It’s an emotional thing this house renovation lark…

Today was the third site meeting. These are usually held every two weeks, but because we couldn’t make the usual Friday appointment last week, it’s been two weeks and three days since the last one. Pah, “what’s three days?” I hear you say! Well, it’s enough to get me into bear-with-sore-head mode… And the overall stress of the project is enough to give Katie sleepless nights. Which is saying something, because she’s the best sleeper I know.

Two weeks seems to be the optimal amount of time because it allows enough time for work to progress without constantly talking about the issues. But it’s also long enough for quite a few issues to rack-up. Since we last met, we’ve had the following:

1. Extension too high (short story solution: chop the top off and rethink the drainage)
2. Hall corner support design needed more thought before the steel could be ordered. Not a big one, but had the potential to cause delays
3. The mystery of how the existing balcony was structured was solved: inside-out asphalt wrapped-around extended internal floor joists, with small sections of concrete wedged between the joists. How to support the new balcony in the absence of the assumed-to-be-present brickwork is the problem that needs to be solved in the next couple of weeks…
4. The house has been completely rewired before we’ve received an estimate and confirmed work can proceed (let’s hope it doesn’t break the bank…)
5. The undisturbed ground issue that dogged the extension footings at the front looks like it will also affect the balcony footings at the rear (poor Jamie has been stuck at the bottom of more muddy trenches than he’d like to have been this summer!)
6. An elusive (in-demand, very busy) engineer who we need to make decisions more quickly
7. According to UPS, the house existed one week, but disappeared the next, delaying the second delivery of speaker cable for the ceilings (but some great customer service from the suppliers who kept on chasing)
8. Ex-hurricane/Atlantic Depression Bertha raised the stakes for a bit
9. A whole host of other, lesser issues that were more straightforward to resolve…

The net effect is that the night before the site meeting is spent scouring memory banks and email threads to check the history of any given topic, making sure we have our facts straight before losing the plot in embarrassing circumstances…

And did we lose the plot in embarrassing circumstances? Not this time, but with the schedule seeming to have slipped by another week (that’s two weeks in six weeks so far), we decided discretion was the better part of valour and left the question of whether this delay is justified to the Builder and Architect to resolve…

So, why’s it so emotional?
Because we’re investing so much in it. Not in just the obvious financial terms, but also because our dreams and aspirations are wrapped-up in it. It’s the pressure of wanting to get it right. So the kids have a great home to grow-up in. So we have a base for the next who-knows-how-many years. And so we can have some great weekends with loved ones, parties and sundowners.

Mystery solved…
20140806 Balcony structure laid bare

John’s foot helps scale the size of the Hall corner detail

The best Bertha could do… Thankfully
20140810 Utility Wall


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