Days 31-32 – Seam Sanding & The Great Storm

Wheweeee, what an exciting weekend.  Incredible progress and a few exciting events to boot.  We did indeed take Friday evening off.  We met some friends for a hike and dinner; it was a wonderful way to recharge and feel human again.

Saturday
After work, we ran a few errands and got to the property around 4:30ish.  With power tools at the ready and the generator full of gas, we immediately started sanding….nope, that’s not exactly how it went.

  • The dogs were not invited to help us because we needed the outdoor tent space to store everything that was in the house, including all the power tools and the door.
  • Prior to moving the door, we installed it back in the jamb.  This was not as easy as anticipated as everything had to be lined up perfectly.
  • We organized everything that had been in the house, throwing away things such as packaging material and used paint stirrers, and sorting everything else into boxes.
  • We moved all of our organized boxes and stacks out underneath the tent house.  [See featured image at top of post.]
  • THEN, we sanded….NOT
  • The stack of insulation needed to be handled carefully and ideally, not placed outside.  Therefore, we fashioned a make-shift loft to store them above us.  Same for the trim pieces.
  • It was getting dark by the time we began sanding.  To keep sawdust clouds to a minimum, one of us did the crouching squat walk with the belt sander and the other person walked behind with the vacuum held against the sander outlet.  We took turns so that we both benefited from the incredible squat mobility work.
  • Because ALL of our stuff was outside and we were not done sanding, we decided to spend the night at the property.  We stationed the dog crates (with dogs) near the door opening so that they could alert us if an intruder appeared.  We both commented the next day how pure and deep our sleeps had been.  The property is peaceful and quiet.
The generator was transported via smart car.  We actually left it in there during operation (with the doors and back open of course) so that we did not have to worry about moving it around.

The generator was transported via smart car. We actually left it in there during operation (with the doors and back open of course) so that we did not have to worry about moving it around.

Neat gravel we encountered at our friends' house.

Neat gravel we encountered at our friends’ house.

Butterfly dining on long purple flower.

Butterfly dining on long purple flower.  Also at friends’ house.

Brian fed the dogs in a new spot over the weekend.  This rock is fairly close to the house and building pad so it allowed us a quick food drop and the ability to make sure they returned afterward.

Brian fed the dogs in a new spot over the weekend. This rock is fairly close to the house and building pad so it allowed us a quick food drop and the ability to make sure they returned afterward.

The insulation was stored safely on the beams nearest the door.

The insulation was stored safely on the beams nearest the door.

The trim pieces were stored in the other loft area, using the 2x6s to create a 'floor'.

The trim pieces were stored in the other loft area, using the 2x6s to create a ‘floor’.

Tent party on Saturday night.  Seriously, the best night of rest we have had in a long time.  The only challenge was the lack of bathroom facilities.

Tent party on Saturday night. Seriously, the best night of rest we have had in a long time. The only challenge was the lack of bathroom facilities.

Sunday
Because we slept at the property, we woke fairly early and were working by 9:45am.  Go dog go!

  • While I ran the bedding and tent home, along with dog team, Brian stayed and began trimming the metal beams where they were are stabbed into the insulation.
  • Upon my return, we took up our team sanding endeavor and finished half of the seams before we took a break.  I think that food was the prompt for our break, but regardless, it was the break that led to our discovery of an otherworldly spider and the Stephen King-esque Mist rolling in (see photos below).
  • Then things got real.
We have to cut through the bottom of the cross beams in order to access the upper corner, where the insulation violation was occurring.

We have to cut through the bottom of the cross beams in order to access the upper corner, where the insulation violation is occurring.

Brian was thoroughly covered in metal flakes within moments of starting the metal grinding process.

Brian was thoroughly covered in metal flakes within moments of starting the metal grinding process.

Brian strikes a pose next to the sanding work area.

Brian strikes a pose next to the sanding work area.

Despite having the vacuum going, there was little that could be done when sanding in the corners.  The sawdust would shoot out, bounce off the walls and cover the sander operator.

Despite having the vacuum going, there was little that could be done when sanding in the corners. The sawdust would shoot out, bounce off the walls and cover the sander operator.  Note my “greying” hair.

