Thursday, March 8, 2018

House Building Patience

I know house building can be stressful. Others say it takes much longer than expected. But I never realized how much patience my scheduled self would need.

We closed on the construction loan in early January, assuming that the excavation would begin soon. The weather was amazingly (is that a word?) good for wintertime in Tennessee. But, our builder was struggling with a kidney stone and then the surveyor was taking a vacation. Then the rain began. It rained and rained and rained for days on end.



February 1st gave a first glimpse of the excavation of our forever home. Two days the weather cooperated! A tiny part of the needed work since the house will have a basement which means a lot of moving of dirt.






Three weeks later the rain stopped again (no snow--just days and days of flooding rain) and the excavation continued to the point that the footers could be dug. OK! My patience has been tested but surely things will move quickly now.



When the footers were poured it finally began to have a shape. It definitely isn't a simple rectangle. The plan is a lot of corners which probably adds to the cost of building our forever home.

The rain returned. And the blocks couldn't be delivered because of well it is rainy and wet. The above picture shows the mountain of dirt that has been removed. The lot is on a slight hill which adds to the difficulty of heavy equipment accessing the site.


Rock was spread on the basement floor which will allow the cinder blocks to be placed for placement at a later time. Later. Later.


Finally four good days of sunshine arrived. Driving over to the site I was sure the block would be delivered as the ground was dry. I was greeted by the power pole that had been installed earlier in the day. But, no blocks. What? It is supposed to rain again tomorrow.

It rained and was dreary the next morning. Since we have family that lives in the neighborhood we were informed that our block was being delivered. The surprise of our short building experience was that they were delivered on a day that we had not deemed possible.

The weather has turned cold with snow showers and brisk winds.

The block crew worked all day yesterday in the freezing cold with an even colder wind. About a third of the block have been laid. Today it is a bit too cold so the builder said they will be back at it tomorrow.

I am drinking a cup of coffee in my patience mug beside my patience tray.


Another half day of nice enough weather produced a bit more of the foundation block. With snow and rain predicted again I will just have to endure.

Maybe I will develop a bit more of much needed faith that this house will be built before fall.




Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A New Beginning

Week 1


The first steps have been taken. Contractor is on board and the bank "stuff" for a construction loan is in place. We are building a house. The time seems to be right if we plan to make a change. We are empty resters so a four bedroom isn't needed. 

We purchased the lot in November. For the idea of downsizing on square footage the lot didn't seem to follow that rule. It is larger than our present residence. 

The view from our lot is vast. The back of the house faces country side views. I don't expect this view to change in our lifetime. The lot is on a slight hill so the top of the hill is probably where our screened in porch and breakfast nook will be residing.


The subdivision is a one way in--one way out. We will living on a short side road so the traffic should be minimal. The driveway will be cut in the hill to allow for a side entrance to the garage. In my opinion it will make the house look a bit larger across the front and also gives an easier exit to the street.

Ah--the view from the front of the house is what drew us to this lot. We have neighbors but by looking straight over their houses we have the view of the mountains. These mountains are looking toward North Carolina. The house plan will have a small front porch which I plan to do a little time on porch sitting!



Time spent looking for a house plan was dreadful! I knew we were downsizing. Our goals were to have a one level home but still allow us to have the individual spaces we desired. This one almost was perfect. We will make a few changes. (Excuse the way I reversed the plan and added labeling. For example, the front porch isn't really supposed to be crooked!) Speaking of the front porch--it will be enlarged to go across the front to the garage wall.

Our steps to the basement will be completely eliminated from the current spot and will be placed in the garage. This will allow a hallway access to the kitchen and master bedroom side of the house. Also, the laundry room will only have access from the garage entrance. The contractor will close off the doorway to the living room and insulate the laundry room to hide noise from the washer and dryer. (Who wants the laundry room off the living area?)

Today there is snow on the ground but the contractor plans to file for the permits to begin the build. I am anxious to see some progress! We have met with him to select the placement on the lot. He will stake off the house in the next couple of days so we can OK it. The previous owner of the lot lives next door and they have some awesome landscaping. Some of it will be saved and will provide us with privacy between our garage entrance and their house.

For now I have the time to purge, pack, and downsize 39 years of accumulations!

Guess I should have some blogging to do since our life is changing.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

Time To Downsize



 

It has been home for 37 years. Our four bedroom split foyer has served our family well. Through babies and teenagers and empty nesters this little house has been our home. We have lived most of our married life in these walls. Our sons have only known this as their home from birth.

But...the steps have become a nuisance. One knee replacement and bones that tend to creak and ache seem to call out for a different location. And so the next season of our life will be a one level three bedroom.

We are moving about ten miles from one end of our county to another. We found a lot with a view of the mountains. It is in a subdivison that will allow for daily walks of a much more level stroll. So, we are beginning the process of having a house built. I never dreamed this would be our next step. I had decided that we would stay in our present home forever. After all, we have spent the last few years updating and maintaining the decor into present day expectations.

