Chapter 8: Light At the End?

I now have (temporary) electric service. Hooray. However, for every good thing that happens, it seems there's always something bad to cancel it out.

If I ever do get the chance to finish my house, I'll no longer be able to do all the work myself: my knee, which almost a decade ago had been predicted by a specialist to give out right about now, is in fact giving out.

As if to add insult to injury, New Jersey has been enjoying one of the most startlingly mild summers I can recall. Days barely reach 80 (some hover around 76), while some nights dip down into the 50s.

It was painful to see such gorgeous weather go to waste while I sat on my sorry butt waiting for something that may never arrive. It made me angry—to the point that I finally dragged my broken body outside to do something constructive.

My knee wouldn't allow me to get up on a ladder, but I could still push a broom and move stuff around. So I straightened up the garage and put my car inside, just as any normal, civilized human who has a garage would do—the satisfaction of seeing it in there made up for some of my pain. I also swept up all of the dead leaves and cleared away some of the cobwebs from the rest of my sadly neglected little house. It was the first time I'd spent any significant amount of time there in months.

After I'd expended what little energy I had, I donned my finest rose-colored glasses and set my mind to task: assuming the best possible outcome with the property closing, what will I need to do next? I drafted a detailed checklist.

  • rough framing inspection
  • rough electrical inspection
  • rough plumbing inspection
  • order custom windows and exterior doors
  • order steel roof and exterior wall finishing
  • install transformer and underground line
  • install meter pan and energize main breaker panel
  • well hookup
  • water test (may require a water softener)
  • connect septic pump control
  • order and install soaking tub and toilet
  • final plumbing inspection
  • order, install, plumb and charge heat pump system
  • install fireplace flue and chimney
  • order and install fireplace
  • install insulation
  • insulation inspection
  • install and finish all sheetrock
  • install lighting fixtures and electrical cover plates
  • final electrical inspection
  • install smoke and CO alarms
  • fire inspection
  • temporary CO application
  • floor and wall tiling
  • order custom countertops
  • order appliances
  • install interior doors
  • finish all cabinetry and trim woodwork
  • install fireplace
  • final CO inspection
  • build the deck
  • deck inspection
  • landscaping

Once the list was complete, it looked awfully long—I suddenly felt as though I've hardly gotten anything done! However, many items on the list, such as the inspections, require virtually no time or financial investment, so the list is not as daunting as it may appear. That said, it was quite evident that a number of these were big-ticket items made much bigger thanks to my blown knee, since quite a bit work would now have to be done by contractors, although the bright side is that things might get done more quickly.

Deep Dives

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