3 Months and Counting

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We are now five weeks behind the schedule given to us by our contractor. It’s a bit depressing given that fall is approaching and both John and myself are back to work. It’s a little challenging for John to get ready, and I still have a lot to do to get things done so that our finish contractors will be able to do their job and write creative ideas for a project I’m working on.

But, we do love the comfort of our Airstream and are now talking about taking off in a few years and traveling around the United States and Canada for however long it takes. We will rent out both the house and backyard cottage and upgrade to a larger model and go. It is nice to have air -conditioning in the Airstream once again as we continue to have very hot days (for the NW, anyway). The 2015 Airstream models feature ducted air so the unit is now completely outside and it is very quiet inside. We are waiting for sales on those models. 🙂

One of the things we’ve really missed is traveling around in it this summer, but since we are living full time and staying on property, it’s more difficult to put everything away and make things travel safe. When we aren’t living in it, we keep it ready to travel except for the addition of food and drink, which is a lot less to contend with. We’ve mostly missed our fellow Airstreamers and are looking forward to connecting again with them.

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We escaped to San Juan Island last week to take a break from the noise and frustrations.

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It was really beautiful and the cottage we rented was perfect for us and Buster who made a new friend in Mondo. Kit, our host shared John’s famous sangria with us and we learned a lot about the island.

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Highlights included a walk around Garrison Bay,

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Painted in Waterlogue

A hike at the American Camp, which was gorgeous, and I showed John the treacherous Cattle Pass,

Painted in Waterlogue

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Lime Kiln Lighthouse,

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and a beautiful sunset at the County Park.

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In the last couple of weeks, the house’s exterior has been worked on so that the Hardie Panel and shingles are really looking great. Ivan and Juan are doing a terrific job.

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Insulation is giving rooms their shape and it’s being installed, as I type, under the house. In the next couple of days drywalling will begin.

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One of the things I really wanted to do was put clear cedar planking under the eave of the main deck to give it a more elegant and finished look rather than Hardie Panel. Juan did a great job of integrating it and now it will look beautiful once the house is painted.

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We did make a mistake on the double doors and got framing that was too small – 2×4 versus 2×6 opening. Ivan and Juan came up with a great solution and now it looks fine. We both have learned so much over the past year, and I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet on what to do when, and the things to think about.

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As the house takes shape, We’ve been hosting people on the Sky Deck most evenings and have been enjoying sharing the view. It really is quite something to be able to sit up there and look out over the lake as alpenglow hits the mountains and the top of Mt. Rainier. It’s pretty stunning. Fall will be truly amazing.

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10 Weeks Down – Project Fatigue Edition

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After ten full weeks of building and living in the Airstream, by this Saturday, we both were feeling very stressed with project fatigue. The dust, the mess, the process, and constantly wondering where things are finally got the best of us. Even Buster seemed a little out of sorts.

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Luckily, our great friend, Perry, invited us out onto a boat in Andrew’s Bay near Seward Park, which could not have been a more perfect tonic to lift our spirits. Lots of laughs, cocktails, food and floating around in the water really helped. Thanks, Perry.

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Sunday, we spent in the mountains and visited Franklin Falls where John and I had our first date three years ago. We also tried bushwhacking our way to Source Lake and found it nearly impossible, but it was nice to hang by the river and let Buster enjoy some downtime, too.

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Meanwhile, back at the house this week, the siding began going up with the textured Hardie plank and shingles. Starting in the rear of the house, the planks and shingles are really making the house feel like a house again, so it’s good to see.

The electric rough-in continued. We really like the electrician: nice, very competent and has great suggestions. The plumbing inspection never happened during the week. Something which was supposed to happen.

Several things to think about this week as the heat rises again today: cabinets, railings, decks and finish work. Lots and lots to do.

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We are roughly three weeks over the planned schedule. Part of our frustration lies in the fact we were told by our builder they would be done with their work by August 8th and there is still so much left to do under their contract: siding, insulation, drywall, mudding, exterior and interior paint, not to mention all of the little things to fix. It will be interesting to see how long it really is going to take. We hope to be in by mid-September when we can still do some of the finish work, but also enjoy the house.

