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YIPPEE, Volume Five, June 1st through July 2, 2004:
How to Buy 147 Acres in Only 239 Steps!

Welcome to the fifth issue of YIPPEE, the journal of Chris and Cassandra's Adventure with Yurts.

Once upon a time, in a land far away, in a little yurt beside a toxically moldy house, there lived two lovers. No ordinary lovers (but that's another story). They lived and loved, searched high and low, near and far, for a new land: A place for health, vibrancy and freedoms. A place to create a yurt home. This is the story of how they bought that lot of land...

Presented as:

The C++ Guide to Buying 147 acres (In One Month or Less):

As of 1:42PM, July 2, 2004, the 147 acres in Newfane, off Baker Brook Road, on Oregon Falls Road, is titled to Chris and Cassandra!

They looked long and hard for this land parcel, and, no matter how much they like you, are not about to sell it to you. So, first, you must find your own 147 acres. (Not sure how to do this? Refer to prior YIPPEE Volumes.) Then, if you dare, follow in the footsteps of C&C...

  1. Make sure you like the land, determine if it has the basic desired qualities. Don't get mired down in the specifics though! Other people are not going to stop being interested long enough for you to determine "For Sure" if it will work. You can write your concerns into the contingencies. Therefore, if you like the land, it appears to have everything you desire, and it is affordable, then continue on to the next step.
  2. Go for it! Make an offer. Wait! How much? How does it work? You don't want to end up owning land and not being able to build your home there.
  3. Oh, OK. There's a standard form. The offer IS the contract. The contract to buy starts out as an offer, because there's a time allowance built in for the sellers to accept or reject. Once they accept, the terms are in full force and binding. Review your needs and offer with the real estate agent. She'll put together a draft contract.
  4. Better get started on the financing! True, you've already met with the appropriate people and started the process. But, your preplanning and preparedness doesn't change the fact that the mortgage process is not known to be speedy. Best to give 'em as much notice as possible! Call that loan officer. When she doesn't answer, leave a voice message telling her you're putting a contract in on a land parcel and need to continue on with financing, as soon as possible.
  5. You had hopes to offer cash payment. Why? Bank financing is slow. Even with advance preparation, they estimate 6-8 weeks 'til closing. All parties want to settle quickly. The sellers have been waiting seven months to close, since November, thinking it was sold. You're happy to accommodate a speedy settlement, prodded on by life at the hellacious rental house and the looming winter. True, summer has yet to begin. But, be realistic. Winter is a factor in your mind if you live in New England and are facing the construction of your own home, on undeveloped land. As you look at the project's numbers, review and discuss options, it really seems your cash must be held for construction.
  6. You have a friend who knows people. Everybody knows people. But this friend knows special people: people who like investing in things privately, without involving banks. You had previously let your friend know you were interested in exploring this, and he was going to see who might be interested in the financing. Your friend is merely a conduit. Doesn't disclose names until there's a possible match. Probably hasn't found one yet, since you haven't heard. But, to be sure, follow-up via phone call and email. Leave messages to update your friend: It's a go, and financing is needed ASAP.
  7. Very Important! Despite your rush to close, you must ensure that you can build what you planned (or darn near close to that), with all the required buffers and within a reasonable budget. Review your project budget now with the contract in mind. Sure, you've tried to get estimates on power, driveway, septic and water already. But everyone keeps telling you, "It depends". They give you price ranges with tens of thousands of dollars between low and high. Now that you have a specific property, the estimates can be clarified.
  8. Call the town. You can't start anything yet. It's not your land. Just get as much information as possible. What permits are needed? How much do they cost? Who handles each? Are there any restrictions you should know about? Who is the power company in that area?
  9. The town clerk was indeed very friendly and helpful. There are basically three permits you need. She gave you information on two of the permit costs. Enter these into your budget spreadsheet.
  10. Using the phone number given to you by the town clerk, call the man who handles septic permitting. You've got to submit a design done by a Registered Vermont Engineer. Note that! Enter the fees he gave you into your budget sheet.
  11. It's been a long day, with emails and calls between NH, VT and AR. Get some sleep.
  12. You're building a yurt home. Not just one yurt, but two or three! You've always dreamed of living in a self-sustaining, off-the-grid home. Solar panels. Wind turbine. What kind of weirdoes are you!?! People are actually thinking this, while they say out loud, "What is a yurt?” That guy who sat in on your banking meeting, a couple months ago, knew the meaning of 'yurt'. He was from the bank's Socially Responsible Banking (SRB) division. Since you've yet to hear back from the mortgage officer you called in Step #4, call him. Maybe he can help. He's not in either. Leave a voice message.
  13. Here's the trouble spot with financing: Despite your excellent credit and decent income, you're not likely to get financing on a yurt home. It's a little too alternative. Unusual. Odd. Out-of-the-Norm. Appraisers don't know how to value it. Will it sell on the secondary market? And for how much? You may wonder why the bank cares if your home would sell at a good price. You intend to live there for many blissful years. Well, ... the bank suspects you of default. It's nothing personal, they're a suspicious bunch. They suspect absolutely everyone of default, and therefore, make darn sure they would be able to get their money back by selling your home. If they think they won't be able to sell your home because it is too, um, 'unique', ...well, no deal. You could luck out by getting a nice banker, one who has a hint of creativity. In which case, you would be told that you can use your cash to pay outright for the yurt home, with the bank financing the land and improvements (i.e. driveway, septic, water). Warning: Do not get your hopes up! That same banker may not return your phone calls when it comes time to do the deal! Hedge your bets. Make a call to that company you found on the web, that one which finances 'Alternative Homes'. Huh, they're not licensed to sell mortgages in any states except CO and AZ. They should probably list that, so people don't waste their time calling.
  14. The real estate agent calls back to say that the seller would be agreeable to helping get estimates for improvements. The seller also thinks the current perc site should be acceptable even if you build further in. Great news! Months could have transpired waiting for another perc test, closer to where you'd need to build. The sellers won't wait months, and would likely reject your offer if you put that in as a contingency. Make a note to verify this news later with another source. FYI: 'perc test' refers to soil testing, which must be done before any building can take place.
  15. Your project is a balancing act. Your ideal may be off the grid power via solar and wind. Budget considerations dictate an exploration of on the grid power as well. Call the electric company. Hey, they're a co-op! Nice! Talk to the engineering department. Find out how to get power through them. What's the process? How far apart do they allow the poles? What's the cost? They need to know how far in your home will be. Take a stab and use 1500 feet. She thinks that the bill will be somewhere between $9,000 and $12,000. You've got a wooded lot. In addition to whatever they charge, you will need to budget for things like tree removal, ditching, backfilling. Their site visit will determine the exact cost and parameters. Oh, wait, she says. That area is a Verizon set pole area. You think, "What the hell?". She says, We'd only charge the attachment fee, so you're looking at around 6 thousand. Verizon and the various electric companies have made an arrangement whereby in some areas, the poles are set in place by one, and in other areas, set by the other. If the phone company sets the poles, the electric company attaches their lines to the already set poles. Vice versa in other areas.
