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House update [Mar. 21st, 2004|11:52 am]
[Current Mood |disgruntled]

We went yesterday morning to retrieve the construction key for our house. "Please bring this back as soon as you're done," we were told, "because it's the only one we have. We used to have several but people kept borrowing them and keeping them."

Our house is in decent shape. We have pictures posted from March 16, when insulation went up, and March 20, after drywall. A lot of the problems have been fixed. The door jamb, for example, was a royal mess: a big chunk taken out of one part of it. Whoever patched it did an excellent job. It took me a minute to find the seams. Drywall is about two thirds of the way done right now: figure there's about half a day's work left to hang the rest of it, then all the seams need to be sealed. The outside of the house has been covered with tyvek and chicken-wire in preparation for stucco. Lots of cement blocks have been delivered to build the wall of our courtyard. The radiant heat piping has been brought upstairs but not laid down yet. They'll have to finish the drywall and sweep the floors thoroughly before that can happen.

Our wiring, of course, has been screwed up again. They did manage to re-run all the wires, but since they totally forgot to order the structured wiring box, they left all the different strands in a taped-together bundle. Then, when drywall went up, someone pulled the wires through a (new) hole in the drywall in the master bathroom instead of in the closet where it belongs. They also didn't install the extra 110V outlet they said they were going to need. Pam will surely hear about this tomorrow afternoon when she calls.

I was pleasantly surprised by how well lit the house is. Many of the pictures look dark because the frame included windows: it was very bright outside. This picture gives a better sense for the illumination. We'll lose a little bit of that due to gray carpeting, but I think we're going to have plenty of light.

The biggest annoyance came when we went to give the key back. Since there's no sales office in the neighborhood anymore, it's a 15-minute detour (20 to 25 with traffic) both coming and going to get the key. That adds up fast. We dropped by Lowe's to get a copy made for ourselves. However... the people at the office where the key is kept were awfully nasty about it, insisting that we give them our copy. See, we're not allowed to have a temporary key to a house we don't own yet, but they were apparently fine with people borrowing the ones they keep and not returning them. I acknowledge that the house isn't mine yet, but gee, considering that that lock will be changed out in a month or so, isn't this a rule that could be bent some? Moreover, considering how far the office is from our hours, and how much has been screwed up on this house already that I'm keeping a close eye on, wouldn't it be reasonable for me to have easy access to it instead of assuming that people will be in the sales office whenever I need to go look?

I am generally irritated by people who insist that the rules must be followed Because They're Rules whether or not they are consistent with the way the world is actually happening.

Anyway. Other news. Right about when I picked willowisp up to go sign our contract addendum, Susan (sales manager) left me voice mail explaining our close date. She wrestled our build mangler into May 7 instead of May 10, but scheduled us for the absolute latest slot in the day (3pm) "so that Pam can have that entire day for a workday". This was apparently at Pam's request. This comes right after Pam assured Susan that the house would be done by April 30. What's going on here?

All I know for certain is that we have the lease on our apartment through mid-July and that Centex will be picking up the extension fee for our mortgage lock if it comes to that.

Supposedly I have a weekend. I'm off to try to make some use of it.

[User Picture]From: tyee
2004-03-21 11:51 am (UTC)
I agree that they are being totally unreasonable about the key...but why did you tell them you had a copy made in the first place? :-)

But anyway, if they lost the keys to your house more than once already, it seems like any notion of security relating to keeping track of who has keys is useless at this point.
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[User Picture]From: willowisp
2004-03-21 12:21 pm (UTC)
Next time we borrow the key I'll have Andy return it so when they ask if we have copies he can say "No". Unless, of course, Susan agrees that this is a situation in which she should look the other way (since by allowing Andy in they'll be averting even more potential mess-ups before they have to deal with breach-of-contract issues).

Worse yet, these are master keys to all houses under construction, not just ours. So the five or so which were never returned are all out there and can open any house, including ours. Grrrrr. I agree with Andy there -- if it's so darned important that we don't have the keys to a house we've not paid for, why the hell aren't the keeping better track of the keys they're loaning out? Maybe next time we should borrow it from the incompetent person at Candelerias and just keep it.
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[User Picture]From: colubra
2004-03-21 12:15 pm (UTC)
...what use does radiant heat have where you are? I honestly didn't think it got cold there.
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[User Picture]From: willowisp
2004-03-21 12:34 pm (UTC)
I honestly didn't think it got cold there.

Neither did I, until I spent a winter here. I knew, of course, that we had dry heat and that sand can't hold in heat worth anything and that nights would be significantly cooler than days. But we do have winters here, and since there is no humidity to hold the heat and since the sand doesn't hold the heat worth bupkis, it ends up being even colder. For a week or two (until she got tired of it) Mom would send me gleeful e-mails every day about how we were colder than upstate NY. Granted we never got down to the below zeroes as upstate eventually did, we got below freezing enough times that for a while we had snow which stuck.

Heating is standard in all houses, although the default is forced air. The house-building industry has been slow to change, as evidenced by the fact that swamp coolers are still the defaults in most. Originally, when electricity was scarce here, swamp coolers were encouraged since they use less. In the intervening years water has become even more scarce than electricity, so now refrigerated air (the kind which is default in most of the country) is strongly encouraged. I've seen some (ok, one) development which is defaulting to refrigerated; oddly enough it's the Centex one which opened while Symphony was selling out. I'm not sure whether all of their new neighborhoods will include that, though.
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[User Picture]From: esmerel
2004-03-21 01:00 pm (UTC)
It's desert where they are - hot during the day, but there's *nothing* to hold on to the heat once the sun goes down. It gets cold *fast* in the winter.
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