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No Parachute for Late Jumpers

Homebuilding is not an activity well suited to procrastinators. Putting off important decisions about planning and building ( there are no UN-important ones ) is dangerous. To end up with a home that is right and ready you have to train yourself to think fast, and in-the-moment, but not like the guy in the following poem. This is an excerpt from the …

Directionally-Specific Claustrophobia

This story isn’t intended to be funny, but it is interesting. Whenever a claustrophobic client is encountered, conventional wisdom says, “every room has to be huge.” But I’ve learned to say, “You’re claustrophobic? Which way?” Throughout my four decade long career as a home designer, I’ve encountered many people with a special condition, claustrophobia, which is a critical issue when …

Way Out in the Country

Way out in the country, how many people does it take to go to the bathroom? “OK. On ‘hup-two-hike’ you do a down & out towards the feed bin. Curl right and head for the pig trough. I’ll fade back, then sneak towards the out-house, where I’ll stop and use the bathroom. Then, we’ll run the play again, so you …

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Then, Now & Later

The answer is : Because we keep planning such stupidly expensive houses! The questions are : How did American homes get so expensive? How did we get in this mess? How can we get out of it? This article is about what houses were like when they were affordable, what made them so expensive, and what they should be like …

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Olympic Game

I’ve discovered a new game. It can be enjoyed by women and girls, men and boys, all races, all religions and all ages. However, in spite of the potential popularity, I don’t think there will ever be an Olympic gold medal awarded for falling-off-the-roof. Who hasn’t had to climb up there to retrieve a Frisbee or a ball stuck behind …

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Perry Scope

“Raise up……… A little more…….. Yes. Yes. That’s it!…….. Perfect! We do have a view of the river!!” I dream of the day when I’ll be able to go home to my country, river side estate after a week of hard, productive work writing columns about the misery of people who built their own homes but shouldn’t have. There I’ll be a …

Retaining Wall Song by the Rapper Girls

The Rapper Girls  Retaining Wall Song  verse  Prop it up, baby.  Prop it in the air.  Prop it up, baby.  Prop it everywhere!  chorus  Prop it up, baby.  Prop it up, baby.  Prop it up, baby.  Prop it up, baby.  repeat verse  We all possess a character flaw that can allow us to get so carried away with what we’re …

Letter from the Builder Beast

Build In Fear This is not a question and answer column, but I have to share the following letter: Dear Andy Bozeman,  I really liked your last column about the sliding cat rug, especially the part about the expanding tile. That has happened to me. I am a builder and since you seem so smart I am hoping you can …

Modern Cooking

The twentieth century has seen the greatest changes in cooking and food storage since the introduction of fire. A real flame-kissed steak is a weekend luxury in a world where food is most commonly made safe to eat by the same high energy beam the military uses to knock down enemy satellites. Storing leftovers is easier than ever as refrigerators …

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EIGHT LOBE

This home building horror story was brought to my attention by an engineer who had been asked to look at a foundation slab. He arrived at the site before the owner and took the opportunity to look over the concrete pad which would soon support a new house. The engineer checked the corners- they were all perfectly square. Next he …

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Distracted Driving – Hidden Building Cost – No Recovery

SETTING – It’s a dark and stormy night. A lull in the storm offers a chance for a man (his real name is Husband) to leave the sprawling building, where his office is located; and from which he is the last to exit. In front of the sprawling building is a more sprawling parking lot, now empty except for his …