No Work on a Rainy Sunday

No one was working on our OUR house, but we passed several others under construction that did have workers – on Sunday – in the rain.

So here is a picture of the house with no trucks and cars parked in front of it.

The sliding glass door for the master bedroom has not been installed.  It has been a mystery to me why the guy did not install it the day he installed the one in the family room.

The door has been there the whole time, leaning against the bedroom wall.

Today, I solved the mystery.  I noticed this penciled note on the floor in front of the opening.

I studied the opening and then realized that there is not a recess, or a little ledge/step down where the door sits. I remembered watching the man filling in that recess with concrete behind the installed door. I understand why the concrete pourers made the mistake.  The original plans call for two windows on that wall.  We changed it to a sliding door to get more outside inside.

We also added a window in Andy’s office.  Here, he is contemplating his future view.

I spent some time trying to decide what this bird is.  My first thought was Reddish Egret.  But, with yellow legs, he must be a Little Blue Heron.

The one living room window still needs to be installed.  In the meantime, it makes a nice seat.

We were pretty excited that all three Misovec children were coming to see us today and check out the new house.  We waited for them at the Chesapeake Grille on the Village Green, here in the development.

I picked up a pass/key for the amenities (pool, gym, etc) and keys for two other houses just like ours that are completed from the sales office.  After lunch, we toured the amenities, then the completed houses.  Our last stop was the Misovec house.  After a complete tour, Mike spotted the dumpster out front.  He and Kathy are planning to get one to empty things from brother Paul’s house in Orlando.  They decided to measure it so they would have a sense of dumpster sizes.  We got a tape measure out of the car.

That reminded me.  I got this email last night from son-in-love George in Milwaukee, who is a mechanical engineer at Milwaukee tools:

“You didn’t require workers to use Milwaukee tools?  It hurts to see yellow tools building my mother-in-law’s house…”

I mentioned it to the kids.  Kathy decided we should send a picture of us measuring the dumpster with Andy’s Milwaukee Tools measuring tape.


Then, Kathy pointed out that the dumpster was not the most attractive or appropriate thing to measure for a picture to send to George.  The house would be much better.  I took a picture. Note that we also had two Milwaukee Tools, can holders.


Kathy said I needed to be in the picture so Andrew took the next one.


The kids and grandchildren are at Disney this week so we’ll visit with them again soon.

The Sandhill Cranes were standing in the road in front of our RV site.  This one was so close that I hardly had to use any zoom to get a nice crane portrait.



HVAC Ducting and Vents

The Misovec children are all in Orlando, dealing with brother Paul’s house and estate.  Michael arrived here at 11:30 last night. Andy fed him waffles for breakfast and he went with us for our morning house inspection and left after lunch.

The house was so quiet today that it was almost eerie. There were only two young men inside with a radio playing softly in the garage. They did not have any power tools or a generator. Here is the house as we drove up this morning.

One man was installing ducts in the ceiling.

The other was opening bags with the ducts in them.

They were squashed into small bags and reminded me of the body on my Jack-in-the-Box when I was a kid.  But, alas, they did not pop out of the bags when he opened them.

It was a lot of fun watching one of them toss the stretched-out ducts across the ceiling joists.  He rarely missed.  When in mid-air, they looked more like the Jack-in-the-Box.

They got busy building what he told me were mixing boxes.  I think of them more like junction boxes. They were several different sizes and had varying numbers of ducts going in and out. First, they referred to a spec sheet for size, number, and placement of the ducts. They assembled the fittings atop the appropriate size box. The boxes were made of some kind of foam and covered with heavy foil. He would press the fittings on the box, which would create an indentation in the foil.

Then he would cut the holes with a knife.

He would pull out the circle

and insert the fittings into the perfectly sized hole and bend the flanges inside.

The house looked like the morning after a party with all the ducts hanging from the ceiling.

A piece of heavy equipment pulled up outside so we went out to see what was happening.  The man told us our water meter was positioned to be under the driveway so they were going to move it.  That meant digging up our water connection from the street to the meter and moving it three or four feet to the side. Here they are measuring before digging out the meter.

When we came back in the afternoon, we could see that the water meter was in a different place, but could not tell otherwise that anything had been disturbed.

The duct men had been busy.  They had installed bathroom vents, a stove vent, and a dryer vent.

This man was positioning the ducts through the rafters.

This one was affixing hanging straps to the boxes.

It still looked like a party to me.

The supervisor spent a good bit of time in awkward positions affixing the main mixer box above the spot where the heat pump will be.

The other one was hanging the ducts from the trusses with strapping.  He put a strap at every other truss.

He also hung the boxes.

This is above the dining room.

It looked as though we had a monster above the family/great room.

This cattle egret was across the golf course.  We did not see any Sandhill Cranes today.




Electricians, Plumbers, and Door and Window Installers

Today’s progress might not be as photographically dramatic as the past week but is impressive none-the-less. It looked the same outside as it did when we left yesterday.

