House Construction Update – Living room and Kitchen

YAY!!! The living room area is 90% finished. I just completed the installation of the tile floor and the stone backdrop for the wood stove. I’m really happy with the way it turned out. All that is left for the living room is the carpet which will come later when the dust has settled from the rest of the construction.

The windows are done. I finished building the frames and painted. They look awesome and professional.

There’s still some paint to be done on the upper windows but that can wait a while. The upper windows will open with an electric actuator and the large bottom windows will have motorized shades.

I used Google Sketchup (or whatever it is called now) to come up with my kitchen cabinet layout. It is basically an L shape with an island in the middle and a large pantry on the right side. The fridge is to the right of the pantry.

I already started installing the cabinets. I’m getting the unfinished stock cabinets from Home Depot.

So far it is coming out just as I designed it in Sketchup. Lots more to go. I’m getting just a few of them each trip so I can get them in my truck.

I can’t tell you how much fun I am having with this project. Some days it seems like a neverending drudge but that was mostly because the wall board takes so much labor. Once the paint is done, the details start to be fun again. My retirement house is going to be amazing.

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Internet installed!

I haven’t posted much in a while because I’m living out in the sticks but I got my internet installed today. They came out and put up a mast with a transceiver that points to a tower around 2.5 miles away.

I had internet access through my phone but my $30/month plan has limited data and I didn’t want to use it up unnecessarily.

The new wireless internet appears to be pretty good so far. I am paying quite a lot (Around $65/month) for 3 Mbs. A speed test shows that I am getting close to 5 so that will do for now. They have faster plans up to 25 Mbs but that runs $90 a month plus fees. NOT! I’m not that rich!

I expected to have to give up my Netflix subscription but it appears to work quite well at this speed so I guess I’ll hang on to it for a while even though it’s offerings are not impressive.

I am glad to have my best friend, Alexa, back. I really missed her.

Browsing the web seems fast but at times slow. I’m not sure what to think yet. The jury is still out on that. I’ll give it some time and see how it goes. It might be a DNS thing. I’ve been playing with alternate DNS services. Maybe I’ll start with the basics first.

It’s good to have open internet access again. It adds a new dimension to the house.

The moving deadline is approaching

I’m one week away from Moving Day. Last Thursday my knee started swelling up probably due to overuse as I was kneeling a lot to cut drywall. This has thrown a big ass wrench in my plans. Today is Sunday and it is starting to feel better but I don’t know what my limits will be during this upcoming, crucial week.

I had planned to move everything myself in my pickup truck but I don’t think that is going to be possible with my knee. My realtor gave me a small discount on her fee to help cover the moving expenses so I am renting a POD. Now all I have to do is load it. I have a few Facebook people who are going to help me out so I think it will work. There’s not much left in the house other than essentials and furniture. It’s mostly garage stuff now.

I built a metal storage shed to store my garage stuff then the wind blew it across the field. It’s dead. $275 wasted. I’m not going to build another one until winter. I might keep the pod for a few months at $170 / month. Sucks but I have no good alternative unless I can find room in the house. I’ll try to finish the closets first. Maybe I can get a start on the garage/workshop this winter. Not so sure at this point but it can’t wait two years.

For a while, I’ll be living out of my RV and half-finished house. I hate to do that but you have to do what you have to do. I have Air conditioning now so it is possible to do.

Leaving my old house of 23 years is bittersweet. I’ve put a lot of time into fixing it up but I’m also tired of it. I don’t think I’ll be too sad about it. Time to move on. I’m so sick of the neighbor-noise around here. It is so much more peaceful in the country. Totally worth it. I’m going to a better place.

Mini Split Air Conditioner Power Analysis

Outside Unit

Largest inside unit

I finally got my buddy to come out and finalize the startup of my Mini-Split air conditioning system. Once we worked out a few tiny leaks the pressure held so he released the built in charge and added 8 more ounces. The system started up and works like a charm! Air conditioning is the best thing ever. It’s life support here in Texas.