  16. Fortunately, you're one smart cookie and ask who to talk to at Verizon. The engineer you were directed to call is informative and runs you through the process. Too bad he doesn't start the process though; the Verizon business office doesn't sound so swift. When the engineer tells you the form number needed to get the process started, he says, "Request a supervisor if they tell you there is no such form. And don't listen to them either. They'll tell you to give a call back a couple weeks before move in..... Wrong! This whole thing takes 2-3 months. Get it rolling as soon as you can." As helpful as the guy was, you're still in vague territory with estimating the monetary aspect. The rough figure is $360 per pole, with poles every 180 to 200 feet, or maybe up to 240 feet. Depends on terrain. Since your property is woods, best to err on the short side. That's the line construction charge. For clearing, etc., you can probably do it cheaper on your own. He didn't even give you their costs. The only way to know about the true costs is with a site visit, which cannot be scheduled until the 911 address is obtained from the town, which cannot be done ‘til the land is yours. Actually, you don't really care about getting Verizon phone service. You're not convinced you need it. If they offered DSL in your area, maybe you'd be more interested. You only use the phone line to dial into the internet. A dial up connection which is constantly vexing, slower than molasses in January. (Hey! Maybe that's your problem, molasses in the lines. Wait. Flawed theory. It has not been that cold! You've been connecting at less than 28k for months now.)
  17. Using some online yellow pages, lookup septic construction in Newfane. Call the one company you find. Their message says to call them at home after 7pm.
  18. Call the company you talked to a couple times back in the fall, about solar power installation . You already know the first step is having them do a site visit. The woman you call remembers you, but is leaving the company for a job doing solar in Guatemala. She transfers you to her replacement. Talk to him for a bit and re-explain your project. You already know you need a site visit and that it's a $100 fee. What's the procedure for setting one up and/or lead time needed? Easy. Just call. They allow extra time in their schedule, and get to these within a week or so of your call. You remember being told by another of their employees, back in the fall, about some good financing for solar. Still available? What is it? A big disappointed "Oh" escapes your mouth as he tells you that it is Chittenden's SRB that offers 1% below prime.
  19. Later that day, when the SRB contact returns your call, you learn that SRB is not a separate division. You still go through the regular loan officer but he's involved. So, you leave another message for the loan officer explaining you just talked to Arne in SRB and he would be touching base with her. Ask her to call and let you know what next step is; let her know you are at point of putting bid on land and need financing very soon.
  20. Call real estate agent. The contract can't be drawn up until you decide about financing. Much as you had hoped to offer the cash payment, or at least something quicker than the norm, nothing is coming together on any financing yet. You don't want to hold up the offer for another week or more, waiting for options to open up. It really seems as though you need to save your cash for construction, since you're so darned 'alternative'. So, exercise that 'trust in the universe' muscle; take the plunge. Up your offer by a couple thousand dollars and have the agent draw up the contract to include financing.
  21. You are dealt a 'Get Financing Faster' card: shave several weeks off your timeline! There are indeed benefits to purchasing land that someone else bailed on. (Keep that in mind when looking for your 147 acres!) You've been straight with the real estate agent all along, communicating your desire to do what's expedient and simplest, while still meeting all parties' needs. You've also expressed a willingness to be flexible. (Thank goodness for yoga!) When she asks about financing, you tell her you've been working with the bank who has your checking and savings accounts, but that you're certainly open to other options. Well... she gives you the name of the previous buyer's mortgage company and tells you who to talk to for getting things done quickly.
  22. Call the mortgage company right away. Leave a message.
  23. When the mortgage contact replies, another bonus is revealed! Turns out, most of the time required for getting a mortgage done is due to the appraisal. The previous buyer's appraisal can be signed over to your account, and it will only take 2-3 weeks for the mortgage process. The downside: They'll only do a straight land loan for 75% of the purchase price, at 7.5% interest.
  24. Here's what would happen if you were building a 'normal' home. The land would be purchased with 20% down, amortized over 30 years, but with a 2 year balloon payment (in other words, the entire thing is due in two years). The assumption is that you'll get a construction loan within two years and roll everything all into one mortgage. Apparently, buying land just for the sake of owning land is not very common, and difficult to find. Thousands of advertisements offering excellent low mortgage rates are useless. Meaningless. There's not any real negotiating to be done or bargain rates to be found, when one bank won't return your calls, another flat out won't consider financing a yurt home, and everyone else you call says "Nope...we don't do land and construction loans, we only finance existing homes....." If you failed to follow the guidance in Step #13, and did in fact get your hopes up, you are at this point feeling rather depressed and frustrated. Take a few moments aside to enjoy a good piece of rich, luscious, organic chocolate. Feel better? Even if you don't...no time to spare. Buckle up and press on! If you feel exhausted mentally and physically, recall that Cassandra felt sick each and every day... each and every moment... of this process. Yet she did what needed to be done. Take encouragement from that and do press onward!
  25. Discussions and emails take place across the miles and hours between you and your partner. Once again, a long day. Get some sleep.
  26. Don't forget to do yoga.
  27. The real estate agent emails a draft contract to you in PDF format. If you happen to have access to a PDF reader, open it. If you access your emails and the internet via Palm and cannot convert or read PDF files, you're stalled. If you are a consultant working on the job in Arkansas, you should see if you can convert the information to text and email it to your partner in NH, who is without access. When you discover that the file is read-only, and thus not convertible, send an email to the agent asking her to resend the file in Doc format, recognizable via Palm.
  28. While you are stalled with the contract, this is a good time to follow-up on the note you made in Step#14. The perc test is already done on this land: a benefit if that perc test can be used. Since you have no interest in building in that area, you need to investigate. Last week, before deciding to put in an offer, you played phone tag with the guy who did that particular perc testing. Leave him another message now.
  29. Pull out your 'Cottage Water Systems' and 'Composting Toilet System' books. Flip to the resource guides in the back. There's no direct help. But, by looking up compostingtoilets.org, you are lead to a few companies in the neighboring state of MA which handle alternative septic. Jot down three sources' contact information.
  30. The first, ecological-engineering.com, looks promising. Jot down the phone number and give a call. The engineer you are directed to is quite helpful. Even though you've read up on septic, grey water, composting toilets and the like, it is good to hear your options boiled down and reviewed with you by a hands-on professional. He says as long as you build uphill, it should not be much of a problem. Otherwise, the pumps required could mean it is better to start over with a new perc/septic site. He also says his company doesn't directly employ any registered VT engineers, but they could refer and work with us. He makes a note to see who he can find, then transfers you to someone who works with the composting toilets.
