Monday, August 30, 2010

Exciting vs. Painful

Front porch is on!  Just some loose ends here and there to tie up on the exterior.
Sherman and crew pouring the garage floor.  This included the honched footing for the mudroom so that can be framed up this week as well.
Today was a mixed bag-
Exciting: Sherman and crew showed up on time and as promised did relief cuts in basement, cleaned up, and poured and finished the garage floor.
Painful: Chimney materials were delivered on time, but the mason never showed - or answered his phone all day.  Now I have to hope he reads and understands my notes and drawings I left him before he builds a permanent concrete structure through the middle of my house.
Exciting: The front porch was finished today!
Painful: I had to leave the house at 1:00 to get a root canal.
Exciting: I laid out all the interior partitions with Joe.  The rooms are ready to be framed.
Painful: Did I mention the root canal?  Trying to talk things over with the framers and make phone calls with a numb face for the rest of the day was awful.  And everyone kept looking at me funny.
Exciting: Went to Ella's back-to-school family picnic.
Exciting or Painful?: School starts for me tomorrow/summer vacation is over.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Not much changed appearance-wise, so no pictures today.

Recent "mishaps":
  1. During all the rain earlier in the week I noticed water pooling in the middle of the house (second floor and attic floor).  Some quick measurements with a string looked like the laminated beam was sagging a little.  Today I used Joe's laser level and discovered that the basement beam and first floor deck are perfect.  But somehow the ceiling is 3/4" lower in the center than at the edges and this carries the rest of the way up.  So it's not the beam (good), but I'm not sure yet how that could happen or how to fix it (not so good...).
  2. Last night Ella tossed a rock into the open cellar window onto the brand new basement floor.  It lasted in it's pristine condition all of 2 hours...
  3. The ledger board for the front porch had been sagging from people walking on it before it was lagged into the house.  Dave kept saying he was going to jack it up and secure it this weekend.  He couldn't delay anymore after the whole thing detached from the house and fell in while Tommy and Jack were setting up staging for the porch beam.  All secure now...

Porch roof should go on on Monday.  More pictures then.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Top and Bottom

Exciting day today.  Framers worked on top to put up the main gables and roof.  Flatwork guys worked on the bottom to pour and finish the basement floor. 

I also spent the morning digging a trench for the footing in the garage floor only to learn that it needed to be filled to re-level the floor with gravel.  And it was deflating to see the John Deere dig out the trench in two scoops after it took me a couple hours the first time.

Joe's gift upon his return from Mexico was a truck that wouldn't start and was buried a foot in the mud.  It got me worried the concrete trucks wouldn't be able to get to the house.  But all went well.
They were able to send the concrete across the garage and all the way across the house without wheel barrows and without having to take out any basement windows.
It required a Rube Goldberg assortment of chutes, but it worked surprisingly well.

The front gable is up!  Amazingly, the house actually looks like my 2D drawings.  Tomorrow the front porch will be built.  Then I can really compare it to my drawings.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Half Days

I loved half-days as a student.  Still love them as a teacher.  Not so much when it comes to building my house...

Off to a good start.  Got the family room roof sheathed...
and hoisted all the sheathing for the main roof up to the attic deck.
Jack's hang-over started kicking his butt around 11...
and Joe had to get to the beach before traffic.
But they still managed to get the garage roof framed on their Friday Half Day.  Thanks for the hustle Tommy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Running on Empty

The good news: we've gotten this far without having to dip into the construction loan.
The bad news: we're almost out of money and still don't actually have the loan.
(Don't worry Sharon, the loan is approved.  Were just waiting on the bank lawyer to approve the approval of the building plans that is notarized by the developer's lawyer.  Crazy system.)

Lots of pics today:
Sink holes behind the house from the heavy rain.  A tall stack of plywood was propped on benches that sunk and hit Jack.  Could have been ugly.

The fate of the wood scraps.

All the scraps that have yet to burn.

Roof rafters cut and ready.
"Temp" stairs.  If I'm anything like my parents, these will be our back stairs for the next 15 years.

The balcony over the family room.

The main stairs.

Within this tangle of lumber is our bedroom and the kids' bathroom.

The attic staircase.  Not originally in the plans, but it looks awesome.  And very practical.

The view from our bedroom.

Safety first.

More sinkholes.  This one is inside the garage.

The view from the backyard.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Garage Beam and a Toilet

The view from the top of the dirt pile in the back yard today.
This is the giant 3-ply 24"x5.5" laminated beam that keeps us from having to have any columns inside the garage and gives us the playroom floor above.  They were about to cut it 20" too short, but luckily I was there and called them on it before-hand.  A good catch since it would have cost $700 to replace.
For perspective: it even looks huge next to my big melon.
But the most important development: the toilet was delivered!  It was dropped at the wrong house at first, but after a few phone calls it got moved over to our house.  Very exciting.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


The bad news:  The lot was deep mud this morning.  Lumber delivery today was delayed, so most of the framing crew got sent to another job after finishing up just a few things.

The good news:  The first floor deck and exterior walls were mostly finished yesterday.  All the wood for the second floor is on site and ready to go.

I've also started compiling a list of things that have gone wrong; some minor, some major.  Luckily, all have been caught early enough to be fixable... so far...

1. Excavator fell into hole and crushed corner of footing.
2. The house was built 5 feet off the planned location. (not fixable, but livable)
3. I tarred one wall 2 feet too above the ground = ugly black foundation
4. The gable wall in photo above almost broke in half - twice -  while attempting to stand it up. The extra long strongbacks you see in the picture were needed to hold it together.  And it took 8 guys to get it up and hold it in the wind while it was braced.
5. The 2x12s delivered for the main beam had been cut through at the saw mill.
6. The 2 windows in the family room were made 12 inches too short.
7. The garage walls were built 72" tall instead of 7'2" tall.
8. There was no door framed into the wall between the kitchen and mudroom.
9. The chimney flues have to be in locations I hadn't planned.  So the chimney has to move, which affects the rooms (bathroom and loft) upstairs.  Amy figured out a great solution to this one : )
10. The stack of 2x4's seen leaning against the house in the picture above was leaned there while the wall was braced only on one end, so that wall almost broke/fell over.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Framing started

I was pleasantly surprised when the framing crew called Saturday morning at 6:30 asking why I wasn't there yet.  6:30 on a Saturday and they were ready to go!  Who says contractors are always late?
  I had to leave at noon to go to Beth and Eric's wedding, but on the way home we stopped to see the progress. 
Sills done, beams up, two pretty ladies, and the entire first floor deck framed.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Backfilled and Ready to Frame

A minor panic this week when I realized that I painted the tar too high on one wall.  I almost built a partial wall out of cinder block, mortar, and rebar to "fix" the mistake.  But my brain finally started working again and I realized it was cosmetic.  Nothing a little paint, lattice, or shrubbery can't fix.

Also, spent the the last two days at plumbing supply houses choosing fixtures.  Holy crap$$$$$$

The foundation is backfilled, perimeter drain is trenched to daylight, garage is graveled and level.  You can actually start to see what the yard might look like.

First floor lumber was delivered today.  Framing will start tomorrow morning!