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September 15, 2011
Temporary Occupancy!

Gail and Cameron prep floorboards in our Bay Area backyard

In between all of our medical situations and college preparations, we still have a mountain home to build.

With Russell back at work after his surgery, Joss settled into San Jose State University and Cameron off at leadership training, Gail decided she could spare some time to head up to the mountain during the week.

Back in the Bay Area, Gail has been spending most of her spare time de-nailing, cleaning and prepping all of the scrap floorboards that she has been storing in the yard. With another batch now ready, she loaded it into the van and drove up on Tuesday, September 13.

After several years out under the elements, the floorboards need to be unwarped and straightened

Gail had two goals for her two-night trip. First, she wanted to continue laying floorboards on the upstairs landing and sitting room. Second, she wanted to install more exterior trim wood while we still have good weather.

Over the past several years, the various gaps between our wall sections have caused problems that range from woodpecker damage to bats and mice getting into the house. Gail has tried sealing these gaps with batting, foam-spray insulation, foil, bitumen, wire mesh, steel wool and wood. After the last rodent invasion, she has decided to tackle the problem more aggressively.

Everytime we come up, we find that woodpeckers have stuffed out trimwood with acorns that need to be pried out

She came up this time equipped with stronger wire mesh, bitumen and planks of wood trim. She spent a day and a half staining the wood, cutting it and installing it. The problem is that no two sections are identical, so each piece needs to be individually measured and cut. The sections themselves are not even uniform, so a piece may be 2” wide at one end and 3” wide at the other end.

After a day-and-a-half of hard work, Gail had made nowhere near the progress that she had hoped. Fortunately, we still have some time before the weather turns.

Before and after: Stained wood is nailed into place over bitumen

The good news is that our builder inspector Dennis paid a visit on Wednesday. He liked Russell’s work on the deck railings and advised how much they need to be tightened. He also liked the progress we’re making on the stairs.

The bad news is that he added one more item to our checklist for occupancy. In addition to finishing the stair rails, we need to have a permanent front porch before we can earn our occupancy permit.

On the plus side, Dennis has granted us a “temporary occupancy permit.” This means that although we still have action items, our house is now completed enough that we are allowed to live in it.

With both of our sons on the verge of being out of the house, and with Internet and phone at a point where Russell can work remotely, we may just start spending more time up here!

The state of the upstairs landing: 11 more strip-lengths of hardwood flooring installed!


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