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homebuilder's Diary

Friday, July 6, 2001: Once again, there's a *huge* gap between today and the last entry. Of course, this time, I have a good reason. The last three weeks have been *very* busy, as I have needed to get all the finished electrical and the wood floor and the tile done so that we could move in. Well, we've finished enough so that the inspector would let us move in, and we moved in. I'll have to update this later with the details of what I did, and what happened with the inspector. Bottom line is that we haven't passed the *final* final inspection, but we were close enough that no safety items were left off, so we could basically move in. We've closed on the mortgage, but we haven't paid off the construction loan yet. Our old house sale also went through. I've got a *lot* of catching up to do in here!

Thursday, June 21, 2001: Well, I let Gary take care of making the radiant pipe lay flat, and straightening out the kinks in the pipe where they entered the garage. He also put in the pieces of insulation that we had collected. He ended up buying a few sheets of pink board (basically the same as the blue board) to fill in the missing spots. The pad (as well as the other pads for the driveway) are all poured, and many other things have happened...

Carpets have been put in upstairs, most of the electrical is now done (tonight I was putting in fans and finishing the low voltage outlets), and Chuck and I have been working on the wood floor in the kitchen / breakfast nook. I have finished all the tile except the tile in the mud room and pantry. We were short tiles in there, so I didn't get any more until a few days ago. We were supposed to have the final inspection today, but we weren't ready enough earlier in the week, so it'll be Monday. That should give us enough time to get the stuff done that we *need* to before the final.

The biggest tasks left include the rest of the wood floor, the tile, the base mouldings that are over the tile and wood, and last but not least, finishing up all the little bits of electrical (like the odd plug and light that hasn't been done.

Paige has been packing for the past two weeks, a bit at a time. Every time I come home, there are fewer things on the walls! We're excited to get moved into the new house!

Tuesday, June 12, 2001: I'm too tired to write all the details tonight, but today was an exciting day, in a *very* bad way. I'm pooped from doing tile, which is going fine. Amy was helping me, and we should finish tomorrow, and then be able to grout Thursday, which is good, since the plumber is coming back Friday, to set toilets, etc.

The bad part of the day is that we had set out radiant for the 30x30 pad out from the garage last night, so it would not be down for too long before the pad was poured. The concrete guy didn't show this morning, and by about 11:30, the wind had picked up enough so that it picked up the leading edge of the insulation board, and flipped the entire radiant floor coils and mesh over on itself. Pictures are here.There was blue board everywhere... Lewis and Amy helped me pick most of it up that I could locate, but driving around later today, there were pieces of it over a block away (and probably *much* further). I'm tired, so I'll talk more about it later.

Monday, June 11, 2001: The cabinets have all been installed for a couple of days, except for a 'stray' one that was mis-ordered, and they rushed a replacement, which was also the wrong size! I should have pictures up soon. I've put in several of the light fixtures throughout the house. The kitchen looks nice!

Today I spent the good part of the day putting down membrane upstairs for the tile. It's hard work. You put down the thinset (very *thin*), and then you put down the membrane, and use a linoleum roller on it. The linoleum roller rolls out bubbles and also any extra thinset that you didn't get when you were putting it down. It's back-breaking labor, and one of the *many* reasons I don't want to do that for a living!

I moved the plugs in the garage that were too far forward. The garage door openers now are powered and work fine.

Tonight Chuck, Nathan, Ben and I put down the *last* of the radiant heat. We put some 3/4" PEX-AL-PEX out in the pad out from the garage, so that I can try out snowmelt. We'll have to see how expensive it is to run, and whether it works well. It's an experiment. I'm glad to have all the radiant pipe in. It's also hard work! Nathan (the concrete guy, not my nephew!) should pour the pad tomorrow if all goes well. I'm tired! I'd better get to bed.

Tuesday, June 6, 2001: Things are moving forward. Cabinets are almost all installed. The kitchen looks completely different now. I've put up some pictures (Incoming12) here. One of these days I'll get less lazy and actually format them somehow.

The cabinet guy is named Joachim, and he is originally from Mexico, although he's been here about 20 years. He is pretty good at what he does. We just happen to have a lot of cabinets. He tends to sing along with the radio, especially country music songs (both male and female!). The cabinets are hickory, and have a lot of character. The wood isn't just all one color.

Today was my big 're-deployment' day. I had the opportunity to choose to quit Intel, or stay on and look for another job within the company. I chose the latter. To celebrate, I did finish electrical all day. :) I hooked up several Phast MLC's, and a lot of plugs. I also put in many of the can light trim rings, and lights. They look nice. The MLC's default to On/Off, and won't dim until you hook up a Landmark Cardframe and a PC and tell them that they're dimmers. Oh well. I guess it can wait. This is my favorite part of electrical. It's fun to hook things up and see them work. It gives you a great feeling to know that you have done the work yourself, and that you did it right.

Tuesday, June 5, 2001: Well, they poured the garage floor Monday morning, first thing. They put down the concrete, but it was pretty wet. I'm kind of upset, because I told Gary that I wanted 4" slump concrete, that is much dryer than what they put down. The more water, the more cracks that form, and the weaker the concrete. They were nice enough to put the stress cracks on the lines we laid out. They put a nice finish on the floor. Since it was so wet, they ended up putting the finishing touches on it at 3PM!

The painters finished spraying the color on the walls and backspraying the ceiling upstairs. It looks pretty good, but they have some touchups to do, including the front door. They've done a good job, but they have been eating up a lot of precious time.

I spent the good part of the day today bending over and installing plugs. I have nearly all of the plugs installed upstairs, and I should start tomorrow on the plugs downstairs. My back is telling me that 150 plugs is a lot! I also made a trip to Home Depot, and bought the can light rings and the bulbs for the lights. I also bought the nightlights for the stairs. All in all, it was $$$expensive$$$. Paige cringes every time I go to Home Depot. :)

Today the kitchen and bathroom cabinets arrived, and they put them into the right rooms. They should have them all installed tomorrow. They look good as well. It's fun to see the project coming together so well.

Wednesday, May 30, 2001: Today Kerry's (the painter) crew came and finished prep work, and started priming. They painted and painted and painted. They brought three sprayers! They put on Kilz on all the wood, which is supposed to keep it from raising the grain. It's also good at putting on raw wood because it keeps the sap from coming up to the surface. They then used a paintable primer on everything, including the wood. Kerry told me that they then backroll it with a roller, and then tomorrow they should sand for most of the day. After that, they'll paint the ceiling, and then the flat walls. I'm glad they're finally getting a lot of work done

Chuck came over about 3:00, and we put the radiant coils in the floor of the garage. I hadn't planned on putting in radiant in the garage, but I already bought the pipe, and figured I should use it. It only took us two or so hours, since Chuck brought his two boys. We did it in six sections, but only one zone. The six sections are because we wanted to minimize the transitions between expansion joints. Doing it in six sections, we only pass from one control joint to another with one pipe. We wrapped the pipe with sill-seal, which should protect it through the expansion and contractions. Once again, I'm tired!

