Shangri La

Shangri La

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Despite my assertions that I was shutting down until spring, I’ve decided to come out of hibernation to wish both of you Happy Holidays! And while I'm here, I might as well comment upon our most recent trip to Shangri-La to make sure the cabin is still standing...

It is – capped with 2 feet of snow and apparently none the worse for the strain. I had hoped that the 12/12 roof pitch would be enough to shed snow, but the asphalt shingles apparently provide sufficient friction to keep it in place. We’ll see what things are like when we’ve got 5-6 feet in a month or two, but right now I’m feeling pretty good about the oversized roof rafters and the way we tied them to their joists with ½” carriage bolts in 5 locations on each side.

While I blazed an awkward circle in the virgin snow, the LSW and The Boy waited in the car. I popped into the basement to find it dry and uninhabited, and unlocked the front door. As I closed the door behind me, a funny thing happened: My enthusiasm returned. The mental exhaustion that hung over me in October and November lifted, and I actually got excited again about what we were doing. I looked at the stacks for siding and the half-finished bathroom wall, and found myself imagining it all finished, and us unloading the car for a quite winter weekend by the fire, snow gently falling outside the window. Lesson learned: Time away from the project is as important as time on the project.

And so my mind is turning again: Wiring, plumbing, insulation, drywall, flooring, septic, well, porches, etc, etc. What will I do myself, and what will I contract out? What kind of heat will we install? Should we put in a basic solar setup to sell power back to CVPS when we’re not using it? If we have to choose, should we put in the well first or the septic? (I’m leaning toward the well.) Should I build the kitchen cabinets myself?

A lot, of course, depends upon whether or not my esteemed employer decides to provide raises this year, and how much of a bonus pool they’ll provide in this (still) shaky economy. There are a few other potential sources of cabin funds, but the timing for them is uncertain, and I remain resolutely against taking out any loans. Consequently, the only thing we are committed to at this point is the additional septic tests, for which I have already contacted Marquise & Morano. The monitoring will begin in March and conclude in May, and hopefully result in revising plans from the current mound system ($$$$) to a conventional one ($$).

The trip up included an overnight stay at (as always) The Saxtons River Inn. Festooned with lights and decorations, it was a welcoming site on a very cold, dark evening, and the pub - filled with locals, conversation, conviviality and libations - proved a particularly agreeable environment for dinner. As always. The boy even managed to behave this time, and obligingly fell suddenly asleep at 8 PM, allowing the LSW and I to enjoy a stack of new books in peace and quite for a few hours before turning in. Perfect.

We’ll do it all again in January, February and March. Hopefully we’ll be ready to hit the ground running in April and finish this thing off.