grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Thursday, June 30, 2011

13-30JUN11 - Monroe, WA

Since our last two BLOGs have discussed the start of our house construction on our property outside of Sultan, WA, we will commence this one with a brief summary of what has occurred to date:

Monday, 13JUN, framing “package” delivered; the delivery forklift gets stuck twice & we had to pull it out with our 4x4 Toad. The sill plates on top of the foundation were installed before we departed property for the day.

14JUN, Tuesday morning arrive on scene to find floor joists mostly installed; one man framing crew continued with rim plate. He couldn’t go any further until county inspector finally showed-up. After inspection floor decking installed along with garage walls, again all by one person.

Thursday, 16JUN, house completely framed & outer walls sheathed; along with framing all interior walls. Meanwhile Corrie finds an exceptional deal (& we mean exceptional deal) on floor models of a high end washer & dryer. So now we have them long before the house is done! To celebrate we have burgers & shakes at King Charley’s, a roadside institution on State Road 9 near Snohomish.

17JUN, which we count as the 12th day of construction, we arrive later than normal to find roof trusses had been delivered & 75% already installed; by the end of the day the trusses are done & the roof sheathing is installed.

21JUN the shingle roofing is done & windows are delivered; 22JUN, Wednesday, the windows & sliding doors are installed.

Thursday, 23JUN day 16 of construction, the plumbers (2) arrive & do their thing.

Nothing much happens until 26JUN when the electric furnace, air handler, & ventilation ducting are installed in half a day.

Then there is another lull until Thursday, 30JUN, when three electricians (father & 2 sons) show up & complete 90% of the installation in one day. Meanwhile three exterior doors & the siding “package” are delivered.

During this entire time we have tried to be on site whenever a contractor is there. In addition, when there are no contractors on site we still spend many hours at the site cleaning up after the contractors, since they “are not paid” to clean-up after themselves. Some are better than others at making an attempt at picking up their trash; but others make absolutely no effort even though we have placed a full size garbage can on site!

Also during this period Dan departed from 20-23JUN, to Tempe, AZ, on business trip for NCBRT; leaving Corrie to deal with the roofing, windows & plumbing. Thankfully everything went well, even though she is fully capable of handling anything that arose. Since 26JUN, Sunday, was forecasted to be an above average & sunny day, we headed to Snoqualmie Falls Park to view the Falls. This was a very scenic drive along what we call the valley road through the small towns of Duvall, Carnation & Fall City. The Falls are the second most visited tourist site in WA state after Mt Rainier. Thanks to the record high snow levels in the Cascades that is now melting, the Falls were much more impressive than usual. Snoqualmie Falls is the site of the first underground hydroelectric facility in the USA & is still generating non-polluting energy after almost one hundred years.

Right next door to the Falls is the Salish Lodge which is famous for their food, especially their breakfasts! You almost always need reservations for breakfast/brunch on weekends but Dan’s opinion was – what do we have to lose by just walking in? They found us a table, but obviously not one overlooking the Falls. The one brunch/breakfast menu item that they are renowned for is their country breakfast. This is a multi-course meal that a normal person can not finish (check out their website for complete details). Back in the late 70s, Dan & five of his friends each ordered this meal & managed to finish it! Today it costs $34 & we were thinking of splitting it; but they wanted anther $20 to split it! We went with the eggs benedict & croque madame; both outstanding. As usual Dan asked for tabasco, & was handed the world’s smallest bottle!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

01-12JUN11 - Monroe, WA

After the unexpected rapid start on construction of our house described in the proceeding BLOG things didn’t slow down! On 01JUN, Wednesday, the foundation walls were poured on top of the recently poured footings. When Dan arrived at the property he was just in time to find that the concrete pumper truck was stuck & our rock/gravel driveway was severely damaged. A “stuck” construction vehicle is a major headache & cost for the owner of the house, because most construction contracts have a clause that says the property owner is responsible for all charges for a stuck vehicle unless you can prove their negligence! This means that not only do you pay for a very big & expensive tow truck, but you pay for every minute the stuck vehicle can’t get to its next job! Thankfully they were able to get it free & back on the road; leaving us with a pretty trashed driveway.

