Monday, July 5, 2010

Back to the future.....and the here and now.

Back to the future....and the here and now. And, yes, it's been a while since I've reported on the day-to-day happenings. Let's hope I can remember what's happened.

I've paid more good money for good dirt.....some less money for not-so-good-dirt (probably something my parents tried to teach me at some point)....and I've gained some firsthand knowledge about spreading dirt (I'm pretty sure they talked to me about that one).

John R.'s friend Bryan helped with the yard detail....brought his tractor and rented a Harley Rake......John R. has gotten a newer, bigger tractor, in the meantime.....and Gabe and I picked up rocks and raked. On foot.

Next came the hole-digging for the trees to be planted.....with some slight miscalculations on my part about how big those holes needed to be. John R. and Gabe and I dug the holes....the trees almost fit.....Jamie came to dig more and deeper the next day........and now there are two spectacular River Birch trees planted in the yard with a hole just waiting for a third one. And, once again, I was getting some ever-thoughtful and well-researched advice and diagrams from my West Coast connection about placement and timing. We needed it.

Then there was the day I drove into the driveway from a hard day's work.......only to discover that the entire area had suddenly turned the most bilious (and that is the perfect adjective) shade of sea foam green I've ever seen. No signs.....just sea foam green forever. (A hydro-seeding trick in hopes of growing some Buffalo grass.)
Meanwhile, Tom and Sid (previously known as Frick and Frack) have been lovingly, carefully, methodically and knowingly preparing each and every cedar board (and the screws and nails that go with it) side by side in perfect.....and I do mean perfect....relationship with the finish the ramp and both porches.

Words cannot describe how it feels to have two friends who took it upon themselves to get involved in this project. Amidst record-breaking heat, wasps, bees, ticks, copperheads, lightning, poison ivy, long drives to get to work......and the never-ending life issues and family situations that most other folks are dealing with from the comfort of their air-conditioned homes.....they planned and measured, constructed and installed and gave me even more reason to love them and love this house forever. Thank you Tom and Sid. And thank you Michael and Jason for knowing that the cedar wrapped porches, the ramp and the cedar ceiling in the living room, kitchen and hallway would take this house to yet a higher level of design elegance.

I know that I'm not the first to mention this, nor will I be the last, but building a house is certainly a whole lot more than building a house. When I stop to think about all of the people I've encountered along the way....and the experiences that have accompanied the is definitely a very good way.

So....what's next? Michael is going to be back on the job soon with plans for the porch and ramp handrails and for the canopy that will attach to the storage container for a carport. And I will be sitting on the gravel bar in front of the house reading a magazine and eating my lunch.....or paddling slowly down the James. ......back to the future......and the here and now.

Whoa.....Fifth of July and I'm talking about a wood stove?

Whoa....Fifth of July and I'm talking about a wood stove? You betcha. (Strike that. I SURE don't want to sound like the person who ruined "you betcha" for me.) Yes. I forgot to talk about the wood stove, and I think it's definitely worth talking about. (*Background note: there was originally supposed to be a fireplace in this house, but there was an early mistake that made it impossible to add.......thus, the wood stove instead of my first choice fireplace.)

First of all, it's not easy to find a wood stove that isn't all goo-gawed up with scrolls and eagles and curvy legs......but not too hard to find beautifully sleek and simple Danish or Norwegian or Swedish designs that would make anyone drool....but also cost thousands and thousands of dollars. And well worth it. I'd been searching websites for a couple of years hoping for something affordable and PLAIN......then looked at the dealers around here.....and finally found someone who could order a SCAN a pretty hefty price.

I had plenty of support in making the decision to spend the money (and the tax credit that I was going to get).....mainly, because I sure needed to have a backup system if the power goes off during an ice storm. Which it will. Thankfully, before I had the dealer order it, I made one last check with other places around the area to see if I could save money and/or actually see a SCAN stove with my own eyes.

Lo and behold, I found one in Ozark, Missouri at Missouri Insulation, drove over and looked at it, liked it, liked the people there.......and that was the beginning of a most wonderful experience from beginning to end. The price was MUCH better than the other place and the people were honest, energetic, reliable, competent and hard-working. And all of those things came along when I sure needed them the most.

The installation guy came out ahead of time to see what he was in for......never having seen a shipping container house before........Jeff, one of the owners, came out twice before the installation and once afterwards.......and I couldn't be happier with the stove or with their whole company.

Yeah, it's July.......but good service and good people need to be remembered any time of the year.