Wednesday, August 08, 2007
In this picture, you’re looking from front to back with our bedroom in the foreground and the exercise/dressing room at the rear where the tubes change direction. As of the end of work on Monday maybe a third of the tube had been laid.
Yesterday morning during breakfast I got a call from M, who had worked out the expansion joint pattern for the concrete slab. I’d first seen these concrete expansion joints in the slab on which M’s own house is built. Even across a relatively short span, concrete will expand and contract with temperature and other changes of atmosphere. M explained that in my house, there needs to be a system of expansion joints separating the piers of the great room (that support the big cathedral roof trusses, and therefore are subject to a lot of vertical pressure) from the rest of the slab. He said he’d be faxing a layout of what he proposed for me to review with Fritz and see how we liked it.
But with this news came a complication. There are a couple of ways to make an expansion joint. They can be cut with a concrete-cutting circular once the slab has set, which is a very simple but also kind of ugly effect, like a raw slash across your floor. They can also be troweled by hand into the wet concrete, which requires more skill. When the fax came, it showed that M had planned many of the joints to run under framed walls of the house so we’ll never actually see them—these are to be simple saw-cut joints. But for a more finished look in the great room he’d specified the hand troweled joints; our general contractor’s concrete slab man had refused to do them and had withdrawn from the project. We will now go after the guy who poured and hand troweled M’s own floor, although this might cause a delay of several days to a week in getting the slab poured—and a further delay in the start of the framing.
As of yesterday afternoon, nobody had been able to make contact with M’s concrete slab guy (I heard this morning that contact has finally been made and plans faxed to him for a quote and schedule to be submitted on Friday) but the general contractor had some very good news. Even if there is a delay getting the slab poured, work has actually begun on the framing, not at the house site but in the framing crew’s shed. In what I take to be another indication of the big decline in new construction starts, the crew had decided to build frames for the walls of the second floor and roof. So, once the first floor has been framed in on site, everything above it can be assembled fairly quickly out of prefabricated elements. Although work at the site may cease for a bit, the house will still be going forward and the carpenters will be able to log in hours and get paid for some work which they probably need right now rather badly.
This afternoon, Fritz and I will go to The Granite Group in Manchester and sit with one of their sales representatives and pick out potential toilets, a shower enclosure for upstairs, faucets and shower heads, etc. We’d already done the same thing at Lowe’s (without the sales rep, of course) so this will give us a set of alternate of alternate choices.
Through all of the upheaval of moving, my cat has indicated that she’s very happy to be in Fritz’s place. When I brought her up permanently ten days or so before the move, nights were surprisingly cold in New Hampshire and Fritz’s handsome Donegal tweed patchwork counterpane was on the bed.
However, by the time I arrived permanently on the afternoon of the closing on my old house, the nights were warmer and I folded the counterpane and laid it “temporarily” on a dresser by the window. Starr discovered it there and quickly claimed total possession. Not only is it wool, which cats love to nest on above any other substance in my experience, the tweed patches include every color that’s to be found in her fur. I’m sure she feels safely camouflaged during the hours and hours she spends curled up there asleep or watching birds coming into the feeder or chipmunks cavorting through the rocks and trees.