How (Not) to Build a Greenhouse

Building a house is tough work, especially when you're too cheap frugally minded, like us. Sure, we could pay the construction crew a little extra to build a greenhouse. Sexy Nerd, however, insisted there's nothing to it. A few windows and some wood and we'd be set.

It was never disclosed that building a greenhouse would require my help. My devious husband never mentioned the 84 bags of concrete (80 pounds per bag!) we would need to drag steeply uphill along the unpaved, cactus-covered, scortchingly hot, snake-infested ground. A semi truck pulled up to our empty lot with a forklift and more than two pallets of concrete. Whose idea was it anyway to build the greenhouse so far back?

(Mine? Bah!)

Oh, and lucky, lucky us. Lowes mistakenly delivered an extra 80 pound bag of concrete and said we could keep it for free. Even the bargain hunter in me (which is like 97% of who I am) wanted to cry.

 With 6,800 pounds of concrete, you were expecting a gigantic, excessive greenhouse instead of this itty bitty one, weren't you? I can't help thinking that my engineer husband may have miscalculated.

Grumbling aside, I tried to be as helpful as possible, which was...not very helpful. I can't lift 80 pounds. That's more than 2/3 of my body weight. Plus, I'm puny! There was a time, back in my days as a Pizza Hut manager, when I was tough and strong and mighty, able to unload an entire semi truck of mozzarella cases on my own and capable of throwing a box of Pepsi syrup onto the highest shelf. That was a million years ago. My job for the last 12 years has been to sit on a cushy, padded chair behind the desk of a pediatric dental office. That requires zero muscles, which was pretty much proven the first time I attempted to push a wheelbarrow uphill with one bag of concrete (which Sexy Nerd loaded for me, obviously).

I insisted he load three bags of concrete into the wheelbarrow. "Let's see how you do with just one," he said.

"Two," I demanded. "I can at least push two bags." At the time, I really believed I could.

Sexy Nerd was unwavering. "Let's see how you do with just one."

So mighty? Don't be fooled.

One bag was nothing. I made it a few slow steps, determined to show Sexy Nerd how wrong he was. I was just like a real construction worker, at least until I hit the portion where the ground began to slope uphill. It wasn't long before the wheelbarrow began pushing me back down. Panicked, I leapt out of the way, lest I be crushed by 80 pounds of runaway concrete.

Eventually, the wheelbarrow hit a cactus or a tree or Sexy Nerd's precious rock wall (I don't recall exactly, as the experience was quite traumatic. It's all a blur.) and flipped over and ripped open the bag of concrete. Like I've told you-know-who a hundred times, it was the free bag. It didn't count.

Next weekend, I help pour the concrete. The weekend after...marriage counseling? Wish me luck!

Construction Update: Let the Framing Begin

Another construction update already? But I just posted yesterday. This is madness!

Apparently, Panorama Homes is making up for lost time. Have I mentioned lately that I love them?

This almost makes up for the email I received from our bank today, stating "Per the inspection, I have sent $79,098.00." o_O

I knew a bill like that was coming. I think. On some level, I must have known. They kept it under $80,000 and didn't charge us any cents, so I guess that was nice.

Although, now I'm wondering if it's such a neat, tidy number because they rounded up, not down. I really need to see an itemized copy of that invoice.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what part of the house I'm looking at here. That holds true for the photo above and below this.

Where the heck is this supposed to be?
We'd better get up to the lot and make sure they're working off the correct set of plans.

This house is going to be AMAZING! I just need to keep telling myself that.

The Award for Slowest Foundation Ever Goes To...

We broke ground on 6/13/16, more than four months ago, and I greatly underestimated the patience required to build a house. Remember the post I shared waaay back on September 6th? The one where the concrete had finally been poured for our footings? The construction crew had smoothed and leveled the dirt and everything looked so pretty.

Well, they dug it all up again.

I do not understand construction.

