Friday, June 11, 2010

One year in...

Anniversary reflections

June 1st marks one year that we have been paying rent on our temporary living space.  We closed on the land purchase in mid-June of last year.  And on June 28th, this blog will be one year old!  Can you believe it?

In addition to the various agonies and triumphs of the actual building of the house, this year has been an interesting exercise in living in a state of transition.  On second thought, I guess we are always in transition because life is constantly changing.  So maybe "upheaval" is a better word to describe this passage of time...

At any rate,  it has been a real challenge to live in the present, as we are in a pretty constant state of projecting into the future and trying to anticipate what needs to be done next. 

While I do not identify myself as a Buddhist, I do appreciate some of the philosophy.  The idea of being in the present moment appeals to me, even though for most of my life, I am rarely there.  So, I look for the Zen moments - those times of feeling really connected to my life and what I am doing in the present, and being able to see the inherent beauty in the here ans now.

Amidst this upheaval, there have been some Zen moments.  Shingling and flooring both have a way of bringing me right to the present as they are very focused activities and have an element of creativity to them - that take me right out of time.  Not unlike attending a birth...

Another challenge of this year has been managing and keeping track of our "stuff".  When putting stuff into storage, we tried to anticipate what we might need for the project, and leave those things accessible.  Well, there have been quite a few things that we have been unable to locate when we needed them! 

For example, Dean is planning to order a supply of Bio Diesel to have on site and we need to locate the nozzle and pump that we have stored somewhere.  When we lived in Townsend, we bought Bio Diesel in bulk and had a set up that we could fill our cars using this hand pump - so we have the equipment for this.  When we were moving our stuff from a rented storage unit to the house site, we anticipated that we would want access to these, and so put them in an easy to get to place.  Only problem is, we forgot where we put them!  We spent a couple of weeks looking for them, and concluded that they must be in the storage container that I have filled front to back and up to the roof - and so I began to empty this unit and transfer some of the stuff into the house's basement. 

Well, light finally dawned on Marblehead, and yesterday, after yet another visit to our rented self storage unit in Townsend - and they were not there - I remembered that we had put them in the yard under a tarp, along with the 250 gallon Bio Diesel container.  And guess what?  There they were!  Another mystery solved...

Kitchen cabinets - round II

If you have been following this blog, you know that we installed the kitchen cabinets at the wrong height, and so had to take them down and do it again.  Groan.

So here goes round II...

Here I am extending the opening in the plaster for the wire that will feed the over cabinet lighting.  The under cabinet lighting opening  (seen below) will now need to be filled in with spackle because we cut it to fit the cabinet height in the last installation, and now it is too low.

Installing the first upper cabinet - the corner unit.

Checking for level and plumb.

Now secure it to the wall with some sturdy screws...

Once the first one was up, the others went pretty quickly, and here Dean is screwing two of the cabinets together.

Next up, base cabinets.

This is the sink base.

Checking for level.  We had to shim the cabinets on the left to bring them up to the right level.

Secure to the wall.

...and here we had to stop here because the wall has a huge bump in it - about the size of an 18 week pregnant belly.  Just another example of the fine workmanship done by our former builder

We decided that rather then shim the hell out of the cabinet and be left with a half inch gap that we would have to look at until we move into the nursing home, we would fix the hump.

This involved taking the hump down with a belt sander and then filling the hole with spackle to even out the wall.

And what is our job foreman up to during all this?  Sleeping on the job as usual!

Water management

Dean worked on getting these drainage pipes in on the sides of the house.  They will receive the rainwater from the gutter downspouts.

We got a water tank!  I am hoping we get hooked up for running water soon...

Seeding the hump

The septic hump has gotten a nice layer of topsoil, and is ready to be seeded.  Remember all that wild grass seed that I had been collecting last year?  Our excavator made the point that he did not think it would work because the seed I collected was much closer to the water table, and the hump, being much higher than the water table, needs drought tolerant plants.  So he spread it with a grass seed mix for such conditions.

But I am not to be deterred in my idea to have a wild flower and grass meadow.  I went on-line and bought a mix of drought tolerant wild flower seed, and added to it the seed that Lauren sent us for Christmas, and spread it along with my collected seed (who knows - some of it might take...) on top of what he had put in.

We have had some nice rain this week to aid in germination. 

I think I will order more wild flower seed and do another planting in the fall...


Ted stops by periodically for an in person progress report.

We promise to come get our freezer out of your garage real soon, Ted!


Flooring and shingling, shingling and flooring is our current focus.  So here is the flooring update...

Working in the kitchen.  This needed to be finished before putting the base cabinets in.  I have gotten pretty good with the pneumatic nailer.

Laying out the individual pieces and hammering them into place before nailing.

When I am down on my hands and knees like this, a song that I hear on my favorite Alternative Rock station keeps coming into my head:  "So sexy when you're working on your knees, girl..."  Hmmmm, I don't think they are singing about flooring?

And shingling

Genie has been earning her keep.

We are making progress on the shingling, and are about halfway done on all four sides of the house!

Here is the North facade:  This corner where the grade drops off steeply is impossible to use the Genie, as she needs a pretty level surface.  The solution here, has been to position the backhoe shovel at the level of the earth, and run a gang plank from which to work on.

This is the South.

The East side is shaping up, but the scariest part is yet to come.  That gable is TRES HAUTE!  (that is french for "very high" - I try to connect with my French Canadian roots whenever possible, eh?)

And the West side is shaping up, too.

Signing off...

Well, it's time for lunch, so signing off for now.


  1. Nice ass shot, Dean. So sexy when you're working on your knees, boy.

  2. Gee thanks. ;-))