Habitat for Humanity of the Indian Wells Valley
Ridgecrest, California

Construction Project 1, 919 West Oregon Street

Time Lapse Video Installing Trusses

Dedication Photos

Construction Slide Show - All Photos

Time Lapse Video of Wall Raising

Related Web Locations

Project Status

Project Reports

Tuesday Sept 12
We passed final just after 10:00 this morning. Inspector Mike checked the electrical items he had zinged us on last week, glanced at the CF2R and CF3R documents I spent most of yesterday morning filling out and that Barry had signed, and nothing else. He didn’t really read anything; I could have dry labbed the whole thing. He didn’t test the smoke detectors or look at finish plumbing and HVAC, didn’t even look under the sinks or at the water heater installation or flush the toilets ( I did, all OK for Breanne to place gas, water, and power in her name and move in) . Clearly his thing is lighting and outlets.

At City Hall Tony checked his computer to verify passing final, did not ask for any other documentation or a grading plan signoff, and looked at the amount on our final check; he was satisfied. He will now transfer everything in our file from the 2016 system to the new 2017 system, and issue a CFO (certificate of occupancy) mid afternoon today as I hand him the check. I approached this whole thing like an IRS audit; don’t volunteer anything and only respond to specific questions- it worked. Beer and pizza after the dedication? Right now I feel like a huge monkey which has been riding on my back for a long time has just been removed- CHEERS.

I have brought our Smugmug photo site for 919 up to date; will add my dedication pix. A little cleanup of the kitchen and bath area before dedication would be good; I can help tomorrow.

Wednesday Sept 6
My round robin with Kyle of BOS Energy, Catelemi Engineering, and our architect Matt Keith yesterday morning seems to have worked; I got the required HERS documents this afternoon (5, total 27 pages, used up the last ink in my printer) to present to the inspector tomorrow as City Hall said is needed; I have called for final. The documents were also E-mailed to Barry and the HFHIWV office. Cross your fingers. I’ll be out of town Friday, any reinspection will need to be Monday. Wile doing the final touchup of grading next to the foundation today I found our great $500 Evergreen Construction Bobcat operator knocked a hole in the stucco on the east side near the water heater door- growl. A few pix of the exterior; zoom in on DSCN3123 to see the hole. I’ll see if Bowling Brothers can make a neat patch- this is hard to do without looking “patched”. I walked Kirsti through the house so she can see what she needs for the dedication- Barry will coordinate with her. That’s one NEAT invitation. BTW Terry no food service needed for Fri/Sat.

Wednesday August 30
The paveout was completed by Onstott; photo. I met Allen the grading operator with Evergreen this morning at 7 AM; he concurs with me that there is enough dirt available to provide a berm and swale on the east and west property lines and to provide code required slopes away from the house. There is excess material between the house and sidewalk which can be redistributed; I removed the sign. He said only a small amount of hand work by our crew will be needed, fortunate as the temperature Saturday is forecast to be 109-111. If we get a good crew we should finish before lunch, hopefully starting before 8 to beat the heat. just got a verbal estimate of $500 for the job; E-mail to follow, I said “go”, and have signed formal acceptance of the $500 cost. The front and east sides need to be watered prior to starting work; I could not find any suitable sprinklers or another length of hose on site. I have bought these and will water the site Thursday afternoon, and a mailbox and pole to be set Saturday. Total about $70. If all goes well we should be ready for final after Labor Day.

Late word: the work will be done Friday by Allen with a Bobcat; I do not need to be present, will do a group hike if weather and smoke permit. There is plenty of Gatorade, soda, and dry munchies on site. I’ll bring the 5 gallon water cooler with ice water Saturday, another bag of ice would be a good idea. I expect 5-6 people max, in the unlikely event we need lunch subs will do. Door stops can go on, smoke detectors should be tested. Go team....

Thursday August 17
The carpet went in yesterday per the Home Depot agreement, Breanne likes it. I got an estimate from Onstott for paveout this morning; $1395. To be done by the end of the month. HERS testing has been a headache- numerous calls and E-mails all week, way too much time but finally success. Mrs. HERS is still not accepting calls. Doreen at City Hall is not sure if a recent rule change requires builders and HVAC installers to be HERS certified as one Bakersfield possibility’s Web site seems to say; No response from them; Cuck has has a similar experience with “the Bakersfield guy”. Campbell Heating and Air have been using Mrs. HERS until now and were unaware of their nonavailibility. Speaking to High Desert Air Ductor; Chuck uses them for both HVAC installation and HERS testing; they contract testing to BOS Energy out of Hisperia, 760 881 8742. Speaking to the owner, Kyle Peterson, he is available next Thursday the 24th between 9 and 10 AM to do our test. I HOPE to be back from eclipse viewing late evening the 23rd, I’m leaving tomorrow. He will review our Title 24 plan page and the documents the city gave me, seal all the ceiling diffusers and furnace return grille, run the test, and generate a report which SHOULD satisfy the city for final. All we need to do is seal the cooler cookie sheet and its slot. Cost: $450. We should have an alternate to open the home and provide him the documents if I am not back in time. He does not see a problem with us not being a certified builder or HVAC contractorSmileSmile.

This Saturday all the interior doors can be hung/rehung. The top and bottom of the swinging doors didn’t get painted to seal them when Matt sprayed the house; this should be done. I am still waiting for a call from Evergreen Construction,760 375 0203 for fine grading; they were going to meet me to scope this out and give an estimate today. I would be surprised if this exceeds $500. Monday the garage door went in from Desert Garage Door 760 446 3446, pix. The man I spoke to was not sure how much (maybe all) of the $550 cost will be donated and not charged. Terry there are plenty of drinks for Saturday, and some dry munchies, use your judgment if the salads, salami, and baked items are still OK. Probably the usual few for lunch....

Saturday August 12
Steve had the furnace up and running before I got there. As had happened at at least one other home the particular model thermostat he used produces a short circuit if it is powered from “common” 24 volt furnace power and blows a fuse on the furnace circuit board. This does not remove all power but prevents startup. Other models from the same manufacturer do not. Suspecting this I had asked the PG&E tech to check the fuse; he said it was intact (it wasn’t). Possibly the short circuit current causes self heating of a thermal cutout which is intended to shut down the furnace if there is flame rollout; both he and Breanne cut their hands reaching in to manually reset it during yesterday’s troubleshooting after the PG&E tech determined it had opened. Given that manual reset was not required today it may reset itself after cooling completely. Steve checked the thermostat manual (I had checked only the furnace manual) finding a warning not to use 24 volt common and disconnected it after blowing another fuse. Hopefully at least one of us will remember this 1 1/2 years from now if we install a furnace and save a LOT of grief. All 3 gas appliances now operate properly, we are THROUGH with PG&E thank God. I left the water heater on”pilot” so it won’t need to be relit. Hopefully Breanne has no hassle setting up her account with them.

We ran the dishwasher through a cycle, no problems. As noted earlier I got the carpet order and contact straightened out. Steve prepared the bypass doors to be hung while Melody and John cleaned the floors for carpet; I had brought my padded saw horses and big shop vac for this. I snapped a few pix. We wrapped up before lunch; plenty of snacks and drinks remain with some salami lunch meet which will keep till next Saturday, and salads which might. Only a small amount of kitchen and bath caulking remains to be done. Still no contact from Mrs. HERS. I’ll try John’s contact for HERS testing and Greenscape Construction for fine grading early next week. If (looks like a big if now) cloud cove and smoke look OK I’ll be leaving

Friday August 11
We removed no longer needed tools and materials to clear for carpet, cleaned, caulked, and touched up; Home Depot’s contract worker arrived about 9:30, took measurements, was happy with our provision for bypass door guides, will send me an estimate. I reached Onstott paving from the site, they have scoped out the paveout, will send me an estimate, should complete it before 1 September. I had found a service note from PG&E that they “found no one home” yesterday, the technician arrived again midmorning, set the meter and served gas to the house, verified no leaks at our connections, and lit off the water heater and range as he had been instructed to do by his boss. The furnace would not start; looks like an internal electrical fault, probably a factory defect. Steve and I will try bugging it out, and bring in Campbell if unsuccessful. It should be covered under warranty. Serving gas to a house not yet finaled is contrary to my previous experience and seems improper, hopefully this will not cause an issue with the city inspector. Mrs. HERS never called or E-mailed me, never showed up, and as began noon yesterday her voice mail still will not accept messages. She had said last week she would be on site at 11:00 this morning - par for the course. My understanding is that there is no other HERS rater available for this area. John and Melody set the permanent lock on the water heater compartment- it took 2 engineers. Plenty of good food for today and tomorrow in the refrigerator. Duke came by briefly and snapped some pix....

Saturday August 5
The kitchen floors were waxed, and the appliances set and connected. Note Steve laying down on the job setting the dishwasher. Gas connections were made to the furnace and water heater. Baseboards were set, caulked, and touched up over the vinyl tile. We now have a full size refrigerator on site. Frank and another part timer heroically raked all the stucco and concrete rubble into one pile off site and hauled some stucco paper and light debris to the dump; we are ready for fine grading. I have an E-mail into Cory Lara for suggestions; we don’t have our usual high school kids to help with this. HERS duct testing is scheduled for the 11th. The garage door from Desert Garage Door should be in by the 15th. I have spoken to Onstott Paving who just got the contract from the water district for their pavement patching; they will check out our paveout and give me a time and cost estimate, and patch the water district cut at the same time as our paveout. I told them to “make the city happy”; we may not need hot mix as the city has eased requirements for streets like Oregon. Per my earlier E-mail we probably will not have carpet down before the end of the month, maybe longer, after which we will hang the bypass and bifold doors and do final cleanup before final inspection. With luck we should be ready for final by Sept. 9th; worst case the end of the following week.

Saturday July 29
A hectic but very successful day. I was able to return both the shower door and sink after very carefully repackaging the original glass panel (the only difference between the two sizes of door kits) with a full set of unopened other parts from the new kit in the original box; I got the last kit of the correct size. Despite having only the cleaned up Glacier Bay sink with instructions and clips but not the original box and template Home Depot gave full credit- I thanked them. Steve worked all day completing the vinyl tile, John, Brieann, and I completed the shower door, medicine cabinet, and all the caulking in the bathrooms; she is ready to start on the glass tile backsplashes. I bought enough base for the rooms with tile; Matt painted this and the last 2 bypass doors and tracks, and touched up throughout the house. I bought what appeared to be the last 2 30 inch bifold door units, one without packaging, from Home depot; Brieann noted they didn’t look the same. Another trip to return the one without packaging, a 36 inch unit, a (rare) knowledgable man in millwork found a matching unit somewhere. These are bright white factory finish, which Brieann is happy with. They may need to be trimmed slightly to fit the opening. John left a compact refrigerator on site, we can keep a good supply of drinks and perishable snacks cold.

Really god news; Matt spoke to IWV Construction, presumably to owner Chuck, on site grading and signoff, and was told Chuck convinced the city (Loren Culp?) to stop requiring the restrictive grading requirements such as contained in our grading plan for his recent projects about 2 months ago. Given the large number of homes Chuck has built and is building in Ridgecrest Heights he no doubt has some clout with the city. His suggestion, which matches one from Cory Lara Concrete, is to fine grade next to the building to drain away and slope overall about 1% to the street per code with a berm and swale along the side property lines as we have done at 935 and 931. There is excess material adjacent to the garage which can be used at the rear of the lot and to fill in a bit on our lot to the east, and we can build a simple treated wood retaining wall there where there is 8-12” change in grade. No need for a detention basin or gutters, or not to have any fill that changes the original grade (now obliterated) beyond the 919 lot. From an earlier discussion with Chris the head inspector this should be more than sufficient to satisfy him at final; I should say nothing to the city unless asked specifically. Cross your fingers...