The Great Storm
After we ate lunch, we took a brief break.  Mainly, we walked around and chatted about what was coming up next.  It was during this walk around that I decided to open all the windows and found a spider nest in the corner of one of them.  The spider that emerged had a bright red butt and amazingly robust looking front legs.  Seriously, it looked like a(nother) crab-spider.  Strong fat body, short stout legs, fast mover with a nest to protect.  Not a spider to mess with…except that I’d really like to have him removed.

The spider egg sack is so dense that it looks like a fog.

The spider egg sack is so dense that it looks like a fog.  The horrifying silhouette near the bottom is our 8-legged ‘friend’.

While looking out the window, I notice a huge and impressive storm cloud in the direction of the shack; along highway 180 east.  It really looked like something out of a horror novel.  The rain cloud was heavy and grey with the rain misty area extending all the way to the ground.  It was enveloping the hill near Albertsons!  Whoa!  So naturally, I took a leisurely stroll outside and took some photos.

Storm cloud

Storm cloud – you can see how dense it is and that it reaches the ground.  Look closely at the terrain and you can see the buildings hidden within it.  That’s rain, not fog.

Storm cloud developing over our hill

Storm cloud developing over our hill – this is south/southeast of the photo above

So after I stroll about taking photos for five minutes, I tell Brian that he must look out the windows at the impressive storm.  After walking over to join him, I am startled by the progression of the cloud/rain bank.  The whole front has advanced in our direction by at least a mile.  It’s …like….coming at us!

Hmmm….I think to myself, ‘probably a monsoon shower coming our way.  I better go retrieve my phone from outside and put it in the car.’  After doing that, I decide to close the doors on the Smart car and make sure the tent house is covering everything.  Yep, everything looks good.  Thank goodness we are done painting.  Now I’ll go back inside to recommence sanding.

As I begin to settle into my sanding work area, Brian leaves to go do something.  I can hear rain begin to hit the roof.  Big, fat, heavy drops of water.  This storm was no joke.  Brian was probably going outside to execute the same tent house check I had just done.  I could hear the wind a little bit but nothing struck me as alarming.  This is a testement to the stability of the arched cabin – I had no idea what was going on outside.  I even remember looking out the door opening and thinking, “Ahhh, it’s raining.  No big deal.”

Then, Brian starts yelling.  Not the “get over here, it’s a stationary hummingbird” type of yell.  But a real, “Come quick, I need help and something serious is going on” yell.  I get out the door and turn left (east) toward the storm and the tent house, the direction from which I had heard Brian’s yell originate.

I was blasted, literally hit super hard, by a fierce cloud of dirt and huge drops of rain.  My hair, which had been in a bun, was immediately blown back and my hair tie was ripped out.  All of that happened the moment I rounded the corner.

As I started to mourn the loss of my perfectly broken-in hair tie, I took in the sight of Brian.  He was gripping one of the corner poles of the tent house on the side that was not secured by guy lines.  He looked like a character from a boating movie where all hell has broken loose and he’s doing his best to hold a rope and secure the sail.  [The reason only half the tent house was secured was because the prevailing wind in this area is from the west, not the east.  We also placed the tent house so that the main house would protect it from the wind.  It has worked for every storm until this one, because the wind switched directions and did so with a vengeance.]

Thinking, “oh crap!”  I ran around Brian to grab the other vulnerable pole.  Brian was pulling as hard as he could and was able to counteract the wind only enough so that it didn’t blow the tent away.  He wasn’t able to correct the angle of the pole and I didn’t reach the other pole in time.  The northwest side of the metal frame was suddenly and forcibly blown inward, more than it could take.  The metal bent and the whole thing began to collapse.

