I recorded this last week. This should give you a little bit better idea of where things are located. I do have photos to upload, but it may be a week or more until I get to them. We did lose 2.5 more days to rain this week.
When we started construction we knew that Home Depot was also under construction. We figured they would be opening well past the point of usefulness for our build. However, with our rain delay and our relatively slow construction it appears the Home Depot may open in time to be somewhat useful to us during the finishing process. Last I heard was a late July or early August “soft” opening. Fingers crossed.
Ran across this video on YouTube:
I have started writing this entry about three times over the past three weeks but each time end up getting distracted by more pressing matters. The first time I was going to update it was simply to let you all know that it was basically still raining. 🙂 Our concern at this point in June is to get as much of the house closed up as fast as possible. We are now in hurricane season so we are pushing to get the roof on and the windows in the main house.
As I mentioned in the last post I spent two days pumping water from the electrical room and from under the deck. They are both full again. Two weeks ago we got completely drenched again and lost 2.5 work days. But there are definitely positives to share. Right before those additional heavy rains we were able to get the slab for the living area poured which meant we didn’t have to wait for the site to dry out to start forming the walls. Over the next two weeks the walls were formed and on Saturday we poured the walls. Of course none of this was without headaches, but that part is complete which is a major milestone. With this pour we surpassed 400 yards of concrete used thus far.
Some of the items I have dealt with since the last post include having to confront a worker over theft of materials (I caught him) and having to spend weekends trying to remove mold and mildew (lots of it) from 250 cypress planks that were delivered shrinkwrapped in pouring rain last month. Water got in and sat there a few weeks. Many boards were damaged beyond our ability to disinfect properly, but we were able to salvage most (except for those that were stolen). In regards to the stolen material, our neighbor saw this person leaving with the boards one evening and reported it to us. Then I caught him in the act. It of course was awkward, but I will leave it at that for now.
We also had/have green mold forming on all our outdoor rafters that are now covered with cypress. The rafters were painted, then the rains came, and the cypress wasn’t put on until after the first batch of rains. The mold started forming after later rains and after the cypress was put on (see photo below). I suspect that the mold we are seeing is a result of water getting into the tops of the rafters (they didn’t paint the tops and apparently should have) and slowly seeping out through the paint. It is a complete mess, so we will have to repaint those rafters. Learning process I guess.
In addition, our AC installer had an angioplasty a few days before we needed him to run his sleeves in the walls. In the end he got the job done, not as I instructed, but it should be workable.
The question for a long time was “are you going to connect the two pods”? “A walkway between the two”? “Maybe a skywalk between the two”? “What is it going to look like?” Now the question we get is “when do you think it will be finished”? I wish I knew. We have passed our contractor’s estimate for completing the shell, and he likely has two more months to go. I think we can have the main house shell completed with windows installed, plastered, and roof on by end of July. Then the finish would begin. Tiling, painting, drywall (not too much of that), cabinetry, etc. I am on the lookout for people with these skills, so if you have anybody to recommend, let me know. If the price is right I will fly you down from the states. 🙂 My original best-case-scenario finish date was October, which coincidentally is also the end of our lease. Can we hit that date? Doubtful. Emily laughed at me when I set that date 6 months ago and when I mention it now it is apparently even more comical. So, realistically we are shooting for December. I would still be content with that but am pushing for October, even though we have basically lost a month due to rain. Go, go go. It has helped that our concrete guys have worked the past two Saturdays. Hopefully they keep that up.
What else? We had dinner and drinks on Friday night with Mike and Tisha (sp?) from Grand Rapids. They have been readers of the blog and are down for vacation. They got a hold of us through their realtor Kim Lucas and we all met up for drinks that turned into dinner. Mike and Tisha, thanks again. For other readers, chime in, let us know where you are reading from.
Emily has rented out a great space in town and has started teaching a Saturday morning yoga class at the Sanctuary on Company St. You can find more info at http://www.StCroixYoga.com if interested.
Tons of pics below, sorry for the slow loading times.
