Let the Building Begin!

No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!

~C. JoyBell C.

I love the quote above. It kind of explains what Bill and I have felt since we packed up all our belongings, officially became homeless, and moved to an area which will become our newly adopted retirement community.

The plan was that I would drive down to Jill and Jim’s in my car with Goldie. Bill would drive his truck with our large trailer in tow. I have no pictures of what my car and his truck and trailer looked like. Just picture in your mind that they were all overflowing with stuff – just leaving enough room for each of us to sit in the driver’s seat of our vehicles and 1/2 the back seat for Goldie. Thank goodness there was no rain in the forecast for that day because Bill had my portable office on that trailer. I had the computer and printer in my car, but Bill had our writing-table, the printer cart, and my large leather swivel chair on the trailer. We had them packed in moving blankets and tons of shrink-wrap. My trunk was full of this stuff:

Tech closet changed into Desk Supply Closet

Portable Office Stuff

Half of the back seat of my car was full of our clothes, my computer, our coffee maker, and a bin of stuff. The front seat was full of cloth bags of food and dry goods.

Bill’s truck bed and back seat were full of his tools that he didn’t send to storage. He also stuffed in anything left in the house that I couldn’t get in the car. The trailer had three coolers of frozen food and everything left in the fridge; the Dyson vacuum cleaner, brooms, and several bins full of stuff, in addition to the office furniture.

We got up early and started packing all the above into the vehicles. While Bill worked on covering the truck bed and trailer with a tarps, I did a final clean of the house. I was on the road to Jill’s before 7:00 am! Bill was staying behind to meet with the new owners at 10:00 am to hand over the keys.

I have to tell you . . . I NEVER want to do a move like this again. It was both physically and mentally exhausting. I arrived at our property really early. So early I didn’t know if Jill and Jim were even up yet. 😯 They had gone out the night before to celebrate their anniversary and the grandkids had spent the night with Jim’s parents. When I pulled into J&J’s driveway, I was greeted by these sites on our property. The Excavation had begun for the new house, driveway, and the pole barn!

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After walking Goldie around our new place and taking pictures, I got back in the car and drove up to J&J’s house. I parked my car outside their garage and called Jill on my cell. Whew! They were up getting ready for church. When I came into their home, Jill greeted me with a hug and said, “Welcome Home!” When Jim saw me, he said, “Welcome to the Evansville area!”

I was having some mixed emotions. Part of me felt like I was here for a visit. My brain had not wrapped around the thought that we were actually going to be living here. All I knew was that I was tired. And, I wanted to sit or lay down on something soft. Spending the last three days sitting on lawn chairs and sleeping on blow-up mattresses had taken its tow on me. After Jill and Jim left for church, I made several trips back and forth to empty the inside of my car and drag our stuff up the stairs to the bonus area apartment where we would be living. I finally collapsed on the couch up in the bonus area and fell asleep for 1/2 hour. It felt great!

Jim’s mom called to invite us for a late lunch. I told her I wasn’t sure when Bill would be arriving as I had come down earlier. Turns out Bill arrived around 1:30-2:00 and we enjoyed having a great home-cooked meal even if we felt like we were prying our eyes open from lack of sleep and pure exhaustion. Jim and Jill helped us unload our vehicles and trailer. Bill and I slept very well that night!

The next couple of days I spent unpacking and finding places in our apartment to store what we had brought. We merged all the canned and dry goods into Jill’s pantry and invaded their fridge and freezer with all our stuff. I jokingly call all the rest of items that have filled the apartment cabinets and the 1/2 bath cabinet “The Store.” I told Jill before she or I would buy anything, we needed to check “the store” first. I have every kind of cleaning solution you’d want and have enough hardwood floor cleaner to last a lifetime. 😀

Anyway, within two or three days, I unpacked and found a place for everything. This is our two bedroom apartment. We love it. Who wouldn’t? Thank you Jill and Jim for letting us use your bonus area as our temporary home. Here is where we are living!

