Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hunting 101

It's been awhile since I've updated my blog, but I've been pretty busy. Now that things have settled down a little bit, look for me to post a couple times a week.

The real reason for this post is to share an unbelievable hunting trip that I was lucky to experience with my dad and my nephew at Swanson Hunting Acres in Niobrara Nebraska.

We left Sioux City on Wednesday afternoon after an hour of clay pigeon shooting. We felt like we needed to warm up a little before we set out to kill the real thing. We made a pitstop at the Castle Bar in Newcastle, Nebraska. The town where I spent the first 10 years of my life. When we entered the bar, everyone in there knew dad, of course. I think they actually have his stool that he used to sit in, gold plated. After some refreshements, we were on our way to the lodge in Niobrara, about 65 miles west of Newcastle.

To our surprise, the lodge was unbelievable. Stuck out in the middle of nowhere at the end of a questionable dirt road. This place had 6 rooms upstairs, and 8 rooms downstairs, all with double beds, and their own bathroom. Tyler and I bunked up, and left dad to snore by himself across the hall. If I had to guess, I would say the lodge is probably about 6,000 square feet.

This is a picture of the main dining / TV area. From left to right it's Betty (the 75 year old spitfire that runs Swanson Acres), Craig "Rooster" Nelson (our guide and dog handler), the Cook, Dad and Tyler. This place was more unbelievable then I can explain. This picture does absolutely no justice to the cedar cupboards and the knotty pine ceiling. To our surprise, we ate prime rib for dinner... which nobody complained about.

This is Betty and JR(a Jack Russel Terrier) and Tyler looking at some squirrels out the window. Betty runs a tight ship there, and she is one of the nicest hosts I've ever met. You'd never know that she's 75 because of the amount of work that she does in a day. JR also earns his keep at the farm. It's his job to kill the rats in the pheasant barns, and the day that we were there, he killed 12.

This is the other wall of the lodge, with Jimmy's (a guy who works at Swanson Acres) trophies mounted. He went on an African Safari last year for 9 days and bagged 6 different animals. The Caribou in the middle was attained on a hunting trip he took to Alaska. It was a pretty neat spread. Neat enough to make dad, Tyler and myself want to take a similar trip, probably around my 35th birthday, because the trip, along with mounting the animals, runs along the lines of $10,000.

This was my absolute favorite trophy of Jimmy's. It's a Golden Pheasant that he bought from a pheasant farmer a couple years ago. It's Cyclone colors, and if I ever come across one, I'm definitley gonna have it mounted for my game room. Look at it, in all it's beauty. I love it.

Hunting was great. We had fantastic weather in the morning and afternoon, and Rooster's dogs performed flawlessly. Here's a shot of me in the field with a pointer and a 2 year old black lab named Gabby.

This is Gabby's dad, Shadow bringing a bird back to Rooster. Shadow is THE best hunting dog I have ever seen. He's a pointing lab with a nose like a canon. He was very well behaved, and retrieved all 18 birds that we shot while he was working the fields.

This is Tyler displaying the results of our morning hunt. You can tell it's the morning hunt because his Rambo like shell holster is only 1/2 empty.

This is all of us after our afternoon hunt. Notice Tyler's shell holster is completely empty at this point. A pretty remarkable stat is Tyler shooting 36 shells that day from a single shot .410. All at different birds. He's holding up the black pheasant that he shot all by himself. A pretty good shot from about 75 yards away. One thing the picture is missing is a good view of dad's swollen hand. This will probably be the last picture you'll ever see of dad holding this gun, because it did a number on his hand that earned itself a permanent place in the gun cabinet, never to be touched again. I see a new semi-auto in dad's future.

We left Swanson Acres around 3:30 with a cooler full of birds, a flock of stories, and a promise to Betty that we will be making a return trip next year. We decided that this could be the start of a new tradition for us. A fantastic time was had by all, and I couldn't think of a crew that I would rather be hunting with, then the 2 fellas wearing hunter orange in that picture above. I'm counting the days till our next trip out there.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

You're 30? Seriously?

Yes, I am 30, and I gotta tell ya... not much different then being 16, mentally.

You feel me on that dad?

Dad actually had a pretty good quote he told me on my birthday that sums up my life about as good as you can in one sentence. "Aging is not an option, but maturing is".