Friday July 28
The kitchen sink plumbing was completed and tested; no sign of vibration of the sink and faucet when the garbage disposal was run. Note how Breanne is able to slide under the sink to make connections to the dishwasher air gap fitting, and install the sink clips earlier. The outswing door thresholds and anchor blocks for bypass door guides are set. The Johns and Melody set the master bath medicine cabinet and partially installed the shower door, only to find the door was 1/2 inch too wide; this worked on previous houses. The design of the shower cabinet may have changed; I should have measured the opening, it’s almost right at the size break between two models of doors. I got the last one of the smaller door at Home Depot this afternoon. Fortunately we should be able to return a complete set of parts for the larger door, and perhaps the sink also, hope for the best. The remainder of the vinyl tile can now go in, Breanne cleaned and waxed the entry tile. We have plenty of big pieces of cardboard to protect the tile. After 4 tries over 2 weeks I have Desert Garage Door lined up for an estimate for a basic 8 foot sectional steel door, hopefully in by 15 August. Matt will complete interior door and trim painting this weekend. Next Saturday the kitchen appliances can go in, then carpeting, bypass and bifold doors. Getting close....

Saturday July 22
Thanks to Jerry and John helping Steve the cooler was set and connected; it works great. All the water plumbing tested fine after tightening the flexible connectors at the water heater. We were able to remove the flimsy 20 gage Glacier Bay kitchen sink with no countertop damage and replace it with the 19 gage Kohler unit I bought last week, thanks to Breanne being able to remove and replace the mounting clips. Releasing these on the old sink did not change its behavior, I did a little rasp work on the south corners and front and back of the opening to allow the new unit to fit freely; the difference in stiffness is like night and day. It should be noted there are many iron/nickel/chrome alloys with different carbon content within the generic term “stainless steel” with different properties; we should avoid the 21 and 20 gage Glacier Bay sinks and spend the extra $40 or so for Kohler. Breanne also finished the bathroom caulking and installed the towel bars and toilet paper holders while Steve tiled the entry. We can work as long as energy holds out now that we have a cooler. We had great food and munchies, more than we could eat.

Next flex Friday and Saturday we should finish the last bit of kitchen plumbing, tile at least some of the kitchen and dining area,set the shower door and outswing door thresholds, and finish a few minor tasks to prepare for carpet. The last dragon to slay is fine grading; we will need “an engineer” per Bill Burke to sign it off; I don’t have any up my sleeve.. Hopefully Matt can get some info from IWV Construction on who they use; they are not adding detention basins or gutters ($800 at 931) on their recent builds near ours, and are using treated wood for small retaining walls. Some time soon we will need to paint the last 2 bypass doors. Absent Duke, I got only a few pix. Go team....

Friday July 15
We passed the final gas pressure test, and I finished the outside hose bibbs and cooler valve. John, Melody, and Breanne added most of the interior door locks, Carol the remaining window blinds. The kitchen sink is set with the faucet and drain fittings; tomorrow I plan to plumb it in. There is an issue with flexing that needs to be looked at. The pix DSCN3027 I took yesterday has Tom gluing down the countertops. Hopefully we can set the water heater and possibly the cooler tomorrow. I spoke with Chris the inspector; he is fine with a treated wood 2X8 base for the east property line fence as a retaining wall, as IWV construction is doing (photo, full resolution). This with posts, though not necessarily the fence boards above, will need to be in place for final inspection. Note the use of 3 fence rails, today’s 9/16 inch thick (if you are lucky) green second growth cedar boards need this to prevent bowing out of line. The only question remaining is if an “engineer” will sign off our grading plan for the city, with its #*&! concrete block retaining wall. Duke came by briefly for a few pix and the inevitable selfies....

Tuesday July 11
I set and tested the toilets while Tom glued down the kitchen countertops, cut the toe kick pieces to be added after the vinyl tile, and was building the chase for the range hood vent when I left for lunch. He bought a black range hood and the rest of the window blinds. Yesterday I bought all the interior and exterior door locks; there’s plenty of work Friday and Saturday to set these and caulk vanities, toilets, and baseboards in the bathrooms including a bit of silicone around tub/shower fittings. I will be hiking tomorrow, and hope to plumb out the kitchen sink Thursday, exterior hose bibbs and water heater Friday with a husky helper. We now have a working master bath toilet; just needs a roll of TP. Tom leaves the end of the week, returns September 7th. If all goes well and Steve returns before Saturday we should be able to set and run the cooler Saturday, with all the plumbing fixtures working. The color coat, finished this morning, looks great. I have a call in to Desert Garage Door for a basic 8 foot sectional steel door similar to what they have installed on previous homes, without an opener.

A PG&E inspector signed off their final inspection midmorning; speaking to him cleared up the confusion evident in recent E-mails. Their spacer on our stubout should be airtight; I’ll fill our gas piping to 15 PSI Thursday and call for final gas pressure test Friday. Once this is passed Breanne can call for signing up for gas service 2-3 weeks before we final out the house so a meter can be set and she can have gas service at move-in. Water and power simply are transferred to her name at this time. Unless we hit a snag with fine grading and the *#*! east side retaining wall we should be able to dedicate the house early September, Tom and Carol would like to be present. Maybe some BHS football huskies for fine grading?

Monday July 10
Bowling Brothers started the color coat early this morning, completing most of it, will finish tomorrow morning. Tom set the kitchen countertops; they look great, Breanne is very happy with them and the stucco color. I set and plumbed both bathroom vanity tops, tested the drains, no leaks. The toilets should go in tomorrow and hopefully the kitchen sink. Thursday the exterior hose bibbs; this will make water available for the cooler. Friday we should set the water heater and complete the plumbing.

Saturday July 8
Tom and Carol have been working on kitchen countertops during the week as well as today; the section containing the sink is almost ready to be set. They should be finished before Saturday with both sections set. I set the master bath vanity top; I need a longer tailpiece extension to complete the drain. I plan to work midweek to finish the interior plumbing and hopefully set the water heater in order to have water to the cooler location next Friday and Saturday. If the stucco color coat goes on as scheduled Monday and Steve is back in time we should be able to set the cooler Saturday.

With help from a new volunteer Jeff I returned the refrigerator and range in intact factory packaging to Sears, mentioning we now had donated appliances via Habitat International; no questions asked and we received a full refund of $872.64. No restocking fee. Needless to say I thanked the man behind the counter. We also bought the water heater, 2 toilets, the kitchen faucet, and 2 single gang switch plates which Breanne installed together with the 2 and 3 gang plates on hand. I’ll get the interior door lock sets for her to put in next work period, and nickel finished bypass door pulls. Duke came to supervise and get pix including the inevitable selfies, mostly poor focus but a couple of good ones. Many of the pix were dark; I found the exposure compensation on the camera was set to maximum dark, I reset it to center. The house interior is dim enough that pix of people moving are sometimes not sharp as the flash was set to off; I reset it to auto. Go team...

Saturday July 1
Yesterday the concrete flatwork got done, starting at 5:30 AM. I only got a few pix beginning at 7:30, almost done and a great looking job. I trimmed out the master bath shower, set the vanity, and added the baseboards while Tom and Carol got a good start on the kitchen base cabinets. These, like the vanities, have solid backs which take more time to fit around plumbing but are stronger cabinets; those in previous houses had open backs. Steve got well into bugging out electric, finding 4 bad arc fault breakers; probably a bad batch at Home Depot, the replacements were good.

Today the Sakais nearly finished the base cabinets; they may work midweek on these and the countertops. I set the hall bath vanity and added all the baseboards there and the laundry area while Breanne with help from Frank wet down the concrete for curing and added cover plates on most of the wall outlets previously checked out. Matt primed the aluminum bypass door track front panels, and he and Breanne on a trip to Lancaster this afternoon found the escutcheons to fit the 1/2 inch copper stub outs, the last parts I need to plumb in the vanity sinks not available in town. Due to the heat we shut down before lunch both days though we had plenty of ice, Gatorade, and munchies. Next Saturday we should finish the bathrooms and maybe set the water heater; the forecast is scary with 107 degree heat and monsoonal moisture. Last but not least I surprised Frank, just back from Okinawa after 30 hour flights, with his favorite Magnum ice cream bars this morning, hiking partner BJ was on hand to record the event. It went well.

Wednesday June 28
Cory has backfilled the gas trench and set forms for the curb and gutter. Tom is back; he will need help setting base cabinets as he just had eye surgery and cannot lift heavy objects, I will be doing finish plumbing in the bathrooms and setting the water heater. Forecast temps are 106 Friday, 107 Saturday. I have Gatorade and ice for Friday, might need more Sat. Some dry munchies remain. We have until July 22 to return the Sears range and refrigerator for credit less 15% restock fee after we are sure we can get the Whirlpool donation. Go team!

Tuesday June 27
After several phone calls and another trip to the site it turned out that Bill Burke shot flow line elevations for curb and gutter after I left, and left a street cut sheet and grading document in the mailbox for 918 thinking it was a Habitat box. Fortunately I got there before its owner emptied it. The cut/fill data on the stakes is enough for Cory, who will start on curb and gutter Thursday. He will do several pours for the flatwork interspersed with other jobs; should finish late next week. I scheduled Bowling Brothers to do the stucco color coat the following Monday; we should be able to set a cooler the following Saturday. Meanwhile finish plumbing trim, vanities, toilets, kitchen cabinets, countertops, water heater- plenty of work.....

Saturday June 24
The floor tile in the hall bathroom is finished, that laid last week is waxed and ready for vanities and toilets. All should be ready next Saturday. The bypass door tracks and the last HVAC diffuser are in. Discussions the last few days have it that HFHIWV is now in good standing, and Barry and Roland will determine if a black range and refrigerator pair can now be donated from Whirlpool. If so those that I bought from Sears can be returned subject to a 15% restocking fee, saving $700 and change. We quit before 11, too hot and I could not get extra large nitrile gloves to keep the toxic PVC primer we now have to use off my skin in order to finish the furnace plumbing. If I don’t find some before Friday I’ll coach someone with smaller hands. Per my last E-mail cross your fingers we pass the next PG&E inspection Tuesday and both Bill Burke and Cory can move quickly. We REALLY need the concrete work and then stucco color coat done so we can set the cooler. In any case we can get and set the water heater, trim out the bathrooms with toilets and lavatories, and work with Tom on base cabinets next work period. Breanne has found a black range hood with the same model number as the white one Tom bought and installed; hopefully he can swap it out. Only 2 pix of floor cleaning and waxing. We need to work on communication. Go team...

Saturday June 17
We completed the furnace supply transition with Brieann’s help in the tight spots, and Steve laid the vinyl tile in the master bath, laundry area, and part of the hall bath. Heat stress forced a stop about the time our adhesive ran out. I made up the PVC plumbing for the furnace but did not glue it up; it was too hot for enough working time to line up the joints. Our new prez Barry pitched in. We should try for a 7:30 start, earlier if possible, in the future. Next Saturday the forecast is 106, what my weather station shows as I write this; the next flex Friday and Saturday it’s 114 with higher humidity. That is dangerous heat; we will probably have to shut down before lunch until we get the cooler set. A temporary setting may be practical. We had plenty of good food, ice, and Gatorade. Lots of pix, placed in Dropbox for Forrest; John got some selfies and Margie took a bunch, subbing for Duke....

