The Waiting Game

You usually have to wait for that which is worth waiting for. ~Craig Bruce

There’s really not much happening with the house-building. Still waiting to hear from the builder. Actually, other than playing the waiting game, it’s been quiet on the home front. And, Bill and I aren’t worrying about it because . . .

Head full of fears no space for dreams

Thanks, Becca, for posting this graphic on FB. I decided to borrow it. πŸ™‚

Remember when I told you last time that they were installing the cupola on Monday, July 15? Well, it didn’t happen. 😦 Oh, they came for a short time Monday morning and put together the cupola. Turns out there were some parts missing and had to be ordered. They are supposed to come back tomorrow (Monday, July 22) to install it. We’ll see. Here are some pictures of the cupola.

Cupola with windows and topper. Colors coordinate with the barn - clay and bronze

Cupola with windows and topper. Colors coordinate with the barn – clay and bronze

Base which fits over the ridge on the roof of the barn. Then cupola attaches to the base.

Base which fits over the ridge on the roof of the barn. Then cupola attaches to the base.

Eagle weather vane which will go on top of the cupola.

Eagle weather vane which will go on top of the cupola.

To give you a little perspective of how huge this cupola is, here is a picture of me standing next to it. It was a lot larger than we thought it would be. Maybe that’s why it cost so much! But, it’s so cute! Don’t you think?

Huge cupola and base

Huge cupola and base

And remember those few footprints last week on that new shiny pole barn floor. Look at all those prints now! I sent this pic to our son Bryan this week via text and he replied he could barely see the cupola because of all the footprints. πŸ˜† He’s such a funny guy!

Bill has worked in the pole barn a little this week, but we’ve been in the middle of a heat wave and it was hot in that barn. He was able to caulk all around the interior. He said in his last pole barn he could always feel air coming through those same areas in the winter. He was determined to cut as much loss of heat as possible.

Caulking in the interior of the barn

Caulking in the interior of the barn

When I changed our address with the post office before we moved we received several 10% off Lowe’s coupons. Each one had a different expiration date. Bill was able to save money on all his caulking material for the first coupon. The second coupon expired Thursday. He made another trip to Lowe’s and bought all his 2×4’s and other wood to start putting up his wall studs.

Wood for pole barn interior walls

Wood for pole barn interior walls

Jim, Sr. has a ladder and scaffolding that Bill can use to start the project. I think Sr. is also lending Bill his compressor for the air stapler, too. And, they are letting us use the electricity in their barn. It’s great living/sharing in our little commune. Of course, Bill fixes things for them in return. And, we are doing that pet sitting for them while they all go on vacation in two weeks. It all works out. See that big yellow extension cord on the tool box of the trailer on the pic above? That’s the heavy-duty cord Bill needs so he can run that electricity over from their barn to ours. It’s a good thing Bill put windows in the pole barn. He can transfer that cord from their barn window to ours. Sweet! πŸ˜›

Now that Bill has access to electricity, he needed some relief from the heat. Today we went to Menards and he bought this 30″ commercial-grade pivoting drum fan. This should help!

Industrial Fan

Industrial Fan

Yesterday the excavator came up to Jill and Jim’s house and extended their driveway to create additional parking spaces. Since Bill and I brought two more vehicles up here in addition to the Gator (which has found its home in Jim’s garage bay), we felt we would offer to create this additional parking space for J&J. Hey, they are providing us with a free home for many months. We felt this was a win-win for both of us. The new area came out really nice.

New parking area

New parking area

The new area is about the length of the truck. But the excavator spread the new rock over all of the top area so it all is the same quality.

The new area is about the length of the truck. But the excavator spread the new rock over all the top area so it all looks new.

And now Jim and Jill have a pile of top soil to fill in their bare spots!

Big 'ol pile of top soil

Big ‘ol pile of top soil

On a personal note, I was able to sign up for my Medicare supplement insurance and a drug plan. All I do is write checks lately! I start on Medicare August 1! 😯 I think I finally found a dentist office down here which will accept the Delta Dental Direct Discount Card. I’m calling them tomorrow to set up cleaning appointments for Bill and I. Bill still needs to find a couple of doctors down here. I found one and have my first appointment on August 6 to have my “Welcome to Medicare” physical.

