Friday, March 28, 2008

Time is flying!

It absolutely blows me away that just a little over 3 weeks ago we were tearing the house down and now we have a new slab. Wow - this process has gone fast. The builder has warned though "Just wait, things will slow down once we get inside." I have been warned... ;-)

Anyway, an update on the tree - we have been able to save the big tree up to this point. We are getting it and another tree trimmed next week (just to be certain that they don't end up inside one of the upstairs rooms.) They are also going to fertilize it, to give it some extra oomph for all the trauma it has received through digging for the piers, plumbing and electrical. Poor tree!

Now, we need to get with a designer to start picking all the finishes and such. Boy, there are A LOT of decisions to be made. Shhhhhhh - Don't tell anyone, but I've lived in this 50+ year old house for the past 10 years with most everything "original" so I will probably go with whatever the designer tells me - within reason, of course!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

We have a slab!

Well, they did the first pour on the slab today and it looks great. They covered it with sack cloth so I can't really look at it but I am excited to see how it turned out. They brought out the giant truck again and pumped the concrete into the form. The process is really cool but man am I glad we have made it to this point. We are supposed to get the plans and cost for the home automation tomorrow, we shall see what that is going to cost. I can't wait to listen to my iPod on my front porch after throwing the ball with my son.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Foundation Time

Well, tomorrow is the foundation pour, we're pumped. Things are moving along as long as the rain holds off. We'll see how much we get done for the rest of the week but it is supposed to rain until next Tuesday. They finished the rebar today and the termite block and weatherproofing earlier in the week. They will do the raised parts of the foundation early next week and then START FRAMING! Holy cow! More tomorrow.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Blue Skies, Perfect Temperature and Grade Beams

Man, the weather has been amazing here the last two days, which meant that the grade beams went off without a hitch. The grade beams "sit" on the top of piers and provide the foundation extra stability. If there is a tornado we'll all be holding on to our foundation.

They ordered 6 trucks of concrete and needed 8, busy day at the job site. All this means that we will, weather willing, be pouring our foundation next Friday. It's perfect timing for driveway drunk!

Little plug for our contractor. He's done a great job preparing us for the things that are coming up, feeding us little decisions and listening to what we want to do with the house.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Rain Came and Went

Interesting how things work sometimes. It did rain yesterday and into the night but it was only 1/4 of an inch an our contractor covered the site so they were rolling again today. They are now pouring the grade beams tomorrow and we're pumped! About the time thing, the contractor said today that "It's not just the rain, it's the worrying about rain that causes delays too." They waited a day to dig some of the trenches for the beams. They had to work double time today to get them dug and in there.

Here are some specific pictures of the prep work for the grade beams.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Rain, Rain Go Away...

... Come Again in November!

The funny thing about construction is one day of rain can cause a weeks worth of delays. Today, it rained. We'll see tomorrow whether or not it caused a delay, it was only heavy rain for an hour. They had covered the site in plastic. They're supposed to pour the grade beams on Thursday. Since we have a commercial grade slab the pouring process takes a number of steps. A couple things I've noticed.
  1. To begin building the house during the spring is more stressful.
  2. The house looks smaller than it is with the frame of the slab only.
  3. Paranoia sets in when you start to see plumbing go underground.
  4. Getting around a construction site on crutches is a pain.
I am starting to freak out about where the outdoor bibs are and such. Doesn't really matter right now but this is where I start worrying about the details. We'll get some new pictures up here soon.

I have to thank my cool wife for taking care of me after the surgery. Also have to thank my neighbors for being so cool. Being out on the driveway with them makes the decision to build this house even better.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Save my tree!!!

We are having concerns with the big tree in our front yard. I love that tree and want to keep it at all cost! The kids have grown up swinging in that tree. It took forever for us to even get the ropes up in the tree to get the dolphin swing hung 10 years ago. We are doing our best to design the front porch steps to come down at a different point to save my tree. I know it will all work out, but I gotta have my tree... :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Move it back...

Decision time.

As usual, I was in meetings and running all day. The builder was calling, texting and emailing me, I didn't see any of the messages until it was too late. When I saw Heather tonight she let me know "we moved the house back three feet." OK...

Well, we have a big tree and we are trying not to lose it so we needed to move the house back. The backyard gets smaller and the front yard stays huge, I love it. Front yard neighborhood anyway, that's why we have the cool front porch. Now we have to make sure the steps don't walk right into the tree. More on that later...

They surveyed the lot and put down stakes for the foundation. Looks like they are pouring piers tomorrow (we have a commercial grade foundatation not post tension). Hope it doesn't rain. Probably overkill from what some people say but when you have an Aggie engineer for a builder, nothing but the best.

Oh, and by the way. You can get this thing for your bathtub that keeps the water warm. $300 is a small price to pay to keep your bathwater warm. Later.

And it rains...

So, the piers are supposed to be poured this week but, you guessed it, rain. Even though we are not even a full week into this, seeing the equipment just sitting there is driving me crazy. We're in for a fun time if I am already feeling that way. There is a little bit of anxiousness in all of this but we are happy with the process so far. Oh, BTW, did I mention the little thing about paying off a home equity loan... never mind.

We are finally getting settled into the rental house and life goes on. I am having surgery on the knee this week so that will be interesting trying to hobble up and down the street to see construction for the next month but I bet I can get Heather to pull me in the wagon for a couple weeks while I recoup. I guess I can beat up the contractor with my crutches if he gets out of line (kidding Paul). Later.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And the walls came down

And so did everything else.  Tear down started a little before 7:30 this morning and the whole house was down in about an hour.  Wow - that was exhilarating but also sad.  We've been in this house for almost 10 years and brought home 2 babies to this house - the first was already around when we moved here.  But, all the things that were wrong with it, I will be SOOOO glad to be rid of, like not being able to run the water anywhere else in the house if someone is in the shower otherwise you fry their butt.  And, not being able to run the toaster and the microwave at the same time without blowing a breaker.

GONE!  GONE!  GONE!  All of those things are GONE but all the wonderful memories that we have from living in that house with our friends, family and neighbors will always be there no matter what!  And, here's to a lifetime a making more memories in a electrically-sound, structurally-sound, awesome new house with water pressure and endless hot water!!!  Yippee!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Process So Far

Well folks, as stated in the prior post, we're tearing the house down. To this point we have completed the design, exterior, engineering and electrical. We've learned a ton of things including the following:
  • Not everything fits on the foundation, if you try it'll cost you
  • My wife had to have a mud room and her own desk
  • We approve almost everything, we're easy customers
  • Some insurance companies won't insure a house that is less than 51% brick or stone
  • Once a home equity, always a home equity, you can't pay off a home equity with a construction loan, that's a big one
  • Demo work is fun
  • 50 year old plate glass windows are hard to break with a baseball
We'll come up with more as we go but to this point, the fights have been few and pretty minor. But we still have the interior finishes to pick.

Signing our life away

We closed on the construction loan for the new house, yesterday.  It rained all day, so hopefully that will bod well for the weather during the construction process.  What a crazy time! We had a salvage sale a couple of weeks ago and sold almost everything - including the kitchen cabinets, the hardwood floors, all the fixtures and other stuff I didn't even realize people would even want to buy. It is true what they say "one man's trash is another man's treasure."

The house will come down tomorrow. We are going to let the kids do a little demo this afternoon so that they can feel like they helped tear it down. My oldest said she wanted to run the tractor tomorrow. Not sure the builder would be up for that - ha!