Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Week Mindy Was Right

The four of us had some big e-mail discussions this week about stoves, floor stains, colors, railings, and who knows what else. Mindy had some great ideas about the floor, had done some research on options, and we all agreed that she was right. Anyway, that's the story about the blog title... now on to the work this week!

The power is turned on at the house finally! All the connections were made a week or so ago, but the utility company hadn't flipped the switch yet. So we called the utility company...

Us: Hello, we are building a new residence on Skyline Trail. The poles and lines were installed and inspected, but the power is not turned on at the house yet. Will you flip the switch so we have power, please?

Them: Well, let me look. Ahh, well, it says here that you haven't paid your bill for installation yet. We can't turn on the power until you pay the bill.

Us: Ok. Umm, wait... we haven't received a bill yet. How much was it for?

Them: Oh, we haven't sent it yet.

Us: Oh, ok. Well, how much is it, and we'll come in tomorrow with a check.

Them: Oh, we don't know. We haven't generated the final amount yet.

Us: So... ummm... what if we pay $2,000 tomorrow, and if that's too much you can just issue us a refund later. We would really like the power turned on.

Them: Um, ok.

Us: Yippee!

We have the beginnings of a septic system now. The tank is in, the lines are connected, and the leach field is dug. It's neat to see the grading of what will be lawn next summer. The slope of the land was really disrupted during the excavation process, and now we can begin to see how things will look when construction is wrapped up.
The view from the house. This was taken through the screen, so the image is a bit odd.
Benson, Ethan, and Eli were taking some pictures the other night, and the next few shots are from their budding artist portfolios. This first pictures is Andy preparing some wood for a bathroom vanity. He and Chris cut the framing pieces for two vanities and assembled one of them before the tornado of the two younger boys got to be too much. Benson was a big help, and is getting really good with the drill.
Proof that Chris does actually work once in awhile.
I don't really know, but this much is clear... Benson is taking the picture, Ethan is holding earmuffs in front of his face, Eli is just behind Ethan, and Andy is smiling at something Chris must have been talking about... which is odd, because Chris is always so somber.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Sanding, The Tub, and Some Other Stuff

We had a very busy Saturday... which always feels wonderful.

The electrical panel is up near the last pole, and all of the electrical lines are connected. The power may actually be on at this very moment. After so many months of work, that's a pretty neat thing.A few months ago we put up a picture of a chipmunk eating seeds on a little bird feeder. Well, apparently the chipmunk let a seed drop by the wayside, and it happened to fall on good soil. We have a sunflower! And we probably ought to mow the lawn...
Andy framed in the doors to he and his wife's bedroom. They'll have two french doors here soon, and it should be a real pretty spot with the sun coming in through the window in the morning.
So tell me this... not to define gender roles, but how do four men end up outside scrubbing a tub while the girls are inside using power tools? I mean, that just doesn't seem right. The tub was quite a transformation, though, and it was fun to watch it change. Most of the marks on the porcelain came off with elbow grease, and there are just a few spots on the inside that will require a solvent of some kind. We have painted the outside surface and the feet, and now there is a real crisp line between the inside and outside surfaces.

Eli likes to work, and sanding a floor is one job right at his level. We will be sanding the floor to stain and seal it before the tub and vanities are put in place. This is the only bathroom in the house that will end up with the original wood floor. The mudroom bath will have a slate floor, and the two bathrooms downstairs will have acid stained concrete floors. We still haven't fully decided on a floor stain. Andy and Chris have decided to agree with Mindy and Karen, so... yep, we're waiting on the girls to tell us what we all like.More sanding. Eli is in the way back, Mindy is working the DeWalt, and Jenn Baird is working the Craftsman. Lots o' work being done here, and it's nice to have friends out to help.
The kitchen floor is not the final resting place for the tub, but Karen decided to take a break and enjoy it here anyway. The faucet came in the mail on Monday, so we're excited to put it in place and see how it looks all together.
This was a photo from one night during this week. Karen is sanding in her and Chris' bedroom, and the lamp really throws some good light around the house. Andy and Mindy's french doors can be seen leaning against one of the loft posts on the right.
The jointer was put to good use this week as we prepared wood for the loft railing. We've decided on a square look for the railing, so we are busy ripping and smoothing 2x2 stock.
This was Saturday's crew. Lots of happy faces. Some are yawning, some are chewing oreos, and one is trying to look a little bit taller with a creative use of blocks.
So yes, the blog wasn't up on Sunday afternoon. Chris and Karen decided to run down to NY for the afternoon to visit Chris' sister. Karen was busy with the camera as we were taking a "shortcut" through the Bronx. Russell was clamoring for a blog update last night, and if nobody else, he'll appreciate this pic.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The 50th Post

