excuses for lack of progress on house-building.

07Aug08

We’ve been away from our little housing nightmare recently. These are my excuses. We live in Colorado, where there are only two seasons: 9 months of winter and 3 months of guests. We’re trying to cram as much fun into our 3 non-winter months as possible, so that we can survive the sheer depression known as unending winter.

Speaking of guests, our friend Kent was here. (He’s not really a guest– especially since he owns the house we currently live in– but we’ll use that term for the sake of convenience.) While he was here, we elected to dig a new trench in the yard to replace the incoming fresh water line to his house. The line froze last winter, which resulted in some un-wanted campfires in the yard. (We dug a hole in the yard, found the frozen water line, poured in burning BBQ charcoal and kept a little blast furnace going in the hole for a couple of days, with the help of a hair dryer & a pipe with a perforated end. When the blast furnace technique failed to unfreeze the line, we were forced to cut it and feed a steam line into the pipe to get it unfrozen. By replacing the waterline in a deeper trench, we’re trying to avoid that winter “adventure” in the future.) Luke’s Dad has a Bobcat with a backhoe, but it lives on a hill at the end of a long bumpy road. So we rented a trailer to get the Bobcat down to the house–the only problem was that the rental place didn’t have the trailer we wanted, so we had to take whatever they gave us. They assured us we could carry the 3-ton Bobcat on their trailer. Well, apparently, our Bobcat is extraordinarily wide, as Bobcats go. After driving the trailer nearly an hour to pick up the Bobcat, the trailer ended up being about one inch too narrow for the Bobcat to drive onto it. (One damn inch!) There was no (safe) way to get the thing on the trailer, so in comedy of errors too numerous to describe here, we managed to get the Bobcat down to the house through a combination of driving it on the road, borrowing a friend’s trailer (that had no ramps and first had to be drastically remodeled in order to get the Bobcat onto it), and shuffling trailers between trucks that inevitably didn’t have the right hitch arrangement. After half a day of groaning, swearing, and juggling large objects, we managed to get the Bobcat to Kent’s house. From there it was easy as pie. It was only a matter of digging a 6 foot deep trench, tunneling under a sidewalk, finding a buried pipe, removing a buried electrical line, and doing a lot of hand-digging. A fun afternoon all the way around. (My husband tells me that I’m overly-sarcastic– which is my tendency– but it was kinda fun. Especially in retrospect. Unfortunately “retrospect” didn’t start until about 10:30 p.m. that night!)

Digging for a new water line. Notice the old water line at the right side of the trench. It is porbably a miracle that it didnt get broken during the whole process.

Digging for a new water line. Notice the old water line at the right side of the trench. It is probably a miracle that it didn't get broken during the whole process.

Two weekends ago, we got in our sole camping trip for the summer. I’m looking forward to the day when we have a habitable house so that we can spend our weekends doing weekend things (like camping), instead of guiltily sneaking off for one quick trip, trying to pretend we don’t hear our house screaming, “Don’t leave me! I only have dirt for a floor!” We went up to the Collegiate peaks area, and had a lovely time climbing some 13-ers. (We’ve got a whole damn house to build, why kill ourselves on vacation by climbing 14-ers?) The trip was lovely, except for all the frenetic attempt to escape the hoards of people in the St. Elmo area. I am not fond of being run-over by ATVs that drive around willy-nilly, tearing up the roads and turning gasoline into noise. Anyway, when we managed to escape that modern nightmare (after many repititions of “what is this world coming to?”), we had a lovely time. Even though we didn’t have $40,000 of recreational equipment. (How will the economy survive when we haven’t done our part to support the recreational equipment industry?)

Thats me hiking. Instead of schlepping dirt around. What a nice change.

That's me hiking. Instead of schlepping dirt around. What a nice change.

Last weekend we spent a tiring 3 days helping out the lovely organization that is the Crestone Music Festival. We heard lots of great music (like Eileen Ivers, who was amazing) and Luke was happy because he got to repair a few deadbeat golf carts (soundly proving his worth in society). We were supposed to be hosting the campground, so we had to spend some unpleasant time trying to get deadbeat hippies to pay their camping fees (clarification: I love hippies, just not the ones that rudely refuse to pay for a camping pass that supports arts programs in the local schools of some of the poorest counties in the nation). Oh, and then there was the joy of trying to keep the inebriated folks from teaching their entire vocabulary of swear words to all the sleeping children at 3:00 a.m. Fun.

Oh yeah, and since it’s summer we have to try to do enough work to earn enough money to make it through the 9 months of freakishly miserable winter. Nobody wants a solar system (or architectural services) in the winter. So we have to try to make up for it in the summer, when the phone rings about 10 times more often, and we make ourselves crazy trying to keep our clients happy. Fortunately we specialize in lovely clients who all seem to do a pretty good job of understanding that we only have two sets of hands.

After a long night of last-minute plumbing on Tuesday night, Luke managed to get our under-slab plumbing inspection yesterday morning. We passed! Now we’re free to throw dirt in the trenches and move on with installing the insulation & tying the radiant heat lines (more on this soon.) Passing the plumbing inspection is a huge step forward. It feels like we might actually have a floor before the snowballs start raining down upon us.

So. Those are my excuses for not getting more done on the house. May I please have my get-out-of-guilt-free card now?

Colorado summer-y wonderfulness.

Colorado summer-y wonderfulness.

More Colorado summer-y wonderfulness. Photo was taken before we had to start fleeing the lightning.

More Colorado summer-y wonderfulness. Photo was taken before we had to start fleeing the lightning.

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3 Responses to “excuses for lack of progress on house-building.”

  1. 1 Carol Lenger

    You are a great writer, Laura! I love reading your blog! The pics are fantastic – that first pic of you hiking is amazing – talk about ‘grandeur’… Is it as dangerous walking on those loose rocks, close to the edge as it looks?

  2. 2 lauracm

    Thanks, Carol! The hike isn’t quite as precipitous as it looks in the picture… It’s just the angle of the camera.

  3. You are totally absolved of any imagined guilt – Love, your mom.


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