Then we wait for the permits. On March 2 we finally hear that they've all been pulled. (While talking to a friend one day about how hard it was to wait, she said--Don't fret. One day you'll hear the pitter patter of little bulldozers.) When we went there March 6, it had been scraped! The building site is being prepared! Next come the footers (trenches in the ground with stakes), rough plumbing, poured slab, ...
We start landscaping around the perimeter of the property. One day we talked to the man who's putting up the stem wall. (It's twice as high as it's supposed to be. Does this bother me? Nah. Well, actually, this is an example of how one or two sentences cannot convey the hours or days you spend worrying or the number of phone calls to the builder. We worried a whole weekend before getting in touch with the builder.) The mason has one female helper who he seemed to be encouraging to keep going. (Was this the lowest bid? Should I worry?)
Heard from the contractor, ..., a few days after that. ... The stem wall is supposed to be seven courses high now because of the raised septic tank. And they will have to backfill so the walls don't blow out. So, do we have to get porch railings? Tell us these things, guys, don't make us wonder and worry (Actually, it turned out that we didn't; codes are funny things.) Be prepared for changes. We didn't worry because we trusted Semco. However, be sure to ask specific questions if you're worried, including friends; but you have to make your own decisions.
There are always lots of decisions to make; start as soon as you can on your search for fixtures, appliances, colors, etc. We bought a green bathroom sink from the 1920s for a bathroom from a salvage place. This was one of the things we could do ahead of time. Another thing was choosing a fence installer. We got at least three estimates, which is what you're supposed to do. Most nights after supper, we went to Selph and planted, weeded, mowed, watered; eventually we thought about leaving the mower there. Went to a plant sale and bought some trees so they can start spreading and cut down the mowing. Six acres--between our old and new places--is a lot to mow. However, we never bought the huge trees you often see on home shows. We wanted to save money; we didn't need instant gratification. And those little trees (gallon pots and seedlings) usually catch up in a few years.
Building a Cool House for Hot Times without Scorching the Pocketbook is available from: amazon.com and Barnes & Noble: Barnes & Noble.com - Building a Cool House for Hot Times Without Scorching the Pocketbook - Joy V. Smith - Paperback