Monday, June 24, 2013

The Windows: Round One

It's taking shape, and we are loving it!!

This weekend we were able to install four of the six windows. We had hoped for all six windows and the door, but things have not been going as planned for a couple weeks now. A friend was supposed to come help us install the windows, and also bring the materials (tape, caulking, etc). He ended up having a little too much fun the night before and as a result- did not come. Good thing I bought installation supplies for "extra just in case" or we would have had to drive right back into town. 

We started the morning by swinging by Dan's Dad's store to grab the staging ladder attachments we would need to get the large high window in place. While Dan was inside, I roamed over to a vacant area behind the store to find all sorts of house remnants strewn about. I immediately fell in love with two different doors laying there covered in leaves and debris. Based on the way they were left, I doubted Mr S had any plans for them. Dan checked with his Dad and they were ours! We loaded them up into the truck, already buzzing with happiness because of the great finds. We plan to use these doors in the interior, whether it be as a partition or a mantle of some form. We shall see!

Removing the extra stuff from the "display"

Well, that's about as far as it got before things started to move slow and be kinda miserable.  We were quite the pair as we dragged ourselves around the worksite. My leg has continued to get worse, and now my knee was killing me too. It was difficult to walk around, let alone climb and squat and bend. Not to mention I had a gorilla whoop of anger moment. I managed to slather a good four tablespoons of window caulking in my armpit. I put my arm down before discovering this of course. Then, on Sunday, I got it in my hair. WINNER! 

But more importantly, Dan has been suffering through another UC (ulcerative colitis) flare up due to the wisdom teeth pain killers. I'm sure those of you who have this digestive disease can feel for him. It is difficult for me to witness; I can't imagine living it. For those of you who are not familiar with UC- here is a really simple explanation. Imagine your intestines are lined with ulcers. Certain foods and medications can rip them open, causing acid to spew throughout and burn the delicate lining of the intestines. This lining is the site of all nutrient absorption. Not only does he have to deal with relentless and sometimes debilitating abdominal pain, there is the heavy achey exhaustion, sleep disruption, digestive turmoil, and decline in morale that come with starving. Without that lining, you can eat and eat, but your body won't get any benefits. He's lost several pounds, but he seems to be turning the corner in the last day or two. 

I only go into such detail, because I believe he should be commended- by more than just me. Even if I have a decent set of cramps- I'm a little crabby patty and I don't want to do anything. I can't imagine being in constant pain, aching, beyond exhausted, with absolutely no energy-- and still pulling it together to work on a house in 90 degree weather.
You're amazing babe! 

Long story short, we installed the three smaller windows on Saturday. I bought a knee brace on Sunday morning, and it was a game changer! My leg is feeling substantially better now. I wish I could say the same for Dan. :/ It's a slow road back after flare ups- typically three weeks or more. On Sunday, we did just the large center window. I think that's a solid half day's work. That beast was HUGE and HEAVY and had to go up HIGH.

Hut! Sooh! Hooii! (heavy lifting noise)

We ended up building temporary staging inside the tiny house so that I could be on the inside helping guide the window. As for Dan, since we had no one to help hold the ladder solid while he handled the window, we improvised. We set the ladder in place, and then tied two cinder blocks through the rungs so that they hung below and served as a counter-weight.  It worked! Once the huge window was in place, we went about applying the foam insulation to seal up around the window seams.

Counter-weights for Dan on the ladder.

Temporary staging for the big window install.

I'd say, despite our conditions (both of us definitely should have just been resting) we got a solid start on the windows! Once again, our list was over-ambitious, and we learned window installs can be slow work. After the last window was foamed, and all the work site was
 organized and stored- we took a moment to look around. It was a good idea. Despite how drained and poopy we both felt, we brightened up as we looked about our loft space and saw all the bright light streaming in. The big center window looks beautiful and I can't wait to see the interior progress more. Hopefully we will get the last two windows and the door installed next weekend, along with the roof!

First sight out the big center window! Hi, Dan!
I have a work trip this week, but Dan plans to do some smaller jobs after work at least one day this week. We talked about starting to do that, but wow is it hard to break after-work routines. At the end of my day, I have a set list of things I'd like to do, and driving to my Dad's to do work is not one of them. I know, you'd think it would be. I think I'll get a second wind once my leg is healed up.

Have a great week, readers!
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Look at all that light!! :D


Thursday, June 20, 2013

GAH! The Roof Must Wait

Our first epic blunder.