Bill had to make a trip to Urgent Care yesterday. He’s been getting all these insect bites and the last several ones have left him with some large red areas around them. Jill and I convinced him to have them checked out. After waiting two hours, the doctor spent about one minute with him and said he had a mild reaction and they put him on an antibiotic. The bites still look yucky. I hope the meds help. Living out here you have to be careful cause there are lots of ticks, mosquitoes, chiggers, spiders, and who knows what else. Bill bought insect repellant today. I just hope he uses it. πŸ˜•

Oh, and I took a tour of the YMCA down here this week. I need to do something for exercise and something to relieve these sore knees. They have several water aerobic classes at the Y Jim goes to. Turns out Jim can add me to his membership for $15/month as long as I live in the same household! He’s going to get me added this week. As soon as I’m a member I can call and try to get into a class. The grandkids can attend the activity center free when I go to classes, too. This is also a way for me to meet new people down here. I’m excited.

That’s it for now. Up next: I hope word from the builder!

In a Holding Pattern

Opportunity ideas do not lie around waiting to be discovered. Such ideas need to be produced. ~Edward de Bono

The rain finally stopped! And construction on the rest of the pole barn started up again.
I went out of town with my sisters on Sunday, July 7, and returned on Wednesday, July 10. While I was gone, they finished the barn! Well, all except the cupola. That is being installed tomorrow, Monday, July 15. Bill sent me pics via text to keep me updated.

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Bill decided to seal the concrete at the last minute. Sure glad he did. It looks so nice and shiny and he said it will help if moisture would get into the barn.

But dust (especially rock dust) on shiny new floors leaves a not so nice trail. Guess who these foot prints belong to?

Dirty footprints on shiny new concrete

Bill’s dirty footprints on shiny new concrete

Bill also sent me this video via text.Β  First time he was going to have garage door openers on a pole barn. He had to manually open and close the big garage door on the pole barn at our other house. He was happy!

While I’m sharing video, might as well share the “Like Mother (Jill), Like Daughter (Megan)” videos of driving the Gator. They both like putting the pedal to the metal. By the way, Bill did order a new hood for the Gator. Now, it doesn’t look naked. πŸ˜€

Okay, now to tell you what I meant by being in a holding pattern. After Jim got back from Africa and I got back from my sisters trip, we sat down and talked Wednesday night about the house. Jim had gone through our construction binder and contractor bids spreadsheet. He wanted to make sure we knew some of the reasons why the price was high. Apparently we have expensive taste in some areas. Who knew? πŸ™„ However, those areas were ones that Bill and I did not want to change. We still wanted the granite (including putting it on the bathroom vanities); we still wanted the front door we picked out along with the wooden casement windows; we still wanted the stained trim package, the coffered vaulted ceiling in the family room, the hardwood floors, upgraded carpet for bedrooms, and the high-efficiency fireplace. I’m sure there were more things, but those were the prime ones. This is our last house we will own. We wanted it the way we wanted it.

The topic came up of whether we should talk to a custom home builder. Jim wanted to know if we wanted him to meet with a builder and ask if he would be interested in giving us a price to build the house instead of us sub-contracting out the whole thing. We were open to the idea. Bill asked if we could be present at that meeting. Jill shared which builder she felt would be our best match and who would not be a conflict of interest for Jim’s family engineering firm. Jim said he’d call the builder the next day. At this time I’m not going to share the builder’s name as we don’t know where this will go.

