Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Almost A Go

Well, what do you know: we got a green sticker today.

It's been a long time coming, but Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, they of the cumbersome and somewhat antiquated-sounding name, have awarded the American Bungalow at National Park Seminary a green sticker, and that means the only thing that stands between us and getting walls put in is an inspector from Montgomery County.  And if anyone knows what kind of Edible Arrangement that guy likes...

JUST KIDDING.  But not really...

Definitely excited to get past this hurdle that has been eluding us for so long.  Not only did it take several tries, but even Hurricane Sandy had to get in the way, since our original inspection was scheduled for Monday morning, when she decided to plow through town.  This afternoon, we took our DC neighbors Marni and Alex to the house to show them around, and I hadn't even thought about the inspection having been rescheduled.  While we were driving up, I got a call from the subcontractor doing our kitchen-cabinet install, wanting to know if we forgot about them.  No, I assured them: we've already paid you the $13,000, so you can be darn sure we haven't forgotten about you.  The first email I sent out was not to thank the contractors or brag to my family, but to the cabinet people, letting them know we were now one step away from finally requiring their services.

This is the second time in four days we've been up.  The first was on Sunday, since the neighborhood was having its Halloween party.  It was a great event, with a costume contest that I must say was nearly swept by the Wahl family: Isaac won Third Place in the 6-and-under division for his Solar System costume; and the Adult category was all us-- me in Third with my Orion Constellation; Abby in First with her Cat; and my mom a surprise out-of-state Second-Place winner with her Black-Eyed Susan.  Granted, only three adults showed up in costume, but we don't need to discuss that right now...  After the party, we opened the house up for anyone who wanted to see.  We met some great new-to-us neighbors, including a couple who have two kids nearly the same age as ours.  (We also met some neighbors on the landscaping committee, which might come in handy once we get around to that next year... what was that number for Edible Arrangements again?)  

The reason I bring this all up, though, is because while we were showing people the house, who walks in but our contractor, Mark.  He's there to board up some of our windows ahead of Sandy's grand entrance the next day.  Say what I will about the lack of communication on his part, or the plodding pace of late, but it was very impressive to see him show up with boards and hammers, unrequested, to make sure our pricey windows remained intact.  Brownie points indeed.  He also explained what was going on with some of the red stickers we've been getting lately.  For instance, one had to do with the main pipe under the house, which was perfectly up to code for a house our size... but not for one below grade, which is what ours is, since it's on the side of a hill.  The pipe had to be something like a quarter-inch wider and at a bit of a slant to stop any potential backups.  I think.  (That sounds about right...)  Little stuff like that.  It satisfied my unasked questions on Sunday, although I still feel these are things that should have been known about before, and things that should have been communicated to us when the red stickers appeared.  (That said, I still haven't gotten anything from him today, even though we got a green sticker, so it's not like he's just incommunicado when there's bad news...)

He also said he's not quite sure about our new plans to save the division in the downstairs bathroom.  We will likely have to go ahead as planned, and make that an amendment at the end, if at all.  Even moving the door over a foot to the left may present problems, since there is wiring in that space right now and no extra slack on the wires to be able to move them.  We may lose that, which sucks, but we're not going down without a fight.  What we did "win," though, was placement of the air-conditioning condenser out in the yard. We wanted it to be as far away from the barbecue area as possible, and he had it sitting right next to the back door.  As a compromise, we moved it as far to the front as possible, while still being positioned along the east-side wall.  Stick a few bushes around it and it'll hardly be seen.  (Plus, having it where we wanted it originally would have meant seeing it out the bathroom window, a placement I don't know if we had thought about.)

So what else is going on?  Tomorrow we're supposedly getting the giant HVAC unit delivered, which will be a milestone-- especially since it's ready to go in.  Also, all the trash has been removed from the yard, which is great because I just started getting very pleasantly-worded complaints again, which I hate.  (It's not like I want that trash to be there!)  The contractors graded the whole yard, which I think was a bit of a waste, because it's not how we want it to be in the end-- the whole thing is graded as a slope away from the house, which I understand is wonderful from a drainage aspect, but not exactly from a livability aspect.  It did, however, give us a good idea of what we'll be dealing with in terms of run-off, since the rain from Sandy carved a definite trench across the yard.  We can definitely do something with that-- likely putting in gravel and maybe a French drain to corral the water onto the sidewalk, rather than through the yard.  (By the way, did you know that the "French" in French drain refers not to France but to Mr. French, the father of Daniel French, he of Lincoln Memorial fame?  Yeah, you're welcome.)
Look at the trench carved out by Sandy's rain.
We hope to redirect it off the bottom-left corner of the picture.
That's our HVAC guy working on the vent for the heating system.
The AC condenser will be at this corner of the house.

Overall, this has been a very positive four days.  Sure, tomorrow's November, and we're supposed to be completely done with absolutely everything in 18 days, and we wanted to be moved in last week.  But baby steps, people.  Baby steps.  

And at least that baby's stepping.
Work proceeding on the cement bollards for the electric transformer.


  1. Neighbor from Cassedy Street here. I walked by last night and the windows out back look fantastic. Also the door on the front is a great red/orange color. Sorry about all of the delays. Can't wait until it is finished and your family can move in.

    -Paul A.

    1. Hi Paul-- thanks for the well-wishes... Funny thing is the door's not quite the color we wanted; a bit too orange. Once we get everything done and have the time/inclination to start REdoing everything, the door will get a bit more red and less orange. As for moving in? Yeah, I'm right with ya!