It's been awhile since I've updated by blog, but it's been a whirlwind ever since we moved into the house. I've been working nonstop on pretty much everything you could imagine. Not to mention, I've got a brand new job that I'm still getting used to. But, as far as jobs go, this one is definitely one of the best. I love going to work. I love being at work. I like every single thing about my new job, even the stuff that I shouldn't like. It's the perfect fit for me, and for the first time in my life, I feel like I could stay at that company till retirement.

Onto the house. Since September 1st, my new full-time job title has been "Head Groundsman". My main purpose everyday was to keep the sod adequately watered. Not much fun. At all. But, here we are, 4 weeks later, and the sod is green, and only requires water once every other day. Mission accomplished.

I've also managed to paint and clear coat my garage floor, install wall organizers, install a slick new mailbox, paint my basement floor, drywall 1,000 sq ft in the basement, hang all the blinds, put together misc shelves and about a million other things that a new house requires.

Pictures to follow sometime when I'm not buried in a pile of drywall dust.

Which is about to happen in 5... 4... 3... 2...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Iowa State Fair

Andrea and I spent the day at the Iowa State Fair with Chad and Lindsay, and it was definitely one of the best/most interesting times I've ever had at the fair.

One reason, came as we were leaving the fair and decided to walk through the petting zoo. We came upon the miniature donkey exhibit and there were two male donkeys, who appeared to be playing. Upon further inspection, it became obvious that we stumbled upon some sort of barely legal, somewhat homosexual, and incredibly interesting donkey incest game.

The older male donkey was biting the younger donkey on the back and legs, in an attempt to mount him. The younger donkey kept running around the ring playing the best defense he could, and after a few minutes of dodging big brother, he would stop and do a pretty nasty donkey kick in an effort to get the older one off his back. He kicked hard too. Like, hard enough to probably knock out a full grown man. Problem is, he kept missing his target. So, the biting kept going on and on, and the kicking would soon follow. Chad and I watched like 2 kids watching a cartoon. And to make the situation a little weirder, there was a pot bellied pig in the same kennel. He had to be pretty pi$$ed about having those two jackasses for roommates.

The other reason this fair rocked was for the simple fact that I came back with more money in my wallet then what I left with. Chad informed me of this booth that was sponsored by a Credit Union, and they did "Fear Factor" type stunts for cash. All you had to do was sign a waiver and be prepared to eat something or get something dumped on you....

We got there and got our waivers signed as a pretty big crowd was forming. They started out by just throwing out t-shirts and $1 bills and a couple other trinkets to the crowd. Then they paid some guy $5 to put lipstick on him, then gave him $10 if he ate the lipstick. He did... he even chewed it. Next up was paying someong $5 to drink glass of lemon juice. Then he asked the golden question "Who's hungry?" My arm shot up in the air like I was trying to dislocate my shoulder. The guy saw me... pointed at me... then continued to scan the crowd... then he came back to me and said "You... come up here?". Asked me my name and asked if I was allergic to shellfish or any other types of food.

He said he was going to pay me $20 / glass to drink stuff that may not taste that good. He said they would be about 2 oz each, the equivalent of 2 shot glasses. I agreed.

First off... liquid smoke. It went down pretty easy, but the aftertaste was horrible. $20 in my pocket nonetheless.

Next... raw oysters in some sort of thick oily liquid. Down the hatch they went, and they were actually pretty tasty. I didn't mind those at all. $20 in my pocket.

Next... habanero sauce. Thick and hot, but not too bad. $20 in my pocket.

Next... a double shot of lemon juice. FOr some reason, this one was terrible. I'm not really sure why, because when you think about it, it should be the easiest. $20 in my pocket.

When I thought I was done, he said that he'd give me another $20 to eat a spoonfull of Wasabe. I agreed. Licked it off the spoon, and when that stuff hit my throat, I thought I was gonna die. That stuff made my eyes water, and turned my stomach into a gurgling volcano.

Total of $100 in my pocket made it a little easier though.

Now, take all that stuff, and add it to 2 beers, a footlong corndog, chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of milk, and you got yourself a recipe for disaster. Which is brewing in my stomach right now as I type this.

I'm pretty sure around midnight tonight I'm gonna be feeling that habanero sauce again, only this time I'll be burning south of the border.

Other people got $100 to have catfish stinkbait rubbed in their hair, an iPod to a gril who let them paint her blue with housepaint, an X-box to a guy that dresssed up in pink clothes, and then let them cut his hair anyway they liked him, $100 to a girl who let the guys cover her in peanut butter and jelly. All of that was pretty funny because they rubbed so much of the stuff in their hair, which has got to be impossible to get out.

