Construction Journal Entry Week of 8/17/08

8/18/08 Made the wooden numbers '2008' glued on a wood plaque, in mirror image, for placing in the forms to mark the year. I'll fasten it inside the top riser on the lower flight.

8/19-21/08 I went up to the property for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

I arrived at 12:15. Bert and Ernie greeted me when I parked and I gave them a couple of dog biscuits. There was no sign of mice in the cabin and there weren't many mosquitoes. I was happy about both. I decided I didn't need to wear bug juice and I probably wouldn't need the fan at the front door of the cabin.

After moving in and having lunch, I melted some paraffin and waxed the number plaque so the concrete won't stick to it. Then I installed it in the forms by screwing it to the inside of the top riser on the lower staircase. Then I finished making and installing the 4x4 strut to brace the lower staircase forms. A chipmunk and one gray jay visited me for peanuts during the work.

On Wednesday, it rained off and on throughout the day. It had rained pretty hard during the previous night so things were pretty wet. I worked inside the cabin finishing the two screeds I had made. I hadn't recorded the angle of the risers in the forms so I still had to cut the ends of the screeds to fit up against the risers. I went out during a lull in the rain and measured the angle of the risers. Then I went to work and cut the profiles on the screeds.

During another lull in the rain, I took the screeds out to see how they fit and to see how uniform the steps were. The upper screed fit nicely, although the steps weren't as uniform as I would have liked. The bottom screed didn't fit at all. It was too long by about 1 1/2 inches so I must have used the wrong pencil mark. Fortunately it was too long and not too short so I was able to fix it by cutting some more off. I went out and tested it and found that it was about as good as the top one. The steps will be close enough to uniform for my purposes.

When I saw a pickup stop down at the road, I went down and talked to two PUD meter readers. The previous meter reader was showing the new guy, Jeff, the ropes. They admired my forms, looked at the roots I had cut out, and were on their way.

Next, I made a lot of measurements of the forms and then went into the trailer and calculated the amount of concrete I would need. I came up with 11.28 yards. I was surprised that it was so far off from the 6 to 7 yards that Jimmy Dills had estimated. I called Roy Dickinson at Two Rivers and discussed it with him. During the conversation I realized that I had measured down from the nose of each step and it would have been more accurate to measure down from the middle of each step. I told Roy that I would redo my calculations and call him back. The new number was 10.28 yards. I called Roy back and ordered 10.5 yards. Any overage is going to cost me. But if there isn't enough, it will be a hassle and probably end up costing me more. I still felt uneasy that my number is so much higher than Jimmy's. It is going to be interesting to see how much it really does take.

During the rain breaks, I made and installed yet more bracing on the forms. A chipmunk came around for peanuts during the work. There were a few mosquitoes, but not many. I still didn't put on any bug juice.

For the rest of the day, I spent quite a bit of time tidying up the cabin so it will be habitable next week. I put stuff away and vacuumed the floors and window sills.

I have been having pains in my right leg for about a month which I thought might be the start of arthritis or just soreness from stressing my knees working on the forms. But it started to seem to me that it is sciatica. I guess that is good news. It could be something worse.

I got a call from Harold Samdal who will be coming up with John to help us. We talked about some of the details of his trip. We'll pick him up at the airport on Sunday just before we go up to the property.

On Thursday morning, I cleaned up the trailer. There is nothing like having visitors to motivate me to do some cleaning. I carried most of the tools from the truck up to the cabin to store them. That way I will have room to carry John and Harold and their gear. Next, I set up the cots and sleeping bags for John and Harold and I set up the kitchen so we could cook and eat up there. I plugged the refrigerator in and put a gallon jug of water in there for those who like to drink cold water. I moved a lot of kitchen stuff up from the trailer including two basins and another water jug. Since we won't have hot and cold running water up there, we will have to wash up in the trailer and then go on up to the cabin to cook and eat. I had my lunch up there as a trial run. It worked fine. We'll have a good time.

I fed the gray jays some peanuts and the chipmunk came around again too. I think I'm ready for guests and ready to pour concrete. I left for home at 1:40.

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