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. πŸ™‚ Joan took Megan shopping at the school’s marketplace and shopping for birthday ideas. Jill cleaned house.Β  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? πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜€

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.

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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! πŸ™„ 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 . . .

Hurry Up and Wait, Part II

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. ~Lee Iacocca

Bill and I were living with a family of two full-time working parents with two full-time school and activity busy children; two dogs (one failing 16-1/2 yr old and one 2-1/2 yr old), a guinea pig, a rat, and two beta fish. In addition to what Bill and I try to contribute to our multigenerational living arrangements, we also had so much going on with housebuilding decisions, Goldie’s health, the movers, and finding storage for all our “stuff.” The only thing we could do was greet each day with a smile and a prayer and plow through it the way we always do . . . by working hard . . . Bill taking over the physical labor work, along with spreadsheet analyzing; me taking care of the family with laundry, cooking, dishes, along with organizing all the housebuilding paperwork and communicating with the bank. These are the roles we know and feel comfortable in.

Wednesday (Aug. 13) morning Bill got a call from the area manager of the moving company to tell us that the three moving vans headed our way were delayed. They had run into stalled traffic on the highway and then one of the drivers became ill and they had to swap out people. We were told to expect the first truck to arrive around 11:00 am. That gave Bill several hours to work on creating a “builder versus our subcontracting bids comparison spreadsheet” and start entering info. I took off for the grocery to buy a variety of drinks and ice for the moving crew. A little before 11:00, Bill went back down to the pole barn to wait for the movers. He called me when the first moving truck arrived and I came down. We decided that we both needed to be down there to help manage where we wanted house and workshop items to be stored in the pole barn and check condition of items as they came off the truck. We had 9 movers and 6 trucks the day we moved out of our home in Central Indiana in early June. This day we had 3 movers and 3 trucks! This was gonna be a long day. But, I had enough cold drinks to satisfy an army!

The first truck arrived about 1-1/2 before the other two trucks made it. One guy started to unload it all. Bill had a lawn chair set up for me to sit and watch.

The first moving truck!

The first moving truck!

As soon as the mover unloaded Bill’s workshop swivel chair, Bill plopped himself down and supervised. The plan was to put house stuff on the Right of the pole barn and workshop stuff on the Left.

Bill in his supervisor chair

Bill in his supervisor chair

The other two trucks arrived and the three movers worked together to start unloading furniture.

Furniture piling up

Furniture piling up

Couch - a place for me to sit and watch!

Couch – a place for me to sit and watch!

It soon became clear that we had to deter from the original plan of house stuff on the Right as some of the furniture Jill wanted to use for her new office space was quickly getting lost in the back of the pole barn. Before long, there was no rhyme or reason of where the movers put the boxes and bins. They put them where they could fit them. Before we knew it, there was no place left to put anything else. 😯

Pole barn filling up

Pole barn filling up

As the afternoon was coming to a close, there was one last item to be moved from the last truck. And, it was gonna be a bear to get down that ramp. It was the huge crate Bill had built to house our large king size canopy bed. Neither one of us had seen how they had moved it from our other house and none of the present movers were part of that moving crew.

Last item on the truck

Last item on the truck

After the movers shuffled a few things around in the pole barn to make room for the crate, they started to manipulate the crate toward the ramp.

Is it gonna fit?

Is it gonna fit?

The wheels were hanging over the ramp! The movers would have to try to steady the crate as it was being pushed and pulled down the ramp without the help of the wheels. It was the scariest thing I ever watched. I was so afraid the crate would fall over on them. Bill was staying close to make sure it wasn’t damaged in the move down the ramp. Of course, I didn’t want him standing so close!

Here it comes

Here it comes

And, they made it!

And, they made it!

The sighs of relief were audible all around! The guys wheeled the crate inside the pole barn and there wasn’t much room to spare. Here is what the pole barn looked like right before we shut the garage doors for the night!

Full pole barn

Full pole barn

It was exhausting being a chair-side supervisor! πŸ˜€ We were wiped out by the time evening rolled around. This was one night I think we planned to have leftovers for dinner.

The next day (Thursday, August 15) was a really tough one. It was the day we said goodbye to our Goldie Girl. This is a favorite pic of her in her better years.

