And so we begin!

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ~Walt Disney

We hit the ground running after I posted on Saturday morning. I went down to help Bill while he staked off a huge section of the front yard so no one would drive on it. Basically, I only held the stake straight until Bill pounded it down into the ground.

Stake Pounding

Stake Pounding

Yard staked out

Yard staked out

Then, I got called off the survey staking committee and Jill put me on chauffeur duty to pick up Jack from a Boys Scout event. It takes a village to do all the work on the compound. 🙂 Joan took Megan shopping at the school’s marketplace and shopping for birthday ideas. Jill cleaned house.  Jim, Jim, Sr., and Bill did the staking for the house. We had to get everything done before Jack’s 2:30 football game.

Not sure if you can see or not, but there are red survey flags in those piles of mud. The flags mark the four outer corners of the house so the foundation guys can pour the footers in the right place.

Survey flags

Survey flags

IMG_2285

IMG_2284

Sunday Bill went shopping to buy all the electrical components to hook up his cabinet making equipment to a generator. He had tested starting the different pieces of equipment with the generator. Some had better results than others. But, everything eventually started and it seems that he will be able to run his equipment off the generator since we have no electricity in the pole barn yet. Bill’s pole barn “open house” has been delayed a week because of his construction duties. However, Bill has made great strides in getting the workshop almost ready for duty. He would only let me take a couple of photos until he has his open house. Wonder if he’s going to serve refreshments? 😉

Back workbench with raw mahogany wood stored above

Back workbench with raw mahogany wood stored above

Sunday, I spent a lot of time measuring Jill’s fireplace and windows again. Unfortunately, when Bill and I discussed the window seats on each side of the fireplace and window and window seat measurements, we discovered we needed to make our fireplace larger than was drawn on our house plans! 😯 The fireplace and windows are gonna be the death of me yet! I was dreading breaking the news to Jim that we needed to make more changes. However, it is better to find out these mistakes before we start framing and before we order the windows. And, Bill and I looked again about how we would extend the fireplace stone up to the ceiling and it just wasn’t going to work either. Grrrr.

We had a construction meeting with Jim on Sunday evening (Sept. 22). He gave us a lot of homework to do on Monday. The three of us each had our to-do lists.

  • Jim worked with our vendor for Hardiboard siding and trim; updated house plans; made phone calls and arranged for permits; and lots of other behind the scene things he does – like discover that our bid for trusses was not for attic trusses.
  • Bill arranged for a porta potty and dumpster; called another company to compare block prices; called vendor we planned to use for block material and had them resubmit their bid with updated information and arranged for them to deliver block on Wednesday; called another roofing material vendor and inquired about pricing; both of us visited vendor and picked out shingles and got a quote; called lumber company and had them resubmit their bid with attic trusses; ordered sand; and called Vectren to ask about electricity and gas hookups; cut our grass; moved the trailer to the side of the pole barn; arranged a hose hookup from Jim, Sr’s water-spout down by the lake; and found spots where the porta potty and dumpster could be stored during construction. Whew! He was a busy guy.
  • I had to re-work all our windows and re-design our fireplace. I also had my household chores of 5 loads of laundry, unloaded and loaded dishwasher, picked up kids from bus stop, wrapped Megan’s birthday gift, took Jack to football practice, and helped Jill prepare Megan’s birthday dinner.
Jim, Bill and I shared lots of phone calls that day. Jim found out that the Health Department said we needed to add more soil over the area where we were having the septic installed. Saturday when we were talking with our septic installer (same guy who did our excavation for pole barn and our driveway and who will also be doing our final grading), he said he could get top soil for a cheap price per dump truck if we’d like it. Bill wanted to get a couple of loads for grading and had made arrangements for him to bring that on Monday. Well, when we found out we needed more soil for the front area, Jim told him to just bring it, too. I think we ended up with two loads in the back and four loads in the front. It’s really nice soil.
Top soil for final grading

Top soil for final grading

Soil for covering the septic area

Soil for covering the septic area

While I was re-working the window schedule, I asked Bill if he thought our windows for the front bedrooms would be down too low. We measured everything again! I called the window guy and asked him what the next size window height down would be. We would have to go down from 56″ to 48″ in height. Where I loved the taller windows, I really wanted the tops of the windows and the doors to match across the exterior of the house. But, if I wanted to keep the 56″ height and still have them higher from the floor board, I would have to raise the top height. Again, Bill went outside to measure where that would take our windows. It ended up they would be up so high that they would be one board down from our trim board. That just wasn’t gonna look right. I ended up using our Home Architect 3D software again and changed all the window sizes to get a better look. Bill and I made the decision to go with 48″ heights in the bedrooms and in the laundry room. We left the two window seats at 56″ because those windows will be lower to the floor. Of course, then I had to call the window guy back and ask him to give us a new quote. Brother!

