Tuesday, March 5, 2019

More of the Same

 On a [rare] warm day last week J and H finished the installation of the septic line.

Even with the backhoe for the heavy digging, it was a long day with transit, shovels, lengths of pipe.

Willis, the feline overseer, was disgruntled by the rumbling presence of the backhoe, the upheavals of earth, changes in his familiar landscape, The cats who usually spend much of the day outside were intimidated and huddled in the camper.

Weather deteriorated through the week, again becoming damp and cold.
Wild daffodils ['March lilies' in local parlance] have bloomed along the roadsides and pasture slopes.
Jim slowed the car so that I could aim the camera at swaths of them nodding in the fine drizzle of rain.  So much trash litters the roadsides that it was difficult to compose a shot that didn't include sodden take-away food containers, drink cans, crumpled plastic carrier bags.

 Sunday morning the rain thickened to a sleety consistency.
Sitting at my tiny improvised desk, a flash of movement caught my eye. Gathering my camera I quietly approached the window and watched as a grey squirrel skittered about in the tangle of fallen branches, eventually uncovering a coveted acorn.
We worked at the house through the afternoon, Jim nailing wainscoat in the sun room, I applying poly to Howard's beautifully crafted bathroom shelves,
We walked back to the camper in a colorless dusk speckled by flakes of wet snow.  The wooden steps at the camper entrance were coated with a thick substance that was not quite ice.
Cloud cover broke at Monday noon, revealing vivid blue skies. 
Howard quietly continued his neat finish work--a fresh coat of white paint on window trim, nail holes filled, baseboards sealed and edged.
I polyed pantry shelving and then moved on to the sun room wainscoating. 
I was committed to using the remaining 2/3 gallon of oil-based polyurethane that Jim purchased.
I concede that it is a 'tougher' finish than the water-based, but I detest its slippery consistency and tendency to run.  Have I mentioned that the stuff has a sickening reek?
I persevered, up and down a stepladder, grateful for the sun pouring through the windows. 

Jim sorted lumber, ran down the electrician, demanding some input on why the electrical inspector has put us through endless delays for permanent electrical service.
Apparently, because he can and often does--a perhaps petty display of 'power!'

The rough-in inspection was done and passed in early December, now, belatedly, the inspector has presented a 'list' of modifications; it is generally agreed that any change orders should have been noted at the time of the original inspection, when they could have more easily been incorporated in the electrician's process. 
Obviously, we are at the mercy of the inspector's whims.

We worked last evening until the sun was sliding behind the ridge in a pool of  orange light.
I dragged off layers of paint-daubed clothing, stumbled into the shower to rinse the odor of polyurethane from skin and hair.
The night fulfilled the warnings for cold temperatures.  We woke to a glowing, frost-sparkled morning, and the unwelcome realization that the heat tape on the camper water lines had  ceased to function.  The camper furnace chugged non-stop.
Jim drove to a local hardware store for a replacement heat tape, then he and Howard crawled about adding extra insulation over the lines.
By noon the lines had thawed!
I've hung about expecting a phone call from the appliance store to confirm delivery of the kitchen appliances;  the phone call wasn't made and I rather doubt that the appliances have appeared.
I have unwisely attempted to coax the recalcitrant washing machine through yet another load of laundry; it appears that this time I may be landed with a tub of wet wash that refuses to drain and spin.
These are not life-changing dilemmas.  They are aggravations, frustrations seemingly beyond our capacity to change.
The main floor of the house is ready for occupancy--sun streaming through the [yet unwashed] windows, the wood stove pouring out a comforting heat.  The gracious spaces of bedrooms and living area await the arrangement of furniture. 
My own large washing machine and dryer could be set up in the basement laundry room.
The head-banging mood which has overtaken me today is, perhaps justified by delays and issues not of our making. My 'good sport' mode of endurance needs a boost!
That being stated, it doubtless behooves me to cease complaining and go out into the bright, cold, windy afternoon. 

The one bedraggled clump of daffodils on our property.

Willis, the intrepid, enjoys a spill of sunlight at the shed door.