You can see pictures of the stuff here ->
Someone was taking pictures of me as I was drinking those shots, so I might eventually be in one of the galleries.

A very memorable day at the fair with great company really completed this weekend for me.

Oh, and just in case you didn't notice... my use of the word jackasses above, in my opinion, was very well played.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Day 90

I haven't been able to give photo updates lately because the house has been locked up everytime I go over to check it out. I know they're doing stuff, because I see new boxes showing up in the dumpster outside the house.

We have the final walk through this Wednesday, which means everything should be done, with the exception of the sod. The builder told me the sod would go in the day before we close, or the day of closing, weather permitting.

I will be able to give you an update of the deck, when its done, but other then that. Probably nothing until Wednesday. One major thing they did last week was putting in the gutters and downspouts. I completely forgot about that needing to happen. But it did, and it wasn't very exciting.

Until Hump Day..... Adios.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Day 85

Our first kitchen appliance has been installed:

We have black Maytag appliances (stove, dishwasher and microwave), and a Stainless Steel refrigerator with black handles that should tie in nicely.

The carpet was put in today too:

The Great Room, 3 bedrooms, stairs, and landing area all got carpetted. The carpet we picked out is called frazee and it's the best carpet under the sun. It's very soft, and feels like you could lay down on it and go to sleep. We also got an upgraded pad underneath that makes walking/laying on this stuff as close to heaven as you can get without actually dying.

Deck, sod, garage door openers, floor vents, touch up paint, and a couple of outlets in the kitchen are the only things that are left to do, and we'll be able to party like I'm turning 30. Which I am, in a few short weeks.

I gotta tell ya, I'm really looking forward to turning 30, and I'm not really sure why. Maybe because I still feel like I'm 14. I'm not sure if I still act like it, but judging from what my wife tells me, I don't think I'm that far off from acne, mopeds and feathered hair.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Day 83

When the carpet shows up, you know you're getting close to the end.

They're also working on the last section of finish carpentry. They're running the quarter round trim, and it looks like they're about 60% done. They have all the main rooms done, with just the 3 bedrooms remaining.

It's funny that I'm getting requests to tell the story that I promised last week. Some through email, some by phone, and some through the comments section here. So, as promised, here's how I became hero, for a day.

Midnight on Wednesday, August 2nd.... both of us are sleeping soundly in our bed. Rambo runs downstairs and starts barking at something. It's nothing new, because if he hears a peep outside, he feels the need to bark at it. Lot's of times people will be walking by, or neighbors will be leaving late at night, and without hesitation, Rambo, and sometimes Zella will bark at them.

I actually like this little K9 built in feature that comes standard with all Labs because it turns away "would be" burglars pretty quickly.

After the 10 seconds of barking was over, I was drifting back into a gracefull slumber, when I heard Andrea say "Rich... I heard some voices downstairs". If I had the energy, I would have given a little giggle, but I was tired, so I chose to exercise my selective hearing, and attempt to drift away. Then, I get an arm shake... "Rich, there's someone downstairs... I'm not kidding".

Pulse increases.... adrenoline starts to flow... and things just went from funny to serious in about 0.000000006 seconds.... and I instantly go into protection mode.

I grab my little friend, who I like to call my "Magnum Research Polymer Baby Eagle 9mm semi-auto, cocked and locked with a clip full of Spear Gold Dot hollow points", and I head downstairs slowly.

I peaked around corners, I checked behind doors, I looked outside every window in the house to try and get a glimpse of the mysterious voices from below. I came up empty, and I was disappointed. I was disappointed in the fact that I wouldn't get to fight a burglar in my Hanes boxer briefs. Because I have a pretty good feeling that would be a great story to pass down to my kids someday.

"Daddy beat up a burglar in his underwear" just seems to roll off the tongue.

I'm pretty sure the noise the dogs hears heard was from a car parked in front of our house. The car's dome light was still on, which leads me to believe that someone had just recently gotten out of the car and gone into a neigbors house, and caused the dogs to bark.

So, there you have it. I succesfully chased away the boogie man, and was a hero for a day.

Albeit, a slightly sunburned, underwear only wearing hero with a loaded gun... but a hero nonetheless.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Day 79

Chad, being the good American that he is, has graciously offered up his truck, and his services today, for the sake of picking up our new couches. They will be stored in our garage until we move, which is fine, because we got a killer deal on them and I'm willing to have my truck sit outside for the sake of saving money.

