“These are the times that try men’s souls.” So wrote Thomas Paine in “The Crisis” back in late 1776. He was speaking of events surrounding the revolution that was occurring against Great Britain. But there are other things that can try men’s souls, such as building a new house. Of course, that is not nearly as trying as facing a formidable opponent in war, but trying to some extent nonetheless. As my wife would say, “It’s a first world problem.” So true!
We signed our new house contract late in October 2014. Construction was to start immediately. And indeed the lot was cleared of excess dirt within a week. And it stayed that way for almost a month before the footings were poured. It was disappointing to drive by every few days anticipating some progress only to find the dirt that had been there for many days.
Completion date was initially supposed to be in May 2015. But based on the warnings we had been given by veterans of house building, we knew that it would most likely be June. So, the footings were poured and construction began. Things progressed in spurts. Sometimes there seemed to be no activity for a week, then all of a sudden there would be a flurry of activity. It was as if we had bears for workers. They’d come out for a period of time and then go into hibernation. The difference is that bears hibernate once a year. Our worker bears seemed to hibernate once a month.
Eventually spring arrived. We got to the point where the underground electrical conduit was supposed to be buried in preparation for the electrical department running power to the house. The day it was supposed to be buried, the contractor was unable to make it to the house. That afternoon it started raining and barely stopped for two weeks. No burying could take place with the ground so wet. Finally things cleared up and the ground dried. Anticipation was rampant. Nails were being bitten. The conduit was placed in the ground and glued. However, the contractor wanted to let the glue dry good before covering the conduit with dirt. Well, as you have probably guessed, it rained again that afternoon delaying the burying another week or so. Finally, the conduit was buried, and the electrical department was scheduled to come out. Well, guess what? A storm came through town and knocked out power all around our area. The electrical department then spent the next several days just getting people’s power back on. Some newbie house waiting to have power connected for the first time became a low priority. We totally understood. If the power at our old house had been knocked out, we would have wanted it back on before having power connected at the new house. Overall, about four weeks transpired from the time power was supposed to be connected and when it was actually connected.
When the subway tile was being applied to our bathroom walls, the contractor was almost finished when he realized that there was not enough of the bullnose trim to finish the job in the master bath. He put an order in and then went off to work on another job less important than ours. Well, less important to us. I guess he figured that it would take quite a few days for the tile company to remove what we needed from the New York subway system walls and ship them to us. Anyway, the tile arrived a few days before the installer got his priorities straight and came back to work on the most important house. Ah, but that was not to be. The bullnose tiles shipped to us were not the right ones. They had apparently removed them from the wrong wall in the New York subway system. And rather than just immediately shipping the right tiles to us as we shipped back the wrong ones, they said they had to receive the wrong stuff first. WHAT? Well, real long story long, we eventually received the right tiles and they were installed.
Delays, delays. Always delays. There were a number of more minor delays that occurred that I won’t bore you with. But eventually construction came to completion…two months later than predicted. As they say, “Better late than never.” Boy, that’s true!