The next day all the foundation forms were removed & we were advised to let the concrete “cure” over the weekend before back filling around the foundation. We then asked the lead contractor to give us all of next week (06-10JUN) to repair the driveway; install foundation drainage; backfill around the foundation; & “shoot” gravel into future crawl space. He agreed, & we spent the next two days, 03/04JUN, picking up debris, & purchasing the necessary piping & pieces for foundation drainage.

We did take time on Sunday, 05JUN, to have lunch with Dan’s brother Shawn & his girl friend, Cyndi, at the Buzz Inn by the Snohomish Airport. This is a small local airport that is used as a base of operations for hot air ballooning & skydiving. As we had a very relaxed late lunch we were constantly treated to the spectacle of dozens of skydivers bailing out of perfectly good planes over our heads & landing fifty feet from us. Hopefully we will see more of Shawn & Cyndi this summer, but first they are taking off for a two week road trip to Montana next weekend on their Harleys!

Monday first thing it was back to work on the property. First thing was repairing the driveway. This took three loads of rock (we’re talking 6 to 8 inch rock!), followed by two loads of small two inch gravel. Next up was filling the foundation walls of the future garage with washed sand in preparation for pouring a concrete garage floor. Lastly was installing French drainage tile (its really pipe, but they call it tile for some reason) around the outside of the foundation to reduce the possibility of water seeping into the crawl space below the house & causing mold.

This is not required by code but we decided on it just to be safe. It was not a simple task! First we had to lay a bed of gravel; & although we had a trackhoe to move & dump the gravel, we still had to level it with shovels. Then we had to place a “tubular” filter material around the drainage tile before laying it on the gravel (think stuffing sausage casing without the nifty sausage machine butchers have). Then the rest of the gravel had to be placed on the drainage pipe; & that covered with a four foot wide filtration cloth to keep dirt out, before the foundation could finally be backfilled! It was an all day affair & back breaking to say the least, even with the aid of a trackhoe!!!
On 09JUN, Thursday, we hired a gravel “conveyor” truck to “shoot” pea gravel into foundation in the area that will become the crawl space. Again this is not required by code, but we are taking this extra step to further reduce the possibility of water seepage after the house is closed-in. The conveyor truck was a very interesting device to watch in operation. It consists of a hopper that can be loaded with dirt, mulch, beauty bark, small gravel, etc; the hopper empties through the bottom onto an auger/conveyor mechanism that feeds to the rear of the rig. A 20 foot portion of the conveyor extends off the rear of the truck & can be swung side to side by the operator. By increasing the speed of the conveyor the operator can “shoot” the gravel from the end of the belt, all the way out to one hundred feet!

This is all remotely operated by the driver using a radio control device. The neatest thing to Dan was that the operator could also drive the truck with the remote control while standing seventy feet away! We’re talking forward, backward, & turning! To finish the day we rented a compactor to compact the sand in the garage foundation.

After taking all day Friday to recover from the week’s construction activities we headed into Seattle on Saturday to have a Mexican dinner at Dan’s cousin Steve Ruttner’s & wife Janine. Joining us was Steve’s brother Rick Lee & wife Sharon; & their sister Kelly, husband Les & their three kids. But before arriving there, we stopped at Kerry park on Queen Anne hill, which is famous for the view of the Seattle skyline & Mt Rainier. Unfortunately Mt Rainier was not visible but the skyline was beautiful.

The last time we had seen cousins Steve, Rick & Kelly, was Mother’s Day in 2009 at Rick & Sharon’s. We had made some effort via e-mail to get together last summer; but despite everyone’s good intentions, it didn’t happen. Anyway we managed to get together fairly quickly this time & had an excellent evening with good food. Hopefully we can visit a few more times this year before we hit the road for Louisiana.

Sunday morning, 12JUN, we loaded up the rid’em lawn mower on the Toad & took it over to cousin Steve Kiesel’s in Kittitas for emergency repairs. Seems that all the tree stumps Dan has tried to run over the last couple of years have finally caught up to the mower. He has managed to completely break the steel mower deck in several places. With Steve’s welding skills & the help of a sledge hammer, it was repaired good enough for what we need it for.

Even with all this construction we do on the property Dan still goes into Everett every Wednesday to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.