Sunday, February 27, 2005

Hello From Paris!

I am using a French keyboard so this may have a few mistakes.

Shalisa and I survived our flight from O'Hare to CDG. We ended up sleeping for almost 12 hours the first night!

We had a relaxing time in Brussels and took the Thalyes train into Paris this morning. We just checked in to our hotel about 20 minutes ago and then went out for a bite to eat. We found this great internet cafe that is only about 5 minutes from our hotel and I am making a post from here. The computers here have an an available USB connection so in a day or 2 I will try and post a few pictures.

Oh, and in Belgiu, we purchased 200 grams of chocolate and had it eaten in about 15 minutes. We went and purchased some more, but I fear that it is not long for this world either.

Au revoir!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Update from PDX

So here is the last update before we head off to Paris.

There was some really good news on the house building front. We had Steve from Hiline Homes out at noon today and he signed off on scheduling the foundation guys!

We had quite a bit of trouble trying to get our temporary power hooked up (and in fact at this moment it isn't hooked up) but we told Steve that it would be hooked up by the end of the day. Well it turns out that we failed the inspection (we needed to have a roll of "Warning" tape on site for it to pass... ARGH!). But we were able to bury the cable which the PUD requires, and I purchased some warning tape from Toziers and rolled it out so that if anyone decides to dig there they will know before they take out our power.

The electrician we hired, Bob Gilman, is good friends with the inspector and called him up to find out exactly what was going on. Bob really helped us out, he got a reinspection scheduled for tomorrow and since he works at the PUD he told me that he would talk to our line superintendent Jim Craker to have temporary power hooked up on Friday which will be well before the foundation guys show up.

Talking with Steve it sounds like there is even a chance that the foundation could be poured while we are in France, but most likely it will be poured the week that we get back, which is still great news. Once the foundation gets poured it is only 3 1/2 to 4 months until the house is finished and ready to be moved into!

Well it is late and I have to wake up early tomorrow to catch my flight so I will bid you all adu.

Pray that we have a safe flight and I hope to share with you soon the experiences from France. The updates will be a little less frequent over the next 10 days but I promise that if at all posible I will make an update from France.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

1 down, 1 to go

Well Shalisa got the call from the county this morning... Our building permit was ready and waiting to be paid for and picked up!

She was going to go down to the county office later this morning to take care of it.

I am still really worried about the LNI inspection, I don't know why I just get all panicy for some reason. I tried to call the inspector "Mike" this morning, but I wasn't ever able to get ahold of him, so I don't know when he is going to go out and perform the inspection. I figure around 1:00 I will drive out to the property to see if the inspection has been performed yet and if we passed.

I could really use prayer for not only the inspection passing, that I will be able to sit at my desk and concentrate for more than 5 seconds before thinking about the inspection again.

Anyway, thought I would post the good news, I will update as soon as I find out about the LNI inspection.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The Calm Before the Storm

Well today is a nice break from the madness. Since it is President's day all of the government offices are closed so there isn't much work that we can do today. We are praying that we have everything at the property ready for the madness that starts tomorrow.

Shalisa and I are finishing up the packing (okay, lets be honest here, Shalisa is finishing up the packing, I am just saying whether I want this shirt or that shirt). The plan is that both of our suitcases are completely packed up by the end of the day today, that way on Tuesday we can spend all of the time we need on the house, and Wednesday we can leave right at 5:00 to head off to Portland.

We really want to say a big thank you to Tom and Shirley as well. They have opened up their house to Shalisa and I this Wednesday night. It will be so nice to be able to wake up Thursday morning and be much closer to the airport than we would be if we were in Shelton. Not only are they giving us a place to sleep, but they are also taking us to the airport as well, which we are really thankful for as well. This will save us a lot of money on parking at the airport, and Shalisa and I need all the savings we can get.

Not much else going on here today, Stephanie and Matt are supposed to arrive some time around noon. I am sure that we will take them out to the property and maybe go for a hike or something (this is some beautiful weather we are getting) so that will be a nice diversion for the day.

If anyone is interested, this is the website I have been visiting the most in the last few days: Link

Saturday, February 19, 2005

We are blessed

Ally came to visit!

Pictures have been posted on Page 4 and Page 5

Shalisa and I are truly blessed. At the time of my last posting we were really concerned about all of the problems that were ahead of us, but we know that people have been praying for us and I want to tell everyone that God has really answered some prayers.