Goldie Girl

Goldie Girl

This is how we want to remember her. We don’t want to remember her how she was the last several months . . . old (almost 17 years old!), confused, anxious, arthritis-ridden in her back legs and hip, out of breath, deaf, eyes swollen from allergies, walking sideways, and having accidents. It’s hard to make a decision to let a part of your family go. My sister Vicki visited the week before and loved on Goldie while she was here. All of my six sisters have a closeness with Goldie Girl. You see, on one of our Sisters Weekends 14 years ago Goldie “lived” with me and my sisters that weekend in our cabin. She was an abandoned dog and the owners of the lake retreat asked if anyone would want to adopt her. You could say Goldie adopted us. My sisters named her Goldie. I was toying with the idea of getting another dog, so I bought a collar and leash and brought her home with me without telling Bill. I had no cell service at the cabin retreat so it was a surprise when I introduced Goldie to Bill. Bill wasn’t too keen on the idea of another dog at the time; however, Goldie quickly won him over and became “his” dog ever since.

Vicki asked if Goldie might have had a stroke because of the walking sideways (off-balance thing) and the confusion. Who knows. Vicki shared I might want to check about dealing with senile dogs online and see what they suggested. After Vicki’s visit, I did check several websites. It appeared that Goldie had almost every symptom of Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (similar to Alzheimer’s disease in people). It appeared from what I read that she would continue to just get worse. I called my friend Ann to talk to her about Goldie. Ann is my expert on animals and animal behavior. She asked a lot of questions and finally asked the dreaded one – were we ready to let Goldie go? I told her as much as I didn’t want to, I was ready. I thought Goldie’s quality of life was not good. Then she asked – what about Bill? I told her that I did not think Bill was ready yet. That evening I talked with Bill and we decided we would watch to see if Goldie got any worse, and if she did, we would make a decision then.

So, fast forward a week . . . Bill took Goldie outside Thursday, August 15, morning. As soon as he got back upstairs, Bill looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “It’s time.” I said I would call the vet and see if we could bring her in. Bill told me he could not go to the vet with me. He said when we had to put Rusty down 12 years earlier it was too hard and he just couldn’t go this time . . . especially since it was Goldie. As soon as I started to explain to the vet office what was going on, I started to cry on the phone. They made an appointment for later that morning. When I told Bill he would have to help me get Goldie into the car, I started crying. Then Bill said he would go with me but would not be able to go into the treatment room. The rest was hard. I told Jill what we were going to have to do later that morning and asked if she wanted to tell the grandkids so they could say goodbye. Megan and Jack cried and I felt bad sending them off to school afterwards, but they each and Jill spent time with Goldie before they left.

I stayed with Goldie through to the end. It was peaceful. She was no longer in pain or confused.

Sandy, Bill and Goldie

Sandy, Bill and Goldie

When we got back home Bill immediately went to work with Marty to start moving stuff out of the pole barn into two storage units he had rented down here – one was conditioned and one was unconditioned. This became a theme for Bill and Marty for days and days. And, through this process I would periodically come down and tell Bill what stuff I wanted to keep in the pole barn and what could go to storage. We got out our inventory list and marked off which boxes went where. It was overwhelming. I didn’t handle it well so I stayed away. Poor Bill. It was so hot. He has lost the rest of the weight he wanted to lose and he is fit and trim these days. And me, on the other hand, I don’t like sweating off my weight so I’ve not done as well. πŸ™‚ Besides, I prefer going to the Y for the water aerobics.

Bill has managed to get shelves up in the pole barn and moved wood for the cabinets and other items up on them. He even got one of his peg boards up.

Shelving units

Shelving units

Shelves

Shelves

Peg board

Peg board

Apparently, we did not receive the construction loan application denial letters on Wednesday, August 14. I was mistaken. We received them on Friday, August 16. So you can imagine the state of mind we were in after the last two days we had. I had picked up the kids from the bus stop and grabbed the mail. I called Bill and he took a break from moving stuff and came up to the house. We made a call to our loan originator. She was shocked and knew nothing about it. 😯 She said she would try and find out what was going on. But, it was a Friday and towards the end of the work day. We waited about an hour before Sherry our loan person called us back. She said from what she and her boss could figure out the loan processor had royally messed up. They had used $$ figures that were incorrect AND they were supposed to have held the application until we had a signed contract with a builder AND an appraisal. She said not to worry (yeah, right) and they’d get it all figured out the first of next week.

