Friday, June 30, 2017

Week 22 Update

This week it is really all about the house - not much has happened in the other areas.

Land Home - A picture tells a story.  I am going to give a series of pictures of the build.  It has been a wonderful week watching it starting from the ground up.  As a continuation from last week, the room above the garage is built and looks like it will work great for college boy and any guest that want a more traditional space to sleep in - other than the RV.   Where to put the entrance door is the problem now - the space is only 6ft at the very top of the stairs to one side, so we are considering putting it on the bottom floor. I think that will work fine.

We opened up a portion of the hallway to give us more space for moving in furniture and to just let it feel not so cramped.  The hall is still a bit narrow towards my daughter's room, but it is only 6' of space, so not far at all.

When they put in the roof, the space inside suddenly felt a LOT larger - like incredibly larger.  I don't think I will ever regret going with the 10ft ceilings everywhere.  It allowed us to put windows in places that otherwise would not have gotten any - like our master closet, our daughter's bathroom and our water closet (yes, that is the name for the toilet room). 

We are just in awe.  The patio space is so large.  I will take better pictures of the different areas once you can actually see the divided spaces.  It is still just a bunch of boards, unless you are there.

Just concrete and pipes

They are coming - the dumpster has been delivered!

So much in one day!

Rain made them quit after just a few hours.

Another short, rainy day

1st sunny day - WOW!

We got the chimney and the more detailed woodworking
Today, they are putting up the chip board siding and getting all the windows framed out.  Lots of detail work that won't show up in the large pictures, but we can see by going there.

This is the room above the garage.  It is not a really large space, but it will serve the purpose intended. 

This is as you come up the stairs (that are not in- I am on a ladder)

This is the other view - you cannot get a sense of the height - it is 8 ft sloping to 5 ft.

Things are moving on along now - even the kids got excited being able to see their spaces.  The builder ordered the windows a couple of weeks ago, so I think this will be coming together soon - I am ready for them to put the electricity pole up so I can start working on the front door!

The other great news, the artist doing our stained glass for the door finally got us the design!  Isn't it gorgeous!

On the disappointing front, the shed has come to a stand still.  I tried to call yesterday, but I have not heard back from them.  Concrete people are behind from all the rain, so I understand, just keeping me informed would be great.

RV Living - Well, as you heard from earlier in the week, this RV and company just do not mix.  We made it work, but I am going to say no to everyone else until the house is built and we move in.  It was just too hard.

Even with college boy, we had to move chairs outside - he had no privacy, though noone does on this RV.  Really, we are comfortable with us 4 and we cannot accommodate for any more people.  He moved out yesterday and seems much happier even though he in camping in a living room.

Cooking is still tough, but we are getting into the groove.  Seeing the house go up has helped us all. 

The really bad colds Darrell and I had knocked us for a loop - my voice has only just come back and he is still coughing.   Next week, the younger two are going to my sister's house, so they will each get their own space to sleep and a nice big shower with water pressure to clean themselves in.  Dad and I get ALONE TIME!  LOL - we said we would watch skin flicks just because we could - not because we like them!  LOL

Homeschool - I decided to take off this week as well.  With my voice out - we were not getting very far, we had company until Tuesday, the builder went out of town, so I was up at the land a ton - we just gave up.  We will get back into it when they get back from my sister's.

Now, something fun that came up - Laney said she wanted to give the theater a try.  WOO-HOO!  I am super excited for her.  This takes care of several issues I worried about - 1) she is a hesitant public speaker 2) she loses voice inflection when talking about something other than normal conversation 3) she is looking for friends and the theater are a tight knit group of people, 4) it satisfies an art semester!  This is good all around!

Well, I need to get another cup of coffee - I am dragging today.  Lots of paperwork things to take care of and I also need a bite to eat.

Did your week turn out as good as you wanted? 

Thursday, June 29, 2017


Yes, even in the midst of all this house building party, I am watching our 401(k) like a hawk.

We are still contributing up to the match - which is 100% of 6%.  We never stopped, even when we were gung ho about the Dave Ramsey plan.  We could just not turn down a 100% match.

What I am excited about though is how much it has grown this year!  We are WAY behind the mark on retirement, but we are not giving up. 

As of closing yesterday, we have $71,000 in our 401(k).

OK, I am sure many of you did a double gasp and that is fine.  We are working on it.  We are going to have to play catch up, but we do have goals in mind.

We have been considering with my business, to not use any of that money personally, but roll it into retirement accounts.  I still need to do research, but there are small business owner retirement accounts that are not limited like the Roths. 

That is something we are considering though - Roths, but we would have to do the backdoor as we make too much money to qualify for them.  However, my business could fund both of ours easily.

It is a battle though - pay off debt - including the mortgage or save.  Given our time span left, I am leaning toward saving in the 401(k), using the business to fund more retirement accounts, then use Hubs paycheck to pay down debts.

It is not Dave Ramsey worthy, but there is a security bone in me that just wants to save, save, save.

I got to thinking about this more today, because I was approached by a woman wanting 3 tshirt quilts.  She is willing to wait.  I have a waiting list of 6 quilts right now and no one seems to care how far out in the country I am moving.  I am dying to sew again and would if I could, but that storage room is not an option.  It will come with time - patience has never been virtue of mine, but I tell you - I am learning it now - kicking and screaming, but I am learning it.

So, our rough plan:

1. Home - the one we are building is the one we are staying in.  Texas is cheap to live in, the county we are moving to is even cheaper.  Hubs job is here and there is a possibility of free lance, part-time work in this field once he retires.  I have a business here that can go on as long as I want it to.

2. Debts - we want to be consumer debt free as quickly as possible.  We will know that number a little better when the house is finished. I want to do a 10 year mortgage, but Darrell is not on board with it, he thinks a 13 year is better with 2 kids in college.  We will see.  I still think we can do it.  So that would be 10 years to be out of debt.

3. Retirement - Continue funding 401(k) to matching.  Look into my business funding an additional retirement account and/or building up cash reserve.

