Building update…

Whew! We have now lived in our new home for almost three months. Most of the boxes are unpacked, I finally feel organized. We got our garden beds into place, filled with compost, and planted tomatoes, cucumbers, various squashes and greens.

The weather finally dried the ground enough to get our final backfill around the buildings done in mid July. About an acre and a half of the space around the house has been rototilled and derocked in preparations for sprinklers and hydro seeding. The sprinklers will be running almost 24/7 to keep the new seed wet enough to sprout.

Many, but not all of the little odds and ends that we needed to do around the house has been done. I still need to trim around the base of cabinetry, and prime and paint the three drywall patches. I plan to make an acoustic panel for our great room to cut down on some of the echo in the large room.

I finally found someone to side the shop for us. It has been tough finding contractors/subs who have time in their schedules. Everyone is so crazy busy around here. The ductless heat pump system goes into the shop next week. Hopefully the insulators can come in the following week, and drywallers by the end of the month. Then it will be painters, electricians with final fixtures, plumbers to put the bathroom and kitchen fixtures in and the stair railing installations. Then carpet for the upstairs and cabinets.

I am still getting the gas line issue dealt with from the meter to the house. Once we can connect to the meter, we will have in floor heat for the shop and a working fireplace for the house. In reviewing remits for the house, I found that the heating company forgot to get a final inspection for the split system for the house. I informed them and they have renewed the expired permit and ordered the inspection for next week. I am so tired of permits and inspections.

Yah willing, we will have the bulk of the shop finished by the end of the year. I am looking forward to getting out of building mode and into maintenance mode. I hope you also have something that you can be looking forward to.

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Cat gifts…

Ah, the love of a cat. The neighborhood welcoming committee has visited our new home. He/she is a very large grey tiger cat, who is extremely affectionate. We have now made friends and it visits our work site when there aren’t any pieces of large machinery around. And, it has left me gifts to welcome us into the neighborhood!

Any of you who are familiar with cats knows what I am talking about. Last Sunday I had been working on our wiring all day. I had my bulky coat on to stay warm, gloves were off so I could actually hold the staples I needed to hammer. I had been going in and out of the garage and house, moving my ladder from wall to wall. At one point, I smelled what seemed to be sewage. I thought maybe it was our porta potty. But the smell seemed to be following me around. I started searching, until I finally realized whatever it was was on my hands!!! After a few minutes I was able to piece together the puzzle. The neighbor cat had come in under the garage doors (there is a gap until our garage floor slab is poured) and left a small puddle of poop in the middle of the hallway, that I hadn’t seen. Yes, I stepped in it, then spread it onto every other rung of the ladder, which the front of my bulky coat then got streaked with, and eventually my hands every time I had to move the ladder.

YUCK!!!

I used my drinking water to clean everything of poop and even cleaned the puddle up. Everything got tossed into the wash, and I took a long, hot cleansing shower when I got home.

BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!

On Thursday I had to meet with someone about our plumbing to septic connection, which is in the crawl space under the house. To get to the spot I needed to be at, I either had to go over or under a large pipe. I chose to roll under. After our conversation, we moved back towards the opening, but stopped to discuss more near the spot I had rolled under. That’s when I got the whiff of cat urine. Not really a surprise, as we had had an opening from the outside cut to get the pipes under the house. We would close that today. He looked around and we both saw a small, yellow puddle under the pipe. Fast forward about an hour later and I am still smelling cat urine. Yup. I had rolled in the puddle. Once again, everything I was wearing was thrown in the wash, and another hot, cleansing shower was take. To remove the smell from my hair.

Again, YUCK!

In spite of the unpleasantness, I still like the cat that brought the welcoming gifts. He/she is just being a cat. The crawl space is sealed up now, the cat pee will be wiped up when it thaws and some Stink Free will be applied. The garage doors will now have a board placed across the front to keep the critter out of the house until the cement is poured. And I will still offer my hand in affection the next time it comes to visit.

Hope you belly laughed nice and hard reading this. I have been.

Autumn breather…

It looks like the last time I blogged was late August. That sentence almost rings out in my mind like a private confession of some transgression. Our family was enjoying a reunion, kids and cousins and friends. It was joyous and chaotic at the same time.

The goodbyes were said, tears were shed, and life got back to it’s pre-reunion routine. Somewhat.

Our property is progressing well. The shop is dried in for the winter, although we would still like to get the siding on and the house is being framed. Framing is an amazing process. For days it can look like nothing is happening and then BAM! The walls are up! I can walk through the front door opening, see where the rooms are going to be, and get a glimpse of what the views will be out the windows. The building process has been amazing. There are emotions that I cannot express, that well up inside me when I see what I have planned on paper take shape in three dimensions. It is truly awe inspiring.

