Archive for November, 2010

Cutting Christmas Trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

We have a tradition of cutting our Christmas tree in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  It was a great time last year and we were hoping it would be the same this year.  This event provides a great kick-off to the Christmas season, is a great way to use up leftovers, and gives everyone a fantastic excuse to enjoy a party at the Calise house.

This year, it poured rain yesterday so Jo-Anne let everyone know on Friday that the annual event would be held on Sunday this year.  Mike and Donna Calise continued to host the post-party party at their house even though it was a school night.

The central location, where the food and drinks are served, is surrounded by trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  It was clear, cool and surprisingly dry in the tree farm today.

The central location, where the food and drinks are served, is surrounded by trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was clear, cool and surprisingly dry in the tree farm today.

Ram Reyna, far left, enjoying a warm bowl of chili.

Ram Reyna, far left, enjoying a warm bowl of chili.

The boys enjoying a fine afternoon in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  From left, Ram Reyna, Paul Fulton, Dave Cullinane and Bryan

The boys enjoying a fine afternoon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. From left, Ram Reyna, Paul Fulton, Dave Cullinane and Bryan

Jim OBrien called the sunset, noting the amount of light remaining in the day at 22-1/2 minutes.  Thus, everyone was instructed to pack up and head to the Calise house in Los Gatos.

Jim O'Brien looking at the sun dipping over the Pacific Ocean, estimated the amount of daylight remaining in the day at 22-1/2 minutes. Thus, everyone was instructed to pack up and head to the Calise house in Los Gatos.

Gone.  (Next stop is Edelen Avenue in Los Gatos.)

Gone. (Next stop is Edelen Avenue in Los Gatos.)

Hosting the Walters’ Site Visit

Friday, November 26th, 2010

During Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, Worth and Lena Walters and their son, Andreas, asked about our renovation/construction project.  Actually, everyone did.

We offered to host a site visit today and the Walters showed up promptly at 3:00 pm.  Jo-Anne arrived a couple minutes later with two bottles of cabernet sauvignon (leftovers from last night).

The Walters had a good visit and stayed until it got too cold.  And, the wine was gone.

Jo-Anne and Lena in the Kitchen.

Jo-Anne and Lena Walters in the Kitchen.

Touring the lower level, with the home theatre in the background.

Touring the lower level, with the home theatre in the background.

Finishing the tour and going upstairs (from left), Andreas Walters, Lena Walters (looking cold), Jo-Anne and Worth Walters.  The glasses were empty (not even half empty).

Finishing the tour and going upstairs (from left), Andreas Walters, Lena Walters (looking cold), Jo-Anne and Worth Walters. The glasses were empty (not even half empty).

Celebrating Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Our good friend, Paul Marcaccio, came to California for his 13th Thanksgiving.  Paul has involved with our project from the start, and even has a set of work boots and tool belt here in California.  For example, Paul helped build the temporary deck over the swimming pool (December 7, 2008), identify where the stairs should go (July 26, 2009), and put the deck on the the bridge over the atrium (November 28, 2009).

After picking up coffee and bagels, Bryan and Paul walked through the job site.

Paul approved of progress to date.  He did, as everyone else does, ask about the completion date.

Let’s not go there Paul …

Celebrating Thanksgiving

After reviewing the job site, Bryan and Paul assembled the new turkey cooker that Jo-Anne bought.  She bought the ‘Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer‘ from Char-Broil.  We cooked one turkey, with traditional stuffing, in the oven and the second turkey was cooked using the new turkey fryer.

The new turkey fryer worked perfectly!  Jo-Anne gave Bryan and Paul explicit instructions on how she wanted the turkey fryer to be ‘seasoned’ prior to cooking our first turkey with it.  They followed her instructions without any questions.

We had some 16 adults and 12 children to celebrate a great year.  We have much to be thankful for and were absolutely delighted to have so many good friends with us to celebrate.

Next year, Thanksgiving will be at 17509 Via Sereno …

Current state of Guest Suite with plumbing roughed in and sliding glass doors being installed.

Current state of Guest Suite with plumbing roughed in and sliding glass doors being installed.

With the sun very low in the sky, a sliver of sunshine lands on the floor in Nik Bedroom.  Considering that the floor is nine feet below grade, this is amazing.  Of course, when the sun is higher in the sky, the generous overhangs will block the sunlight from coming into Niks Bedroom.

With the sun very low in the sky, a sliver of sunshine lands on the floor in Nik's Bedroom. Considering that the floor is nine feet below grade, this is amazing. Of course, when the sun is higher in the sky, the generous overhangs will block the sunlight from coming into Nik's Bedroom.

During his review of the project, Paul received several telephone calls (it wasnt a holiday in Canada).

During his review of the project, Paul received several telephone calls (it wasn't a holiday in Canada).

The turkey is cooking nicely in our new Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer.

The turkey is cooking nicely in our new Big Easy Infrared Turkey Fryer.

A couple of turkeys ...

A couple of turkeys ...

A couple of turkeys ...

A couple of turkeys ...

