A Tiff

Mike and I got in a bit of an argument last night at the house. I got out of work late and he was frustrated with working alone. Turns out that he made a mistake when putting on the PT (pressure treated wood) on the foundation for the sill. He wouldn't really elaborate. Plus he had lent out his air hose and some other tools that he needed.

I chimed in because I was really worried about the windows and the cracks and everything else noted in previous posts. Mike was frustrated that we weren't getting enough done. I agreed, but pointed out that we together decided to take the holiday weekend off from house work.

It's hard to cope when tensions get high. You just have to try and keep going. We'll both be there tonight, finishing that sill. I hope it goes well.

All Cracked Up

I'm still depressed. A long weekend in the camper did little for my mood. Hate to say it. I'm getting paranoid that Bob's just going to put the house down. Just plop it right down on the level foundation, causing the un-level house to crack up all over the interior, if it survives at all. The kitchen may fall of if that happens. They didn't pour the foundation to follow the house's level like we thought they would. And we're not sure how to shim the house once it comes down!

And then there's the basement windows. I paid $200 for each - but did that include a window or just a hole for a window? Am I going to have to put the windows in myself? Pay for them myself after I already paid $200 for holes? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Meanwhile Mike's ready to tar the thing. I'm rather scared of that too - we have no clue what we're doing. I've had a lot of faith in Mike and his mad skillz thoughout this house re-do, but it's not like you can un-fill the fill once it's filled, you know? Plus, it's got to be inspected. Grrrr.

What's really scary - I'm going to have to change the tape in the time-lapse VCR soon. That means it's been two months. Unbelievable. That's twice the time we thought it would take. Typical construction, I should have expected it. You always hope that the contractor is good and nice and timely.... but things never work out like that in this business. And I'm ok with that... except I'm ready to move back in. I don't care. No water - no shower - I don't care. I'll pee at McD's down the street. I'll get Poland Springs delivered right to my door. I'll shower.... somewhere.

It's driving me crazy. I have so much to do this summer and half of it's being held up because the house is being held up... literally.

I'm thankful for my basement. I would do it again 500 times over for what it will mean to me. But for pity's sake - I want it tarred and I want it filled and I want it down in two weeks. I want it hooked back up in three. Let's see if I get what I want.

Yard Stick

No progress. The house is 10 feet in the air, the basement is just sitting there - hardening every day. Not much else can be done, unfortunately, until the concrete has cured enough for us to tar it. Who knows how long that's supposed to be. I haven't heard from the contractors at all.

I was in the house yesterday. I'm starting to feel a little depressed. I want to go back. I miss my kitchen and cooking. I miss the awesome couch and my red red bedroom. I miss my edit system and I'm totally sick of the long drive to and from work. *sigh*

Mike was able to buy a big bundle of pressure treated wood from the tool man. He's been cutting and drilling it so it will fit atop the foundation so the house can sit on it. Pretty cool - we got a good price.

We've been doing some landscaping too. Trying to build a rock wall with the rocks from the old foundation - which is tougher than it sounds. Weeding. Cleaning up.

I'm hoping to purchase some plants as soon as I have some money. At least I can work on the right hand side of the yard while the front is still under construction.



Press Release Blurb

I figure a house up in the air is pretty coo - so, I'm going to send a press release to a bunch of the local and regional papers. Here's a cross section for you home skillets to check out....

But having the best in the business meant waiting in line over nine months. Even when the contractor was finally ready, building permits and conservation committee approval had to be obtained. Not to mention demolition of the old chimney and concrete front steps, and all necessary plumbing disconnections. "And we had to move out," adds Jess.

Though some choose to live in their homes during lift and construction, Mike and Jess did not want to live two months without heat and running water.