  31. You've tossed the notion of using a composting toilet on the back burner. But, consider it briefly again. The benefit is that you are more ecological, using less water and managing waste more effectively. You may also be able to have a smaller septic with less maintenance. The cost of getting a composting toilet would theoretically be offset by a lessened septic install. But, state approval is sometimes tricky. You've been told Vermont requires a minimum 3 bedroom system regardless of what you'll actually use. Using less water is appealing because you may develop a spring, instead of drilling a well. For lifestyle choice though, using a composting toilet would present a learning curve that you are not sure you can handle right now. With the MCS factors and everything else that this project involves, best to leave it be and go 'normal' for this aspect. You've got enough learning curve at the moment!
  32. Review the draft contract together over the phone in the evening. Shake your head and sigh; making an offer is one complex web of legal mumbo jumbo!
  33. Remember that you actually understand this mumbo jumbo, and start wading through it. Trouble is, only one of you has a completed draft copy, since the Palm cannot read the PDF and another copy hasn't been sent over yet. But, you can't wait another day. It is rough-going until you remember that a blank contract had been emailed to you in a Palm-readable format last week. So, reading through the main contract together, with one talking the other through the blank spots, a list of questions is formulated.
  34. The draft contingency clause, relating to your home building needs, does not adequately cover said needs. Exhausted after an already tedious review, you press on. Stay up even later to modify the existing wording.
  35. Too early in the morning, considering how late you were up in the previous step, the guy from Step #28 calls back. Ignore the phone ring and roll over to sleep some more.
  36. Send the real estate agent an email. You'll be sending over the contingency clause notes later. In the meantime, could she answer the questions you listed pertaining to the main draft contract?
  37. After some emails back and forth, ensuring you and your partner are both in agreement with the contingency wording you drafted, email it to the real estate agent.
  38. You get a phone message from Arne in the bank's SRB division letting you know he's talked to the loan officer and the next step is for you to set up a meeting to review the project costs in more detail.
  39. Dial the loan officer but once again get her voice mail. Leave a message per above step.
  40. The real estate agent calls to answer questions; answers you find acceptable. So, she will adjust where needed and resend the final copy over for printing and signing.
  41. The guy who did the perc testing, and called earlier this AM, said he'd be available after 2PM. You do reach him after then and have an informative chat. He is a septic designer, VT registered engineer, acceptable to the town. His fee is $800-1200; it may be until August before the design could be complete. Yes, you can build away from the perc site. Its all a matter of money, but 800-1000 feet away shouldn't be too bad. If you build uphill of the perc site it will be best as there will be fewer pumps involved. You get a rough idea from him on total septic installation costs, since he knows the land and the requirements of the state. About $15,000.
  42. Plug the numbers obtained into your budget worksheet.
  43. One of you travels for your job. Often arriving home at inconvenient times. This day it is, well, technically, already the next day; 2AM, Saturday the 5th. Cope with that (showering for safety, recovering from exposures, unpacking, etc), and get a bit of sleep.
  44. This land purchase is part of a larger project getting you out of your horrid rental house and into a safe happy housing situation. You're making a written and pictorial record; while keeping friends apprised of your status. You've been working as you can on your next newsletter. It is finally, finally(!), ready for release: checked and posted online. Send it out now, via email.
  45. You're really lagging behind! Geesh! That newsletter you just sent covers a period ending well over a month ago. You started writing bits for the next issue already. Commit to tackling and finishing it this week!
  46. Print the final contract copy, upstairs in the rental house office. Seal each page in Ziploc bags and bring out to the yurt for review. Make sure to use the house's front entrance so print toner does not follow you.
  47. A final review of the contract shows a few errors. Call the agent. The errors can be crossed out and corrected.
  48. Smile, hug and take some deep breaths... Ready to sign!
  49. Signing the docs is going to make you sick though. So, before you go downhill, get some organizational stuff noted: things you have to address should the sellers accept.
  50. Sit outside and wear a mask, since you have reactions to print toner. Remove the contract pages from their protective Ziploc bags, and sign each page.
  51. Write out a $500 check for the initial good-faith deposit.
  52. Recover from the unavoidable exposure to print toner.
  53. Make a quick trip over to look at the land once more.
  54. Stop at the Putney Co-Op in Vermont where you hand-deliver the official contract offer to the agent on Saturday June 5th at 6:30PM. The fact that the Co-Op has Santa Cruz Root Beer in stock seems like a good omen.
  55. Whew! Its done.
  56. But why don't you feel relieved? Oh yeah... because that was only one teensy eensy (albeit important) step. And there's that bit about having MCS. And there's the pressing fact of a flight back out in less than 24 hours, before which sleep and a long list of other non-land related tasks must happen. Aaaaarrgh!! Well, get a bit of sleep first.
  57. Deep breath! Yoga! OK. Notebook and pens. Coffee at hand. Ready?!
  58. Organize. Prepare. The sellers will either accept, counter or reject your offer. You could be back at the drawing board looking for another land parcel, or considering modifications to your offer, or plunged full force into the contract requirements. Focus on this last option for now. The restrictions and complications resulting from your traveling schedule, and your MCS, demand constant vigilance and preparation. Do not falter now!
  59. Easy stuff first: if the sellers accept, you have seven days to remit the remaining deposit of $6,500 and have a financing application submitted. You will need to review everything with the attorney as soon as possible afterwards too. These are easy things to handle. Assign tasks accordingly.
  60. The trickier bit is: if the sellers accept, you have two weeks to assess the viability of building your home on this land. You were smart and asked that the sellers be required to assist you in obtaining written estimates to facilitate a quick closing. They know the land, have contacts in the area, don't have MCS or travel out of state during the week for work. Nonetheless, the burden is really yours. Hence, you note the areas of concern, sources for estimates, possible times for meetings, and assign tasks to be done. Plans and tasks are sketched out, ready to be executed if the sellers accept. The basic areas to cover are: town approval, driveway and clearing, septic, water, power. You need to be fairly sure you will be able to build what you planned (or darn near close to that), with all the required buffers and within a reasonable budget.
  61. One large hole in your project cost analysis is for the yurt platforms, deck, internal walls and flooring. You've yet to get an estimate: one guy stopped talking to you, another guy said it was not within his job scope to do that, another guy took a whole month to get back to you. His fax estimate came in yesterday and showed that he didn't address anything except the deck (your lowest priority) and seemed to be using parameters other than what you gave. Decide to do the work yourself.
  62. Rush, rush, rush. Make time for last minute connection. Shower. Travel goodies packed. Off to the airport!
  63. Having reviewed the platform and wall construction parameters, sit down and start calculating a materials list.
  64. Since you cannot go to the store, and your partner is traveling and working, you search for material pricing online. No luck. While there are numerous hardware stores online, the building supplies you need are not showing up.
