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Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA on 3/21/2007

Since my last post, much has transpired. Between sheer exhaustion and several health issues I simply haven't had the time or energy to update this. Hopefully I'll be in a better position to keep this blog current as I go forward. Where to start...

I thought that the manager of the Lakeland Lowe's store and I had an agreement on a total supply solution back in early February. When it came down to actually executing the agreement he started hemming and hawing and finally admitted that he had overstepped his authority to discount. It turned out that the 30% discount that he had proffered had been based on his anticipated successful presentation to and acceptance of the "pilot O-B program" by his upper management. All of our conversations had indicated to me that it was a done deal and not an expectation on his part.

Jim in Beverly Beach stopped by on his way home from the Orlando Home Show and we had an enjoyable visit. After he left I was fired up to get started actually building so I drove into Lakeland with the intent to do the deal. When I walked into the contractor's entrance I thought that I saw the manager ducking around a corner. He had not returned a call from the previous day which was unusual because my four or five previous calls had been received with enthusiasm. After 10 minutes of the girl on the register paging him without success I decided to go look for him. I thought that I saw him several times and began to suspect that he was intentionally avoiding me. I'm a big guy and usually wear bright shirts which makes it easy to spot me coming. When I saw him duck around the end of the appliance aisle I went back down the main aisle and hooked around into plumbing. I literally ran into him coming around the sink aisle.

By then I was more than a little irritated and his sputtering and obviously false glad-hand just about lit my fuse. I told him that I was ready to get things rolling. He started double talking, which lit me up completely and my mad face took over. Regina has seen it a couple of times when we've been out partying and encountered a boor and says it scares her. Not something that I can always control. I've never been able to suffer fools, liars, and drunks. He scored two out of three on that. I suggested that we go to his office and discuss the situation, which we did with the door open. When we got to his office I told him to cut the crap and give me the bottom line.

He fessed up that his management had been less than receptive to his presentation but that he had figured out a solution to keep me as a loyal Lowe's customer and still provide me with significant savings. I was somewhat cooler by then so I told him to lay it out. The maximum discount that he could offer in his capacity as store manager was 15% however I could gain an additional 10% by obtaining a Lowe's contractors Visa for a "WHOPPING" 25% total discount. He just had to work out how to include his discount into the Visa discount, which he was "pretty sure" that he could do. Not quite the flat 30% that he had been so proud of in previous conversations. I just looked at him for a minute, trying to decide whether a couple of nights in jail would be worth the immediate physical gratification. I decided that I'm too old and fat to repeat that experience.

I won't elaborate on my reply but I won't be buying anything for this house from Lowe's, even if it costs me twice as much somewhere else. Stupid I know, but that's just me. I spent too many years crushing weasels like him in my professional life and don't intend to start dealing with them in my retired life. I told him what I thought of him, his offer, and Lowe's in general and left the store. I have since written Lowe's a strongly worded letter recounting the entire experience but have yet to receive a reply. They probably threw it in the crank file.

When I got back to Polk City I was totally deflated, still highly irritated, and full of the need to do something productive. Stupidly, I decided to erect my construction pole instead of having a good stiff bourbon or three. I had already mounted all of the components to the pole and just needed to stand it up into the 4-foot hole that I had dig. I backed my truck up and managed to get it into the bed. That 16-foot PT 6x6 had been rained on and was full of water. I backed the truck up as close to the hole as I could get and coerced it up into a balanced position on the tailgate. I still had about 15 feet to go to the hole, but figured that I could carry it that far. One of the stupidest things that I have done in recent memory.

I got it balanced on my shoulder and heaved it up off of the tailgate. After about 6 feet my bad left knee started to buckle sideways and my muscles were shaking tremendously. I knew that if I went down on it I'd end up in a cast at the least or with a knee replacement. I rolled to the left and tried to push the 6x6 as far away from me as I could as I went down. The end of the pole hit the truck bumper and bounced on the tip of the weather mast sending it back toward me. I was concentrating so hard on protecting my knee that it slammed down on the right side of my chest, cracking 3 ribs. I didn't know that at the time though. I lay there under it for a good 10 minutes trying to assess the damage - seemed like an hour.

After I decided that I wasn't dead I tried to move the pole off of me but the stab in my chest was so great that I couldn't lift it up enough to make sure that my knee didn't suffer any more damage. I lay there for a while longer trying to summon the reserves to lift it up. What finally gave me the strength to throw it off of me was feeling several fire ant bites on my shoulder. I figured that last thing that I needed was to be covered in those hateful things. I managed to get it off of me and get into the truck. It was a long drive to the ER at Lakeland Regional, and an even longer wait.