I grabbed the other pole and tried my best to keep the situation from getting worse.  The wind and rain was SCARY.  Like, tornado scary.  Two thoughts crossed my mind –

  1. I see three options here.  1) Continue holding the pole of the collapsed tent in order to prevent the tent from blowing away.  2) Start moving our stuff inside.  3) Or get under the house and wrap myself around a pier in case this really is a tornado.
    1. I didn’t see a way to communicate this to Brian.  The wind was loud and we were kind of frozen, holding the tent poles and uncertain how to proceed.  I ultimately decided to continue holding the pole since I figured Brian was unlikely to join me under the house and I didn’t know what I would do if I protected myself or our stuff and he got hurt.  Sounds kind of silly now, but hey, I’m fond of the guy.
  2. This feels like a tornado.  What happens in a tornado?  Stuff flies around.  Our neighbor, who was upwind of us, has tons of belongings in his yard.  I think he has an extended family setup going on – two or three mobiles on the property, several clothes lines, a community swimming pool, multiple giant plastic tricycles; you get the picture.  Thankfully, there aren’t large trees in that direction, but if the wind picks up something from his yard, it’s going to come flying at us.  The spare sheet metal from our roof, that was stored under the house, was shaking and bouncing around like it was possessed.  If something like that comes from his yard and hits us in the head…well, to start with, we won’t be able to continue holding the tent poles.

So, while thinking all of this, Brian suddenly decides the best move would be to remove the tent top, the part that was catching wind.  Brilliant.  So while he went around and undid the numerous velcro connection points (which I must say, held up extremely well), I braced myself against the rock at the base of the pole and pulled into the wind with all of my might.  My hair-tie-free hair was being whipped around my face with absolutely no gentleness (imagine a hair commercial gone horror) and my glasses were covered in wet dirt.  I couldn’t really make out much through my Adams Family It-like hair shield, so I just held on until Brian freed the tent fabric.

With the tent no longer creating a sail effect, we immediately started running the stuff inside.  Everything was muddy and wet, the ideal slip and slide.  With every item collection, you had to make a decision.  If I take this and that other thing blows away, will I have grabbed the more important item?  The lighter boxes were upended almost immediately and the objects blown out.  The boxes blew away.  By the time we got the tools and materials inside, we were soaked and very dirty.  The house interior, which had been so meticulously vacuumed and was halfway sanded, was a mud war zone.

[We heard the next day that the wind had been blowing at 60 mph with 80 mph gusts.  A tornado had indeed formed in the sky near Ace hardware, about a mile from our coffee shack, but hadn’t touched down.  The coffee shack and surrounding area got pounded by hail and about 3 inches accumulated in some areas.  One of our customers said he still had hail the next morning.  A power line was blown over, numerous trees and gardens were seriously altered, windows were broken and personal property was re-positioned.]

As soon as the wind began dying down, about 20 minutes after it started, the sirens started.  They continued for at least 30 minutes, indicating that havoc had indeed reined down in other parts of the city.  As I took stock of our situation, I paused a moment in appreciation that we had decided not to bring the dogs.  While Sydney likely would have given us an early warning by her erratic and fearful storm behavior, it would not have been easy to manage them in the chaos.  The decision would have then been – Hold pole, hold dog, or hold self.  [Even worse, Sunday is usually bird day.  Fred would have been a basket case!]

After the storm, we took stock of the tools and materials.  Except for being a little wet, everything was fine.  We waited for the mud to dry and then vacuumed it up.  Back to work!

After the storm, we took stock of the tools and materials. Except for being a little wet, everything was fine. We waited for the mud to dry and then vacuumed it up. Back to work!

Hail accumulation at the shack, probably 3 hours after the storm had passed.

Hail accumulation at the shack, probably 3 hours after the storm had passed.  You can see the clouds still at work in the background, moving south.

We didn’t let the storm arrest our progress too much.  Once we dried off a little and had access to the floor again, we took up where we had left off.

  • We finished sanding all the seams and started work on the door opening.
  • Brian finished cutting 3 of the 8 metal beam corners.
  • I ran home to wash 2 loads of laundry and do animal duty.
    • One thing that is awesome about reducing your belongings (in preparation for living in a smaller space) is laundry.  All of Brian and my clothes, combined, can fit in one load.  So doing laundry is a piece of cake.  The second load was towels.
  • We called it a night really late, trying to get every last second we could with the generator.  We were home around 10pm.  Brian was a tad sawdusty.  The storm said good night by leaving us with a beautiful sunset of purple and pink.
Brian covered with sawdust

Brian covered with sawdust.

A beautiful evening sky.  The weather here is EXCITING!

A beautiful evening sky. The weather here is EXCITING!

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

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