Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The List

I just made my list for tomorrow. Honestly it's been a while (say a month maybe) since I made myself a list. I'll be the first to tell you I forget everything... except random numbers and facts about electronics and old cars. Everything else... gone. Anyway, the last list I made was more about construction. Call Joe about the tile, email Steve about the sign, call Bruce about the countertops, ask about patching the Blueberry wall, etc. My list now, much like this blog, has evolved. There's like 3 construction things on it and the rest are fun things. Build the last airplane, call back the newspaper who wants to do a story on us, send the pics from ABC being there today, etc. I love it. My point is, the tide is turning. As much as we're still non-stop, we're getting a chance to breathe and enjoy what we've created.

Crys has been doing parent coffees with the different rooms and organizing committees for our activities throughout the year. It's pretty neat seeing how excited everyone is to help get Cassidy going. There are lots of ways to help, so if you're reading this and have questions, please contact us.

The Halloween thoughts are already coming. One of the parents even brought pumpkins today. Yes, we're dressing up... and maybe even Trick-or-Treating (soy, organic, nut-free, environmentally friendly, low-fat, politically-correct candy of course).

The Strawberries did a little Guerilla Gardening today for ABC local news. I'll keep you all posted on when it should air.

My dogs have already turned in for the night... guess I should, too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Evolution of This Blog

To say it's been busy around our house would be a grand understatement. It's been non-stop, well except for Sunday football, since the doors opened. I feel like we're at Home Depot, Lowe's, Target, or IKEA every night. Don't mistake this for complaining though... I couldn't feel more proud of what we have right now. Even buying a gate latch, or rubber floor stoppers... it's just nice.

I felt a little lost once the construction was done. I didn't have much to say that you parents weren't already seeing. There are a few things left to finish, so the workers are coming after hours, but as you've seen, it's essentially done. What I'm realizing is that the people reading this blog (aside from my family and friends) are not only parents of Cassidy Kids, but also parents of future Cassidy Kids just peeking in. So, I'm figuring my target reading audience is evolving. Now, maybe just maybe, I'll have things to talk about again.

With that said, and from the astute advice of one of our parents (thanks Deena), this might just turn into up-and-comings for Cassidy. And with that said, ABC is coming to our school tomorrow (Sept. 30th) to do a story on Cassidy partnering with LA Guerilla Gardening. The Strawberries will be planting flowers in our flower bed behind the building starting at noon.

If any of you have ideas on how to get the word out about us, please let me know. I would imagine with the group of parents we have, there would be several options. This would be an amazing help across the board.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wow Wow Wow

Nearly speechless... nearly. At the beginning, Cassidy was an idea. Crys and I talked about it and started seeking out information from different cities, different buildings, licensing, the State, paint colors, furniture, blah, blah. It was an idea. We started talking about it and financing came through within days... literally. It was now a potential concept. Crystal and her reputation with Brentwood fueled the fire and it quickly became a reality. She gave her year-and-a-half notice and we both started piling on the long nights doing more research, clipping pictures, etc. After finding this building, we hired an architect to pretty much make official what Crystal had already designed in her head. My point is that, for me, it was always just an idea. Then it was just plans on paper, then it was just a building, then it was just a building with toys in it. I didn't get it until today. It became so much more than I ever thought. The energy has changed. In just a day, the kids have brought Cassidy full circle. It's no longer just a building, just plans, or just an idea. The kids have changed it all and now it's perfect.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mere Hours

I walked around the building tonight, video camera in hand, touring myself through the classrooms. It's like we're in the eye of the storm. So much has come before this day and so much will come after. Right now, it's just peaceful. It's only Crys, Miss Breck, and myself.

We cleaned up the odds and ends and finally got our trees placed... you'll see. We watered the plants, dusted, and cleaned the windows (well, Miss Breck did). There's so much of ourselves in Cassidy. I look around and still see ideas that Crys was talking about a year or two ago. The teachers are adding their own passion to their rooms and it has all come together nicely.

I got a ticket today shopping for twinkle lights... I hear that's good luck for opening a preschool. Know anyone who can make that disappear?

