Archive for December, 2007

chatting under a roof

December 30, 2007

so, i feel a need to capture in print the amazing speed with which this new nest has flown up into the precious protected prolific pecans (a shake sends a shower of snack to all interested picker-uppers).

tuesday was christmas 2006 2007. piers were on the site. (editor’s note: this shows my disjointed and slightly overwhelmed self.  thank God for taylor and many friends, or we might never eat).

wednesday gave us foundation beams, checking and inspecting and knowing the house was in the right place. absolutely nothing vertical.

thursday was a full first floor and into the second.

friday brought us happily up to three floors (really) with a chance to sing the praises of our house suppliers, mccoy’s of texas, who at one point in the afternoon sent wood to us on less than an hours notice to be offloaded by dump truck – the fourth large load of wood in four days (and maybe the last until siding?). we love mccoys. here is the house after friday’s work (taken early saturday morning):


and after a mere half day of work this morning, with microwave running to heat up early breakfasts, there is now a roof patio and walls and windows on the third floor. various friends stopped by to tour, chat, exclaim, and when all but the builder and framers had vacated, a friend came by and we stood in the front bedroom, moving as needed to let the wood go by, enjoying the view, the sun coming through the open frame walls, and the fact that every minute something changed about the house as sheathing and roofing went up around us. the rooms feel comfortable, spacious, and right, somehow. i feel like i’ve spent my first day in our new house.



and a 1 and a 2 and a

December 28, 2007

push and a shout and a lot lot lot of men with tool belts took the house from this


at 7:30am to this


by 1pm this afternoon to this!!!


at 5 pm. and we all needed quitting time. but we also now have a garden plot one house away in el jardin alegre, the community garden we can see from the street – a gift from our neighbor who was also our surveyor. we’re now plotting (ha ha ha) some lettuce.

you’re beaming.

December 27, 2007


the early morning moon will tell you that we aren’t really drinking coffee at home anymore (and this isn’t kansas either) but there is a certain satisfaction in seeing wood labelled with our name delivered to site.

at the end of the day, with many hurrahs…


comments have ranged from ‘where are the center supports?’ to ‘that’s pretty beefy. how many floors?’. but for certain site designers, a picture of a detail.


day by day by day

December 25, 2007

day 1

this is wednesday december 19th 2007 – they started in later that morning.

day 2

piers in process: the bells were being finished and then the truck convergence occurred.

day 3

a quiet friday december 21st. piers in place, and all i had to do was deliver the materials for the back fence. sound easy? i’m not too big.

day 4

and now we’re ready for framing, with a brief interlude for christmas.

a dramatic confluence of trucks

December 23, 2007

well, as i think you can easily imagine, while i have lots of time to watch things happen, i have very little time at home to write about them. if i was more savvy (or more techn0-geeky) i would have a laptop and type posts at the property while using the eastside free wifi from the city. but alas, i’ll just be a slow poster.

so wednesday involved drilling. at the end of the day: big holes, very deep, a few mystery bars and pipes a ways underground, and everything was ready for foundation. thursday morning dawned not quite as early as wednesday, as the foundation contractors weren’t showing up until 9! an early phone call from austin energy made me wonder in a panicked moment whether the line for temporary power ran through the house footprint (i had a small nightmare the night before about this very thing). so out the door we raced, with tears in my eyes – this was a day i had been anticipating for what, a year and a half? [the tears were stress, not happiness] and then the long drive (thanks to austin traffic) gave me a chance to slow down, and we pulled up just in time to meet the guys. the power line looked great, and it turned out to be a slow morning – we delivered flowers to our neighbor, ate apples, sat on lawn chairs, saw my uncle driving through town….

and then – two foundation trucks (one with trailer), our car, truck and trailer of uncle – all parked on our small street. then – engineer in four runner, tree trimmers with large truck, chipper, and cherry picker (they were supposed to come in the am, but then…), owner of foundation company (and truck) who stayed to visit and chat about the pool (he loved it!), suprise visit from architect (and volvo) who took the afternoon off to see the action and christmas shop, and the pending arrival of …

concrete. and then the portable toilet truck arrived, corin got a wood chip in his eye, i called the doctor, architect played mom, and by dark we had trimmed pecans, 10 piers, and the house had begun.

daily time lapse photos to start tomorrow. i’m saving them up.

groundbreaking and earth-squelching

December 20, 2007

there wasn’t exactly any ground that got broken, per se. lots and lots of clay came up that hadn’t seen daylight in a long time, and i had many thoughts of little jessica in the well. so the pier holes were drilled, 8 of 10 to completion, and tomorrow the remaining two will have metal obstacles removed and then will also be drilled. we met more neighbors today, ate homemade chocolate chip cookies and pralines, and watched the ever-versatile bobcat do its work. it was a great day.

tapas, anyone?

December 18, 2007

for you non-bilingues out there, tapa is the word for lid. last night a little imagination came into reality, as we covered the pool for construction. you would have to work to fall in, as it is above grade, but the thought of, say, lawsuit, makes me a little nervous. and this way no little squirrels will drown. friends came on a long cross-town truck adventure and after various stops we both started and stopped working in the dark. and our lovely neighbors let us pull a hose through their yard, across the street, and into ours to start filling the pool.

i am excited to be able to write for the second time that something will happen tomorrow – and then hopefully that won’t be big news anymore. piers start drilling at 9am, and there we’ll be, taking time-lapse pictures so the speed of framing will be evident. trusses are made and sitting waiting for delivery. windows are being manufactured in dallas. all the wood is ordered and arranged. plans have been changed so we won’t have to climb a tree to go upstairs. and i even have a few leads on spray foam insulation, and an alternative called spider insulation.

thank you for all the kind words over the weekend. i am sick of prepping.

week of prep

December 12, 2007


painting a pool done.

limestone walls, quantities of

dirt. slight redesign

(those darn trees got in the way)

ballet for forklift, backhoe, and shipping container

December 3, 2007

there is nothing too elegant to say here. i have never worked so hard on something so out of the ordinary, for such a complete ending in success. not that the pool has water in it, or the whole project has yet been proven as anything but a wild prototype by a slightly daring family. but. there was something essentially thrilling and breathtaking about watching 7,000 lbs. of steel catch air and gracefully manouever into place with only inches to spare on any side, including upwards (power lines abound).

container coming to town af

then in the mirror ase

the glorious symmetry (this is actually how i’d imagined it). as

for the curious, the black is a coal tar epoxy that will protect the parts that will be underground. only the blue will show once grading and landscaping are done.

i was very proud. asd the kids have been too far too many meetings,as but even they were glad.


there were cowboys df indians df

and power lines like potential electrical lassoes df

men climbed in, climbed out, hunkered down, tightened chains, measured straps, didn’t really ask me any questions, and talked about what would happen if a chain snapped. the kids weren’t allowed to cross the street, and the alley was completely blocked. since it is actually a street and we don’t actually own it, i spend half the time (2 hours in all) worrying that a cop would come along and hand me a ticket as the yahoo in charge of breaking various right-of-way laws and the other half of the time pondering the fact that though i had in fact been the driving force behind this day, i had nothing to do, as it was now in hands actually capable of bringing the move to completion.dfg

there was no shortage of men in hats… dfdf

and though it is hard to tell, the picture above is the moment when we finally have air under the box instead of a trailer, and the next thing you know (with intervening SLOW driving and pushing and pulling by a backhoe) the pool has cleared the power lines, the curb, two large pecan trees, more power lines, and tree fencing to be at the back of our postage stamp!


home sweet home. i’m looking forward to swimming.