Monday, February 18, 2008

Nobody Knows You (When You're Down And Out)

That's a crappy title, huh? I am in a bit of a bad frame of mind right now. Things are not going well. I have made an effort through this blog to try to show all of the joys and frustrations of building something as significant as a house and how it affects your life (or has affected mine anyway). I don't know if anyone out there who reads this blog is even remotely interested in building their own home or gets any worthwhile information out of this. It is very satisfying to build your own home but I have chosen one of the hardest ways to do this, as usual. Building out of your pocket is very hard and takes a long time. I keep telling myself that it will all be worth it as I will not have a mortgage but I want to finish this house so badly.
I am having trouble with the water again. I have begun enclosing the spring with masonry but this weekend we had some torrential rains that muddied the spring tremendously. The filter that I have is good but cannot handle that much silt and mud so the water is not fit to drink at the moment. It will take it 2-3 days to clear I am getting very frustrated with this. I am very grateful for the rain here but I cannot tolerate the water in this condition. I believe there is a hole on the uphill side of the spring that is the cause of this, combined with the disturbed soil from trenching. As I said, I am in the process of backfilling and moving soil to keep water from even running to the spring but I thought I had made some headway, not made it worse.
Another bizarre problem is that apparently, back during warm weather, wasps got in the house and built a nest (a big one) somewhere in a wall without being noticed. Now, whenever we get a warm spell, wasps start crawling out of the clerestory wall. I mean lots of them. One small section on the back of the clerestory is still open (on the inside) and they must be coming from there.
Another problem that I am having is purely my own fault for not doing enough research. I noticed after moving in that I was having a real problem with moisture in the house, as in condensation on the windows. Now, I paid good money for double insulated windows and knew that they should not be doing that. After a little investigation I learned that it is my propane heater. The nice, cozy fireplace. It puts off water!! Plus, it is just not adequate for heating the whole house. Also, I called today for a refill on my tank. I was disgusted to see that the first 200 gallons barely lasted 2 months and now propane is hitting near $4.00 a gallon. This is double what the first tank cost me. This is just not what I had in mind for affordable heating. I mean, I can technically afford it but I don't want to! I think I talked about this in a previous post and my decision to install a wood burning heater in the basement. All of this can be fixed but I am very aggravated at myself for not investigating all of this better before now.
And to top all of this off, work is slowing to a crawl in town for my company and I have been asked to go to Louisiana for the next 2 years. I just moved in my house and now I may have to leave it. I must keep working in my present occupation in order to finish my house and as quickly as possible because the work that I do is beginning to take it's toll on me physically. I cannot make the same amount of money doing my pottery or something similar and I don't believe I can make it in construction for more than 5 or 6 more years. Also, some of you may have noticed a revision in my profile. Allen is beginning to build his own house elsewhere. This is not a new development though. This was decided over a year ago but we do continue to help each other out when we can.
I know everything will work out fine eventually and this is all my own doing anyway as I always want to try something new and do something different. Everyone told me I was crazy to become a construction worker! I guess everyone wonders throughout their lives if the decisions that they have made have always been the right ones. Should I have done this or that differently? Should I have taken other people's advise or followed my own heart? I have always followed my own heart ( but taken other advise seriously too) and it's been a hard row to hoe sometimes but I guess it is for everybody.
I am still working on getting internet service at the house and a new computer but I think it will still be around the end of the month before all of that is completed. I hope to post more frequently then, if I don't give up on it all together.


Woody said...

Annie...keep your chin up.

Adrianna said...

I've been following your progress for a while. Don't worry things happen in cycles you just have to ride the wave and know you'll always get back to the top. I love your site I've had many careers in my life time From dog groomer to nurse. Just be flexible it'll all work out.

Anonymous said...


An old fellow told me one time that you either live where you like and take what money comes or be willing to move amd make the money. This may be the good Lord's way of saying its time for a change. You have many talents that could be used in maintenance departments with various businesses aound the area. The money may not be as great, but you may get to avoid those extremes of heat and cold that go along with construction life.
Keep the faith and go with your heart.
I'll be up that way this weekend trying to wrap up things at my place.

molly said...

When the going gets tough....the tough get going.

Don't give up on your dream, unless the dream has changed. Sure things are a little rocky, but look at all the amazing things you have achieved, are still achieving and all you the adventure ahead of you. If it was so easy, would it be of as much value to you?

There is only one thing in life we should never have to do....sit on our swing, look wistfully into the past, and say "I wish I had of....."

Follow your heart, you will find a way to achieve what it is you want


edifice rex said...

Hey Woody! I will! Seeing the trains at work always makes me wonder if you have been able to get back to work yet.

