Saturday, February 16, 2008

December 8th

When we were in the Design Center we met with Guardian who provides alarm and low voltage services for Fulton. At the time I asked if we could get conduit run in the floor in the great room for surround speakers. Their agent made some calls and told us "If Fulton allows it, we can do it." Cool.


Fulton allowed it but for some reason Guardian wouldn't do it. I was surprised. We had spent a ton of money with them and I figured they'd honor their word. Nope.

So I snuck in on this weekend before concrete was poured and ran it myself in what was to be the first of some "illegal" customizations to the home. I figured if they gave me hassle about it I'd have a few things going for me.

  • We were very careful not to violate code or do anything stupid that the city inspector would be unhappy about.
  • We had already sold our house so we weren't in danger of having to wait for our home to sell in a depressed market. This made us attractive buyers.
  • We were in a depressed market and actually in position to buy a home. This made us even more attractive.
  • They couldn't stop building this now.
  • I could just offer to put down another $5,000 or so for their trouble.
  • Fulton seemed like a reasonable organization.

I should state for the record that Guardian made up for this miscommunication later and it worked out well for everyone.

Lots going on in this picture. You can see the shovel I bought at Home Depot for digging the trench for the PVC, the post tension cables sitting on their stands, the floor boxes, and, of course, the requisite lunch from Whataburger.

What you can’t tell is that Mark drove out to help me but had to leave just before this was taken. More importantly, you can’t tell that sitting in that Whataburger bag is not a breaded, deep-fried, chicken concoction of pure goodness otherwise known as a Number 4. What is actually in the bag is a grilled, healthy, tasteless evil sandwich of nausea. A Number 3. With a single bite taken out of it.

Listen to me, people, when I tell you. Never eat primes. Ever.

November 18th

When we visited on the 18th they had filled in all the space around the house with the dirt they had piled up while digging the basement. The process was interesting. They fill in three feet of dirt then use a machine to pack it down. They compact it for two hours. Then three more feet-two more hours and so on until it's full. This makes it very hard for water to get to the walls of the basement. You can see the tension cables sitting by my car in the background.

November 10th

All of a sudden we show up and the concrete is poured, the basement is framed and there is drywall sitting in the middle of the main room. It was our first sense of walls and actually house (instead of hole in the ground) and it was pretty cool. They built the wet bar frame and just left it out in the middle of the room because the drywall was in the way. It sat there for quite some time.

Friday, February 15, 2008

October 22nd - 27th

Things seemed to be moving along nicely at this point

We had walls, window wells, stairs and this crazy vapor barrier stuff that looked like a gummy tar substance.

I took a few close up pictures of this stuff and it actually came out kinda cool. I would have liked to see how they spayed it on. It was still viscous days later. We walked around looking to see if there were any gaps and we didn't see any.

We discovered building materials on the 26th. Trusses for the basement ceiling and the roof. At this time we had no idea what this was going to be used for.

The basement plumbing was run and and the floor was prepped for the concrete. I can't imagine how much of a pain it would be if we get a leak down here.

October 11th, 2007

The concrete forms were assembled and actual concrete was poured into them.

October 8th, 2007

Someone put some stuff in our hole in the ground.

concrete forms

Hurry up and......

We signed our paperwork June 24th. Design Center on the 17th of July.

Then what? Nothing much house-wise.
Monsoons came and brought dust storms.

View from the apartment

Steve, Theresa, and Zach came out to visit. We visited the Grand Canyon. Barb got a job and a haircut. Monsoons went away. My friend Mark and I attended the CEDIA expo in Denver.

Then on October 7th...

We got a hole in the ground.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Choices Choices

There were a lot of choices to make in a very short time. Which lot? Inside? Corner? Single Row? We decided on a corner lot that didn't have a huge premium, had minimal traffic, and had enough room for the eventual pool. In Casa Grande, corner houses can only be single story. So we knew the people behind us could not be a two story. The house next to them was already a single story and the only mystery was what kind of house would we get next to us.

The Lot

We are right on the corner of Seven Seas Drive and Summer Lane. We figured that aside from a few close houses, everyone else in the neighborhood would have to go out of their way to drive by our corner.

View Larger Map

Our first decision was exterior color. Not much of a decision as we could only pick from four sets of colors all based either brown, brownish, slightly different brown, and dirt. We chose brown.

Then came the design center and we were woefully unprepared for this. (Yes, it actually caused us woe)

What appliances would we get?
What size fridge?

Should we get a medallion?

Standard granite or one of these?

Marble? Travertine?

How about one of these?

Yes, i know it's sideways. I was laying down on the floor from exhaustion at this point.

Left Granite, Right Granite?
What color grout?
Tile in the kitchen?
What about the backsplash? What about the master bath?

Carpet the bathrooms!!!

Staggerd cabinets? Straight Cabinets? Moulding? Teeth? Notch? Classic?
Cherry? Maple? Stained? Natural?

Standard lighting?
Lighting package?

Note the mysterously glowing tag

Barb wanted something more traditional in the lighting. This was ornate enough for her and had enough refrence to Masonic ritual and New World Order to satisfy my need for controversy.

What doorknobs do we use?
What doors?
What front door?
Stained? Natural?
Glass front?
Mahogony? Fakehogony?

What kind of faucets do you we want? Same everywhere? Different in the kitchen?
Do you want your faucets to look like the Pilsbury Cyclops Boy and his sidekick "Hammer" are going to cream you with a meat hook?

We had some delays in getting the Design Center appointment scheduled and then when we did we found that we just didn't have enough time to sort it all out. We had visited the design center before our appointment to browse at least three times, then spent 7 or 8 hours the first time then another 9 or 10 hours the second visit to get things figured out.

In the end we were happy with our choices. Every 3 to 5 weeks, one of us will turn to the other and say, "Did we pick stuff that matched or is our house going to look like Willy Wonka's house?"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


After much deliberation and after revisiting half of the homes we had seen we came back to Fulton, picked a lot, and signed the paperwork.

We really liked how they had the random stick poking up out of the ground. No other lots had this special quality. We knew this was the one.

Although this isn't exactly our configuration we decided on the "London" model. We had some flexibility in models to choose from until we decided we wanted a room for Poker/games. The London was the only model that fit. It had a basement, of course.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Coming Into Focus

As I said earlier, we should have started this before now so we'll try to catch you up in a hurry. We looked at a lot of houses and took a bunch of pictures.

There was a ton to pick from in Casa Grande

Barb had found a builder that offered basements. We were pretty excited to see how they looked. We thought the idea of a basement in the desert was a good one. The idea of the cooler space in the summer, sound isolation from the neighbors, and game room/entertainment space seemed worth the extra cost.

When we pulled into the development, we drove along a long row of palm trees with lakes and fountains on both sides. As politically incorrect as it was, we really liked this crass extravagance.

With absolutely no thoughts of how much suffering this much water could alleviate and faster than you could say, "Screw California and their liberal, thought-police, PC, water-drinking, retards." we drove on to look at the models.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Time Machine

Yes, we should have started this at the same time they started the house but we didn't think about it.

Although she tried to smile, we are both really tired at this point

House Start

You can select any images on these pages for a larger view.

Barb is critical of this half wall.

We started looking at homes in June of 2007. (June 16 was the exact date in case you'd like to celebrate the anniversary someday.) We looked at six or seven different builders, each with three or four models in our sq ft range.