Our biggest concern was with our building permit from the county, well we found out Friday that we can pick up our building permit on Tuesday! Our other big concern was temporary power. Well our temporary meter base has been installed and we have our wire run through the trench and it is scheduled to be inspected by LNI (Labor and Industries) on Tuesday. Assuming it passes inspection (which we are still praying for) our power would be turned on first thing Wednesday morning!

Not only has God blessed us in that it looks like we will be able to schedule the foundation crew before our big trip, but he has also blessed us in other ways. Uncle Dean has been the biggest blessing of all. When we first had the salesman out in the initial stages of our home purchase he saw that our lot was sloped so he added $4,900 for extra concrete for the foundation. Well now because the lot is considered perfectly level we will get all of that money back, which is just a great blessing. Also we had to have Cyndi from the county come out and inspect our new septic trenches. Uncle Dean was kind enough to come out and help me out while Cyndi was there. He was able to answer all of her questions and I don't expect we will have many more issues with Cyndi since she has now talked with Uncle Dean.

Brian and Rena came out this morning, Brian helped me uncoil the power cable in the trench (which was a HUGE help and I don't think Shalisa and I could have done it by ourselves, so I am really thankful he helped out). We got all of the "little things" done on the temporary meter and the power cable in the trench hoping that it helps us pass our LNI inspection.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The House has been dug out!

Sorry that I haven't updated in a bit. We have been super busy the last few days trying to get everything tied together before we leave for Paris.

Uncle Dean has now actually dug out for the foundation, leveled the lot, dug the service ditch and has even dug the ditches for the septic system so he is leaving today for a few weeks. Shalisa and I have told him a bunch of times how grateful we are that he has done this job for us, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with and has really helped us on a lot if issues that we had no clue what was going on.

Yesterday Steve from Hiline Homes came out for the first stake out. We staked out where exactly the house and garage was going to be on the property and it fits perfectly, so that was great news. He then scheduled the 2nd stakeout for Wednesday at noon. At the second stake out I am not exactly sure what he is going to do, but we have to have our building permit, temporary power, temporary water and a few other items available to him. Temporary power is going to be cutting it a bit close, but the current schedule is to have our temporary service wired and installed tomorrow evening. I will call for an LNI inspection which should be done some time on Tuesday. Then Tuesday evening Shalisa and I will go and cover the wire with dirt so that it isn't exposed and I have scheduled with Jim Craker at the PUD to have the service turned on first thing Wednesday morning. Although it is cutting it close I feel confident that this schedule is not only doable but will happen.

The problem is with the county (I know, for all you regular readers, big shock!). We put our Permit application in on February 1st, it is now February 17th and the planning department hasn't even looked at it yet. If we don't hear from the county in the next day or 2 I don't think we will have our building permit by Wednesday, but we are still praying. (And we would like to ask others to pray for us as well).

The reason we would like the building permit by Wednesday so badly is that after talking with Steve he told us that the concrete foundation guys are 2-4 weeks out. If we aren't able to schedule the concrete guys on Wednesday then we won't be able to schedule them until the Monday AFTER we get back from Paris. That means a 12 day delay, plus there would still be 2-4 weeks before they could come out and do the work. BUT if God performs a miracle (and honestly it will take a miracle from God for us to get our building permit in time) and we get our building permit in time that means the concrete could be poured the week that we get back from Paris, which would be such a blessing.

Please keep us in your prayers, it isn't life or death if we get our building permit in time, but it would definitely help our stress level and anxeity if we could.

Monday, February 14, 2005


So Bill and Martha stopped by our house yesterday afternoon. We all drove out the the property and they got to explore around a bit, saw where everything was going and how far everything had come in just the last week.

Martha was in love will all the holly bushes that are all over our property. She kept commenting how these little bushes would sell for tons of money in the florist shop, I told her that Uncle Dean probobly tore up about $1000 worth of those bushes and complained about every one of them :) We then went for a walk down to the beach that is near our house. I have been assured that it is not "a block away" although I think some of this sentiment comes from the fact that it was like 34 degrees with a pretty stiff wind blowing. But after walking it, I do agree, it isn't a block away, it is closer to 2.5 blocks or so, but still only a 5 minute walk.

After visiting the property we snuck back over to the other house that is the same model as ours that is being built nearby. They have recently installed a gate on the driveway, so we had to park at the end of their driveway and walk a bit to get to the house. We walked all around it again, Shalisa and I pointing out each room and where things were going to go and Bill and Martha seemed to think that it will be a nice house when it is all finished.

I still don't have the interior pictures from that house up, I was kind of lazy all weekend and I apologize, but I will see what I can do later today.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Pictures Finally!

