We're Building a House
Abject Apology (if you're not *&%ed off with me for not posting for so long, please skip to the next paragraph)
I am back. I am very sorry I haven't posted in a long time! My silence has been poor form for all of you readsters and commensters who have followed the blog and the build, and although a punishing deadline for a book I've just written (along with my other work and a new baby) have meant I had no choice but to neglect you like redheaded stepchildren, you deserve better. The problem was I had the schedule all planned: finish the house, then a couple of months to finish the blog and my other work before Xmas came and with it time to finish the book. But the house didn't finish in Mid October, as planned did it? Or even mid November as it should have. Try mid December, so I got myself in trouble. Sadly you paid the price. Be assured you weren't the only ones to suffer. At one stage trying to meet the book deadline I didn't shower for four days and my beard took on the form of a large creature nestled on my face (see below). As I write even now it's 2.23am. I hope you can forgive me.
In this post I open up the books and reveal how much the house finally cost. This is only possible now because last night I spent about four hours going through the online banking to work out how much we'd paid to who and when. (That was another overdue task that had to wait). The results, like a poorly installed heated towel rail, will shock you.
But first how is the house? Amazing.
We have been living in Three Kings now for two months. For two years we thought this time would never come - and 2013 was the longest year of our lives. But the house is finished (almost) and we can't believe how lucky we are. My enthusiasm for it and for the building project has not dimmed. Let me start, though, by telling you all the things we have discovered so far that are wrong with the house:
Hello Everyone. Happy New Year. But mostly, apologies for the long silence - I went on tour with 7 Days, and wrote a bloggie postratio while I was away, but due to the stuff blog engine being a fickle and tedious mistress, and me being if not a Luddite, at least Luddish, I couldn't post it while I was on the road. Then I came home to Christmas and visitors, madness, joy, children, feasts and excitement - all in our new house. So I put all work aside and essentially forgot you until now. You deserve better. I will write a couple more blogs, giving you a video tour of our new place and a summary of our experience building a house. But as a teaser before then, here is the post I wrote on the 18th of December while I was in Palmerston North - the source of all good things. Looking back on it now I laugh to think how young I was then. Ha ha haaa.
Post From 18th December 2013.
I am at this moment travelling New Zealand with the 7 Days team, dishing out lols to the regions. If you've come to the show I hope you've enjoyed it. If you haven't there's only one show left and it's in Auckland this Saturday night. [note: this is now outdated. Don't try to come to the 7 Days show this Saturday night. There isn't one.]
This blog has turned 60, and like all things that turn 60, it's about to come to an end - because the house that we've been building is almost finished. I'll tell you honestly that I'm starting to crack slightly. I say that not for sympathy (which I certainly don't deserve) but just to report the effects on the client at this end of a long build with a busy job, a wonderful wife and a perfect new baby.
I'm someone who really enjoys the anticipation of knowing I've got a good thing coming, so the delays haven't been that hard on me. One day I'm all whining that we aren't moving in yet, but two days later I'm high on expectation again. Part of me is worried that once we're in, the actual experience of being there won't live up to the years of tense expectation and continual fantasising. It's like winning the rugby world cup: we wanted it so much but are we really enjoying it now that we've got it?
The final month of our build has turned into six weeks. And yesterday we found out that, though we have to move in this weekend due to having nowhere else to live, there will be significant stuff still unfinished.
Every time we visit it gets harder to leave, and we're dying to just unpack all the boxes we've moved into Three Kings and move out of our temporary house. We've been living in Ponsonby now for five months and we've almost completely lost touch of reality. To us now a 'dog' is something that goes in your handbag, 'breakfast' is something you eat at a table on the footpath so that everyone can see you, and a 'dog's breakfast' is everything south of Grey Lynn.
Let's get onto the week's big news.
Nightmare: Last night I finished writing the below blog post, full of excitement that we are moving in this weekend. But I just found out we can't. For another week we've been put off. The stairs still aren't ready, nor is much of the joinery and quite a lot of the electrical. It's a big bad world and a lot of people have harder stuff to deal with, but we are still frustrated, upset and anxious. Now we are starting to think we were incredibly stupid and naive to invite 22 adults and 7 kids to our house for Christmas. Grim emoticon.
So here's the post I wrote in happier times... Reading it now there is enough irony to satisfy a whole underground bar full of hipsters. Feel free to think things like 'that's what you think' and 'you are so foolish' as you read it. I hand you over now to yesterday me, a much younger sillier man.
Welcome to this pen-penultimate postree in this blogwood about building a house. Gemma and I are so excited we can't sleep. No hang on, we have a nine week old baby so we can't sleep. Either way we are sleepless and excited and we are moving in this Saturday. If we stay Saturday night, the winner of my competition to guess when we move in will be MyTwoCentsDave, and if we don't stay there til Sunday then MyTwoCentsDave will share the prize with Gregor40.
There is progress on all fronts in the house, and every hour I'm at work now I wish I was either at home with Gemma and Zeno or at the new house greedily watching the final touches being put on. If you build, my advice is, 'Have plenty of time to spend on site: this time when your house is just a baby goes by so fast'.
In last week's post I was all worried about whether the house was going to be finished for our November 30 move-in date. The news is that it won't, not completely anyway, so we've decided we don't care. It's like we were swimming a length underwater, and our lungs were bursting and it seemed like the end was getting further and further away. Now we've popped to the surface, taken a deep breath and we're happy to dog paddle to the end. We'll get there.
And we're bloody lucky to be swimming at all on a beautiful day like this.
There are several parts of the house that won't be finished as you read this. We'll leave our moving in for a week until it's all ready. The stairs are one of the items not finished this week, but Gemma and I are sure they will be beautiful. Our project manager James, the magnificent stair company Continental Stairs and our steel engineer Andy are pulling out all the stops to make them.
We have to remember, they are an experiment. Our draughtsman Karl drew them from a concept we dreamed up. Then our engineer Bruce gave his input. Later everyone got involved again to redesign them slightly. Nobody can be entirely sure exactly how they'll perform when finished. Gemma and I have pig-headedly insisted the rods that hold up the treads be made from 16mm steel to give the structure a light feel, despite a general feeling that 19mm would be the safer bet.
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