Construction Journal Entry Week of 12/19/10

12/21-23/10 I went up to Camp Serendipity for 3 days: Tuesday through Thursday.

On the way I bought another section of 6" ducting at Home Depot and I bought another outdoor thermometer to replace the one that had been ripped off at the trailer a couple weeks ago. I also bought another smoke detector. I stopped at Dickinsons and Copenhavers and left a jar of Ellen's Christmas jam for each of them. No one was home at either place. Then I stopped and left a jar with Mike Tutino and chatted with him for a while. I noticed the Barholomew's dog and Mike told me that Dave was up at their cabin. Bert and Ernie eagerly ran alongside the truck as I drove to Camp Serendipity and parked.

I arrived at 1:55. The driveway had been plowed but there had been another couple inches of fresh snow since then. I had no trouble driving in. After giving Bert and Ernie their hugs and biscuits, I carried a bunch of Teaching Company DVDs that I had brought with me up to the cabin. I have decided to store them up there.

After lunch, I skipped taking a nap so I could get started on a fairly big project and finish it before dark. That was to bring the bronze model of Mount Rainier that I had made up to the cabin. It has been in the way in Seattle and Ellen and I figured that it would be better to keep it up at Camp Serendipity. Together with its travel/storage/display case it weighs something over 80 lb. so to get it up to the cabin with all the snow on the ground was going to take some doing.

I started out by drilling some holes in a piece of plywood so that I could lash the model case to the plywood and use the plywood as a sled. I backed the truck up to the berm of snow that Mike had piled up at the end of where he had plowed. Then with a shovel, I fashioned a loading dock out of the snowbank so that it was about even with the bed of the truck. Then with a long loop of rope tied to the plywood sled, I pulled the sled and the model out onto the snow loading dock and spun it 180 degrees so that I could begin dragging it uphill.

By walking backward with the loop of rope around my hips, I could slide the sled uphill a few inches at a time without too much trouble. I would bend my knees, take the slack out of the rope loop that went around my hips, and then when I stood up and leaned back, the rope would pick up the front of the plywood so it wouldn't dive into the snow, and the whole thing would slide toward me a few inches. Then I would step back and go through the process again. I had used this same method to get the big dining room table up the hill a year or so ago.

It took a while but I finally got it around the hairpin turn and up the upper roadway to where the snow got steep because of the snow coming off the roof. At this point, I switched methods and used the porch crane to pull the load the rest of the way up the hill. It worked very well.

There was plenty of cable to reach the sled and the cable run went neatly between the Camp Serendipity sign and the Grid F3 column on the porch. The control wire was plenty long enough so that I could control the winch from right down at the sled. With my left hand on the cable hook so I could steer the sled, I used my right hand to start and stop the winch. It worked slick.

It was a little tricky winching the load up over the crest of the berm, but I had no problem. When it was right on the crest of the berm, I re-configured the rigging so that the sled formed a horizontal platform with four ropes going up to a shackle that I could lift with the crane hook.

With this rigging, I was able to ease the load down the other side of the berm and move it into a position right in front of Rosie the rose bush directly below the end of the crane boom. Then it was a straight shot straight up to lift the model up to the porch level and swing it onto the porch under the guard ropes. In no time it was lying flat on the porch and I put the crane and its parts back in their storage configuration.

Next, I released the model from the plywood and stood it up on the porch on its wheels. Then I wheeled and muscled it up the two steps and into the front door of the cabin. It was pretty dark by the time I finished, but the motion light at the front porch had provided plenty of light to do the last part of the job.

I reconfigured the model case into display mode and put the model on display in the living room. It really looked nice there if I say so myself. I called Mike Tutino and Dave Bartholomew and invited them to come over and see the model when they had a chance. Then I took a nice shower and quit for the day. I was really stuffed up with a cold so I took Nyquil before I went to bed.

On Wednesday morning, Dave Bartholomew called and told me that he had to leave and wouldn't be able to come see the model but that he very much wanted to see it. We agreed to keep in touch about when each of us would be up in the area so that we could find a mutual time for him to visit.

When I went up to the cabin, 3 gray jays showed up for peanuts. They hung around for more most of the morning. I reconfigured the model case to traveling mode and spent the morning moving it up into the loft where I have decided to leave it permanently.

I used a rebar hook fastened to the edge of the loft floor to anchor a come-along hook. The cable then ran over the top of a foot-locker and then down the staircase to a loop of rope I had tied around the model display box. I laid four 2x10 planks on the staircase and then used the come-along to winch the model up sliding on top of the planks. I took a bunch of pictures of the entire process.

The case was a little too wide to make it without loosening up the temporary newel post I had set up for the second handrail. Except for that one obstruction, and for some awkward times trying to get my body from below to above the load as it went up the stairs, I eventually cranked the load up onto the loft floor.

After lunch and a nap I set the display back up and rigged a light over the model. I was very happy seeing the model in its new setting. Then I closed the box back to storage mode and did some work strategizing how I was going to install smoke detectors in the loft.

The building department had specified only one detector up there, but since I want to be able to make two bedrooms up there if I want to, I realized that I would need a smoke detector in each one so I had better prepare for that now before the ceiling is in so I can string the wires. I also figured that I should be prepared to have the detectors send a signal to a remote station. I wasn't sure what would be necessary for this in the way of wiring. At least I figured out where to mount the detectors and roughly how to route the wires. I should have thought of this before the ceiling was insulated, but at least I am thinking about it before the ceiling boards are installed.

On Thursday morning, I discovered that I had bought the wrong length of ducting for replacing the ruptured duct that I had gotten from Lowes. My cold had me feeling pretty bum and my heart was not into working on ducting that didn't quite fit. I decided to do something fun instead.

The weather outside was delightful so I got a shovel out and cleared the snow off the back stoop. Since it was so beautiful, I decided to shovel off the concrete staircase just in case someone might want to use it. It was great fun clearing the staircase. When I finished, I noticed that the load of snow on top of the concrete mixer was dangerously heavy. I hadn't cleared it at all this winter and there had been a succession of snow and rain, so the snow on top was very dense.

When I finished clearing the snow off the mixer, I decided that I had better clear the roof of the privy as well, so I got a ladder out and went and did that job. Good thing too because it was also getting dangerously heavy.

After all that fun, I went inside the cabin and spent about an hour just relaxing and listening to Rubinstein play Chopin. I left for home at 1:00 feeling good about getting that model on display up there.

Go to Next Journal Entry
Previous Journal Entry

Index to all Journal Entries
Go To Home Page

©2010 Paul R. Martin, All rights reserved.