Within days of moving out, the house was airborne, supported by steel beams and crossbeams on towers of wood called cribbings. "I'm still amazed at the whole process," reflects Jess. First, a backhoe digs several access holes around the house to the depth of the basement. The cribbings are then built within the holes and the steel beams are inserted across the entire length and width of the house. Smaller blocks of wood are placed on top of the beams to keep the house level. Then, slowly, a series of jacks placed inside the cribbings lift the beams. Once the house is high enough for the escavation and foundation companies to work under, the cribbings are built up to support the lifted structure and the jacks are lowered.

"There's always that little bit of doubt and you think, what if it falls, what if all the walls crack, what if all my stuff is ruined..." Jess says, smiling. "But the structure is so strong. I don't think any of that would ever happen."

As soon as their house was in the air, Mike started digging. "This area is all sand and rocks," he explains. "No clay. So it's easy to dig even without a big machine." But to finish the dig-out, the couple called on their friend Nick Mitchell of Nick Mitchell Landscape and Construction, who completed the job in a single day.

And just a week after that, Allcape Foundations began work on the basement.

Bog Juice

The forms are off! That was quick, huh? I visited the house late last night after working late. Mike was down in the basement... hey, I can actually call it a basement. Pretty freakin' smurf.

Anyhoo, he was smoothing out and distributing sand for the floor that we still haven't contracted yet. We talked for a bit about our final design of the basement, things like rooms, boilers, stairs, doors from indoor to out, trap doors from upstairs to down, and windows. Turns out that a couple of the window holes are below grade. Mike is very against window wells, so we may either block them up, put in plain 'ol glass instead of windows, or grade the backyard a little differently. There's still time to decide.

In the meantime, Mike thinks that we have to tar the walls. That makes no sense to me. I would have thought that would be included in our basement job. I asked him to call Ernie regarding that and the windows. Apparantly, we also have to insulate the exterior walls - outside between the dirt and the concrete.. didn't know that either. All I hear is cha-ching cha-ching. So, if we have to tar the walls and insulate ourselves - that's our goal for this weekend.

Then we have to find out when we can backfill. Then Mike has to make friends with the Andersons and see if we can put excess fill in our hole of a backyard. I hope we can reach an agreement about that because boy... it would just be awesome for a lot of reasons.

Oh, and did I mention we have to figure out how to set the house down level? Yes, they poured the basement level - but the trouble is - the house is NOT level. So, if we just plop it down on the foundation, all our walls will crack, doors won't close, etc. All because all those things weren't built level. The house needs to be shimmed. But how? That's a question Mike needs to ask Bob Hayden.

So, in summary, Mike needs to make some phone calls. And me? I'll just worry about paying the bills right now. Paying the bills and getting rid of the cottage cheese of my thighs. Any suggestions for high-effectiveness workouts?

Pour It On

Concrete.... ah, so inspirational. I think I'll write a poem.

C is for cookie...

No wait, that's not it. Nevermind. I guess I'm not inspired after all. What else is new, right? Ok, seriously folks, the concrete has been poured into the forms. Woo-hoo!

Of course, my mail box, silt fense, and haybales were decimated by the cement truck, which came through the front yard. I hope Mike was able to stand up the mail box so at least I can get my mail. I don't think they'll be motivated enough to get out of the mail truck, walk over to the poor box, and put in the mail.

Ernie from Allcape called Mike and asked about the windows. Mike just told him to put one where every beam is - that totals up to 8. At $200 a pop, they're not cheap, but we'll thank ourselves later. Ernie bought them, they were there after work yesterday evening, and they blocked out for them in the concrete. Too sweet.


As of yesterday - forms are up. They hadn't begun pouring yet... perhaps it was the pouring rain that's been holding every body up for the last few weeks... Hopefully they started that today. I can't wait to check it out.

With the forms up, we could finally judge the height of the walls. And they are perfect. The house is going to sit at least 2 feet higher than it did previously, and we'll have enough room for, well, anything downstairs! It's so exciting. It's almost a basement. They only thing I'm concerned about is the windows... they don't seem to have blocked out for those yet.