Tuesday, May 29, 2001: Another week, another frustration. Since Monday was a holiday, I didn't expect the painters to prep any. Unfortunately, they also didn't prep *today* until 3pm! No one showed up until then, and then it was only one person. He worked until about 9, and then left. He told me that tomorrow there are supposed to be more people to finish the prep, and then tomorrow night they were going to start the priming. Apparently, they use Kilz primer on the shelves, since the shelves are most likely to peel with 'regular' latex primer. After priming the shelves, they will prime the rest of the house with 'regular' primer, and then will paint the white parts of the house (the trim and ceiling). Lastly, they should either mask and spray the walls, or roll the walls with the second color. They are supposed to be finished this week (of course, they were supposed to finish *last* week!).

I did put in some tile today, finishing most of the mud room and pantry. I still have about another box of tile to put down, but it was measured incorrectly by the girl working at the tile place, so I have to wait until tomorrow anyway. Chuck may help me put some more tile in tomorrow, if we get some time.

The radiant pipe still hasn't been finished in the garage, so we'll have to re-schedule the concrete. We were going to do it Monday, since it was a holiday, but we went out to do it, and the guy from Martin was there to install the garage doors! He already had started on the double door, and told me that if I wanted, he could come back and do it another day, but it would cost us another visit out to the house, about $50. I told him to go ahead and do them, so we would try and stay on schedule. He put on 10' garage door openers, since apparently they don't make 9' ones. Unfortunately I didn't know this when I put in the plugs, so they're about 1 1/2 feet too close to the front of the garage door! Tonight Chuck couldn't get off work until 8 PM, and his kids didn't come. By then, we were both too tired to do the radiant by ourselves. Chuck is planning on taking some time off tomorrow if possible to help me. I sure appreciate the help!

Saturday, May 26, 2001: Time flies when you're building a home! Since the last time I wrote, unfortunately not too much has happened. The painters were supposed to come in right after finish woodwork was done, but they started early this week. Of course, they had another job that they had to wrap up, so they started prepping Tuesday, and then didn't come back until Thursday, and then did some more prep yesterday. Basically, they wasted a week. Since our current house has sold, we don't have time to burn.

I have started putting in tile, even though the painters haven't primed or painted yet, because they told me that if I did, they could mask and paint around it. We're hoping to have all the tile in this next week, and they should finish painting this next week as well. If so, we should be on schedule to finish on time. Gary seems to think that we'll have our final inspection on June 21st. I'm doubtful, but if so, that'd be great!

The tile place told me that since we were installing over radiant, and because we had a concrete layer, that we should use an isolation membrane and latex-enhanced thinset, to help minimize cracking in the tile. I put the membrane down in the mud room, storage room, and guest bath yesterday. It's quite a chore. You have to put down a thin thinset (mixed with the latex stuff - it's flexible, yet sticks like crazy when it's dry!), and then the isolation membrane. The membrane is some sort of vinyl or plastic (it smells like vinyl). Since it's plastic, it gets a lot of air bubbles trapped under it. I had to squeeze out all of these bubbles, and then flatten the membrane with a linoleum roller. That was *much* harder than the actual tile installation! By the time I was done (12:30AM!), I was dripping sweat. It wasn't pretty. :)

Today Chuck came out and helped me put in the pipe that goes under the garage floor. This pipe is for the snowmelt radiant heat for the concrete pad just out from the garage. He rented a 4" core drill to cut through the foundation in several places. It was fun to watch. Once we had done the holes for the radiant pipes, we drilled one for a drain in the storage room, and two to be able to get electrical out to the front of the house (flowerbeds, etc.). We went kind of core drill crazy. I've got some pictures of it, that I'll put up here. If you haven't noticed, I'm a bit behind on posting the pictures to the 'real' place. I've just been dumping them in 'Incoming' directories, and then running an indexer on them. It's convenient, but doesn't make very pretty pages. You can find pictures (Incoming9) here.

In personal news, it appears that I've been selected for 'redeployment'. That's where Intel allows you to either voluntarily leave (with severance), or stay for a while and look for another job within Intel. I'm leaning towards staying, because then I can move into the house!

Wednesday, May 16, 2001: Well, we finished finish woodwork last night. Brian and I nailed up the last of the crown moulding in the upstairs hallway. It was a lot of work, since the top of the stairs is part of the hall. :)

All in all, we put in (Brian put up most of it!) Base moulding, Brian wrapped the windows with wood, door and window casing, Shelving, bead board and chair rail on top in the breakfast nook, crown moulding on the main level, and also in the hall upstairs! It was much more wood than Brian tells me that they usually put in a house this size. He said it was 2-3 times as much!

Brian did a great job of it, and it looks great. I can't wait to see it after it's been painted. I was out there tonight cleaning up a bit, and I need a bigger garbage can! There were a lot of smaller pieces of wood, and also a lot of sawdust. I've been trying to get it all cleaned up, but it's a big job. I don't know if the painters would bother cleaning it up, and if they spray the primer on with all the junk on the ground, it'll all get into the paint. I really hate that.

In other news, we sold our current home, so we have until the end of June to finish this house, and move in! It'll be tight, but I think we can make it. The things we have left include: painting, wood and tile, cabinets, countertops, sinks, marble surrounds, finished electrical, complete the finished woodwork (base moulding that doesn't go on until later), concrete work in the garage and down the back stairs, garage doors and openers, and carpet. I suspect there's other things I am conveniently forgetting, but that's the major items.

Monday, May 7, 2001: Brian and I started finish woodwork last Thursday. Brian had all the wood ordered to be delivered out there. It showed up on time in the family room! Brian thought it was nice to not have to move it all, like he does on a lot of jobs, apparently. :). I helped Brian hang some doors Thursday (of course, he did nearly all of them!). I put door sensors in them, so they'd be ready for casing whenever we get to it.

Friday Brian put in shelves on the main level. This basically consists of shelving in the pantry, and also in the coat closet in the front. It looks nice. Brian does a great job on the shelves. The pantry should hold most of the food storage that we have from our current house!

Saturday, Brian spent about 4-5 hours cutting the wood for the shelving in the closets. After the wood was cut for most of the shelves upstairs, I installed some of it!! Horror of Horrors!! Computer programmers with power tools!! I had borrowed a finish nailer (thanks Jeff!), and managed to install the shelves in two closets while Brian finished nearly all of the other ones upstairs (5 big closets!) I made a few mistakes on the first one, but now I know pretty well how it's done. I found out what it's like to actually do a 'day's work'! I guess I'd rather be a Computer Programmer. Finish woodwork can be hard work!

Fortunately, Brian is going to be out at the house today and tomrrow all day, and I'll help him after work for the entire week. I'm hoping we can get it done without too much delay to the project. Brian does great work! If anyone needs some finish work done, e-mail me, and I'll give you his number!

Wednesday, May 2, 2001: Well, I can't say that nothing interesting happens on this house! Yesterday Gary and the door-and-window-hanging guy put in our basement windows, the basement door and also the door to the back of the garage. Last night when I went out there, I checked the doors and windows out, and guess what! The big windstorm had blown out the back garage door! It was sitting, without the frame, on the ground, and the frame was ripped to pieces! I'll put pictures up by tomorrow. (here!)

