Building During Winter Months . . . Brrrrr!

funny-picture-winter-favorite-thing-seasonMost people who really know me, know that I’m not a fan of winter. And, this winter . . . yeah, I’m ready for warmer weather. But, looking at one positive, when the temperature is below freezing, the ground is solid and we don’t have to worry about all the mud that is everywhere around the construction site and the mud that finds its way into the house, on our clothes, on our shoes, and then tracked into our car and truck.

Sorry for the delay in writing a blog post. What with the holidays, snow, Arctic cold temperatures, flu, and winter blues, I just didn’t have the energy or excitement I usually do to write the last several weeks. But, I’ve been getting phone calls, texts, Facebook messages, and emails from family and friends asking what was going on with us and the house. Okay – I’ll try and get out of my winter funk and get you caught up.

Remember that mold problem in the crawl space? Well, Todd got most of the sealing done the week before Christmas. We have not seen or heard from him since then! Bye bye, Todd. Will we ever see you again? πŸ˜• Since the manual application of spraying Borax and scrubbing it over the mold was taking so long and Todd was gone, Bill did some research and decided to rent this from Home Depot the weekend after Christmas.

Mold Fogger

Mold Fogger

It took several hours to fog four gallons of the Mold Control liquid under the house. By fogging the liquid, it reaches all the nooks and crannies, sticks and when it dries, it is supposed to destroy the mold and prevent it from coming back. I hope so.

December 30, we received a big delivery of drywall.

Drywall delivery!

Drywall delivery!

Crane picking up the drywall

Crane picking up the drywall

New Year’s Eve day, we had three different crews working on the house: drywall hanging crew, stone crew, and insulation crew.

The insulation guys sprayed foam around the seal plate in the crawl space. I didn’t get a picture of the insulation crew but they looked like this after crawling out.

Insulation guy

Insulation guy

The stone guys started on our chimney first. They used scaffolding and worked as a good team. They actually worked New Year’s Day, too, because snow and cold temps were predicted for the rest of the week.

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The stone crew is one of our favorite bunch of guys. They are friendly, love to show you their work, very appreciative when I tell them what a great job they are doing and how well I like it, and fun to be around. I think they like us, too. They always wave when I drive out of Jill and Jim’s driveway. But, they probably like us the most because we decided to add more stone to the house! πŸ˜€ More on that later.

Then, there was the drywall hanging crew. Definitely the hardest crew to get along with so far and the messiest. Granted the house was cold inside. We couldn’t do anything to heat it until they installed the sheets of drywall on the ceiling and then we could have the insulation crew come back and blow the insulation into the attic. If we turned on the portable electric furnace without the ceilings installed and insulation, the heat would have gone right up through the roof. So, the drywall crew complained and complained to Bill about lots of things. They only worked December 31st the first week.

Bill decided to put a pipe running diagonally above the fireplace mantel area if he ever wanted to run cables/wires up there. He needed to get it done before the drywallers got to that area. It was at that time that Bill noticed that we had a big dent in the pipe going up from our wood burning fireplace.

Big 'ol dent

Big ‘ol dent

Bill said the fireplace installers had to have done it. He sent pictures to the fireplace guy and to our HVAC guy to see how it could be fixed and if the dent would pose a leaking problem. Turned out Jason, the HVAC guy, provided Bill with some stainless steel and he clamped it over the pipe. And, the fireplace people gave us a $50 credit. All done before the drywallers hung the sheets around the fireplace surround.

The fixed pipe

The fixed pipe

The next week the drywallers worked on Monday (Jan. 7) and finished hanging the drywall in the house and the garage on Tuesday (Jan. 8). It was a big ‘ol mess in the house.

Big mess in the house after drywall hangers left

Big mess in the house after drywall hangers left. That’s Bill picking up some scraps.

However, we had asked that the drywall company clean up all the scraps and remove from the house. And, we agreed to a price. Best $200 we could have spent. The owner of the company ended up doing the clean-up on Wednesday, Jan. 9. He even recycled all the drywall scraps and took them away in his truck. That was a good thing. Otherwise, I think our dumpster would have had to be emptied after that! The way it is, we still have not had to pay to empty it yet.

It was exciting to see the rooms with walls up.

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The stone guys have worked as many days as they could, weather permitting. It was interesting to see how they tented the area in the winter and used a bullet heater inside of it to set up the mortar.

Mudding the front of the house

Mudding the front of the house

Mud

Mud

The tented stone area

The tented stone area

It was so warm in the make-shift tent that they didn’t wear coats – and it was really cold outside!

Mud applied and installing the stone

Mud applied and installing the stone

Bill said it was really interesting to watch how they applied the mortar. They used bags with tips – much like ones you would use to decorate a cake!

Front section of the garage done. The ledge cap wasn't installed yet

Front section of the garage done. The ledge cap wasn’t installed yet

Front of the house with the tents

Front of the house with the tents

Friday, January 10, Bill scheduled the insulation guys to come back and blow the insulation into the attic. After that, he hooked up the portable furnace and turned it on.

Portable furnace

Portable furnace

What with those horrible Arctic temps that came through it was still hard to keep the house totally warm because we still didn’t have our garage doors! Bill had large pieces of plastic and foam insulation blocking the garage door areas. He even made a make-shift door on one side to try to keep as much heat in as possible. That Bill, he’s always trying to make things work. Wished I had a picture of that door – it was pretty ingenious! Unfortunately, that was when I was sick and I didn’t get out of the house for about 10 days except to drive down the driveway and pick up the kids from the bus stop.

Now the reason we didn’t have garage doors was because we decided to upgrade. Yep, we did! And, they had to be special ordered. Bill and I were going to keep it a secret from our builder (Jim) and Jill until they were installed. However, Jim, being the ever diligent builder – called our exterior materials rep and asked why we didn’t have doors yet. 😳 There went that surprise! Well, I think it was still a surprise, just not the one we wanted! πŸ™‚

Tuesday, January 14, the garage doors were installed. I was holding my breath that what we picked out would match with the stone and compliment the mahogany front door. Well, they did not disappoint! We love them. We went with steel insulated fiberglass mahogany stained carriage doors with windows that mimic the grids in our front windows.

Garage doors

Garage doors

close-up of garage door

close-up of garage door

So, when the garage doors were being installed Bill and I talked that it would look strange not having the stone go all the way along the garage door side of the house. It was going to be where everyone pulled up and would see. So, we asked Rick to give us a price of what it would cost to stone the garage side. Gulp! Another upgrade. Rick said they had an extra pallet of stone so we should have enough to do it. So, we said yes!

Then . . . driving up Jill and Jim’s driveway after picking the kids up from the bus, I’m looking at the west side of the house thinking – well, this side is going to look strange not having stone on it. Who puts stone on one side of their house and not the other? Bill said he would! I said I didn’t want to. Now, don’t you think it would look better to having matching sides? Doesn’t the west side look like it needs stone?

West side of house needs stone!

