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Redwood on the Side

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Of course, every blog post which is preceded by months of silence must be qualified with the following salutation: OMG, I’m so sorry for being such a slacker-blogger – I totally SUK! Okay, my conscience is clear… let’s move on.

The previous several weeks have been a march of incremental progress. Such progress hardly engenders enthusiastic bragging. The building process seems to move in alternating periods of quick achievement and plodding preparation. A couple of months ago I was estimating how long the siding would take. Lessee here… 6 inch boards, prime em, nail em up, boom boom, should take a couple weeks maybe three. Ah, those were magical days of imagined efficiencies. Turns out that priming siding takes a long time. So does staining siding. So does nailing up furring strips. And cutting the siding so that it fits neatly around basement vents, windows, electrical outlets, hose bibs, etc. – that takes time. Then there is trim, which needs to be installed at the corners and around doors and windows. Let’s just say that siding the house takes a long time.

But we’re at the point where we’re throwing up the redwood siding and it’s looking pretty nice and it’s going pretty quickly. Spirits are high.

I’ve been looking at the house as a series of stages. Each stage culminates in a simple statement like: “The foundation has been poured.” or, “The roof is on.” The current stage culminates with, “the exterior is done.” And by done, I mean, pretty much done. After the siding goes up we’ll move to the inside and start installing the electrical wiring and the plumbing parts that feed water and gas to the fixtures and appliances. After that comes insulation and then drywall. So the next stage will end in, “the drywall is up.” At that point we’ll have a house with interior and exterior walls and we’ll need to install our kitchen counters and interior doors. We’ll add interior trim and then finally install the wood floors. Did that sound like I was itemizing a list to myself? Cuz I was.

Another exciting thing that is happening is that our electrical, gas, cable and telephone service is being run underground. This involves digging a 4-foot deep hole across the street, laying various plastic conduit in the hole and then waiting patiently for PG&E to arrive, inspect, approve and connect the utilities. Each of those things happens on a different day, usually weeks apart. So much to the chagrin of our neighbors, we’ve had those steel plates covering the ditch and slowing traffic on our street. Occasionally tractors or dump-trucks come and move gravel around. The contractor we found to do this job has been really nice and patient. His name is Ed, which is a cool name, and he is harried because he’s also digging ditches and paving roads at the new Whole Foods a few blocks away. I think he gave us a good deal because he figured he’d already be down the street and our project is one hundredth the size of the other one. One important thing I’ve discovered is that men never lose their childhood awe of tractors. When a backhoe comes down the street and starts moving gravel or digging holes, a crowd of men inevitably forms standing around in a sort of disinterested manly way. Inside each of these men, and I am one of them, is a boy who is basically thinking, “COOL! – LOOK-AT-THAT! – A BIG TRACTOR! I WISH I COULD SIT IN THAT BIG TRACTOR. VRRRRMMMM”

Check out the gallery below and stay tuned folks. Now that the stages are flying by we’ll be posting quite frequently!

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