Okay, I'm being a little dramatic, but it feels like that right now! For SOME reason, I thought we would be able to get the rubber roofing accessories at one of the box stores. Evidently I came to this conclusion while completely ignoring the memory of how hard it was to find the rubber roofing itself-- which finally came in yesterday by the way. BLURG! 

So this image here is how my day started, and how the post was initially going to go. I was pumped to check the tracking number on our roofing and find that it had been delivered yesterday afternoon. I was immediately swirling about in visions of us getting loads of work done on the house to make up for the last couple weekends. (It was a lovely montage set to the tune of "Takin' Care of Business") Completely ready to burst with cheer in the post about how simple the roofing application will be and other benefits. NOPE. 

"Is this the window makin' stuffs, Mum?"

HOWEVER, the upside of all this:

  • We learned this tonight- and not Saturday morning.
  • We were told it could be found at the orange box store. This time, I didn't take word for it, I did my research and found they do not have what we need in stock either. Grr
  • We decided to order from the same company that we purchased the rubber membrane from- makes the most sense- guarantees we will have the appropriate adhesive for the rubber. Brands can differ.
  • We still have plenty of other things we can be working on until the roofing stuff is in.
  • I was able to grab window installation supplies which we will need Saturday. Every little thing done now, saves us time later!

That's what you've got to do in life- always, always look at the up side. :) 

So, I'm injured again. (Best segue ever?) I finally got back in to running, and thanks to this sweet, free running app MapMyRun - I have become obsessed with tracking, and consequently, executing more workouts. I was dumb about it. I went from minimal to zero running for several months and then just up and went to 14 miles a week. I told a friend I
Charts, stats, pretty graphs = me running more...
too much more.
have always had shankles (shitty ankles), so I should have had this on my radar. I'm hoping it won't interfere with my ability to work this weekend. Just one spin around the blue box store and my leg was screaming at me. I'm resting and icing- reluctantly- we shall see about this weekend.

Hey, if my foot has to be cold, then I'm having
a brew that's cold. ;)

Either way- lots will get done! We are looking forward to Kenny giving us a hand with the installations!
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Odds, Ends, and Preparation for Phase II

The truck wasn't even fully loaded at this point!
We are sealed in! Plywood-wise anyways...

This weekend we went and picked up a good amount of reclaimed foam board insulation. The super thick stuff too! It came from warehouses that had huge food coolers. We will be well insulated for sure. We are a little wary of what the stuff is made of, but it's already here. Better it be in the walls to warm/cool a home than broken to bits in a landfill somewhere.

Neither of us really gave the math much thought, and we assumed we would be able to swing by the big box store to grab some plywood while we were en route- but the stack of insulation came up above the cab of the truck! Nothing extra going in that pickup bed! So we ended up having to drop off the insulation, drive back out to pick up the other supplies, bring those back to the site, and drive the truck back to switch vehicles, and then return to begin working. (We use Dan's Dad's truck for larger items.) Whew! So most of Saturday was spent transporting goods. It needed to be done however-- and by choosing to use Craigslist to find materials- we were able to purchase approximately $625 worth of like-new insulation for just $200!!
My Dad will be happy to have his garage back after we insulate!

With the remainder of Saturday, we finished the last bit of wall sheathing along the top edge and began putting the plywood sheathing on the roof. We wanted the roof to overhang just a little- so we attached scrap pieces of 2x4 all along the top edge and brought the plywood sheathing out to the "new" edge. The result is a 1.5 inch overhang. We will be able to cover things up with trim no problem, so we used just about every scrap 2x4 we had! We get a quirky little thrill out of using every last little bit of something. :) We had a graduation party to attend, so we were not able to finish the roof sheathing Saturday. Today, we finished the last bit of roof sheathing quite quickly! It was nice to hang out on our roof- we chatted a little about the possibility of having a roof deck during the nice weather. Heck yes!

So now we are officially sealed in! We expect the rubber roofing to arrive by mid-week. We plan to apply the roof and also install the windows and door next weekend. Dan's good friend Kenny (who installed windows/doors for work at one point) is going to help us! It will be nice to have an expert on hand!

We also did a bit of work on the inside today. When we first began working on the roof, we needed a loft area STAT. So we threw some boards up cross-ways over the framing and set the loft rafters on that. This is all well and good for when you just need to get vertical, but when it comes to how it will permanently be- that whole set up would not work out. Especially in regards to finish work.  So we went about "sinking" all the rafters into the walls. Simply stated, we put 2x4s within the wall framing that the rafters sit directly on top of- this provides the weight bearing support. After that was squared away, we walked around and hashed out our electrical set up. It is going to be quite simple.

