Windows and Tubs

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The windows are in, the roof is on, the plumbers are setting pipe and installing the tubs and showers as we speak.  The heating and the siding should also be done by the end of the week, and then it’s the electricians turn!

It’s hard to believe how fast it’s all coming together.  Every time we walk in there it looks more like a house.  The skeleton of a house, granted, but a house nonetheless.

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Another Nest

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Image by Andreas Eichler

“I don’t know if you know this, but somebody else is already living in your house,” our builder said to us.

Eyebrows raised quizzically, I looked at him.

“The barn swallows,” he said, gesturing to the shimmering orange and blue streaks in the air.  “They built a nest overnight!”

And sure enough, there is a little mud-daubed cup near the ceiling in the living room of the new farmhouse.  It is not lost on me that they are building a home to safely raise their children in the same place we are building one to raise our own.  As different as we are, our goals are essentially the same.  Our dreams not that dissimilar.

Still, I know the nest will have to go soon.  Before the swallows lay their eggs, before the windows are installed and the ways in and out are closed to them, I will have to climb up and carefully pry it from the wall.  It’s the kindest thing I can do.  But, for a little while longer anyway, I will stand transfixed and watch the pair dip and swoop through the empty rooms and the unfinished walls.

Energy and graceful half moons in the air; little prayers of hope on the wing.

Wood and Nails and Walls

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The house is real now.

It’s become actually real, where before it was still mostly just drawings on a blueprint and a hearty dose of faith.  Even when they poured the foundation, even when that first wall went up like a false front in a western town, it wasn’t quite palpable.  It was a dream.  It was something rich people did, not us.  It was not real.

But here we are now.  A real house.  Our house.

Soon to be our home.

Walls!

0612 house0614 house0614 house2I know this is usual when houses are being built but, still, the sudden appearance of walls took my breath away!  It seems so real now.  And so, so exciting.

Remember when I thought the house was going to be too small?  It’s amazing how some walls suddenly put things in perspective.  I can start to picture things now – where the furniture might go, the paths we will take from room to room.  The living we will do there.  I think there will be space enough for all of it.

Jack, our builder, said that the trusses are set to be delivered on the 23rd – just next week! – so they will be working like crazy to have the second story done on time.  By the end of this month we should have a house with walls and rooms and a roof!

The beginnings of our home.

Moving Right Along

0603 house.jpgThe filled and leveled hole that we all found so exciting has become even more exciting!  Now it’s surrounded by a foundation wall!

Of course I had that moment of doubt that I hear is pretty common at this stage among people building houses.  The worry that it’s not the right size.  In fact, I think the first words out of my mouth when we drove up were, “It looks really small.”

I know, I know.  That’s just ridiculous.

This will not be a tiny house by any means.  However, it will also not be a mega-mansion.  The finished space will be on the upper end of 1900 square feet.  I realize for a lot of people that does seem teeny-tiny, but for us it should be perfect.  The last two houses we owned were 2300 sq ft, and 2600 sq ft and they were way too big!  Cleaning those suckers took forever, and there was so much space we just never used.  The house we live in now is just over 1600 sq ft.  It’s an OK size for us, although the layout is weird and choppy and there’s no storage, so it feels really cramped.

0604 wall.jpgI wish I could show you all the floor plan of this house, but because of Jasper’s job in law enforcement he’s asked me not to.  So you’ll have to just trust me when I tell you that there shouldn’t be any wasted space in this house.  The only room that’s bigger than we like is the master closet.  It’s really ridiculously big, especially since neither Jasper nor I are clothes people and only own a handful of outfits between us, but there’s no easy way to change it.  So we’ll have to leave it.  The rest is perfect.  There’s a living room, a small library (a house is not a home without a library), an eat-in kitchen with a nice work island, a walk-in pantry, a relatively big laundry room, three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  Just enough.

In other news, floors joists are on the docket for today and tomorrow, then the plumber is scheduled to come, and then they frame up the rest of it!  Things are moving right along around here!

Day One

0602 portapottyYesterday work started on the farmhouse in earnest.  The footings and the forms for the foundation are being built!  Of course it’s been raining again off and on, but not terribly, and hopefully it won’t slow things down at all.

Our builder said that this and the framing feel like the fastest parts of the whole process and the rest will just seem to crawl along.  I’m such an impatient waiter; I can already tell this is going to be hard for me to bear.  I want it all done now!

Of course, it won’t be.  Even if it all goes without a hitch, and goes quickly, I’ll still have to wait until late fall to move in.  My hope is that we’ll be able to have our annual Christmas celebrations at the farmhouse.  I can already see the tree in the corner, and the wood stove glowing, and my sister and I up late making goodies in the new kitchen with Bing Crosby crooning on the stereo.

I know, it’s a weird thing to dream about with summer right around the corner, but there you have it.  Come on, autumn!

House Updates

0520 viewMore progress is being made!

The excavation crew (the “crew” being made up, really, of one very nice man in a big excavator) had to pull the 100-year-old laurel that was growing at the corner of the driveway.  He and our builder said it had to go, and the driveway had to be widened temporarily, otherwise the truck bringing the roof trusses wouldn’t be able to get in.

We were a little sad to see the laurel go, if only because of it’s age and great height.  I’d never seen one as big before, though I’ve seen plenty of laurels in my day.  And something I just absolutely hate, especially when people are building houses and subdivisions, is the unnecessary felling of mature trees.

0520 treeBut.

The crew was adamant that there was no other way.  The truss truck is too heavy to go through the still-soggy pasture, and it couldn’t make the tight corner of the driveway if we left the laurel where it was.  And, if I’m going to be honest here, Jasper and I don’t actually like laurels.  They’re big and messy and so much work to maintain.  So, in the end, it didn’t take much for us to agree to the plan.

Plus, with it gone we now have a much larger and nicer view in the front. Holla!
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0520 diggerAs well as all that driveway work, the outline of the house has been staked out, dug out, leveled with gravel and readied for the foundation.  If I could tell you more about what the process was like I would, but we left in the morning after staking the house out, and when we came back the next day it was done!

And now, the next step is … to wait.

We have to get the final bank approval before any construction can start.  The appraisal was done a week and a half ago, and it was supposed to be turned into the bank on the 17th, but of course it wasn’t.  The people of the banking world do not move half so fast as one man on an excavator.

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Walking up the newly scraped and widened driveway to the freshly graveled outline of the house, salvaged pieces of the old shed stacked hither and yon around us, it occurred to me that we’ve been an utter force of destruction around this farm lately.  Burning things down; taking things apart; pulling things out by the roots.

Rather opposite of our end goal.  Connectedness to the place and whatnot.

But I also, honestly, feel good about what we’ve done so far.  It does feel like this place is breathing again.  Like we’ve gotten rid of the old ghosts in the corners. I like to think that maybe we’re not so much destroying things as we are pruning them. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s so necessary for new growth.