May 2016 – a busy month

May has been a really busy month for me with a lot of travel for both work and personal.  I went to California twice, visited the BNY Mellon Innovation Center in Palo Alto which was super interesting and did general work stuff in the office.  Then a few days later my parents and I traveled back to the Bay Area for my niece’s college graduation from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga.  In between we installed an all flash memory storage array in the data center in Everett MA (aka – work stuff).

So lots of stuff to talk about.  I will do house stuff first and then family second.

House stuff.  While a lot has been going on, not all of it shows up as something to photograph.  But this month, a lot of things are coming together and Paul and I are talking about wrapping things up, getting final inspection permits and the final bank payment done.  Still a bit out over the horizon on the timeline, but the final pieces are coming together – and it is coming together GREAT!

My mad plan for the cantilevered island counter top, cooking & dining surface came out better than I had hoped – it looks fantastic.  It is a real show piece.  Other things that are done or have made progress.

  • Ceiling fan is installed
  • Sprinkler system is pretty much done, including the pump and the tank, sprinkler heads and cages
  • lighting is 99% installed
  • tile in the bathrooms is complete
  • Hot water heater is installed
  • Appliances needed for inspection are installed, including the kitchen sink.  (faucets are purchased but not installed yet)
  • Steps from the carport to the back of the house are in progress
  • The window seat is installed (and man, does it work well !)

One thing that is becoming very apparent is that the math for the size and shape of the eaves done by Deck House (while we were in the design phase) was spot on the target.  The amount of direct sunlight into the living room that is hitting the floor is reducing and already minimal.  We designed it so there would be absolute minimal heat loading inbound from the sun as of 6/20 and maximum as of 12/20 to help with passive cooling and heating.  It is working out great.  So is the choice of the light tan color roof – it just doesn’t absorb much heat either vs a darker color.  The house is really pretty cool even while the geothermal heat pump is not fully in use – just by basic design.

Below are some outside shots showing the stone work and a panoramic shot showing the house itself – double click on that to blow it up for details


Interior shots showing all the progress inside


Ok – on to family stuff 🙂

Going out for Margaret’s graduation was a LOT of fun even if it did involve a new hotel room almost every night (more on that later).  The flight out was rather long as it was Boston to Los Angeles to San Francisco and the Airbus had a mechanical problem in Boston (dead auxiliary power generator).  The Airbus needs two and carries three.  After two hours of sitting on the tarmac, they decided to load more fuel, have us fly lower and take off anyway.  Worked out ok but was a long tiring day.  The Best Western El Rancho Inn in Millbrae is within sight of the airport and is super organized for the air traveler.  I HIGHLY recommend them – nice rooms, fantastic organization and very reasonable rates.   We stayed there the first night and then onto Lafayette for the next night and a very early rise for graduation.  Saint Mary’s is down a single lane road – so the advice from the school and the locals was to be driving by 6:30am for the 9:20am start of commencement.  That turned out to be the absolute right thing as we were able to park close instead of 2 miles away!

Due to the sporadic rain and our seats, I personally didn’t get any photos (it would have been of umbrella’s) – but the school has posted a lot of good photos here.   Unfortunately Margaret was not feeling well and had a fairly high fever – sitting out in the rain for her was pretty tough but she got through it.  On to grad school !

We zoomed off to Santa Rosa to visit the Santa Rosa Fohls and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard near Rail Road Square – just missing the Amgen Tour of California bike race (one of the biggest in the United States with LOTs of European Pro teams using it as prep for the the Tour de France).   This was fortunate since our hotel was very close to ground zero for the circuit through downtown (3rd street).  The Amgen is very fun race to watch in person and I saw it many times when it passed through SF in years past – but I was just as glad to have a near miss this year.  We made a strategic decision to hang out at the hotel, have a drink in the bar, and go to bed early – which completely rejuvenated us.  The next couple of days were spent hanging out with family and really fun.  Of special note is the Sonoma Children’s Museum – it is pretty new but really, really, really great.  Lots of indoor and outdoor things for kids 6 years and under to interact with.  For the family, I will send around more photos but below is my youngest nephew Owen playing in the Choo-Choo and the museum entrance.

Other stuff:

It is the Memorial Day holiday so I thought I would include this here.  I walk past the Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston everyday to the MBTA and while they always keep it up very well, Friday it was in full spruce up.  All the veterans buried there had a flag and some had 2 or 3.  However, Samuel Adams – patriot, rabble rouser Son of Liberty, signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Massachusetts was given his due – 4 flags.

Aaaand on a final note of a very long post, my Dad and I had fun time yesterday watching BOTH the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco and the Indianapolis 500 Indy Car race.  Both were exciting for different reasons.  The F1 race was very wet then dried out so strategy played a lot into it and a botched tire change by Red Bull probably was the key factor for Lewis Hamilton in the Mercedes to win.  The Indy 500 was very exciting with a lot of competitive cars and many lead changes.  A number of cautions late turned it into a gamble of pitstops and fuel – a rookie won it sputtering in on fumes and a prayer – he had about a 1/2 lap lead and was out of gas – just coasted it around for the win.  Alexander Rossi – a Californian who spent a year over in Formula 1 before joining the Indy Car series – so an experience racer, even if it was his first trip to Indianapolis.  Michael Andretti’s team, through good strategy pulled off the win AND second place.  Good stuff.

Ok – off to June now!


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