West side of house needs stone!

So, Bill called Rick that evening and said verbatim, “My wife wants stone installed on the west side of the house!” πŸ˜€ So, Rick had to order more stone! We are waiting for the stone to come in to finish the exterior. But, here is what it looks like so far.

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We had a different crew who did the taping and mudding of the drywall. Turns out they were as grumpy as the first crew! They would work one day or two a week and then not come back until the following week. They said they had to leave the mud dry so they could sand it off.

The tub in the hall bathroom has mud all over it. Yuck!

The tub in the hall bathroom has mud all over it. Yuck!

Master shower

Master shower

Family room taped and mudded

Family room taped and mudded

Kitchen

Kitchen – not sure why our well tank is inside

Dining area

Dining area

Laundry Room

Laundry Room

Since our siding guys were backed up for about a month, we didn’t get started on the siding until mid January. The siding was delivered into our garage on Thursday, January 16. This has posed a big problem for the drywallers! And, when I went down to see the siding and trim, I noticed that the shakes that we ordered for our gables were wrong.

Hardie Cement Board and trim in the garage

Hardie Cement Board and trim in the garage

Wrong shakes

Wrong shakes

The shakes we got were single 7 inch rough split with a straight edge. What we wanted are double 9 inch rough split with staggered edge. They reordered the shakes the following week. Not sure how long those will take to get in.

So, the siding guys started on Friday, January 17. They started by installing the fascia and soffits.

Soffits and Fascia

Soffits and Fascia

Since the siding guys were also going to build our columns for the front porch, Bill and I had to decide the size and where we wanted them installed on the porch. We originally had purchased stone caps for the columns the same size as Jill and Jim’s. Turns out that was way too big for our porch.

Jill and Jim's columns

Jill and Jim’s columns

So, over the weekend, Bill measured Jim and Joan’s columns on their house and we decided we needed something smaller than both of theirs! Bill got out two of our moving boxes and we placed them on the porch to get a size perspective. Turns out I didn’t want the stone to go up as far on our columns as Jill and Jim’s.

Using moving boxes to size our columns

Using moving boxes to size our columns

This is the size we decided on - 20 inch width and 18 inch depth.

This is the size we decided on – 20 inch width and 18 inch depth.

The top of the stone on the column will be the same height as the stone on the house. I wanted to make sure the columns did not block our exterior lights which will be mounted on each side of the sidelites of the door. Oh, and by the way, even though you cannot see in this picture, the color I picked for the concrete on the front porch matches the stone wonderfully! I was so happy!

Monday, January 20, we went over with the crew leader what all our exterior trim was supposed to look like before the guys started installing it that day. That evening Bill asked Jim about the flashing that was supposed to be installed behind the trim. Apparently, the guys didn’t install it. Yikes! Jim contacted the material sales guy and he contacted the siding crew. Unfortunately, Tuesday, Jan. 21, they had to rip off all the trim they had installed the day before and install the flashing.

The drywallers only worked one day last week. Bill called the owner and he said they were trying to stall their work until they could get into the garage. He said there was no way they could work around all that siding since the guys preferred to wear stilts instead of using scaffolding. And, there was no way we could manually move 7000 lbs of siding! We are anxious for the drywallers to get done as our trim and interior door package is already a week delayed in delivery. All of that needs to be stored in our house. And, I got an email that our bathroom vanities, storage cabinet and window seats are ready. At least they said they could hold them for us. What a mess working around everyone’s schedules.

So, the siding guys worked this weekend – mainly because they couldn’t work several days last week because of the weather and because we have really COLD temps coming tomorrow through Wednesday. They have gotten a lot done in those two days. I hope enough of the siding is out of the garage that the drywallers can finish this week. Here are some pictures of the siding. Now, keep in mind that the color of the lap siding is a primed colored siding. We are going to have our painter paint the siding and trim. I’ve told everyone that the siding color now reminds me of baby poop! 😯 And, I just know that when anyone rides down the road and looks at it, they will say, “What were those people thinking!” 😦

Trim around the windows

Trim around the windows

Trim around the garage doors

Trim around the garage doors

Siding on the back

Siding on the back

Back siding

Back siding

Garage side siding finished

Garage side siding finished

View of the back and garage side with siding

View of the back and garage side with siding

Starting on the front of the house with siding

Starting on the front of the house with siding

Front siding going up fast

Front siding going up fast

See, I just know you guys are saying, “What were they thinking!” as you drive past. Oh well, sometime this spring the house will be the colors I want it to be – the siding I want the same color as the fascia and soffit. And, the trim will be bronze – close to the bronze window color as possible.

Poor Bill continues to work on the cabinets when he can. He made a trip back to Indy two weeks ago and bought more mahogany plywood and got the rest of the hinges for all the cabinet doors. We are finding we lack a lot of material resources down here that Indy has. Oh well, it gave Bill a chance to go out to lunch with some of his work buddies and shop at some of the stores there. And, he got home before one of their big snows!

Bill putting together one of the upper wall cabinet doors.

Bill putting together one of the upper wall cabinet doors.

First time he ever made one with glass inserts. He's really talented.

First time he ever made one with glass inserts. He’s really talented.

And, in-between all of what has gone on in the last month, Bill and I went furniture shopping! Several times. As soon as the drywallers are done, the painter will start. And, I had not picked out any colors for the interior of the house. None! And, didn’t know where to start. I don’t think I’m going to reveal the furniture we bought until the house is done. But, I will say, Jennifer at Dean Bosler’s Furniture is the best sales woman and interior designer we could have worked with. The woman read my mind and a ton more that wasn’t in my mind. We ended up buying new furniture for the family room, a chest for the entry way, and a mattress and box spring for our “new to us” king bed. And, she picked out a paint color for the family room. Funny thing, it is the same strip that I picked out at the Benjamin Moore paint store as one of my favorites over a month before we went furniture shopping. How spooky is that?

Our painter wants to use Behr paint at Home Depot. I found out they can match any paint colors for me. So, the last several days, I’ve been creating digital mood boards using Keynote software. I place our furniture on a blank slide and color the background with paint colors. I think I’ve come up with a plan for the house. I’ve made a mood board for every room in the house. Here’s what our hall bath mood board looks like. The vanity color is showing up in the mood board with an orange tone – which it is not. It’s really called a Brandywine stain with black dye toner.

Hall Bath Mood Board

Hall Bath Mood Board

That’s about everything that’s gone on the last month.

Today is Bill’s birthday. What does Bill do on his birthday? He works on cabinets in the pole barn! Bill did tell me this morning that he cannot wait until this house is built. He isn’t enjoying all the PITA jobs that goes along with this custom build. He said it was even worse than working! I feel bad for him. He seems to make at least 5-6 trips to Menards or Lowes every week. One day he made 3 trips to Menards. We don’t live close to Menards. He said maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if he weren’t trying to build the cabinets at the same time. Every time he gets started on the cabinets, one of the contractors needs something and then that usually involves phone calls or trips to the big box store or somewhere else. We are all hoping that once the drywallers, siding guys, and stone guys get done, Bill will get a break. God bless him!