That is it right now. Darrell needs to delve more into what he will do after retirement, but he is not ready.  The road is still too rough ahead for him and I think he will be better suited to do this when the kids are out of the house and the mortgage is paid off.

There you have it - our very rough and not well thought out Retirement plan as of today.

Hanging in there!  How is your Thursday shaping up?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rain, Rain, Go Away

Our builder is gone this week, taking his son to the Naval Academy.  So, when the boss is away - yeah, the building is very slow going this week.  It does not help that it is raining a bit every single day.  We are in a rain forest right now; yes, everything is super green and lush, but extremely humid and hot!  I tend to swell in the summer and yep, I am very swollen right now.

Yesterday, only 3 workers showed up to continue framing.  I was there when they started, then checked again at lunch - no more workers, then we went in the evening.  They were no further than what I saw at lunch.  Disappointing.  At this rate, we will not get done until after Christmas. 

Hopefully, when the builder gets back, he can get a fire started under them again.

The framers have almost completely got the bottom floor done and they are working on the second story over the garage.  The shed has come to a complete stop - I have no idea when they will get the concrete poured.

With no voice, I cannot call.  Hubs is backlogged at work because he was sick, so he cannot call right now.  Maybe my voice will come back this afternoon and I can get some work done.

But in the meantime, I am enjoying the summer sales my vendors have!  It seems all my vendors have these terrific sales in the summer - like 50% off or more, so I stock up on digital files.  I am itching to start sewing again and have considered getting my machine, but I know I will want to embroider and that is just impossible here.

So, I am starting my list of what I want to do.  There is a homeschool entrepreneurs' show in October and I would LOVE to go, but with that time frame, I would not have time to create very many items.  IF, we get in the house September, I might, and that is a big if!  The likelihood is at about 1% chance.


1. Heating pad - I love my heating pad.  Loosens my muscles in the morning and starts my day off right.

2. My kid's quirks - they are so funny and sweet.  I love when they are all together talking about the old times...

3. Ice - Though I love sonic ice, I will take any shape.  I am not sure how anyone lives without it.

4. Computers - pads and phones just don't quite fit the bill.  Computers are the best thing ever invented.  I was not very creative until computers came along.

5. The darkness of this RV - I cannot sleep with light at all.  At our homes, there was always light we fought with whether it be from neighbors, or lights in other parts of our home, whatever the source, it always woke me up.  However, in this RV, we can get it very, very dark where we sleep.  It is heavenly.

With no voice, I am obviously still sick, though I feel much better, so I am going to take it easy again today - run up and see how work is going, do some laundry and that is about it.  What all are you up to today?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Pity Party Over for Good

OK, Even though I am sick with no voice whatsoever, I am done with the pity party.  I will have bad days - everyone does, but I am done with the bad mood thing.

The in-laws are leaving this afternoon, the kids and I are having brunch with them.  They are wonderful people, the timing was wrong and the fact that we got sick did not make it better.  The main issue was there was no place to sit and chat.  Our RV is small.  There is only room for 4 max and we squeezed 8 people in this thing to eat.  It was uncomfortable at best.  Added to that, it rained 1/2 the time.

They were bored, we were so very sick.  Bad combination.  I was the better of us two, so I went grocery shopping and prepared the meals.  I think I may pass out this afternoon.

On top of them being here, college boy.  He is a little arrogant right now - which is annoying me to no end.  I am VERY thankful his friends are letting him crash there for a couple of months. He was miserable here and although we would make it work, this is a better situation.

So today, we are having brunch, then I have to go to the bank and get college boy's first month's rent, then get him a wallet - he lost his last week (another fun event).  Back home to rest and we will have mostly leftovers for dinner.  I will bread some chicken and bake it, then left over baked beans, sliced tomatoes, watermelon and blackberry pie.  Kind of a mish mosh, but it is what needs to be eaten.

Gratitude - 5 per day

1. Boiled Peanuts - such a small, random thing, but this is one my most favorite things to eat.  I cannot get them here in Texas, so when my in-laws come, they bring me boiled peanuts.

2. Massages - the muscles in my back and hip get very tight from a past injury.  My husband massages me every single day. 

3. Coffee - need I say more?

4. Libraries - my need to read is so voracious, that I could never afford it - libraries are wonderful!

5. Fans - I love air movement and fan are a must in this humid environment.  Any time I stay over night somewhere, I carry my fan.

I hope you have a great day!  The sun is not shining and rain is eminent, but it makes for a good afternoon nap!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Quick Check in

They are still here. I am sick - have no voice whatsoever.  Hubs is sick - coughing constantly and has been since they got here.  Youngest son is getting sick. 

It has been awful.  Just plain awful.  I am exhausted.  Tired of entertaining.  Crying.  Depressed.

I need to sleep, but cannot sleep because of college boy and hubs coughing.

Hopefully it will get better - college boy is moving in with friends (thankfully).  We are helping him pay rent for these two months, but it will be better overall - he had no space here.

Kids are going to my sister's next week, so we will get alone time and I will get some sleep.  Things will get better.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Week 21 Update

Well, this is shaping up to be quite a week.  This moment is the calm before the storm.

Land Home:  As you saw from my last post, the frame is going up!  WOO-HOO!  I had to square away windows and doors, so the builder is ordering those.  There were 3 main issues this week with the build.

1.  Creating a room in the attic above the garage.  Why?  We always talked about this - ALWAYS.  We were so busy during the planning stages that we completely forgot and then, we were concerned about cost and getting the loan, etc, etc.  Well, now that I have time to look at the plans constantly and I remembered the architect saying there was enough headroom there, we decided to go ahead and get the room.  It will be used for anyone that wants to stay with us and some minor storage (Christmas mainly) due to it being climate controlled.  We are keeping it very simple.  I think one of the reasons I was so down is I was waiting to hear the hit this would be.  I am a worry wart.

Drum Roll - $6,400.  So, yes, an expense, but MUCH, MUCH less than if we decided to do it later.  We are doing some of the work - painting, laying out the floor and the trim and installing the air conditioner/heater.  Since college boy is going to be living with us, this gives him a little apartment that has its own entrance.  We can put a mini fridge and microwave in it as well.

