Sunday, October 24, 2010

Rollin', Rolling on the River. . .

This weekend found both H and I rolling on the river literally!  As I mentioned in my last post, H joined a couple of our neighbors this weekend to clean up the river banks.  He left home Saturday morning  early and they all boarded a pontoon boat and went up and down our section of Lake Mitchell to pick up any and all debris along the river banks. (Note: Since I used the words lake and river I feel I need to explain that the "locals" in Clanton refer to Lake Mitchell as the river because it is the Coosa River that has been damed up to form Lake Mitchell as well as Lay Lake and the other surrounding lakes.) This clean up takes place twice a year and usually takes two to four people  from the same area, ideally, about two to three hours to do it. They were able to clean up quite a bit and ended at about noontime at the Higgins Ferry Landing for a hot dog lunch. H told me they had found a red Sharpie pen floating in the lake (not sure for how long) but picked it out of the water and decided to see it if worked and it did! I'm sure the "Sharpie" people would be proud if they heard this.
     After the clean up H wandered back down to our site because he saw that there was work going on even though it was Saturday. These carpenters works very hard. They come early, work until about 1:30 or 2 pm and then take an hour siesta ( no kidding!). Then they are back on the job until the there is no more sunlight to see.  Since my last post on Tuesday, this is what H saw Saturday morning! 
He was able to walk out on the main floor and look around and really see the size of the entire floor as well as the individual rooms. The lower level is all walled in and even has a ceiling now that the main floor is on. This week has really been a building frenzy don't you think. Can you see that pile of wood is gone!
     H then came home to get me to go back to the lake to join friends for the Alabama vs Tennessee game. This is what happens when for all the away games. It is the Ridge's version of tailgating since we cook out and watch the game together.  We are looking forward when the "game" can be seen at our house. I made "orange" Halloween treats for Jane and Ralph's grandkids as my way of showing "my colors".  :)
    After church on Sunday, H felt it neccessary for me to go to the house and walk the floors. It was probably a good idea because as we talked our way through each room on this floor, we found we had some questions to talk with the builder about. For instance, the wall I wanted to put the side board on in the dining room was about 2 inches short and I also had some concerns about the space in the laundry room and how it was to be used.  We were also able to see that the shower in one of the guest rooms could be a little bigger. We hated calling Dennis but at this point, we hope the changes can be done in a lot less time than when the walls are really up!  We can also tell from this vantage point that there are several more trees that need to come down for the optium view.  After all, that is why we bought lake front property!  The view. Right?
     It was during this time on Sunday, that a neighbor came by in his boat and waved. I asked him how it looked from the water and told him I had not seen it from that view yet. Without missing a beat, he drove his boat right up to the shore line of our property and welcomed us aboard for a viewing. This is how it looks from the lake.
  Love, love, love the view of the lake from the four windows on the lower level! Since it was an absolutely georgous day on the lake, we decided to go for a ride. I thought you might like to see some of our neighbor's homes on The Ridge.
This is our next door neighbors on our left as seen from the lake.
This house belongs to the people taking us for a ride on their boat.
This house needs several views for you to really get the picture. We have met the owners but haven't been in the house.
(They built four exact bedrooms across the back so that all their four children would have the same view!)

This is where we watched the game from. This house also has
the most amazing view on the lake! Georgeous inside! Pool outside!

This is the view of Jane and Ralph's home from the front and the back! 

These are some of the homes on The Ridge, not all but several.  All are very lovely homes, but H and I  both agree, that it is the lovely people who own them that will make living here so special! We really enjoyed this afternoon withour new friends and neighbors. Thanks Scott and Gay!
     We continued to cruise around the river for a little while longer.  We rode around looking at boathouse designs as that is the next item on our list (since we already have the boat).  In order to get a permit to build, we need a design to submit to the Alabama Power Company since they own the Lake. We have found a builder and now we need to tell him what we want.  We saw some really neat boathouses and some that will really meet our needs, so I took pictures for us to chose from and get ideas. I won't post them until we really decide on the one we will build.  We will also be building a retaining wall to go around the point and we want it to match the neighbors so it will look uniform. I understand that it doesn't take long to build a boathouse so we won't get started on it until after the first of the year and hopefully it will be completed about the same time as the house.
   * I hope you can click on these pictures to make them larger and see more detail on the houses and surrounding area.    
     We are getting some much needed rain in Alabama as I am writing this, so I am not sure if much building will go on tomorrow or not. The rest of the week looks dry and hopefully the rest of the walls, and maybe the roof, will be on by my next post. Meanwhile H and I will be going with the builder to "nail down" (no pun intended) our house color so we can pick out the brick and stone.  (Seems H and I are having some diffulculty seeing the color grey :)  Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

If I Had a Hammer. . .

