I am building my first home. Lucky me because it is in the woods! It is an adventure I surely will not forget.

Me with Rory

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Plumbing details

I am still trying to work out the plumbing issues of having a toilet and shower/sink in the basement. I thought that it would be easy, of course I did. I have tons of slope since the house is up on a knoll and the leach field down below. Well, turns out, knowing I have to slope 1/4" for every foot and I have an 8' tall foundation wall, and a foot deep footing, and the septic pipes will be about 18" deep in leach field that I may not have enough slope. Amazingly.

This picture is from the house site looking down the slope to the leach field.

In part, because the septic tank has to be part of the equation. The County Guy told me if I have it too far away (which is what I need to make it work) it can stress the pipe and his advice is to not have it more that 25' away from house.

One plumber I spoke with yesterday said forget that (since no one knows what it means) and that I should be concerned about blockage.

Ah Ha.


This plumber spent almost two hours on the phone with me. I have no idea why. He told me about his father's death, his GC experience with his modular, his windows, wood stove, plumbing slopes, blockage,   pipe types, his automotive body-shop business, his plumbing business, and more. Wow.

Another plumber was unconcerned and said to call him when I am ready to have pipes put in.

At the last minute the excavator wanted to go back out to property to do discuss it all with me and sadly I missed his call yesterday! Of course when I called back, twice, he didn't call me back.

Have you missed an important call?

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Got out of work in plenty of time to take care of a lot of business. I had time to call a few plumbers and to go see the framing job by the contractor I met on Monday.

Instead, I ate a late lunch because I forgot to bring lunch to work and then I made my too familiar mistake.

I sat on the couch.

And then I lay on the couch.

When the phone rang at supper time, it gave me a boost. The concrete guy called to give me a plumber's name and number.

At 8pm I finally rolled off the cushions enough to dial the phone. Or press the phone buttons.
The plumber, John, was so nice. He is going away on a senior bus trip and will meet up with me next Saturday.

Then, I called another plumber and left a message.

I feel a little better to have gotten a couple of calls in anyway. Tomorrow morning I better get the move on and call another one. I have to get some quotes in so that when the foundation is poured I can get the rough plumbing in the basement in order for concrete guy to pour the floor.

I get drained from all I am supposed to be doing.

What kind of couch do you have?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I want a kitty.
I don't want ticks.

I don't want to clean the litter box.


Jokingly, my future son-in-law told me that there was more chance of me giving ticks to a kitty than for the kitty to give them to me seeing how I have had Lyme disease twice.

Should I get a kitten now or wait until I move into my new house?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Double doors

My ongoing search for basement doors continues.

As soon as my foundation walls are up I have to get a framer in to frame up my walk-out wall and cap the foundation. That means I need to have the access door/s all ready to be hung. I am concerned about the vulnerability to the outside world in a space not well monitored. 

So far, I have looked at pretty, although fiberglass, double doors with windows and solid ones. The ones I looked at didn't allow for storm doors or screen doors, either. I can see on a warm summer day wanting to open up that basement space for a party and having screens there would be great and I don't want screen panels. 

I got to thinking that I could have two single doors put together - mirroring one another. But I am not sure how the latching would work. All I can figure out is that one door would be bolted at the top and bottom and the other one would be the working latch.

I spoke with a contractor today who said that two single doors jam up a lot and he suggested I look at a 36" wide door. I had never considered that, but now I downloaded a bunch of pics of just that.
Too many decisions...not finding quite the right solution for me.


What solutions have you found for just-the-right basement door?


I have to look at plumbing diagrams today. I am trying to figure out if I need to have pipes put in to the floor before the concrete is poured. I know I need the septic pipe, that is all arranged, but I have to see what to do about the grey water system I want.

I must make phone calls to pre-interview some plumbers today, too. That means getting off the couch and dressed.

Who do you have to call today?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The phone hasn't rung.

I have been expecting the excavator's call all week. He was going to meet me last week to pin the stakes for the corners of the house.

I left him a message this afternoon, thinking he would call today at the latest.
I hope he is not running behind, but I suspect that he is. In the past he has not called until he is ready to start or to meet up.

It did rain the beginning of last week, so I truly suspect it has set him back.

