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September 24, 2006
Four more walls

Steve and Matt, working together again after almost a year

Between June and September we made a couple of day trips up to the mountain, but only to verify that everything was still intact. It wasn’t until September 23, after a full two-month break, that we returned for a real work weekend. But we made up for the absence by inviting a nice large work crew.

On Saturday morning, the entire family drove up. Carpooling with us was Russell’s brother-in-law Matt, who hadn’t been to the site since the end of last year. (The rest of Matt’s family would arrive later in the day.) And as usual, Steve met us there, arriving just after we did.

Two months ago, we had installed four of the eight upper-story walls. The remaining four now stood ready and waiting for us to finish the job. In addition, Gail wanted to break open the crate of windows and sliding glass doors, and bring them upstairs before the entire upper story was walled in. We weren’t quite sure how we were going to accomplish the second task; we would make that part up as we went along.

We allocated the entire day-and-a-half weekend for the walls and windows. We were therefore surprised when we already had three of the walls installed by lunchtime. It was great having both Matt and Steve together again. With their combined strength, the work went very swiftly.

Wall number five: Joss' bedroom wall, on the southeast

Before the eighth and final wall was installed, we decided to take care of the crate. The challenge was how to get four double-sized sliding glass doors and a bunch of windows up to the second floor. Gail had been watching home improvement shows for the last several months, and had seen one where the crew constructed some inclined rails and simply slid the materials up.

The challenge: how to get the heavy contents of this crate all the way up to the second floor

Our approach was very similar: we took Matt’s wooden stairway from inside the house and simply nailed it to the outside. We supplemented our efforts with our two pulleys, our left-over crane straps, and a blanket. Russell’s sister Joanne (Matt’s wife) arrived just in time to help.

The solution: a wooden staircase used as a rail, some pulleys and straps, and lots of muscle

It took the entire crew (including Cameron, with Joss on photography duty), but we succeeded in getting five sliding glass doors and four windows up the rails. (Opening the crate also revealed yet more problems with our original shipment… but we’ll save that for another letter.)

Four sliding glass doors and five windows, lashed against the center pole for security against the elements

With all of the upstairs glass now upstairs (where it will be stored until we get around to installing it), we proceeded to set the eighth and last wall. By late afternoon, we were finished.

Walls six, seven, and eight: counter-clockwise from the living room (west) to the master bedroom (south)

Steve and Matt took advantage of the remaining daylight time to secure the upstairs corner wall pieces with lag screws. That evening, with four young people onsite (Cameron and Joss plus Matt and Joanne’s two children), we had a roaring campfire – our first one all year – complete with marshmallows. After the younger generation retired upstairs for the night, the adults continued to relax around the fire.

Matt and Steve take a well-deserved break
Four-way GameBoy on the now-walled-in upper floor

We were able to make an early departure on Sunday morning, after clean up. We will take a couple of weeks off due to Steve's schedule; then we will return again for two weekends in a row. (Steve will join us once more, but Matt is unavailable for the rest of the season.) Our task – which seems to have come much too soon this year – will be to secure the house once more for a winter shutdown.

As Russell has been telling people, “Last year we were a year behind schedule. This year, we’re two years behind schedule.”

The upstairs walls: before and after


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