Old Man Winter’s clock was way off. No way were we supposed to get that much snow in the fall. Approximately 4-6 inches of snow fell and accumulated on October 28th, 2011. When the roads were clear and we felt it was safe to return to our lot, we arrived to see quite the sight. What was left of those beautiful fall leaves seemed even more vibrant now that the snow was blanketing the ground. The snow was melting quickly, as the October sun shined down.
After the concrete cured, magically the house started to take shape and it took shape quickly. Once the four walls were up and then the roof was put on top, we were just stupid excited! I was thrilled when I was asked to meet Mr. Builder and Mr. Realtor to discuss cabinet placement, lighting, and fixture placement. Board by board our house was forming into reality. It was easy to visualize the finished house now.
One beautiful fall day, David and I took a bottle of wine and some cheese and crackers up to the house one day. We wanted to do some daydreaming and day drinking at the house. We discussed how we wanted things to look and how we would decorate it and even arrange the furniture.
Since there was no deck, we put fold-up chairs right at the opening of where the back door was to go and peered out admiring the view. That day we even met our future next-door neighbor. He kindly introduced himself and we became immediate friends.
It was still difficult to comprehend. This house was going to be our home. We’d come a long way since that townhouse in Virginia Beach, with the screaming neighbors and roaring traffic. Things were moving right along and then it was like someone slammed on the brakes and things came to a screeching halt!
Before I continue, you’ve got to understand we were anxious to call this place home. All the challenges and obstacles we had overcome to be on this mountain were diminishing. Our dream of living on a mountain in our own brand new home was in grasp. Mr. Builder just needed to finish it. Having said all that, you can imagine how angry I became when things stopped and nothing seemed to be happening. After that crazy October snow, the weather was dry and most days warm for the time of year.
Every day I would leave work at 4:30 and head up to that house and nothing had happened. I am sure there were reasons that nothing was going on. Waiting for materials, outside contractors, county inspections and God only knows what else may have been holding up the process. But to me, every day when nothing was going on, was one more day we had to wait to move in. That was my take on the situation. David didn’t go up there every day to see it just sitting there unfinished in the gorgeous weather. He was still in awe that it was happening.
Mr. Realtor had said we’d be in our house eating Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving came and went. A lot of disappointment, but it was expected considering the amount of work that still needed to be done. Some of the little things started to appear: Light fixtures, mirrors, plumbing fixtures, the fireplace, the hardwood flooring, but there was still so much to do.
There were so many things that bothered me and got on my nerves, during this time of waiting. There were numerous times I’d go up there and see things that could easily get messed up. There were simple things that could be done to keep workers from having to be redone. For example, one of the windows that faced the top of the driveway was on backorder. It did not come in when the others were installed. That hole bothered me to no end. Not only were the plywood walls exposed, but there was a huge hole in our house.
Knowing the weather forecasts, I called Mr. Realtor to have him contact the builder about putting something over that hole so the rain would not soak the new drywall and floor on the inside. You think it would be common sense. All I knew was that any redo would make things take longer than they already were and I was trying to nip it in the bud. It was sad seeing the house just sit there. A big black plastic covered hole, the siding still on the skids sitting in piles on the ground. At least the sunsets kept my mind occupied and kept me from going insane.
A month later, Mr. Realtor said the same thing he said at Thanksgiving. We’d be in the house for Christmas, but when Christmas came and went I was pissed! I had enough of this waiting bullshit. It was New Year’s Eve weekend. David wanted to go see what had been done up there. I had gone every single day that week and almost every day for the past two months. There was no way in hell I was going back up there to look at that unfinished house sit there. Besides, what could possibly be going on up there on a holiday weekend? Nothing had happened all week!
Well, Karma bit me in the ass that day. When David arrived, they were installing the septic tank, the HVAC system, putting the granite countertops on and hanging some of the cabinets in the kitchen.
Even though I didn’t go, I was relieved to know that they were doing something up there. It was pretty ridiculous how long it was taking. The contract we had signed had expired twice before Mr. Builder got his butt in gear to finish our house.
At first, it may have been materials and contractor timing, but when that house sat there for days on end with nothing going on. Even the loan officer was called both Mr. Realtor and us every day to find out when we could close. We needed to close soon or we were going to miss our loan rate and have to start over. Things seemed like they were falling apart. We finally hit our breaking point. We told Mr. Realtor to tell Mr. Builder that if he didn’t finish that house soon, we weren’t going to buy it! We needed to light a fire under his ass to get things finished. We had been living our lives in unsettled for too damn long. I was done! I didn’t care anymore. I was sick of disappointment.
Suddenly things started to happen. The house gradually began to take shape again. Each day when I rode up to the lot there would be 3 or 4 work trucks up at the house and workers were all over it. The power was finally connected and then after that, things happened quickly.
David and I just so happened to be at the house the day the well digging crew struck water. 600 Feet (or so we were told)! That was 200 feet deeper than the first contract allowance was. Had we gone with the original builder, we would have had to pay for 200 more feet out of our pocket.
And low and behold, can you believe that siding that just sat there in skids on the ground for days on end finally got put up too?!?!?
If they had worked like this the entire time, we would have moved in a long time ago, but I didn’t really think about all those days anymore. The excitement had taken back over. The realization of a dream was far too great to worry about the petty stuff anymore.
FINALLY, a closing date was scheduled for Friday, February 3, 2012, around 4:00 p.m. Early that week, I couldn’t see how everything would be finished in time. They hadn’t even built the 12×12 matching shed yet and there were still a lot of finishing touches that needed to be made. I kept expecting a phone call from Mr. Realtor saying that it wasn’t going to happen. David and I didn’t get our hopes up.
I went ahead a scheduled a moving company to arrive on Monday morning after closing. We wanted to take the weekend to clean up the house from all of the construction funk. The house was brand new, but it was extremely filthy. There was drywall dust, sawdust, dirt from folks running in and out and you could hardly see through the windows. We wanted to take our time and clean it up good before we moved our stuff in. I also had David call the satellite TV folks to have them come to connect our TV so we would have that.
The closing day finally arrived. David and I both went to work with the intention of leaving early to go to the closing later that afternoon. We hadn’t heard anything different about the closing. No news was good news, right?
Were they working all night up there?
Would they finish?
All questions racing through my mind while I pretended to work that day. What a joke it was trying to work that morning. Like I could really work with my mind racing the way it was.
While trying to work, my phone rang. Mr. Realtor’s name came up on the Caller ID. It wasn’t time near time to meet yet. My immediate thought was something was wrong. It usually was. We weren’t going to close were we?