January 29, 2011: The Construction Begins

I got up early this morning and went into my office before everyone else woke up and got started on some writing that I wanted to do.  It was actually a very productive morning for me.  Great use of my time.  It is beautiful here this weekend with temperatures in the seventies.  It is awesome being in Texas.

It was pretty early yet, before Dominica and Liesl were awake, when I heard a knock on the door.  Our contractor had arrived and it was time to get started on the garage conversion.

Almost immediately we went down to Home Depot to get the supplies that we needed to get a start on the day.  We mostly got the big items like the lumber as today’s project is mostly to get the framing done so that the electricians can take over shortly.  It was over a grand for all of the stuff that we needed just for today so that we could get started.  Ugh.  This is not going to be cheap.

We also had to get a new breaker box as ours is not legal, safe or appropriate.  The one that was installed in our house was an “add on” box, not a main breaker box.  So there was no main switch to safely cut off all of the house’s power at the same time.  That triggered a lot of other things that are going to need to be done to get the house up to code and safe as well as being more efficient and better to live in.

Right as we were getting started on the garage our next door neighbough, the one whose house we did not buy, stopped over to say hello.  I have seen him a couple of times outside but have never really spoken to him.  He was very cool and we are encouraged that the two guys who live next door seem a lot like the kind of people that we would want to hang out with.  And, to be even cooler, it turns out that today was their long-standing Dungeons and Dragons party that goes all day long!  That is awesome.  And they have owned the house next door for a long time so that is good for area stability since two houses on our very small street were for sale at the same time.  That can be very bad for a street like ours.  So some long-term, lynch pin owners in an area are very important.

The electricians took off pretty early, not much for them to do today while our contractor worked on building the main part of the garage structure.  Today’s goal is to get the back part of the garage conversion done so that the electricians can come back and have something to work with when they start doing the electric.

Souder came over pretty early to help out with the construction and to do what network wiring that he could get done around all of the other work that is going on.  Watson came over a while later to help out as well.

It was amazing to watch how quickly the center wall came down and how quickly the new walls were framed.  Wall framing is always an amazing thing even though I have watch it many times.  You really go from nothing to a good amount of stuff pretty quickly.

By the end of the day there was a tremendous amount of progress.  You can really see the house coming together.  There is a ton left to do but it is encouraging and we can start to envision what it is going to be like.  Much of the floor is in place too which is really good since the room actually “floats” over the old garage floor which is something that I had been having a hard time envisioning how it was going to work as I had never seen that done previously.

It is exciting to see the place coming together.  We have been really looking forward to this.  We are not looking forward to the bill, of course, but we are very much looking forward to having the house in a condition that we can really use.  It is obvious that we could be as little as several days away from being able to put books onto the shelves in the new office which means that we will be emptying out the living room, den, other side of the garage and other miscellaneous places of all of the “stuff” that has accumulated there awaiting an official home in the “office.”

Some additional work, but not too much, was done up in the attic today too.  That is going to be slowly addressed as we go.  It is a total disaster up there and needs to be fixed before other parts of the house are fixed to make it easier to work as we go.

It was a long day and a bit depressing to see the money just flying out of the window.  But it is great to see the house getting put into shape.  We felt much better about the scale of the work going on when, while just doing a little work on a door frame, the center wall in the garage collapsed as it was not attached to anything!  Wow are we glad that we are replacing that!

The work went until pretty late this evening.  There is just tons and tons left to do.  Tomorrow is going to be the electrical day.  In addition to tons of electrical work, Dominica and I have a couple of things going on tomorrow.  The first is a “mommy and me” play group that we are checking out to see if Dominica and Liesl want to join.  Then Dominica’s second cousin’s birthday party in the afternoon down in Mansfield.  So we will have a very busy day.

Thanks goodness for Souder who has been at the house doing a ton of work and orchestrating the work while we are away or whatever.  We’d be screwed if he wasn’t there.  He’s overseeing the entire thing.  Even when we are there he knows so much more about what is going on than I do and we really just need several people to be able to handle the trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot and everything else.  It is amazing how much we have going on all at once right now!

Leave a comment