Sunday, September 30, 2012

More Construction

The foundation is in!  
Looking to the southwest from the east side of the  house

Looking to the north from the back of the house
 Looking from the back towards the northwest -the bumpout will be part pantry and part master bath.
 The basement will be a full walk out which is the door you see.  Above this will be the kitchen, great room, and part of the dining area  --- open concept.

From the front, looking southeast.  I'm near where the front door will be, entering the great room.  The jog represents an office in the front and the master bedroom behind.

I have a hard time visualizing the space.  Even though I have the floor plan to look out, I'm having a hard time "seeing" where the walls are.  My husband says the house is bigger than he thought, and I think it's smaller!!  Time will tell.  Rain Thursday and Friday held up the installation of the floor beams and sills this week.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A New Adventure!

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We recently purchased some land, not too far from where we live now, and we are having a house built on it for us.  We currently live in a very large century-old home that is much too big for just the two of us. We're looking to downsize, and we are looking ahead to our senior years where we will want one floor living.  The new house will be just over 1600 sq ft, about half the size of what we have now.  The home is being built by students in the Building Trade program at our local high school.  They are supervised by a master builder, who hires subcontractors who are willing to teach the students their particular trade.  We of course, pay for all the materials and the services of all the subcontractors, plus all the licenses and building fees.  We also made a donation to the program.   We're trying to build green as much as possible too.  We drive by the site everyday to and from work, plus my husband's bus company transports the students from school to the work site!

The work has begun!

The concrete for the foundation will be poured Monday.

This past weekend was spent visiting several home improvement places - from Home Depot to some locally-owned places.  We've talked to two kitchen designers and are trying to figure out exactly what we want, and   of course, how much it's going to cost.  Our plans call for an open concept kitchen, dining area, and great room.  There will be 2 bedrooms, plus an office, and 2 baths.  We will have a finished walkout basement, a mudroom/laundry room, and 2 car garage.  We have an estimate on cabinets and granite counters from Home Depot, and we're waiting for a similar proposal from the local designer.  I hope we can work with the locally owned business.  We are buying all the lumber from them.  It's exciting, but there are so many things to think about!!

And then of course, we will have to sell this old house.  The good thing is that we've already done a lot of major work on this house -- a new roof within the last 5 years, a new driveway 2 years ago, and a new heating system last fall.  Most of the rest of the work is cosmetic.  We don't have a mortgage on it, so that will be one pressure off us when it's time to sell.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

No Rest for the Weary

It's late Sunday afternoon (or early Sunday evening) and I should be all rested up and ready to go for another week of school.  But I'm not.  Today was a too-busy day, too full of stress, and too-empty of rest.
Sunday isn't supposed to be like that.  I went to church this morning, kind of wishing that I could stay home because I really could have used a lazy morning.  But I was one of 4 mission speakers this morning.  Our stewardship drive kicked off today, and I had been asked to speak for about 5 minutes on "How I Live my Faith."  I don't mind speaking in church and in fact have occasionally preached on a laity Sunday.  But it did add a bit of stress to the morning.  What was difficult today was the church council meeting afterwards.  I am  moderator of my UCC church.  For those of you who aren't familiar with congregational-type churches, the moderator is the lay leader of the church and is the church's representative in legal matters.  One of the "perks" (??) of the job is that I get to run the monthly council meetings.  They take place on the third Sunday of every month right after church, and generally last about 90 minutes.  We have a large council - about 20 members and everybody has an opinion.   We generally have good meetings but today there was a lot of emotion and even some conflict.  Our church has several large mission ministries, and we have been having some difficulty with the leadership of one of them, and matters have come to a crisis point.  Despite all the efforts of a number of good people, today people got angry with each other.  I take that probably too personally - I can't control other people's anger, but I wish I had been able to find a less contentious path through a pretty thorny jungle.   The meeting lasted almost 2.5 hours and by the time I got home I was exhausted.  Since then I've had to deal with several phone calls from parishioners who needed to talk, and I had to write my monthly column for our church newsletter.  And of course, there was dinner to be cooked and cleaned up after (thank God for a wonderful husband who knows when to pitch in without asking!).  And now it's almost 7 pm, and it's time to get my things together for work, and maybe, just maybe sit and knit a bit --- if my hands cooperate, that is!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Week In (to the school year)

We went back to school last Monday (8/27) and spent 90% of three days in workshops and meetings.  On Wednesday we held an Open House for parents and students from 1-3 pm which was surprisingly well-attended.  Although it was meant to be informal, and parents were told to come in and look around, but "teachers are working", and we were told to continue working, it just wasn't possible to continue with tasks when several sets of parents surrounded you with questions.  Since the parents who came to visit my classroom were anxious because their kids were entering the great big MIDDLE school, we felt it was important to take the time to answer their questions and reassure them.  I came home each day quite tired!

Thursday was the first day with kids.  It was one of the best first days I've had in my career, but I have NEVER felt so fatigued as I did by the time I got home at 4:30 pm.  It took every ounce of willpower to walk down to my car, drive home, and get into the house.  This is one very unwelcome side effect of  RA.  I went to bed quite early.  Friday was also a good day with the kids, but by planning time (1 pm) I was so exhausted I couldn't even eat my lunch.  I was home by 3 and I took a short nap.

Aside from the alarming fatigue, this is the smoothest start to school I can remember.  I share 44 6th graders with my teaching partner.  I know that the first week of school is the honeymoon period, and it's rare to have behavior problems the first day or so, but I was quite impressed with their listening skills.  We do a whole grade activity on the 2nd afternoon which requires absolute silence and nonverbal communication.  (The whole grade - 144 of them-- have to arrange themselves into 12 groups corresponding to their birthday month, and then within each group, they have to arrange themselves in chronological order.  All without talking.  This normally takes kids about 1/2 hour with frequent adult reminders to work in silence.  They accomplished the first part of the task in less than 10 minutes, and the 2nd part in about 5.  We had to scramble for another activity!

This year is also unusual, because for the first year ever,  I have only 2 students who receive special ed services.  I  usually have 8-10 of the group who either get pulled out, or have extra support in the classroom.  We do have a couple of kiddos who will be part of our tier 2/tier 3 program for behavior, but from what we've been told, they are in that program more because they need a super quiet place to work/go when they get overstimulated.

So, I'm expecting that it will be a good year.  I'm hoping I will get a handle on this RA thing, and figure out how to pace myself.  It seems clear that I will have watch the number of things that go on my plate!