Too busy for words

We have been so busy that I have forgotten to write!

February 2018

My last post was last year! In early October. Since then, we made two trips back to San Antonio and a trip to Jonesboro (or two). Thanksgiving, Christmas, boarding cats, insurance, finding a medical doctor for both of us and oh, of course, getting this house done. 

Specifically, the framing was completed and wrapped, and the second floor was completed. I learned to do laundry in my RV, and hang it out to dry, and just really enjoyed the fall weather. Everyone said it was a dry summer, so the colors weren’t as pretty as they usually are, so I am hopeful for next year. 

I was missing my Jeep Cherokee, so we planned a trip to SA to pick that up in the late part of September. We also swung by our favorite architectural salvage yard to pick out a front door. When we rebuilt our Warriors Creek house, we found some beautiful things there to include into the new build and to add some immediate character. We actually purchased those front doors at a different SA salvage yard, but that one has closed in the 15 years that have passed by. While we didn’t find a door that was as antique as we both wanted, we did find a 40-year-old door salvaged from a subdivision in CA. Solid wood Spruce with a simple leaded glass window. The price was good at $250, but it was on a 50% off sale. Even better! I also saw a few brackets that I thought I could incorporate into doorways since I will not have arches. While in SA, we closed up all the storage there and moved our things to a storage unit in Jonesboro. 

Thanksgiving

Next, came November and Thanksgiving. We were lucky to have been invited to our neighbors for that day. In addition to sharing a meal, they also shared their extended family. Their son and daughter, mother (in-law) and father (in-law) depending on who you talk to. We are truly richer for knowing them. They may be a bit more conservative than us, but we are closer in our beliefs than outward appearances tell us. They have taken our country-fied education very seriously and have included us in most (if not all) of their rural activities… They take such good care of us city-fied folk. 

December came and work on the house slowed to a crawl. There were days of frantic activity, but the roofers (subcontractors) were constrained by a few days of cold weather (shingles would break if it were too cold) and sheer laziness. (I do not speak out of turn, what else would you call it when every time you look out, the roofers are not nailing and working, but sitting and smoking?) We picked out our cabinetry, all the materials for our bathrooms and my quartz countertop. 

Christmas Holiday

We went to SA for the Christmas holiday and left Missouri for about 7 days. It was a good trip, and we got to reconnect with a lot of our friends. We also picked up the front door we purchased. If we missed you in December, I will probably be heading down for my mother’s birthday in April. (She will be 80!) While the normal crew told us that “no, except for Christmas day, we really don’t take any time off”, I really couldn’t see much work done when we returned on the 28th.  

We did figure out a way for Bryan’s prescriptions to be filled (without breaking the bank) and received a letter from the Bexar County elections commission verifying our new address. I sent that puppy back in a heartbeat because voting is HIGH on our priority list!

The New Year

January was one filled with frustration. Between securing a new doctor for the both of us and medical appointments work on the house crawled on in an unsteady fashion. Our propane tank was delivered and filled. This was a 4 figure commitment. The drywall was delivered but it sat for about 2 weeks, with the workers showing up if and when they liked. These sheet rockers were a different subcontract group. I think our contractor had some colorful language for them on many occasions, and he said he actually fired them once. On January 3, the sheetrock was delivered and finally, on Jan 28, the painters came. One month was entirely too long for warm interior work. In addition, the foam insulation was started on Jan 11 but the ceilings could not be insulated until the sheetrock was installed. So, by the third week in January, we were heating the interior, all of which was not insulated, so the rockers could do their work when they showed up, and the heat just escaped out the uninsulated ceilings and roof. We had used 60% of the propane we just bought (along with the electric space heaters).  So, by Jan 31, we had to top off our propane, the level had dropped another 10%. Our combined “utility” bill (all propane expenses and electricity) for Jan was 4 figures!!!

February

The house is nearly tight, but “we still need to keep the interior warm and dry”, as they haven’t installed our front door yet. They did finally install a deadbolt in the door they enter by because we asked them to do so immediately. We got tired of looking out and seeing that door had swung open in the middle of the night or when they weren’t here. So, imagine our chagrin when by Thursday, no one showed up to do major work on the house. No one on Friday either. We picked out our light fixtures on Tuesday, and those could have been installed.  We picked out the majority of the flooring in January, that could have been ordered and acclimating to the house… Whyyyyy? 