By the time someone finally saw me I was lightheaded from trauma, pain, and lack of oxygen from shallow breathing. I later learned that I should have told them that I was simply having chest pains. They would have seen me immediately. Go figure. 12 hours later I left the hospital, left knee in a splint and chest wrapped in gauze and tape. Fortunately my sister had returned from the beach and was able to pick me up. I was full of Demerol and was in no shape to drive. Nice stuff. I won't recount the ensuing recuperative period. Sorry for this long and boring post but I felt it necessary to communicate this hard personal lesson to any O-B out there who happens to read it. This should be the first paragraph in any O-B guide:

1. Don’t take anything as gospel until it’s in writing, and then leave a good margin of skepticism.

2. Know your physical limitations.

3. SAFETY- SAFETY - SAFETY- FIRST AND FOREMOST. If it looks too heavy or difficult, it is.

4. If you're over 25, you're not 25 anymore!

My next posts will be more on target and have some pictures. I've finally finished the foundation.

Photos




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Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA on 3/21/2007

...since my last post and much has transpired. Between sheer exhaustion and several health issues, I simply haven't had the time or energy to update this. Hopefully I'll be in a better position to keep this blog current as I go forward. Where to start...

I thought that the manager of the Lakeland Lowe's store and I had an agreement on a total supply solution back in early February. When it came down to actually executing the agreement he started hemming and hawing and finally admitted that he had overstepped his authority to discount. It turned out that the 30% discount that he had proffered had been based on his anticipated successful presentation to and acceptance of the "pilot OB program" by his upper management. All of our conversations had indicated to me that it was a done deal and not an expectation on his part.

Jim in Beverly Beach stopped by on his way home form the Orlando Home Show and we had an enjoyable visit. After he left I was fired up to get started actually building so I drove into Lakeland with the intent to do the deal. When I walked into the contractor's entrance I thought that I saw the manager ducking around a corner. He had not returned a call from the previous day which was unusual because my four or five previous calls had been received with enthusiasm. After 10 minutes of the girl on the register paging him without success I decided to go look for him. I thought that I saw him several times and began to suspect that he was intentionally avoiding me. I'm a big guy and usually wear bright shirts which makes it easy to spot me coming. When I saw him duck around the end of the appliance aisle, I went back down the main aisle and hooked around into plumbing. I literally ran into him coming around the sink aisle.

By then I was more than a little irritated and his sputtering and obviously false glad-hand just about lit my fuse. I told him that I was ready to get things rolling. He started double talking, which lit me up completely and my mad face took over. Regina has seen it a couple of times when we've been out partying and encountered a boor and says it scares her. Not something that I can always control. I've never been able to suffer fools, liars, and drunks. He scored 2 out of 3 on that. I suggested that we go to his office and discuss the situation, which we did with the door open. When we got to his office I told him to cut the crap and give me the bottom line.

He fessed up that his management had been less than receptive to his presentation but that he had figured out a solution to keep me as a loyal Lowe's customer and still provide me with significant savings. I was somewhat cooler by then so I told him to lay it out. The maximum discount that he could offer in his capacity as store manager was 15% however I could gain an additional 10% by obtaining a Lowe's contractors Visa for a "WHOPPING" 25% total discount. He just had to work out how to include his discount into the Visa discount, which he was "pretty sure" that he could do. Not quite the flat 30% that he had been so proud of in previous conversations. I just looked at him for a minute, trying to decide whether a couple of nights in jail would be worth the immediate physical gratification. I decided that I'm too old and fat to repeat that experience.

I won't elaborate on my reply but I won't be buying anything for this house from Lowe's, even if it costs me twice as much somewhere else. Stupid I know but that's just me. I spent too many years crushing weasels like him in my professional life and don't intend to start dealing with them in my retired life. I told him what I thought of him, his offer, and Lowe's in general and left the store. I have since written Lowe's a strongly worded letter recounting the entire experience but have yet to receive a reply. They probably threw it in the crank file.

When I got back to Polk City I was totally deflated, still highly irritated, and full of the need to do something productive. Stupidly, I decided to erect my construction pole instead of having a good stiff bourbon or three. I had already mounted all of the components to the pole and just needed to stand it up into the four-foot hole that I had dig. I backed my truck up and managed to get it into the bed. That 16-foot PT 6x6 had been rained on and was full of water. I backed the truck up as close to the hole as I could get and coerced it up into a balanced position on the tailgate. I still had about 15 feet to go to the hole but figured that I could carry it that far. One of the stupidest things that I have done in recent memory.