Hello Adrianna! Thanks. You are right about things going in cycles; I have noticed that and things will work out.

Hey Barry! I have thought about that and considered many things. I have had some other job offers but they just don't pay near what I can make now. If I can just finish the house I can afford to take a little pay cut.

Hello Molly! Yeah, I was thinking the other day that at least my house is livable. I will get there and I will have fun doing it and you are very correct about not getting to the end of your life and saying "I wish I had..." I might say, " maybe I shouldn't have..." ! but at least I found out what all was out there.

Woody said...

Annie.. Believe it or I have run into every idiot possible in the bureaucracy that is the railroad. It shouldn't be too much longer. I think when they say I can and they need me I'll mark off on


edifice rex said...

Hey Woody, well, we have learned that the railroad is odd. Back in October, I think, the Switchman told me that he may have to change his current position because of the building we are putting up. I didn't really understand why but he said that it had not been decided yet for sure. Well, I asked him about it last week, because I feel kinda bad about it if he does, and he said the railroad has still not decided anything. But they sure want their building built in a hurry though.

carpenterlady said...

I totally understand what you are going thru. I have struggled with water issues on the acreage we used to live on. Have you thought of using a outdoor wood furnace? I know you weld so you could possibly build it yourself. I worked with a bridge carpenter years ago that built his own. Please email me. Take care. I will pray for you. I have loved your blog for two years.

edifice rex said...

Hey CL! Thanks so much for your prayers and concern. I have thought of an outdoor wood heater but I think I really want to install one in the basement as it will warm the floor of the house and that is really nice. Putting in a wood heater should not be a big deal. My architect wanted me to build my own but I am skeptical. I know that I could technically weld it but you have to be very precise in order for it to draw properly and I think I had just as soon buy one. I have enough to build now and I can afford to buy one. I will get the water worked out too; it is just going to take time. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

Cry me a hand full…. This does not sound like the same woman I once worked with. Before you came on the job I was working on, the Superintendent said that there would be a woman coming to work that next Monday and that we needed to straighten up and behave and also watch our language. Then he snickered. Don’t worry you are a lot tougher than you give your self credit for. About the gas prices have you thought about changing to a wood burning buck stove style, I also don’t think that you will have as bad of a problem with condensation. Any way how many times have you had to work around problem that have arose at work… probably every day. It is the nature of construction work. We pay architects big money and they make mistakes like this all the time and what happens, we fix it. So don’t worry you will finish your house, but there will probably be several changes along the way. Just don’t let those changes stop you.

P.S. Don’t worry if you have to work out of town I am sure the wasps will appreciate the peace and quiet.

Floridacracker said...

I have enjoyed your blog for some time now and I'm sorry so much is going on right now.
I remember how tough it was when I was deciding to leave the park service for teaching.
Sleepless nights and a knotted stomach ...

I wish I could say something really intelligent that would help here, but all I can say is I'm thinking about you and hoping that things work out the way you want them too.
Take care gal.

edifice rex said...

Hey Anon! Who is this!!!? :D None of the guys I work with regularly can spell that well! I know, I know, I sound pitiful don't I? Ha, Ha! You are right and I'm getting over it. I need my butt kicked for being such a wienie. I am going to switch to a wood burning stove next year, definately and I will not give up. There is nothing that a real construction worker can't fix.
Those damn wasps are going to DIE before I leave though! Probably come back home and they will have redecorated the whole place; have painted the living room some awful color and thrown the cat out.

Hey FC! Oh, thanks for your support but I'm just being whiney. As you can see from the previous comment, the guys are not going to let me lay down on this. I'll get over it and fix everything and everything will work out. As I am often reminded, I have a charmed life and I should be ashamed of myself for moaning so. Thanks for your kind words though.

Jenn said...

Wow, you've been taking the hits lately, huh.

I moved from Michigan to Phoenix to follow the work. Hard to leave behind the green, the garden, the dreams.

You will at least have your place waiting for you - but two years is an eternity in a build-your-own.

(I've never built, but my aunt and uncle put in one of the first straw bales in Colorado, near Durango, so the stories sound VERY familiar. They had to explain and educate pretty much everything to their inspector, and approvals took a while.)

Hope things start getting a bit sunnier for you.

edifice rex said...

Hey Jenn! Things will get better! At least I do not have to deal with inspections. I am not in the city limits and the county here does not require anything! Of course, my house is thoroughly up to code but that stuff is a pain anyway. I can't really complain because everything I'm having problems with is just my own lack of research.

Jenn said...

"that stuff is a pain anyway"

Hell, yes. The last place I worked, we were designing a building in California. Carumba! The code hurdles!