Friday, April 20, 2012


It's been can lead to only one thing. Well, two things. One being a tornado. The other being a sick child. M was up all night with a horrible earache. And I do mean all night, which means I was up with him. Then a little before noon the school nurse called to tell me J had a fever and needed to be picked up ASAP. It's fun being a mommy!

The upshot being that I didn't get to the build until late afternoon. First I saw this:

The laundry room wall is being corrected. This made me happy.

But then I saw this:

I thought perhaps the fact that I left towels on top of the water from yesterday would have tipped them off. It did not. There's mudd all over the place, and torn tape all over the floor. WH has a policy of cleaning up after yourself. Now, all of the other contractors have followed this. Unfortunately I'm going to have to bring this up to Kasey. It's driving me a wee bit crazy.

There was a bright spot in that the stone is coming right along, and we're getting more of it. It's going all the way to the ground. Yea!

Have I mentioned how much
I love this??

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It was the best of times... was the worst of times. Today was a day of highs and lows. I met with electric company engineer #2 to figure out where the line should run. Again. He took one look at the flags B had put out and said “No. That won’t do.” And we were off and running! I was very nice, but firm as I explained that yes, I realized it wasn’t ideal, but a straight shot from the electric pole to the house would run right through our leach field. Obviously there needed to be a turn. B went through all this with engineer #1 last month, who apparently didn’t listen. So I told #2 about our whole experience thus far.

Once #2 realized not only did I know what I was talking about, but that I was highly annoyed this whole thing has been a mess from the beginning, he changed his tune. He ran some figures and gave me a total. I knew that we had written a check last month, but couldn’t remember what it included. So I wrote him another one on the spot to expedite installation. (Remember when I told you to set aside a lot of extra money? This is why.) In the end, #2 ended up checking things out back at the office. We had indeed already paid for the service, but it was a lesser amount as it was based on a direct line. #2 decided to eat the cost and shredded my check. That was a step in the right direction for service recovery. But I’m not going to be completely satisfied until our permanent power is up and running.

Another low came as I was walking around the house measuring walls & windows so I can work on furniture placement & window coverings. I was in the laundry room and noticed the wall the W&D are on looked awfully shallow. It was not quite 2 feet deep, and our W&D are 33” deep. That would have landed the edge right in the middle of the door to the half-bath. I had just finished texting Kasey when he pulled up to the job site. Excellent timing! We took a look, and he assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem to move the doorway. If something like this is going to happen, this is the time to catch and fix it.

I don’t know if it’s the worst, but certainly the most annoying thing about today was the mess the tape/mud guys left. They came in just as I was leaving around 11:15 so I didn’t see them working. I got back around 3 and went in to check out their progress. The entire house was taped and mudded. I’m assuming there are more steps to this process, so I’ll reserve any comments on workmanship. But I will complain about the mess they left behind. There are dollops of mud all over the floors- I’m hoping it's still there because it's easier to clean up when it’s dry. This mess, however, made me livid!

I don’t know how well you can see, but there was a giant puddle of standing water right in the middle of what will be my family room floor. I understand a lot of water is used to mix the mud. But standing water on OSB is NOT a good thing! I immediately went home to get a towel to sop it up.

In spite of those rough spots, there were a few highs to balance them out. The well was drilled this morning, and they hit great water 15 feet down. Unfortunately the law says they had to go deeper. In the end we have good water- no iron, sulfur- so I’m happy.

The (tiny) temporary propane tank was delivered and hooked up.

The gutters are up and look really good.

And the stone looks AMAZING!

 Next up....buying a dehumidifier and finalizing paint colors and lighting fixtures. First world problems, my friends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moving right along...

Beautiful weather- let's hope it stays this way! Today the drywall and stone crews were hard at work. I stopped by around 11 then at 3. The stone guys were there after 5, and the drywall crew didn't leave until after 7! I haven't been back tonight, but the drywall should all be up. That's quite a process. Each board is glued then screwed in place. It's not going anywhere.

This was the view at 11 (sorry about the dust spots!), the the same view at 3, with the addition of one cute kid.

Looking at the kitchen- angled walls form the pantry.

Putting it all together...


