We honestly haven’t been twiddling our thumbs all this time! We did spend almost 3 weeks back in the Northwest, which will get sufficient posting all on its own soon. But there has been progress on the “home” front, and it’s time to post out the progress.
We have been waiting out the start of our construction as we got initially settled (see “The Eagle has Landed”) and then re-settled into a new RV campground. We relocated from 4 Lakes Campground in Hastings to our new digs at the Bulow Plantation in Flagler Beach, mostly to get us closer to town and because Bulow has a pool! There is much more social life going on, and we’ve already met folks to hang with. A huge plus: we got Spectrum cable internet right at our site. We went from near-zero connectivity at 4 Lakes to 400 mb/sec screaming broadband, and it has dramatically improved our moods. It’s not such a great testament to how dependent we have become on the Internet and our cell phones, but when you are living a nomadic lifestyle with daily involvement in city building codes and properties, it’s a real mood enhancer.
On the building front, we were finally notified by the builder that we have been assigned a Construction Manager (hi Rick!), and that means that they are finally commencing with the build. That was a very good day, and Wendy has formed a strong texting bond with him for updates. He kept us well-informed as to the date for Step One: to bring in the heavy equipment to mow down and remove all the vegetation on our small parcel of jungle, called “clearing the lot”. The date inched closer and closer over a week or so until Rick texted that our lot was next, and we could expect work to start the next day, August 22. We took one last look at our little patch of jungle, woefully recalling that we had ventured onto this frontier many months ago, armed with a roll of fluorescent pink plastic flagging tape to mark all the trees we wanted to keep, only to be later informed that their lot-clearing contractor was no longer allowing that due to so many lot owners mis-marking trees that interfered with the building or utilities, requiring the contractor to return to remove them. Although we were well aware of the need to keep clear of the build (I had personally done the lot placement diagram that the builder submitted to the city for permitting), we couldn’t convince them to spare the few nice trees we had already tagged.
The lot clearing happened over 2 days, ending on August 23. It was very exciting to see, with the big excavator taking huge bites out of the landscape and tearing trees out like they were weeds. Big dump trucks came and hauled it all off, turning us into Flatlanders virtually overnight.
From the standard build calendar the builder had provided us, I was expecting a couple of weeks to elapse before anything else happened, but the very next day the city notified us that an inspection for water meter installation had been not only been ordered but was already done and signed off. This is quick progress, indicating that another stage has begun. And lo and behold, when we took a drive by to check again the next day another astounding milestone was met. I never in my life thought I would admit that the sight of a Port-a-Potty would be an earth-shaking event, but there it stood in all its majestic glory.
Don’t underestimate the power and utility of the Port-a-Potty. This magnificent device delivers the ability to sustain workers at our property for entire days at a time, and that’s a good sign that the builder intends to do just that. This notion is augmented by the fact that the same builder is putting up two other homes in the same neighborhood, one is slightly ahead of ours on the calendar and the other is a week or so behind. We can use the first one as an indicator of when to expect a similar stage of building on our lot. True to that assumption, just a day later appears a small bobcat tractor and a trail of dump trucks with topsoil that will be used to grade out our lot and to construct the building pad so the concrete crew can get to work on the utilities and foundation.
We’re over the moon, at least for a short while, at the pace of building. Especially after waiting 9 long months from writing the first check to a shovel full of dirt being turned. But at least we’re “on the board”, and hoping the fast pace keeps us on our toes.
Tippy has a little to offer on this, as usual.
Wow! The change from a lot with a great deal of foliage to an open space is quite dramatic. I am also so pleased that they are getting moving with the beginnings of construction so quickly. Florida is still the Land of the Free. Here in California one needs to have so many permits and inspections and be under the control of many county officials who drag their feet and charge for everything. I suppose China is similar. I wonder if there were many “critters” in that foliage. If there were, I hope they don’t come back to bug you. Thanks for the update; it is looking good. Bob
You’re sure right about the contrast, we were struck as well. Funny, about the critters, part of our permit requires a survey of “critters”, focused specifically on Gopher Tortoises, which are protected in FL. We passed with flying colors, with a notation by the inspector that construction should proceed quickly to discourage any local Gopher Tortoises from moving into the lot. Thanks for the kind comments.