  65. Get some sleep.
  66. The sellers accept! The agent calls at 12:43PM EST, Monday, June 7th. Call your partner with the news!
  67. Start in on the flurry of phone calls needed to uphold the contract terms. Leave a message for the mortgage fellow.
  68. Talk to the attorney. Yet another benefit to purchasing land someone else bailed on: you can use the same attorney, saving time and money. She reviews her process and the associated fees with you. She will get a copy of the signed contract from the real estate agent. Doesn't need to start her work until financing commitment letter is in place.
  69. The mortgage fellow calls back and you make arrangements for having the application faxed to your partner's work location. You cannot go near the rental house's office, printed paperwork, etc. The bank does not have emailing set up for this type of thing yet.
  70. Draft a 'Special Edition' newsletter, finalize it together via email and send it out to your friends!
  71. "Congratulations! Just in time for Venus to cross in front of the sun! It's a sign!"
  72. Call the solar power people with the intent of scheduling a site visit. Leave a voice message.
  73. Call the excavator whose name and number were given to you by the real estate agent. Arrange a meeting at the site for Friday evening.
  74. Continue working on the specs for your platform, deck and walls.
  75. Back in Step#15, the power company engineer gave you a name and number to call regarding net metering. Call now and make notes about the procedure involved. There are no costs to enter in your budget, as there is no additional fee to set up net metering. In case you don't know already, an intertie system is one where you employ some off-the-grid power generation such as wind or solar, but are still hooked into the grid. Essentially, the 'grid' becomes your backup for times when your system needs more power than you have the means of generating. If your utility company allows net metering, they have established some way of compensating you for the times when your power system is generating more power than you need and the excess power is fed back into the 'grid'. Vermont does allow intertie systems and VEC allows net metering. For policies and incentives regarding solar and/or wind power in your area, contact your state's Energy Office.
  76. Contact the guy at the town of Newfane who handles building permit approval. Ask about the procedure and requirements, take notes.
  77. You finally see your own project website! Use your recently acquired internet access and the PDA version your partner added to the project's site.
  78. Get cracking on the mortgage application. Your partner with the MCS is far better at this sort of thing. You are many states and one time zone apart. Waiting until the weekend when you will be home is not an option. Fill in as much as you can. Type questions into a couple emails: send to your partner at home for review in the morning. Work late into the Arkansas night.
  79. Meanwhile, in NH, temperatures jumped from 40 degrees to 90 degrees in one day! Last week you had the heat on every day, even in the daytime. Today you've been desperate to cool off, subsisting on cold drinks and popsicles. Although it has been an exciting day, the drastic temperature change is amplifying your exhaustion. Unfortunately the sunny weather also means tractors are working nearby, spewing forth noise and toxic fumes. Ugh! At least they don't work during the night. Get some sleep.
  80. Get cracking on answers to your partner's emails about the mortgage application, first thing in the morning. The heat and tractors conspire against your health. Hold out as best you can, and keep plugging away.
  81. Bad, bad, bad: You no longer care about YIPPEE, land or mortgages. Your most pressing task is walking. Standing up. Making it out of the shower and out to your little makeshift yurt home. First, pull together and do what needs to be done. There's no one to help you. You're depending on yourself! You must get this shampoo out of your hair. The company must have changed their formula. You've used this shampoo type before without problem. You hadn't thought there was a need for caution, having opened countless new bottles of the stuff over the past two and a half years. But as soon as you put a dollop of this bottle's contents onto your head, bad, bad, bad. Rinse. Rinse again. Rub soap into your hair and rinse. Rinse some more. Soap some more. Rinse. Towel off and stumble out to the yurt. You're bad off. But, after collapsing, you realize the trouble hasn't stopped. You can still smell it in your hair (smell isn't always an indicator with MCS, but this is strong). You have no idea what to use to get unsafe shampoo out of your hair. Nonetheless, go back into the horrid house, and run lemon juice through your hair, over and over again. Rinsing, rinsing, rinsing. Back in the yurt, take steps towards recovery. The tractors had done enough damage today, before this shampoo fiasco. Now, your fate for the next 72 hours has been locked in place. No getting around it. Bad, bad, bad.
  82. The situation elsewhere is much better. After emails and a few phone calls between AR, NH and VT, the mortgage application is as completed as it can be for now. Fax it to your contact at the mortgage company at: 11:53pm CST.
  83. Those darn tractors will be at it by 7AM so don't stay up too late! Get some sleep. Do try. It'll do you good.
  84. The mortgage company calls to say they got the fax and ask for authorization to charge you a processing fee. Even though you had faxed what you thought was merely a rough draft, they said they will start the process and let you know if there's additional information they need.
  85. Do some internet searches and compile figures on satellite internet service and cellular phone service. Wouldn't it be cool if you didn't have to use landlines at all? Hmmm... For now just note your findings.
  86. A few resources for do-it-yourself decks (design and construction) seem worthwhile. Email the links to your partner.
  87. Look over the Bioshield website. Bioshield products have been recommended by others with MCS. You are already familiar and happy with AFM's products, but it can't hurt to compare. Looking at websites on your Palm pilot with a molasses-in-January connection speed can be difficult in the best of times. Order a catalogue.
  88. The solar power people haven't called back yet. Call them again. Learn that the guy you were introduced to last week was only a temporary replacement. He gives you the name of the owner. Call and leave her a message.
  89. Find the following tidbit on a Couture genealogy web site: "...the original surname, Cousture, meant uncultivated land. So in all possibility, the Cousture family lived on the edge of the village, near the uncultivated lands when surnames were developed in the late Middle Ages." Interesting!
  90. Tractors, heat and yesterday's shampoo fiasco have beaten your body sore and knocked your abilities down quite a few notches. This day's done.
  91. You get a call back from the woman at the solar power company first thing in the morning. A review of your situation leads her to think a site visit is premature, or not even needed in your case. She gives you several ideas to ponder and promises to put a system pricing sheet in the mail.
  92. Deck designer tools from the other day are deemed worthless to you. Find a better resource and go at it. Math really is handy in the real world!
  93. After missed calls and messages back and forth, you and the seller talk. He hopes to have a couple estimates to drop off to you by Friday.
  94. Keep those math skills honed, working on specs for the internal walls.
  95. Email Pete at Pacific Yurts with some specific construction type questions. He replies promptly and thoroughly. He continues to be an excellent help, instilling even more confidence in your opinion of the yurt company.
  96. You hear news that a ski mountain is for sale: near to what will likely be your land, and for sale by the same real estate company. Apparently it is even listed on E-Bay. Maple Valley in Newfane, Vermont! Small community mountain of 400 acres. You've driven by numerous times and wondered why there wasn't more activity. Anyone wanna buy it?
