Saturday, May 14, 2011



Our original closing date for the little slice of heaven we intended to build our “green” home on was April 14th. If you are keeping track – we sure are – that was 30 days ago. A small issue came up that delayed the closing. The issue isn’t important for the purpose of this blog so I won’t go into details. What is important or maybe I should say interesting is all the things that have happened while we wait.

Just prior to closing I heard someone mention “Mercury is in retrograde.” A common “take note” warning among those who enjoy astrology, either dabbling in it or guiding their lives by it. I became curious if this applied to signing contracts for land purchases after I heard a second person mention it. The answer was “probably not a good idea because communication of all types really gets impaired and important contracts tend to eventually result in serious problem.” As it turned out, the day before the closing we were told it wasn’t going to happen because of “the issue.” Jim and I began the process of waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

Jim handles this process very differently than me. He developed a new hobby – making walking sticks. We went shopping for a whittling knife, he pulled out some old knives that he doesn’t use much, found some (actually lots of) sticks just lying around in the woods – what a surprise – did some research on the internet and started carving. They are beautiful! We’ve been using them on our walks in the forest while we wait to hear form the real estate agent about when we might close on the property.

Collecting sticks - Jim calls them Unclaimed Wood; he looks for wood just of the road from trees that have been cut and removed by the forestry department (limbs were left behind).

Here is a close-up of two he finished recently.

He also has been doing some landscaping and handy man projects at Tom and Kathy’s. He put in some pavers, lined some gardens with rocks he scavenged from the woods, put in a split rail fence and made a fire pit. He really enjoyed working with Tom and Kathy on these projects. He loves working hard, accomplishing tasks and being outside; but most of all he really enjoys the time he is spending with his brother Tom and Kathy.

In contrast, this is what I’ve been doing. I’ve been plowing through our purchase contract, studying surveys, searching on line for deeds and documents, discussing the details of “the issue” with our real estate agent, our closing attorney, and our surveyor; emailing back and forth to everyone I just mentioned, racking my brain with how we could “make” something happen so we can resolve “the issue,” and spending some time in process sessions with my therapist because the process of waiting and not knowing was driving me nuts. I said was because I’m getting much better at it. The process sessions have helped, and so has having some wonderful friends and family who have patiently listened to me complain – no clear reasons why we weren’t closing, no clear course of action set for what we needed to “do,” and no clear answers to our questions. Oops, there I go again! But, I have to give credit to our agent. She has been bending over backwards to help; even our closing attorney stepped up to the plate as well even though “the issue” was being taken care of by the sellers.   

During this wait, Jim and I started to get a little worried about getting behind our time line on our Deltec home. This is an important note for people who want to build a house – get the land first! Duh, right? We thought we would be ok and had plenty of time. According to Kerry our new project coordinator we are still on track with our time frame. She encouraged us to go ahead and start moving toward the working drawing phase of our design. We thought that sounded like a great idea so we started giving more thought to our home; we made a few small changes, started looking at the passive solar potential, studied how the house will be positioned on the property to maximize the best view as well as solar gain in the winter, and we started thinking about window size and door placement. We even went back to the property and with our floor plan in hand attempted to decide how we could take advantage of the best views as well as face most of the windows south. In order to see all this more clearly we built a model. Isn’t it cool?

view from the front door into the kitchen

my new healing room

checking the sun angles through the windows

This was a great project for us. Since we hope to be building an actual home soon (as soon as that little “issue” gets resolved) this scaled down project became a good test for working together. I’m happy to report that things went great. I can’t wait to get back to the property to see how it looks.

Our window sizes and selections were sent to Deltec and Leigha, from their Green Team, contacted us recently to let us know that our windows are too big to achieve an Energy Star certification. Our window area happens to be 17% of our floor space and in order to get an Energy Star certification it can only be 15%. Now we have some big decisions to make. How do you take advantage of a view and be energy efficient at the same time?       

By the way, while all this stuff has been happening Mercury came out of retrograde and we began to receive real clear information as to why we were being delayed – interesting! Any connection? I’m beginning to believe there is something to this retrograde thing. I’m just hoping it doesn’t go back into retrograde before we have an opportunity to close, which isn’t until August 3rd for anyone who is curious.