Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Price/Weight - What's the diff? Now

My husband had a local lumber company order (to be delivered today) the lumber to have the basement framed. He brought home a copy of the packing slip. $900 for 60 2x6's?!?!! I added the total order and it was over $3800! Just for the basement? Something has to be wrong. Of course, we didn't see this until we went over the slip last night around 8:00 p.m. So, I got on Roofus (my laptop) and sent an e-mail to our lumber 'guy', asking him if the number should be 160 instead of 60. I also left him a message on his cell phone, because he was taking today off. He e-mailed me this morning. No, he's pretty sure it's 60, but he'll re-check his figures. He said he was going to work until 10:00 and he'd re-check then. I e-mailed him back and asked him to re-check the price too because $900.00 seems a bit steep for 60 2x6's. He could not think of how we were coming up with $900.00 when the total order was a little over 1100.00. The order is two pages long. I told him I figured the total order over 3800. Something wrong we are e-mailing back and forth at 7:00 this morning. He goes in to work and sees that we are using the column that gives the weight! The 2x6's weigh 900 pounds! It looked like prices because the numbers were 1.80, 24.89, 35.56, 127.98, get the idea. DUH.... Have we gone totally bonkers here?


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Basement floor - Now

Monday, September 27, 2010. They poured the basement floor. This was an all day event. While waiting on the cement truck to show, they continued filling around the house in gravel.

And prepared the floor for the pour.

The contractor explained to me the plastic is a moisture barrier. It helps with dampness in the basement. The rebar is to reinforce the bearing walls.

Truck number one shows up.

I thought they got dangerously close to that cement coming down and believe me, it was coming down hard.

Truck number two.

These guys worked so hard yesterday spreading and smoothing that concrete.

Even the company owner worked hard. He's in the blue on the right side of the 2x4. Dad came out to watch with me and said, "what's he doing working that hard, he's the owner?"

Now this I couldn't believe! Dad and I were sitting on the swing chatting. The trucks were gone.

What's he doing?

We had to walk around and take a look. They gently threw those pieces of Styrofoam down, from standing up above....then they gently lowered themselves down on the Styrofoam pieces. Unbelievable! They smoothed the edge of the wall all the way around the house.

We were impressed.

Finishing touches

While the three guys put on the finishing touches to the floor, the others laid out the garage.

They started digging the footers for the garage. They poured the footers yesterday afternoon, I missed it. I don't even think they took a lunch hour. Today they will pour the garage walls. I was told the basement crew will be done this week and the framing crew will start this week.
I have to admit, this is all still very overwhelming to me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The wall story - continued

In an attempt to redeem myself from that last post, that was very quickly added to my blog, I'll try to explain it a bit better. THIS is the wall that woke my husband up at 3:00 a.m. It is the walk-out wall of our basement. There will be doors and windows on it.
If you look closely, you can see pvc pipes everywhere. My husband is putting all of the plumbing in the floor of the basement before they pour tomorrow. He's worked hard every day since Thursday on this.
Back to the wall. It looks higher than it is. That is the framing, but the actual wall is not that high. We thought there should have been a cutout for the door.

So, on a full moon morning at 5:00 a.m.

we were out there traipsing around in the mud, as it rained the day before.
We discovered that the frame was not completely full,
and the framer will build the rest of the wall up later. Just as it should be. PHEW!

Did I mention when I was driving out there in the pitch dark, there was an opossum playing dead in the road. I tried to straddle it with my tires and it decided too late to get up. I yelled NOOOO NOOOO NOOOO, then I felt the dreaded thump thump.....AAAUUGGHHHH
My day was not going well...actually, my week was not going well. Especially since I missed the wall pouring cement trucks on Monday. I decided to pay my parents a visit, with breakfast, at 6:15 a.m.
What the heck, I'd been up for three hours already! I got 'the look' from my Dad. He'll never get it right though. It's nothing like getting 'the look' from Mom.
Mom and Dad enjoying? breakfast

This is the wall after the frames came off. They are moving dirt up to it so it will be somewhat even. The basement floor will come up four inches when they pour it. Right now it's gravel.

