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May 7, 2011
Deck rails: skirt boards

A 15-foot composite skirt board, ready to be installed

After a month and a half, Russell finally got a chance to get up to our mountain home. Unfortunately, Gail had a conflict and couldn’t join him. Fortunately, Russell’s friend Steve could.

Russell was able to get up there thanks to our new Internet access. This enabled him to bring his work PC to the mountaintop and work remotely. Russell arrived on Thursday afternoon, May 5, and spent most of the day Friday doing work in preparation for quarterly earnings. The Internet access worked beautifully.

(Actually, Russell’s original intention was to install a wireless router during this visit. When he arrived, however, he discovered that the installation CD was faulty. The wireless router went back into its box, and Russell used a LAN cable instead.)

Steve arrived late Friday afternoon and immediately set up a burn pile. He would spend his day and a half happily burning and cutting brush.

Steve at his home-away-from-home: a burn pile

Meanwhile, Russell had a long overdue chance to make further progress on the deck rails. This is one of the critical paths towards our occupancy permit. Unfortunately, the exterior deck posts are not yet at a point where we can begin to install the cable railings. Fortunately, there was other progress to be made.

Russell began to install the skirt boards at the top of the rails. These are 2x4 lengths of composite plex board that are hung at the tops of the deck rail posts. Russell was able to get all five of the longest 15-foot lengths hung, one per deck. Unfortunately, the next tool he needed was the Dremel Multi-Max, and a quick call to Gail confirmed that it was at home in the Bay Area. So that was the extent of the progress he made.

The master bedroom deck, before and after

On the wildlife front, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that Russell saw two deer up near the house early Friday morning. When he went out to take a look, they both ran off. Strangely enough, they were both back in the exact same spot an hour later.

Two deer near the southwestern knoll

The bad news was that in the middle of the night Thursday night, Russell awoke to a strange rustling sound. Flipping on the lights, Russell discovered a small white mouse running around up in the vaulted ceiling between the vapor barrier and the insulation. Gail was dismayed and disturbed to learn that we have rodents in the house yet again, despite all of her work to seal the place. Russell put a block of rat poison up in the ceiling and more pellets in the center chase.

The master bedroom ceiling, where a mouse made a midnight visit… and where we now have a block of rat poison

It feels good to make progress after such a long break away. There is still a lot of work to do to finish the deck rails, and there are still stair rails to install after that. And Russell is just beginning his quarterly earnings cycle at work…

The current state of our mountain home: half of the skirt boards are now installed


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