Saturday Inspection Tour

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As soon as I finish this, this which I’ve barely started, Oz and I will head out on our Saturday morning routine: walking to Carol’s, where we inspect her house to make sure there are no leaks nor plumbing problems, and that the back door that popped open during the coldest days remains closed; and then getting in the car and driving to Riverwalk, where we conduct more house inspections.

It’s multiple inspections. I haven’t referenced them in awhile, but we have two Some Day neighbors also in the construction process. The Oros house is well ahead of ours, but I’m not sure they’re going to be moved in much sooner than we will. They have siding but no roof (or that was the case during last week’s inspection), and their front door puts ours to shame. But their windows all run to the small, and I’ll trade the elaborate door for big windows, even if LEED only allows 15% glazing. (I don’t have a good guess, but I’m pretty sure our glass is a higher percentage than that.)

The Meeuwsen house started a week or so ahead of us, but I’m not sure who’s winning the race to finish first. They will easily win the “front edifice” competition, although so far it’s still uncertain to uninformed inspectors what the ultimate plan is. There are partial palatial columns starting skyward, but whatever roof will cover these is missing. And the opening so far looks like a regular ol’ door, maybe not even three feet across. They also — after Lynn and I trespassed around their perimeter one muddy Sunday — have more glass than we do on their south side.

And then Oz and I check out our own house. To outside-only inspectors, it probably looks like very little has happened in recent weeks, which was the case for much of the winter with the Oros house. And it was just last week that Lynn was stomping around her current house in fits of despair that “absolutely nothing” was happening at our Some Day house.

(Dusty was sure this process would teach Lynn patience. He was wrong.)

When Oz and I show up this morning, however, it’s going to be a completely different place from a week ago. Lynn, who inspects the house every evening with Oz (so I guess it won’t be a surprise to him, just me), has been bringing back reports: gas and water lines are mostly installed (in the interior of the house; no exterior connections yet).

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Look! I’m still finding photo buttons, and I managed to make this picture smaller. Go me!

My bathtub/shower, which got ordered weeks after Lynn’s, arrived much sooner, a couple weeks ago. Now the tub has been unpacked and is resting in or near its permanent home in the bathroom. Lynn’s shower, which has been promised for delivery for at least three consecutive Fridays, finally arrived after some unknown national tour that left the box fairly banged up. But Dusty said everything inside looked unscathed.

Most noticeably, drywall is going up, and this makes Lynn very, very happy.

Dusty warned us at the outset that construction moves in fits and starts, and that one moment, like the previous week, it will seem like nothing is happening, and the next, the process is zooming along. Lynn likes the “zoom” phases much better.

I do too, I suppose, but that leads to decisions, and I have to say, of everything involved in this process, the part that frustrates me the most is that no matter what decision Dusty tells us we need to make next, it’s never the one he asks for when we get to “next.”

Like the time, several weeks ago, that he needed a decision on our trim color NOW, so that he could put his crew to work on this exterior piece in the interior of the house before it got to a more finished state. So we settled on a trim, but as near as I can tell, absolutely nothing has moved on that front. And now we get to doors.

Three Saturdays ago, Lynn and I dutifully took the 200-page door catalogue to lunch with us, because Dusty said we would need to pick out doors, and that the exterior doors needed to be selected soon. We made tentative decisions over lunch, but the catalogue offered no prices, and so far everything we’ve picked out is “expensive,” so we wanted to know if we were on budget.

I sent our preliminary choices to Dusty and asked about price, but he never got back to us. So last Saturday, post-inspections, Oz and I went to Western Lumber to ask for quotes on the doors. They said we’d get that on Monday, and it was really Friday, but the quotes arrived, and I believe we’re under budget on every exterior door.

But then yesterday, on her evening inspection tour, Lynn crossed paths with Dusty, who told her we need a door decision. But now it’s the interior doors he says that need to be settled on first.

We looked at Marmoleum flooring because that’s what he said we were going to use — it’s even written that way in the budget: “Marmoleum.” Then he seemed surprised that we were considering Marmoleum and recommended options we could look at from Home Depot (sigh) and Lumber Liquidators.

(We have two flooring places here in town, but Dusty’s opinion is that they charge double what they should. I didn’t have a particularly wonderful experience with either company when I needed a bathroom floor last year, so I’m not pushing my “local first” philosophy in this area.)

It turns out that bamboo, which I’ve long been interested in for its renewable status, is much cheaper than Marmoleum. Our Some Day neighbor Lisa, who apparently worked at one of the local floor companies for 10 years, strongly counseled against it, saying it requires four to six weeks to acclimatize. Dusty, who has bamboo in the yoga studio in his house, seemed very surprised to hear this and said it takes a “few days” to acclimatize.

But yesterday he told Lynn we need to make paint decisions before flooring decisions. Which makes sense, but he did ask about flooring over a week ago and hadn’t mentioned paint until last night.

We’ve been very focused, as perhaps you’ve noticed, on the exterior colors; much less so on the interior. We’ve asked several times about wood on the ceiling of the Good Room, and haven’t really received an answer, or a cost estimate. That could impact paint (and floor) decisions, so it seems like something we should know.

Dusty did tell Lynn earlier in the week that if we thought we’d made plenty of decisions so far, they were only just getting started. My friend Bryan, whose straw-bale house was constructed by Dusty, said the same thing: he and his wife thought they’d made lots of decisions ahead of time, but they were taken by surprise at the onslaught that awaited them.

It would just be helpful to me to know which decision is really next in line. Or we make all of them all at once, standing at the ready for when Dusty wants answers. It doesn’t matter: he’ll have something we won’t have given a thought to (like the sills under the doors — yes, you have to decide on colors there, too). As long as it keeps us on our toes, I guess.

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Lynn was excited to see the garage had a ceiling, and then she walked in and discovered part of her house has one too. Of course, this just leads to more decisions.

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