The next morning Jim called and said we had a meeting with the builder at 2:00 that afternoon (Thursday, July 11) at Jim’s office. We decided beforehand that Jim would do all the talking but we’d be there to answer any questions or to elaborate on something if needed. The meeting went well. Jim presented the situation to the builder saying that he had taken on the responsibility of building our home through the family construction company. He said that in no way was he an expert in home building. However, he had the experience of designing their last two homes and going through the “build” on their present home and his parents’ home through the family construction company. He was being very modest. Jim is an “expert” in the field in our minds. He told the builder he had drawn up all the plans which he then shared with him along with our very thick spec document. Jim mentioned to the builder that we thought the total of our bids was high for the house. Jim did not tell him what that price was. πŸ˜‰

To our surprise (me and Bill), the builder was not scared off. Jim asked if this might be an opportunity for the builder to take on. He said he would be happy to take a copy of the plans and specs and give us a proposal in 2-3 weeks. πŸ™‚ This is where the holding pattern comes into play. We have decided to wait and do nothing more on the house and the house bids until we hear back from the builder.

Bill and I have decided that if the builder’s price is equal or below our bids, we will definitely let him take over the job. That will save Jim all the time and energy of being the general contractor. It will also relieve Bill from being the on-sight “eyes and ears” for the build. Well, we’d probably still be “eyes and ears” but in a more behind-the-scene way. Either way, Bill and I have agreed that we are going to build the house as we want it. So, in the meantime, I’m praying again for God’s guidance along this path.

Since we have a couple of weeks of reprieve, Bill is starting to work on the pole barn interior before he brings the cabinet parts down from the storage unit up north. Maybe he’ll be able to get the walls and insulation up BEFORE he sets up the workshop. He was thinking he would have to do it afterwards. I’m hoping this delay will all work out for the best anyway.

My time lately is being spent being the laundry fairy and dinner chef. If it were up to the grandkids we’d have spaghetti or tacos every day. I need to look though my cookbooks and come up with some other summer-friendly recipes the family might like.

Oh, before I go, I have two more pictures to share. The big cupola came in and we got to see it when we dropped off our last payment for the pole barn. That sucker is going to be big! The grids on the windows of the cupola were white – not really part of the color scheme. Bill decided to paint them bronze since the other part of it was the clay color of the barn. Bill spent yesterday taping up all the square areas and spray painting the grids. They turned out really nice. Here are two of the four windows that fit in the cupola. I can’t wait to see what it looks like on top of the barn!

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The second picture is of our driveway. The excavator dumped and spread the rest of the rock for our driveway and the area toward our garage. Bill wanted this so we can drive up the driveway now. Also, when Bill is ready, we can have the moving company bring our stuff from storage!

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As soon as I have more news, I’ll post. Until then . . . say a prayer that the builder comes in at a good price!

I thought we were done making changes!

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. ~Arnold Bennett

As I stated in the last post, we had a stack of bids that had come in. Bill went through the bids first line for line. He then started a spreadsheet to enter $ amounts into the correct category, i.e., excavation, building material, block, concrete, plumbing, electrical, siding, stone, windows, doors, roof, gutters, etc. He would enter the subcontractor’s name and the amount of the quote for that particular category. He also had a column for tax and a column for comments.

After Bill would get done with bids, I went through each one by category and made notes and questions. It was great having two people checking each bid as we each would catch something that either wasn’t correct or wasn’t bid. After I was done with my examination of the bids, Bill and I sat together and went over them and made changes to the spreadsheet. Bill made notes on any subcontractor he needed to contact either by phone or email for further explanation of their bid or for revisions of the bid. This process took a long time. And, Bill is still following-up on some of them.

We sat down with Jill one evening last week to get her opinion on each bid. She would look at the spreadsheet, then the bid, and then compare the prices of the bid with theirs from three years ago. We each had our construction binders out. We created ours to mimic the one Jill & Jim used:

Construction Binder

Construction Binder

When we reached the stone bid, we started discussing how I wanted the fireplace surround and mantle to look. I had put a picture in our spec document. However, no subcontractor really addressed the fireplace. Jill asked to see our inspiration photo of the fireplace. Here it is:

Fireplace we like

Fireplace we like

I guess we hadn’t put enough detail into our spec document to get this area spec’d out. Well, hecky dern! Jill asked what the material was on the mantle. I said I had no idea. I thought someone would bid on how to build it for us. Oops! Guess not. πŸ˜•Β I’m still learning the ins and outs of this building thing.

