The Great Unloading

Given our need to get at least a small amount of sleep, we didn’t head out to our secondary storage locker to unload the truck until after 2:00 yesterday. Sadly, we greatly underestimated the amount of time it would take. I mean, unloading should be way faster, right? Nope. Since we needed to store the entire contents of the truck in our locker and still leave room, the unpacking was pretty meticulous. It was nearly 6:00 when we finally called it quits and we still had stuff left.

Then we headed to our primary storage locker (the one closest to our new home) and offloaded the few small pieces of furniture we kept. We are trying to store items needed for staging in this location. It’s pretty much full now. And I questioned my husband’s need for getting one storage locker. Looks like we’re going to fill up two. By the time we finished that, it was nearly 7:00 and we hadn’t eaten much, so we decided to head straight home and order a pizza.

If there’s any reasonable excuse for throwing decent eating habits out the window, I think the amount of physical effort we have exerted over the last week certainly qualifies. We even got to eat our pizza in front of the TV, since we didn’t pick up our little fur baby until this morning. I also managed to squeeze in a load of laundry and get the paintings unwrapped and reasonably stowed. Pretty remarkable, all things considered.

So That’s Done

Starting our journey from Phoenix to Minneapolis at 1:20 in the afternoon, after a morning of relatively strenuous effort, was obviously less than optimal. Not that we had a choice. The truck was loud, uncomfortable and underpowered. The altitude and elevation we encountered during the first leg of the journey were killers. Despite keeping the gas pedal on the floor, there were times when maintaining 50 MPH was nearly impossible. No cruise control either.

When we reached Tucumcari NM at 1:40 am, after nearly 11 1/2 hours of driving, we called it quits. The normal drive time for this stretch is less than 9 hours, just for comparison. We didn’t get much sleep (maybe 4 hours), but just being able to lie down in bed for a stretch was enormously refreshing. After eating and gassing up, we were back on the road at 8:00 am. The tentative plan was to stop again north of Kansas City (around 8:00 pm) or Des Moines (around midnight), based on how my husband felt.

Did I mention that I married Iron Man? Despite the grueling driving conditions, he wasn’t tired enough to stop again. So we plowed through and arrived home at 4:00 am this morning, after 20 straight hours of driving. We unloaded the paintings and called it quits. I finally crawled into bed at 5:00 am. Now we just have to unload the rest of the truck and we’re done.

PHX in the Rear View Mirror

No doubt about it, yesterday sucked. We couldn’t pick up the truck until 9:30 because, Sunday. Then we needed to run to Lowe’s and pick up more rigid foam sheets. By the time we got to the storage locker it was 11:30 and getting close to 90 degrees outside. We loaded up a trolley and headed out to the truck, only to discover that the padlock from our storage locker wasn’t large enough to use on the truck. So my husband walked to a nearby Walgreen’s to purchase a larger one.

He found one that would work for the short-term task of securing the truck between loads, but would obviously need to be replaced before we could leave the truck unattended. It took two hours to completely empty our storage locker and secure everything in the truck. Then we needed to head to a hardware store and purchase a better padlock. It took two tries to get one that fit. We picked up sandwiches and drove home to eat. By the time we started loading again it was 4:00. We called it quits after four hours, because we could no longer see well enough to load safely.

I set the alarm for 6:00, but was awake before 5:00. After making coffee, I packed the last of the kitchen items and anxiously awaited the sunrise so we could begin loading again. I had to leave at 10:30, for an appointment at CarMax. The truck was pretty much loaded at that point, but we still had stuff in the house to deal with. So my husband kept working after I took off. He ended up leaving the house at 12:20, about 15 minutes after escrow closed and we were officially supposed to vacate. He missed running into the new owners by less than 30 minutes.

I know this because they managed to set off the alarm again when they went into the house. Our real estate agent called me as I was waiting for my check at CarMax. Fortunately I had discontinued monitoring today. I stood up with my check and looked out to see my husband had just parked the truck outside. Talk about perfect timing. Now we just need to get through the 30 hour drive home.