The why

Apparently, they took on two insurance jobs right around this area, 2 house fires within the past month. Now, many know of our history. We know and understand the emotions and the processes involved in living through a house fire. And I truly feel for these people. But I would love it if our contractor would finish our job before he takes on another. Really. Our patience is running out. 

It took 10 months for our fire clean up and rebuild to be complete. A hard project, having to organize a build AROUND existing structures.  We are now at month 7 in this new build. And we are exhausted. And before you ask, we neglected to insist on an end date. Before we signed the contract, the contractor gave up a soft 4-month time frame for finish out: weather permitting. I think we should have insisted. 

And oh, I contracted a case of winter Poision Ivy…. 

Yes, this post is a bit, er, negative. And for that, I apologize. This is the unvarnished truth of it. And without the bad, the good would be not good. Was there good? Yes! We are THRILLED with our lighting choices, our floor choices, the paint colors and that texture is so unique and fantastic! Our daughter (back in SA) is terrific and our cats, Bryan and I are all healthy although I’ve gained too much weight!

In addition to the photos on this post, here is a visual timeline in photos:

Building

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Part Two

Where did we leave off?

October 2017

We have this beautiful barn. We have water, we have electricity, we have a driveable/parkable gravel driveway and parking area. We even have a small cess-pit (don’t freak out my city friends… its not illegal and perfectly bio-friendly) to dump our tanks. 

A few days before we were to move the trailer to our property, I woke up in a state in the middle of the night. I hadn’t checked the clearance of the lowest part of the lean-to. We have vents and A/C units and skylights up there. It’s not all flat with a rubber roof! Was the low point high enough to clear all the crap? Especially since we had one more bit of gravel spread out to even it all out.

We went out the next day and measured from the bottom of the barn: where the walls actually end because they assume that is where the level of the floor will be. It was not 12’6″. It was not 13′. It was not even 12′. it was 11’11”.

Yikes. 7″ too short to accommodate my trailer. Trying not to panic, we thought of our options. We could move gravel from the area under each of the gable ends. Yikes, that is a lot of work. We are in our 60s and in not perfect shape!  We could cut a notch in the first gable end and worry about the second end at a later date. Okay – that is a better option, cuz Bryan is a handy guy! EXCEPT… All of Bryan’s tools are in SA as well as all of our ladders. 

We called our builder to see if we could borrow a few tools and a ladder. He said sure! And we did. That Thursday Bryan cut out a notch in the north end so that we could drive in. 

Great! The next day, we left for a quick trip to SA to visit family and to get my Jeep.

When we returned on Tuesday to move the trailer through the now 13’4″ tall notch we were afraid for the steep gravel incline but excited to finally get onto the property. 

The gravel driveway was loose because we hadn’t had a lot of traffic on it yet. And it had just rained and was still muddy under the gravel. The previous night, our truck (F-350 Diesel) had a hard time dragging the bumper hitch trailer up the steep incline. We lost traction several times and it was very scary.  Bryan had been worried for weeks about this, because of the loose gravel and the loss of traction. Even though it is a 4 wheel drive! I countered each time that with a 5th wheel configuration, there will be more weight on the back axle so it shouldn’t be a problem. I didn’t have any evidence to back this claim up except common sense.  We asked around and the overall prevailing advice we got was “just don’t stop” once we started the way up. 

Armed with that, we headed out from the RV park. If you have never prepped a trailer you’ve been living in for travel – it takes a bit of time…. Before we were living in it for a longer period, we could break it down in about 30 minutes. But all the breakables (dishes, etc) needed to be stowed and foodstuffs stashed so as not to spill. 

We rounded the corner of 142 and EE, the nearest intersection to us and on the east side of our property to afford a better angle of entry. Both of our blood pressures went up. We stopped talking and just started breathing. He turned into our driveway.

Bryan didn’t stop. It was slow and steady. But we got up the drive!!! HOW? WHY?