I got it balanced on my shoulder and heaved it up off of the tailgate. After about 6 feet my bad left knee started to buckle sideways and my muscles were shaking tremendously. I knew that if I went down on it I'd end up in a cast at the least or with a knee replacement. I rolled to the left and tried to push the 6x6 as far away from me as I could as I went down. The end of the pole hit the truck bumper and bounced on the tip of the weather mast sending it back toward me. I was concentrating so hard on protecting my knee that it slammed down on the right side of my chest, cracking three ribs. I didn't know that at the time though. I lay there under it for a good 10 minutes trying to assess the damage - seemed like an hour.

After I decided that I wasn't dead I tried to move the pole off of me but the stab in my chest was so great that I couldn't lift it up enough to make sure that my knee didn't suffer any more damage. I lay there for a while longer trying to summon the reserves to lift it up. What finally gave me the strength to throw it off of me was feeling several fire ant bites on my shoulder. I figured that last thing that I needed was to be covered in those hateful things. I managed to get it off of me and get into the truck. It was a long drive to the ER at Lakeland Regional, and an even longer wait.

By the time someone finally saw me I was lightheaded from trauma, pain, and lack of oxygen from shallow breathing. I later learned that I should have told them that I was simply having chest pains. They would have seen me immediately. Go figure. 12 hours later I left the hospital, left knee in a splint and chest wrapped in gauze and tape. Fortunately my sister had returned from the beach and was able to pick me up. I was full of Demerol and was in no shape to drive. Nice stuff. I won't recount the ensuing recuperative period. Sorry for this long and boring post but I felt it necessary to communicate this hard personal lesson to any O-B out there who happens to read it. This should be the first paragraph in any O-B guide:

1. Don’t take anything as gospel until it’s in writing, and then leave a good margin of skepticism.

2. Know your physical limitations.

3. SAFETY- SAFETY - SAFETY- FIRST AND FOREMOST. If it looks too heavy or difficult, it is.

4. If you're over 25, you're not 25 anymore!

My next posts will be more on target and have some pictures. I've finally finished the foundation.


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Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA on 1/22/2007

The staking was well done, if I do say so myself.

We had a great groundbreaking party on Saturday. About 30 friends and family. Sorry that Lisa and Rup couldn't make it. I pretty much loafed all day Sunday (conserving my strength and collecting my thoughts, of course). Monday dawned bright and clear.

I hauled some stakes, tape measure, hammer, string, and high hopes out to the job site with the intent of having the house staked within the hour. The guys erecting the pole barn arrived about the same time. Two framers and two concrete guys. One of the framers started giving one of the concrete guys guff about not having poured the slab on Saturday as planned. I ignored them and started my staking. After about 30 minutes I was starting to get pretty frustrated at my inability to remember basic geometry. The incessant and steady stream of bitching coming from the pole barn didn't help my mood either. I looked up in time to see a hammer flying across the interior of the pole barn towards the concrete guy. They were all surprised at how fast an old fat guy can cover 60 feet of ground carrying a short handle sledge. I spent 10 minutes establishing the pecking order and rules of conduct on MY construction site.

After that was settled I pulled up my stakes and started over. The adrenaline must have cleared the cobwebs because I had the house staked in 30 minutes. It took another hour to install the batter boards and string them. We're ready to dig the trenches for the footers. Dana can't make it over with his backhoe until Wednesday, which is actually good because it will give me some time to clear up a few loose ends on my quote package. I realized last night that I had forgotten to include the hurricane and other straps needed. At the cost of those things, they aren't items that you want to have to buy retail. Although the total cost for those items probably won't be more than a couple hundred dollars, every little bit saved helps.

I'll drop my quote package around the area tomorrow and we'll see how much more money I have to print.

I'll post some pictures of the party and pole barn later in the week, along with some pictures of the footer excavation.

Photos

Pole Barn Construction
Wife Regina, son Jeremy, mother Ida, and me.
Includes niece Lisa and her husband Cale.
A stray that wandered up out of the bayhead. From his emaciated condition someone must have dumped him out. Pity. He's a very friendly dog, craving human interaction. No sign of aggression even when I moved a dish of food that I had given him. Unfortunately, I don't need or want a pit bull on the place, so if animal control doesn't come pick him up soon I guess we'll have to take that short walk into the woods...