I didn't say I wouldn't cry everytime I see my truck sitting outside, I just said I'm "willing" to have it sit outside.

I have to get those couches moved, change clothes, and clean my bike up, to be at bike night by 7:00.

I have a good story to share, but I don't have time to write it up today.
Let's just say that I was a true hero in the Kneifl hacienda, and successfully chased away the boogie man last night. ;-)

Full story to come tomorrow.

Onto the house. Driveway and part of the sidewalk got poured today:

We also got a new front door, but you can't really see it in the picture. It has the handset also, which means our house is locked up now.

But Rich, how did you get in?

I did... and let's leave it at that. OK? OK.

Interior doors are in, sans doorknobs:

Look at those doors! Look at em I tell ya.....


They're awesome.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Day 78

A little bit of action at the house today. For some reason all of the lights were on. I think its for the inspection, because there was an inspection sheet taped to the back door.

Looks like our driveway and sidewalk are about to get poured.

In other news, we have Morning Dove #2 making a home in our hanging flower pot outside the front door. The first one sat on her egg non-stop for 4 weeks. When it hatched they hung out in our bushes for a couple of weeks before they took off to fend for themselves. This dove seems to lack the dedication of Dove #1. In my recently acquired bird knowledge opinion, Dove #2 doesn't put in the time that's required to hatch an egg and she seems to be off on her own in the evening hours. I wonder if she's a "lady of the night"?

One thing is for sure. That nest is probably about the nicest piece of real estate that a bird can get. It looks like a big nest, its comfortable, and it's sheltered from the elements.

When this new egg hatches, I think mother nature and I will be even after I ran over all those baby bunnies with the lawn mower a couple weeks ago.

*two thumbs up*

Friday, July 28, 2006

Day 73

The hardwood flooring guys got their job done today and even cleaned up the floors. The plumbers put our kitchen and bathroom sinks in. Stainless in the kitchen and white in the bathrooms. Everything is flowing together really well. You never really know how its gonna turn out, until it actually comes together.

Deck materials got delivered today:

If someone has to put a deck in tomorrow, I feel sorry for them because the heat index is supposed to be around 109. That makes me sweat just thinking about it. For real.

We're getting down to the end, the only tasks left that I can think of are:

The rest will be up to us. Like.... fencing, shower doors, garage floor paint... and some other nick nacky stuff.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day 72

Are you ready for a retinal rampage, a visual assault, an eyeball onslaught, or maybe a pupil mugging?

Jesus, I need to pull it together.

I think I'm losing my mind.

I got a bunch of vented up camera frustration from not being able to get into the house. The flooring guys have been working late hours, which has kept me out for a couple of days, and it was driving me nuts. I was finally able to get in today at 8:00 pm to get some snapshots of their progress.

The hardwood flooring in the Great room/dining area is almost done. That area where there isn't hardwood is where the carpet goes. The reason there's an angle at the bottom of the picture is because it's like a mirror image of the fireplace. I figured it would look better like that, compared to having the floor come to a 90 degree corner. It's the little things people. The little things.

This is the rest of the Great Room and the hallway that goes back to the bedrooms. All hardwood. The pictures do the floors no justice. In person they look 1000 times better, even when they're dusty.

They also have the tiled backsplash done. They did a great job of laying it out, and we did a nice job of picking out the tile.

Our water heater finally has some company.
A nice high efficienty furnace from the good fellas at Lennox.

I wanted to show you our dining room light fixture too, because it's cool. See that little area on the floor that's not done yet? That's all they have to do tomorrow, and then the hardwood fellas will be done.

But, that's all the lighting you get to see. You'll have to come over and visit us to see the rest of the lights that Andrea and I picked out in our 4 1/2 hour, 2 day, light-picking-out-session.

Ahhh... I feel better now that I've shared.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day 70

I checked the house at 7:30 pm and the flooring guys were still going at it. I didn't take any pictures because I didn't want to get in their way.

OK, so maybe I didn't want to look like a "Little Camera Fairy" in front of the flooring guys.

There, I said it.

It looked like they were about 30% done with the hardwood flooring. There was no sign of tile or carpet, which leads me to believe they need the hardwood in place first, before they can do the other stuff.