Apparently, the one more day of dry weather tightened the dirt under the gravel a bit more and it was as I suspected. 10K lbs of weight on that rear axel helped keep the tires on the gravel. In truth, the bumper trailer with the Jeep actually lightened the load off the front wheels and caused them not to purchase good traction.

So, we were up. (I actually teared up for a moment!) 

And now to get it under the notch. The gravel guy was here and helped too. We lined it up… and pulled in….. to hear: SCCCRRRAAAAAPPPPPEEEEE! Oh no! Mistake #2.

and sure enough, we were not scraping the ac unit, but we were impacting the skylight over our shower. so. we. stopped.

We put down the legs and got hooked up. I contacted the barn company, and they will be coming back to take off the gable ends. But that won’t be for a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, we are moving rocks… Missouri GROWS rocks, putting up our mailbox – without a posthole digger (storage), and did I mention FedEx found us today?

 

Now Appearing in Myrtle, MO

An activity like this is NOT for the feint of heart.

It has been an eventful couple of weeks. I don’t think I’ve posted anything since mid-August and for that, I’m sorry, but I’ve been back and forth & to and fro!

The foundation is done, finally. We broke ground early August and were so excited to get going. I had not yet heard from the people who we were getting to build our barn, which was unusual. We needed to be out of the RV Park by the end of September and that barn was integral to our plans! Knowing their timeline was 6-8 weeks, and I turned in the signed contract 2 weeks prior, we would just make that deadline. So, I called. I’m glad I did. Apparently, after having many calls with them to determine what my needs were and telling them I would be returning their contract, signed, the next day, I sent them the unsigned copy by mistake and they thought I was wasting their time. 

When I called, the woman who I spoke to, let’s call her Jennifer, said she gets so many people “kicking tires” and that my email ended up in the spam folder. (wow). But, at this point, I had 4 weeks to get a barn built and I was in for a pound (as they say). So, I talked her into a 4-week timeframe and sent her the correct file. She did say, “weather permitting” a lot. In addition, I told her that I would be sending her an email outlining everything we spoke about, and asked if she would respond to that email please, to ensure she didn’t have me in the Spam filter. She said yes.  

So, we were off. The next thing I needed to be sure of if the barn was late we could stay a bit longer. The park owners (who live at the park year-round) said yes! So, we were golden. 

One of the requirements of the barn was the lowest height clearance on the lean-to. This could not be lower than 12.5 feet. Jennifer and I spoke about this verbally in June and she amended the contract to reflect not the clearance but a change in roof pitch. (Mistake 1).

Seriously, “weather permitting” was what she said! So, color me surprised when we received a call from them around August 28.  Due to Hurricane Harvey, they couldn’t send crews to South Texas and could they deliver our barn in about a week? Well, yes! Our electricity (which they needed) wasn’t in yet, and we needed to arrange for a generator.

Our anniversary was the next Wednesday, and we celebrated with lunch with some San Antonio friends in the area (Rick and Janice Frankenburger) and dinner with Janette Ralston, my BFF living near St. Louis now. What was awesome was that all three of these folks were at our wedding! Janette actually played the piano and sang! (Have I mentioned she is a fabulous soprano?) 

Bryan and I rushed back home after Janette treated us to a fabulous dinner in Lake of the Ozarks. 

We met the construction crew on Sept 4 (Labor Day) and showed them where our property was located. They started bright and early on Sept 5 and finished on Sept 6. Our builder, Scott Stevens, saved the day by delivering a generator (which we wouldn’t have needed if our schedule hadn’t been accelerated!) and the quick-crete on Tuesday morning. 

In the next few days, the foundation was framed up and poured. Next the stem walls and footings were poured. Woolsey well service also finished up installing our water well pump and tank in the barn.  

Scott finished up the wall footings last week, where we would have a 4.5-foot space under the house. Not really a basement but a place that is accessible for our equipment (AC, etc.). 

This shot shows the two wall foundations. The inner one is for the outside walls, the outside one is the edge of our porches.