Friday June 16
I uncovered and cleaned out the gas trench 7-8 AM Thursday, Breanne arrived a bit later, did a bit of cleanup as Keith’s bathtub repair arrived , and with her sharp vision guided Keith in repairing both the tub/shower unit and shower cabinet on the spot. He judged the cracks very minor and anticipates no future problems or need to open the kitchen wall to add additional support under the tub bottom. I waited until about 10:45 for PG&E’s inspector, who arrived just after and passed the gas trench. He had called Barry to say so, the story got garbled a bit as to what was left on site which I didn’t find but Breanne saved the day again, spotting a tiny corner of the inspection report peeking out of our electric service panel, and called the number listed to request installation of the service line. She took a pix of the report to send in via E-mail with her phone, which will speed up the work vs. waiting for the report to work through the PG&E bureaucracy. I installed the furnace supply adapter and damper with help from Brieann; it needs insulation and the joint at the ceiling needs a little work. I have the vinyl tile and adhesive for the bathroom floors, and will order the countertops. Tom will be here June 30- July 14 to set the base cabinets and countertops; he’ll need some help. Note the pix; Brieann made it happen...

Saturday June 10
We completed the finish electric installation; ready for final test. Also all the HVAC ceiling diffusers are in thanks to Breanne and Matt except the 14” unit in the living room; it’s on back order at Campbell’s. I gave them a sketch for the furnace supply transition and damper Friday. I brought the last 2 bypass doors back from Lancaster earlier in the week while scoping out Subarus (I now have a shiny new one) but the aluminum bypass door tracks are 2 weeks out from Valley Cabinet. No reply yet from Keith’s bathtub repair for the crack in our tub; I left another message this morning, and also another one for H.S.I fire sprinkler to trim out the head in the water heater compartment. We finished before lunch; none needed. There is not much work left until we get a plan of action on the tub, and the furnace adapter is fabricated. Barry signed a contract for PG&E’s work with a note to give us notice when work will start, and “the check’s in the mail”. Cross your fingers...

Saturday June 3
We had a great crew today, as many as 10 including Breanne and Matt, plus John and Melody. We completed the upper kitchen cabinets, most of the finish electric, floor prep for vinyl tile, and setting the furnace. Plenty of husky help for that task; the furnace cabinet is narrower than previous ones which will make it easier to make up the supply duct transition. Now Steve has a bunch of journeyman electricians. Breanne has picked her color for countertops, and is happy with the vanity tops; she will do a tile back and side splash. H.S.I trimmed out the sprinkler heads and leak tested their rerouted plumbing. We consumed almost all the food and drink, a first, but did not run short- great job by Tina. Duke did not appear, so no selfies. Now for PG&E, and Keith’s bathtub repair...

Saturday May 27
I had bought 6 15” high up-dux yesterday, our eager crew assembled them and with proper orientation they cleared the roof deck- no more insulation falling in. Note the pix- how many engineers does it take to install one? Tom and I bought all the kitchen cabinets, shelf and pole material, and 2 30”Glacier Bay vanity cabinets that have a similar finish to the kitchen cabinets while this was going on; it took well over an hour but we got a 10% discount on an over $3000 purchase. No oak cabinets and vanities are now stocked at Home Depot. These, like other more expensive ones, are raised off the floor on short legs, requiring the vinyl floor tile to go in first like the toilets. They came with white cultured marble tops, which do not have a backsplash. Breanne, cleaning the tub/shower and shower units, found almost invisible hairline cracks in both; that in the tub being in the bottomCrying face. Hopefully these can be repaired; my contact for previous repairs in no longer available.

After trimming out the up-dux John Mcnamora and I went to the warehouse to get the furnace, finding it had been broken into via the rear doorSteaming mad. The furnace and our yellow generator were still there but other material was not, more on this in a separate E-mail. We waited a good 45 minutes for the Ridgecrest PD to show up; the first officer seemed to have trouble finding the address but a second, female officer did so and took a report. Meanwhile Tom and others installed all the shelf and pole material, and Steve started on finish electrical. The furnace is in a bedroom and the generator is in the sea container. The ladies cleaned the slab in the bathrooms and entry for tile and Steve installed the electrical outlets in the kitchen and furnace closet so Tom can start on cabinet installation mid week before he leaves for 3 weeks. Hopefully Breanne can meet with Kirsti to pick tile and countertop colors; the countertop colors have changed, and the one which I suspect she will like best is not stocked but can be special ordered for the same cost as the stocked ones. We got a LOT of work done despite the delays. I plan to be there next week to set the furnace, and hope to get Comfort Zone on site to blow the attic, and H.S.I to trim out their fire sprinklers and get final inspection. Now for PG&E...

Friday May 26
The house is painted out; 2 coats with most of 25 gallons of Dunn-Edwards semi gloss in a stock color closely resembling “cotton whisper” by 1:30 this afternoon. We owe Matt a BIG thank you for this, also Breanne for helping me mask and other light duties getting ready for Matt. Terry note: between me, Matt, Tom, Breanne and Frank the last 3 days we have used most of the leftover munchies and Gatorade. Just now 3 more folks have E-mailed me they will be there tomorrow; we can start on finish plumbing, electric, and HVAC. We can use more snacks, Gatorade, and especially ice for 6-7. No clue how many will stay for lunch. I snapped a few pix of Matt in action; Duke stopped by briefly for a couple more.

Thursday May 25
Breanne informed me that Matt will spray out the house after work tomorrow, starting between 1:30 and 3 PM; I have asked Breanne to have him call me. He can use a couple of helpers to keep his rig supplied with boxed and strained paint, roll out any runs, and manage hoses. I will get the door slabs for closets in the morning and help set them up for spraying. Duke thinks he can do this, if it happens we can start on finish plumbing, finish electrical, and HVAC Saturday- lots of work. I received a call from H.S.I about 3 that they relocated their fire sprinkler pipe to clear an up-dux. Breanne and I have masked all the windows except the one over the tub/shower; the original making for it and the shower cabinet is in place. Tom and Frank have masked all the door hinges and gaskets; the chocolate nut brittle bait worked. If appropriate huskies appear we might even set the furnace....

Saturday May 20
With Jerry, Breanne, and Frank helping Tom and I completed the interior finish carpentry and caulked it, except for shelf bracket support blocks. Tom will check the brackets he will use for size; adding these, and spot priming of cut ends and a little raw wood, should have us ready to start finish painting next Saturday mid morning. Home Depot has a $40 rebate per 5 gallon bucket of most of their paints, payable as a prepaid MasterCard. Hopefully with Breanne’s contact for expert spray painting we can pin down type, tint, and quantity before Saturday; the deal expires 5/30. Of note we had super food thanks to Altrusa; an 83 year old member made DELICIOUS chocolate nut brittle to top it off. Duke didn’t make it; no selfies. Best of all I spoke to Shannon King of H.S.I fire sprinkler; they will relocate their pipe to clear the up-dux frame on Tuesday. I will be out of town but Tom can meet them. Of note their crew seems to only do texting.....

Friday May 19
All the jambs and heads are in the closet openings, and most of the shelf supports are in. I plan to head to Home Depot first thing to buy the long lengths of casing and base required to finish the trim while the crew (hopefully more than Tom and Carol who were “it” today) work on windowsills. Duke came by briefly for a few pix and the inevitable selfie. I spotted an “oops” by our fire sprinkler contractor; their main line is about 2 1/2 inches inside the dining room up-dux opening. I can see several fixes, none of them easy with the sprinkler system completed and certified and the drywall textured and primed. Given they insist on being last in line before drywall someone will need to watch their installation on any future build....

Saturday May 13
Thanks to a great crew including Dennis and friend Marcos Lopez who is a skilled finish carpenter who brought his own sliding compound miter saw, compressor, and nailer we hung the last 2 doors, cased all the doors, and added the jambs and heads in the laundry alcove and 2 closets. These and all the base were also caulked and filled. I bought the stock for the remaining closets and windowsills; now available in 4&5/8 inch width so it doesn’t have to be ripped. Home Depot has 16 foot casing stock with the same profile as the door packs we have used; I’ll get this next Friday for the closets. If we have a crew like today’s for the next flex Friday weekend we should complete the interior finish carpentry and be ready for finish painting the following Saturday. I managed to forget the camera- oh well next time. As typical great food. Go team. IWV water has backfilled their excavation with sand- no more road plates. Now PG&E?......

Saturday May 6
Despite a mix-up on some door sizes and swings, both mine and Home Depot’s, we added all but 2 interior prehung doors and much of the base. Breanne got some trigger time on the battery powered pneumatic nailer installing base. Tom also started on door casing; the new material Home Depot sells leaves much to be desired. Next Saturday we should complete the swinging doors and base, and get a good start on shelf supports and finish openings for bypass and bifold doors. More than enough great food to keep the crew going- thanks. Duke gets photo credits. It looks like we need to force the flash to get clear pix in much of the interior with people moving....

Friday May 5
Only Tom and I at first; joined a bit later by John and Melody, who also brought a great lunch. We bought all the interior doors, a unit of base, and 8 packs of door casing. Home Depot has changed their product line for much of their millwork; he new casing has a different profile than some left over from 931. This can be used inside closets. We hung the steel door from the garage into the kitchen and added a temporary lock; the house can now be secured. Tom got a good start adding base. Plenty of work the next 2 weekends for interior doors and trim. We can use help from Breanne’s friend who has experience with doors....

saturday Apirl 29
An almost perfect day for painting; cooler than forecast with light winds. We had a super crew including Breanne’s son’s father Matt, a professional spray painter ”the spray man” with his own rig, masking tools and supplies, and 5 gallons of donated drywall primer of which we used maybe 1/2 gallon. Both Jerry and Frank manned our spray rig with plenty of help from the crew and Matt to mask, manage hoses, roll out runs, and keep them supplied with paint. Our 20 amp garage circuit held both rigs. Frank, eschewing a spray sock to protect face and head, is now a white haired old man. Duke came by and sprayed a bit as well as snapped pix and cheered everyone on. After applying 2 coats of white solid color stain to the eaves and rakes Matt primed the pine 1X4 stock for shelf supports with wood primer, as well as helped out our crew with masking and professional advice. We owe him a BIG thank you. A friend of his might even help with interior doors. Plenty of good food and snacks thanks to Terry Crawford. Before 2 PM all painting was completed (!) and we are now ready to start interior finish carpentry. We used almost 15 gallons of drywall primer of which I bought 5 gallons, less than 1/2 gallon of Kilz wood primer, and about 5 1/2 gallons of solid color stain. Without Matt’s expertise considerably more would have been used on the eaves and rakes. I expect it will take at least 4 work periods to place, fill, and caulk all the interior woodwork to be ready for finish interior painting; hopefully Matt can assist especially painting doors. Go team.....

Friday Apri 28
I checked it late this morning; looks very good. Hernandez even cleaned up all their debris and scraped the floor. They should be paid in full. Unfortunately even though I told their guys twice to leave their nice clear masking in place on the windows, doors, and tub/shower units they took it all down. They no doubt follow a set procedure. We will need to re mask everything.....