Bill and I were becoming so frustrating. We knew building a house would bring a lot of stress, but this was more than we had bargained for. It’s not just the housebuilding. It’s everything that goes with it. Moving and storage. And the questions the bank and underwriters have! Getting a loan is not like it used to be. Our credit score is in the Excellent range but we have to explain every little thing that shows up on a credit report. I understand the restrictions. But sometimes you feel like you are being accused of doing something wrong. We had to explain how the movers charged our credit card twice and how our credit card company credited us and charged us four times for the same credit!!! We are talking thousands of dollars. We didn’t do anything wrong – the moving company and credit card company were at fault. But, we got the job of trying to explain it all to the bank. Crazy. Try explaining about charging new appliances on a new credit card, paying it totally off the first bill we get, and then when the store gave us a $100 credit on those appliances a month later – it showed up as a new inquiry for another credit card. Huh???? We didn’t apply for another card. The company just sent us a check for the $100 credit because we haven’t used the credit card again. I keep records of everything. And, believe me, the bank has asked for every bit of it! Word of advice – document everything.

Next up: So what did we decide about building the house – Builder or Subbing it Ourselves? Did the bank get things straightened out?

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?

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. πŸ˜€

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! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰

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. πŸ˜₯ 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?

Status Change

You can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.

~Jay Asher, Thirteen Reasons Why

I left you several days ago not knowing what would happen next. Wondering about those white SUV people. Wondering if we would show this house to anyone else. Wondering if we would sell this house. Well, we got the answers to all of those “wonderings” Wednesday and Thursday.

Let me set the stage . . . After I added my last post early Wednesday morning one of my online friends posted on Facebook that I should pray for peace instead of patience. I thought about this and it made perfect sense. If I prayed for patience, that meant I was asking God for me to wait and wait. If I prayed for peace within, I was asking God for calm and tranquility. So, I immediately started praying for peace (Thanks, Laura!) while I started to clean the house for the second showing that was scheduled for 4:45 that evening.

I have a cleaning system where I clean one level at a time and take a break in-between. We have a tri-level. I finished the top level and sat on our living room couch and checked my email on my iPhone. My eye immediately went to an email from our realtor entitled, “Offer on your home.” I started to read the email contents when the phone rang. It was our realtor. He wanted to make sure we had received the email he sent. I told him I was just starting to read it. He said Bill and I needed to read it all very carefully and call him back as soon as possible. I got in our Gator and drove back to the pole barn with my heart beating very fast. As soon as I saw Bill I excitedly said, “We got an offer! Get in! We need to read it and get back with Mike.”

Turns out it was an offer from the people with three children who had looked at our home on Sunday, May 19. It was a low offer. In addition, they were wanting closing cost money, too. But, it was an offer and the people really loved the place and wanted to raise their children in the home. They always say to work with the first good offer. Bill and I discussed how low we would go to sell the place. We were far apart in what we wanted and what they offered. After Bill and I talked, we called our realtor Mike. We were discussing our next steps when I heard a beep on the phone. I looked at the display and it was Centralized Showing Service. Really? I told Mike and he said to take the call and call him back.

It was a request to show our home that evening at 5:00-6:00 pm. We had the second showing people coming at 4:45-5:45. It was an automated phone call. Our options were to Accept, Decline, or Reschedule. I hit the Reschedule button. We were then routed to a live person. πŸ™‚ The first thing I said was that we already had someone looking at the house during the time the realtor wanted to show it. The CSS guy said that the realtor was aware of that and still wanted to show our house at 5:00-6:00. I asked if realtors ever did that and he said yes. I asked if we could call them back after talking to our realtor. We weren’t sure what to do. We had the offer to deal with. We had a second showing coming. Do we invite another person in on the mix?