Well there has been a bit of excitment here while I was trying to make this post. In the middle of my typing we got a phone call from the Shelton police that they had found my car. The Ski rack was ripped off, the stereo was torn out, the golf clubs were gone and they damaged the ignition so they key doesn't really work any more, but except for a cracked tail light and a few dents around the bumper it is in pretty good condition (which is, in my opinion, about the best news I could hope for).

The pictures were posted on Page 3 and Page 4. Among the pictures is some great shots that Shalisa took of Uncle Dean in action pushing a tree over and carrying some logs and most exciting off all, our new water meter! This is now the first "official" utility available at our property and we are hoping in the next week that our electric will show up as well.

We went out and chatted with Uncle Dean this afternoon and he thought that maybe either tomorrow or Monday he would be bringing out the dozer to start scraping the dirt. There is only about 3 or 4 more trees that are going to be falled, and all of them are going to be done by a chainsaw because they are in the area down on the front of the property that we are going to try and leave as a little green belt.

The last picture right now on page 4, the one that I posted here on the blog as well is a picture of a Hiline Plan 2776 that is being built a few miles away from our current property. Shalisa and I snuck around the house a bit (shhh, don't tell anyone) and the inside must have just been framed, so we were really able to get a feel for how big the different rooms were and stuff which was great. We took a lot of pictures of the inside and I will post those tomorrow, so there is something to look forward to :)

It's 1:23 in the morning, where are you?

I am at work... still. I walked to work at 7:45 this morning and went out to my property at lunch with Shalisa for an hour. Other than that, I have been at work.

Thats rights, I have been at work for 16 hours and 23 minutes, and I haven't been home for 17 hours and 38 minutes... much to long.

Joel is just finishing up with some DNS issues he has and hopefully then we will be out of here.... hopefully.

Sorry I didn't get the pictures I promised up, but I don't think I will get them up tonight either. When I get home I am going straight to bed (especially since I know Shalisa is already in it).

Have a good night everybody (I know I am just having a GRAND ol time)

Friday, February 11, 2005

Permit? Permit? We don't need no stinkin Permit!

Still no word on my poor car, I am sure someone out there is having a grand old time driving her unfortunately that meant I had to walk to work this morning. That sounds much worse than it really is, I only live about a 10 minute walk from work currently, plus there are tons of coworkers who drive down that hill, and sure enough one of them stopped and picked me up (and another called my cell phone while I was in her car asking me if I needed a ride).

But the car being stolen wasn't the only excitement we had yesterday! While Uncle Dean was out clearing yesterday someone from the public works department stopped by the property and asked to see our Access Permit. Uncle Dean of course wasn't sure what that was, but just figured it was something we had, so he called Shalisa to find out if she had an access permit.

We of course have never even HEARD of an access permit! The guy was going to give us a fine, but I quickly ran (literally of course, still no car) to the county public works office and applied for an access permit. Apparently it is a permit you need if you are building any sort of driveway/access road/whatever on your property that will touch a county road (which of course we are).

The permit itself is actually free of charge, but if you don't get one there is a fine levied against you! I got the permit papers and some flagging tape (they want you to flag where your driveway is going to be so they can inspect it) and Shalisa quickly drove out to the property and dropped everything off.

We have some more pictures of the property (some GREAT ones of Uncle Dean pushing a tree over and another of him carrying a tree with the excavator) that I will try and get published later this morning. The property is almost entirely cleared now, although we didn't get the culverts put in yesterday, but we are going out at lunch today again so maybe they will be done by then. I will post ALL the picture when I return from lunch, so there should be another update posted around 2:30 or so with lots of nice new pictures (and probobly another story or 2 as well)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Missing Car!

I apologize up front if there isn't a post this morning on how our house building goes, but the events of this morning have been quite upsetting, and in terms of money it does affect the house building.

Well I had quite a shock this morning. I woke up, took a shower, brushed my teeth, got dressed, ate breakfast and then went out to go to work and low and behold.... there was no car. Now this isn't the first time my car has gone missing, but every other time I quickly remember that Shalisa picked me up from work and that I merely left my car at the work parking lot. But I distinctly remembered driving home last night.... curious.

Well I took Shalisa's car to work, and sure enough my car wasn't in the parking lot which leads to one conclusion; my car was stolen! Now you might not think that this is the most shocking of event, I am sure people have their cars stolen all of the time, but I am a bit confused about the criminal mind here when they decide to target a 1988 Mazda 323. I am not sure what the exact value of my car was, but it couldn't have been more than maybe a $1000 (and that is being generous). Of course my car was parked right next to a 2003 Chevy Suburban with a lift kit and all sorts of other goodies that my neighbor has installed on it, but they completely ignored his car... weird.