I want him to start digging tomorrow because I want the walls finished by the time my brother comes home on Saturday for a week. He said he would tar the walls for me, so the foundation walls have to be up while he is here to tar them. Otherwise, I will have to tar it myself if I can.

I called a neighbor to get a couple of contractor names, one plumber and a framer. He gave me a framer's name who he says does everything.

I have to get that plumber lined up to rough-in the plumbing in the basement.

Do you need a plumber?

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Lowes was not fun yesterday. There were lots of sales persons everywhere, but no one was helping me. The sales guy at the counter nearest me was helping someone. I eventually said "excuse me, I am sorry to interrupt, but where are the double utility doors?"

After I looked at patio doors which were where he directed me, I had to go get someone to go get someone to help me again.

And again, and again.

Every time I had a question I had to search for someone to help.


I was getting pretty wound up to say the least.

I looked at double patio doors, catalogues of double utility doors (since they don't stock the solid ones) and tar for the foundation walls. I also attempted to look at thresholds and other door parts, but not much luck getting what I really wanted.

An hour later I left, but not before a really nice man (near the registers) asked me if I found everything I was looking for.

Poor guy, I am sure he wishes he never asked me because I told him. "There was no one to help me and I had to go find people and that no one was slacking (always conscious of not wanting to get anyone in trouble), but that I was not happy.

Should I go back to Lowes when I am ready to buy?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Contractor has a day off

I have a day off from working on the house today. This whole week will be quiet and I am happy about that.

I am headed to get my Tacoma inspected after failing due to frame rot. Toyota did a complete frame replacement. The dealership said they couldn't do the inspection until I put some miles on it, so now I have and I am headed back up there.

During the week I have to look into what tar goes on the foundation walls, how much it is, etc and look at utility doors. I want to look into adding some stiff foam insulation to the outer walls before the backfull. And I have to lock in a framer to do the walk-out wall and the decking to cap the foundation.

Oh, and find a plumber.

Off to Toyota, wish me luck.

What do you need luck with today?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

I hope everyone had a great Mother's Day. I loved spending time with my family today. Pizza, ice cream, gifts, conversation and laughs. Thank you!

The day started out with a phone call from the excavator saying he will dig the hole next week if the weather holds up. We also worked out a couple of minor details.

Up until his phone call, I thought I would have a light week. I knew I have to pick out double doors for my walkout and I have to seriously look at numbers, and get a framer lined up. But during the phone call Danny-O brought up what to expect in terms of schedule for work between himself and the concrete guy as their work will overlap. And. Then he said, Tar.


Oh God, I forgot about tarring the foundation. Who the heck is going to do that?

Saturday, May 12, 2012


Even though I am posin' in this video, I really did chip a ton of limbs and branches.

Big ones.

Got it

I got the building permit yesterday. Yahoo!

I walked into the building department and my old classmate who works there, smiled and stood up and handed it to me and said she knew I would be excited after all I went through.

I had told a guy at work that when I got the permit I was going to take a day off from work and go treat myself and do something fun, I went to a funky soft serve and got a kiddie cone instead. lol

When I got home I called the excavator and let him know. Today, I am chillin'. I have to mow the lawn, but it is sooooo nice to relish a full day that I don't have to make a decision about or review the plans, or check window sizes, or proofread, or worry if I should change anything.

It is done, now, and a relief.

Of course I have to still pin point where the corners of the house will be. I want to fine-tune it with the excavator.  Once I do that, he can start digging.

What piece of paper have you waited for?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Waiting for C105.2

For two days I have been waiting for the Worker's Comp papers to come in. New rule is messing everyone up.

The Certificate of Liability has a space on it where the insurance company writes the date of the workers comp coverage, but now the Town wants the actual WC form.

The one that no one has nor knows anything about.

Getting the paperwork in to the Town in order to get my permit is taking longer than I thought it would.

What are you waiting for?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Making commitments is a long, slow process for me. I have to check, check, and double check. Yuck.
How I long for the days of innocence when I just jumped in, eyes closed, and came out fine on the other side.


Being burned by my first draftsperson makes me so tentative on making commitments to the excavator and concrete guy.

But. I have done it.