Andy worked on the basement window sills for a bit this week. He added some structural bits so when the sill is put in place, anybody can hop up on it and sit in the window. That's the idea, at least. The sills on this wall will be 18" deep, so if you can fit half a cheek on, you ought to be reasonably comfy.
Chris working late one night. He started on the bathroom vanities, and had a bit of laminating to do with the stock from the local store. The lantern makes a very pleasant light to work by. The workbench is on heavy-duty casters which we love. None of us have worked on a portable workbench before, and really appreciate being able to wheel it around to change an angle or adjust the space to a wall or a walkway. Very convenient. This is something we picked up from craigslist awhile back. Before our self-imposed ban.
If this looks pretty hokey, I think you're right. But it was functional, I can say that much. The electrician laid out four spools around our basement, then gathered the cables together, tied them to the 300' snake that he had run through our underground utility pipes, and then pushed the cables through while his assistant pulled from the other end. They were pretty heavy by the end there, and the actual measurement worked out to 275'. With an inspection and a final connection, we'll have power at the house. The telephone company was out at the same time, and we have phone service now, too. We'll check the local salvation army stores for a decent standard phone - until we have power, we just want a phone that can run off a dial tone.
More work on the bathroom vanities. The blue tool in the foreground and on the left is a Kreg pocket hole jig. If you're not sure what that is, it's worth a look-up, and if you've never built anything using pocket holes, I recommend it highly. They make a strong, square, sturdy joint with no clamping. Great jig, and worth every penny.
This is a start to one of Chris and Karen's sinks. We haven't totally come to consensus on the final design, but the basic framework is here. 2" x 2" legs and rails, with a curved front face that matches the curve of the sink. We'll narrow it down as we go, and the wood will probably end up being painted black. Or white. Seriously. You'd think we'd pick something that could be compromised on, but no... we have to prefer opposites! The faucet and the sink is a go, however, so those won't change. Karen did a nice job of picking those out.

Stuff in a row, waiting for installation. Four toilets and three sinks, with more sinks already near their installation spots and lots of faucets somewhere else... lest you forget, building a house is a big project. Big, I tell you.

Remember that guy from the FirstDay video who says you really have to be determined to build a house? Yeah. He's right.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Pressure Tank

We framed the pocket door to Chris and Karen's bedroom. There is not a lot of surface area, so we chose to use wood screws in place of nails for these doors. They seem very solid. For now, we'll use the doors that came with the FirstDay kit, but eventually, I think some of our doors will be swapped out for french doors with glass panes. We'll see.
The electrician installed the circuit box in the house this week. The well guys were busy, too. They ran the lines from the well to the house and installed the pressure tank. It's pretty big and ugly. Maybe we can paint it pink to match the walls.

Andy finished the framing peak for the bedroom at the end of the loft. Now it's all set for drywall - this is one wall that will be painted instead of pine sheathing. I think the girls have chosen green. My guess is that there's a fancy name for the actual paint, but the color will still be... yep, green.
We also made some good progress with spending money this week, and our wallets are emptier than ever. We bought three sinks, two toilets, one water heater, and have chosen several faucets that we'll be ordering soon. Not a bad haul! With four opinions to work around, it can be tough to make decisions sometimes, but this feels like good progress. There just aren't too many more fixtures on which to fixate.