We have now been in our house for three weeks, even if it doesn’t feel like it. I don’t actually feel much more unpacked than I was two weeks ago; I haven’t done anything enough for it to yet feel like a routine; and I’m beginning to wonder if the final construction pieces are ever going to get done.
Being one of three houses under construction by different contractors here at Riverwalk was probably a good thing, because Lynn and I can see that Dusty was more efficient than the other two, and that’s always good to keep in mind when the exasperation starts to creep in.
The Oros house in particular, which got started more than a year ago (and that after a year delay with yet another contractor) just got a driveway this week, but the Meeuwsen house also, which started a week or two ahead of us, does not yet seem finished. (We won the race!)
Of course, we’re not quite finished either, and it’s seeming like Dusty’s interest and focus is now turning elsewhere. He told me at the beginning of the week that my library is on the schedule for next week, but at the beginning of the week we were told landscaping would happen this week, and last week I was promised a cabinet and more shelves which have yet to materialize.
Dusty, who likes to tell us he never gets days off, took yet another extended weekend off. He left last Thursday and tacked Labor Day onto the back end of five days off, then on Tuesday told us we had to decide right then on landscaping, or his guys were going to move onto other projects for several weeks. And this was after a month of telling us we needed to start landscaping as soon as possible to keep weeds at bay.
Like so many other aspects of this project, nothing proved to be easy in this realm either. Dusty wanted to scatter native grass and wildflower seed, but then my friends Karen and Vikki (who is Dusty’s bookkeeper), both lifelong gardeners, recommended amending the soil this fall and seeding next spring as a more effective approach.
Dusty essentially said that while he respected their opinions, they were wrong and he was right. I wanted to get an opinion from Kara’s husband Geoff, a professional landscaper, but then Dusty played the “I need an answer now or we’re going away” card, so Lynn decided to take a chance on Dusty and his seeds. Except that now it’s Friday and not so much as a single seed has landed in our dirt.
It’s a shame, too, because we’ve had big rain the last two afternoons; had seeds been in place, this would have been a big boost.
So while we wait for the seeds and chips to fall where they may, Lynn got her floor outlets earlier this week, along with dimmer switches. I did not get my electric car charger, which the internet informs is not a charger at all (that’s in the car itself) but is more correctly an EVSE (Electric Vehicle Support Equipment, I think).
I get some rebate if I buy this through my electrical co-op and sign up for off-demand charging. But I haven’t asked, and their website doesn’t say, what sort of EVSE they sell, and I don’t know how to program my car to charge during the wee hours. So I probably lost my window of opportunity there.
Shawn the electrician said he was “99 percent sure” our $50 Walmart microwave stopped functioning because of a short in the unit. We have had no word on our third try for the official microwave, and now we are probably felons because we are using the microwave from the U.S. Post Office in Almont. If changing a federal weather map is a felony, imagine what stealing a microwave gets you. And it probably is stealing, because I doubt we’re ever getting an undented official microwave.
I also have no word on wood samples for my vanity. Wood for the library is supposed to arrive today, but I assume nothing will be done because it’s Friday and we always seem to need Friday off to prepare for the weekend . . .
The rain delaminated what used to be our kitchen table that had been trying out life on the deck, so that was a mistake. Lynn’s other deck items (grill and firepit) got covered with new covers ahead of yesterday’s rain, and she moved her new chair cushion inside, so she’s getting things figured out even if I’m not.
Of everything that happened this week, the one distressing me the most came when a neighbor visited. Not his visit: Charles Tutor stopped by to welcome us to the neighborhood, which was very nice of him. But as he was leaving he said he’d heard the lot next to us is getting ready to build.
Forty-some lots in this development and 10 houses, so of course the one lot we aren’t in any rush to see get built may be the next in line. And then we might get to live the construction process all over again this next year. At least they won’t be our decisions anymore . . .
And this shouldn’t distress me. We bought fully aware that Some Day there will be many more houses out here, but look at all these other lots not right next to us. Why shouldn’t we build those out first?
There’s always the hope that Mr. Tutor got his facts wrong, but his son is on the HOA board and yesterday Lynn and I both saw a Jeep with Texas plates driving up and down Riverwalk multiple times. That might not mean anything, but we know last year’s buyer of the lot next to us hails from Texas.
I keep looking out our west- and south-facing windows, trying to imagine how in the way a next-door house might be. I guess if you want elbow room you have to pay for it, and if we were made of money we would have bought that lot as a buffer, but not only are we not made of money, our contractor who rarely goes over budget went over budget.
Now we’re discussing how much we’ve already gone over budget, before landscaping and the completion of Shelf-a-Palooza. He thought it was $1,500; I’m at $14,000. And this after we went in deciding to increase the budget by $30,000 over the original estimate. We are nowhere near the $150-$175 per square foot we started at, and I just don’t think we built an extravagant house. But the price tag sure is.
So that’s where we are: no microwave, no stove vent, no library, no grass seed, over budget, possible next-door neighbors . . . but look: I forgot I took this picture, which should have been part of yesterday’s post. How can you get purple smiley faces and not smile?