Last week, the concrete was cured enough to start to fill the porch cavity with gravel. We did move the 5er onto our property on Sept 26 and I found religion all over again while dragging our 5er up a steep gravel driveway. It was very stressful.  

This has gone on long enough, and in part two, I will explain this picture:

Mistake #1

Home plans and other things

I suppose I am connected with a lot of you via FaceBook. That’s fine. You can stop reading now. 

Or should you? Some of this you know, some you don’t.

One thing that I have had such an issue with in the past is copyright infringement. At USAA, right after I was hired, I was charged with creating multimedia graphics with photos, art and music without infringing copyrights. I had no idea what all that was about except to say that I knew creations were legally protected from intellectual theft. I learned in a hurry. (Ask me about when I told the CEO of USAA at the time – “no, you can’t use that Rockwell painting with music.” I guess that was the first time I was labeled a trouble-maker! LOL)

Bryan and I had the plans for a beautiful antebellum house drawn up but since our builder had an accident and I had performed the most egregious math error, we cannot build that.  Better to lose the money already invested than to start a build that will never be finished! Time to down size. So many of the builders we interviewed said, “just draw something up on a napkin” or “show me the TYPE of house you like on the internet” and we could go from there. so, we pulled a few pictures we liked and accepted a bid last week from a builder to build a house from a photo on the internet. I felt weird about sharing this information with you guys because I almost felt as if I were stealing someone’s intellectual property. I know though, dormers, porches, front doors, they are all common to homes. Its in the way you put them together. 

Our builder called last Friday to tell me that he was having trouble getting the material list together so was just going to order the plans. Hurrah! I can share now! The house is 2420 sq.ft. with 1320 of porches! And for all of you people who kept asking if the master bedroom is downstairs – YES. We will be meeting with him tomorrow to lay it out!

Nice farm house! This is the front, and it will be facing North.

 

Also, weather permitting, our barn will be erected in about 3 weeks! So that is good!

What isn’t cool is the run around that FedEx has given me pertaining to the delivery of my cat’s prescription food. It should have been delivered last Friday. Would you believe, after 8 phone calls, changing the delivery address from our legal physical address (given to us by the Oregon County courthouse) to the address at the RV park, having the package in Jonesboro, AR all week, been out for delivery 2x this week, due yesterday. At 8:30 p.m., the tracking info told me the driver TOOK IT BACK TO JONESBORO. 

Jonesboro is only about 80 miles from my location. Closer than SA to Austin. On Monday I was told that no, I couldn’t pick it up in Jonesboro – I offered. FedEx has 3 offices in West Plains, nope, not there either. I think they were jacking with me. 

At 9:00 last night, this package was shipped to Memphis. Today, it went to St. Louis. Its due to be delivered tomorrow, (8 days after the 1 delivery date), and I have no confidence it will be here. I called FedEx, and opened a complaint ticket. 

The investigator had the audacity to tell me that I gave them an illegal address first. I blew my top. Nope, Nope, Nope. Just because their databases hadn’t caught up yet. And, oh, btw, our local post office would have gladly accepted the package and held it for me. But, no. FedEX tells me “They don’t do that.” s–t-heads.

Merlin sitting with me while I take photos of mushrooms.

After I blew up at the investigator, I asked to speak to someone who could and would help me get my package. And just so you are on the same page as me, this is not vanity food, or a posh toy for my cats. This is food. This is food that they can eat so they won’t DIE. I actually asked them if the mission of PetFlow was to treat our pets like family, would it be alright if FedEx lost heart medication for a family member? Would they pay the vet bills? She said, well, we do have a claims department. (I would rather have my cats healthy than to have to go through claims because Merlin died.)

So, finally, I backed off of having someone deliver it today. The investigator brought in an agent in Springfield, and she tells me I can pick it up from her tomorrow after 8 a.m. Springfield is a bit further than Jonesboro. She was also surprised that the drivers out of Jonesboro 1) wouldn’t leave it with a rural local PO (they do it around Springfield all the time) or 2) Allow me to come and get the package.

I’m not done with this yet, I will be reporting it to PetFlow and following up with FedEx. I want heads.

so. now. I. just. have. to. chill. 

like Merlin.

a moment of zen

(turn up your speakers.)

