Monday, November 6, 2017

Catching Up and a Quick Side Trip to "The Curve"

Perhaps I should title this post “Catching my breath” – since it’s been a whirlwind three weeks or so since my 14 October update. (Well, I have done a couple of Wordless Wednesday posts, including one showing exciting shots of basement walls without a house attached!). Happily that's changed - see photo below. 

Out with the old
As I’ve mentioned previously we moved into a small apartment at the end of September, and put the house on the market fully intending for it to be a few months, at least, before it sold. We had an offer in less than two weeks, from a couple who wanted – no needed – to close on 15 November. Naturally, we accepted the offer but we've had to go from the "we have 3 or 4 months" mindset we were in to "we have less than a month!" 
It’s been a whirlwind of negotiations, inspections, dealing with the items we hadn’t moved out of the house – yet – and the like. Some of which have gone smoothly, others... let's just say I'll have to tell you over a cold one some time. 
I’m thrilled to report as of today everything is still on track to close on the 15th – and fingers crossed – once we get past that milestone we can focus on the new house. Which is a good thing since ....

You’ve got to watch them… 
Like a hawk. Builders that is. 
When we signed the contract for the new house we included a finished basement (it was an option at a price that would be impossible to meet if we’d waited to have it done by another contractor after we moved in). The builder has a “standard” way he finishes the basement, but you can (for a price) add to the finished square footage. The standard basement includes three unfinished “storage areas” – I opted to use one of these for household storage, one that will become my model building shop and the third – well, the third seem superfluous so I paid the extra coin to have it finished, specifying that it not be a separate room but instead should be part of the main “family room.” And, since there no wall between the storage room and powder room the basement powder room wall was supposed to shift about 12 feet to the right. 
All was well and good – until last week when I stopped by and noticed the rough plumbing for the powder room was located in the same place as that wall that we'd eliminated. Meaning a few pipes would just be jutting up into the middle of the finished basement. 
A quick call to the sales agent produced a run around about how they knew what they we’re doing, the pipes were in the right place, etc… I might not know much, but I can look at a diagram and walk off basic measurements. 
I called them since I figured it was something they’d want to fix now as the basement floor hadn’t been poured. 
A message was delivered to the site supervisor, who was on vacation that day. Turned out that later that same day a cement truck poured the basement floor. 
The next day the builder acknowledged the error – it was a case of the plumbers coming in and putting the pipes “where they always go…” 
A jackhammer and a second visit from the plumber fixed the problem… but you really need to watch these guys…sometimes they seem to go so fast they get ahead of themselves. 

A Little Time Off
Despite the craziness I managed to take a couple of days this past weekend and Stic and I headed up to the Finescale Modelers Expo in Altoona, Pa. Although there were some fine models on display, I would have to say the clinics as a whole were not as good as other meets I've attended (I might have more to say on that at some point in the future). The models on display, even those a little fanciful for my taste, were outstanding examples of craftsmanship - I especially liked this O scale diorama - the various elevations and the way the buildings and trees were arranged created some neat vignettes. 

I even managed to find a couple of things to purchase in the dealer room - most significant of which was a couple of BEST Trains kits. I have a number of these, including the now famous "barn in the curve" from the previous layout. I like them because I think they are reflective of typical New England architecture (mostly because they are based on real structures) and are only minimally "compressed."

Highlight of the trip was a visit to the Altoona Railroaders Museum, followed with a visit to the Horseshoe Curve. The weather was outstanding and the colors were just at or slightly past peak - and Norfolk Southern was keeping the rails polished. Well worth the trip. 

1 comment:

EspeeCascades said...

Marty, you are in for a ride. Building a house--totally custom or customized--is an "adventure." YES, you need to watch the crews like hawks. Only you know how the house will be used. I have plenty of my own tales, including being in our still-building house at 4 am with flashlights dealing with a cabinetry issue. The plumbing and slab are only the beginning (I have a similar tale.). The good news is that YES, you do have the skills needed to get what you need out of the construction process. Your challenge will be balancing that with your other "gainful employment." At least we had retired. Someday we will meet again and perhaps share tales. Meanwhile, enjoy the ride!

Bill Decker, McMinnville, OR