Things are progressing at an astonishing pace and with very few hiccups, leaving me open-mouthed and very happily excited. Stef actually said in the car the other day that he’d have us living in our own rental suite “by the end of the year”. Astonishing.
We got our final ‘approval to build’ from the Benchlands’ aesthetics committee on Thursday 5 May (maybe the 18 months starts then?). Horrah! They were previously disturbed by the lurid colour of green that Stef had used on the digital plans (it was one of the 6 greens offered by his paint programme; not exactly what we plan to paint the house), but quickly put to ease.
In the meantime, the digger and blaster boys did a good job giving us a driveway area and excavating where we’re going to build, though a bit more of the nice featury bluff of boulders at the front got taken away than Stef was hoping/expecting. (“I kept saying: ‘to here. No further.’ Then I’d come back and more would be gone!”) But this is a minor issue, and it has left us with lots of nice chunky boulders to scatter around the yard or at the front, to prop up little landscaping beds. They also managed to: overcharge for the use of machinery, by doing stupid things like having a digger and only one truck to take stuff away one day (so the digger had to wait while the truck drove) and then a digger and three trucks the next (so the trucks sat around with nothing to do); nick some of our precious trees by sorting the rubble into different size classes (not sure why they did that) and piling them up too close to said trees; install a too-small water pipe, though thankfully our neighbour Roger pointed out that this wasn’t to code and they fixed it. So things weren’t perfect, but basically this just gave Stef something to do and made him feel needed (kidding), and in the end the final product is fine, which is what counts.
Stef has hired a framer (who he has variously been calling Eduardo and Ricardo for the past week, totally not knowing what his name was and both of us finding this hilarious. Turns out he is Ricardo and his son is Eduardo, and he doesn’t care what we call him so long as we pay). He worked on the house down the street and comes with good recommendations, and had the cheapest quote by far, so that was one of those easy decisions that we need to cherish (though it left Stef in agonies for a while over whether he should have done the framing himself. This is silly, though, as just hiring a few helpers would have cost as much and wouldn’t come with the same tools or expertise). Ricardo/Eduardo is going to work solidly through the weekend and Stef should be pouring foundations by next week. Astonishing.
We keep having silly moments of angst about the plans (Stef: will the deck be big enough? Is it unfair that one of the ‘kiddie’ bedrooms is so much nicer than the other, with vaulted ceiling and south-facing view and a mini balcony? What if the kids fall off the balcony? Me: Is there room for the dining table? Is there enough kitchen storage area? Will I be okay sharing a closet with Stef?). These, of course, are stupid questions. It will be a lovely house, and all will be well. Stef has decided to move the front balcony out by two feet (bigger is always better for decks in my view). But it’s not all angst. We also have sweet dreams of a picnic table on the front lawn, and a fire pit in the back, and a pile of wood under the deck stairs, and a cold-frame for plants on the front deck, and a veggie garden by the driveway, and a little wooden seat out on the rock with the waterfall view…