Saturday, January 16, 2021

House to Home, Volume Fourteen - Elevated

A few things happened during the week our intrepid builders were off at a different job site.  On Friday, December 4th, just as I put Roxie in the car to take her to a vet appointment, an ENORMOUS trailer came down the road and sure enough, it stopped at my driveway.  This thing was the equivalent of an 18-wheeler (technically it was - I counted the wheels) and let me tell you, the driver was a wizard.  He BACKED into my driveway in one shot.  One.  It was soooo impressive.  My trusses have arrived in style.

I couldn't stay and watch him unload that pile, but here's how it added to the guest room window view on the 5th:

We did, of course, go outside to give them an up close and personal inspection.


Roxie is quite fashionable in her neck gaiter.  My little babushka.  Without it she looks like a war victim - her head and ears are wrapped up in a bandage to keep her ear from flopping around while the vet treats an aural hematoma that happened two days before Thanksgiving.  Side note:  this is the early stages of running a dog hospital in my living room, which is not optimal when only half your house is still standing.

Nothing happened on Monday the 7th and turns out that was the calm before the storm.  Tuesday the 8th I took Roxie back to the vet for a follow-up ear appointment and they discovered she also had a badly broken canine tooth that was actively bleeding, which I'm pretty sure happened in the morning while she was at work with me and was occupying herself with a bone.  When I took her home after the vet I discovered more materials had been delivered.

Yessirree, we've got ourselves a floor system, which is awesome.  We also have our water down to a trickle again, which is not awesome but will hopefully be resolved before I get home from work.  In the afternoon I emailed with Michelle at the garage door place and picked out my door, which is going to be awesome.  Then Michelle told me it won't be delivered until April, which is so very not awesome.  'Twas a day of major ups and downs, that ended with the dog hospital kicking into high gear.  There was lots of panic and blood and me sleeping on the living room floor with Roxie and a very confused StanLee, having sacrificed two bath towels, almost all of my kitchen towels, most of the dog blankets, a comforter and four couch pillows, not to mention the entire actual couch.  When they said "active bleeding" they were not kidding.  I went back and forth between lamenting the fact that we currently do not have on-site laundry facilities and questioning my ability to competently adult.  It was pretty rough.

Wednesday the 9th was the second time in a week there was a truck in my driveway that had one of those crane thingies on board, but this one was way smaller.  I stood on a chair to take a picture through the little tiny window in my dining room - it's the guy setting my new propane tank.

They can't trench the line until we're a little further along in the build and Jason, the plumber, decides where he wants to install the regulator.  Right now there's a temporary tank behind my house that's hooked up to the Rinnai in the living room.  Since the ground is frozen (and there's a pile of trusses in the way), the fuel company will probably end up delivering a couple more temporary 120 gallon tanks -  they call them snowmen - and hook up the permanent one in the spring.

Also today I found out my garage door will be arriving in six to eight weeks instead of in April.  That's a huge relief.  Here's what it will look like.

I've changed my mind so many times about exterior colors and finishes but now I've committed to a black garage door to match the black roof.  Although I told Bryan today that I can't afford the second floor since I'm giving all my money to the vet, so we may never get to the roof.

The next couple of days I was home with Roxie to make sure she didn't get worked up over the construction activity so I got to see progress in real time.  Here's the guest room window view at 9am and again at 12:20.



Whoa.  By 2:15 they had worked their way around to the other side - here's what I saw out the upstairs hallway window.

I feel like such a creeper taking pictures through the windows while they are working.  But crap - look what they got done in one day.





All the floor joists - super duper exciting.  Here's Friday the 11th at 8:45 from the guest room.

And just to keep it real, here's the view from my bathroom window.

Awkward.  Checking out the hallway window at 10:45 I saw this.

And guys guys guys, at the end of the work day Bryan asked if I wanted to check out the upstairs.  OF COURSE I DID!  Up the ladder I went and here's my first pictures of the new second floor.


HOW CRAZY IS THAT!?!  I have a second story.  I commemorated it with a sunset guest room view at 4pm, through a very dirty window.

I'm going to be up and down that ladder quite a few times, just because I can.  Here's what I posted on Instagram on Sunday, December 13th.

Sitting here in my new paint office at 3pm, still wearing my pajamas, soaking it all in (literally - it rained today and the floor is wet).  The view will change next week because *walls* but that afternoon light will stay the same.



Saturday, January 9, 2021

House to Home, Volume Thirteen - A Structure Emerges

My youngest nephew is sixteen.  When he was a mere child, "structure" was a popular word in his vocabulary.  Not a "house", not a "building" - it was a "structure".  So funny coming from a four year old; I still hear it in my head the way he pronounced it.

And now we have a structure about to emerge outside my kitchen door!  But first, I forgot to mention that on Troy's last day here with his excavator he placed three concrete piers to hold the supports for the covered walkway:

Remarkably, the concrete truck did not run over any of them.

Also, on Sunday, November 29th we got a delivery of 2x12 scraps from another job site.  I will happily recycle someone else's leftovers, especially when they represent a savings of several hundred dollars.  StanLee gave the whole pile a thorough inspection.

At 7:20 Monday morning this was the view out my kitchen door:

You never know what you will find while living on a construction site.  I think that's Mike, and I think he is removing some of the existing vinyl siding.  The guest room window view was this:

My driveway never used to be wide enough for two cars.

Mom was here for Thanksgiving weekend and she took a few more pictures before heading home.  The first was at 8:20 when a load of material was delivered.  I passed the truck on my way to work.

Bryan ordered pre-cut studs so we got two-fer savings:  less measuring and cutting = less labor, and the material was less expensive by a dollar per stud.  At 9:40 the kitchen view changed dramatically.


