Sunday, January 25, 2009

The New Addition

Here is the latest addition to our family - Marcy. She is eleven and a half years old and for the first year of her life, she lived with an Air Force family who was being transferred to Japan. They weren't able to take Marcy (named Mercedes at that time) with them, so my dad took her in so she wouldn't have to go to the pound. Marcy is a mixed breed.

For the next ten years, she lived with my Dad and has been a loyal family member. She has seen the family through some tough times during that decade, including the death of my mother from cancer. My Dad is no longer able to care for Marcy, so she needed a new home. We couldn't stand the thought of her going to a pound either so over the Christmas break we drove the truck to northern California and picked her up. She rode over 500 miles in a cage in the back of the truck home with us.
One of our main reservations about taking Marcy was how it would affect the household princess, Cory. Cory has been with us for fifteen and a half years and is definitely way late into her retirement years. She has never lived with another dog. She sleeps most of the day and walks very stiffly. Her eyesight and hearing are going also.

But it has worked out well. Cory actually acts more lively with Marcy around and I've actually seen her go out front and crouch down in the "Let's Play!" stance...something I haven't seen her do in at least two years. These first four photos were taken on a recent morning...I take them out front with me to get the paper first thing...they enjoy the morning air and looking up and down our rather boring street.

Marcy has adapted well to our house. She is an extremely obedient dog which is really the only way we could sign up to taking her in as she is also very powerful, even at eleven years old. She is a pleasure to be around. We have temporarily put runners on our wood floors because both dogs were slipping and sliding. I actually saw Marcy do a Scooby-Do move a couple of times.

The two dogs enjoy each other's company. I've seen them stand in our computer room doorway together on several occasions, watching us as we move about the house - wondering what we are up to. They sort of remind me of Mutt and Jeff, which is my new nickname for them. The only time I see any competition at all is when they are being fed or when I reach down to pet one of them (the other comes running right away!). We'll see how things go in the long run, but so far so good.

Our House, Part 5: Master Bath

 Another room that we extensively remodeled was the master bathroom. Standing in the master bedroom, here is what you see. The floor originally had carpet - we took that out and put in tile. The counter was contractor-grade white tile - we replaced it with absolute black granite, undermounted sinks and new faucets. The light fixtures are new as is the paint which is many shades darker than the original color.
 This is another view while standing in the master bedroom. At the very end is the walk-in closet. To the left is a tub and a shower. To give us more floor space, we removed the step for the tub. We never use the tub anyway and would rather be able to easily sit on the edge.
 We are really happy with the way the shower turned out. We went with the frameless style, I think they also call it Euro style. For a reason that escapes me, we went with the thinner of the two glass thicknesses. I think if I were to do it over again, I would go with the thicker glass. The thinner glass has been okay, but we have to be careful not to lean too hard on it and if we really tried we could actually break it.
 We ran the tile all the way up to the ceiling to avoid getting moisture on the sheetrock - it doesn't cost that much extra to do this and is well worth the money. The contractor wanted to know if we wanted to raise the showerhead (he says it is quite a common change now) or even change it to ceiling mounted, but we declined. My wife has a hard enough time reaching the showerhead at this height.
 We placed accent tiles around the edge of the tub - I think they were called cigarellos or something like that - which added to the look but caused us a problem where it wraps around into the shower. Everyone recommended that we notch the tile so that the shower glass could run smoothly down to the floor, so that is what we did. I had originally wanted to notch the glass and not the tile, but apparently it is never done that way.
 My wife chose the accent in the shower itself and it came out looking quite nice. It alternates between aqua glass rectangles and some sort of metal diamond and looks much better than even this photo shows.
 And finally, the master closet. All we did in here was to replace the carpet and paint. Note her shoe collection...I am going to build/buy a rack to make them easier to access here soon because I am afraid the shoes on the bottom of the stack are not getting worn much. And I must tell you - I enjoy seeing her wear those shoes as much as she enjoys wearing them!
 My side of the closet. Kind of boring. Shirts are sorted by color and sleeve length (short sleeve, long sleeve).
 What did it look like before, you may ask? Here is the shower before we started. Contractor grade everything. Note how high the shower tile goes.
 Here is what the tub looked like. That is the step that we removed. It looks like we were in the process of deciding what tile to put in when this photo was taken - see all the sample tiles?
 And finally, the original bathroom cabinet. We refinished the wood, removed the countertop, and replaced the carpet with tile.
Here is what you have to look forward to if you choose to remodel. It looks innocuous in the photo, but I can tell you it is a royal pain to come home in business clothes to find who knows what in your house, including clouds of dust and debris between you and your closet. Now that it is all done, I am glad we ripped everything out at once. It took us about 7 months but we now have the home we wanted.