Five weeks, zoom. There are actually other breathing human beings reading this thing, zoom. My writing is raw enough and the blog popular enough that some not-so-friendly comments are getting made, zoom! I didn’t see that coming. 😉 Let’s see if I can keep going in a similar vein. Little did you guys know, I have boxes and boxes of journals that I’ve been writing since I was 11 and am one day going to turn into some beautiful memoir. I really just write this blog for my own catharsis – I’m still a little surprised that people are witnessing it, that there’s “another end” out there.
To that end, I also want to thank everyone for your comments on my last post – there was a great spirit of community and kindness. I was quite surprised by the flourishing interest it garnered. As stated above, I really write this content for myself more than anything, so I was surprised that it had an effect on so many people. I was also surprised by how many people wanted to offer opinions, encouragement, etc.
The weather’s turning and I still have temperature-dependent activities to undertake. The siding is getting so close, but not quite done. It’s finished on two sides, nearly finishing on a third (with one pesky strip along the top that needs to get ripped down to fit the soffit), and half-finished up front. I got a new job a week ago doing some temporary admin work – OK, really some tedious data entry for generous pay – at a yoga/meditation center an hour away in a really beautiful little town that I hate having to drive to. This is my first time working a consistent 40-hour work week in probably… 8 years. WOW. I guess that’s what happens when you keep your expenses extremely low (living in alternative housing like as a live-in nanny or doing an Americorps program, eating out very little, and having very little stuff) and work odd jobs like farm harvester, meditation center manager, childcare, house cleaner, etc. To be honest, it’s hard for me to tell you how I survived and supported myself for the last ten years, because it doesn’t relate very well to my present-day stresses of housebuilding, credit card debt, and living with my parents. Maybe all those years of work-travel-play-work-travel-play finally caught up with me; I’ve never earned more than $15,000 in a year. Regardless, now I have some (materially) loftier goals than heading to India for five months or saving up to buy a fancy winter coat, so I’m happy to be – at least in the short term – on the financial up and up, even if it means sucking up desk butt, sore knees, and long miles. At least for now. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep looking for a job and envisioning a career; I’m not a desk person, that much is clear.
Do you guys ever notice how things can be going so great in one area of your life, and another area is pretty much in shambles? Why is this? Am I just out-of-whack, underdeveloped in the art of balance, or in a continuing state of crisis? In completely unrelated news, I am eating roasted carrots, shallots, and garlic from the garden with sage and thyme and it is downright delightful. I hope to one day, some day, soon have a day to haul compost and plant beds and beds full of garlic. I went from about 3 pounds to 8 pounds this year and I hope about 15 next year.
Anyway, the house. The house! Yeah, more siding, and soffits, and another gone-wrong Craigslist laborer. Claudio was great and all – when he would stop talking and making mistakes and taking advantage of my kindness and do the damn work – but not for $20/hour. But wow he did some nice work when he did. I think we sealed in a wasp’s nest under one of the soffits despite my best efforts to spray poison copiously. We didn’t get to the soffits on the ends, or to making an overhang over the door. But tonight I came home and randomly looked at a copy of Fine Homebuilding (which my dad sweetly subscribed us to) and came upon a very beautiful Craftsman-style overhang with measurements and details:
So, if one of you wants to come help me figure this shit out, (it will be fun, I promise) or my dad develops some free time out of nowhere, this is the kind of overhang I’m thinking…I actually got in contact with some builder-type people on Angie’s List because I figured maybe there I would find someone who could do this job, but no one wants to do a Tiny Project so far. I’m glad I didn’t finish siding the front yet, because it looks like this kind of overhang has to be installed before the siding goes up. I can’t wait to finish this exterior stuff!!!! TBC.
Otherwise, the window sealing is also coming along nicely (exterior-grade polyurethane is a beautiful finish!) and four of the seven got their spray foam collars that now need to get trimmed back because I didn’t realize the incredible expansion rate of the window stuff. It looks pretty goofy right now.
I also finished the door, which feels great. Putting up the trim, doorstop, drip edge, and weather stripping was fairly straightforward, and the only real mistake I’m living with is a 1″ gap on either side of the weatherstripping along the door bottom, so there will be some draftiness going on unless I cut back the door trim to accommodate it and do-over. All in all, I’m happy with the door.
More what-I-would-do-differently-next-time’s? If I could afford it, I don’t think I would use pine siding. I really like it how it looks, except that the stain I applied doesn’t seem to be doing a good enough job of battling the sun – on the two sides of the house exposed to full sun, the boards have some hairline textures and splitting where little surface portions of the wood are raising up and separating. Something tells me this would not happen with cedar, because it’s an oilier wood. If it did, it wouldn’t be at as much of a risk for rotting. Claudio told me I should apply a clear coat ASAP. Olympic says to only use one coat of the stain. What to do? Maybe, if you’re going to use pine siding, use a full oil-based stain. Like Sikkens original (not the acrylic-based stuff they sell at Home Depot). Maybe I’ll invest in that next year.
My boyfriend did a really meticulous job removing nails from a bunch of the oak flooring and I realized it would be ridiculous to try and install it in the lofts. I changed my plan and now I’m going to use 1×6 T&G in the lofts and put the oak downstairs. I’ve always wanted some fancy floor downstairs, like strand bamboo or something handscraped. But I’ve got this beautiful free oak and I can refinish it the color I want and it’s going to be way cheaper (and easier!) to buy 1x6s for the loft than to buy new flooring for the downstairs. I’m starting to think ahead to interior projects, the first of which will probably be reinforcing the lofts (I’ve been told my spacing of 18″ for 2x4s will not, in the long run, carry the weight of me and another person), installing the loft floors, building the bathroom wall, and starting on the electrical wiring. Yay!
And finally, a couple lady friends are coming to help me on the house this Sunday! I’m super excited – my first work party, of sorts. You’re invited, too. 12-5 food, liquids, tools, and fun.