The Cape Cod of It All

Mike had a little freak-out when he realized that I hadn't told the foundation guy we wanted an 8 foot ceiling. And of course, I was stressed out from worktime business and bitched back "Then you need to take some initiative and call him yourself!" Which, wasn't very nice, I know. He's also busy at his work.

But, he knew that I hated talking to contractors and gave them a call earlier this week. Well! Just to give you the whole scoop, I had left them a message at the end of last week because Ernie (the dude) asked me to leave Nick Mitchell's phone # on his office answering machine so they could chit chat about depths and footing holes and blah blah blah.

So I left him the message - "Call Nick Mitchell at XXX-XXX_XXXX. I'm not sure if he knows my name, he's been working with my fiance, Mike Banis. So you should probably use that name when you call."

Turns out, one of Ernie's guys is a good friend of our friend Andy, who we've hung out with and rode motorcycles with before. He recognized Mike's name on the answering machine and put in a very good word for us! And so, we're getting our 8ft walls for an amazing amazing price. I'm not sure if that's the same price he quoted me or lower... but either way, that's super cool! Plus, they're starting ASAP.

And by ASAP, I mean as soon as Bob jacks up the house just a teenie bit more... which will be once he's finished some other jobs. Maybe he's waiting for our first check to arrive... I sent it to him Monday and he hasn't cashed it yet. Biggest check I've ever written and it's only $6,000! The remaining four I'll pay him when the house is down safely, which I'm sure it will be - hopefully within two or three weeks!!

Jess Dirt

Well, with the house securely in the sky, we finished digging out last weekend with the help of our old friend and landscaper/contractor/dude with machinery Nick Mitchell. He brought Dusty and a small CAT to the house on Saturday around 8am. By 5pm, the digging was finished. Mike and I hung out all day to take pics, help Dusty, burn some junk wood, and provide pizza and CocaCola.

I'm thinking I may write a press release and attach some of the pics and send it out to the local papers. Nothin' like a good 'ol fashion house raisin' here on Cape Cod... I know it happens all the time, but I've never seen one pictured in the paper. Might be a good story.

Anyway, the foundation guy Ernie from All Cape Foundations is out at the house today. (I passed his trucks on the way to work, isn't that cool?) He gave me a price of $10,900 yesterday, which was perfectly on point with my budget. I'm so excited. He didn't tell me how long it would take, but Nick estimated that if all went well, we'd have a foundation by Friday or early next week. Too cool. You can already tell how awesome it will be by standing under the house.

So cool. here's some more pics. I'll write more details despues de trabajar today... yes my spanish is bad, I know.

If you've been thinking about making the switch...

Ok - I should have knocked on something yesterday.

Our good friend and carpenter Chad stopped by the house randomly yesterday while Mike and I were at work. That eager beaver wanted to start replacing beams - with the house up and everything!! He called Mike yesterday night to express concerns about our other friend Nick Mitchell doing the remainder of the digging. Nick's company has done foundation holes, but not for lifted houses. He strongly recommended that based on his lack of his experience, we hire someone else.

Well that got us thinking that maybe we should. I mean, even though the house is pretty stable - a hard knock with a big machine could do some damage. Even with a nice insurance check, we would be devastated to lose the house or have to re-do work that we had already done inside. So if Nick hasn't started today, Mike is going to turn to another friend of his who has apparently worked with our house lifter before.

Making this all the more tricky is the foundation dude, who's coming on Mon Tues. I'm not going to delay him - even if that means paying a little more for the escavation. (How much more could it be? We already dug half of it, right?)

We'll see tonight. I'm working late so I'm sure I'll be dying of anticipation around 7 or 8pm as to what the verdict is.

And if you're wondering what's going to be next after the house comes down... hold on to your respirators gang - the asbestos siding is coming off! And who better to give us an estimate than the local ASBESTOS MAN!! Du duh duuuuhhh!

Seriously, his company is called "Asbestos Man." I love that. More to come houselovers. More to come.

Progress is Progressing Nicely

Well, everything is going along just swimmingly. Weird huh? I better knock on something. It was an Easter weekend of digging dirt and moving cinder blocks for Mike and I. The basement's about halfway dug now. Our escavator is coming tomorrow or the next day to finish the job. (We'll let him dig around the rigging and figure out the depth and level of the thing.)

I talked to the foundation peeps this morning and they'll be able to come out next Mon or Tues. Pretty sweet. Of course, I still haven't gotten anything in writing from them. I know I need to do that. They need to come take a look at the site too. I want to specify - yes, I want windows. No, I don't want the underground kind - sunken I guess you'd call them.

