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June 25, 2012

Joss washes the (many) windows of our mountain home

We have been writing about how our physical limitations are catching up with us as we continue to build our mountain home. When we first bought the property in 2003, we were in our mid-40s. Nine years later and still not finished, weíre now in our mid-50s.

Gail continues to have problems with her hands, shoulders, back and neck. Russell continues to recuperate from his recent hernia surgery. A few months ago, we made the big decision to have a contractor finish drywalling the upstairs vaulted ceilings. This turned out to be a wise move, as even the contractor had numerous problems with the unusual angles of the octagonal house.

Gail wondered if we should continue contracting out the rest of the work. After discussing the situation with Russell, however, she decided that what she needs more than professional skills is simply grunt labor.

Our son Joss is back home with a few weeks before he starts summer school. Our friend Steve is still looking for a permanent career job. Given the circumstances, we decided to hire them on an hourly basis to do the work that Gail can no longer do.

After his last painful drive back, Russell was not ready to return to the mountain yet. So while he stayed home, Gail and Joss drove up to the mountain on Friday, June 22. Steve joined them, thought he didnít arrive until late evening due to a play rehearsal. The trio spent the next two and a half days working.

Joss continues to have his own physical limitations due to his back surgery, so he couldnít do any strenuous physical labor. Instead, he did various odd jobs around the house. He washed all windows inside and out Ė a significant task, considering that the house is almost all glass. He also rebuilt the outside sink, which has been slowly destroyed by the elements over the past several years. He worked about four hours a day, leaving him time to be online with his friends back home and visit his local friend Charlie.

Joss rebuilds the outside sink

One of Jossí advantages is that he is still thin and spry enough to fit into hard-to-reach places. Here, he installs one of the last remaining pieces of drywall up in a corner of the loft.

Steve did more of the heavy physical labor, working about eight hours a day. He is always happy to learn new skills and Gail is happy to teach him. He sanded, taped and mudded various walls around the house, including the upstairs hall bathroom and the stairs. During breaks, he went outside and continued to clean brush around the property.

Steve applies drywall mud in the upstairs hall bathroom

At Russellís request, Gail made sure that everything was covered up during sanding, to minimize dust

Thanks to all of the grunt labor, Gail was able to get to a long-awaited task: putting a cabinet under the refrigerator to raise it up.

In between supervising, Gail continued her own chores. She began installing hardwood flooring in Jossí bedroom, once again using a pattern of alternating wide and narrow planks.

Jossí bedroom floor, before and after. Gail was able to get about a third of it covered.

The schedule had been arranged around Steveís availability, and on Monday morning everyone had to depart. Joss will start summer school soon, but Steve is eager to do more when his schedule permits. In addition, our other son Cameron will move home at the end of June, and he will have a few open weeks as well.

One of Gailís measures of productivity is how big a mess she makes. This was obviously a productive weekend!


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