Ready for Thanksgiviing - Pia Staab (left), Lena Worth (center), and Jo-Anne Sinclair.

Ready for Thanksgiviing - Pia Staab (left), Lena Walters (center), and Jo-Anne Sinclair.

A kitchen full of guys.  Note there are several animated discussions underway, with Worth Walters and David Staab on the left, and Jim O'Brien and Paul Marcaccio on the right.

A kitchen full of guys. Note there are several animated discussions underway, with Worth Walters and David Staab on the left, and Jim O'Brien and Paul Marcaccio on the right.

Core Drilling Our Concrete Walls

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

We had Penhall Company out again today to core drill some important holes in our concrete walls.  In order to close our remaining open trenches, we need to bring electrical services into the East Mechanical room.  As well, we have to get our plumbing and electrical into the East Mechanical room from inside the house.

Theron Boulden, from Phil Murray Construction, was on site all day working on the 24 ft sliding glass doorway in the Living Room.  Also, Theron continued working on the sliding glass doors to the Wine Dining and Wine Cellar. We believe the sliding glass door could be installed tomorrow (Wednesday).

Al and Nep worked on tweaking the framing in various locations, in order to accomodate the core drilling and other requirements.  During the day, they ‘floated’ and helped with the core drilling (setting up the scaffolding), sliding glass doors (setting up the concrete cuts and actually cutting the concrete, and cutting recessments in the concrete walls for the Wine Cellar sliding glass doors).

Although Bryan met with Nathan Merrill, of American Ornamental Iron, he wasn’t able to order the FSB hardware for the front door.  We’re still waiting to receive two quotes on the hardware.  Bryan did, however, order the four Soss invisible hinges for the front door.

Core Drilling the Walls

We need to connect waste water drains and plumbing vents through the wall from the East Mechanical room to the soffit on the East side of the house.  Thus, we need to have a penetration through the interior concrete wall to allow the pipes to pass through. 

In addition, we need three penetrations through the exterior foundation wall in the East Mechanical room.  One of these penetrations is for a 1-1/4 inch copper water supply pipe (from San Jose Water) and the other two penetrations are for data and electrical conduits.

Bryan reviewed the plans for the electrical and conduits with his father, John Mekechuk, when Bryan was in Edmonton last week.  John, a Civil Engineer, thought the plans were acceptable in California and approved the design.

Coring through a vertical surface requires the identical technique that Bryan used when coring the shotcrete test panel (on 03/26/09).  Although we considered doing the coring ourselves, engaging Penhall Company to do the coring brings their entire suite of equipment, including all the core bit sizes.

The technician from Penhall Company arrived earlier that the scheduled 10:00 am start time and left in his truck at 5:45 pm.  He put in a good day of work.

Coring a small 1-inch hole in the concrete floor for water supply.

Coring a small 1-inch hole in the concrete floor for water supply.

Marking the hole in the East Mechanical room.

Marking the hole in the East Mechanical room.

East Mechanical room, showing rebar and condult, taken on April 4, 2009.

East Mechanical room, showing rebar and condult, taken on April 4, 2009.

Drilling the hole to support the core drilling rig.

Drilling the hole to support the core drilling rig.

Attaching the core drilling frame to the concrete wall.

Attaching the core drilling frame to the concrete wall.

Attaching the motor to the rig ...

Attaching the motor to the rig ...

Starting to core drill the first hole.

Starting to core drill the first hole.

Drilling to depth, but not through yet.

Drilling to depth, but not through yet.

Using an extension to drill through the exterior shotcrete wall (4 inches thick in this location).

Using an extension to drill through the exterior shotcrete wall (4 inches thick in this location).

Core drilling the third of three holes in this location.

Core drilling the third of three holes in this location.

Three holes cored through to the exterior.  And we didn't hit any of the conduit in the foundation wall.  Way cool ...

Three holes cored through to the exterior. And we didn't hit any electrical conduit! Way cool.

Coring through the interior concrete wall to the East Mechanical room.

Coring through the interior concrete wall to the East Mechanical room.

Completed coring through the interior concrete wall.

Completed coring through the interior concrete wall.

10-inch hole for plumbing to pass through the interior concrete wall into the East Mechanical room.  This will allow Wenger Plumbing to complete the rough in on the East side of the house.

10-inch hole for plumbing to pass through the interior concrete wall into the East Mechanical room. This will allow Wenger Plumbing to complete the rough in on the East side of the house.

Receiving Our Yellow Cedar Shakes from Canada

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Our friends at White Cap Construction Supply delivered our yellow cedar shakes today.  Our garage is filled.

Now, we need to get the shakes onto the roof.  Except the zinc fascia goes on the gable ends (rakes) first. Wildcat Metals is putting the zinc fascia on the gable ends for us, and this needs to happen.

Selecting Hardware for Our Front Door

We committed to selecting the hardware for our front door so this was at the top of Bryan’s agenda for today.  He had lots going on at the job site so he juggled several items while identifying the exact part numbers from FSB.