Meanwhile, I'm almost enjoying life in Brewster. The dogs are tolerable and haven't eaten my cats yet. Plus, I was able to clean the place and it feels so much better when clean! And of course, I wanted to clean it as a thank you too. Then there's the cable... mmmm.... cable. Makes me eager to get it activated in my own house.

More to come!!

Pics At Last!

The front of the house - this is before we really started digging. Now there's a ramp down right between those two front windows and most of the dirt is gone.

Here is the back corner of the house - on steel and shims, up in the air!!

Here's a closeup of the wooden jenga-like tower that holds up the steel beams.


Ahhhh... know how it feels to wait forever for something, work so hard for it, and then have it all fall into place? Well, it may be early, but that's how I feel now. The house nearly ready to be lifted - access holes go all around - and the time lapse camera is setup to record it all - the whole process.

I set up the cam last night out back - would have preferred a front view, but I needed power from the garage to run everything and a place to put the VCR. It'll still be awesome!

I know I haven't gotten those pics up yet. I wasn't able to sneak away yesterday. Definately this weekend I'm going to get some shots.

In the Hole

It's started! I can't believe the lift of a life time has started! I'm going to try and sneak away at lunch to snap some pics of the progress. I'm so excited... but I'm also pissed at myself for not getting the time lapse cam up in time. I'm going to do it tonight after work... I just get worried that the thing will already be off the ground by then!

Anyway, let me elaborate. The first step in the house lifting process (after all necessary permits and disconnections of course) is to create several access holes around the house using a backhoe. This was the state I found my house in last night. Piles of dirt, a big machine, and holes on either side of the house. It was amazing!

Mike and I still had a couple things to do, however. First Mike got out the trusty skid steer and, using the forks, took out the concrete front step... all in one go. It was heavy - I thought the whole machine would flip down the front yard from the weight. Luckily, Mike knows how to run these things and that didn't happen.

We also put up a silt fence - per order of the conservation comission. Home Depot didn't have hay bales, so we couldn't get those. We get out of work too late to go to a home and garden or other smaller construction store... which sucks. Hopefully the comission won't come by and freak out. We'll get it up ASAP... I hope those neighbors don't turn us in either... I won't think about it.

Then, we reinforced one supporting beam near the back of the house that was really rotted. It should really be taken out, but that won't be able to happen until the house is down on the foundation and well supported. I felt pretty nervous just being under the house - I mean, what if it fell or shifted? That would suck considering the contractor's insurance probably wouldn't cover something that was our fault.

While underneath, we disconnected el poop pipe (ie, the septic pipe) and capped it off. We also nailed up no trespassing signs and boarded up the one open entrance to the house. (Though the mudroom - cause it has no floor now because it was previously cement. Remems?)

So, as you can see, work has in fact begun, but the work is not over for us. Water won't be disconnected until Friday unless the contractor can expedite that process... time shall tell. It's only tomorrow, after all.

The Time Is Now, And the Place?

Well - despite me being stupid, this weekend was quite productive.... Yes, Friday night I got completely sloshed and was hung over on the couch, sick as a dog for 90% of Saturday. Mike was furious, seeing as how he had to finish cleaning the cement out of the mudroom himself... plus the weight of it all broke the skid steere bucket in half. Believe me, I wasn't too happy with myself either.

Luckily, by Saturday evening I was right as rain again and started packing up all our belongings for the move-out.

Sunday we really cooked! Especially with the added daylight of the spring forward time change. Mike began fixing the bucket while I packed up the rest of our neccessities. Then, we did one last load of dishes and shut down the furnace. We hooked the old chimney up to the skid steere and pulled it down in two peices. (Some incredibly cool video there by the way.)

We then used the lawn tractor trailer to carry the chimney peices in back of the garage to pile up. The large peices we dragged out with the skid steere.

Once that was cleaned up, we disconnected the water heater and took it out of the basement with the skid steere. (More cool video.) That thing is heavy! It actually fell off the forks once.. but only dented a little. It was stressful, a little dangerous, but we made it safe 'n sound.

At the end of the day, we packed up the cats and moved back into Mike's parents' house. I'm grateful to be able to stay there... I'm just worried about the cats... stupid dogs. Not that I don't like dogs - but these two are untrained and very rude if I do say so. And I'm worried about the cats peeing on the carpet - I don't know what it is about their carpet that the cats don't like - but it happened last time we lived there. Maybe just dog smell... anyway

Then, last night Mike's friend Hal stopped by and they got the oil tank out of the basement. I had a meeting soooo... no cool video this time.

Tonight Mike's going to disconnect the septic and Friday the water department is coming to shut off the water.... after that, it's just the hay bales and silt wall... hopefully we can do that on Wed.