Saturday, September 9, 2023

Construction Fatigue

After a vacation, we came back to our mostly-done house and proceeded to...go back to regular jobs, school, everyday life like other people. 

We had been working to get through construction fatigue for a long time, but we finally succumbed. 

When a fellow told me long ago "don't move in until every last thing is done or you will have bare bulbs for years," he was right. You shouldn't move in until it is all done, and I am proud to say that the only bare bulbs are in the attic and the crawl space where they ought to be. But, other things were left undone. Trim, for instance. Drawers and closet doors. At first, this was partly because lumber went up in price. That alone probably slipped us from barely hanging on to the project, to letting go of all construction.

When we got back from our little vacation, our "volun-told" builders plunged back into their schoolwork with a dedication I'd never seen before. You couldn't budge them until they graduated (and they got jobs that were NOT in construction). 

I never wanted to pick up a paintbrush again, and my husband had one big bad work deadline after another, with other non-house things that needed to be done in-between. 

Now that we had a solid roof over our heads, and a floor that did not bounce on wheels, and running water, we all wanted to do the things that we had put off during construction. Go to the events that we couldn't go to because "it was the weekend and we needed to be working."  Go on trips, have tea parties, play in the river on a Saturday, and tackle lists of personal goals and enterprises.

We did all the home-y things, such as baking,

enjoying holidays,

 filling our stove to capacity.

We spent the weekends exploring, 

and enjoying the flavor of our area. 

Personal projects and hobbies could now be pursued by construction-worn kids who had lived through the world's longest shop class. 

Exercising in the snow is preferable to shoveling it off of construction materials. 

Who cares if there are no drawers in the kitchen, when you can obviously still make feasts in the space?

It was faster to build lego houses, and plant gardens, than to think about how the kitchen backsplash is going to work out. 

But not all construction was halted that winter of freedom. Shelves in the closet were a happy thought indeed, once they had been found, purchased, cut, and installed (the cost and installation of which was not quite a happy one for the builders, but they soon saw the value of my logic when they had a place to put their hats). And the attic access needed to be finished up so that no heat left the building out thataway.

We also took one more step to make sure there were no bare bulbs in the house. 
 But then, back to other things...

... such as enjoying spring... time to go see the migrating birds!

That long-awaited plan to float the river? Check.

No longer snowed in, we could go visiting. (No, it's not Italy. It's Oregon.)

During any one of these weeks (cough- months)  I could have gathered up the paint supplies and finished the doors. Plans were always in the back (the very far recesses) of my mind as to how to stain the stair treads now that we were moved in and using the second floor constantly. But life goes on without these luxuries, and no one seemed to notice the lack. As spring turned into summer, we were drawn out-of-doors to other projects which I will post about next time. 

I think I have more pictures of clouds in my photo account than I do people.

I'd rather watch this kind of Painting any day!

Friday, September 1, 2023

Oregon Road Trip

 We took a much-needed vacation after the occupancy inspection, and explored a corner of Oregon unfamiliar to us. We explored just a little bit of the Elkhorn, Wallowa, and Blue mountain areas. 

Cows out in the middle of nowhere. I think they were social distancing. 
Sumpter, Oregon had some interesting history, including this gigantic dredge. 
It is as big as a hotel!

This thing was worked constantly around the clock. Can you imagine the noise echoing through the hills? It dug up more than $4 million dollars of gold. The dredge started in the Powder River, but machinery this big could dig its own river channel, so it was always making its own place to float in. It was helpful to see this first before going down river, because it explained the strange heaps of rock everywhere!

After so much construction experience, the inside of this monster was very interesting to look at. 

As if we were visiting a foreign country, we came across mysterious road signs. I still don't know what this means. 

Part of the Lostine River 

Wallowa Mountains. 

The Lostine River

Wallowa Lake
Such a beautiful part of Oregon! We wish we could have stayed much longer. 

On the way home we saw interesting geology near Monument.

It wasn't all bleak!

I often say that other places "look like Oregon" but at this point, Oregon was looking like Texas where temperatures were concerned. It wasn't long before a river was found, and then plunged into by the travelers!

Tuesday, August 22, 2023


The fixes were quickly done and the inspector called again. Approved!

Did we hug the inspector and all fall in the floor in tears of gratefulness? 

No. We just went about our normal day.

I went and made dinner in the new kitchen. We got on the phone and bought an insurance policy. Insurance went into effect at midnight, they said.

About suppertime a thunderstorm rolled in, lightning struck out back of us and smoke started to blow in the gusty wind. 
We packed backpacks just in case, as the wind was blowing it our way. Thankfully firefighters had the fire out by 10 PM.  It sure made a memorable day more memorable.
Cleaning up the site! 

And so what did we do after that? Did we go down the list and methodically finish the house in the next few weeks? Did we go buy furniture?

No. We did what every sensible person in our situation would do. We went on Vacation.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Fix it and Call Again.

Many a night I had lulled myself to sleep in the RV dreaming of that moment of the Occupancy Declaration from the county Building Inspector. We would cry, we would dance, we would clap, I would wring the Inspector's hand and tell him how much it meant to us. All the kids would hug each other. So I had a nervous but exciting flutter in my heart when we called for the "last" inspection. 

The minimums were done, and somewhat beyond, and the moment was here. 

The first floor, all inspection ready!
No need for backsplash, cupboard doors, extra trims, shelves or drawers for occupancy inspections. 
Baseboard not required. Stair backs not required. 
 Bay window seats/drawers, closet doors not needed. 
Everything structural, plumbing, and electric was finished. 

Well, not much we could do about this. We didn't build a garage. Renting a storage unit was out of the question for frugality's sake.  Just scoot boxes away from the walls so the Inspector can see the outlets. Upstairs? just stack the totes in the middle. Boy, the attic is going to be a bit difficult to navigate... 

And after going through all the house, what did the inspector say?

Something like: "You've got the wrong outlet here" and "Get that hydrant outta there." Fix it all and call again.

The Electrician/Tile Guy helps the Plumber/Carpenter Guy with the hydrant removal.