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Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA on 1/18/2007

If it ain't one thang it's a nothuh...

In my giddiness over getting the permit I took everyone out to celebrate that night. My sister suggested a place called Don Pablos because she knows how much I like Tequila. It was two for one night so I took it as a sign from the permit gods to imbibe away since I wasn't driving. After 6 of those BIG margaritas and a couple shots of Patron I was feeling quite expansive. While waiting on the next round I started crunching ice. Bad move. About the third crunch I felt something stab me in the back of my jaw. Unfortunately, because of my well lubricated state, I didn't pay much attention to it and continued to crunch away - until the next morning.

After four Excedrin dulled the headache a bit, I realized that the pain in my jaw wasn't hangover related. I called my dentist in Atlanta and made an appointment for Tuesday. It was a miserable weekend. When he looked at my tooth on Tuesday he said "Oh my, you've cracked that molar completely down the middle". He said that he couldn't see any way to fix it but suggested that I give the oral surgeon a shot at it. I went next door to see the oral surgeon. She oohed and aahed for awhile and finally said that she thought she could save it, but it wouldn't be pleasant. I told her to do whatever it took. I've always taken good care of my teeth, even in Nam out in the bush and only have 3 fillings. She asked if I wanted gas and, trying to keep it light, I told her no thanks I already had it.

After 45 minutes and no less than 15 shots of Novocaine and pure agony I grabbed her wrist and mumbled around all of the hardware in my mouth to go ahead and pull it. She allowed as how she was just about ready to tell me that she couldn't save it anyway. It took another 10 minutes to get it out, but it finally gave it up. That was the single most disconcerting experience of my life. I guess because of bone conduction I could hear every millimeter of movement as it came loose from my jaw. I've been shot, and stabbed, and seen all manner of horrible things happen to other people but that's the closest that I've ever come to fainting. I've lost the last day and a half due to the drug-induced stupor of the Demerol. Good stuff.

Although not construction related, I posted this so that anyone reading it will be warned about crunching ice. My dentist said that fully 75% of the patients he sees for cracked and chipped healthy teeth are the result of crunching ice. Who knew? I've chomped ice cubes all my life and never thought anything about it. Ah well, off the Demerol and back to working on my bid package because I'm heading back to Fla in the morning to actually get started. We're having an informal groundbreaking party on Saturday afternoon the 20th around 3 or 4. Just grilled stuff and beverages (think I'll stick to tea for a while). If anyone would like to come let me know and I'll send directions. Bring the kids if ya got 'em. Always enjoy meeting new people, especially other O-Bs.


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Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA on 1/13/2007

Whoopee! On Wednesday, Jan 9th I stopped by the Lakeland building permit office just to run through my checklist in preparation for actually submitting my application on Thursday. All I was waiting on was the Manual J and the load calcs from the HVAC guy, which were supposed to be ready that afternoon.

I guess it was the big smile on my face that set the plans clerk off because I got attitude as soon as I sat down. Since I had been there and talked to these folks several times over the last month, usually fairly amicably, I stupidly assumed that some level of cooperative relationship had evolved. WRONG! 

She started out by telling me that I couldn't get an O-B permit because I wasn't a Florida resident. I thought that she was making a joke, so I responded with a joke. The conversation went downhill from there. After 15 minutes and several more totally inaccurate statements by her I decided to leave before I ended up in jail. Still seething, I drove to the Bartow office (somehow managing to avoid a speeding ticket) and demanded to speak to the supervisor's supervisor.

After a 15-minute wait I was granted an audience with a very nice lady named Kathryn LaFond. I explained the purpose of my visit and recounted the details of my conversation with the lady in Lakeland (Patty, for future reference). Although her demeanor remained cheerful and conciliatory, I could tell by her body language that she was genuinely embarrassed by the woman's attitude and ignorance. She looked at my permit package and assured me that I had everything necessary except for the aforementioned items. She apologized for the "inconvenience" and invited me to apply for the permit when I had my load calcs. I told her that I was through dealing with the Lakeland office and would return to Bartow in the morning if the HVAC guy made good on his promise to complete the calcs that day. I should have known from past experience with other central Florida trades that it was an empty promise. I received apologies and excuses when I stopped by to pick up the calcs that evening. He got to see my mad face.

I picked up the energy calcs at 9 on Thursday morning but decided to wait until Friday to go back to Bartow since it would be 10 before I got there and found a parking space. I figured that they'd be crowded and that I'd be there all day.