Woo hoo - the first wall!  They started with the most questionable one; it's not quite obvious in the picture mom took from the road how tight the fit is going to be between the kitchen door and the small window, but I've been banking on there being *just* enough room to squeeze in the new exterior wall.


Here are pictures from the next morning so you can see the rest of the crazy progress that happened while I was at work on Monday.



That was guest room window view and hanging out the window above the kitchen.





YOU get a wall, and YOU get a wall, and YOU get a wall!  That last one is a little blurry because I was trying to take pictures of the super cool progress while staying out of everyone's way.  But notice how the concrete is wet?  Monday afternoon it started raining REALLY hard.  Like major downpour.  Which normally is no big deal but when I got home from work I found a puddle on my kitchen floor.  Not gonna lie, at first I wondered if one of the dogs had an accident.  I cleaned it up and ... it kept coming.  And coming.  From under the door.  I texted Bryan to let him know and he realized that when the walls went up they essentially created a bathtub outside my door.  And it was still pouring down rain.  About an hour later, after mopping up several gallons of water (on my hands and knees, constantly wringing out a kitchen towel into the plastic laundry basket I use to hold my recycling) he showed up to rescue me with clear silicone.  Turns out my kitchen door was never sealed, which does not surprise me in the least.  Par for the course with this little crooked house.  A whole bunch of silicone under the door sill solved the problem and my sore, raw hands were very thankful.  So I went from a few days with zero water to a day with too much water!  HA!  This was definitely a time when I'm glad I was living on site during construction.  Otherwise I'm positive my kitchen base cabinets would have suffered fatal water damage and the sheet linoleum on the floor might have as well.  Never a dull moment.

We had one more day of wall activity before everyone headed temporarily to a different job site.  Here's a couple pictures from mid-day on December 1st - the guest room view and my thinking chair view.



Sorry ski resorts, but I'm thankful this is not one of those winters that starts in October with several feet of snow.  Here's the final progress on first walls - pictures taken at 7:45 on December 2nd:



I took that one standing where my new staircase will be, looking out toward the garage.  The house wrap on the right is covering my new front door, then counter-clockwise is the door to the garage and the opening leading to the laundry room and a powder room.  Crappy stuff at the very left is the wall outside my kitchen.



The garage looks ENORMOUS here but it's the exact same footprint as the little crooked house - 20x24.



Oh hello, garage.  So happy to meet you.



StanLee is going to LOVE that new giant window.  From the outside it looks normal height, but from the inside it's about floor to ceiling.  I foresee a lot of Windex in my future.

Friday, January 1, 2021

House to Home, Volume Twelve - Pour the Floor

You guessed it - here's the guest room window view at 7:45 Tuesday morning, November 10th:


 And here's what my second driveway looks like when a concrete crew arrives on the scene:


One car is mine and one belongs to mom, but still.  It was crowded.  We all stood around waiting for the concrete truck to arrive but once it did and they added a bag of what I'm assuming was the mesh fibers into the hopper, it was go time.  All of these pictures were taken between 8:30 and 9:01.


















And just like that, we had a floor.  I don't understand how they are able to do it without disturbing the radiant tubing.  All concentration was focused on the concrete and I'm not convinced the tubes all stayed where they were supposed to, but I need to have faith that these guys know what they are doing.  The slab is my actual floor so I guess I will find out if there was a problem when I find cold spots while walking barefoot in my garage, right?

While Bryan, my mom and I were watching them set up, mom told us about the concrete situation when she and my dad built their first house in Killington.  I asked her to write down the details, so here's a little something something from today's guest blogger:

In 1967, Maureen and Charlie and Ken and I (and baby Ann Marie) spent a week in Vermont, staying at Charlie's parents' house in Northfield to start building a chalet on a lot we bought in Killington.  It was sometime in the summer.

First, Truman (he was about 16 years old) dug nine holes for the Sonotubes, then we had to fill them with concrete. He got the backhoe stuck between two trees, and I don't remember how that was resolved.

So, to mix the concrete we emptied a bag of Sakrete mix on a sheet of plywood, poured on water that Maureen and I carried up from the stream (yes, the stream was DOWN the hill) in five gallon buckets, and mixed it with garden hoes, then shoveled it into each Sonotube. Nine of them!

I don't remember much after that. We had no power, and no ladder. Dad made a ladder out of 2x4's -- it was heavy! We also found out that Charlie was afraid of heights.

FYI, "baby Ann Marie" is my older sister. My dad had never built a house before and was learning by reading a "How To" book. He would read a chapter, build that part, then read the next chapter. Must have worked because a couple years later they did it again, and my mom still lives in the second house.

I'm glad I didn't have to haul water for my construction project - spoiler alert, we will have other issues with water soon enough. I left for work a little after 9am but the guy with the vibrating screed was there for a good part of the day. Interesting tidbit: they use these concrete crimp anchors to nail boards across all the door openings to contain the concrete while it cures:




I didn't dare walk on it after work, but the next day StanLee tested it out. He and I were planning a trip down to Camp Killington for the weekend, leaving home on Saturday morning, but I woke up Friday to almost zero water pressure so we headed to Killington right from work that afternoon.  Roxie came home with us on Sunday for a week of normalcy - I didn't want her to think I had abandoned her. This whole construction project is happening in fits and starts, and since the entire crew needed to be at a different job site for a week it was another "hurry up and wait" period. We got home on Sunday the 15th only to find even worse water pressure - a tiny trickle in the kitchen sink and zero upstairs in the bathroom - so that meant a trip to Big Lots for several gallons of water so I could at least flush the toilet, and my first experience with dry shampoo. On the plus side, November 15th was Roxie's debut on her new foyer floor:

I think she likes it.