Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Breaking Ground

If you read my previous post, we were up in the air for a short time. We have decided to move forward as the lot goes back further than we thought it did. Our yard is larger than our last yard and will be enough room for kids to play in. I would possibly like it slightly larger but at the same time I don't want it too big. I'd rather have a well kept smaller yard than a huge yellow yard. If I have to spend too much time cutting and trimming, than I won't be as motivated to pull weeds, spread seed, and all the other detail stuff to keep a nice yard.

We also met 2 neighbor couples, they are all roughly our age and one is even pregnant and due just two months after my wife. We met all of them while trying to decide to make or break with RH. I feel like this was God giving us the reassurance we were looking for just because we were a little on the fence and the timing was impeccable (as He always is.)

So our lot has been cleared, tarped, and slab mold is in place. They delayed the slab for a few days because the lumber shipments were all delayed in our area. Our fill-in PM (our PM is on vacation) advised that the lumber will drop next week and framing should start by the end of next week.

Sorry, no pics for now but as we get geared up and going, I will have a plethora.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


This needed a post on its own....very big deal.

During our pre-construction meeting our PM said the clearing stakes would be put in that day (Friday.) So, we planned on going out on Saturday to see them. Our PM called me late afternoon Friday advising they didn't get to the stakes yet and it would not be til Monday. He just called to let me know since he knew we planned on coming out and didn't want us to be disappointed. AWESOME: Phone call just to save minor disappointment.

Anyway, we went out today b/c we had to sign a change order anyway. We drove out to the lot and pleasent surprise, the clearing stakes were in. The PM explained these are the four furtherest corners of the house footprint. (For example: if you have a morning room, the back two stakes would go back as far as the morning room will sit, even though the morning room doesn't go all the way across the back. So one or more stakes may not be a true corner of the house, its just drawing the tightest possible rectangle that your house will sit in.) I digress.

Positive surprise right? Wrong. At first glance, our back yard is tiny.
My first thought was, this might be a deal breaker unless they can get us another lot (not really an option due to the developer not releasing them.) We don't know exactly what it will look like because the lot stakes have not been placed yet. There is a berm at the back of our lot due to a street and we don't yet know where our lot ends. I have no idea what we are going to do if we don't stick with this lot. I already didn't like it b/c the street it backs up to (very non-busy but still a street which will hurt when it comes time to sell, especially if area gets bigger and street gets busier.)

Here are pics.

Pic 1: Note the van in the background (up and left of sold sign), which is driving down said street.

 Pic 2: This is the view if Im standing at my back door. PM confirmed grading will definately be done so the standing water is not there.

Pic 3: This is a side view showing distance from the stake (back of house) to the berm. There is some room between the berm and the street. On "lot side" of berm, it does not look very high, but if on the street, the berm is higher as street is lower than the lot's ground level. At first, the Rep sold it as having space between berm and back yard as a buffer. Now that we complain about the size of the lot, they are saying the lot goes almost half way up the berm. *roll eyes* So, we won't really know until lot is staked.

This is the one bad thing about the whole deal...the lot. Which is important to us, but not as much as it is to some others. There are litterly only like 12-13 lots to chose from and all but 2-3 are virtually the same: 60x113 and back up to the street. The other 2-3 are on the entrance to our section of the neighborhood, still very close to the same street but worse b/c they are at the entrance to our section which means more traffic to hit my kids.

It's like picking the lesser of two evils. What to do?!?!?!!?

Any HONEST opinions? Don't tell me "Im sure you'll love it" if you don't really think so : )

Pre-Construction and Final Flooring Choices

We had our pre-construction meeting yesterday.

-Our PM is very cool
-Clarified structural changes with PM that I was unsure if Rep understood. We are removing closet in mud room to make room for built in hall tree. They had it as removing door but leaving door frame, which wasn't right. I knew it had probably never been requested so I didn't really expect the sales rep to understand.

- PM is going to be in China from this coming week until Aug 1. AAAHH. This kinda scares me that the professional that keeps tabs on everything on my house will be MIA for the first couple weeks. Now don't get me wrong; the reason he is going is very cool. He is adopting from China...for the second time. This is why we had our pre-construction a little early.

