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12 Armadillos (Part 4):Progress, Fights, Stress, Fun, and Everything In Between!

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We haven’t posted in a few weeks about the update on our Barndo Project.  We are very excited to report that so much has occurred over the past few weeks!!!! Of course we keep learning lessons along the way that we want to share.

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Lessons learned:

1.You CAN really do things that you can never imagine in a million years that you could do

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Corrin and I had to figure out how to get electricity to our land.  We contacted the electric company and scheduled an appointment.  I put Corrin in charge of meeting the guy at the land because I was at the hospital with my sister-in-law.  I just assumed the electric guy would be an expert and tell us exactly where the electric poles needed to be.  WRONG.  Corrin had to tell him where they needed to go.

Corrin called me

Corrin: “I can’t do this.  He wants me to tell him where to put the poles.”

Me:  “It’s not rocket science.  Seriously?”

Corrin:  “The guy offered for us to meet with our group to talk it over.  Do you think we should just pay the $175 fee for the guy to come out again so that we can make sure that the poles are in the right place?”

Me:  “Heck no!  Pay the man and get us on the schedule!”

Corrin sorted it out and the next week our sweet neighbor texted us to let us know the electric poles were going in!  We were so excited!  Corrin and I could not believe we had electric poles put in!!!!

  1. Everything is negotiable EXCEPT establishing electricity  

Dave “You need to negotiate with the electric company.”

Corrin “How do you negotiate with a government monopoly?  They are going to give us a quote and we can choose to get electricity run to our land or not?”

Dave “Just try”

Corrin “You try”

  1. Expect the unexpected

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-Our road guy got stung by bees when he tried to do work around them.  He quickly realized that he was not doing work around the bees!  Ouch!

-The kids are starting to get really excited about the progress!

-We went to mass in Brenham and then to the land.  We got stuck in the mud as we were all in our church attire.  It was hot.  The kids were hungry.  Brad took old parts of the bee boxes and got us out.  Train wreck.

  1. Some things are just worth the money
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Working hard

Brad:  “I want to spend several weekends clearing out the forest.  It will be fun.”

Dave: “I want to pay someone for my part of clearing out the forest because I don’t think that sounds like fun.”

Brad had these grand visions of clearing out his land.  The problem, though, is that we don’t own the proper equipment to do it.  Because the road guy had his equipment on our land, he offered us a good deal to clear out the forest.

Brad: “I’m so glad we are getting someone to clear out the forest.  He’s doing a wonderful job!”

Dave: “I’m glad that you didn’t have to clear out the forest.  I was never going to do that.”

  1. You have to make choices before the construction starts on key things


Me:  “Guys, we have to have a meeting to decide what size windows and doors we want and where we want them located on the building.”

Our Team: Brad, Corrin, and Dave:  Silence


I had to sort out the barndo windows and doors and the location.  I have zero experience with this.  I just knew I wanted a lot of windows for lighting.

Dave two days ago:  “Why did you put windows here?  Where are we going to hang the TV for the great room?”

(It never even crossed my mind to figure out where we were putting the furniture when designing the window locations.  Now I know…but it is too late.)

Me:  “Don’t even go there.  No one would help me out so you get what you get.  You need to hope that my choices were not all bad.  You don’t get to complain about window or door choices for the next forty years.”

Corrin: “Ya’ll stop fighting.”

It was fun choosing the double front doors and deciding to make them black to compliment the red barndo (and testing out mattresses).

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  1. Some parts of the project are easy and other parts are very stressful

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You must first have a dirt pad built.  Next the concrete guy will build a steel frame.  The plumber and electrician will come in and run the plumbing lines and the electrical lines that need to go in the floor.  Finally, the concrete is poured. The three people have to somewhat work together.

For the past two weeks, I have been stressed out more than I have for a very long time.  The other team members didn’t have this stress because they had inadvertently given me the task of figuring out the concrete, plumbing and electrical.  We had the concrete and plumber hired but not the electrician.

I met with the concrete guy.

Concrete guy:  “I need to pour the concrete soon, in the next week or so.

Me: “Why so soon?”

Concrete guy: “The dirt pad is complete.  I need to do it now before the rain ruins the pad.”

Me: “Ok”

It was a week before the concrete guy would do the metal framing and I had no electrician.  I contacted several people for a bid.  They were all busy.  (Side Note:  Electricians do VERY well and I’m finding out are hard to come by.)  I found an electrician and my stress level decreased.  I contacted the plumber and he told me he needed more detailed plans.  I went back on fivvrr and hired a guy to do a plumbing plan for the barndo.  I submitted the plan.

Plumber:  “I don’t need a plumbing plan.” I need to meet with you to show you what I need.”

My stress level went back up.  I met with him the following day.

  1.  Admit when you are completely mortified

I honestly think that the plumber must be still laughing about his meeting with me.  Allison and I showed up with my huge poster board graphing paper.  He looked at me and nicely said “What is that?  I have never seen anything like that before.”  I told him I used to be a teacher (I taught Geometry my first year teaching) and figured good old graphing paper could work.

I know he is still laughing.

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He explained to me what he needed.  My bathroom plans (six and a half bathrooms) were all wrong.  He showed me how to fix it.  Dave and I created a new one using autocad.  It took several hours to do it.  We had to stay up very late because the plumber and electrician needed the plans ASAP.

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Yes, he is still laughing.

8  You will quickly learn the strengths of your “team”

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Corrin:  Good driver; has social anxiety talking to anyone on the phone that she is not familiar with.

Brad: Great handyman, bee keeper, and land clearer.

Dave:  Good on computers and fighting with Christa.

Christa:  Negotiator, planner, communicator, executor.

  1. Whatever you think you are going to pay to buy land and build something (especially when you have to provide the entire infrastructure), double that price

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Prices of things have been VERY interesting.  Our road cost double of our well.  Our well was actually super cheap to drill and for the pump equipment.  In my mind, drilling a water well was a really big deal and creating a dirt road was not.  It is actually opposite.  Also, pricing for things has been ALL OVER THE PLACE with bids from various people.  I wish there was a standard sheet out there listing fair prices so that you know what is reasonable.  Everyone says that every job is “unique.”  I don’t believe that.

  1.  People in small towns are just wonderful

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Every person we have come in contact from Brenham and around there has been WONDERFUL.  They are the nicest people.  (Sidenote:  When the barndo is done, I will be providing all of the information for the contacts of the people of the people we recommend using in case you are wanting to complete a project in the Brenham area). I know a few of my friends are thinking about buying land and doing the same thing we are doing. Some of our contractors will start a project and not require a down payment just because they trust that you are a good person.  I love this.  I love that people still trust other people.

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Olivia visits

The latest:

The road is done.

The electricity to the land is done.

The well is done.

The dirt pad is done.

This week the plumber, electrician, and plumber will all run the pipes and pour concrete.


The septic system will be installed (Think Christmas Vacation and Uncle Eddy’s RV…lol)

The building is being delivered the third week of August and will be constructed (about a three week process).

The house will be insulated with spray foaming.

The house will finished out (framing, AC/Heat; electrical plumbing, etc).

My question for you is this:  Who thinks Corrin and I are crazy for doing this?  I do!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    July 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I don’t think you are crazy at all. I admire all of you getting out of your comfort zone.
    Thanks for the updates.
    Good Luck

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