Fighting Frugality

It didn’t take too long with a crew of five people to get all the trusses up. It’s really starting to look like a house now.

I spent the last few days amongst the constant damp and cold weather putting up all the bracing and eave brackets. Strange how I have to keep buying lumber. I thought I was done with that.

I’ve lived a life of great frugality which now affords me the ability to achieve the dream of building my dream house in the country. That habit of frugality is constantly gnawing at me as I spend hundreds after hundreds of dollars on more lumber. I have to keep reminding myself that it is all within the budget and it’s OK. Combined with the fact that I’m not working and bringing in a guaranteed income makes it even more freaky. Still. It’s OK.

My budget is $100,000 and I expect to end up far below that. So far my costs have been $40,000 and I still have around $35,000 expected to spend. A large chunk, $10,000 will go to the septic system. I didn’t expect it to cost that much but it’s in the budget.

Hopefully, I will start putting the roof decking on this week. It will be really nice to get that done so my framing won’t keep getting wet. I used pressure treated lumber on the exterior wall sills but not inside. I never expected it to be so wet for so long. Hopefully, it won’t be a major problem. It is supposed to be dry all this week. I requested a whole month of dry weather. I still need to trench for the power and water lines.

Overall, I’m in good spirits and enjoying the work. I ordered the air conditioning system yesterday. Summer is coming quickly and I need to be ready.

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Roof Truss Success!!!

The Mechanism

It worked!!!

With the help of a friend, we were able to get the first roof truss up on the wall and stood up in place.

I’m so excited. I spent many nights not able to sleep as I worked out all the forces in my head as I designed and re-designed the lift mechanism to get 21, 220 lb, 44 foot long trusses up on the walls without having to spend $1000 on a crane service. I probably spent around $50 for parts.

You basically, place the truss on the lift and move it up on the saw-tooth catches until you get it as far up as possible. Then, after trying it for safety, lift the whole thing up on the stands until it is level with the top of the walls. Next, you just slide the truss onto the walls and into position then stand it up.

It worked almost exactly as I planned and was fairly easily manageable with two people. More would be better of course.

The first truss in place

I’ll make a short video of the lift in action later.

For now, it seems to be a great invention. If anyone wants to patent it and make a million dollars, you are welcome to the idea as long as you give me just 1% of the profits. I’d do it myself but I don’t have a million to pay for the patent. I’m more of an idea man. You do the work and get 99%.

I’m so happy to see that it works. Now I just need a few helpers to work with me on the other 20 trusses. It looks like I can possibly hit my goal of getting the roof done by the end of February.

Roof Trusses arrived

Now that the exterior and interior walls are finished, I ordered the roof trusses which arrived Monday.

Now I have to get them up onto the walls. I built a lifting mechanism that I’ll tell you about if it works. The only problem is that the trusses are 200 lbs each, 44 feet long and will really require at least two people to move. The problem is that I only have one person.

It’s frustrating when all you can do is sit there and look at them while desperately wishing you have the ability to clone yourself.

I asked a few people for help and we might be able to try it this weekend. Until then I’ll just have to stay home and work on building the clerestory windows. There are nine of them and so far I’ve built three. I might get two of them partially built tomorrow while I wait for help.

If my lift fails then I guess I’ll have to ask my uncle if he has any thoughts. He’s a roofer but not really a truss installer. Surely he at least knows someone.

It sucks when things are out of my control.

House Construction Update – The last interior wall is up.

YAY! The next phase is complete. I now have all the interior walls up. I am now officially ready for the roof trusses to arrive.

It sure is wonderful not having to waste all my daylight sitting in an office. I’m getting so much construction done. My last session was three days straight. I stayed two nights in my RV and worked all day long. I’m exhausted. It’s a good thing today is rainy because I need a break.

On my last day there, the water company arrived and installed my water meter. They had to tunnel under the road. Yay again!

Soon I’ll be renting a trenching machine so I can bury the supply pipe up to the house as well as the electrical cable.

Today I called the septic engineer to get the ball rolling on that.

Things are really happening!

Exterior walls almost complete

Construction is still coming along.  Yesterday, with the help of my cousin, we stood up three more wall sections that I had built over the weekend.  

The first two of the front panels, which are the most complex, are done.   I saved them until later so I could get more experience on the easiest side panels and the slightly more complex rear panels that have simple windows and doors.

The front panels not only have picture windows but also clerestory windows up above them.  It actually turns out not to really be that more difficult.  The other side is just a mirror image.  After that, I will have to finish the center door framing while it is standing up because the door spans two panels.  If it works out correctly, I should have a center clerestory window that is spaced perfectly with the other eight.

The next step will be to order the roof trusses.  I have a bid for 21 trusses costing $3715 delivered.  I’m just not sure how I’m going to get them up there yet.  I’ll figure it out when the time comes.  That should be some time in January.


I’m so excited that my life’s plan is finally coming to fruition.  50 years of working, wishing, planning and waiting are starting to pay off.  It’s a shame a person must wait 50 years before living. 

In only three weeks I’ll be quitting my job and will be a free man.  I sure hope the upcoming stock market crash isn’t too bad.  My savings should be able to weather it but I could certainly do without it.  Good thing I have plenty of uninvested savings.   I’m hoping interest rates come up enough where I can get 5% or more for stable, safe income.   I really don’t ever want to work a real job again.  I’m done with that.  32 years is more than enough.

Another weekend, another wall.

Another weekend finally came and I was able to head out to my country property and work on my house.

I was able to lift the 4th exterior wall into place using a wall jack. (Last section on the left in the picture.)  I was working by myself this time so it was more difficult but I was able to manage.  I’m starting to get the process down.

After struggling it into place, I was a shaking a bit by the exertion and the danger of it all.  I took a lunch break and decided to spend the rest of the time working on the related interior walls to help keep it steady.  I built the 12 foot tall, 9-foot section of the utility room then the 8 foot tall, 8-foot section that encloses the shower.  Interior walls are much lighter since they have no OSB sheathing so I can lift even the 12-foot sections easily by myself.

By the time that was done, I had spent four hours working without much rest and was spent.  I cleaned up all the tools, 2×4 remnants and sawdust then wandered around looking at it all to see if it was satisfactory work.  I was quite satisfied.

Four out of sixteen exterior wall segments are done and two and a half interior rooms are complete.   I just need two more interior segments to finish off the bathroom.  The shower and laundry room are done.  Each room is quite large in comparison with standard rooms of these types.  The space feels good.  I think I did a great job on the design.

I would like to say I’ve impressed myself again.  Maybe I have.  I impress myself so often that it has become commonplace.

I have only a few more weeks left of 9-6 work life and I will be free to work on it anytime I want.  In the meantime, through the end of the year, I’ll be hitting it on weekends weather permitting.  I could use some help but not having any available most of the time, I’ll have to hit it alone.

Wish me luck and safety!