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We saw this beauty at Airstream Adventures Northwest while we waited for our Dometic air conditioner to be replaced. Again, a wonderful service experience. The dealership as a whole seems to have really upped their game service and knowledge-wise. We came away quite impressed with how they are working to make the experience there so much better.

Nine Weeks Down – SeaFair Edition

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Well, the deck got a workout this past weekend from SeaFair viewing. Lots of neighbors came by and we even made a new friend, Jill, who was standing on the street looking kinda lonely so I invited her up to watch the Blue Angels on Saturday. She was very nice and so appreciative she ended up offering us free massages whenever she was back in town. She is a massage therapist from Pullman, WA who was here for some long-term clients she had.

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The neighbor kids raked in the bucks with their lemonade stand and we were amazed at how many people were standing on the street watching for the planes.

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John overcame his fear of clowns on Saturday when the SeaFair clowns dropped by at our neighbor’s every year for amazing ribs and pulled pork. By Sunday, however, we were exhausted from the noise, the people, the constant running up and down the stairs and especially the heat, which rose steadily throughout SeaFair Weekend.

We had a great view of the entire show, and then Saturday night, the fireworks were right below us and spectacular. John made a very tasty Sangria and a gin/Byhr drink we share with our neighbors.

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Backing up, the big event for this week was getting windows installed and the plumbing roughed in. This made a huge difference as now we can see how the light is in the rooms. We also ordered a beautiful front door, French doors for the main deck and a single door off the kitchen. We brought home a basement door and back door for the house as well.

The guys at Frank Lumber: The Door Store in Shoreline are terrific at customer service. Can’t say enough nice things about them as they helped us out with many selections.

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Railpro’s in Southcenter are proving to be a great find, as well as Oregon Tile and Marble who were as helpful and lovely as any place could be. We are looking forward to the tile we selected that will be installed by our former neighbor, Steve Branca, who is a master tiler and has already been quite helpful.

Quite a lot was done.

Once more, we got into a contentious battle with our builders. Here, I’m going to say that we love the workers they employ (Ivan, Juan and Leo), just not their project manager who continues to be belligerent, untrustworthy and combative with us. His client skills are simply the worst. He calls meetings where we are all supposed to be and then doesn’t show up, or doesn’t tell us about them until his sub arrives. This time they were going to up-charge us $1654.00 for smooth Hardi Plank over textured, which we didn’t want. We first checked online at Home Depot and Lowe’s to see if there was a price difference between the two and found that there wasn’t. Then we called their supplier specifically and they told us there was no cost difference, and we also asked if it was readily available and they told us it was within a day when we were told it was “Special Order” and would take a week or two to get it delivered. John has lost all confidence in him, and I told the project manager that I was right on the edge with him yesterday.

The budget they prepared wasn’t detailed and every time we think something should be included in the contract cost, it isn’t, so frustration sets in and I’m feeling deflated and defeated by a builder who simply won’t be square with us. Doing a project such as this is very stressful without the added stress we get from the builder. We wish that Juan would be the project manager as he is not only helpful, instructive, but he listens to our needs as much as he can.

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Last Friday, we spent the day out at Airstream Adventures Northwest and came away very impressed with their service department, which has seen a seismic shift in their helpfulness and ease of working with people. Daniel, the service manager, was all kinds of great, and helped us get a lot of things fixed and replaced. We do have to take Margaret in this Friday for a new Dometic Air/Heat Pump as it has gone completely south. All is good, however, as we do enjoy looking at the new Airstreams and dream of upgrading to the 25 or 27 foot Eddie Bauer edition someday when we decided to head out on the road for awhile. We are missing being a part of the rallies and going up to the mountains this summer, but we both need to be here for all the details and watch our builder closely.

Next up is selecting the cabinets. We have many quotes, we just now need to pull the trigger. It’s not easy since it involves thousands of dollars and is critical to the success of the house’s aesthetic. John is working diligently through all the different vendors and we are close to a selection.

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This week, the siding is going up now that all the windows are installed and the framing inspection was passed.

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We continue to enjoy the beautiful skies, sunrises and sunsets, and now are glad of the railings, which make us feel more secure.