This fireplace design became a blessing in disguise. I loved this fireplace from the moment I saw it on houzz.com. I wanted the design to look like the columns in front of our house. Plus, I wanted the fireplace to be a focal point when you walked into the front door. The next day, Thursday, June 27, Bill and I went on a mission to find a masonry company who might be able to help us out.

After a couple stops at places who could not help us, we found a company called Tri-State Stone. We went inside and waited to talk to Rick, the President. I love places like this. The president is also your designer and installer. Lots of years of experience and was excited to create a fireplace like the picture we showed him. After talking with him, Bill asked if they would like to bid on the stone for our home, fireplace, and chimney. Rick said he would be glad to. He said he was sure he would give us a competitive bid. (We only had one other bid.) Then, he asked us what type of fireplace we were putting in and where we were getting it. We had picked out this:

Fireplace Xtrodinair

Fireplace Xtrordinair Elite 44

Rick suggested we go to another store and look at their fireplace. He said to tell them he had sent us there. It was just down the street, so we went the same afternoon. We ended up looking at this fireplace:

Enerzone fireplace

Enerzone fireplace

We got a quote and it was almost $2K less than the other one! The design was fine and we decided this was another area where we could save some money with hope that Rick’s quote would be less than our other stone bid. The good thing was that Tri-State specialized in the actual manufactured stone that we had picked out – Centurion. So, when we got his bid, it would be for the same stone as the other bid.

Friday Bill received answers and updated bids to several inquiries we had sent out to subcontractors. One big problem we were having was that one lumber company had bid the quote using trusses and the other two lumber companies had quoted stick built. Bill had asked those two to submit a new bid with truss structure. Our framer likes to build with trusses, so that is the way we will go. Unfortunately, this brought our build price up even higher! 😯 Bill continued to update the spreadsheet.

In addition, Bill and I went out again Friday morning with Megan in tow to a couple of places trying to decide what to do about our siding. We had originally wanted the Apex Fiberglass siding. However, the only distributor in the area said he wasn’t able to give us a quote for it any longer and he didn’t have an install crew any longer for the siding. That was so frustrating. I even called the manufacturer to find out what was going on and if there was any place else where we could get a quote and get someone to install it. Bill ended up calling a place in Bloomington but they said they only went as far south as Vincennes to install. This was becoming a pain. We finally took this as a sign that we needed to choose another type of siding. I had chosen the pole barn colors to match the colors with the Apex siding. Now what? So began the siding, shakes, trim, windows, door and roof saga.

On a earlier trip to a lumber company, the guy who waited on us told us about this siding and trim which was in their showroom. He said it was LP SmartSide siding with Azek trim. Remember this as it will come into play later . . .

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This structure reminded me of the house I fell in love with at the Indianapolis Home Show two years ago.

Showcased home

Showcased home

I really liked the green with the white trim. The lumber company sales person gave us several samples of colors for the LP siding. Or at least he said they were LP siding samples. πŸ™„ The problem was they just didn’t seem to have that green sample of the LP siding which I really liked. We had all these other samples, but not the green. They gave us a sample of a clay color, too. I asked if they had a dark bronze-like trim or shakes that we could use if we went with the colors that would match the pole barn. Unfortunately, their display on the wall was missing several samples – green and coffee. The other dark trim color was way too brown and didn’t blend in well with the bronze windows. The only other thing I had to go with at the time was a printed off piece of plain paper with the color choices. On this earlier trip we didn’t ask if they could order samples for us. But when we got home and showed Jill the color choices on the plain piece of paper, she said she wondered if the Coffee color would match Bronze.

Back to Friday’s, June 28th, visit to the lumber place . . . We finally got to talk with the guy who was doing our exterior material bids – James. Thank goodness for James. He knew us through our plans and spec document. The other guy we saw that day was Joe – who was bidding the Marvin Integrity windows and the exterior doors we wanted. We already had a great working relationship with Joe. Now we had two guys at the same place who were not only willing to work with us with great service but were also willing to be competitive dollar-wise to get our business. We talked to James about our frustrations with changing to a different siding and the lack of being able to match colors. He said he would order samples of any colors we wanted in the LP SmartSide siding. We gave him a list. He said he thought he’d get them in early the following week. In the meantime, he gave us a sample of the CertainTeed Cedar Impressions Double 7″ Staggered vinyl shakes. These were really heavy-duty.