15142960-cartoon-question-mark-with-face-pondering-creativity-or-confused-about-test-answerWe called Mike back. He said, “I love buyers. The more the merrier. Let them come.” We thought why not. We will have the house clean. Get two for the price of one around the same time. That was settled. Then we started to talk about the offer. This was Wednesday morning. We had until Thursday evening at 7:00 to respond back to the offer. We all agreed on a price with which to counter the offer and decided that we would wait until the next day before making any final decisions. Mike said that he would call both real estate agents that evening after the showings to make them aware that we had received an offer that we could work with and if they were interested in the home they would have to act fast. We had a plan.

Bill and I hugged each other and went back to cleaning each of our areas – Bill to the pole barn, me to the mid level of the house. I got done cleaning around 3:00. I decided to run to the grocery and buy some cookie dough to make some cookies for the showings and to take some over to our neighbors as a thank you for letting us sit on their back patio that evening during the showings. Bill moved Goldie over to our neighbor’s yard and I came over after I did a second vacuuming of the house and turned on all the lights. Then we waited. Right before 4:45 we heard some car doors shutting. I think I was the one who went inside Alan’s (neighbor) house and looked out a window to see if the cars were at our house. Guess what? It was the white SUV people! πŸ™‚ I felt those people must really be interested as not only was this their second showing, but we had seen them in front of our house several times since the first showing and once just a couple of days before.

We visited with Alan and their dogs safely hidden on the back patio. Goldie wandered in Alan’s yard on the side next to our house back and forth. You cannot see our house or our back yard when you are on the neighbor’s back patio. However, you can see the pole barn if you sit in one small area. That’s where Alan sat me with a chair. πŸ˜‰ The white SUV people stayed in the house for about 30 minutes – until about 5:15. The other realtor still had not arrived. Then we heard a child squealing next door and people talking. We could hear them opening the shed. Then they walked out to the pole barn. The couple looked young. They had a baby and a boy around 4 years old. They had another gentleman with them besides the realtor. We figured it was one of the parents. After looking in the pole barn they returned to the house where they stayed until they left about 5:45. The other realtor still had not arrived!

By this time, I was ready to go home. But we couldn’t. We had to at least wait until after 6:00. At 5:55, the neighbor’s wife had just arrived home from work and she said two cars had just pulled into our driveway. Bummer! That meant it would be at least another 30 minutes before we could go back home and eat dinner. We had eaten all the cookies I brought! Alan told Rhonda they needed to go out into the back yard and start yelling at each other to dissuade anyone from buying our house. He had told us many times that they don’t want us to move. We laughed about the threat. We eventually heard people outside next door and I got a glimpse of them when they walked toward the pole barn. It was a couple with a toddler and the woman was pregnant. When they headed back to the house one of Alan’s dogs started barking. From the patio Alan yelled at Possum to come. But, she didn’t. Then, we heard a child giggling. Alan got up suddenly and went into the yard around the privacy fence to get Possum. Bill looked at me and then Rhonda (neighbor’s wife) and said, “Well, there goes the sale if Alan is out there talking to them!” πŸ˜†

We could not hear anything and Alan stayed out there for a while. When he came back to the patio he said, “They are really interested in your house!” He said they loved the place and loved having horses next door. They eventually left about 6:45. We gathered our belongings and Goldie and walked back home. Bill decided to call Mike and tell him about the last showing people and their interest. Mike said he would call both realtors around 8:30 that evening.

Mike called us about 9:00 to tell us what was going on. He said the white SUV people’s realtor had sent him two emails after the showing before Mike had a chance to call him. One email asked Mike to ask us why the kitchen faucet didn’t work; what was the gurgling noise when they turned on the small faucet in the kitchen; and where was the septic in the back yard. We told Mike everything was working fine and I had just used the faucet. It’s a lever type of faucet where you push back to get hot water and front to get cold. However, you must push the lever out to get the water to come out. Apparently, they had never pushed out! πŸ™„ And, the gurgling noise was the reverse-osmosis faucet and that’s just how it operates. Then Bill told Mike that there was a very visible riser in the back yard a few feet from our back patio to designate the septic. Mike said he was frustrated with that realtor. He said the other email said his clients planned to make an offer but they felt our list price was too high. This was the second time he had reported that. Mike said he would email the realtor back with our answers and to tell him about our other offer.