Right now, I hear crickets. I don't remember the last time I heard crickets in California. I'll see you soon!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

One More Day

Beware: Stream of Consciousness Ahead

Our painters came in today touching up little areas. The phone guys were installing our stereo... sad that it won't be ready for Monday. Our burglar alarm is installed. I got a rundown of the fire alarm. Our trench drain in the parking lot is complete. Some bracing was added for the A/C guards on the roof. I hung some more lights around. Our drinking fountains were shipped today. We got our last computer set up and installed. The dogs spent the day with us and have been roaming around the school exploring it all. Crystal went shopping for curtains, mirrors, lights, etc. and the office is a war zone right now. Miss Ashlie and Miss Tanya put our art room together tonight and it ended up really nice. We all had dinner with wine and talked shop. Couldn't have been more perfect. Football tomorrow morning... more Cassidy tomorrow night. One more day.

Friday, September 11, 2009


We did it! The regular inspection passed, we got the certificate, and we're good to go for Monday! It's hard to believe it's even real... but it is.

Tonight the teachers were putting some final touches on everything. A few more boxes arrived. Our playground equipment is pretty finalized now. Tons of books. And my favorite... we have Moon Sand. If you haven't seen Moon Sand, just wait. I saw it at another preschool and had to have it.

We had our first "in house" "official" employee meeting tonight, too. Seems like everyone is really excited and raring to go.

Thanks again for your patience and support through this past week. It really means a lot to both Crystal and me.

See you Monday!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Skate Ramp in our Playground?

There's a buzz in the air. You can walk through the classrooms and watch the energy going around with the teachers. They're all putting their final touches on everything and the classrooms look pretty amazing.

We finally had our Fire Inspection today... down to the wire, but it passed. Luckily (and no one had informed us of this), the person who inspects on a State level was there as well. He said he usually never rides with the city inspector, but just happened to be with him today... again, another one of those little miracles that have been following us around for the past 2 years. With the fire clearance in hand, I headed off to the city to get our Temp Cert. of Occupancy. The head inspector needed to come review the final items before giving it to us. I'm meeting him at the building tomorrow morning at 8am. If he gives the "go", we're on for Monday. It's a little crazy how the smallest things could get everything all caught up... but, it is what it is.

After my blog yesterday, I stayed late at the building working, while Crys had gone home to let the dogs out. It was peaceful. I started to hear what sounded like skateboarders doing tricks in our playground, then people would cheer, more skateboarding, more cheering... over and over. Then the skateboarding got louder and the cheering got louder. I turned off the lights and peeked out the window... nothing. Walked to the side window... nothing. No skateboarders, but I could still hear them. I stepped outside and saw brilliant lights from the fireworks on the pier... definitely not skateboarders, but the cheers made sense now. I had forgotten they were throwing their big celebration. I walked up to the roof and got probably one of the best views of the show from 22nd Street. Great little night-cap on the day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Lights and Little Chairs

Inspection went well today. Our Fire Inspection got pushed until tomorrow. I've been listening to the fire alarm for the past few hours... it works. It's been off for a while, but like a good concert, life is a tad muffled. If everything goes well tomorrow, we'll be able to open on Monday as planned... well, re-planned.

There's a nice bit of solace for the past few days, in that I'm still sitting in the middle of it. The tables are put together and tiny little chairs sit around them. The light globes are hung. Cool rugs are scattered everywhere. Shelves are holding paints, toys, beads, buttons, fabric, and lamps. Baskets are filled with toys and blocks. It's done. Actually, I'm curled up in the Blackberry's library blogging from a giant beanbag. I'm looking around and seeing everything in it's place and wishing all the little details were figured out. Soon enough, soon enough. We're so close.

I hate to beat a dead horse, but it's been really amazing getting all of the support from you all. Every day there's at least a few asking if we need help with anything and/or offering their families for cheap labor. What's most comforting is that you all "get it". It's easy to get caught up in the negative with our circumstance, but you all haven't and I couldn't thank you enough. It's been quite the journey so far and with being so close, both Crys and I can't wait to show you what we've created.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mushy Mushy

All of my days are mushing together. I think today is Tuesday. Feels kinda like a Thursday. Couldn't tell you why.

I don't think the parking lot was done on my Thursday post. Is now. Looks pretty great. Getting dusty with all of the work trucks, but nothing a little warm soapy water and a toothbrush won't fix.

We have locks on the doors now, too. With keys, even. More and more deliveries keep coming. Today, we got about 30 books, toys for the yard, some furniture, and I think a puppy. Haven't opened that one yet... we'll see tomorrow.

I think my shelf hanging days are over... and not too soon. I have graduated into mirror hanging. Same pay, nearly the same work, much much more appreciation from the boss.