In other news, the mudders and tapers should be done today, and Brian is having the finish woodwork wood delivered tomorrow morning. Things are moving along, albeit slowly.

Saturday, April 28, 2001: Once again, I haven't done anything on the house this week. I dropped by today to get some new pictures, since the stucco guys are basically done with their job. The scaffolding is still up, however, so you can't get too great a shot. I'll post them tomorrow. The sheetrock guys have mudded and taped most of the house, but they need another couple of coats to get the flat finish that we want.

Brian has ordered the stuff we need for the finish woodwork, and we should be able to start it on Thursday. The doors also should arrive on Wednesday afternoon. I need to go by Monday night to finish some wire labelling, and put the wires in their final positions, so I can start punching them down and finishing them out.

I called Joel from ITI, and he's going to try and arrange for me to be a beta site for their security panel, which I helped work on while at Panja. I hope he can come through. It's pretty nice. Well, TTFN!

Tuesday, April 24, 2001: I haven't been by the house for a few days. I am planning on dropping by tonight after getting the kids in bed, so I can see how the mud and taping is going. It's exciting to see the house coming together. I was reading a website about Owner-Building today, and now have mixed feelings. I wonder if I should / could have built it myself. Of course, I'm glad I haven't, because I know we would have needed quite a bit more preparation, even though we probably could have saved some money during the construction. There are some new pictures not posted to the pictures page, at

Wednesday, April 18, 2001: I stopped by home tonight, to get some dinner before going out to the house. The sheetrockers finished nearly all of the upstairs, with the exception of the master bedroom and bath. They sure are fast! It all looked pretty good, and I'm getting excited to be able to finish up the electrical and Low Voltage in the rooms. It should be fun. I couldn't find anything completely obvious to grouse about, which is a nice change.

I had realized that I forgot to put in a doorbell location! I did that tonight, and stapled a few garage wires up out of the way. It should be interesting to see what they do in the garage, since they don't have a floor, they can't do their regular stilts.

I haven't been able to get a hold of Gary today, apparently he's out of town with his family for Spring Break. I guess that's good for him, but I have a couple of things I wanted to talk to him about, and I can't. It gets frustrating. There's a drain pipe coming into the basement that's obviously too low, that looks like it's dropped down. I'm not sure if it's been pushed down from above, or if it's broken somewhere inside the wall. I told Gary about it, but it hasn't changed. The plumbers also haven't moved the hose bib in the right place on the west wall.

I don't remember the rest of the things I wanted to talk to him about, but there's probably another couple, on my Handspring. Seems like this is what building is all about, having to check up on people, to make sure they're getting the things done that they are supposed to. I'm looking forward to finishing the house, so I don't have to do this babysitting!

In other news, the stucco crew is finished with the first coat all around the house. It looks good, except that it's not the right color or final finish! I have pictures, but I'm too tired to post them tonight. After looking around and putting in the doorbell, I stayed for a couple more hours, labelling low-voltage wiring in the basement. I need to pull a lot of alarm wiring to it's final position, but it'll have to wait until Saturday or later.

Tuesday, April 17, 2001: This morning I met with the Sheetrock supervisor, who wanted to walk through the house with me for a bit, so he could see where he needed to stick wires out through the sheetrock. After I stuck most of them back into the wall cavity, he didn't have much to ask about. I did ask him about the finish they were planning on doing, and they were planning on doing an orange peel finish! We had *never* talked about doing that. We have always wanted flat finished walls. I guess Gary bid this out wrong... That doesn't make me too happy, but we'll see what we need to do about it. I haven't talked to him about it yet, but I have quite a few things on the list, so I'll need to talk to him tonight.

Monday, April 16, 2001: They should be stocking the house with sheetrock today, and starting tomorrow. All of the inslulation is now in, and it makes the rooms look a little more like the size they'll end up. With the walls open, they look huge! Gary told me today that we passed the sewer inspection, so they can now fill in the trench in front of the house. The stucco crew put up visqueen all over the house, anticipating bad weather this week, but the weather looks to be quite nice. Now they'll get to take it all back down. I shouldn't be too busy this week, since I am not doing any sheetrock, etc. Thank heavens! I have been sick most of last week, and am still a bit sick today. I'm glad to not have to be out there every night. There were a few things I finished at the end of last week, like putting the vacuum line out to the garage, and putting in a conduit to the garage, which I quickly finished as insulation went in. It was tight to get it all done, but I'm ready!

Tuesday, April 10, 2001: Last night I went out to the house, hoping they hadn't started putting in insulation. Fortunately for me, they hadn't started. I was able to run the last couple of runs that I needed to get taken care of. I only have a couple of things I need to do before sheetrock. Unfortunately, I'm very tired. This part of the project has taken a lot out of me. I came home from work early today, feeling sick. Hopefully some rest is most of what I need. This past weekend, we also blessed Jennifer. It would have been nice to have the larger house for the family gathering afterwards. Oh well, I guess timing isn't our strong point.

Also while I was out at the house, I noticed that they finally found our sewer line, and have almost gotten it connected up. Butts excavating was out there during the day, digging around for it. Once again, they cut one of the lines in the trench. This time it was the phone line. I don't know how many neighbors phones are dead today, but at least mine and Steve's, my neighbor to the north. So far, we've also cut off Steve's cable! He seems to take it pretty well, and he understands that it's really my builder's problem, not mine. *That*'s why I have a builder. Steve also pointed out that one of the subs on the job drove over his driveway, and onto the soft mud on the left side of his property. I'm glad he doesn't seem to be one of those people who get irate at that sort of thing. He just asked that I tell the builder about it, and that we ask our subs to not do that anymore.

Insulation is supposed to officially start today, but I don't know if I'll get out there to see it or not. Depends on how I feel later. I guess it's nap time!

Thursday, April 5, 2001: Tonight, Paige and I stopped by the house to see what has happened, but we were unable to go in, since the concrete guys had finished! laying the concrete over the radiant heating coils! It looks like the gas meter has also been set (but I don't know if it's on yet), and they put the glass in the front door! I'm happy about all of this except the glass. Because there is glass in the door, the job of putting in the sensors I want to put in becomes a little more difficult. The front door is the only door that has this problem, due to the side lights. Oh well. At least it looks nice.

Wednesday, April 4, 2001: I finally got the news the other day that we passed the second 4-way with no problems (back last Thursday!). Chuck and I finished the remaining items for the 4-way electrical in time. The brick on the front of the house got finished Monday. It looks great. I'll have to put some updated pictures up when I get a chance.

The last few nights, we've been going out to the house (with Ben and Mike) to work on the radiant floor heating on the main level and the upstairs level. It's all done tonight. They should start pouring the concrete tomorrow. We will then start the insulation on Monday, and they can start sheetrock later in the week. We're about 3 weeks to finished carpentry (thanks, Brian!), and about 5 weeks from cabinets. Our newest estimate is that we're two months away from being done!

The nice thing about starting the insulation is that after that, I can't touch it for a few weeks, so I'll have a few weeks off! (or at least I'll only have to go out to the house to find things to complain about!)