I haven’t been involved much for the last month on site. Most of my job has been preparing electrical schematics, shopping lists, reviewing permit inspections, ordering windows, getting insulation estimates and paying everyone. That all changes next week. We have a plumber friend who is going to walk me through the rough in for the house. Soon after that, we will begin setting electrical outlet boxes, switches, etc and pulling wire. After that, the workers will start siding both buildings, roofing the house and setting the patio awning around the shop. I will then start managing the subcontractors scheduling.

For fun, I take time to pull more plums from the tree, and put together color samples of tiles and flooring and cabinetry and such for the final detailing. Right out of high school I took a college interior design class. I really thought that was the route I would follow, until I clearly heard God speak to me a solid “Nope”. One of a handful of times I have hear a clear voice. I got an A+ in the class, but went to work full time for a newspaper in their advertising department. Paid off my first car, moved into my own place with a couple roommates. Did some growing up, got married, had kids, got divorced, remarried, lived life. Several years ago I went through a home staging course and got a certificate, however the timing wasn’t right then either, and nothing became of it. And so I dabble with my own house(s).

Today, I have filled my belly with a delicious plum Dutch Baby breakfast, and am preparing to get to work pruning the fruit trees down, removing some unused firewood from the yard and moving some plant starts over to the property to overwinter. That’s one nice thing about perennial plants. I can cut off a chunk of the plant at this house, and next spring, when we plan to sell, you won’t be able to tell. And, I will have plants I love for the new place at no cost. Well, sorta no cost. My shoulder hurt for a few days after digging out a chunk of decorative grasses. If I have time, I may even try to get a final lawn mow in.

I hope you have a great day today! Find joy in the little things. Always look for the joy. It helps in dealing with this crazy world we live in.

Back to work…

I have always had a healthy respect for working women, but it has deepened over the last month with me having to be very hands on with the building process.

There is a Christian saying, “My life is not my own” that I am experiencing in a different fashion. Today I have to call and cancel an oil change appointment, a chiropractic appointment and an appointment to have eyelash extensions applied for a family reunion we will be attending in a couple weeks. A total waste of money for vanity’s sake, but something I really wanted to do. I have to cancel these appointments because I have to be on site whenever an inspection is taking place during our building process, due to the homeowner build permits we pulled for plumbing, electrical and HVAC.

I have learned things I never imagined I would be learning, things that I hope to purge from the old memory banks as soon as I don’t need the information anymore. For instance: we failed our first inspection for rough in plumbing on Weds. The inspector was not happy that I wasn’t there, and we hadn’t vented properly. We were sent a copy of the code which read something to the effect of “when venting a horizontal run, the invert of the vent must be above the centerline of the pipe that is being vented blah, blah”. I did a complete revamp of the original, after a few hours of trying to figure out what the invert of a pipe was. It took a few hours, but I got it done and we ordered a re-inspect. Friday morning, bright and early, I was back on site, ready to start laying PEX (the flexible plumbing tuning for the in floor heat). The inspector arrived, I positioned myself seated lower than he on the stem wall and played the dumb homeowner. Which wasn’t hard to play, since I knew not much about plumbing when I started this. We spoke a bit, and he said I still didn’t have the inversion correct. I explained that I had a hard time finding an illustration of the code he sent. He then explained simply that it meant that I needed to twist the pipe so the vent is higher than the pipe it vents.

I was annoyed that the code is written in such a way that it is hard to understand unless you are a professional. I was annoyed at myself for not getting it right a second time. I was annoyed that I had to redo something this detail oriented, again. I am not a detail person, I am a big picture person. I buckled down and re-configured it again. The follow up inspection will cost $65, but we are still saving thousands doing it ourselves, and everything will be up to code, because we can’t pass inspections until they are. The reinspect will push us back a day on everything, because we can’t complete the in floor heat until the plumbing rough is filled in, and we can’t get an inspection on the heat, until we have it pressurized. AND we can’t pour the slab until all that is done.

I am hoping that I can carve out some time later in the week for the appointments I had to cancel, and I would love to spend a little time with my grands before we leave for our reunion. But, my life, my time, is not my own for now. It belongs to the building process, at least until we get the power and water in. Then, maybe I can have some downtime during the framing. Hopefully summer vacation isn’t over by then for the grands.

I am still not sure how all this building stuff is going to work when my daughter is here for a month long visit with our other grands.

Well, it’s time for me to make those cancellation calls. Thanks for listening to me “vent” about my “venting” mishaps. It actually helps to just share the story. May you find a safe place to tell your stories.