We bought some lights for the outside. Thought we only needed one. Needed 3. Went back to buy 2 more, and they were sold out. Tracked some down... all good now.

The inspection went really well today. Of course he had a few notes, but nothing too major at all. I've never been through a final inspection, but from what the guys were telling me, he was being "very cool" about it. He's also into airplanes, so we hit it off. Same guy tomorrow.

They started painting the trike path today, too. Hand painting it actually. It feels like that was yesterday. Isn't that when you know you've been awake too long?

My pillow just walked down the stairs and whispered sweet nothings in my ear.

Monday, September 7, 2009


I've never had to think about if hardware stores are open on Labor Day. Or paint stores. Or specialty light bulb stores. Or motorcycle shops. I found out... all of them were. I even got a dandy ladder (spelled "latter" by the cashier at Home Depot). So, yes, we labored. From the top of a 12 foot ladder, I hung lights and wired wires.

I got the internet working yesterday and hooked up the routers today. Need a new outlet for the range booster... nearly easier done than said.

We have a pretty hefty inspection tomorrow. Keep us in your thoughts. I hear that's all it takes.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Whew. Big day. So, with everything going our way for so long, we were bound for a hockey-check at some point. It happened today. It was the perfect storm of "light Fridays" at City Hall and the Holiday weekend. All in all, Cassidy is done. The classrooms are complete (barring a few small details like lights and whatnot). Buuuuuuut, the Fire Inspector can't come out until Tuesday and possibly Wednesday. That throws our opening off. We had to make a decision to hope for the best, so we planned for a contingency and will have our opening Monday the 14th... City willing. I know our teachers have called most of you parents and I just want to say thank you for being so supportive and understanding, but most of all encouraging. Trust me, I walk around these halls in amazement of what Crys has created. I'm itching to show it off, so I want you in here as bad as you want in.

With that said... updates.

Since we have an extra week, the parking lot is getting redone tomorrow. We're also gonna paint the trike path on the playground. I think this weekend might hold some short nights of sleep for the Biltz family, dogs included. We'll be there until the wee hours of the morning I'm sure. I'm still busy hanging shelves, lights, and planes... yes, planes. Another trip to IKEA scored us some new dishes, silverware, cleaning tools, lamps, tables, and stools. We shoulda bought stock in IKEA. Crys is headed to the nursery tomorrow... green thumb and all. I'm gonna hook up our internet and get the computers going.

Here's to redefining a Labor Day weekend.

I'm collecting a bunch of photos for the blog, so I'll post them soon. For now... a few teasers. Enjoy. See you soon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hats Off

Today they were pouring a new curb down in our parking lot. We still need to put a fence back up there at some point, but we just wanted to help catch the rain... does it really rain that much in Santa Monica?

More of opening boxes and putting things together today. The teachers actually started setting up their rooms and it's beginning to look like it should. There's so much really neat stuff in there. I'm not a preschool guy, nor have I seen that many, but to see how everything has come together makes me so unbelievably proud of Crystal. Her vision is no longer a vision... it's real and in front of me every day. Just seeing how the teachers are working together and how everyone simply respects one another for their strengths is assuring. We were pretty confident we'd hired a great group of people, but now seeing them in the school with materials and furniture, it's very clear that we have a phenomenal staff. Hats off if any of you are reading this.

Crys and some of the teachers went to IKEA again tonight for lighting. It's now 9:33pm and I'm sure they're still sifting through the racks. That's some dedication. There's another group going tomorrow morning.

I'll be hanging shelves and staining concrete tomorrow.

The inspectors are coming, the inspectors are coming! If any of you have an inside track to the Santa Monica inspectors, do it up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The New-Old Goods

Three hours of sleep does the body no good... just saying, don't do it. My eyes started yelling at my contacts for being in so soon after they were ejected last night. I was caught in the middle of that fight for at least 5 minutes.

The movers came and got some stuff from our place this morning and we headed to the storage unit... it was finally going to be in the school. Like I said before, we had no idea how much stuff was in there... lots. There's enough for every room to have a substantial amount of coolness.

Teachers continued to build desks, tables, and chairs. Some helped divvy up the goods. I put some of the big guys together with the help of the other Jesse.

Door handles and handrails should be in tomorrow. Painters still going at it. All in all, a very productive day.

Happy Birthday E.