Tiny Cabin Update: Walls

This week we spent three days at the land with a long list of minor and major tasks. The weather was on our side, considering it was late June. Though it reached 90 degrees a couple days, the heat index stayed under 100. One day was partly cloudy, and another had a breeze. We arrived early with the intention of quitting at lunch, but we were able to work longer without exhausting ourselves.

 

We made a big purchase this week that sped up progress: a generator. Our neighbors have been generous in letting us link extension cords to use their electricity, but we decided this would be a good investment to make sooner rather than later.

This week’s “to do” list:

  • Assemble generator
  • Frame and install bathroom window
  • Spread gravel for more even ground for scaffolding
  • Finish sub-floor (measure, cut, and nail boards)
  • Finish base walls (measure, cut, and nail boards)
  • Add foam insulation (cut, nail, and seal with tape)
  • Reinforce side wall with the “great window”
  • Buy framing supplies, trim, and paint

Aside from a few small patches high on the side walls, we accomplished all of our goals. Chuck’s dad came on Tuesday and Thursday. His know-how amazes me. Where I might hesitate on deciding the best plan of action, he acts. And once he shows me how to do something, I am more confident in my actions, not to mention more efficient.

We also plan to do pink insulation between the studs, but the foam board will create a tighter seal and add additional insulation.

I enjoyed being on the scaffolding–again, I’ve had lots of monkey-bar experience. I’m also more comfortable wielding the nail gun. Over time, my arm muscles have strengthened and my fear of the nail gun has waned. I’m happy to leave the sawing to Chuck. He’s also much better at making a pattern with the foam board nails, which will be helpful later when we’re nailing up the cedar shingles on the front and the siding on the other walls. (The panel I nailed looks like it was done by a sawed-off shotgun, and I used twice as many nails as was necessary.)

Next week the temperature will soar to 100–perfect for swimming in Lake Beaverfork or reading a good book in air conditioning. We also have tickets to see the Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre‘s Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story. We’ve already enjoyed the outdoor A Midsummer Night’s Dream but missed Twelfth Night, which was sold out this morning! We’re anxious to finish the cabin, but we’re also trying to find balance.

We’ll work at the land tomorrow before family comes in for the 4th. Hopefully, by the end of next week, we’ll have the trim up and at least some of the cedar shingles.

 

Tiny Cabin: Back in the Saddle

The first week after the accident is a blur of bandages, medicine, and doctors’ appointments. That, and kind friends and family bringing by food and checking in.

All of the various doctors–the ENT, general physician, optometrist, and chiropractor–reiterated that the fall could have been much worse. We are counting our blessings.

On other fronts, we found out that my mother-in-law’s pancreatic cancer has developed to Stage 4, and one of my step-daughters moved to South Carolina with her baby, Alex.

It would be easy to say that life moves forward and we move with it. But that glosses over the emotional processing that great (and abrupt) changes demand.

Chuck’s body is still healing–the hematoma in his right arm restricts how much he can lift, and the nerves in his face are slowly regaining feeling. The emotional wounds, however, remain fresh.

I spent several sleepless nights and red-eyed days thinking of our next move. My main concern: the 12/12 pitch roof. We went away for a couple of days to celebrate our 11th anniversary and to clear our heads.

We reached out to Chuck’s cousin, Scott, who has worked in construction and even built his own house. He was up to the challenge. Once we knew we had the roof covered, we felt we could make plans. And I could get some sleep.

It was now time to finish the decking, which would require a third person, not to mention poise on scaffolding. A colleague, Russ, volunteered to help, and we managed to tack up the rest of the decking in less than two hours. It was an enormous hurdle after we had seriously questioned whether or not we would be able to finish the cabin at all.

After the decking, our next move was to get as many walls up as possible.

We were under a heat advisory, with temperatures in the 90s and a heat index over 110 degrees. Chuck and I started at 6:30 and had to quit before noon. Chuck’s shirt was soaked to the hem, and my face was puffy and red.

At first, I held the sheet of OSB while Chuck fired the nail gun. But I wasn’t strong enough to hold the full sheets straight, and Chuck’s arm was tiring out from the heavy nail gun. So we switched.

Chuck said he was glad I had gotten over my fear of the nail gun. “I wouldn’t go that far,” I replied. I’m still terrified of it, and rightfully so. But I’m less afraid when I’m the one in control of the beast. When I was holding the board, I had to wait in anticipation for the loud bang, puff of air, and cloud of displaced wood particles.

It takes both of my hands to keep the nail gun steady, but now I know what to expect–and I know when it’s going to strike.

We didn’t get as far as we had hoped, but we got our strength and momentum back.

A blog on the roof will follow soon…