Friday, January 19, 2018

I've Got The Power

The Dilemma

About a month ago we were informed by our builder that the electrician who had started on our house by nailing a few outlet boxes here and there, was let go.  The reason --- apparently electricians in this part of the world are in crazy-high demand and as a result, his price doubled.

And our builder could not find anyone else to do the job.  In fact, no one was returning his calls.

The Solution

Husband is now our electrician and I am the assistant.  He and his dad wired our home 30 years ago, so with that limited experience, copious online research, questions to experts, frequent visits to a new home being wired nearby, and as little guesswork as possible, we have been hoisting, hauling, pulling, and stripping endless miles of wire.  Plus hammering nails, drilling holes, dragging heavy ladders from one end of the house to the other, and daily runs to Home Depot.  The homeowner, working on his own home, is the only non-licensed entity allowed to do such a thing, so our options were limited, to say the least.  At this point, we are nine days in and The Electrical Monster To Do List is growing mercifully shorter.

I texted this picture to our kids saying, "We found an affordable electrician and he's cute!" They didn't realize it was their dad.  (Hehehehe.)
As I said in a previous post, the original plan was to finish the house ourselves.  This meant flooring, paint, trim, hang cabinets, and pavers outside.  Or, in other words, the pretty stuff.  Stuff that, after a day's work, one could step back and admire the fruits of one's labor before collapsing into an exhausted heap.  Wiring, as essential as it is, is not pretty.  By five o'clock each day, when we are bone-weary and out of daylight, we don't have the reward of a pretty hardwood floor, a painted wall, or a trimmed window.  We have a tangle of unsightly wires going every direction within the stud walls that, a few months ago, were exciting to see but are now tiresome and in dire need of covering up .... with .... sheetrock .... please!  The upside is that from now on, when I plug in an appliance or turn on a light, I will know exactly where that blessed electricity came from and the route it took to get there.  Plus Yours Truly has earned her very own tool belt.

Needless to say, we were on ladders a LOT.  These 10 foot ceilings were certainly not MY idea.
Longtime Friend Dave, who happens to be an electrician as well as a very kind and sympathetic soul, and who lives in our previous hometown 3.5 hours away ..... is driving out tomorrow to spend a couple of days correcting our mistakes and finishing up, in hopes to placate the county inspector.  I told Husband I don't want to be there when Dave first arrives at the house and sees our work.  I'm too afraid of hearing ..... "Um, looks like we've got a problem." ... in stead of, "Looks good!  You guys don't need me!"

Update and The Result

Dave came bringing much wisdom and expertise and guided us to within sight of the finish line.  Turns out most of what had been done before he got there was okay.  Thank you, Dave!!!

I call that panel where all wires converge, the "Mother Ship".
'Twas another long day after Dave left to finish it all before The Inspection.  We felt like we were up against finals at the end of a long semester.

But as it turned out, the inspector was VERY nice and hardly looked at most of the details we were somewhat nervous about.  He almost seemed more interested our plumbing and happily offered a few tips about the bathtub.

And we passed!!!!!

Another hurdle cleared.

P.S. Much credit goes to Husband who puts in the bulk of the work and long hours, with much more to come.  I am reminded yet again, that he can do pretty much anything he puts his mind to.  And I deserve the credit for marrying well.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

And so it goes ....

Geez ..... I need to write another update.  But our life has been kinda boring .....

Unless, of course, you're excited to hear about shingles, or trenches, or those little switch boxes our electrician has nailed randomly around The House.

WHICH, by the way, is becoming more real, although it's still far from livable.  And I'm not sure when it WILL be livable because the construction industry in this area is governed by snails, AKA contractors, who always seem to have another job that they MUST finish before starting on, or finishing, ours.

So we wait.

And wait.

And tear up with joy when we find an actual work vehicle parked on our property, with actual work people, who are actually working.

And (dare we hope) we might have electric power soon.  Maybe within (gasp!) a few days.  (How naive were WE, to expect power to be wired onto our property from an existing power pole that sits capably across the street, in the same year we request it?)

Husband working on The Box where there will soon be an OUTLET which will allow us to PLUG stuff in!  (Note the brand new pole on the right.  We honor the two trees that gave their lives for that pole.  One from which it is made, and one that was in the way.)  Oh .... and that flat area where the tractor-thing is sitting is where Husband's shop, housing many guy-toys, will be built. 