In the same phone conversation Mike said he had a voice-mail message from the realtor of last showing people and she wanted to know if we had already received an offer and how quickly could we move on this house as they were interested. OMG, you mean we had three different people interested in buying the place? In my wildest dreams I never imagined that would have happened to us. Mike said he tried to call the last realtor but she didn’t answer. He asked us how quickly we would be willing to move if it came down to that. Bill said if the price was right, we could move in three weeks! 😯 Notice, Bill said that, not me!

Mike blind cc’d us on the two separate emails he sent to the two realtors. Basically he said if they made an offer to make it their highest and best because he would not go back for a second round except for the first offer. And, if offers came in, he would tell the first people that we had multiple offers and they could choose to hold or make another offer.Β  Sounds a little like poker, doesn’t it?Wallingford-Real-Estate-Wallingford-PA-Multiple-Offers-Bidding-Wars

Talk about not sleeping Wednesday night! I purposely left my phone downstairs so I wouldn’t check my email all night long. But, even that didn’t help. I bet I slept two hours all night. At 7:30 Thursday morning, we received an email from Mike saying that he had a long talk with the last showing realtor. He said she had sent us a great offer. He said he was forwarding her cover letter. It went like this:

Hi Mike! As always, very nice talking to you!Β  Attached is a full price offer . . .

I got that far and screamed for Bill! Did I read that right? I suggested we go down to the desktop computer in the family room and pull up the email and the offer. It was true! They were offering us our full listing price but asking for $3000 in closing costs and the home warranty we had offered in our listing. The kicker was, they needed to close on the house on June 7 and wanted possession no later than 5:00 pm on June 10. That was less than three weeks away!

shocked_faceWell, Bill and I looked at each other and said that this was a no-brainer. Unless Mike thought there was a reason not to, we would accept this offer. We hugged each other and then quickly called Mike. We talked about how to handle the situation. What did we do about the first offer? After much discussion, Mike said that there was probably no way the first couple would come up to full price from what he gathered from the agent. So, we checked the Accept box, signed, dated, scanned and emailed the acceptance page to Mike. We checked the Reject box, signed, dated, scanned and emailed the rejection page to Mike from the first offer. OMG! We sold the house in two weeks after it was listed! Well, at least house listing status has changed from Active to Sale Pending.

Now, we just hope that the house appraisal and inspection go well. We don’t expect much wrong from the inspection as so much of major items are new. We already had a well inspection done before we put the house on the market. Bill emailed Mike to ask him if there were any special things he should check before the inspection. One of the items was electrical and the other was having the HVAC serviced and cleaned. So, Bill scheduled having a routine check-up on our 3-year old HVAC system done on Tuesday. Bill is switching out some electrical boxes/switches on any wall that might be close to water to meet a new code requirement, too. The inspection has been set for May 30. We got word yesterday that they are doing the appraisal tomorrow – on Memorial Day! Oh well, we’ll be here. And if everything goes well, we are set for the June 7 closing!

Bill and I went into panic mode on Thursday after we accepted the offer on the house. We called movers. We are tentatively on one mover’s schedule for June 6 and on another mover’s schedule for June 8. Both are coming out next week to give us estimates. We contacted both our children to tell them about the offer. Jim had some suggestions for Bill to see if there was any way we could get that pole barn built before we moved. That has not panned out. It will probably be the end of June or first of July before that will be done. But, Jim did find us an excavator for the pole barn and our new driveway. They will start that on June 3 if we don’t have rain delays.

Even though we know we have to pack up this house, we had to finalize our new house plans and specification document. Jim wants to send out bids this week. Bill and I spent about 5 hours on that Thursday evening. We still had some gaps of a few items before we could complete the specs. So, we dedicated Friday to settling on bathroom cabinets/vanities; granite for kitchen and bathrooms; and what to do about a safe room.

Here are pictures of the granite and bathroom cabinets:

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Jim called us several times on Friday before and after they left town for the holiday weekend. Before he left town he asked me to email him what we had for our spec document so far so he could read over it while he was out-of-town. After we had gotten home from our all day vendor shopping day and stops at Home Depot to get more packing boxes and a new mailbox for our new place and Staples to get reinforced tape, Jim called us and wanted to talk. He had a long list of items we needed to do or which we had to make decisions. Jim was on the ball to get moving on our pole barn and house bids.

