Friday, July 31, 2009

Mini-Vacation Day

Worth every penny. Happy Birthday Wifey.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Birthday Eve

Tomorrow is Crystal's b-day. I'm not saying which one, but it's a big one. We're going to head up to Santa Barbara for a couple of nights, massage, good food, a pool on the beach, the beach, etc. It'll be nice to get away for a few days. She's already trying to talk me into outlining the teacher's workweek by the pool... relentless. Hopefully I can get her to breathe and enjoy a break. I have a feeling she'll be training on her software and answering Cassidy calls during the massage.

The fence is being installed starting today. Inspections are going good. Fixtures are arriving. Teachers start on Monday. It's getting close you guys.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Taking Out Our Creativity On Cassidy

If I weren't so in love with my wife, I might still see the interior design genius that lurks within her. I'm just now getting a visual of all that she's been seeing with colors. I saw the tile months ago. We picked out paint swatches months before that. Flooring was months before that. Today they had installed 3 of the bathrooms with tile and I got it. I saw the vision. I always thought it would just look like the home we want to build... we're just taking out our creativity on Cassidy. It's so much more. The tile colors with the back-splash with the wall colors with the beams with the floor. I can see it and it's pretty neat. Nice job, Wife.

The cabinets came today and they look great. It's a perfect fit to our style.

Crys made some calls yesterday to figure out our playground installation timeline. This guy just did Camp Pendleton's playground, so we're in good hands.

The fence goes in tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

For the Kids

I think it's very cute how some of you kids are following this blog. Not that you can read or anything, but it's the thought that counts. The fact that you talked your parents into keeping you up to date on our construction is great. Sometimes parents don't get it. You just want to know what's going on, right? I commend you for your efforts. Spread the word.

We just met with the marketing director, Kelly, for Whole Foods across the street (our quasi business office). They want to be a big part of Cassidy, which is amazing. She wants to sponsor our opening and even have a few vendors sponsor our healthy snacks. I think this will be a great union. My mind is spinning on all we could do together.

They're going to be tiling tomorrow, so I dropped off the tile we found forever ago this morning. Again, the back of my car was nearly on the ground. It has to be something like 35,000 pounds of tile... not really.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Remembering Macaroni

Remember the macaroni thing with Crystal? Well, much to my delight/chagrin, she broke out the paint swatches again over the weekend. We'll be standing in the macaroni isle for a while all over. Actually, now that the walls are up, it's becoming easier to see how colors will interact with each other... plus, it's in her blood to change her mind, right?

If you didn't know, this week is Crys' birthday week... Friday she turns... I would never.

I call it her princess week, but it's hard to be a princess with all the business going on. Instead of restless nights on a pea and a young prince to ride horses with, she's stuck with me and ordering fixtures, equipment, and learning our software program.

Maybe one day we'll ride horses off into the sunset.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Short and Sweet

Today they installed the ADA lift out back. It's pretty huge. Turns out they don't make a entry-turn-exit style as big as we needed it. We had to have it custom made... yeah, that's right. By all means, it'll be the coolest ADA lift in town.

We have an electrical inspection tomorrow. If all goes well, we're up and running to finish pretty quickly.

The ceilings in our Westside classrooms are getting a cool little makeover per the suggestion of our GC. It looks really good and corrects what we technically can't touch because of structural stuff.

All for now.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Wet Shirts...but not hands

What we never thought about was how deep the kiddie sinks were going to be in relation to how long the faucets were going to be. Now, just being a novice in miniature bathroom construction, one might expect it to all fit together nicely... hmm, not so. After the offset for mounting, the lip on the edge, and depending on how amazing our water pressure is, this normal-jane faucet will probably just splash all over the little ones, merely trying to practice their washing manners. Clearly, it wasn't going to be that easy.

So, we're off to study spec sheets and measurements... the sinks are good, just the faucets. It's like when you were a kid and saved up your money to buy that "thing" you really really wanted... it just felt better and was more rewarding in the end. I kinda feel like that now. As "easy" as this process has been so far, we need the little things to make us appreciate what we've saved up for.

We just got our parking plan approved, too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Simple Is As Simple Does

The vanities were delivered today. They look great and will fit perfectly with our "look". They weren't on a 3-4 week turn around either... icing.

We submitted artwork for the Education and Enrichment magazine today, too. A few different people were suggesting something with a program list, maybe an address, phone number, a little bio on Crys and the programs, etc. I'm a very visual person and advertisements all jammed up never made sense to me. We ended up with that feet picture, our name, website and address. I think it looks classy and simple. Judge for yourselves. I think it's coming out in August maybe.

We just got a quote for our countertops from our cabinet guy's cousin or something. We got another great quote for our sign from his brother. I like keeping it in the family like that. They're such good people and I'd much rather give the small companies the business.

