Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cargill Campus Tour

Last Friday I had the opportunity to go to Cargill's main campus to tour the building that the Cargill Leadership Team (CEO, President, etc.) works in called the Lake Office. The Lake Office is right next door to the Office Center, which is the corporate headquarters. After the tour I realized that I had never taken Daisy over and showed her the campus, so on Sunday we took the trip.

These pictures are actually on the campus, Cargill bought this land and house (we'll get to that) in the 1930's and immediately planted 150,000 trees, as you can see there is some wildlife meandering around too.

turkeys 1

turkeys 2

The highlight of the campus is the Lake Office which in reality is a giant mansion built in the 1920's by a former affluent CEO of a different company, below is really an Olympic size pool which was built for one of the CEO's 6 daughters. Her plan was to compete in the 1932 Olympics, shockingly she did not make it. It was made to look like a pond and today is used as such.

pool pond

The mansion itself is quite massive with extremely intricate details in the wood, sculptures, and fireplaces. To give you an idea of the money spent on this house in the '20's the main greeting room is made of brick and every single brick was dipped in copper. It is assumed that costs about $400K, today those copper bricks are worth about $5.5MM. If you look above the arched windows you will find the current CEO's office which I was about to go in and see, surprisingly humble actually.

business mansion

After we drove around the campus we decided to drive around and look at the houses in the area. They run around $1MM a piece so we were just window shopping :-). We found this rock retaining wall by one of the houses and thought it would be a good spot for a Daisy pic. Here she is in all of her pregnant glory :-), 24 weeks and lookin' good!

24 weeks july 31

Lake of the Isles Canoeing

We couldn't decide what we wanted to do this weekend, until the last minute. We don't have many free weekends, with my work schedule so when we do have a free weekend we want to take advantage of it. Leading up to this weekend we considered a one night camping trip up on the north shore. Then that turned into maybe just a day trip to the north shore. We really wanted to head up there this summer since we haven't been yet and we usually spend a few weekends up there each summer. Well looking at the weather and the projected heat and rain they were calling for up there, we thought maybe it might not be a good idea. And also I was coming off a long stretch of work, working 8 our of the past nine days, that on Friday (my day off) I started thinking about the need to relax and take it easy. HA that doesn't really happen, but sitting in a car for four hours one way didn't seem too appealing. Although walking in the beautiful north shore woods did.

So our ultimate decision was to just stay home and figure out something to do around here. We thought about going to the beach. But the beaches we like (the non-crowded ones) around our house aren't very sandy, and me and my belly can't get very comfortable on the ground these days. If it were sand, I'd try digging a belly hole and maybe laying that way. So we decided to rent a canoe or kayak at Lake Calhoun instead.

It was a beautiful, cloudy, windy day. It wasn't too windy until we were down by the shore of Lake Calhoun.

While standing in the long rental line, I go the urge to want to do the paddle boats instead. I'm not a big fan of the rowing that canoeing involves, and Kyle isn't really a big fan of the foot paddling, but he agreed we could try out the paddle boat, since neither of us have ever done that.

But when we got up to the counter, the guy said it was too windy for paddle boats and they weren't checking anymore out today. So canoeing it was!

It was VERY windy and chopping on Lake Calhoun. Like everyone else we headed straight for the under-bridge canal leading to Lake of the Isles. You can see the waves on the side of the wall here:

Between the two lakes there is a little lull area where we pulled over to apply sunscreen and get situated.

Then we went over into the Isles area. This lake isn't big and round like Calhoun, it has a couple of little coves and an island in the middle. I couldn't get a great view of the city, but here is an alright shot:

It was such a gorgeous day!

