Shangri La

Shangri La

Friday, September 30, 2011

Half off hardware goodies!

We interrupt ... well, nothing really. But I just wanted to alert our Connecticut readers to today's Groupon, which you can bet we jumped on real quick. Ring's End, which has lumber and building supplies, is offering half off certificates. So for $25, you can get $50 worth of stuff, or go for the gold and spend $100 for $200 worth of sheet rock, insulation or other goodies. Check it out HERE. Maybe this means we'll get the downstairs all finished by the end of the fall!

[Vermonster Update: We bought $100 worth, which I used to buy half of the insulation needed for the cathedral ceiling. Bonus!]

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 26, 2011

I'm taking a break from the usual manic Monday routine to do some work at the cabin. Up at 5, packed and on the road by 6:10. I’m thinking I’d like to see if Brattleboro has cleaned up since the Hurricane, but the traffic into town is significantly backed up and I hop right back onto the highway.

A few more exits up I find I’m able to travel the roads that were blocked during my last trip. There’s earth-moving equipment in many places along the river, apparently rebuilding the riverbanks at critical spots. There are two mobile homes that appear to be a total loss, one house that that is marginal, and a covered bridge that made it through but took some heavy damage. Pretty impressive from a ‘river’ that is usually 1 – 4 feet deep at most.

After a stop at the village store for a croissant and the local papers, I’m at the cabin by 9 AM. The leaves are already beginning to turn and the roads have a picturesque dusting of the ones that have already fallen. It would be the perfect fall day except that it’s a little too hot and already somewhat humid.

My goal is to complete the electrical and plumbing work – of which very little remains. The first task is to correct the dodgy job I did installing the front porch light – mounting the light to the wall and feeding the wires to a gang box facing the cabin interior. What was I thinking? Even the electrician left a note saying “uh, you might want to consider…” 15 minutes, a hole saw and an round gang box and I can hold my head up at an IBEW meeting again. Not that I'd know where to find one.

That fix was the only thing preventing me from finishing the downstairs insulation, however, so I decide to put it up now rather than waiting until the LSW and The Boy are with me. Insulation is deceptively nasty, and the less we work with it while we’re trying to enjoy the place the better. This leads to the first ‘son of a bitch!’ moment when I realize that the two rolls of R19 I bought were for 16” – rather than 24” – framing. How could I possibly have missed that? I knew they seemed like too much of a bargain when I bought them. I decide to make it work, however, and spend the next couple of hours finishing the downstairs insulation.

I consider turning back to the electrical after lunch, but the temptation to cover the insulation with dry wall is overwhelming and I give in. This leads to the second SOAB moment when I cut two leftover pieces of wall board only to find that they are both 1’ too short. Yes, Norm, I hear you: Measure TWICE, cut ONCE. Aggravating the situation, I find that I need to change the framing inside the closet to mount them. No surprise, as SOAB moments are invariable followed by ‘more work than expected’ experiences. The reframing I do here opens my eyes to 3 other minor framing tasks I’ve been stalling on, and I figure I might as well address them while the mitre saw is out and the Paslode is cooperating.

I use the two short pieces of drywall I’ve cut and patch in smaller pieces above. It’s the entry closest, and I reason that I’ll cover the seams with a shelf. I then put the remaining insulation in the loft, and – with my new framing-ray vision - realize I have additional framing to do on the gable walls in order to effectively mount both the wall board and pine ceiling. SOAB! (And MWTE.)

At this point it is 2:30, and I still have to unload the kitchen/entry tile backer boards from the truck and clean up before leaving, so I call it a day. Looking around, I feel like I got very little done. As always.

On the way back, I travel through Brattleboro and am pleased to find that Flat Street has been cleaned up and the Latchis looks like it is about to reopen (maybe it already has?). My favorite restaurant – the Flat Street Pub – is still closed, however. I’m back at the house by 6:30 – in time to talk with The Boy before bed. The only beer in the fridge is a Heineken left over from somewhere, but even cheap beer tastes really good after a long day of travel and ‘real’ work.

Next week I’ll be up for another day trip, still trying to finish the punch list before winter sets in…

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

All's Quiet on the Cabin Building Front

When we began this project, The Boy was 2 and his needs - while continual - were at least restricted to the home. He was, in a word, ‘portable’, and went where we went, when we wanted to go.

And so we dreamed of monthly long weekends at the cabin, facilitated by my generous vacation days and the LSW’s from-home freelancing career.

What we forgot, of course, was that The Boy would soon become encumbered by interests and activities generated by:
• Him – “I don’t want to go to the cabin – there’s nothing to do there”
• Society – Insofar as absence from school is ‘truancy’
• Us – We’ve become the parents we formerly scoffed at, enrolling him in Soccer, Karate, Religious Education, etc, and ourselves in the PTA, Father’s Club, etc.

So when, exactly, do we get to escape to Shangri-La? July and August, apparently. A shame as we love VT most in the fall. The best I’ve been able to do this year is 2 weekends prior to Thanksgiving for the whole family, and 2 overnights for me. My original goal was to have all of the insulation in and the wall board up this year, but it’s starting to look like the cathedral ceiling and basement insulation will have to wait until next year. I should be able to get all of the wall insulation and wall board up, however.

Since the last post, there was a single trip up the day after the Hurricane. As the LSW noted in the previous post, VT was hit pretty hard by flooding – apparently the result of the land being pretty much water saturated before Irene came a-callin’. The cabin was apparently untouched except for having no power, but the towns around it got hit pretty hard. The major roads in from the North and West were effectively impassable, and my route from the South involved at least one significant detour. I arrived at 3PM, checked the cabin inside and out, breathed a sigh of relief, and headed back south for dinner.

We were lucky, and our thoughts are with many of our neighbors up there as they rebuild.