Shangri La

Shangri La

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Forward to 2012

2011 saw the transition of the cabin from a place we work on to a place we still mostly work on, but can also occasionally just enjoy. Trips up are a lot less expensive now that we don’t have to book a hotel/inn/campsite and eat out. Not that eating in is exactly easy – a portable grill and a toaster oven only take you so far.

So what’s in store for 2012? I’d like to say we’ll finish everything, but I doubt that will happen. Even done on the cheap, the kitchen will be a chunk of money, and we’ve still got floors, ceilings, the back deck and an endless punch list to deal with. And the remaining insulation work in the ceiling and basement.

I’ll be happy next year if we manage to complete the insulation, build the back deck, finish the wall-boarding in the gables, install the t&g ceilings, and close in the eaves and porch ceiling. If money allows, it would be nice to get the floors down and the spiral stair up, but I don’t expect it.

Right now I’ve got 8 long weekends in Shangri-La on the calendar – roughly one per month from late April through early November. My father is contemplating a trip up and is recommending we ask my sister’s family to join us for another ‘big push’ weekend. Both he and my sister are slave drivers, so that could take us a long way to done.

But for now, a long winter’s nap - Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wrapping up 2011

There were two more trips to Shangri-La in October before we closed up shop for the season. Both were to be family trips, but the vertigo the LSW has been battling combined with a forecast of sub-freezing temperatures, cancelled the second, and I went up alone.

On the first trip, we managed to install the rear porch light, fix the dodgy job I did months ago on the front porch light, fix the non-working heaters (as suspected - loose connections), complete the downstairs drywall and install half of the kitchen tile backer board. Why only half?

To properly install the rear porch light, I had to remove the sheetrock we previously installed around the back door. In doing so, we noticed that the sheetrock and the floor to the left of the door was wet. Somehow we’ve got a little water coming in around (through?) the back door, and I don’t want to do any more work around it until we fix it. I really hate having to ‘revisit’ work we thought was done, but there you go. is this happening?
Given the wood rot at the base of the door, I suspect a bad seal.
 Another exciting experience that Saturday: I have a habit of getting to the basement door by using the rock wall next to it as a ladder, leaping from stone to stone like a mountain goat. Or not, the LSW and The Boy can attest by my writhing on the ground, clutching my ankle and spewing obscenities for 10 minutes. By nightfall, I was limping around the cabin contemplating a trip to the hospital. It was a little better the next morning, however, so I soldiered though. Took almost 2 weeks to be back to 100% again, though.

Before we left, I drained the water from the house, and - while I was at it, replaced the well filter. In the pic below, it becomes apparent why we need one.

Old and new filters - see if you can tell which is which!
The second trip was just for the day, and focused almost exclusively on installing the ceiling insulation. This is an awful job. It seems easy, but you end up covered with millions of tiny little prickly fiberglass hairs that drive you crazy and make you feel filthy until you’ve had about 3 showers. I wish I could say I’m done, but there’s still half the ceiling to do.

More lessons learned, by the way: The only cathedral ceiling insulation I could get to fit 24” rafter spacing was 10” thick R-38. This worked insofar as I have 12” rafters and need 2” of airspace for roof ventilation, but it is well shy of the R-50 that code recommends. Thankfully code is not an issue in Shangri-La, but if I had known, I might have opted for 10’ – rather than 8’ – walls to provide room for foam board insulation above the tongue-and-groove ceiling. As it is, there is precious little headroom in the lofts, so R-38 will probably be our max.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Mus musculus

Die, you adorable little bastard!

I’ve been told that all cabins have mice, no matter what you try to do to keep them out. I’m convinced they can squeeze through a nail hole, but it isn’t necessary as the eaves are still only loosely sealed and the basement door is hardly air-tight. On our last visit, I lay on my cot listening to the scurrying of little feet in the dark hoping the LSW didn’t hear it and cut our trip short. In my mind, I’m rehearsing a speech about the mice we have at home despite the presence of one lazy (though admittedly de-clawed) cat.

When we last left, we made sure all food came with us, and the soft stuff – pillows, sleeping bags, cot pads, etc. – went into plastic bins. Still, I had planned to return to install a more secure ‘inner door’ on the basement entrance, perhaps supplemented by mouse poison or traps. As a good Buddhist, I’m conflicted about this, but it’s unlikely to be an issue now until next spring. With temps in Shangri-La hovering around freezing, and the basement (and hence water) insulation still on the ‘to do’ list, we’re unlikely to be back to do anything except check on the place until spring.

Until then, the mice, unfortunately, have run of the place.