Apologies for the (extremely long) hiatus. After blowing our June deadline last year (that's when we had optimistically thought we could submit our plans for our permit) we decided to put it off until the next spring (otherwise, if you start building too late in the summer, you end up with snow falling on your house before you have the roof on). The delay was a good idea. Stef got a job on a crew building someone else's house from the ground up, which means he got actual experience in putting in foundations, framing, and everything else, before doing it 'for real'. So that was good. And it gave us time to hash out the final details on the plan.
To be honest, I have had very little to do with it all for a while now. I've left the nitty gritty details in Stef's hands, and since I don't really know what an I-beam is or how trusses work, it's just frustrating for everyone involved if Stef tries to explain it to me. But this is good. Stef has a full time job working it all out, and I can avoid the stress by just avoiding it entirely. Eventually this is bound to catch up with us (like when I realize that the plans have changed and the house is missing a room, or something, and it's too late to pipe up.) But for now it seems to work.
So come March (2011) Stef had the plans all finalized, and submitted to the city for permission to build. Then I jetted off to Tanzania for 2 weeks on my own (work bought the ticket) leaving Stef to do some soapstone carving (he's amazingly talented at this - I reckon it's our gravy train) and fret about starting the build. Just when I got back the permit arrived (on Tuesday, 19 April, for the record). And immediately (the very next day) the blasters arrived to start blowing back the rock, so Stef can put in a driveway and the foundations. How exciting!
Stef has bought a wildlife camera - a digital camera, fed by a pack of AAs, that can be strapped to a tree and has a camoflagued, locked casing, and which can be programmed to take pictures either when it senses movement or, in our case, every 5 minutes or so (we thought about this one and this one, but got this one). In this way we'll get a stop-frame photo montage of the house being built! I argued for one picture an hour, but Stef convinced me that more is better. If this takes 18 months, we'll have about 80,000 photos to contend with. Golly.
But there's plenty to do in the meantime. Though we have a building permit from the city, we still don't technically have permission from the people who own the development, who need to approve our design for general issues of style and taste. We don't anticipate this will be a problem. But they're asking us what colour we want it to be (apparently 'green' wasn't specific enough. We've settled now on 'cushing green', which my computer screen shows as grey, but really it's green). Not sure what colour the roof, windows, doors and garage will be... but do they really, really care? Amazing.
Over Easter weekend we went ski touring - the Spearhead traverse, from Blackcomb to Whistler in 3 days - which was a great way to forget about the build for a bit (no time to think, at all, during the grueling uphill hikes, sun-baked glacial views, and general exhaustion!). Between that, the arrival of spring (including frogs at night and hummingbirds by day), my recent African safari and the Big Build, I can't decide what to think about in any given moment. My brain flits from one adventure to the next, and I definitely can't keep my mind on work...