Building Oak Haven – frustrations yet progress

It’s amazing how a little time and much progress can put frustrations into perspective.

We hit a low point in our home building process a couple of Wednesdays ago.

Leading up to that day were small irritations. Primarily toilet problems. Which brings up the question, how many toilets must one purchase before having three functional, correctly sized toilets?  For us, it was nine.  Two of the first three toilets we ordered from Home Depot online came in either broken or missing a piece.  We returned all three and purchased three from off the shelf.  Only I didn’t realize how low the “standard” toilet was until the plumber pulled it out of the box.  No wonder all the toilets on display are “chair” height.  We had purchased two standard, so we returned them for two more chair heights.  However, one of them was broken, so back it went to exchange it for another. Finally, after nine purchases, five returns and an exchange, we had three functioning toilets.

Ah, the whoas of our lavatory needs. To add insult to injury, the toilet in our camper sprung a leak.  We are VERY thankful it happened while we were here, because water sprayed all over the bathroom and would have flooded the camper floor.  Thankfully we were able to cap off the water line to the toilet and save the fix for another day (camper toilets can work without the waterline and just a cup of water poured into the bowl to flush).

Still needs the trim painted

If only that were the end of our frustrations.  Our doors have been another source. Primarily the front and back patio doors. I lost count of how many times the delivery was rescheduled. When they finally showed up, the front door had been milled wrong and the hinges did not line up with the hinges on the frame. We were quite vexed to send it back. And the same thing happened again with delayed delivery. We persisted and the door was delivered, but not installed, on a Saturday morning so Fernando could stain it and the back doors. After a few more phone calls, installers showed up  this past week and Fernando sent out his guys on Saturday to finish them up. They look amazing.

The low point, you ask. What was the low point? It was time to fire up the septic system, but first we needed to move the camper to its new home at the end of the driveway, next to the house (it was in the way of one of the septic sprinklers). We planned the spot specifically for the camper. Hose bib for water hook up, access to the septic for black/grey water disposal, and a 30 amp plug for power. Wednesday morning we got up and prepared the camper to move. Jon hitched it up, pulled it out, then backed down our driveway.  We set up, hooked it up, and POOF. Something popped. Something fried.  Word of caution, be sure to specify when electricians install a camper plug that it needs to be 30/110 NOT 30/220.  220 does not bode well for things electrical in a camper.  The converter fried. The microwave zapped, and the fridge no longer worked on electricity. And I had a bit of a meltdown. Instead of a productive workday working on the house, we had to unload the camper, hook it back up, and Jon took it to Crestview to see what the damage ($$$) would be. We’ve been longtime customers of theirs and we were delighted when they were able to replace the converter while Jon waited. Thankfully, the AC still worked. We’ll have to replace the microwave and see if there is a fix for the fridge (if not, we’ll just run it on gas). But those are problems for another day.

The whole disaster did result in us moving into the house (sleeping on the camper mattress on the bedroom floor) faster than we might have otherwise.


During one of my moaning moments over the various issues with the house, the Lord stopped me and asked (yes, I kind of did hear the question), “Really? and what do like about the house?” That made me pause.  There is so much more to like, to love, about this house than not.

Perfect fit

I love the master tub. I think I mentioned in another post about the little fiasco of ordering a tub too deep for the frame and worrying whether the new one would fit. It fit perfectly. And its beautiful. What a blessing.

I love our AC, our water pressure, and our hot water heater. I love the fact that all of our plumping and light fixtures are in.

I love the back patio and the view to the trees and field behind us. I love the sprinkler system Gage Greenscapes is installing, so I don’t have to drag around hoses and mess with turning faucets on and off. I love the idea of our future flower beds and the color they will bring next summer.

I love our wood floors. And the flow of the great room and kitchen. I love the idea of friends and family gathering in this space.


love the color

And I love how all the colors in the house have come together. I was a bit apprehensive about the trim and door color (going against traditional white) but they turned out amazing.

We still have much work to do. I’m painting the doors and the trim, and Jon and his dad have been installing them. We’re probably about fifty percent done, with lots of touch up and detail work to follow.

Even so, yesterday, we rented a truck, hired some young men (including our youngest) and moved most of our furniture and the first of many boxes out of storage and into the house.

Suddenly, the house has become home.  Which is good, because next week we plan to have a little party and a gender reveal for our daughter’s second baby. I can’t think of a better way to christen our new home.

Grace and Peace













About Jill English Johnston

God writes His story on every heart, if we only pause to read it. My heart has lived in a fantasy world since early childhood and am delighted that God has finally brought me to the place where I can bring the fantasies to life through story. I am currently working on a fantasy trilogy (of course) but I also post thoughts, reflections and (hopefully) inspiration to my website: I am a follower of the Rabbi Jesus, married to my best friend and inspiration, and the mother of three incredible children, one daughter and two sons, a son-in-love, a daughter-in-love and two adorable granddaughters. When not writing, I passionately pursue prayer, reading (never enough time to read them all!), and the outdoors. My husband and I both served in the US Navy and have lived/travelled through many states and all over Asia. We both still enjoy travelling, but we really love our home in New Braunfels, located at the Texas Hill Country.
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