While this has only been our third spring here in the Virgin Islands, it has been abnormally wet using our small track record. So wet in fact that a few workers returned to the site yesterday for the first time since my previous post. So nothing was worked on for 9 days. Nothing, well except that Emily and I continued to work on cypress. May has basically been a wash out. The only day it hasn’t rained in May was Thursday. It doesn’t rain all day every day, but just a little bit of rain, with the ground being so saturated, creates a mess.
I spent both days last weekend moving three submersible pumps around the site trying to get rid of water. I was fairly successful. Of course I had everything outside drained and cleared on Saturday, then the early Sunday morning downpour wiped out much of what I had done on Saturday. I did however dig a few drain channels on Saturday which helped make things a bit quicker for Sunday’s work.
One accomplishment for this week was finally selecting a window manufacturer. We decided on Domus out of St. Kitts. Estimated delivery June 30th. I am not holding my breath though.
I considered only posting photos from my trip to LA and Dallas last week since more was accomplished there than here, but I will give you a few “progress” photos. Since my last post on April 28th we have managed to pour the support walls for the main living area, get the framing for the interior walls completed in the master and office wings, and get the rafters up for part of the deck roof. That is basically all that has been accomplished in the past 3 weeks. In late April and early May we had a couple of 1/2 day rains and maybe one full day where the guys couldn’t work. For the past 9 days it has rained every day with Saturday’s monsoon bringing 7 inches of rain to parts of the island in about 2 hours. We unfortunately are at a step where we need to use heavy equipment to move dirt around so that we can get the floor of the living area formed and poured and that can’t be done in swamp like conditions. So basically at a standstill since I left for LA on the 5th. The good news is that the moisture dries relatively quickly here with the constant breeze, if only it would stop raining for a day or two.
Needless to say this month has been extremely frustrating. Our next shipment of cypress arrived last week (yes, in the pouring rain) and we began sanding and staining those this past weekend. That will likely consume our next 4 weekends as well. Fun stuff.
As I sit here and finish up this post, we are getting torrential rain. Can’t win at the moment.
Update on 5/19/2011:
Just got this email, figured I would share as it fits in nicely with the timing of this post.
Headline: Flood Advisory issued May 19 at 9:41AM AST expiring May 19 at 11:45AM AST by NWS San Juan
The National Weather Service In San Juan Has Issued An * Urban And Small Stream Flood Advisory For The Following Island… In The U.S. Virgin Islands Saint Croix * Until 1145 AM AST * At 940 AM AST…Doppler Radar Estimated Very Heavy Rain In The Advisory Area. Showers Are Expected To Continue For At Least Another One Half To One Hour Before A Respite And A Total Of More Than 2 Inches May Fall Before Noon. Excessive Runoff From Will Cause Flooding Of Small Creeks And Guts… And Low Spots In Highways. Additionally…Roads And Land Along The Banks Of Creeks And Streams And Other Low Lying Areas Are Subject To Flooding. Also…Mudslides Are Possible In Areas Of Steep Terrain. Motorists Should Exercise Caution. Most Flood Deaths Occur In Automobiles. Never Drive Your Vehicle Into Areas Where The Water Covers The Roadway. Flood Waters Are Usually Deeper Than They Appear. Just One Foot Of Flowing Water Is Powerful Enough To Sweep Vehicles Off The Road. When Encountering Flooded Roads Make The Smart Choice…Turn Around…Don’t Drown.
While the major accomplishment of the past two weeks was pouring the deck and connecting the two wings, the real story was lack of progress. No doubt we did get some things done, but we had 2 rain days and 2.5 “holiday” days in the past two weeks. Here in St. Croix, Good Friday and Easter Monday are both holidays, plus most of the guys knocked off early on Thursday. I don’t begrudge the guys their holidays, but the rain has been a bit frustrating.
As mentioned, we poured the deck last Monday. With that complete it really feels like we are going to knock out the rest of the shell fairly quickly. The columns started going up shortly after the deck was finished and the the footers for the main living area were dug today. The roofers have finished the office and guest bedroom roofs and are now beginning work on the flat roofs around the office and over the deck, which will sit on the columns.