House – Part 2
November 3, 2017
If you’ve read Part 1 you’d think that the entire building process has been one of puppies, rainbows and unicorns. And if you’ve read any of my front page posts you know I’m not that type of guy – I’m pessimism personified, and frankly I get nervous if things go right for extended periods of time. Fortunately that’s not the case in the house build.
Right after the foundation was back-filled I noticed what I thought was a minor issue – the front of the garage wasn’t perfectly straight. I didn’t mention it because, as I said, I thought it was a minor issue. That came back and bit me in the ass big time. Here’s what I mean:
If you look towards the bottom of the page you’ll notice that it appears the concrete bends to the right. It might look like an optical illusion, but trust me – it’s real. But, minor issue, right? Wrong, as was evident when the framers got to work.
So you’re looking at that and thinking “hey. that’s not so bad,” but you’d be wrong. Here’s a close-up:
“Okay,” you say, “still don’t see the big deal.” And closer:
“Hmm.” For reference, that section of the wall sticks out about 1-1/4″ to 1-1/2″. Doesn’t sound like much, but the lumber is only 3-1/2″ wide, which means almost 1/3rd of the board sticks out. Here’s what it should look like:
Nice and flat with the concrete. However it’s not the aesthetics that matter in this particular case. You see, the wall section I’m complaining about isn’t just any wall section. No, it’s actually the primary load-bearing wall section for the entire garage. The headers for both garage bays rest on this section, and all the trusses, as well as the headers for the trusses for the second floor loft area, also get carried by this section. And suddenly, 33% of the potential load-carrying ability of that wall section is hanging over thin air. While the wall section can probably handle the load of the wood and shingles, any sudden increase in the live load (like say, a 350lb guy) could cause what engineers euphemistically refer to as “catastrophic failure”, i.e my fucking garage could collapse.
“And why are you telling me?” you ask. Good question. See, I’ve already bitched to Joe, the construction supervisor, and the response was “we’re watching it.” Not exactly the answer I was expecting, which made me extremely pissed. As I said, I’m pessimism personified, and in my mind this means “hey, yeah, we saw it, but it’ll be expensive at this point to fix it and if the building inspector lets me, we’re going to weasel out of repairing the problem and kick it down the road so it screws you rather than our bottom line. And yeah, the building inspector is going to pass it because we’re buds or some shit like that.”
Now my family and friends have told me to take a chill pill – I’ve reported the problem and the supervisor needs time to re-arrange the schedule, and on the one hand I understand they have a point. On the other, don’t fucking tell me “we’re watching it” and expect me to take it calmly. Had Joe instead said “yeah, it’s a problem, and I’m working out how to fix it without delaying construction too much,” then I would have been totally chill. I’m in IT – disasters are our stock-in-trade, so this wouldn’t normally even register as a blip on the radar so long as someone piped up that they were aware of it and working the issue. “We’re watching it,” doesn’t mean jack-shit, because even the non-technical management we get saddled with would be demanding something more forthcoming.
But rather than storm Inverness HQ demanding heads to roll, I’ve compromised and decided to give Joe two weeks to say or do something about this problem. If, at the end of two weeks (of which one is gone, by the way), nothing’s developed then I’ll be talking with Susan and politely asking how to escalate this matter to get a satisfactory answer, because I feel that strongly about it.
I feel certain that no engineer, no architect, and no inspector, would ever sign off on this (architect and engineer especially, since they could lose their licensing). The building inspector, I’m not so sure about, especially if they’ve gotten real chummy with the construction supervisor. And unfortunately, the building inspector is the only person who really matters, since it’s their signature that determines if construction passes. The architect and engineer stamp drawings that state how something should be built, and tolerances are very specifically calculated. If something is not built according to plan, bad things are sure to happen. Maybe not immediately, but they will happen – it’s in the news all the time. I, however, have no interest in becoming a human interest piece in the news.
Stay tuned. I should also have some updated pictures on the construction status in the next day or two.
