Days 160-161: Terminating the Trench

Monday, 12/21
Finished the rocky section of the plumbing trench!  Just about 8 inches left.  We also found out today that we may have to dig it a little deeper; but at least the length of it is nearly complete.

A friend of ours and Brian also started the fifth run of barbed wire and made it halfway up the hill.  This friend had a run-in with the same cactus that got me on Sunday.  My event – Brian and I were balancing on a very narrow, slippery slope.  There was about 10 inches for my feet to navigate the angled ground and I was trying to attach the barbed wire.  I had been successful on the previous runs of wire.  Brian had a near accident where he slipped, his feet shot under the lowest barbed wire and his whole body started to slide.  He caught himself before his entire body got hung up on the wire and died.

Because of the narrow ledge, it’s a little tricky to make the clip connections.  Depending on what’s around me, I either bend at the waist or squat.  In anticipation of making the connection on what appeared to be a generous ledge, I dropped into a very graceful squat…right onto a prickly pear.  I stood up so fast….and I screamed like a sissy.  I had both mega spines and the tiny, difficult-to-see mini spines embedded in my skin.  It HURT!  Poor Brian had to pick the spines out of my hiney.

So the friend’s event – He slipped on the narrow slope and full on fell into that same prickly pear patch.  Again, Brian had to help remove the spines.

Fifth row of barbed wire is about halfway complete (on that property side).

Fifth row of barbed wire is about halfway complete (on that side of property).

Solar overhang at noon on the Winter Solstice. This is the shortest day of the year and the sun is at its lowest point in the sky. With the overhang as it is, you can see we're getting almost 100% sun exposure inside.

Solar overhang at noon on the Winter Solstice. This is the shortest day of the year and the sun is at its lowest point in the sky. With the overhang as it is, you can see we’re getting almost 100% sun exposure inside.

Another view. It's going to be so exciting to live in a house that manages its own heating/cooling.

Another view. It’s going to be so exciting to live in a house that is warmed by the sun.

Tuesday, 12/22
We forgot to mention some good news from late last week.  We FINALLY received our official plumbing permit.  Electrical status – We were told the electrical chief would review our electrical plan on Friday…which got pushed back to Monday….and finally received the green light on Tuesday.  So let’s review –

Plumbing

  1. We created our plumbing diagram and filled out the paperwork.  All of this was mailed to the state office on Friday, 11/13.  Probably arrived two days later.
  2. We received a letter in the mail on Thursday, 12/3 (more than 2 weeks later), that said they couldn’t cash our check and would instead need two separate checks (which was not mentioned in the instructions).  We immediately mailed them the new checks.
  3. We received our plumbing permit via email on Thursday, 12/17 (another 2 weeks later).

Electrical

  1. Brian prepped for the exam for a few weeks and took the test on Thursday, 11/12.  He did not pass by two questions but would have, had the test administrator known it was open book.
  2. On Friday, 11/13,  we found out that Brian could retake the test without blowing time in the 30 day waiting period.  The bureau chief said he would make some calls to the local inspector, who could administer the test to Brian, here in Silver City.
  3. Brian retook the exam on Wednesday, 12/2 and passed with flying colors.
  4. We mailed in the electrical permit application package the next day, on Thursday, 12/3; the same day we sent in our second round of payment for the plumbing.
  5. We hounded the department that handles all this stuff and finally received an approval this morning, on Tuesday, 12/22.  This whole process took 5.5 weeks.

My intention in articulating all this nonsense is to demonstrate how much of your timeline may be out of your control, because you’re waiting on a green light from an external agency.  Getting hung up on the subfloor cost us another 30 days; as did making repairs to the endcaps from the crew’s questionable craftsmanship.

Thankfully, we’ve been kept busy with the fence, digging and selecting fixtures.  I didn’t think we’d need to plan for these sorts of pauses.  I’m not sure why I thought we’d be special – because our house is small?  Because our town is small?  Because we have a pet that speaks English?  Because WE are efficient means THEY will be efficient?

So word to anyone out there about to start one of these projects – budget for the pauses.  Budget in terms of both time (leave side projects to fill uncontrollable gaps in the primary house build) and money (make sure to have surplus to pay the rent).

Back at the house – Brian finished digging the plumbing trench!  Next step – order plumbing and electrical supplies.  While we wait for their arrival, we can work on digging our electrical grounding trench (20 feet long x 30 inches deep; yes, we will be renting a machine for this one) and advance our fence boundary.

We took the trench about a foot beyond the halfway point (that pier is at the midpoint of the foundation). The plumbing will enter the house here and will continue the journey to the right (but inside the wall, not the dirt).

We took the trench about two feet beyond the halfway point (the pier shown above is at the midpoint of the foundation). The plumbing will enter the house here and will continue the journey to the right (but inside the wall, not in the dirt).

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