Hill House – June 08, 2014

Sunday, June 08, 2014

 Today it again rains. We have had lots of rain here in Lead, but that is typical May and June weather. Nan and I are at the house but simply doing what we can do inside with the heat on. It is cold outside, meaning that it is also cold inside. When we arrived, it was about 42 degrees – where is the summer?

Last Thursday the rain had stopped so we finally got the muck cleaned out along the new basement wall. It was a ‘killer’ job! I had been awake most of the night thinking about what was left to be done. We have been staying at the hotel so we are able to stay dry and warm. (The room we are staying in is the ‘Honeymoon Suite’ st we have a large, 2 person, whirlpool tub so I can soak some aching old muscles after a day’s work on the house.) I finally fell asleep about 3:30 AM but was awake by a little after 6:00 AM so I let Nan sleep a little longer while I walked up to the house. By 6:30 I was in the ditch digging and Nan showed up before 8:00. After breakfast we both were in the ditch cleaning out the last (I hoped) of the muck. We worked hard all of the day and by about 3:00 in the afternoon I picked up 2 more buckets of mud and got them out of the ditch; I was so tired that when I got to the top of the ditch, I couldn’t move the buckets. Our day’s work was done.

On Friday we were back early trying to beat the rain. We wanted to put in the weeping tile and the eaves trough drain tile. While Nan held 5 gallon buckets at the end of our long shoot, I loaded stone in the shoot and it slid 50 feet down to the bucket. This stone was needed for a base for the weeping tile and it took about 12 or 15 buckets to get the base. We finally got the weeping tile down then covered it with more crushed stone then began on the hard PVC for the eaves trough drain.

By the time we left on Friday, the weeping tile was in place and we had most of the eaves trough tile glued and laid in place. I had tried to glue too many pieces together and ended up making a ‘wrong’ joint so I had to cut the pipe and throw away a ‘Y’ that I had glued in improperly. I hate to waste materials!

By Saturday the rain had restarted so we headed to Rapid City to our friendly lumber yard (Menards). I took the back route and as we entered the city, I saw a tent and many parked cars so we turned around to find out what the excitement was. A local liquor store was holding an anniversary party so we stopped for hot dogs, pizza, quesadillas, and free tastes of their booze – ya’ can’t beat a deal like that!

At the lumber yard we looked around to get prices on materials and try to ‘hone in’ on how we want to decorate the house. We have looked at so many options that we are somewhat undecided upon how we want our house to look. We know that we want the outside to look Victorian and the inside to be functional modern but we don’t want chrome stairs and floating kitchen cabinets so it is still at a toss up as to how the interior will look.

The ‘Neighbor Works’, a part of Habitat for Humanity, has requested all sorts of information and bids on the estimated cost to complete Hill House. When all the bids are put together, the total bill comes to nearly $150,000 – far higher than either Nan or I think is reasonable and 3 times what I expected. However, each contractor is bidding on something they have not done before; this is not like building a home from scratch so we are sure that the bids are highly ‘padded’

Bottom line is that the Neighbor Works is not willing to give us a loan for this type investment so Nan and I are going it alone. We know that getting the house done will be a long term project so we will simply have to live longer.

But on another side, the former owners of the hotel we managed in 2012 now have the hotel back and want us to again manage it for them. We are staying at the hotel so all is warm and dry but we are saddened to see how the hotel was changes over the past year. In order to have a real running hotel we will have to do lots of work to get everything back together.

Dean and Debbie, the owners of the hotel have bought out their partners so now the total hotel is on their backs but they don’t have to get a partner’s approval as to what they do. They can either make it back into a hotel or rent rooms out long term as rental property. In order to feel confident to run this as a hotel, they want a commitment from us that we will be here long term. We have committed to stay until April, 2015, (that seems so far off!). After that, Nan’s sister, Phyllis, will come manage the hotel so the owners are covered for the long term.

For our trip to Lead, we had borrowed Scott’s truck to haul all of our stuff out of his house in Chandler. We have used up our excuses for keeping the truck and the first part of July we travel back to Chandler to swap the truck for our car. Scott, Colette, and the boys are moving into another house about 5 miles away so we have timed our trip back to help them move.

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