Nov 3, 2017 – Part 2
I paid a visit to the site this afternoon and was greeted with a mostly complete shell. All the wall bracing is gone and stairs are in place. There is still some missing roof sheeting, and from the looks of it the cross-bracing for the floor joists has yet to be installed, but hopefully by the end of next week that will all be done.
I also took a huge number of pictures since I could finally access the basement and second floor. Here are some of the shots, in no particular order:
Looks nice, but I’m still focused on the problem with he garage foundation, so I also decided to pull out my tape measure to accurately record the dimension rather than guess at it.
The first pictures I took were sort of obscured by the wall bracing, but these two pictures are about as clear an indication as you can get that there’s a serious problem that needs addressed. I’m not going to hold my breath for Joe to decide to fix this out of the kindness of his heart, so my primary hope is that the building inspector takes one look at that and orders it fixed. I give the chance of that happening at about 50/50. Going to have to wait and see.
Nov 9, 2017
Been something of a slow week with the house, although some work was done each day. Roof sheeting was completed on Wednesday, along with housewrap getting applied. It was still something of a surprise to show up today and see roofing felt laid down and all external doors and windows installed. The shingles are actually sitting on the roof, and it’s entirely possible they could be nailed down in a couple days.
I did note that the rear sliding glass door was installed incorrectly – I’d requested that the active sliding portion be on the great room side, but when I checked things out the fixed side of the door was on the great room side. Fortuitously enough, I’d been debating with myself about whether or not to fork over $300 for the change order, but in this one case the installer’s mistake worked in my favor, and I immediately emailed the construction supervisor to let him know that the door was fine as-is and that I’d sign off on it if necessary. The reason for the change of heart was simple design – when I’d made the initial configuration decision I didn’t have an accurate blueprint to tell me where the door would be in relation to the kitchen island.
Turns out that my plan of putting a small table between the island and the door was complicated by the fact that I would be effectively blocking off being able to use the door if the right panel was active. With the left side active, it’s not so much of a problem now. Boom! Accident in my favor. High five!
Nov 11, 2017
Drove by the house and didn’t see anything major – the roof was fully covered with ice shield and felt, plus some garage trim had been installed. Bricks for the front facade of the house were delivered, along with the mortar to secure them. Also saw some PVC piping for the plumbing in the garage, along with fittings. Of course, the most confusing part was seeing two cast iron tubs sitting in the garage. I only need one for the first floor bathroom, and if they try to install one in the second floor bathroom I’m going to be having some nasty words with people who can’t seem to read freaking blueprints.
I also took a much closer look at the basement floor, and I counted 11 hairline cracks, some of which extended twenty feet or more. According to my uncle it’s because the mix was too dry, and it was allowed to cure too quickly – the way to avoid it would have been to wet the floor down as it was being worked, then spray it and cover it so the Sun didn’t speed up the curing process. After 48 hours the floor would have been solid and without any cracks. I have a feeling that I’m going to need to put in an epoxy compound to seal the cracks and floor, and that should make installing laminated flooring somewhat easier.
Still a long ways to go, but hopefully there won’t be any additional major screwups along the way.
Nov 16, 2017
It’s been a quiet week with minor, but important, areas of progress. The roof shingles have all been installed. All exterior windows and doors have been installed as well, and plumbing and HVAC rough-in is proceeding. I’d been a bit preoccupied by the garage foundation issue and finally decided to speak with the city Building Inspection Department after mulling over it for a day. Building Inspector responsible for the area encompassing the development was very helpful, and by the end of the day I was informed that the structural issue was indeed a problem, would not meet code, and that the construction supervisor was waiting to hear back from a structural designer on how to fix it.
Right after that I’d scheduled a short ten-meeting with the construction supervisor to get a status update, discuss a couple concerns, and get a heads-up about the schedule for the next month or two. Joe and I had a little man-to-man discussion where he apologized for the misunderstanding and I commented about the crappy level of communication. I think the meeting did a lot to clear up any confusion either one of us had, and it also resulted in me pointing out a couple issues in the basement which, I’m happy to say, I discovered to have been resolved today when I went out to check the site.