There are still a bunch of things that aren't exactly right, but I'm too tired to type them all up, besides, I figure they'll all get fixed eventually...

In other news, another family looked at the house tonight, and another will come tomorrow night. So far, no offers. We're not in a state of total panic yet, but in another month we probably will be!

Monday, March 27, 2001: Well, we had the 4-way inspection today, at about 1:30. Jay, the Highland City inspector took a long time looking at the structural parts of the house, but didn't take too long looking at the electrical. I was thinking that this was either really good or really bad...

As it turns out, it was OK. He pointed out that I had forgotten to put plugs in the kids' bathroom upstairs, and told me I also needed to 'finish out' the plugs, as I had done the switches. He meant that the sheath needed to be stripped away, and the grounds wire-nutted together with those green wirenuts with the hole in the top. Other than that, and needing to ground some metal boxes, the electrical passed. I finished all but about 5 plugs tonight, and I should be able to finish all the other electrical issues by tomorrow night. The re-inspection is Thursday.

I'm tired, but glad that rough electrical is almost over. :)

Monday, March 26, 2001: Once again, the 4-way inspection was moved, this time to tomorrow. I went to work this morning, but I've caught the cold that Cole, Natalie, and Paige all have. Unfortunately, I took some cold medicine, and was *really* tired at work, so I came home sick. I took a long nap, and by the afternoon, I was feeling a bit better, so I went out to the house at about 4. Chuck met me out there, and we finished up some of the last rough electrical work that we needed to get done. A few things still need to be done, but all in all, we're pretty much ready for the 4-way.

I'm taking off work in the afternoon, since that's when the 4-way is scheduled for. I'd like to be here to answer any questions the inspector may have. Since we're doing Phast (automated) lighting, there are Cat-5 wires into the light switches. Some inspectors aren't familiar with the fact that this is now OK! I called Jay Haws (the city inspector) a month or so ago, and he sounded like he had no problem with that, and he was familiar with automation. Thank heavens.

Well, if all goes well, I'll shave my 'electrical' beard off tomorrow. I've used the rough electrical (and the need for a new razor) as an excuse. 4 weeks is long enough for both rough electrical, and also for the beard. I started the rough electrical on February 22nd! Besides, Jennifer is being blessed in a couple of weeks, and I'm sure Paige wouldn't like me to have a beard for that. I'll have to remember to get a picture of before / after photos... Well, I'd better get off to bed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2001: Now I realized why all these 'house diary' web sites go weeks at a time without being updated! I've been so busy on the house the past 3 1/2 weeks, that I haven't updated it too much. Well, let's get into what we're doing!

4-way inspection changed... Gary had scheduled our 4-way inspection for Wednesday (tomorrow!) I left a message for him to call me this morning, and when he did, he had already talked with Paige, who informed him that I wasn't going to be ready! I'm glad Paige is there to break the news... I guess since we haven't sold our current house, we're not in a big hurry to finish the new one.

110 Volt Wiring... I have most of the high-voltage wiring done, but the boxes need to be 'finished out'. I need to verify that all boxes have power, and that all the runs of 12-2 or 14-3 have been stapled correctly, and that they are all ready for the sheetrock to go up. This also means that I need to wire-nut together all the right wires in the box, and only leave out the ones that will be switched.

Low-Voltage Wiring... I've been able to get much of the low-voltage wiring done, and the wire bundle in the basement is getting massive. Fortunately, the people who have been helping me (Dad, Eugene, Chuck, Nathan, Ben, and their friends) have been labeling all of the wires as they have been running them. Now, if I can only *read* what they've written... :)

Problems... It seems like building a house is a race between people making mistakes, and you finding them. Tonight, we noticed that the lateral bracing in the garage hasn't been adequately nailed to the trusses, and the blocking on the bearing walls hasn't been nailed at all! It looks like all the boards were cut to length, and then just put in place! We also noticed that the broom closet is still too deep, and won't let the pocket door get trimmed out properly. There are also gaps on the stairs, where the toe kicks aren't supporting the front of the steps at all. Blech!

Well, I'm beat. I'd better get off to bed. It's been a long month. Hopefully I should have my rough electrical finished this week, and we can have the 4-way inspection on Monday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2001: Another long day after work at the house. I left work at about 4:00, went straight to the house, and started wiring up the garage lights. This time, I took out the phone that can ring (anyone who's paying attention, our number is 756-8325, which also spells SLO-VEAL!), since the line did get in on Tuesday, at about 4:30 PM. The phone installer mentioned that my line does *NOT* run out of the American Fork CO, but out of a remote switch, which is about 4 blocks away in Alpine! What this means is that I have a good chance of being able to get DSL! Hooray! I was sort of preparing myself to go back to the 'bad old days' of dial-up...

After hooking up the phone, and having Paige call me, to make sure it rings, I continued working on the garage lights, and outside lights in general. Paige came by at about 6:15 with dinner, which was appreciated. I went back to work after the family left, and got in all the can lights in the kitchen, and managed to do home runs for the lighting circuits on the main level. There's so much still to do!

Last thing I did at the house was to call Gary, the builder. I mentioned to him that I noticed that the plumber had also run one of the hose bibs through my *electrical* chase as well! That's 3 for 3! I'm meeting with Gary, the plumber, and the framer Friday afternoon (assuming I can get off work). The framer re-did the windows he had put in previously, and most looked good. There are a couple that didn't look level, so I checked -- and sure enough, the aren't! You would think that a framer would be able to hang a window level. I suppose it's hard to hang windows by yourself, but he'll have lots of practice, because he'll get to do them until he gets it right. :)

I forgot to mention that I also managed to take down all the wood supporting the underside of the porch, and installed lights under there. When Chuck was helping me Saturday, we put an external door on it. Now I have a nice place to store all the tools, that I can deadbolt shut, so I don't have to drive around town (to work and back!) with all the tools in the cab of the truck!

Tuesday, March 13, 2001: *News Flash!* I just found out that the windows they're installing aren't the ones I asked for! Surprise! For some reason, regular glass was bid and installed for all the windows, instead of the low-e glass... Anderson Lumber, who we ordered the windows through, is willing to eat $1100 off the current windows, or we can pay more for them to re-order the low-e glass (probably an additional $600-$700) for the entire house.

First the good news. All the shingles are up. They look very nice. The roofers did a good job, and I didn't even need to remind them about doing the ridge vent. We managed to re-route the plumber's mistake of cutting through the truss, before they put on the shingles to that point. That makes it nice, so there isn't an additional unneeded hole in the roof.

The Electrical / Low Voltage work is coming along. I've finished wiring speakers and Phast keypad locations in the entire house, and most of the Low voltage runs (4 CAT5, 1-2 RG-6 to each run) are also in place. I have a few main level lighting circuits to complete, and the lighting on the outside of the house to complete. All in all, I should be able to finish up this week, so we can have the 4 way on Monday! So far, the only kind of wire I ran out of is RG-6, which is surprising, since I cut back on the amount being run to many locations. I guess I under-estimated it.