In the afternoon, Bryan called Nathan Merrill, from American Ornamental Iron, and agreed to meet him at his shop tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 8:30 am.  They will go over all the design and corresponding hardware details so Nathan can start fabricating the door.

Installing the Sliding Glass Doors in the Wine Cellar

There are three sliding glass doors that must be installed by a Fleetwood-certified installer.  The three-panel, 24 ft wide door on the ground floor and the doors to the Wine Dining and Wine Cellar.  We engaged Phil Murray to install these sliding glass doors for us.

Phil sent Theron Boulden to the job site first thing this morning.  Then, Phil came by at 10:00 am to ensure the installation would progress as planned.  With everything on track, Phil left before noon to another job.

We need to have the concrete edge on the ground floor cut to a nice crisp edge, so Bryan called Penhall and arranged to have a techician on site at 10:00 am tomorrow morning.

Our yellow cedar shakes from B.C. arrived at the job site this morning on a truck from White Cap Construction Supplies.  Way, way cool ...

Our yellow cedar shakes from B.C. arrived at the job site this morning on a truck from White Cap Construction Supply. Unloading the two pallets of shakes on Via Sereno took minutes. Way, way cool ...

The shakes filled our garage!

The shakes filled our garage!

View from inside Wine Dining of the frame to the Wine Cellar being assembled.  Note the temporary lighting in the lower level.  It is definitely starting to operate like a house!

View from inside Wine Dining of the frame to the Wine Cellar being assembled. Note the temporary lighting in the lower level. It is definitely starting to operate like a house!

Surviving the First Rains of the Season

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

It rained yesterday.  Actually, it poured.

Fortunately, at this time of the year the ground is a sponge, soaking up the rain and not allowing the water to run off.  However, the ground will get soaked quickly so we have to continue to move fast to get weather tight and backfill our open trenches.

Dry Fitting the Cement Fiber Board Under the Gables

We tried fitting one of the cement fiber boards that were cut and primed on Friday in place today.  It fit nicely and looked great.  To complete installing these components, we need to order and receive stainless steel nails so the boards can be fastened.  We’ve go the adhesive and need mechanical fasteners. 

Front Door Design

We’re working on the front door design and, specifically, selecting the hardware to use.  There are a few alternatives and we need to work with the manufacturers and local dealers to see who wants to work with us.  We committed to Nathan that we would order the hardware for the front door so that needs to happen.

Understanding How to Buy a Nissan LEAF

Given it was a Sunday and we couldn’t do much, Bryan dropped by Stevens Creek Nissan to understand how we get our Nissan LEAF.  Nissan received deposits on 20,000 LEAFs, which they committed to deliver by April 30, 2010.  Of those, 1,200 LEAFs were sold in the Great State of California.  We have one of those 1,200 reservations.

According to Aaron Depriest of Stevens Creek Nissan, his dealership will receive 10 to 12 LEAFs in December and then 12 to 15 per month through April 30 for those customers that were among the first 20,000 registrants.  Then, in August 2010, Stevens Creek Nissan will start taking delivery of LEAFs under the general availability program.

The MSRP of a fully loaded LEAF is $33,720.  The DC rapid charge feature is a $700 option and the dealer delivery charges are $820, making the pre-tax price at Stevens Creek Nissan $35,240.  Aaron ran the numbers for us, showing the DMV fees to be $526.75 and the local sales tax to be $3,264.79, for a total drive off cost of $39,031.54.

The Great State of California provides a rebate of $5,000.00 (apply through the internet) and there is a Federal tax credit of $7,500.00, after one files their 2011 Federal tax return. 

Oh, we need to have a charging station and those are available at a cost of ~$2,200 or so.  Of that amount, there is a Federal tax credit of $1,500 through 12/31/10.  After that, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District provides an installation credit of $1,000 for the first 3,000 single family home charging stations.  The BAAQM intends to install over 5,000 EV charging stations in the Bay Area.

Of course, a major incentive for us is the white car-pool lane stickers, which allow a single driver to enjoy the carpool lanes.

Aaron advised us that Nissan is contacting each individual that paid the reservation fee regarding how to purchase and take delivery of their LEAF.  They are contacting the individuals in chronological order, based on when they paid their deposit.

Since we paid our deposit on 07/31/10, we will be expecting the e-mail with the purchase details in early April 2011.

South side of the East Gable roof, showing where the fiber cement board will fit between the two windows (over the Grace Vicorp Butyl).

South side of the East Gable roof, showing where the fiber cement board will fit between the two windows (over the Grace Vicorp Butyl).

We dry fit the fiber cement board in place between the two windows - it looks great!

We dry fit the fiber cement board in place between the two windows - it looks great!

View of the upper flat roof, with the Deck Armor showing on the gable roofs.  It is conforting to know that we're almost water tight.

View of the upper flat roof, with the Deck Armor showing on the gable roofs. It is conforting to know that we

View looking North along the West side of the East Gable roof.  There is some water ponding on the white membrane, which is acceptable.

View looking North along the West side of the East Gable roof. There is some water ponding on the white membrane, which is acceptable.