Saturday April 22
The second coat of mud is going on. I reminded the worker to mud and tape the water heater closet. He said the texture is still scheduled for Wednesday. Pawing through our storage I found 2 new, 1 used coveralls, several rolls of 12 inch wide paper for masking but not the tape or machine to lay it on for masking windows, plenty of goggles, and a couple of 5 gallon bucket paint strainers. I found no breathing masks; Duke- your advice for what type to get. I plan to get these, another 2 pack of strainers, and the 2 sheets of paneling we have used in the past to protect the garage floor. We have several plastic drop cloths. Jerry will need at least 1 helper while spraying; Steve cannot be anywhere near with his asthma. Tom and others- let me know if you will be there. Of note the paints Home Depot stocks now are different from what we used on 931. Some are cheaper but look good to me. PVA drywall primer is only about $50 for 5 gallons. I wonder if the donated primer, especially that in the opened 5 gallon bucket, will be more trouble with clogs than it is worth. Home Depot will shake it “if the lids are not damaged”. For finish painting (several weeks away) hopefully Duke can advise on selection.

Thursday April 20
The first coat of mud is on, the second is being started. Hernandez expects to finish the second coat tomorrow, spray texture Saturday. I will stop by late Friday to stuff newspaper in switch boxes; Steve may be able to help. Breanne that is something you can do. For sure we should be able to spray drywall primer the following Saturday and check out equipment during the week prior. I will be hiking Saturday. Duke, can you weigh in on the usability of the 10 gallons or so of donated drywall primer?

Saturday April 15
Drywall and stucco lath were passed this early afternoon; I have given Bowling Brothers plastering and Hernandez Drywall the green light. Hernandez may start tomorrow or Wednesday for sure; no word back from Bowling Brothers. Duke authorized me to sign the contract for Hernandez; I’ll leave a copy at the site. Tom and I removed the 2 full sheets of drywall and a good quantity of large scrap pieces, white and green, to the warehouse for use in patching at 1013 Boston if needed. I spoke to Barry but do not have a home inspector to refer to him. I will be out of town Wed. and Saturday but will check on the site other days, Steve will be available Saturday if needed. I expect no need for food, and no real work on site for volunteers until the stucco base coat and drywall mud and tape are finished. Steve wants to stuff switch boxes with newspaper before texture spray to preserve wire labels; I’ll leave newspapers on site Friday, or stuff the boxes if mud and tape are finished by then.

I expect we should wait several days for texture to dry and stucco base coat to cure before we spray drywall primer, and wood primer on the eaves and rakes, following with finish paint on the latter. I expect this will be ready to start on the 29th. Jerry, we need to schedule this; you are “the man” according to Duke. My thought: start the drywall primer in the garage, then do the house as technique gets sorted out hopefully with a bit of coaching from Duke, then do the eaves and rakes. We have a lot of donated drywall primer; we should get together with Duke to determine if it is usable. On 931 we sprayed finish paint on the drywall and interior woodwork together without removing the doors with good results, to avoid runs on the doors spray technique needs to be dialed in. They can be removed if desired. That is at least several weeks away. Once the gas service line is in and final inspection of it passed Cory can start curb/gutter/sidewalk and concrete flatwork to the house. Then Breanne picks the stucco color coat. Now if we can keep the fire going under PG&E.....

Friday April 14
With help from John, Steve, and Frank 3 more pounds of drywall screw went in to have 9 inch or less spacing at all butt joints between the ends of panels, inside and outside corners, and the ends of panels ending at partition and gable end walls parallel to the trusses. A few had to be omitted where the HDU shear panel hold downs occurred at inside corners, and at a gap in the “deadwood” nailing above top plates. I have called for reinspection Monday; cross your fingers. Duke and I got some pix of the crew in action, and the inevitable selfie.....

Saturday April 7
As expected we finished checking and correcting the drywall fastening, and patching some of the worst overcuts around electric boxes before lunchtime. We have a new eager volunteer, a former carpenter. I have called for drywall fastening and stucco lath inspections Monday, and alerted Bowling Brothers to start on stucco base coat. I’ll ask for bids from at least 2 drywall subs for mud/tape/spray. Once the base coat has cured a few days we can spray primer and finish coat paint on the eaves and rakes (hello Jerry). Duke snapped some good mug shots, and the usual selfies. There may be no work next Saturday depending on the subcontractor work and PG&E with the gas trench.

Friday April 6
The last of the drywall was hung and the fastening is nominally completed, thanks to Tom, carol, John , and Melody. Tomorrow we should do a careful inspection and putty knife test for protruding fasteners; I’ll bring our impact driver for stubborn ones. We should be ready for drywall and stucco lath inspection Monday. Terry brought super snacks and lunch, Gatorade, and lots of ice, which will carry over into tomorrow.

Saturcay April 1
We had a big crew, 9 at one point, and plenty of food. Almost all the drywall is hung, just a few small pieces and quite a bit of screwing to go. Next flex Friday and Saturday we should finish easily, and I will call for drywall and lath inspection Monday. Next step: Bowling Brothers does the stucco base coat and I get bids for mud/tape/spray. Our newly minted board member and president to be Barry showed up with a big smile; little does he know... Duke snapped some pix, and selfies of course....

Saturday March 25
We had a modest turnout Friday and a good one (up to 7) including Breanne Saturday; I would estimate the house drywall is about 90% complete. The garage ceiling is complete, the walls not started. We bought 12 sheets of moisture resistant drywall from Home Depot this noon for kitchen, laundry, and bathrooms as High Desert True Value still has not obtained any; I’ll ask for credit on our prepaid drywall order Monday. Note the eagerness of our crew, and now Frank and John Learman have caught the selfie bug. Johan and Melody brought good snacks and lunch Friday, Crossroads did likewise today. Plenty of chocolate for Tom both days and hearty main courses for lunch.

On a more serious note after enquiring of PG&E why the expected gas service trench inspection and signoff for installation of their gas service line expected on the 22nd had not been performed I ran into a frustrating morass; it seems our earlier service application had not been properly received and processed. A new one has been submitted and received. After a LONG back and forth hash which I kept Duke in the loop on it now stands that this simple task, done on each prior build on Oregon street in the last 7+ years under identical conditions ( PG&E taps their street main and installs a plastic service line, riser,and accessories in a trench we dig to their requirements particularly separation from the water service and property line, the same in each case with a standard method for the tap and line) has turned into a “full job”. Apparently only gas service installation jobs where an existing tap and service line “stub” extends into the property at the appropriate location are not now so classified. As set forth in the latest E-mail from PG&E this will cause a preliminary $1500 nonrefundable fee, a 6-8 week lead time for “engineering”, probably substantial additional costs as engineering is performed, and a demand for formal documents which have not been required by the city or other utilities, hence not prepared. Then we can expect another 4 weeks or more for service installation with successive inspections; I was warned by our concrete and excavation sub Cory Lara to expect the latter prior to engaging PG&E. All prior builds involved a simple service application and consultation, sometimes conveniently with a local PG&E man, service installation with a single inspection with short trench open times, and no major hassles. After on site discussion with Duke yesterday I have told IWV Water to backfill their excavation in the street at their discretion, and will ask Cory to do the same for ours ASAP due to liability.

I have passed the torch on this matter, feeling I can no longer participate in a positive manner, and consider PG&E’s behavior tantamount to extortion. Hopefully others in our organization can reach a more reasonable compromise. If not and we incur several thousand dollars or more additional costs, long and unpredictable delays, and have to keep trenches open for weeks or more I believe our ability to continue to build is in jeopardy.

Saturday March 11
Thanks to Bill Corley’s crew including eager, husky young Navy folks of both genders we completed about 75% of the drywall hanging in the house, having only the hall ceiling and walls, the moisture resistant walls in the kitchen and bathrooms, and bits and pieces in the closets, window openings, furnace and water heater compartments to go. Plenty of good food appeared, thanks. Several got to try Roto-zipping cutouts, harder than it looks, note Bob Westbrook’s triumph in the difficult furnace compartment ceiling. Of note as the house gets more closed in and darker one needs to give the camera more time to focus with the button halfway down and perhaps have the subject stop moving; we got some fuzzy shots. Duke’s selfie came through. Go team...

Sunday March 5
High desert Home Center came through with 40 sheets of drywall Saturday morning, and we hung most of the 4 bedroom and closet ceilings with our small crew. Our plumbing has held pressure nicely for 2 weeks. Now with the exterior walls lathed it’s dim inside and one needs to use fill flash to get good pix. Of course Duke got the usual selfie. A new volunteer John Holberg came by and will join us next Friday and Saturday; he has experience managing Habitat adobe house construction in New Mexico. Next Friday we might finish the kitchen/dining /living room ceilings with 3-4 workers (we only have 1 drywall lift); any others can start on walls. Saturday we should have Bill Corley’s mission crew also and can do walls in several rooms simultaneously as well as the remaining ceilings. I’ll ask for the remaining drywall order by Friday. Go team...

Monday Feb 27
The insulation is going in; should be finished tomorrow noon and AV Comfort Zone’s invoice has been received. I’ll call for the required inspection Wednesday. Checking this morning we have plenty of screws and nails, plus zip bits and knife blades. Our cordless tools are charged and ready to go; I’ll bring the drywall lift. Right now it is not clear if we can get at least some of our drywall delivered by Friday as High Desert Home Center has a prior commitment. I have authorized them to charge our account, and emphasized the need to let me know by Wednesday at the latest. Pix of the insulation work, and the completed lathing. Bill is rounding up his crew for Saturday; as soon as I know if we will have drywall and how many eager workers we will have I’ll give Terry a guess for food.

Wednesday Feb 22
I got a call from Bowling Brothers Plastering they will start lathing tomorrow, and have E-mailed AV Comfort Zone insulation that they should be able to start early next week. I have asked both so supply written bids; Bowling’s was mailed Monday. I have marked out the sewer and water trenches and am waiting for word from Dave’s Backhoe; his repair parts for his machine came in last week. Loosen up those aging bodies for drywall....

Saturday Jan 28
A good turnout. Steve led the door crew to install the front and garage back doors, the front door was a bit of a struggle. At times this looked like a government job (chuckle,chuckle). I added the stucco mold to be ready for lath. I finished the water supply line, flushed and pressure tested- no leaks. We had great snacks; finished work before lunch. I have called for city water line inspection Monday, and will let H.S.I. they can do their hydrostatic test, and they still need to reroute their plumbing out of the attic access. We should be ready for our 4 way inspection the following Monday at the latest, and be ready for lath once passed. As always Duke got good pix including the inevitable selfie....

Saturday Jan 21
Tom led a large crew for windows; all went in. The windows had been packed for shipment with shrink wrap, too tightly, which bowed the sides of the vinyl frames inward. Several had to be placed against one side of the rough opening to straighten one side of the frame, the other side then needing a shim. The rough openings are ideally nominal size, the windows 1/2 inch less, to allow for the rough opening being a bit out of square, and header sag. One was so badly bowed that it had to be returned for exchange. In the future we should check for bow with a straightedge before purchase; we have not seen this before.

With help from the good crew I checked for the water plumbing leak with the ultrasonic detector and soap solution, no luck. Finally using water fill which was messy as a tight hose connection could not be made revealed the leak, at the stem packing of the made in China ball valve on he cold inlet to the water heater. With the handle in place this could not be soap bubble tested, and the ultrasonic detector had not picked it up; a small leak, a drop every few seconds. Bubble testing after removing the handle and tightening the packing nut showed no leak, and the system held air. The ultrasonic detector readily locates large to medium leaks not detectible by old guy’s ears but not small ones which drop test air pressure a pound or two per hour. We are now ready for fire sprinkler plumbing installation and hopefully for permanent water supply soon after for its required water testing.