Until we meet again! Stay warm and safe. Think SPRING!

Deck the Halls with Wires and Sawdust, Fa La La La La, La La La La!

Tis the season to be jolly, fa la la la la, la la la la!

Not only is this the season to be jolly, it’s the season to be BUSY! We’ve had some ups and downs, but we are getting a lot done on the house.

When I last posted, we were supposed to have the HVAC contractors, siding guys, and the cabinet guy come the next week. Only one person (Rick from Lensing for the cabinets) showed up on Monday, November 25. He measured and looked like everything was going to work out just great . . . until he left. 😯 Key the drama button. Duh duh duh duh! I got back up to Jill’s house and Bill asked me if I told Rick that we were going to have stone all the way back to the wall on each side of the fireplace. Uh, No!!!! I forgot to tell him that! 😑 I quickly gave Rick a call. Rick had done Jill and Jim’s window seat on one side of their fireplace and kid’s computer desks on the other side. He was going on the basis of how they stopped their stone just around the edge of the fireplace since they had cabinets on each side. We estimated how thick the stone would be and made the window seats shorter than he measured. He was going to draw up plans and send to me for approval before he ordered them. Here is a snapshot of the window seats. I decided to go with drawers instead of doors as I thought we’d use the drawers to store blankets, throws, etc.

Window Seat Drawing by Rick at Lensing

Window Seat Drawing by Rick at Lensing

Tuesday, Nov. 26, the siding guys showed up. The siding had not been delivered yet. That was a blessing in disguise. Turns out the siding guys said they could not install our siding until our electricity was installed. Really? Did no one ever mention that the electricity needed to be installed prior to the siding installed? At one time we were going to have the electricians come right after plumbing but that didn’t happen. The siding guys said that since we were installing flood lights on our fascia, the electricity would have to be run before they could install siding. Jim questioned why they couldn’t start at the bottom of the house and work their way up; but, they said they preferred to wait until all electricity was run. Some things are just meant to be. I believe that is what happened in this case. The siding guys did a few preliminary installs on the corners of the house and called Benthall Brothers (our Hardie cement board distributor) to hold off delivering the siding. And, then they left.

Jim called our electrician to see what his schedule looked like and when he could pencil us in. Fred (electrician) said he was on a big job and had a couple more scheduled after that but probably could not get to us for a couple of weeks – around the second week of December. 😦 Yikes! Everyone was beating their heads thinking we really should have scheduled the electrician before now because we couldn’t move forward until that part was done. But, Bill and I found out there was still lots we could do before he arrived. It was Thanksgiving that week, and I had some Christmas shopping to do, people!

The HVAC guys came back to finish up their rough-in work on Wednesday, Nov. 28. I don’t have many photos of that. Not much to look at but some vents and tubing for the exhaust fans in the bathrooms. What I did take pictures of was the venting done for the kitchen chimney range exhaust fan. Our exhaust fan looks like this.

Our Range Chimney Exhaust Hood

Our Range Chimney Exhaust Hood

So, the HVAC guys decided to vent the exhaust fan down, through the crawl space, and out the side of the house. They said they didn’t want to go all the way up through the roof. So, this is how they roughed in the venting.

Venting the range hood

Venting the range hood

Closer view

Closer view

I kept telling Bill I just didn’t think the venting made sense to me the way it looked. He said something was off. We had a 17″ tall cabinet going above the vented area.Β  We didn’t think things were right. We decided to wait until after Thanksgiving and see if Bill could figure out if the venting was correct or not.

In the meantime, Bill said for me to be thinking where we might want electrical outlets and switches for our lights and fans. He wanted us to do our own walk-thru and mark where we wanted things placed before our walk-through with Fred the electrician. OMG, making all those decisions was a long and hard process. Yes, we had an electrical floor plan – but that was where light fixtures, can lights, exhaust fans, ceiling fans, and exterior lights would be installed. So, I got out my floor plan from my 3D software which had furniture placed in it to decide where I might want those outlets and cables for digital phone and TV and where I wanted CAT5 cables run for Internet. Bill & I worked on this project several days marking up the house and stapling labels on the studs.

On Tuesday morning, December 3, the fireplace installers arrived. It was great to see the fireplace inside the frame.

Fireplace installation

Fireplace installation

Fireplace inside the frame

Fireplace inside the frame

While the fireplace was being installed we had a planned walk-through meeting with Mark from Wood Specialities by Fehrenbacher. Mark has worked with us for well over a year in creating a custom baseboard, selecting wood trim for our windows and doors, selecting a design for our wooden interior doors, and headband and beam design for the family room ceiling. He gave us some ideas about transitioning from the 9 ft ceiling entry to the vaulted section of the family room. And, we were able to discuss material for a double mantle for the fireplace. He measured everything in the whole house. He said he’d send us a new quote for everything within a week or so. He did ask if we had picked out a stain color yet. I told him I was waiting for our front door to be installed so I could see the color. I wanted the stain color to match our front door and the cabinetry throughout the house. Mark said once we picked out the stain color, he would need some of it to put on the interior door sections that might expand – prior to the painter doing the staining.

Bill called our painter Mark and asked him about stain and how we went about picking out a color. He said he liked using Zar wood stain and asked that we go pick out a color at the Newburgh Benjamin Moore store. We put that on our to-do list.

Our front door had been delivered, but we were waiting on the framing crew to stop by and install it. You couldn’t see what the door looked like because it was totally boxed up. I think it was late the next evening that framer Greg and his crew came and installed our front door and the pocket door mechanism for the master closet.

Pocket Door Mechanism

Pocket Door Mechanism

Front Door Interior View (still has cardboard on it to protect it)

Front Door Interior View (still has cardboard on it to protect it)

Exterior view of the front door (has plastic on the center section)

Exterior view of the front door (has plastic on the center section)

Earlier in the week, Bill got back to looking at the venting for the range fan. He ended up getting the fan out of the box, going through the installation guide, and temporarily tacked it up to where it should be installed to see if the venting the HVAC guys would work. Here’s what he found out.

Range Fan and strange venting

Range Fan and strange venting

The venting wasn’t going to work as it. It needed to go up a lot higher. Bill text Jason the HVAC guy along with the photo above and asked if he would please come by to discuss how it could be changed. And, he said it needed to be changed before insulation was put in. More on this later.

And, while we are talking about HVAC, Jason had asked us a couple of weeks ago if we wanted to take the federal tax credit for the geothermal unit in 2013 or in 2014. The Federal credit was 30% of the cost (with no upper limit) and that included installation of it all, too. Bill and I decided since 2013 would be our craziest year for taxes (Bill retiring, both of us going on Social Security, taking out monthly retirement allocations, Medicare, selling a house, and building a new one), we thought it would be best to use the tax credit for this year. However, to do that, we had to be billed for the geothermal unit and pay for it in 2013! It was December and we had to send in our December construction draw to the bank by December 5 to get money to pay contractors by the 10th. Bill made all the phone calls and did the leg work and got an invoice for everything just in time to turn it in to the bank! Whew!

