Murphy’s Law

          I might as well add Saint Murphy to my pantheon of Saints of the Fifth Dentist, the way everything that could go wrong has, and at least three times at that. Even Cap’n Nemo noticed it. He said that I was the most unlucky person he’d ever met, and I have to agree with him. After all the life lessons I’ve had to date, I have yet another to contemplate: my roof leaks. Can you top that? Can you believe that? It’s a situation so unthinkable I think I’ll just not think about it. I don’t want to think about it, anyway. Even so, it just keeps Continue reading

Well, I’m sunk.

          Well, I’m really sunk now. See you all in bankruptcy court. As it turns out, Fannie Mae won’t make mortgages on underground homes. Not even earth berm homes. Who knew? Of course I should have guessed, since an energy-efficient home saves the owner money, affording the borrower more money to pay the lender, so who would want to condone that? And who wants to reward the American public for building energy-efficient buildings by guaranteeing their loans through a federally-backed mortgage guarantee program? Not Uncle Sam. And what sort of bank or credit union thinks about the risks they take when making loans – beyond the risks described by Fannie Mae? None.

          Just  never let them  hear the words “earth berm” or Continue reading

Oft Gang Awry

           It seems like the gremlins determined to prevent me from ever moving into this house have successfully completed an end run around my best laid plans. The only piece of luck I’ve had is in the weather. In normal years I’d be bemoaning the warm, dry autumn we’ve been having, as I always look forward to snow, but for now I’m grateful. I’d like for it to stay warm and dry a little longer, so that I don’t have to move furniture through three feet of snow. High on my agenda for this week is to move my potting wheel and other heavy equipment into the studio, since the road up to the ground-level door of the studio is  – to say the least – Continue reading

sputter, sputter

We ran out of roofing materials about two-thirds of the way through, and there was a mad scramble to find substitude materials, but I think it will all be okay. The one thing I couldn’t replicate was the drain mat, so for one section I’ll use gravel. I finally found a place to steal some nice washed gravel from, so I’ll get on that project today. Then the entire roof will be dirty, and I just need to get my friend Duane to ferry up the rest of the soil with his Kubota.  Continue reading

dirt on top

After my heroic measures to get the supplies here on time, Roger playing hooky and then snow, rain and weekends, I’m finally getting dirt on my roof today. Or I should be. It would be typical if I get up there after work and find out that some other cataclysm delayed this crucial step. I’ve already had two hurry-up-and-wait setbacks this week, so a third or fourth would just be par for the course (do you detect a teensy-weensy note of bitterness in my voice? If not, listen harder.) Continue reading


Its official: I have a roof on my house. Not on the upstairs studio yet, but on the below-ground part. Roger says he’s never seen that many rafters all together in one place before. We are seriously over-building this house, since I couldn’t get an engineer to tell me where I could skimp. I think you could easily drive a bobcat on that roof with no problem. Continue reading

decisions, decisions

I mentioned that I’m a pretty good “decider” (not the decider, but a pretty good one…) and its a good thing, because I’ve made a passle of decisions, selections, judgements, determinations and verdicts recently.  Enough, I think,  that if  elected, they could constitute a quorum in the state house of representatives. I decided on my countertops: paper stone. Its a product made from recycled paper which is handled just like wood, but is formidably resistant to cuts and stains. Its a bit more expensive than laminate, but less so than really nice countertops, and it has the tree-huggery cachet that I just can’t resist. Continue reading