Well, after the last snow fall, we had a melt and when we looked out the RV window this morning, we saw puddles of water laying on top of the weeping tile that goes around the house foundation! What is that about now? There should never be water laying on top of the weepers! When there is water standing on top of the weeping tile, we know there is water in the crawl space! My first thought was the pump outtake line was frozen so I proceed to take the line apart – thank goodness I installed a union so it would be easier to maintain the pump – and plugged the pump back in and let it spray out onto the road for a few minutes to ensure the pump was ok. I reconnected it to the out line and it also worked. Then I noticed the electric wires hanging in the way of the pump float. Oops, the float is supposed to float upward and turn on the pump to drain the water in the sump tank but it could not because of the wires that power the pump tangled with the float and held it down. So, a quick re-route of those pesky wires and all is good and the puddles are gone. That was enough excitement for Sunday, we have to get ourselves and the house ready to host our family Christmas this coming Saturday.
Now that we have the tree up and decorated, Barb builds a tree skirt to finish it off. We have created the menu but since we have not prepared a meal for this many in 14 years, we were little unsure of how much to prepare. Like many other things we do, we decided to go big, better to have too much than have to little. In the mean time, with Barb working on decorations, I start installing the handles on the kitchen cabinets. None of the doors or drawers are pre-drilled so it was a bit nerve wracking for me to not screw it up – we don’t want extra holes.
On Tuesday Nov 25th, we had our final building inspection – we were confident that we would pass this one and we wanted it done before we headed south. The inspector arrived on time and started his walk through. We have had good experiences with our inspectors and appreciated their tips and information. It was interesting that he looked under each sink to see if there was any water leaks – as if we would leave anything leaking – and then he checked in the crawl space to make sure the water meter and water shut off were accessible. Again, who wouldn’t make these things available but he deals with all types of DIYers. The next area he checked was in the kitchen and he thought the cook top was too close to the microwave and he says we may have to raise the cabinets to increase that space but he was not sure and will check the code when he gets back to the office! What? There is no room to move the cabinet up or to drop the cook top down. We followed the manufacturers instructions and exceeded the space requirement between the cook top and the nuke! This kinda sent us into a tail spin for a few days. A couple of days later, he requested the installation manual so we sent it email and waited. We still did not know the permit status when we left for LA and it played on our minds as we thought about solutions. The easy one would be to remove the cabinet over the nuke and raise the nuke up, have another inspection and once passed, lower the nuke back down and replace the cabinet back where it was originally. Seems like cheating but it was the easiest and a better solution than redesigning the kitchen to the inspector.
The next day, we had our final electrical inspection. The inspector was a little late but, he did his walk through with his little test unit and kicked off the GFCIs, made sure lights came on when he operated switches and then checked the load centre. Oops, we had a higher breaker for the air conditioner than what is called for – both Barb & I are sure the HVAC folks told us 30A was needed but reality says it is 20A. When the inspector left, he kindly agreed that he would accept a picture of the change since he was not expected back in our area for a week. That day, we picked up the breaker and had it replaced and the picture in his email by the next morning. He contacted us and said he would pass us and close the permit. This gave us some peace of mind that we had one permit out of the way before we hitched up.
Now with the colder weather here and the furnace working, we have some moisture on the windows which surprises us. We have been running a dehumidifier for a couple of weeks now but it is not getting better. We spoke with the insulation folks and their explanation suggests that with spray foam, it seals the house like none other and we should consider installing an air exchanger to bring dry fresh air from outside and exhaust moist stale air. Apparently, new construction and we have had lots of new wood put in, and new drywall and paint brings in lots of moisture and a house takes more than a year to dry out. So, another expense we did not plan on and off to Lowes again. Since we know nothing about air exchangers, we asked for assistance and they sent over the most knowledgeable rep. We asked a few questions and he said yep to each including which installation kit we needed to complete the job. We left with confidence that we could get this in before our Christmas. After our inspections, we crack open the boxes and get ready to install the unit in the attic in the back half of the house. Now we have all the parts out, we realize the Lowes rep knew nothing – he sent us home with the installation package of a bathroom, not a whole house – now we have to go back to Lowes and exchange this for the whole home installation kit. Now, for the price we paid for the unit, one would think that the manufacturer would include all the parts required but I digress. The Lowes customer service person was very generous and courteous with our return and complaints – we left happier than when we came in. Unfortunately, this side trip put me behind and could only get the unit installed in the attic but not connected to any ducts or vents so we did not have it for our Christmas dinner.
Saturday arrives and most of the dinner is already cooked. We did the turkey in the oven in the rig since we were unsure how to do it in the new microwave/convection oven. We were out yesterday and rented tables and chairs for the day and once back, we washed them down and set everything up and set the tables. It was exciting for us, taking us back to our Christmas’ when we had a house. Our ‘guests’ start to arrive and the island kitchen gets a workout, it was perfect – great designing Barbie! Once everyone is here, we pick up our past traditions and soon we’re all seated for dinner – all 19 of us – it was noisy but fun. The kids – all the kids – are excited to open gifts and we asked Mackenzie to do the Santa job for us – small tree means to far down to retrieve the gifts. Anyway, he did a fantastic job and everyone was happy. The wonderful celebration soon came to an end as Dawn had a 5 or so hour drive home. It was a great time and so good see everyone for our little family Christmas.
Barb & I wish you all a Merry Christmas and the very best throughout 2015…..