  97. Three airports visited, one time zone passed through, and seven hours later, you arrive home. It is by now the beginning of the next day, 12:30AM. After routine procedures, you are dozing off to sleep by 2AM-ish.
  98. Up and at it! Quickly plan, review and make more notes. Pack and head out by midday.
  99. Stop in the bank for a certified check in the amount of $6500. Drop it off at the real estate office.
  100. Stop by the Newfane town clerk office. Get copies of various regulations and pickup forms.
  101. Visit a couple hardware stores to lookup various material costs. Later, after you bring these home, your partner enters the data into the spreadsheet.
  102. You are closing in on the project's price holes. Work steadily on your costs worksheet. Create a materials calculation sheet, with formulas to carry totals through to the budget sheet. Put in estimated telecom and mortgage costs.
  103. Take a break to look out the yurt door window: Swooping mesmerizing shimmering sapphire dragonflies - tiny jasmine flowers - shimmer, hue, pale tinge - daisies clumps white and deep gold, painted orange and red too - buttercups and pale purple at edge in yard (now beginning to fade) - sun infused green, clover staring to flower, most began blooms this week.
  104. Too bad you are shaking and sick. The neighbor has been haying again; second day in a row. Bad, bad, bad.
  105. Meet the excavator at the land. Hike along the rough logging roads, taking him to both of your chosen potential building sites. He gives you a verbal estimate that knocks the wind out of your chest. If you weren't in such good shape from extensive hiking, you might be tempted to think you're merely winded from the hike. Nope. That price is scary and would wind an Olympic athlete. You return home unnerved. On the upside, you at least now have a measurement from the road to each site.
  106. Time for sleeping.
  107. Sit together drinking organic coffee and review details of the budget and costing of materials. Lookup online and/or make a best guess on a few remaining holes.
  108. Estimates obtained by the seller weren't dropped off yesterday as you anticipated. Call and leave a message.
  109. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Unless you win the AR lottery, you're not going to be able to fund the entire project: land, improvements and building construction. Start looking at options to break it apart. Maybe you can get by for a while in only one yurt. Might be 'cozy' for a year until your cash is saved to build that second yurt. However, it has gotta be better than the deplorable situation you're living in now! The main goal of this project is safe living. As long as you get that, can you put up with 'cozy'?
  110. One guesstimate you had plugged into the budget is electrical wiring. Start laying out a rough sketch now; you can take it with you to work up in better format, while sitting on the plane.
  111. Colored pens come in handy as you lay out possible scenarios for external electric power. You need to keep things safe for MCS. This means no meter-readers driving up to your happy-yurt-haven in their air-freshenered vehicles, pouring out sundry chemicals as they open the door and walk over, then stand by the meter. No visitors from the outside world will be allowed in your haven-yurt-home (main living area, MLA) unless they've been through the Standard Visitor Protocol. You highly doubt that the electric company will require or allow their meter readers to follow Standard Visitor Protocol just for the few minutes to read the meter! So, think of options. You could go totally off-grid to eliminate this entire issue. If you can afford to do that, you will. Otherwise, the meter can be located at the Welcome Center or maybe even at a post somewhere between. You really need to find out the farthest distance a 240 line can be run before losing too much strength.
  112. Place a call to your fellow yurt dwelling Vermonters. Back in the fall, they helped convince you that yurt living was the ticket, by allowing you a tour of their home. Super nice folks, they gladly review their experience on various aspects of improvements and construction. Helpful. You come away from the conversation greatly relieved. If you can get a driveway put in for about what your fellow yurtlings paid, well then, ... you are much closer to affordability to build on your land parcel.
  113. Leave at 10:30AM for Arkansas, rushed and frustrated. Your partner at home is in for a doozy of a day because the haying in the field is happening again, fourth day in a row. There are far better reasons to shake and quiver; no doubt you'll get to more of that once you're settled into your safe yurt home! For now though, this is a write-off of a day. Sleep and hope.
  114. Tractors at 7AM dash and bash your hope and body! Ants have infiltrated your kitchen. Fighting them requires fighting against the overwhelming exhaustion, soreness, weakness, depression, headache hurting. Aaaaarrrrrghhhh! The noise level of those tractors in the woods is louder than any scream you care to muster. After cursing, tackling the ant problem, and doing the morning in-house routine, get your butt out to the yurt for some recovery efforts.
  115. Spend a good amount of time on taking the 'guess' out of those guesstimates you made in step #107 for your budget. Unfinished tongue and groove 2x6 boards are apparently not so common. It takes numerous phone calls to track some down. Cedar lumber, which you would like to use for a skirting, is not carried by many places either.
  116. You know you'll need scaffolding to get the 30' yurt up. But where, how much money and what size? You cannot rent a used one as it will likely be contaminated with other peoples project chemicals, solvents, paints, etc. Cleaning a rented one to make it safe would be a pain. So, look into buying some of your own, reasoning that you can always sell it afterwards.
  117. The real estate agent calls to let you know that the mortgage company guy said everything looks good and to ask how the estimates are going. You take the opportunity to ask if she can nudge the seller to call you back.
  118. Call the septic contractor in Newfane, after 7PM, per the message you heard in step# 17. Sure, he can meet you out at the land and get you a quote. Friday seems OK to him at the moment. He wants you to call him on Wednesday and double check. Set a task for Wednesday.
  119. Kept the commitment you made in step#45, finishing the next newsletter, while still completing the seventy-five interim steps. Whew! You had reviewed it with your partner over the weekend. The photos and text have both been posted. It is now ready for release. Send it out!
  120. Get some shut-eye.
  121. Continue on with removing 'guess' from your budget. Analyze several options' costs for wall construction. No, you are not going to be using dry wall and paints! Wood all the way means application of sealer and finishes of some sort. What kind? How many coats?
  122. You also have a couple options on the platform and flooring configuration. Nail those options down (pun intended).
  123. In the course of completing the preceding two steps, talk to an amiable fellow at a local lumber company. His company can't help you much because they mostly do moldings and trims. The flooring wood he has isn't what you're looking for. But, he used to live on Baker Brook Road. Tells you the houses to look for that used to be his, who to talk to out there for local history and... About the murder with a ski pole! Yup, back in 1990, a murder transpired, leaving the victim impaled with a ski pole. When your friendly lumber guy learns your real estate agent's name (someone he knows) and that you haven't closed yet... Well, he thinks it would be hilarious to give her a scare; like maybe you'll back out now that you know this distasteful history. He says if you do play a joke on her, let her know he put you up to it! Cheers! (You never do end up spooking the agent. The contingencies and urgency of the deal are too important to even pretend to mess around with, and, you just don't have to heart to do that to someone you've never met face to face.)