Then the weather took a dive. Thursday afternoon, December 5, we went from freezing rain to ice to snow. Friday, December 6, it snowed all day. We ended up with over 7 inches of snow. See, it was a huge blessing that the siding was not delivered. That would have been a mess!

Snow storm

Snow storm

Jill & Jim's driveway

Jill & Jim’s driveway

Needless to say we had nothing going on down at the construction site until the following week. During the snow hiatus, Bill was able to work on the cabinets a couple of days. He finished all the drawers and drilled the holes for the handles.

Cabinet drawers

Cabinet drawers

Fred the electrician called and we scheduled our walk through with him for Monday, December 9. He was impressed with all our work we did marking what and where we wanted outlets. He made his markings on the studs as we went from room to room. Oh, and I decided to make the exercise area in the laundry room my computer area instead. πŸ™‚ I made sure we had lots of outlets and cabling for that area. Fred said they would be back on Tuesday or Wednesday to install it all.

In the meantime, Bill had made arrangements with the drywall guy Bart and Les the insulation contractor since they were next up after the electrician in the interior. Bart had to install some drywall on a couple of walls between the kitchen and garage and the laundry room and garage before Les could install foam insulation in those areas. Bart made arrangements to have some drywall sheets delivered. The drywall was delivered on Monday, Dec. 9. Bill called Bart and he said he’d be out as soon as he could.

Jim called the siding guy and told him that the electric had been roughed in. He said they were working on a job and had one or two jobs afterwards. He said it might be Christmas week or after before they would get to us. Then we talked about the possibility of getting the front porch poured before the siding was installed. Jim called the concrete guy to find out his schedule. He said that in the winter they prefer not to “blanket” colored concrete as the finish doesn’t come out as well. So, he said that if the temperatures didn’t get below 26 degrees for 4 days in a row after pouring the concrete, he could pour it for us. So, Jim told us to keep an eye on our weather app.

So, no one showed up on Tuesday, December 10.

The electrical crew arrived on Wednesday the 11th. They were by far the messiest crew we cleaned up after; however, they were the quickest! They installed it all in less than a day! Bill called me when Fred said he couldn’t really install as many can lights above our island as was on the electrical plan. He said they would be too close together. Bill wanted me to come down and “approve” the change. It was a good thing I went down there. I found a couple of things that were not installed correctly. The fewer cans above the island was fine. However, I noticed that where the guys had installed the switches for the lights by each window seat were so low that I would lean on the switch with my back. I asked that they be moved up. And, I also noticed that the vanity lights connections looked too low. I asked Bill if Fred had gone by our spec document for the installation location for the vanities. He said he didn’t know. I grabbed the document which we kept in the house and checked to see where the lights were to be installed. We have tall mirrors for the bathrooms and Bill and I had measured cabinets, granite, backsplash and mirror months ago to determine height of the lights. We talked to Fred and he brought his tape measure and sure enough the lights were about 6 inches too low. Fred had everything fixed before they left.

And, we were wired!

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The next day the temperatures dipped all day to single digits. Bill and I went down to the house to double-check if all the electrical outlets and switches were correct and in the right location, but it was too cold to do it. So, Bill and I spent the day running errands for the new house. We went to Benthall Brothers to pick out our garage doors; stopped by Fehrenbacher’s to drop off the signed contract and pick up some sample poplar pieces for staining samples; went to the Benjamin Moore paint store with all our samples to match and picked a stain color; and then went to an electrical supply store to buy wiring for Bill to hook up a large portable furnace to use in our house. I guess it was a good day to get all that done. We figured we wouldn’t have any contractor show up on that day!

Friday the 13th Bart came and put up the drywall. And Jason’s crew came and looked at the range exhaust fan venting issue. Turns out they moved it over one stud and went up a lot further. Now, that will work!

Drywall installed along the kitchen/garage wall

Drywall installed along the kitchen/garage wall

Drywall along the laundry room/garage wall

Drywall along the laundry room/garage wall

New location of the venting for the range exhaust fan

New location of the venting for the range exhaust fan

Oh, I forgot to say that when the well guys came several weeks ago they said that there was a little white mold developing in our crawl space. YIKES! 😯 They said we probably needed to get that vapor barrier installed ASAP. Of course, the hold-up was waiting until the electric was run. Not that it was done, that barrier needed to get down. But, it was cold and nasty out. This was one PITA job Bill didn’t want to do. I didn’t want him to do it either. I told him to call a company does that and have them install it. We both checked out companies on the Internet and Bill sent an email to one to inquire what it would cost. They called. They said it would cost approximately $2K. Bill said he didn’t want to pay that much. Ugh!

Jim said he knew a recent college grad who worked construction while he was off from school. He asked if Bill wanted him to call and see if he would be interested in working for us. YES!!! Do not stop. Do not pass Go. Just call him right away! And, so he did. Todd said he’d be interested in working for us for several days. He started working last week. He cleaned up the garage and cleaned and vacuumed the house in preparation for the insulation crew on Tuesday and Wednesday for a couple of hours. They were coming Thursday, December 19.

We found out Monday that the temps were going to be soaring up into the 40s, 50s and even the 60s that week. Jim said it looked like they could pour the front porch! But, wait. We hadn’t picked out a color yet for the colored concrete. Where and how were we supposed to get that information? Jim said he’d get a brochure from Tony the concrete guy. Monday evening Jim brought home the brochure. He said if we could make a decision of what color by early Tuesday, he would call Tony and they could hopefully pour the concrete on Wednesday or Thursday. Bill looked at the brochure and picked Colonial Red. I said, “No Way!” The color decision was up to me.

I had a doctor’s appointment early Tuesday morning so I made arrangements to stop by the stone place so I could match up a concrete with our stone selection. With Rick the stone guy’s advice, I went with a lighter color than I originally wanted. He said from experience he said the darker colors show dirt and scratches more. So, I picked Sandstone for the colored concrete. I called Bill and he text Jim the color and said we wanted a smooth finish. Bill also asked if Tony could add some grit to the sealer so the concrete wouldn’t be as slippery when wet. He said he could!

Earlier in the week Bill and I went through the house to see about all the electrical stuff. We found a couple of outlets missing. And I decided to change the under-cabinet outlet wiring in the corner of the kitchen cabinets to a wall outlet. After doing some reading I found that for the appliances that people like to keep plugged in all the time (i.e., coffee pot) having the cords hanging down wasn’t a preference. So, the only appliance that Bill and I keep plugged in is the coffee pot and we had planned on keeping it in the corner. And, I discovered I had made a mistake and had the master bathroom outlets on each side of the vanity placed wrong. The hand towels would cover up the outlet. We wanted those moved. Bill called Fred and gave him a list of things and he said they’d be back out later in the week. The electrical crew came back on Wednesday and had everything done in 20 minutes! I’m telling you, these guys are fast!

