There have been some pretty exciting changes this week! The most exciting for me (other than the free hot chocolate cards our neighbor gave to us): a DRIVEWAY! I literally squealed when I saw the forms and gravel delivered. On Tuesday the metal forms were there, the rebar was sticking out when we arrived. At about five, some guys came in and filled it with gravel. On Wednesday (11/2), during the day, they poured the concrete, then promptly covered it with blankets so that it wouldn't freeze and crack. They also put up big "Stay off the driveway!" signs. Our house is the third to get a driveway. I told you we were mixing up the order. When you see the layout of the neighborhood, you can understand it better... Here. I'll just show you.
*Map NOT drawn to scale, or even close to scale. Map Key:
White-A lot we're building on
blue-a lot that already has a house on it
So, now you can see how we're next to "House 2." Since House 1 and 2 were getting driveways this week, we got one as well. House 7 has a big pile of mortar in the front yard, so they weren't ready for a driveway yet; besides, the subcontractors are planning on doing 3 at a time. That's how many they can get done in a day, and they don't want to prep a house for a driveway and then leave the forms sitting there for very long. Like I said, right now we are moving around as it is convenient for us. When we were framing, we needed a little more space between houses so that we could frame and subcontractors could put in foundations and roofs and stuff. It's always been about what's the easiest to do in what order.
We've been building hard for over three months now. It's hard to say how far along we are, especially since we're now fighting the cold and dark, but I think we're hovering around a third to half way through the build. That's based off of comparisons with previous groups, and with the total hours we've put in so far.
So this week, Cody finished all the windows he possibly could put in (some haven't been delivered yet, or were delivered wrong), then moved on to "drip lip." This is a metal trim that goes on the eaves of the house, right under the shingles. It helps move water away from the house. Cody said it's not all that hard to put in, but you have to be on the un-shingled roof to do it. That means standing on the roof underlay, which is very slippery (especially in the dark, when the frost is forming). Cody is the smallest guy in our group... well, probably the smallest guy I've ever met... so he's good for this job. He doesn't fall as easily.
Now, on to what happened around the neighborhood this week.
All houses: power boxes put in! We have all underground utilities (no overhead power lines), so our power boxes are outside and the pipe that will contain all the cables was buried. This is pretty momentous: we can now get electricity to the houses.
House 1: Shingles on, driveway poured, mesh/framework done for the stone, first layer of mortar for stone
House 2: Shingles half way finished, driveway poured, mesh on for stone
House 3: mesh on for stone, drip lip done, first layer of mortar for stone
House 4: heating duct work done (by sub contractors)
House 5: no change
House 6 (ours!): driveway poured, drip lip done a few things fixed (like a door frame, some missing nails, a strip of Tyvek behind bathtubs that will hold up the insulation, etc)
House 7: dry-in done--including windows and doors, drip lip on, mesh on for stone
House 8: code wrap done, windows all installed, "clean up" completed. No exterior doors have been delivered yet.
House 9: code wrap done, windows installed (except for the gabled dormers, which we have to figure out how to do, and 2 windows which were delivered wrong), "clean up" completed
It's still hard work. Instead of coming home hot and sweaty we come home cold and shivering. But it's still exciting, and I'm still grateful for this opportunity and everything we're learning.