Shangri La

Shangri La

Monday, April 26, 2010

The 2010 working season begins!

So I'm up at 6 and ready to go at 6:30. The LSW, however, is sick, and The Boy has decided to spite me by sleeping in for the first time...well, ever. Despite these obstacles, somehow we're on the road by 7:45 - not bad, all things considered.

And what's the occasion? The electrician is meeting with me at 11 AM to talk through my wiring plans. I've got it in my head that I can wire most of the place by myself, and I'm looking for a paid mentor to ensure that I don't kill us all with wayward electrons.

'Larry' shows up promptly at 11 and is polite and professional, despite the fact that I've come up with a 200-amp, 13-circuit plan to wire a 16' x 28' shoebox. And 4 of those circuits are 240 volt. His changes are modest: Take the refridgerator off the GFI circuit and make all the 15-amp circuits 20-amp instead. And we agree to ditch 2 items in the original plan: A generator hookup and a motorhome hookup. Both can be added later if needed, and neither of us can envision my father being able to navigate his bus-sized RV up my narrow dirt road. So what am I planning?

Circuit 1: General purpose receptacle loop - 9 plugs, a smoke detector and a closet light
Circuit 2: Refrigerator plug
Circuit 3: Rear spotlight, kitchen light, kitchen work lights, bath fan/light and bath vanity light
Circuit 4: Front spotlight, entry light, porch light, and main track lights
Circuit 5: Microwave
Circuit 6: Crawlspace receptacles (GFI), exterior receptacles, and crawlspace lights
Circuit 7: Bath receptacles (GFI - separate circuit required by code)
Circuits 8 and 9: Kitchen receptacles (GFI - 2 circuits required by code)
Circuit 10: Range/Oven
Circuit 11: Well pump
Circuits 12 and 13: 9,000 watts of electric baseboard heating for the cabin and crawlspace

And why am I heating the crawlspace? Well, I'm not - not all of it, anyway. The land slopes, leaving half the foundation exposed. To be sure we can use the place in the winter without water lines freezing, I've Isolated all of the plumbing to the wall separating the kitchen from the bath. In the crawlspace below, I'm going to frame in an insulated 10' x 8' room for the expansion tank, hot water heater (electric) and plumbing. I'll heat this with a 4' baseboard heater on its own thermostat, and empty the lines when we're not there.

I considered propane heat for the cabin, but between the super-insulation and the small size, I'm thinking electrical might not be that much more expensive, especially as we're going to install a small wood stove. In the long run, we're likely to install solar and feed the power back to CVPS, which - given that we'll only use the place on weekends - should make our electrical essentially free.

So Larry will take care of the hookup and anything needed to get to the breaker panel, and then he'll inspect my work and hook it in when I'm done. I'm buying all of the materials from the panel on, running all the wires and tying everything together. Or that's the plan, anyway.

It was a beautiful day to work, as it turned out. 70 degrees, few bugs, and The Boy stayed on his best behavior despite the long day and long trip. And despite illness, the LSW managed to help me get another 15' of siding up, which was pretty good considering how slow the siding went when I was working by myself.

And so the work begins for another year...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

This Cabin Brought to You By ...

LSW here, dusting off the old blog and preparing for Vermont 2010: The Adventure Drags On. I've had the whole winter to sit and contemplate what it will someday be like when I'll have the opportunity to call up my pride of cougar friends and say, "Girls' weekend at the cabin! Chocolate, wine and sweat pants!" It's too exciting to think about, actually. I know that day will come, but the reality is that we still have a whole big butt load of work to do.
There's the septic and well, electricity and plumbing, flooring and tiling. It's a bit overwhelming, but we know we've got to take it one step at a time.
The other issue is the fundage. Until the well and septic are done, we have no idea how much we'll have in the budget this year for all the other stuff. It occurs to me: you know what we need? We need a sponsor! I can picture it now: print ads with the two of us, almost like American Gothic standing there in front of the cabin, saying, "We did it! So can you!" and then there will be all the info for, say, Owens Corning insulation or Kohler plumbing supplies.
We could even be like a reality show in ads. Where are we in the process this month? Check out the ad in Better Homes & Gardens!
Are we willing to sell our souls to the dark side of advertorial? You betcha! Bring it on, building supply companies. We're ready and willing.