: views from the Hill

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The King and Queen

Yesterday, while I was up in the kitchen picking bones out of a pot full of what would become chicken and vegetable soup for supper, his nibs was down in front picking up leaf debris. I could hear him talking with someone just below my window. I heard a hearty laugh. His nibs came up the stairs. The door opened. "Sal? Sal? We have visitors."

Coming in the door behind him were two people I'd never seen before. Introductions made. Hands shaken. The man laughed again, a warm, hearty laugh.

I always told the niblets that they should keep their room/house clean because you never know when the Queen might drop by for tea.

This was one of those times.

The man and woman were the architects who'd designed the building we live in. The man had lived in the two lower floors for several years after he finished the building and sold the upper three floors -- our place.

His nibs gave them the grand tour: the remodeled bathrooms, the solar setup on the deck, the new floors, and the cupboards in the paper-strewn office. We discussed the work that we'd been through to fix leaks caused by construction flaws and how we wouldn't know until a couple more heavy storms blew through whether all the leaks were fixed.

We told them how much we enjoyed what they'd designed and the way the windows were placed in such a way they seemed to frame the views. The windows. Thank you for the windows. And the glass doors. And the deck. And for picking this piece of dirt and building a place where his nibs can see boats from any level. We stood up on the deck and pointed out buildings that were being rehabbed and remodeled. The neighborhood hadn't been so upscale back twenty years ago when they built this place, they said.

"Did you know the hill became the Telegraph Hill Historic District (with all sorts of restrictions on what you could or could not do) the year after this place was finished? We always wondered if this place triggered the designation."

They said they had had no problems with buying the property and building the place. The other buildings on the path were rundown rental apartments for the most part. The neighbors were happy to see something being built on the lot.

Things had changed inside our place, they said, above and beyond the cupboards and bathrooms. The frosted glass doors to the kitchen had been added by the owner prior to the owner we bought the place from. The dining room walls, now plaster, had been redwood. (Question to ponder: Is the redwood still there beneath the plaster layer? Could we restore it?) [Update: We checked some books with pictures as the place existed in 1989, three years after it was finished, and the walls were plastered at that point. Perhaps they were misremembering?]

I was glad the place was pretty much clean, aside from debris and misarranged furniture due to tree decorating. Today we will finish the tree, lay down an afghan and a throw in lieu of a tree skirt, relocate the chairs to their holiday locations, and start cleaning/clearing/picking up for the family Christmas gathering. The older niblet and his husband show up Christmas Eve for our traditional dinner at House of Prime Rib on Van Ness. The remaining sibs and their offspring arrive late morning on Christmas for the opening of presents and consuming of brunch buffet.

Raining now. Perfect weather for staying inside and staging for Christmas.

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