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July 19, 2009
A million little pieces


Gail looks on as Dirk wires an outlet downstairs

Russell’s original plan was to go back up to our mountain home construction site last weekend, July 10. However, as a result of our previous trip (when he was clearing one of the trails), Russell contracted a fairly extensive case of poison oak. It was so bad that he also infected Gail just from coming in contact with her. Given his rash, his need to avoid sunlight and his lack of overall mobility (itchy legs), Russell took a weekend off.

Both Russell and Gail did come back up on Friday afternoon, July 17, leaving the boys at home. They were joined on Saturday morning by both Steve and Dirk. There are a million tasks that need to be done, and everyone promptly set about to their individual to-do lists.

The temperature outside was 101º F in the shade and even hotter in the sun. By the time we got up in the mornings the temperature was already 80 º F inside the house; by running all three air conditioners continuously we were able to keep it at that level all day.

Nevertheless, Steve spent the entire two days outside in the hot sun doing hard physical labor. He cleared brush until his axe broke, then picked up a hatchet and cleared some more. He made an astonishing seven runs to the dump and back with his truck and trailer. He even hauled away the old scrap insulation that Gail had torn from the ceilings more than four years ago, as well as some scrap metal that was onsite when we originally bought the property.


Steve prepares one of the last two shutter curtains (the front door) for hanging

Dirk continued to work on the electrical wiring, largely trying to figure out what his predecessor (Gail’s step-brother Jim) had done previously. Among other things, Dirk was able to install light switches (and lights) in both the downstairs and upstairs bathrooms. His next big project is to map out a detailed wiring schematic for the entire house.


Dirk lays out his electrical wiring schematic

Gail continued installing drywall. With the interior walls as far along as they can be (until we pass the wiring inspection), Gail turned her attention to the inside of the exterior walls. Because of our previous bad experiences with water leakage from sideways rain, Gail decided to line every exterior wall with a vapor barrier before putting up drywall. She also decided to put wire mesh across all gaps between wood panels as an extra deterrent against rodents.


Gail takes a break after drywalling her first exterior wall (the upstairs sitting room)

Russell was finally able to finish installing the last two shutters, calling in help at various times from the other three workers. We now have shutters around the entire downstairs perimeter.

         
The front door shutter… finished!

         
The bathroom window shutter… finished!
This last shutter was small enough for Russell and Dirk to install without the normal contraption of hanging ropes and pipes

We also had time to enjoy ourselves. Gail made a delicious dinner of tri-tip steak (with locally-made “Chaka’s” marinade sauce) on Saturday. In honor of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the moon landing, we watched several episodes of “From the Earth to the Moon.” (Gail was unnerved to be surrounded by so many analytical, engineering-wired men.)

On the wildlife front, we had an entire flock (rafter? congress?) of wild turkeys come meandering through the property twice in two days.

    
Only weeks ago, our entire kitchen was a tiny workspace. Now, we wonder how we ever functioned without all of the space!

Unfortunately, the weekend ended on a down-note, at least for Russell. Gail and Dirk informed him that building codes require externally-vented exhaust fans in both the hallway and master bathroom ceilings. Unfortunately, Russell constructed the ceilings with 2x4” joists – not enough space for the fans or hoses – and he doesn’t want anything protruding into the parapet above. The only alternative will be for him to drop both ceilings by installing an additional set of 2x4” joists below the first set.

So we actually have a million and one tasks, but this one will have to wait for future trip.


The upstairs bathroom now has a real light switch (and a real light)!

 

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