2. The master bathroom is narrow. A little difficult to explain, but the shower is 12 feet wide and about 4 ft. deep.  The 12 foot section just had a wall there spanning almost the entire length of the bathroom.  It was very uncomfortable.  We are working to get a glass divider instead of the wall.  This shower is a walk in with no door and there is no tub in this bathroom.

I still don't know the outcome of this yet, but he is working on it.  Since they have to continue framing, we are making sure this wall will not receive any load bearing joists or rafters.  VERY good time to do this!

3.  The main hallway felt very narrow and we were unsure we could get furniture in our bedroom, so we opened up part of the hallway and took away space from our storage room.  It was not really useful space anyway, so I do not think we will miss it.  Luckily, they had put up the hall frame, but not the storage space frame, so there is very little work that has to be done to fix this.

It rained, so we lost one day.  I think they are going to work tomorrow as well.

RV Living - Please, don't think I am giving up.  This stay is allowing us to get everything we want in the house.  This is why we did this!  It is hard.  Everything is hard.  Cooking, cleaning, eating, relaxing, sleeping, laundry, working - it all takes so much more effort and planning than you can imagine.  It is exhausting, but because of this - we get a copper farmhouse sink, copper pendants over the island, an attic room, reclaimed barnwood beams in the living room and on the mantle, saltillo tiles and engineered hardwood floors, cedar posts on the patio, a huge shed for a workshop and will house our RV, a cement driveway, all framing structure is upgraded, foundation upgraded, a Sonic Ice maker, leathered granite with a double chiseled edge and on and on and on.  We are cash flowing all of it except what was determined at the time of the loan.  So, all extras are because we are living in this RV.

It will be worth it to end this in no more debt than we started.

The inclusion of another adult is TOUGH, though!  He doesn't want to be here and the blow up literally takes up all the floor space.   I am still in awe that his father's side of the family will not let him stay when they ALL have houses.  So, I cleared one of our larger shelves for him.  I just had to shore up some things.  He feels better with it.  His guitar is a pain in the ass, but we just added it to the list of things to move around every day.  No matter what, my children always have a space to stay - no matter how inconvenient to me.  Now, this does not mean they can be lazy, but he is only here 2 months.

Wish me luck with the in-laws this weekend.  I love them to death, but this is the absolute worst time!

Homeschool - Gosh, we were off this week because of a tech camp.  However, someone reached out to me about a social group, so we are going to try it out next week.  Hopefully this will lead to more and better things for us.

OK, I gotta run - you won't hear from me until Monday for sure - not commenting or posting.  I have to get laundry done and clean up a bit before the inlaws get here.

So, y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lost Excitement

Maybe it is just this week, maybe I have finally just broken.  I really think it is that. Broken.  There is only so much stress a body can take - whether external or internal, that it finally just says - I am done.

Living in the RV is hard.  It is not that it is awful, not that we don't have what we need, it is just hard.  There are 20 things that have to be done before going to bed - that don't include brushing teeth, getting into night clothes and making sure you have water.  This is 20 things that literally have to happen before you can physically get in the bed.

If we are eating, no one can go to the bathroom until everyone gets up and moves.  It is just tedious and difficult. 

College Boy is home and is acting so strange.  He does not have a place to stay except with us, so we are now 5 in this RV - 2 in the bunks and one in a blowup mattress on the floor.  Since this is all one room, we all have to go to bed at the same time (impossible).  Since CB works sometimes to midnight, that means when he comes in - no matter how quiet, we all wake up.  My sleep is difficult at best, but downright awful now - I sleep maybe 3 hours a day right now and I know that it is causing my emotional state.

CB is also struggling with what to do in life.  After changing majors, he is not sure. Sigh, I am hurting for him.  We talked about it, but there is no hard decision.  This will be more organic.  I did tell him that he cannot keep changing majors though - he just needs to finish and then we decide where to go.

My builder is not looking good right now - he seems very stressed and I think he is frustrated with us.

I feel my husband and I slipping just a bit, but we are hanging in there.  No privacy is really starting to affect us.  He is not telling me things and I am not telling him things because the kids can hear and they don't need to.  We have not sat down and gone over money in over a month.

With all this, I am not wanting a fix - I just want to share what you might go through when building - this sucks big time!

So, I have lost the excitement about the house.  It is just a house.  My husband is over the moon excited - the patio is so great, the shower is so great, the living room is huge.... on and on and on.  Me, just a critical eye - I am not sure we can get furniture in the master, the door is too small, we need another window here.  I am like a machine.  Booking appointments to look at barnwood, rushing to meet the contractors at a moments notice, giving kudos to all the contractors and builder constantly.  I am drained.

So when this happened and I did not get excited.  I knew - yep, I am broken or drained or whatever.  I have zero excitement about this.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


I went to get Henna with my sister and daughter today.  This was planned for at least two months and we had a relaxing good time. 

After the henna, we went to Kohl's to look for a swimsuit for my daughter.  We could not find one, but she found 2 shirts and a light jacket.  I hated the jacket, but my sister talked me into it.  It was $54, but we got it for $14.

Then we went to Academy and found a swimsuit for her.  Then we had a salad lunch since I had chili cooking in the crock pot.

Here are our henna pictures!

I usually get my on my lower leg and ankle, but this time I decided to get it done on my arm.  I told her to use a dragonfly and then incorporate it into any design she wished.  She is very talented and she only uses the safest henna out there.  I love the dark orange it has not - this is still with thick dye on it.

My daughter wanted a snake very badly!  I am very impressed with how the artist came up with a elegant, but fierce snake all at once!  My daughter is extremely happy with it, even though it does not go down her arm all the way.

I have not downloaded my sister's yet, but she did a flower on her wrist, then a bigger floral design on her ankle and lower leg.  It is lovely.