One Last Round in the Heat

There’s nothing quite like going from 9 inches of snow to 90 degree temps. Both suck, in their own special way. We arrived in Phoenix yesterday afternoon. The rest of the day was consumed by hauling furniture from the second and third floors down to the garage, in preparation for a charity pick-up today. The only really sticky moment was when we got the desk down to the landing between the second and first floor and weren’t really sure how to get it past that point. After a brief moment of panic, we managed to sort it out.

Of course the charity organization wouldn’t give us a specific time for the pick-up today. Fortunately, they are only a few minutes away, so we were their first stop. They showed up at 9:30 and had everything loaded in less than 20 minutes. Then we had an appointment with a traveling notary at 10:00. The title company sent her to our house when I told them we didn’t know when we could leave the house. So by 10:15 am, our schedule was clear. On to the packing.

Since we had busted our butts the last two trips, it wasn’t a terrible day. We packed as much as we could and we ordered pizza. We moved more things into the garage and we straightened up in anticipation of the final walk-through tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is our “down” day, since we’re attending the IndyCar race, which won’t leave us time to do much else. We’re going to need it.

So Very Many Pillows

We had a follow-up shopping excursion yesterday. This time the focus was on outdoor furniture, bedding, bath and pillows. So many, many pillows. You could buy a very nice camera lens for what we ended up spending on pillows. Yes, decorative pillows are crazy expensive. I’ve never been willing to spend serious money on pillows before, but having destroyed our third or fourth round of cheap pillows in Phoenix, I figured it was about time.

I had browsed the R&B website in advance and wasn’t super impressed with the bedding/bath/pillow selection. Or the outdoor furniture. So I didn’t go in with the thought that we would be selecting a whole lot. Of course, I was wrong. We did some scouting at a couple of stores on Monday afternoon, just for comparison. Then the snow started. By the time we ventured out on Tuesday for our appointment, there were at least seven inches on the ground and it was continuing to come down.

So the store was dead. Our designer spent the morning assembling pillow vignettes for our approval. We did some tweaking, but for the most part we went with his suggestions. Bedding pretty much went the same way, although I drew the line at sheets. I buy all of our sheets at Costco and we’ve been very happy with them, at half the price of designer ones. The designer was totally fine with that. By the time we finished, the entire house was wrapped up. Tomorrow we shift gears and head back to Phoenix to wrap things up there.

Sometimes it Snows in April

Minnesota has a wicked sense of humor when it comes to the weather. Despite my ardent plea for warm, dry weather, we are currently getting socked with snow. It started just after noon yesterday and continued on and off all day. Then it started up again early this morning. They are predicting 3-6 inches before the snow finally ends. Pretty funny, Minnesota. You are killing me.

I’m trying really hard not to freak out about how this is impacting the house. Final grading can’t take place until the ground thaws and a blanket of snow followed by cold temps just delays the thawing. We’re running 10-15 degrees below normal right now. Meanwhile, interior work continues at pace. The garage floor epoxy is finished, so all of the concrete in the basement is now complete. It looks amazing.

The drywallers were back on Monday and had finished the crow’s nest and all of the second floor ceilings. They were starting on the walls when we arrived at 3:00 yesterday. At this rate they should be done hanging by tomorrow. We met the two guys who do the more skilled work – the shadow line along the floor and the area where the drywall meets the trim. They are starting work today.

Now we go into a month of tape/mud/sand/repeat, so the house will be a dusty mess. I’m guessing that’s why they wanted to get the basement floors done. Meanwhile, our garage doors are coming “soon” and the cabinets are supposed to be delivered within the next two weeks. They can’t be installed yet, so they’ll be stored in the garage. Just over nine weeks to go now.

Furniture-palooza

Well that was crazy. We ordered almost all of the furniture for our new house in the last 24 hours. How did that happen? Late Friday afternoon we received an email from our builder. Apparently, they had been working very diligently behind the scenes on getting a local retailer to provide furniture to stage our new home and give us a discount on anything we purchased.

In one way they struck out and in another way they struck gold. They didn’t find a store willing to stage, but they did find a store willing to give us a discount for anything we purchased. Let us refer to it as Rude&Bored (R&B). This is something along the lines of discovering a unicorn, as R&B does not have sales nor do they give discounts to designers. You pay full price or wait until something goes on clearance and take your chances in the outlet store.