Undercabinet wiring changed to outlet in kitchen corner cabinet area

Under-cabinet wiring changed to outlet in kitchen corner cabinet area

We did mess up on our labeling for the new computer area in the multi-purpose laundry room. Originally we thought we’d put two can lights above the area and had that on our label. But, when we were going room to room, I decided to move a nicer ceiling light I had originally purchased for the hall bathroom to our master closet. The master closet originally was going to have a flush mounted ceiling light just like the three in the laundry room. So, we decided we would just put that flush mounted light above the computer area. However, before the electrician’s came to install, we scratched out can lights and changed to ceiling light on the label, but forgot to scratch out the #2. So, the electricians ran two ceiling lights above the computer area. Instead of having them remove one of them, I decided to buy two smaller versions of the mounted ceiling lights – they were cheap at Menards. That way we have a spare light if anything breaks. πŸ™‚

We had a full house at the site on Thursday, December 19. Les came with his insulation crew.

Netting with fiberglass blown in on all exterior walls and under the attic floor

Netting with fiberglass blown in on all exterior walls and under the attic floor

Spray foam up in the vaulted area of the family room

Spray foam up in the vaulted area of the family room and along the walls where the drywall was tacked up

Workers spraying 2" of the foam on all exterior walls prior to installing the netting and blowing in the fiberglass insulation

Workers spraying 2″ of the foam on all exterior walls prior to installing the netting and blowing in the fiberglass insulation

Fiberglass insulation all around that fireplace and exterior wall

Fiberglass insulation all around that fireplace and exterior wall

Sound barrier insulation between the family room and master bedroom

Sound barrier insulation between the family room and master bedroom

Sound barrier between the master bedroom and master bathroom

Sound barrier between the master bedroom and master bathroom

Sound barrier between the kitchen and laundry room walls

Sound barrier between the kitchen and laundry room walls

Tony and his crew came on Thursday, too, and poured the front porch.

Tony setting up for the concrete

Tony setting up for the concrete

Porch poured

Porch poured

Close-up of front porch

Close-up of front porch

I hope the color is going to be okay. He said we really won’t know the final color until the concrete is sealed. He said they cannot seal it for at least seven days. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it will all match.

Bill called Todd in the afternoon since he had not shown up yet. There was a communication error. Todd thought Bill was supposed to call him when he wanted him to come out. So, Todd worked really late Thursday night in the crawl space. He also worked most of the day Friday, too. He is just about done installing the vapor barrier. Bill said he is doing a great job. He is supposed to come back today and clean all the mold with Borax and then he will be done. All the snow and ice melting last week from the high temps and 4 inches of rain over the weekend has caused a muddy mess down at the construction site.

Bill spent the weekend putting up blocking for anything we might hang – pictures, cabinets, TVs, grab bars, towel racks, etc.

IMG_3191

IMG_3194IMG_3192

With the holidays approaching we are not sure if anyone will be working this week or next. I guess we will see what Santa brings our way.

One journey ended . . . Another to begin

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. ~Bob Hope

I am happy to say we FINALLY closed on our construction loan Thursday afternoon (Sept. 19)! The process took longer and was more strenuous than we ever thought possible. We started our first loan application on June 17!!! And, if you really want to count the whole process, we actually started a preliminary pre-approval type process back in January with the regional loan officer in the Indy area. Needless to say . . . that was a journey we are glad has come to a close.

Sherry, our loan originator, continually told us she didn’t see any reason we wouldn’t be approved for the loan. But, the relentless questions and requests had us doubting that fact. This was our first construction loan – ever. We have purchased several homes and refinanced many times as the rates got lower and lower over the years. The construction loan process was a whole other beast. 😯 I’m an organized person, keep receipts, capable to create spreadsheets, scan documents and save them in pdf format, and attach them to emails. Boy, did those skills come in handy over and over again.

We eventually found out why we were experiencing so many questions and requests. Apparently, the bank had never dealt with someone who had purchased so many items for the house or who had already paid for improvements to the land (well, pole barn, driveway, etc.) prior to getting a construction loan. πŸ™„ We only mentioned all of items when we initially started the loan process because we thought it could be used toward our equity for the loan. We really didn’t need most of it for that. It would have been a lot easier if we had purchased the stuff out-of-pocket after we had the construction loan. Purchasing it before, everything had to be documented and recorded for HUD. The appraisal came in fine.

At one point, Bill said he’d just take the money out our investments and pay cash for the rest of house construction.Β  However, our financial adviser said he could make us more money than the 4% interest we will pay for a construction/mortgage. And, since we can still deduct the interest on our taxes and we can afford to pay for the mortgage in retirement, we went this route. Hopefully, we won’t regret this. πŸ˜•

Enough about that nightmare issue.

To lighten the mood and has nothing to do with construction loans or building a house, here is pix of some wildlife we see out where we live. Just moseying down the road – a family of turkeys. They wouldn’t get off the road either until I finally drove closer to them. The Dad (on the left) finally walked to the right of the road to join the Mom who was up in the bush area. The three youngsters finally flew toward the left. You can see my speedometer hologram in the windshield set at 0. I was parked while taking pictures. πŸ™‚

Turkeys!

Turkeys!

Now, for the exciting news!!

drum-roll

We are finally going to start building our house next week!

As soon as we knew we got the appraisal and knew we were going to close on the loan, Jim said we needed to make any changes to our house plans and spec document ASAP. He needed to send the plans and specs to the building commissioner to pull our permits and the foundation contractor so he could start as soon as we had the permits. It was also time for final decisions. Once the footers are poured, no more changes to the house plans! Jim and Jill both asked if we were ready to move forward, because we were getting ready to spend some big money really soon! And, no backing out of the process. We both said . . . “Bring it on! We are ready! More than ready!”

I went through the plans and specs and marked them up with any changes we might have had since getting bids back and contracts from subs. While I was doing that, Bill spent his time going through contracts, cleaning up our construction binder, and putting all the information into Microsoft Project. Bill had downloaded a house construction template and had to tweak it to fit our construction. We are using MS Project as a scheduler. We spent two long days (Tuesday & Wednesday) working through all the information and updating everything on the digital versions. We sat down with Jim late Wednesday evening to go over all the changes.

