Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Architect's Wife

Brian and I have been married now for almost nine years and as his wife, I have become immersed in the world of architecture.  Here are some lay person's architectural observations, or if you are like me, how you know you are married to an architect:

-There is a profound difference between flashing and streaking... If you do one, your building is water-repellent.  If you do the other one, you get arrested and your video ends up on you-tube.

-Architects don't do math contrary to public opinion.  That is why there are structural engineers.

-Some days, architects do nothing but color.

-Architects all have stories about themselves or someone else they knew in school who suffered some egregious injury with some cutting tool that happened because they were sleep deprived.  Like the guy who tried to cut a small two inch chunk of wood with a huge power saw.  Let's just say that didn't end well.  In Brian's case, cut his finger with an x-acto blade down to the bone and went around showing all his friends his bone before realizing he probably shouldn't see his bone and promptly passed out.

-Architects always look up when walking into a new building, or as they say, space.  It is really funny to see when there is a large group gathered for some event.

-It is perfectly okay in architectural circles to call up a mechanical engineer and as how big his "unit" is. 

-A required uniform in architecture is the ubiquitous turtleneck with sport coat.  If you ever see anyone wearing this, they are almost certainly an architect.

-Architects don't get paid nearly what you think they do.  I did some sociological research on high school students once and those that wanted to become architects expected to be making in the $100,00 to $200,000 range right out of school.  Brian and his coworkers laughed for a week. 

-If there is a deadline coinciding with an incoming snowstorm, the majority of people on the project will opt to be snowed in at the office rather than their homes even going so far as bringing sleeping bags and camping gear.  Hence the term architecture widows.

-There is a right way to put on shutters.  This is not it:

-Concrete and cement are not synonymous. 

-People assume we live in some amazing architectural spectacle of a home.  No, our house looks just like the other ones in the tract.  This is typical.  And yes, living in tract homes does annoy them.

-Architects laugh when they see commercials with architects in them with actual blue drawings.  Blue prints have not been widely used for 15 years.  In fact, paper sets of drawings are starting to be phased out on big projects.   Our kids love the printouts, though, since they make really fun and huge coloring sheets!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Weekly Menu Planning Fun

I have had a long running problem that has somehow turned into a running joke.  I, extremely frequently, forget to take food out of the freezer to defrost in time for dinner.  It is to the point that when I call Brian at work with the "I messed up" tone, he immediately asks me if I did it again which the answer is most often "yes".  Cheap take out is the answer to feeding our ravenous family on those nights which is neither very healthy or very economical.  As Brian and I have been working on our budget, I have been trying to stretch our money as far as possible so these unexpected (relatively though, since it happens all the time!) trips out for food was adding up and something I decided needed to end.  I have committed to being a better meal planner, or more accurately, more advanced meal planner!  To help keep it all straight and to help keep people from eating things that are part of an upcoming dinner, I made a menu board for really cheap since that is also a huge value.

I wanted something really cute rather than just a plain whiteboard or piece of note paper since, as girls know, if something is cute, we will use it more.  So, I headed to Walmart since they have the cheapest frames around that still look nice.  I picked up two for $3 apiece and a package of three dry erase markers for $3.50 and walked out for $10 for two projects.  When I finish the other one, I'll post it too!  I used a few craft supplies that I already had but I think most people have some extra glue sticks and scrapbook/construction paper saved somewhere.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Teal One

The last couple of weeks have been incredibly busy for us and I have neglected a good part of what I usually do around the house.  I got sick twice (thank you very much, fibromyalgia) and we went with Brian's family on a trip to the beach so now that we are home and I am feeling a bit better today, I began to notice everything that has to be done.  Hence today, after church, when we were coming into our house this afternoon I saw how bad the siding is by our front door.

 I love our house but the siding has been a source of stress for us; it is really shoddy and basically rotting all over even though it isn't that old.  We really wish we could have a contractor replace it all with some new fiber cement board but that runs about $12,000. This is about 99% more than we have in our house repairs fund since we just had to replace our air conditioning unit.  Oh, the joys of home ownership.  Our alternative to replacing it all at once is for Brian and me to do it ourselves one section at a time. 

So, when I saw how bad the siding looked, I decided to inspect it to see how rotten it is and if this is going to be the section we start with.  I started pushing on it to see how soft it was...

Ooooops...  My finger went right through it thus in my attempt to figure out how much damage there is, I inadvertently created more damage.  And yes, that is an accurate representation of how teal my house is.

I think that because Brian is an architect, I tend to feel somewhat empowered when it comes home maintenance.  He knows very well how stuff is put together and how to fix it.  I have absorbed a lot of information over the years from him and now it seems that this has created a sense of overconfidence hence the hole in the siding.  We will see how this plays out as we attempt to fix it ourselves or rather, Brian fixes it and I attempt to help.

As silly as it sounds, my main reason for wanting to do all the siding at once was so that we could repaint the house (hopefully the photo explains my intense desire to do this).  It is an enormous amount of teal!  It had just been painted when we bought it a few years ago and so repainting would have just been vanity.   I had hoped for a nice, really light creamy green-gray color but it looks like it will be staying teal.  I am pretty sure that the association would frown upon painting individual sections of it my desired color while the rest of it remains teal over the weeks and months we replace the siding.  I also came to realize that God has provided an amazing house for us to live in and it is really demanding of me to insist that it should be a different color when it is really expensive to change it and there are so many better uses for that money, even if I had it to spend on this.  That being said, the color has definitely grown on me since I first exclaimed, "The TEAL one!" when Brian told me that he had found the house we were going to buy and it does fit in well with our neighborhood.  The biggest benefit, though, is when I am giving directions to people coming over for the first time.  Nobody has ever missed the "teal house on the right"!