For whatever reason a wall was put in to block off the hall from the stairs into the main basement, so I was happy to see it gone and the area around the stairs framed in exactly as was called for in the plans. Also found that the gas lines were installed and being pressure tested, plus the plumbing was partially completed, along with some of the HVAC duct work. If the work continues at the expected pace, the house will be heated and ready to start drywall by the first of December, which is just a short two weeks away. Making some good progress!
December 2, 2017
Been a bit distracted between work and home, so posts have suffered. Since the last update plumbing, electrical, and HVAC work has advanced considerably. As all these systems are done in stages they won’t actually be complete until right before closing, but they’re done enough that the next stage is to insulate the exterior walls and prep for drywall. The building inspector signed off on the electrical work, however I did notice that an outlet was missing from the garage and sent an email to the subcontractor. Should hopefully have that fixed on Monday or Tuesday. I’m also waiting to hear if the electrician is going to run conduit from the basement to the attic or not. I’m betting not, but it won’t be a huge issue since my friend and I are already making plans to deal with it.
Another nice note is that the bricklayers are hard at work. They started on Friday and have about half the front of the house done. I drove by today and found them at the site laying more bricks, so I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll finish on Monday.
Once the insulation goes in we’ll be at the pre-drywall inspection stage, which involves myself and Joe walking the entire house and inspecting everything. If it’s all good I’ll sign off on the work and the drywallers will come in and start hanging the sheets. That will probably take a couple days and require the HVAC to be working to start heating the house and keep the temperature stable. And once the drywall is done the finish carpentry begins – all the doors, cabinets, and trim go in after they’ve had a couple days to acclimate to the house. Then comes paint and flooring, as well as the finishing touches such as door knobs, faucets, toilets, and light fixtures.
I’ve already gotten a preliminary notification that closing will happen at the end of January, so basically in two months I should have a brand new mailing address. But before that happens I need to look at getting appliances and furniture. Two months sounds like a lot of time, but it usually takes a couple weeks to a month to receive furniture, and at least a week for appliances to come in from the warehouse. Also need to purchase a water softener. Fun fun fun!
December 11, 2017
Pneumonia sucks. I spent most of last week sleeping 20 hours a day so I haven’t been able to visit the house. Wouldn’t have really mattered as there has been very little progress. Electrical rough-in is done, and I got my conduit installed as well for $100. My friend Don visited the house on Friday and gave it his seal of approval. I also underestimated the bricklayers – they finished on Sunday. The next stage should be insulation, but I’m hoping that the reason nothing is happening is because the construction supervisor is waiting for the concrete sub-contractor to fix the screw-up that is my garage foundation. Considering that the temperature is getting down below freezing and we’re expecting an inch or two of snow tomorrow I’m not holding my breath (ha, that’s a good one! I already want to cough just thinking of it). Going by the construction supervisor’s rough estimate, drywall is closing in on a week behind schedule, and we still haven’t had the pre-drywall inspection and meeting. It might still be possible to make a late January closing, but I’m going to figure on mid-February and cross my fingers.
December 16, 2017
When I stopped by the house last night I saw that the proposed engineering fix for the garage foundation had been installed. I only found out about the proposed fix a couple days earlier, and what the engineer had drawn up seemed a bit…anemic. Here’s the fix:
Basically two pieces of angle iron would be anchored to the concrete with lag screws and Tapcons, and this would prevent the wall from shifting in addition to transferring the weight of the wall to the concrete. Simple, and cheap. Also looks like shit, as evident by my next pictures:
I suppose I can’t complain too much – my big concern was the structural integrity of the whole thing, and I guess I was foolish enough to think that the aesthetics of the fix would also be taken into consideration. Nope! Only thing considered was time and money, and so long as it passes inspection how it looks is not even a footnote. But since it looks like crap I’m thinking of holding out on some sort of cosmetic fix so it doesn’t look so damn stupid, maybe by bringing the siding down to the driveway.