But they told me the windows would be where the beams were, so that adds up to a lot of windows, which is fabulous in my opinion. Of course, they haven't told me where and when to buy the windows and in what dimensions... so, I have to worry about it and the pricetag attached. I doubt that they'll buy the windows. Though that would be cool if it was included in my price... yeah right.

I won't worry about it. The foundation guys told me not to, so I'll try. I'll really try because I do trust them. And if all continues at a good jogging pace, we'll be basement-bound by June 1st.

Goin' Mobile BEEP BEEP

Mobile blogging ROCKS! Except for cell phone fees - damn them. Now I have to upgrade my MMS package. Oh well - check out how high the house is now! It's a little scary, it's so high.

The form truck has been at the house all week now with no signs of activity. That means more waiting. I hate waiting. At least Mike and I have our slide-in camper to work on... we always have to be working on something. Weird huh? I guess we're just a couple work-a-holics.

A Lil' Bit Higher Now

It's another 6 days of rain, but still, I'm confident that work will progress at the house. We saw our friend Greg who works for All Cape Foundations over the weekend and he said, yes, Bob has to lift the house higher so we can get the forms in.

Yesterday Mike went by the house and, sure enough, Bob had been there and lifted it higher. I haven't seen it yet, but I can't wait to. Hopefully the foundation will be complete by next week. And another week after that, the house will be able to be set down on it.

Also, Mike rented the chipper this weekend and we spent all Saturday stuffing branches into it. I have about a zillion pricker scratches to prove it too...

A footing under the house is worth 2 in the bush

I visited the house yesterday after a few days of too-tired-to-drive-by-on-my-way-home-from-work syndrome. Footings are poured. Up until this time, I had a totally different image of what footings were. I was thinking they were just corner peices. In fact, footings outline the entire foundation, ie, the shape of the house. Which, looking at it that way now, makes more sense.

They hadn't taken away the forms yet, and to be honest, the concrete still looked moist. We've had a lot of rain over the last week though, so I'm not sure if that has anything to do with it. We're supposed to have a dry weekend, so maybe they'll be back on monday to start on the rest of the pour.

Meanwhile, Mike did rent a chipper for this weekend, so hopefully we'll be able to get rid of all that brush we took down last weekend, plus dead stuff in our hole of a back yard.

That gets me thinking about our fill again - I mean, maybe if I send those Andersons a nice card with $300 for their troubles, they would let us put the dirt from the escavation down there. It's all clean sand and rocks, after all, and could in no possible way that I could imagine, hurt the old lady's well. I know they're just mad at us for cutting trees and brush on their property accidentally - and I guess, rightfully so. But if they have any heart at all... or greed. They'll accept an apology and money and let us put the dirt down there.

I hate to be disliked. I've put it off so far because I dread talking to them. I dread them saying something else horrible, mean, and offensive to me.

And so it begins...

I dropped over at the house last night to see if they had started the foundation yet. At the end of last week, our house mover had repositioned one of the cribbing towers so that the footings could be poured and the foundation people could start on Monday.

And sure enough, last night there was a whole mess of wood and string at the bottom of the hole, which I suppose helps them determine the depth and level and all that good stuff. I didn't stay too long to look - and I certainly didn't want to go down and take the chance of messing up anything. It looked totally cool though. Mike and I are so excited. We can't wait to get back in.

This weekend we took down some more trees in the yard and stacked the brush and wood. Hopefully this weekend we can get a chipper to get rid of it all since burn season ended on Sunday.

Oh - and more exciting news for you fans of weird art out of normal stuff. We took our old heating oil tank, cut the top off, and cleaned it out to make a super cool burning container. We'll eventually hinge the top so it can be opened and closed easily. I'm going to paint it too and name it "Trogdor, The Burninator." (If you have no clue what that means, see www.homestarrunner.com and the Strong Bad emails.)