We canoed around a bit. The rental fees were per hour and prorated after the first hour, but once we got out there we figured an hour of floating around was good enough. About mid-way through our trip, Kyle took his shirt off (he didn't want to get burned like he did a few weeks ago camping). Then we paddled over to an opening to take a break and snack on some strawberries. I throw the bag back to him for a treat and he says "Uh, oh... I think I lost my shirt" so we back tracked looking for it, but had no luck. It must have sunk fast! I surely thought the wind maybe just blew it up near the shore we were by, but no such luck. LOL it was rather funny, to me anyway. We had more things planned for the rest of the day, before going home. Had some basement supply shopping to do (bathroom vanity, toilet, faucets, pick out carpet & tile) and we weren't planning to go home. I had a top I wanted to return to Target so I just picked up Kyle another $5 shirt to wear the remainder of our time out and about :-)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Basement Update: Overall (windows, electrical, duct work, plumbing)

I can't exactly remember what I've shown since the electrical is kinda behind the scenes and not much to show. So I went down today to just get an overall picture and some little ones of the various things that have been accomplished. A lot of this week has been odds and ends here and there that need to get done before insulation and drywall. Lots of behind the scenes stuff.

I have a mixtures from some I took Tuesday July 26th & ones I just now took this morning. So any night ones are from Tuesday and the brighter ones are from today. I'll try and start with the ones from Tuesday to get those out of the way.

My last post was also on Tuesday, from the lunch break. They also did some electrical that evening and some plumping pipes routed. Here is a picture of the gas meter no longer there
July26_11 evening 7

And the block window all installed in the wetbar area
July26_11 evening 5 bar window

Here are two pictures of the bathroom plumbing
July26_11 evening 3 bathroom plumbing

July26_11 evening 4 bathroom plumbing

and the bathroom fan, they were going to put it on the ceiling but that would mean venting it out the front of the house and we really didn't want a vent on the front of the house. So he got a wall fan instead and routed it to the side of the house. In this picture the vent isn't completed, but it is now and there is a little vent box on the outside of the house. (sorry no picture of the vent box yet)
July26_11 evening 2 bathroom fan

and here's a close up of one of our eight (I think) can lights
July26_11 evening 1 can light

This plumbing is over in our laundry room area that is going to stay unfinished
July26_11 evening 6
He's upgrading all our house galvanized plumbing to the apex or whatever it's called.

And here is the new gas line they moved that runs to our oven. When they were here on Tuesday morning they had to move the stove. Boy was it a mess back there. Kinda glad I got to clean it out for the first time ever! Did I mention that in my last basement post? But they got rid of ALL the old gas lines and replaced them with new ones.
July29_11 overview 10 new gas line to oven

Okay those were all from Tuesday evening. They did some more Wednesday, I don't think they were here yesterday and they haven't been here today. I just took the following pictures. Starting with the top of the stairs. This light box was put in Wednesday I think. Last weekend Kyle and I went and picked out our light fixtures, the nook, wetbar, and bathroom lights (which all match, the bathroom is just a one bulb-er though) and the stairs sconce. This is where the stairs sconce will go:
July29_11 overview 1

and here are the stairs, nothing new here
July29_11 overview 2

Here are the two hallway can lights. These two and the wall sconce at the top of the stairs will all be on one switch
July29_11 overview 3 hall cans

And here are the overview pictures before I go into detail about a few changes you might see in these.

My nook area & hallway leading to the stairs
July29_11 overview 4

living area, wetbar there back in the corner and bathroom in the right corner
July29_11 overview 5

now i'm standing in the wetbar and looking back at the living area and egress window
July29_11 overview 6

close up of egress window. It's amazing how much more light it lets in!
July29_11 overview 7 egress window

Here's my nook area. You can see they removed the duct work that was sticking out from the top to try and avoid having to soffet around it. Well to avoid drywall soffeting they had to put it back in the storage area. You can also see the light box on the ceiling.
July29_11 overview 8 nook duct and light

Here is a close up of the duct work in the storage area. But better it take up space in the storage area then out in the finished area, and it's not too bad, it's right in front of the electrical box and we're not suppose to have stuff there anyway.
July29_11 overview 12 duct work in storage area

And here's our nook window that he finished installing on Wednesday
July29_11 overview 13 nook window

Tuesday I had the cable guy come to route our cable wires in before the drywall gets put up. We handled this ourselves as it only cost $20 added to our cable bill for them to come out and set up two outlets. We have one coming in here to where my desk will be. This wire will power the modem for our internet and our phone.
July29_11 overview 11 cable ethernet cords

We hand one other outlet installed over by where we plan to put the TV. The cable guy was also nice enough to run an Ethernet cord from our desk area to the TV area, just a dead wire, but that way we can plug our PS3 (play station 3) directly into the modem which will give us faster gaming vs having to send the signal wirelessly.

