Days 118-121: Putting Panels in Place, Part 2

You may have noticed a mild redesign on the website.  The most exciting part is the addition of All the Posts – it’s a page with all of our posts organized by subject and publication date.

The act of listing everything made me realize how much we have accomplished in the past year.  We arrived in Silver City on November 7, 2014, did some more touring and decided to settle here on November 18th.  That was 13 days after leaving Manchester, CT.

With projects that carry on for awhile, it’s easy to feel like little is changing; that the goal isn’t really getting any closer.  It’s not true, of course, but sometimes your mind plays tricks.  Well here is a trick to play back – break the big project up into smaller pieces so that accomplishing a task comes frequently.  That’ll keep the feeling of success up in the forefront.  Ever since we finished the subfloor/underlayment, the pace of the house project has felt much faster.  It feels like we start and complete a new task each week.

Monday
We finished the third row, organized the junk on the floor and prepared to move the scaffold to the other side.  Then we realized that we’d prefer to counter-sink the screws into the panels (push them in deeper with the impact driver; NOT remove the screws and use the drill with the counter-sink bit).  Thus, we left the scaffold where it was and called it a night.  Brian was prepping to take the homeowner’s electrical exam so study time and sleep were priority.

Second row on the west side - complete! How pretty!

Second row on the west side – complete! How pretty!

Tuesday
We had some domestic responsibilities Tuesday night (cooking and chopping meat for dogs) so we had an abbreviated work window.  We first counter-sunk all of the screws on the west side (the two rows we had completed), did a small repair job on one of the furring strips that was not laying flat (we hit it with the oscillating tool) and then moved the scaffold to the east side.

The wind was CRAZY.  Steady blowing at 20-25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph.  No moisture, just wind.  The house is super solid, though, so we only noticed it when we went outside to cut 2x4s.

We attached one panel (and its 2 studs) and went home.

This is our cutting station, complete with camping lantern to provide light.

This is our cutting station, complete with camping lantern to provide light.

First panel of the second row on the east side. This was the easiest panel yet - great alignment right off the bat and the scaffold was setup so we didn't have to strain to reach anything.

First panel of the second row on the east side. This was the easiest panel yet – great alignment right off the bat and the scaffold was placed so we didn’t have to strain to reach anything.

Wednesday
We passed on house work entirely so Brian could study for the electrical exam.  When I took the dog team to the property to eat, I was met with an unsavory sight – our garbage can had been knocked over and the neighbor dog had gotten into it, dragging things about and ripping them open.

I don’t know for certain it is the neighbor dog but we have seen the neighbor let her out to run free (onto our property).  We’ve chased him off twice.  He pees on our stuff when we’re not there and then our dogs arrive and mark the spots.  Events like these increase our urgency to move in.

Thursday
Brian drove to Cruces and took the exam.  Unfortunately, he missed 3 questions too many – the ones which asked about strange (and irrelevant for us) situations he had pai less attention to during his studying (i.e. outlets near wet bars, lights in closets, garages).  He was commended by the exam lady because he did better than many out of state electricians.  The bummer about the not-passed exam is that he must wait 30 days to take it again.  Considering that would delay us into the heart of winter, we are thinking about biting the bullet and hiring an electrician.

These are our options –

  • Wait 30 days to take the test again.  After we frame the bathroom (1-2 days of work), we are ready to run wiring.  Therefore, this option will delay progress on the house for 30 days.  In the meantime, we could finish the driveway and perhaps even finish the fence.
  • Hire an electrician and be out a considerable chunk of change.  This option would expedite the wiring process and allow us to get in the house sooner.  Perhaps we could view the investment as a partial swap for another month (or two) of rent.  The electrician we would prefer to hire is out of town for 10 days so we have a 10 day delay in either case.

We made up for the evening “off” Wednesday by….finishing the fourth row of panels!  Hurrah!!!

Brian driving a screw into a panel. I'm lurking below to receive the next stud measurement.

Brian driving a screw into a panel. I’m lurking below to receive the next stud measurement.

Two rows of panels complete! Now it's time to create a bathroom.

Two rows of panels complete! Now it’s time to create a bathroom.

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