Bill and I spent Thursday morning making more changes and finalizing the spec document so we could email to Jim. Jim made all the changes to our plans and emailed off the documents to the building commissioner and foundation guy. One of our changes we had to make was to our fireplace. We originally wanted our fireplace to look like this:

Fireplace we like

Fireplace we like

After Jim drew the fireplace for us to figure out sizes, we discovered the columns would have to be skinnier than the ones in the picture. Then we noticed that we would not have any room on the hearth to place our fireplace tools or to set wood down on the sides of the fireplace doors. So, without a fuss, I said I’d give up this dream. With the modifications, it would change the look of what I had envisioned. However, that meant we had to come up with a new design and fairly quick. I found this design:

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 6.24.20 AM

Bill liked the double wooden mantel. I did not like above the mantel. So, Bill suggested that we extend the stone up to the vaulted flat ceiling – about 13 ft from the floor. So, I did a little magic with the photo in some of my computer software and came up with something like this:

New fireplace

Fireplace with Ledge stone

Every change constitutes either phone calls, emails, or visits back to contractors. This involved our stone guy. Before we headed to our closing, we made a visit to see Rick at Tri-State Stone. The stone on this fireplace was a ledge stone. We liked that stone on the fireplace, but we weren’t sure if there was enough variation in the stone sizes like the Cutface Suede we had picked out for our exterior.

Centurion Cutface Suede Stone

Centurion Cutface Suede Stone

I looked through a bunch of photos on Houzz.com and Google and neither Bill or I liked the Cutface on that big of a fireplace. Here we go again! More changes. 😑

Rick showed us several samples of stone and several binders full of photos of buildings and fireplaces he had designed. He suggested we do a stone border around the fireplace to give it more visual appeal. Can you see the difference?

Curved border

Curved border

Square border

Square border

Of course, Bill preferred the curved one. Me, not so much. Oh, it would look great if our fireplace was curved at the top, but ours is not. And, I do like straight lines! πŸ˜‰ A curved border just wouldn’t look right to me. So, I told Rick to come up with some straight lined border around the fireplace. Here is a photo of the fireplace we are buying.

Enerzone

Enerzone

We want the fireplace stone to match the exteriorΒ wainscoting stone. After looking at the Centurion Ledge we decided we wanted something else. We had picked out Centurion Cutface stone in the color Suede. Centurion Cutface has a lot of jagged edges – hence the name. I’m thinking that dust could collect a lot more on jagged edges. Bill spotted another sample of stone that he liked – Stack. It was in the color Bucks County. Hmmmm. Decisions, decisions. It never ends.

Centurion Suede Cutface Stone

Centurion Suede Cutface Stone

OR

Centurion Bucks County Stack stone

Centurion Bucks County Stack Stone

OR

Centurion Suede Stack Stone

Centurion Suede Stack Stone

I think the Bucks County’s dark stones would match the Bronze trim really well. But, I think it has too much orange color in it. I still like the Suede colors. Plus, it would go well inside and out with those burgundy color stones and the mahogany front door and mahogany cabinets and trim inside. Poor Bill. He says he has no say in colors. πŸ˜₯ And, he is right. The color decisions are mine. πŸ˜€ So, it looks like we will go with the Centurion Suede Stack Stone for the exterior and fireplace. So, it might look something like this but with a straight line stone border around the fireplace:

Enerzone fireplace with Centurion Suede Stack Stone with Mahogany mantle

Enerzone fireplace with Centurion Suede Stack Stone with Mahogany mantel

Now, we just have to see if Rick has a sample of the Centurion Suede Stack stone and we’ll take back the other three samples we have. Check that off the list!

We finally got a long-awaited quote for truss over the garage lumber package from one of the lumber yards on Thursday, too. Bill spent most of Thursday afternoon and early Friday morning comparing that quote to the other one we had. Decisions had to be made which lumber yard we were going to use. When Bill picked up the quote, they handed him our window and exterior door quotes. I looked at them quickly and noticed that both of those quotes were older ones. Oh, no! We don’t want them to order the wrong things! 😯

Friday morning Bill emailed the window/door guy and told him our concerns. He asked if we could come down and meet with him and go over the quote line by line. We met with Joe on Friday mid morning. Thank goodness we did that. We found some errors on the quote – like white interior prefinish on two windows! We are supposed to have bare wood so it can be stained. Plus, Joe was great to suggest which way a window should open in each room. We double-checked everything and he made the changes and printed us a new quote and emailed Jim the revised final one. I struggled with the interior borders of the window screens. They came in white, almond or bare wood. Bill was leaning toward the Almond but I really didn’t like the color against a Mahogany color (which would be our trim color). We may live to regret the decision I finally made, but I went with bare wood and will have our painter stain it along with the window and door trim. I’m sure our painter will regret that decision, too!

The meeting with Joe was a GREAT experience! In fact, I told Jim I wished we could do that with all the major contractors to make sure the correct things were going to be ordered. It’s so much better having the expert going through the order with us line by line. It never hurts to have several people’s eyes looking at the same thing and finding mistakes. Joe said we were doing things the right way. Making all the decisions before construction started.

Friday morning Jim said he was going to go to the County Building Commissioner’s office and see if he could pick up our building permit. He had emailed our plans the night before. I was surprised that we could get a permit that quickly. I gave Jim a signed blank check that morning to pay for the permit. As soon as we had the permit, we could start building! Jim had made arrangements with our foundation guy to pour the footers on Monday, September 23! We were finally going to start building our dream house! By the way, Megan did mention that September the 23rd was her birthday and asked why would her Daddy schedule our build to start on her birthday! πŸ™„ I told her that all the work would probably be done while she was in school so it would not take anything away from her day. So, Happy Birthday, Megan and Birdie (my sister)! They share birthdays.

Bill had given Jim the contact information for the block suppliers, block installers, lumber company, framer, and roofer so Jim could get them scheduled. Best laid plans always seem to change. First of all, Jim found out that we couldn’t get the building permits without a drawing from the septic installer of what the septic would look like on the property. So, that sub is coming this morning to do that. He will give to Jim and Jim will email that to the Building Commissioner on Monday. Jim said he could get the permit after that was submitted. And, since we had rain all day yesterday the foundation guy said it worked better if he started on Tuesday. And, we couldn’t start that without the permit anyway. Now we are shooting for Tuesday, Sept. 24, to pour the footers. Megan’s birthday will not be spoiled by construction after all. πŸ˜‰

Today Jim is staking out our property. He is a professional licensed land and survey engineer. He surveyed all our properties. This morning Bill and I will be assisting Jim in the staking by holding tape measures. I think I’ll be able to manage that. I hope! Bill is also staking off where the septic will be installed so no one will drive over that part of our property. There is something about driving over that portion with heavy machinery that is not good according to Jim. I’m not sure what it is, but I think it has to do with heavily-compacted ground affecting the effectiveness of the septic.

I’ll take pictures today. It’s a gorgeous day to get this project started!

Next up: Hopefully pictures of actual construction of our house.

