News Archive: November 2018

Friday, 30 November. I've done the math. Multiple times. I cannot finish the house. I'll run dry on funds before I can connect the well, install the HVAC system, purchase the appliances, or build the deck. I can finish the shell, but I can't make it habitable. The commercial property sale well and truly ruined me. So now I must begin the search for alternative funding... whatever that may look like.

Thursday, 29 November. Checked off two major To-Do List items today: roof and small windows. Meanwhile, I piddled with the kitchen cabinet framing while my helper insulated.

Wednesday, 28 November. The roof is 99.9% done, I've got all but one small window installed, the sliding glass doors have arrived, and the gutter drains are finished.

Tuesday, 27 November. While more roof work got done, I installed four more small windows. Just five left to go. Also, the sliding glass doors are on order. Finally, Pella informed me that they'll be replacing both of the defective picture windows—the two bigger ones, naturally—in a few weeks. Whatever.

Monday, 26 November. The window situation is getting worse. Today I discovered one of the newly-installed picture windows (one of the three that's the right color) isn't even square. Meanwhile, Lowe's admitted that their online ordering system is less than worthless, so I cancelled the small window order and changed vendors: Home Depot to the rescue.

Saturday, 24 November. The roofers made a surprise visit to get a bit more roof done. Then, the Pella installation crew arrived to install the Big Four—the giant picture windows in the living area. But then came a galling discovery: after they were in place, I noticed that one of them is the wrong color! Meanwhile, Lowe's informed me that some ghost in their computer system spuriously scheduled deliveries for two small window orders that hadn't even arrived at their store! So now I have no idea when to expect these items. The day was a real mixed bag.

Friday, 23 November. The roofers got more roof done, in spite of the bitter cold, while I did nothing.

Wednesday, 21 November. While more roof went on, picture windows arrived. The Pella rep was confident the four big ones would be installed on Saturday, despite reports calling for rain. And it's a very good thing I elected to have them installed: they're monsters—two strong men can just about lift one. But since it's Pella, something had to go wrong, and in this case they delivered only four windows instead of six; the two small ones over the stairs were left out of the shipment, even though the packing slip said they'd been loaded on the truck. Meanwhile, Lowe's small windows never materialized, so my plan to spend Thanksgiving installing them was shot (and I can't find out what happened until Friday, since they're closed tomorrow). I should have known never to plan on doing things that depend on deliveries.

Tuesday, 20 November. The roofers got more roof done, while I did more insulating.

Monday, 19 November. I'm getting a roof! It's about one-quarter done. Meanwhile, I completed the garage door opener wiring.

Sunday, 18 November 2018. With the garage door on order, I began researching openers. In the process, I learned their basic wiring systems, and decided to pre-wire everything so that there are no exposed wires anywhere. I also installed a compressed air supply line from the garage to the studio for airbrushing or any other tasks requiring pressurized air (below).

Saturday, 17 November 2018. Home Depot made a delivery of rigid foam insulation in the most absurd way: on a 40-foot flatbed tractor-trailer. (They could have brought it on a pickup truck or in a panel van.) With the ground still saturated from the freak nor'easter, the driver very nearly got stuck on the driveway; consequently, the driveway is all torn up... again. Meanwhile, still no small windows, so the day was spent insulating.

Friday, 16 November 2018. The roof panels were delivered today. It was most encouraging to see that the roof will finally happen. I may also have found my sheetrock contractor: the roofer's assistant. Only one wrinkle: he won't be available until January. But at this point, it doesn't really matter.