This pit is much deeper than it looks here. I thought it would be fun to have my photo taken at the bottom, but Sexy Nerd refused, pointing out how impossible it would be for me to get back out.

Later, we had a little argument (when building a house, there are lots of little arguments) and he decided he'd like to take my photo at the bottom of the pit after all.

We settled for this instead:

It's really not the same, is it? 

With the concrete footings completed, it was only a few more days until the foundation was poured.


It did not happen in a week. It did not even happen in a month.

We did have some snazzy looking in-floor heating installed though. These red tubes were even run behind the fireplace...which I still think may have been a mistake.

Sexy Nerd refused to let me look into it though, insisting the men responsible are "experts in their field and know exactly what they're doing." Because no one ever makes a mistake? Because their fragile expert egos would be forever damaged by my simple question?

Because the beer cans we keep finding at our construction site lead me to believe otherwise.

(You see? Lots of little arguments when building a house.)

Halfway done with the radiant tubing...oh, wait. That enormous second half of the house is not going to have in-floor heat. 

It's Sexy Nerd's garage.

(Best wife ever? Obviously.)

 I actually did suggest we have heat installed in the garage as well, but that wasn't to keep Sexy Nerd warm and comfy. It was because I know he's going to run space heaters out there 24/7 and jack up our electric bill.

I'm fixing us some imaginary dinner in our imaginary outdoor kitchen on our imaginary back patio.

Here is the front patio, ready for concrete to turn it into a giant, ugly slab forever. Thank goodness we checked this beforehand - it's nothing like the patio we'd agreed on in the construction plans! We saved someone a lot of time with a jackhammer.

Time went on and on. I started writing a blog post about how our foundation will never be poured, woe is me. I'm a procrastinator though, so instead of sharing the post in a timely manner, I waited to finish it. Why rush? The footings were poured September 6th and we still did not have a foundation on September 14th...September 21st...September 30th...October 7th...October 12th...

Then, on October 14th, this happened:


See that cute little patio in front of the house? Much better. 

I have to give the crew credit for their ingenious trash solution, over on the upper left.

The sky was especially pretty for these photos because of a prescribed burn not far from our lot. We knew not to worry, but there's something unnerving about seeing plumes of smoke rise around your mountain dream home. 

Our throats and eyes were burning. It was worth it.
Ta da! On a side note, I'd thought my new L.L. Bean coat was really flattering.

I look like an Oompa Loompa.

But where are all the photos of Sexy Nerd?? He has been stubborn lately, (well, more stubborn than usual), insisting he "only wants photos of the house" and he doesn't care if he isn't in any of them. 

Look what I found on his phone though:

Framing is actually moving right along as planned! I'm shocked and terrified. Click here for photos.

A Weak Cup of Coffee

My day isn't off to a great start. I got about ZERO hours of sleep last night. It was one of those situations where you can't sleep because you have so many other things to do, but then you end up not sleeping anyway, so you may as well have just stayed up after all.

Sexy Nerd is away on a business trip, which means making the morning coffee fell to me. He'll be home today and not a moment too soon. Grinding the beans, measuring the water, changing the filter, all before I've had any caffeine...that's what I have a husband for! I poured a packet of liquid creamer and some Torani Salted Caramel syrup into a mug, added my finally-brewed coffee, and sat down for a speedy breakfast before running off to work. I mentally checked off the things I need to take care of before Sexy Nerd gets home.

The house is still a mess, the dogs need to be fed, the tortoises need their humidifier water replaced, (oh, by the way, Sexy Nerd has an aquarium of tortoises now) today is my last day to get to Smith's and Albertsons before their specials change...


My first sip of coffee wasn't what I'd been expecting. I had brewed the weakest cup ever, tasting of nothing but watered down cream and sugar. If there had been another cup of coffee around, it would have laughed at it. Looking at the dishwater beige liquid in front of me, I realized my mistake.


I had never added my freshly-ground beans to the coffee maker.
It's going to be a loooong day.
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