Hurry Up and Wait, Part III

Throughout all the chaos of the previous week, Bill continued to work on the comparison spreadsheet. After Bill would get done with sections, he asked me to go over them in a more detailed format and note any questions we might have. Bill tweaked his formulas several times to see if we could get a true apples to apples comparison. When he thought he had gone as far as he could go on the spreadsheet, he printed it out. We planned to sit down with Jill and Jim Friday (Aug. 16) evening to go over pros and cons and $$$. Honestly, looking at the spreadsheet, I couldn’t really tell if the bottom line figure gave the true picture or not! I was confused even more. 😦

Friday evening after the kids went to bed, the four of us started talking about figures and comparisons. Bill and Jill are “numbers in their head” people. They are both mechanical engineers and have a way of looking at the big picture and cutting to the chance. It appears that Jim and I are more the “break everything down to very detailed line items” type of people. Yes, Jim is an engineer and is an expert at what he does, but his brain matches mine as we like to see detail detail detail to support the big picture. Jill finally said – forget all the line items. She said you already know what you want in this house and you already know what those things will cost because we had already bid those items out from our very detailed spec document. Obviously, the builder did not look at our very detailed spec document and went about pricing our house the way he was used to pricing out a house. Allowances for our items could be changed. Jill said all we needed to look at were the fixed prices the builder quoted (not allowances) – lumber, painting, roofing labor, siding, trim carpentry. Hmmmm, that’s what Bill was saying all along. πŸ˜•

Jim got out his scratch pad and started to make notes. We looked at the prices the builder quoted for those fixed items and compared only those with our bids we had received. If the builder’s fixed prices were low enough to make up for the majority of his management fee and we plugged in all of our spec figures in the allowances and still came close to the total of bids we had gotten, maybe it would be worth going with the builder. Jim was not charging us any management fee for being our general contractor. There were fees from his family’s construction company (permits, insurance costs, etc.) and those would be included in our cost.

Jim sent an email to the builder that evening with our questions. We wanted to know the specifics of the painting bid – did it cover all the interior and exterior and staining? We wanted to know if the siding bid was for Hardiboard and if it was prefinished Hardi or unfinished and what material the shakes were? We wanted to know if the trim carpenter’s price included the custom fireplace? We also asked if we were to build the house ourselves, would the builder be interested in subbing out painting, siding, trim carpentry, and roofing for the same price. We decided we would wait to make our final decision of using the builder or subbing it out ourselves until we got answers back. However, I did mention that I had lost faith in the builder because he had not looked at our spec document. He even said in our last meeting that he had never worked with clients with that detailed a spec document. I said I wasn’t sure we would ever get what we actually wanted in our house working with the builder. Jim said that was a good thing to bring up. He thought it would be possible, but he felt we would have to spend hours with the builder going through the whole spec document with him and making sure everything was covered. And, it may even raise the price more. Ugghhh.

On Monday (Aug. 19) Jim got a call from the builder and they discussed all the questions Jim had sent him via email. The builder was not interested in subbing out any of the jobs if we built the house ourselves. That night we talked with Jim and decided that the cost of using the builder wasn’t that great of a deal and we still doubted we would get what we wanted in the end. Besides, we felt the builder didn’t still understand us. He had asked Jim if he should schedule a time for us to meet with Fergusons to pick out all our kitchen and bath stuff. If he had even looked at our spec document he would have known we already had all that spec’d out or already purchased! 😑 Jim said he was fine no matter what we decided. However, if he was going to be general contractor, he wanted to get this whole thing started. We told him we wanted to just sub it all out and that the bank was waiting on a contract. And, that was what we needed to work on next.

Trying to stay positive, the pros of the whole builder versus subbing out ourselves thing were:

  • We found we really did have some good bid prices.
  • We were able to get another good painter in the meantime that ended up being cheaper than the builder (which was our lowest bid).
  • We finally found a roofer. Turned out to be the roofer the builder used.
  • Because of what the builder suggested (his background before housebuilding was a painter), we decided to go with unfinished Hardiboard instead of the LP SmartSide siding. And, we could get the colors we wanted by having our painter paint and caulk the Hardi siding and trim.
  • Last, we knew this way we would get the house we really wanted.

Within a couple of days we were able to get a contract worked up and signed and emailed to the bank. It was a great 65th birthday present for me! Signed and dated on August 22. Sherry at the bank told us that because of the fiasco of the application denial, we had to start a new application and start all over! 😯 I asked her if we were still going to be able to keep the 4% interest rate we had locked in two months ago. She chuckled and said yes. I wasn’t sure what that chuckle meant until later. She said she had all the information and she would plug it back into the computer. We scheduled an appointment to sign all the papers again on Friday, August 23, at 10:00 am. Jim asked that when we were there to ask Sherry when we could start scheduling subs and get construction started.

When we got to the bank Sherry got out our file and we started signing all those papers again. When we got to the Good Faith Estimate page, and we were looking through it, I asked Sherry why there was a $7500 charge for points in the 4% interest section. She said, “Whoops, that’s not suppose to be there. They waived that fee!” Bill and I looked at each other and then Sherry said, “Don’t ask!” Turns out Sherry negotiated that we didn’t have to pay any points to keep the 4% since they had messed up our original loan. Originally, we were suppose to pay 1/2 point to get that rate. Interest rates had gone up since our original application. Apparently, the points went way up!!!

Pros for redoing our loan application were:

  • We got to keep our 4% interest rate on the construction loan and didn’t have to pay any points! Thanks, Sherry, for making that happen!
  • We got the construction complete date changed from March 2014 to August 2014.

Sherry said we really needed to wait until the appraisal was back and approved by the bank before we started construction. She said we would probably close on the loan in 2-3 weeks, but as long as the appraisal came in with the right figures, we could start scheduling our subs. She was going to get all the paperwork completed to order the appraisal that afternoon. Apparently, she did because the appraiser came out to the property one day last week. He called Bill to ask some questions about the pole barn and what improvements he had in it. The appraiser also called Jim Friday about the house plans and had a few questions. Bill asked the appraiser when he thought he might be done and if he saw any problems. He said he didn’t foresee any problems in it appraising for what we need and he thought he’d be done the middle of this week. In addition, our loan has gone to underwriting as Sherry has emailed me a couple of times to answer some questions for them. Apparently, underwriters also don’t like to read spec documents or other documents that we provided with the application as all the information was there. πŸ˜‰

So, it is our hope that we can finally start construction on our home sometime in mid September!

HallelujahWe are tweaking some of our bids to make sure all the materials are correct on the quotes before we start ordering. Also, on Weds., August 28, Jim sent out emails to a list of our subs saying their prices looked good and for us to continue going forward, they need to sign the contract which was provided in our original bid set we sent out two months ago. Jim was nice and sent each one another copy. Jim decided we would give subs until tomorrow – the day after Labor Day to get back with him. We’ve received about 1/3 of the information back as of today. It’s like pulling teeth. Thank goodness I went back through the bids as our front door quote had the wrong in-swing and we had the wrong color handle sets for the windows. Those have been corrected. But I think I found another mistake on our bathroom window. It is supposed to be an awning window that opens. But, there is no mention of a screen or handle set with that window. So, I’m afraid what was quoted is a stationary window. It’s always something.

