My own personal rollercoaster ride: building a home

Rollercoaster Ride

The house build proceeds. As the ‘homeowner’ the process reminds me of riding a roller coaster. You strap in. You wait while others are strapped in. Then, the jerky movements that gain you a few feet at a time, throwing your head back with their abrupt halts, begin inching you toward the mountain of track ahead.

Finally, the snake of cars in which you are sitting, excited, nervous, ready, is grabbed by the cable and up, up, up you go, ratcheted above all the other amusements. There’s a pause at the top, just long enough to reignite any latent vertigo, tempting you to climb out, spare yourself the plummeting race to the next rise.

My build is all roller coaster now, full speed, whiplash mode. Every day is a barreling forward, jerky climb, snapping corners, rush. We’re nowhere near the end of this wild ride.

The slow, careful framing and papering was completed two months ago. Then the plumbing lines and now electrical wiring plod along, thoughtful, with hourly checks and double checks of desired fixtures, switch plates, and outlets. Meanwhile, the siding of the second story is measured, cut and fitted.

Each trades team is busy and focused, all managing their purpose in the same hive, buzzing with progress. Roofers came a week ago. As quiet and courteous as the workmen are on the body of the house, the roofers are raucous monkeys, aping across the gables and peaks, screeching and cooing for all the world to hear.

Packets of shingles, weighing enough to squish a dog, fly from conveyor belt to monkey to monkey. The roof men wear neon puce shirts and white hard hats. Red suspenders anchor to belts braced to rope lines. The monkey men scamper and toss, throwing ropes and lines behind them as if they’re tails. All the while, for hours, there’s perpetual shouting and thwacks, product moving across ridges, piled onto scaffolding attached to the roof.

Next door, I’m manically trying to select bathroom vanities, bathroom tile, fill overlooked lighting and plumbing fixture needs on-line. I search for our application paperwork for the roadwork to bring utilities to the site. I unpack and inspect daily deliveries of ordered fixtures and appointments. I measure and calculate, revise, order and notate.

My contractor and I meet in person almost daily. We fortify our conversations with phone texts and Pinterest ‘shares’. Who’s doing what. Where we are with our budget. What’s happening next on the build.

It’s exciting and terrifying. It’s the most authority and responsibility I’ve ever consciously had for any material project. The ultimate shopping experience. The largest budget and bookkeeping task. The biggest, longest, most exhilarating Rollercoaster.

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