Thursday, 15 November 2018. I continued installing insulation until my fingers became numb, then I retired to the cabin to sip some rum and watch the snow fall. I also used the downtime to place an order for the garage door. Unfortunately, the lead time is six weeks; the expected delivery isn't until 30 December. So the house won't be buttoned up until January 2019; thus any hope of hooking up the well and possibly getting a temporary CO (certificate of occupancy) in 2018 is kaput.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018. Faced with a scheduling conflict, the building inspector kindly squeezed in his re-inspection a day early, so with a clean bill of health in hand, I began installing insulation (indeed, I was at it until nightfall last night). Then, my young helper showed up today to help install my two exterior doors. Also, the roofer stopped by briefly to drop off more materials and some scaffolding. In other not-so-nice news, I received word from Pella that picture window delivery has been delayed until early December, which totally nukes my plan for having the house buttoned up by Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018. Unable to do insulation, I instead had some fun using up leftover plywood to begin building the framework for the kitchen cabinets, and posing the sink in place was a minor thrill. The generous countertop (below left) had me fantasizing about cooking; the cubby to the right of the sink (below right) is for the dishwasher. Also, the roofer called to say the lousy weather has been holding up fabrication of the panels. He said he might be out later in the week, but the forecast calls for rain and possibly some snow Thursday and Friday.

Monday, 12 November 2018. After two full days of hard work—which I'm not yet used to—I was more or less forced to take it a little easier today; nevertheless, I finished all of the HVAC ductwork. However, owing to Veteran's Day, the Township offices were closed, so no re-inspection; I must wait until Thursday to begin insulation.

Sunday, 11 November 2018. Another full day at full throttle. Finished the sheathing on the window frames, so I'll be ready for re-inspection tomorrow. Considering that all other aspects of the house received a clean bill of health, the outcome should be positive, at which point I can begin insulating it.

Saturday, 10 November 2018. With the clock ticking for window delivery, I was at full tilt boogie all day. I knocked off all of the fire code issues, mostly to do with sealing up openings around wires and pipes (below left), and I completed about a third of the structural problem work, which necessitates applying sheathing to all of the window frames on the back of the house (below right) in order to provide "structural continuity," according to the inspector. Unfortunately, this involves time on a tall extension ladder, which is both taxing, particularly for my knee, and terrifying, as I'm deathly afraid of heights. But I've no choice; it must be done—and as soon as humanly possible.

Friday, 9 November 2018. Compared to the plumbing inspection, the rough electrical inspection was even quicker and easier. The most grueling of the inspections came last: framing. And I flunked, mostly due to some minor fire code violations, plus one easily-remedied structural faux pas. But correcting them all will still involve a couple of days of work, plus a follow-up inspection, before I can start insulating the place.

Thursday, 8 November 2018. The rough plumbing inspection was an absolute breeze. Given that it took barely five minutes, I used the remaining time to continue with the HVAC ductwork, and also install a spray booth exhaust vent in the studio. Meanwhile, I got whacked with a $3.5K bill from the architect for the revisions—ouch again.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018. With inspections pending, I devoted the day to cleaning, as my mad dash to get things done had left the place a serious mess.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018. Finally, finally, the Township is just starting to catch up with me, and I'm scheduled for no less than three inspections by the end of the week. This has been a bottleneck because I can't continue with insulation and other interior work without them. Unfortunately, the permits cost me nearly $3K—ouch. Meanwhile, I carried on with ductwork during the pouring rain.

Monday, 5 November 2018. It's pouring rain, so it's the perfect time to do stuff like ductwork. As related in rethinking more stuff, I'm hoping to optimize the performance of the HVAC system with an improved air distribution design. So far I've removed the old bits, and taken measurements for the new main trunk. It's slow going, as sheet metal work is not my forté. I've also ordered a plenum to make it easier to install the blower.

Sunday, 4 November 2018. With a day of sunshine ahead of me, I decided not to waste it, and set about choosing the fascia and siding stain color so that I could get a coat on before it rains again. Also, I've just learned that I can begin applying siding even before the framing inspection—all they want to see is the framing itself, from the inside, to verify that I have a solid shell.

Thursday, 1 November 2018. Buried the gutter drains to move rainwater out beyond the deck (below left). Finished all of the fascia, including the little roof over the window box in Kitty Central (below right).

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