Regardless, progress has been made, and hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday I should have the pre-drywall inspection completed. The inspection should be a formality since I made the conscious decision to be on-site every day, so I’m pretty familiar with all the issues and have either fixed the ones I had control over, noted the deficiencies, or signed off on the change in one case. And because of the delay due to the garage foundation the electrical, gas and HVAC have all been installed and are ready to be switched on, which will dramatically speed up things as we near the finish line.
I sent in the updated paperwork the mortgage broker required, so at this point all I can do is sit back and take in the home sprint.
January 3, 2018
Pre-drywall inspection took a lot longer to happen than I predicted. In fact, I just did the walk-through yesterday. Joe, my construction site supervisor, was reassigned to a new development, so Jarrod, the original construction supervisor for the development, took over and we spoke at length yesterday about the garage foundation. Nice guy, listened to my concerns. Expressed his solidarity with me that something should be done. Doesn’t mean it will, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.
Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t screw something up. I made the classic number one “Don’t Do This!” mistake of going furniture shopping with my mom and opened a new account so that I could get the 12 months same as cash deal they were offering. Big mistake. I’m not sure how much of an impact this is going to have, especially since closing has apparently been pushed back almost a month due to construction delays. I’m hoping that my credit is so good that the impact of $3800 of debt when my debt level is virtually zero will be non-existent, but I can’t know that, and I’m kicking myself for it. Live and learn folks – don’t do it. Furniture can wait until after closing.
I did admit my mistake to the mortgage broker last night via email, so I’m still waiting to hear back from him. I also offered to pay off the account before closing (yes, I had the money and didn’t pay cash. Like I said, I wanted to get the 12 months same as cash offer) so hopefully that will minimize the impact.
Jan 10, 2018
Drywall has been hung. The contractors started yesterday and finished the garage, laundry room, mud room, pantry, and part of the kitchen, great room and ceiling by the time I stopped by yesterday afternoon. By this evening everything was done. The severe cold has, auspiciously, snapped for the next day, with temperatures predicted to hit 60. With the more amenable climate the drywallers should be able to tape and mud in near perfect conditions, and the mud should dry relatively quickly. The HVAC system was running when I checked, so even with the predicted return of bitterly cold weather this weekend the house should remain warm and assist with curing the drywall compound.
With the drywall installed the house is really starting to take shape in front of me. I already had a pretty good idea of how the house would look because of how involved I was in the project, but with the drywall up it really solidifies the dimensions of the rooms and brings home the sheer size of the living spaces. It’s actually quite exciting, and with the drywall installed I feel like another milestone has been reached. There’s still a lot to be done: priming, painting, installing the flooring and cabinetry, laying the tile in the bathrooms, installing the molding and trim, and finally installing electrical and plumbing fixtures. And once all that’s done there’s still the touch-ups that need to be finished. All total, I expect the work to take about 5-6 weeks, so if all goes right I can be signing the closing paperwork on or about my birthday. How cool is that?
Speaking of closing, I still haven’t heard anything from the broker. I’ve been told that no news is good news, but I expected at least a little information. Shit could be about to go tits up at this point and I don’t have the first freaking clue whether it is or not. When you’re a micro-managing information junky like me, a situation like this is almost unbearable. Here’s hoping that nothing goes wrong!
Jan 20, 2018
Inverness’ Closing Department contacted me yesterday to tell me that my pre-closing walk-through is scheduled for Friday, February 23rd, and closing scheduled for Wednesday, February 28th. It’s about a month later than I was first told, and a week later than what the schedule was saying. I would have liked to close on the 21st, since it’s my birthday, but a week later still makes a kick-ass belated birthday present.
I did a walk-through today and it looks like, for the most part, the drywall mudding and sanding is done. Cabinetry is sitting out in the garage, along with doors and trim, so it shouldn’t be too much longer before that starts going in. I’ve always loved the concept of cabinetry, and considering that about the only aesthetic item in the entire damn house is the cabinets, I’m definitely looking forward to seeing them installed.
I’m still waiting to see what, if anything, is going to be done about the garage foundation, but since I’m a cynic I’m also not holding my breath. At the very least I’d like to see the whole shitty thing covered up so it’s not a giant eyesore for the world to see. And speaking of that, the siding has started going on the house. It doesn’t exactly go with the color of the shingles, but they don’t give you any options for that. Maybe in 20 years or so things will change.