Decisions, Decisions: Paige has been doing quite a bit of her own work on the house, as well. She has visited a few cabinet places, talked with some floor people, and is also working on deciding the color of the stucco, and which brick to put on the front. There are just *way* too many decisions!

In other news, the plumber ran both the front and back hose bibs, but I'm going to have to make him put both of them in again! The one on the porch, he put about 3 feet up, when I had already agreed with him that it should be about a foot up from the porch. It just looks odd coming out so high. The other one the plumber decided to be lazy, and ran the pipe in my Low-Voltage wiring chase! I cut the pipe off at the hose bib end, and pulled the entire thing out. He can cut his own holes! I'm not done putting in security wiring, etc., which also will all need to run in that 2 inch chase...

Wrong Windows -- The last news is that the windows arrived last Friday, and were put in the garage until they could be installed. When I went out to the house, several of the windows were in place. When I was checking out how they were installed, I noticed that first, none of them had been caulked before being placed in place (Gary informed me that he knows no builders who do this, but the instructions on the window explicitly mention that it should be caulked, and Chuck also warned me that they should caulk the fin well before putting the window in place!) The other problem with the windows that had already been placed is that they had just done a bad job. To set the windows in place, it looks like the framer rested the windows on the rough opening, and then just nailed them in. There should be a 1/4 inch air gap on all sides of the window. Because the window was 1/4 inch too low, the nail holes on the top fin could not even be used! Not only that, but one of the windows was not even level! I didn't check them for being square, but I was pretty irate yesterday about the whole situation... Gary is going out there this morning to 'educate' the framer as to the proper way of putting in the windows, including caulk. :) We did decide to go with the Low-E, but they'll put in the ones that we have on site, and later replace the panes with the Low-E glass sandwiches.

Thursday, March 8, 2001: This morning, before coming into work, I met with Steve from Utah Power. He came out to answer a couple of questions about the size of the wire that is run from the street into the meter base. He mentioned that even though it's required that the 'inside-the-house' electrician (me!) run wire sized for 'full use' of the breakers (i.e., you run 12 gauge wire for a 20 amp circuit breaker), that Utah Power is not required to run a 'full size' run from the power source to the meter base! From what I understand, a 4/0 Aluminum wire is required for a 'full' 200-amp service. Steve tells me that they normally will only pull a 1/0 wire to the meter base! This is only good for about 100 amps continuous. Even though I doubt I'll be pulling 100+ continuous amps through the wire, I talked with him about either our pulling it ourselves, or if they would pull the wire if I provided it. Steve said that if the homeowner provides the wire, they'll still pull it. Looks like I'll need to pick up some 4/0 wire sometime before finishing!

Steve also answered the question I had about running the underground conduit into the power company's box at the street. He said that I didn't need to do a 90 elbow up into the box, that it was sufficient for my conduit to come under the box, for a few inches. Great!

I also had (before Steve arrived), about an hour to put in the most difficult of the lights over the eaves. At the peak of the roof over the middle room, there are now two can lights, which point down onto the main upstairs window. It should look nice. Chuck suggested that while I was up there, I should install a remote-controlled winch, so that I could hang large Christmas Wreaths from somewhere safer. :) I'm guessing that's pretty low on my priority list, but who knows!

Tuesday, March 6, 2001: Wow! A week has gone by since I updated this! This last week was very busy. I took Wednesday through Friday off so I could work on the electrical at the house. I finished up the upstairs wiring, and started putting boxes in place for the main level wiring. The main level wiring is going to be a little more difficult to figure out, since there are more open spaces, as opposed to discrete rooms.

This last week the HVAC guys finished up their work, except for the AC units outside. The plumbers pretty much finished their work, and the framer came back to get the last few items on his list. Of course, each of them made mistakes and other problems for me, which will need to be straightened out. The framer framed the broom closet wrong, with the door on the wrong side! The plumber cut through one of my roof trusses (a big no-no!), and the HVAC guys -- OK, I don't have much to complain about them. They've overall been good to work with, and have done a nice job. The gas line went in on Friday, and the basement stairs wall, which was poured incorrectly was also re-poured Friday morning. Things are moving along!

On Saturday, I had my Low-Voltage wire pulling party! I invited several friends over, and had Paige get some pizza and soft drinks for us. Lance Walker, Daren Orth, Rod Maxfield, and Scott Golightly (Thanks!) ended up being able to come. They pulled about 800 feet of RG-6, and 3200 feet of CAT5. They also pulled 2/3rds of my speaker runs, and Daren pulled all of my upstairs Phast keypad and Phast lighting control runs (another 600-800 feet!). They were very helpful. Chuck also brought his sons, Nathan and Ben, who brought their friends, Mike and Jordan. They filled out the wire-pulling teams well.

We drilled wire chases into the TGI joists in the basement and on the main floor, and they ran most of the wiring through the chases. After pulling the first couple of runs (5 wires!), we decided that it would be worth our time to tape the bundles together about every 3 feet before pulling it. This made pulling the wire bundles go a lot faster, since the large bundle of wire had a lot less twist in it. All in all, I think I'll end up using most of the 10K feet of wire I've got! I'm about out of RG-6, so I'll have to buy another box of that.

The last thing that got done this week is that Chuck wired up the meter base, as well as the power to the two breaker panels. This means that we can wire up all the runs, and power them from temporary power, so we can have lights to work at night! Well, I'd better get to work, so I can get out to the house this afternoon. The phone company is supposed to be installing the phone line today, and the roofers should finish shingling the rest of the house. It looks really nice. I'll have to post some more pictures tonight.

Tuesday, February 27, 2001: Saturday Chuck and I got the meter base put in, and worked towards finishing the wiring on the upstairs floor. The framers worked on the roof over the porch, but they didn't finish it, because they ran out of wood for the beam support. Yesterday I had Paige pick up the breaker panels for the upstairs and basement, but they sent her home with the wrong panel. They sent home an *outdoor* panel, not an indoor one. We made do without it, and finished most of the plugs upstairs, and a lot of the lighting circuits. We worked until about 9:00pm last night! Today Chuck is going to switch the breaker panel for the right one, and we should be able to finish up nearly all the electrical work upstairs, as well as having the breaker panel be in place, and wired to the meter base! Things are going right on schedule. I should be able to start on the main floor wiring tomorrow. I'm taking Wednesday through Friday off of work this week to try and get the electrical finished. Hopefully I'll have it done then, and can work on getting the radiant floor heat, and central vac lines installed on the two remaining floors. Saturday is my target for pulling the Cat5, RG6, and security wiring!

Friday, February 23, 2001: It's been a busy week! Wednesday the temporary power was turned on at the house. The Plumbing and HVAC contractors started work. I took the day off work Thursday and Today to get a start on the electrical work. I ended up buying a lot of switch boxes on Wednesday night, and started installing them Thursday. Paige's Dad came and was helping me both yesterday and today. We managed to get all the can lights wired in the upstairs rooms, and put in place all the plug boxes, although they aren't wired up yet. I am going to work some more tomorrow, and then I'm taking Wednesday - Friday off next week to hopefully finish it up. Since we have the can lights wired up, I have put some bulbs in some of the cans, and can power them directly from the temporary power, and work out there a bit at night. This should let me get some stuff done on the days I'm not taking off of work. I'm planning on inviting friends, co-workers, and former co-workers to come help me pull low-voltage CAT5 and RG-6 on Friday and/or Saturday of next week. I need to send out the e-mail sometime early in the week...