I played with the fireplace and came up with a new design. Here’s what it might look like.

Fireplace with border

Fireplace with border

Early Tuesday morning Bill went down to the pole barn – what is now being called our construction headquarters. The first thing to arrive was important. 😀

Porta Potty!

Porta Potty!

By the time I left to go to water aerobics around 10:15, this guy was running this bobcat back and forth trying to smooth out the area where the footers would be dug and poured.

Bob cat busy

Bobcat busy

It wasn’t long and the dumpster guy came to assess the area for the dumpster. Bill decided to put it to the right of the turnaround rock in pic below. The guy said it should be delivered sometime this week.

IMG_2295

I ran errands after water aerobics (even got my flu shot) and got home just in time to pick up the grandkids from the bus stop. Jill and Jim’s yard to the west of their driveway was lined with trucks and there was a wheeled digger with a backhoe digging those trenches for the footers.

Wheeled digger with backhoe

Wheeled digger with backhoe

While I was parked at the end of the driveway waiting for the bus, some guy drove his car into the grass to the east of where I was sitting and sped around me and parked off the driveway near the construction. He slowly got out of his car and I noticed he was a big guy. Didn’t look like he was part of the construction crew to me. I mentioned him to Jim and Bill that evening and they weren’t sure who he was. It turns out he was probably the county concrete footing inspector cause we got an email the next day that he had been out and approved it. Yay!

Bill held down the fort at the construction site and I took the grandkids up to the house. The foundation crew worked until about 5:00-5:30. Here are some photos of the afternoon adventures.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wednesday I went to bible study and ran more errands. Since we live out a ways, we try to combine our trips into town. Jill warned us that our gas bill would go up and it has! So, while I was gone, Bill had another busy day at the construction site. First up was the mortar sand delivery for the block installers.

Sand delivery

Sand delivery

On Monday Bill had called the plumber to see if he needed to come out before the block guys came. So, he came Wednesday morning. We had one plumber do the radiant heat and the rough-in for the half-bath in the pole barn. We were using another plumber for the house and the completion of the pole barn stuff. It appears that the first plumber may not have roughed-in the half-bath the way the second plumber would have liked it. 😳 We hope he can come up with a remedy. What we do know is that we cannot use the toilet that Jim’s parents were giving us. And, there’s something about a grinder pump thing-a-ma-jig. The plumber also put some pipes down to approximate areas where he would need plumbing access. Bill said the block guys would put them in the proper place.

Vectren came out in the early afternoon to assess the situation for temporary and permanent electrical service. The gas guy called Bill earlier in the day and said instead of him coming out, he would just get with the electric guy afterwards. Bill talked to him about transformers and whether we need one now or later. We will need a new one on the pole at the end of our driveway. They talked about if we wanted temporary electric we could run it from Jim & Jill’s transformer at the end of their driveway. But, they would have to go up 18 feet for the wires to be pulled over and Bill said that wouldn’t work with the large trucks coming in and out. If we put a transformer on our pole now, it would be a 200 amp one. However, since the house will be 400 amp, we’d have to have another transformer installed when the permanent service was needed. The Vectren guy told Bill he needed to call Vectren marketing and get a price for what the transformers might cost. We also will need to fill out a form with a checklist of any possible equipment in the house and pole barn that we might be running in the future. They have some sort of 3-year deal where they assess what revenue will be generated on what you will use and that is what they base the cost of how much we’ll pay for the transformer. Sounds complicated to me! 🙄 Anyway, the Vectren guy left Bill a voice-mail message late yesterday that they could get us temporary electrical service by January 2014! 😯 That’s not gonna work. Bill will be calling the Vectren guy back today.

The block delivery arrived around 2:00.

Block delivery

Block delivery

Heavy crane to lift the block

Heavy crane to lift the block

Today someone from the foundation crew will be back to remove all the ground around the footers to make the ground level with the footers. You can see from the pic below what I’m talking about.

Ground to be leveled

Ground to be leveled

The block installers are scheduled to arrive Friday to install our block.

When Jim started to call subs over the weekend to schedule them he found out our framer would not be available for another 3 weeks! He checked on our second choice framer and he was 4-5 weeks out from being available. So, we are going to wait for our first choice guy. Actually, I’m kind of glad we will have a delay because I’m taking a trip and I don’t want to miss the framing of our house. I want a front-row seat. Don’t get me wrong, the footers and block are exciting! However, I think the framing is the best part in the beginning. It finally brings all these months and years of planning from a flat or 3D rendering to an actual structure that we can stand in and walk through.

It is Bill’s hope that he will be able to start working on cabinets in the next two weeks.

Until then . . .