Remember how I said that the cabinets could be here in a week? We ordered them on Friday and he was trying to deliver them tomorrow. I had to hold them off for a week or so, but it's nice to know he wasn't kidding. Cabinets should be installed next week.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Great News

Today we found out that our budget had been misinterpreted down at City Hall. It had kicked in a bunch of other items to address in construction... now with the budget correctly stated, a lot of those changes are not applicable, thus saving us even more time.

Our inspector came out and cleared both the Plumbing and Mechanical work today.

We found classroom vanities that match the kitchen cabinets... pretty random find considering we went in shopping for new dog beds... of which there were none. Do dogs really need beds?

I also stopped by Home Depot and picked up a new style of wainscoting for the bathrooms. Don't worry, I didn't know what it was either. It's just a water-guard on the bottom half of the walls.

Took the visitors to the Flyaway tonight. It was a good trip. Actually, last week with my mom and grandmother, and this week with Crys' mom and crew, has been nice. Now the house is quiet again... a true sign of needing to get back to work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Blog?

I'm pretty sure I usually take Sunday's off from here because not much goes on business-wise. I couldn't pass up sharing my most current installment of the LA Tour. Living here, you pick up on a few tidbits here and there about buildings, signs, houses, people, etc... things you can show to newcomers. The youngest of our visitors was 17 year old Brittany... Crys' mom's friend's granddaughter. She'd never been on a plane and never really West of Western PA. Seeing her eyes light up over what we'd call normal was really fun.

I promised to take them out and do the touristy stuff, so we set off today. Honestly, it's not my thing, but I love to watch people experience it. They wanted to see the Beverly Hills Hotel, Rodeo Drive, Hollywood and Highland, Chinese Theater, MJ's star, and the Hollywood sign. I added what I knew in my limited knowledge of the happenings around us. You get a completely different view of LA when you see someone else seeing it for the first time. I was proud of my city.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Do You Realize Where We Live?

For most of you, the beach is only 4-5 miles. For me, it's maybe 15. Still, every time I'm in my car and I can see the beach, I usually say out loud (to myself), "I live here." It's so much more fulfilling and dramatic if when I say it, the sun happens to be setting over the water.

Crys' mom loves the beach and is literally the type of person who wants to be dropped off at the beach in the morning and picked up at dark. She's land-locked in Western PA, so any time in the sand is precious. I like getting to see our world through someone else's eyes, too. They live hours from the nearest beach, so seeing their excitement about renting bikes and spending the day swimming was contagious. Unfortunately for us, but good for you parents, Crys and I had meetings set up all day long.

We showed them the progress on Cassidy on our way back. The last time Bonny saw it was when it was completely gutted, so some things have changed.

Then we hit up Miceli's for dinner. So good.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Not That Big of a Deal

The Transportation meeting went well. All they really wanted was for us to finalize a flier that we'll need to have anyway... for you parents, and also to change the parking spaces around. Steve will get on the redesign Monday and Crystal already has a flier that we'd prepared for licensing. Not a big deal.

We stopped back by the cabinet store to actually place the that we know everything is in stock and ready to ship... still unbelievable how amazing the quality is for the price.

In the midst of all this, I'm trying to organize a fundraiser/carshow for the Boys and Girls Club... we'll see how well that turns out. Everything's blending together.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Mother

Tonight Crys' mom is flying in with her friend Kathy and Kathy's granddaughter Brittany. We got a fair amount done today prepping for another few days with the family.

The fencing contractor came to our place and we changed a few things, made some measurements, wrote a check, and shook hands. Shouldn't all deals be that easy? I've always been the handshake kinda guy.

I got an email today that the Transportation Dept. wants a meeting with us tomorrow morning. I'll follow up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Windows Beach Cabinets

Our GC wanted us to see the windows he was ordering for us before he ordered. I thought it might be a 15-20 meeting with the rep and we'd be done. It wasn't a rep, just a driver. He unhooked the rope tying it down, pulled it off of the truck halfway, Crystal said she loved it and it was perfect, he put it back on the truck, tied it down, and he was off. The entire process was about 27 seconds. I like those kinds of meetings.

We grabbed some grub from Whole Foods and set off back home. We were driving down Wilshire close to the 405 (which I usually try to avoid at all costs) and stuck in morning traffic. I said out loud how this was a mistake. We were pretty much parked on Wilshire. I was looking around at everything as I usually do and spotted a cabinet shop. We pulled over and checked out what they had. Most everything was way out of our league, but I wanted to see what they came with for cabinets... better looking than the ones we were going with and just a week turn around. We headed home to pick up our measurements, walk the dogs, and headed back.