 

#FedEx #PetFlow.com

Driveway and water

The drillers wear big water galoshes while working. This worker stashed his boots where he could get them fast! I thought it was funny!
Bryan photographing the progress of the driveway from on top of the hill toward the road. (it also looks like I need to clean my lens!)

This week brought about huge landscape changes with the driveway being cut in and the ability to move forward. And we struck water yesterday, although about 100 feet deeper than originally anticipated. (I hope it doesn’t break the budget!) 

 The guys who are doing the driveway work said it would take about a day and a half. They started on Monday, and here it is Thursday and they still aren’t finished. Luckily, they bid this out by the project, not by time! 

Oh! and another bit of news. We received the estimate for the new design of the house to be built from our new builder and its something that we can live with! Bryan and I have always loved large wrap around porches. This amenity is one that we loved in the previous plan and one that we didn’t want to do without.  So, our new house is a little farmhouse style, with porches. The heated space is 2420 sq feet with about 1300 sq ft of porch. And you do pay for that porch. But, we will use it and love it. So, we should be pouring the foundation next week! How’s that for progress?

Flora and Fauna

One of the things I was looking forward to was learning which plant is which in  this new place. In order to really care for the place and the land, I believe I need to know what things are! I started photographing the little seedlings and larger plants last February when we came up for a visit in the hopes of figuring all this out. I continued that activity whenever we came back. I am astonished that there are so many wildflowers blooming and so many active butterflies and bees this late in the season (early August). 

Here is a little gallery of some shots, hopefully you will be able to see the captions as some plants and butterflies are identified. Oh, and help a girl out and feel free to comment, maybe ID a plant or two for me, I am finding myself short of patience for the research! And check back often, I will be adding to this gallery!

 

Baby steps and one big set back…

Last week (our second week here) had us running around, going to Springfield (twice in one week) for some business and getting more acquainted with our new surroundings. 

We looked at a big old house in Thayer with the thought of buying it and moving it. This beautiful old Victorian (wrap around porches) was built in 1908 but updated about 13 years ago by adding a bathroom downstairs and updating the kitchen to the tune of $100K. I had never stood in a $100K kitchen before. This one was pretty spectacular! Even at the reduced price they wanted ($175K), to move it would be another 100K. So, that was a bit beyond our budget. This house was quite the house at 6100 sq ft. And this wasn’t all. There is a second house on the lot that was going as part of the deal.

But, as I said, it was a bit beyond our budget. 

Wait… “Why?” You ask?

We received a phone call while we were driving here from the guy who we wanted to build for us. He backed out – again. Not sure if it was his health or if our plans were too much for him to handle. (I am not assuming, he said he wasn’t sure if he could handle it!) So, while we were waiting to meet with the next guy on our list we decided to research this option.

We met with the drive way guy (last month) who approved the placement of our new driveway. We called the Mills Bros who will be installing the driveway and called the utility (Mo-1Call) to mark the utilities. There is only one utility out there, Windstream Communications with FO and Tel – cool – looks like I’ll have FO (could this be Fiber optics?) out in the boonies! They marked it the day after I called, but as of today, our driveway isn’t done. I’ve got 2 20ft culvert pipes waiting on them. 

Last week, while going over our budget yet again, Bryan found a huge error. Remember – I am not really a number’s gal. … “I just stayed at a Holiday Inn last night.” Any hoo – suffice to say – this error was not in our favor and we decided to ditch the plans we had designed for us. No to the Oak Alley look alike… just too much moola. In the most secret part of my heart, I think I am pretty relieved. It really was too much house, weighing in at 3200 sq ft. We were supposed to be downsizing.  We had met with this new builder last week and he had our plans to work up a price, but I called him last weekend and said, “Save yourself the effort – it’s off the table due to an error in calculating our budget.” Luckily, I had caught him before he dove into it, so the timing was on our side. 

Yesterday, we dove back into the design phase and came up with something we both like. At around 2400 sq ft, it fits the bill and if he comes back with the numbers he alluded to today, we can do it with room to spare. (Like how I did that little play on words?)

