Monday, June 29, 2009

Birthing a House (Part 1)

It happens all of the time. New parents hire a babysitter so they can go out to dinner alone to feel like a couple again, to revive the romance, to have some fun like they used to. What do they talk about? The baby.

Well, we’ve become better at communicating with each other because of the house. We now think that’s because all we seem to talk about (since April) when we’re not building the house… is the house.

It needs to be ready for occupancy mid August; the end of August at the absolute latest. That means that the shell (inside and out), the built-ins and all of the utilities need to be completed in about 6 weeks. Since we’ve never done most of this stuff before we have no idea how long it’s supposed to take, nor how long it will actually take. From experience, I can tell you that some tasks often take longer than we expected.

Jeff is now a full-time construction guy/electrician/plumber/window installer/soon to be roofer. And he looks at me like I’ve completely lost my mind when I say that unless he is really, really enjoying this that he needs to make sure to take a weekday or two off to avoid burn out. This project is supposed to be fun. I join him weeknights and we enjoy working together on it (much better than alone) so this is what we do together most weekends.

Being so focused on building though, now we wonder if we’ve waited too long to start our major downsizing. We’ve done quite a bit but we look around our apartment and it doesn’t look like we’ve done anything. It has nothing to do with it being hard to let go of items, it’s simply been a matter of available time. All spare time has been working on this project since the beginning of April while other time was spent on schoolwork or work. We’ve been busy. No hobbies, no lounging at the pool, no hiking, … just building.

So, right now I’m pushing for a babysitter for around the end of July for a couple of weeks.

I have negotiated a trade with Mike. He has been answering our electrical, plumbing and building questions because he has completely (hands-on) remodeled his own house from the ground up. He also builds custom furniture and cabinetry. Absolutely beautiful work! Well, I am trading him my Mig Welder setup for custom cabinets and desk. Jeff and I were going to make this cottage from scratch, almost alone, but…

I’m thinking that we can finish the whole bottom of the house (inside and out including utilities) and hand it over to Mike so that he can create the built-ins without us in the way. The major stuff will be completed so we can relax a bit and shift our focus for a couple of weeks to downsizing which also needs to get done by the same deadline. Jeff and I will be doing a mad dash at posting absolutely everything that won’t fit into the cottage on Craigslist, Freecycle or Ebay. Better now than at the last minute. I am currently writing the blurbs and taking pictures so that the posts will be ready to go when we are.

I think it will be interesting to see what our current 700sf apartment looks like with only as much as we will be taking with us into the cottage. What few things do we really need?

1 comment:

  1. Jeff and Arlene -

    I think you will really enjoy the downsizing. I just went through the same process, going from a 2 Bedroom townhouse to a 1 bedroom apt, and I got rid of tons of *stuff.* Very liberating. Now I look around and wish I really didn't have to keep the coffee and end tables, the bookshelf, etc., but I guess I need some furniture. At least until my tiny house is underway and so my friends don't think I've gone completely nuts.

    My two cents - go ahead and get it gone. Keep the things you need to stay organized until the last second (your dresser, for example), but loose all the extras. It will start to feel crazy empty in your space, but you'll be glad to remove all the superfolous stuff sooner rather than later. Moving always blows, and there is always the random stuff that you simply forgot about in that back closet or whatever. The faster you find that stuff and part with it, the easier it will be.

    On another note - It's looking great! I can't wait to see the windows go in and the siding go up!

    Natalie (Portland, OR)


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