Monday, December 29, 2008

Drywall....doesn't sound that exciting? Ah, but it is...thrilling in fact. The rooms are starting to take shape. :) We've hired Mike to help with the next stages of the house--good thing he is not scared of heights. Must be his agility from the volleyball court!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Went to Moncton today....but not Christmas shopping! We bought all the rest of the faucets for the house, and 14 cartons of tile for the front entry and the mudroom/bath/laundry. They were HEAVY! But we love them...they are the bigger 18x18 tiles and are so pretty...I'll have to take some pics! :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

A few new pics from around the house...the garage doors are not blue--just the tarp keeping the snow out until the doors get here. You can also see the pex "nerve centre", the front door, the basement family room (there are french doors at the can see the edge of one), and the Waterfurnace geothermal heat pump.

Our "O Clearance" fireplace...once the wall and mantal are built around it it has the look of a fireplace, but it is energy efficient like a woodstove. Charlie has already had it fired up with a nice, crackling fire....

Looking into the bonus room (standing in our walk-in closet...once the house is done you'd have to have x-ray eyes to do this!)

The walkway Gary made from some of the old stones that are all over the property...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Good news for a change!

CMHC only requires a clean BACTERIOLOGICAL test, not the inorganics test...and we have that! No e-coli or other nasty things living in our water. So we're OK! *whew* After spending two days fretting and talking to Dept of Environment and Dept of Health! I have to say though that Marc at Dept of Env is absolutely wonderful...went out of his way to find out information for us, to give us advice and support!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Can you sense my frustration?

CMHC is the most bureaucratic nightmare I have ever dealt with....even worse than the education system. Much worse in fact.

Dept of Environment suggests you do your water test after a period "normal usage" when the house is that the system has had a chance to be flushed. BUT CMHC requires a clean water test before 80% completion or they will not release more funding. So one agency is saying, you probably won't get a clean test yet, and another agency is saying you have to have a clean water test now. GAAAHHHH! And on top of that, if the lead is in the water we'll never have a "clean" test until it is filtered at the tap--you know, CMHC, those things that go on near the end of the building process??? When we are already more than 80% done???

CMHC, which is supposed to facilitate house building, is the one thing that has made this project more difficult and much more stressful....but what else should I expect from a govt agency....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Get the lead out...

And I am not talking about speeding up the building process. *sigh* Public Health left a message on the phone...our water test had high levels of lead. I have to call them tomorrow and find out what to do about that. Just one more hoop to jump through.....

Friday, November 28, 2008

As per usual our butts are being pulled out of the fire by interim financing arranged by Helen, the Credit Union goddess, as well as a loan from my Dad. Between the two of them we have enough money to see this project through to completion. *whew* Good thing we have people who love us! :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Building inspection passed....of course. Charlie is FANTASTIC! :)

CMHC is a pain. They have a set percentage of the total cost of the house they release as certain things are done, and it is very restrictive. For example, they allow 5% of the total cost for the heating system--which was $13000 less than our heating system actually cost. 1% for the "Front and Back Step"...well in our case it is a wrap around porch--which actually cost over $6000 for materials plus several weeks of labour!! So we are not getting money as quickly as we would like and have had to arrange "interim financing". They really need a better system that looks at the estimates for an individual home, rather than the cookie cutter approach. Especially as more and more people are moving to environmentally friendly products (like our geo-thermal heat pump) which cost more than the percentages they allow.

This week they are dumping the gravel for the driveway--which gets the same amount from CMHC as our wraparound porch I might add! Insulation is ordered. Garage doors are ordered. Cupboards are ordered..... :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

CMHC inspection done today. Building inspection tomorrow. :) The water was flowing today, and we got water for the water test, which has to be done before the last 20% of funds will be released by the bank. It looks nice and clear...hopefully all the little things we can't see are good organisms and not bad ones. Bernie was there filling in the trench...Gary will be so sad to see it gone (haha)...and will finish that tomorrow.

Two drywall scenarios at the moment: I have a call in to City Drywall in Moncton for an estimate and to find out whether they are available...but they haven't been very quick about getting back to me. He said he would get back to me today, and when I called he is not even in until Wednesay---does not bode well. We also have someone who could help Charlie install the drywall and may just go that route...more reliable, and might as well keep the work local...if we can get someone to crackfill...

And finally, just a shout out about our electrician, Stephen Dunfield,(Energetic Electric). Highly recommend him...this guy is pleasant, helpful, efficient, is there when you need him, answers all my stupid questions...great to deal with!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Moving on in....

No, not us. Construction. The outside is done....