I broke out singing this song as we got to the site today! Can you see why?
Our neighbors on The Ridge had told us they thought they heard hammers in the distance. . . and they were not mistaken. Today is Wednesday, the lumber was delivered on Monday and the framing began yesterday! Yes! Yesterday. The entire lower level was just about framed out  before we left this morning. We had been told this was the next phase, but I really needed to see it for myself.  This was a beautiful fall morning on The Ridge, and I cannot express what I was feeling when I saw this view from the top of the road. I must admit it brought tears to my eyes.  As we walked down the driveway closer and closer to the site, it really dawned on me, this is our house and we will be living here by spring of next year!
As we stood there with Dennis, our builder, soaking it all in. . . once again it seemed smaller to me than I thought. I couldn't wait to be able to walk down on the floor and get the  true "feel" of the size of each space.  But first, we had several things to go over with Dennis regarding the plans. He had set up a place for us on the garage slab so we could see the plans and discuss some changes. H and I had spent quite a few hours looking at all the details of our house plans on Monday and Tuesday and we had made lists of things we wanted to discuss with him. He, too, had some questions for us.

Did I mention how pleased we are with our builder? He is on the site EVERYDAY and is constantly working on our house, in is mind and on paper!  He wants us to be as involved with this process as he is and gives us every opportunity to do so. We have been blessed and thank Jane and Ralph every time we meet with him, for setting up our first meeting with him three years ago. Each day we are more and more convinced that he is the right builder for our home. As the morning progressed and plans were changed or confirmed. . . the framing continued.

 Dennis dragged up a couple of concrete blocks for me to sit on as I once again found myself mesmerized, this time, watching all the wood become walls and walls become rooms.  I couldn't help but think of  the five summers I spent working for Habitat for Humanity when I would watch the faces of the homeowners as they added their "sweat equity" to their dream homes. I found myself wishing I could see my own face as I watched my home being built. I can only imagine.  It also reminded me, when on the site of  a Habitat house one year, a worker said to me, "All tools are hammers, except a chisel. . . it's a screwdriver!" (Thought I'd share that bit of building humor.)
Finally we were able to walk down and onto the floor of the lower level. See the four windows overlooking the lake? The door to go out onto the terrace is on the far right. We placed the furniture (in our minds) in this great room and visualized the TV over the fireplace (I can't visualize the fireplace yet but H said he could visualize the TV :)  We saw where the game table and wetbar would go.We went into each room on this level, saw all the closets, bathrooms, and bedrooms. As we went into each room, I was able to visualize where all the beds would go, and where all the other furniture would be placed.  There is a ton of storage down there! I had wished for a room large enough to "roll" a pre lit Christmas tree and boy can I do that! H even has his own storage area for his boxes and today we even created a cedar lined closet which had not been thought of!  
Dennis said that by the end of the week, the main level will be built and the walls would be framed and that would really give us an idea of the size of everything. He said the eighteen foot ceilings in the great room would blow me away. I can't wait!
Meanwhile our job this weekend is to pick out appliances for the kitchen. Not purchase them, but at least get model numbers. This is the one room where we are really changing the plans and in order to do this, we need to know sizes of the major appliances for us to see where they (as well as cabinets) would go. While we are looking, Dennis said we might as well look at doors and hardware.  We have made the decision on windows already. Since we need to go to one of the two big cities that flank us to do this, I told H that I would treat him to his birthday dinner out! (He'll be paying, of course!)

BLOG SIDE NOTE: Saturday is one of the two clean-up days on  Lake Mitchell. H will join others from The Ridge on their boats to participate in this clean up even thought we are not living on the lake yet. Last Saturday, he joined  Ralph on the U of A campus for the Alabama vs Ole Miss game. I am keeping busy by setting up a card ministry for our new church. I, after 12 years, finally became a Stampin' Up demonstrator and I have finally found a way my love of paper crafts and card making can make a difference!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Can See Clearly Now. . .

This is the only song title that came to mind when we visited the site today after being away for over a week!  I have been waiting to be able to say, now "I can see" where things (rooms) will be and this is "clearly "a step in that direction! Our first view as we walked down the driveway was this one of the garage.  The floor was framed and it had the rebar and wire laid. . .waiting, just waiting.

     As we got closer to the property  the big concrete trucks were lined up and ready for the pouring.

