Saturday, September 29, 2012

Waiting for fall

There's a rumor going around that it's going to be October in a couple of days.  Family members have been sending me photos of the trees starting to turn colors back in Minneapolis.  I'm incredibly jealous of the natural fireworks that they get to experience this time of year.  I missed fall terribly while we were living in Hawaii, and I was hoping that when we got to San Diego I'd be treated to something more similar to the four seasons I had grown up with in the upper Midwest.  (Obviously I wouldn't be getting the snow part in SD.)  We got to San Diego in November of last year, and after we arrived there were plenty of chilly days filled with jeans, sweaters and light jackets.  Sadly, those days haven't arrived yet.  

There was a two-week stretch earlier in September where our daytime highs were always in the 90s.  There were two days where the thermometer in the car read over 100.  (One day it read 107.  Uff da.)  We cooled off into the mid 80s for a few days, but now we're hitting another couple of days where it should be high 90s or low 100s.  All of our neighbors assure us that while August and the beginning of September are usually the warmest times of the year, 2012's summer has been extraordinarily hot.  I don't want to complain too much about the heat however, because even on the 100 degree days the temperature drops nicely (more than 30 degrees!) at night so sleeping hasn't been a problem.  We run the a/c for the afternoon and early evening and then turn it off as the night turns pleasant.  That allows us to sleep comfortably with the windows open.  Well, comfortably except for the stupid rooster next door.

Our house abuts the lots of five other houses.  One of our neighbors bought chicks sometime in July, not knowing if they were male or female.  They thought it would be fun for their kids and they'd get some eggs out of the arrangement.  Apparently two of the chickens turned out to be roosters.  Very vocal roosters.  At first Zac and I were mildly amused by the roosters, but that quickly wore off as we'd have to get up at 4:30am to close our bedroom windows each day to muffle their greeting to the morning.  Then the roosters starting crowing at random times throughout the night.  Sometimes they'll start going at 2:30am.  Last night it was 12:15am.  It's one thing when it's light (or becoming) light outside, but smack-dab in the middle of a windows-open-glorious-65-degree night ?  Then it's maddening.  More than once Zac asked me if I wanted chicken for dinner.

About little more than a week ago Zac was talking over the fence with one of our other neighbors, who also shares a boundary with the chicken neighbors.  Turns out that they too were at their wits' end with the early morning noise, and the requirement of closing their windows to get any sleep.  This neighbor and his wife looked into the noise ordinances for our area and there is a process whereby neighbors can complain and require the removal of roosters.  Being good neighbors they walked over to the chicken house and talked to the owners, letting them know that the noise was a problem and that there were enough upset people in the neighborhood to pursue a noise violation.  The chicken neighbors apologized, said that they didn't know that they had purchased roosters when they bought their flock and that they were, in fact, already looking for a new home for the roosters.  (Apparently they weren't too happy with the noise either.)  

Well, it's been almost 10 days and like I mentioned above, I was up at 12:15 last night closing windows to muffle the noise.  Our mutually-frustrated neighbor came over this morning to let us know he spoke with the offending neighbors again, and that they repeated that they were trying to re-home the roosters.  If they don't do something about them soon I think that we're going to have to go forward with the noise complaint, which none of us are really excited about.  

I'm not against chickens.  I very pro-chicken.  I find them amusing when alive and delicious when, er, not.  I am an avid fan of eggs.  In another time or place I would consider getting our own mini-flock, and I think people should be able to have them in their yards.  It's just the roosters and their incessant need to announce their presence that I don't enjoy.

So hopefully the roosters will be gone soon, the heat of summer will disappear, and I can get on with enjoying fall in Southern California.  

And get some damn sleep.  Stupid roosters.

Monday, September 3, 2012

I forgot to mention - the kitchen is done

If you'll think back to May, I posted a couple of times that we were remodeling our kitchen.  When I told my Dad that they said that it would take about five weeks to complete, he scoffed, "Take the number, multiply it by two, and then increase the unit of measurement to the next type of unit.  That's when it will actually be done."  Based on his theory instead of five weeks the kitchen should have taken 10 months.  Well, it didn't take 10 months, but it sure took more than five weeks.

The majority of the work was, indeed completed around the five week mark.  But there were a number of little things here and there that kept keeping the project from being officially completed.  For example, one of the cabinets arrived with a big gash in it.  That needed to be reordered, which added a couple weeks.  When the contractor came in for one of the last walk-throughs, he wasn't happy with the texture on the newly extended wall.  "We can do a better job than that," he said, so we had the guys come back our and re-texturize the wall.  We offered to do the accompanying painting, but twice they delivered the wrong type of paint.  Finally they sent one of their guys out (with the correct paint) and they took care of it.  We also had a couple of issues with doors that needed to be aligned a little better so they came out to fix those.  

All in all it was a good experience.  Despite the lingering minor aspects of the project that took the process in to the 2.5 months range, I was happy with our contractor.  The guys that he had come out were very polite, courteous and friendly.  Their workmanship (except the first attempt at texturizing the wall) was great and I can't believe how much I really love this kitchen.

In case you don't want to link back to my prior posts here are some "before" photos:

And without further ado, here's the after:

Not only did we get new lighting in the kitchen, but we also got new lighting in the adjacent dining room.  It's so much brighter now!  We added a pantry to the left of the fridge, had a full-sized dishwasher installed, and had lazy-susans installed in both corners.  The top cabinets came down about seven more inches so we now have much more cabinet space that we can reach without needing a step-stool.  They put in a neat travertine backsplash.  We got new granite counters that really lighten up the room as well.  All in all, it is a much better use of space and we couldn't be happier with it.  I loved our house to begin with, but the new kitchen just makes it even better.  And even though it was stressful having it worked on while we had people living with us, I'm so glad we did it when we did.  This way we will be able to enjoy it for as long as possible before we inevitably have to move again.  Hopefully the upgrade will come back a little bit to us in the selling price.  We'll see.  But what's important is that Zac and I, who love to cook and bake, have a kitchen that lets us enjoy that!