Do any of you get henna from time to time?  I like to get it every summer at least once.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Overwhelming week ahead

It was a rough weekend for us emotionally.  Darrell decided to have his depression about our situation, but unfortunately, I am still in it, so needless to say, it was not a good weekend.  We do not yell and scream at each other - ours is a quiet sort of dance.  The air is very tense though and the kids felt it.

We are not done with it yet, but this week pushes on whether we are or not.  Unfortunately, there is no time to talk about it either.

As we speak, both my sister and my college boy are barrelling toward us.  My sister is staying in a hotel and daughter will stay with her.  College boy will be here though and we are hoping to talk to him about his decision to change majors.  He went from cyber engineering to psychology.  I don't have a problem with psychology, we just need to know what he is doing with it.  We have not been able to talk to him since he changed - around beginning of May.

This would not be too bad, except now - my in-laws are coming this week as well!  I love them, don't get me wrong, but I have to be a little more "on" with them and given that the beginning of the week is full with visiting, I am going to be exhausted before they get here.  People drain me really badly - I mean really badly.

It is one thing to have a house though, but I just have an RV!  Cooking is difficult, but actually eating it harder.  It is insanely hot around here, so eating outside is not really an option and who wants to eat out breakfast, lunch and dinner?

On top of this, we have a major change in the plans for the house with a new bedroom, so I need to be onsite this week since the framing is going in.  Also, the concrete is being poured for the shed and I am the general contractor on that part.

Darrell has taken off a little time, but he cannot take off too much.  He and I are getting away in August and he has to take off days for the house - there are key days when the builder wants us both there, plus the ending paperwork - it is not another closing, but we do have sign papers.

Wish me luck,  I may just sleep the whole day next Wednesday to recover!

The thing I keep thinking about is that when we get the house, I will be able to sleep ALL these people at one time!  Darrell's parents could stay on the RV, my sister could stay in the bedroom on top of the garage, and college boy could sleep on the fold out until someone left and then pick his room.  Darrell's Dad could putter in the shop and his Mom could work with me in the garden and kitchen.  We could sit on the patio in the cool shade with a bug free environment and relax.

Keeping my eye on the prize!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Week 20 Update

Well, this week was actually pretty exciting - lots going on, then not a lot going on.  The roller coaster is exhausting!

1. Land Home - Well, the rough plumbing is in, electrical conduits for the living room floor plug and island are in, the whole foundation was poured and it is now curing!  WOO-HOO!  The patio looks HUGE, the house looks small, but that is an illusion and will look larger when the walls go up.

What also came up is making the attic in the garage a room.  Looks like getting it approved for living space is not an option for one reason alone.  We have to have some sort of automatic heating unit to keep the room from getting under 60F.  A space heater does not count.  WOW!  So, we decided to not go for a bedroom, but put in an egress window and get the electrical wires up to livable code as well as the insulation.  In the future, if we decide to do something to make this a livable room - it will not be difficult - it is just not financially feasible right now.

The large shed is underway as well - finally!  They came out and set the forms and dug the trenches for the concrete pad.  They are a bit painful - complained a lot, took LOTS of breaks - like work 10 minutes, break 20-30 minutes.  It took them 2 days to lay a 30 x 40 basic rectangle shape.  It took the other guys 4 hours to lay the outline forms for the whole house, patio and garage.  Anyway, it is ready for concrete, but I am not sure when that will happen - hopefully next week.


2. RV Living - Always a struggle.  We are in the doldrums of summer along with the doldrums on living in tight quarters.  Cooking in the RV is too hot right now, so we are trying to make everything in the crock pot, rice cooker and grill.  Luckily, I just found out that our rice cooker has a steamer - heaven, I am in heaven!

My emotions are up and down like crazy.  Waiting has never been easy for me.   Each step done is like a tease!  LOL  I miss my work - a lot miss it this week.  Designing, creating - these are life to me.  We already decided when the shed is done, I can start on some woodworking projects.  It will be hot, but I will have a fan.  I need to refinish the front door and make some art for a wall in the living room.
I am going to attempt to make something like this - only with different stain colors - no white.

My daughter's bed now has a large divet in the center - I think we are going to have to get some more foam for her.  If I could see to my son's bed, his is probably the same.  We need to pull it out and see if we can fluff it out first. We will see.

3. Homeschool - We are doing the work every week, but our hearts are not in it.  It is a season.  They are still learning, just not the depth I would like.  I am not into it either.  It may be the summer thing - school is usually out in the summer - as much as it is the RV thing.  However, we already took off 2-3 months at the beginning of the year, so we cannot do that now.  We need to finish the grammar and math books for sure - we are close - so close!  For example, in Math - they are on lesson 95 of 120.  I mean seriously close.  I think as we finish each subject, we will just stop it until fall because then we will be caught up so to speak.

Excitement - my college boy will be here next week!  Today is his last working day while is in on the mission. They get fun time tomorrow, then start going back to the college on Sunday and Monday.  I am not sure will he will be here, but it should be Tuesday.  Then on Friday, I will have ALL my kiddos at dinner - it is not as often anymore, but I still love it when all my duckies are in a row.

This weekend, we are going to at reclaimed barnwood for our mantle and possibly for our beams in the ceiling - depending on price. I am not holding my breath, but it would be stunning!  We are going to the library, getting our shopping done and meeting up with some friends.  A low key weekend while we are waiting for concrete to dry! 

What are y'all up to this weekend?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Garage Space

When we first found the plan that made us want to build, I was concerned about the lack of sleeping space since we have 4 kids and when they grow up and get married, that will be 8 kids and their kids.  So, 10 adults and a plethora of little ones.  I know - we won't all be together too often, but with how far we live and the fact we want people to come stay with us, it always came back to - where will people sleep.

Now, when we started drawing out plans, I butchered that plan. You can see hints of it in there, but I changed a lot.  Made the kitchen bigger, added a full bath, extended the living room, added an amazing patio, etc.

We talked and talked about that space over the garage though, but never did anything about it. 