We showed him what we needed and within 15 minutes he was coming in at half our budget price for cabinets. I told Crys not to react... she played it well. Had our GC come up and check them out and he didn't understand how they were as cheap as they were. It really was too good to be true. And taking Wilshire wasn't a mistake after all.

We still needed him to come out and measure, so we headed to the beach to relax for an hour or so until he could come out. Amazing day for the beach.

He came out, measured, and is calling us with final specifics. I really can't believe how that turned out. Just another example of how things are falling into place with us. There's so much goodness around us with all of you parents, the kids, the city, our construction crew... it just lets me know we were supposed to do this.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

That's One Loud Roof

Crys and I met at the building this morning to go over how we wanted the ceiling beams to be "wrapped" (cool little construction term for drywall). It's such a funky ceiling because that property used to be one building, then they built a roof on top of the roof, and built another building right next to that. Because of that, there are all these little nooks, crannies, and pitch changes. My mind was spinning by the time we were done.

At the end of the meeting, we needed to go check out some cabinets for the kitchen. We found some that I think we're going to paint ourselves over pizza and beer one Saturday. It'll be nice to put some of our own labor into it for once.

I just got an email talking about the basement area. It was going to be left undone because it wasn't part of the lease negotiation for our Tenant Improvement work. Now, our owners are graciously helping clean it up and make it useful for storage from day one. We called it The Dungeon and planned on using it for the loud kids... I guess it won't be as scary anymore.

For any parents new to this blog having read the previous sentence, that was a joke. The loud kids will instead be put on the roof.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jack Leonard is an Angel

I don't know if any of you all know Jack at City Hall, but I had written a long email to our City Manager and Jack regarding Cassidy, where we were, and how thankful we were for their help thus far. Within about 30 minutes of sending it, Jack called me to see if I needed anything else from them. He's been a big help from the beginning and he's much appreciated.

We took a meeting with Lamont Ewell (our City Manager) a while back and he's been throwing support behind us ever since, too. It's just nice to see people like that who believe as much as we do.

They started drywalling today, too. It's starting to take the shape of our vision.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sally's Room

Today, my mom and grandmother (Sally) got to see Cassidy for the first time. Sally got to see Sally's room which was great because I think she might be the only grandmother to ever see her room... maybe my dad's mom if she makes it out here. I'll try to get her to send me a photo so you all can see it.

I loved getting my mom's input on design ideas, too... she's got a pretty amazing house in the hills or Northern New Mexico that she built and decorated herself. We're stealing one idea of using old twigs for curtain rods. I'm sure there are many more ideas to steal.

We took the dogs to the beach right after. My mom's dog is a full-blown mountain dog so all of this city hoopla took some getting used to... jet planes, other people, other animals, etc. She had a time with the ocean waves. I don't think it made sense to her. While ours swam their hearts out, Zia just sat and watched. By the 2nd day I had channeled Cesar Millan enough to calm Zia down around anything other than my mom... much to her chagrin.

Friday, July 10, 2009

See Some History

Today we had a meeting with our insurance guy. He's taking care of the building, the kids, the employees, and us. He's not really what I would have expected from an insurance salesman. See, it just sounds dirty saying it, right? Insurance Salesman. I need a shower.

This guy Travis though is straight up and thorough. He's been very patient with me while I run around all crazy like. We got everything figured out and we'll be covered come school-time.

On a side note, my mom and grandmother went to see the Reagan Library today because of our meetings in Santa Monica. I wish I would take advantage of all the history around us like that. There's so much to see right underneath us.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


As a hobby, I've been taking pictures since I had the old Kodak spool-film camera as a kid. I've always loved it. Today I shot some photos of our friend and her 5 month old daughter... precious. It was a nice mindless departure while it lasted.

The skylights are in and look pretty amazing. I don't think I expected to get that much light from the frosted kind.

The rough work is pretty much done now, so we're waiting on inspections.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


According to new safety code, any window falling at least 60 inches up from the floor, needs to be replaced with tempered glass. Except for the second level, all the glass was finished today. Joe walked me outside and showed me that some of it had rippled because of how it sits on the rollers after being heated up. He wanted it better and after seeing his passion for correct glass, so did I. Honestly, the rippled stuff reminded me of my home in Tennessee as a kid, so I was actually fine with it... but I played it off. With as much as we're paying for it, I guess it should be correct.

Speaking of money, we just found out that half of our fixtures bid were these double sinks... we scaled it back a bit, went with 2 sinks instead and saved a ton. I've never been one to cut corners, so when we can get something just as useful for much less, I'm all over it.

PS - My mom and grandmother are coming into town tonight. I'm sure I'll have stories.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Red Zipper Jacket

Today those fencing guys I had called came to give bids for our playground. Only 1 showed up in full white garb, a thin sword, and a mesh face mask. I think we're gonna go with a small little company of 3 guys who've been doing fences for about 20 years. Really nice guy, great work, and his proposal was handwritten... does it come anymore raw and endearing?