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Jim’s dad graciously offered the boat house for Bill to store some of his tools and all our shed items. He said he could use the space but he’d have to clean it up first. Bill spent a day or two getting all that organized. Our lawn mower has found a home under the lean-to of Jim’s parents big red barn. Our new “commune” living is working out okay! 🙂

We had a family meeting with Jill and Jim one evening the first week we moved in to discuss our living arrangements. Jill is working full-time with Karama now and the family is adjusting to her busy schedule. In addition to Jim working long days, he is also handling all the stuff with our new house with the family construction company. Bill and I said we’d do whatever we could to help them while we were living here. So, Bill and I watch the kids if they are not in a summer camp so Jill can work at her new office space. I also said I would make dinners. We are trying to base our menus from the overflowing pantry and freezer first. And, I usually do laundry during the week. Bill does projects for Jim and Jill. Jim is a little shy in asking for help, but Jill always seems to have something for Bill to fix or do. 😉

On top of getting settled in, Jim sent out the bids for our new house the Tuesday we arrived with a deadline of submitting bids for Thursday, June 20th. Jim was leaving for Africa on Sunday morning, June 23. (1/2 trip was a mission trip; 1/2 trip he is doing a Mount Kilimanjaro climb) It was a busy time for all of us!

The excavator spent a couple of hours each day moving dirt around on June 11-13. Jim text us that he had a meeting scheduled with the excavator at our property the evening of June 13 and we needed to be there. We were suppose to go over decisions of elevations of the pole barn pad and the driveway and house/garage. Hmmmm, okay. I didn’t know what I could contribute, but I said I’d be there with Bill.

All I can say is we have some rich dirt on our property. It smelt like manure when we went down there that evening. I think my only contribution that evening was to ask Jim’s dad for his advice on the excavation. I liked his advice and said to go with whatever he said. Here are some pics of the excavation job and a video of the very large commercial equipment our excavator used. They had to really build up the pole barn pad. But we were very fortunate we didn’t have to haul in dirt. We had enough by digging out the driveway and part of the crawl space for the house. I loved watching that big ‘ol machine, but I was afraid it was going to tip over!

By the time we finished our first week here, Goldie and I both started having some problems. Since we had just been down here for a short time, I hadn’t found a doctor yet. (I have one now!) So, with the advice from my Indy doctor’s office, on Tuesday, June 18, I took myself to a local urgent care and ended up with a diagnosis of a bladder infection (my first). They sent me away with a prescription for an antibiotic. I took Goldie to the vet that same afternoon. They were unsure what her diagnosis was (she was having bladder accidents!) but gave her a shot and put her on an antibiotic, too! Both of us have been fine ever since we got on medication. Yay! Funny thing is, both the doctor and vet said it could have been the stress of moving.

They delivered the pole barn materials on Thursday, June 20 and started building it the next day. Here is what they did on Friday the 21st.

First day poles up

First day poles up

side view

back view

another side view

side view

They were supposed to be back on Monday, June 24, but we had storms all day long. We ended up getting 4-5 inches of rain! No building that day. Even though it was extremely muddy, the crew returned and worked every day Tuesday through Friday, June 25-28. They got that pole barn up so quickly. Here are pics of the progression:

Day 2

Day 2

End of day 2 Framing complete with windows

End of day 2 Framing complete with windows

Day 3 - the siding going on

Day 3 – the siding going on

Day 3 - white door is going to be painted bronze

Day 3 – white door to be painted bronze

Day 4 finishing the siding

Day 4 finishing the siding

Day 4 - front of barn

Day 4 – front of barn

End of day 4 - roof on, trim finished - front of barn

End of day 4 – roof on, trim finished – front of barn

Day 4 - side of barn

Day 4 – side of barn

Day 4 - back of barn

Day 4 – back of barn

Day 4 - trusses

Day 4 – trusses

Day 4 - inside of barn

Day 4 – inside of barn

Still waiting for the cupola to go on the top! That was one thing that I picked out for the barn. And, they called and convinced me to get an upgraded one, too! I can’t wait to see it. The excavator delivered some rock this morning for our driveway.

Driveway rock

Driveway rock

Now the pole barn guys can bring their truck in next week with a load of rock and spread inside the barn. After that they will put an insulation blanket down and then lay the pex tubing for the radiant heat floors. Then they can bring in the concrete truck and pour the pole barn floor.