Well, when the architect was working on it, he said there would be enough headspace for a whole room.  So much was going on then, that I did not think about it at the time, but as the stresses have fallen off and the excitement of the build has picked up, we started thinking about that room over the garage again.

In the plans that were finalized, we put a full set of stairs going up to this space over the garage.  No rickety ladder for us aging folks. We also asked him to plywood the floors.  Now we have this space, with stairs, and a floor.  How much more to put in insulation (vapor barrier as well), stick in a portable air conditioner, some sheetrock and we have a room - not code for living, but a room most definitely.

Darrell and I are going to do most of the work ourselves, we are just having the builder put in the required insulation, drop the ceiling in the garage 1ft. and put in the sheetrock.  We will texture and paint and put in the flooring over the plywood.  Oh, we are having the electrician to put in plugs as well. 

This is a 500 sq ft room that is mainly going to be storage, but COULD, not code mind you, BUT COULD, be a room for guests to sleep in - namely my kiddos. College boy anyone?  No plumbing, no windows, just a room.  We may eventually put in a sky light or at least a tube, but not right now.

I love being able to maximize all the space we have.  Custom is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Frustration with Homeschool

It is not my kids.  It is not our curriculum.  It is the fact that we cannot find a group to fit in with.

The last group we were in was not wonderful, but we are going back to it.  I am forcing my kids to be active in it just because they need some form of socialization in a face to face forum.  The kids are kind of snotty and very clickish.  Yes, you even get that in the homeschool arena. 

But because we do not LOVE this group, I have been trying to find a group around this area we are in and it is even worse.  They ALL - yes, everyone one of them, have Faith Statements you have to sign.  This is where I have a problem.  I consider us Christians.  Always have, always will. 

However, on these statements we have to sign that a marriage is only between a man and a woman.  It does not state that only a Church marriage, just a marriage. That and that the bible is the ONLY book from God and the words are face value - which means I am agreeing to the world only being here around 6,000 years, among other things,etc, etc.

#1 - My husband and I are earth science people - his is an environmental geologist and I was in school for environment science -emphasis in hydrology.  There is no way in hell we can can agree to that time line.  No way.  No one will convince me otherwise, so if you believe that, let's just agree to disagree.

#2 - Much more heated debated, but I am pro-LGBT.  I believe they should be able to marry in court.  I would never force a church to marry them, but for legal purposes it should be allowed.  Again, if you do not believe this - let's agree to disagree.

So, as you can see, I cannot on good conscience sign a statement like this - it would be purgery. 

The closest open LGBT group is 50 miles away on the side of Houston, but that is not what we are looking for and I cannot drive that for social meetings.  There is NOTHING that is just Secular that meets for just teens - other than the so-so group we are going with. 

I have looked for group guitar lessons, but I was told noone who can afford lessons wants that - they want private, so I lost there.  We are not into sports at all and I am not going to push them.  However, I thought we might like a group archery club or something, but nothing except one place that takes 4 people for a lesson and they are on a 2 year waiting list and they are 35 miles away.

All of the co-ops and classes are faith based as well.  I never knew how much we were in the bible belt until my kids hit their teen years and there is NOTHING out there.

Sigh - I will have to be very active with that group this next year to get them out there.  My education for them is tough though and I have my business too.  

I cannot wait until I am done with school for good.  It is not that homeschooling or my kids are the issue, I am just tired of worrying about every little thing.

Early Morning Concrete Pour

We did up early and went to watch the concrete being poured.  It was amazing and goes incredibly fast with all the people that were there and the huge crane pumping the concrete.  I could have watched for hours.

The pictures are bad, but they give you an idea.  I only had my wide-angle lens and no tripod.  Poor planning.  Plus, there were so many trucks and people, I am not sure I could have set up anywhere.

We got there about 5:15 a.m.  They had already started!  We only stayed for an little over an hour, but they had completely finished the living areas of the house and were working on the garage when we left.  We figured by the time we got back to the RV, they were done with actually pouring the concrete.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pre-Foundation Pictures

OK,  here you go!  This is the last time I will see our home like this!

These are flexible rebar cables that support the concrete that makes up our foundation.  There are many, many running all through these - some our static on one end and some can be pulled from both ends.  They stay very taut in the concrete.

This the garage -left back, my office - left front, the kitchen - mid to right front, the living room - right back and kind of in the middle you can see part of the patio.

This is the bedroom side of the house and all 3 bathrooms. 

This is the overall view.  You can clearly see the division of the house and garage.  The division toward the left side beyond the garage is our patio.  It is 821 sq ft and SCREENED!

I just could not get over these cables - so fascinating how they work.  I kept examining them!

Watching the guys put in all the supports was so amazing!  They played with each other and obviously enjoyed their time - made it wonderful because they worked so hard and it was amazing to see people working and having fun!

The plumber took time to explain all the pipes and how they work, why they put in certain things - such a major learning curve for me.  They put these styrofoam boxes around bathtub and shower pipes so there is room to work in the concrete - for a catchment basin and to install the actual tubs - giving them room to be set down into.

An overview of the property.  The shed is scheduled to have forms on Friday.  We have been put off and put off - sigh.  These are the joys of building.

Bright and Early at 5 am, we are getting the concrete poured!  The builder said we can walk on it tomorrow evening.  Framing begins next week!

Moving and Grooving!

The beginning of this week is VERY busy! 

I was up at the land for over 6 hours yesterday meeting with plumbers, inspectors, concrete workers and anyone else who happened to drop by.

I brought out my camping chair, set it up under an oak tree and just watched, learned, set plans and such.  I am not sure if I will be there quite so much as the summer sets in - because we left all the trees up, they offer shade, but no breeze.  It is quite hot and you sweat and sweat and sweat, but not a relief of a wind to catch that sweat and cool you off.  I did walk to the road a few times and just stood there in the sun, but letting the wind cool me.  I could not stay long though - it was much hotter there.

So, yesterday, I saw the beautifully packed dirt pad get ripped up to shreds.  You almost wonder why they put the pad down at all!  LOL  First it was the plumbers, laying down the ingoing and outgoing water pipes.  The drains for the showers and bathtubs, toilets, etc.    They filled the pipes with water to see if there were any leaks and left the water in them in case of a problem.

