Thursday, January 26, 2012

Always Something

Well, what would a construction project be without its fair share of problems and hiccups along the way. The second week in we have had two. Both out our control....really mother nature - thanks!

Rocks and rain - lovely huh! As the excavation of the footings for the containers finished, which will sit on a crawl space so got dug out lower than the rest of the house, it exposed some serious rock formation that wouldn't budge with the excavator. 

We went back and forth with the concrete guys (Tim & Jim of Precision Concrete), our engineers (Jim and Mark of D&Z Engineering) and our Geologist (Kelly Thomas of Foothills Geotech) on how to handle it. The concrete guys wanted to pin the rock and then form over the pinning. The engineers wanted to drill holes into it and use Dexpan to break up the rock and the geologist wanted to KEEP DIGGING!

The geologist won in the end, mostly because it was the cheapest option and didn't require him and the engineers coming back out and submitting more paperwork to the county. So enter my favorite toy - 

Of course Kyle was at the helm and it took all day to get rid of the majority of the rock as I filled buckets with the debri and hauled it up out of the foundation. 

It turned into a long night with us staying out there till 9pm and by 4pm it had started raining - of course it did.

So with the rain we also had to dig some trenches so the foundation would drain. It was a long, wet, cold night but we got it done and the trenches didn't flood. And what a storm it turned out to be.

The storm was so bad that the next night I was up all night as the camper rocked and rolled from the wind and rain. I hope there aren't too many of those before we finish the house, that wasn't fun.

So the rain has passed and we are back to sunny days. The mud is drying up and hopefully we will be pouring the concrete next Thursday after the 236 people (slight exaggeration) that have to inspect it first have done.....the red tape is ridiculous and I know our county isn't even the toughest.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Yes, it truly is an EVIL PIPE that has plagued us since we moved in 3 years ago and it continues to do so to this day....

There used to be a water spigot right in front of the house. We initially thought it was fed from the house water source but one day it sprung a leak, and after turning off the house water we realized we were wrong because the water kept flowing and flowing and flowing. 

Higher up on the property we have a cistern that had a 2" pipe leading out of it directly downhill toward this spigot so our second thought was that it came directly from this.

So that day (you can read about that leak HERE because I know you can't get enough of our plumbing escapades) we had to drain the entire cistern, a couple of hundred gallons, and then were able to fix the leak and get the spigot back working.

Well, when we were going to be moving the house, this spigot was in the way so we needed to cap it off below ground level. Eventually we knew we would have to pull it up and cap it off further up the hill as it ran directly through the foundation of the new house but for now just eliminating the spigot was the task of the day.

So on Christmas Eve we repeated what we had done a few years ago, turned the spigot on to drain the few hundred gallons out of the cistern and then we would be able to take off the spigot and cap it.

Well between 2009 and today we had installed this:

Mr 2,500 gallon tank. It is fed from our spring and provided a consistent water supply to the workshop of cleaner water than the cistern provided. What we didn't know is that somehow the EVIL PIPE somehow connects to the water to the workshop and not directly to the cistern. Its complicated and we still don't know exactly how its configured but needless to say later Christmas Eve night - we had NO WATER:-( Its really fun to inherit other people's "ideas" of plumbing!

Yes, the EVIL PIPE drained the entire 2,500 gallon tank and we had no water. Fortunately we have another 5,000 gallon tank that we used to fill the 2,500 workshop tank and by morning we had aqua and got the pipe capped.

So when we needed to excavate for the foundation we found where the pipe ran further up the hill and after shutting the water off at the big tank (trying to be smart here), we drained the EVIL PIPE and Kyle cut it off in order to install a spigot on that side of the driveway. No reason why the EVIL PIPE couldn't be useful for car washing or irrigation one day.


This, of course, all had to be done at 9pm at night on one of the coldest nights we have had yet. So Kyle is working in a 5 foot wet hole in the partial blackness and I am handing him parts and pieces and thinking I haven't been this cold since I had horses, just a little reminder not to have horses again.

We got the spigot installed and were all ready to turn the water back on - this was my job!

I turned the water - all at once. Apparently not the correct protocol with new plumbing. Needless to say the water flew downhill fast and burst out our new plumbing work.

After Kyle bailed out the water from the hole we were able to get a cap on that stayed put when I turned the water back on for the second time - slowly, lesson learned. But the saga with the pipe is still not over, we need to find where it begins and once and for all be able to turn it on and off without losing ALL our water.

The nightmare joys of home ownership!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Digging in the Dirt

The latest action on the site has been excavation of the pad. Through moving the home we met one of our neighbors - Jeff Proft - who has lots of fun equipment that Kyle drools over like that CAT that moved the home.

Jeff and his whack skilz worked for two days digging the crawl space under the containers and leveling out the pad and the back patio area.

