We drove out after work, mainly to verify that the hurricane had not caused any damage.  The builder had already told us that there were a few wet spots near the door openings, nothing more.

When we got out there, we found that the exterior doors had finally arrived and most of them were installed.  The front door is a solid panel double door.

The door looking out of the master bedroom onto the courtyard is a French door with a transom.

The exterior trim was also painted,  and work was started on the arches for the back porch.  This is the last part of the exterior framing to be completed.

After this is done, they should be able to do the stucco.  We’re looking forward to seeing the house with that done!

Hurricane Irene

With Hurricane Irene moving up the coast, we drove out to the lot early yesterday morning to make sure everything was secure.  The rain had not started yet.  We moved a few things into the garage and put some trash into the dumpster.  The builder had covered the doorways in the courtyard.  I was a bit concerned that the North-facing front door opening was left open, since winds were supposed to come from that direction, but it is under the porch, and in any case there was nothing we could do since I did not think to bring tools.

The Saturday AM farmer’s market was still going on in Fountain Park in spite of the storm threat.  We dropped by and picked up a few items.

The builder also needed us to pick out the brick for the interior wall.  My wife had contacted Chestertown Brick and Tile earlier in the week.  They were closed that morning, but had agreed to leave samples for us to pick up.

Then my wife got hungry, so we drove up to the Village Bakery on the north side of town.  They have a neat little cafe and were serving breakfast, so we decided to sit and eat.

As we were leaving it was just starting to rain, and the breeze was picking up.  The drive home was not too bad, although it was decidedly windy by the time we crossed the Bay Bridge.  We got home just after noon and hunkered down to wait out the storm.  We spent the afternoon and evening mainly watching the rain and the weather reports on TV.  In the evening the winds started to pick up and the lights flickered a few times.  We heard on the radio that they had closed the Bay Bridge because of the wind.

The winds roared for much of the night.  We lost power for about a minute at one point, but that was it, so we were really lucky.  By this morning the winds had abated to normal levels, and the rain had pretty much stopped.  No signs of damage, but the yard is a mess with branches down and leaves everywhere.  We’ll wait until this afternoon to see if the Sun comes out, and start cleaning up then.

Slabs and Spackle

We had planned to drive out after work today.  Our work days were interrupted unexpectedly at 1:50 PM by the magnitude 5.8 quake in central VA.  We both felt significant shaking during the quake, and were evacuated from our buildings.  My wife was able to re-enter her building after about 40 minutes.  However, my building, at Goddard, was not officially re-opened this afternoon, and the center declared “Code Red” (closed to non-essential personnel) at 3:10.

I left work, and my wife decided she could leave too.  Of course, everyone else was leaving at the same time, so traffic was congested.  As they said on the radio, it was like a winter storm without the snow.  We went home to make sure everything was OK.  Aside from a few things fallen from shelves and pictures askew, no problem.

When we got to the lot, we found the concrete slabs had been poured for the courtyard and porches.  They look great!  Especially the courtyard, which is really well-defined now with the slab.  It will look even better when it is finished with the stamped concrete.

The drywall finishers had also started on the taping and spackling.

My wife was hungry for a hamburger.  We weren’t sure where the best place would be, but I knew there was a pub on High Street that we had not tried yet.  Sure enough, they had a good selection of  burgers on the menu, not to mention Guinness Stout and a variety of ales and lagers.  We will definitely be going back.

Drywall Hanging Done

We drove out again after work today.  Hit the usual backup at the Severn River Bridge, but otherwise traffic was no problem.

The main difference from last week was that the drywall hanging was completed in all of the rooms, but not taped and spackled yet.  It’s amazing how the drywall adds definition to the rooms in a new house; for the first time you get a sense of the spaces.  I took lots of pictures.

The courtyard area had been graded, so it looks like they will pour the concrete there soon.  Also, the attached shed in back of the garage was finally closed in.

Looking good!

Flashback — The Lender, part 2

In mid-April we called our real estate agent friend, and he recommended a well-known local bank.  My wife filled out the on-line application, and within a week we had a prequalification for only slightly less than our hoped-for figure, and enough to work with.

Of course, we had to collect and submit the mountain of paper again, with updated monthly statements (since a month had passed).  This loan officer was much better at keeping us informed.  We still needed the all-important appraisal.  It was finally done in mid-May — just enough so that 80% would cover our loan amount.  Success!

We had a couple more hoops to get through: approval from the underwriter and final approval from the bank.  The loan officer assured us that our application was strong and that approval was almost certain.  Sure enough, the final approval came through, and the loan closing was scheduled for May 31.  We informed the builder, and he responded that construction would start the first week of June.  Then, right before closing, he told us that another project had been delayed and he would be starting on June 1, and would have the site staked out on May 31.

We went to the attorney’s office that afternoon, and signed our lives away (or so it seemed).  We’ve been using this lawyer for our real estate matters for years, and he was interested in our project and what led us to Chestertown.  One item of particular interest in the pile of paper was the draw schedule and draw request form.  I made a note to review this with the builder the next day.  Afterward, we drove out to the lot and I photographed the stakes.  I made plans to be out there not much later than 7:30 AM the next day, the estimated start time.