The devil is in the details
In project management, it is generally understood that the last 5 percent of a project requires an enormous amount of effort, so when you feel that a project is 95 percent complete, be prepared for an uphill struggle to break out into the clear.
We have made great progress in the last 100 days, but there is a lot left to do. One hundred days ago we had 3 1/2 acres of forest with a well and a septic system. Our plans were to build a workshop this year and a house next year. Hurricane Katrina changed our plans. Then rising cost of materials made it advisable to complete construction while costs could still be managed. Today we have two buildings and five vaults of household furnishings on the site – some final assembly required.
Connecting Part A to Part B
Yesterday, our contractors teamed up to dig trenches between house and workshop and install power, water, and phone lines between the buildings. We should have power and water working in both buildings by the weekend, if all goes well.
Today, we expect Citizens, the local phone cooperative, to connect up our DSL service. Once this happens, we will be able to do research and order materials online without skipping down to Cafe Del Sol or to Chateau Thompson.
Note to those who plan to be their own General Contractors: An internet connection is one of your most valuable assets. You will use it to get answers, find materials, and to stay in touch with suppliers. When you cannot get online, you will waste hours you cannot spare.
Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud! (With apologies to Flanders and Swann)
As we get closer to putting in carpets and furnishing the house, it becomes apparent that something is wrong with the current picture. Our walls are pristine white, but our floors are covered with several inches of what looks like donkey-crap. It is the local clay mixed with large nuggets of gravel.
We have a boot brush at the door and we all use it, but the clay is tenacious and usually covers the lower six inches of our boots and a good portion of our pant legs.
Our yard, except for the gravel driveway, still consists of 2 inches of glare ice punctuated by islands of sticky clay. The only thing that stops us from falling on our butt is sliding into a convenient outcropping of clay. Any work done off the graveled area involves clay and more clay.
When we walk back on the driveway, our clay-covered boots pick up gravel which doesn’t fall off until we walk into the house. Through this simple process we are gradually bringing the outside indoors. 🙂
When we have a front porch and a means to keep the clay outside, we may be able to bring in furniture without messing up the house. That will be a project worth blogging.
I have ordered boot scrubbers and will purchase a new shop-vac to clean up the floor and give ourselves a fresh start, but I would appreciate any suggestions from those of you who have experience living with this problem. I have been advised by my contractors that we can expect four more months of wet weather and mud before the ground firms up and the grass seed takes hold.
Is there a solution that will let us keep the inside of the house clean and leave the clay outside? I have seen some boot brushes with water jets, but would like to hear from someone who has used them.