And is Gary ever glad the plumbing is done so we can fill in the trench for the well (you can see him here shovelling sand into the trench). Every time it rained in the last eight weeks it filled in and he had to dig it out again...accompanied, I am sure, by a few choice words and phrases.

I took a few pics of the outside now that it is done. They were taken at night, but turned out pretty well. My mom's cousin lives at the end of our road. I ran into her the other day, and she admitted that when she first saw the house she thought it was so odd looking and ugly. Then we put the verandah on, and she fell in love...said it is just like the Walton's. I love it...we just won't have that many

The plumbing is just about done...they wanted to test it today but the generator had a different hook-up than the wiring for the submersible tomorrow! :) A few more things to hook up--like the hot water tank and the heat pump, and we're good to go. Finally. :)

So, next week will be CMHC and Building Inspections and then on to insulation and drywall. We are rethinking our drywall plan for a few reasons--time and labour mostly--and are checking to see if we can get someone to install and crackfill. I am waiting to hear back from a couple of companies. If that doesn't work we'll just go back to plan A, which was do it ourselves, well, mostly Charlie with help.

We also have the kitchen designed and ready to order...white-washed birch cabinets...and a nice big island. :)

Monday, November 17, 2008


The plumber finally arrived today, after eight weeks...eight looonnggg weeks. I am so happy. :) I told Charlie maybe we should chain this guy to the house. I'm scared if he leaves he won't come back....

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ben has finished all the "out" plumbing to the septic and up through the roof. He is going to come next week and put the pump in the well and hook up the hot water heater. But he really doesn't have the time or the back to do the "in" hot and cold water...which was supposed to be done by the non-appearing plumber. He is as frustrated as we are with no-show...who again told both us and Ben he would be there at 3 on Thursday and never showed up. Anyway, if we can either find someone to work with and/or help Ben to do the PEX, we might get out of this never-ending plumber drama....that and hook up the heat pump....*sigh*

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I figured everyone would be sick of my whining about plumbers by now (no, he still has not shown up) so I decided to add some new pics with the porch roof shingled and all the siding done, except for along the porch. Every day we can see more and more of the river...the views from upstairs are expecially beautiful...although these ones are from the porch, and they're pretty nice too....

Monday, November 10, 2008


I called him again. Told him I was going to have to lay off my carpenter and that I was NOT doing that, so we needed the plumbing done NOW. He says he ran into a bunch of problems at this other job that he should have had done a month ago. He is hoping to finish it today. He has all our stuff in the truck and once he is done he and his workers will be up and should be able to do ours quickly. I'll give him to Wednesday and then if he is not there will start calling him...a lot...he will either have to come do it or change his cell number....

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nothing yet....

Today he told Gary he'd be there Monday. We'll see....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Still nothing.....*sigh*

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The word is that the MIA plumber is coming tomorrow...cross your fingers.

And Gary just talked to the other plumber (the one who is almost done his part) and had a good laugh--he is the funniest! :)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

One step forward, two steps back...

That's what it feels like lately. Gary is off for four weeks working on the week is his last week. We had hoped to get the siding done and the drywall started while he was off. My brother is scheduled to come up and help next weekend with drywall (after we cancelled him last weekend since we weren't ready.)

So...the siding is almost done. Check.

**Rant on**
Insulate and drywall...on hold. Before we can even order the materials for this stage of the process (again, because of the way the bank draws work) we have to have the rough electrical, HVAC and plumbing done and inspected by both the building inspector and the CMHC inspector. Then, after the inspection, wait another couple of days for the money to arrive from the bank and THEN order the materials and start to insulate.

But once again, we're held up by plumbing. *sigh* The other two trades are done (and waiting patiently for payment). Even one of our two plumbers is almost done (they work together and one is doing the "out" and one is doing the "in"). The "in" plumber has done nothing...promised us a few weeks ago he could start in TWO weeks, two weeks have more than come and gone. Got a key and met us at the house over a week ago--was starting that week...nothing. Called him last weekend and he said he would be there Monday night...nope. Came on Tuesday and talked to Charlie, said he was going to get the materials and start that night....still more nothing. We're really frustrated at this point...there is no way we'll make a Christmas deadline. And we may even have to lay off Charlie for a few days unless this gets done right away. Oh, and once again we'll have to tell my brother we're not ready for his help....hopefully he will be able to come when and if we need him.

It's not like we don't have roof over our heads, and we know we'll finish eventually, but it would be nice if the plumbing could get done and we could move on....

**Rant over** Thanks for listening....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Prairie Gold on the East Coast...

