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Yesterday we were stressed to the max and today we were just downright happy. The last of the framing was being done. We will get rafters on Boxing Day. Things in the house are moving so quickly now it changes while you stand there. There is still a lot between here and finished but see 2 x 6’s that are vertical rather than horizontal is a heady feeling.

Starting in 2008 and finishing in 2010 I did a major remodel on our house that burned. One of the things that happened with that remodel, as is so common, is that the work schedule and the materials schedules were jockeying back and forth. I never want workers on my site without materials to work with so I would rather have the materials around waiting than the people around waiting. Enter the delivery trucks. Plenty of delivery trucks. we had a 3 car garage and we could get 1 car in it when I got all my supplies onsite. I had potties and flooring and sinks and ceiling fixtures. We had nails, we had screws, we had paint we had brushes. We did not have workers.

The project stated out unassumingly enough. I wanted to finish a framed bedroom and bathroom off of the garage. We had saved up some money and thought we were good to go. This was my first major projects of the past few years and I did not know how far the money would go.

First we were going to clean up the garage. It looked like hoarders had been in there. What really had happened was that my had all of the boxing stuff for his largely mail order antiques business. I had research papers down there. We had tax papers. We had scores of boxes of books. Then the estates of my mother and my grandmother were delivered in close order.

We had some trepidation about getting the garage cleaned in time for the work to commence but we thought that 2 weeks was sufficient. What we did not know was that during one of those weeks my poor spouse would slip on an icy hillside and tear his leg up. The damage was so bad that the surgeon commented, “you do have a fracture in your leg but we won’t worry about it.” I had no idea that you could have a broken leg and not worry about it. the damage to everything else around the bone was so serious that the break seemed a little thing. I was too worried about him to even make any wisecracks about trying to get out of working on the garage.

We delayed the start of the project a couple of times. Our builder’s wife helped me find help just to get basic supplies in the house and keep my head above water. My beloved was completely off his leg for 12 weeks. Not one step. He had to make it through the first week of severe pain in order for them to do surgery. The week of the surgery was a haze of pain. The third week was still pain but not as much so he was very interested in what he wanted. I could not begrudge him his ice, his medications, his TV remote, his naps or anything else but it was a though time. I taught Sophie, our dog, to carry fresh ice packs to him and bring the old ice pack back.  I even taught her to help me carry meals from the kitchen to the den where the camp-out was located.

All of this was going on upstairs while the garage below was moldering. The freight companies had started calling for delivery. I had help taking things to the donation center but mostly I was on my own moving and sorting and organizing our stuff. It was January and it was cold in the garage. I felt stretched pretty thin.

Then the lumber stated arriving. I shoved the stuff I was sorting and sending out for donation to one side and jammed the lumber in the other. I was there but I don’t remember any of the deliveries but the potty. It was “curbside;” we did not have a curb. They put the potty in the road at the foot of a rather long driveway. Well, long if you are have a potty and a hand truck with flat tires in the snowing, and of course, the driveway was uphill.

In the end the leg healed and the remodel was finished. Both had a bit of character but we survived. Even though we lived with building materials everywhere, even in the living room, we loved the finished house. This house has some of the same features we loved in our old house. You could see them today.

Like our old house, the car has a drive under garage with a small suite behind the garage that is below grade. It has a nice window well so you can see out the top of it. That level is all framed out. I made real-life templates for the potty, shower and sink so you can see where everything goes (and make sure it fits since the rooms are tiny).

framed basement bathroom with templates of a toilet and a sink.

The potty is on the left the sink straight ahead. the wet, formerly frozen paper in the front is my door so I could check the swing.

A couple of weeks ago the stairs from the garage to the main floor got put in. You could walk around and look at stuff and imagine how it would be but there was no upper floor so you had to use your imagination a lot. Today we have a third floor. It happened suddenly. We passed the Western Building Supply truck coming down the hill wile we were going up. There was a big pile of lumber lying horizontal on the ground in front of the house. We stayed and worked about 4 hours and the lumber all went vertical. During time we were there they finished the crawlspace for our lean-to kitchen, erected the framing for the kitchen and framed out the upper floor.

Other than meeting with the electrician and the garage door person, I worked in the suite at the back of the basement. It is my top priority right now. Once the house is weathered in, we plan to live there while the house is being finished. While I was down with my head in the basement, the lumber went from horizontal on ground in front of the house to vertical on top of the house. It was an amazing surprise to emerge from the dark, cold garage where there was no sun and ice on the floor to the sunshine and light to see our beautiful mountain view and to view my house growing up into the blue Montana sky.

The view today was of a house. It is no longer the view of a plan. It is not the view of  horizontal lumber. It is the view of vertical lumber. It is the view of our home.

view of house framing looking out over what will be the upstairs front wall where there is a view of distant mountains

When I emerged from working in the basement this is what I saw. The camera did not capture the mountains in their grandeur.