As I haven’t posted pictures recently, here are a couple of the exterior:
Jan 29, 2018
I checked out the house over the weekend and discovered, much to my delight, that the cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms had been installed, as had the vinyl flooring in those areas, the wood flooring in the foyer, as well as all the interior doors and most of the baseboard trim. Progress has certainly been made and I’m kind of stoked that we’re nearing the finish line. It certainly means that daily visits are pretty much mandatory so that I can keep my eyes open for any defects in materials and/or workmanship. Really looking forward to getting the paperwork signed so I can put all the stress and anxiety behind me and enjoy living in my house.
Feb 12, 2018
House is entering the final stretch, and man it can’t come soon enough. Bathroom tile is done for the first floor bathrooms. Unfortunately it turns out the shower in the upstairs bathroom was put in backwards, so they had to tear that out completely. They’d just finished moving the plumbing and installing the seat frame the last time I checked on Friday of last week, so I imagine they’re close to getting the mud pan and cement board in by now. The garage has received its finish coat of paint, so feeling good about that. All the exterior siding is on, although I’m still waiting for the gutters to go on. The countertop for the kitchen had a mixup and no one ever came out to measure, but I’m assured it will be installed by the end of this week, as will the carpet. Most of the electrical fixtures have been installed, as have most of the plumbing fixtures.
I’m already sitting down and planning out my network infrastructure, plus I’ve already got a list of various “improvement” projects I’d like to get started on within the first 3-6 months after moving in, with my first priority getting a deck built, followed closely by getting my garage workshop setup. Then there’s the basement gym. And finally my network, storage and virtualization infrastructure.
Of course, no saga of mine would ever be complete without drama. On January 22nd I was called down to the corporate offices where I was told my position had just been eliminated and I was out of a job. This put me in freak-out mode immediately, because you can’t get a mortgage without income. I wasn’t too worried about paying for the mortgage – that part would be easy. I contacted family and friends and all of them said to keep quiet – the thinking was that the lender had already pulled my credit (which is awesome, by the way, thanks for asking) and verified employment. Unfortunately they hadn’t, and when my rate lock expired they had me fill out another form and this time they did pull my credit and check my employment. Queue the explosion as everything imploded.
Fortunately for me my uncle (mom’s brother) was willing to co-sign on the loan and has the resources to pull it off. Unfortunately my uncle has a lower credit score than myself thanks to medical debt that the insurance companies had been extremely reluctant to pay from an accident two years earlier – this hit his credit report and screwed things up. Another driver forced my uncle’s car off the road and into a ditch, causing it to flip several times, causing fractures in his cervical vertebrae (he broke his neck). Despite the driver admitting fault and the clear evidence that his insurance would need to pay, things were drawn out for so long that my uncle’s pristine credit got hammered. So this resulted in yet another interest rate change. The rate of 4% had expired, and the new rate was going to be 4.375%, but because of the credit situation I was forced to eat another quarter point increase, making it 4.625%. Or I could have paid $3500 to keep it at 4.375%. Did I mention I didn’t have a job, because that amount of money just wasn’t available.
Now before people start swarming out of the woodwork screaming about the irresponsibility of buying a home without a job, let me remind you that my mom will also be living with me, and she was entirely on board with paying everything until I could get a new job. And it was the job situation that was the most stressful thing about all of this. Getting a new job as a System Administrator with 11 years experience in IT, with a VMware Certified Professional certification, with extensive experience in virtualization and Linux and Windows administration, would be relatively straight-forward. But getting it in less than 6 weeks? That would be a challenge. I’ve busted my ass putting my resume in front of as many employers as I could, and it looks to be bearing fruit. I had multiple phone interviews with big name defense contractors, and it appears I’m going to get at least three job offers by the end of this week or the middle of next week. More importantly, if I interpreted things correctly, the pay is going to be higher than what I was making in my previous position.