To say this is a daunting task is an understatement. I am terribly OCD about being in control. The first step was to find a house plan that would satisfy the space we desire and offer the open concept. I spent hours combing through online plans and would think I found THE one.



The common link was the desire to have a dining room and a kitchen nook. I gravitated toward a kitchen that opened into the great room and split bedrooms. These were top contenders. But the desire to truly downsize became a nagging thought in my mind. These three were very similar. We do want a basement in order to use as storage for lawn equipment and storage bins. I truly want an empty garage except for vehicles. 

But in the end, a different plan is the one that seemed to satisfy our needs the best. It offers a large screened in porch which we really desire. And it also has a small study off the foyer. I envision that area as a small sitting area/library.




We have had to make several small changes in order to allow access to the basement for stairs. And the plan will be mirror imaged due to the layout of the lot. But I am anxious to get this project started.


We can have a view of the country side as we have our morning coffee.


And a view of amazing sunsets over the mountains to the south.


This is the place that will become our forever home.



Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Las Vegas Memories



I never knew what to expect before our first visit to Vegas. The scenery is breath taking. A much different view than the hills and mountains of Tennessee.


Our most recent visit was two weeks before the sadness that has engulfed the city. The tragedy of lives lost because of evil.  The American flag hangs among the beautiful garden of the Bellagio. A silent reminder that we live in a free society. Free to enjoy a vacation. Free to enjoy a few days away from home. Free to listen to performers.




Since we have visited a couple of times a year Vegas has become a familiar city. It welcomes our family because we have favorite places to dine, play a few machines, walk and enjoy.


Flights seem to arrive every few minutes. Expectations are high and filled with excitement.









Will the act of violence forever change our precious memories? How can we forget the many families whose lives are forever changed?

We can only pray that safety will return.  Beauty will replace nightmares.
Thanks for the good times for my family.

Prayers for those who will remember horror.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Saying Goodbye

Jake



How do you say goodbye to a best friend that has graced your life for 12 years?
He came to us at 6 weeks old--small enough to resemble more of a kitten than a dog. He could fit in my hand. He grew to be 15 pounds of pure love.



Jake was always willing to snuggle and sit by my side. Through the years he changed from a lively pup to a more sedate adult--much like us. He aged as we did. He was content to just be.


Oh, the laughs we got from his expressions. The turning of the head from our conversations as if he was understanding our utter nonsense.


His joy of watching for his "daddy" to come home! He sensed the time when he would arrive. He would greet him with running around in circles and just waiting to climb on the couch for a few hugs. And his smiles seem to come with his "purring" sounds he would make as he received that love from his dad.



We said goodbye. He went from being completely alright to letting us know his time was up. The last two weeks of seeing him suffer was heart breaking. We would have kept him with us but it wasn't to be.


So long, best buddy. 
So long, Jake. 
You are missed!



Monday, June 5, 2017

Gorgeous Subway Tile

Baby Steps
I guess you could say that the upgrades to my 1980's kitchen has spanned over decades. In 2001 the custom oak cabinets were installed. And loved...until the white cabinet craze seemed to scoop me up and toss me right in the midst. 
The first upgrade was the change to hardwood flooring throughout the open space great room, dining room, and kitchen. Granite countertops appeared about four years ago. Since there was no backsplash project in the near future a granite tiny backsplash was added. After the cabinets were painted a creamy white I still couldn't get a white subway tile off my mind.







The little granite "lip" seemed to stick out like a sore thumb. Even painting a lighter color couldn't detract from the gloomy feeling. Under cabinet lights only "highlighted each and every wall flaw.

The last project for this kitchen is here!

White Subway Tile


When the installers came I insisted that the granite backspash be removed. Holding my breath that it could come off quite easily only proved true. It had been applied with a bit of silicone caulk on the bottom and against the wallboard.
The problem I hadn't even thought about was the fact that the granite installers hadn't done a precise measurement. Yes, that little granite backsplash covered up a bit of a gap in some places. I was so afraid at this point that it would have to be returned. But the installers decided that they could fill in the gap with grout. Using pieces of thin metal strips to hold the tiles in place until they dried was the method of the day.



The smallest and simplest piece of granite proved to be the one that was most horribly cut. The gap was so large that the grout really had to be applied heavily. In this picture you can see the difference on the left and right sides of the stove.

Returning the next day, the grout was applied. I used a light gray grout which ties in beautifully with the granite.


It amazes me the difference in the kitchen. It seems as if inches have been increased to the space instead of one tiny inch on the countertops. The light reflects off the tile and gives a great feeling.


I hesitated to place anything back on the counters and in reality I have simplified the space. But you will have to wait to see that! For now, I am enjoying just the basics--hardwood floors, white cabinets, granite countertops, and white subway tile backspash!

Kitchen--finished! Decades of updates finally finished to my liking.
Next will have to be a brand new kitchen if we ever move!



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