Friday, October 17, 2008

The Past Six Months in 3 Minutes Or Less


The following things have happened since I last wrote:
  • Late March, our boy Will is born. A fun chaos ensues.
  • We start talking turkey for getting this thing built by fall.
  • Canada Day, I go over to the island with a friend to survey the property. As soon as the water taxi drops us off, I get a call from my sister with news that my Mom has just died after a long illness. I knew it was coming since my visit a few weeks earlier, but I didn't expect it so soon. The water taxi isn't due back for hours. I'm stuck, but at least it's a nice place. We get caught in 4 hour traffic jam on way home.
  • A month later, we get some numbers back, and we realize that we've gotten away from our original plan of keeping things simple and cheap. The proposed design is way too expensive for us. We were prepared to go slightly into debt, but realized that we wanted to pay for it with cash in hand.
  • We decided to radically scale back the project with Smallworks.
  • They come back with another design and a proposal for us doing a lot of the work, and the price came back well into our range.
  • Using SIPS (the cabin will not look like Subway btw) we can prefab a very basic 16X20 structure in very little time and expense. We would be responsible for foundation, roofing, siding, windows, and other finishing.
  • I buy some tools and begin work on the outhouse in my spare time.
  • With the help of our close and thrifty friend, Stefen who is wise in the ways of building, and doesn't "work" like descent folk, instead living off the proceeds of his tye dye business, we figure we can maybe get the project started and mostly finished this fall.
  • We thought about some of the stuff we would have to do, and talking with the builder about them doing the really important stuff like the foundation and roof. The price goes up a bit.
  • We came to a consensus, and put the plans in for engineering.
  • We buy a table, the one previously mentioned. We talk to the builder about having them to a bit more. Stefen is disgusted, arguing that we can do it all and save loads of cash.
  • I go over to the island to talk to our neighbours who will take down and mill a few trees for us. I dig a hole.
  • Shortly after, we (and by "we" I mean "me") start having doubts about the wisdom of the project as the Vancouver housing market started to drop. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe we could actually afford a house in another year after all.
  • I call and leave a msg to stop the engineering, since we wouldn't build till spring anyway.
  • Too late. Drawings were mostly done, I didn't stop anything, and ended up looking like a flake.
  • The drawings are done, it's raining a lot now, the project waits for spring, and I'm eying the Vancouver housing market more than I have in a long time. But I also think how great it would be to be there in the rain right now.
  • There is a mostly constructed outhouse in my basement taking up tonnes of space.

2 comments:

tuckova said...

If I can, as a person who does not know you at all, nevertheless proceed to boss you around: humanure composting is eversomuch easier than digging an outhouse that once you have done it the amount of squick that you imagine it is will pale in comparison to the amount of triumphant easy gardening it actually is.

I don't know about any of the rest of it, but seriously: the outhouse part can be super easy.

John said...

Thanks for the tip! We will be going the composting toilet route for sure. The plan it to install a bathhouse with CT the second season. The outhouse is for the build and the first year.