I drilled new eave vent holes in a bird block in the garage eave as the originals placed the water plumbing in the air stream, a freezing issue, and added the phone and cable TV access panels to the electrical chase; I had poured the concrete base midweek. Steve had finished rough electric midweek also. Next work period we should be able to add the exterior doors, backfill the water trench, and maybe gas if the ducks line up with PG&E, and be ready for the “4 way” inspection the following week with stucco lathing next. Duke and others got plenty of pix; note John in “yeti mode”....

Friday January 13
The PEX plumbing was finished and insulated, but when air tested a large leak was evident. Finding and repairing this, and completing rough electric, almost finished today, is first priority tomorrow. Given a good crew of 5-6 tomorrow we should also be able to start installing windows; the flashing for these is in place. Exhaust fan ducting was also completed. At least the roof has had several good tests including today; all is dry. Thanks to John and Melody we had nice hot snacks and lunch; Duke arrived to man the camera. No matter what we will be ready for H.S.I’s fire sprinkler installation the 23rd. Go team...

Saturday Jan 7
We had a larger than expected eager crew despite the cold drizzle (when the going gets tough, the tough get going), and nearly completed running wiring and PEX, with hot drinks, chocolate, and good pizza to keep us going; thanks Terry. We should complete the wiring and PEX with terminations and insulation next flex Friday and Saturday with no problem and be ready for fire sprinkler plumbing scheduled for Monday the 23rd. Next, windows and exterior doors to be ready for inspections prior to lath and wall insulation.

Saturday Dec 31
Friday we got a good start on wiring, and I added the tub and shower valves add stubouts; in the evening I made up the 1 1/4 inch copper water entry manifold in my home shop. Today we had a great crew; the manifold and a good deal of the PEX water plumbing went in together with most of the 120 volt wiring. We may finish this next Saturday; I will alert H.S.I. that they can install the fire sprinkler plumbing soon. Duke arrived and went wild with the camera as usual adding to a few pix I snapped yesterday. Of note; he picked on me more than usual. We had great snacks and lunch, and Frank invited the crew and friends to his noon gathering “cleaning out the refrigerator”. This turned out to be a big party with lots more food and drink- thanks Frank. We were fed so well on site that most declined but I stopped by and met old friends and nibbled a bit- crew you missed a good one. Happy new year!

Sunday Dec 18
With a large crew including several “management types” we completed the duct insulation in good style. Note Frank safely on a ladder. I made up the shower and water heater manifolds off site and installed some as well as fixture and hose bibb stubouts but could not finish due to a few missing parts and needing to verify the dimensions of the vanities to be used. I plan to finish this before the end of the year to start running PEX the first January work period. Steve started laying out electrical wall boxes with Bob Westbrook drilling top plate holes. Of note I spoke to Kirsti this morning ; she will contact Brianne to let me know where she wants cable and telephone outlets if different from the standard plan, as we will wire the house during January. Kirsti indicated that in a Thursday meeting Breanne has agreed to the standard Whirlpool kitchen appliances, assuming we can still get them.

Saturday Dec 10
We had a great turnout, and completed placing, taping, and sealing the ductwork. Note the acrobatics by Tom and others. The outlets were taped and sealed ready for a preliminary leakage test Monday around noon by Crystal “Miss. HERS” from Lancaster who happens to be in town. I disassembled the black iron in the area where tiny leaks were found and reassembled; getting a full turn more on several joints. It held pressure for the morning work period; cross your fingers. I finished the condensate drain and water tested the DWV topout finding no leaks. Blocking for towel bars. vanities, and curtains went in. We enjoyed great chili for lunch and wrapped it up just after, having completed all work leading up to duct insulation thanks to the eager crew. Next up: duct insulation and PEX water plumbing.

Saturday Dec 3
I was absent about half the morning at the cystic fibrosis walk but finished the furnace return plenum and platform, more difficult than it should have been due to the irregularities in the sheet metal and an earlier goof of mine. Good news: the smaller furnace cabinet allowed it to be nicely centered under the supply duct which will make the rectangular to round transition and damper easier for Campbell’s to fabricate. Steve and Tom completed almost all the ductwork and framing around the ceiling diffuser boxes, needing only one more length of 10” duct to finish next Saturday. Hero Bob Westbrook found a tiny leak in the black iron after previous multiple tries by several of us but it’s not the only one; now the overall leak rate seems to have increased. It was near the start of the run near where I had found a large leak and loose joint earlier. I suspect much of the first half of the run is not made up tight enough and plan to work with Bob Tuesday on it. We had more good snacks and pizza than we, only 4, could eat, and a nice calm and warmer day than Friday. Once the black iron devil is exorcised I plan to start on the PEX water plumbing. A few pix from Duke.

Friday Dec 2
The plenum was fit checked after being taken back to Campbell’s after very poor spot welds literally fell apart; after which I found the elevation of the platform is 3/4 inch high. It will have to be taken apart and redone as some fasteners cannot be reached. The black iron still loses about 1 pound in 1-2 days; one must watch for 2 days to see a trend above the effect of temperature. I have used 3 gages, discarding one which had a tiny leak which the ultrasonic detector did not register, but a careful bubble test did. The leak is too small for the ultrasonic detector or spraying on soap solution; one must flow it on slowly to avoid creating extra bubbles. I spent 2 hours on this Wednesday with no success. I am out of ideas short of scrapping the job and starting over, or bringing in a plumbing sub. Tom and Frank did manage to tape and seal the ductwork placed last Saturday. A very bad and cold day. Hot water and drink mixes brought for snack time were very welcome. I will be at the cystic fibrosis walk from about 9:30 to 11:00 tomorrow.

Saturday Nov 26
About half the ductwork including the cooler supply and its chase and the furnace supply is in place. We had a large and eager crew, and great food. Note Breanne with bare forearms insulating the cooler supply duct (itch, itch). I reworked the concentric vent plumbing for the reversed connections of the furnace supplied vs. the one originally expected, and made a fit check for the return plenum. The furnace cabinet will also fit nicely. Replacing the 15 PSI gage with a 100 PSI one and pressurizing the gas piping to 100 PSI no leaks could be detected with the ultrasonic detector, and the pressure rose a bit as the air warmed to ambient. At the end of the work period it had dropped back to 100 PSI; along with the temperature; do we have a very slow leak or a bad 15 PSI gage? Only time will tell. A very careful bubble test is the last hope if we do have a leak. Next flex Friday and Saturday should complete the ductwork sheet metal and maybe start insulating it. As usual, a Duke selfie.....

Friday Nov 18
I finished the DWV topout and furring the tub and shower units. The ultrasonic leak detector led me right to a leak, after repair it detected no other leaks but our black iron still lost 1 PSI during the work dayCrying face. Tom and Steve rounded up the furnace and duct sheet metal parts other than the return plenum, to be finished Tuesday. We can use a couple more eager workers to help run the overhead duct work tomorrow. It’s quite brisk at the site in the morning, winter is here. No Duke to ride herd, hence only 2 pix, one of me with the leak detector, and Steve pressurizing the black iron to 60 PSI. we now have power to our panelLaughing out loud.

Saturday Nov 12
The black iron gas was completed, seemed to make up properly, but there is a slow leak. The DWV topout was not quite finished, the closet flanges and cleanouts at grade still to go; I hope to finish these during the week. Hopefully our ultrasonic leak detector or Breanne’s young ears can find the leak without the background noise from the #*! motorcycles which made it impractical today. Great chili appeared for lunch. Note our new volunteer’s cat face and Bob Westbrook’s (just returned) appropriate shirt. Hopefully we will have power to our panel by next Friday; I have not heard if the SCE contract document has appeared for signature which is required. Campbell should have most or all the HVAC parts for next Friday and Saturday. Go team!

Saturday Nov 5
Thanks to Paul and Jerry we had 4 huskies and completed the 1 inch main gas line and the 3/4 inch run to the drop for the water heater. Next Saturday we should complete the gas piping and DWV plumbing topout, and test both. Of note we have a set of Forstner bits and a shank extension for drilling holes up to 2 inch through top plates for black iron pipe and 3/4 inch PEX. We beat the bane of construction, old Murphy; the 3 21 foot lengths of 1 inch pipe did the job with no waste. Now if it doesn’t leak.... The following flex Friday and Saturday we should be able to start on the HVAC duct work. Turns out I had misunderstood John and Melody;; they had not planned to bring out the remainder of their great beef sandwiches but they did so for a nice lunch together with items Tina brought. I now have unopened packages of salami, cheese, buns, and condiments including mustard, mayo, salad dressing. and lots of packages that Subway includes with their subs. There is some Gatorade and a big bag of ice. For next Saturday with some greens and salad we should be able to do DIY sandwiches unless a lot of folks show up. As usual Duke got some cool pix. Alas, his selfie did not appear .....

Friday Nov 4
I set and plumbed in the tub/shower unit while the rest of the crew finished the “deadwood” and painted the roof penetrations. The palm nailer worked great for deadwood. John and Mel provided great beef sandwiches; there is enough for tomorrow with the possible addition of a salad, plenty of Gatorade remains. At the last minute John Learman cannot come tomorrow; hopefully a husky volunteer can fill in for him to work with Steve to add the 1 inch main gas line. while I finish the washing machine and furnace condensate plumbing. Chuck obtained drawings for the furnace he can now get, similar but not the same as the last unit, so I can get the return plenum made. I have the pipe and fittings for the main and the branch lines, and have rented a 1 inch threading die from Inyokern Hardware , to hopefully finish the 1 inch run tomorrow. We have dies for the 3/4 and 1/2 inch branches. There is other work for furring out walls around the tub and shower units and a couple of door openings, and adding phone and cable entrance boxes. Still no power to our panel.....

Saturday Oct 29
Our new roof passed the rain test. I caulked some of the vent penetrations to prep for painting and capped a small depression in the ridge cap to avoid water ponding while the eager crew including a new lady volunteer added most of the “deadwood” atop gable end and transverse partition walls for ceiling drywall fastening. No #*%! edge clips needed except maybe in the water heater compartment. With help from Brieann and John I opened up the tub and shower drain boxes, located and plumbed the shower drain, and set the shower cabinet. Next Friday the tub/shower unit, now set for plumbing, should be completed along with the deadwood and the washer and furnace condensate drains, completing the rough DWV. Tom and I scoped out the gas lines; Saturday we should get started on these. Duke got pix and the inevitable selfie. Note Brieann studying up on building a Habitat home. Our hungry crew almost finished 2 large, great pizzas along with other good food- many thanks.

Wednesday Oct 26
The SCE conduit mandrilling went with no problems; Matt commented we did a better job the most contractors. I checked with Chuck Cordell; he will get our furnace next Tuesday so I can be sure of dimensions for return air and condensate drain locations. I might need some husky help to load it and drop it off at the warehouse (hi Daniel). Tom’s friend Bill Stratton donated about 20 gallons of PVA drywall primer which should be enough to do the job; it’s on site. A letter of thanks would be appropriate and he can deduct it as a charitable donation. Returning I met the Mectenbergs at Wal-Mart who mentioned Franci at City Hall, very helpful to work with, had just died, they did not describe the circumstances. Her aide has been difficult to deal with, at least for me. Hopefully a good replacement will be hired.......