Bill decided he wanted to take one load down to Jim and Jill’s over the holiday weekend. J&J said we could store some things in their garage. Bill & I decided we did not want the movers to move any of the new cabinets Bill built or any of the items we purchased for the new house (lights fixtures, ceiling fans, door hardware, etc.). So, Bill and I worked a very long day Saturday in the pole barn. We dismantled, coded, and did some shrink wrapping of all the cabinets Bill had made. Then he wanted to move every thing we had stored in bins on one side of the storage area of the pole barn out into another area. He wanted to dismantle a large section of storage shelves so he could take them down and put up in J&J’s garage. I told him my way of organizing is only to move things one time. And, we needed to find a space where we could store the bins so the movers could get them. We cleared out a section of the pole barn and burned a lot of scrap wood. And, then we started to get out all those bins I had filled for almost two years.

Bill had started an inventory sheet for his boxes he started packing in the pole barn. I wanted to do the same. All of my bins were labeled. All I had to do was add a # to each box and write that # on an inventory sheet along with the box’s contents. We had a routine. Bill and I loaded bins on a table on wheels. Then we rolled them over to where Bill had set up two wooden work horses. I would quickly do the inventory and mark the appropriate # on the bin in several places, then Bill would take the bin and shrink-wrap it and then stack it. We did that over and over again. Some of those bins were heavy. We inventoried, shrink-wrapped, and stacked 44 bins! There are still a lot more on the other shelving unit! I had weeded through everything over the last two years and given away, sold, and trashed so much. I thought I was done. Haha. There are bins of things I’ll probably NEVER use. But, time is running short so we are moving them. Bill and I came up with the idea that the grandkids might want to go through all our unwanted things once we’ve moved and they can have a yard sale at our place. They can keep all the proceeds. Sounds like a plan! We’ll see if they like that plan. πŸ™‚

Here are some photos of all the crazy things we dismantled and packed on the trailer and truck yesterday.

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We were exhausted by the end of the day. Tylenol for me. Aleve for Bill. We both slept well last night.

The plan was for Bill to drive down to J&J’s early this morning; unload the shelving units; install the shelving units; unload all the items from the trailer and truck and store on the shelves; dig a hole and install the mailbox; and then drive back home. But, that’s not what happened. Bill got ready to go and drove the truck out to the pole barn to hook up the trailer. When he cranked the trailer hitch to the truck the truck really started to sink down. Bill knew he was at the maximum weight to pull. He looked at me and said, I can’t do this! 😯 He said he felt he just could not afford to spend a whole day gone with so much to do around here. I think he had hit his panic mode. I could see it in his face. He said he wanted to rent a storage unit around here and store all the stuff he wanted to move himself into it. That way he could move it down to J&J’s a little at a time and without rushing it in what is now a 2 week period. He knew I didn’t want to rent a storage unit up here. But, after thinking about it, it’s the best decision. We do not have time to travel over 3 hours both ways 4-5 times in the next two weeks. And, Bill is determined he will move certain things himself . . . period.

Bill decided he needed to work on the electrical stuff today. So that is what he has worked on all day. I spent about 3-4 hours on the specification document for the new house and finished it. Yay!!! I emailed it to Jim. But, here is what my computer area looked like while I was working.

House plans, spec document, catalogs, quotes

House plans, spec document, catalogs, quotes

I need to clean the house for the appraisal tomorrow, but found it difficult to clean when Bill was testing and turning off breakers. And, two of the boxes/switches he had to install were in the kitchen. Poor guy, he had a really tough time figuring out the wiring on those, but he finally did and they are done. While Bill was working inside on the electric, I cut the grass. It appears as I’m typing this that the outside boxes Bill is replacing are going a lot quicker than those inside ones. He has one more to do on the outside of the pole barn.

Folks, that’s where we are. I’m procrastinating cleaning with this blog post. Let’s just say that I haven’t run the vacuum cleaner since our last showing! Goldie’s been happy, but I need to clean. We need the appraisal to match the offer price. I don’t want to even think about what we have to do if it doesn’t. Prayers are welcome!!!

Next: You might not hear from me in a while if everything goes well. I’ll be so busy packing up what’s left in the house, outdoors, shed, and pole barn. June 10 is closer than I want to imagine.