Anyway, this part is a bit boring to me, but it's all part of building a house. We are learning a lot. One's is life-consuming.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

No door? Hilltop Farm - Now

It was 3:00 in the morning when my husband woke up and said, "they didn't cut out the door." Me, "huh?" Him, "They poured the wall, but they didn't leave room for the door. I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't figure out what it was, and it just now hit me. They poured the wall, but didn't cut out for the door. I know they didn't, because I stepped over the wall, I didn't go through a doorway." At 4:00, we got up, went downstairs and looked at the prints. We could see how they could be miss-read, however common sense dictates a doorway needs an opening, right? But the schematics were not that specific. They did not specifically say, "cut foundation for door." They just showed a picture of a door. hmmm....So, we got dressed, and at 5:00 a.m. we were on our land, with flashlights, traipsing around in the mud, trying to figure out why they wouldn't cut out for a door. We found out that everything is fine, and is exactly as it should be. It just took a trip out there at 5:00 a.m. (before he went to work) to see that it is ok. It's one of those things that is not worth trying to explain, because you'd never get it without specifics....but let me just say. I'm exhausted. And I still don't have builders insurance. Which was on my list for what day? Tuesday? Why? They don't get it, or I don't know, maybe I don't get it. They want to know what kind of floors I'll have; carpet, hardwood, etc. I have no idea. I don't want the house insured, I want the framework insured in case of tornado, or fire. The framing doesn't have carpeting. Anyway, I wish it were the old days, when something like a fire happened, your insurance was your good neighbors who came over and everyone pitched in to help re-build. More later.....I missed taking pics yesterday, I need to get out there today....but I'm tired. Cindy

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hilltop Farm - Now

See those forms? They held the concrete in the walls.....

They poured them yesterday, and took them down today!
The guy on the end is standing on the wall. You sure couldn't be afraid of heights to have this job.

We have basement walls.

House building list of things to do today

List of things to do today...
9:00 a.m. appt. with kitchen designer
Go to bank and get a lot of money deposited in checkbook
Go to insurance company and buy builders insurance
Go to land and pay builders, and get pics of forms coming down
Download pics to computer (Roofus) and post on blog
Start working on *regular* day list such as groceries, cleaning, etc.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hilltop Farm - Now

I went to the land this morning around 9:30 and asked when the cement truck would be here to start pouring the walls. 11:00ish. So, I came back at 12ish, thinking it'd take them all day. Well, this is what I came back to.

This dude said, "you missed it, we're done now!"

WHAT?!?!!! They had five trucks out and I missed all but one. I thought they'd take all day pouring. Next time they say 11:00ish, I'm here at 11ish. Jeez!
These guys are climbing around on the forms like monkeys. Smoothing out the cement and putting rebar in the walls, etc. Hmmm, wonder if I could do that? Probably could....

But he's pretty high up!

And he just walks all along this skinny little ledge.

They said they will be taking those forms down tomorrow. I'll be there.
Robert told me I am not posting quick enough. It's hard to keep up with all of this. Hope you're happy with this Robert. They just did this today!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hilltop Farm - Now

After they poured the footers and the cement dried, they removed the 2 x 6 boards. They had gravel hauled in and it was spread all the way around the footers, then on the ground of what will be our basement. Then the frames for the walls started going up.

It took three days to get these frames up and secured. On Monday, tomorrow, the plan is to have the cement truck come and pour our walls.

I found out this week that I have to make some decisions on my kitchen. I thought I'd have at least another year. The framer needs to know where one of the windows is going to go, which means we have to decide where the appliances will go. So I made appts. with a couple of kitchen designers to try to figure this out. That room in the back is my kitchen. We're actually looking through what will be the walk-out basement doors.

This is how high the basement walls will be. See the pile of dirt in the front. They will move that dirt and slope it, so that it doesn't look like the house is sticking way out of the ground.
It's been quite a learning experience for us. Yesterday we went out there and measured the basement walls to make sure everything was square. It is. They are doing a wonderful job.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hilltop Farm - Then

If you look closely in this picture, you can see trees in the background with leaves on them. It was October 8, 2007 when the barn burned to the ground. I remember, because it was my husband's birthday. When you look at the trees in front, you notice no leaves. It's because the fire, and the heat from the fire, burnt the trees. They ended up dieing and had to be taken down. Same story with the original house site. There was a small house that used to sit on the hilltop. The previous owners of the land burnt it down. The sad thing is, a lot of trees died in that process and we had to take them down.

It made me sad to see such majestic trees be torn down. But in the shape they were in, they weren't looking so good.
Maybe they secretly wished someone would end their misery!