A couple of posts ago, when I mentioned we might be painting by late November ..... Let's all have a good laugh.  How silly.  Now we're thinking January.  But we'll see.

We met with Eric -- Awesome Cabinet Maker from Spokane, recommended by Favorite-First-Son-Who-Knows-This-Stuff.  Eric delivers all the way down here.  And he is making our cabinets!  Or at least he will ... make .... our .... cabinets ..... someday.

I don't mean to sound cynical because truthfully, I'm not.  Life is great!  And we are excited.  So rather than cynical, let's just say I'm anxious for each new stage of the building process.  I JUST wanted to see the house started and as soon as it was started, I wanted walls, and as soon as there were walls, I wanted windows and a roof, and now there are windows and a roof, and I just want doors!  How wonderful it will be to have doors to lock it up securely!  And THEN I'll want that boring wiring and plumbing to be DONE because they're ... boring, and life will be perfect when we FINALLY get siding and sheetrock ....

Anyway, you get the picture.

Should've got over to get this pic sooner, before the sand pile arrived.  It's for the future pavers that will comprise the driveway and sidewalk.  

Rear view and another sand pile awaiting a gazillion more pavers.  

Future patio.  We have no plans to landscape beyond the rock wall perimeter.  It will be au naturale. And if there are any remaining funds, there'll be a hot tub on the patio, outside the slider door, toward the edge of the rock wall by the trees.  

And that's all for now.

Oh, and by the way -- Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Sasquatch and Murphy's Law

Last winter, before we escaped to California, wasn't the best.  We weren't anticipating  one of the worst winters in recent memory (even though I'm a strong adherent of Murphy's Law wherein if anything unfortunate or untimely can happen, it probably will) .......   I suspect Mother Nature waited until we left our securely roofed, warm home and moved into a rolling monolith .... to unleash her icy armageddon.

We hung around in the atypical deluge of continuous ice storms until after the holidays, enduring newly discovered leaks (including a small non-scenic waterfall through the ceiling AC unit directly over our bed) and ice-encrusted slides (the walls that move outward).  We had to chip the ice off the slides to bring them in so that we could AT LEAST drive to the dump station .... an errand that MUST happen regularly, regardless of one's situation or mood.  Once the slides were in, we didn't dare to put them out again in case of more freezing rain and leaks.  So we spent three weeks living in a narrow hallway.   It's doable, but definitely not preferable.

I purchased a tiny fake Christmas tree and set it on the dashboard, which fell short of offering the festive cheer it was meant to.  It was going to take more than that to salvage the drippy, gloomy season.  Needless to say, we've had better Christmases.

That day in January when we finally arrived at the RV resort in Palm Springs after a somewhat harrowing trip, I SO remember the joy of setting up, putting our slides out for the first time in weeks, and remembering why on earth I ever wanted to live in a motorhome.   There was also the comfort that winter was miles away.   'Twas possibly my favorite motorhome moment.

So here we are again, facing Winter Number Two in The Beast.  And rumors indicate another bad winter is coming.  Of course it is.  Murphy's Law and all.

So far, no new leaks (the old ones were fixed) and no ice yet ...... but it's still just early November.

The difference this year is:  1. I doubt we'll be going to Palm Springs (Husband doesn't quite agree) and 2. We're building a house which will have a solid roof, wood stove, furnace, and won't need to travel to a dump station.

However, it will not be done before winter lands squarely upon us.  Our short term plans involve keeping a keen eye on the road conditions in the mountain pass that currently separates us from said house.  Hopefully a weather window will open, allowing us to rumble through, with no guarantee we can make it back (in the Beast) before the spring thaw.  Hence, committing to holiday events or any other appointments will be tricky for the next few months.

NEXT YEAR ..... after the house is finished, the motorhome is sold,  and the three of us (Husband, me, and the wood stove)  are nestled inside, drinking eggnog and gazing out at the winter view ...... then BRING IT.  "Let it snow", as they say.  "Let the north winds bluster and blow"!   Let all you-know-what break loose and all the mountain passes clog up with ice drifts, and let Sasquatch (and/or the Abominable Snowman) stomp around to his heart's content.

'Cause I won't care.  We'll be ready for it.

Which means, of course, it'll be the balmiest winter on record.  Just wait.  There'll be no snow.  Nor ice.  Nor Sasquatch.  The passes will stay all dry and boring .... with Palm Springs whispering, "Should've kept the Beast".

Because .... you know ..... Murphy's Law.