  124. Talk with VEC again. Yes, they can set the poles and give you service, exclusive of the phone company, if you decide not to have land lines. Also, obtain a step by step review of the process required. It starts with completion of their application and a payment of $200, and ends 6-8 weeks later with you having electricity. The guy you talk with will send an application to you via mail. You obviously cannot complete it until such time as the land is yours, but good to have handy in advance.
  125. Oh great...another big freakin' truck is going by.
  126. Continue assessment of satellite service for internet, obtaining information on costs and possible setups and scenarios.
  127. Speak with the seller about improvement estimates. He will get some over to the agent tomorrow and she can deliver to you.
  128. Time for more shut eye. The haying isn't happening today, but tractors were driving past and working nearby in the woods. Sick, sick, sick!
  129. Apply online for a quote on radiant floor heating from another Vermont do-it-yourself type company.
  130. Investigate, note, email and make calls throughout the day, to continue onward. Some subjects: scaffolding, satellite, DSL, wireless networking, electric wiring, solar power, wood sealers, snow plows, estimates on land improvements.
  131. Congratulations! You survived another day. Get some sleep.
  132. Using the deck diagrams and Ziploc bagged printouts your partner got together for you over the weekend, enter data into your materials cost worksheet. Make additional calculations and modifications so that you're keeping things simple. You're just not a fancy baluster type person.
  133. The guy from the company in step#129 calls to clarify a couple items in order to complete your quote. Lo and behold, he knows exactly what a yurt is and, furthermore, has done radiant floor heating installations for yurts. Never mind that those yurts were in California and have vastly different heating needs. He can adjust.
  134. Do more work on scaffolding. Email the super helpful guy at the yurt company for guidance in sizing. He replies promptly.
  135. The real estate agent emails you two seller-obtained estimates on septic and driveway. Ask her to fax a copy.
  136. Arrive home late at night, once again, technically the next day, around 1AM. Translation: you get to sleep by 3AM. Who knew traveling between Arkansas and New Hampshire would be as much of a time-drain and hassle as your treks last year, between Vancouver and NH!
  137. Call the town clerk's office and find out there is a zoning permit, but no building code and building a yurt is fine - hoorah! Or, rather, yippee!
  138. In the afternoon, call the mortgage company for an update. The guy you're dealing with is not in. Instead of taking a message, the secretary transfers you to his assistant. Yikes! She chews you out! You tolerate her irritability long enough to glean a potential source of her anger. She seems to be under the impression she is waiting on you to complete some forms; forms that you have no heretofore knowledge of, forms that were supposedly mailed to you last week. You tell her you'll check the post box and take it from there.
  139. Drop everything and head over to the post office before they close. There is indeed a letter. But it is dated Monday, a mere four days ago. As for explaining the assistant's anger, you remain at a loss. Ziploc-bag the pages, bring them home for your partner to review and head out again, right away.
  140. Go to your meeting with another excavator at the land. The guy you talked to left a message saying he was sending his brother to meet you 'at the bridge'. Thankfully your idea of 'the bridge' matches his. Obtain some rough verbal estimates on installing a septic system. Ask for a written copy.
  141. Another day closer to owning land. Sleep.
  142. Use up seven more pages in your notebook. Work your Palm pilot hard! Drink more coffee. Eat some cookies. (Warning: if those cookies traveled with you in a hotel or plane, make darn sure to remove them from the outer container prior to bringing them into the safe-zone-yurt!) Do all this, and more, while reviewing finances, the contingency information and feasibility. Your contractual deadline for backing out is Tuesday. Again, you don't specifically desire to back out, but must be fairly certain you will be able to build as you plan on this land prior to purchase. After one of you leaves in the morning, not much more can be done to further your decision. So carefully study now.
  143. Spend several hours tackling non-project related tasks. Then, get some rest.
  144. Rise early and attempt to shine! Another rushed and shortened weekend is nearly over, with so much more to do! Kick self in ass for booking such terrible flight schedules two weeks in a row! (For instructions, see accompanying photo tutorial.)
  145. Make copies of the pages sent to you from the mortgage company. The originals will travel with you. Re-bag and bring the copy to the yurt for safe review.
  146. Read through these mortgage documents together, writing up a list of questions and notes.
  147. Assign tasks based on your notes and questions.
  148. Skedaddle off to the airport at 10:30AM. Kick self in ass some more!
  149. Back in command central, attempt connection to the internet. Attempt again. And again. And again. The sporadically failing internet connection problem has become constant. Dead. You are incredibly sick anyway, so stop working.
  150. Sleep.
  151. The internet connection problem apparently righted itself overnight. Plow ahead with the assigned tasks. Draft, approve with your partner, and then send, an email to the original bank from so many steps, so long ago. Are they still interested and if so, can they please reply and fast?
  152. Steel yourself. Call the mortgage company woman. Whew! Pleasant relief to discover that she had a major attitude adjustment over the weekend. She is helpful and, when not able to answer your questions, transfers you to another person who can. Be amazed that you have asked a few questions that she's never ever had anyone ask before. Wonder if this means you're extraordinarily stupid. Realize that a more likely explanation is that you are very thorough in your analysis of documents which commit you to thirty years of legal and financial obligation.
  153. After your lengthy but informative phone conversation above, email your partner with the details. List the specific places where cross-outs and corrected figures are to be made in the document. Give your assessment that, after corrections, the document is alright for signing. The mortgage company expects it to be put in the mail. Since your partner will be finalizing the documents in AR, recommend that they be mailed two-day or overnight air instead of postal snail-mail.
  154. You now fully understand and have corrected figures for the mortgage. Enter these into your budget and costs worksheet.
  155. Once more, email your friend who was working on linking you to the private lenders.
  156. The loan officer you emailed earlier in the day, step#150, replies! Wow! She asks if you've got the costs. Reply right away. Yes, and here they are. Give her your estimated totals for land, improvements and construction.
  157. Explore other resources for obtaining an off-grid solar power system. In keeping with your motto, "What can we do ourselves?", you are interested in the avenue of paying for expertise in system design, with a heavy dose of do-it-yourself installation.
  158. The seller's excavator calls you back, returning a voice message you left over the weekend. He seems like just the kind of guy you want to work with: realistic, down to earth, creative. Set up a meeting at the site for Saturday. He says to call Friday and confirm.
  159. The loan officer emails you her bank's construction cost sheet. Because the Palm pilot will not be able to read the file, copy the text into an email and send to your partner.
  160. Later that night, across the miles and phone airways, complete the bank's construction cost sheet together. Email the completed file back to the loan officer.
  161. Complete and update the mortgage company's forms, as instructed earlier in the day.
  162. Night-night. Sleepy-time.
  163. Call the attorney and ask about obtaining power-of-attorney so that you, with the MCS, can be spared the debilitating effects of going to closing. It is easy. The attorney will send you the form.