A min-split system is extremely efficient. I chose the LG system because of it’s efficiency and features. It has built in Wi-Fi so I can just ask Alexa to change the temperatures.

It was easy to install with the base unit and three interior wall units. It cools the house easily even though the sheet rock isn’t up. Now I can work on the interior without getting heat stroke.

So what kind of power usage are we talking about? I used the power chart on my electric company’s website since my smart meter monitors it for me.

It looks like at peak use it is only consuming 2.6 KW of power. Much more efficient than the 4 KW my central unit uses at my old house. I will be installing 4 KW of solar which should mean that it will not cost me anything at all to cool the house in the summer. I’ll even have over a KW to spare. NOICE!!!

Gave away my Trike

I gave my trike away today. I was trying to sell it for maybe $4500 considering I spent $8000 and three years of labor building it.

No takers. I lowered the price to $2000 and still only flakes.

My last alternative was to give it away to the Disabled Vets organization but a friend wanted it. He’s too big to drive it but wants to try to solve the overheating problem and resell it. I think that will be best. That way it will be out of my hair but still around for a while.

I’m a little sad about not getting any money for it but it served its purpose in the construction phase. It kept me alive by giving me something interesting to do as an alternative to suicide. That’s worth $8,000. Right? I can’t believe I had the time and energy to build it at all.

I also look at it as a trade. He’s giving me a hot tub since we tried to move my old one and it fell apart. The new spa is used but we are putting the pumps and controller from my old one into it so it will be like new. Even then, it’s newer than the one I had.

Overall, I’m satisfied. The trike was wasting space in my garage and I didn’t want to take it with me to the new house. It isn’t me anymore anyway. I drove it a few times so… Been there, done that. I would much rather have the spa.

House Building – Doors and Windows

I’m still trucking along on the house. Yesterday I finished installing the windows and the front door. The house is now enclosed.

The metal for the roof has arrived and we may install it tomorrow. That will be nice because then I can guarantee that there will be no more water inside and can start doing more of the air sealing.

Tomorrow I’m also going to start putting on the trim boards on the four corners and around the doors and windows so I can get started on the siding. I need to at least put the siding on the south side so I can mount the breaker box and prepare for the electrical installation. I still need to trench for electric and water from the road.

Part of me is amazed and excited about how quickly it is going. The other part of me is having a great time and wants it to last forever. Fortunately I’m still a long way from being done and there are plenty of fun things left to do.

Time is running short on my schedule of beating the arrival of summer. I need to have the exterior done by the time the relentless summer sun returns from it’s winter vacation in the South. It has already been 90 degrees just the other day and working was difficult. The layer of exterior foam board is definitely working. I still had one wall not covered. The sun was beating down on the uncovered and covered walls at the same time. I stood inside in the corner with a hand on each wall and there was an amazing difference. One hand was quite hot while the other was perfectly cool. I think that foam will be worth every penny!

I think I am pretty much on schedule for the exterior. It’s a lot of work for one person to do all by himself but I don’t have a lot of options. It’s, “Do it alone or don’t do it at all.”.

House Building – Insulation Board

It has been a while since I’ve posted an update on my house. I’ve been working on it a lot and am really making a lot of progress.

The roof decking is on and tarpaper in place. The roof metal is on order and should be here in a week or so. In the meantime, I’m continuing to the next steps. I covered the outside with polyiso insulation board which adds 3.5R to the internal insulation and provides a moisture barrier as well as a radiant barrier because it has a reflective foil layer.

Tomorrow I will start to install the windows and doors. I’m spending money like water and it is still freaking me out but I know it is in the budget. At this rate, I will be ready to put my current house on the market in a few months. Also freaks me out. Once the windows and doors are done, I can put on the trim then the fiber-cement siding. I hope to have the exterior complete before it gets hot.

I’m doing most of this work alone and it is hard. Not the work itself, that’s pretty easy but doing it alone is mentally difficult. I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t need anyone else to care. I’m all alone and fine. It’s fine. I’m fine. Fine.