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March 17, 2011
Gail goes under the stairs

Gail, working alone, single-handedly installs a large sheet of drywall under the stairs

We are able to travel up to our mountain home so infrequently these days that we try to make every trip count for maximum productivity. On Monday, March 14, Gail was able to spare a few days to go up with our friend Dirk. They needed to meet the telephone company to get phone and internet installed, and they decided to stay for two nights.

Gail had picked up yet another set of living room furniture at no cost. (Some friends of ours were downsizing). She decided that these would be perfect for the mountain because they were finished in durable denim. In addition, the love seat folds out into a small sofa bed.

To fit all of the furniture, Gail and Dirk each drove a van with an eight-foot bed. This also enabled them to bring up some more kitchen cabinets and some slate counter tops.

On Monday, they successfully moved all of the new furniture in, rearranging both the kitchen and the living room. In the afternoon, both phone and internet were successfully installed. We had been worried about what kind of internet speed we would get in our remote area. In actuality, our mountain DSL is actually faster than our home DSL in the Bay Area!

The kitchen used to include a large green camping cabinet that Gail’s late father had built decadesago. She has now replaced it with cabinetry, topped with slate.

On Tuesday, Dirk continued to work on electrical wiring while Gail continued to drywall. Dirk was able to install several more lights, including the tricky ones above the stairs. Gail completed the upstairs hallway ceiling, including the tricky drywalling around the center post and knee braces.

Dirk finished the stair lighting installation that he had begun on a previous trip.

The upstairs hallway ceiling, before Gail installed drywall

The hallway ceiling continued to be an exercise in cutting and fitting puzzle pieces.

The walls and ceiling around the center post and beams required numerous tiny and difficult pieces of drywall spliced together

On Wednesday, Dirk and Gail installed the third and final toilet in the master bathroom. Nothing else in the master bathroom is functional yet, but Gail is happy to have a nearby toilet for nighttime calls of nature. While Dirk had to depart on Wednesday, Gail decided to stay for one more night.

Our third and final toilet installation, in the master bathroom

When Gail works alone, she is able to zoom through productivity. Her task for the remaining day was to begin drywalling the area underneath the stairs. After emptying out the clutter of tools, she drywalled the inside of the exterior walls, working around the pillars of the stair landings. She even drywalled under the top flight.

The underside of the stair landing proved to be yet another puzzle piece exercise


The stairwell, before and after drywalling

Gail was so pleased with her and Dirk’s productivity that she recorded a list of their accomplishments:

In addition, Gail and Dirk had time to watch all six episodes of the “Manor House” PBS reality series on DVD. (For the record, Dirk did not enjoy it as much as “Frontier House.”)

In the month ahead, we have Joss’ 18th birthday and college selection process. We don’t know when we’ll make it back up to the mountain again… but we’ll need to continue making every trip count.

Our new living room set – now finished in blue denim


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