This afternoon B staked out the location for the well as the digger is coming out in the morning. Here's hoping he doesn't have to go too terribly deep to hit good water! We're putting the well semi close to the house around back so I can camouflage it in a flower bed. Well, when I get around to landscaping. Someday.

The electric company is also coming in the morning. Well, not the whole company, nor the cast of the TV show (but that would be awesome!), but the guy who figures out where to trench the line. He'd been out before, but it was the first week we broke ground. That was a tad premature. Didn't have a lot of faith in the EC at that point. Anyway, the permanent electric should be in soon.

That leaves septic, which should be early May, and propane, which should also be in early May. If you're building in the country, make sure you think about all of these "extra" things!! The cost really adds up quickly!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Drywall, Stone & Yet MORE Insulation

I had to work again today, so B occasionally called me to tell me what was going on. Our conversation would go like this:

M: So what's going on?
B: The siding guys just got here.

M: So what's going on now?
B: They're starting on the stone.

He's been very patient, but I know he's thrilled that I have the day off tomorrow. I'm thrilled, too! The workers? Probably won't be so thrilled. Although I did meet the stone guys, and they were very nice. R asked me what I thought and I said "I'm giddy like a little schoolgirl!" Yep. I actually said that to a complete stranger. That's how much I love the stone!

The blocks are in place for the pillars.

The capstone is in place.

Isn't it beautiful?!?

I assumed that the stone was some kind of prefab slab, but it's real stone, pieced together like a giant puzzle.

A lot of the drywall was also completed today.

One of the benefits of 4x6 construction is that I'll have deep window sills. Yea!

After we insulated the garage Saturday we had almost two rolls of insulation left over. We walked through the house to see if there was someplace we could use it. There's a wall between the family room and J's bedroom that could use some soundproofing in case we're out there watching tv after the boys' bedtime. While we were at it we decided to do also insulate the wall between the living room and M's bedroom. Pretty much any kind of soundproofing we could do between the boys' rooms and the rest of the house is a good thing.

So once again I schlepped to Menards for insulation. But this time I knew exactly what I needed. Once again we threw child labor laws to wind and put our kids to work.

This time it only took an hour and a half. We're getting better, but hopefully we'll never have to do this again!

Let There Be Drywall!

I hated going to work today- I was very spoiled over spring break. Every time I have to leave for the day I feel like I'm missing out. Fortunately not too much happened today. But what did happen was very exciting- the drywall was delivered! As much as my husband hates taking pictures, he did indulge me and took these:

 It never would have occurred to me that they took the drywall in through the front door. It makes sense- I had just never thought about it. After seeing these sheets up close I understand why they wanted to get as close as possible. They are huge!

Remember that west wind I talked about? It was in full force Monday. It was so bad that it knocked the port-o-john over! And moved it about 10 feet! X marks what used to be the spot. I wasn't about to go near it. B is a good guy, so he put it back where it belongs and cleaned it up. That, my friends, is the hallmark of a good man!

The Insulation Fairies

I went through the house Friday afternoon and nothing had changed on the inside. No activity Saturday, obviously. But when we got there in the afternoon, the insulation was up. I have absolutely no idea when the crew came. We live just down the road from the site, and neither B nor I had seen a truck all day. It's a Building Miracle!

One of the things we knew we wanted to do was insulate the garage. WH covers the wall between the garage & house, but insulation in the other 3 walls was up to us. B made the mistake of sending me to Menards to buy it. In case you are not aware, there are many different kinds of insulation. Different styles, different widths, different R-values. A few calls back & forth with B and a consultation with one very patient Menards employee later, J and I rolled out of there with 13 rolls of R-13 kraft paper sided 2x4 insulation, 2 box cutters, a package of staples a box off gloves and a big ol' broom.

Now, the garage doesn't seem THAT big. I thought we'd knock out the whole project in an hour or so. Um, that's not exactly how it worked out. Fortunately B knew what he was doing. He laid out a leftover piece of OSB on the garage floor and lined up one of the factory marks with where I needed to cut the batts. 

The boys came along to "help." They actually did help for about half an hour. Then the novelty wore off and they went outside to play.

The whole thing really was quite a process. I would unroll and cut the insulation. B was on ladder duty and stapled everything in place. It took us about 2 1/2 hours. Thankfully it was a cool, rainy day and there was a nice breeze coming through. On a hot day that would be a miserable job. When all was said and done this is what it looked like. Cleaning would just have to wait!

