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high desert. small house.

Day 12 – More Studs & Ladder Fear

“The density of time is increasing.”  That was Brian’s response to my statement yesterday that I couldn’t believe it was only Monday.  We left for work at 5:45am and by the time we were closing up at 5:30pm, it felt like we had packed in enough events to last a week.  And that was before leaving to work on the house!  Every spare moment at work is spent strategizing, planning, and discussing the house project.

The biggest downside to these super-packed days is the sleep reduction.  When our alarms went off this morning at 3:50am, it was pretty hard to get out of bed.  In case you ever have this problem, here’s one strategy you may want to try – Get your legs off the bed, stand up and start moving as fast as you can in the direction of a different room.  Get to the bathroom or the kitchen or anywhere that is devoid of a soft piece of furniture.  Yes, you may crash into something (or step on a dog), but you won’t oversleep and the adrenaline rush will hold you over until the coffee is made.

Here are a few other lessons we have learned –

  • Make your food in bulk and eat it all week
    • This actually isn’t a new thing for us but it has been super helpful during the build process.  An unexpected benefit with this system is the reduction of decisions you have to make, which frees up time and mental space for other things.
    • We make hamburgers every other day and make enough to last two dinners.  We eat a humongous amount of veggies with them, also prepared the same night as the burgers.
    • We make a crock-pot of chicken curry every Sunday and Wednesday and this is lunch for every day except Saturday (when we eat out).
  • Free up enough time for the house (or other large project) but don’t remove activities that will make you feel victimized by your project.
    • This might sound strange but it isn’t uncommon to make a decision (i.e. start a diet) and then feel like someone is holding you to this super unhappy decision and you harbor resentment over it.
    • We made the decision to build the house and we’re very happy about it.  So we don’t get grumpy when we’re tired.  We are not upset that we can’t go to ping pong anymore or that practicing piano is absolutely out of the question.  The training routines for the dogs and bird are infrequent and cut short but they now get to spend most of the build time with us.  In an effort to maintain the routines that are essential for our well-being, we did not give up the gym or home-made meals.  We work them into the schedule.
  • “Battery-powered circular saws are freaking awesome.”  ~Brian

Monday
We really thought we’d finish prepping the end caps by Monday but alas, it’s going to take at least one more day.  The challenge is the high-up work.  One can’t drive in the nails as confidently and swiftly as usual and the ladder has to be repeatedly moved or have its configuration (a-frame to straight up) changed and moved.

We also got hung up for awhile when we were installing one of the high-up studs.  We had to screw in the upper screw into the metal ribbing and the drill was quickly drained of its juice.  After driving the battery back to the house, charging and returning to the arched cabin, we had lost about 30 minutes.

While we work, the dogs are either penned up or free roaming.  They get more exercise and stimulation if they can roam, but they are also liable to run down the driveway if the neighbors come/go or if dogs walk by.  All of this is distracting and dangerous if we need to intervene from up high on a ladder.  Solution - carry around a dog snack that you can use to easily recall the pack.

While we work, the dogs are either penned up or free roaming. They get more exercise and stimulation if they can roam, but they are also liable to run down the driveway if the neighbors come/go or if dogs walk by. All of this is distracting and potentially dangerous if we need to intervene from up high on a ladder. One potential solution – carry around duck jerky that you can use to easily recall the pack.

After taking care of that stud, we made a mental note to do the final high-up stud the next day and took the ladder outside to work on the high-up nailing.  I was able to drive in 4 nails before I wussed out and got off the ladder.  Brian took over and I switched to applying primer to the bottom of the siding. We worked until it was pitch-black and called it a night.

Chelsea on ladder, nearly having a breakdown.  Thanks Brian for remaining at the base of it to secure my safety (NOT! - He had to capture this pathetic moment on camera.)

Chelsea on ladder, nearly having a breakdown. For some reason, I just feel like the ladder is going to tip over backward, like in cartoons, and fall to my doom.  That, or I’ll drop a hammer on Trooper’s head.  *stressful*  Thanks Brian for remaining at the base of the ladder to secure my safety (NOT! – He had to capture this pathetic moment on camera.)

Primer on the bottom of the south wall end cap.

Primer on the bottom of the south wall end cap.

We have now illustrated one of the inconveniences we are experiencing by working at a location without utilities.  We have to drive home for power.  Additionally, any sort of mess made (or hands dirtied, as shown in the featured image above) must be taken care of with whatever water supply we have brought with us.  [We fill up about 10 water bottles and bring them for the caulk rag, dog water bowl, our drinking water, paint/primer cleaning, etc but sometimes it just isn’t enough.]

For a full summary of our experience with Arched Cabins, please read Arched Cabin Summary.

One Comment

  1. Maybe you could cut up some rags and put flat in Tupperware with a bit of water that contained white vinegar (no idea what ratio). they could be washed and reused. you may smell like a salad on the way home, but oh well. Or get wipes from store. I know, like you have time for that.

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