And for the last photo in this picture heavy post is the wet bar plumbing area. You can see our light box on the ceiling in here.
July29_11 overview 9 bar light

Lake Harriet Walk {July 3rd} (& Harpo's friend Jackson visiting)

I'm a little late getting to these on my memory card, but I've been trying to keep up with the basement so I've just over looked these.

But a while ago we went for a nice evening stroll around Lake Harriet. Harpo LOVED it! We're trying to give him more walks, we've been bad parents this past spring and so far summer with not getting him out as much since we haven't been camping due to my every other weekend work schedule. But in the last week he did get to go to our neighborhood dog park twice!

This weekend his friend Jackson is visiting, until Sunday. I think this is the first visitor we've had stay at our house. Harpo has stayed at Jackson's house before and his other girlfriend Ruby. It's interesting seeing how he's acting. He's very withdrawn now, and a little jealous that someone else is here. It was too funny with them both on the bed last night. Harpo came in his same spot over by me and so Jackson went up and snuggled up right on Kyle. They are quite entertaining. They've known each other for about four year. Jackson is almost exactly five years older than Harpo and Jackson is the one who taught Harpo how to hike his leg on my flowers in the back :-/

Anyway back to why I started this post. Here are some pictures from our walk almost a month ago.
Here is a cute little gnome home
nome home

And a crane silhouette

the beach

duck family
duck family

and of course happy Harpo!
happy harpo

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Belly Update

Here's the latest timeline of my belly. Kinda feels like not much has grown outward the last few weeks... but the inside sure is getting cramped up.
belly timeline up to 23

Basement Update: Windows & Gas Meter

Yesterday: Monday, July 25th
They continued to work on the electrical, got a LOT of the wires ran (sorry no pics) and INSTALLED OUR EGRESS WINDOW! Yipee!!!

These pictures were taken at lunch time yesterday. I didn't get any yesterday evening.
July25_11 egress 1

July25_11 egress 2

July25_11 egress 3

July 26th
Today started off intense. It's 1:00 now and no one is here, but they sure were at 7:30 this morning! And Harpo would not let me forget there were people here!

The gas company came today to move the gas line and they are also finishing up getting the other windows in. I'm guessing they will be back after lunch as there is still stuff sitting out. But I think the gas guys are done.

Here they were with the nice big hole in our front yard
July 26_11 gas 1

And here is the side of the house where they were working
July 26_11 gas 2

Our street was packed, their huge truck was on our side of the road. Then the plumber had his truck and trailer parked on the curb on the other side of the road. You can't see it as it is behind the gas truck.
July 26_11 gas 3

I just went and snapped these as there is no one here right now.
July 26_11 gas windows 4

July 26_11 windows 5

July 26_11 windows 6

this is the south side of the house, by our kitchen door. This is the window that will be in the wet bar area
July 26_11 windows 7

I'll try and get down there and get some pictures tonight of how the inside is coming. Last night you could see all the electrical wires! It's coming along, I can't wait for it to be finished!!!! Drywall is on the calendar for next week.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Basement Update: Framing take 2

Monday, July 18th, 2011

They put the framing back where they had it roughed in two weeks before and nailed it down, so it's there for good now! I like the framing part, it's actually something we can visually see.
July18_11 framing 1

Here's our pocket door frame for the bathroom!!
July18_11 framing 2

July18_11 framing 3
As you can see in the above photo, the gas meter is still there. We (as in the contractor) finally heard back from the gas company and they are set to come out on Tuesday to get that moved outside to the side of the house. That will be great since we won't have to soffit around that area.

Here is a close up of the framing around where our EGress window will go
July18_11 framing 4

I didn't get pictures over in the hallway and nook area since that didn't change since the last time I updated :)

The started electrical Tuesday of this week. Not really anything visual to show you as it's just rerouting lines and breakers and drilling holes in the studs to run wires.
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