It looked like all of the lighting fixtures had been hung, and the rest of the outlets and switches were done.

On a non-house related note. I was walking back from lunch on the skywalk today and there were two guys walking towards me. As they approached, I overheard a tiny piece of their conversation, and it went like this....

Guy #1 "No way...."
Guy #2 "Yeah, so my mom told me that I was making out with my cousin"
Guy #1 and Guy #2 laugh hysterically.

That sounds like an interesting story.

I'd like to hear it in its entirety.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Day 69

Day 69.

Yup, that's right.... 69.

We are definitely on day 69.

6 + 9.

On Day 69 they put about 75% of the outlets and switches in, as well as the smoke detectors, and some of the ducts for the HVAC. Floor tiles for the entry way, laundry room, and 2 bathrooms was delivered today and sitting in the garage. The builder told me they're going to start the carpet and hardwood tomorrow also. I can't wait to show you pictures of our hardwood floors. It's definitely the one thing about the house that stands out more then anything else. Andrea and I fell in love with them the instant we saw them in one of the spec homes.

The kitchen counter tops:

The countertops we put in were a free upgrade. They're not smooth like most countertops, they're actually a little rough, and a little more durable then regular laminate.

The 2 bathroom counter tops were installed as well, but the lighting wasn't good enough to get a picture that's worth posting.

Speaking of lighting....Tonight we're picking out our celing fans and other light fixtures. I think we have around 20 different lights to pick out, and the theme is going to be "Brushed Nickel". All of the light fixtures are supposed to be going in tomorrow as well.

We're definitely getting near the end, and every day that passes, makes me more and more excited to move in.

Day 69.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Day 65

I worked late, and now I'm heading to bike night, so this is what you get.

Paint. It's called Star Home Tan. The ceiling color is called White.

Stone, it's called Pennsylvania. I'm not sure we could have picked out anything more perfect then what we did. Couldn't get a full picture of the house because of the paint trailor, but rest assured, it lookes AWESOME!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Day 64

I knew good stuff was happening inside the house when I pulled up and saw a trailor parked in the driveway that said "Professional Paint Service". But I wasn't prepared for the overwhelming smell of varnish as I walked through the front door. It slapped me in the face like a Rambo fart. I had to get in and out in less then a minute, or there's a good chance I'd still be laying next to one of those fans. Permanently.

They covered the cupboards with plastic, and they taped off all the windows, but other then that, they just let the varnish fly all over the walls and subfloor. Which makes sense, because it will all be covered in paint and carpet eventually.

Paint tomorrow?

I hope so.

Diarrhea in less then a minute?

Most likely.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Day 63

We have garage doors! They're big, and they're white. Finally our house is now 100% protected from the elements. The garage doors will be painted the same color as our siding so they don't blind you when you pull into the driveway.

They also delivered our interior doors to the laundry room.

I can't wait to see what they look like when they're hung and poly'd. I took out one of the 6-panel doors to get a closer look at it, and I could barely lift the thing. They're very solid, and the craftmanship that was put into them is unparalleled.

You don't really think about doors when you walk into someone's house, but these will actually stand out enough to grab your attention, and maybe even bring forth some sort of comment. That's what I'm hoping will happen, anyway. ;-)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Day 58

Storms were a'brewin on day 58. But, the siding got done. You can still see the house wrap where the stone will be. The color of the siding doesn't come through very well on these pictures, but its called Natural Clay, and its a very earthy neutral color that will look really good next to the "bold" stone we picked out.

The back looks bigger to me now that the siding is on.

All of the interior trim work was done too. I figured it would take a full week to get all the trim done. Below is the open staircase. I gave it a shake to see how well it was built, and I'm proud to say, it was solid as a rock.

Almost all the wood and supplies are gone from the garage, so I'm not really sure what's next on the agenda. They hung all the doors in the house too, but they're just filler doors, so they could get all the trim done. Our real doors are custom made, solid oak, 6 panel doors that we upgraded to. It will give the interior a much classier look then the standard doors they offered.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 57

They pretty much cleared out 80% of what was in the garage. They got all the cabinets installed in the kitchen, bathrooms, and trimmed every single doorway in the entire house. This is the kitchen and the center island:

The fireplace was looking good.

...and as of 6:30 pm they were still working on the siding. They were 1/2 done with the back of the house and it didn't look like they were going to be quitting anytime soon.

Pretty cool stuff.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Day 56

Day 56 brought lot's of stuff.... but no work.