Saturday Oct 22
Yesterday Tom, John, and I finished the roof, and I added some furring adjacent to shear panels for windows and doors, and a panel with the gable vent above the garage door, Frank water jetted the conduit trench backfill.. Today with a larger crew we finished the furring and structural connections of the gable end drag trusses to the walls with shear panels. I set the SCE handhole box , Steve added pull ropes and caps; ready for mandrilling by SCE and hopefully running service conductors and energizing our panel; I’ll call SCE Monday AM. We did a good bit of cleanup, blocking, and bracing; Frank did a second round of water jetting. Plenty of good food. My friend Daniel came by as we were closing up for the day; I had him model our OSHA roof fall harness as he uses a similar one with a short shock absorbing lanyard when working overhead from a bucket truck, it took all of 30 seconds. Note this type of rig, rather than one with a rope and adjustable grab for roof work, is what Home Depot now sells.

No word from PG&E on possible new requirements for gas service; I have left messages. Next Saturday we should set and plumb the drains of the tub and shower units, and add “deadwood” on the gable end walls and partitions parallel to the trusses for ceiling drywall, the last framing work other than the furnace platform. Hopefully Daniel will be there to paint the roof penetrations wearing the full OSHA fall protection, to see how practical it really is, as well as helping set the tub and shower units. As usual Duke got some good pix to add to a couple John took Friday, all the raw pix were copied to Dropbox. Black iron gas piping can start as soon as I can get word on the gas service line location vs, the existing water and electric services, and the lot line, to be sure of the meter location. A new potential volunteer came by and showed interest, I gave her a release form to fill out.

Tuesday Oct 18
This morning Allan Swallow completed backfilling the SCE trench- no need for Mesquite kids. His total bill should be $300. This Friday and Saturday we should set the handhole box and pull ropes through the conduits, to be ready for mandrilling and hopefully energizing our panel next week. Also we should finish the roofing, set the tub and shower units, and tie the gable end trusses into the shear panels. Maybe start the gas black iron. Frank can water jet the backfill for compaction. I will be out of town tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll get some feedback for attendance.

Saturday Oct 15
Thanks to a really GREAT crew including Brieann’s family, my friend Daniel “mule” Johnson and his friend William Foster we backfilled above the SCE conduit, placed the phone and cable TV/Internet conduits, and did a good deal of backfill above. Hopefully the balance will be done by Allan Swallow with his backhoe mid next week. I did enough near the entrance panel that the footing is stable for sure. Despite the wind our crew did a good bit more roofing, not quite finished. Duke got some great pix, and Altrusa came through with just the right amount of high energy food for the hungry crew- a great day.

Thursday Oct 13
The SCE conduit has been passed. We need to backfill 12-16 inches and place the two remaining conduits above it; hopefully we can get enough eager shovelers, and Frank watering for compaction, to get this done. Looks like no high school kids available for this for the forseeable future. Our excavation sub, out of state this week, will be back mid next week to complete backfill with his machine. We need to close the trench before someone falls in. The weather forecast is windy for the weekend, but no rain, probably too windy to roof. If we have enough crew and the wind permits, we can finish the east side main roof and ridge vent. Please let me and/or Terry know who is coming so she can coordinate food.

Friday Oct 7
Tom and I completed the south end roofing and ridge vent, and a good bit of the west main roof. Frank helped by cutting ridge cap shingles. I met an excavation contractor Allan Swallow, recommended by general contractor Vince Weidenkopf, this morning, who agreed to trench for electric service Monday or Tuesday of next week for $200. This is a good price; no one else I contacted responded. Hopefully with Tom or another’s help midweek I can place the conduit and get it inspected before Saturday. I have contacted Kirsti to hopefully get the Mesquite high school kids for partial backfill Saturday. I have left a message for Bill Corley to see if any of his crew can help roof tomorrow; if we get a couple more roof workers we should finish for sure. We had more than enough sandwich fixings, snacks, and drinks for both days left, which will keep for tomorrow. Duke snapped some good pix including selfies sans NRA hat. Ah, PC...

Saturday Oct 1
We got a good start on the east garage roof clearing the way for conduit trenching for electric service, and nearly completed the south half of the main roof including all but 2 of the penetrations. We only had enough roof workers for 1 team and nail gun; if we can get at least 6 who are comfortable on the roof the next flex Friday and Saturday we should finish the job including the continuous ridge vent with 2 teams if the wind cooperates. We had more than enough good food and drinks – thanks. Duke restrained himself; only a few pix....

Saturday Sept 24
WE had a great crew including Jeff who has come out the last several weeks now on his way to Washington, a Navy Sea Bee worker, and friend Daniel a husky “kid” from Canada. With this crew we got another 8 squares or so of roofing on despite some equipment problems; repaired or replaced, with 2 3 man teams working on different areas, thanks to Jerry letting us borrow power. He and Breanne primed and painted the garage portal opening. At lunch time I got the full treatment with a great chocolate cake baked by Melody yesterday which I kept refrigerated for today, and a layer cake with strawberries and blueberries artistically placed by Breanne. This can be described by only the overused term “awesome”. These and Neapolitan ice cream were shared and much appreciated by the whole crew, with plenty left over. WE also had plenty of sandwiches, watermelon, and sweets. THANKS LADIES. I put 3 candles on the chocolate one, to represent 72 modulo 70 years. 1 for the modulus, 2 for the remainder. 72 might have burned down the house. Duke, armed with the camera, got some great shots. Note Jeff’s skill at R&R, as well as roofing. 2 more work weekends should finish the roof, shortly thereafter we should have permanent power at the house.

Friday Sept 23
Our #!* starter strip came in last evening. A cool day with almost no wind; we got about 6 squares of shingles on the west side despite the starter rope breaking on the yellow generator, which could not be repaired, and the Bostich nail gun leaking air; it was repaired. I had primed the rakes coming down over the lower roof areas Thursday and finish painted them first thing this morning with a brush, after which Bill Corley came by and painted almost all the factory primed fascia from the ground with his roller and extension pole, bent to the correct angle, showing us how it’s done. Now no issue getting paint on the drip edge. We strung 200 feet of #10 extension cable from Jerry’s house for power; the compressor worked fine. We found a crew of 3 gets a good rhythm going shingling; we should have enough eager beavers tomorrow 2 teams. Kudos for Melody for great snacks and lunch, plus chocolate cake for my 72nd tomorrow....

Monday Sept 20
We will get roofing material delivered Thursday (originally on Friday); and we passed roof deck inspection after I did quite a bit of additional nailing Sunday and Monday morning (also truss bracing and shear panels) hence we can get started Friday morning. Weather is forecast to be 79 Friday, 87 Saturday with 5-10 MPH winds, nice conditions. We will be using coil roofing nailers, safety glasses needed. Let me know who’s coming so Terry can plan food. If you have roofing tools, bring them.

Saturday Sept 17
All the plumbing vents and exhaust vents were topped out today, mudsills cut for doorways, and kitchen cabinet blocking completed. I plan to check the roof deck nailing tomorrow or early Monday, fix any problems, and call for roof deck inspection. With luck we will pass Tuesday and I can get rooftop delivery of our material from Home Depot to start roofing flex Friday and Saturday. We had a full crew with Tom, Johan and Melody, and Jerry back in action. Jerry found the long lost munchies; we have a good supply of trail mix, energy bars, and chips. Anyone out there who likes to do roofing, come on out...

Saturday Sept 10
This flex Friday and Saturday we completed the finish fascia, blocking and truss clips on all interior walls, set the electric service entrance panel, and located some of the roof penetrations. Brieann marked stud locations for drywall. I have most of the vent and DWV plumbing topout materials and will get the rest next week; we should bring them up through the roof deck next Saturday and be ready for roof deck inspection. Hopefully Chuck will get the electric service handhole box next week so I can see about laying out trenching for electric service. We probably will not want to wait for this before roofing. Brieann has been alerted to make her kitchen appliance choices so Tom, now back, can check his cabinet layout. He has located the range hood vent duct location. Note Duke now has selfies without the NRA hat for the PC crowd. Thanks to Monte and Tina for an excellent lunch.

Saturday Sept 3
I added the permanent truss bracing and the first short piece of finish fascia. Getting neat mitered corners is tedious with our less than perfectly true sub fascia- love today’s lumber. Steve and Paul Miller completed nailing off the sheathing and show board by hand- they were gun shy after having to remove a lot of shiners. Breanne was able to help by carefully handing up light objects to me in the trusses as well as picking up nails with the magnet- she is slowly recovering. Next flex Friday and Saturday we should be able to complete the finish fascia; I hope to be able to cut and fit it with a few 6 d. hand nails and a helper while another worker follows with my nail gun with no mar tip and galvanized nails, which do not come through the sub fascia. We have caulk for the joints and liquid nails glue for the filler strips added to the sheathing.The electric service panel is on hand along with most of the plumbing topout and PEX materials. Of note for next week’s food- we have plenty of Gatorade but only a few chips, most of the chips, nuts, etc. have mysteriously disappeared- probably tossed as they were quite old. Molly and Duke came by to cheer us on, and we had good snacks and lunch.

Saturday August 27
The north and south rakes were reworked and all the show board added, several repairs were made to the main roof sheathing to close gaps and remove and renail “shiners”, and the kitchen window sill height reframed for the correct 3O3O window- I had marked the correct opening on the slab but no one caught it until Jerry compared his window- embarrassing... Today’s truss chord lumber now sometimes has “wane edges” where the bark edge of the log does not give a full rectangular section and we must scab on a 2X4 to get proper nailing at panel joints. For sub fascia we need to use reasonably straight pieces without much twist especially for rakes; these were available but not always used earlier- used for rework now. Star drive 3’' deck screws driven into the ends of rafter tails and outriggers pull everything into line much better than 16d. nails- one of Steve’s better ideas given today’s lumber. No point building eaves and rakes badly out of line. Reaching over the edge with a nail gun is just not satisfactory; lessons for the next build.

On a lighter note we had a great crew and food; good pix- even Dukes selfies came out OK. All pix are in Dropbox for Forrest. Frank did even more cleanup, Breanne, John Learman, and Jerry pitched in.There is still a lot of nailoff on sheathing panel edges- 6” spacing. Next Saturday we can also start the finish fascia, blocking and truss clips for transverse walls, and permanent truss bracing. though with the Labor Day holiday we may not have many laborers....

Saturday August 20
We added the crown blocks for the continuous ridge vent, did some more nailoff of the sheathing (more remains to be done), added the truss clips to the hall walls and got a good start on show board on the rakes. I rebuilt the south garage rake with better material after trimming and shimming the outriggers. The front main rake needs a bit of work right at the top; I’ll bring my 22 foot heavy duty aluminum extension ladder as the Habitat ladders are not long enough. For future reference even with the gable end trusses braced as much as possible they get pushed out of line as the sheathing goes on enough to make setting the outriggers to a string line beforehand impractical; we should leave them long and cut in place to a chalk line afterward, as in previous builds. This requires care to avoid a fall and get a square cut reaching out over the void. Duke snapped a few pix including the inevitable selfies, dropped into Dropbox. Breanne appeared minus her arm sling, having been told to move the arm a bit but be very careful; we should not ask her to lift or move much of anything. Forrest brought out a nice set of prints of some pictures he processed for the Web site, for volunteers to take to show families and friends what they do; I alerted Bill Corley.