Well, when the concrete guys came, they hit a pipe while doing their digging.  It is going to be repaired today and more water put in the pipes.  Those pipes will not be vulnerable for long - if all goes well today with the inspection, the concrete pad will be poured tomorrow.

I have pictures, but not on my camera - I will do that by tomorrow.

The most interesting thing about the concrete pad is how they they do the supports beams.  I never knew this so it is really quite a fascinating thing.  It is all done in a grid - the entire perimeter and then in a grid  - these areas will get almost over 30" of thickness!  WOW!  Our flat pad is going to be 10" thick just alone, but there is quite a large area that will be super thick! 

Cannot wait to show you the pictures.  I am waiting to get a few more today after all the hustle and bustle is done and it is clean and ready for concrete.

With the builder, we went over the rebar and flexible rebar (cables) that will go in the foundation. He explained how inside corners get more support than outside corners because they are more vulnerable - so they have the cables, but long rigid and short rigid rebar are also put caddy corner to support them a little better.  It is amazing really how this has all evolved. 

Oh, and watching them work, you will find a newfound respect for what they do and how skilled they are at it.  Even the ditch digging has to be done with such precision.  They work hard in the heat and keep smiling and laughing the whole way through - playing tricks on each other and then getting back to it.

Although there are very stressful times to building a completely custom home, it is really with the paperwork aspect.  I LOVE sitting there watching them build for me.  My builder said I am the only one he has ever worked with that is there every day shaking the contractors' hands, telling them thank you and being so nice.  I am just in awe!

This is truly amazing seeing our home come up from the ground.  Just amazing.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Next Phase!

Today was FABULOUS!  The dirt guys finished, the concrete guys came in and set the forms!  We have rough in plumbing on Monday, footings Monday as well.  Inspection on Tuesday, and pouring the concrete pad on Wednesday!  WOOHOO!

We sat and watched them.  It is easy to tell where the rooms will be - well, kind of - knowing the dimensions it is.  Our builders says one week from Tuesday, the framing will start!  So much excitement now.

The shed forms will go in next week, so that is in the works as well.

Today is the first day of official daily shots.  Let me know what is good to put all these pictures in a movie at the end!  My husband is super excited about this, as am I. 

Here is the shot of our house and shed with the forms on the pad!  Very exciting!

June 10 - forms are in place!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Week 19 Update

It is a late post today because I was waiting to see what got done.  It has been a lack luster week really, but things are about to change.

1. Land Home - The rain last weekend kept things on hold the entire week.  Today they finally got the dirt in!  These guys worked their asses off getting the house ready.  There is a step down from the garage to the rest of the house since there was a 3 ft grade from front to back.  But late this evening, they got almost done with the house pad, but need 1 more load!  The shed pad is done though, so that is set to get the forms Monday or Wednesday. 

We ended up getting the guys some beer for all their hard work. In the morning, we go and watch while the forms are being set.  Monday, the rough plumbing is going in and Wednesday the whole pad is being poured for the house.  I will try to get pictures, but they are doing it at 5 am, so I am not sure the lighting will allow me that favor.

It was kind of rough with my builder - he is not great at communication - at the least the correct kind I need, so there was confusion.  It is better now, but still - it will be an interesting few months. 

2. RV Living - It has been tough - going a whole week with NO progress on the house.  We all got a little depressed and started talking about all that we were looking forward to.  It is good and bad.  Good because it helps us keep the eye on the prize, but bad because the time frame is still long.

Other than that, we have our routine now.  Laundry twice a week, shower every 2 days, cooking for dinner.  Breakfast and lunch are harder - there is zero counterspace, so noone wants to cook to even chop just for breakfast or lunch. 

I need to pull my bootstraps up and be the person to look up to, but I am struggling too.

3. Homeschool - another week down.  I have not graded and group history did not happen at all.  Again, we were all down a bit.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

And the week goes on

Nothing happened on the land for over a week, but they are there today - thankfully!

The Shed pad is supposedly done and our builder said he would push them to get the house pad done today as well.  Which means the forms go in tomorrow!  Then we just need the footings, set rough plumbing and electric, get the permit for the pad and pour the pad.  IF the weather holds out, we will have a foundation next week.  FINALLY!

I am not holding my breath though - almost 2 months to clear the land and set the beginner pad is a LONG time.

I took some time yesterday and today to work on my business' website.  Keeping myself busy.  I LOVE how it turned out.  I decided to go simple, with lots of pictures.

Other than that, I have the crock pot going - pork chop stroganoff with LOTS of mushrooms (salivating) - one of my favorite meals.

Kids are done with homeschool and I am waiting for the call to go to land.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Summer Fun

I am spending a little time today putting some plans in place for summer fun.

During the week, it is very difficult to make plans as the house causes me to on call almost all the time.  I typically do not receive much notice.  For example, I got at 5pm about meeting at the land at 7:30 a.m. to get the forms laid down.  I am a little glad that the pad was not ready because we had doctor appointments this morning - it would have been a very rushed morning otherwise.

So, the kids are not up for camps too much or I would have had them in them once per month at least.

1. K is going to a programming camp - sleepover thank goodness!  Even though Laney will be here at the RV, K will not, so they are getting a break from each other - also no homeschool that week!

2.  We are going to an Astros game on a Friday when they have fireworks.  It should be a fun outing.  We opted to pay a little more and get really good seats - we have always been in the nosebleed section and could barely see the guys playing.

3. My most wonderful, awesome, sister is going to take them for a week in August.  Darrell and I have decided NOT to go anywhere.  It is going to be during a busy time with the house.  He will still take vacation from work and we will spend the days doing what we want - sans kids style.

4. We are renting a pontoon boat and going out on a lake.  Not exactly sure when - maybe September.

5. Moody Gardens - it will be an expensive day, but we have budgeted a little extra this summer while we were in the RV.  My kids have never been and I have only been to the movies there.  We will make a day of it and maybe even go into Galveston for a fresh fish dinner.