This is what I saw when I pulled up to the house today after work:
*insert BOING sound effect here*

That's boxes and boxes of siding. I'd love to see them put that up tomorrow, cuz I'm a little sick of looking at house wrap everytime I visit the house.

That white, six panel door, is gonna be our door from our garage to our entry way, and surrounding that is a TON of interior trim.

These boxes are the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

See those white boxes at the bottom of the picture? That's the soffit. For those who don't know what soffit is: It's the stuff that goes between the siding on the house, and where the roof sticks out. It's like vented(so air can espape) siding, only its made of aluminum instead of vinyl.

So...... boxes of stuff may not be that exciting to look at, but I never promised excitement.
I think its kind of odd that all that stuff is just sitting there, out in the open, available to anyone who wants to get their hands on it.

Either, the builder is a really trusting person, or he just assumes that nobody would steal, given the neighborhood he's in, or he's just an idiot.

I'm gonna go with D, all of the above.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Day 55

Not much excitement on Day 55 as far as house pictures go, but they did manage to spray on the wall and ceiling texture. I'm really not sure what the next step in the process is. If I had to guess, I'd say that they would probably get the HVAC ducts in, and the furnace. I know flooring and paint is somewhere towards the end, and the finish plumbing is after that. So, the cabinets, countertops, and trim needs to take place sometime. It's pretty much a guessing game for me here on out.

You know how you see people on commericials walking along on a rainy day, then all of the sudden out of nowhere, a car comes by and completely soaks em in water. I used to think that was some sort of made up scenerio that only happened on Hollywood sets.

Until today.

It had been raining all day, and I was leaving work, minding my own business on my 1/2 mile walk to the parking lot. I was walking on a sidewalks next to a street that is rarely travelled on because its right next a county jail and an "adult store". I saw a car coming at me, I saw multiple puddles between us, I thought to myself "If that car hits that puddle, there's no way that water is going to make it clear over here and get you wet, you're safe". Then, I saw the car hit a puddle about 20 feet in front of me, and that water shot across the sidewalk like it was coming out of a firehose. There was another puddle right next to me, and as the car approached I thought to myself "Oh my God.... it's really gonna happen", and I froze, like a deer in headlights.

The car hit that puddle, and the entire right side of my body was completely soaked in muddy water. I kept walking like it didn't happen, but out of my peripheral vision, I saw a group of 4 people across the street unable to hold back their laughter. Pretend you have a mouth full of beer or pop and someone just said something insanely funny, and you try to hold it in. That's what these people looked like.

I looked at them, shrugged my shoulders, and said "That sucked". I'm not sure what I expected them to do, maybe I was looking for a little sympathy. Instead, I got several outburts of laughter.

I understand where they're coming from. Had I been in their place, I would have done the exact same thing.

I also wanted to add that I really do have a 1/2 mile walk from my parking lot to my building. There's an 18 month waiting list to get into the parking ramp right next to our building. So, I'm SOL unless a lot of people get laid off, or end up dying in the next few months. Let's pray for a little of both. Kidding of course. Kind of. ;-)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Day 53





Finally... they put those two basement windows in.
They were also working on the mud today when we stopped in. 2 diligent hispanic fellas were sanding and reapplying mud, and walking around on those cool stilts.

For some reason, having those two windows in feels like a giant step has been taken in completing the house. Maybe it's my OCD acting up, but it just bothered me that all the windows were in, except those two. It's not systematic to do a few windows here, and then do a few there. I like systems, and I like to stick to the system. When people stray from the system, I feel uneasy. Like when someone gets into my truck with dirty shoes. That's the kind of uneasiness I was feeling. I know Chad is with me when I say that. Having those missing windows probably drove him nuts. It drives him nuts knowing that we have a washer and dryer that don't match. No... I'm not kidding. Apparently, I like my friends to have a little OCD in em too.

Day 52

Day 52 was Round II of mud and tape.

They also dug up the front yard to hook up the water, but a picture of a pile of dirt would be as boring as.... well.... dirt.

Day 52 also means, we're officially past the half way point, and I'm pretty sure that the house will be done within the 100 day goal. It feels 80% done because all the big stuff is in place, but there is still a TON of interior work that needs to be done. When I start to think about siding, soffet, interior trim, cabinets and flooring that still needs to go on/into the house, that's when I realize we still have a ways to go.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Day 48

Can you say Drywall? The drywall process actually started on day 46, but it really wasn't worth showing because they only had the garage, and some of the great room ceiling done. They obviously kicked it into high gear today, and finished the rest of the house. Drywall is officially 100% done, and it only took em a day and a half to do it. That's pretty unbelievable.

