Shangri La

Shangri La

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holy Shizz! Look what happened to the cabin while we were gone

Apparently some squatters have moved into our cabin. They were sweet enough, so we're giving them until the New Year to get the hell out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Here I Am!

LSW here. It’s been a while since I’ve been up to the cabin. It’s getting kind of hard now. The Boy has his own social calendar and frankly, it’s exhausting to both work on the cabin and keep an eye on His Highness. He did a great job when he was 3 years old, playing with his plastic food and searching the woods for mushrooms. But now that he’s older, faster and always a step or two ahead of me, it’s a lot of work.
But in one of those unexpected moments of good fortune, The Boy’s grandparents stopped by and whisked him away, giving the Vermonster and I free rein to go up to Shangri-La alone.
This was the first time I’ve seen the cabin since the land has been leveled and seeded. We have a yard! And what a difference it makes. Suddenly it’s gone from a structure built on sandy soil and rocks to a cute little cabin in the woods.
The weather report for the day was iffy, although the temperatures were supposed to be in the 50’s, not bad considering it’s Vermont. We realistically could’ve been stuck in a snowstorm this time of year.
It was pretty chilly and grey and misty. Certainly not one of Vermont’s better days, but we managed to get some work done. I stained lots of shingles while the Vermonster continued to nail them on the front of the cabin. He’s said before that it’s slow-going work, and he’s right. Four hours later, we got a lot done but it’s still not finished. I guess that’s the price you pay for charming shingle rather than a more practical type of siding.
We might have another decent day to do some more work in the next few weeks, but chances are, winter will settle in soon. It’ll be time to lay low and concentrate on our winter hobbies: dulcimer for the Vermonster, trying to maintain a writing career for me. Next summer should offer more projects of interest and hopefully we’ll actually be staying there. I’m thinking positive and I refuse to liken this project to the Taj Mahal; our beautiful home that we never actually get to stay in. In six months, get ready for blog posts about our overnights at Shangri-La. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

...and continues...

Back up last Tuesday as the quest to cover the Tyvek continues. Some notes:
  • Working on the porch roof was more difficult (and painful) than I expected. Sitting continually on an angle causes you to use muscles in ways your not used to, and you get sore easily. I ached for 2 days after.
  • Manually measuring and cutting shingles for two separate angles - the porch roof and the gable - isn't hard, but it takes time. Lots of it, if you're using a handsaw.
  • It occurred to me that snow may be sitting against the shingles within 2-3 feet of the porch roof, and so I decided to seal the backs and sides of each shingle before it went up. You can imagine how much time that took.
In the end, here's what 5 hours got me:


The work above this point will go faster, as I'll revert to not sealing the backs. There's still the west side to do, though, so I'm figuring 2 more trips...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Tyvek as Taskmaster

The Tyvek is driving me nuts. The packaging warns that it should not remain exposed for more than 6 months, but the front of the cabin has been basking in murderous sunlight for almost a year. With average daytime temps dropping fast, I'm watching daily for those rare, remaining days when the mercury is predicted to be 50 and the chance of precipitation below 20%.

They are few and far between.

Last Thursday was one of them, though, and I was up at 5 with grand plans to finish the front siding and close down for the winter. I took a PTO day, carved a conspicuous hole in a critical project at work and packed the truck in the dark only to find that it had rained in Shangri-La until almost 8 am, and all of the siding was soaked.

[Insert profanity here]

So I set to work installing the front porch light, only to realize that the right way to do it is to cut a hole in the wall and place a single gang box behind it, not run the wires through the wall and splice them to the power supply unprotected. Duh. Unfortunately, I didn't have a jig saw with me, and so I compromised by mounting the gang box facing the inside of the cabin. It works, and will probably be fine, but I didn't feel good about it.

Figuring it would take another hour for the Tyvek to dry out, I began sealing the shingle that was already up. Easy, right? Should take an hour or two, yes? 3 1/2 hour later, the job was done, and I was looking at a late lunch and still not a single new shingle in place.

After a quick lunch, I gave up hope of actually finishing the siding and decided to mow the lawn, which was already almost a foot high. I set the lawnmower to the highest setting and discovered two three things:
  1. Mowing a sloping property is a lot harder than a flat one.
  2. Mowing on freshly spread and loosely compacted topsoil is a lot like marching on the beach.
  3. The thought that you might have a heart attack is more frightening when you have no phone, no close neighbors, and no chance the wife will wonder what happened to you until you don't show up at home many hours hence.

In the end, I put up and stained the final row of shingles under the porch, and began the process of rising up and around the porch trim work. Not a bad day's work, really, but the faded Tyvek mocked me as I pulled out at 4 PM and headed for home, knowing that I'd need to come up at least one more time.

I should have just used builder's felt.