Towering above the shed and marching along the ridge, red budded maples suggest that spring will arrive as it has always done.


  1. We built a house in New Mexico years ago. At that time you could do your own electrical work if you passed an exam which my husband did, having a great deal of experience. The state inspectors hated the fact that people did this instead of hiring an actual electrician and made life as miserable as possible at inspection time.

  2. Jan; Jim wired a number of houses we previously built, it being quite legal to do so. Here, he wired the Amish houses which was, so we've heard, an affront to this same inspector who may be 'getting even.'
    A third inspection is supposedly scheduled for Thursday. We shall see!

  3. Sorry for your inspection woes. Hopefully Thursday's inspection will go off without a hitch.

    Thank you for sharing this building experience here with us.

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

    1. Rainey; Thank your for your good wishes. I surely have unloaded the 'woes' in this post! For the most part, the building process has gone well. Its the parts we've 'subbed out' that have created frustrations. Hopefully I can dredge up a more cheerful frame of mind during the rest of the week.

  4. I can understand your sense of frustration with the inspector. They are notorious for delays and adding more work. How pretty the wild daffodils are - a sure sign of spring. Road trash is such a blight. We used to have big fines here for littering, and volunteer work crews to pick up trash consisting of businesses and non-profits, but that seems to have gone by the way-side, so to speak. Hopefully the inspector will show up on time for you and you can get some sunshine to help cheer your week!

    1. Karen; We seem not to have learned how to deal calmly with delays and frustrations. We do well to a point--and then one of us begins to 'lose it!'
      We have fallen into a tired and rather snappish mode, but there is progress and we are trying to regain a cheerful outlook. The men can take satisfaction in their accomplishments--a house nearly ready for settling in.

  5. You are ahead of us with your spring buds. We are still covered with snow.
    Things seem to be moving along albeit some frustrations along the way. I certainly know what that is about. I hope with spring around the corner progress will come. I love the photo of Willis at the shed. Deb

    1. Deb; I have marveled that you created organized and tidy living quarters during your on-going building process. The camper has seemed unbearably messy and confining during these past weeks of cold and rainy weather. We will appreciate the finished house all the more!
      That Willis! He toils up and down the lane with me, anxiously shepherding my every step! When the move is finalized I suspect we will have to firmly shut the doors of the shed to convince him and his outdoor companion, Sally the Troll, that their home address has changed.

  6. Strange as it may seem to many, as it does to us, there are no construction inspections here in our small Vermont town. When building our house our Subs came from Massachusetts as that is where our contractor is from. The electricians and plumbers were gobsmacked! We did have to get a building permit but certainly no Certificate of Occupancy. The State of Vermont requires a proper septic system inspection and a test for water potability. Thats it!
    How lovely to see all those daffs with their bright and shinning faces! Nary a snowdrop here! This morning I woke to snow blowing in the open window. This too shall pass. Sugaring is in full swing here and there is steam emanating from all the little family operated sugar houses. Mud Season is right around the bend!

  7. Mundi; There seems to be no universal 'code' in terms of what passes for home inspections. A person from the county health dept passed us to connect to the septic system in place for a previous house on our property that burned.
    Water is all 'county water.' We have the coveted certificate that will allow the power company to turn on permanent electric service tomorrow!
    Mud season! In New England just as one hopes winter is over, there is mud season, without which, spring cannot progress.
    We've heard of maple syrup being made in Kentucky, but I think it must be in the eastern mountainous regions. Most maple trees in our area are varieties of soft maple.

  8. I'm glad you will have power. Another step closer. The wild daffodils are really nice. As for the garbage, I think it always looks bad in the Spring, and hope it gets cleaned up. Phil/MN

    1. Phil; There does always need to be a 'spring cleaning' outdoors as well as inside. We were remarking on that this week as we drove to church.
      Sadly, our area roadsides seem perennially littered with the sort of trash I mentioned. We suspect the same people finish their carry-out snacks or drinks at about the same mile marker on their various commutes each day--and out the window goes the trash!
      The wild daffodils are very resilient--they bloom for at least a month here surviving late snows, freezing rain and every possible fluctuation of temperature.