  164. The form has to be notarized. Call your local town clerk and find out if she'll be available on Friday.
  165. Keep working on your energy usage calculations. If you are to be self-sufficient and off-grid, you need to have a very good handle on your energy usage. All along you've been using your watts meter to obtain measurements of various electric appliances. Keep plugging away at it. (pun intended) Do some online research into energy consumption of a few appliances you do not yet own, but anticipate purchasing.
  166. On a work break in AR, walk the completed mortgage forms over to a FedEx shipping center for send off. You suppose that if the original bank's loan officer does happen to come through with a quick and acceptable loan, this mortgage application could be cancelled. In the meantime, best to carry forward with this reliable option.
  167. Obtain a scaffolding quote. It's reasonable. Enter into your budget cost sheet.
  168. Talk together via phone and officially decide to go for it. You are satisfied enough with the estimates and information you've obtained so far; satisfied enough to say, "Here we go!" and consider the contingency clause complete.
  169. Email the real estate agent. Let her know, "It's a go!", and that the attorney has tentatively set closing for 11AM on the 2nd. Although this will not affect the contingency clause, you are still waiting on one of the estimates the seller promised. Ask the agent to look into getting that.
  170. Another day older and closer to debt. Sleep.
  171. Despite having cosmic connections with you, your partner cannot see into your mind's eye. There's been a picture formulating there; a fluid, swirling collection of project needs, tasks and contingencies. Translate this project picture into a written draft timeline for the project's path ahead: beginning now and ending when you finally get to relax in your yurts. At such time as you finally get an internet connection, send this timeline to your partner.
  172. The mortgage assistant acknowledges receipt of your forms and emails you a copy of the land's appraisal report. Set a task to print this and bag it for your partner to see when you're home.
  173. Leave a voice message for the septic designer who did the perc test on the land. You want to give him advance notice that you will be needing his services after closing.
  174. Later in the day, the septic designer calls back. You are pretty sick and thus, let the phone ring. He leaves a voice message, saying he needs to know a couple details, but will pencil you in. He thinks he could get you a design by August.
  175. Another day survived. Time for sleep.
  176. Closing will now be held at 1PM on the 2nd, per an email from the real estate agent. Change the appointment time in your planner.
  177. The pressing matters for closing have all been addressed, for the moment. Spend most of the day coping with illness and non-project related chores. As you are able to connect to the internet, work a bit on more on your energy usage research.
  178. Meanwhile, in AR, the friendly guy you've been talking to about GPS devices brings his to work to show you. Over lunch, you are impressed: not so much with the food, but with the GPS.
  179. Leave AR for home. En route to the airport, stop and buy a GPS device. If 'home' is your driveway, arrive home eight hours later. If 'home' is 'where your heart is', arrive home nine hours later, after walking out to the yurt.
  180. Start dozing off to sleep, in your little-yurt-psuedo-home, at the break of dawn. Sleep a while. Five hours is about all you can snag.
  181. Head off to the post office first thing! Pick up the mail. Look specifically for a letter from your attorney.
  182. Get the power of attorney signed, notarized and sent back to the attorney.
  183. Call the excavator, per his request in step #157. Leave a voice message when you don't reach him.
  184. Make sure your partner with MCS is safe for use of the GPS device.
  185. Pack. Make a trip over to the land. Your goal is to review and assess the potential home sites. The sooner you can decide this, the faster things will go after closing.
  186. Upon arriving at the land, sit in the vehicle a while to start recovery. Take a shot, drink a Santa Cruz Organic Root Beer (chock full of beneficial herbs), and rub your acupressure points. Arrrggghhh! What a nauseating trip!
  187. While your partner makes recovery efforts, use your GPS device to plot a few corner points on the land. Yippee, this is a cool device!
  188. Commence hiking. Stop along the way to plot more points, including: the perc site, the main logging road, another logging road, potential home sites one and two. Keep hiking and find another nice semi-open area. A third potential building site? Probably not. Too far away from the perc. Plot it anyway, just in case you're wrong.
  189. Stop again at the perc site, on your way back down towards the truck. Earlier, you saw a bunch of light infused green, over yonder, through the trees. Explore. Could that be an open area for site consideration? Trek through the bracken. Discover an uphill opening, created by a slew of fallen trees, with some rock ledge. Climb up. Viola! You have just found an alternative way to reach your potential home building site number two. Veeerrry innnterressting!
  190. Watch your partner laboriously crest the last incline to the potential home site. Then you hear, "Wow, this is it. This is where I want to live". Smile. You have been watching your partner struggle along as you both hike. The ride over was horrible. Recovery steps eased some suffering. Nonetheless, hiking in the midst of such illness looks so difficult. This subtle (unfortunately brief) lift you see in your partner cheers you! This site has good vibrations!
  191. Spend some time visualizing your home in that spot. Then, start the arduous (if you have MCS and are feeling ill) trek back to the vehicle.
  192. Make the arduous (if you have MCS and are feeling ill) trek via vehicle back to your current home. Shower, recover.
  193. Try to sleep a bit.
  194. Leave another voice message for the excavator, since you didn't get a call from him yesterday. Today is Saturday, the day he said he could meet you.
  195. Many, many, many non-project-related chores have been piling up, undone, the past few weeks. Do them now! Also, don't forget: your regular chores must be done as well.
  196. Start a new Official YIPPEE Notebook, your third, because number two is full. Transpose the draft timeline created in step #170 onto the first four pages of the notebook.
  197. Another day survived. Sleep.
  198. Thankfully, no ass-kicking' needed this weekend. You booked a reasonable return flight and don't have to leave home until 2PM. Spend time reviewing the draft timeline together. Add a sheet to your ever growing Excel project spreadsheet. Talk about project management and start assigning tasks.
  199. The mail, which you opened upstairs last night, contained an approval letter from the mortgage company. You are instructed to sign and return it. Email the assistant, asking if it can simply be brought with you to closing. Pack the letter to take with you, in case it needs to be over-nighted to ensure delivery prior to closing.
  200. Oh, right. You can't send that email. You haven't had internet connection for days and days. Fortunately, one of you will have access to email later, at the airport.
  201. Off to the airport.
  202. Back in NH, at yurt central, develop and refine the project management spreadsheet.
  203. Another day closes in NH and AR. Sleep.
  204. Connect to the internet (after, like, a billion, attempts). Lookup the solar power installer/designer your sister told you about. No success finding him. Add a task to look it up when better internet connection is in place.
  205. Yes, you can bring the signed approval letter to closing, per an email from the mortgage assistant.
  206. Darn house! Darn tractors! Darn phone lines! It's noon, you're feeling quite sick and need to stop. Disconnect. Try re-connecting right away to see if it works. Nope. Call and ask your partner to check the project's email account periodically for any important emails, since your ability to do so is dubious.