I walked in at 8am on Friday and was immediately pointed to a plan tech's booth. An absolute jewel of a woman named Linda Evers. After 45 minutes of data entry, paper signing, and enjoyable conversation, she suggested that I go across the street to the courthouse and file my Notice Of Commencement while the plans examiner looked everything over. She said that it would save me a trip back to Bartow. I did as she suggested. When I returned, the plans examiner came out of his cubicle, asked me a couple of questions, made a few notes and disappeared. He reappeared five minutes later and said congratulations. I wrote a check, Linda handed me the permit package and permit and I was on my merry way by 10:30.

The most important O-B thing that I've learned thus far is that conducting any construction business via phone or email is counterproductive. People will say and promise anything unless you're right in front of them, staring directly into their lying beady eyes. Every face to face that I've had with anyone has resulted in on time/on price delivery of a quality product. Every email or phone commitment has been totally missed.

I'm back in Atlanta for a couple of weeks taking care of business. I plan on doing the takeoffs while I'm here and will hit the ground running when I go back down to start construction on the 24th of Jan. I ordered DSL for my sister while I was down last week, so hopefully I'll be able to update progress more often. It's impossible at dial-up speeds. More later.


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Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA on 12/19/2006

Inch by inch... I now understand fully why long periods have elapsed in the updates of other O-Bs' construction blogs. You're either too tired to mess with it - or too depressed. Things went exceptionally well for a couple of weeks. The rapid progress on several fronts should have been my first indicator that things would come to a screeching and grinding halt.

The septic permit only took three days to get. Since the nice folks at FEMA put my property in flood zone A, the plumbing stub-out was set at 32 inches. I didn't figure that to be a problem, because I had planned on elevating the house at least 30 inches anyway. What's a few more inches amongst friends? The truss estimate came in at $6,500 -  four thousand less than I had expected. The company I hired to erect a 40x40 steel building said that they could start the very next week - life was good - so - I rolled into Polk City last Friday fully expecting to have a nearly completed shop that I could wire up over the weekend and insulate and drywall the following weekend.

I was dismayed to see piles of material and a Bobcat sitting at the site and no appreciable signs of activity. There was also a bright orange sticker on the gatepost. It turned out to be a cease construction order from the county, issued on Wednesday. Somewhat confused, I called the steel building company to find out what was going on. The short of it is that the morons had gone down to get a permit and were denied because the appraiser's office shows that there is a double-wide trailer on the property while the building department can clearly see from the GIS photographs that the land is vacant.

The building dept. refused the permit because there is no primary structure on the property. The fools at the steel bldg. company just left everything on site and left. Didn't bother to call and let me know there was a problem! To top it off, the GC that I cleverly found to work with me on a consultant basis gave me a quote of $57K for the foundation later in the evening. Yup - $57K for just the foundation. I realized that because the house is 80 ft long with the plumbing exiting at one end that the stem wall would have to be  be 7 or 8 courses high. I had not even imagined that it would cost $3,200 per course. It looks like the one piece of this house that I desperately did not want to do myself will indeed be done by yours truly. I did my own takeoff over the weekend and I can do it for $18K. Just gotta learn how to set block first...

I spent Monday bouncing between the Lakeland building office, Bartow building office, the Land Development Commission, and the Tax Appraiser's office. I met a lot of very nice, albeit unhelpful, people in the process. The building dept. folks suggested that I apply for an agricultural exemption to allow me to put the "barn" up. So it was off to the LDC. The LDC folks said that it was out of their hands until the Appraisers did their thing. So I went to the Appraiser's office. The Appraiser's office can't get out until the end of March. Back to the building dept. to talk to more nice folks.

The upshot is that I should get the permit for the main structure and the "barn". Go ahead and have the "barn" built before I start on the house. Alternately, I could just have the "barn" erected without a permit - but they didn't say that. Pay the double permit fee on the "barn" if I get caught. Jeeez. I'll probably go for door number two. I've already got too much money tied up in this to walk away from it. I already have a power pole and meter that I had put in to run the two-inch well and irrigation. It's only a 100-amp service and is way at the back of the property, but I can trench in some 2.0 to power the shop temporarily I guess. That's about 600 feet of big buried cable that I hadn't planned on buying, but desperate times... etc. Ah well, inward and outward or onward and upward, depending upon your perspective.


