General Mom

Mom-of-5, building a home in California, step by step, with Faith and Feistiness ~ by General Mom Contractor

Month: October, 2013

All Choked Up!

Today was a huge milestone! Framing the first floor started today.

I purposely waited until after lunch to stop out at the property, since I wanted to be surprised. I didn’t realize I would be all choked up and wiping tears from my eyes! It was one of those moments that you plan for so long and it’s everything you imagined but better. It’s a humbling feeling too, that God has gotten us this far.

They got really far today with the exterior walls and some of the interior walls. We have four carpenters making sections of the plan of 2″ x 6″ walls that are 10 feet high. They lay it all out like a puzzle on top of the subfloor. Then, they have to heave-ho each heavy section into place and sometimes up above pipes and hold downs. I tried to “help” and it was some serious heavy stuff. So, I went back to cleaning up nails and such.

I also had my first kooky California “Green Build” meeting. A nice consultant arrived in her Prius and went through a 3 page checklist of all the points we have to achieve or the county won’t give you final occupancy. We have to do normal things like buy energy star appliances and put in high efficiency air conditioners. However, she has to inspect all the glues and paints are low VOC, the fireplace meets EPA, show receipts of where we are recycling our garbage and even check the moisture content of the wood for framing. It was staggering. I think I may have wiped a tear during that hour long description of additional things to do!





Here Kitty, Kitty!

It seemed like folk lore to us when we heard Mountain Lions lived in our area. Mountain Lion wasn’t even in my vocabulary being from IL! We have proof now that a big kitty came on our building site and drank water from the concrete wash out area.

We’re on high alert since our kids are at risk when we move here. No fence will keep them out, as this will only aide in their agility training. Afterall, they climb trees, so a fence is nothing! They are said to kill a deer a day. When we first bought the land, we found a big deer that was drug up under a bush. Just below the house, we found 5 deer skulls and we named that area “The Dining Hall.” Then last week, a lion ran out in front of the neighbor’s car at 9pm. She said it was as big as a Great Dane!

We might need to call the county to have it removed. There are some pretty sad attack stories involving adults and kids.

A friend sent me photos of lions on his property that his hunting cameras took when it sensed motion. The hubby was searching amazon last night for these cameras! That song, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me” keeps going through my mind. Maybe we really don’t want to see what lurks in the dark!






Concrete and Plywood

Friday, we passed our insulation inspection which allowed us to cover it up with plywood floors. So now, we can start framing on Monday. So excited I won’t be falling through the joists anymore too!

Saturday morning at 6 am, when it’s still dark and the mountain lions are looking for breakfast, concrete was delivered for the garage, front stoop, back yard landings and terrace.

The hubby was able to check everything out and do what he does best, quality control. He reluctantly made one of my sappy Pinterest pins come true by making a heart with our thumbprints in the wet concrete in the garage corner. Neither of us wanted to mess up the beautiful job they did, so this was a good solution to make our mark. Don’t you think it’s super cute?





It was a mysterious misty morning when the insulators arrived today. Fog surrounded our little piece of the mountain. Is it a mountain or a hill? To someone from The Midwest, it’s a mountain.

Insulation goes on top of the first floor joists here in CA since the house has air vents all along the bottom of the house. We have 25 vent holes with screens for air flow underneath the house. That’s also pretty weird for a girl used to snow storms and all kinds of bad weather.

They put yellow mesh down first to prevent the insulation from falling through. Then they squish the insulation on top between the joists. I was expecting pink panther insulation but it was brown. So California of us to not get the added dyes! After we get it inspected tomorrow morning, the plywood can go down to get ready for framing! Yippee!!





Underground Passed Inspection

Today was the underground plumbing and HVAC inspection and we passed!  The county sent out an inspector and my plumber introduced him to me as, “Mr. Grumpy”. To which the inspector looked at me and said, “So you couldn’t afford a good plumber, huh?”  Oh the bantering that goes on in construction!

The inspector walked around inspecting and chatting with the plumber.  Later my plumber told me that he told him to watch his mouth, since I was “really Christian.”  Haha!  I do appreciate him so much for doing that!  I can tell he has 4 sisters that he is used to protecting.

The HVAC  ducts and registers were all roughed in under the house.  Super clean, fast and awesome job!   He walks around on the joists like it’s nothing.  Unlike me, when I fell through the joists yesterday and got a tiny bit bruised up.  All the guys told any and all visitors what General Mom did. Again, I gave them easy bantering material!

I really am so blessed to have incredible people working with us on this project!





Designer Visit!

You know it’s his “favorite” house when your designer and assistant stop out for a site visit. D&Z Design is like family now.

My framer and I designed the front stoop and stairs today. I am smitten with how awesome the radius steps mimic the shape of the front door! It will look similar to the inspiration photo. I picked out a material to cover the entry steps that looks like travertine but is cast concrete. It’s quite a change from the classic colonial house I built in IL! But when in Rome California do as Californians do!





We’re Almost Done, Mom!

“We’re almost done, Mom,” said my four year old as we paused to look up the hill at the construction (see photo). I kind of like his thinking! After planning for a year, it is more finished than not.

The plumber finished the waste rough in yesterday. That presented a problem for a future toilet on the first floor since there isn’t enough gravity fall to the septic. So I have to make a few calls today to my septic guy to see what kind of solution we can come up with.

So much for being almost done!



First Floor Joists Completed

Framing began and is going quickly! All the first floor joists are now completed. Now the underground work begins with the plumbing rough in and HVAC following. The past year I spent planning is now coming into play. The sinks stay right where they are on the plan. No moving things now! All this will be inspected next week by the county.

We also had to prepare for erosion control for the rainy season. We had the whole family throwing straw on the slopes! Turns out, I’m allergic to straw. Sneezing, wheezing the whole day. Glad that job is over!

Just for fun, I caught a photo of a typo truck! A truck littered full of typos. So if you need “yand word” or have any “applaacres” to move, call this guy! If you look closely there are just too many things to laugh at!! Enjoy!





Written In Stone

KA Turner Construction started right at 6am and they were all finished pouring at 9:30 when I showed up. It went super smoothly and I got a once in a lifetime chance to put hidden treasures in the wet cement (pink arrows)! Every time I cross over the front door, I will envision the verse beneath my feet, “As for me and my house, we will serve The Lord.”





‘Twas The Night Before Concrete

‘Twas the night before concrete and all through the forms, not a board was a movin’, we’re ready to pour! The piers were all dug by the auger with care, in hopes that grade beams soon would be there.

Ok, ok you get where I’m headed with this!! It’s concrete time again. The last major step for the concrete process is to pour all the grade beams at 6am tomorrow.

I checked on the site tonight at sunset. I made sure we had all the electric and waste for septic stubbed out. I found a few mystery pieces installed also. It’s probably for a sink or toilet but someone caught that we needed it and made a place for it in the forms. Obviously, those donuts I sent over today helped!

Tonight, I am thankful that God has brought us this far. Not only through the building process, but seeing His grace and growing closer to Him!

1 Corinthians 3: 10-15
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”