The siding is going on...and the colour, as you may have guessed, is called Prairie Gold. Gary is also working on a stone walkway using the stones that are plentiful around the property....

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Lucky for us Gary's dad, Reg, is a Heavy Equipment Operator and was home from Alberta last week...he dug the hole for the line in from the well, fixed up the driveway and moved some of the big rocks that used to be in the stone wall. The biggest one we put out by the driveway to put the house number on. The others Gary has been working with to make the walkway from the driveway into the house....

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We went "lurking" last weekend...looking at porch railings. We love the short, old-style rails we see on older homes, but they are not very safe. So after cruising Miramichi and looking at lots of porches we decided on a combo of the low rail with a higher rail for safety...

Looking down the rail from the front step....

And from the porch itself...

Looking along the side of the railing here yet...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

While you're waiting...

for new pics, I think I'll share some of the financial lessons we've learned so far...

1) Dirt is expensive....and it takes a lot more fill than you would think when you look at what seems a huge truckload, but hardly makes a mudpile once it's dumped.
2) Do not get an inspection and THEN order the time you get the money the new stuff has been added to the bill, but the draw money in the pot won't have gotton any bigger. (Yes Helen, you told us this, but men don't listen!)
3) You WILL go over will...then you either have to cut something or hope the nice folks at the bank and CMHC will renegotiate with you.
4) Interest rates are important...but sometimes going with a bank and a person you can trust is more important. We could have saved a 1/4 or maybe even 1/2 a percent going with one of those online mortgage lenders...and never actually met any of them. Instead we chose our NBTA Credit Union, and Helen, who knows our life story by now...she is a phone call/e-mail away and I can drop in on her when I am in Freddy for meetings. She cares about us and our house project, and that is worth a lot.
5) You can do it yourself, and save money, but be prepared to invest your time...thankfully teachers get the summer off...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

The door hardware is on...

Andi helped mommy with some measuring...

My way of seeing how the bathroom could be laid out the best--make templates from newspaper and move them around....

The porch is coming along...there is actually more done today, but the pics are from there are posts all along the "bump"...and rafters along the front..

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


We have a plumber, thanks to Shasta. xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo There are not enough hugs and kisses in the world for you!

He can't do it for two weeks, but there is plenty to keep Charlie busy until then. :)

Still no plumber...

I am about to go off the deep end...we have called so many people and it's either a no, or just no answer....some of them are too busy to even answer their phones. We hoped that we could find someone, but I am starting to think that we may have a looooooooong delay. *sigh*

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thanks to everyone who has been giving us names and helping us track down plumbers. Here's to hoping it all works out! xoxo


Well, our THIRD plumber just quit.

The first one we had lined up decided to go out West, and left before we even started the house.

Plumber No 2 was great; he came and did all the rough plumbing in the basement floor before the concrete was poured. Then he decided to go out West too. But he arranged for another plumber, who came up with him and looked at the job...we thought we were all set.

So today plumber number three calls, and says "Sorry, we're just too busy." Holy frick. And of course we're at the point where we need a plumber in the next couple of weeks to get the rough plumbing in so we can insulate and drywall. GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH

I called the father of a high-school classmate and threw myself at his mercy...he is retired though, and already doing more extra projects than he wants. But he is going to let me know. Everyone cross everything....fingers, toes, hair follicles, whatever....

And I have also called everyone I know and asked for names of plumbers...of course we've already been through three of the five they have mentioned, so I have two names to try on Monday.....*SIGH* (Ok Shasta, NOW I am a bit stressed....)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Water, water everywhere....

We have a well....with 100 gallons per minute! No problem running a geothermal heat

And Charlie changed all the door openings today and two of them are more to go. Had to order the handles for the French doors at Home Depot online, since no one here carries the dummy handles. So it is all coming together again. If only we didn't have those backward steps.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Should have known...

...things were going too smoothly. HVAC, Electrician and Plumber will all be coming in the next little while. The plumber might be harder to get in, as he is super busy, and is really just doing our house as a favour for a friend. Our second plumber also moved out West (as did our first), so he arranged for this guy to do the job. No big deal, and nice of him to arrange it rather than leave us high and dry.

Here's the problem. You can see all the windows are in, but not the doors. Hmmm...wonder why? Maybe because the doors don't fit!? They are all 1 inch bigger (wider and taller) than the dimensions on the spec sheet from the building supply store! And while that might not seem like a big deal it is especially problematic in the basement, where we already had problems with the height of the it means backtracking and redoing work that is already done.

And still no word on our second draw...not sure if the CMHC inspector was back and did his report or not...will have to try and chase that info down tomorrow....before we run out of money!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008