Okay let’s move on . . . Here’s a little funny. Bill has worked hard in the pole barn trying to get it organized. But, he’s gotten delayed because he really wanted to paint his cabinets so they all matched in his new workshop. You have to know that Bill had probably more boxes packed and moved from his old pole barn to here than we had for the house! And, they were full boxes and heavy. Bill’s labeling of his boxes and his inventory were . . . how can I put this and not sound so critical? . . . well, they were not how I would label them. And, apparently not how Marty would have labeled them. Before Marty had to return to college, he was helping Bill move those heavy boxes. Marty went to move a large box that was probably over 50 lbs and struggled to lug it over towards Bill and then asked Bill (sarcastically) to read the label. It was labeled “pencils.” πŸ˜€

Pencil box

Pencil box

Marty said, “There’s more than pencils in this box!” There may have been a few pencils in the box, but here is what it looked like inside:

Inside the pencil box

Inside the pencil box

Why do I bring this up? Well, because Bill was looking for his heat gun to use in helping him clean some of the cabinets he was going to paint. He couldn’t find the heat gun listed on his inventory or labeled on any of his boxes. Bill opened almost all his boxes looking for that heat gun before he found it. So, Bryan, I knew when you were helping your dad pack in the old pole barn you bet half of your dad’s boxes probably wouldn’t be opened again in 20 years. Here’s proof. He opened almost all of them only 2 weeks after they got here! They aren’t unpacked (yet), but at least they’ve been opened!

Opened boxes

Opened boxes

I asked Bill if he found the heat gun in the “pencil” box. πŸ˜† He didn’t. He probably found it in one of these . . .

Sliding door box

Sliding door box

Misc box

Misc box

Clock box

Clock box

Inside clock box (no clock!)

Inside clock box (no visible clock!)

Here are pics of Bill’s cabinets he’s painted.

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That brings you up to date with what is going on. I hope the next time I post I’ll have pictures of us finally breaking ground for the house!

Hurry Up . . . Wait . . . Hurry Up . . . Wait

One of the great disadvantages of hurry is that it takes such a long time. ~ Gilbert K. Chesterton

My goodness, it’s been a long time since I posted. That time has been filled with a lot of hurry up and wait. And, during the wait times, we’ve been quite busy with the family and moving stuff from one storage to another!

Let’s see . . . when I left you we were still waiting for the builder. Waiting . . . waiting . . . waiting . . . He took forever! 😑 Finally, on Wednesday, August 7, Jim text us from Hawaii that he had gotten a call from the builder but it was in the middle of the night (time difference!). Jim said he called him back but got his voice mail. Builder did not call Jim back. Finally we text Jim and asked if we could call the builder and talk with him. Jim said yes.

To be honest with you, I cannot remember if we talked with the builder on Friday, Aug. 9, or Monday, Aug. 12. But, we did get to talk to him first thing one of those mornings. He still really wanted to sit down with Jim and us to discuss everything. We said that was fine, but asked if he could give us a verbal estimate over the phone first. Honestly, we were so tired of waiting. It had been 5 weeks! And, I kept thinking of those grains of sand slowly emptying out of the timer. The builder gave us a price. It was about $15,000 less than our price and that included his management fee. We were definitely interested at that point. We set up a meeting with him and Jim for the afternoon after Jill and Jim returned home from their trip, Tuesday, August 13. We really wanted to get our house started.

The week before our movers called and wanted to know when they could move our stuff from storage down to our pole barn. Bill decided that he would kick things in high gear to get the pole barn insulated and walls up and therefore, he scheduled all of our belongings to be moved on Wednesday, August 14. Marty, the college student, said he would help Bill. They worked some long days, but they got all the walls insulated and interior walls installed. They also got part of the ceiling insulated. The rest will have to wait until a later date. Here are some pics of their progress.

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Our meeting with the builder was scheduled for 5:00 pm on Tuesday. Let me give you a run-down of what that day was like before the meeting. Bill and Marty worked in 90 degree heat in the pole barn and finished the insulation and walls just in time for Bill to shower and head for our meeting. Marty spent the rest of the evening organizing and stacking what was left in the pole barn so we would be ready for the movers the following morning. While Bill was in the pole barn, I was with the grandkids getting them ready for their first day of school the next day. We ended up having to buy a bunch of new school supplies that Jack’s teacher had emailed Jill while they were in Hawaii. Who wants to be out shopping for school supplies the day before school starts? πŸ™„ We also had to pick up lunch supplies and stop at the library. I got home about a half hour before Bill finished in the barn.Β  Jim and Jill were delayed getting home from Hawaii Monday evening and didn’t get home until about midnight. Jim got up early on Tuesday and headed for work – probably about 5:30. Jetlagged and with little sleep Jim worked a full day after being gone from work for almost two weeks. Can you imagine how three of the four people felt when the 5:00 pm meeting started on Tuesday?

We all perked up when the builder arrived at Jim’s office. After cordial greetings and a little small talk, the builder explained how he did his cost breakdown. He handed us one copy of the cost breakdown with all the amounts listed on it. The three of us had to shuffle the paper back and forth to look at the prices. We quickly noticed that the majority of the line items were material and/or labor allowances. There were a few fixed prices, but the majority of the items were allowances. Once I figured that out and could get my hands on the sheet, I immediately tried to focus on the items I knew our prices from bidding out. The line item allowance for carpet, tile, and hardwood was half the price of what we had already picked out. I mentally added the extra amount to the builder’s total. I saw that he had a material allowance for light fixtures and ceiling fans. Really? πŸ˜• We had already purchased all our light fixtures and ceiling fans and all were listed on our spec document. I mentally subtracted that allowance. Bill zoomed in on other line items that were his expertise. He noticed that the insulation that was listed wasn’t the type he wanted. There were other things but there was no way to compare apples to apples until after we got home and could pick through this cost breakdown and the fixed quotes he gave us and compare them to our bids. We told the builder we would get back with him with our decision probably by the end of the week. In the back of my head I was thinking maybe we should wait five weeks to get back with him. πŸ‘Ώ But, those grains of sand were dwindling away and our house was not going to get built without making a decision soon!

But, when did we have time to spend on the lengthy process of making up spreadsheets and going through bids one by one, line by line, and making those comparisons? The movers were set to arrive the next day, Wednesday, August 14. Our dear dog Goldie Girl was going downhill and one of us had to be with her almost all the time to help her go up and down the stairs getting to and from outside at all hours of the day and night. And, if that wasn’t enough, both Bill and I received letters in the mail Wednesday stating that our application for credit for our construction loan had been denied! 😯

Talk about stress!

Stress-thecrazytown

I had reached my limit and was ready to throw my hands up and say forget it all! However, I knew we couldn’t live above Jill and Jim’s garage the rest of our lives. I told Bill maybe we should just sell everything we purchased for the new house, forget about the cabinets Bill built, forget about house plans. Just build a little shack on the property. He just shook his head and said, “Maybe we should!”

Up Next: The “mover” adventures; saying goodbye to Goldie; and deciding if we would just build a shack . . . or not!

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.