The excavator, Danny-o, is sending his insurance papers over to me today. I left a message for the concrete guy, Daggie, to call me. The Town is looking for his insurance paperwork since he just did a job there a few months ago.

By morning, if not sooner, I will have the green light to do the foundation. Oh, and then there is a matter of the payment for the permit. I have to send the Town $200.

How are you with making commitments? Too many, not enough?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sworn to secrecy

I was above the clouds tonight and would have felt God if I stayed a few more moments.

I jumped into a white pickup as though I had known this guy forever. Truth is, I just met him, but in my defense of not-being-crazy is that I knew his sisters back in high school. He showed me his foundation that the one guy I might hire did for him. White-pickup-guy gave a thumbs up to hiring the concrete guy I liked.

You know how every once in a while someone walks into your life and things just click as if you were old friends? I called this guy out-of-the-blue and he invited me to come to see his foundation. It was perfect, straight and smooth.

I had so much fun it was like being a kid again. Him meeting me, riding in his truck, going inside a gated property, up that winding steep road, looking down at treetops, seeing the clouds down below me yet above a farm and pond.

I was scared I would get sick from the height, scared that I would fall off the edges of the road, scared to look down or that he would roll the truck off the side of the cliffs...

I am still high from the experience. I want to dream about it.

This guy made me swear to secrecy about my visit to his spot. It was incredible, high up on a mountain, I got to look down at farms, ponds, tree tops, and clouds. It is chained and gated with heavy metal, greeted with stop do not proceed signage, and a winding road meant for security. He invited me to come back as long as I didn't bring anyone with me. This place is so unbelievable I still can't shake off my astonishment. The building was not like anything I have ever seen and the land was breathtaking. He cut the trees down, milled the wood, made the timbers, constructed the building, and designed everything.

I love creative people. He did with his hands what I dreamed of doing and wanted to do, but couldn't. He built off his own land.

The secrecy aspect of it only added to the high. He told me over and over to swear that I would not tell a soul that I saw his property. I had to promise.


Then he made me promise again.


Then he said I had to promise again.

Have you ever broken a promise?

County Clerk

Stopped in to the County Clerk's record room to check on judgements against any of the contractors I am considering.

I put in the name of the concrete guy I want to use and a ton of stuff came up. I was confused. Criminal this criminal that criminal, civil, criminal, criminal, criminal.


Okay, chill, maybe I am doing something wrong. I called a record's clerk over to check on what I was doing and she said it was right. But that all the entries were not all charges. They are filings, so there actually are three criminal charges since 1997, 1998, and 2004. She looked up the cases for me and they are all for DWI's.

It also occurred to me that he lives in the next county, so if he has convictions in my county what about his. Turns out I have to go to that county to see is he has convictions there, too.

I got three good recommendations for him and now I am back to the drawing board.
My BIL heard the guy is bad news.

Now what?

I don't like the one guy because he won't be on the job site, didn't give me a concrete solid number, and treated me as second class.

Another guy was way too slick, tried to get me to get rid of my excavator and use his, and was waffle-y about the price as he kept coming down saying he would take this off and include this and that. He said he really wants the job, but I don't like him.

Plus there is the guy I met who was getting divorced and was slightly higher than others at the time.

Sometimes too much information is bad news, too. I contacted still yet another concrete guy today, so I will see what he says.

I was already to have the hole dug this week and now, not sure what to do.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Plans filed

One more step for mankind Me.

Monday night at about 5:53 (7 minutes till closing) the draftsperson sent me an e-mail saying the plans were ready and on his desk. First thing Tuesday morning I called to make sure he was in and then drove on out there and picked up the plans. I left the blue tightly-rolled pages just the way they were, banded tightly with a rubber band.


Even though I should have been on my way to a peaceful ride to work, I rushed to Town and filed my plans for the permit. I couldn't stop my obsessive-self from taking that back road over through the reservoir cove. I took the turns and pushed my 4-cylinder up the hills.

Parked and inside, I was relieved to set the plans in the hand of my old high school friend who works in the building department.

I stopped at the little camper-trailer food-stand and got the best, yummiest, egg, cheese, and minute-steak on a grilled-roll sandwich.

Was it the food that tasted to good?