I wish I could say that the house bid $$ were going as smooth as the pole barn did. They are not. 😥 The house is coming in way higher than it did last fall and we’ve already put (or will be putting out of our own money) close to $175K! We paid for the lot, all the light fixtures (inside and out), door hardware, laundry and kitchen cabinetry, the well, excavation costs, plumbing for pole barn (bath rough-in and radiant heat), and the pole barn. We went through the bids the other night with Jill after Bill and I had worked on them for a week line for line – Bill more than me this time. Turns out lumber has gone up almost double since J&J built. Jim’s brother did some checking and he said that even though the construction business is picking up, the lumber mills are still closed from the housing crash. Demand is more than supply.

We are trying to find some ways to cut the cost of the home we want to build without compromising the look and feel of it. We have found a couple of things – (siding and fireplace changes) to save some costs. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to make up the high lumber prices.

Next up: Will the expensive cupola be worth the wait and will we actually start building the house we want in July?

Moving in the Right Direction


It’s been a crazy three-week period since I last posted. When I left you I was getting ready to clean house for the appraisal which was scheduled for Monday, May 27 – Memorial Day. Well, that is what I did all day Sunday, May 26 – clean. And, that is what Bill did out in the pole barn. Late Sunday evening we got a call from Centralized Showing Service that the appraiser didn’t realize that Monday was Memorial Day and he wanted to reschedule the appraisal for the same time on Tuesday. I was so frustrated. I could not control that situation or any other for that matter. 😡

I’m not going to go into details of everything that has happened in the last three weeks. It’s just too much and I would never be able to get it all posted. But, here are some bullet points of the ups, downs, excitement, depression, anxiety, and fear that we experienced through it all.

  • Tuesday, May 28: Service Plus replaced a breaker in the electrical box at the same time the appraiser arrived and was taking pictures. Dark rooms.
  • Appraiser walked out to pole barn; saw Bill and asked him how big the pole barn was and started walking away without ever looking inside. Bill told him he needed to see all the improvements he had made before he left. 🙄
  • Wednesday, May 29: First moving company (Leaders Moving and Storage) came to give us an estimate for moving all our stuff and putting it in storage for at least 1-1/2 months.
  • Weds.: We loaded the small trailer with items that the moving company wouldn’t take without being totally drained – basically, it was much of our shed stuff. And, the bed of the truck was filled with light fixtures, ceiling fans, and door hardware.
  • Thursday, May 30: Second moving company (Greenwood Moving & Storage) came to give us an estimate. One hour after taking down all the info and giving us the estimate at our dining room table, Bill ended up escorting the guy to the door after he tried to strong-arm us to make a decision on the spot. He was so rude and obnoxious, too! Plus, he didn’t help his cause by being twice the price as Leaders.
  • Thursday: It was the day for the Inspection and we were supposed to be gone for 3 hours. So after Obnoxious Guy left, we got in Bill’s truck, put Goldie in the back and drove down to J&J’s to drop off the small trailer and unload the truck bed in one of their garage bays they were lending us for storage.
  • On the return trip from Jill & Jim’s we got a call from CSS for a radon inspection the next morning.
  • Friday, May 31: Bryan flew in from Virginia for a long weekend to help us pack up the pole barn. Jill and Jim came up in the evening with Jim’s parents’ Expedition and their large trailer.
  • Saturday, June 1: All of us packed stuff for hours and hours until . . .
  • Saturday afternoon: Our realtor called and said the appraiser had just called him and said our house would not appraise for the full asking price. In fact, he said he wasn’t sure if he could even appraise it for $50K less than asking price! 😯
  • Saturday late afternoon: After several calls back and forth with our realtor Bill fell into a depression and said he didn’t want to pack anymore. 😦 We sent Jill and Jim on their way back home with our lawn mower and John Deere Gator on the back of the trailer and the Expedition full of 4 suitcases of clothes, files I would need down at their home, and several bins of other items we didn’t want to go into storage. We sent Bryan off in one of our cars to one of his friends to attend a Pacer’s game. I decided I was not going to be depressed and prayed for an answer.