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Bill and I didn’t want vinyl siding but we would consider vinyl shakes – especially these heavy-duty ones. We went home that day to see if these combinations would work. Clay for lap siding, Sable Brown vinyl shakes, White Azek trim and white for exterior windows and doors.

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Guess what? I didn’t like the White against the Clay color. I didn’t mind the White against the Sable Brown or the White against the Bronze, but I thought the White against the Clay was too stark for me. And most of the trim was going to be against the Clay lap siding. Bill knows from experience, I have final say on colors. By this time he was like this. Make a decision, already!

frustratedFast forward to Monday, July 1. We made arrangements to make another round of vendor shopping. We took Jack and Megan out for breakfast and then dropped them off at Jill’s workplace so as not to subject them to a dull afternoon of house-building shopping. Our first stop was Menards. They carried the LP SmartSide siding. We wanted to see if they had any color samples we could see. Turns out Menards used a different prefinished color manufacturer than the lumber company. They had different colors and their only samples was a shiny brochure. 😑 However, they had lots and lots of samples of the CertainTeed Cedar Impression Shakes. I grabbed every color sample we thought might work.

We had gotten a call earlier in the morning from Kight Lumber (the lumber company we’d been visiting often). James said that Marvin had the windows and sliding door on sale and we could get another 10% off. Yay!!! And, he said he thought the siding samples would be in that afternoon. So, our next stop was at Kight. James and Joe smile every time we walk in this place. Now, they might be smiling and thinking, “Oh no, not these people AGAIN!” But, no matter what, they smile at us and never appeared or act frustrated. James said the samples had just gotten there and he started to open a package.Β  Needless to say, we were all surprised to see all the color choices! And, this was the Diamond Kote Prefinish. I had read about them. They were highly recommended. And, their finishes had a 30 year no fade warranty. The prefinisher at Menards only had a 15 year warranty. See all our choices? Can you imagine what Bill thought when he saw me get so excited with all of these?

LP SmartSide Siding Colors

LP SmartSide Siding Colors

I basically was excited about the color Coffee. I took the Coffee sample and put it beside a Marvin Integrity Bronze exterior window and it matched so well. Jill was right. This opened up our possibilities of going back to our original color scheme of Clay siding with Bronze trim. I was happy! Bill just shook his head. I noticed that the Olive color on the chart was lighter than the one on that building display. Remember, I told you this was going to come into play later. While Bill went with James back by the green siding building display I went to go ask Joe about window exterior prices. I wanted to ask him if White exterior was cheaper than the Bronze. For the Marvin Integrity windows, they are the same price. When I went back to meet up with Bill and James, Bill greeted me with the comment that the green siding on the display was NOT LP SmartSide siding like that one sales rep told us. It was Hardy Board. Really? After all these trips and trying to make decisions and now we find out it’s a different siding with a different cost and install price? Brother! πŸ™„

I did put the Olive sample up to the Green Hardy Board and it was a shade lighter. Since the lighter color didn’t bother Bill or I, we said the Olive LP Siding could still be an option. We looked at roof shingles and picked out two. We liked the Bronze trim around the mahogany stained door below, so we asked that Joe quote us what that would cost if we went that route. This was not the door we wanted, but it was the stain color. We had a cart full of samples and headed out.

Sample of bronze trim around a mahogany stained door

Sample of bronze trim around a mahogany stained door

Our next stop was at Tri-State Stone. Bill wanted to check to see if Rick had gotten all the bid information. I asked Bill to see if there was any way we could get a sample of the Centurion Cutface Suede stone that we had picked out. It was a quick in-and-out. Bill said Rick made the comment that there was a lot of stuff included in our bid specs and he was still weeding through it. And, we got the stone sample.