Siding and Stone

When I left for work Friday morning the house looked like this. You can kind of see it through the exhaust.

And then it looked like THIS!



Of course I couldn't let all of those boxes in the yard go without checking them out. The stone is a great mix of grays and tans. Can't wait to see it up! 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Siding, Day 1, Part 2

We've all had that experience when you pick a color from a paint chip and start painting, then the color looks nothing like you thought it would. Well, it's much easier to repaint a room than to re-side a house. So you can understand that I was a little worried driving down the road to the site last night. As soon as I pulled in I felt a little giddy. I LOVE the color!

When we were looking at our siding choices, we wanted something a little different. We both saw the blue sample and that was that. It's a dark slate blue, and will have lighter blue shakes on the front gables and stone wainscot across the front.

Isn't it pretty??
Once again I was amazed at how quickly everything is moving along. The entire back and west side are done. The garage wall is almost done, and the trim is up on the front.

 The west wall. I really don't like giant walls with no windows, but we have horrible winds that come out of the west. Our current house has a stand of pine trees to act as a windbreak, but obviously there's nothing at this site. Our septic system is going in on this side, so I don't know if we can ever have trees over there.

The trim pieces for the door sidelights and the wainscot are up. When going over our budget we debated about having stone along the return wall (the garage wall). It was an additional expense, but we felt it was worth it. I thought it would look unfinished without, and it's one of those things that is much easier to take care of now than try to do later.

 I LOVE how the white trim pops against the blue!

 The siding and stone should be done tomorrow. B spoke with Kasey about what's coming up. Insulation and drywall start Monday. WH insulates the shared wall between the house and garage, but not the other 3 walls. We can do that ourselves, so that's our project for the weekend. Kasey told us the kind of insulation to buy and how much we needed, which was helpful. B scheduled the well digger, the propane company and the electric company to trench. B also called the septic installer to set a date. Since it's been so dry we might be able to get that in sooner than expected. Kasey told B that if all goes well the house will be done by the end of May!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Siding, Day 1

In order for my children to catch the school bus in the morning I have to be up by 6 am to get things ready for the day. Usually I'm the only one up for a good 20-30 minutes. No one on our road is up at that time, either, as they're mostly retired empty-nesters. Most days we don't see anyone until the bus comes at 7. So imagine how surprised I was when I looked out the window around 6:45 and saw the siding crew already at work! And they had driven in from over an hour away. I was shocked!

I stopped in very quickly and snapped a few pictures on my way to work this morning. Of all days, I would have loved to have stayed and watched. It's probably good for the siding crew that I couldn't.

This was taken around 7:10 a.m.

They were setting up ladders all around the house.

A lot of the siding was unloaded into the garage.

I can't wait to get home and see how far along they are!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Concrete Information

Once again I was gone all day and didn't get to the job site until 4 or so. The concrete guys had poured the basement floor through a hole cut into the sub floor right inside the front door. From what I understand (and this could very well be completely incorrect), the concrete comes via a big tube, similar to how they poured the walls. The workers move it by wheelbarrow to the farthest parts of the room and start smoothing it in, backing toward the stairs. Our basement is fairly large, and I know moving all that concrete was a tremendous amount of work. 

Trowels. My son thinks they look like snowshoes, which could be how they get across the wet concrete.

Obviously I can't get into the basement to take great pics, so these are all from the stairs. This is a shot of the front part of the basement. the jog in the wall is where the front porch comes out. You can just see the electrical box and sump pump in the corner.

This is facing the back of the house. I was kind of concerned about having 2 rows of support poles to work around, but now that I can see them I don't think it'll be a big deal. If you look under the window you can see one of the electrical outlets. We had them placed 2 feet up in case of water. If we ever have more feet of water down there ruined electrical will be the least of my concerns.

In addition to pouring the basement they were cutting score lines into the garage. They hadn't done it when we got there, so this shows the cut lines. I asked why they did that, and he explained that all concrete cracks. They score it in hopes that those are where cracks will occur and the rest of the slab will be okay.

Once again the contractors were there late- at least 7 pm, but I think it was later by the time they actually left. they're coming back tomorrow to score the basement.