I can’t quite believe it. As of yesterday, about 1pm, we got our Residential Use Permit and are now officially living in our house!
This past year has been pretty crazy. And so has this past week. And since I’m at a loss for time at the moment, Jean’s last Hearthwood Herald does a better job at elucidating (word o’ the day) what a time it has been….
“Well folks, this is the end. Two weeks after we thought it would happen, two expensive and painful more hoops to jump through, and we were finally granted our final inspections this morning. The RUP inspector just left and handed me our Residential Use Permit. Thank you, Fairfax County. After 3 years, 10 months, 9 days and 14 hours, we are now allowed to live on the land we bought, in the house we built. let me tell you, the feeling is WONDERFUL. I was whooping and hollering and jumping up and down this morning. Dogs barking and stealing baby toys, Lucas laughing at mommy acting silly, the cat running away and hiding under the chair…. it was great.
So for those who enjoy the nitty gritty, follow me back to last Monday, when I thought it would all be over……..(fade to white. cue suspenseful music. fade in to a jittery Jean who has completed all the tasks set forth by the inspector peoples and is awaiting release from her captivity.) before i could even call to find out what time the inspector thought he’d come by, Frank called me to let me know that oh, by the way we had a finished basement on our plans and if we weren’t going to finish it, we needed to pull new permits for the finished basement so they would know that we would eventually own up to what our original permit provided. after this first blow, which almost reduced me to tears because it meant IT WOULD NOT BE TODAY, he then went on to say that, oh yeah, and you also have to insulate your basement. After talking to his boss to ask why it turns out that you just have to insulate. period. no good reason. and “you can’t just go around breaking the law.” yes. direct quote. as if i am some sort of Bonnie and Clyde type who is sneakily trying to – ooooOOOooo get this – GET AWAY with not insulating my basement right away. because, really, i LIKE having a higher AC bill and i’m obviously just going to leave it like that. sheesh. Thank you once again, Fairfax County, for protecting us from ourselves. Like not wanting us to build because once in a hundred years you couldn’t drive an ambulance and rescue us. thank you. what in the world would miserable idiots like us do without the government to protect us from ourselves? anyway, i digress. that is all in the past now. i guess deep wounds take a while to heal.
So i go to the county to get this permits. Of course, by this point, i’m so distraught i’m basically heaving sobs about every 10 minutes or so. (If you guys hadn’t figured it out yet, I am a person who takes things to extremes. especially in the emotions department) I fill out my permit requests, put my name on the list and wait a couple hours in the waiting room to be called in. When Lucas and I finally do get called in, I explain to the guy what the inspector wanted. He starts to do it but then says, “Wait a minute. If you are trying for your finals, you can’t get these permits issued under that permit number. you need a whole new permit number to finish your basement under so that they can issue finals under your old one and close the file.” I said, “ok, then let’s pull a new permit.” and he said, “Well do you have a copy of your building plans for the new finished basement? you need to run it through plan review and get it approved.”
If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you know that that is a weeks long process, and especially painful because the darned basement plans have already been approved. that, apparently, was my breaking point. unable to control myself, and much to my extreme embarrassment, i threw my head down on his desk and started wracking sobs and basically bawling my brains out. He was very nice, and as i’m wiping tears and apologizing for losing it, he says, “why exactly do they need you to do this again?” and i tell him it’s just because we’re not finishing a basement that was shown on our original house plans as finished. and he said (with I swear was a beam of light coming down from the sky behind him) well that’s easy. we’ll just amend your original permit to delete the finished basement and make it unfinished and that should take care of it. I could have kissed him. I then just had to get a permit for our wood stoves, which i didn’t know i had to do, but was apparently some other way i was sneakily trying to BREAK THE LAW. together, the permits cost about $80. and I just went and paid it and was out of there. I was still pretty depressed though, but thankfully Meghan was nearby and not working anymore and kept me company and alive til Ed got home. Don’t try to go through life without friends, man. It just wouldn’t be possible.
It took me a long time to track down an insulation company. After the 5th try of home improvement stores, siding/roof people, and one insulation place that didn’t even sell the encapsulated stuff, I finally found a place that sold it. The guy couldn’t come out til tuesday though. so tuesday I met him and he went around the basement and said that they should be able to do the job. I was trying to get him to do it thursday because wednesday Lucas and I were hosting our little play group of moms, and in the afternoon i had a doctor’s appointment. he said I could be on the docket for first thing thursday morning. Great, I said. then we can get inspected Friday and all will be well.