The framers also came out for a few hours today, and they put on the bay window in front, and started on the roof over the porch. I'll post the pictures tonight or tomorrow night. Well, I'm tired. I think I'm heading off to bed!

Monday, February 19, 2001: I met with the plumber and the HVAC guy today, and the HVAC guy thought he was just putting in 'Air Handlers' instead of Furnaces! Boy, that would have put a cramp in my style, being the radiant heat boiler may not be bought by the time the house is finished! Wow! Anyway, it's all straightened out, and we should have two furnaces and two water heaters by the time we're done. The plumber should also be all ready to go, except that Paige wants to move some stuff around in the Laundry room before it's too late. Always something else. Today I also went to the hardware store, to buy some electrical boxes for the house. Once I got there, and compared the prices of some wire, I realized that I didn't have the first idea how many boxes I needed, or how many of each type! I realized that for plugs, I don't care too much about what I put in, since they don't have to be very deep. For the switches, though, most of the boxes will be 2 or 3 Gang, and must be *extra-deep*, since I'm doing Phast switches! I guess I'll take a better look at the plans, and go back to the hardware store tomorrow or the next day.

Sunday, February 18, 2001: Paige and I went out to the house today, to take some more pictures, and to see what is going on. It looks like they have the form in place to pour the front porch tomorrow (assuming they work on President's Day!). Should be nice. Once they get that poured, they'll be able to put on the porch roof. The house doesn't look like the right house without the roof on the porch. I'm planning on getting a good start tomorrow. I want to go to Home Despot and also Eagle (now Lowe's), and check on wire pricing, as well as buy some extra-deep electrical boxes. I want to put in the boxes, and mark the locations where the electrical runs and Home Automation runs will be.

Thursday, February 15, 2001: Last night I went to the hardware store, picked up some conduit and metal boxes, and went out to the house to install them. Everything went pretty well, until I realized that Paige had just driven off with the conduit bender! After going home and returning, I was able to get all the boxes secured down and ready to go, except the last piece of conduit. My drill ran out of juice as I was drilling the last hole. It works out OK, though. Gary says they aren't likely to pour the porch today, so I'll just go after work and finish it up... I did go out to the house, and finished up the job. I'm excited to start the electrical in another week or so!

Tuesday, February 13, 2001: I went by the house today after work, and they have most of the roof trusses on already! They're really making good progress. Unfortunately, they have put in a support header where the upper main window in the house goes. Gary says we can fix that. Paige has been trying to decide on doors, and we've decided on windows already. I should be able to start on electrical stuff this next week! The framers also put some plywood down over the hole for the porch, so they should be able to pour the porch later this week. Gary thought they would use a decking material, and pour over that, but instead, Gary didn't want to wait for the decking, and just had them build the plywood up to where they can just pour it. It should be an extra-thick slab, since we've built up the main-level floor an extra 1 1/2 inches because of radiant heat. It'll be like a 7 1/2 inch slab! The nice thing about not doing the decking is that I should be able to just put down metal boxes and conduit on top of the plywood, and my wiring runs will be done for the storage room. It'll be nice to not have the conduit visible in the storage room.

Monday, February 12, 2001: We visited the house on Saturday, and the framing has been going quite quickly! They have the exterior walls for the second floor in place, and some of the interior walls are already built, but not put up in place yet. I'll try and put up some pictures today. The trusses are on site for the roof as well. Gary gave us a booklet with the doors that Cubco offers, so we can choose our front door. (and other external doors, but we don't really care about any but the front!)

Thursday, February 8, 2001: Tonight I went out to the lot after taking paige back to the Hospital for a blood patch (she's feeling much better, thanks!). I put in the conduit from the meter base, out under the porch, to the electrical box out at the street. I finished almost all of it. I'm within 5-10 feet of the electrical box. I have a question whether or not I can come up into the box with the PVC, or I need to use a metal elbow. One of the people at Electrical Wholesale said I needed to come into the box in metal, but I think he was thinking of the other end, the meter base box. I'm going to call the Highland City inspector Monday morning to make sure. In other house news, they have finished the main floor, including the garage framing, and should have the upstairs floor on this weekend, starting on the upstairs walls next week. It's exciting to see the progress on the house day to day. In another week or so, I should be able to start on the electrical. I'm hoping to have a lot of help pulling the Low Voltage (LV) wiring, such as Phast, Phone, Network, and TV wire. Several people have volunteered to come help me. I just need to ask them, and schedule a time when they can come out.

Tuesday, February 6, 2001: The framing is continuing along. Today the main floor is mostly framed, and they should put on the 2nd floor by this weekend. Looks like they'll need another 2 weeks from here to finish out the framing. Everything looks so nice. Once again, I put some more pictures up on the Home Pictures page. Not much for me to do on the house yet, other than finish up the electrical in the trench out front, and to start buying the electrical boxes and supplies I'll soon need!

Thursday, February 1, 2001: Well, we've had a pretty exciting last few days. On Monday, Paige found out we were going to have a baby Tuesday. This wasn't a *big* surprise, but the timing was. We went into the hospital Tuesday, and Paige had the baby Tuesday afternoon. Jennifer Erickson was born at 4:42pm, January 30th. She was 18 inches long, and only 7 lbs! Paige should be coming home from the hospital tonight. In other news, they should start to frame the house today!

Monday, January 29, 2001: I talked with Gary this morning. Sounds like they should be pouring the basement floor today! OK, it's later. I stopped by the house after work, and they were just putting the finishing touches on the floor. They had smoothed the floor everywhere but in the storage under the porch. I didn't stay long enough to talk to them, but it looked good from up above. I don't have any pictures, but you can imagine what a basement floor looks like well enough. :) They should start framing the house on Thursday.

Saturday, January 27, 2001: Progress! Today has been a very busy day. This morning, Chuck called at about 8:00, and told me he'd be at the lot at 9:00! Once I got there, I shoveled some more snow out of the basement, and waited for Chuck. When Chuck got here, we weren't quite sure how to proceed. We finally decided that we should clear out as much snow as possible, level the gravel, and start putting down the blue board.

We ended up pretty much re-grading the entire basement, by hand. :( After doing that, we put the blue board down, put down the mesh, and put in one of the zones. Chuck unfortunately had a flight to New York tonight, so he left at about 2:30. I was glad he could stay long enough to get me started. Nathan stayed to help me put in the other three zones. It worked out perfectly. I started to clean up to leave at about 5:00.

It was a very tiring day, but I feel good that we shouldn't be holding up the project too much. I'll update the pictures page with some shots of the radiant floor tubing.