      Today we had three concrete trucks while we were on site pouring the foundation but I understand there had been five truck loads on a previous day pouring the footers and walls.  The builder told us how many "yards" that translated into, was but it meant nothing to me.  Then he told me the price and that gave me more of a idea.$$$$
     As we walked down to the house, it was so exciting to see the floor of the lower level was being poured and there was no more doubt anymore about the size of that room! We were mesmerized as we just stood there watching this floor grow and grow.  The room that seems to be sticking way out on the right size is Rosanne's room (she has decided to move in and not be a guest  :) Remember the screened room is over that  room and will actually extend beyond.  It will be almost like it is hanging over the water! The patio will be out beyond the walls or edge of these floors and the yard will be beyond that.  What you don't see is about ten or more feet that is on the other side of the silt fence. . . you may have seen the silt fence in other photos.

     All the little "tubes" sticking out of the floor were put there by the plumber on Monday.  It was a good thing he had to come back on Tuesday because while in Reston, visiting good friends (who happen to be my daughter's in-laws) I remembered that I wanted to put a stackable washer and dryer in the lower level for guests. The plumber needed to know this in order to put in a drain pipe. Whew! That was close. We did get this taken care of before in ended up in the "cost over runs" column! Otherwise, I would be slepping all those bed linens upstairs to the laundry room!

      After the entire floor was poured they began buffing it out because the cement had already set and could be walked on. (I would have pictures of that but the batteries went dead on my camera) After this floor was poured and while it was being buffed, they began pouring the floor of the garage.Yea! Meanwhile I walked back up the driveway and down the road to where the car was parked to get new batteries and missed the pouring. . . but when I got back. . . Whoa! Baby! The garage had been poured!

  The most thrilling part of this was now I can see the size of MY craft room! Seeing this really gave me a jolt because up until now all I knew was it was more that 400 square feet. Now y'all know what they say about girls and math . . . and I am no exception when it comes to figuring square footage. . .but you give me a visual, I'm all about that! I  do realize there will be walls, a powder room and such, but this still is my dream come true! 
     Our builder left us to go meet with the man at the lumber yard. He wants the lumber delivered on Monday because they will start "framing" on Tuesday.  Bet you can't wait until my post next week!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes. . .

      Or in this case, what a difference a week makes! Our last visit to the site was Monday, the 27th of September which was when we were able to see the "dirt" and decide on which remaining trees stayed or went. Since then we have have stayed away from the site due to all the many trucks and equiptment coming and going and there would have been no place for us to park our car anyway.  I think week by week is how I want to watch this "happen" anyway, because day to day, I am not too sure there would be that much change taking place. When our builder stopped by to pick up his first "check", he gave us an idea of this week's progress and so we decided to wait and check it out after church on Sunday. Of course, this was the first Sunday of the month which meant Pot Luck Sunday and added to that we had the Blessings of the Animals when a horse was blessed on the lawn in front of the church!  So needless to say, it was Sunday afternoon before we were able to get there.
      These first two photos were taken from the top of the road just to show the overall view.
View taken from the road

View taken walking down the driveway
I love this view everytime I see it!  As we walked on down to see where all the footings were, H explained to me how the house would sit and I must confess, it's slowly becoming clearer to me but I am still gonna need more, like maybe a floor or a wall or two, but I'm getting there!
      The next pictures are what the views will be from the different rooms in the house.

     This view was taken by me as I sat on this bucket trying to imagine I was on the patio under the main floor deck watching H cook me a steak and having a glass of wine. (I did say, I was imagining, didn't I?)
This will also be Liz and Jarrett's view from their bedroom.  Unfortunately the guest room behind them will NOT have a view but I'll come up with something to make up for it if that becomes your room, I promise. 
This is about where the boathouse will be built.

This is the view from Rosanne's guest room

This is the view from the main floor great room if you can imagine a floor from about where H's elbow is straight out!  The area below that is the lower level great room.  See my imaginary chaise lounge
on the patio way out where you see the black bucket!

     This view  may look very much like the view from Rosanne's guest room, and it is. . .but it is taken a little higher up from the screened porch where we will have our coffee each morning so we can see this beautiful sight!  The screened porch is located over that  lower guest room. 

       I look forward to our next visit to the site which will be in a little more than a week. I'm sure I will once again be blown away with the progress. (I do realize things will slow down at some point). 
      The Alabama Hargroves and the Masons will be making a road trip next week as we journey back to Virginia to share in the wedding of the daughter of our former priest and dear friends the Lords. We also look forward to seeing other cherished friends whom, we hope after seeing these views, will join us knowing these guestrooms are waiting to welcome them.