Home finishing stage

The publishing of the following entry was delayed by a week in order for it to be cleared by our legal team... actually, I was distracted and forgot to dial-up and "git-'er-done".

Nothing major to report at this time. We have had full power now for 2 weeks, so the air conditioning has been keeping us cool. We still have 9 1/2 chickens, but the guinea keets have all disappeared. We'll never know if they went off to find more pleasant surroundings or if the hawks and owls were well fed this year. Next year we will be better prepared if we try for guinea fowl again.

My parents returned for another 4-day work blitz, and they helped us get a bunch of things done. They painted the utility room a nice green color, and they also primer-coated the master bathroom. JoAnna painted two of the walls of the great room a deep blue color. My dad and I installed the sink in the guest bathroom and we all worked together to hang the french doors which separate the kitchen from the great room.

The biggest job was the installation of the flooring in the kitchen, pantry and utility room. Using my trailer, I picked up the 12-foot-wide roll of Armstrong fiberglass flooring from The Home Depot. It probably weighed 200 lbs. so it was not easy to manage at first. There was also some confusion about how many feet were on the roll. I thought we had ordered 50 feet but the paperwork said 66.67 units. I should have thought to calculate what 50-feet of a 12-foot roll is in square yards (it's 66.67). We ended up a little short in the utility room, but it looks OK. The material was easy to work with and we like it so far.

I have been working on getting the kitchen sink installed, but it's taking longer than I had hoped. Everything seems to be that way, taking twice as long as it should. I guess that's the way it goes since I'm not an expert at these things. The plumbing jobs are especially tricky with all the various parts and fittings and such. I'd swear the plumbers of the world all got together and made their trade as confusing as possible, just to dissuade DIYers from doing plumbing. Why can't it all be flexible pipes and hose clamps?

I finished painting the ceiling of the great room and bedroom and master bath. The vaulted ceiling made it tricky, but the extension pole on the roller made it possible to reach to the peak without the use of a ladder or the scaffolding. Now, the only painting left to do is the tan/beige of the great room, which I am hoping to get to tomorrow. I want to get the scaffolding out of the way and back to the generous man (Roger Daly) who is letting us borrow it.

The garden has been on auto-pilot for a while now. We have been getting good soaking rains often enough that we don't need to water at all. The tomato plants are producing well (and delicious), but a few of the varieties are splitting their skins. I'll have to figure out why. The okra, cucumbers and squash are all doing very well. The bean and pea plants never really got going, and the corn isn't looking like there will be much in the way of ears. It looks nice, though.

I guess there was a lot to report after all. I'm sure I am forgetting something.

Snakes on a driveway

We have made some good progress on the house recently. The drywallers finished and the electricians returned to finish, as well. The HVAC man, Mr. McAfee, finished running ducts, poured a concrete pad and installed the heat pump unit. We painted primer on 75% of the house and ordered the flooring for the kitchen, pantry and utility room (all the same pattern). If we like the performance of the Armstrong brand fiberglass flooring, we will probably use it in more of the house.

The electrical inspector stopped by yesterday and signed off with his approval, so there is a chance that the light company will be here Monday or Tuesday to hook us up! Real power! Mwah hah hah!

So we are no longer relying on others to get us to the next step for progress like we were before. It's all up to us now.

We also had the Tim Harris Construction crew return to add soffit and facia to the roof. The next step on the exterior is to add siding. I'll be ordering the siding materials on Monday so I can start whenever I am ready. Once I know my schedule for the next few weeks, my parents will try to return to help us finish some of these final details.

I have been hired as a consultant for a new start-up in Los Angeles. The company is one of the television production giants, but they are adding some new technology to a newly-formed department. If all goes well, I may be able to continue consulting from home on the project after the initial 3 months.

Trixie the dog has, once again, earned her keep. In the past she helped me recover the guinea keets that wandered away from the garden area. Today she did one even better. I was in the house cleaning up scattered litter when I heard Trixie barking as if someone or something was coming toward the house. I thought it might be our Western neighbor who was cutting his lawn, but she knows him and probably wouldn't be barking. Then I thought maybe it was a dog or goat or sheep from the Eastern neighbor's property. when I got to the door, I saw Trixie barking at something under my car. I heard a hissing sound, so I thought it was another possum, but the hissing was different. More like a rattle. Croikey! It was a rattlesnake! Now, people we have met here have said that there are rattlesnakes in the area, but they have never seen one in 20 years. I guess I'm just lucky. After putting Trixie in the house for her own safety, I used a 10-foot PVC pipe to push the beast out from under my car. Then I used the garden hose to spray it, which caused it to move away from my car and into the short brush. But then it stopped. I had to decide at that moment if I should let the creature live or if I should protect myself, my wife and my critters from possible future encounters. I imagined the snake finding the crawlspace under my house to be a comfortable home, enjoying the occasional chicken as a snack. The snake had to go away for good. I won't go into the gory details, but it was quick and I was never in danger. I don't like to kill animals - even varmints - but that's the way it is out here in the country.

We have a big thunderstorm rolling thru right now, so I'm off the electric stuff ASAP.

Today I learned: Trixie is a good dog. Really, really good.