Friday, January 26, 2001: I wish I had more good news about the house progress. I guess it's good news at this point that it's not going backwards! Today I was going to try and put in the radiant heat in the basement floor. Things were just against me today. First of all, it snowed last night. Here in Lehi there was only about 2 inches. In Highland, 4 inches! I went out at about 10:00 to get the new concrete reinforcing mesh. It should have been the *flat* kind, not the rolls. The guy from ClydeCo was already there with the truck unloaded, so I just had to switch him for the rolls, and sign for the difference in price. So far, so good. Unfortunately, Chuck was unable to get off work before about 3 or 3:30, and by then, it was too late to do anything today. While I was out at the house this afternoon, I managed to shovel 3/4 of the basement, so at least that part should melt tomorrow. I'm planning on shoveling the rest tomorrow morning. Chuck is pretty free to help me tomorrow, so with any luck, it should be ready tomorrow.

In other news, the neighbor came over while I was sitting in the truck. Turns out the excavator came over yesterday to ask if their phone was working. Yeah, the phone was fine. Unfortunately, he did hit their Cable TV line! Cable *isn't* working at their house. :( I guess we'll have to find out where the Blue Stakes people marked it, and where it actually was.

Tuesday, January 23, 2001: I took the day off work today, to get supplies to do the radiant floor heating for the basement slab. I managed to get the 6-6-10-10 wire grid, the manifold and manual zone shutoff valves, the pressure gage and adapter, and also some warmer clothes. :) It looks like I may need the warmer clothes in the next few days. I am planning on borrowing a trailer to pick up the insulation board tomorrow after work hours, and then putting it in on Thursday, with a little help from some friends. I was planning on doing it tomorrow, but the grading of the basement floor wasn't ready. It should be ready by noon tomorrow, but I doubt I'd be able to get to it quick enough. I hope it doesn't end up snowing while we're putting it in. That would be a *major* pain! I'm planning on wrapping it up on Thursday if at all possible, so they could pour the slab on Friday or Monday.

Sunday, January 21, 2001: Gary was out of town this weekend, and got back today. It looks like the underground plumbing will be inspected tomorrow and the pea gravel will be put in the basement floor Tuesday morning. I should be able to do the radiant heat Wednesday, if I can get everything ready. If we can do that, they'll be able to pour the floor on Thursday, and be ready for framing to start Friday, or more likely, next Monday.

Wednesday, January 17, 2001: I went out to the house today with Chuck, to insulate the basement walls, from the footing to the top. Yesterday I had bought some 2" blue board (DOW), and some Poly film. We put the poly up against the tar damp-proofing, and then put the blue board in place. Doug, our excavator and his son would then backfill the wall up against the foam. Doug is quite nice and helpful. He is going to excavate our main electrical trench when he does the one for the plumber tomorrow. Should save me some digging! The insulation took us about 3 hours from start to finish. Fortunately for us, we are only insulating the west and south walls, since the porch on the east, and the garage on the north provide a buffer for the rest of the house.

This should give us R10 insulation on the outside of the walls. It makes it so that I don't need to even insulate inside the basement when I finish it. I probably still will, but it's a good start.

Chuck and I noticed that the person doing the footings had made a mistake, and poured the footings and foundation wall for the outside wall of the stairs wrong. It made the stairs only be 3' wide, instead of 4'. They're going to have to jackhammer out the existing wall, and pour another one in it's place.

Sunday, January 14, 2001: Well, the forms were stripped Friday afternoon, and the walls are in place. I went out and took some pictures, but I need to have them developed before I can scan a few in. I hope to get them on in a few days. They should damp-proof the basement walls tomorrow, and backfill it on Tuesday. The plumber should be working on the basement plumbing this week (although I haven't gotten the exact schedule from Gary yet), and then I'll have to put in the radiant floor heat in the basement slab. Once that's done, they can start on the framing!

Thursday, January 11, 2001: Today was a big day. I left work a bit early, and went out to the site. The concrete crew had spent all day yesterday putting up most of the outside forms for the basement walls. They couldn't have picked a better day to do it. It was low-to-mid 40's yesterday, in the middle of January, with the sun out! It sure is hard to tell how big the house is going to be by the footings, or even the forms for the basement walls.

The forms for the basement walls were finished by noon today, but I still needed to get another piece of conduit in place, so I would have a place for a ground wire for the Meter base. I talked with the concrete guy (didn't get his name), and showed him that I already had the conduit ready to go, so he kindly took apart his forms, and put it in! I was unable to get the conduit in place for phone and cable, but it's OK. He put a piece of 2" plastic drain pipe in the wall, so i can just come through the wall with a piece of conduit after they remove the forms. As I was leaving, at about 1:30, the first concrete truck was pulling up! The weather was getting bad, with wind and a little cold rain. I'll have to go by the lot tomorrow after work to see how it looks.

Tuesday, January 9, 2001: Gary dropped by a present this morning: The first draw sheet! Looks like we'll be working on spending all that construction money now... In other news, the Footings! were poured today. I haven't had the chance to go out and see them yet. Maybe tomorrow morning I can stop by before work. That means that tomorrow they should put up the forms for the foundation, and the inspection for the foundation happens thursday. I need to put my stuff in the wall thursday morning. The forms should be stripped on Friday or Saturday, the walls Damp-proofed Monday, and backfilled Tuesday. Framing should start shortly thereafter.

Monday, January 8, 2001: Today we had FHE at Mom and Dad Erickson's house. It was fun to meet with the family. As far as the house, Barry e-mailed me electronic copies of the home plans. I was able to use these to create a new Home Plans section. These look a lot better than the versions that I had scanned before. I've also added thumbnails, so you don't have to load the whole thing to see which you're selecting. The main images are still a bit large, so I'll maybe scale them back to 75% or so in the next few days, so you can see the whole thing on one 1024x768 screen.

Sunday, January 7, 2001: Chuck came by yesterday, and brought me back a present from New York -- He brought the PEX-AL-PEX we'll use to do the radiant floor heat in the basement slab! He bought two 600' rolls of 5/8" pipe. The PEX-AL-PEX is a plastic pipe, with an aluminum layer in between two plastic layers. It apparently is better, since the aluminum also acts as an oxygen barrier, and helps keep the pipe rigid once it's set in place. Chuck and I drove out to the lot and did see that the hole has been dug down another couple of feet. This should put our porch about 3 feet above the sidewalk, and evenly spaced between the main level of the neighbors on each side. The rough hole measures 45' front to back, 65' left to right, and 5' deep. I don't have any pictures of the deeper hole, since I don't have a digital camera! Oh well, maybe someday.

Wednesday, January 3, 2001: Happy New Year! After our New Years' Celebration, things have returned pretty much back to normal around here. The kids are back in school, I'm back at work, and the progress on the house goes *slowly* forward. Gary came over tonight, to bring me a copy of the cost breakdowns. While here, he gave me the bad news -- Ray (our Excavator) is in the hospital, so he hasn't dug out the excavation the rest of the way. As we expected, the hole they dug wasn't quite deep enough for how we wanted the house to sit, so they need to 'clean it out' a bit more. Ray's son should be there tomorrow to get it done.