Saturday August 13
Thanks to Bill’s crew arriving in 2 waves, a bit after 7 and around 9:30 the entire roof is now sheathed and mostly if not entirely nailed off (we should check before calling for inspection), the rake outriggers cut to length as required, and most of the rake sub fascia is in place- WOW! With Jerry’s help I finished the eave sub fascia and show board, only nailing the show board enough for safe walking onto the roof. Breanne couldn’t make it with sick kids but Melody and John did and worked hard; Melody runs a mean nail gun. Duke got a great set of photos while Frank cleaned up the site. We found a good use for our rolling scaffolds- racking sheathing panels for access from the roof. With so many folks working with various experience levels a few horizontal sheathing joints are a bit wide; can be covered with sheet metal if needed- no complaints. We had more than enough food, drinks, and ice; the second wave had been fed a church breakfast before arrival and were not real hungry. All the leftovers are being put to good use. With a bit of help next Saturday I should be able to finish the rakes; there will be work for 2-3 to finish before the worst heat, using a nail gun on the show board on eaves and rakes. With 2 more work periods (and Steve) we should have the DWV plumbing and vents topped out for inspection and roofing early September. BTW I cannot blame Duke for all 103 pix yesterday- I took some and Melody took a bunch.....

Saturday August 6
All the crown blocks and outriggers are in, and the rafter tails were trimmed. Some sub fascia was set. We had a good turnout but most wanted to quit right after lunch (a good lunch BTW) so we did not get as far as I had hoped. Duke, Frank, and Breanne came by to cheer us on and take pictures.

Saturday July 30
We got started a bit after 7 AM; it was much cooler than the last several days up to about 10 AM. We had a great crew including several new faces, with Steve on the nail gun and up to 5 others working we have all the bird blocks in. With help from a youngish newbie Ransom I added all the outriggers and crown block for the garage rake, and most for the south rake of the house. Great food helped; fruits, veggies, and salads including a GREAT Kobe beef and noodle one, along with plenty of ice and drinks. Much of these was left behind; hopefully someone can take some off my hands this evening or tomorrow as they won’t keep long. Next Saturday we should finish the outriggers, add a couple of permanent braces on the longest trusses, snap chalk lines at the mid point of the bird blocks to guide the first course of sheathing, and be ready to sheath the roof August 12th and 13th. The highest outriggers will be cut to length and the double ridge blocks for the continuous ridge vent can go in as the sheathing is being completed. We will have 2 nail guns for 8d. sheathing nails. Hopefully a big crew of safe on a roof folks including Bill Corley’s workers will appear. June, making a good recovery, was on site keeping an eye on everyone while Duke got the inevitable selfies...

Saturday July 23
We finished truing the gable ends, placed ridge blocks and bird blocks in the garage, and almost finished the H1 truss anchors at the exterior walls, thanks to help from Melody and her new husband among others. Bill Corley and his gang are well along with the BWK fence at Kim and Francisco’s home, note the nice gate. We quit before noon due to the extreme heat. We need more 8 ft. stepladders so more folks can work on bird blocks; Steve and I will bring our own next work period. Pray for cooler weather; the long range forecast calls for a few degrees cooler but higher humidity.

Saturday July 15
Friday no one else showed up; I added truss clips on the garage dividing wall and added drywall nailing at corners. Today Steve and I added the rat runs and trued up the south facing gable ends while another volunteer got a good start on the H1 connectors at truss bearing on exterior walls. With Frank and Breanne on the injured list (not construction related) hopefully a couple more eager beavers will appear the next 2 work weekends for the north gable, bird blocks, rafter tails, and outriggers so we can start sheathing the roof the first work period in August. It’s hot and extremely dry; today one could not drink enough water to stay fully hydrated. Frank came by briefly and snapped some pix, later Duke took over. Molly and kids came by for the donation papers. We had plenty of good food, and Gatorade to carry over for next Saturday. Bill Corley’s crew set posts for Kim and Francisco's fence; the donated gate kit will be used. A pix of the earlier fence constructed on steel posts is attached.

Saturday July 9
Thanks to Bill Corley’s crew with their “wall walkers” and several SeaBees truss erection went quickly without major problems. This time the long trusses were slid up from the side rather than from the south end of the building as the shorter 28 foot ones were. I did not get a total count but would guess about 20 folks plus several who brought food and drink. We finished erection a little after 10 AM and then added plenty of temporary bracing for the expected 30 MPH winds over the weekend (at 25 MPH here as I write this). No need for lunch as we secured the site before anyone wanted it while the snacks were great- just looking at them made one’s blood sugar spike. The watermelon was especially welcome. As before one of Bill’s crew set up a DSLR atop the sea container to get a time lapse movie- should be great. I took some pix, Duke a lot more (with selfies); a few attached. Next flex Friday we should start on bird blocks, and hopefully have them all in and the gable end trusses braced for true and line by the end of Saturday. With luck we might start roof sheeting the first work weekend in August.

Saturday July 2
Yesterday we marked out temporary 1X4 truss spacers, cut ridge blocks for transitions in ridge height, set the plumb brace for the north gable, and started truss preparation (no pix). Today thanks to more volunteers we laid out and notched the gable end trusses, arranged the trusses in sequence for erection, marked out more 1X4 spacers incase they are needed, and added a 2X6 for additional footing at the south end for bringing trusses atop the wall. Today Duke appeared , handed out T shirts, and took plenty of pix including the inevitable selfies. I will bring my push poles and make up another one. The parts are on site to assemble 2 rolling scaffolds if they are suitable for the crew working along the exterior walls. We should be ready to start rolling trusses on the 9th; come one come all. According to the tally sheet from SWS the 42 foot gable end trusses weigh almost 500 pounds; we need LOTS of able bodies....

Wednesday June 29
Houston, we have trusses. Drawings were left by Gary of SWS but no invoice; presumably he will bill directly to the office. We will need to unstack them to prepare the gable end trusses before erection on the 9th; hopefully this can be done Saturday. I plan to be there both Friday and Saturday to mark out 1X4 boards for temporary spacers, cut a few ridge blocks to fit the layout, and set plumb braces for gable ends hopefully with a few eager workers. It’s forecast to cool to a nice crisp 101 Saturday...

Saturday June 25
We have several eager workers I was not expecting; hence we finished wall bracing, shear panels,, a lot of nailing of corners and double studs, and the catwalk over the front interior; more than I had expected. I managed to drill the very hard concrete and anchor the half wall at the back of the master closet with Tapcons. Next flex Friday and Saturday we should finish preparations for rolling trusses, and notch the gable end trusses expected to be delivered next week for outlookers by mid morning. The extreme heat is forecast to continue and get worse. Everyone watch hydration. Today we had plenty of ice and drinks under 2 EZE-Ups- thanks. Also Bill Corley led construction of Janet’s fence independent of work at 919; a few pix of this and 919 attached. As usual Duke took LOTS of pix as well as the inevitable selfies....

Saturday June 18, 2016
Thanks to Breanne, Jerry, and one of Bill Corley’s crew Donna we trued all the corners and completed the top plates today. While having lunch under an Eze-Up we saw some desert iguana action. Next Saturday (now forecast a crisp 104) we should brace the exterior walls for true line and add some shear panel OSB. I expect we can lay out truss locations and build the catwalk and guide for the north gable end the following weekend, and be ready for trusses. Thanks again for the food; flat bread subs were great- better than regular bread, and we still have a lot of fruit and berries, some should keep for next Saturday. Apple juice and Gatorade remain also. Duke took lots of pix..

Friday, June 17, 2016
Yesterday and today Tom Sakai and I worked on wall truing and top plates; the garage and west side of the house including the west hall wall and all cross walls are done. Duke and Terry Millett came by briefly for the newspaper photo shoot. We worked till about 2:30 PM; next week it will probably be too hot to work past noon. WE NEED STRONG EAGER WORKERS to finish and brace the walls, SWS is fabricating the trusses to be ready by the end of the month; he will deliver them when we are ready to roll. Thanks to Terry Crawford for bringing enough snacks and drinks to feed a small army; we will probably just need sandwiches for those tomorrow who stay for lunch, and another bag of ice. Attached are a few work photos Duke snapped; all are in Dropbox.

Sat, 11 Jun 2016
The last of the shear panel hold downs and the drilled in anchor bolts were placed today together with the walls of the water heater compartment. Some interior wall corners and openings were trued up and badly warped studs replaced. The garage portal was completed (LOTS of nailing and bolting) and trued up with our new plate to plate level. Some pix from Duke; does he ever love selfies. Next Friday and Saturday we should be able to bring all the wall corners and intersections to true vertical and brace them; this may take some doing with all the bowed and warped lumber, and get a good start on the upper top plates tying everything together. I expect 2 more weekends to finish this, brace the long exterior wall sections, build a catwalk and guide for the gable ends, and add at least some shear panel OSB sheathing.With luck we might be ready to roll trusses July 1-2; I expect them to be delivered late the previous week. Worst case the second weekend of July. We will need low wind, lots of experienced folks, and hopefully not too brutal heat for this....

June 4, 2016
We had a really great turnout including Bill Corley’s crew, several Seabees, a couple of young friends of mine, partners Jerry and Breanne,and church groups which Duke can identify. Lots of support from the ladies for food and drink, plus they pitched in. I believe we set a record for the shortest time to complete the wall raising plus the garage portal; we had a good amount of prime beef, strong youngsters, as well as veterans of previous wall raisings. We wound up before lunch and most went home, Jerry, Breanne, Tom, and I stayed a bit longer to bolt up the garage portal and build a wall junction around a shear panel hold down to keep everything stable, avoiding the worst of the heat. Way to go team! I recorded 103 and 4% humidity at the peak at 3:40 PM here, probably hotter at the site. Next Saturday it is forecast to be 7-8 degrees cooler for wall truing and top plates- hope it holds. Trusses maybe the 25th...

May 29, 2016
With great help from Bill Corley’s crew we built all the walls except one short section that will be built in place around the tub and shower units and their plumbing. Hopefully these will be available on or before next Friday which will allow the dividing wall between the kitchen and hall bath to be raised with all the others. The first set of walls to be raised are on the slab ready to go up. Only a small amount of work remains to be done Friday to have everything ready for Saturday’s wall raising. Thanks to John and Melody’s help the HFHIWV sign is in place at the front of the lot. Of note the weather forecast for Friday and Saturday has temperatures near 100 but fortunately winds from the north and east at only 5-10 MPH; we can set up EZE-UPs for shade. Hopefully we will get a count for food Saturday; the most important thing is lots of drinks and ice. As usual Duke took lots of pix; a few are attached. Forrest: these are at full resolution from the camera.

May 21, 2016
We had a super crew of 11 (at least) including a professional framer and 3 husky young SeaBees. Result: we have at least half of the walls built, barring some major calamity we will easily have all the walls built and ready to raise by June 4th. Special thanks to Tom and Jerry for helping me with a lot of layout and prep work during the week and previously, and Terry’s food ladies for feeding the hungry crew on short notice with the extra workers calling in yesterday. Lots of good food; with the heat coming on we need plenty of ice and Gatorade at snack time. I will bring my orange cooler with ice water as today, it was not enough today with such a large crew. Our Eze-Up was handy for shade, fortunately we wound up the day and packed it up just as the wind came up; there was a wind advisory for this afternoon and evening. Duke went wild with the camera; 82 pix, a few of the best attached. He also coached Breanne and others in wall construction, as June looked on. Go team!

