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blue…forklift! (More on this guy later.)

As expected, we spent the weekend back out at the property.  The weather actually wasn’t horrible!  We even took our coats off on Sunday!  Unlike yesterday when the Hills were once again shut down due to a “blizzard”.  (It wasn’t really a blizzard.  There was a good deal of snow, but not nearly the foot being called for.  The real problem was the rain from Sunday night that made everything a skating rink.)

I will, in the name of full disclosure, tell you I played the wimp on Saturday morning.  The boy and I loaded up all the extra plumbing stuff and took it back into the big city to recoup some of our money.  We also picked up the tile for the kid bathroom.  And we got gas.  And a car wash (oy did it ever need it – and it was free with a tank of gas).  Then I spent more money at Taco Bell than I think I have since college.  (I went to Michigan Tech, way up in da U.P., eh*?  Back then the nearest Taco Bell was 2 hours away in Marquette.  We used to road trip over and pick up multiple 20 packs of tacos.  They typically didn’t last more than a day or two we ate them so fast.)  But it was the least I could do for poor dear hubby and his parents who were slaving away on the deck!

And don’t worry – once we got back I pitched in.

So what did we get done?  Let’s see…

deckframe

Here’s the front of the house.  Josh finished up nearly all of the framing on this side before he came home.  (He’s putting up the joist hangars right now.)  The four of us completed the framing of the side porch that day as well.  On Sunday we started laying down the decking:

sidedeckWe nearly finished the side – there’s one more row that needs to go in, and the boards that are up against the house actually need to be ripped down a bit to fit.  We expected the actual decking to go down much faster than it did.  Partly it was the screws we bought.  We used composite deck screws – guaranteed not to mushroom!  They require a square bit to put in.  Oy vey.  We had a hard time finding a bit that didn’t strip the dang things out.  I’m sure the chilly weather was exacerbating the issue by making the composite decking extra dense.  It also took a bit longer since the deck is only about 6′ wide – 4 people do not fit well in that small space when they are trying to move 16′ boards around and bend over to screw them down.  Sunday Josh and I also finished up a few tasks inside to make sure we were ready for the drywall guys (who of course have been delayed again thanks to the snow).

Spring is on it’s way, I swear.  I’ve seen a robin or two around the house we’re in now, but these two blue beauties spent most of  Sunday flitting around us.  It’s not the first time I’ve seen them – they were out the weekend we were putting the insulation in and it was near 70.  But of course I didn’t have my camera handy then.

pair

They seem to have taken a liking to our garage.  Josh thinks he saw them flying around inside.  I’m afraid they’re making use of the half-finished soffit for a nesting location.  I’m going to have to ask the guys to please check before they totally close it in.  (I have no idea what to do if they have – any suggestions?)

I had intended to put up a number of bird houses around the property – guess I better move a bit quicker.  I’m also planning for bat houses.  Josh originally thought I’m nuts.  But then I remind him that while the Hills are relatively bug-free, the creek and the marsh lands that surround it are the perfect breeding ground for skeeters.  He quickly agreed we should put them up.  Now we’re just deciding where.  (I say on the house, he says not.)

We actually took yesterday off and spent the day at home with the Boy and a big pot of warm chili.  Yum!

Hopefully your weekend was warmer and full of fun as well.  Because even though we worked our tails off – you’ve always gotta find some time for fun.

selfportrait

*I really must get one of these:

bumpersticker-sayya

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So what have we been up to out at the house for the last week?

First of all, we put in all the plumbing.  Even with using the Pex system, it’s a big project.  We got it all done over the weekend so the inspector could approve us before the drywall guys were slated to arrive (Wednesday).  Of course nothing around here goes off like planned.  For exhibit A I give you this.  And here‘s Exhibit B.  That delayed everybody.  The plumbing inspector showed up on Wednesday, the drywall guys won’t start until next week.  Anywho.  The inspector asked us to move a few things (a bit of an ordeal, but probably worthwhile in the long run).  Still – a pain after everything was done.

I snapped this picture Wednesday afternoon:

siding

But on Thursday the guys were back inside.  They needed to fix the stairs (apparently they weren’t done correctly the first time for the way we want them finished).  Plus we have a couple walls that need to be “adjusted” – they’re 2×4 when they need to be 2×6.

But really, what’s all this whining about “the worst job ever”?  It’s simple:

ick

Oy.  This stuff is horrible!

I’m going to be brutally honest here.  (Which I’m sure Josh is *so* going to appreciate.)  I did not want this stuff.  I reallyreallyreallyreally thought we should do the spray in foam insulation.  Even at a 3″ depth (which works out to an R value about the same as the batt).  The problem was holy canoli’s batman have you seen what that stuff costs?  I’ll tell you.  About 3 times as much as the batt.  Installed.  Josh and I argued long and hard over it.  And then sniped a little longer.  In the end…we went with batt.  Don’t worry – I’ll hold it over him every time the wind blows or the temperature drops below zero.

To save ourselves even more moolah, we put it all in ourselves.  The advantage to this was that we also went through more cans of that spray in crack filler than probably any other house in history.  Because dammit.  If I can’t have foam, you better believe I filled in any place I even *thought* I felt air come through.  We also got this:

insulation

Because if we’ve got to use batt insulation, I prefer it not to constantly pollute my lungs while I live here.

At least last weekend the weather was in the high 60’s.  We spent Friday evening, Saturday, and Sunday all day working on the plumbing and insulation.  Monday we went back out in.the.blizzard and worked on insulation.  Ditto Tuesday.  Yeesh.  Wednesday Josh worked on moving the plumbing.  Same for last night while I did some minor chores and ran five more lines of coax.  (Because, you know, it might help to actually run the cables you need to go from the media center to the *gasp* satellite! Duh.)

This weekend we will have the joy!  The fun!  The excitment!  of putting in the decking for the porch.  Or at least the framing for it.  Because the high is supposed to be mid-40s on Sunday.  Don’t you all want to come join us and lend a hand?  I know you don’t.

So go forth and have a wonderful weeknd full of warmth and frivolous activities.  Somebody ought to.  Oh yeah one more thing…wanna be our neighbor?

neighbor(This sign appeared on our fence line a couple days ago.)

I had every intention of posting a great entry for you folks on Monday.  But then, oh golly, lucky us.  We got hit with a spring blizzard.  The advantage:  2 days off work (basically – closed at 10:30 on Monday, never opened on Tuesday), and lots of time to get stuff done on the house.  The disadvantage?  No internet at home and lots of working at the house in the freezing cold.  Gah.  Did I mention it was nearly 80 on Sunday?  So. Not. Fair.

So I have a good deal to show you.  But I also have no time right now.  As Annie would say, “Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!”  And that damn sun better come out tomorrow too.  Oh, but that’s right.  You’re always a day away.  (Feels like it lately.)

Until I can get some time to write up all our craziness from the past week, here’s a picture to tide you over.

snow

This is the view out one of the master bedroom windows *after* the snow stopped falling.  I took it right before I covered up the last window with plastic.  No views for a month or so until the drywall guys are done and the painting is finished.  (And yes, I wish I had taken a picture when the snow was falling – but really it would just look like a green and white striped blur thanks to the mass amounts of snow and wind.  You didn’t miss anything. Except copious amounts of Hot Chocolate – thanks for the Frango Hot Chocolate Mixes Mom!)

Now – I’m back off into the cold to help Josh finish moving some plumbing, run a few cables we forgot, and see what else that slave driver is going to make me do.