This week the drywall finishers completed the walls, the siding installers completed their work, the well drillers completed the geo-thermal wells, the concrete guys poured the patio, the power company installed a new pole and hooked up our electrical service, and the painter (me) painted most of the interior. I enjoyed being part of all this activity and I am grateful that most of the workers happily communicated with the other contractors when they were in each other’s way. This much activity can create competition for space and result in frustration. However, since the guys chose to communicate and cooperate, everyone was able to complete their tasks with only minor inconveniences.
As I have noticed the need for this trait in the contractors who have come to our new house, I have asked myself how flexile am I? How willing and able am I to accommodate other people’s agendas while staying on task with my agenda?
Our General Contractor is a good role model. He has a wonderful ability to remain optimistic even when there are apparent roadblocks. He quickly adjusts to inclement weather, unavailable sub-contractors, and the changing minds of the owners. He is a godly man who often prefaces plans with, “If the Lord wills.” When I first met Paul, I thought this phrase meant that he did not expect it to happen and was looking for a way out. That is, “If it doesn’t happen it is God’s fault.” However, I have come to appreciate his genuine faith and willingness to accept interruptions as from the hand of God. This is an attractive and helpful characteristic, especially in the construction industry.
Just in time for the cold weather, this past week we made progress to close up the house. As you can see in these pictures, the siding started to go on, the fireplace was installed and the drywall was mostly finished. Also, the rest of the insulation was blown in and the garage floor was poured.
I am particularly encouraged as I notice the unique competencies of the sub-contractors who come to perform specific tasks. Each individual knows his role and generally performs it with professionalism and excellence. Usually the workers have wonderful attitudes and are a pleasure to be around. If they express discouragement, it is because there is something unique about our project that inhibits them from achieving the level of excellence they desire. Every worker encourages me and I do my best to express my appreciation.
I expressed appreciation to one of the guys installing the siding about how efficiently he was working. He sloughed off my complement with, “It’s actually very easy if you have the right materials.” I corrected him with, “It is easy if you have the right materials and knowledge.” He has a skill that should not be devalued. For example, if I had to learn how to do his job and actually do it, it would be more costly and take much longer. He is filling a critical role without which we could not finish this project.
Beyond the progress with the construction this week, our family experienced other blessings. Most importantly, Laura and Kagi welcomed their beautiful new daughter, Sybil, into the world. Less significant, this morning I ran the Hershey Half-Marathon and managed to win my age grouping. Competing is good for me. It reminds me of a host of spiritual principles. For example, as I was tempted to try to stay with younger and faster runners, I spoke to myself, “Keep your pace. Stick to what you can do and everything will turn out okay.” I’m glad I listened to myself!
Our excavator prepared a special road for the concrete truck to get to the back of the house to pour its load through the basement window. Fortunately the weather stayed dry for several days beforehand and the plan worked. Even though it started to rain as the truck was pulling out, the basement floor is installed and we now have one finished area in the house! Finally, I have a place to store the stuff that I have been moving from place to place to clear working areas.
This week we also worked to bring water into the house, insulated the walls, and started hanging drywall. I am grateful for the steady progress we are making.
One of the areas of construction that I needed to research was how to repair and extend the stone exterior. The places where the old construction meets new and around the great room window are broken. We also want to extend the rock facade across the front of the garage to visually tie the old building to the new construction. I was helped by a neighbor who connected me to a stone mason, John, and by my excavator who connected me to another home owner, Ed. Ed has been researching rock construction for three years. After meeting them seperately I discovered that John and Ed are working together on Ed’s house.
I learned that there is a local stone cutter who will cut my stones into facade sized rocks. Because I can provide the raw material, this will not be much more expensive than vinyl siding. At this point this seems like a good solution. I am grateful for the knowledgable people who are helping us! Hopefully we will be able to finish the exterior before it gets too cold.
I enjoy checking items of my to-do lists. This week we checked of a number of construction tasks.
- We finished the rough-in plumbing.
- We finished the rough-in electricity.
- We finished installing the HVAC ducts.
- We finished shingling the roof.
- We installed the windows and sliding glass patio door.
And, we passed the framing inspection with only a short list of items to be completed!
I was particularly grateful that the roofers were able to seal up the roof Wednesday afternoon just as it started to rain. That kept the interior mostly dry during a significant rain storm that lasted most of the following day.
Unfortunately, since we have not completed the landscape excavating, for the third time since the basement was dug it filled with water.
The General Contractor is still unwilling to project a finish date. I joked with him Thursday and reminded him that Nancy plans to come home in 30 days. “Will she have a place to live?” He responded, “Sure, we can all be here together.” So, I guess we do not expect to occupy the house before the end of October.
Oh well, even if occupancy still seems far off, I am thankful that our task-list is growing shorter.