We did.
Some of the old concrete from the burnt house got buried. And there was a lot of 'muck' in that hole. I remember hearing something about hitting the old septic... And there were a lot of bonfires going on because we had to burn the root balls to these trees. One evening my husband called me and said, "why don't you join me out here. I have a nice fire going. Oh, and by the way, can you bring me something to eat? I had some beer on an empty stomach." (poor thing) As I was getting ready to leave, food in hand, I opened the door and there stood my husband! He had fallen in the hole! It was cold out, he was wet, and I remember something 'mucky' hanging from his ear! He said, "I fell in the %^&* septic hole." Unfortunately, I did not have the presence of mind to take a pic. The next day I went out there and his hat was floating on top of the muck! We got the hole covered quickly.

After covering the hole, we reseeded the muddy hilltop....

and winter came.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hilltop Farm - Now

Now - as in 2010....
What started the whole process of building this year, was my husband went to a local home building type show. There were all kinds of information booths there, including an architect. For the last three years we have been going to realtor open houses, tearing out magazine pages, looking through library books, buying books, making notes of everything we liked to get ideas of what we would want if we ever built on our land. We kept all of those ideas, took them to the architect that we found at the show, and he put our plans that we sort of drew up on his 'building program' on the computer. When we met with the architect again, and he gave us what we drew, it looked awful!

This is my husband sitting outside with our plans. I know - it's still cold outside. My husband is the kind of guy that HAS to be outside.

We met with the architect several times, then we'd come home, re-do, and take it back. In April we went on vacation to Charleston, SC. Even took our plans on vacation with us. Before we left our architect said, "oh, so you like Charleston, how about we add a Charleston flair to the home?" When we got back from vacay, we had our plans. Now, we are still making small changes as we go, and apparently, "that's what everyone does." Our house looks different for our area, but we like it.

After our final meeting with the architect, we spent hours calling contractors for the basement, the framing, the roof. We got several proposals for each job. The plan is this.... have the basement built, have the framing done, have it under roof before winter. This winter, we plan on finishing part of the basement ourselves. Then we plan on moving in to the basement and putting our house up for sale by next spring/summer. We'll finish the rest of the house while we live in the basement. That was the plan, but do we have what it takes to do it?

We talked about it an entire weekend. Then on Sunday evening, we went the hilltop....

and looked at our view and made our final decision. Monday morning I got an e-mail from my husband..."are you still in?" I'm in.
First things first.......

I am the Coordinator, Secretary, Runner, Messenger, you name it - for the job. So, I spent an entire week running downtown to get permits. Septic permit, MS4 permit, driveway permit, building permit.......we were exempt from some permits, thankfully, because they aren't free!

The septic guy had to clear out part of our woods to put the septic where it would work the best. We spent two entire evenings last week cutting and hauling those trees away. We didn't want the wood to be wasted.

We met our basement guy on our land Sunday night on Labor Day weekend, and laid out the house with tape measures and a can of spray paint! The next thing I know, this machine shows up and starts digging!

Construction started last week.

This is a monster of a machine. One thing that I have found out. Once construction begins you
  • are on the phone or e-mail constantly (we are being the main contractors on the job)
  • are always running to the house site for something
  • are always meeting with someone or planning a meeting with someone
  • wake up with a list on your mind a mile long and you don't stop until you drop
  • you wake up and start all over again

It consumes your life. And decisions have to be made now. Those guys do not waste time.

This is a picture of the truck hauling off the dirt from the big hole in our ground. The back-hoe? (what's this machine called) would dig up and dump dirt in the truck, they'd haul it across the road, and they'd come back. Both trucks were running constantly.

This was the site where we sat when we made our decision.

My husband inspecting the hole in the ground. There is no turning back now. That first night I woke up at 12:30 a.m. and he woke up about the same time. I couldn't believe the size of that hole and I thought for sure we over built. I'm not good at dimensions, but during the whole planning process, when the architect would put down a size for a room, I'd come home and measure the rooms in our house, so I could get a feel for room sizes. They didn't look this big. I took my cousin Vickie out there, and I told her, "now don't say OH MY GAWD THAT IS HUGE because I feel bad enough already." She said something else just as bad, then she said, "naaah, it doesn't look that big." When we met with the basement/concrete guy, he said, "well we have to over-dig three feet all the way around so we will have room for the walls." Now you tell me! So then I said, "is it going to be too small?" I'm tellin' ya, there is no rest!

After the digging, which took two days, they started with the footers.

This concrete truck got stuck trying to get up our hill.

Is it an omen? It hasn't rained but one day for the last six weeks, except one cloud passed over our land and rained on them! Seriously, one cloud.
More later - Cindy