Sunday, December 21, 2008

Update December 20

It's almost impossible for me to believe that it's been three months since I've posted an update. It seems like mayby three weeks. Thanks to the many who have been asking about our progress. We've simply been too busy to post. Some highlights are:

We readied, showed, and sold our current home (actually we settle tomorrow). This is a lot of work, as anyone who has done it knows. For the last couple months, we've been run out of here regularly at a moment's notice so that agents can show the place to prospective buyers. We asked the Lord for the blessing of two interested parties and a generous rent back option, and this is precisely what happened. Two solid buyers with good agents (who both knew there was someone else bidding) presented contract offers the same day. The offers were similar in many respects and we chose the one with the more generous rent-back option. We will be able to stay here until February 20th.

This is all great news, since it's not easy to sell a house these days, especially with all the upheaval in the banking industry, and we didn't like the prospect of renting it for several years until the market improves. So while we got what the market will bear, this good news is tempered by the fact that this house was worth $100K more a year ago, and we had planned much higher numbers in our overall equation of selling and building. This means we'll have a much larger mortgage than planned, but we see God's provision in lower interest rates, so are heartened.

We had hoped to be in our new house by year's end, and are disappointed that we didn't make it. There are too many reasons to enumerate why things have been delayed, but all typical of building a house...mistakes to be corrected, miscues and confusion, contractor delays, banking issues, our own decision making, etc. But progress does continue...

The new house has a septic field and tank, much HVAC ducting, much plumbing and much electrical wiring. Efforts on all these fronts continue. We'd love to get the "close in" inspection in early January. We still need to install the rainwater collection cistern, and sediment control drywell outside, plus additional trenching to provide a place other than the well itself to return water to the ground from our planned open loop geothermal system.

The radiant heat tubes were finally laid in the basement and the slab poured. This allowed for stairs to be installed into the basement, which greatly improves the ability to move around and work. Stairs, likewise were installed into the bonus area above the garage. The geothermal furnace and air handlers were ordered and should be arriving soon.

Outside, the installation of 3" of foam and synthetic stucco (eifs) over the earth blocks has begun. One can even finally see the finish color - Dorset Gold. Once completed, this exterior work should make the house warmer on sunny days, when the heat can come through our many south facing windows. Up till now, it's been pretty cold in there on many days, and very muddy and messy outside. It's emotionally challenging for us to go over there at much effort and money spent and such a mess with so many unsolved problems and mistakes to be corrected!

Three consistently bright spots have been Tom, our church friend and electrician, and Andy, our church friend and HVAC installer, and Anilton, our framer. They've all been very patient with me and helpful.

Inside, the earth block walls are being parged smooth with concrete and will be covered with a new product from American Clay called Enharre - a fine textured plaster.

For our praying friends reading this, please continue to ask God for favor. Cash flow management is hard now, and much physical and emotional strength is needed to finish the house, pack and move. I've been forced to do a lot of my NASA work at night since I've been so busy with the house during the day. There are still many, many things to be decided upon and bought, contractors to be compared and hired, etc. I really can't imagine us being ready to occupy before March, and so there's the very real prospect that we'll have to move twice and none of this is firmly planned out.

So here are some fairly recent pictures...