So the mortgage broker and I have been working a couple angles. If I get a job offer all I have to do is send him a copy of the signed offer and we move back to the original loan paperwork with me as sole borrower (and excellent credit) and I get the 4.375% interest rate. If closing comes before a job offer arrives we go with the loan where my uncle is the primary borrower and I’m the co-borrower and I get the 4.625% interest rate. In a couple years I refinance the loan by myself, and all is right with the world.
I’ll admit, it was a very stressful month and I was in a very deep and dark depression. I couldn’t eat like I regularly do (not exactly a bad thing if I’m being honest), and I had trouble getting to sleep at night or waking up in the morning. I was using my stash of doctor-prescribed sleeping pills to go to sleep at 8pm at night, then sleeping until past 8am in the morning. I had no energy to do anything, even playing on the computer to keep myself occupied. It wasn’t until I started getting requests for interviews that I started to recover, and once my uncle agreed to be a co-signer on the loan and it looked like I wasn’t going to lose everything that I mostly bounced back. And when I was told on Monday that the company I really want to work for wanted to move forward and make me an offer I almost burst into song. Add in two other companies also stating they wanted to make me offers, and suddenly I’m pumped with energy and enthusiasm.
So on Monday and Tuesday I spent most of the time sorting my belongings and boxing loose items up. I’ve got something like 17 banker’s boxes worth of stuff packed up, and I’ve gone through my closet and tossed out clothes I can’t wear. I also combed through my stuff and tossed out things that I no longer need or want, de-cluttering my apartment substantially. I highly recommend it to everyone – take a week every year or two and do a Spring Cleaning with a vengeance. If you’ve not worn an item for more than a year, or you haven’t used something in a year (assuming it’s not a specialized tool that gets used infrequently) then toss it out. When I moved to Minnesota back in 2006 I had something like fifty banker’s boxes worth of junk I took along in a U-Haul trailer. It was all sentimental stuff, but it didn’t really mean all that much after I spent hours searching through it looking for something I actually needed. So I pitched it. Only fifteen of those banker’s boxes of stuff came back from Minnesota with me. I don’t miss any of it, and I actually take more pleasure in pitching things and further simplifying my life than I ever did in acquiring them.
It’s going to be interesting when people come to visit and see how stark and bare the new house is. Aside from my bedroom furniture, the only things I have are my couch, coffee table, entertainment center, two end tables, and a table and two chairs. All of it is going upstairs in the loft area. The great room is going to be empty until I can find (and afford) suitable furniture, and frankly I’m in no hurry. My mom bought a bedroom suite of furniture for herself, and the plan is to use the furniture from her old house to decorate the guest bedroom. And as for office furniture, I’ve got a couple folding tables, a printer table, and a chair and ottoman. Not exactly a substantial office suite. There’s also a plan to grab the china hutches from the dining room of my mom’s house, and I bought this massive table with granite inlay for $500 because the granite had hairline cracks in it. Don’t care – you can barely see them. All I need are some chairs.
I’ve already started putting together a shopping list, but again, I’m in no hurry. About the only real priority is purchasing appliances for the kitchen and laundry room, a water softener, and window treatments. I absolutely cannot sleep if there’s any light, so getting something over the windows is going to be high priority. If nothing else, I’ll throw some bed sheets over a metal pole (it wouldn’t be the first time).
March 3, 2018
So much has happened, and not all of it positive. Closing was pushed back, then pushed back again – it’s now Tuesday March 6th. The good news – I’ve got a job, and I start on Monday March 5th. I received the offer letter on February 28th, and I duly signed it, scanned it to PDF, and then sent a copy to the HR Specialist and the mortgage broker, closing manager, and underwriter. However the underwriter took exception to the contingencies in the offer letter, specifically that I had to pass a background check, my references and job history had to be legit, my college degree needed to be verified, I needed to sign some company-specific forms, and I had to get and maintain a security clearance. Of course, the reason why it took the company 2 weeks to send me an offer letter was because they were taking care of all of that before it was sent. The contingencies were legal boilerplate that the lawyers insisted be in the offer letter verbiage, and no force on the face of this Earth was going to get them to change that. The underwriter maintained that it remotely possible, although highly unlikely, that my offer of employment could be retracted between the time I accepted it (Wednesday) and the time I started (Monday), and that if they got audited she and the broker could both lose their licenses.