He also cut in a new portion of the driveway so we have a circle around the tree, as seen here on the far left of the pic.

Jeff also cleared a fire break lower down on the property, I think it turned into one of those things of "well, while you are here!!"

Of course the entire work was carefully supervised - Ziggy is on the job.

And Kyle was able to sneak in a little toodle around in the CAT - He is in love. I don't think this picture captures his HUGE grin from ear to ear.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Not just moving, Moving a house

So moving is a house is way more complex and involved than I had ever anticipated. And moving a house that has sat for 40 years in the same spot is VERY complicated.

As if removing the roof (which was entirely transported to the new location - every single shingle), the deck, the porch and demolishing the concrete ramp and walkway weren't enough......

John (the home's new owner) had to pretty much strip the inside removing shower doors, mirrors, every light fixture, drawers, anything that could slightly move. All the doors were taped shut and the windows taped and secured. There was a brick surround on the floor and walls around the fireplace that was all removed (and transported to the new home location). Then the electric, gas and water were disconnected and the house was split into two.


Then all the underneath piping was removed and each side had supports inserted to hold the centers. Each side was then raised up off the piers and its tires were installed and the hitch (or tongue as is the correct term).


Once all this was done (which took forever), the homes were moved via a CAT to the top of our driveway so the mobile home movers could just roll in, hook up and leave.

Of course, as with anything that you move, there were issues. Houston - we have a flat.....

But this is not these guys' first rodeo - Oh, no sirreee Bob.

 My caulk gun to the rescue....they caulked the inside of the rim which allowed the tire to slip back on the rim and seal with the air in it.

Yes, that MacGyver guy in the middle is Kevin, our fabulous mailman. He is the brother in-law of John who is taking the house. (yeh, this guys knows how many Netflix I go through a week)

But that wasn't the last of the work - Oh NO!!

The house had to be wrapped in plastic and then criss-cross supports installed for transport. Needless to say the prepping went on till the very final moment they rolled out of the driveway.

The guys that moved the homes were sure characters as were the pilot cars drivers. The house is moving 17 miles as the crow flies but the route that they have to take, because we live on a type of island with canyons on each side, resulted in a total of 65 mile trip. It took 5hours......not sure I would want that job.

It was pretty stressful getting these things ready and watching as they left the driveway. Not sure what I expected to happen but watching a whole home that big move on these little wheels was unnerving. 

So Bye Bye little home for 3 years. Thanks for protecting us from the elements and enjoy your new home in the south (17 miles south that is).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

Getting it Done

This whole house project revolves predominantly around us doing most of the work. We are acting as our own contractor and taking on the majority of the projects ourselves with just the big items being fielded out to subs.

Well, with this partial demo of the old house to ready it for moving, we have gotten our first real taste of "doin' it yurself". Phew - it is rough. It took about 2 weeks of work just about every day. Some nights we were out there till after 11 o'clock at night. I found I don't function well past 9:30pm, I start getting careless with tools hence how the crow bar met the side of my face and a particularly wretched nail wanted to live in my knee.

The demo included removing the back deck and closet, removing the front porch, demoing the large handicap path made of concrete, removing most of the interior wood panels for use in the new house and of course this is after we moved all our stuff out and into storage.

It was exhausting and though demo is fun and I love just being active and productive, mentally its rough because we are tearing apart and not putting our new house together. Soon enough we will be out there at 11pm installing radiant tubing in the flooring and I will still be whacking my thumb with the hammer and crying that I wished I was in Hawaii!

Kyle is amazing and is such a workhorse through all this. He really pushes the schedule and gets things done. The day we took out the handicap path (yes, our neighbors hate us for the jackhammer for 16 hours that day) he was on that jackhammer for over 12 hours. The path was a beast to get rid of. I got a turn on it at the end of the end of the night on the flat part of the path - now that is a VERY cool toy.

Update to house - the dozer hasn't moved this morning, not sure what is going on. House still IN THE WAY!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Jeopardy Theme is right

A comment today referenced a continuous, very quiet Jeopardy Theme song continually playing in the background. Nothing loud or imposing, just a subtle, continuous replay of that ever so memorable tune.

NO KIDDING! We finally put a deadline of Jan 10th (that is one month since it all first started) to get the house outta here.....times a tickin' people.

The house is already in two pieces and moved a little -

Well, this afternoon a very large CAT rolled in, the dozer type - not Meow type. I presume it's to move the two pieces to the top of the driveway in anticipation for official removal on Monday. If not, it can easily just plow them over and we can bury them, kinda like a 1972 time capsule;-)

Lord willin' and the creeks don't rise, no really, they rise, this house is going nowhere......

Kyle came in and told me he traded the house for this - THE NEW HOUSE. Uh, Big NO on that one baby.