With the new schedule (building houses seems a lot like writing software!), The footings should be poured early next week, and the foundation should be done by January 12th. The basement sewer, radiant heat, and the basement floor pour should let Framing start on about the 22nd. Gary figures about 2 weeks for the framing work on the house, after which we can start on the rough electrical (February 5th)! Woo Hoo! I suspect I'll start some of it before the framer is completely done. :)

I stopped by Electrical Wholesale (EWS) today, and picked up the pipe I need for inside the foundation wall. It looks like we won't be able to put the meter on the back of the house, as we originally wanted, but it'll work out OK on the side of the porch.

Friday, December 29, 2000: Paige and the kids went out to the lot with me this afternoon. The excavation was finished, and Ray (the excavator) and his son and grandson were there, just picking up the last of their things (except for the backhoe and front end loader). I talked to them for a few minutes, and he told me that he and his son drove up and down our main street for a couple of hours yesterday, looking for a lot. They even drove up further into Alpine, wondering if it was up there. Ray dropped one of the numbers in our address. The reason I didn't run into them yesterday when I saw the parked backhoe is that they were in Ray's truck, looking for the lot. They had left the loaded-up backhoe on the flatbed, parked until they returned!

It sure is nice to see the hole in the ground! I added some pictures of it (who knows why?) on the New Home Pictures page.

We also got to stop at the 'Shetland Pony House', which is just down the street from us. Paige talked me into letting the kids stop by there and see the ponies.

Thursday, December 28, 2000: Today I put the panorama at the top of the page. It's stitched from 4 photos. To see the full-size panorama, and other home construction pictures, click on it. Thanks to Ray Walker for letting me borrow his digital camera! The excavation that was supposed to take place today -- didn't! I visited the lot yesterday, and walked through the staked-out ground. It's hard to see how big something is going to be by the stakes in the ground... I went back today about noon, and the excavation had not started. I was a little surprised, but went about my business. As I was driving down the main road toward American Fork, I noticed a backhoe-loaded truck pulled off the side of the road, with the surname of our excavator on it. I couldn't see anyone in the truck, or I would have stopped to see if he was on his way up to the lot! Paige and I dropped by tonight, about 5:30, and it had still not been started. I guess there's always tomorrow. Oh, and the neighbor *did* move his rock to in front of his property -- Someone who does what he says -- I like that! :)

When Paige and I arrived at the lot, there was a doe (doe, a deer, a female deer!) strolling through the back of the lot. I just happened to snap a picture of it. You'll probably have to see the full-size picture to see it (sorry!).

I just got off the phone with Gary. He said that sure enough, the excavator had been given the wrong address, and Gary was out of town, so the excavator didn't have anyone to call about it. I *did* pass his truck! Apparently, he looked for our address for 2 hours! Now I really wish I had only waited for him to come back! Anyway, this pushes us back a bit... Surprise! Sounds like excavation should happen tomorrow, footings poured hopefully Tuesday, the 2nd. I also talked with Gary about insulating the outside of the concrete poured walls. After the damp-proofing, I'll put some blue-board on before the walls are backfilled.

Tuesday, December 26, 2000: Merry Christmas! I talked with Gary this morning. Apparently, we're all set to dig, but not until *this* Thursday. He told me that he'd be going out tomorrow morning to stake out the house, and I think I'll show up as well. I'd like to get some pictures, and also see where the house is located on the lot. It's hard to tell from the plans. Thursday (12/28) they should dig, and do the footings hopefully Friday (12/29 - Paige's Birthday!). Monday and Tuesday they should set up the forms for the basement walls, so I'll need to get the stuff (the conduit and elbow for the bottom) to put in the Meter panel by then, since I want it *inside* the wall, not on the outside of the wall. Gary figures that we should be pouring the flatwork two weeks from yesterday. In other words, I should have a basement floor by the 8th or 9th of January. I'm going to be busy, since we want to put down radiant floor heating in the concrete. We'll have to do that next weekend. Whew!

Thursday, December 21, 2000: I went by the house today, still not staked out :( I met our neighbor to the north, who owns the rock that's still in front of our lot. He told me he'd take care of getting it out of the way before we dig. Seems like a nice guy. Also, the neighbors on the other side (to the south) were moving in. I didn't have time to go meet them yet. I managed to take a couple of pictures while I was out there. I'll try and get them up here soon.

Wednesday, December 20, 2000: Today we heard from Gary (our builder) that he has all the approvals from Highland City to start building on the house. He'll now get in touch with the excavation crew, and get them started. As of Last night, the house had *not* been staked out. I'll have to go out and take some pictures of the lot without the house on it. We're excited! On this home, I've been doing grout to finish the work on the Laundry room. My fingers are so dry they're cracking and bleeding under the nails! Ouch! At least after this week, that room *should* be done. I've done all the paint touchups in there, with the exception of the baseboard trim, which I should be able to finish in the next couple of days. I've also been working on cleaning up my junk out of the basement. It's slowly coming along.

Saturday, December 16, 2000: We've been busy today finishing up details on our Lehi home. Since we've put it up for sale, we need to clean it up a bit, do some paint touchups, and move out a lot of our stuff. We're fortunate that Amy and Brian are letting us put quite a bit of our stuff in their new basement, which is less than a mile from our new house lot.

Friday, December 15, 2000: Today we went to the bank, and closed on our Construction Loan. If the City of Highland has given it's approval, we should be ready to start on the construction by next week. As far as loan closings go, The construction loan was pretty simple. Seems like we only signed 10 documents, instead of 25-30 for a 'regular' mortgage loan.

Thursday, December 14, 2000: I decided that the time was right to start my 'Homebuilder's Diary'. Many things have happened so far in this process, I guess I should go back and talk about the steps that got us here:

We built the current house almost 7 years ago. We lived here until Fall 1997, when I took a temporary contract with Illinois Power. We rented out the house, and rented ourselves a home in Forsyth, Illinois (outside Decatur). The home in Forsyth was very nice, and much bigger than our home in Lehi. We were spoiled -- a huge kitchen, and more cabinets than we could fill up. After 6 months, the contract ended, and we returned to our Lehi home. We decided immediately that we should start finishing the basement, since we were running out of room! Once the basement was close to finished, we realized that our family (soon to be 6 of us!) would no longer fit in this home (unless we were willing to get rid of most of our stuff!)

The time had come to build again. We started looking for lots in the area, and found a lot that we like in Highland, in an area called Victors Landing. It's quite a large lot, and it's just down the street from a circle, meaning much less traffic. :)

After buying the lot 1 1/2 years ago, we started trying to decide what we wanted in the 'new' house. Since we've built before, we knew a little of what we wanted. My experience working for Phast helped a lot. I found out that I wanted multi-room audio, automated lighting, and a few other fun things!

We have now nailed down the plans, and have selected a builder, Gary Jackson. The person drawing up our plans is Barry Holman. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of our plans, please contact him: Barry Holman - (801) 785-6835. We have applied for the building loan, sent the plans in to the City for approval, and waited. That pretty much sums up the preparation up to this point. We expect to be able to start in the next few weeks.

We should be closing on the Building loan tomorrow.

Ryan and Paige Erickson, 11381 North Sampson Drive, Highland, UT 84003
(801) 756-8325