sure, post-date William Shakespeare).  The acting was well done, and we very much enjoyed seeing Euan Morton, whom we had seen before as the lead character, Leo Frank, in Parade at Ford’s Theatre and as Anatoly Sergievsky in Chess at Signature Theatre.  We think he’s a very gifted actor and singer, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him at the Shakespeare Theatre.  The rest of the cast was very good as well, but it’s always nice to see a familiar face in a production.

Chronicles of the Mole Family, Chapter 4

We use propane for our stove (at least, when we had a kitchen), the heating system, and to power the backup generator.  We have 3 large propane tanks that get refilled on a quarterly basis or so.  Apparently, the last time we were scheduled to get our propane tanks refilled, the truck drove by, looked at the chaos that is our house, and (understandably) concluded that no one was living there.  Naturally, we didn’t discover this until Sunday, after a couple of days of sub-freezing temperatures.  The tipoff:  no heat.  (We are clever, aren’t we?)  Our wondrous contractor, Mr. Le, came by with a space heater Sunday morning, which managed to keep the basement heated to about 64 degrees.  And temperatures today will be in the high 40s or low 50s, so it shouldn’t be too bad.  But I am really, really hoping that the propane folks can come by today and refill our tanks.  Heat in January in DC is a good thing!  Or, alternatively, we could move to either California or Hawaii.  (Upside:  warm weather year round.  Downside:  still trying to come up with one.)  🙂

Postscript:  The Suburban Propane guy came around 4:45 yesterday afternoon and filled up the tanks.  He also came downstairs with me to make sure that the pilot light didn’t need to be manually lit and that the heating system kicked back on properly.  It was so very nice of him!!

Chronicles of the Mole Family, Chapter 3

Construction continues to progress nicely.  The goal is to finish the exterior framing by the end of this week, so that weather will not impact the work going forward.  (Of course, if we do have a significant snowstorm, no one is going to be able to get to our house to do any interior work, but I digress.)

Here’s what the house currently looks like on the outside:

Exterior house view


The interior framing continues as well.  Some before and during photos:

Family room below:

family room - before

family room - during


Photos of the study:

study - before

study - during


A photo of what will be a 2 story foyer but is now just looking up into one of the bedrooms:

foyer - during


The Mole Family continues to do well in their subterranean existence.  I was out shopping with our 13 year old daughter and her best friend last Friday.  (Translation:  I drove the girls to the mall and was politely requested to stay as far away from them as possible.)  🙂  Upside:  avoiding the conversation of two 13 year old girls (see dictionary definition for “insipid”) and preserving my hearing by not having to go into stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle.

Our 10 year old son got braces yesterday.  It will be a few days of milkshakes and soft foods for him, I’m afraid.  His dinner of choice last night was mint chocolate chip ice cream.  Fortunately, he has a high threshold for pain (unlike the aforementioned 13 year old daughter) so this should be a very temporary state of affairs.

Chronicles of the Mole Family, Chapter 2

We got a tour of the structure that’s been framed on the right side of the house over the weekend (I know—it’s kind of strange to get a tour of your own house, but we haven’t wanted to be overly neurotic about the renovation–just normally neurotic).  The 3rd garage bay is in good shape, and the master bedroom, closets, and sitting room have been framed as well.  Actually seeing the new rooms take shape is tremendously exciting, because it makes the whole renovation seem more real, somehow.  The construction is going smoothly and on schedule so far.

You can see the framing for the master bathroom (on the right) and two huge closets in the middle and on the left (yay!–but only one of them is for me):

closets & bathroom

This is the new and improved master bedroom:

master bedroom

They have started the addition on the left side of the house, which will be the new pool table room:

left hand addition

Regarding our living arrangements, we arrived at an additional truth.  You cannot put a wet cast iron pan (no matter how sturdy) on an electric burner.  Apparently, unlike a gas stove, bad things happen when you do that, such as the cast iron pan cracking.  I think Jim would have preferred to lose his left arm rather than the cast iron pan.  It was a sad day for the Lintott family.  🙁


Chronicles of the Mole Family, Chapter 1

We have been living in the basement for about 3 weeks now, and certain truths are beginning to emerge.  First, with 4 people sharing 1 bathroom, planning is an indispensable part of the process, especially in the evening and in the morning.  It’s very manageable as long as showers are plotted out in conformance with the family’s schedule.

Second, having 2 televisions is a huge plus.  For whatever unfathomable reason, I am the only person in my family who likes watching football (I am considering a DNA test to see if there really is any shared DNA with my children) :).  So, with college bowl season upon us and the NFL playoffs about to begin, having another television so that Jim and the kids can watch something other than grown men giving each other concussions reduces family complaints.

Third, having “only” an electric range doesn’t impact my cooking (mainly consisting of boiling water, microwaving leftovers, etc.), but it does mean Jim has to learn to cook like normal people do.  Rather than having 6 double-ring gas burners, he has to live with 4 electric burners.  It’ll be interesting to see the learning process.

Fourth, we all have to be much more disciplined about our stuff.  With the limited amount of space we have to live in, putting things away becomes much more important.  I don’t know how well the kids will adapt to this, but it’ll be a good life lesson for them.

And, finally, here are a couple of photos of the house as it was and what it looks like now.  I am hopeful that by the end of the Chronicles of the Mole Family that our conclusion will be that it will all be worth it!

the house as it was   the house as it is transforminga closer look