Sunday, April 12, 2009

Improving the karma.

It's been a year-and-a-half since I posted. As I predicted, the economy is MUCH worse than when I posted in November 2007. As I claimed, we have indeed been in a recession for a long time. Since I posted the stock market has crashed, crooks on Wall Street have destroyed investment in this country and unemployment is in the double digits.

There is, however, a piece of good news.

We have a new President. His job is a tough one - maybe even impossible - but he's trying. The people who worked hard to defeat him (in many cases, the same who caused our current disaster) continue to try to undermine his efforts. I applaud when I hear them say Obama is on the wrong track. Since it's different than what THEY did and what THEY did destroyed our economy, then I think there's a possibility that what HE is trying just may work.

"There is a glimmer of hope."

Anyway, when this all hit I took the most recent house plans - the final plans that had taken the house totally away from what I wanted - and tucked them away.

I've decided that I need to try to help turn the karma around by acting as if we will actually be able to build this house someday, so one of my chores for spring break is to make notations on the plans and send them back to Angela. I think it will still be at least two years before we see if this will even be a possibility for us, but I have to keep moving in a positive direction.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Best Laid Plans

Contrary to everything our liar of a President is trying to lay on us, the economy of this country is in the toilet. "They" say we may be heading for a recession. With millions of jobs outsourced, gasoline on its way to $4.00 a gallon, China controlling the major share and the village idiot casting covetous eyes at Iran I say we have been in a recession for two to three years and are actually heading for a depression.

God Bless America.

Oh, yes. Did I forget to mention the housing industry has ground to near a dead stop? Which means that our dream of building a home on this lot have been put on a shelf for now. If the condo sells this winter we might be able to start digging in the spring.

Oh, yes. Did I forget to mention Global Warming? The only way the condo will sell - this winter or any time - is if there is snow (it is, after all, in a ski resort.) Wasn't much snow last year. Too soon to tell this year, but if it's a global warming phenomenon then not only may we not see recreational snow, there may not be enough to recharge the aquifer and the chances of us getting a building permit are slim to none.

Just gets better and better, huh?

Am I cynical? Am I angry?

Damn straight.

I'm just grateful that I still have a teaching job (which I hate, but that's neither here nor there) and can continue to pay the mortgage, utilities and property taxes on all this stuff.

There, I feel better.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Time to Reflect

It took me a while but I think I figured out how our original plan for a 2500 square foot house ended up being over 4000 square feet. The house we're in now is just about the right size at 1500 square feet, it's just the layout that we don't like. We figured that if you took the 225 square feet from the extra room and divided it up among the rooms that are too small, we could have the house we want. Set it on top of a 1000 foot basement guest suite and there we are!

However, this house is a box. In order to get the passive solar we want, the house had to spread along the southern exposure. This created extra space here and there and it added up.

Now that school is out for the summer and I've had time to reflect, I'm realizing that most of the big emotional things that I wanted in the house I'm not getting.

No guest room for my parents on the first floor. No 12x12 craft room. And no, making the craft room 11x17 and squeezing a bed in there is not going to work. For both my parents to sleep there would take at least a queen sized bed (5x7=35 square feet) Add 2 feet on either side to access the bed takes up another 28 square feet. A 12x12 room would be 144 square feet. 11x17 is 187 square feet. By the time you take out the 63 square feet for the "guest room" area, I'm left with only 124 square feet for my work area, just a tiny bit larger than the cell I have now. That's not acceptable. Another thing that is not acceptable is that I'm hoping that my parents come and stay for at least a couple of weeks at a time. Time for Mom and I to work on quilts in MY CRAFT ROOM. To scrapbook together in MY CRAFT ROOM. The idea was that Dad would have a guest room WITH A CHAIR AND TELEVISION AND STEREO where he could escape when we were working on our stuff in MY CRAFT ROOM. Obviously, he won't be able to escape if his guest room is also MY CRAFT ROOM.

Instead of the big kitchen window over the sink that I wanted, Angela designed a corner sink with smaller window. Instead of Larry getting his own prep area with full sink, she designed in a coffee area with a prep sink. In essence, she designed a kitchen in which I would, again, get squeezed out of having a clean prep area when I needed it. We took care of those concerns at the last meeting but now I have more concerns.

In the living area there is no place for a television set. This would not bother me, but I know Larry will want a TV in there. I'm going to ask to remove the window between the door to the deck and the fireplace, move the fireplace into that space which will leave the back of the book wall for the TV. Also, there is no upstairs storage for my holiday decorations, nor is there space for an upright freezer, so we are going to have to put a clean storage area put in the garage.

The debate over strawbale construction continues. I haven't liked the look of any finished product I've seen so far, but am willing to see other examples to see if it can be finished with a cleaner surface. Then I would be willing to consider it. I also have concerns about expense of shipping since Larry is understandably nervous about living in a wheat straw house when he is allergic to wheat. Larry has been doing his homework, too, and has some concerns about the expense of wiring and placing other utilities.

On the financial end, deciding to go for the larger home means we will have to sell our SoCA house. That's OK. Even if we decide northern Utah is not for us, we will never return to Southern California. I also believe that, difficult as it is for me, it only makes sense that I continue to work for another year. I'm not sure how the finances will work, but we should be able to get the construction loan based on double incomes, then dump the proceeds from the SoCA house into the final payoff somehow to keep the final mortgage down.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

We have a design!

Angela has completed the preliminary drawings of the house layout. We asked for a 2500 square foot house (15oo on the main level, 1000 for the basement), but after Angela read and internalized our questionairres and interpreted the information into a plan, we ended up with 4400. We've done some revising and it's down some but still over 4000. Since our budget is only $400k, we've decided not to finish the entire basement as part of the original construction. Angela seems to believe that the cost will stay under $150/square foot. If so, we should be fine. If not, we'll have to figure out a Plan B (or is in C or D by now?)