Here are some pictures of our weekend of packing:

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  • Saturday evening: Jill called and said they had some bad news. They lost the hood of the Gator somewhere on I69. 😥 However, she said the Gator had a new home in their garage.
Hoodless Gator

Hoodless Gator

The Gator's new home

The Gator’s new home

  • Before leaving our house on Saturday Jack asked Megan if she wanted to drive the Gator once they got home. Megan said she was going to put the “pedal to the metal!” 😉 Jack ended up being the first to drive it up their driveway. He told me he wasn’t allowed to drive it fast.
  • Sunday, June 2: Bill, Bryan and I spent the day packing and inventorying items in the pole barn. We had already confirmed that Leaders Moving and Storage would come Weds., June 5, to pack the rest of the house and they would start moving us on Thursday, June 6.
  • Sunday: We got the inspection report. The house was in great shape. Only two minor things reported. The inspector had told the buyer that he had never seen a house so well maintained in plumbing and electrical work. Way to go, Billy Boy!
  • Sunday late afternoon: Our realtor emailed that the buyer’s realtor had done her own analysis on our home and her own comps. She said she was remorse that she had not done it before advising her clients to offer a full asking price for our home. But, with the bidding war going on, they knew time was short. Long story short, she came up with a price that was $30K less than full listing price. Since the appraisal had still not come in we didn’t know what was going to happen with this sale. 😦
  • Sunday evening: I sent out a prayer request to everyone I knew to pray that the appraisal would come back with a price that we could live with. We never expected to sell the house full listing price, let alone appraise for that much either. Several realtors made the comment that the comps didn’t support the listing price and since the appraiser and buyer’s agent made their cases to refute the price, we didn’t know what the outcome would be. And, we had the impression that the buyers would not pay out-of-pocket over what the agent suggested. So we waited and waited to hear about the appraisal. Bill and I had our bottom line price. We weren’t being greedy. We just knew what the house appraised for in 2011 and we had added $25K in improvements since then. We wanted to recoup some of that $25K.
  • Monday, June 3: Bryan continued to help Bill pack up the pole barn. They got it all packed up. I drove Bryan to the airport that afternoon for his return home. He was tired. He had worked so hard. Thank you, Bryan! Plus, he was a joy to have around with his usual jokes to liven the mood. Jokes like, “I’m going to take a picture of this box and I bet it won’t be opened up 5 years from now!”
  • Tuesday, June 4: Our realtor emailed us that he still had not heard about the appraisal and he didn’t see how this deal would close. He thought we should put our house back as active and start showing it again! Nooooooooooooooo! I told Bill we had gone too far in moving and that if we were going to put the house back on the active market, it could be shown after we moved out and the house would be empty! But, I didn’t want to make the house active again. We would have to make arrangements to have someone cut the grass and weed the landscaping. We would have to keep the electric on. We would have to make another house payment. I think Bill and I both reached a low point that day.
  • Tuesday: Bill and I agreed that if the house went back active we wanted to pay for another appraisal ourselves. And, we wanted the listing price to be change. We were not going to go through this again.
  • Wednesday, June 5: The movers arrived to start packing what was left in the house – pictures, kitchen stuff, linen closet and dismantled the other two beds.
  • Wednesday late morning: The appraisal came in $3 less than our bottom line price. Bill and I talked. Since the buyers were willing to pay full price surely they had the funds to pay their own closing cost since the house was now costing them $25K less than they offered. We decided if they agreed to pay their own closing cost ($3K), that would give us the bottom line price we wanted. Buyers and Sellers signed an amended purchase agreement.
  • Wednesday afternoon: We waited for the appraisal to go through underwriting. Our realtor thought we’d hear later that day. And, if everything was okayed by underwriting, the lender said we could still close on Friday, June 7!
  • Wednesday evening: Our realtor called and said everything was a go with closing on Friday!
  • HallelujahThursday, June 6: The movers arrive in 5 trucks with 9 guys. Great bunch of guys. They worked so hard and long and even though they had quoted us to also move us on Friday, they worked late and got it all done Thursday night. Bonus! That way we didn’t have to have someone at the house watching Goldie and the movers while we were at the closing on Friday. The movers earned a nice tip for getting done early. 🙂

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  • This is how we spent the remaining days until we moved out on Sunday, June 9, and headed down to Jill and Jim’s for our next adventure.

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Next up: Our new life living with Jill, Jim and the grandkids. And, the building begins!