What disturbs me most (other than the fact that now I have to find and pay for a new car in the middle of this whole home building experience) is that my fairly new golf clubs were in the trunk. I got the golf clubs from my parents as a graduation present when I graduated college so they are less than 5 years old. I also don't know if I will be able to collect any insurance on the car since I only had liability insurance on the car that I remember. I am not sure exactly what the insurance agency will do for me they still need to be contacted some time this morning (I just got off the phone with the police).

I suspect that sometime this week the police will find my car along the road somewhere, although it did have a full tank of gas, which I NEVER have so that is frustrating as well; I mean that is like $20 worth of gas!. The silver lining I suppose in all of this (if there is a silver lining in having your car stolen) is that I normally keep my electric razor in the car to shave while I drive to work (I know, I know, shame on me) but it had ran out of batteries yesterday so I took it in last night to charge the batteries. So on our upcomming trip to Paris (in just 2 weeks!) I will at least have the electric razor (unlike my father I am not a big fan of the straight razor, I tend to bleed a lot).

Well here is hoping that our car gets recovered intact and hopefully with the golf clubs intact as well (but I figure that is a long shot) so if you could keep us and my poor little Mazda in prayer I would really appreciate it.

Nope, no insurance money for the car :( Which means not only am I out a car, but I don't have any compensation to buy a new one, which of course is somewhat painful. I am still hoping that the car turns up relatively intact and that it will be drivable, but when Shalisa talked to the policeman he said they most often recover the cars, but in an undriveable condition. That is even doubly bad, because not only will I have a non working car, but I will have to pay to get the stupid thing towed to a junk yard or something... this is just all around not fun.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Problems With The County

I posted some new pictures in the gallery, you can find them starting on page 2 and continuing to page 3. They include some pictures of the property clearing some more, as well as our first structure on the property: our Honey Bucket!

The gallery is located at

Problems With The County
Shalisa and I have had a bit of trouble getting some permits passed through the county. Mainly our problems have been centered around the septic design, first our original design that was submitted was denied, then our designer went and submitted another design without consulting with us. Although this design was accepted, it was a sand filter, which we had heard was just about the worst septic system you could put in, plus it was one of the most expensive septic designs to install. So we had to have a THIRD design done, this time we specifically told her to create a Norweco pretreatment aerobic system and that was finally approved just yesterday.

During this whole time we have also been applying for our building permit, and we had a bit of a scare because it was held up since our septic plot plan and our building plot plan did not match up. I went in and worked with this wonderful guy from the county, Rich, who was really helpful and helped me get an acceptable plot plan that both Enviornmental Health Services (the septic people) and the building and planning department were both happy with. Our house will be a little further down the property than we had originally anticipated, but it looks like it will be fine.

We went out and visited with Uncle Dean once again today, he has really been moving. He only started really Saturday and on Tuesday he didn't do any work because he was renewing his CDL license. So really he has only been clearing for less than 4 days (and 2 of those Jeremiah wasn't even there) so it has gone really fast. They had cleared all of the way down to the "winter stream" that is on our property, he thought that the culverts would most likely get installed tomorrow. He also measured off how much space he would need for the septic system and how much space the house was, and it looked like everything would fit in just perfectly without needing to move the stream or anything.

There is still a lot to do, I have to find out when the PUD is going to install the new pole, and some time this week our water meter is supposed to get installed. Once those get done we can hopefully dig our trench and get temporary water and power hooked up, but that is still a ways away. Well to finish it off, we are still accumulating quite a wood pile, I am hoping to get out there tonight with David Watts and get at least some of it cut up and put into his truck. I actually had someone call me at 7:45 this morning before I got to work, it turned out it was a neighbor of mine who lives 2 houses down the street who had gotten my number from Uncle Dean. He said he saw we had a big pile of wood and was wondering what we were going to do with it, I told him he was welcome to as much wood as he could haul away, so I am hoping he is out there reducing that wood pile as well this evening.

Banbury Beach

The lake front beach area near our house.

Here are some links to the gallery that is hosted on
West Side 1
West Side 2
South Side 1
South Side 2
Lake 1
Lake 2
Clearing 1
Clearing 2


Well here is the first post to The Smith Home. I am hoping to journal our home building project and along the while provide some pictures and other bits of information to anyone that might be interested.

Shalisa and I are building a house from Hiline Homes. The home we are building is Plan 2776.

We have already purchased the property and it is a beatiful lot right off of Mason Lake Road in Lake Limerick. We are about a 5 minute walk to the actual lake.