Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Can't Breathe Inside, Can't Breathe Outside

So while the Station Fire doesn't appear to be coming any close to my home any longer, this morning we woke up to larger ash. Floating in the air, floating in the pool, everywhere. We are on day 6 of lockdown with the AC on.

When I started this post yesterday (hey man, things get interrupted with a 3 month old and a husband who is home), we were also on day 4 of what was supposed to be a "little" remodeling in the living room. When we bought the house 5 years ago, there was a faux fireplace in the wall and a huge yellow and white faux mantle that looked like it was made of paper mache. The mantle was huge, moveable, and the story was that the gay couple who had owned the home years ago had gotten it from the Chateau Marmont. Two years ago we disposed of the paper-mache mantle, and since then the faux fireplace has been through a few transformations until last year, when it just became an ugly, gaping, patched with putty around the edges, 3'x3' hole in the wall. I would post a picture but it would upset my husband, hence why we have also not had any of you over for the last year or so.

We originally wanted to put an actual working fireplace in, but put the kibbosh on that one after our contractor said it would probably run us about $14k to turn the gaping hole into an actual working fireplace. Oh, something about putting a gas fireplace into a wood wall and concrete framing and constructing a flue and inspectors and permits. Oh, and I believe his exact words were, "Hey guys, I would love to charge you $14,000 to put in a fireplace but seriously.... its not worth it. To you, I mean." So we decided to patch up said ugly hole, and redirect our money into ceiling fans, additional recessed lighting in the living room, patching the ceiling, repainting and some electrical work around the house. Like putting in electrical outlets under the eaves so this year we can actually hang lights for Baby's First Christmas (yes, I know he doesn't know and won't care. I do and will). Oh, and actually wiring in the tankless water heater we had installed a year and half ago. We were powering it with an extension cord running halfway around the house. I think you're not supposed to be doing that, no?

As a result of the construction and the fires though, we couldn't breathe inside or outside. Yesterday was the worst, as the painters/patchers sanded the new ceiling and all the patching and it looked like the winter wonderland from hell in the living room. We spent the day trapped up in the cabana, peeking down every now and then to check on their progress. Plaster dust is still everywhere, no matter how well they cleaned up after themselves or tried to seal off the doors and hallways to other rooms. I feel constantly gritty. My cleaning gal was supposed to come today and to much to my dismay, did not. We are attributing Caleb's 30 minute screaming fit this afternoon to a paint fume headache. The house still smells like paint, but really, it's choosing the worst of two evils. We can suck paint fumes or I can open the windows and doors and run the fans and we can suck the "particulate matter" floating in from the fires. I think I'm going to have to stick with the paint fumes. Maybe Caleb will grow gills.

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