This is the great room.

And this is a view of the kitchen, from the great room.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day 44

I'm not going to go into anything that happened at work today, because my head is still spinning from the tidal wave of information that I had to take in. I will say that it went really really well, and my boss decided to surprise me by telling me that I wasn't coming in to manage 1 team, I will now be managing 2 teams. Good thing I love a challenge.

Now, onto the house. Looks like drywall will be starting tomorrow, because there was some drywall in the garage. The insulation and vapor barrier was installed in the 2 front bedrooms.

...and we finally have our first appliance. A Water heater. (Unless a fireplace is considered an appliance)

I know its pretty boring, but anything new in the house means progress, and I like progress.
If they drywall tomorrow, I'll have tons of pics. Interesting stuff to look at this time, I swear.


It's 7:45 in the morning and I don't have to be at orientation till 9:00, so I figured I'd share a pretty incredible story that just happened yesterday afternoon.

My wife sent me a text message in the morning that said Zella had a pretty bad cut on her rear right leg, and she thought there might be something in the back yard that cut her. So, I told her I would check it out when I got home. Then, I remembered that my brother-in-law's dog, Brutus, also cut his leg when he was over here last week. Which made me think something in the backyard needed some attention.

When I got home from work I looked at Zella's cut, and it seemed to be healing already, thanks to her licking it. I talked to her like I usually do asking "Are you alright?" and "What happened?". She sat there intently, with her tail waggin, forgetting that she had an injury.

Judging by the height of the wound, I figured a nail in the bottom half of the fence might have worked its way out and that's what casued the cut(s). I grabbed a hammer from the garage and started the search for the "backyard dog murderer".

I started by the gate, and carefully looked at every nail and staple that was on the bottom row. I worked my way up the South side of the fence, then I moved to the west side... and when I got about halfway down the westside of the fence, I noticed that Zella had run over to the North side of the fence, and was standing there frozen, paralell with the fence. I figured she was looking at some people that were walking down the sidewalk, and was ready to give them an all out barking assault, like she does to all strangers who walk by.

I finally worked my way over to where she was, and when I told her to move, she wouldn't. She stood there, frozen like a statue. She never disobeys a command from me, so I said it again "Zella, move". She remained. I physically had to push here away from fence with both of my arms, and when I did...... there it was.... the one nail on the entire 250 ft of fence that could have caused a cut. Sticking out like a knife.

Zella knew exactly where it was, and judging by her actions, I got the feeling that she was protecting me from it. She knew it caused her pain, and she didn't want that to happen to me. Here eyes focused intently from inches away, as I pryed the nail out of the fence, and then pounded it back in, out of harms way. Almost, like I was beating up a criminal. When I was done, she trotted off wagging her tail, like her good deed for the day was done.

I knew that dog was smart, but seeing her perform a feat like that solidifies the fact that she isn't your average K9. For a dog to have intuition like that is pretty incredible. I have always been in awe of her many talents, but after that I actually feel privileged to be her owner. Even right now, she lays by my feet, not knowing that what she did yesterday was phenomenal. To her, she was just doing her job.

If you're wondering what Rambo was doing when all of this was taking place. He was eating grass and licking his butt. 2 of his favorite pastimes.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Day 43

Roof... Done

Electrical... Done

Plumbing... Done

My old job... Done

You know what I love about this view of the house? The lone little window on the side of the house. I think it adds character. Like having a mole on the left side of your neck.

I really really wish they'd put those last 2 basement windows in. Then the house would be 100% protected from the elements and protected from the little amigos who like to play in there on the weekends. Well, almost 100%, if you don't count the large gaping holes where the garage doors belong. ;-)

I can't wait for the sheetrocking and siding to start. When those two major tasks are done, the house will feel like its just minutes from being completed. Reality will probably start to set in, because right now it still feels like I'm dreaming.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Day 42

We finally have a front door. You can also see the shingles on the middle section of roof. You may ask "Why is there still some bundles of shingles sitting on top of the house Richard?" and I would answer, "Because the roofers still aren't done." Then I would throw in some colorful language that would make my Grandma wrinkle up her forehead in utter disgust, then she'd respond with "Oh for heaven's sake Richie, don't say that."

