Construction Journal Entry Week of 10/17/10

10/19-21/10 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

Before I left, I called and requested an electrical inspection for Thursday morning. You don't get to talk to a person in this process but can only leave a voice message. I also called Dave Westermann and left him a message that I would like the inspection to be in the morning because I needed to leave around noon.

I stopped at the fire station on the way to make sure someone was there so I could deliver the bunk bed. Then I proceeded on. I arrived at Camp Serendipity at 12:39 and was promptly greeted by Bert and Ernie. The first thing I did after feeding and hugging the dogs, was to turn off the refrigerator in the trailer so it would start defrosting. I put the mayonnaise and some other things in the cooler I brought with me to keep them cold. Then I went up to the cabin and carried the bunk bed sections down and loaded them into the truck. I had bought the necessary bolts for the bed so I had the complete package to donate to the fire station.

I drove back to the fire station and delivered the bunk bed and had a nice chat with the lady on duty. Then I went back and completely defrosted the refrigerator. It hasn't looked so clean for a long time.

After having some lunch, I went up to the cabin and moved everything off the living room, dining room and loft floors except for the chests that are up against the short loft walls. By the time I finished, I was ready for a shower and dinner.

On Wednesday morning, I got the wheelbarrow and a couple shovels out and just got started moving dirt to cover the conduit when the Gale truck showed up at about 8:30. I introduced myself to the two workers, Jesus and Jimmy, and then I drove my truck to the upper roadway while they backed their truck up the lower roadway. Since they wouldn't be able to get their truck up to the cabin, the plan was for me to ferry the material up the hill in my truck.

As it turned out they weren't able to get their truck even up to the trailer so the stuff would have to be carried by hand halfway up the hill anyway. We decided to carry it all the way by hand so I moved my truck all the way up to the cabin to get it out of the way. Then the three of us carried all the scaffolding and insulation up the hill and into the cabin. Bert and Ernie showed up during the process and so did the flock of gray jays. Jesus and Jimmy were impressed by them and how they ate out of my hands. They had never seen anything quite like that.

I was impressed by how efficient those two were at installing the insulation. Their scaffold system is made of aluminum so it was (at least it looked) easy for them to set up and reconfigure. The bottom section was on wheels so the whole tower rolled around the floor. The wheels weren't locked and the tower wasn't fastened to the walls or anything so it was pretty wiggly. It looked like Jesus was surfing up there on his platform with the whole thing moving. That worked for him, though, because he would move the whole tower around sometimes by doing surfing motions just with his feet and other times by grabbing and pulling on rafters, purlins, or columns—whatever he could reach.

Using this method, Jesus insulated the ceiling over the living room and dining room. Meanwhile, Jimmy was working in the loft. He started out on the lower parts where he could reach the rafters just by standing on the floor.

After a while, Jimmy set up a smaller scaffold tower, also on wheels, in the loft. Then they strung a long aluminum plank across the tops of both towers so that they could reach the entire ridge of the ceiling. I took a bunch of pictures during the process

It seemed like they were done in no time. I helped them carry the scaffolds, trash, and left-over insulation back down to their truck. They fed the gray jays from their hands for a little while, and then they were on their way before noon. The job was a lot quicker than I had expected. Jesus had told me that except for carrying the stuff up and down the hill, the job had been a piece of cake.

With all the commotion settled down, the chipmunk came out to get a few peanuts. When he ran off with his cheeks stuffed full, I went in for lunch.

Just as I finished, Phil Leatherman stopped by to fill his jugs with spring water. He told me about the big excavator he had just bought and was learning how to operate. He was going to do some earthwork and found a good deal on a fairly big track-mounted machine. After he left, I took a nap and then went to work.

When I went up to the cabin, I set all the heaters to 70 degrees. I wanted to test to see how the heaters performed now that the ceiling was insulated. It was about 55 outside and about 60 inside at the time. My plan was to leave the heaters on all night and see how the cabin would be in the morning. It was getting down to 35 degrees at night and I wanted to see if the temperature inside would be 70 degrees and I wanted to know whether the loft would overheat.

Then I put the gloves on and went outside to dig and haul dirt. The gray jays and the chipmunk interrupted me periodically as they came around for peanuts. I needed the breaks and I enjoy the little critters so I'm glad they came around.

When I figured that I had hauled enough dirt to satisfy the electrical inspector, I put the wheelbarrow and shovels away and took a bucket of dirt, a bucket of water, and some Vigaro fertilizer up to the sequoias and split it between Bill and Andrew. Those two are the most in need. The rest look like they are thriving. There wasn't a breath of wind, so with the leaves all beautifully colored, it was most pleasant in the woods. I took some time to sit quietly for a while and just enjoy it.

By the time I went into the cabin, the temperature inside was 70 degrees both on the main floor and also in the loft. It was very cozy and comfortable.

I swept and vacuumed the loft and the loft stairs. The insulation job left a huge amount of fine dust that you really couldn't see on the floor, but it sure filled up the vacuum cleaner. When I finished that, I took a nice shower. I was more comfortable getting out of the shower that time than I had been at any other time. Before it had always been a little chilly, but this time it was cozy warm and I hadn't had a fire in the stove all week. I think those heaters are going to work very well.

On Thursday I called L&I to request that they show up for my inspection in the morning if possible so that I could leave in time to attend a concert that Andrew was going to be in. I couldn't get a person so I left a message for Dave Westermann.

It was 35 degrees outside when I went up to the cabin. The temperature both upstairs and down was 70 degrees. Again I was happy that the loft didn't overheat. It felt too warm to me, though, so I set all the thermostats down to 60 degrees. Then I went to work and swept and vacuumed the first floor. Again there was a huge amount of dust. I had to empty the vacuum twice. The flock of gray jays came around for peanuts during the process.

When I finished, I called the building department and left a message for Mark asking whether I had permission to sheetrock the interior partition walls and ceilings. He had said that it was OK to insulate the high ceilings but I had forgotten to ask about the sheetrock. Once I get the electrical approval, there will be no reason not to sheetrock right away. Then I can install the interior doors and that will make a huge difference in the look of the place. I feel like I am finally getting somewhere close to the end of this project.

I went down to the trailer and had an early lunch. Then I packed up to leave so that I could leave as soon as the electrical inspection was done. Then I went back up to the cabin and swept off the front porch. By that time it was 1:00 and the inspector still hadn't shown up. I spent the next hour sitting in the cozy cabin, looking out the windows, relaxing, and listening to a CD of Horowitz playing Beethoven sonatas. That was an extremely pleasant hour. I don't think life gets any better than that.

The temperature in the building stayed at 70 degrees on both floors. All of the heaters except two had shut down. The two big radiant heaters, in the living room and the dining room, were still pumping out heat even though their thermostats were set to 60 degrees. I set both of them down to 55 degrees.

At 2:00, when the CD finished playing, all the heaters had shut down and the temperature in the building was still 70 degrees. I set all the heaters down to 55 degrees.

Then I locked up, got in my truck, and left for home overjoyed that the insulation job was done—at least in the ceiling—and that the cabin was pretty much ready for winter. Next week I am going to Florida to see John and Harold and another shuttle launch. I won't be back to Camp Serendipity for the next two weeks.

10/22/10 I called and talked to Dave Westermann. He told me that he had been in staff meetings and so he hadn't done any inspections on Thursday. I requested an inspection for November 9th, which will be the next time I will be up at Camp Serendipity. I requested the afternoon because I'll be traveling in the morning. I would have preferred Nov 11, but L&I takes that day off. I got a message from Mark at the building department giving me the OK to sheetrock.

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