To Build a House Part Two

Continued from To Build a House


A lifelong friend of mine who had become a notable architect in the design and building of many public schools and a domed stadium who lived and practiced in Tacoma Washington would draw the plans, following Zee’s imagination as to how it was going to look. Starting time would be in the fall of 1973. My first contractor who had built a very nice smaller house for my neighbor seemed like the best candidate. The first order of business would be to dig the footings then pour the foundation. Our architect called one evening and asked me how things were going, I said fine and that all the foundation was poured and ready to start framing. Mac our architect said “before your contractor gets too much framing done I want to come down and check on his workmanship. I want to make sure he is getting off on the right foot”, I said when? Mac said “how about in two days” so I told Mr. White that the architect would be here in two days so it wouldn’t be a surprise. Mac arrived first thing on a Wednesday morning with working plans in hand and in less than one hour of looking and measuring Mac says to me “do you mind if I fire Mr.White before he does anymore damage?", I said “what’s the problem?” Mac replied “the kitchen foundation is 10’ feet too short and to fix it would require digging down to bedrock placing three Sonotubes that would get the kitchen back to its original size that’s the problem”. By the end of the day Mr. White was gone and a new contractor would be on the job the next day. Mac when he was working toward his Architects degree at Cal Poly College in San Luis Obispo had worked for my new contractor and Mac assured me “that he really knew how to build a house”.



Mac was right my new contractor really knew his stuff but by noon my man would start drinking but he assured me that his father and son team could carry on for the rest of the day and sure enough that’s how me and my crew worked till the house was finished. My contribution to the house was to make all the steel brackets that would join rafters to main beam and all the 8x8 brackets that would support the porches had to be fashioned by hand with an Acetylene torch and Arc welder with a floridly pattern on all the ends. Zee dealt with most all of the different sub- contractors making sure our working plans were being followed exactly. What was most interesting and fun was helping the rock mason build the two fireplaces then to cover all the concrete blocks with native rocks from several of the seasonal creeks on the ranch.

Then came the day when my slightly drunk contractor said “our part is done it’s the roofers turn now.” It would now be my turn to place most all of the pallets of tiles where the roofers could have easy access to them.

Finally, with a most beautiful roof in place it was time to call for the house painter and the many good days as well as a few days of blunders all were done and I could say "I’m glad we built the Dream House".

See Ya

Jack



To read part one of this journey: To Build a House

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