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July 12, 2012
More chores

Cameron lays hardwood flooring in Joss’ bedroom

Our eldest son Cameron is now a college graduate! That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that the job market for graduating seniors is the worst in 60+ years. While Cameron has an internship at a film camp through the summer, he has also moved back home. In the meantime, he has a couple weeks of available time.

With Russell busy at work and our youngest son Joss busy at summer school, Gail is constantly looking for companionship and labor for our mountain home construction. Cameron volunteered to go up with her to earn some extra money. The two drove up on Monday, July 9 for a few days of fairly physical work.

Over the past several weeks, Gail and her various work crews have been finishing the interior walls. Most of the house has now been drywalled and mudded. The next steps would be to chip off the bumps left from the first coat of mud… then topcoat the walls and wait for them to dry… then sand. While the bulk of the sanding could be done with an electric sander, some spots would require a hand sander.

Gail’s goal this trip was to finish the entire downstairs. Because the downstairs is essentially one gigantic room, the preparations required covering various sections with floor-to-ceiling drop cloths to minimize dust. Cameron agreed to the completely thankless job of doing the actual sanding. This in turn involved wearing a mouth filter and goggles.

Gail needed to put floor-to-ceiling drop cloths around the downstairs area, particularly the massive center chase

The drop cloths helped, but not completely. Between the cloths and the clouds of white dust, the downstairs ended up looking fairly bizarre at times. This also meant massive amounts of cleanup: shaking out slipcovers and pillows, vacuuming and wiping things down. In some ways, the cleanup was worse than the actual work.

A peek inside the draped center chase, where Cam spent much of his work week

Given the elaborate process, Gail and Cameron did not manage to finish the entire downstairs, but they made excellent progress. In between, there were lots of showers taken.

Cameron, before and after a work shift – very difficult and messy work

The pair also continued to install hardwood flooring upstairs. They managed to cut and lay all of the boards for Joss’ bedroom. Unfortunately, Gail’s brad nailer gave out halfway through the week, so while the boards are all in place they are not secured yet.

Joss’ bedroom floor, before and after hardwood. Once again, Gail used a pattern of alternating wide and narrow boards.

Nevertheless, Gail accomplished her goal of getting Joss’ floorboards down so that she could reclaim the upstairs living room for actual living space – as opposed to storage space. As part of the upstairs cleanup, she and Cam carried all of the remaining good narrow floorboards back downstairs and into the gazebo for future use. They threw the not-so-good floorboards over the balcony and into the trash heap. And they kept some of the remaining wide floorboards for future repair work.

In the end, the upstairs sitting room was so nice and tidy that Cam fell completely asleep during one of his breaks.

Gail and Cam needed to start work early every day, as the temperatures outside were in the high 90s. Even at 10:30 at night they were still in the high 80s. Gail and Cam used portable air conditioners to keep things cool inside, but they still found it necessary to take lots of breaks. For recreation, they treated themselves to several marathons of the old “Firefly” television series.

On the wildlife front, there have not been any more mouse sightings in the house. On the other hand, Gail and Cameron were treated to a female deer that wandered up the hill behind the house. What’s remarkable is that for the first time, the deer was not spooked by the presence of humans. Gail actually went out on the back porch and chatted with the doe, who simply stood there and stared back at Gail. It finally continued its stroll and wandered off after hanging around for more than 15 minutes.

A friendly deer off the back porch

Gail and Cameron departed on Thursday, July 12, so Cameron could visit his girlfriend down in Santa Cruz. While the pair missed “Free Slurpee Day” on 7-11, they did treat themselves to Jamba Juice on the drive home.

For the rest of the summer, both Cameron and Joss are likely to be tied up with their respective activities. In the meantime, Russell is looking for a break in his schedule so he can be Gail’s next work crew.

The center chase, all sanded and ready for painting!


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