Cost Over-runs

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Fun topic, eh?

When you are building a house, everyone tells you that their house building or reno, was more expensive, than they thought it would be.

That's not surprising...but the difference in how much people spend over their budget is largely variable. It can run from thousands to tens of thousands, and beyond.

At some point, there really must be a time where you have to say, no.

(I mean, there really is a point where the bank must say "hell, no".)

We can't go endless amounts over budget, is my point. We have savings, but we need to avoid being house poor and we need to maintain our savings in our RRSPs and education funds for Emma.  

So the problem so far, is that our contractor is super-fabulous and talks in very practical terms.

He tells us things that he thinks are appropriate to consider...and I am thankful for it.  But as a result, we are just over a month in to the build, and so far, we have run into three cost over-runs that we signed up for.

Let's chat about them...

Basement gravel with a hit of coral - so chic

1) We get a phone call in the first week, to ask if we want trees to be removed at the lake front area of the property, since they are excavating the site for the house.

We say:  "We were thinking we would do the removal at another time, to prioritize the house, rather than landscaping."

We hear: "Well....right now we can get a large excavator down there and remove foliage and trees, faster.  When your septic field goes in, you can't get a big machine down there, due to the width of the property and fear of crushing the septic tank. Hence, it will cost more down the line, because smaller equipment will take more time.".

Darn you, reasoning skills. Less money now....less chance that we will be wading in our own waste, on the front lawn... Budget - 0, Reasonable thoughts - 1

Some Fox Gloves hanging out near the waterfront

2) We hear:  "Hey, the basement that is facing the water, is going to look like a concrete monolith.".  (I am exaggerating, but that's how I imagined it).

Let's try again:  "Hey, the basement wall that faces the water, is exposed floor height to ceiling height, and will not look very good aesthetically, without a window....when you look at it from the water, it is a lot of concrete. Plus, a window will allow a lot of light in....and if it is an egressed window, it will allow for you to put a bedroom, in the basement, in future."

 (P.s. did you know what "egressed" means?  I didn' means "openable").

Darn you teenage Emma, who will want a basement bedroom, so she can sneak out at night and drink beers with her friends.

Budget - 0,  Reasonable thoughts - probably still 1, if you take into consideration that I am enabling my child.

One of the few raspberry bushes that survived the excavation! 

3) We hear: "Did you want a "rough in"  for a bathroom put in the basement, before we pour the basement floor?"

Gah. Teenage Emma will need to use a bathroom, at some point.

In the meantime, Andrew wishes to put his workout stuff in the basement and was advocating for an "open air" toilet for ease of use.        

No.  Just no.

But alas: Budget - still 0, Reasonable thoughts - 1 1/2, if we avoid the open air toilet.

I hope we do.


Laying Foundations in the Neighbourhood

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

First of all, thanks for the birthday wishes and response to my birthday blog post!

When I started this blog a year ago, I really didn't intend to write to share big pieces of me...but then it happened and the writing itself and the response has been truly cathartic.

As I have said before, I don't identify as a writer at all...but now I guess I should at least think that maybe I am, on a good day. :)

This blog was intended to be a place of sharing re: our experience of building a home in a place that has limited building resources....along with a place to talk about baking.

That is still intended!!

Rogue flowers in our yard 

With that...not many fun updates on the house front. Thanks to a stretch of great weather a few weeks ago, we have the majority of our foundation poured.

Yesterday, we ran over, after soccer, to take a peek at progress.  They are preparing to pour the basement floor and they have a ton of gravel around.  Also, they have started waterproofing the exterior of the foundation, which is really interesting is being applied on a sloping grade, to match the grade of the land. It's marked with a chalk line and is being carefully met.  It's really fascinating to see detail even on the most boring of things.

Looking "through" where our basement window will be...featuring my model, Andrew, in soccer attire, for scale. 

In other house news, we had to cut down some trees for pole access by NS Power (maple tree vs apple tree) and are crossing our fingers that the well drilling, that is coming up, will go smoothly.

Finally...what was extremely heartwarming last night, was watching Emma play with two girls that will be our neighbours when we move in.  They all chased their dog down to the waterfront area of our property and explored around...looking for raspberry bushes.

That's one thing Emma does not have at our current property...children of a similar age that she can just go around and explore with. While these girls are older and won't have the time of day soon, for's still wonderful to have neighbours that you can chat with...borrow sugar etc.

Stay tuned for further updates and fingers crossed for ongoing lovely weather for building and summer adventures!


Ten things at 35

Thursday, 7 July 2016

So I am hitting a milestone birthday today...35.

I remember when 30 was my scary year and then I turned 30 and I was like....ok.... 35 is the new scary year....

Well....I don't think I have a new scary year....which tells me that maybe I have matured a bit when it comes to thinking about aging.

Cuz I feel like I know a lot more than when I was 30....but I don't really feel any older. So what's wrong with that?  Nothing really.

I feel more settled than when I was 30...have a better understanding of what my morals and ethics are...I feel like I understand my job more.....feel more comfortable with what I want in my relationships and friendships.

Nothing wrong with that at all!

So when I was thinking about a birthday post I was like...maybe I should do 35 things about me to celebrate the number of years I am turning....but that felt like I was beating a dead horse...cuz I don't know if there are 35 things I want to share about myself!

So I settled on 10.  Nice even number.

A carefully curated selfie so that I can look back at my 35 year old self.

Let's go with the random, boring facts!!

1) I used to take painting lessons.

I don't think I was that good...but my best friend took them...and I liked the idea of painting. I have one painting that I did in my a drawer.

2) I used to.....

ok... let's start over again...these are superficial things about me...that no one probably cares about...let's get to the nitty gritty.

1) I am a feminist.

Yup....and I married one too.

2) I am non-spiritual, non-religious....but I support your right to chose religion. I am driven by human compassion.

3) I am a straight ally.  What does that mean?  I support equal rights no matter your identified sexuality or gender.

4) I support choice.

5) I seek diversity...I love learning about other cultures, ethnicities...there is no need for intolerance.

6) I believe in science.

7) I believe women have remarkable bodies..we can carry and/or feed a baby, run a marathon, work 12 hour days, solve problems....what's not to love?

8) I support families who have children with special needs: physical, social/emotional, behavioural, developmental...I have been bit, hit, yelled at, had to help kids out from under my desk....they all leave a mark on my heart and I remember them.

9) I believe in early intervention...because why should we look back with regret?

10) I believe we all know someone in poverty. Understanding and assistance is what they need...not suspiciousness and ignorance.

These are 10 things that I possibly knew before I was 30...but definitely know now that I am 35.

So why look back!?


(And Ringo Starr...cuz we share the same birthday)