Tuesday, June 4

More house stuff

Progress on our new house keeps progressing. Next week the second coat of stucco, the brown coat it’s called, goes on. After it sits for a month, the color coat will be applied. We have stretched out the stucco process for as long as possible on the advice of our plastering man who says the longer each coat sits, the likelier it will be to last forever. The final coat will have some chemical magic in it that assures its integrity forever; we are told it will never crack.

The inside walls and ceilings are finished. Wallboard, texturing, priming and the final coat of paint are done. We were lucky to get the wallboard contractor we have. He does mostly commercial work and is a perfectionist. There isn’t a crooked edge or bulging wall to be seen. Next we will install the light fixtures, and our electrician will put in the smoke alarms and other such stuff. The air conditioning people will install all their vent louvers and thermostats. The plumber will install all the feed valves on the little copper pipes sticking out of the walls, put in the water heater, and faucets and things. The fireplace will get its facing, along with the gas log heater in the bedroom.

Nearly 4,000 continuous watts of free power will stream off these panels, sun willing.
Next we will be installing all the electrical fixtures and switches. We are having our electrician return to help us connect the solar panel array through its underground conduit, then route the wires in the garage to the batteries and inverters and stuff. He knows the building code requirements; we don’t. Then we drag about 200 feet of wire from the garage to the house through another big fat conduit. Finally we flip a switch and enjoy mother nature’s 100% organic solar electric power as it courses through an LED light bulb, one of the dozens that we’ll be using throughout the house.

It’s interesting how minimal your house's interior finish can be in order to be signed off by the county and you are given permission to occupy it (and start paying property tax on it!). After electrical inspection all we need is a toilet, a sink, a cookstove and waterproof flooring in required areas. We have to prove to the inspector that our shower floor is water tight, then we can tile it, along with both bathroom floors, the laundry, and finally the kitchen floor.
Mighty nice natural stone tile! This is a sample on display at the tile store.
We will make all our tile floors using stone in various colors and patterns.
After changing our minds at least a dozen times, we are going to be using natural stone for all the tiled floors. A business in North Fresno, Creative Tile, has some stunning examples of the stuff, and it’s hard to want anything else after seeing what they’ve done. The rest of the house’s flooring will most likely be solid maple. We are getting away from the idea of using wall-to-wall carpet anywhere, opting instead for some nice rugs where needed. Karla’s gorgeous Steinway grand piano will be sitting pretty in its own room on a Mayan-influenced wool rug.
The only wall not covered with wallboard. It will be covered in shiny black porcelain tile instead.
There will be tile on the Black Monolith wall between the entry and the Great Room. I want the tile to fit precisely on its wall without grout so it looks like the monolith shown in the 1968 Stanley Kubrick sci-fi movie, 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the movie when the ape-men approached the mysterious monolith, they tossed their war clubs into the air and we are transitioned to the space age. (Does anyone out there know where we can get a couple of stuffed ape-men? Or at least a couple of clubs? We can put them next to the potted ficus tree.)

Next we have to build the very long front entry staircase and install safety railing on the back deck. It's been a year so far putting this whole project together and it looks like we still have a few months to go, giving ourselves enough time to change our minds at least a dozen times before doing any particular thing. Except, of course, the Black Monolith—that’s set in stone.

Smart advertising?

Lots of Web sites have advertising that appears alongside their regular content. Some of them accept and display ads that are delivered to them by sites you may have visited earlier. After I have been on a site like Audi.com/us drooling over their cars, Audi ads may appear when I’m on the Yahoo site for instance. Today an ad from The Home Depot appeared in a news site I visit daily. I had just ordered a total of nine eight-inch and twelve-inch white glass globe lights from them, so they thought it would be smart to push an ad to get me to buy some eight-inch and twelve-inch glass globe lights from them. Hey, Home Depot, I just did!

Monday, June 3


How many times do you see the word everyday used when the user means every day? When I went to school, the word everyday meant common, usual, ordinary: “He wore his everyday outfit, jeans and a t-shirt.” Contrast that to every day, which means each individual day. “Every day she drives to work except on weekends.” Several years ago I ran across a magazine ad for Toyota. The slogan they used was, “Toyota. Everyday.” I was shocked! I had worked for an advertising agency in my late twenties and was acutely attuned to using the correct words. I sent a letter to the agency that produced the Toyota ad and pointed out their misuse of the word. The very next week, the same ad appeared again, corrected to “Toyota. Every day.” (Even though corrected, it was still a dumb slogan in my opinion.)

On our bank’s Web site, they use the term Logout to close the online session. Logout is different from Log Out. Log Out is an action—when finished with whatever you’re doing on a site, you Log Out.

Not to be a fuddy-duddy, but during my life I have seen many terms change their form from two words to one, or even from several words to an expression using capital letters. Probably only a few of my readers will remember this one: LS/MFT. It was used by a cigarette brand and meant Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco. The military term SNAFU comes to mind. LOL started out meaning Lots Of Love. Then it became Laughing Out Loud. What’s next? Liver and Onion Lunch? Lovers Often Lose?

Here’s one that may surprise you—did you know that the term “today” was as recently as the late 1940s expressed as To Day or To-Day? That was news to me when I discovered it while researching some old advertising.

I finally succumbed to the realization that in spite of my protestation, the world moves on. “Thingschange. Ohwell, getusedtoit,” Ithought. “Whatthehey any way.”