We walked through every aspect of plumbing and confirmed our fixtures order and the timing for installation. The kids toilets and sinks are adorable... just wait.

Also, electrical should be done at the end of today.

I don't ever want this blog to serve as anything other than information about both Crystal and myself, Cassidy Preschool, and the little happenings around us. With that said, it doesn't makes sense for me to be writing today without mentioning how as a kid I had the red leather zipper jacket, a sequined glove and socks my grandmother had hand-sewn, a poster on my door, and a propensity to moonwalk through every grocery store. No matter what has been said, who thinks what, and what is true or not... we have lost a world-wide inspiration of love and a musical marketing talent that transcends words. While some will choose to love and some will choose to hate, I will choose to love and remember the days that inspired me in my youth.

Monday, July 6, 2009

There are two kinds of fencing...

Today I was calling around fence companies to come out and bid on our playground fencing. On my 5th or 6th call a nice lady answered "International Fencing of Los Angeles", to which I replied "Hey there, I'm looking to get a quote for a wrought iron fence for a playground." Mind you, I'd done a Google Search for Fencing Contractors in Los Angeles. The line went silent for a good 5 seconds. I thought she might have been transferring me or looking up a number. Out of the silence she said, "This is like the Olympics fencing." It took me a second because my brain was switched in one direction. Then I remembered how my mom used to fence in school and it all came together. There are two kinds of fencing... each of which Google doesn't decipher based on the needs of the searcher. Maybe one day.

Just got a call from our contractor... the new windows are in and they look great.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Holiday Weekend

Have a great 4th. Think we'll go watch fireworks for the first time in about 5 years. Sad, I know.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When Helen Can't Sleep...

Today we got an email from our Assistant Director. It was refreshing to get a new take on all of these Cassidy shenanigans, so I thought I'd share. The subject line was "When I Can't Sleep, This Is What You Get."

I present Helen.

To Crystal and Jesse, who made it all possible...

A crappy day and a random meeting... some unknown force in the universe brought us all together on that particular day. And lo, I am reborn into a new and better world.

The People

It started as a casual meeting through a mutual (albeit totally crazy) friend, just to pick my brain. From the minute I met Crystal it was evident that here was a force to be reckoned with. She had a relaxed and sweet facade, but five minutes into the conversation, it became immediately clear that under the surface was a determined, practical and intensely serious woman. The topic at hand was the opening of a brand new preschool on the Westside, a dream of hers, and many years in the making. It was also, to say the least, a very involved and complicated endeavor. This was her baby, but she also knew that by consulting with the myriad of people in the community, she would be privy to an endless source of help and information. Her excitement was immediately contagious. It seemed that no stone was left unturned. Crystal had visited every school possible and gathered the best ideas from each. My heart was racing at the very possibility of being part of what was sure to an amazing (not to mention much needed) new school - Cassidy.

Then what can only be described as scene out of I Dream of Jeanie, a blink of the eyes, a nod of the head, and week later Crystal came back, this time with her husband Jesse. He was introduced as "the business side". Much more reserved than Crystal at our first meeting; he seemed in many ways to be her opposite. He was a quiet observer and for me unnervingly impossible to read. I was convinced that if the room grew quiet, I would be able to hear the wheels turning in his head. A few meetings later I caught on to how really warm and funny he was, I just couldn’t always tell when he was joking with me.

The Building

My excitement continued to grow after visiting the building. Even though little more than a gutted structure, all the potential of a school with big beautiful classrooms was evident. Together Crystal and Jesse painted a picture of where everything was to be. Ideas and plans kept flowing for both the interior and exterior. Unquestionably, this wasn’t just a dream, this was real and it was going to be great.

The Staff

I was invited to sit in on the teacher interviews. Crystal dealt with the daunting task of weeding out all the nannies and people wanting to "try" teaching. Five Saturdays later an awesome staff was assembled. The chosen teachers came from far and wide, were varied in age and background, but all shared in the excitement of teaching in a brand new school with infinite possibilities. We took a weekend art class together, we bonded, good God, this is really happening!

The Parents

Next came an evening with all the preschool parents - my head was reeling with new names and faces. Some seventy-five people assembled in my backyard for a “Meet & Greet”. Seventy-five smiling, happy and excited parents all eager to meet the other parents whose children would also be attending Cassidy. The buzz in the air never once stopped. My heart warmed by the sound of the “ahhs” sung in unison at the showing of the beautiful slide show of all the children.

This is when it dawned on me…I had met Crystal and Jesse, toured the building, bonded with the teachers, met 75 eager new parents, but I had not met one single child. Well there it is then, exactly as it should be. The best should be saved for last.