Inside was a buzz (literally) of activity.  I got a kick out of all the power tools laid out in the garage.

A lot of the noise came from this guy installing windows in Andy’s office.

Another man was installing the sliding glass door in the family room/kitchen.

I asked Andy to check out the window in the dining room. He does humor me sometimes.

The next time I saw the window installer, he was outside caulking windows.

We watched a plumber install a bathtub.  He really had to wrestle with it to slide it into its place.

I had noticed that one of the living room windows was smaller than the other. The original plans called for a smaller window in the right corner.  I thought that looked strange and asked to have two windows placed on that wall. The man we met with said how about a large one centered.  I agreed.  The hole was large, but not the same size as the front window. I wished I had clarified that or paid closer attention. This morning, I noticed that all the windows had been installed except that living room window.  Then a man came in with a humongous, scary saw.  He marked lines under the window and sawed away at the block wall.  Then, he went outside and cut from there.  Another, younger man walked over and asked if he was ready for the blocks to be kicked.  Then he kicked them outside.

Now I am happy that the windows are the same size as I had thought they should be.











This electrician was pulling wires across the house.

The plumber is getting the pipes ready for the kitchen sink and the dishwasher.  A dishwasher!  I don’t know.  I haven’t had a dishwasher since 2001. I’m not sure I need one.

There were at least a half-dozen electricians working at full speed. Andy watched from the far side of a wall.

With all the noise emanating from the house, two sandhill cranes walked into the shade of the trees behind the house.  They were cautious and tilted their heads listening.

We were so impressed with the carpenters using stilts yesterday.  Well, let me tell you, electricians don’t need no stinkin’ stilts.  They walked around on their ladders.  It takes some fancy hip action to do so. This guy was walking across the room.  When they moved a short distance they did not hold on to the ceiling joists.

They hung their spools of wire on swiveling hangers.  They just took an end and pulled it across the house. There were two more in the family room and one in our bedroom.

I was thrilled when two young men installed the front door.  I chose it from a photo and it turned out to be beautiful. There is no color to it.  The color is from what is outside. Ah yes, I can pick out the dumpster and the port-o-potty.


Studs Everywhere

I don’t know what time these crews start in the mornings, but I am always surprised by how much is done when we get there.  Today was no different. And, there were studs everywhere.  Several on the roof, some in the garage, and more than I could count in the house itself.

Here is how the house looked when we walked up to it this morning. The hole over the dining room had been covered. Two or four studs were walking on the roof.

This handsome stud was putting up fascia.

The four young studs on the roof were putting down the underlayment. At first, they tacked it down lightly.  Then, after they had the roof covered they walked around with their nail guns, running along seams and sounding as though a machine gun battle was in progress.

Inside, all the interior walls were studded out.  Andy pretended to be a ghost walking through walls.

This young stud was in the garage adding blocking between the ceiling joists.  There will be a pull-down ladder in the ceiling and a small storage space above the garage. I have never seen carpenters wearing stilts before.  They walked around fairly normally even though they were wearing a ton of tools around their waists.

An even taller stud was inside.  He posed for me.

Then he got to work on the door to the master bedroom.

This is the beginnings of a kitchen island that will hold the sink.  The kitchen is not really a separate room; it is part of the family room.

This stud was up in the rafters all afternoon, adding braces to the trusses.

Millie Rose asked if there were other houses around us so I took three pictures to show the current state of my neighbors. This is the view to the right.  That house in the distance is the same model as ours but is finished and for sale.

There are five or six houses to the left. It is a long street and they are at the far end from us.

This is the view out the front.  There are six houses on the next street over.

A number of lots without houses have been sold.  It takes a while after signing a contract for them to start the house.  We signed our contract in early March and construction did not begin until the beginning of July.

Here is the house at the end of the day.


A Roof

I wanted to get to the house early this morning to watch the crane lift the trusses into place.  I was too late; they were all up when we got there.

I walked around to look at it from the side.

There were nine or ten workers there.  Since they were using power saws and power hammers, they had a generator and a compressor sitting at the curb running and making a lot of noise.

We walked around to the sunny side to watch them at work. Three men were laying sheets of plywood on that side of the house. This picture was taken at 9:46 am.

One young man was taking sheets of plywood off the stack and setting them on what looked like a giant easel.  The men on the roof would grab one at the top, lift it quickly, and then catch it at the center and carry it to where they nailed it down.


Andy was astounded at their pace.

They reached the peak in short order.  This photo was taken at 10:22 a.m.

These two were working at the front of the house and stopped to pose when they saw me with the camera aimed their way.

We went home for lunch and then took the car to the dealer for an oil change.  I got an email from Robin Roberts in Alaska.  She is reading Big Creek (and loves it!).  She commented that Jim likes the idea of a monthly birthday cake and wants to start that tradition.  WHOOPS!  I forgot all about the monthly birthday cake this month. So, to make amends, we went out for an ice cream sundae after the oil change.

The woman, who has worked on the interior was nailing wood into the front door opening.