  207. Call your internet provider. They tell you there are no service problems currently. They only have one dial up number in your area, the one you have been using. They are reluctant to talk to you much more because you are using a Palm Pilot and not a laptop. They cannot help you further. You cannot use a laptop. So, you're stalled on this front.
  208. For the project management worksheet, finish the design and establish the procedures.
  209. Talk to the septic designer. Learn that you will need to flag your home site before he can start. He will go out and gather required data from your land, and then complete your design. He hopes to get your design done by sometime in August. The earliest he could get out to review your site is July 12th. Thankfully, you do not need to be there to review it with him. Set a task to call him once you've determined and flagged the sites.
  210. Grab your mask! Crank the air filter! Shut the yurt up!! Hurry! Ugh. Sounds like haying is in progress again, very nearby, in the field out front. You have not been allergic to grass and pollens, or experienced "hay fever", in three years. (Thank you NAET!) But, petroleum powered tractors are an entirely different matter. The tractor sounds like it is driving right up to your yurt. From experience recently, you know that the tractor sounds closer than it is because of the property's terrain. Nonetheless, the nearest end of the field being hayed is a mere hundred feet away.
  211. Wonder what the heck is going on out front. Rely solely on sound, since you are prohibited from leaving the yurt during situations such as this. Vehicle door opens. Beep. Beep. Beep. Pause. Beep. Beep. Beep. Your phone number is listed out front on the signs, but your phone doesn't ring. After a few more minutes, you hear the garage door open and shut. The vehicle's door shuts and then, the vehicle leaves.
  212. Several hours later, when there is no more tractor noise, you are able to open the yurt and initiate the recovery processes.
  213. Another day closes in NH, then AR. Sleep.
  214. Call Verizon. Have them run a check on your phone lines. Your lack of internet connection has been interfering with the project implementation. Your partner also needs solid internet connection when home. The problem must be tackled: it is unacceptable to be without email or internet.
  215. Call your partner for advice. Verizon told you the line test gave "inconclusive" results, meaning that the problem could be inside the house, or outside. You know that having one of their technicians check the internal lines would require far more than is possible of you. Having one of their technicians check the external lines is free, and more importantly, can be done without meeting the technician. When asked, you opted for scheduling an external line check only. Problem is, you will still get sick from the tech being nearby. You could go over to the line box yourself and use the test jack to see if the problem exists there. This will make you sick also. But, if you determine the line is fine at the test jack, you could cancel tomorrow's scheduled tech visit and avoid that sickness. Whether you want to admit it or not, you already know the right thing to do. But, it is so unpleasant a prospect. Best to review this situation with your partner, to make sure.
  216. Buck up! Go at it. Spend a couple hours going back and forth between yurt, line box and house. Repeated testing proves that the scheduled tech visit should remain in place. Aarrrrrgggh! Put things back in place and undo the phone line to the yurt (don't want the tech to follow it to your yurt and make you even sicker!). Initiate recovery.
  217. Ditto of yesterday's steps #209 and #210. Survive the best you can. As with yesterday, initiate recovery once you are fairly certain all haying is done and vehicles are long gone.
  218. What the heck is taking so long? The field out front is not that big. Yet, there's been a total of seven days of tractor exposures to survive; seven days of very very 'bad, bad, bad'. One blessing: your skills are not presently critical to obtaining your own land. Thus, you do not have to force yourself to work while sick this week. You can't do any work requiring email or internet anyway. When you go into the house in the evening for your shower, go to the front and look out. The field seems almost empty. Could they be done working? Don't even dare to hope.
  219. Sleep, if you can.
  220. The excavator finally returns your call. (At far too early in the morning considering your present health condition, but that's besides the point.) He leaves a message saying he can meet you in the beginning of next week, after you've closed on the land.
  221. Yet again, third day in a row now: survive a repeat of both steps #209 and #210. The tractors from the field make some sense. But, the beeping out front for three days in a row? That will remain a mystery until your partner arrives home and can see what's out there.
  222. In the midst of the hay field tractor exposure, the Verizon tech arrives. Hold your position: yurt remains shut up, keep your mask on, leave the air filter cranked. You won't know until the weekend if the tech solved any problems. Going out to reconnect everything would add more burden to your presently overloaded and struggling system.
  223. Wait at least one hour after all tractors, vehicles and workpersons have vacated the premises. Initiate recovery. Wait another hour or so, to let those recovery steps gain a foothold. Then go into the house, as you do every evening. Afterwards, initiate recovery, also as you do every evening. Somehow you keep surviving.
  224. Another day is over. You know the drill by now... Sleep. Or, well, attempt to. If nothing else, spend several hours under the covers fitfully dozing.
  225. The attorney calls with the final figures for tomorrow's closing. Write them down. Interestingly, there is a sizeable lien on the property, held by the excavator. Huh. The attorney assures you it will be handled and is not your concern.
  226. In NH, this day is all about surviving and coping with the effects of the past days' intense exposures.
  227. In AR, finish the project and pack for heading home. You will likely be coming back in August, but not next week. Whew! Eight hours after your flight takes off in AR, arrive at your yurt in NH, and head into the arms of your love.
  228. It is once again, already a couple hours into the next day: the day you are scheduled to become a land owner. Fall asleep, happy to be home. Catch some shut eye together.
  229. You fancy a fortifying French toast breakfast. But alas, this is folly! Four hours from the time your alarm beeps (and beeps again), you must be at closing: fully dressed, awake, alert and with funds. Decide that a quickie would better serve your needs.
  230. Expend an hour, more or less, on routine morning tasks.
  231. Use the next hour, more or less, for eating, drinking coffee, planning the day and preparing to leave.
  232. With two hours remaining, get in your truck and leave.
  233. Stop at the Post Office and pick up your mail. Since you are going to the bank anyway, you might as well deposit your checks at the same time.
  234. Drive over the river and through the woods, across one state line and to the bank. Deposit your checks. Withdraw funds from your savings account and obtain a certified check for closing.
  235. Drive to Townshend, VT. Locate the attorney's office.
  236. Show up to closing: on time, awake, alert, with funds and fully dressed. OK, so technically you are not fully dressed. You don't have socks on. But neither do a few other people. This is Vermont in the summer.
  237. After introductions, proceedings commence. Good thing you brought along your 'legal mumbo jumbo' decipher! Actually, your attorney is great and makes the paperwork easy.
  238. Sign here. Sign for your partner as her 'attorney in fact'. Sign there. And again for your partner. Sign some more. Sign some more. Again. Again. Again.
  239. Your attorney turns to you and says, "Congratulations, you are now a land owner". Look at your watch. 1:42PM, on July 2nd, 2004. YIPPEE!!!!
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