Anyway, we took him to the property today and we discussed where to put the house. And get this: if he comes back with a budget we can live with, he can break ground next week! Woot!!

We just bearly got back to the Chipmunk Crossing park (our home away from home) when I received a call from Shane, the guy who will drill our well. He wanted to meet to place the well! Well! That is good news. So, we headed back out and found an excellent spot for the well head. Water is everywhere under ground, and he feels we will hit a good source at about 320ft. Wow. 

So, next week, I will be writing checks and getting all started. We may not be in the 5th wheel as long as I thought. Good thing, too, as Bryan and I can get a little testy with each other. 

“grin”

Harder than I thought it’d be…

We closed up the house on July 3. And Independence Day took on a special meaning. We were free. Free of a mortgage and free of the crushing property taxes in SA for a little while. 

We stayed in town because Lauren’s birthday (her 30th!) was quickly approaching and we didn’t want to leave her just yet. We enjoyed a few more visits with her and she and I had a few girls only errand runs that Dad begged out of. 

We moved full-time into our 5th Wheel at a little park just east of the AT&T Center. (I was going to say the Joe Freeman Coliseum – But I don’t think EVERYONE would know the location!) It was pretty nice, there were a LOT of full-timer’s there and we watch many, many Class C motor coaches stay for a day or two. That is definitely the way to travel! The cats were cool with sharing this small space with us almost right away. The Feliway plugin helped, I’m sure.

I was able to get together with some of the girls again, Carolyn, Ramona, Catherine, and Susan. We even ran into Rita! What a treat! I loved seeing their faces.

If we didn’t connect during that final two weeks, don’t fret. I haven’t left the planet. Lets both make an effort when I come back (for Doctor’s visits and family visits!) …

On the 16th, Lauren came over again, since we were leaving on the 17th. And saying goodbye was really hard. 

When I was a girl, we would take road trips up to Iowa at least 1x a year. Always for the 4th of July family reunion, and I remember a couple of times at Christmas time.  We would drive up, and everyone would come tearing out of my grandmother’s house, crying and laughing. Then, at the end of our visit, everyone hugging and crying and hugging some more. I think I was crying because my mom was crying… I moved away when I was 3, and so, didn’t “get it”. 

That last night, when we were walking Lauren to the car, was like that. I am tearing up just thinking about it. But as I keep saying, the tether is just longer now.  And FB does help!

We took 2 nights to get to our new locale, we only drove 6 or so hours a day. We didn’t know what to expect towing the 5er – and the cats. 

We stayed in a nice park just south of Tyler that first night. By going IH10 to here, we missed the bulk of the construction road work. Its name: KE Bushman’s Camp. Not so much camp – but golf course… beautiful. I even went barefoot!

The next night brought us to just east of Hot Springs. Not as nice, we were next door to bikers – 3 Harley’s and a big truck. I think they were full-timing there. They came out to smoke, so, we didn’t like that too much…

At each park, I took Merlin on the leash for a walk. I am pretty proud of him, he’s doing so well! Since we left the big house, we have only had to break up one fight, and that was in the TRUCK! They were fighting because he pooped outside the box, and then took her spot on the other side of the box. So, if she wanted to lay down, she was in it. I cleaned it up at our next stop.

Until we get the basics out at our land, we are parked at Chipmunk Crossing RV Park, 8 miles south of West Plains. I am saying we are on an extended vaca until the address situation gets worked out. I have an address, but it doesn’t work yet. Once we have a driveway, we’ll get that sorted!

Pictures of the park, and our wee kitties…

 

Packing up is hard to do…

My plan this week was to start packing. A room a day. But this week, well, we were stuck in that amber again. Before the house sale and our house cooling party, we successfully broke our inertia and started on doing smaller items. We even took a load up to West Plains! But this week…  

Monday was already booked. We had already taken the maiden voyage in the RV and found a few things to correct. One of the big things was that the kitchen slider would get wonky going in and out and in trying to solve the problem with the service manager on the phone, it became stuck OUT. We finally got it back in, and took that bad boy into the service department on Monday.