Here is the front door from inside at the end of the day.


Filled Walls and Furring Strips

My good buddy JR Smullen has set me straight: “FYI, those are NOT cinder blocks.  They are concrete blocks.  Up north we call anything that looks like a cinder block, a cinder block, even though there is a big difference.  The blocks they just put up, once they pour the concrete into the reinforcing holes at the top, will allow your home to withstand Florida hurricanes quite nicely. The holes at the bottom of the blocks are inspection holes so they can ensure the concrete pour went all the way to the bottom.  The little pieces of plywood they will cover the holes with will keep the concrete from escaping will be removed by the building inspector to ensure the pour meets code.”

So, of course, I had to Google that.  I don’t know that I can ever train myself to say concrete block even though I learned the difference hereJR also sent me a photo of his house at the same stage of construction. Very cool.

And, Derrick Knight, a blogging buddy who is obviously a bird lover, posted the question:  “Better and better. Are the cranes there to help with lifting?” Now that got me to thinking.  Did the machine for lifting heavy loads get named because it has a long neck like the bird crane?

Three workers were in the house when we arrived in the morning.

One was assembling roof sections with the trusses that are lying in the front yard.

This woman was putting up furring strips on the exterior walls.

They had erected two interior, load-bearing walls.

The cement pumping crew arrived and this man dragged in several big hoses.  I loved his hard hat.

Here is a better look.  I think the brim is made of styrofoam of some sort.

We left to take the car to a shop to talk about getting the damage from that rear-end crash we had in Sevierville, TN.  The collision shop said they would not do a job for the crasher’s insurance company, Direct General.  They said Direct General does not pay the bills.  The man recommended that we go through our insurance company, Geico and let them deal with Direct General.  Then he gave us an estimate to repair the damage you can hardly notice:  $1,200!

When we stopped at the house on our way home for lunch, the cement truck was there,

pouring concrete into the pumper.

A crew of four was doing the job. One was operating the concrete pump. Two were atop the walls.  One was holding the hose pouring the sloppy wet concrete into the wall. The other one was using a shovel to smooth out any overflow.  He also inserted anchors into the concrete to hold down the roof trusses and ceiling joists. I’m sure the hose was heavy and hard to maneuver. I noticed that he was not actually holding the weight of the hose full of concrete.  That vertical metal rod on the hose has two hooks, one at the top for a handle and another stuck into the concrete block to hold the weight of the hose while the man only had to manage the section of hose above the hook. He could easily move the hose with the hook at his waist height.

The man with the hard-sun-hat was the hose wrangler.  When the fellow at the top moved the hook, he lifted the weight of the hose to make it lighter for the man on top. He also yelled for the pumper to start and stop.

We went back at the end of the day to look around after everyone had gone home. The anchors were shining in the late sun.

The sandhill cranes were grazing next to the golf course, no doubt getting fuel for tomorrow’s heavy lifting.  The carpenter told me they are going to put up trusses tomorrow.

I thought the roof section looked like modern sculpture in the early evening sunlight.




Block Laying Done!

We went to the Arlington Ridge sales office first thing this morning to drop off statements and other financial documentation for the mortgage.  Then, of course, we drove by the house to see what was going on there. Four or five vehicles were parked at the house.

They were moving fast, but I think there were six (or more) men working on laying cinder blocks. Two or three of them were atop the scaffolding laying the blocks.  Another two were carrying palettes of mortar to the block layers.  They were also setting cinder blocks on the scaffolding so it would be within easy reach. One man was outside mixing batches of mortar and slapping a pile on the empty palettes that two other men brought out to him.

The sandhill cranes were out behind the house again.

The men were working fast.

We left to run our errands.  Back to Target to get the hand-held vacuum cleaner.  We ate lunch at the Panera near Target. To the bank to deposit some checks and get a cashier’s check to pay our property tax in Marathon.  I overlooked a payment and they said they would only take cash, money order, or cashier’s check to catch up.  I don’t know how I missed the March payment; I did make the April payment. To the post office to mail a book to an Appalachia scholar and that check to the tax collector. To the hardware store for a socket to adjust the bolt on the tow dolly.  To another store that had the right size socket on hand.  To the grocery store for tomorrow’s dinner. By that time, it was the end of the work day and we drove back by the house on our way home.

A man was delivering a truckload of lumber and plywood when we pulled up.

An electrician backed his truck into the yard and immediately went to the front of the garage and bashed a hole in a cinder block with his hammer. I knew it was to run the wires for the outdoor lights. You can see the black hole in this picture.

The block layers were done.  They had even built the posts for the front porch.

I had noticed a man cleaning up in the morning. In the afternoon, the whole interior of the house was clean.

We watched the man unload and place the lumber around the house.

The electrician banged more holes into the garage wall and ran some PVC tubing from the top of the wall, down, and out the holes. Then, he jumped into his truck and drove to another house across the way.

The master bath is coming along nicely, Chuck Chapman. That window on the right is in the bedroom.