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Posted to PolkCityProject by Del in Norcross, GA on 11/26/2006

When we decided to do this in early August it seemed like a pretty simple thing to do - get some plans, build the house. Well, here it is nearly four months later - I've done my 1,000 hours of planning - and we finally have a set of plans. We've gotten all of the trash vegetation and dead trees cleared and the stump holes filled in and compacted. White three-board (vinyl) fence has been installed around four of the acres. The house and garage will go almost in the center of the four acres. The other acre isn't really useable, so I saw no point in fencing it.

I plan on doing all of the work myself with the exception of the slab. I'm subbing that piece out because I don't have the concrete experience or the tools. Since Regina and I are determined to not have a mortgage, we must build this entirely out of personal funds. Our budget is $100K start to finish. The plans swelled from 1,800 feet under air to 2,400 feet under air. They originally had a 10x24 lanai. I knew in my head what a lanai was, but had never seen one so I stopped by where they are building those ugly boxes on Mt. Olive to look at one. Talk about feeling closed in. I went over to the designer's office and told him to bring the wall out flush and add a 10-foot porch along the entire back of the house. Depending upon who you talk to it can or can't be done for this amount. I guess we'll see. I had the designer draw the house for both 2x6 on 16-inch center stick framing and CMU so that I can accurately assess the cost of both methods. I've lived in several block houses and didn't care for either of them. In spite of all of the well-meaning and well-informed information on this site about SIP, ICF, and other new construction methods.

I think that it is possible to build an energy-efficient and sturdy house out of 2x6s at a much lower cost. Other than not liking a CMU house, my other reason for leaning toward stick construction is labor. If I were building this house in Atlanta I could stop by QT and pick up a 3-4 man crew of fairly skilled Mexicans for 20 dollars an hour each. Since I'm a big guy with an intimidating demeanor (according to some) and would be working with them, things would move along nicely. Unfortunately that approach isn't available in Polk City, so I will literally be doing all of the construction myself. I figure that I can stick frame it in a week. CMU would take me at least a month. Not sure what I'll do when it comes time to install the trusses. You need at least two people with three being better.

We've gotten a firm quote of $5K for a 160 to 180-foot four-inch well with a 3 hp pump and 100-gallon bladder tank from Fussel Drilling. I think that he and his family have drilled most of the wells in this area for the last 100 years.

I've had several quotes on septic for $5,000 - $8,000. It seems like a lot for what it is, so I plan on installing it myself. I plan on visiting Phillip in Tampa when he installs his "Infiltrator" system and helping him install it in order to gain the experience. You have to have a license to buy the system in Florida - probably a manufacturer/distributor agreement, because I can't see any other reason for the requirement - so I'll have to find a GC in the area that will let me use their number.

After spending months reading of everyone's trials and tribulations I was feeling quite smug that I had things rolling along so smoothly. I had accomplished almost everything thus far, via long distance to boot! I felt everyone's aggravation and frustration deeply, but felt good about my own situation nonetheless. That good feeling was short lived, however. Just goes to show you - pride indeed goeth before the fall.

For the last three weeks I've been lied to by one scumbag surveyor after another. When they do show up, they don't do what you need them to do. I have emailed my site map to three of them, clearly explaining that I wanted a drainage and elevation survey, not a boundary survey. A boundary survey had been done in April and the marking pins were readily visible. I have also said that I would pay for a new GIS survey if they thought that it would help me have the county remove a piece of the property from the FEMA flood zone (which is incorrect). Two never bothered to show up even after repeated calls and emails and promises to do the work. The third went out and did a boundary survey and had the nerve to send me a bill for 1,800 bucks. I'll take that up with him when I go down the week of Dec 4th. He'll get to see my mad face as only a select few do anymore. Guess I'll just start beating on surveyors' doors in person until I find one that can do it promptly and properly.

We've been buying little things as we find them. Got 150 ft of the little black and white tiles that Regina likes at Lowe's in Norcross the other day. She wants to use it in the half bath off of the family room. Got the whole lot for 10 cents a square foot because they were closing it out. More than enough for what we need. I was in the Lowe's in Lakeland a couple of weeks ago and found a 6-ft Jacuzzi tub for 100 bucks. It was a special order that the person didn't want because she didn't like the color. It was "bone", which looks white to me. Anyway, I bent the manager's ear for 20 minutes and we finally agreed on the 100 bucks. Guess he figured that he couldn't outlast me and just gave up. The box was covered with dust and had been there for 6 months. When I told Regina about it, she opined as how she could live with it in the master bath. White does go with everything, doesn't it? We've gotten a lot of other stuff over the months and are storing it at my sister's in Polk City.

I'll update this when I have the survey issue resolved and post some pictures also.

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