May 14, 2016
We had a super crew of 11 (at least) including a professional framer and 3 husky young SeaBees. Result: we have at least half of the walls built, barring some major calamity we will easily have all the walls built and ready to raise by June 4th. Special thanks to Tom and Jerry for helping me with a lot of layout and prep work during the week and previously, and Terry’s food ladies for feeding the hungry crew on short notice with the extra workers calling in yesterday. Lots of good food; with the heat coming on we need plenty of ice and Gatorade at snack time. I will bring my orange cooler with ice water as today, it was not enough today with such a large crew. Our Eze-Up was handy for shade, fortunately we wound up the day and packed it up just as the wind came up; there was a wind advisory for this afternoon and evening. Duke went wild with the camera; 82 pix, a few of the best attached. He also coached Breanne and others in wall construction, as June looked on. Go team!

May 7, 2016
We had a GREAT turnout including Melody and John, Breanne, Jerry, and SeaBee Mike Schwenk as well as our regulars. Duke and June came by to cheer us on. We drilled and fit all the mudsills; I cut all the top plates which are single pieces, and with help from several got a good start on framing layout. I should have the framing layout done before Saturday with a little help from Jerry, so we can start cutting lumber and building walls next Saturday. Of note drilling 3/4 inch holes for 5/8 inch bolts which gives only 1/16 inch annular clearance is impractical with real world bolt straightness and layout tolerance; 7/8 inch holes let the mudsills drop right on. Frank had cleaned up and checked our hard hats and safety goggles; we have plenty of usable ones. I sent him the My Habitat list of jobsite first aid kit contents; he’ll check ours and bring it up to at least that standard, with additional items at his discretion. Most Habitat crews don’t have a good PA like Frank. We had great food, especially home made sourdough coffee cake by Melody. A fairly cool day, however I found myself a bit dehydrated despite drinking more than 2 liters of water. Next Saturday is forecast to be in the high 80s and sunny; we need to watch hydration and have plenty of water, ice, and Gatorade. Reapply sunscreen at lunch. We can put up an EZE-UP east of the sea container.

May 4, 2016
The lumber was dropped this morning- looks complete and good. I plan to straighten bolts this afternoon, and start laying out mudsills tomorrow and Friday. Saturday we should be able to drill and fit mudsills for exterior walls. Hopefully we will have, at least , all exterior walls built for the June 4 wall raising, while we have the big crew to lift them onto the bolts. Note to John; it would be nice if we got our big sign retouched with Breanne’s name and address to put up before the wall raising; Dave says you are the contact. Note I put an OSHA approved protector over the projecting rebar for the entrance panel ground. Ready to swing hammers?

April 30, 2016
With great help from Breanne, her brother, and Jerry we laid out all the interior walls Friday, the chalk lines are protected with clear spray coating. This morning it was too windy to snap chalk lines for the exterior walls. Yesterday I had found that the south wall foundation dimension was 3/4 inch less than the 28 foot plan dimension while the north walls were spot on. The west side was very straight, from which we measured interior wall locations. Taking several overall width measurements across the slab this morning showed minor irregularities on the east side; building the portion of the house behind (south) of the garage 27 feet 11 1/2 inches wide vs. 28 feet will allow the east house wall to carry through to the garage west wall in a true line and the slight overhang of the mudsill on part of the east house wall will not be a problem. A few HDU hold down anchor bolts got knocked out of place a bit; at least one was moved, and another was my goof, all can be accommodated by raising the HDU and extending the anchor with approved Simpson hardware. Of more concern are the anchors for the Strong-Wall panels for the garage portal, placed by Cory’s crew, they are too far out of plumb to allow the Strong-Wall panels to be plumb. I have a call into Cory for suggestions. Bending the 7/8 inch high strength bolts cold will certainly spall the curb.

This morning with Frank’s help we cleaned up the site and placed barriers to block traffic which has been cutting through our lot next to the west side of the foundation, and prepared for lumber delivery at the front of the lot Wednesday. Midweek I hope to get help and lay out the exterior walls. The weather forecast for the upcoming flex Friday and Saturday is stormy; hope for a change....

April 23, 2016
The house slab and footings are down, a nice finish; the garage curb is ready for the slab. Maybe Monday but the weather forecast does not look good, if not then Wednesday. Thanks again to Cory’s crew for moving the large tool trailer, done while I went home for my air tank for the tires and to round up Steve to release the support jacks, he helped big time to reset the heavy items that fell down during the move. Now all set with maybe some tidying up (hi Frank), no more trespass issues. I did a little rearranging in the sea container so the yellow generator can sit just inside the door; the first thing to come out each day when we start framing. With luck we can lay out walls late next week if the wind permits. I have quotes coming from L&M Lumber and Home Depot, to have our lumber package before the next flex Friday May 6. I’ll swing by to wet down the slab for better curing the next few days; feel free to do so also. Go team...

April 19, 2016
The underslab plumbing and foundation rebar were signed off yesterday afternoon, even though all the rebar is not yet in place Smile. I have 2 calls into Cory Lara to see when he will do the backfill and compaction of the plumbing trenches, and the fine grading for the slab underlayment, with no reply. I need to get the anchor hardware to him for placement and inspection before pouring. Hopefully early next week for concrete....

April 11, 2016
The structure is laid out; Cory Lara is trenching. He will have forms set tomorrow; hopefully the next day I will start on plumbing, hopefully with help from Tom Sakai and on Thursday afternoon with Steve, to reposition the small tool trailer so Cory can move the large one beside it leaving a pull through path to the west for concrete truck access, etc. The porta potty is on site. I expect to have the plumbing finished the end of Saturday, hopefully with help from Daniel, ready for inspection the next Monday. Cory has another job the first of that week and cannot backfill and place the plastic and sand underlayment until completion so we have a couple of days slack. Forrest; the pix are on Dropbox.

I met the planner Matt from Southern California Edison to hand over our application and pin down the location of the hand hole box and service trench. Surprise- SCE has a new head planner; now we must purchase and furnish a larger hand hole box (we were given these by SCE on previous builds) and must record easements where the conduits cross property lines. Previously this was informal; we set the box roughly in line with the overhead lines about 5 feet from the pole, and made straight conduit runs to the adjacent houses. A LONG Web search found 2 manufacturers of 17 X 30 inch hand hole boxes (the only spec from Matt), 3 load ratings and 3 depths, no West Coast distributors and prices starting at about $250. According to Matt there are 20 service requests ahead of us; electrical contractors are buying the boxes in sizable lots to have on hand (from where?) and we will be lucky to have service when we are framed and roofed (maybe end of June). I can hardly wait for PG&E for gas service, said to be harder to deal with than SCE. Shades of dealing with the city, the fun never stops....

April 8, 2016
After a complex set of negotiations between Cory Lara, Eric Onstott, and Bill Burke the pad for 919 W. Oregon has been passed; Bill said he will have the results signed by Arlo and at City Hall Monday (hope, hope). It appears to me that some less desirable material had been used to bring the pad to final grade, that being the reason for Bill’s early refusal to pass the pad and statement that it would have to be rebuilt. He was persuaded to take a deeper sample into the good material placed Friday the 1st. which will provide bearing for footings. Cory will meet me around 7 AM Monday to lay out the structure and sewer trenches, about 10:30 Matt the SCE planner will meet to determine the handhole box location near their pole, hopefully preserving the survey monument for the southeast property corner, and accept our application for electric service. With a bit of luck forms should be set well before Saturday, after Tuesday I will be looking for a couple of strong bodies to help with underslab plumbing as soon as they are. Of note rain is expected most of next week....

April 5, 2016
The grading appears to be completed; now it must be certified and OK’d by the city. I expect we should be ready to go first of next week if Bill Burke cooperates; maybe Friday if the weather cancels a hike I have planned....

April 1, 2016
Gary Onstott has recovered and working on the pad; it may be finished today, for sure Monday. He suggests letting it sit a couple of days before a compaction test is made. I will let Bill Burke know if it in fact is finished before Monday, and have asked him to let me know when the city has accepted his report. Then Cory Lara will try to “squeeze in” trenching and perimeter forms in the midst of his larger projects. I plan to do a flower hike Friday the 8th and the JPL/NASA Mars Fest on the 9th, but can work on underslab plumbing most of next week once the forms are set. Attached pix are also in Dropbox.

March 23, 2016
Onstott Construction is moving dirt- big boys with big toys. I will post pix on Smugmug and Dropbox as work proceeds. The sea container was pulled onto our lot to the east, out of the way; I moved the Habitat trailer there also along with the small tool trailer previously. Now no obstructions. I expect the pad to be finished the end of next week. I have contacted Cory Lara Concrete; Cory is engaged in renovating a hotel pool and probably will not be able to start immediately but not a long delay. I spoke to Bill Burke, who said he has the required forms to certify grading and compaction and can do so with 2 days notice of the availability of the completed pad; hopefully to be done and accepted before Cory is ready. With luck and an eager crew we might be framed out before the hottest part of the summer. I spoke to the SCE planner; no longer available as a walk in; she will mail the forms for me to mail back for electric service. Should be planned and costed out well before we set an entrance panel; hopefully not a big cost item as SCE recently replaced their pole and pig at the SE. property corner. I have alerted SWS for trusses, which I expect not to need for at least 2 months, along with H.S.I fire sprinklers.

Checking the warehouse for a larger diameter plan tube (found) the fence repair has held up to the wind but the roof has not; about 10 square feet blew off; Tom and I will patch it Saturday at 1:00 when the old shingles are softest. Perhaps Steve can resuscitate the yellow generator then also or determine it needs service; it has sat almost 3 years with gas in it; we’ll need it until we have an entrance panel energized.

After the events of the last 4+ months I have concluded that getting plans and permits for home construction in California is a lot like mating elephants:

  1. It has to be done very carefully.
  2. It is accompanied by a lot of trampling and trumpeting.
  3. It takes a long time to produce results.

March 22, 2016
This morning we signed the contract for dirt work with Onstott; I just cat a call from H.S.I fire sprinklers that they are ready to do the design and permitting; I Emailed it will be at least 3 months before we will be framed out and work could start. Grading should start by the end of this week, with luck we will have a slab down mid April. Rub your rabbit’s feet....

March 21, 2016
After all morning of back and forth at City Hall WE HAVE A GRADING PERMIT and WE HAVE A BUILDING PERMIT. I will meet with Teri and Onstott Construction tomorrow at the HFHIWV office to sign the agreement for grading. Extra copies of the grading and building plans are being made at Square Print. Note for Shannon King: the 4 bedroom house to be built has the same outline as the last (931 W. Oregon) but a fourth bedroom replaces the storage room and back porch, and is a mirror image plan, for fire sprinkler design. I hope to meet with Duke, and other board members if interested, to debrief on what went on this morning, a tragicomedy, at his convenience. This to forewarn the next person who has to deal with obtaining plans and permits if HFHIWV wants to build another house, I WILL NOT go through this again. Right now I do not see any more obstacles to starting construction. Eager youngsters, loosen up those backs and arms.....

Tuesday July 14
Bob Joy Reports: Today I reached Bill Burke our (only) local civil engineer, who said he will have a grading plan for 919 W. Oregon by the end of the month. He has had a long recovery from a spinal operation. Hence, please start on the addendum to provide a 4 bedroom garage left plan set for 919 W. Oregon, that we spoke of several weeks ago. Note that your plan for 931 W. Oregon was a 3 bedroom garage right plan.