One interior thing that pleasantly surprised me today, was the delivery of the fireplace.

I walked through the house after work today and the plumber was still finishing up some sodering, and he filled me in on the timeline this week. He's been working with our builder for many many years, so he pretty much knows the rigamarole. He said that he did the plumbing on 62 houses built by Star Homes (our builder) last year.

The really good news I heard from him was the fact that the sheetrockers are starting Friday. This Friday. Day45 Friday. Which means all the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC will be completed before then. He said they'll need 2 days to finish sheetrocking, and the siding crew will need about 2 days. I asked him how long it would take after the sheetrock was installed to finish up the rest of the interior. 30 days? He laughed at me, and said.... "No way, much sooner then that".


Much sooner?

He said they've built houses in 60 days before when they're in a crunch.

Wowzer, looks like we may have a full month to move in, which will be nice, so we can take our time.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 41

Plenty of work was done today, but none of it is really picture worthy.

The roofers put in a full day, and got about 50% of it done. Which means they should be at 100% tomorrow, just as long as the rain misses us.

The electricians were pretty busy too. They ran all the outlet and switch wiring, tv and phone cable, and the CAT5. They don't have it wired up to the box in the basement, but since tomorrow is their last day, I'm gonna assume that will be done by the end of the day.

The plumbers got both showers mounted and got all the drainage PVC pipe put in for the 1st floor sinks, showers and toilets. It looks like the only thing they have left to do, is to run the pipe for water. I'll be interested to see if they run copper, or the "new and improved" nylon pipe that is supposed to be better then copper. The good thing about nylon is that it won't break when water freezes in it.

They still haven't put in those final 2 basement windows yet, which is a little baffling. I'd really like it if they got those in soon, so the siding could start.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Day 39

Well... sometime after 3:00 pm on Friday, and 10:00 am this(Saturday) morning, the window crew showed up and went to town.

They have 2 more slots to fill on the back of the house.

I walked through the house this morning to see how the electrical was coming. They have all the boxes mounted for the switches and outlets, and they have all the can lights mounted in the kitchen. No wires have been ran yet, but I think the house has to have shingles before they can put the wires in.

The plumbing guys ran some PVC pipe to the two upstairs bathrooms, and even got the toilet flanges mounted. This week should be lot's of fun to watch.

I start my new job on Thursday, so its going to be busy times for the Kneifl Hacienda.

Mom, Happy Birthday. I'm proud to say that me and the rest of my family chipped in and got my mom a tattoo for her birthday. OK, so its not a Tazmanian Devil on her arm, it's a tattoo of makeup. Eyeliner I believe is the correct term. She got tired of putting it on everday, so now its permanent. How bad would a tattoo on your eyelid hurt? I'm thinking pretty bad.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Day 38

Not much has happened in the past few days. They did manage to get the tar paper laid down on the roof, but I didn't want to bother posting a picture of that. Imagine the same picture as below, only with a black roof. I was at the house this morning and saw that they hadn't even delivered the shingles yet or the siding. So, I doubt any of that will be done today. Hopefully the window guy will come and get that out of the way.

Met with the Electrician this morning for an initial walk-thru. We pointed out where we wanted the lights, outlets, phone jack and switches. Pretty painless stuff. He said they'll be at the house Friday, Monday and Tuesday and will have the wiring completely finished.

I have a feeling next week is going to bring a lot of action. I'd like the exterior work to be completely finished, so the interior work can get crackin full steam ahead. But, we'll see.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day 34 and 35

They started sheathing the roof on day 34, and finished it up today on day 35. See that pallet of black stuff next to the dumpster. That's rolls of tar paper for the roof.

I talked to the builder today, and he wanted to know the color of windows, siding, exterior trim, soffet and shingles that we wanted. I think he's going to try and get the roof on, and the siding done this week. I will be really surprised if that happens, although, if the rain stays away, it could be a possibility.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Day 31

Roof trusses are on. You can finally start to see what the final product is going to look like.

This is a picture from the side of the house. That lone window is at the end of the hallway that leads back to our bedroom. The roof is actually pretty high, which will make for a nice vaulted ceiling in our great room.

I'm guessing they're going to put the roof sheathing on next, which will be nice because then the elements won't affect the interior wood. I know the wood really isn't affected when it gets rained on, but it will just make me feel better to know that after the sheathing is up, everything will be staying dry.