Final Flooring Choices

We had our follow up meeting with Rite Rug today. We decided to stick with one of the base hardwoods (called Woodstock) for budget reasons but think we will really like the color. Here are the final choices with pic:

Hardwood: Bruce - Woodstock (1 of 5 base options)
Carpet: Rockport (1 of 4 or 5 base options) This is a little darker in person then the pic appears
Cabinet: Timberlake Scottsdale Square Espresso
Granite: Santa Cecilia (Im really stoked about this now after seeing Noey's installed)
(for non-pictured vinyl and ceramic choices, see a previous post)

When meeting with Rite Rug today, we had a little bit of an argument but not with each other....WITH THE FLOORING REP (S.). The hardwood pictured (Woodstock) is not the same as the one originally considered (See my first flooring post; it was Cherry.) After our first flooring meeting, we then saw the hardwood in our model, which we decided we thought would look good with the espresso cabinet. So, when we called Rite Rug to schedule the second/final meeting, I asked S. what the color was in the model and she said it was called woodstock. I told her over the phone that it was probably the color we were going to go with. So today, we started looking at the carpet choices again b/c a change in hardwood meant possible change in carpet, right? When I said this, S. said "no, those are the carpets you chose with the Woodstock." I mentioned we had not looked at the woodstock in the showroom so that wasn't really possible (not my actual words as I am very non-confrontational.) She then matter-of-factly argued "well you had to of because I have it written on my sheet and I didn't pull your file when you called." She was talking about the paper she had written our considerations on. Cherry was marked out on her sheet with Woodstock written above it. I really wish I had my sheet at the time to show her "see, my copy still says Cherry, which you made me a photocopy of right before we left last time. I know for a fact that we didn't consider Woodstock the first go around."

Im really not as upset as it may sound; this is a non-issue. My wife and I were just surprised that she would argue with us slighly-rudely....especially when she had just talked about how many people she had met with (15) since the last time we met. Obviously, my memory of ONE flooring meeting for MY house is probably more accurate then yours since it is not your house, this is your everyday job and that meeting was 1 of your 15 in the past couple weeks. HAHA, it's kinda funny when you think about it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Moving Tips and Pre-Pre-Contruction

So our preconstruction meeting is scheduled for this Friday!! We will finally meet D., our PM, that we've heard so much about.

Also, we moved over 4th of July weekend...yeah, not fun. While everyone in America was relaxing, I was packing a POD like life-size tetris. After moving 3 times in the past year and a half (no joke), I have developed some moving tips. Many of these are if space saving is important as it was very important to us.

1. If you can avoid it, just don't move : )

2. If you are storing stuff for a short period of time (couple months) and plan to do a POD or A/C storage unit, pack excess and off-season clothes if you are downsizing.

3. Use trashbags for clothes, pillows, linens. This gives you something to stuff in those tight, odd shaped spaces between furniture AND creates padding for nice furniture at the same time.

4. Use a tape measure. I had a tape measure attached to my hip ALL weekend. This saves lifting a heavy box up head level only to find it doesn't fit in that space you were going to cram it in. More importantly, it helps you become a Master Tetris Loader. If you have an 18" space and a 14" box, find a bigger box (go for 18.5" and cram it in.) Obviously make sure you know which are your fragile boxes......"Fragile'. Huh, must be Italian."

5. Fill your dresser drawers and washer/dryer with stuff. If you fill the dresser drawers, this takes time which means you have to do it before moving the dressers to the POD/truck. So what, tell your movers to "man up" (or take the drawers out while carrying.) I filled ours with clothes, smaller picture frames. I filled our washer/dryer with wreathes, christmas tree stands and other odd shaped, non-boxed items.

Since I don't have a house to take pics of, here are pics of my Master Tetris Loader skills:

^ Hard to tell but the box on the left is less than an inch from the top of the POD. This was before I found something to stuff on top of the box on the right. (the white is the transparent top...very cool b/c it lets in light...and bakes you like ...something you would bake.)
^ The top of the beam in the background is the top of the POD. Not my best work but good.

^ I love inexpensive pictures/mirrors. They fill tight spaces well and no matter how close you get to the top, you can always wedge it in.

^ See the space to the bottom right of the pink luggage...that's prime trashbag stuffing space.

And below is my son standing on top of a TV watching another TV (this is what happens when all the adults are busy packing).......

Here is a pic of our new sleeping arrangements. Man, pregnant wife, and 2yr old son in one room...

We already felt bad for taking him out of his room and taking his routine/normalcy so we put his bed together while leaving ours sitting on the floor.

Lastly, here is a random pic of our old kitchen. To help sell, we spent about $200 on materials and installed our own backsplash and drawer pulls. The backsplash looks weird in the pics b/c the sunlight and my point and click camera don't jive.....

We closed on the sell of our house today. Horray. Goodbye house. (Goodnight mush. Goodnight old lady whispering hush...ha. Funny how I used to quote movies and now I quote kids books and kids shows.)