Other than that, we are doing Sonic drink runs once a week - a nice cool slushy is great on these hot days. 1/2 price from 2 to 4.  Library every other week and once a month for doc appointments.

There are a few smaller things that we will do, but these are the big ones since we are locked here and our weekend getaway place is what we are living in! 

Anyone else staycationing it?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Super Sad Day

I am having a cry-all-day kind of day.

The building is going nowhere due to rain, which is bringing me down.  My builder has twice made me look like an idiot.  Both times I should have known better.  I know, from a very awful past, to trust noone to give true information.  It burns me ALL THE TIME!  Yet, I trust over and over again.  I guess I want to believe that people will be honest with me.

Point 1:  This builder is NOT the one building our shed.  However, he agreed to help us with the select fill pad.  He also agreed to put it in the HOA documents for approval.  He did not give them the information about the shed, so it delayed approval for 60 days.  They only held it up because of the shed.  If he had told me that I needed to get the information to the HOA myself, I would have - easily.  A board member chastised me about me and I felt like an idiot.

Point 2:  The contractors were working on the shed pad one day and it looked like they were going to get done.  My builders pushed me to go ahead and tell the shed people that the pad was done to get on the list.  Well, it did not get done.  Started raining and it is still not done.  Shed people called me today, they want to lay the forms in the morning!  ARG!!!  It is NOT ready for them and the contractors are not coming back to finish until Wednesday at the earliest!  So, my builder says to tell the shed people Thursday.  Are you kidding me?  NO WAY!  Then, proceeds to laugh at my frustration. 

The quitting of my business, the living in the RV, the extreme stress lately - I think came to a head today.  I am sad because my kids are more stoic than I am living here.  I am sad because it feels (even though it is not true) that our house will never get built. I am sad because my back is hurting all the time.  I am sad because I feel like I have nothing to do!

I am the type of person that needs something to do - outside of cooking and cleaning - a hobby, a job, something!  I had that with the business - maybe too much, but I had it.  When the frame goes up on the house, I will be busy, but this waiting is absolutely killing me.

I know for sure I am a sticks and bricks kind of girl.  I feel a bit homeless - not true.

Oh, don't think I am giving up though - we are staying put.  I will deal.  The financial gain is too good to pass up.  This house just needs to get going!

Darrell is sweetly out to get me wine, french bread to dip in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  He is grilled fillet Mignon wrapped in bacon and a salad.  For dessert, he got those brownie bites from the grocery store. 

Tomorrow is another day - I think I am done crying today.  A good chick flick and a hot (short) shower will round off my day.

I hope you are all doing well on this very crappy Monday.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Week 18 Update!

It feels like a lot of hurry up and wait - freaking rain.  We have all approvals, but are moving at a snail's pace due to intermittent rain.

1. Land Home - All the brush is clear and mostly burnt, except for a very small pile - no larger than a fire pit.  They started bringing in the select fill and almost got the shed beginning pad done, but then it rained both Thursday and Friday, so they were unable to finish.  The house needs a lot more, but we staked it, so we know where the house and shed will be!  That felt good, but I did get a little down about having to stop.  It seems lately we get 2 work days a week and that will take a LONG time at that pace. 

The builder did tell me that once the concrete pad is down and in place, rain is not a problem.  The contractors will work through light rain.  For heavy rain, they quit, but work even with puddles and mud. The pad must be DRY though!

The shed is on the books!  We are on the list for the concrete guy, then it will go up fast after that.  I want the shed in so I can refinish the front door and store ALL our outdoor paid-for shed items.  Why pay when I have an outdoor shed that locks?  That will save a little money.

Today, we went and trimmed some trees that are close to the shed and house.  All of us went and the kids had a great time throwing the limbs into the fire and kicking around ashes from the previous burning. We also rode in the back of the pick up (slow pace) and we had a blast.  We all got ashy, sweaty and laughed.  We are going to love this property.

OH!  Excitement!   I found a guy that is getting certified in permaculture specializing in the local edible and herbal plants!  He is trying to get his certificate this summer and we spoke about our time frame.  He is excited because we do not want any lawn, but LOTS of edible trees - nut and fruit, herbal garden, vegetable garden, butterfly/bee garden, with accents of natural grasses (that do not need mowing).  Lots of trails around the areas going to a pond and a fire pit with Adirondack chairs (made from milk jugs!)  We are going to have him design for us and then we implement it over time.  We are seriously excited about this.

2. RV Living - We for the most part have adjusted.  I am struggling a little bit during the week - there are so many have to's, that it seems the walls start closing in.  The weekends are much better. 

Last weekend, we bought a hanging shade for the awning since the evening sun shines right on the door and makes the interior very warm.  It works like a charm - the air conditioner is not running as hard and it feels better outside as well.  Even when it is 90F, it is doable with a fan.  That gets us very excited about our screened patio - large, covered, with ceiling fans and we will NEVER have sun on the tiles! 

Youngest boy is going to camp in a couple of weeks - so he will get a break from us.  My sister is coming, then her, my daughter and I are getting our hair done, probably a pedicure (can you believe I have never had one?) and henna.  My daughter wants a snake down her arm!  LOL - I cannot wait to show you!  Also, college boy is coming home then as well!  I did not get to see him after the quarter end because he is on a mission trip.  We got to talk to him for 10 minutes this morning.  It is the only time they were set up to do that.  He sounds like he is having a good time - lots of hard work, but its satisfying.

We decided to take the kids my sisters late summer and us get away for a few days.  Out of the RV - away from RV life - away from building life, just take a break.  We are also talking about going to an Astros game - they are actually doing good this year, but have low attendance.  It is because they were so awful so long!

3. Homeschool - We finished the week - sort of.  On the days I have to take care of house things, they have not been doing ALL their work.  We are playing catch up just a bit, but not too bad.  We have figured out that they do better at the rec room than the RV.  I kind of assumed they would - it is quiet, they have their own table, etc.  It is just difficult for us to get up and get going some days.  We are getting better though.  We went every day this week.

