Well originally I thought this post would be about the "master plan" for the farm.You know ponds,gardens animals etc. But we are hot and heavy into phase one which is a livable shelter.In this case our double wide trailer. So I thought we would pick that up in progress. More details on the "MP" later...
As I pointed out earlier we bought a foreclosure. And our little double wide has been stripped. But it seems to be structurally sound so it is step one . You see we cant build a house while we still own one so the double wide will have to be our new home at least until we can sell the "Knox Box". As far as I can tell we are going to have to address the following items on our little "pre-fabricated farm house"..
- Is it safe to turn on the lights? Sometimes foreclosures have the copper wiring stripped out of them. I don't want to flip a switch only to hear a sizzle crackle pop and watch our next happy home go up in a massive electrical puff of smoke.
- Two windows are broken and most don't have screens.
- The kitchen is now a distant memory. The appliances are gone..cabinets in shambles
- The seals on the front door and back door have some serious gaps.No such problems with the interior doors because except for one they are all gone...
- There isn't a decent floor covering left in the house
- "TLA" peeked into the toilets and it wasn't pretty.These need to be replaced.
- My guess is the HVAC is shot and I am not banking on it working.
No problem right????
I have been known to lecture my stepson "that a man needs to know his ,imitations". And any hope of pulling this off depends on me knowing mine. I am not the fixer upper type.I am in awe of those people in magazines who build their entire house themselves out of recycled McDonald's french fry cartons. That's not me.Now I own a toolbox, and I even have tools in it.But the crowning achievement of my home handy man career was assembling three out of four Ikea pieces without having any parts left over when we moved into this house
My strategy is to hire as few subs as possible to limit people on the job site and the "that was his job " refrain. I still have barns fences and goats to buy so I have to control costs. Hopefully one guy can at least handle the remodel up to the HVAC at least. I think the best way to do that is to pay for labor only and purchase materials myself to allow my scavenging skills to come into play (thereby avoiding paying a double markup on labor and materials). So step one was to get some remodeling quotes. Lacking any local contacts I asked "TLA's" Mom for help.She turned to the local newspaper website and I simply picked two of the names she found. The first guy did a walk through and took very few notes. Really nice guy drove a diesel truck and talked about his vacations in his fifth wheel.Not a good sign.The second guy took copious notes,asked questions and seemed knowledgeable about trailers (or the more politically correct manufactured homes). He drove a ratty Chevy S-10 that had tinfoil wrapped around the driver side mirror.
The final total was guy one $8900 labor quote,guy two $3900 in labor. I guess you don't have to take notes when you ballpark $5k higher than the next guy. The truck guy two drove was a little scary. So I brought guy two (Terry) back in to recap all the details.Added a few things and dropped a few things and we settled in on a $4200 figure. When we reviewed the payment cycle and he told me that no upfront money was required I was sold. The bargain hunt begins
The scavenger hunt:
Now I need stuff...lots of stuff, flooring,appliances,windows doors,toilets yada yada yada. Retail is not an option on our budget so where to I turn? New or used? Here is where I am right now:
Salvage stores- Right there in Sweetwater (the town just on the other side of the interstate) is Halls Salvage.I checked it out. Well lit ,clean and while the prices seem OK I am just not feeling it. I remembered another salvage store in Knoxville call Knox Rail Salvage. Knox Rail Salvage is located in the "Old City" in Knoxville. It is called that because the area is in the cobble stone street neighborhood. If the area had been named after the building that Knox Rail Salvage is in it would be called the "Ancient City". Heat??..nope..fancy lighting??..nope...clean floors??..nope..salesmen in ties ???...try insulated overalls because this place is so cold and dark I think the rats moved to a better neighborhood years ago. Now I am feeling this place and I was right... Tally on trip one...New out of the box dishwasher $99...New first run laminate flooring 99 cents a square foot... 2 new complete toilets one basic for $89 one oval for $99. I also left with a price list on solid oak unfinished cabinets (no press board) that would bring the guys at Home Depot to tears.I now have my new BFF for construction items.
Craigs List- I have now becomes that peculiar creature that I previously never understood and subsequently ridiculed. The "Craigs List Stalker". If you have ever posted something for sale on Craigs List and someone called you within 10 minutes of the posting you have had personal contact with this form of Internet obsessive. Yes I now regularly and unabashedly cruise the for sale section of both Craigslist Knoxville and Chattanooga. The scorecard so far Electric Range $100 ($181 after I broke the decorative glass panel in transport) and an over the range microwave/vent hood combo for $80. Still hunting a new sink and fridge. Also picked up a woodchipper for $120 and a low hours rear tine rototiller for $320. However to achieve these victories you have to stay in a state of readiness comparable to an Aircraft Carrier stationed in the Persian Gulf. Constantly watching the radar (Craigslist) ready to scramble and intercept those deals you thought were only urban legends before incoming enemy aircraft (piloted by other highly motivated/addicted Craigs list observers) score the retail combat victory. Hopefully when this project is finally complete I can find some kind of "Craigslist patch" I can wear on my skin to kick this growing addiction. Still kicking myself over the $30 Fridge I missed however.
The work on the doublewide should begin after Christmas..until then the scavenger hunt continues....I'll keep you posted
Into the rabbit hole:
While all this is going on "TLA" is also on a Craigs List journey. She is packing the house up and selling the things we don't need,don't use,barely remember. Now I would recommend a mock move to every American family every three years. It is unbelievable how no matter what size house you have how you manage to fill it to the seems. It is like some natural law of physics, some constant like entropy or the expansion of the universe. In reality most of us live in a house too big but feels too small because of our tendency to fill it with junk we don't need. In our case my little theory/observation will be severely tested. You see we are moving from a 4 bedroom plus bonus room, 9 room ,2 1/2 bath,two story 2850 square house to a 6 room 2 bath 1248 square foot double wide. Thats gonna take some serious downsizing.
Now where is that pill that makes you smaller....
Be Blessed and in His grace
The Bald Man