Thursday, November 26, 2009

Waxing philosophical on Thanksgiving Day

The project so far has been quite a roller coaster ride of emotional ups and downs, and a general feeling of the project progressing a lot more slowly than anticipated.

A few weeks ago, I had a crisis of faith in the project as we were trying to lay out the basement, and finding it impossible to fit in all of the utilities and still have room for the laundry room and dance room that I was planning. We kept trying different configurations, and it just was not fitting, and I was thinking "fuck - is this house too small?" Which lead me down the path of wondering what the heck we were doing, and are we crazy to be doing this, etc, etc, etc...

So here we are on Thanksgiving day, and the project is still progressing so much slower than expected - but IT IS in fact progressing - and I realize we are so fortunate to be able to do something like this. So here is my moment of feeling grateful for this and all the blessings that I enjoy.

Which is not to say that I won't be wallowing in self pity again with the next little (or big) snafu that comes along.

An email today from my friend Rema contained a favorite poem by Rumi (translation by Coleman Barks)

The Guest House

This being human is a
guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary
awareness comes as an
unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain
them all!

Even if they are a crowd of sorrows, who
violently sweep your
house empty of it's furniture.
treat each guest honorably.

They maybe clearing you
out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door
laughing, and invite them in.

Be Grateful for whatever comes,because each has been
sent as a guide
from beyond!

I am thankful for this reminder that it is ALL good.

So, here is what the house looked like on Wednesday.

Last week I went up to the top floor to take in the view.

Also, last week, I had the opportunity to do a little hands on work. Here we were laying the insulation for the basement floor that will hopefully be poured this coming Monday.

As is her way, our project supervisor continues to take it all in stride.

Friday, November 20, 2009


For Dean, it's been a week of dealing with muck. One of the trenches he dug a few weeks back for laying in electrical conduit, filled up with water after last Saturday's Nor'Easter.

This six foot deep trench was filled to the brim.

First, he rented a trash pump which removed all the water, but guess what? It started to fill again in a very short time! The earth is super saturated right now...

Then he got a sump pump to try to deal with the continuous flow of water. This worked pretty well, but sump pumps don't handle the really mucky stuff...

We need to expose the ends of the conduit that had been laid when the land was first starting to be developed years ago, so that this last length of pipe can be attached to complete the run to the pole.


He thought he would try a little digging by hand. But guess what? It is a mini mudslide in there - you remove some mud, and a new batch slides right in!

Back to the drawing board...

And today, it's raining again!

Sunday, November 15, 2009


The gables were erected this week. Nothing like a couple of gables to make it REALLY start looking like a house!

Dean is already wondering how he is going to shingle this house - that looks pretty high! Thank goodness we are contracting out the roofing!!

Dean and Pumpy checking out the view from Cathy's dance room...

More of the electrical stuff is starting to happen - here is the meter and conduit that will carry the main wires from the road.

In the meantime, more truckloads of sand for the septic are being brought in...

The view from kitchen window will be of the lovely septic hump - hopefully, once I get it all planted with wild grasses and wildflowers it really will be a lovely view...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

House plans

I have been meaning to post the house plans for some time now, and since I have not had a chance to take photos so far this week, it seems like a good time...

The plans are inspired by our love for Craftsman-style bungalows. The architectural style is also referred to as Arts and Crafts, or Prairie-style. One of the elements of this style is wide roof overhangs. A bungalow is usually a modest size house with usually a square footprint.

This link will take you to a gallery of Arts and Crafts houses so you can get the gist of the style.

Anyway, here are our plans.

The South side of the house is what you will see as you come in the driveway. It features a gable dormer on the second floor. The lowest level is a day-lit basement.

The North side of the house has a shed dormer on the second floor.

The East side shows a bump-out which will be in the dining room.

The West side is where the main entrance will be and features a porch.

And here are the floor plans:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Walls & a visit from Ted

More walls going up this week. Here's what it looked like on Sunday.

Here is a sequence showing a wall going up...

And here, Ted stopped by to check on our progress.

By Wednesday, we had three walls on the first floor!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The week in review

Dean is getting pretty handy with the backhoe. He spent most of the week working on this trench that will lead from the well to the house.

Here he is lining the bottom of the trench with sand.

Thursday was "one of those days". First, the generator started pouring out black smoke (This is a new generator by the way - purchased after the ice storm last year - and has less than 20 running hours on it!)

Then, the BOH representative who was supposed to come out and inspect the septic bed, was in meetings all day. It will probably be next Tues before he is available to come out...

Our project supervisor remains un-flustered.

There was a lot of activity at the site on Friday, so I guess it makes up for Thursday.

  • I moved several carloads of stuff from our rented storage units in Townsend, to our rented storage containers on the property. Among the stuff - lots of tools that will be needed later in the project. And we found Dean's hat that he had been looking for!
  • The septic installation moved forward. Rick - our BOH rep - came out on Friday and did the inspection. He is SUCH a nice and helpful guy!
  • Not to mention what nice work Eino (our excavator) has been doing all along! Several truckloads of sand have now been dumped into the septic bed. Eino describes his job as "digging holes and then filling them back up."
  • Dean continued to work on the trench. I even took a turn at the controls and demonstrated some aptitude for the operation...
  • The builders bought a new generator and continued to work on the framing. The basement level is framed and now starting work on the first floor.

I am hoping to see another floor of the house framed this coming week...