For electrical, there will be two wall sconce lights in the "great room" where you would enter. There will be an outdoor light; the switches for both sets will be at the door. There will be two lights on either side of the kitchen window (button or pull string style), 2 outlets. Then, one light and one outlet in the bathroom. Two outlets in the loft, and one more outlet in the great room. Running the wires and getting it all in place will be no problem- but we are both very fuzzy when it comes to what goes on in the fuse box and how things connect to a converter for solar power. We will be enlisting professionals for this job- more on that when the time comes!

We had a shot similar to this....on the trailer bed! 

All done!

Since the tiny house is all covered up now, we need to be thinking about the next stages, and our "working hours" will be changing too. Now there is plenty that we can be working on, for just a couple hours at a time in the evening- maybe once or twice during the week. We really want to move as quick as we can, so we can take our time transitioning (the apartment lease ends in October).
Not to mention revving up the Craigslist search- we need siding/flooring/planks for the loft!!! Still so much! This week, depending on how we feel, we may shoot for putting in the roof insulation-- and if that goes well and we want to hammer on, we will start the electrical set up. That needs to be done before we can put any foam board in the walls.

Loft rafters now "sunk in" to walls. 

Oh yeah! We've been in an interior design frenzy lately! -Throwing all these different ideas at one another. We really like what the people over at Texas Tiny Houses have done with re-used materials- especially old doors. My dad has a door with diamond windows that's been in the garage for as long as I can remember. He agreed to let us have it! It will be part of the partition to the kitchen. I'm too pooped to try and explain it now, but you will be seeing it in future posts!

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The said door!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rainy Week: Not Much Action

My apologies for such a delayed post! 

And we were doing so good too! Life has been a little hectic and off kilter as of late. This makes two weekends in a row that the pace of progress has markedly decreased. Grr.

C'est la vie.

He's such a good sport for letting this pic go up. lol
Really sums up the weekend though!
I had quite a bit of travel for work in the last couple of weeks (just got back from Wisconsin on Wednesday) and Dan had his wisdom teeth out on Friday. Needless to say I was still a little scattered brained from being gone, and he was a doped up, chubby cheeked couch potato- and rightly so. The doc said he had some huge chompers back there and he had to take "extensive measures" to extract them. Poor feller.

Plus can you imagine him climbing around on roof rafters in that haze? (and awesome headgear- kehehe) Heck NO.

The weather also was not the greatest, so that alleviated some of the anxiousness that has begun to fester in us. We want to get back to work and get back to the quick pace, so we managed to do one small thing last weekend. We headed over to walk around the interior and rehash some of our interior designs now that we had the true space. We laid out 2x4s for the rough lines of the bathroom, the closet, and the kitchen counter and shelf/stairs. We got a feel for it and ended up making a few minor adjustments. It's really funny to look back through all of the drawings we had made since day one. I scoff at some of my earliest drawings thinking, "Lady, you did NOT have a grip on those dimensions when you drew this crap." We have simplified again and again, and each time we love it more.

Our next step is to actually apply the sheathing to the roof, then apply the rubber roof. Well, as mentioned, we've been a little all over the place so I just ordered the rubber on Wednesday. It definitely will not be here this weekend. DAMNIT. We could have easily gotten that done too if we had ordered our materials at the appropriate time. Oh well, we've done really great up to this point- it's bound to happen once in a while.

There are SO many different facets to this adventure, and some days it can make our heads spin. Getting materials second hand could almost be a full time job. I have to constantly remind myself to peruse craigslist, follow up on inquiries, and try to arrange times to pick up materials- wherever they may be. We haven't been so awesome at that lately. We've been focused on the framing portion and not looking much further ahead. We had a good six months (before we could start the build) to compile the most basic pieces we would need like a door and windows. I guess I took for granted that I didn't have to do anything else at that point in time.

Now, the framing and sheathing is nearly done and the next few stages are getting the windows and door installed and then wiring and insulation. So we need to get our insulation! I found someone on CL that is selling tons of reclaimed foam insulation- heavy duty stuff at a great price. Less than half the price we would pay at the big box stores. So this Saturday, we are headed on a little road trip to western Mass to collect the rest of our insulation needs. (For those that have been following a while, we already got some of our insulation back in February, but not all.)  

Standing at the tentative sink space.

After we bring that back to home base, we are going to get the sheathing secured to the roof, and get everything prepped for applying the rubber roof when it actually comes. We also have a little bit of wall sheathing to complete- then on to determining where we want our wiring for outlets and lights. 