Overall, I am much better since the loan is in place, the HOA has given us approval, the business is closed, and I am not jumping through hoops anymore.  I just need to get a stretching time in the works and I think my back will improve as well.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Giving in - Mom style

OK, my oldest struggles.  He has multiple issues - bi-polar, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive, ADHD plus he battles to keep his neutraphils up to a level that he can fight off bacterial infections.  The latter means large amounts of folic acid.

Anyway, he dropped out of college - which was fine, I knew he wasn't going to make it.  He is the one that keeps me up at night though.

He wants to make all mistakes on his own and fix it on his own, is stubborn, combative at times, and needs to work on talking a breath before reacting, but don't we all really.

We had a LOT of problems with his living situation December through March - don't know if you remember.  Poor planning on his part, but really so much as trusting a druggy.  His living situation is good right now, but ends in August.

So, why this matters?  A little over two months ago he was in a wreck that totaled his car.  Great.  That car would have lasted him years because we were the only owners and took really good care of it.  But, we ended up buying him a $2,000 car to get back and forth to work - especially since we moved away from him.

About 3 weeks of having the car, it started leaking coolant.  I predicted it was the head gasket.  He did not want our help, nor really did we want to help.  He started riding a bike to work.  That in itself does not bother me, but the roads he must travel to get there do not have a sidewalk or bike lane.  He was knocked off his bike once and has almost misses daily.  Then he started getting rides from his boss - while trying to ask for a raise and get a promotion.  Sigh.

Last week, he finally relented and asked us to help him take it to a shop.  Darrell and I decided we would fix this problem since we pushed the car on him AND he has to procure another roommate situation very soon.  This little fix is around $3,200.  The head gasket, drive chain, and lots of other small things that are good to change since we are in the engine and they are not charging for labor.  This should get him a good car for a while. 

I know doing this for an adult seems like I am delaying a problem, but this kid is trying.  I am mean really trying - he saved up money like he said he was going to, he got a raise at work and is on the track to becoming an assistant manager, as well as working on the side as a plumber's apprentice.  I am not sure I could ask more of him right now. 

He has no debt, pays his bills on time and has a desire to do better.  The business he works at is a good place, family owned - I know them, and they like him.

This time, I don't mind helping him out.  After all, he was my first angel. ;)

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I never learn...

To keep my fucking mouth shut about political issues and my beliefs to myself.  I feel so isolated in my thoughts sometimes that they just blurt out and then I feel so guilty, even though I am not attacking anyone, slandering anyone or singling out any person other than the presidents of two countries. 

Sigh, OK - my little rant here.

I am keeping it on the environmental realm - which is all I know.

France's Climate Agreement is bunk.  All these types of agreements are.  It is all driven by economics.  All of it - no matter what you hear on the media or dream of or think of or anything - it is all economics and then power.

I know because I was an environmental activist.  Sure, officials would consider anything as long as taxes could be raised or the particular environmental concern could generate it own funding because of the money saved - for example in the oil industry.  If by curbing green house gases from the production of natural gases could somehow be made into a cash cow - they BING  - you have a reduction in green house gases.  But, since there is nothing right now, to reduce the green house gases COSTS money.  Do you think the oil companies will suck that up?  Not a chance, they will pass it along to the consumer, who you know what, who will pay every last for it because they want that Truck, that SUV, that Car, those clothes, that food, that everything. But, the consumer complains when prices rise, so....

There will be a tipping point though.  And this is why I stopped being an activist.  There is only so much oil,  there is only so much gas.  One day, it will be gone.  However, before that, the climate will get warmer - more vegetation will grow - more evaporation, more severe storms and then the ocean will absorb all that carbon dioxide and we be thrown into an ice age - where billions of people will die ( whoever is left from the storms), because food will be scarce and the cold will kill.  Then, eventually, the oceans will start releasing that carbon dioxide and the earth will start warming and the vegetation will grow.  See the cycle.

Thing is, the earth will take care of itself.  We are not the first animals on this planet and we won't be the last.  We can do our worst, then we will be the oil that future generations will use. 

I don't agree with France's Climate Agreement - it is too ambiguous and generalized.  It needs to be rethought out.


Yesterday was big day in regards to the house progress.

I met the builder and contractors at the land to finalize the positions of the shed and house.  The last pile of brush was burning and it was a hot summer day here!

First the bummer news, I thought we were supposed to meet at 2:30.  I let us sleep in to get some rest, then we were slow moving.  I usually do not eat breakfast, so I just had my coffee.  In fact, I am sure I did not even drank water because I was just dragging yesterday. We did not get to the rec room for homeschool until 11.

At 11:45, I get a text saying we will meet at 12:30.  AGH!!  I am 30 minutes away.  So, we pack up, go back to the RV, I get some water, put on my tennis shoes and head out.  No food at this point.

We get to work immediately, walking back and forth over the property.  Large trucks are dumping dirt, there are several piles of brush burning quite hard.  Smoke and heat from the fire is felt acutely.

After about an hour and a half, I feel light headed and faint.  My muscles are weak and I just cannot work anymore.  They get me some water and put me in the shade.  Great - only a sip of water and no food - wonderful combination for this heat - really bad planning on my part.

I felt awful the rest of the day and honestly, I hardly slept last night, so I feel horrible today too!  I need to drink lots of water and something with a little salt.

BUT, we are making great progress!

The dirt pad for the shed is almost done and about 1/2 of the dirt for the house pad is done.  Unfortunately, it rained last night, so I am not sure how much is going to get done today.  It the nature of it though.

Here are 2 pictures.  1 is from the back of the property and the other is from the front.  I could have gotten a better shot, but the big excavating machines are parked where I would stand to take a good, clean shot, but you get the idea.

This is from the back of the property - the red dirt on the right is the shed, on the left is the house. Our truck is parked in the driveway way back there!

This is from leaning on the grill of the truck.  The shed pad is on the left now and the house is on the right.