Just one small little snag with all that – the moment I sent in the signed offer letter I went from candidate to employee as far as the company was concerned, and the HR Specialist even offered to speak with the mortgage company to confirm my employment situation. The underwriter was firm that confirmation of employment would only be done after I’d started my first day, so the compromise that was worked out was that while I’m in orientation the mortgage company will call to confirm my employment, and at noon on Tuesday I will sign the closing paperwork.
Naturally this isn’t all there is to the saga. There’s a clause in the paperwork I signed when I started building that every day that closing was delayed I owed the builder $100, so because of the underwriter’s position I now owe the builder an additional $500-600 (depending on what they consider a day). I was most definitely not happy, and I’ve expressed myself as much, but in the end no one was holding a gun to my head to start building a house. Of course, the alternative was to walk away from the $20,000 I’ve already put into it, and so long as there was a chance there was no way in hell I was going to do that.
The weather cooperated a little and the builder was able to pour my driveway and sidewalk on Wednesday, so I’m thrilled about that. A couple of my neighbors who don’t yet have their driveways were a little upset, but as I explained to them I didn’t set the schedule and I’m not going to bitch about getting preferential treatment. I’m also pleased that the construction supervisor was able to come up with a fix for the garage foundation – he sandwiched four 1/2″ pieces of concrete backerboard and screwed and glued them to the concrete, then plastered over the whole thing with a polymer sealer to make it look like finished concrete. It’s not perfect, but it’s a damn sight better than it was.
Here’s some pics of the house for any future visitors who care to view them:
I still need to buy appliances (cooktop, oven, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and water softener), and one of the first major projects is going to be installing a deck so I can use the back door. But considering I still don’t have a yard it can wait a few months. My mom is already planning her move, with her bedroom furniture getting delivered on Wednesday, and her mattress and loft area couch getting delivered Friday. Yeah, forgot to mention that – my mom is getting her own couch, and we’re just going to hang a TV on the wall so she has plenty of space for her sewing. My couch from the apartment, coffee table, media cabinet, TV and stereo system is going in the great room, so it won’t look completely desolate. I have no idea if I can get a refrigerator delivered before my mom moves in, but she did mention she would just buy a mini-fridge for upstairs, and I suppose she could use the microwave in a pinch.
Right now my youngest nephew is going through a serious crisis as he’s slowly come to the realization that he will no longer see his grandmother every day, and this has caused him to sink into something of a depression. I maintain that it will do him some good, because frankly he has gotten accustomed to everyone else doing things for him. My sister and brother-in-law have also spent the last nine years using my mom as a live-in babysitter without the annoying aspect of having to pay for it. For my mom’s sake I’ve already said that her grandkids will not be spending the night unless it’s arranged far in advance. And definitely no babysitting during the day unless also arranged way in advance – the odds that my mom will be doing something else (like finally getting to enjoy retirement) are pretty good, so that will also be an extremely rare occurrence. My sister suggested that our mom drive to the apartment that they’re getting in April to watch the kids until she or her husband get home, but fortunately mom just laughed at that and said she wasn’t making the drive to Centerville from Fairborn every day. The kids are 13 and 11 (soon to be 12), so they’re old enough to look after themselves for a couple hours. Although I predict some sore butts and maybe a black eye or two as their parents finally start to enforce some discipline and they work out the pecking order.
I’m certain there’s going to be more that occurs, but I think I’ve just about done everything I can with Part 2. I’ll detail some of the challenges and victories in a Part 3 so that there’s a conclusion to all of this.
I can safely say that this has been one of the most frustrating, nerve-wracking, psychologically-draining things I have ever done in my life. The house is by no means perfect – I was constrained by both my need to keep expenses down and by what options the builder offered. Even now, on the cusp of closing, there are still dozens of little details that need to be resolved. Frankly, though, I don’t really care – I just want to get across the finish line and be able to concentrate on my new job.