Wednesday we had the moms over and walked over to the Dyer’s and went swimming. it was lovely. However, while they were over, the insulation guy called to tell me that he had just assumed they weren’t busy thursday but when he went to put us on the schedule, they were already booked up for the whole day. UGH. does nothing ever go right? so, they had to come friday. no inspections that week. Thursday, Ed had off work and we moved the scaffolding out of the basement, and re-arranged everything so that it was away from the walls and the insulation guys would be able to work. Ed also finished putting up the rest of the chimney pipe for our basement stove. that was harrowing, to say the least. it was lightly raining all day and he was out there in a rock climbing harness tied to the skylight, leaning out 30 feet high over the dome with a big old 3 foot piece of double wall pipe trying to place it on top of the others he had done. i nearly had a heart attack hearing him on the roof – i don’t know how Ed survived. he did, though, and i made him some chocolate chip cookies so he could properly relax afterward.
Friday, the insulation guys came. That in and of itself is a dumb story. They were supposed to come first thing in the morning, and i was looking forward to it because i was hoping to make Michelle’s baby shower. Then he called me thursday afternoon to tell me that because i had a baby he thought it’d be nicer for me if they didn’t show up first thing at 8 and that we’d be second between 9 and 11. i was kind of annoyed since we get up around 6:30 now thanks to Lucas anyway. at 12:30, he called me to see how the installation had gone and if they’d done a nice job. i told him they hadn’t even arrived yet. he was surprised and said he’d get back to me. As it turns out, the insulators had tried to come but (barum pump bshh) THEY COULDN’T FIT THROUGH THE TUNNEL. the tunnel strikes again!!! Bane of my existence! He said that they put the insulation needed on the back of his pick-up and they’d be right over. So although it wasn’t until 3 pm, on Friday, we did finally have our basement insulated. Ed got home from work a bit early and we hit wal-mart to buy a little filing cabinet and to take a family portrait. (i had gotten one of those deals in the mail.)
Saturday, Ed spent the entire day planing wood for our wood floors. Lucas and I went over with him in the morning to put some of the boards in our truck and take them to his parent’s garage where the planer is set up. Luckily for us, Joel had come by to take down a tree stand of his and helped move the majority of the boards while i watched Lucas. Thanks, Joel! We left Ed to plane and Lucas and I picked up more around the house trying to find places to put things.
Sunday morning Ed and I went to Merrifield Garden Center to get some little stones to put around the front walk. (We have enough natural slate to make a nice walkway on our own but we needed filler to even it out.) We also got some more grass seed and some plants to brighten up the front. it’s not total landscaping just yet, but a little beginning. Krissy came out and she and I assembled the filing cabinet and the closet organizer in Lucas’s room. That was fun. try fitting a rectangle closet organizer in to a closet that attaches to a dome wall on one side. yeeeahhh, it doesn’t work so well. but hey, it was done and works. Ed toiled away in the sun all day digging out and putting stones in our front walkway. We walked over to his parent’s for dinner and got in some good family photo time with Ed’s grandparents and uncle before they headed back to Kentucky.
So this morning, there i was again, a nervous wreck. I was wondering what they were going to come up with this time? What could they possibly think up now to keep us from living here? Thankfully, nothing. The inspector wasn’t Frank, but he looked at all the stuff Frank had written on there that needed to be fixed. Saw the ridiculous guardrail fixes, kind of snickered and said, “well, it works. it’s 34 inches.” and basically was extremely pleasant and handed me our finals. i couldn’t believe it as it happened but there it was. i felt like i wasn’t there and i was watching a movie of the inspector handing me the final inspections. After he drove off is when i went on my leaping and shouting rampage. And then, just now, the RUP man came and gave us our RUP and we can finally live at Hearthwood. finally. …..finally….finally …finally…..
Life is good. So here I stand, at the precipice. Adieu to the Herald, and hello to many many years of gardening, landscaping, finishing basements and bathrooms, installing flooring, etc. And boy am i looking forward to it. Thank you all again SO much for being there for us. We know that there is no way that we would have ever reached this point without the help and support from family and friends. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
We love you all, and we hope to see you at Domestock September 11th!
With love and happiness bursting from our hearts,
Jean and Ed and Lucas”