The last two weeks have been really busy on the house project. One of the biggest challenges of renovating (versus a new build) is that there’s never a simple way to mark something off the to-do list. It’s all so interconnected that it takes a lot of coordination, and some tasks that we’d like to hire out just make more sense to handle ourselves due to the timing. This is further compounded by having a very, very old house, with a tight footprint, and a really tight site.
I’ve been on the phone every morning first thing with contractors, trying to build a scheduling sequence that works in a residential construction climate that is absolutely nutso. One thing that I think I’m really good at is persuasion – if I can get someone on the phone, I can generally find a way to connect to them and get beyond their initial gut response which was “no, too busy, can’t get to it”. I’m trying to convince everyone that I talk to that this will be a really fun job – great clients (!), organized drawings, ready payments… we speak the language and can get whatever hurdles they see to the work out of their way. Fingers crossed that we can maintain this energy for the coming months.
The first big push was this past week – and I’m going to detail that in another post with photos over the holiday weekend. Stay tuned.
The next big push of coordination is: neighbor’s tree removal, excavation, lateral lines replaced, footings and foundations, in that order.
The tree: a giant, ancient elm that looks like two elms grafted together, partially dead, right on our east property line, with gnarly roots that poke up above ground all over our yard. We’ll impact at least a quarter of the roots with our excavation, and there’s no good way to do anything that we want to do in the garden back here without further impact. Now’s the time to take it out, before there’s a building back there, or worse – it falls over and takes out his house, his garage, or our new work in the back. He is very, very sad about this. It’s technically his responsibility, but we are offering to pay for its removal, and for the purchase of a brand new tree of his choice – planted away from our fence. He grew up in the house, and the tree is meaningful to him. It just sucks all around. Wish us luck on this journey.
The goal would be to get the tree down the first week of December, and then cross our fingers that the excavator, lateral guy, and then concrete guy can all complete their work in December. And can someone please get our mason to show up??