I figured I finally had all the information and samples to make a sound decision on the exterior colors. Now, I just had to wait until it stopped raining and I could take all the samples outside and look at them together in the sunlight. It rained all day Tuesday, July 2, so it wasn’t until Wednesday until I could drag everything outside Jill & Jim’s garage and line it all up and see what colors might be best. We were down to the following choices:

Color Choices for LP SmartSide Siding and Trim

Color Choices for LP SmartSide Siding and Trim

The Olive siding choice was pretty simple. Olive sidingΒ  with Azek White trim and White window and door exteriors.

Olive with all White Exteriors

Olive with all White Exteriors

The goal for the other color choices was to see if Clay or Oyster Shell would be the best match with the shakes, stone, and trim.

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With Jill’s help, we decided that if we went with the taupe tones, we would go with the Oyster Shell color for the lap siding. It blended in better with the stone and matched well with trim and shakes and either of the roof shingle choices.

When we were going through bids last week, Jill had shown us a picture of what she had done when she was trying to make exterior color choices. She had Jim print her out several small copies of the exterior of their home and she would color them with colored pencils. Her colored drawing looks almost identical to her home. She said it was a great way to see how it would all look.

Jill & Jim's colored house drawing

Jill & Jim’s colored house drawing

I decided to try my hand with colored pencils. Here are mine:

Front view: Olive with white exterior trim and Hearthstone colored shakes

Front view: Olive with white exterior trim and Hearthstone colored shakes

Rear view: Olive with white

Rear view: Olive with white

Front view: Oyster Shell siding with Coffee trim, Sable Brown Shakes, Bronze window and door exterior, and Mahogany door

Front view: Oyster Shell siding with Coffee trim, Sable Brown Shakes, Bronze window and door exterior, and Mahogany door

See my funny gutters? I purposely didn’t draw them close to house because I didn’t want to use Coffee trim on the corners of the house. πŸ˜€

Rear view: Oyster Shell siding with blah, blah, blah

Rear view: Oyster Shell siding with blah, blah, blah

Looking at the pictures Bill and I couldn’t make up our mind whether we wanted the Olive or Taupe. There were advantages to both. I really liked the Olive but was afraid that it would look like we hadn’t thought to coordinate the colors with the pole barn. We couldn’t change the pole barn colors. That sucker was built and was staying that way!

Bill suggested we go for a ride and look at a newer subdivision with homes that all had some sort of out building. As soon as we pulled into the subdivision, we noticed that all the homes and the out buildings were the same color scheme. And, we liked them that way. Bill looked at me and said, we have to go Taupe colors and I agreed. It was finally settled. I was happy because I was going back to my original choices. They just kept calling me back. Bill was just happy that the exterior color saga was over. He had been quite sick of the whole thing. πŸ™‚

Picture the siding color on the house to look more like the lap siding on the pole barn. We didn’t have the right colored pencils. I did what I could. What do you think?

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Front view: Oyster Shell siding with Coffee trim, Sable Brown Shakes, Bronze window and door exterior, and Mahogany door

Front view: Oyster Shell siding with Coffee trim, Sable Brown Shakes, Bronze window and door exterior, and Mahogany door

By the way, we did get the bid from Tri-State Stone for the house, fireplace, and chimney. It came in about $3500 less than our other quote. I think you know who is going to get that job!

Sometime yesterday someone with the pole barn construction delivered a big pile of rock in our driveway. If it doesn’t rain, maybe we will see some workers down there tomorrow shoveling that rock into the pole barn. The rain has held them off several days. Tuesday I saw the garage door people come and go. Bill got a call yesterday. They said it was way too muddy for them to install the garage doors.

As soon as Jim gets back from Africa, we need to sign a contract with the construction company and send a copy to our bank along with set of plans and line items from the bids. Then, we hope to start building.

Were we able to make enough cuts to build this house at the price we wanted? Not really! Yes, we were able to save here and there. I hope the stock market goes up and up – cause we’ve decided to take more out of our savings to build this house the way we want it. You only live once!

Next up: Will it ever stop raining? Will we ever get our stuff out of storage and move it down here? Will Bill get back to finishing our cabinets?