Tuesday, we cleared and cleaned out the attic (all 3 accesses) and started packing upstairs. I also listed the armoire for sale. If you cared – you’d buy it!!  And the house had its Lender’s Appraisal…

One of the things we had to do was to transfer about 2TB of data from an external drive to a new drive. OMG… for some reason, it wouldn’t stay mounted. 2 gigs at a time… suffice to say, we finished with that task today (Sunday if you are counting.) 

Wednesday, I found too many boxes of papers  – our finances from 2001… and the shredding begins. Packed more and more upstairs.  I really enjoyed going through my old sketch book (1 did survive the fire), and Lauren’s sketch books. I think I gave her a sketch book first when she was 11 or so. It was great to see how she progressed through the years. 

Just getting through all the papers and historical documents.. took until Friday. So much for a room a day! 

But today, I did empty the china cabinet AND a few of the shelves in the kitchen china cabinet. I should finish that tomorrow!

All this while, we waited for the county clerk to call. But she didn’t. I finally made the call to her on Friday, and she gave us the street address so we can call MO-DOT to get approved and permitted for a new drive way.

I called MO-DOT, and FINALLY connected with the local guy who does these things. We will be meeting him later this month at the property. Yay!

Here’s hoping next week will be more productive!

 

 

 

 

Spring in Southern Missouri

Last week, we travelled to our new “neck of the woods” to start our collection of storage facilities (okay, I am being sarcastic. And click here to see a video of the typical traffic in our new neighborhood.)

As I mentioned in my previous post we met with Jim (our one and only builder, thank God) and the two brothers he likes to work with, the Mills brothers: Andrew and Alan. These two guys will be the ones who do the “land work” – dozing and leveling both our drive way and our barn area and RV parking. In addition, they will be doing our septic work, but I am not sure when that will happen. They are truly a one stop shop!

First things first!

In talking with Andrew and Alan, we discovered that they need permission from the utilities that exist underground (the phone company) and the Missouri Department of Transportation (MO-DOT). I assumed that we would use the existing driveway at the top of the hill, but that the driveway also exists in a location on the highway that is at a hairpin curve with a steep drop to the east. Bryan and the Mills didn’t think it would be approved by MO-DOT. So, (in the hopes that there are no stupid questions) I asked, how can we get approved by MO-DOT? The answer is more complicated than it seems.

Call them, but they need a street address. 

  1. How do I get a street address (no home has ever existed on this parcel of land)?
    1. Go to the post office to talk to the post master there.
      1. Answer 1: We’ll ask the carrier, once he returns from his route to call you, and he’ll assign it.
      2. Answer 2: But we’re in the middle of computerizing the addressing system (tied into the 9-1-1 system) so that everyone can have access (to 9-1-1) so you may need to go to the county clerk’s office.

We went to have lunch and waited for the postman to finish his route. At 2, we decided to head over to the county seat and the county clerk’s office, just in case. 

The conversation at the county clerk’s went like this: 

“Hi, we’re the Snows, Bryan and Dawn. We purchased a parcel off of 142 last year and we want to start to build. We were told that we don’t need any permits for the building, is that correct?” “Yes, ma’am.”

“But we do need permission from MO-DOT for our driveway. But we do not have an address to tell them where along the highway we are! That’s why we are here.” “Your postal carrier will probably assign you an address, but it may be in the ‘9-1-1 region,’ so let me check. …. oh, yes, here you are. Is this correct?” (She showed me her computer.)

“Yes.”

“… yes, I have your address here, but the system isn’t exact right now, so I need to put in a ticket to make sure its correct. Let me see, you don’t have a residence on it yet? Oh, then, you cannot get the address….” 

My head nearly came off. I took a breath, laughed and said, “Okay, we want to build a house on the parcel we bought, we need no permits as such, but we need to get water, electric and septic. In order to get those things we need to put in a driveway and level the appropriate areas. In order to get a drive way we need approval from MO-DOT but they need an address, but you are telling me you cannot do that because we have no house?” 

It was as if the light went off (again, because it seems as if she understood what we wanted at first.) 

“oh, yes! You want to build. There has never been a house on that parcel?”

“no.” 

“Okay. I’ll call you next week with your address.”