After feeling like everything just stalled, finally a big milestone – we’ve started moving dirt at the home site! Apparently you call it “moving dirt” now. “Breaking ground” is the ollllld lingo. We sure are learning a lot in these first two weeks since closing on the construction loan.
Learning, for example, that every question about building permits has 15 possible answers, even if the two people you asked on separate occasions happen to share a lunch room in the same government building. Person #1 sent Sergio to a desk across from her window for over 6 hours to pour through microfiche, looking for each and every time the land was transferred from one owner to the next – in the last 70 years. A few days later, person #2 did a 30 second search on her computer and found the answer Sergio was looking for. Sergio’s muttering that day: “I hate my life”.
That was one bad day, though. Most days, we are super thrilled to be on this adventure together. I’ve asked Sergio a couple of times if he wants to go into the business of flipping or building houses, and he says he likes it more than his “real” job right now. My barometer for how much he likes the process of building our home is whether he’s willing to humor me with my frequent design flip-flops. Some days I want a painted backsplash in the niche above the stove, the next day I want it to be a niche-less subway-tiled wall (FEEL FREE TO WEIGH IN FOR PETE’S SAKE! NICHE OR NO NICHE?!?). And I KNOW he doesn’t mind my crazy ideas, because he takes hours modeling my wild ideas in SolidWorks (as any good engineer would). Even though I made fun of him for doing his own heat loss equations when he wanted to know how many furnaces our house needed, I learned that day that I LOVE a man who can work computer aided design software! OWW!
So there we were, finally visualizing this thing starting to come to life! At least in a 3D model on Sergio’s computer. Sergio’s birthday was this past week, and we decided to both take the day off and spend it fishing together. Only, that was the day the excavation crew was going to start moving dirt. We opted to stay in town just in case and spent the day going on nearby dates – breakfast at Barela’s Coffee Shop, lunch at Model’s Pharmacy, coffee at Michael Thomas, and after picking up the kids they made him a special dinner. As much as we tried to avoid running errands on his birthday, working on “home building” chores was what he and I bonded over that day. We found a custom door, ordered our window package from Pella, and checked out talavera tile shops. I zoned out during the meeting with the trusses guy – I think that’s what that was, something about trusses. At the end of the day, the dirt crew didn’t come. That day we learned patience.
Tuesday was the day. The crews came, the tractors thoroughly impressed Paquito, and the outline of our house was dug out of the ground. With our decision to build this home ourselves using a contractor as a consultant, there’s still so much to learn. What I learned this week while watching Sergio in action on his birthday, talking about trusses, and lumber packages – and whatever else I zoned out for: he’s got this.