Sunday, July 31, 2005

Walls, Plumbing and a Stoop

Things are moving ahead, although not as quickly as I'd like. I think I've reached the "just get it done" phase.

Vern and I finished the interior framing and managed not to kill each other in the process. Actually, we had fun deciding the what and where of everything and thinking about what the finished spaces will look like. I can't imagine having to try and communicate what we wanted to a hired crew...we would have driven them crazy.
We're tentatively planning on ceilings only in the bathrooms, media room, kitchen and pantry, so there was some thinking to be done about whether we wanted to close these off completely by framing all the way to the top of the deck or framing these spaces to a height that would allow one to see up and over the top of the "roof" of these rooms. It's going to be fun to see how everything takes shape with sheet rocking.

We hadn't really realized the effect of only two structural walls in the whole interior (the garage walls) before we got to framing. Not only is this a beginning framers dream since nothing we did had to hold up anything else, we'll also be free to reconfigure, move or knock down walls whenever we feel like it in the future (which, honestly, is an odd parallel to our lives).

The Hardipanel siding has been delivered and awaits painting, drilling and hanging. I'm also waiting on some Galvalume and flashing to go along with this, and I have 2000 screws and washers at the ready.

The plumbers have finished the waste and venting work and have started running the water lines. The core drilling for the toilet vents on the upper level was completed without incident. The pictures and meticulous notes we took of the PEX installation came in very handy, but even this wasn't enough to keep the plumber from freaking out on me about it. I was rewarded with the head plumber/owner throwing a a temper tantrum when he refused to trust my three way documentation and diagramming of the location of the PEX in the upstairs bathroom floor.
I'm a little frustrated with these guys overall. Despite my proactive efforts, they communicate scheduling very poorly and then freak out when I'm not on site the minute they show up and have a question, and continually refuse to take me seriously. They were making plans to core drill through the garage walls in two places to tie in their waste and vent stacks when I pointed out that knockouts had been placed for specifically this purpose, but they didn't seem to believe me until I went and cut holes in the foam myself. That they seem to work in fits and starts doesn't help, and the ironic thing is they were one of the more expensive bids, but I hired them because they were they were extremely professional and helpful during the bidding process.

This is the kitchen wall with the pantry/laundry room (right) and master bathroom (left) behind.

The nice bookend left from core drilling the toilet stack. This is done with what amounts to a floor mounted drill press,a $600 diamond bit, and lots of water.

I've been waiting for the gas line and meter installation since April. It's getting a little ridiculous, and every week I call them and get an alternating series of excuses as to why the work hasn't been done. Hopefully they're getting as sick of me as I am of them and they'll get around to getting it done before I have to get crabby.

We're still waiting on the two frosted glass doors for the front and side entrances, as well as the two eight foot sliders for the south wall. That these items are missing is becoming more and more of an inconvenience, since we're at the point where we really need to start leaving/installing things that could easily be stolen, and we can't lock up. It's also going to be inconvenient to try and put up the siding without these doors so I'm hoping like heck they show up this week.

I've been waiting on our electrician for over a week. Wiring was one of the things I called in a favor on from one of my family members, so I can't complain too loudly, but I haven't got a lot more time to wait around and I'm getting a little nervous about him coming through. I'm going to be pretty pissy if we continue to be at the bottom of the priority list since I've spent countless days and hours designing and working on fabulous interiors in his house and gave him more than fair notice about our schedule.

I installed our first doorknob :) It was just the utilitarian one for the garage-to-shop double door, but I was celebrating it as a milestone. I'm waiting on the much more exciting Omnia ones to be delivered from

The cabinets have been ordered along with the remaining plumbing fixtures, kitchen sinks, etc. etc. I'll be ordering appliances this week which is pretty unbelievable. I've been dreaming about the "new house kitchen" for what seems like ever and putting in that appliance order is going to be CRAZY exciting.

We finally got our front stoop. You may recall that the original form had been built by the sub of the contractor from hell, and that they failed to finish the job. Although the resolution to this is likely to involve us becoming the plaintiff in a legal proceeding, I'm SO glad that it didn't get done as planned. Our new concrete guy critiqued the original form work and explained to me that since two of the three steps weren't supported by the footing and only tied to the main stoop by a thin section of concrete, it was a good possibility that they would break off when the ground under them met with freezing and thawing. He ended up tearing apart most of that form and rebuilding it to bear entirely on the footing, and then spent a very early Saturday pouring and finishing for a very reasonable price. This is the same guy who showed up with a great crew and did an amazing job on our lower level slab, and he's definitely worth his weight in gold. We'll ask him back for a forth time when we're ready for patio, parking pad and sidewalk.

Based on the very limited number of line items left on our SCS, we must be getting down to the end of things, but it sure doesn't seem real. I keep telling myself that I'll believe that we've made progress when we accomplish "X",but then I seem to forget to give us credit once it's done and tend to keep believing that we're months and months away from the end. Maybe we need to start a "guess the closing date" lottery :)


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