Of course we jumped all over the opportunity and went to the store to meet with a design associate. I expected to have a long conversation about what pieces we needed and some preliminary viewing/shopping. Instead, we dove right in and selected everything we needed for our living room (2 sofas, 2 chairs, coffee table and rug). We also made plans to meet this morning at the house and walk him through it, then head back to the store for more shopping.

We spent 90 minutes at the house and, after a quick stop for lunch, met at the store. Four hours later, we were making a huge down payment on a huge order. The only significant items we didn’t order were the study desk and our master bed (both of which my husband will be making) plus our mattress. We also tapped out on patio furniture. So we are going back next Tuesday afternoon after we have a chance to recharge. What a whirlwind.

Moving Into High Gear

The weather wasn’t great, but we sucked it up and managed to get in a walk yesterday afternoon. We took an extended break at the turnaround point, when we stopped to visit with our friend who was taking some measurements outside of his new home. It ended up sprinkling on us during the second half of the walk.

This was after my husband spent three hours at our new house, giving a tour to my uncle. He happens to live nearby and drives past our home almost daily, so he’s been very interested in the progress. By the time we finished our walk and headed to the house together for our daily check-in, it was after 4:00. I was elated and somewhat terrified to see that the second delivery of drywall was in progress.

The basement and main floor drywall was hung almost two weeks ago and I had been anxiously awaiting for the rest of the drywall to arrive so that work could continue. It was supposed to come last week and then Monday and then Tuesday. I was started to despair. They had finished unloading one truck and were nearly done with the second when we arrived. The terrifying part was watching them lift it with a crane and pull it in through the window.

The siding guys have been hard at it for the past week. They’ve put up all of the Hardie on the house and the workshop. Yesterday they were working on the shiplap inside the conservatory. It looks awesome. When we returned today, they were just wrapping up work. The only areas of siding left are a few small metal sections and the vertical shiplap next to the front door. Now we just need warm and dry weather so the landscape work can get started.

Just Another Dusting

We received a tiny dusting of snow early this morning. That was followed up by rain the rest of the day. I guess it was inevitable, since my car is clean. At least it’s not rain turning into snow, followed by ice.

Despite all my big talk, I spent very little time out photographing the snow this winter. Since April is less than a week away, that window is closing. I blame the house. But then, I blame the house for everything.

Stress, weight gain, shoulder injury, anger issues. This house building thing has pretty much pushed me to my limits. I fired off a tersely worded (email) novel on Saturday, listing all of the decisions we still have to make. Of course it got forwarded it to a larger audience.

I’m just over it. There is still a ton of work left to do and just over ten weeks remain until the show. Meanwhile, I’m trying to wrap up everything that needs to happen before we close on our house in Phoenix in just two weeks. In honor of this morning’s dusting and all the images not taken this winter, I’m featuring a few more from my late December outing in the yard. Bring on the spring.

Losing the Circus Tent

While we were busy getting ready to sell our house in Phoenix, work on our home here continued briskly. Most significantly, the last areas of siding are now going up, covering the yellow insulation. The stair tower and the northwest corner of the house were completed this week. Based on their progress so far, I’m hoping it will be finished by the end of next week. Unfortunately, they managed to disconnect our internet in the process, so we haven’t seen updated solar numbers since Wednesday afternoon.

The drywall has been hung in the basement and on the main level. We need another delivery before they can start on the second floor. The tile has been completed in the main house, except for grouting the master bath. Speaking of which, the waterproofing for the master shower has been installed. The epoxy flooring in the workshop is also in progress. Apparently, solid white is the toughest one to do, so it’s taking them a while to get it right.

Meanwhile, we are deep into the weeds on some (seemingly) minor details. This week’s biggest debate has involved vent covers. You know, those things that go over the air ducts? Most people have plain metal ones or wood, if they want to get fancy. Not us. Once we found out that flush mount wasn’t really an option (because we didn’t specify them during framing), we settled on a cool design. There’s still a number of minor design choices to finalize, as well as some material options. But it’s definitely dwindling. Which is good, because we have just under 11 weeks to go.