No more slacking on posts! I promise!

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Monday, June 3, 2013

Topping It Off

Tradition: Quirky Poses
This weekend we stepped the pace back a bit. 
It was my birthday on Saturday, and we had planned to go on a hike along the coast from morning until mid-afternoon. Balance is truly key. We purposely set aside time for fun.

THEN we would go work on the house. It all sounds ambitious- and it was. After a very fun jaunt along the rocky coast- Dan and I returned, changed, and immediately set out to work on the house. We had to purchase 16 foot 2x6s and additional 8 footers- which required Dan's Dad's truck yet again; that calls for a little more running around. Nevertheless, we wanted to get the rafter framing built, a house needs a roof! 

Loft rafters in time to get those boards down,
 cut, and back up again.
I clearly overlooked what a coastal hike in the beating sun does to me. We had a blast, but we also got dehydrated. We then headed over to my Dad's without near enough fluids. First, we needed to create the loft framing- this would give us something to stand on for at least part of the roof framing job. It was more of a pain than we thought. The way the windows are framed makes it very tricky to decide on optimum height of the loft-- without interfering with the actual window. Our first oversite. :/ We'll come up with an interesting solution I'm sure. We finally decided on 6 feet 2.5 inches. TIGHT SQUEEZE for Dan! But that's still enough room for him to walk easily, and certainly enough for me- not to mention the loft has a nice amount of height to it. We can both comfortably sit up!

Dan wiping sweat and the little stoppers on the roof line.

Next we had to take off the tarp that we threw up there last weekend. NOTE TO FUTURE BUILDERS- pull the tarp TAUGHT and SECURE it - or just don't use one. lol We came back to a tarp dipping in between boards that were thrown across the top. I'm going to say one of the "dips" had a good 20 gallons of water in its bulging belly. We struggled and heaved, trying to get the water to drain OUTSIDE the house. At one point, Dan was jabbing at it with a 10 footer from below, while I stood on a make shift platform in the loft, and tried to essentially shoulder press the water up, over, and out. Well, you know that property about water? Where it changes shape? As I pushed upward, the tarp smushed down around me, at one point only my legs were visible. It was certainly a test of my claustrophobia. -But also funny...after the fact.

 FINALLY- we started framing a box around the top of the walls. We tacked little "helper stoppers" around the edges of the house to hold the 2x6s in place while we nailed the initial box together. The 2x6s stand on edge to make the box, which means there's still more room left on the top plate of each wall, the rafters that go across at 16" on center simply drop inside the box and rest on the remaining top plate space.

That sounds pretty straight forward, but when there are only two of you, 10 foot walls that seem REALLY HUGE, and only one good ladder that even reaches high enough-- you end up in a lot of precarious positions that give you the heebee-jeebees when you think back on what you accomplished and how- post blind ambition.  Might I add that it was about 98 degrees outside and quite humid. We were drenched in sweat as we climbed up and down repeatedly, ladders and wall framing alike- there was actually a point where I used my head as a lever to hoist me up. It was quite comical- wish we had the video camera on for that one! Once the box was framed and secured, the rest of the rafters went in nicely. Minus the scary positions we were in as we nailed each one in place. 

If that wasn't enough- we still had that last strip of house wrap to put up. We didn't have a ladder tall enough last time. That's when the crazy acrobatics and sheer exhaustion really kicked in. Not a good combination! We were both sweaty, crabby, and wiped.

We arrived at about 2pm. We didn't look at the time again until 8pm. I finally announced to Dan that I was done. There were delusions of applying the plywood sheathing to the roof as well, but after hours of hiking in the beating sun, 2 hour drive round trip, power squatting a huge saggy water bag, and clinging to the tops of our walls in a variety of creative non-OSHA approved positions, all in sweltering heat- I was SPENT.  It was my birthday and I wanted to go home. We were both dizzy and achey, but happy those steps were over. It was a tedious and detail ridden job this time around, but we got through it...even with several exasperating bumps along the way.

On Sunday we were two hurting units for sure. We decided if we could manage to do anything at all, we should put a temporary roof on the house. The week calls for more thunderstorms. After a slow start in the morning, stiffly shuffling around and pounding water, we made it out there. We placed plywood loosely on top of the rafters which would prevent the dips in the tarp and also allowed us to see what our additional plywood needs would be. We then took our ginormous (30'x40') tarp, yanked and dragged it across the roof and then tacked it down tightly. That was a pain in the keester!
But it's done- and we can rest easy this week. :)

Here's hoping the heat goes easy on us next weekend!
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